Should I get rid of the sag?

Pulling off 60 pounds and 35% of your weight leaves you with a little bit of flabby skin. A lot really. My knees are little elephant like. My butt is more skin than butt. My boobs a baggy mess.  It’s nothing that a nice pair of jeans and good bra can’t fix. But, it does bother me.

My knees are what they are and there is nothing I can do about them. My boobs and butt, maybe a little nip and tuck would be nice.

I can’t believe I’m actually considering this. It feels so vain. I mean, I’m not that young anymore. I look better than most 48 year olds. Tom doesn’t care. I just hate looking in the mirror every morning and seeing sag.

Looking around I found websites and videos of plastic surgery and was mesmerized and horrified all at once. If you watch a boob lift it is pretty extensive and reconstructing. It then takes up to 6 months before your are completely healed. So, this is no small thing like a botox shot or a simple eye job. No, it is major surgery.

I’m on the fence. Maybe I need to sit on this a bit more…

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What not to eat…why not!

I’m getting a little frustrated by all the messages out there about what not to eat during the holidays. It is overwhelming. Add to that the rest of the years messages. What not to eat to look younger. What not to eat if you don’t want cancer. What not to eat if you want to live until 100. It just sounds like a whole lot of shaming.

In the grand scheme of things, knowing what is a healthy choice and what is not is important. What drives me crazy is that the denial of things you love is a sure way of going back to old unhealthy habits.

What do I mean?

If you eat healthy 80% of the time, that apple pie with salted caramel ice cream and whipped cream is not going to kill you the one time you indulge at the holiday table. If you are staying active and working out 4-5 days per week, going to a micro brew pub for beers and plates of gastro goodies is something you don’t have to pass up. The key is balance.

All the sinner talk about sugar, fat and processed foods is because our society is eating crappy more than 80% of the time and not active. Keep shaming and denying the masses their goodies and the rebellion will ensue. We are at that point, where at every turn there is something else we shouldn’t be eating. If you listen to all the advice on cutting out this and denying yourself that, there will be nothing left to eat but kale…except kale may be crawling with E.coli and you don’t even know it – CRAP!

In fact, there is a militant tone out there if you don’t follow the rules.

Don’t believe me? Go find an article about the benefits of plant based eating and add a message how someone would have to pry your steak out of your cold dead hands. Warning – children should not try this and make sure you are near your phone to dial 911. There are some real believers out there.

Anyway, will I be watching what I eat this season? Yes. Will I slack on my workouts? No. Will I cut out sugar, fat and processed foods as they are passed around the table? No.

If you are transitioning to healthy eating and living, then this season is going to be difficult. But, don’t overly restrict yourself. It is a sure way to resent getting healthy. Instead, indulge in a single chocolate. A small portion of mashed potatoes. A single gingerbread cooking. A small glass of eggnog.

If you can stick to your plan mostly and make it through the season by not gaining weight, you won. You won by not sliding backward. But, more importantly, you won by learning what the rest of your life will look like with small indulgences in maintenance mode.

Yes you can.

 

 

7 Treadmill Training Tips

I didn’t think I would do this but I’ve shifted to the treadmill for running. As the cold is sweeping into New England I am chilled to the bone and shudder at the thought of running outdoors. I have outdoor running gear. I see other hearty souls with their hats and gloves journeying through town. Me, I’m content to hot house. I think my California roots are showing.

Anyway, if I’m going to treadmill it, I better find a way to keep my outdoor running ability for the time when spring comes and avoid boredom which takes me off track from healthy living. For the past month I’ve come up with ways to keep me going.

  1. Get inspired by music: A great playlist is mandatory. Running music-less outside works because there is so much more to look at and feel one with nature. I tossed my headphones a couple months back for my outdoor runs. Indoors and you have walls and metrics from the machine. My playlists are tuned for straight all out runs or ebb and flow from high energy runs to casual jogs. My mind tunes to the music and lyrics and I’m lost in the motion.
  2. Catch-up on my shows: My husband started watching sci-fi  while on the elliptical. That way I wouldn’t pull out my hair on the more hard core shows. I took his queue and started watching my late night shows – Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and SNL. These aren’t my all out runs, but it give me a good work out when I need slower resting days and its better than streaming from the couch. Besides, my husband can’t watch these shows like I can’t watch his sci-fi. (I do like sci-fi, it just has to be good!)
  3. Change it up: There are speeds and inclines for a reason. Don’t just think of the treadmill for HIIT workouts. Speeding up and slowing down, flat or climbing is just more interesting. You can adjust the treadmill manually during your workout or pick a program. Either way, it cuts the monotony and helps to avoid injury from overworking the same muscles and pressure on your joints.
  4. Grab a friend: I have a hard time running with people outside. It kills my Zen. But indoors and its much easier. I don’t have to keep pace with the other person and we can talk. It let’s me hang out doing something I love with those that have longer legs or are verging on Olympic athlete. (That is about 90% of the runners I know).
  5. Jump on anytime: I am either working from home or on the road. Even on days that I’m full on crazy with my schedule, it is nothing to throw on my workout clothes and get on the treadmill. I don’t need to drive to the gym. Or, I take advantage of the hotel gym. If you have a gym at work, use that. If you don’t have a gym, invest in a treadmill – they come in all price ranges.
  6. Jog out my meeting: In the early days of healthy living I would walk while joining my team conference calls. Later I got on the elliptical. Now I run on the treadmill. I have to pick my calls wisely. Internal team only where I don’t need to be the primary contributor. No client calls. Now Michele Show calls. For those hour long meetings, what better way than to get on your tablet, login to the Webex/GoToMeeting/LogMeIn and be active while doing so.
  7. Safety always: I slowed down on the treadmill initially because a 10 minute mile seemed fast compared to outdoors (I’m running at a 9 min/mile with bursts at 8 min/mile). I was, still am, deathly afraid of being thrown off. Also, when I dropped down a few too many pounds accidentally, I would get head rushes and a bit dizzy. Sometimes on the treadmill. There are those quick release safety magnets for a reason. When in doubt, connect. Its weird at first but if you need to get comfortable on the machine, pushing off a cold, or training went a little too far, better to look like a dork than get hurt.

Is the scale right?

Look at my blog posts of late and you see a streak of paranoia under the surface about gaining weight over the holidays. Yes, I have a 5 pound insurance policy (meaning if I gain 5 pounds that was okay – just not more). The reality is, I don’t want to gain any weight. The thought of having to tighten the belt again is a horrible thought.

As such I’ve kept up my workout routine. I’ve continued to log everything. I’ve weighed myself everyday. I’ve even played around with my calories – upping them to 1500.

So, I got on the scale the other day and was 107.1 lbs. 3 pound under my goal weight. I wasn’t quite ready to believe it. I got on and off a few times thinking the scale was wrong. When I’ve dipped to 109 and even 108 I wasn’t really that worried. I’d certainly been at 110 enough and at times 111 and 112.  But, for the past three days I’m at 107. I’m not thinking the scale is the issue.

I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was happening. I felt like I was eating like crazy and certainly not eating as clean as I normally do. Yes, I was exercising. But I pulled it down to no more than 30 minutes a day vs. 45 minutes. And, the intensity is lower because I’m on the treadmill and not the road.

Anyway, I just pulled down my charts from MFP (overall tracking) and Garmin Connect (scale readings). It is a little clearer now as I look over the past month.

 

Garmin weight Dec 1

My weight is fluctuating as I’ve noticed but still maintaining. That spike last week? That was a late night weigh in after a big Thanksgiving meal. I went to the scale saying out loud, “Let’s get the 112 reality check.” And amazingly I was right, 112.5. Food, salt, monthly cycle all came together. Add to the fact that I weight myself in the morning and there is the other flaw. But really, it’s a blip. It was the after affect slide where we pick up.

MFP Calories Dec 1

Now I look at my calories consumed. My goal is at 1500 calories per day. 11/8 and 11/14 are completely off because of the time changes from my Tokyo trip. You’ll see a few days where I was gluttonous, but the majority of the days I’m below my calorie goal. Through Thanksgiving I was actually doing well. But, when you get to this past week, even as I felt like I was eating a lot and keeping myself full, I’m really not hitting my goal. My paranoia has translated into dieting.

Take away here is that as much as maintenance mode can be scary, I need to continually look up and watch my patterns and not just look day to day. While many struggle with gaining weight now, I seem to have the challenge, for the time being, of allowing myself to let go a bit. Even as I had a bowl of ice cream with fruit compote and granola for dessert yesterday and a huge plate of Brazilian buffet for lunch today, I need to allow myself to eat all my calories and maybe even go over 50 – 100. Even if I think I’m eating, I may not be.

So, here is to a Friday night. I think I’m going to celebrate with pizza and beer!

When You Lose Weight, What People Say…

As an obvious chubby girl I publicly taunted myself with comments of my girth as a way to deflect what I was convinced people were thinking when they saw me. As I began to lose weight, most people who knew me would get a little squint in their eye and I’d catch a quick up-down look. But, they wouldn’t say anything. Now, when there is no way you could ignore the fact that I lost a third of my weight, people are more than willing to blurt out anything.

Such is what I’ve been experiencing for about three months now. Whether it is a friend, acquaintance, colleague or family member, I am always amazed by the reactions and at times a loss for words.  Let’s share some:

  • “I’m so proud of you! It is so good that you are taking care of yourself,” well meaning relative. I raised my eyebrows on that one. It was definitely a backhanded compliment if there ever was one.
  • “Can I ask? How much did you lose?” work acquaintance in a whispered conspirator voice. No, you really shouldn’t ask me how much. Does it really matter? But, I’ll tell you anyway.
  • “Michele!?” client clearly confused if I was who they thought I was. This was pretty amusing because I could see their discomfort in how to handle the situation.
  • “You look amazing! You lost so much!…Is it a good thing? Are you okay?” work colleague. Honestly, this was not the only person that has asked this. Yes, I’m okay. I don’t have cancer. Its a good thing. “Oh! Great. You look great!”
  • Eye comment – Up down. Up down. Up down. Stood with a colleague and two clients who verbally said nothing but gave me the once over. The two men looked more stunned. The woman was a bit snarky. Oh well. Such is the workplace where men sometimes can’t help themselves and women often secretly hate each other.
  • “How did you do it?” friend. I actually like this comment the best. It gives me a chance to talk about running and all the fun I now have paddling, hiking, and enjoying new foods.
  • “I always wanted to wear leather pants.” relative. Not snarky, but a little envious. Yes, I wore leather pants to Thanksgiving dinner. Got it, flaunt it sometimes. But, I was more surprised by who said it. They would look amazing in leather pants now. Maybe getting myself in shape has added to my confidence!

Michele’s Hockey Tournament Parent Survival Guide

If the holiday season kicking off early for me last Thursday with my in-laws coming in wasn’t enough, this weekend saw me in NH for my son Matt’s hockey tournament. For those of you not familiar with hockey culture, the tournament is as much for the kids as it is for the adults. Its one of the few times us hockey parents can step out of the grind. We can get a block of hotel rooms, let the kids loose with all the other hockey teams, and kick back with food, drinks, and late night socializing. This is a three day party.

Now, if you are hotel staff used to hosting hockey teams, then this is not an issue, you know what you are in for. For guests that are not with any of the hockey teams staying at your chosen hotel – sorry. We do try to keep the kids from running through the halls and carrying on. We do reserve function rooms for them to play knee hockey. We do take them to the pool – but you don’t want to be there then. We do book at least one night where we take the party to a restaurant for several hours. But, invariably, we do take over. Advice, grab a beer and join the hockey parents.

Anyway, believe it or not, staying healthy during this weekend of early mornings, late nights, and running to and from the rink and pool is harder than a holiday routine. I’m guaranteed meals of hamburgers, pizza, chicken fingers, fries, pasta casseroles and junk food.

The only saving grace is that our tournament was up at Waterville Valley where they have a full athletic center. And, when the cold and wind weren’t beating us into submission, it was not a bad walk from the lodge to the “town” and rink. So, I was able to hit the gym when I pulled in on Friday then again on Saturday morning for a run and the weight room. And any walking about easily got me between 16K and 20K steps.

My meal strategy was a crazy mix. I packed a bag with oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, butternut squash soup, my cauliflower broccoli pilaf, granola, wheat crackers, Babybel cheese and homemade pate. I also grabbed some turkey and tuna at the local grocer. Breakfasts and lunches were at least in line so that even as I packed in the junk food for dinner and over drinks, it could have been a lot worse.

I tried, really I tried. But when you’ve had a first drink the inhibitions already start to kick in. When the table in front of you is filled with corn chips, guacamole and caramel corn, that is going to go in my mouth. At our team dinner, the healthiest things on the buffet were cesar salad and eggplant lasagna. While I grabbed both, two meatballs came along for the ride as well as a piece of garlic toast. I can’t really blame that meal choice on having a drink though. I stuck to soda with a splash of cranberry and lime. No, it was all me!

In the end, I did fine. My weigh-in was 109.1 this morning. Just where I need to be. What made the difference?

Hockey Tournament Parent Survival Guide For Healthy Living

  • Keep room for one meal cheat. My group meals were the killers even with portion control and a tight grip on the alcohol (no more than 2). They accounted for more than half my daily intake. But, keeping my other meals healthy and under calorie gave me wiggle room. A large Americano gave me enough caffeine to curb my hunger and avoid snacking.
  • Just exercise. I took my own advise from my travel tips. After 2 1/2 hour driving in the car it was as bad as sitting on the plane. Even though everyone had gathered already when I got to the hotel, I still got in my running gear and ran. I also made sure I got in a good weekend workout at the gym. Sunday was a day of rest because of schedule, but I still had put in 6 days of exercise.
  • Keep tracking. It’s sobering when you continually track all you meals and can see the calories add up. By tracking after each meal, it kept me mindful even when the bad stuff was in front of me. Watching my activity level along side my eating also made me aware of keeping calories in and calories out in balance.
  • Get inspired by the hockey. Watching 14 year old boys skate hard and battle it out over the puck and on the boards makes you very aware of your own age and fitness. Could I do that today? No. But, it sure looked fun and I would love to play. Add to the fact that we were at a ski resort and my ski passion kept me motivated to stay fit and get my exercise in.
  • Wear Team USA exercise gear. Okay, this is really dorky and to some a waste of money. But, I got a Nike Team USA track and field jacket at a deep discount at TJMaxx a couple weeks back. Of course I’m not a professional or Olympian. The thought of a marathon kills me. Yet, there is something amazingly awesome about pulling on that jacket that makes me feel like one and inspires me to just run!
  • Its about the distance, not the day. When I got back home I immediately started to get back on the program by cooking up healthy food that I can grab and go. I don’t have to think about cooking and what I’ll eat, I can easily cleanse my systems of all that horrible, but so good, junk food.

It was all worth going up. They won! (There’s my Matt on the right – he’s the goalie)

EC Leafs Waterville Vallley Hockey Tournament 2017

One Simple Travel Tip To Stay Healthy – Just Keep Running

I realized I created a habit while not even thinking about it. While road warrioring, I get to my hotel room, change into running gear and go for a run.

It could be indoors or outside.

It could be slow or fast.

It could be for 30 minutes of an hour.

It could be morning, mid day or evening.

It doesn’t matter. I just do it.

The realization came when I took my son up to NH this weekend for a hockey tournament. I got to the hotel and had the most compelling urge to run. At 3:30 in the afternoon and sitting in a car for 2 1/2 hour, I had to just run. So I did.

Why is this so important to me? I realized that running is a habit. Not an exercise. Not strictly a passion. It is something I just need to do. Almost like brushing my teeth. I realized on the couple of days that I don’t run I feel like I forgot to do something or feel like something is missing.

I have only been running since May, six months. Running while at home is certainly easier. But the fact that I have a routine of hitting the road, trail or treadmill just after checking into my hotel when traveling is an eye opener. It means I moved from running as a way to keep my weight in line to a healthy living lifestyle.

Maybe running will be your thing. Or maybe you get on an elliptical, rower or bike. Doesn’t matter really. The simple trick is finding the one thing as a road warrior that will drive you to exercise and it isn’t a chore but a need to fulfill. Now your have a habit, drive and motivation.