Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hopes & Goals

Last week was a bit of a shocker on the scale.  I logged another 2.4 lbs lost!  Something this is mildly troubling to me is that my Fitbit Aria is saying that my body fat % is steadily going up the last 2 weeks.  Before that, it had been steadily going down.  When I went to my doctor the other day for a follow up, I mentioned that I had lost about 6 lbs since I had been in to see him 2 weeks before.  He responded with “muscle loss.”  No.  No.  Noooooo.   That can’t be.  I’ve been swimming regularly for decent amounts of time.  I’m doing 4-6 strength training workouts a week.  I walk a lot.  But, the truth of the matter is that I’m not able to workout my biggest muscle groups as well as I would like.  I can’t do machine squats or single leg kick backs.  I can’t do calf raises.  I can only do static lunges, no walking lunges, no courtesy lunges.  I can’t do pistol squats with the TRX straps.  I can do box jumps.  I can’t use the BOSU ball to its fullest intentions.  I’m fairly limited with what I can do with my lower body while wearing the boot.  So, while I am losing weight, I have to accept that a portion of my weight loss is indeed some muscle loss.  But I don’t believe it’s a lot.  It’s nothing I can’t recover from once the boot comes off.  I’ve already decided, on my last day of medical leave, with my wrap around stabilizing ankle brace on my ankle, I will for out for a slow and careful 5k run near my apt complex.  No expectations.  I just want to discover what I can do.  I want to discover my starting point.  If things go well, which I’m sure they will.  I’ll wait a day for recover, then do another run, just a little further.  4 miles.  I need to run 3 days a week and TRY to get my longest run as close to 18 miles as possible and I don’t even care right now if there will be walking because I’ve already decided and accepted that there will be a fair amount of walking at the South Padre Island Marathon AND at the RNR San Antonio marathon.  Got my sidekick, Jennifer, along for the walk/run on that one!  Priority #1 right now: have fun!  Priority #2: don’t DNF!

So, more plans for once I’m out of the boot are as follows:
• a dedicated LEG DAY with lunges, squats, kettlebell exercises, balanced 1-leg squats, walking lunges, courtesy lunges, single leg kickbacks, calf raises, leg curls, leg extensions, whatever lower body workouts I can find to stuff into this workout.  This workout will start with a warm up in spin class.  If I’m not dead  after this workout, I do want to hit the pool if possible.
• up the weights I’ve been using with the upper body machines and push myself further.
• discover and add more exercises to my freestyle workout.  I’m thinking maybe hit my rope reps between each exercise I do.  That’ll add some nice burn to the workout and make it a little more cardio-esque, thus upping my calorie burn.
• take a spin class once a week, twice if possible, followed by a workout, followed by a swim if possible.
• outside of the gym: run 3 days a week, varying distances, building up to the longest run I can build up to with just a month of training time to work with.
• on top of my spin classes at the gym, I want to do a long distance cycle once a week, and include one of my gym workouts in it.  Ie-ride bike to the gym, do my workout, ride my bike the loooooooong way home.

Some goals for the post-boot era of my life:
• run/jog at least half of both marathons I have on the schedule
• don’t DNF at the Austin Halloween Half Marathon (3 hour cutoff…eeek!)
• finish losing weight, maybe adjust my weight loss goal but going down 5 pounds to 165.  But, I really don’t want to go any further below that as I think any lower and it will be too stressful and difficult for me to maintain that weight.
• far off goal: run the Austin Marathon with no walking beyond the water stops.
• keep up with my super varied training and do my first triathlon in March (St Patrick’s Sprint Tri).

Monday, September 28, 2015

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting.  I mentioned it with my recap on Saturday and that I discovered I was doing it purely by chance.  It started off that I was trying to control my hunger urges (false and real) by spacing my meals strategically.  The best way for me to do that was to delay eating breakfast.  Since I’m on medical leave and am not constrained by a work schedule at the moment, it is really easy to delay breakfast until noon, 1pm, even 2pm.  I will obviously either have to change what I’m eating for breakfast and make it something portable, or just start eating breakfast no later than noon every day.  Which is fine, I’ll just have to eat my final meal of the day no later than 7 or 8pm to optimize my fasting schedule.

I’m no expert and I haven’t done a LOT of reading on intermittent fasting.  There is science behind it, but that’s pretty much the part I haven’t done a bunch of reading on because it’s super sciencey and lots of big words and very long study summaries.  You’re more than welcome to read those, but I’m okay with reading multiple people’s summaries of the study summaries, especially when I read more than a few people’s summaries of the summaries and they all say the SAME THINGS.

First, intermittent fasting is NOT A DIET.  It is simply a way of eating.  A schedule, if you will.  You can eat whatever you want during what is called your “feasting” time and then have nothing that has any calories in it during your “fasting” time.  Everything I read says that coffee and tea are both fine during your fasting times, but it is obviously preferred that you drink them as is (no additions), but if you must use sweetener and cream, keep it minimal so as to not interrupt your fast.

Let’s go over the basics of intermittent fasting.  I do what is called daily intermittent fasting, so that’s the one I’m going to talk the most about.  This means that I fast every day.  But that does not mean that I don’t eat ever.  Nope, not even close.  I am still eating my usual amount of calories (1300 or less), but I’m not starting eating when I first wake up and then eating my final meal right before I go to bed, essentially eating off and on all day long.  Instead, I’m fasting for the majority of the day and eating all of my calories within a small window of time during the day.  The times for the fasting time vary from 14 hours to 20 hours a day, meaning you have anywhere from 4 hours up to 10 hours in which to eat your food during.  Some of the things I’ve read recommend that women stay toward the more conservative end of this scheduling with 14 hours fasting and 10 hours feasting.  But, those same articles also say to find out what works for YOU because everyone is different.  I’m leaning toward fasting for no less than 16 hours, leaving me 8 hours to feast.  I would actually like to do 17 or even 18 hours fasting with 6 or 7 hours feasting.  But that’s later.

The basic concept behind intermittent fasting is that it’s the way of eating that most closely resembles the way our ancestors ate.  Our ancestors didn’t have refrigerators full of food, restaurants on every corner, grocery stores, or farmers markets where they could go and grab something to eat whenever they wanted to eat.  No, they had to hunt and gather their food and eat it whenever they could find it and then they would be fasting until they could hunt and gather their next meal.  And who knew when that would be?  They could get lucky and manage to hunt an animal to feed their family every single day, or, more realistically, they would be able to hunt and kill and animal to feed their family every other day or every 3 or 4 days.  This means periods of a day or two with no food at all except for maybe a couple handfuls of berries or other edible plants.  This is one of the main reasons I really accept this way of eating.  It makes the most sense to me when you think of how humans pre-historically would feed themselves.

Some of the benefits of intermittent fasting include reduced hunger, increased energy, increased mental sharpness, muscle gain and fat loss.  I have definitely felt the effects of these.  I absolutely LOVE that I’m not obsessing about food anymore and that I’m eating not because I’m really hungry, but because “it’s time to eat.”  Sometimes, the food I’m eating almost seems like too much, even though it’s not.  Something I noticed when I first cut my calories from over 2000 down to 1300 (or less) a day, even before I started with the accidental intermittent fasting, was that I had so much more energy than I had when I was eating more.  My energy levels have continued to increase as I’ve gotten more into the intermittent fasting way of eating.  For the past month plus, I have lost 2-3 pounds every week and this is accompanied by noticeable drops in body fat percentage as well.  My muscles are toning way faster than they ever did in the past, even when I was actively involved in power lifting and body building.  And the mental sharpness?  I’m able to focus on things a lot easier than I was before.  I forget less.  And I’m finding it easier to write blogs that aren’t just recaps (which I’m sure you appreciate…haha).

I’m sure you’re now wondering if intermittent fasting might be for you.  That is completely up to you.  Do a Google search and read multiple articles on it.  Buy a book about it and read it.  Do your research.  If you like what you read, give it a try.  There are no supplements or prepackaged meals or memberships to pay for.  All you do is change the times you eat.  Start small.  Start with fasting for just 12 hours.  The easiest way to do this is to eat your final meal of the day 2 to 3 hours before you go to bed.  Then you sleep for 8 hours.  Then wait 1-2 hours after you wake up before eating breakfast.  Use that time to exercise or drink your coffee or watch the news.  And there you go, you just fasted for 12 hours!  Easy peasy.    If you like it, just increase your fasting time by 30 minutes to an hour at regular intervals until you get to the point that is perfect for YOU. 

While this is not a diet, eating this way will change the way your body processes food and often it enters true fat burning modes, so even if you’re eating the exact same things that you were before you started this process, you will probably lose some weight.

Also, you can structure how many meals and how big they are however you want so long as you eat them all within the feasting period you have assigned yourself.  For instance, we’ll go with my schedule.  I eat between 1100 and 1300 calories a day.  My breakfast is around 250 calories.  I eat that about 2-3 hours after waking up (right now, after I’m off medical leave, I will be waking up earlier and that window will increase to more like 3-4 hours).  Right now, that means I’m eating lunch between noon and 2pm.  Then, I don’t eat anything until between 5 and 6pm.  This is my biggest meal at about 550 calories.  Sometimes I eat piece of icing-less cake, adding about 180 calories.  A couple hours later, at about 8pm, I eat 0% fat plain Greek yogurt with either fruit or veggies.  That snack is 150 calories or less.  For dinner, around 9:30pm, I eat a serving of fruit or veggie (1 apple, 3 roma tomatoes, half an acorn squash, etc) and this is about 100 calories.  For starters, I’m thinking of combining my snack and dinner together and making my final meal at 8pm.  After I’m off medical leave and back to work, I would really like my final meal to be at 6 or 7pm.  Basically, what I’m saying is you can structure your food and meals however you please and however works for you during your time of feasting.

So, go do your research and decide for yourself if this is for you…or not.  It’s not for everyone.  You have to decide for yourself.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Weekly Recap

I had a great week last week as I’m sure you discovered when you read last Saturday’s recap!  I brought my A-minus game (let’s be honest here, I could have brought it a little more than I did, even with the limitations the boot puts on me) and knocked out almost 3 pounds on the scale with last week’s weigh in!  I didn’t want to undo what I achieved, so I strove to continue with AT LEAST an A-minus game all this week as well.  As I mentioned last week, I also changed up my food ever so slightly. 

Saturday: I had to make up my 900m swim from Friday, so I made sure I got that done.  I had actually decided while doing my laps that I would bump up to 1000m, but my foot kept cramping so I just finished my 900 and called it a day.  When I got home, I walked around my apt complex for 2.5 miles. 

Sunday: Sunday-funday!  Schlangin’ some kettlebells is what I do on Sundays, yo!  And got me a new shirt to sport while doing it too!  “Getting my kettlebell on.”  You know it!  Just like last week, I added the circuits of the bodyweight exercises plus a plank hold at the end to my kettlebell rounds.  I decided to add something else to this workout to make it EVEN BETTAH!  What could that possibly be?!?!?!  Pull ups!  Well, modified pull ups.  I have to work my way back up to doing full-blown-from-a-dead-hang-pull-ups again.  But my pull up bar adjusts and I can do modified pull ups, so that’s what I’m going to do until I can start doing them from a dead hang!  I did as many as I could do with each round of the kettlebells…basically, until failure.  That ended up being 10 reps each round, so a total of 40 modified pull ups!
Monday: I’ve seriously got to come up with a better name for this workout other than the “creative gym session.”  That sounds so…meh.  Shoot me your ideas!  Had physical therapy again and that went great!  I was with the 3rd different therapist in 3 visits…HA!  I like all the therapists I’ve worked with so far.  They’re all super nice and knowledgeable.  This visit was with Amy and she’s a runner too!  My 30 minute session went way to fast because her and I talked running the WHOLE TIME!  It was awesome.  I needed that.  And I hope I have more sessions with her for this very reason. 

Tuesday: [mental] therapy day!  I’m a little loathe to park at my work parking garage for fear that someone might see me walking around and think that I’m faking or whatever and that I shouldn’t be out on medical leave.  So, instead of walking before and after my appointment for extended periods, I opted to park super early so I could do my entire walk pre-appointment.  Any further walking I might want to do post-appointment, I can just go somewhere else to do.  I parked at Whole Foods in their underground parking garage.  I walked about 2.2 miles pre AND post appointment.  Very nice.  Then I went and got Monday’s swim done!  1000 meters baby!  I thought about going longer because I still felt great when I got done with the 1000, but decided against it because I was scheduled to swim again on Wednesday.
Wednesday: headed to the gym and knocked out my upper body + abs machine workout.  It was of course followed up by a swim.  I decided I’m going to start seeing how far I can go in a set amount of time.  The time will change each week by me adding 2 minutes.  So, this week’s goal time is 28 minutes.  I swam 1100m in 29 minutes this day!  Woohoo!  Next week my goal will move up to a minimum of 30 solid minutes in the pool.  Obviously, I finish out the lap I’m already swimming when my minimum time hits, which is why I went 29 minutes instead of just 28. 

I had another PT appointment this day.  2nd appointment with Amy the runner.  YAY!  She had me doing squats while standing on the squishy AND the solid side of a BOSU ball.  Dude, I need a BOSU ball.  I’ve said it in the past, but I seriously mean it now.  When I’m cleared from the boot, I totally want to do BOSU squats with my Sunday funday workout!  Alas, they’re not cheap.  Maybe I can find one for a good deal on CraigsList?  Hmmmm.

Thursday: I had another follow up with my primary doc this day and that went alright.  He had me do a little walking while he watched and then had me bend my ankle to the side to see if it hurt.  And it DID.  He said, yep, 2 more weeks in the boot.  I was kind of hoping he was going to say that I could come out of the boot and wear a stabilizing brace instead.  Oh well.  I took this day as a rest day.  I figured that since the closest I had gotten to a rest day was Tuesday where I walked a lot and then swam, but I hadn’t actually taken a rest day this week, so I figured that I probably should take one…so I did.

Friday: hit the gym for my second round of the creative workout for the week, followed by a 3 mile walk.  Even though my shoulders weren’t as “trashed” as they usually are on creative workout days due to the TRX exercises, there was a bunch of people in the pool and the area around it, plus a couple more ladies made their way out to the pool area as I was accessing my locker post-workout. 

Picked up my packet for tomorrow’s Fight Like A Girl (FLAG) 5K.  Proceeds benefit melanoma cancer research.  It will be the second time I walk a race.  Such a humbling experience let me tell you.  But it doesn’t get me down.  I am just doing things at my current ability and there’s nothing that can be helped about that.  Just accept it!  I do now wish I hadn’t paid the extra $10 for a timing chip, though.  Oh well, I registered pre-injury…how was I supposed to know?

Also, this week, I earned a new FitBit badge!  The Skydiver badge for climbing 1000 lifetime floors of stairs!  Woohoo!  I do love my stairs.


For my snacks this week, I shifted from a sweet yogurt snack of 0% plain Greek yogurt, 1 cup berries and 1 packet sweetener to a savory yogurt snack.  I found a recipe for homemade ranch seasoning and left out the powdered buttermilk it called for, then mixed it with the 0% plain Greek yogurt and bought an abundance of celery to dip in it!  So good!  (update: I found Hidden Valley Ranch brand seasoning packets made specifically to blend with Greek yogurt and bought one and the calories in the seasoning mix are negligible, so I switched to using that…tastes way better.)

For dinner, I like to keep it light and less than 150 calories, so I decided to go with a half acorn squash for dinner each night.  I seasoned them simply with some cinnamon and a packet of stevia.  But then my mom told me about Truvia brand stevia brown sugar blend.  I found it online and I bought it and started using that on my acorn squash instead of the plain stevia.  (update: my friend Amanda found it locally at the HEB grocery store, so I can buy it locally now instead of ordering it online and essentially paying twice the price because of shipping costs.)  A half of an acorn squash was the perfect amount of food for dinner…maybe even bordering on almost too much just because I’m so used to eating so small at dinner now. 

I stuck with the creamy fluffy scrambled eggs made with the lite coconut milk for my breakfasts.  After some reading I did last week, I discovered that I’m doing something called intermittent fasting purely by chance.  I had no intentions of doing this, nor did I actually know what it was.  But, apparently, I’m doing it.  One of the best side effects of intermittent fasting is that it helps control hunger urges.  Yea it does!  I barely even think about food anymore.  I love it!  One of the things I hate the most about having an eating disorder is the almost constant obsessing about food.  I’m not saying it’s gone, because it’s not.  It’s just that RIGHT NOW I’m not having a problem with it.

Soooooo, what we’re all waiting for, I’m sure, is this week’s weigh in!  How did my continued efforts to keep up my activity levels and my food switches show up on the scale?  Well, let’s check that out right now!
I have to say, I am super happy that even with as close as I am to my goal weight that I’m still able to pull a weekly weight loss number like 2.4 lbs!  I am a little, but not big time, concerned that my body fat percentage keeps creeping up each week.  But then, also, when I look in the mirror I do still have some “fluff” around my middle (it pretty much hangs out around my belly button like a donut).  This may cause me to rethink my goal weight, but I’ll decide that once I’ve reached 170.  If I do readjust my goal, it will only be by 5 lbs, down to 165.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Running Quiz

Earlier this month, I was reading my friend Carina's blog posts and she had done a running quiz.  I love these kind of posts.  I get to know things about the person that they probably normally wouldn't have written about on their blog and then, the most fun part, I get to answer the questions myself and post them on MY blog!  I answered all the questions on Sept 4th.  And today is when I'm posting them.  Haha, can we say easily distracted and short attention span?  So, here you go!

1.  Would you rather run along a beach path or on a mountain trail? 
I have run on a beach and on a mountain trail.  I have to say even though the beach was gorgeous and I got to get super close to a bald eagle, I would choose the mountain trail over the beach path. 

2.  If you could choose the flavor of gatorade at your next race’s aid stations, what would it be? 
I like the orange Gatorade the best.  

3.  If I gave you a $100 gift card to a running store, what would be the first thing that you would purchase with it? 
a second pair of Hokas.  That wouldn’t pay the whole bill for the shoes, but it would at least pay for half the price of them.  

4.  Do you prefer to follow a training plan or wake up and decide then how far and how fast you want to run? 
I like a training plan with flexibility.  What I mean is that I like to create my own training plan based off of other training plans I’ve looked at for ideas, but I want to be able to run less or more than what is scheduled, or if I’m just really super not feeling it, skip the run scheduled for that day, or move it to another day.  

5.  Would you rather start your run with the uphill and end on the downhill or start your run with the downhill and end with the uphill? 
I would really much rather start on an uphill.  Even though I have found that once my legs are trashed or just tired I don’t pick up speed on a downhill, it’s still less difficult to go downhill when you’re tired/trashed than it is to go uphill in that condition.  

6.  When you can’t run, what type of cross-training do you choose to do? 
this is a hot topic for me lately.  Seriously.  I have been on the injured list, but before that, for a month, I was taking a break from running because I had gotten a little burnt out.  Pre-injury, I was focusing on getting my cardio in different ways to include HIIT and tabata training, the stair climber, and cycling.  And I was also putting a good emphasis on strength training.  Since my injury, I have had to figure out different ways to get my cardio because I can’t doing stairs on a machine right now and I can’t do any jumping around and I can’t bend my right ankle either.  So, most of my cardio is either just swimming or when I do what I’m currently calling my “creative gym workout” where I use the ropes, the kettlebell, and the TRX straps in quick succession and it works in a cardio way for me.  Once I’m cleared by my doc to start running slowly and carefully again, I plan to keep up my twice weekly visits to the gym with swimming, but I also plan to add the stair climber back in and add the rowing machine once a week at least to said gym visits.  I want to go back to 1 workout DVD a week (most likely a HIIT or tabata workout…or one of the P90X videos).  And then, running, of course, 2-3 times a week.

7.  What is your preference—  Out and back, point to point or loop runs? 
I loooooooove a loop run, but if I HAVE to, I can deal with an out-and-back.  The longer the run, the less I mind an out-and-back because it’s been longer since I ran past that spot on my way out when I’m running back to my start location, so it’s less like running on a treadmill.

8.  If you could recommend ANY running related item to a new runner, it would be a: 
good, quality running shoes that you go to a good running store to get professionally fitted for.  You won’t regret it and your feet and legs will thank you.  

9.  Do you ever see any wild animals while out on your runs? 
if I’m just running around where I live, I might see squirrels and cottontail bunnies, but that’s the extent of it.  That one time I ran on the beach, though, I got to see a majestic bald eagle and that was the icing on the cake for me!  

10.  Ever gotten lost while out on a run? 
I have, but it made the run a little more fun in my opinion.  I wasn’t in an iffy neighborhood or a scary place, and I wasn’t in a hurry to get done and be anywhere else, so I really didn’t mind at all.  It was when I was running Peavy Auditorium near Corvallis, OR when I was there in May.

11.  If you could have one meal waiting and ready for you each time you got home from a run for the next 30 days… what would that meal be? 
I’m usually not hungry post-run or really even post-workout, but I make myself drink a protein shake within an hour after finishing any workout so that I am taking something in nutrition-wise.  Then, about an hour or so after that I will have either 3 boiled eggs with a little sea salt or 2 eggs scrambled & 1 egg over easy with some sea salt and sriracha.  I mean, if calories didn’t matter, I’d love to have bacon, eggs and pancakes waiting for me post-run/workout.  Haha!

12.  Capris or shorts… what do you run in most often? 
until recently, I’ve been a die-hard capri runner girl.  My awesome running friend, Kirsten, has talked me into giving skirts and shorts a try and I have to say that I really like them both.  I kind of like the skirts a little more than the shorts, but I only have 4 right now.  Going to try and beef up my running skirt collection with different colors.  Of course, with the addition of skirts and shorts to my running gear, I am going to have to start investing in more Body Glide to deal with the extra chafing that occurs with the less skin coverage.  

13.  At what mile (or how many minutes) into your run does your body start to feel like it is warming up and ready to go? 
after about 2-3 miles is when I find I start to get in my groove.  

14.  What do you do with your key when you run? 
if I’m running with my hydration pack (which, since it’s hotter right now, I usually am, even on shorter runs) there’s a little zipper pocket and I’ll put my key in there.  If I’m not running with the hydration pack, a lot of my capris and skirts have zipper pockets in the back and I also use a stretchy gear belt to hold my phone (that I put in a Ziploc bag to keep it from getting damp) that also has a second, smaller pocket that is perfect for my key.  

15.  If you could relive any race that you have done in the past, which one what it be?
my very first marathon.  It was an all-around amazing experience, I got to meet a long time blogger friend of mine in real life during that race.

16.  What type of run is your least favorite type of run?
well, since I don’t ever do any structured training runs like tempos or speedwork or anything like that, I’m not sure how I can answer this question accurately.  I love hills.  I love progressive tempo runs, but I’ve never forced one, they’ve always just kind of happened.  Really, my least favorite one is the one that I just feel like crap the whole run, like it’s a huge effort to go at a super slow pace and I just feel super bogged down and blah.

17.  What has been your biggest motivation lately to get out the door to get your run on? 
I wish I could say I’ve been out the door recently to run, but I haven’t so I can’t.  <input sad face here>   

18.  When you go for a run, do you leave right from your front door or do you drive somewhere to start?
if I’m running around where I live, I walk to the front of my apartment complex (about ¼ of a mile), do my warm ups and then start running.  Sometimes, I drive to the adjacent town to run hills or into Austin to run trails.  But I usually run from the front of my apts.

19.  When running in daylight:  are sunglasses a must or an annoyance?
they’re a must!  Don’t get me wrong, I love it when I don’t have to wear them because they can cut into the sides of my head and the tops of my ears when paired with my Bluetooth wrap-around earphones, but if it’s sunny, I have to have them.  My eyes are very blue and super light sensitive.  

20.  When you get tired, what keeps you from quitting? 
the simple fact that I’m not done yet.  I have to finish what I started!  Unless I literally can’t finish due to injury.  But, even that one time, when I strained my calf at mile 5.4 of a 15 mile run and limp-ran the 2-something miles home.  I didn’t quit, I just adapted.  Haha!  but, if I’m overly tired and just feeling completely taxed, I will stop.  I don’t want to force myself when I feel crappy and then end up getting hurt as a result.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Low Cal/Low Carb, My New Lifestyle

Things have been going pretty well with the low daily calorie allowances and super low carb lifestyle I’ve adopted.  On average, I eat 1300 calories or less a day and I eat about 35-70 grams of carbs a day.  Some people would say this isn’t enough, especially with how active I am.  I would beg to differ.  Why?  Because I don’t ever feel hungry.  I don’t ever feel light headed or feint.  I don’t ever feel jittery from a blood sugar crash.  Quite the contrary…I have more energy than I did before I cut the calories and the carbs. 

Before I gained all the weight years ago, I could eat carbs, carbs and more carbs.  Carbs all day long.  And there were no side effects.  After I had started trying to lose weight and I had lost some weight, something happened.  I developed acid reflux.  At first, just when I was above 200 lbs, I would get it all the time, no matter what I ate.  Then, as I spent more time in the 180s and 190s, I’m guessing my “baseline” for acid reflux adjusted and if I spent time above 190 I started getting acid reflux all the time.  Then, as I spent more time below 190, that “baseline” changed again.  But it changed in a different way.  Now, whenever I eat processed carbs like bread, I get acid reflux. 

When I started with the cutting of the calories and nixing consuming any of my calories that I expended during exercise, one of the things I obviously I had to cut out was junk food.  No more pizza.  No more burgers.  No more chips and queso. 

I’ve done this before.  Why is this time different?  My approach to the whole thing is what is different.  I decided I was done.  D-O-N-E, done.  I am so beyond tired of riding the roller coaster of lose weight, gain weight, lose weight, gain weight.  My will power this time is more set (not going to say “in stone” because nothing is “set in stone”) than it has been in the past.  I’m more determined and motivated than I’ve been in the past. 

When I cut my calories and went low carb almost 6 weeks ago, I think I flipped a switch in my mind.  Things haven’t been all peachy-keen.  I’ve had urges to binge.  How did I get past them?  I allowed myself a small indulgence.  A couple tablespoons of natural peanut or almond butter, usually, and then I let go of the urge and I’m good.  I try to eat a good amount of protein to help me feel full and satisfied.  I think I’m doing a pretty good job.  Other than the week before last’s weigh in, I have logged at least a 2 lb weight loss every week for the last 5 weekly weigh ins!  That’s crazy!  I’m closing in on my goal weight and it’s a known fact that as you have less and less excess weight to lose, the weight loss process slows down.  It gets more difficult to lose weight the more weight you lose. 

Something I discovered when I started this low cal/low carb way of life was now even the SMALLEST amount of processed carbs set off my acid reflux.  The first time I tried my hand at making chicken nuggets, I used bread crumbs to coat the pieces of chicken in before baking them.  Within less than an hour of eating the first batch of nuggets, I had acid reflux.  So, the second round of nuggets I made with almond flour.  

This doesn't mean that I can't or won't ever eat pizza or chips and queso or hamburgers without their buns ever again.  It just means it will be a well thought out decision to eat them.

What is all this leading to?  Once I’ve hit my goal weight, I can’t stop the low carb lifestyle.  It has to be permanent.  After switching to low cal/low carb, I mentioned I had a lot more energy.  The way I was eating was weighing me down, in more than one way.  I was overweight but I was also bogged down.  All. The. Time.  I was so lethargic and tired all the time.  No energy.  It’s the exact opposite now.  Also, I am no longer obsessing over food!  This is the biggest win in my book!  As a person with an eating disorder, this is HUGE!  I’m under no delusion that I will never have to struggle with food ever again.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  It will be a life long struggle, but I now have hope that it won’t be an overwhelming struggle.  That it will be something I can control and live with. 

Monday, September 21, 2015


Following through on a "promise" made to a friend, Carina, I'm watching Dexter!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Weekly Recap

Last week, one of the two things I’ve been afraid of happening happened.  The scale didn’t change.  It said the exact same weight, down to the tenth of a pound, as it did the week before last.  I was a little tiny bit upset, but nothing out of control.  No meltdown.  I focused that upset-ness into my efforts this week.  I wanted to “double down” and up my game; so I did.  While I splurged and ate an entire small pizza at one of those dinner and a movie theaters, I stuck to my daily calorie goal of 1300-ish. 

Saturday: I made my way to the gym and swam 800 meters in 21 minutes.  Either I’m getting faster or I’m just pausing for shorter periods of time at the end of each pool length when I do my turn around.  I must note that I am not currently doing the underwater flip and turn technique.  I don’t want to accidentally push off with my right foot and mess up my ankle any further than it already is.  Also, I don’t have a nose plug at the moment either, so I really don’t want to go underwater just yet.  Which is also why I’m doing freestyle swimming with my head above water the whole time…I’ve tried swimming face down without a nose plug and I get so much water up my nose…ugh!
A short while after I got home from my swim, maybe an hour or so, I went for a walk.  A 3.8 mile walk.  It was a good walk and I really enjoyed the time outside.  The temp is getting more toward fall-like so it’s not ridiculously hot out and is actually fairly comfortable.  I can’t tell you just how much I love running in the cooler and cold temps!
Sunday: this was the Run With The Heroes 5K!!!  This was the 3rd year that I’ve participated in this event, but the first time I have walked it.  I was so afraid that I was going to be the last person across the finish line.  A person that is recovering from knee surgery passed me before the 1-mile mark and I decided to use her as a pacer.  I finished in 52:57 per my FitBit.  Not too shabby!  I was just hoping for less than an hour, really.
Later that day, I did my kettlebell w/stairs workout that has become my Sunday standard.  One of the ladies in this Facebook weight loss support group I’m a member of posted some workouts in the group last week.  One was a core workout and the other was a body weight workout.  The body weight workout consisted of 3 circuits of 9 exercises…doing 3 exercises each circuit.  So, I paired the 3 circuits with the first 3 rounds of my kettlebell workout and then held a plank for 45 seconds (my arms were shaking so bad at the 45 second mark!!!) with the 4th round.  Once I’m out of the boot, I can do a rocking plank instead of just a static hold, but right now I can’t flex my ankle.  I was mostly just giving these body weight exercises a test run, but I have to say, these are keepers!!!

Monday: I had my first physical therapy appointment this day and plans to meet up with a friend immediately after my appointment so if I wanted to do my workout, I had to get up a little early to get it done!  In my “double down” effort for this week, I had decided I wanted to start doing my “creative” gym workout twice a week, so this was day #1 of that workout and it went well.
Tuesday: normally I have my therapy appointment on Tuesdays, but my therapist got called away on family business this week.  But, I still got my walk on!  4.5 miles!
Wednesday: went to the gym and did my upper body + abs machine workout.  This was supposed to be followed by my swim, 900m now, but all the lanes were taken in the pool when I finished up with the weight machines.  There was also a 2 mile walk.
Thursday: since I didn’t get to do my swim on Wednesday, hit the pool today.  I swam 900 meters in 25 minutes.  I then walked almost 3 miles around my apt complex for a little over an hour.
Friday: 2nd day of the “creative” workout for the week!  This was SUPPOSED to be followed up by my 900m swim but, you guessed it, all the lanes were full…AGAIN!  There’s always the next day and that’s exactly what I intend to do.  I followed up my gym workout with a 2.25 mile walk around the apartments.

Since I’m out on medical leave and swimming is really good therapy for my ankle, I have decided that I will start swimming 3-4 times per week while I’m out. 


This week was definitely a strong success when it came to workouts.  I am more than satisfied with how things went exercise wise.  I’m looking forward to continuing this for the duration of my medical leave and being more fit than when I started medical leave.  One of the end products of all this effort I want to achieve is increasing strength in the stabilizing muscles of my lower legs and ankles and feet to help prevent potential future injuries.  I would like to say that I have plans to wear a lace up ankle brace on my right ankle after my doctor clears me from the boot.  I plan to wear that lace up brace for at least 6 months after I’m cleared from the boot.  I don’t think I’ll have the confidence to start running regularly again without it.  Without it, I’m quite sure that I’ll be constantly worrying about reinjury or about overcompensating and then injuring my other ankle.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I splurged and had a small pizza all to myself on Saturday while watching a movie at the theater.  While I definitely went over my daily calorie goal of 1300-ish, I actually did not exceed my daily calorie allowance with my exercise calories calculated in, so I didn’t worry about it.  Besides, I stuck to my goals for the rest of the week, even with eating lunch out with my friend Monday afternoon at an Indian restaurant!  Mmm, saag paneer!  Had them bring me a side salad in place of the standard rice, and no naan for me.  I got goals, yo!  But it is very reassuring that the restaurant had no qualms with subbing the rice with a salad, didn’t even charge us extra, if I remember correctly.

I have had some issues with feeling “snacky” this week.  I’ve been doing what I can to keep what snacks I do allow myself to have are 1) small and 2) not junk.  One snack was about 6 small pretzel sticks with some laughing cow cheese.  Another was 1 serving of baked sweet potato fries.  I am trying to get a handle on these snacky feelings and not giving into them.  When I have them, I’m not actually hungry.  It’s an emotional thing, not a physical hunger thing.  Therefore, I should NOT be giving into them. 

How did all that translate to the scale this week?  Let’s take a look…..
I'm not sure what I thought I had weighed last week when I stepped on the scale this morning in a sleepy-headed fog.  Or maybe I was just so convinced I hadn't lost any weight.  But, when I stepped on the scale today, I got mad. I was all like "how does this even happen?"  I thought I had gained 2-3 pounds.  Then, as I stepped off the scale I realized I had actually LOST almost 3 pounds!!!  I'm now only 6.4 pounds away from my goal weight!!!  I'm excited because now I don't have to cut calories next week; I can just keep doing what I did this week and maybe I'll see a little more lost on the scale next week.  And seriously, I'm okay with even the smallest loss as long as it's a loss!

Second note, I am up .7% on the body fat.  Sure, I'm a little annoyed with that, but I'm not going to worry about it right now.  I mean, I do want my body fat % to be as close to 30% as possible as my goal, but I know that I am gaining muscle.  And also, if I'm retaining a little water, then that can give a false fat reading.  And, after doing the little shin muscle dent test, it appears I am retaining at least a little water.  I've been drinking too many Diet Cokes.  I should cut back on those.

Next week I’m going to switch up some of the foods I’m eating.  The first change I’ll be making is to my yogurt w/fruit snack.  I’m going to keep the 0% fat plain Greek yogurt, but I’m going to mix it with a homemade ranch seasoning mix and then replace the fruit with celery sticks.  Celery has next to no calories and is packed with extra fiber and is also super filling (duh, fiber!).  This should help a lot with the evening snacky attacks.  The other thing I’m switching up is dinner.  I’ve been eating 3 roma tomatoes for dinner the last 2 weeks.  It’s coming up on fall, so winter squashes are all the rage right now and are all over the internet and on social media.  So, I’m going to bake up some acorn squash seasoned simply with black pepper and maybe some cumin or sage (or, if I can find it, with some stevia brown sugar!  Thanks mom!).  I’ve already switched up my breakfast ever so slightly.  I found a recipe for fluffy scrambled eggs.  The recipe calls for heavy whipping cream but does say that you can sub that with coconut milk.  So that’s what I did.  I melted the coconut oil in the saucepan.  I mixed my 3 eggs with 1.5 tbsp of lite coconut milk and a little sea salt, then poured it into the pan.  The recipe said to cook on low and that her eggs took about 8 minutes to cook.  Well, on low, my eggs had done nothing at the 8 minute mark, so I upped the temp to one line below medium.  You constantly stir the eggs.  The eggs are creamy and fluffy and yummy, and with the coconut oil and the lite coconut milk only adds like 65 extra calories to my regular 3 eggs for breakfast.  Winner!

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