The last 10 pounds

weight scale measuring tapeMy goal was to get to 110 pounds. I have 10 pounds to go. The question is, why are these 10 pounds so important?

I love my body now. I love what I can do. I love my new clothes. I feel so good! So, are these “last 10” vanity pounds, an insurance policy against bad weeks and holidays, or are they necessary?

I’m struggling with this. Tom says I look great and doesn’t think I need to stay on my restrictions so religiously. His point is that it is time to make the transition to what typical would look like. The challenge I have is that I really blew it for the 5 days surrounding my birthday and grew 2 pounds (the scale told me this morning that a few days of back to the program pulled those birthday pounds off – win!). Now, really blowing it is that instead of my 1150 calories per day, I was in the 1300 – 1500 range. I didn’t change my exercise routine. This scares me, I could balloon back with just 150 calories more per day.  On the other hand, within 5 days, that little jump on the scale was in the past.

110 goal weight was not arbitrary. If you look at the ideal weight calculator for optimal weight at my age, height and bone structure it is about 108. I could be as low as 93 (say hello to me at 17 when everyone thought I was anorexic even as I ate whole boxes of Kraft Mac n Cheese, Hogies and broccoli covered in so much cheddar cheese sauce I never tasted the broccoli) and as high as 123 (last month). I liked how I looked at 115 and at first this is where I targeted for the end goal. But, to have 5 pounds as insurance seemed a good policy and ultimately put me in the range of those expert calculators.

Well, we all know my obsession with numbers and data. That 110 number is just out there and rationalized against science. But, our bodies don’t always fit science. Look at BMI. It’s being debunked constantly. And, how much muscle do I have? That weighs more than fat. It must, I’m in clothes I wore when I was at 105 pounds and I’m 15 pounds heavier. How is that? It has to be the shape of my body more than the weight.

You can see where I’m going with this. Do I focus on how I feel and fit in my clothes? Or, stay focused on the scale? Every fitness, health and diet site/blog/program says at some point its not about the scale. I’m feeling like I’m kind of at that point. Can I give up on the number?

Maybe if I’m asking and fretting this too much I’m not ready. It’s too soon and right now the scale is my honesty buddy. Until I can hold my results or tick down slowly toward my goal (1/2 pound per week vs. 1 – 1/2 pounds per week) this is not even something to entertain.

Decisions, decisions.

Chubby Girl Makes Progress

Sunday was my birthday. This chubby girl is getting old – 48. Leading up to the big day I really wasn’t thinking about getting older or thinking about my birthday at all. It was on Friday when Tom asked me what I wanted to do this weekend and my daughter was trying to get my new sizes that it really dawned on me. I’m turning 48!

Getting healthy and fit has been consuming. Almost OCD. For the last 10 years all I had thought about was how to get back to good health and lose the weight. Everything was about, don’t let me be fat after forty, then it was don’t let me be fat each year after that. When I hit 45 and was verging on 46 I have to say, I resigned to my fate and I gave up and ballooned to almost 170. So now, in the past 7 months, I was in overdrive trying to reach my goal and haven’t really looked up.

What I realized this weekend was how far I have come. I am not thinking about myself in a negative light as the ‘fat girl’ (chubby girl is a cute way to describe what I was). I am no longer thinking of myself as Jabba the Hut who is mostly confined to a single place out of shear size (I have a picture I call my Jabba picture but Tom’s hidden it from me now). So when I had to think about what it was that I wanted to do to celebrate a year older, I felt like I was already celebrating. In fact, my celebration was to do two things I absolutely love – go for a run and hit the beach. I did both.

Ultimately, my family got me thinking about my journey to date. I can measure progress is so many ways and each gives me something to be thankful for and motivated to keep up my lifestyle. I had a great birthday, and it was one present I finally gave to myself.

  1. Running – daily runs of 3 to 5 miles. Shrunk my time from 12.5 min/mile to 10.5 min/mile. Ran my first 5k in 8 years two weeks ago. One year ago I could barely go for a 3 mile walk in the woods or walk up a hill without huffing and puffing wanting it to be over. While still 20 pounds more than when I ran A LOT more, running has reshaped this 120 body to be back in those old clothes (see below).
  2. Sleeping – no more sleep apnea. no more snoring. I don’t wake up several times a night, usually only once and can get back to sleep in less than 30 minutes.
  3. Clearer skin – adult acne has calmed down. I’m thinking that healthy eating has made a difference.
  4. Hiked mountains – 3 hikes in the past 2 months. All 3000+.
  5. Steps – from under 3000 per day to an average of 15,000 per day
  6. Weight – down 48 pounds ~30%. From size 14 to size 0. From size L/XL to S/XS. From big girl swim suits to bikinis.
  7. Heart – RHR dropped to between 48 and 52. I was typically over 65 and as high as 69.
  8. Fears – diabetes and heart issues; not anymore.
  9. Dress-up: I’ve confessed to stealing my daughters jeans (which she let me keep). My purple velvet Theory top fits again and looks better on now than when I bought it. I can wear a patchwork and embroidery Oilily skirt that I love and haven’t worn since 2004!
  10. Food: Still food obsessed but healthy living has brought out more of my creative cooking. Oh, and I think I could actually become a vegan if I didn’t like eggs so much! I love my veggies (just not kale).
  11. TMI – let’s just say that Tom appreciates my new body more. 🙂

And, after months of hiding my chubby girl self, here are before and now pictures. I don’t say after since this is forever – forever healthy living, forever keeping trim, forever working at it one day at a time.

Before: (if you can’t tell – that’s me on the right with the baseball hat)

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Today:  On left, standing on Mt Cardigan.

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My Weight Loss Mishaps While Traveling

It’s been 7 months and my weight loss and healthy living efforts certainly have paid off, in spite of my traveling. And, I do mean in spite of. Because, when I started I was much more diligent to figuring out this eating and working out on the road thing than I am now. The weight loss mishaps are a bit more frequent and I have to be diligent about recovery. Here’s my weight loss reports for the last 90 days. Overall trend is great, but I do yo-yo around a bit. That peak on 7/1? That was my return from Stockholm. Ugh.90 day weight loss

For those of you struggling and at times kicking yourself for your own mishaps or might have even completely fallen off the wagon, I’m going to share my mishaps (what I call syndromes) and what I do to get past and keep going.

Mishaps first:

Amazing restaurant syndrome: We all know how much of a foodie I am by now. I’ve even confessed to my food addiction. I do my best to find work-arounds to keep from getting hungry by having healthy things on me at all times and picking hotels that give me good healthy choices on the menu. But, when you need to go out and eat with colleagues and clients, things get a little challenging when suggestions for Italian or that amazing steakhouse come up. I’ve put down a few dumplings and spring rolls at the Asian restaurants.  I’ve gone for the bratwurst and fondue in Germany. I had a fried chicken sandwich at KFC. There was also the night of wine and caramel apple pie. I’ll be honest, I’m happier with Italian and the steakhouse because I can easily get a big bowl of mussels in wine sauce, big salad, or a double order of veggies.

Jet lag syndrome:  This is more of a problem when heading to Europe. Arriving in the morning, even after sleeping on the way over, I am still out of sorts. While I’ve been known to hit the gym when getting to the hotel as late as 9:00p at night if state-side, I’m way too tired to do more than grab lunch, soak in a tub/stand under the shower, and crash while CNN international is on the television. The next morning it takes all I have to get moving and the best I can do in most cases is walk the city.  For what ever reason, while I book hotels abroad that have fitness centers, I never go in.

Airport/Airplane and Station/Train syndrome:  I’ve looked, believe me. The food options in terminals and the trains/planes are horrid. While I’ve found some information online to help me know what the calories of things are and I’ve even asked the concierge desks of United if they have nutritional info, it is simply not out there. The United lounge (yes, I still fly United) has this creamy pasta alfredo I can’t seem to not put on my plate. The Luftansa lounge serves hot dogs (sorry, sausages), amazing desserts and you aren’t bothered with bartenders – just pour your own glass of wine/champagne or grab a beer. The business and first class meals on flights are small, but I’m not convinced they are really that low in calories and fat. They certainly have a lot of sodium. And, when going international, Luftansa again knows how to keep you happy with temptations of various course selections, desserts, sorbet in between courses, chocolates and the ever-flowing drink. Amtrak is equal to this with the 1st class meals on the Acela, but there really aren’t that many choices to eat healthy from the café car. The Hebrew National hotdog is 150 calories according to the package, but I don’t think that really included the bun.

Recovery:

  • Mental adjustment: In the beginning I beat myself up about my mishaps. Tracking everything, there wasn’t anything I could hide from. My 1500 calorie days stared me in the face. My Apple Watch rings weren’t closed. I didn’t have the work-out dot above my rings. I could go into a mode where I got really restrictive and exercise manic. Less than 800 calories per day for a week and working out for 90 minutes. This made my hungry, tired, ultra sore, and not a nice person. I’ve since worked more on improving my self-discipline so that when I do go off the rails it’s not a big deviation and I’m mentally back on track come the next meal or when I wake up the next day. I have to almost meditate my way back to long term thinking to achieve my goals.
  • Food choice: I’m a better planner now. I know if I’m stuck in route for long periods or have meal-meetings then I need to adjust the size of my other meals or be better at my choices if there are better options. This means I eat a ton of salad on the road, and that is not at all my happy place. I also eat small amounts. I’m better at knowing the right portion size after months of measuring and weighing my food. So that piece of salmon on a restaurant plate is 2-3 times the size of what my portion should be. I cut that portion off and only eat that. Breakfasts might consist only of a yogurt, 1/2 cup berries and a coffee. Sometimes it’s only the yogurt or berries. Then I have more wiggle room in the day. So, even when there really isn’t a lot of choice on the menu for healthy eating, I at least find the best options, maybe ask for some slight modifications, but keep my portions in check.
  • Exercise: Getting my running game on these past couple months has made a huge difference.  I burn more calories, my hunger after running is low, and it absolutely clears my head better than machine work-outs. I like it better too because in the past if I traveled to a great location I may not have time to really get to the see the place. Now, I can throw on my running shoes and set out in the morning for a tour. I also seem not to have the same feeling of drudgery with my run that I do for other exercise. This means that even while jet lagged in Stockholm last week, I got my runs in each day (except the day I got sick). Lesson here is that upping my exercise offsets a slight excess of a meal and doing something I love means I will do it.
  • Read-out: I’m an analytic junkie about my numbers. Calories, macros, weigh-ins, nutrients, activity level, you name it, I play by the dashboards and drill downs. When I get back from trips, the first thing I do the morning after is get on the scale. So far, I’ve only had one trip where I actually gained weight, last week’s trip to Sweden. That said, within a couple days, I got on the scale again and was down 1/2 pound from pre-trip and then another 1 1/2 pounds a couple days after than. Why did this matter? Seeing the scale again in context of my efforts/behaviors and getting back to the routine once home provided both motivation and encouragement. My gain was most likely water, in this case. What I will point out is that when I did come back from this last trip I didn’t go to extremes when I saw the scale, I just got back on the horse.

There really isn’t any rocket science to this. It’s about excess in moderation. Inevitably, this is how we should be approaching a healthy lifestyle. While my goal now is fitness level and weight loss, I’ll be in maintenance mode within a 2-3 months. I’m a little girl and watching how much I eat, the choices I make and the amount and level of activity will always make a difference to me staying at my goal or going back to my chubby girl self.

In the end, killing any fatalistic thinking that leads to the inevitable unhealthy lifestyle is key. Pushing away thoughts that give permission to avoid exercise or eat rich foods everyday is also key. I wish I could provide and even capture the silver bullet to proper weight and fitness. But, the real solution seems to be the ability to embrace a life that balances religiously mind, body and food. Throw in a little spiritual soul and its just a little bit better. It’s just about loving yourself and showing it.

Official health living start date: 1/3/2017
Starting weight: 168.8
Current weight: 122.9
Goal weight: 115 (but shooting for 110 to have wiggle room)

 

Skinny jean hunter (criminal)

Is it horrible that I stole a pair of my daughter’s jeans?

To be fair, she is four inches taller than me and officially a size larger. So, when I saw a pair of her jeans come out of the wash that were definitely on the small side for her to wear (in my opinion), I took a chance. I snuck them up to my room, creeped into my dressing room, closed the door and immediately pulled these little jeans on and posed in front of the mirror.

…and ooh, did I look good!

Now, the proper thing to do was to fold them up nicely and put them back in the pile of clean clothes she would take to her room. Instead, I snuck them into my suitcase and brought them to Europe.jeans (2)

I even did another unthinkable, I took a selfie in my hotel room today in them as evidence of my crime. So, now you get to see me at 44 lbs smaller in all my criminal glory. (Maybe if I’m brave I’ll show you the old chubby girl me.)

I sit here blogging to you from my hotel bed in the glory of these skinny little jeans. They are so comfortable. I really don’t want to take them off. Can I sleep in them?

I guess the next step is if I will get the courage to give these jeans back. I mean, they really are too small for Em. I can’t imagine she still wears them. They were probably at the bottom of an old hamper and finally made it into the wash after years of neglect. Come on, they’re Delia’s jeans from her freshman year in high school. These jeans like me now, right? I look good in them. Right?

Ugh, I know, I need to give them back. Stop your tsking…

 

Chubby Girl in Philadelphia

Just got back late last night from Philly with mixed results. I started off strong before I left with a run up the hills of Hopkinton. The challenge then began by a combination of lack of preparation and going outside my typical travel routine.

philly

My daughter had college orientation so I traveled down with her with the intent on working in my hotel room for two days. Seemed simple enough. But, I decided to stay at the Hotel Monaco in Old City so I could get out later in the day and check out a few sites or do a running tour in the mornings. That was the downfall.

I learned this week how breakfast has become such a key success factor in my healthy living journey. The Marriott, Sheraton, Hilton, and Intercontinental hotels all have great buffets. I’m guaranteed a fast breakfast with lots of healthy options. Not so with Kimpton. You have to order up  to your room or at the restaurant. Where I am used to getting food in me within fifteen minutes and then running off to my day, the sit down experience meant that I either ordered up food that I wasn’t quite sure was fitting into my diet or I skipped breakfast altogether because I didn’t have time. Having ate my Skinny Girl bar I always have handy, the day I missed breakfast meant I didn’t eat until after 1:00p.

That starts the downward spiral of food obsession and hunger. The fact that I was still running these two days also meant that my hunger was stronger and my mind weaker. Day one I did a loop through the Old City and then headed to Penn’s Landing to run up and down the bridge stairs and outdoor theater stairs. Then headed to the hotel gym for upper body weights. Great workout, hunger inducing. The next day I stuck indoors to the treadmill as it was already 80 and humid in the morning. Then rushed back to my room to shower and hop on a call. Thus, when lunch and dinner rolled around, I was more focused on getting rid of my hangries and not thinking as much about good choices.

I had a bag of chips from the mini bar. I had a hot dog. I ate a turkey sandwich on a massive whole grain roll (only half, but still!). I had hash browns and a full chicken sausage along with a scrambled egg. I had two hunks of fresh mozzarella cheese (200 calories worth). I even stole some French fries from my daughter’s dinner on the way back to Boston. One of these choices in a week is one thing. To slide at almost every meal over two days was horrible. Yes, I had a crazy good roasted vegetable salad at a brewery. Yes, I grabbed a yogurt and red grapefruit at Temple U while waiting for my daughter at pick-up. Yes, I kept to my workout schedule. But, the scale told me all I needed to hear. Up a pound.

I know I’m paying for it in more ways than the scale. I had my go-to favorite this morning, an egg sandwich (Thomas Light Whole Grained English Muffin, Canadian bacon, fried egg, ultra thin swiss, and spinach). 250 calories of goodness. Instead, my stomach is in knots. I have not had enough plants in my diet and the heavy sandwich that normally satiates me as I go mostly vegan or vegetarian the rest of the day, feels like a rock. I’m also exhausted which is probably from poor eating too.

So, the chubby girl made her way back for a time. I now have to get back on the wagon and push the chubby girl off.

Philly Old City

What I will say is that my goal of doing a running tour was definitely worth it. I didn’t make it to the Rocky stairs this time, but it’s on my list for August when I send my little girl off to college. Instead, running through the historical parks, ducking into the alley where the Ben Franklin Museum was, and catching glimpses of the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and a mock up of the original White House, along with a fun challenge at the river amphitheater, was well worth it.

Maybe not all was lost.

 

 

Let the travel begin

The next two weeks are crazy. In NYC as we speak. Heading to Philly. Off to Stockholm and Geneva next week.

I’ve been lucky to have a bit of a hiatus from travel for a month. It went a long way to putting me in control of my exercise and food. Ever sick of the ‘salad’, eating at home let me get creative with vegetables again and even find ways to create salads that I like vs. the rabbit greens you get in restaurants.  And, as much as I try, I hate kale. Why is every restaurant salad now kale!

Day one travel isn’t going quite as planned. I missed breakfast this morning after rising late and scrambling, but was easily able to curb my hunger with a coffee on the way to the airport and tea on the flight. I hit up some NYC restaurant I can’t for the life of me remember the name, but it was on Avenue of the Americas down from the Hilton. Ahi Tuna tar tar and a big ole plate of grilled asparagus hit the spot. I crunched down on a Lemon Skinny Girl bar and another coffee during a conference presentation. Then I promptly lost lunch and snack on the cab ride to the airport due to the worst driving I ever experienced causing me the worst car sickness you can imagine.  So, completely not a bulimic moment, but man it was gross. Thank god for the bag holding my heels (heels removed).

I found this great dumpling restaurant in the airport and had Asian chicken lettuce cups and Edamame dumplings. It was so yummy and made me immediately forget my cab ride over. The only downside is that since 7:30p (it’s now 9:00p) the fire alarm in Terminal C has gone off 4 times. It’s hilarious how all the travelers look up, groan, and don’t even consider getting up to exit. Me included. So far all is well. Probably the crazy storms messing with the system.

I’ve got minimal time to get home tonight and pack for three days in Philly. I should have done this ahead but again, planning wasn’t in my cards. I think I’m secretly hating having to travel. The biggest thing is to make sure I bring my running gear and Bluetooth headphones. I may have to do a Rocky impression in the City of Brotherly Love. Or, I could jog around Temple University and use their stadium stairs for conditioning; although the real fun would be to do it because I’m going there to get my daughter to her college orientation and I could be the embarrassing parent.  No, I won’t do it, but thinking about it makes me giggle.

Anyway, for the day, I’m not doing that bad. Calories are in check. I hit my standing goal (12 hrs), exercise goal (over 30 minutes), and steps goal (over 10K) on my watch. I’m 100 calories shy on my move goal (400) but maybe after this I’ll get up and walk around the terminal. I’ve got almost 2 hours to kill still after my first flight was canceled and my current flight is delayed an hour. They will kick my out of the lounge in 45 minutes too.

Status

CW – 125.5
Achievement – out of the overweight BMI! Average run 3-5 miles.
Current trouble – I have almost no client presentable work clothes that fit. Down to four dresses I luckily kept from years ago.
Current luck – Old pants that are 2s and 4s in a saved bin fit! Just wish they were light enough for summer.
Working on – 10 lbs to go. Hitting 6 mile run. Climbing Falling Waters, crossing three peaks, including Lafayette, and going down Bridle Path in Fanconia Notch, NH for September. Woo Hoo!

Running Gives Me Momentum and Happiness

I keep reading articles and blogs about the downside of being a cardio junky. I get it, you need to also build muscle. And, yes, I try to at least get in a day of ab and body work. But, when it comes to kicking up your healthy lifestyle and pulling off weight when you reach a plateau, running seems to be the answer. At least for me.

A month back I completed my first outdoor run through San Francisco. I kept it up and run almost everyday outside. I have even gotten my husband to join me.  If not outside (not running in a heat wave, no, not going to do it), then I faithfully got on the treadmill on incline and matched my outdoor pace. The result (disclaimer – lots of exclamation points to show my excitement):

  • Progress! Not only did I crush my plateau, I lost 9 lbs in the last month. That is 2 pounds above my general trend.
  • Legs! I  developed some amazing legs. They are stronger and that saggy skin I complained of earlier, almost all gone.
  • Body! My overall body shape is much more like an athlete than the chubby girl that lost weight. My shoulders are amazing. I love seeing the definition in my leg muscles. My stomach is flattening out. I even see definition in my chest and my collar bones!
  • Size! I got into a size six blouse and dress in the past week. It is amazing to think that it was only 6 months ago I was in a size 14 and starting to even get tight in that. For a girl that has always been busty (if you are blessed with a size under C you might not understand) the fact I am under an 8 on top is in my world crazy.
  • Affection! Let’s just say that hubby (Tom) greatly appreciates my progress.
  • Bikini bod! Oh yes, I donned a bikini this past weekend. It was my third time pulling on that little amount of fabric to bronze my body. But, the difference was that at 47, I rocked my bikini. I looked like those at my age that were in good shape. I even have to admit I looked pretty good compared to those 10-15 years my junior (at least those that had kids). Not that I should compare or body shame anyone, when I was huge it was a big deal that I always felt like the fat girl.  I don’t feel like that anymore.

So, that is the progress. But, ultimately what is really driving my progress is that I just love to run. While still slow, I have dropped a minute off my mile (12 min to 11 min). I can even run a tad over 4 miles a couple times a week with my typical run at 3 miles. Today, my average heart rate dropped to 147 from 154 demonstrating I am in better shape. And, there are miles in my overall run where I get close to a 10 minute mile.

That is the technical aspect, but the thing that keeps me going is how I feel. Runners high is real. I am in a better mood after and for the rest of the day.  I have energy. I am centered from my meditative approach of tuning into my body and letting things drop off as I move forward. My mind declutters.

Will I get myself back to  an 8 minute average per mile that was my norm at 35? Maybe. Does it matter? Not really. I’d rather go longer (6-8 miles) and know that I can run every, or almost, everyday and do that for as long as I can. Instead of training to run, I’m training to live. Running just makes me happy!

Keep posted, I’m headed to Stockholm and Geneva in two weeks for work. Looking forward to a little site seeing with my running shoes. Can’t wait to share my routes. If you have some suggestions, do share!

Starting weight: 168
Current weight: 127
Weight loss: 41 lbs

Goal weight: 115, but if I like where I’m at when I hit 120 (size, fitness, cholesterol, etc.) then that will be me new normal. Let’s just say I only have 10 more pounds to go. But, the real goal is do I like how I look AND feel.