Longish Bike Ride

Kris and I went for a 10 mile ride on our bikes today! I know this still isn’t a very long distance, but it is the furthest we’ve ever gone, so I felt accomplished!

A number of things on this ride made me feel accomplished, actually. First of all, this was one of my first times riding on major roads. To be fair, we did get off and walk on the sidewalk on a road that is basically a highway off ramp, and on the busiest road we rode on, there is a dedicated bike lane, but it was still a little scary! A second accomplishment was that I managed to use hand signals properly without falling over. Another was that we went up several hills (over 500 feet of climbing!), which I need to practice doing as there is a fairly steep hill on my planned commute in the fall. I have been nervous about that hill on my commute ever since buying the bike, but doing hills for the first time today showed me it would not be THAT bad (hopefully). Finally, at the end, neither of us felt like we were going to die. We would really like to be able to ride our city’s entire “greenbelt,” which is approximately 20 miles. If 10 miles didn’t wipe us out THAT badly, I’m sure that we can work our way up to that sooner or later.

There were a couple things that I still felt uncomfortable with, though. First, I am still incredibly uncoordinated, especially compared to Kris. For example, he has already become a pro at his toe clips. Because of my lack of coordination, I feel like I could benefit from having them (I have trouble keeping up with him on downhills because my feet fly off the pedals when I’m trying to pedal so that I can shift), but I also feel like I wouldn’t ever be able to get them on because of my lack of coordination. I seriously almost wrecked trying to itch my face today! Second, because I am not very confident about my abilities, I’m in a state of anxiety the entire time, things that would normally be minor annoyances become major stressors to me. For example, I don’t like to lead when we are riding, because I am bad at directions, so when Kris decided that I was going to lead and then that we were going to change up our route 3/4 of the way through (resulting in me having absolutely no idea how to get home from where we were), instead of explaining to him in a reasonable manner that this made me nervous and uncomfortable, I started yelling at him, accusing him of things like “never considering my feelings” and “forcing me to do things I hate” and swearing in front of small children. Sorry, hun, that might have been an overreaction :/ My state of anxiety makes it hard for me to enjoy the scenery as well. We rode through Wildwood today (I have a post about how awesome this park is), and I was so nervous the whole time that I could barely enjoy the scenery, because first Kris got so far ahead of me that I lost him and then when I caught back up he made me lead. I did end up enjoying some scenery after that, but it really took me awhile to calm down.

After our ride, we went out for an awesome lunch (technically, they were serving brunch, but can you still call it brunch if you already ate breakfast and it is afternoon?) and then tried to go look at some cycling gear. Kris’s bike has a rear rack for panniers, but really nothing else on it. We decided we’d go out and look for some stuff as we didn’t even have a place to attach water bottles – I had to carry one in my backpack! This did not go well, however, though. We went to Dick’s because I assumed they would have a large selection of gear for cyclists just like they do for other sports. I felt like their selection was seriously lacking, though (except in helmets – they had aisles of them!). We almost bought Kris a pannier but decided we wanted to shop around more (they only had 2 options). I’m thinking about just ordering stuff off of Amazon, but I’m afraid I don’t know what I’m doing. Here are some options I’m considering, in order of priority:

  • Bell. You must have one by law in Indiana, and Kris is terrible at yelling at peds anway. This one looks cheap and simple…or do I need one with all the bells and whistles 😉
  • Lights (or another). I imagine we will both be riding at night but I have no idea what I’m doing. I saw advice to get ones with LEDs but I don’t know what the LED number means and I also saw advice to get one with at least 300 lumens but many of these don’t have info on that feature?
  • Waterbottle cage. A simple one like this should be fine, yes? Oh, and Kris doesn’t have holes in his frame for one, so I’m guessing something like this would work?
  • Panniers. Kris liked this one for his purposes at Dick’s. I’m thinking about mostly using my waterproof backpack since I’ll have to lug my laptop around, but I’m still thinking of getting a rack and panniers for non school supplies. I’m also having trouble finding a rear rack that would hold up to 50 lbs for my bike on Amazon and they didn’t have any at Dicks (no clue how much Kris’s holds, but I imagine it’s sturdy, Google tells me it is some sort of fancy vintage one). I know I saw some at the LBS at school, maybe I’ll check one here.
  • Fenders. I feel like these ones would look “pretty” on both of our bikes. However, at Dicks, one thing they actually had a lot of was fenders, and they had some really rugged looking plastic ones with reflectors and crap. Would those be more functional?

Oh, and while I’m begging for help, what is this thing called? And by this thing, I mean the plastic part between my wheel and gears that the red arrow is pointing at. Mine is slightly broken and I don’t know what it is called to buy a new one.

Remember Your Sunscreen!

Just a short post today – I went out for a “long” run this morning and came home having completely “only” 6 miles. I haven’t run too much since my half so I thought I’d shoot for 6 and depending on how I felt at the turnaround spot I’d got a little longer (usually this method works for running longer distances). Today, however was incredibly unpleasant.

I forgot to stretch yesterday after running, which was a huge mistake considering that I was super sore from falling over already. Thus, my legs were sore and stiff when I started out and they never really loosened up. Instead, specific places on them started to have pain. At least I wasn’t in that bad of pain – I ran past some other runner who was making a face like every step forward was about to kill her. I know some people applaud those who run through major pain and injuries for their commitment, but in most cases, I think the decision to run while injured is foolish, because in the long run, you might hurt yourself very badly to the point that instead of taking 1-2 days off of running, you are taking off weeks to heal, and that sounds worse to me!

In addition to being stiff and sore, I felt like I was running through a bowl of soup. It was only in the mid 70s, but the humidity was really high and I run along a river which means bugs everywhere! There was also almost no wind. I think the worst part of the humidity is that it slows me down soooo much. I could barely keep under a 10 minute pace today. I hate it when my pace is affected like that – I KNOW it is because of the humidity, but I still have negative thoughts and beat myself up fearing it might be because I’m a horrible, lazy, terrible runner. Logically, I know that isn’t true, but I always feel like I’ve done something wrong and will never recover after a slow run like that, and it happens A LOT in the summer.

I also was not very comfortable with my getup. I tried to wear as little clothing as possible due to the heat, humidity, and lack of clouds in the sky. My shirt, a tank with a (real) built in bra was great, but my running skirt was not. When I first got these I thought they would be great because they would let me wear those super tight super short shorts without revealing my floppy extra thigh skin too badly, with the plus of being super cute. Instead, the little shorts inside are just super uncomfortable because they keep riding up! Perhaps it is because I bought super cheap ones – I did, after all, buy Target brand running skirts at Goodwill (at least they were still new with tags). Any recommendations on running skirt brands?

In addition to all of this, I forgot to wear sunscreen. Kris assures me that it isn’t that noticeable, but all I could see when I got home to shower was the shape of my racerback tanktop on my back 😦 I am also developing a line around my ankles from wearing socks. Ugh. I guess I’d get these even if I wore sunscreen, as on my whiter than white skin nothing can keep out the rays of the sun, but at least my tan lines would not be as dramatic. Also, I’m really paranoid about skin cancer and the aging effects of sun, so I typically wear it all day every day no matter what I am doing – forgetting it today was an artifact of cleaning the bathroom yesterday and moving it, messing up my routine (it wasn’t directly beside my lotion and deodorant).

Oh well, the day won’t be too depressing at least – pizza and board games later!

Foods on Fridays

I woke up feeling extremely sore this morning, and had no idea why. I asked Kris if he felt sore, thinking I might still be sore from our trip or something, even though this would make very little sense as I was not sore yesterday. He was not still sore, so the only thing that I can conclude is that this is delayed onset soreness from yesterday. What happened yesterday? Belle was so determined to chase a groundhog in the park that SHE PULLED ME FLAT ON MY FACE! This would also explain why my right arm (which was holding the leash) would be the most sore. Still, it didn’t hurt that badly at the time, so I’m fairly surprised.

Also: if your upper body and arms are sore, do not decide that today is a good day to clean your claw foot tub. Why? Because this contraption has not one, not two, but THREE shower curtains that are suspended from bars that hang from the ceiling and are higher than your head. This means you will be holding your sore arms above your head for quite awhile. Oh, and you will also need to remove that silly little quarter curtain thingy with bags in it to hold your stuff because that claw foot tub that seemed like such a good idea at first turned out to have zero storage. Actually, the moral of this tale may be to not get a claw foot tub. Just don’t – they are overrated.


This post is supposed to be about food, though, so I will stop complaining about my chores and move on to talking about food!

Overall, I was not too displeased with the choices that I made in New York. I kept it to a reasonable 3 meals and 1-2 snacks/desserts per day. Also, I did not eat enormous portions at any of the meals. For example, even on the pizza day, we ordered a small pizza, so eating half of it was more like my normal 1/4 (who am I kidding I still eat half) of a large pizza. I also tried to get small servings every time we got snacks like gelato or to share snacks (like fries or pretzels) with Kris. Even at the M&M store, we basically bought one serving of peanut M&Ms each (while still not healthy, I was tempted to get myself a whole pound, so this was quite reasonable in comparison).

What were my over-indulgences, then?

Probably coffee with calories and alcohol. I was just soooooo thirsty and soooooo tired and soooooo hot that I kept drinking those frozen blended coffee beverage things that probably have like 500 calories each. I also had beer or wine at almost every meal (though, due to expense, I usually just had like one).

Normally I don’t drink so many calories, so these felt like indulgences to me. I also ate  more in the morning than I normally do while being less full. This was partially the fault of the hotel and partially my fault. The hotel provided a free hot breakfast. They actually had lots of things that would have been healthier/more filling, but because I was in a rush each of the days, I had a toasted mini bagel with cream cheese and a mini muffin. This sounds reasonable, but because the empty carbs weren’t very satisfying, I usually wound up feeling hungry and needing a snack before lunchtime. These were the most accessible quick things at the hotel, which is why I give them partial blame, but to be fair, they did have hard boiled eggs, cinnamon raisin oatmeal, and fruit that I could have picked instead – I just can’t resist the empty carbs. In retrospect, a couple of mini pastries + another mini pastry later in the morning is probably not the worst food decision anyone (including myself) has ever made, though.

I was also glad to find that upon returning home I found I was truly wanting to go back to my normal healthy habits rather than continuing to eat millions of donuts (ok, I had 3, not a million, and it was the first day when we didn’t really end up eating anything else “bad”). It probably helped that yesterday when I was at the doctor she suggested that instead of focusing so much on calories that I focus on “eating the rainbow” and making sure I get enough protein. I assured her that I track protein and supplement when strength training, which she was very glad to hear, but I knew she was right about the rainbow thing – eating the rainbow means making sure you try to eat fruits and veggies of a variety of colors throughout the day, and I know I do not eat nearly enough veggies nor varied enough fruits. This discussion at least inspired me to buy tri-color peppers, baby carrots, onions, spinach, red potatoes, blueberries, bananas, and strawberries! I know that is still pretty basic but at least I’m trying. I am sure I will improve at this.

I haven’t cooked much since getting back from NYC, so I don’t have any new recipes/cooking ideas to share (I made fajitas last night with the peppers and onions but they were meh), but I do have a couple of reviews of foods I didn’t make.

First, yesterday, I finally decided to try Pita Pit because it was like right next to the doctor’s office. This place is basically Subway with pitas, so it wasn’t THAT amazing or anything, but it was a nice healthy fast food place to try out. A plus side was that the food was actually pretty low in calories, so they at least had that going for their health claims (often “healthy” fast food only seems healthy, but it really isn’t). Note,however, that their “secret” sauce has something like 200 calories, while most of the others have FAR less – the one I put on my pita (chipolte) had less than half the calories! This can be avoided by looking at nutrition info ahead of time, though – they had a ton of better options. Another bonus was that they had fancier toppings than Subway, like roasted red peppers and feta cheese, which tasted great (along with numerous other veggies) on my chicken souvlaki pita. Con: it was a little pricey at $9 for a drink, pita, and chips or a cookie (I got baked chips). I’d go there again, though – thanks, Gab, for the suggestion of this place!

Second, when I came home from vacation, a free sample of Quest bars was at my door! I believe I ordered these free samples through some promotion that Hungry Girl was having. I have a few friends who swear by these (they do low carb diets) and I thought I’d try them out since they had pretty cool flavors and these friends are recommending them, but I’d have to actually drag myself to like GNC or something, whereas I can buy Clif bars at the regular grocery store, so I’ve been putting it off. The samples that I got were apple pie and cookie dough, and so far I’ve tried the apple pie. It tasted really good, but the texture was odd because it was really grainy, even after following the recommendation to microwave it. Sorry I didn’t take a picture to show you how unappetizing these look, but an image search will show you what I mean about the texture. Compared to other low-carb bars, though, it was really really really amazing. It was also extremely filling – I ate half before and half after my run and I didn’t even feel like having lunch till after 1 pm (normally I am starving by like 11:30 because I eat breakfast at like 6:30). Because Clif bars still have a lot of good flavors, a better texture, are more available, and I am not super focused on macros (the Quest bar is nutritionally superior), I will probably still rely on those for “oh no I forgot to pack lunch what will I eat” type snacks that I keep in my purse, but I would not be opposed to buying the Quest bars if I happened to come across some. Besides – I’ve heard the cookie dough is even better, so perhaps it will change my mind.


One more silly (warning: it’s only funny if you’re liberal) thing for you to enjoy this weekend that is at least somewhat related to running: go check out the reviews of the Mizuno Wave Rider at Amazon. This makes me sad I’m an overpronator and can’t wear neutral shoes 😦

Vacation Recap

Well, I’ve returned from NYC 😦

Actually, I’m glad we came back yesterday – the area we would need to drive through to get home from my parents flooded today, and I’m glad we didn’t get caught in that mess! Now I’m just hoping that our tornado watch does not spawn anything worse than the storm we had earlier, which dumped a lot of rain but didn’t really hurt anything.

Unfortunately, this means I am stuck with yet another rest day as I had a doctor’s appointment this morning and then it basically started raining. My rest days in New York weren’t really rest days anyway, though – all of that walking around and going up and down and up and down the stairs in and out of the subway was really tiring! Kris and I noticed that a lot of the people in the city were really in good shape and I’m not surprised – we were exhausted every night! It also probably explains why I “only” “gained” 6 lbs. I put those words in quotes because typically I wouldn’t consider a 6 lb gain small enough to say “only,” but I don’t even really consider it a gain because that puts me back at my happy weight of 127.

Anyway, I thought before moving on to my regularly scheduled programming tomorrow (Foods on Fridays) I’d provide a recap of the trip! Hopefully I can refrain from talking about food too much so that I can talk about it tomorrow without being redundant…

Saturday

This was the “worst” day of the vacation.

We traveled from my parents’ in the morning and ended up at our hotel in Newark around lunch time. The most confusing thing was actually figuring out where to park – we knew our hotel had free parking, but the lot they ended up having us park in seemed like it was for the restaurant, not the hotel…it just seemed too small! The only thing I can think of was that the airport was nearby so perhaps most guests didn’t actually have a car there.

After dropping off the car, we took a train into the city. We accidentally bought too many tickets, and had underestimated the cost of the tickets, so this was kind of stressful (I don’t remember why, but we thought the ticket cost was half of what it was – it was still far cheaper than staying in Manhattan, though). We also had a terrible time figuring out the subway at first – we didn’t find a map that we could carry around until MONDAY, so we were relying on the big maps on the walls in the stations.

We then headed over to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where we at first fell in love with the hipstery nature of the neighborhood, but then quickly realized that we probably were way too cool to be hipsters. We had gone there for a brewery tour, which was more like a 5 minute history lesson about what hops and barley are, and then the line for the beer was way too long to wait in, so we left the brewery empty handed. Next, we had been planning on going to a nearby bar with arcade games at the recommendation of a friend, but the bartender never served us! Therefore, our plans for the whole day were ruined within the first couple hours of our arrival.

We decided that we would instead head back to Manhattan so that we could walk across the Brooklyn Bridge (this was actually easier than starting in Brooklyn). We accidentally found ourselves in Chinatown, where we bought dinner, but picked a terrible place.  The food and service were both terrible! We eventually made our way to the bridge, and walking across it, though very touristy, was very fun! Our feet hurt at the end but it let us get in some nice views of the city right away. We then hung out in the park at the end for a bit, and tried to go to a bar there, but once again, we had terrible service – our server, despite having very few tables, was SO slow that we paid with cash because we didn’t want to wait even just a few minutes longer for her to bring back our credit card! You might be starting to see that this was a theme throughout our trip…

On the Brooklyn Bridge!

Sunday

This day again started out kind of poorly. We knew we were going to see Wicked and then go to a fancy dinner in the afternoon/evening, but making plans for Sunday morning had been difficult – nothing was open! I decided that maybe we could go to Central Park in the morning but then it was like over 80 degrees and we were dressed up so I was fairly certain that was a terrible idea. Kris saw that the American Museum of Natural History was there, but by the time we got there we would only have like 2 hours before we would have to leave for the play, and I didn’t want to spend $20 each for two hours. We reverted to my plan of walking around Central Park – we just went slowly and stopped a couple times to sit and eat hot dogs! This turned out to be really nice, actually.

Then, we finally went to see Wicked – seeing a Broadway musical had been a main reason that we decided to go to New York, and it was so worth it! The whole production was amazing! My only complaint was that they served the wine at the concession stand in coffee tumblers and it looked ridiculous in there. At least we got “free” souvenirs?

The wine filled like 1/4 of this so it just looked silly.

After seeing Wicked, we went to our “fancy” dinner. Unlike our other experiences, the food was great and our server was attentive – it was a Mediterranean restaurant and we both had lamb dishes that tasted way better than similar things we’ve had before. I felt embarrassed by my lack of classiness, though. We ordered a bottle of wine, and I had so little knowledge of wine etiquette that I had NO idea what to do when the server brought it out. We were apparently supposed to know to smell the cork and things of that nature. At least the wine tasted yummy (my extent of wine knowledge is yummy vs. gross).

Also, because the restaurant was in Times Square but we were a little early for our dinner reservation, we got to hang out there a bit. The Toys R Us was rumored to be cool, so we went in there, and they had a ferris wheel! I also went in Sephora, but it didn’t actually have anything that special. I think my favorite was the M&M store, and we almost didn’t go in! I jokingly suggested that we go to Hershey’s Chocolate World (we live like right by the real one, I’ve been there like 100 times), and then Kris noticed that there was a giant M&M store across the street, so we jokingly went in. It turned out that they had a giant wall that dispensed all kinds of M&M’s you could buy!

Monday

On Monday morning we had scheduled a harbor cruise so that we could see the Statue of Liberty as closely as possible (the statue is closed right now due to damage from Hurricane Sandy and reopens July 4). This was a great experience! We went down a little early to see the World Trade Center area and the financial district and then headed out on our cruise. It was nice to be out on a boat on such a hot day!

One World Trade Center is really impressive in person!

We had to wait FOREVER to get a picture with the bull. And there were a bunch of people in the back getting pics with his balls.

Too late to Occupy Wall Street 😦

Just a nice picture of us on the boat!

After the cruise, we got lunch in Little Italy. We had planned to go back and have a sit down meal after walking through and just grabbing gelato previously, but when we came back, a lot of places were closed due to work being done on a water main. We were roaming around looking for signs that places were open and about to cross the street towards one that was obviously open (it was super busy) when a doorman from another one practically dragged us in! I was happy with our choice there – we had planned on getting brick oven pizza but ended up getting a pasta lunch special because there was a fee to share a pizza, and the lasagna we had was great! We were able to get pizza later anyway at a place that did not charge us to share.

We also got to a couple of museums this day. First, we went to the National Museum of the American Indian. They had a really interesting display about Native Americans in the music industry, but a lot of things were closed/being redone. Considering it was free, I don’t regret going, but I think in the future I’ll go to the one in DC instead, as I’ve heard it is better. We were also able to go to the aforementioned natural history museum. I was really happy about this because I love history/science museums and HATE art museums and had been sad when I couldn’t find a non-art museum to go to in New York. I’m glad Kris accidentally saw this on the subway map! We still only got to spend about 3 hours there, but saw interesting exhibits on the vastness of space, Asian peoples, African peoples, and, of course, the dinosaurs! Last time I was at a T-Rex display (Sue in Chicago) I learned that T-Rex skulls are so heavy they can’t put them on the skeleton displays, which is why the skulls are in a separate box. At this one, I learned that there are only FIFTEEN complete T-Rex skulls in existence. Kris thinks I should make it a goal to get a picture with every one of them – hopefully that’s possible!

Best part of the museum? Selfie with Teddy Roosevelt!

It may not be one of the 15 real ones, but I had to take a pic with this golden dinosaur in a Louis Vuitton display.

 

Tuesday

On Tuesday morning, we had a tour of the UN scheduled. We planned on grabbing some bagels and going to Grand Central Station on the way (there was supposedly a free transit museum in there that we never found). We ended up being super early, but it was ok because this allowed us to see some other landmarks (like the Chrysler building, which we accidentally walked past without noticing the first time due to not looking UP) and get through security and buy some souvenirs. I had been looking for a coffee mug or magnet or something all week – yes, there are the street vendors/8 billion shops with them, but every one I went into had such cheap, low quality stuff that I couldn’t even bring myself to spend the $5 they were asking on it. Instead, I got nice mugs at the UN (though I’m starting to regret not buying the UN magnet bottle opener shaped like a beer cap with the UN symbol on it…). The tour of the UN was pretty cool, though I didn’t really learn anything new. I was surprised at how busy it was actually – they were taking like 3 groups of 10-15 people every 15 minutes!

We were pretty tired by this point, so at lunchtime we just got food from a cart and walked past all the fancy stores to see how fancy their windows were (the origin of the fancy dinosaur picture). We also rode down to Coney Island to play skee-ball and eat some chili dogs. I was actually a little disappointed in the chili dogs, as I think I’ve prepared yummier chili dogs of the same brand at my house, but perhaps it was the heat. I was also a little disappointed that I decided against bringing our bathing suits – it was SOOO hot out. At least we had fun playing skee-ball – my machine kept giving me twice as many points as Kris, even though I wasn’t doing any better!

Because we were tired, we went back to the hotel before dinner. Having had a “snack” of chili dogs and french fries, we planned on just getting a small appetizer and a couple drinks at the hotel bar. Here came our final bad service experience. We go down to the hotel bar, which is in a fancy restaurant (but the bar has a less fancy menu), and find that the entire bar area is being taken up by some private event. The host seats us in the  “lounge” area as there is no bar to sit at, but our server never realizes we are there. After complaining, we finally end up with a table. The server then brings us dinner menus even though we had at this point asked twice for the bar menu (I know we were taking up a table, but they had no bar to take up instead!). After all this time, I am starving, so I end up ordering a separate appetizer from Kris (instead of just sharing one) and dessert, and with all of this opulence, decide more wine can’t hurt. This mean that our “snack” essentially became a fancy dinner. At least this server didn’t make me sniff the wine! And to be fair to him, he probably wasn’t used to dealing with the bar folk – tons of them were ending up in the restaurant, ordering things like hot wings while wearing t-shirts while sitting next to businessfolk ordering $30 bland fish.

Wednesday

Even our drive back was eventful – our vehicle was attacked by cicadas and we had to experience a full service gas station in Jersey!

Overall I’d say it was a wonderful trip 🙂

SOON

Working Out Away From Home

While I’m in NYC, I’m not really doing any “formal” exercise. Kris and I will be walking around a lot, so I’ll be active, but I’m not planning on any specific workouts to do. This is largely related to the reasons that I am not counting calories while I am there – the trip is about spending time with Kris, not making sure I don’t gain a single pound! Plus, if you can’t tell, I am abysmal at giving my body rest days, so a few days off will probably be good for me.

Sometimes, however, I really do want to work out when out of town. This can be really difficult, especially if staying with family. I am an only child, so my family always wants all of my attention all of the time. When training for my half marathon, I thought for over a week in advance about how I was going to actually manage to run 9 miles while visiting them. This was actually more difficult for me in the past, when I had a fear of treadmills – I used to be completely unable to run in unfamiliar places if my only option was a treadmill! Since I’ve made some progress on this front, though, I thought I’d do a short post on tips on how to work out when away from home (and perhaps how to squeeze it in around difficult families, if you have that problem).

If you are staying in a hotel:

  • Make sure you know their fitness center policies. I once went to use a fitness center at 5 AM, assuming it was open 24 hours, but it was not! I had to wait until 6 AM to do my workout that day, and I was lucky I still had time. You might also want to make sure that you don’t have to pay for access (or, if you do, that you are ok with that).
  • Prepare some bodyweight workouts, just in case! There is usually enough room to do some pushups, squats, lunges, etc.
  • If you are sharing the room and don’t want to disturb the other person by working out, perhaps suggest going for a walk to explore this new location together, or head out for one on your own, if they are not interested.

Staying with friends/family:

  • Plan ahead! Think of good times, good locations, etc. You don’t want to assume you will be able to squeak your 10 mile run in before the big family bbq starts (people might show up early, you might get asked to help prepare). You also don’t want to just assume there is a good location for running 10 miles right out the door. You could probably check for local options on sites like runkeeper or mapmyrun.
  • If you think you will face naysayers, just try to avoid talking to them about it. You don’t want to waste the 30 minutes you had planned for your workout arguing with the person about why you don’t need to workout. Just try to avoid mentioning it. What usually works best for me is to get dressed, announce I am going to go run (you could probably avoid the announcement step if you aren’t leaving the house), and leave without discussing it. If I stick around to discuss it, I won’t go, because I won’t actually have any time left to run. One potential downside – this might necessitate being willing to wake up before everyone else.
  • Again, prepare bodyweight workouts, just in case you can’t do much else. I can usually do these in secret in the guestroom when visiting my family, giving them no opportunity to interrupt.

If all else fails: just try your best to watch your diet. I know this is difficult when traveling as well, but remember that weight loss/maintenance is more about keeping one’s diet in check than getting exercise. It is a lot easier for me to turn down a pastry than it is for me to sneak in a 30 minute run so that I can burn off the calories of said pastry. And remember – if it truly is a vacation, and this isn’t something you have to do regularly, a few days of poor eating choices will not derail you for life, as long as you return to old habits at home and try to keep up your new habits as best as possible while on your trip .

One major failing of this list: I don’t have good options for strength training on here – most hotel gyms don’t have barbells, and you obviously can’t borrow them from your local gym for a week. How do those of you who lift heavy keep up with workouts when out of town?

Days that Don’t “Count”

I mentioned briefly on Friday that I don’t plan to count calories on this vacation. Why, one might ask, would I choose to do this – is this not a new lifestyle that I have chosen for myself? Won’t I fail if I don’t “stick with it?”

There are just certain days that I do not count. Basically, these are limited to extremely special occasions, such as major holiday and events. The following are examples:

  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • My Wedding Day

I don’t refrain from counting on these days just so that I can gorge myself with food – in fact, on my wedding day I almost PASSED OUT because I hadn’t eaten enough (I obviously do eat a lot on Thanksgiving and Christmas, though). I refrain because my calorie counting does distract me, as unobtrusive as the use of the MyFitnessPal app is, and the people I am celebrating with on those days deserve my undivided attention, without me constantly thinking about how many calories the cranberry sauce has. Since my vacation is a belated honeymoon, I think that Kris deserves my full attention. I also deserve to relax a little – that is what vacations are about. And honestly, these days are probably less than 10 days a year. In the grand scheme of things, let’s say eat something like 700 extra calories each of these days – I would gain TWO pounds of real weight. That’s it. Obviously, I sometimes gain more in water weight after such extravaganzas, but that always goes away after a day or two of being back on track.

Now, this is not to say that these are my only “cheat” days. Cheat days is a pretty loose term for me – I tend to think of my calories as a weekly budget – I might not be very hungry on a rest day, leaving me with 200-300 extra calories, but then on Saturday night, even if I’m not that hungry, I might sneak in an extra beer or two but still come in under my goal for the week. So Saturday might look like a cheat day with the extra calories, but because I balanced it out, I don’t consider it one. Instead, I consider it eating like a “normal” person, that has some days where they aren’t very hungry and some days where they indulge a little. I only really consider something a cheat day if I end up going over my calories for the week because of it. Some of these days are purposeful, and some are not. Note: I still count EVERYTHING on my cheat days. Examples of these:

  • Other people’s weddings
  • Major family cookouts (something like 4th of July)
  • Birthdays
  • Date nights (only when I’m not staying with Kris for weeks at a time)
  • Really really really sad days – these should probably fall into days that don’t count, but usually I’m so sad the routine is helpful (sorry I counted calories at your funeral, Granny, though I think you would have approved)

I try to be careful not to have too many of these days. When I was heavy, one of the reasons I would overeat is that I would declare everything a special occasion. Like, on a “normal” day I wouldn’t eat very much, but on “special” days, I could. The problem is that when every day is “special,” special days become normal days, and I overeat. This is why I still count calories on cheat days – I then know how much damage I actually did. This means, for example, that when Kris comes to visit for 4 days and I go over by 300 calories on average each day, and then I see a TEN pound gain on the scale, I know it is realistically more like a one pound gain at the most. Also, this allows me to be accountable – if I start to creep up in my happy range (125-130), I know it isn’t for inexplicable reasons, but because I’ve gone over by 500 calories each week every week for a month. This isn’t really that many calories, but it is enough to put me into a bloaty phase where my weight stays up a little and I know that if I don’t cut back, it might pop up above 130 for more than just a random day or two. Usually, because this is mostly bloaty water weight, a week or so of eating on track will put me back down to the middle or lower end of this range. As long as I count these days, it is a reminder that very few days are really special enough to warrant wanton eating, and I have done well with not resorting to old habits thus far.

Here is to hoping I don’t gain TOO much water weight on vacation, though!

Foods on Fridays

Happy first day of summer, everyone! I hope you all were able to do something fun to celebrate – I sure did! I took a nice walk with Belle followed by a quick ride on my bike, and rode at the super fast (for me!) speed of 12mph for the first time. Additionally, after seeing my story on Runs for Cookies and Reddit, From Fat to Finish Line decided to feature me as a success story on their Facebook page. You should go check it out – not just because I’m featured there, but because it features other success stories, and is run by a group of success stories – you see, it is a group of 12 people who are making a documentary about how they all lost 100 lbs and ran the 200 mile Ragnar Relay Race! On top of all this, I am departing for my trip to New York in less than 2 hours! Eek!

Now, on to the food!

This week was fairly unexciting in terms of food – I mostly ate leftover lasagna that I had prepared to eat the night before my half marathon for lunch all week and when I ran out of that I turned to PB&J. I also made pancakes for breakfast every single day – talk about boring! I at least tried to make them different by adding cinnamon one day (this was almost exciting, as I accidentally grabbed paprika instead of cinnamon due to not having yet had my coffee!). Also, I switched back to my normal Bisquick Heart Healthy mix, which was a major improvement (I previously complained about the quality of Bisquick Complete Whole Wheat). One nice thing was that I did get a chance to use my new charcoal grill again, and it went far better than it did last time, mostly because I did not try to make ALL the food on the grill. We had grilled tilapia which I had covered in olive oil, lemon juice, Old Bay, and pepper, with steamed broccoli and baked potato slices (eaten with ketchup so I could pretend they were fries). This was about as exciting as dinner got, though.

One positive aspect of the boring food choices this week has been that I haven’t really been eating a lot of unhealthy snacks – yeah, with all this activity, I’ve had room for a beer or two and a small bowl of ice cream at night after dinner most days, but throughout the day, I’ve been snacking on cheese and crackers, fresh fruit, or Greek yogurt! It helps to have my husband around, because I don’t want to encourage too many “bad” choices as he is trying to get healthier right now. Also, with all of our walking, cycling, and my running, I’ve actually had difficulty eating enough. I’ve taken to having a bowl of cereal with peanut butter before bed some days to help with the caloric intake, in fact. Normally, I wouldn’t be worried – especially as I’m going on a vacation where I don’t plan to count calories – but I weighed myself yesterday, and despite my rant the other day about how I don’t want to lose anymore weight because I’m getting too skinny, I was down yet another 2 pounds, to 121. Honestly, I’m a little concerned – 127 was definitely a happy weight for me, and I’m quite far below that now. I know this isn’t the typical thing people complain about (who would ever think I would be complaining about being TOO skinny) but I worry very much about my mental well being in terms of diet and exercise – I’m afraid that if I stay at this weight too long, I will start to think of this as a realistic goal weight, and then be disappointed when I inevitably get back up to 127. I don’t want that to happen, so I’m trying to keep things in check. We’ll see how things are after my vacation!

Oh – and one final thing! I finally figured out how to use Bloglovin, so if you follow the link below, you can now follow me on there:

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