Focus on Food

So getting back on the calorie counting wagon worked, for the most part. There was a very long, wine-filled steak dinner on Wednesday, but even that ended up not being as bad as it could have been. After all, an 8 oz. filet is a lot less calorie-rich than a 16 oz. “well-marbled” Wagyu ribeye, right?

And I noticed that once I started paying attention to — read: writing down every bit of — my food, my body responded. Less bloated, skin better, more energy, even in just a few days.  This is both good and bad. Good because, well, I feel better! Bad because it means I can always give myself the excuse to fall back into bad habits: Oh, I know it’s not great that I’m eating this cannoli, but tomorrow I’ll just go back to counting calories and feel great again in a few days.

It is, of course, not a bad thing to know that if I mess up I can always go back to basics. But every time I mess up, I take a step or three backwards and I have to work that much harder to make up for it. It would be nice not to have to work that hard! It would be nice to just be motivated to stay on track all the time!

But alas, I like the finer things too much: good wine, pasta, sauces made with butter, bacon. And I like those things not in moderation! Frankly, it’s hard to enjoy those things in moderation at all — they are so much better in big, delicious, totally satisfying quantities.

I’m going to work on it, though. It helps that I haven’t been to the grocery store in two weeks. 🙂 I’m just trying to eat my way through the stuff we have in the freezer and pantry — which is working, by the way. I discovered some long-frozen tenderloin in the freezer yesterday (well wrapped, of course!) and decided to make pho. The only think I lacked was ginger and it still turned out just fine.

I don’t know how long I can keep that up, but the refrigerator is starting to look much more bare as I make my way through various jars, more recent leftovers, and the goodies from the farmers’ market I’ve picked up the last few weeks.

So here’s to healthy eating.

Not bad, not bad at all

After avoiding the scale for three and a half weeks because of a touch of overindulgence and a lack of more regular workouts during that time, I finally weighed myself last night. And the scale told me that I’ve lost a total of seven pounds since March 9. Which is not bad, folks, not bad at all. Now, the last pound and a half of that took almost four weeks to come off (hello, plateau) but I think I’m over the hump and back on track now.

More to the point, I put on a pair of pants this morning that I haven’t worn in two years. TWO YEARS. And they fit better now than they did then. Which probably says more about the yoga and the running than it does about the weight loss.

My original goal was to lose 12 pounds by June 10 (we’re going to Mexico). That’s only four weeks away, though, and I am not sure I can lose the last five pounds in four weeks, especially considering I’m traveling this week, next weekend, and over Memorial Day weekend. But that’s OK—I’m feeling good about my body, good enough to put on a swimsuit for five days and that’s what the goal was always about.

Since I know I won’t meet my original goal, I set a new goal for myself—to get back to my wedding weight by August 31. That’s an additional five pounds, for a total of 10 pounds less than I weigh right now, and 17 total. It’s a bit of a longshot—not only am I not sure I can actually lose those last five pounds but I’m also pretty sure I can’t maintain that weight. I’d rather hit my original goal and keep getting fit than starve myself down to my wedding weight and then watch myself gain those five pounds right back. But we’ll see.  If I can do it slowly and steadily over the summer—in other words, the right way—maybe I can get there and stay there.

Running

I started Couch to 5K last week.  Well, I didn’t really “start” it—I’m fit enough that starting at the beginning seemed like a waste of time.  So I started at Week 3, which was last week.  Week 3 is about 1/3 running, 2/3 walking.  I’m now into Week 4—about half running, half walking.

The weather has finally gotten nice enough that I can not only do some of my runs outside but I can also take the dog out with me. And he is loving it. My dog has never had it so good! He jogs alongside me happily, then trots alongside me happily, then jogs alongside me happily, as I cycle through the timed runs and walks.

But I’m not sure I’m loving it. I mean, I am—I am excited to keep working on my fitness (and keep losing weight)—but I also really don’t like running outside. To be fair, I’ve done some of my runs on the treadmill (at a 1% incline to simulate some resistance), and those are pretty easy. The outdoor runs, though. Gah.

To keep me on track, I’m using an Android app (info available at that link up there), and I bought a “power pouch” top from Gracie’s Gear so I can jog without carrying my keys or phone in my hands, and those things are helping. It’s easier to keep going if I’m not also juggling my gear. But I’m starting to suspect that I’m never going to love running outside. I’ve never had much success running outside, even back when I was running 12 miles a week (and egads, that was 12 years ago).

I’m not giving up, though. I’m pushing through it. This is really what Couch to 5K is for—to get people to fall in love with running by making it easier for them to actually do it for more than a few minutes at a time. So we’ll see how my progress is in a few weeks. I do feel awesome at the end of my runs, so maybe the endorphins will actually be addictive, like they’re supposed to be.

This is my new motivation

I really do hate counting calories and obsessing about what I eat.

But this morning I put on a sweater that I’ve owned for 9 years but haven’t worn in at least 2 because in those last 2 years it had become unflatteringly tight on my arms (we’re talking painted-on tight).

It looks fabulous.

That means I can once again wear clothes (at least on my top) that I wore not only 2 years ago when I was last at my current weight, but also that I wore 7 years ago when I was 10 lbs. lighter than I am now—and almost 17 lbs. lighter than I was two months ago.  I can once again wear clothes that I wore when I was in my 20s.

Yeah, that’s the motivation now.

Tuesday night list

  1. My husband tells me I’ve lost weight in my neck. I’ve lost about 6 lbs. Was I developing wattle?
  2. Sharing an office makes me unproductive. It’s that or my chronic procrastination.
  3. I still don’t have a job to go to when my current gig ends.
  4. My dog has a slow-growing, probably inoperable nerve tumor under his eye. He’ll live for a while yet, but we know his life is shortened because of it.
  5. I have gum recession on some of my upper teeth that has caused me to avoid chewing on one side of my mouth for the last five months.
  6. While I love my job, sometimes the stuff I have to deal with is really depressing.
  7. An organization I think very highly of is advertising my dream job, but because it’s a temporary fellowship and pays peanuts, I can’t even consider applying.
  8. This list is a total downer.
  9. Despite that, I am pretty content.

Lighter

I’m lighter. Literally.

Since March 9, I’ve lost five pounds.

I know, it’s not a lot—right at a pound a week, average. But considering I’ve tried no fewer than three times in the last three years to lose some of this weight, this is big news. And considering I’m only trying to lose 12 pounds total, it’s even bigger news.

I’m not doing Weight Watchers or Slim Fast or Jenny or any of the other “systems.” I’m not doing anything more dramatic than tracking my calories and activity on Spark People. I’ve used other online tracking sites before and haven’t had the same success, and I think there are a couple of reasons for that. First, a lot of online trackers show you a “net negative”—how many calories you’re down for the day. So, if I eat 1500 calories and work out for a burn of 250, and my base metabolic rate is 1800 (which seems high, but is theoretically what the websites say it should be for someone of my size and activity level), I show a “net negative” of 550. Seeing that kind of net negative just encourages me to make sure I have a negative every day, but doesn’t really encourage me to keep my consumption under a certain amount every day. I can see my net negative on Spark People, but I have to dig for it. Instead of making a net negative the primary goal, Spark People sets a daily consumption range—calories and fat, carbs, protein—as the primary goal. Maintaining a consistent pattern in how much and what I eat is so much better for me. Second, Spark People has some really nice tracking tools and reports—at least better than any other site I’ve seen (though I haven’t looked very hard). So that’s what I’ve gone with.

I haven’t used any of the community features and I haven’t really bothered with most of their articles or other offerings—the first, for reasons I explain below; the second, because I don’t need advice on what to eat.  I already eat well—I cook dinner almost every night, I never eat fast food, and I avoid sweets.  It’s sort of discouraging, in fact, to have eating habits like mine and still need to lose 12 pounds.  I do everything right! Healthy, lean meats, fresh vegetables, whole grain pasta, lowfat milk and cheese! Hell, I even make my own bread. But I eat too much of all of it.  The biggest lesson for me so far has been portion control.

As to the community features, well, I haven’t really been broadcasting my attempt to lose this weight because I didn’t want to fail publicly—or worse, succeed but have people tell me I really just look the same. But I think I’ve finally lost enough that I don’t look the same—I can see the difference in my waist and tummy and I even think my thighs and legs are a touch slimmer.  So this is my official coming out—I am actively trying to lose weight, and tracking myself as I go.

It feels good to finally drop some of these pounds. A lot of them are summer associate pounds, and I’m quite happy to shed those, three years later. I’m not quite back to what I weighed when I started law school, but I’m not all that far away, either.  And with each pound I lose, I feel like I lose some of the bad traits I picked up in law school: the overall negative outlook, the insecurity and lack of self-confidence, the tendency to self-comfort in unhealthy ways.

Here’s to the last seven pounds—and, heck, if I can do it, five more after that. I’d love to get back to the weight I was when I got married!