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.

 

Postcard for Mother’s Day

To all the mom’s out there – Happy Mother’s Day!

Just finished my mother’s day breakfast made by my family: real German pumpernickel toasted and topped with a fried egg, smoked salmon and slices of avocado. A side of fresh berries, mango and banana. A venti Americano. And they even cut up pastries in small pieces so I could sneak in bakery goodness without over doing it. Are you jealous yet? 🙂

Michele at Gustavos in WalthamMother’s Day for me started last night since I have to hop on a plane this afternoon for San Francisco. (a little friendly online shaming below to my friends in SF…) Tom took me out for dinner to this amazing Cuban restaurant, Gustavo’s in Waltham. We shared little plates of everything from marinated pork tips in polenta, grilled lamb, creamy paprika shrimp with radishes and tomato, black been and quinoa salad, and the most amazing roasted cauliflower. Tom also got this seafood stew with a Cuban twist. I don’t know if it is because I’ve been on a healthy living/diet for over 4 months, but this is definitely my new favorite restaurant.

Dinner didn’t fit into what was left of my calorie allotment for the day (although I did work to keep under control and overage minimal), but after 30 minutes to a Jillian Michaels’ circuit training video, 30 minutes on the elliptical, and 30 minutes on a steep treadmill incline, I think I was entitled to an amazing dinner. The true test is to do the same workout today as I am being reasonable in my meals, but my family is also tempting me with crab cakes for later. I even saw a box of chocolates. And I could steal a Twizzler for about 35 calories – Yay!

Yes, for me Mother’s Day is about good food. But, it has also been about feeding my soul. Whether it is visiting the art museums, doing some yoga, pampering at the spa, gardening, or going out for a walk, my Mother’s Days are in some ways a template for how I should be taking care of myself all the time. My family does a lot to take away my daily stress today, which helps. I need to give them a lot of credit for that; after all, they pick up the pieces when I’m road warrior-ing. Yet, what I need to constantly realize and remind myself of is that a healthy lifestyle is about taking care of me not just one day a year, but everyday of my life.

So, my message to all moms today, take care of yourself today and everyday. Think about what gives you the most happiness and renewal on Mother’s Day and work to carry that through always.

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(a little friendly online shaming below …)  — I’m calling out the vendor I’m with this week – Informatica! – to say that the next time they plan their event, think carefully about timing and be kinder to us mother’s out there. Cutting Mother’s Day short is a bit cold in order for us Mom’s to make it to our morning analyst meetings. But, nothing that a good Americano and breakfast banter can’t fix!

 

10 Tips to Stay On Track With Diet While Traveling

Work and travel get in the way. But, I’m sitting at the bar in the Chicago United Club and its the perfect time while in a travel mindset for an update.

Can you lose weight as a road warrior?

Verdict: Yes!

Conditions:
I’m down almost 35 pounds with another 20 to go (Starting weight 168. Current weight 134). I’ve gone from a size 12 pant and XL/L shirt to almost a size 4 pant and small shirt. I can wear a bikini this summer. I can also run again! I can also see myself back on the slopes hitting the moguls like before rather than shimmying down the green trails.

There are good weeks and bad weeks. It’s about taking one day at a time. The real test is your mindset. You really need to want to lose weight and transition to a life long healthy lifestyle. It’s not anything you haven’t heard before, the question is really, will you take it to heart and commit to change?

There are no cheat days. There are no days off. There are no days where you can give permission to poor eating and inactivity. This is your new religion. I firmly believe that taking off the weight and keeping it off is not a temporary mindset. Commitment is real – this is a marriage to a new you.

I speak from experience, both from being in shape and out of shape as well as tackling this later in life when hormones and a lower metabolism is my everyday enemy.

Being a road warrior  has taught me to be both realistic in how I scrounge for meals that fit healthy eating and living by the feedback on my wrist that says I am as active as I should be.

  1. Just move: I look for ways to get in movement anyway I can. It can seem crazy and extreme at times. I get in a workout at odd hours. I tour airport concourses. I skip the cabs or car rental if I can walk to where I need to be.
  2. Be Sally: When Harry Met Sally, everything is on the side. It is definitely awkward the first time, but you are the customer and can have your food any way you like it. Let the kitchen know not to coat your salmon in oil. Put calorie rich sauces on the side. Substitute the fries, rice, and mashed potatoes for another helping of steamed veggies. When you can’t get it right, get the grilled chicken sandwich, pull off the top bun, and eat your sandwich with a fork and knife.  You saved 120 – 140 calories and a bad dose of simple carbs.
  3. Portions: Get familiar with your portion sizes by measuring stuff at home. This way, those large plates can be put in their box. You know a healthy portion of steak, chicken, even salmon (it has more fat than you think, even if it is good fat, too much of a good thing isn’t good anymore).
  4. Get a Map: Are you getting your walking or running game going? If you don’t have an app, ask the hotel for safe routes and bike trails. Not every place is ideal, but just like knowing the great places to have dinner, your hotel knows the best places to get outside. If you have the time, go ahead and get in that cab/Uber/rental car to tour a city on foot or by run. You get a city tour you might not have had the chance otherwise to do.
  5. Love the bands: If you are heavier at the beginning or just have a lot more to lose, sometimes being self conscious will keep you from the hotel gym. For less than 20 dollars, a set of resistance bands lets you build muscle in your hotel room until you are ready to show off the toned bulges that start to appear after several weeks.
  6. Exercise apps: I can’t say I used them a ton because I am a cardio freak on and off equipment. But, my yoga apps and HIIT apps get me 20 – 30 minutes in my hotel room when I need to squeeze in a workout.
  7. Indulge pragmatically: This is where portion control is key. United in Chicago added a scrumptious chicken alfredo. It’s deadly, I know. But, when you’ve been stuffing your face with veggies all day, you have some extra calories. I don’t condone going over your intake goal. But, with a little planning, some small indulgences help you not feel deprived at the same time you don’t sabotage your work.
  8. Pack Snacks: At the beginning when I wasn’t so sure, I kept snacks and mini meals on me. As I’ve progressed and gotten confident and educated, I don’t do this anymore. When I started it gave me more control. I still keep a piece of fruit or low calorie bar in my purse just in case. But, I don’t dip in anymore as I’ve gotten in a routine.  So it worked to help me in the beginning, but it gives me a safety net when all other food options fail.
  9. Track it: Honesty comes from transparency. I was a tracking freak across 3 apps (Weight Watchers, LostIt, MyFitnessPal). I’ve narrowed it to one (myfitnesspal.com) because it does a good enough job and I share my diary with my husband and oldest son. This keeps me both honest, I get kudos on my progress. It also helps me see progress and let’s me adjust as needed if there are weeks where the scale doesn’t move or goes in the opposite direction, or in some cases when the weight loss is too fast (yes, you need to watch for this too).
  10. At home: With all the good intentions on the road, when I get home it is detox. Even though I’m pretty healthy on the road, when I am home, I go vegetarian or pescatarian. This is when I do have more control and I take advantage of it by enjoying my creative cooking passion and coming up with new healthy dishes and testing them on my family (husband is in, kids I think are hoping I just keep it to myself.) I also make sure that I get in 2 days of intense workouts. Hike a mountain, get in a run, go for a ultra long power walk, or on yucky days, pack in my machine and weight time.

I can actually see the goal in sight, but in reality, I hit my goal. Yes, I’m within a couple points of a healthy BMI. Yes, my RHR is at the athletic level. Yes, I can do things I dreaded doing or couldn’t before. Yes, I actually found a way to like veggies and salad. Yes, I feel I can do this for the rest of my life. My top ten helped me get there.

Up Mountain, Down Mountain

Saturday was gorgeous out. There wasn’t anything that was going to keep us inside and Tom was all ready to climb a mountain. He’s been talking about a Mt Monadnock hike for weeks now and this was the day. Up at 7:00a, on the road to Starbucks at 7:30a and then onto NH.

I never really thought of Mt Monadnock as difficult, but the going up is certainly steep. At just under two miles, I, along with others on the hike were asking when we would reach the top. You see, this is the most hiked mountain in NH, and everyone from toddlers to octogenarians is making the journey. With the diversity and numbers, it is easy to think this is a moderate hike.  No. Burned 1000 calories (Net) in my ascent and descent.  I even ran the bottom part of the trail and back to the car I felt so good afterward.

The next day, only a bit of stiffness in my left calf. Nothing to worry out. So, feeling healthy and pleased with myself, I got on the elliptical at a 7% incline for an hour while I watched Bill Maher. Got off, and my legs were jello. But, nothing a good mango pop as a reward couldn’t fix!

Last night, I was sore, but after sitting all day at my desk working and talking on the phone, I only racked up a measly 3000 steps. Back to the treadmill. Again, 7% incline for 40 minutes and then a brisk walk on 0% for another 20.  That first 40 minutes was brutal! But, Stephen Colbert got me through and Trevor Noah helped me stay positive til the end.

Now the down. After getting down to 137, I moved back up to 138 this morning. I was so disappointed that I even considered deleting the recording in MyFitnessPal. Instead, I realized something. I climbed a mountain.  I simulated climbing a mountain for two days after that. All the exercise wasn’t making me that hungry and so I didn’t eat much – 800 calories per day for 3 days and I can’t believe I wasn’t and I am not starving. Plus, I’m probably gaining water weight. So, today, my down the mountain (do nothing) approach to recovery is:

  1. ditched my Apple Watch so I don’t feel guilty about a lazy day of recovery
  2. eat complete meals up to my calorie goal and not under
  3. get more protein to help rebuild my muscles – yummy scrambled eggs this morning and smoked salmon on pumpernickel at lunch was awesome!

 

Doing the Chubby (Skinny) Girl Dance

Got on the scale today and found I lost 30 pounds! I had to get on it three times to make sure the thing was reading correctly.

I did a little butt jiggle dance and a few air punches to celebrate. I then went into my closet and started trying on clothes that hadn’t fit in years.  Cool thing, I’m wearing a favorite suede tank top now that I hadn’t put on in six years and a white jean jacket that I hadn’t worn in four years.

Still have about five pounds to go on a Theory velvet shirt, but I was able to snap it up. It’s just a wee bit tight on the chest.

It must have been my workout this weekend. 45 minutes on the elliptical pounding out to Guns n Roses and the power walk around Boston and Cambridge with the hubby. But it wasn’t all work. I had Vietnamese food and calamari – yummy.

Still keeping to my daily plan goals and gearing up for travel this week. No time for workouts today, which is really bumming me out. But, running shoes are packed and healthy snacks are going in my bag so the week is looking up. Need to keep up the momentum.

More than half-way to my goal – chubby girl out.