Holiday Healthy Living Strategy

It’s been 319 days since I starting my Chubbygirl journey to healthy weight and healthy living. I hit my goal weight of 110 back in September and hover around 108 and 109. The true challenge will be the holidays and all the eating. For me, it starts at 5:00p today when the in-laws arrive. I’ve already got a brisket in the oven and potatoes ready for mashing.

Which brings me to the holiday conundrum. I landed on my goal weight based on what should my optimal weight be as well as giving me a five pound buffer during the holidays. I know that I won’t be able to resist stuffing, or wine, or egg nog, or cookies. Chocolate is another one that while the single square or two isn’t bad (and I do this now), it is the whole bar or those boxes of truffles that kill me. Nut bowls? OMG, shoot me now. Yes, my hand lives in them.

In reality, I don’t want to gain five pounds. That is a month of 1200 calories again and more exercise. Its a diet that I will fail at. It puts my healthy living mindset at odds with a quick fix to a lack of self-control and gluttony.

I’ve come up with a strategy based on what we do in our house and with our family and not use this time to deviate to far from healthy living. In the end, I still want to enjoy the holidays. So here it goes:

  • Snack bowls go away: We always have bowls of chocolate, nuts and dried fruit out. I would typically make a meal out of that before eating a meal. Now, if I want a sweet (or others do) you have to get it out. I can keep with my portioning that way.
  • Keep with smaller plates or eating inside the rim: I can portion my meals better if I shrink the footprint they sit on. I do that today and need to do  that for our big family meals.
  • Don’t have to try everything: Thanksgiving in our family means 3 kinds of stuffing (regular, corn, meat). I need to pick one. I like mashed potatoes, but I don’t need them and sweet potatoes and squash. Roasted and smoked turkey are served, but I don’t need full portions of both.
  • Big meal, will race: I think every town has a 5k the morning of thanksgiving. There are also a ton of jingle bell runs this time of year. I’m just going to do it to add some fun to my running ritual.
  • Go for hikes in the woods: There are so many state and town parks around with great trails. Instead of lazing around the house we can add in a hike or trail run.
  • Take some time for rest and family bonding: Our big family thing is pulling out an insanely difficult puzzle and diving in together over the course of the vacation. We spend time together, talk, and chill out – except when the end is near and we compete to be the one to put in the last puzzle piece!
  • Keep to my exercise regimen: If I can get off a plane, get into a hotel at 9p or be severely jetlagged and still get on a treadmill, the holiday’s are no excuse to slack off.
  • Don’t sweat the gluttonous meal: If I fail on Thanksgiving day, Christmas Eve and Christmas day, and a party here or there, so be it. I’ve had unplanned cheat meals that haven’t killed me yet. Just don’t make it a daily habit.

I need to trust myself, continue to embrace the changes I’ve made, and realize that instead of the holiday’s being scary, they can still be fun.

What are your strategies?

 

 

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25 Years Later We Conquer Mt Lafayette Again

In 1994, only 9 months into our relationship, Tom and I booked a romantic weekend at a quaint B&B in Franconia, NH. The goal, hike up Falling Waters trail, cross three peaks with the Franconia Ridge Trail (Haystack, Lincoln, Lafayette) and come down Bridle Path. This 9ish hike brings you up to 5200 ft with amazing view through Franconia Notch, back across the Presidentials and west toward Vermont. On a clear day…which isn’t a guarantee.

That was when we were 25 and were pretty outdoorsy. Skiing, hiking, rollerblading and mountain biking were our typical dates. I was barely 95 pounds and thought I was in pretty  good shape. Still, that hike kicked our butts. We had to take breaks on the way up and I cheered/grumbled when we hit “natural stairs” – those blocks of granite some amazing soul helped to stack together and create the stairway to the top. On the way down, Tom’s Achilles was killing him as we stepped down the rocky path. At the bottom our legs ached, my hips were sore, and we were spent. All told, I think we took about 8 hours.

1994 Hike

Fast forward to this 23 years 2 months to this weekend. At 48, Tom and I are no spring chickens. We’d been pouring over pictures from our Franconia hike for years wistfully thinking we would like to do it again. There is a picture of us sitting in front of the sign at the Greenleaf Hut that is framed and always sits out on our bookcase as a constant reminder and medal for our accomplishment. Well, we had made reservations for the Columbus Day weekend in Franconia and low and behold, Saturday was the day to do the hike again.

1994 Greenleaf Hut

I was worried. We were old – okay older. I’d only just become my skinny self, but certainly wasn’t as little as I was back then. I run, but I didn’t’ think I was anything near in shape compared to back then. Yet, Tom and I knew that we wanted to do it, and do it we would. Even Matthew, our 14 year old son, was excited to join in.

Falling Waters was as I remembered it. Beautiful waterfalls, gorgeous forest, and a brutal number of “natural stairs” before you got to the tree line. I was the turtle. I slowly and methodically put on foot in front of me and didn’t look back. Crossing a couple of water points left me almost falling in and even loosing my water bottle, which I was able to retrieve. After the first hour, Tom was starting to give me the, “we need to get moving faster” talk. He was worried we wouldn’t get to the top and down fast enough before the sun came down. I shot him the icy stair and kept to my pace. Matt was gleefully bounding up the trail like a true trail runner – show off!

Getting past the tree line and Haystack was in view. The easy crawl hike up to the summit was where I got my mojo back. I knew that after this, the hiking part was going to be easy. The only issue is that at the top, we now hit cold temperatures, fog, and same insane wind. I put on my shell, hat and gloves on and quickly adjusted. We went over to the trail sign and took our picture for history.

2017 Hike

Moving across the Franconia Ridge Trail was an easier hike but the wind was whipping. Tom stopped a few times for some spectacular views. The foliage was amazing and sweeping vistas took my breath away – along with the wind. I was trying my best to keep my footing as gusts up to 40 mph tried to push me off the ridge. When we got to Lafayette, the weather was so challenging that Tom suggested we keeping moving rather than take a historical picture. I was all for that and Matt was too. While there wasn’t any rain, the fog was wet enough and the wind just pushed the dampness right into us. My hair was wet, my gloves were wet, my hat and jacket were dripping.

If we thought it was bad on Lafayette, going down and across to the Greenleaf Hut was worse. I could barely keep my footing and balance due to the wind. The trail had been moved to conserve the ridge but this created challenges to know where the trail was. We weren’t the only ones having difficulty. Normally cheerful when passing, all us hikers were heads down and focused on moving through. There was little more than a head nod for a greeting and often we all were just focused on pushing forward.

Getting back into the tree line was so much better. While the wind was still whipping, the trees kept us sheltered and our hike became much more enjoyable again. The trail itself was also easier and we made our way quickly to the Greenleaf Hut for lunch. At the hut we squeezed into a table and pulled out our lunches. We’d started at 7:45a and it was now 12:00p. We were starving. Out came the cheese, sausage, tuna fish sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, apple sauce, and nuts. Never did a meal taste so good!

Half an hour later we packed up and headed to the Greenleaf Hut sign for our historical picture. It was still cold and damp, not too unlike what it was like 23 years earlier, but being able to document that we did it again was amazing.

2017 greenleaf hut

The hike down Bridle Path was easy. We stepped down the rocks quickly. On the sections that were less rocky we all jogged our way down the trail – Matt in the lead, then me, and then Tom taking up the rear. The way down was exhilarating. With only 2.9 miles left, we realized how far we came and how good we felt. Stopping a few times as the weather was clearing, we took in some views from the bluffs over looking the notch and even chatted with a few hikers coming up to the hut.

About 1.5 miles left in the hike the rain came. Under the trees we didn’t feel it much, but it was definitely coming down. At this point the trail was much more even and a slight slope. We picked up the pace and mostly jogged our way out. Reaching the parking lot, our hiker’s high was turned up, smiles on our faces, and congratulatory high fives were in order.

Time – 6 1/2 hours. Not too shabby for a couple of old people!

No real aches and pains compared to the last hike. Although we did take an ibuprofen at lunch as insurance and popped another in the evening and the next morning. But, Tom and I did go out for a hike and even climbed up Artists Bluff for the views the next day. Back today, the most I can complain about is tightness in my calves and the usual hip aches when I do a long run. All in all, not a big deal.

As for the really good part? For two days I didn’t not really think much about my diet. Wine, cheese and crackers were pulled out when we got to the RV. Dinner after the hike was hot Italian chicken sausage with Arrbiatta (sp?) sauce and pasta, a bottle of wind, and a hunk of dark chocolate. The next day was chilly cheese fries, buffalo chicken tenders and a bacon swish burger. Oh yeah, and the really big beer at Oktoberfest at Loon Mountain. Gluttony? Oh yeah. Did it matter, NO!

Got on the scale today, I’d lost a pound. 🙂

Can Exercise be Fun?

I stalk the MyFitnessPal site to get ideas about food, nutrition and work-outs. They had a blog recently about recess inspired workouts.  I also saw a blog from a MFP member that is just struggling to get 10 minutes on the treadmill and hates to workout. It reminded me of another blog (for the life of me I can now not find) where a woman talked about taking dance classes for exercise because she loved to dance.

I’m learning something on this journey that should have been completely obvious but wasn’t. Exercise is a euphemism for being active. We exercise and work out today because we no longer hunt, gather or farm our fields to survive. Most of us sit at a desk for eight hours, sit in a car for two hours, and lounge on the sofa a couple hours. Then we sleep. Millions of years of evolution to be in constant active survival mode and self reliance can’t be turned off in 150 years by our industrial revolution. So now we exercise and work out.

Doesn’t that just feel like another job? While we might love to run, cycle, and do boot camp classes or crossfit (no I don’t do crossfit – but that is another blog), if we had the chance we might do something fun instead. We would play on a jungle gym, ski, back pack, play tennis, or join the kickball league.  Those activities are somehow different. They are all about fun.

My epiphany recently is that I need to think about how exercise can’t only be about a workout for losing and maintaining weight and health but also has to be about having fun. I found that by changing from running on the treadmill and road is more fun when I’m crashing through trails like a kid is awesome. I found that being on a SUP gave me hidden activity but a connection to the outdoors which I love. I used to play tennis and loved being with my friends and playing in leagues together, why not do that again?

So, go ahead and keep up the cardio and gym routines. We after all are still more sedentary than our ancestors. But, don’t forget to have fun!

 

 

 

Everyone Should Have A Healthy Living Brag Board…Here’s Mine

So much has happened in the last three weeks and I’ve been quite the slacker sharing. (As such, first let me apologize for a very long blog.) Of course a blog is as much a brag board as it is a way to vent and get it all out there. So, let’s share.

It’s all too easy to get discouraged when your primary goal is losing weight. That burger you had when out with the girls that you shouldn’t have. The wing frenzy during Superbowl. Plateaus that feel like your body is just beating you back. If you only look at weight, then what will keep you motivated for the lifelong journey of healthy living that should keep your weight off.

It’s where I am now, pushing into maintenance mode and finding that by moving past worrying about weight, I’m more concerned with being able to stay active, do the things I want to do, enjoy my new body in the latest fashions, and most of all, try things I’d never done before.

Weekly Report MFP 8272017The big surprise is that I actually lost weight on my RV vacation. I honestly have no idea how or why it happened. The data isn’t helping me much to figure it out, but I’ll share my stats in the hope that someone smarter than me (got to be a lot of you out there) knows what I did right. This is last week’s chart from MyFitnessPal. The week before is about the same and I don’t have this weeks report yet. As a benchmark/context, I set my calories to 1050 per day regardless if I exercise or not.

Okay, here we go…

  • All the activity is the complete opposite of how I was: On past year vacations I have spend more time lounging in a beach chair, floating in the ocean, or cooking and eating than anything else. This vacation was filled with hikes and runs. Outside of vacation, Tom and I have gone biking 17 miles on the Minuteman Trail, kayak (Tom) and paddleboard (me)  together, and run the hills of Hopkinton since we’ve been back. And, even through I was sic for almost 3 days (for real – fever, vomiting, congestion, aches and sore throat), I got right back in the swing of things when I was well.
  • Climb every mountain: My favorite, even if killer challenging, was the fact that I was able to run mountains and hills on trails. The best part was when Tom talk me how my oldest son who met up with us in the Smoky Mountains saw me take off and asked, “Is she really going to run this?” And, Tom said proudly, “Yes!” And, I did. Why do it, because when you get to the top, unlike road running, it is absolutely okay to take a pause and look out at the view, you deserved it. Here is my triumph pic from the Shenandoah on Endless Caverns.IMG_0370IMG_0371IMG_0372
  • I was Rocky Balboa: Getting my daughter off to college this week was heartbreaking. While I’m so very proud of her, the house is so quite without Emily’s KPop, Pop music, and singing/dancing routine while doing dishes. There is no Emily popping her head in our room to say hi when getting home from work, or climbing in bed to watch a comedy show with me. Still, what got me through dropping her off at Temple this week was a brisk run to the art museum in Philadelphia and running the Rocky stairs. Imagine my amazement when what I thought was going to kill me was one of the easiest things I have done on my runs. Guess those mountain trail runs on vacation did the trick! Here is my view from the top of the stairs…
    IMG_0383
  • run 937Breaking through a 10 minute mile: Okay, so I only made it by 3 seconds. But, I had convinced myself that working on  speed wasn’t all that important. After all, my real passion has been trail running. Imagine my surprise after Tom and I had our first morning run together after three weeks (he didn’t run our whole vacation) and I looked at my stats and saw 9:57 avg for my 5k. Now, that is the flats. My average when including Hopkinton hills is 10:30. Today, not only did I go over 4 miles (I typically stay at 3- 3.5), but my average pace was 10:15 per mile. I shaved off 15 seconds. Not too shabby for a 48 year OLD lady.
  • Paddle boarding is awesome: In the try something new category I decided to ditch the kayak in favor of a paddle board. I have seen so many women on them this summer – on the ocean shore and lakes – that I was fascinated. It also took me back to my California days handing with friends that surfed as I opted for beach volleyball, and thinking that paddling your way on a surf board was way better than drowning under a wave (which I almost did). Anyway, today I paddle boarded and loved it! And, I did it in my OP bikini. Yes, I did!
  • 17 miles on the Minuteman Bike Trail: In the spirit of having an active weekend, Tom and I got our bikes out and hit the trail. While it was just a paved commuter bike trail and not at all what ‘real’ cyclists do, our round trip between Bedford and Arlington was so much fun. A short break along the way to stop in the Great Harvest Bread Co. for lunch for a dreamy Garden Veggie Sandwich on Seeded Wheat only made the ride better.
  • Another pair of my daughter’s jeans are mine: As Emily went to school and sorted through her clothes she handed me a pile of things she didn’t want anymore. What a gold mine! While I passed on the obviously teenage items, two pair of skinny jeans that are too small for her called my name. I just love them, and so does Tom! They hug me. The only issue, I still need a belt. It seems my waist is now 24 inches…
  • The weight loss: On August 5th I got on the scale before we left for vacation and I was 118 and change. I had resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to do a weigh in for two weeks and was almost hysterical to lose my baby blanket. I honestly almost brought our low tech battery powered scale on the RV. But, Tom gave me enough looks and comments to shame me into realizing I was a nut job. Current weight as of this morning: 113.1 lbs. That’s 5.1 lbs in three weeks. Down 55.7 pounds in 8 months. Whaatt??
    scale 8 27 2017 30 days

The data chick in me attempts to break this down…

The reality is that except for two days of food avoidance this week because of my flu/cold, I have not really stayed within my calorie limit in the past three weeks. And yet, something about how I’ve been more active and increasing my eating has shocked my body to lose weight. Is dropping 5 pounds in three weeks healthy, NO! But, I did some thinking and whether this is right or wrong I think I must have upped my metabolism. So, I’m experimenting with raising my calorie threshold to 1200 and see how that goes. Will that slow down the weight loss and help me shed the last three pounds gradually by Thanksgiving? Will I remain the same? Or will I gain weight?

Anyway, now that I’m officially in maintenance mode, (toast) here is to understanding what maintenance mode looks like. Wish me luck. But, really, I’d rather you help me celebrate these bragging points. I am doing all the things that I had to give up because of my weight. I am loving my active summer. I am looking forward to this winter for skiing the bumps and snowshoeing the trails. In the near term, send me good vibes for 2 5k races coming up this fall. I really really really want to be under 30 minutes.

Ultimately, what this brag board should help with is less about bragging to all of you but be a reminder of what I accomplished not only with weight loss but with giving me back the life I love.

Cheers!

 

Chubby Girl Tackles Dieting in an RV

Dieting is such a dirty word to me right now, but it seems like the only way to describe the day in and day out effort of losing weight and getting healthy even when traveling. Vacation season is upon us and our summer is a combination of mini RV weekend getaways and a big 2-week road-trip starting on Saturday. So, while I talk a lot about getting and staying healthy while on the road for work, I haven’t quite gotten around to the other part of living on the road.

First, living on the road. We have our RV, Bertha. She is named as such due to her big rear. Just about every weekend we pack her up and head to the beach or mountains. bertha.jpgIt’s our summer cottage on wheels. We can stay at a state campground right on a state beach (Salisbury or Scusset in MA), or head up north to the White Mountains and stay at Echo Lake in Franconia NH. On Saturday we will be trekking down to Ashville, NC and stopping along the way at state and national parks in PA, OH and KY for hiking, kayaking, and seeing the caves. A little bypass from nature to the city (Columbus) should bring biking and a beer crawl. Have you seen how many breweries are in Columbus? Then we’ll head back up and stay at a resort in VA before making it home.

Anyway, for the most part, having a built in kitchen is perfect for me. I control my meals. However, there are times when I want a vacation too and being the full-time chef is not on my list of an awesome vacation. This weekend was the great saboteur. A rainy cold day on Saturday down on the cape meant we needed to get out of the spacious, but still tight RV quarters. We headed to Fisherman’s View in Sandwich. My downfall? The manager let us order off menu to let us have a Fisherman’s Platter. It was filled with fried fish, shrimp, scallops, clams and oysters. Not to mention the fries. Even splitting this massive plate, I couldn’t even begin to figure out how many calories I ate. Add to this the Fisherman’s View Summer Ale and life couldn’t have been better.  The guilt afterward was crushing.

How did I handle this lapse of judgement and debauchery? I made sure I ran every morning and toned it down the day before and day after with clean eating. Results? I was down a 1 1/2 this week. I’m officially in the teens now!

But, I feel lucky. That was a single day. It was also right after a horrible 3 week plateau where I seriously considered calling it a draw with my body and going into maintenance mode. I’m still cringing at how I wolfed down that amazing seafood. But, let’s be clear, I regret the act. I absolutely enjoyed every bite! Too much!

It’s the road trip where things are going to get interesting. Yes, I can cook. But, there are a number days where we have 6-7 hours of driving. That is a lot of sitting. I also haven’t a clue how I will get my runs in. I’m leaning on, and looking forward to, getting out on the local trails, but I’m also nervous that I don’t know the area and a little girl out in the woods by herself could run into a big bad wolf. I’m not a big pond and lake swimmer. I like clear water and clean beach. Some places we stay have pools, but I’ve typically found RV campgrounds (even the cushiest) have highly chlorinated pools that kill my eyes (too much peeing going on in those pools).

So, this week I’m building my plan to offset the days when we do go out and have some local grub and watch our butts spread across the RV seat. Not sure how this will work, but I’ll report during and after the trip. I’m hoping I can pull off at least a pound if not two over the next two weeks. We’ll see. Wish me luck.

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!

 

Buddy Up For Fitness

frog fitness

I’ve never been one to exercise with others. I like to run alone.  If do hit the gym with a friend we go our separate ways. I need to get in my zone.  So when my husband was watching my progress and saw how the weight was coming off and my body was remolding itself to “human” from “blob”, it incented him to get on MyFitnessPal, buy a Garmin watch, and a Garmin Scale. A month later, he’s down 6 pounds and toning up.

To be fair, he wasn’t dealing with more than the Holiday ten pounds. He was never really chubby but his frustration was he was getting a dad body. He always moved about 5 pounds over the holidays, and to be honest, I liked snuggling against him in the winter better than the summer when his body was hard and bonier. But, Tom wasn’t happy, so power to him to join me on the program.

Now, this has its positives and negatives. The positive is that it actually is motivating me more. My competitiveness kicks in and if Tom has days with more steps, more exercise time, and more intensity it drives me crazy. This make me push myself a bit more. For example, today I got myself to find a way to stay on the elliptical for 30 minutes at high intensity and then move to the treadmill with a high incline and faster pace for an hour.

On the other hand, Tom eats into my treadmill time by getting on himself for 60 – 90 minutes about the same time I would. I have to share, which kicks in my childish self that pouts grouchily as I need to work around him. “You could get on the elliptical when he is on the treadmill,”  you say. And, you are right. But, that means there is someone distracting me from my zone (which is a big reason why I even hate going to the gym).

I just need to get over it. The best thing is that the two of us are going to be ready for the warm weather when we can go out for bike rides, hikes and runs. Toms keeping an eye out for a day to hike Mt Monadnock. We talked about a hike up Falling Water trail to Lafayette and Haystack then down Bridle Trail, taking pictures of us in the same spots from 25 years ago. I’m looking forward to some morning jogs along the beach together and then jumping into the ocean to cool off. And, the thought of hitting the slopes next winter isn’t causing anxiety but rather joy. In the end, the positives of doing cool stuff together are definitely better than my petulant child alter ego.

BTW – here’s the eclectic playlist that finally got me over my elliptical hump to drive my intensity to 90% and HR to 154 for 30 min.  I also hit 10650 steps before lunch today. This (chubby)girl will be road ready in no time!

Rooster – Alice in Chains
Spoonman – Soundgarden
Wherever I May Roam – Metallica
Break On Through To The Other Side – The Doors
Silent Lucidity – Queensryche
Lights – Journey
Rock and Roll Never Forgets – Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
New World Man – Rush
Here By Me – 3 Doors Down
Even Flow – Pearl Jam
Black Hole Sun – Soundgarden
She Talks To Angels – The Black Crowes
Welcome To The Jungle – Guns n Roses
Turn the Page (Live) – Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
Don’t Fear The Repear – Blue Oyster Cult
Don’t Tread On Me – Metallica
Only The Young – Jouney
You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones
Turn! Turn! Turn! – The Byrds
Black – Pearl Jam
Love Her Madly – The Doors
Burning For You – Blue Oyster Cult
Hard To Handle – The Black Crows
Rockstar – Nickelback (even for the Nickelback haters you need to end on this!)