Organization Spree!

Today I was finally able to go for a run! I went at some point last week, but it has either been too cold/rainy/icy to go since. The last time I went for a run I was INCREDIBLY slow (probably due to not running for like, a week) and even felt sick in the middle. Today I thought everything was going fine until I looked at my watch and it seemed that my pace had dropped precipitously. I then realized that the watch was about .3 miles behind my actual distance, but I figured it wasn’t a big deal and I’d just keep an eye on my watch in the future to see if it keeps messing up. When I got home and uploaded the workout, though, it corrected the distance. Because of it’s error, it added in a space of .3 miles where it said I ran something like 3:00 per mile, which was amusing. Hopefully it goes back to working correctly!

My run today was also interesting because of all the people out gawking at the river. It is slightly flooded right now (hoping we don’t get any rain for awhile so it can go back down) and covered in ice. Because it was sort of sunny and warm (mostly cloudy and 40 degrees) people were actually venturing out into the park and I swear I saw like 5 separate families taking pictures of the river, and most of them were taking pictures with tablets, which gave me great amusement. To be fair, I did take a picture of the river yesterday when we had super thick fog and it was really really creepy.

The dark thing in the mist is an island in the middle of the river. Keep in mind that island is close enough that Google Maps used to think I lived on it.

I also got to see a local stray cat that hangs around. There are three main cats, and this is the friendly one. He typically hangs out at a neighbor’s across the street but they must have been ignoring him today, because he followed me for a whole block and then when I got to my porch was like jumping all over me and meowing until Kris brought him (or her, I guess) out some food. Belle was apparently super jealous while I was standing out there with the cat and kept pushing the window blinds open to watch us. Then she wouldn’t stop sniffing me when I came in!

Observe my beautiful and well-matched running outfit.


Kris and I have actually spent most of the weekend re-organizing the house now that I am home for a lengthy time period. I think organizing/buying the new things that organizing entails helps us to deal with stress, too, which is another reason we are doing it. We have a lot of plans for what to do over the next couple of weeks/months:

  • Move my sewing stuff out of the living room in order to set up a bike storage area.
  • Get some sort of cabinet for the dining room to store extra kitchen stuff in.
  • Clean up our gross basement that never really recovered from the last flood so that we can store more things down there and perhaps put in a small gym/Warhammer play area.
  • Clean up the guest room so that it can be a Warhammer crafting/sewing area in addition to being a guest room.
  • Set up the office so that both Kris and I can fit in there.

This weekend we decided to tackle setting up the office. We started by moving all of the Warhammer and sewing stuff into the guest room, which is now a disaster zone and will probably have to be the next project. We then took the large desk that was in the office out to move to the basement for storage so that we could move in the desk I had been using for sewing, a filing cabinet that had been in the sewing area, and a new small desk that we bought. With a little bit of rearranging – and a lot of throwing away random old papers we had been keeping since 2007 or so – we were able to fit everything in.

“Before” (technically from the day we moved in, so it was WAY messier today):

After:

My area. This is to the right of the doorway . You cannot see this area in the before photo, the white bookshelf in the corner of this photo was where the desk was, and the big desk extended all the way to where the bookshelf is now or even past that point.

Where the old desk used to be. The taller bookshelf was moved from where Kris’s desk is now. He is using the filing cabinet as an ottoman.

Kris’s desk area as seen from mine. I am glad we were able to set up dual workspaces in such a tiny room! In the before photo, this area is to the left of the door and was where the taller bookshelf was.

The only thing that doesn’t really fit: Belle’s bed (it used to lay under the large desk). She only used it when she was scared, anyway. To give you an idea of how little she uses this particular bed, it was her first bed we ever bought her. She has gone through like 5 other beds in various parts of the house, and this one is still in near-perfect condition.

We also got a bit of a headstart on the basement – while looking for a cheapo desk for me, we found some plastic shelving units for the basement, and with that and the old desk, we were able to clean up the stuff were were storing in the basement quite a bit, giving us room to move around and clean so we can put in a full-size Warhammer play table. That will be a lengthy project, though, as the old tenant left a bunch of crap here and all of it was covered in floodwater and therefore needs to be disposed of. Some of this is really frustrating – my parents are going to give us some old weights, but they have no weight bench. There is a weight bench in the basement, but the floodwaters ruined it. This means I will have to throw it away and buy a new one. There are also two road bikes down there that are in terrible condition. I am hoping that if we wash them down we can perhaps selvage the frames, but I am afraid they will be rusted or ruined in some other way (they are so dirty/muddy I cannot tell). 

Speaking of throwing things away – re-organizing really shows me how wasteful we can be, even though we try very hard not to make needless purchases. We have so much stuff to take to Goodwill and throw away that it might take multiple weeks! If it was summer, I’d say we have nearly enough for a yard sale! Things we are giving away include a men’s leather coat (received secondhand; Kris didn’t like it); a waffle iron (purchased at a yard sale); and about 4 cups that match each other but nothing else (the others broke). In short, all nice things that people might actually want. We also have a bunch of Christmas decor we could probably get rid of – we have no less than three artificial trees (I’m allergic to pine), two of which are too small and one that is worn and needs replaced. I feel less bad about the garbage – things like Belle’s crate that she destroyed and old clothes with holes that are not worth repairing. It’s just frustrating because I feel like we must be doing something wrong to accumulate so much crap. 

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Food Friday

I don’t have too much food to talk about this week. Lots of PB&J, oatmeal with raisins, and those little emerald nut packs. I am making that black bean quinoa chili again, but I already talked about that once so it’s not very exciting. However, I did try three pumpkin items (because of course I did):

  • Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Coffee. Not my favorite of their flavored coffees (that title goes to chocolate donut), but perhaps this is just because it burnt my tongue this morning 😦
  • Buffalo Bill’s Brewery Pumpkin Ale. This and the next item were luckily tried last night, giving me something to talk about without much effort on my part. I really liked this pumpkin beer. Not as sweet as Traveler’s Shandy; not as beer-like as Blue Moon’s. In terms of sweetness, my friend who only likes shandys does not approve, for comparison’s sake. Then again, I love beer, so I’m cool with that.
  • Turkey Hill Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream. Not only do I love everything pumpkin, but I also love everything Turkey Hill. I really like this because it had cinnamon graham cracker crumbs in it, and most other pumpkin ice creams seem to have nothing mixed into them – they are just pumpkin flavors. I would still say the Edy’s  I tried a couple of weeks ago is almost as good, though, especially considering that the Turkey Hill has almost twice as many calories.

I also thought that while I was on the topic of food, I would take some time to talk about an “experiment” I’m doing. I use the term “experiment “loosely – I am trying out something new, but it isn’t TECHNICALLY an experiment, and, as an instructor of a research design course, I would not give a student points for labeling my actions an “experiment.” This discussion of proper use of the word “experiment*” should be your warning that shit’s about to get boringly nerdy here, by the way.

I’ve been struggling a bit lately with feeling like I’ve been eating “too much.” Even though my weight hasn’t gone up, I feel like I’ve been eating so much food and it makes me feel like I must be doing something wrong and that one day I will just wake up having gained the weight back again. Irrational, I know, but it is really difficult for someone like me who spent over a year losing weight to let myself actually eat enough food. I mean, I don’t feel like I need to eat a super low calorie diet but I just see days on MyFitnessPal adding up to like 2300 sometimes and can’t help but think that’s ridiculous.

So I decided to convince myself it’s ok with statistical evidence. For the month of November, I will be keeping track of how many miles I ran per day; how long that took me; my average pace; whether I lifted or not; whether I biked or not; my total calories; and my net calories. In the end, I am hoping to prove to myself that big calorie deficits = bad paces. I am guessing I will also see that forcing myself to bike and lift in addition to running is actually somewhat detrimental to my paces. This is supposed to help convince me that I am NOT lazy if I just don’t feel like biking to campus one day (especially as it is getting cold). I know that Thanksgiving will mess up my data a bit, but I think it will be interesting to see the results. Already my mind has been blown just by physically seeing my net calories. MFP says how many calories I ate total and how many calories I burnt but it doesn’t actually subtract them for me, so I forget to think of it this way. I see “Oh, I ate 2200 calories and burnt 600” instead of “I only gave my body 1600 calories to use for its normal functions today.” Also, because of some days where I don’t eat a lot, my average calories are lower than I expected. I know part of this is that I’ve been on track most of the week (my worst day was less than 100 calories over), but I really felt like I was messing up more often than I was. Hopefully I learn something interesting by the end of the month.

* Now that I’ve said “experiment” like 18 times, I feel like it is necessary to point out that it took me like 3 years to learn how to spell it. Sometimes the simple things are what really give you trouble. 

I Love/Hate my Cycling Progress

Now that Kris is fully recovered from his surgery, we are finally able to do active things together again, which lead to us taking an 18 mile bike ride yesterday! Wow!

We headed down to a local rail-trail for 9 miles out and back. There wasn’t really anything THAT exciting, so I didn’t take any pictures, but here is a link to the trail map if you are curious about it. The trail was pretty nice – it was mostly paved or covered in crushed stone/gravel with only a few rough-ish spots that were somewhat hard on our non-mountain bikes. We also had great weather – we got there around 10 am and it was overcast and cool, and even by the time it warmed up (to “only” 80) it was still overcast so we at least had relief from the sun (it rained later in the day).The biggest problem was the hills on the way out – the first like 5-6 miles were uphill! According to my GPS, there was over 3,000 feet of climbing! At least this meant that on the way back to the car we were “zooming” over the 3,000 feet of descent. Our only other problem was that the reviews of the trail and the map were a little misleading – we assumed that trailhead parks with restrooms would mean that there would be a place to get water but there was totally nothing but portapotties and parking spaces. We were unable to get any water until we got off the trail to ride into a town and get water at one of their parks! What kind of 15 mile long multi-use trail does not have a single water fountain?! To be fair, there may have been one at the park where we turned around, as we turned around  without entering it.

There were a lot of good things about this ride. First of all, holy cow we rode 18 miles! I never thought I’d be able to ride that “far.” (I know this still isn’t THAT far, but it is for me). Also, I am making a lot of progress with being able to balance on the bike. I still can’t manage to pull out my water bottle in motion, but I can itch my face, adjust my clothes/helmet/whatever, and mess with my GPS watch. I was even able to take both hands off the handlebars for like 1 second! I was also able to test out some of my new equipment and found that it all pretty much worked great. Having the panniers to lug around all of our crap instead of a backpack on such a long ride was quite the relief, and I didn’t even notice they were there. We’ll see how I feel about not even noticing them after Kris makes me bike around town with calculus books in tow for practice, though! In general, I am feeling a lot more confident about my abilities, which I am happy about. I also find that I am genuinely enjoying cycling – I had a really great time yesterday!

There were also a few bad things. These are mostly related to how new I am still am at cycling. I feel like because I am in good shape, I should be picking up on the whole performance/endurance aspect of the sport much more quickly. I am still terrible at going uphills and pathetically slow, however. In fact, MyFitnessPal classifies my pace as “light” or “leisure,” which makes me feel like a loser because it feels like a super workout to me, and I see people on blogs who are going WAY faster than me talking about how slow they are all the time, which makes me feel like even more of a loser. Like, I’m so slow I feel like I must be doing something horrifyingly wrong. Plus, Kris is just SO much faster. I feel bad the whole time we are riding together because he is like coasting along and I am pedaling as hard as I can just to stay like 100 feet behind him. I know it is partially his bike (for example, he has thinner tires), but I know that part of it must be that I am just not very good at cycling. Plus, despite my higher level of physical fitness (he has had two major surgeries rendering him mostly inactive in the last year), the ride hit me WAY harder than him. We both took naps yesterday afternoon after we got home and even after that I still felt so tired that I almost cried when faced with the prospect of having to cook dinner (luckily, Kris is wonderful and cooked dinner for us). Sometimes I feel like I’ll never get faster and I’ll still just be that kid that everyone makes fun of for being terrible at cycling because I’m lagging behind them huffing and puffing and unable to move a single muscle for fear of falling over for the rest of my life 😦 I’m sure this isn’t the case, but it’s a really difficult feeling to shake.

Today looks like it will be a lazy day just cleaning the house, doing laundry, etc. It’s kind of rainy outside but I might do a short run or something. I’d rest after such a long ride yesterday but tomorrow starts half marathon training and therefore a planned somewhat restful day. Mondays are supposed to be strength and stretching, so I’ll probably do a few very light things. Once I get back to school and have gym access, it will probably consist of foam rolling and some stability ball workouts, but until then I will have to be creative.

Foods on Fridays: Anniversary Edition

Today, June 14, is a big day for me.

On June 14, 2011, I logged into MyFitnessPal for the first time.

That’s right – two years ago today, I decided I was going to start making healthier diet and exercise choices. I guess that so far that decision has worked out – I just checked, and I am still maintaining my 115 lb loss, despite a couple of questionable choices over the last weeks. Before discussing my nutritional choices this week, I thought I’d take a brief trip down memory lane.

Here is the food diary from my first day of “dieting:”

Breakfast:

  • Greek yogurt with strawberries
  • Toast with butter and peanut butter (wtf brain? why both?)
  • Coffee with cream (glad I kicked this habit – now I only drink cream when away from home)

Lunch:

  • Homemade pizza bagel (mini bagel with garlic herb laughing cow, sauce, mushrooms, and turkey pepperoni)
  • Crystal light lemonade (before I really enjoyed drinking water, I guess)

Snack:

  • Apple
  • Laughing Cow Babybell (can you tell I had a major laughing cow cheese thing going?)

Dinner:

  • Chicken tacos on whole wheat tortillas with lettuce and greek yogurt on top
  • “Nachos” (tortilla chips with a laughing cow jalepeno cheese wedge)

Dessert:

  • Sugar free vanilla ice cream topped with strawberries, sugar free chocolate syrup, and light whipped cream

Total Calories: 1582

I also spent about an hour walking, burning about 450 calories!

Things that are different now? I am apparently way less obsessed with laughing cow cheese. I also eat a bit less processed food – at the time, those pizza bagels seemed like the healthiest most awesome lunch in the world, and now they sound kind of gross. I also bought some sugar free chocolate syrup for my ice cream the other day and it was so gross to me that I ended up tricking drunk people into eating it at a party instead. Sadly, I also burn wayyyy less calories. Today, I am going to take the dog on a one hour walk, which will burn less than 200 calories due to my new body (also I was walking faster than the dog walks that day, because only part of that one hour was walking the dog, and the rest was like fitness walking).

Things that are largely the same? I still love greek yogurt, do love cheese in general, and tend to eat more of my calories later in the day (small breakfast and lunch with an afternoon snack, dinner, and dessert). I think this is why my new lifestyle was/has been sustainable – I started out “small,” just trying to eat like a “normal” person and not pushing myself to change anything other than the amount of calories I eat, rather than outright banning foods or trying to eat nothing but “healthy” things. When I was 240 pounds, that did not seem intimidating, and now that I am 125, it remains something reasonable that I can stick with every day for the rest of my life. I had always thought dieting would have to be miserable and awful – but these first few days on MyFitnessPal showed me that on a day to day basis, it was not that different from what I had been doing – I just had to be a lot more careful with declaring every trip to a fast food restaurant a special occasion that called for a 1/2 lb bacon burger and a chocolate shake (declaring everything a “special occasion” that called for overeating was probably my biggest problem). I remember thinking how easy it was at first, and being very surprised. I recently checked, and it took me 2 weeks to cheat on my diet. As far as I am concerned, the “cheating,” in retrospect, was simply experiencing certain things for the first time during the diet and not knowing how to deal with them. For example, I had out of town guests, and I was still in “if I don’t eat as much as them or make them unhealthy food they will judge me” mode. Also, I started having some health problems at that time (related to my lady parts, not my weight) and was very stressed out, and  I hadn’t experience stress while doing this diet before. Other than adapting to new situations, then, it was pretty “easy,” as far as diets go. I don’t find it easy everyday, but I do find it manageable, and that is what is important!

Now back to the present!

This week, I largely made decent food choices. I’ve been trying not to eat tooooo much junk because of my race, but I did have a pretty epic fail when traveling on Wednesday. I have been doing really well with my no alcohol this week rule, though, despite my husband filling our fridge with a variety of local beers! Let’s say I can’t wait to until Saturday to bust out the Troegs, if he leaves any for me! Who knew pretzel bites would have like 400 calories? Also: DO NOT TRY THE FROSTY WAFFLE CONES. You have been warned. The Frosty is too melty, the cone had so much sodium it dried out my lips and made me kind of miserable, and it tasted really really bland. Also, I only got it because I thought my phone said 160 calories at first glance but it was apparently 290!!!! Yuck! Other than that day, I have not gone majorly over my calories, and I have eaten some really great things – homemade alfredo sauce on Monday (just very light on the heavy whipping cream, so it was kind of thin, but still enough for the taste); out for stir-fry on Tuesday; and teriyaki chicken with grilled peppers, onions, pineapples, fresh corn on the cob and baked potatoes for dinner last night! Side note: a side effect of healthy eating is that there are onions in almost all “healthy” dishes at restaurants, and I don’t like onions, but always feel self conscious of ordering things without onions (and the restaurant never gets it right anyway) so I have been trying to force myself to suffer through them, only to acquire a taste for them. Last night was the first time I have ever purposefully included onions in a dish intended for myself. It was also our first time using a charcoal grill, and it went okay – mostly it was too small for all the food so the veggies ended up being sauteed on the stove.

Food plan for today and tomorrow, with the race in mind:

Breakfast today:

  • Greek yogurt pancakes (apple cinnamon)
  • Black coffee! (haha I drink this everyday, just had to juxtapose with my old half and half habit)

Lunch today:

  • Leftover Philly cheesesteak pizza
  • Cheddar rice cakes
  • Peach

Dinner today:

  • Lasagna with spicy italian sausage
  • Garlic bread

Dessert today:

  • I have to drive down to get my race packet, so maybe I’ll talk my husband into ice cream out, but we have cookie dough ice cream here otherwise

I’ll fill in the rest of the calories with snacks. I’m planning on having a small amount of calories over today (like 100-200) just so that I am not accidentally weakened by a deficit (I always run better the day after overeating, as long as I didn’t overeat like french fries or something greasy and sodium laden like that).

Breakfast tomorrow:

  • Cinnamon raisin bagel
  • Neufchatel cheese

Race nutrition:

  • Clif shot bloks

Post-race nutrition:

  • WHATEVER I WANT
  • Just kidding, they are having some brunch thing that I’ll probably eat at, or, if it looks crappy, maybe a gigantic burger and beer. Or maybe I’ll save that for dinner?

Eeek! I can’t believe the race is tomorrow. I plan on getting everything ready and laying it out tonight so that I can be up and ready to go by 5:30 tomorrow morning. It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day – I’m so excited! 🙂

Foods on Fridays

Today, my post is going to be about my changing perspective on food as fuel. I meant to write it last week, but I am glad that finals week forced me to wait – I’ve had several experiences I’d like to include as I reflect on this.

When I first started losing weight, exercise was a way to get more calories to eat; now, I eat food in order to perform well while exercising. At the time, eating less even though I was exercising did not seem to affect me that much (in terms of how I physically felt). I think a lot of it had to do with how heavy I was at the time. First, because I was so large, a calorie deficit for me still meant that I got to eat a lot of food. My 1000 calorie deficit back then was the same amount of food I now eat on a daily basis for maintenance (1750 net calories – and this is with me currently eating more than MFP thinks I should). Second, my intensity of exercise was affected by my size. I burnt a lot of calories doing almost nothing: my first day on MFP I burnt FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY (!!) calories walking for an hour; yesterday, I burnt a little over 180 doing the same – in fact, yesterday’s 5 mile 7 mph run burnt about the same amount of calories as that first walk, for even more perspective. Plus, I wasn’t really working out that hard, because I couldn’t yet – I remember nearly passing out the first time I tried the 30 day shred – so there was not really much to “fuel.” Hence, exercise became largely something that I did in order to have a calorie buffer for days where I didn’t do very well at staying on target and lose weight faster.

As I continued losing weight, I kept the same mindset. It took me a long, long time to up my exercise intensity and there were actually long periods of time where I focused completely on diet rather than exercise (I was busy and it was winter). I did not start seriously running until I was near maintenance (I started running almost everyday last March and stopped trying to purposefully lose weight in June). When I first started running, I was impressed with basically any performance level, so I don’t think I would have realized if improper fueling was holding me back or not. During this time, exercise was once again something I could simply use to let myself eat pizza or drink a lot at a party or something. Plus, since I was losing weight, and had lost a lot already, eating “at maintenance” for a day because of overeating wasn’t that big of a deal – I would not gain, I simply would not lose as fast.

Then came the weird beginning of maintenance period. I was absolutely terrified of eating. I’d been down to near 1200 net calories per day, so I felt like eating the 1600 that MFP was telling me to would cause me to instantly gain back all 100 pounds. I slowly upped my calories, and to my surprise, kept losing (which is why I eventually exceeded what MFP told me to eat – I was losing weight without trying – that couldn’t be right!). My relationship with food was very confused at this time – I wasn’t really eating that much but I felt like I was because it was so much more than I had been. It felt odd to be able to go out to eat and have like, sweet potato fries, grilled chicken, and a beer and not have the whole week “ruined.” I also ended up neglecting my exercise some that summer – I had been running almost every single day (and even got Kris to do couch 2 5k with me!), but a combination of moving, my wedding, and family emergencies led to me almost never work out from like July/August to October. Then came the holidays (and some more family emergencies), where I actually gained a lot of confidence in my relationship with food because I overate “a lot” (I only thought I did, I was being quite reasonable) but still maintained. I therefore did not “need” food as fuel because I either felt like I was eating way more than I should be and therefore did not realize I needed even more or I was doing nothing to fuel.

Realizing that food was fuel began early this year, especially after I started training for my half marathon about 2 months ago. I’ve hinted at this change in perspective before. I suddenly understand why exercising was soooo difficult and I made so little progress: as long as I was using workouts to fuel my eating, I could not use eating to fuel my workouts. Now, as I push further and harder into my training, the necessity to fuel my workouts is increasing: I’m just way too hungry and miserable to do otherwise. Not only would my workouts suffer – I would physically not feel at full capacity in everyday life if I did not eat enough. An example: Tuesday, I ate about 1400 calories by the time dinner was over…after my eight miles of traversing. Oops. I just didn’t have much other food around to eat. Kris and I ran to the mall, and I still felt hungry, but I knew I had eaten  “a lot” so I thought it would just pass. I left it go too long and got lightheaded and developed a headache that stayed with me all evening, despite finding a way to ingest about 700 more calories (not all of it was beer and ice cream, ok?).

I’ve also noticed distinct changes in my habits. When I first started drinking protein shakes, I HATED that they took up more calories than weightlifting burned. Now, I can’t wait to drink them because they feel so refreshing and help to pick my energy back up after a workout. Additionally, I’ve found myself grabbing food to eat BEFORE a workout (like, in addition to my regular meals and snacks I would have eaten anyway) so that I am fueled during the workout. I’ve gone out a couple times for a run lately without eating first, and the whole time I just felt like my legs completely lacked energy. I know they must have, too, because both times I gave myself mild injuries, probably because my legs were too tired to move properly. This even happened once when I simply ate something that was not fueling enough: in an day where I was experimenting with eating no meat, I felt miserably hungry and weak all day from the lack of protein (mostly due to poor planning, I know you can eat veggie with plenty of protein).

“Overnight Oats in a Jar” did not have that much protein, despite containing both oats and peanut butter.

Plus, look at how gross this looks. I do not recommend. I barely finished my 5 mile run that day!

 

When I was home, I had to do my 9 mile run on an empty stomach, because I knew my family would feed me too much for me to eat both before and after it. Instead of being happy that I would be able to indulge at the cookout they were having later, I felt annoyed that I had to sacrifice my performance for the cookout, though (I know I could not have simply controlled myself at the cookout in order to pre-fuel my run; I’m not that well-adjusted yet). I feel about the same way today. I’m going to a workshop for work that seems to revolve around food: they are serving breakfast, lunch, providing snacks throughout the day and then taking us out for (Chicago style, please help me) pizza for dinner. I know that it will be ok because I’m running 10 (!!) miles tomorrow, but I’d much rather overeat tomorrow to fuel and recover my poor body than today.

I’m still not perfect. I think from my commentary here it is evident that I still need to develop a healthier relationship with food. Plus, I need to do a little better with proper nutrition if I really want to push my performance forward. I’ll take what progress I have made for now, though.

Rest Days

Today is one of my THREE rest days this week. And ever since starting maintenance, I am just terrible at rest days. I’m not sure why – when I was losing weight I would sometimes go long periods without working out, as diet was more important anyway. And I still know that diet is more important. I was thinking the other day about how one of my new excuses for turning down food I didn’t want to eat would be “I need to eat things that have more protein in them than (food item) because I started a new weightlifting program.” To most people, however, the idea of “I can’t eat (bad food x) because of my exercise program” probably seems ridiculous and counterintuitive.

When I decided to start NROLFW, I had just found a half-marathon to do in 13 weeks in June. I was really glad that I could set up a very structured training regimen, as mine had been running sporadically and doing my random circuit workouts at home. There just had not been much of a goal in mind other than “don’t get fat again.” Now I have a goal to work towards, which I must admit is incredibly motivating (my diet has been doing really well these last couple of days) but I’m running into new obstacles: my increased rest days and calorie confusion.

Since I was doing TWO hard training programs at the same time, I decided I’d give myself more rest. I put on at least 2 days for each week (right now Tuesday and Thursday) and gave myself a 3rd day that is for resting or cross-training and NOT RUNNING OR LIFTING (which means no at home circuit because they involve bodyweight exercises). I will rest or cross train that day depending on how busy I am. For example, this week I probably will not work out on Sunday because I am going to a bridal shower!! The problems? I feel really lazy because I am not working out almost every day, even though I feel sore and tired on my rest days so it is clear I need the recovery. I’m trying to force myself to do nothing but take long slow walks on rest days. I’m also not adjusting well to the idea that weight training is a “real” workout. I feel like I’m not working out that hard, especially because I am at the beginning of the running training as well, and only running three miles at a time. My circuits at home include bodyweight exercises, but they also include cardio. At the end I feel tired and sweaty. I will also do them for up to an hour a day! I just cannot convince myself that I am burning any calories or doing anything at all for my body weightlifting – don’t I need to do 150 pushups, like I often do at home, in order to build strength? 

This brings me to my calorie confusion problems. So, in the NROLFW book, the authors recommend a certain amount of calories. For me, that is about 1900 on rest days and 2100 on workoutdays. Now, the main author has also gone online and said that this was mostly to get women past the idea that they should be eating really small amounts like 1000 calories a day or less, so if what you have been doing has been working, stick to that. So I decided to stick with my normal 1750 calories on rest days and add about 200 calories on workout days while trying to at least stick to the protein requirements of the diet plan and try to get close to the macros they suggest. But then, I started the workouts, and I felt like lifting burnt zero calories. If I wasn’t running, I’d be terrified to eat anything extra at all on workout days! I don’t know how to get over this, because I must be – lots of women eat a lot more than me while doing this plan, and my goal is build muscle, so I might even need a small calorie surplus. I’m being ridiculous. I had trouble like this when I first started maintenance, too. I had been eating as low as 1100-1200 calories near the end and had to very slowly up my calories because I thought I’d gain all my weight back if I let myself have say, 1400 in a day. Looking back, I can see how irrational I was being, but at the time, it was a very real fear, just like I have now. In addition to the fear, I have outright confusion. Let’s say, for example, that I was following the book’s calorie recommendations and adding about 200 calories for my weight training (basically negated by my shake, leaving me no room for extra food, which is also a new adjustment, but one I seem to be doing ok with). Would I also then add my exercise calories from running? So, if I burn about 280 calories running three miles according to MFP (I’ve heard 100 calories per mile, and I’m sort of small, so I think MFP is not overestimating here), should I eat 200 extra calories, 280 extra calories, 480 extra calories, or what? I’ve been trying to search online but I’m mostly finding people who don’t track calories or people who gave up running when starting NROLFW. Ugh. The only thing I can decide is to stick to eating back nothing but running calories for about 2 weeks and seeing what that does for my body. 

Sorry this post has been mostly a rant of my current frustrations. But I guess I’m not that sorry – this is sometimes how maintenance is. It is not a fun time where I get to eat all the cheeseburgers because I lost 100 pounds. Also I’m super busy this week, my lady parts are displeased with me, and its “spring” but 15 degrees. I have an excuse to be grumpy!

Foods on Fridays

So I didn’t do so hot this week because of spring break.

I mean, my calories are ok and I didn’t gain any weight or anything, but I didn’t really focus too much on nutrition. My husband and I ate almost 3 boxes of Tagalongs this week! I also went through the experience of “oh, it’s ok to eat too much today” and then being physically in pain again. I really need to find some balance between letting myself indulge a little (within calorie limits) and not putting myself through the pain of overeating. There were a few highlights of this week, though:

  • Went out for yummy Thai food for our “date” night. I always love Asian restaurants because I tend to eat more reasonable portions (there are a lot more veggies and I can control how much rice/noodles are on my plate). I guess my only real Asian food I would binge on is sushi, but that is way too expensive for me to do so. I also happen to live in towns with amazing Asian food (I can hardly eat at generic Chinese buffets anymore) so I am spoiled with wonderful, filling, and not super high in calorie while low in nutrition places to eat. I think I’m going to start trying to learn to cook some simple dishes at home – I did it once with one of my friends and it turned out really well. And hopefully my husband will eventually put the how to make sushi book I got him to good use and make me some (but not so much that I binge on it!).
  • Was able to make green smoothies almost every morning! Mine usually consist of bananas, greek yogurt, almond milk, frozen fruit, and spinach. If you are curious about what to put in green smoothies, I found some really great tips by searching MyFitnessPal’s forums. Essentially, it boils down to hard fruit (like banana or mango), liquid (milk, water, variations on these), yogurt, protein (I use greek yogurt instead of the two separate things), soft fruit (like berries) and the final ingredient, greens. You can add any extras, like peanut butter or honey or cinnamon or whatever as well for taste. I’d like to “upgrade” to kale for my greens, but I’ve never tried it and it seems to intimidate people so I feel like I should be intimidated. I don’t have a blender out at school, but if I’m going to follow the New Rules of Lifting for Women I guess I’ll just have to force myself to use my food processor or buy a blender for that place (I feel like it makes a mess, but don’t want to replace it with a cheap blender because I’m used to having a semi-fancy one at home).
  • Ate pizza with nothing but veggies! This was a big one for me – I used to refuse to eat pizza without meat. It is a lot less caloric to load it up with veggies than 5 meats, though 😦  We had white pizza with broccoli and tomatoes, and it was good enough that I binged on it. While it is bad that I overate the pizza (the source of my pain) I think it is good that I was able to work on getting over my vegetable pizza block. I will still always have a special place in my heart for this, though.