Skiing, Finally!

Just before Christmas me and hubby got out and demoed skis. That lead to the gifting of new skis for Christmas. They arrived, were tuned, and ready to go. Problem was, the weather turned on us. Days below zero, no snow, and warm days with rain killed any hope of a New England ski day.

That all ended today. After a bit of snow during the week and cold days to make snow, we saw a window of opportunity and took it. Up at 5:30a and on the slopes of Loon Mountain by 9:00a, we were in glee as snow fell and blanketed our trails and ice blanketed Tom’s beard.

Another bonus was being able to test out my Garmin Vivoactive 3 on the slopes. It did a great job tracking our runs and my intensity. The issue was that I am in better shape than Tom. He got intensity minutes. I on the other hand was perfectly fine on endurance and couldn’t manage getting out beyond 109 for a heart rate. So, I’m 20 minutes shy of my intensity minute goal this week. But, it definitely tracked my calorie burn and that coincided with the ache and burn in my legs.

But that is the technical piece. The real win was how much fun we had. Yes, the first runs were a bit horrid as I got my ski legs back. Arms flailing instead of planting my turns. Twisting to the point of pulling at my knee. And, leaning back on my heals as I careened down icy spots. But, after a couple runs my form was back and while I still was a bit out of control on the Northeast ice spots, I was in control and attacking the mountain. By the last few runs I was popping over the mini moguls skied up by the other skiers on the trails. I even had a few “woo-hoos” in those runs.

The drive home stiffened up our legs and the chills of being outdoors all day set in. It wasn’t something that a hot Jacuzzi tub, meal and beer couldn’t fix. I sit back now cherishing my day, enjoying my wind burned face and the awesome feel of fatigue after a great day of activity.

Everyone should ski.

 

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When I Just Don’t Want to Exercise

I was so pumped up after this weekend of being able to run outside and now all I want to do is kick back and pop chocolate truffles in my mouth.

I’m dragging from my trip to NYC and the cold weather with snow coming back isn’t doing it for my mood. I did hit the gym when I was away but yesterday I was stuck in an all day meeting and then a rush to the airport. The only walking I got was from hotel to client’s office and through the airport terminals.

Not only did I not run or exercise yesterday, I was so bad when it came to eating. Big everything bagel with full fat cream cheese, large skim latte, falafel and gyro lunch, fried chicken wings with onion rings at dinner. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the gin and tonic on the plane. I came home with a belly ache and bloat baby. Tom even rubbed it. Ugh.

Today was a day for no excuses. But all I could do was delay, delay, delay. The thought of getting on the treadmill was painful. I had no energy. I had no motivation. I had no time – yes I did. I was also going to eat healthy and vegetarian as a cleanse. Instead, I started off the day with an egg sandwich with chorizo slices. Only 340 calories but you can just see the fat dripping off onto my plate. That right there should have been all the motivation I needed to get on the machine.

I completed all my calls by 3p and had an hour and a half before last next client call. As a guilt trip I pulled up Garmin Connect to shame myself into moving. I had barely 1000 steps for the day. I only logged 62 intensity minutes and my goal for the week is 280. I had already had more than half of my calories.

Lazily I headed upstairs and pulled out my workout stuff and put it on grudgingly. I headed down to my treadmill and set up the TV for Stephen Colbert and a leisurely jog. I almost had a meltdown as my Garmin Vivoactive 3 had froze and I couldn’t get to the screen to select my treadmill setting. After 10 minutes of trying to reboot the watch, I was finally able to get going again.

30 minutes later, and slow as a turtle, I got off the machine not at all feeling my runner’s high. Knees ached. Hips ached. My head was just not in it. Completely dissatisfying. Add to the fact that my Garmin said I ran at a 4 mph pace when I know I was at  5 mph (did the math on time and distance) drove me to another level of defeat.

Yeah, I was not into it today. Some days are just like that. Still need to do the work though. Hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Outside! It was running weather this weekend.

It has been so cold since November that my treadmill is more familiar with me than the road these days. But that changed this weekend as we hit 50 to 55 degrees and there was no snow and ice on the side walks. It was time to hit the road and get my running legs back on pavement and real hills.

I can’t say I wasn’t a little worried. The treadmill is good for cardio but I wasn’t sure it had kept my muscles up. I almost bailed too. Instead, on Saturday, as soon as I got home from my son’s hockey game I just went on auto pilot and put on my running gear. I just needed to get a respectable 3 miler in.

I didn’t have to worry. Taking a moderate pace, running up and out of the neighborhood was a breeze. Hitting mile one I knew I was running again. Instead of taking the route for my 3 mile loop I headed for the 4 miler with added hills. Launching through my steps to my 90’s alternative playlist and I got home with the biggest smile on my face and runner’s high.

Today, Sunday, I did the same thing. A little stiff heading out, but I quickly opened up. Another 4 miles and shaving off 30 seconds on my pace. Still slow, a minute off my PB, but oh so very happy to be outside again.

Winter is heading back in this week along with travel. I still packed my running gear for the gym for my trip. I also added in some warm clothes in case I just need to go run outside again. I mean, I ski in the winter, I should just get over the cold.

By the way, getting outside inspired me to get ready for a half marathon. Now I have to mix up my treadmill with outside runs. No way I could run ten miles on the treadmill for training. I need the scenery to keep me going.

Review: Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs. Apple Watch

When getting on my chubby girl journey I looked at wearables to help keep me motivated and focused. I landed on the Apple Watch. I’d already had it, it was connected to my phone, and I got all the data I thought I needed. Plus, it looked good on my little wrists.

Fast forward a year and I find I wanted something more. Tom has a Garmin Fenix 5. He also got a chest strap and sensors for his running shoes and the elliptical. He dumped and consolidated his data from Fitbits and his Microsoft wearable into a database and now has all his history together. I was educated daily on his fitness details with pretty charts and graphs in Garmin Connect. Why didn’t I get one of those? Simple, it is too big and manly.

So, when the Vivoactive 3 came out it looked interesting. Smaller, still stylish, and very much cheaper than my Apple Watch and Tom’s Fenix. But, I still loved my watch and the functions beyond fitness. The fact that I talk on my watch with my son in Nashville while cooking dinner is so cool. But, I was already switching off my iPhone for work to a Pixel2 and my cord to Apple is getting smaller by the day as I also no longer work on a MacBook Pro.

Again, the Vivoactive 3, was becoming more interesting and at about $250, while not cheap, trying it out seemed like a worthy endeavor. I broke down and ordered one. Took off my Apple Watch, and went Vivo for the week. Here’s what happened…

Vivoactive 3 Pros

Activities: I love that tracking activities is more granular. I have skiing and paddling as options now where Apple Watch only gave me Other. Somehow Apple thinks that the only way to exercise is in a gym, walking or running. Its just so urban.

Feedback: I love the breakdown in my workout intensity that Garmin Connect provides. I also like the intensity minute bonus for working in zone 4 and 5. Its much more motivating for little people. When apple tells says you only burned 190 calories in 30 minutes and you see for the same intensity your 160 pound husband gets 50% more calories, us competitive people go nuts. I still get my calorie feedback and love that there is a base and anything you do adds to that. Apple calculates your BMR and adds move calories. Somehow that always confused me even if maybe it is more accurate.

Sleep: With a longer battery life, I can now wear my Vivoactive to bed and get an understanding of my sleep patterns. A chronic insomniac, I’ve now gotten the feedback needed to adjust when I go to bed and recognize what wakes me up to help me actually get a decent night sleep. I got my first 8 hour sleep in I don’t know how long. Apple watch can do this to, but you need to download an app and then there is the issue of only a day’s worth of battery life. So, tracking sleep is not as easy.

Battery life: I can definitely leave my activity tracking on all day and don’t need to worry if my Vivoactive dies. I can’t run my Apple Watch all day on a hike or ski day, it’s dead by 3:00p in the afternoon. Charging the Vivoactive is also really fast. I took off one morning, plugged it in at 40%, took my show and got dressed, and I was at 70% in about 15 minutes. My Apple Watch takes a bit longer to charge but I just set it on its station at night and in the morning I’m all set. I only failed when I forgot the charging cord when camping on the weekend. Not going to be an issue with the Vivoactive.

Simple: It didn’t take reading the manual to know how to use my Vivoactive. The initial set up using Connect and then messing with the button was all the training I needed as I completed my set up. I like that you can click the button to move into activity tracking mode and with a few swiped on the face you see stats or can just slide your finger on the side to scroll. Apple Watch is easy as well, but scrolling with the side button isn’t optimal.

Simplifying: I already us the Garmin scale to weight myself. I always had to then enter that into MyFitnessPal then it got to Apple Health. Also, any activity I did I would have to open the Watch app and then it would push my activities to MFP. Now, Garmin Connect is my central dashboard. The issues I have with MFP connectivity are still wonky (I don’t get my food calories moving to Connect), but everyting else has giving me a single dash. I don’t need another app to get better more granular stats from my Watch. I don’t need to only look at my dashboards on a little phone screen.

Vivo Active 3 Cons

Funtions: Apple Watch wins out in apps and ease of use to take a call and text. I also have a better way to manage notifications so I’m not pelted every minute with something new. Vivoactive and Garmin in general need to work on managing notifications better. While I can respond to a call or text, its is not as simple. I also can’t talk on my Vivoactive. I need my phone with me at all times now. Yuck.

Style: I got the white version of the Vivoactive and the smaller face. It is still a bit bigger than I’d like but not horrid. I do wish the sides were not white and continued with the silver face down. I can change out the band for a stainless steel melenese or leather, but with the white walls of the watch it looks a bit strange. The Apple Watch gets points for style.

Waterproof: The claim that the watch is waterproof is generally correct and I and I am leaving it on while in the shower. However, the water dropping on the face does weird stuff and it will change modes, sometimes bringing up settings, that is a bit unsettling. I could use this time for charging, but I’m curious what will happen this summer when I am jumping off my paddleboard or body surfing through ocean waves. I didn’t have these issues with my Apple Watch.

Syncing: I really really really wish Bluetooth would take care of syncing regularly. I always seem to have to open the Garmin Connect app to bring all my vivo data into the app and connect. Maybe I need to find a setting. In the meantime, I like the auto syncing between the Apple Watch and the Watch app better.

Bottom line

I’m going to keep going with my Vivoactive 3 and live with the cons. I can’t say I’m not going to miss my Apple Watch and its BatWatch features or better style. But, maybe an upgrade to a stainless fenix will happen and style will follow. We’ll see. Right now, I recommend the Vivoactive 3 for women that want all the bells and whistles a sport wearable can give. Good price, decent style, perfect for upping your game.

 

A Weight Loss Maintenance Guide for Women

It’s been four months since I hit my goal weight. The scariest part for those of us that have accomplished this feat is to stick to the program of healthy living and manage against a body that would like nothing more than to go back to business as usual. In reality, its not the body, its us. We want those cookies at the office gathering. We want the extra slice of flatbread pizza when out with friends. We have days when staying on the couch watching yoga seems much more inspiring that actually doing yoga.

On the other hand, the fear can lead you to some pretty crazy things. For example, I hit 110.5 a couple weeks ago when my period was kicking in. Normally, this bloating would drop right off when things finally got flowing. Instead, Those 2 pounds lingered a couple days freaking me out. I was convinced it was poor eating and a little lightening of the intensity when running. My response was to get back on the program, cut back my calories and step up the speed on the treadmill. A week later, I get on the scale this morning and I’m at 106.8. Oops! Shaved off a little more than I should have.

It makes me take stock of my approach and if how I’m looking at things is right. What can I do that keeps me where I should be while  not getting so neurotic and get unhealthy habits?

  1. Keep body image in check. While at 110, which is my benchmark not to cross, I still look good in my skinny jeans and leggings. I don’t need to wear a tunic to cover my butt while in them. I don’t feel like my clothes are tight, even work clothes that have no lycra in the fabric. The only thing I notice is that the little crinkly skin above my belly button from three kids and loss of the 60 pound fat baby isn’t there, but is when I’m 108. I still have the image I was seeking when I started this journey.
  2. Think in terms of cycles. I weigh in daily when not traveling. It’s my analyst self that is great for my job and carried over into my chubby girl journey with a vengeance. But I love it because I have a place to review, cheer or correct. Looking at my weight over four months I can clearly see when I am coming into my period and when it leave me. I also see my ovulation days. I fluctuate about 3 pounds from 107 to 110. The past month of a little slowness to release the extra pounds was probably nothing and I could have just given it another day or two. If it stayed for a week or two, that should have been my wake up call.
  3. Check my zones. My runs keep me in my aerobic zone (75% – 85% intensity). They are a bit more intense in that zone if I run outside because of hills and more resistance from the ground. But, my treadmill with some speed and incline adjustments is doing me fine. When I popped up the speed this week, I was much more in the anaerobic zone which gets me nothing and actually added more aches and was less fun as I had to psych myself for 30 minutes. It made me dread the run. I’m going back to my good aerobic zone where I enjoy running and don’t have to pop ibuprofen.
  4. Balance macros and micros. I started treating calories equally over the past month and saw a trend of more fat, sugar, and carbs from bread and pasta. While my calorie intake was still well within the range of where maintenance mode should be, the quality of the food was degrading. This is what was probably causing my bloating. Shifting back to a flexitarian (mostly vegetarian) diet was the smart thing to do, I just shouldn’t have cut back my calories by 300 per day.
  5. Focus on me. Tom, my awesome husband, took his cue from me this spring and picked up on healthy living habits too. He went from 175 to 155 and got into the best shape he’s been in since running track in high school. He leveled out at 160. So proud of him! He let it go during Christmas and gained 7 pounds, above his 165 ceiling. At the same time I was holding onto my 2 pounds he was getting back on the program. It made it easy for me to think I was in a bad place too, kicking off my freak out. Moving forward, I can’t let his, or any other person, set my happy place. Its all about knowing what my happy place is and sticking to it.
  6. Find your motivators. I look internally at who I want to be, toward guru advice to find ways to stay on track and yes, I have the shallow motivators of comparison to women my age, 10 years younger and 20 years younger. In maintenance mode, it’s no longer about goals but about loving who you are. I want to be healthy, experience things, and be interesting. I want to be challenged to get better running times and a stronger body. When two thirds of the country is overweight and obese, there is the shallow pride of being trim and fit at 48 and everyone seeing that. I know, horrible, but all women compare themselves to others I am just admitting it.
  7. Find your groupies. Let’s face it, women need their networks. One of the greatest things since losing the weight and getting fit is the ability to talk to others that share the same passion for the activities I’ve taken up. Runners are all too happy to discuss races, training, injuries and playlists. Hikers share stories on the trails, hidden treasures on the trail, and where they want to go next. Paddlers are more rare around me, but kayakers and canoers are in the mix to share great river, lake and ocean spots. Participating in sports, even if individual sports, has been a great way to break the ice with people I meet and reinforce my chubbygirl (skinnygirl) journey.

 

 

On the road again

Philly this week. NYC next week and the week after that. Kansas City, Naples FL, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Europe (twice), still deciding on an invitation for China. All this before the end of April. Can I keep my healthy travel habits? Will I die trying?

Blogging in the hotel bed now and dealing with achy legs from my treadmill run at 8:3op after I checked in. A day sitting on the phone and then stuck on the plane left me idgy and ready to move. Eating was not quite on target with my choices but it did stick to my calorie goal. Running out the door and online ordering a Starbucks latte and ham and cheese croissant put me at 500 calories of caffeine and fat. I made up a bit at lunch with a cup of turkey and sweet potato soup and a few pretzels with hummus. Dinner was a mini turkey wrap and apple  from the airport concession. But I couldn’t pass on the Terra blue chips on the flight and my beer and skinny popcorn as my workout reward. Clocked in at 1400 calories with little of the veg variety to show for it.

Tomorrow is a new day and open for a new strategy. I didn’t quite have one going into today except to make sure I hit the gym and stayed in my calorie goal. Maybe I stick to fruit and yogurt for breakfast to save room for the mystery lunch at my client. They asked and took my request for healthy so I’m hoping for a chicken salad. That gives me a little wiggle room for the airport dinner. I need a rest day from exercise as my legs are a bit more sore and tired than I’d like, but think that means I’ll hit the gym in the morning for time on the elliptical rather than high impact treadmill running.

Where will my inspiration come from? Just got an alert about a Beach and Back run. Maybe its time to pick the first 5k of 2018.

Healthy Living Year 2 Goal: Be Interesting

It’s funny how losing weight, exercising more and eating healthy has changes more than my body. It has changed my perspective on life. Without my body and food holding me back, I experience so much more.

As a chubby girl I rarely hiked, biked, skied, kayaked, swam or even walked. When I traveled (always) I never saw more than an airport, plane, hotel room, conference room or inside of a taxi cab. This past year changed all that and gave me something I didn’t know I could have – the ability to be interesting.

That must seem so ridiculous and maybe even shallow for those that are chubby, the fact that a healthy person is more interesting. But, that isn’t quite what I’m saying. I’m making a point that my body and lifestyle were having the affect of making me less interesting because I couldn’t experience everything I wanted to in life. Thus, I had less to talk about and less to share.

For example, my trip to Stockholm for work this past summer gave me a ton to talk about while there and when I got back. My morning and evening runs through different parts of the city showed me more about Sweden than I ever would have gotten by sticking to my hotel and client offices. It also gave me the energy to go to museums after work hours. In contrast, past trips that took me outside the US I always had a reason why I couldn’t see the city. Too busy. Work to do. Not enough time. So, I came back without learning about another culture. I could only share a story about the food I might have eaten or wine I drank at a restaurant. I could complain about the flight and jet lag.

So, my motivation this year to stay healthy is different than last year. This year is about how to be interesting. What can I experience that I haven’t before? What can I learn that I always wanted to do? How will healthy living help with this? As with most of my blogs, here’s my punch list of goals for 2018:

  • Learn German: I have been awful about language since middle school. I remember almost nothing from French and Spanish. I hated language. But, I work with so many colleagues and clients globally that picking up a new language seemed like a way to better connect. I spend a lot of time with clients and colleagues in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. And, Tom and I are heading to Europe this summer.  Thus, I figured German it is. I’m on my Rosetta Stone Lesson 1 this week.
  • Take the road less traveled: I mentioned Tom and I heading to Europe this summer. But, we aren’t heading to the top of mind places. Instead, we are road tripping between the Czech Republic and Northern Italy. We’ll be taking time to explore beyond the castles and churches and take in the nooks and crannies of the cities, explore the country side and take in the national parks. I am even trying to find Roman ruins tucked in amongst all the renaissance era architecture and art (Harder to do than you think in Northern Italy. Venice was a strong influence.).
  • Go back to school: At 48 with my youngest heading off to college in almost 3 years, it makes me wonder what my golden years will look like. Non-working retirement just doesn’t seem like something I could do. Instead, I decided to go back to school for Economics and look at how to use this for either teaching in high school or working to drive socio-economic policies. Classes start in the fall and I’m most likely going to be one of the older students/graduates, but so be it. Its my way of giving back later in life.
  • Stay active, eat local: A simple thing to do is double down on what I’d started doing this year as a way to get healthy. Once spring has sprung, the 5Ks are going to kick back off again and I see myself signing up for more of them. Those where money goes to great causes like cancer research are top on the list. For eating, what better way to stay nourished and healthy than the farmer’s markets and our local hydroponic farm. I loved getting to know not only the local growers but the fish monger and butcher where I can trust the quality of my meat, fish and poultry. I get and give back at the same time.