Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Big Three

Right about the time I was waxing poetic about Nicole's Green Smoothie recipe (still my fave), I decided to make some big small changes. Wait, that sounds like an oxymoron, right? Nope.

I decided I was going to finally get healthy, one baby step at a time.

I suck at change. I suck especially bad at big, sweeping change. So it would be logical to assume that incremental change is a natural remedy for that, right? HAHA, you're funny. I get really impatient waiting for things to happen. So basically, I suck at making any sort of improvements to my life because I get intimidated big change and I get annoyed by small change. Such is the weird way my brain works.

But I'd had enough. I'd had more than enough and I was willing to try something new.

First things first - I started counting calories and tracking my food. I was so burned out from Weight Watchers that I swore up and down that I was never going to track my food again, it was tedious and annoying and all sorts of other sucky things. HOWEVER. I needed to accomplish a couple of things, and this was the best way to do it. First, I needed to pay attention to what I was shoving in my mouth. Second, I needed to give myself a measurable goal. Third, well, tracking points on WW, while sucktastic, worked. I lost 32 pounds before I let myself go. Calories are infinitely easier to track because they don't require some fancypants formula to figure out, which was often difficult to do because not all of the variables are always listed or easy to find. Calories, though - calories are the easiest thing to find. The only math they require is matching to your serving size. And with using the database in MyFitnessPal and the corresponding app (it has a barcode scanner! it's awesome!), it's easy peasy. So much easier than WW ever was, and I don't even mind doing it. Am I going to do it forever? No. But I'm going to do it right now while I figure out my diet (diet as in "what I eat" not as in "I'm on a diet") and until I get much closer to my goal weight. I like stats and numbers and measurable progress.

Second things second - I'm slowly weaning myself onto more of a whole foods diet. I'm not going vegetarian and definitely not vegan, but I'm trying to eat less processed foods and more "real" foods. Despite being very wary of the health session leader who was trying to brainwash us all into a vegan diet on the first session, I was very intrigued at incorporating more beans and greens and other proteins and whole grains and all sorts of things that I've always sort of just ignored because they were fancy and expensive and I wouldn't know what to do with a bag of dry quinoa if you gave it to me, free. I bought a couple cookbooks (I always buy cookbooks. I love buying cookbooks. I rarely use said cookbooks, however, because: Pinterest.) Instead of being sad over giving up all the fatty, crappy foods that I used to eat, I was intrigued by all the possibilities of the "other half" of the grocery store.

I'm not even going to try to move to a full plant-based diet. I like yogurt and cheese and ice cream (except ice cream doesn't really like me back so I've kind of had to jump on the frozen yogurt train) and red meat and corn (hi, I'm from Iowa) and carbs, oh sweet bananagasm, I love carbs. (I don't know if a plant-based diet excludes carbs, so that might be an irrelevant add-on.) But it's kind of fun, grocery shopping now - I compare labels and I always make the best choice possible for whatever item I'm buying. Sometimes it just means buying a different package with less ingredients, but it's kind of fun to start substituting out old, crappy products for new, better-for-you products. And I'm giving whole grain pasta another chance - I used to hate the texture of it compared to "regular" pasta, but you know what? I like it now. Weird, right? And I'm finding new recipes (I have this kick-ass black bean salsa recipe that I've been meaning to post) and even some quick, easy things for during the week. I've noticed that over the last few weeks, I haven't really had any meat at all during the week, and it was probably a month before I even noticed this trend. I don't miss it.

This is not to say that I'm jumping ship on my old habits completely. I'm a busy lady, and sometimes convenience will simply win by nature of being convenient. Sometimes, you have to throw a frozen something or other in the microwave, or eat whatever you can grab at a gas station or whatever is being served at the restaurant you've found yourself at. I'm not going to beat myself up too badly over it. I'm doing better 90% of the time, and that's a tally in the "win" column, as far as I'm concerned.

However, the thing that gives me the most hope that this is all going to stick? My tastes are changing. A lot of stuff that I used to eat doesn't even sound good anymore. When I was visiting my sister in the hospital after the birth of the Cutest Nephew Ever, her friends picked up some fast-food Italian for everyone, and I took a pass in favor of a wrap from Super Target - and when their food arrived, it just looked so unappetizing to me, completely unappealing. I did steal a breadstick though. Because some things are sacred. But it's not just fast food... scarfing down a piece of cake or snacking on cookies... meh. It's easier to say no. I'm just not as interested anymore. (I mean, don't get me wrong, I love baked goods like people love, well, baked goods, I guess, but: moderation.) I've also kind of quit drinking. Not entirely - I'll have some wine from time to time and a cocktail here and there, but it's something else I don't miss. (Doesn't hurt that my tolerance is shot and I get tipsy after maybe three-quarters of a drink anymore. I AM GETTING OLD AND IT IS BECOMING OBVIOUS.)

Third things thirdly, I started exercising again. I tried to get back to TKD (made it twice before I disappeared again) and did some indoor circuit/strength training, and I borrowed the BF's elliptical machine a few times when I couldn't swing anything else. Jillian and I did battle a couple times. It wasn't much, but I was piecing together something resembling regular physical activity.

But then something magical happened: the temperatures picked up a bit and the SNOW MELTED and outside was fair game again. The BF and I dusted off our bikes a couple weeks ago (before it got all freakishly cold again) and went jogging a couple times. He's been busy this week and I decided to try going by myself last Sunday. It took me a while to find my pace - I'm awful at keeping my pace without a running partner, which is maybe why I was so bad at it before. But I managed to run 7 minutes without stopping. Not great, but not bad. On Monday, I decided to hold softball practice even though it was chilly and RAINING (I'm still mad at you, Nature) and I only had 4 girls show up, but it was fun. On Tuesday, it was cold (I think my car said 39 degrees when I pulled up to my house) but I decided to just suck it up and bundle up and hit the path anyway, because: I needed to keep my momentum going. I made it 12 minutes without stopping. On Wednesday, I had book club and wine and there was no exercise to be had.

On Thursday, I had a banner day. First, I went to circuit training, which I hadn't done for quite a while. And since it was the first glorious day we'd had in weeks, I got home and immediately grabbed my stuff and headed for the park where I've been running. (Ok, jogging. Whatever.) I initially set my goal at ten minutes and then yelled at myself because that was a step backward - despite the fact that I'd already worked out, surely I could get 15 minutes?

I made it twenty.

My personal record was thirty-two minutes, during last October's Color Run. As I was trodding along, I was thinking about this. Wouldn't it be cool if I could say "I'm halfway to my PR already, and it's only April" or "I'm only 10 minutes off my PR..." and more importantly, I kept repeating the mantra that had gotten me through the Color Run: It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you do not stop. I decided to shoot for twenty and made it. If I hadn't done the circuit training earlier, I maybe could have made it even longer. I was feeling good and the weather was great. And I had my fancy little wireless Walkman thing that I randomly got as a Klout perk (apparently Klout is still a thing, who knew? I also got some strawberry Tic Tacs, so that was cool), that I kind of love and hate at the same time (I hate earbuds because they don't stay in my ears - I spend my entire walk to the park futzing with the headphones to try to make them stay), but it was nice to have music again since my little iPod shuffle has been eaten by my apartment.

Thanks, Sony!

(I had to go to the grocery store after this because I was out of stuff for my lunches, and I told myself I could have a reward for doing so well. I ended up buying myself a mango. A MANGO. Instead of ICE CREAM. I feel like this is rather significant.) (Also, I'm kind of obsessed with mangoes. Mangoes, peaches, raspberries. Mix those together in any form and I'll eat it without hesitation.) (Mangoes + Peaches make sense, Peaches + Raspberries make sense... I'm not sure I've ever seen Mangoes + Raspberries put together, though. Maybe I'll need to invent something and try that out.) (DIGRESSION ALERT.)

The other significant thing about Thursday was that I finally weighed myself after all of this mindful healthier eating and exercising: I have lost nine pounds.

I knew some of it had come off, because my clothes were starting to fit a little better and I thought my stomach was starting to look a little flatter, but I didn't realize I'd lost that much. When I started this whole fitness project, I was back to my heaviest weight from before Weight Watchers even. I restarted my FitnessPal account on March 12, and I didn't weigh myself again until April 25. Just barely over a month, and I've made what I consider to be significant progress.

I really have no intention of posting about this regularly; I'll check in from time to time with progress, but it's not going to be my focus. I have absolutely no authority on posting about health, I'm totally just winging it

I'm maybe posting this to brag a little bit (cause it feels awesome!), but also to have some record of how I'm feeling right now so when I finally hit the point where I'm starting to be frustrated and discouraged, I can look back and remember that, hey, this feels pretty good.


Kelly L said...

THAT is awesome! Go YOU!!! It's truly the little things that make the big difference...

Kelly L said...

I love that you posted this ... and this: "to have some record of how I'm feeling right now so when I finally hit the point where I'm starting to be frustrated and discouraged, I can look back and remember that, hey, this feels pretty good."

Also, I feel like I don't even know you anymore ... :/ (not because of all these changes, but because all this stuff is happening and I didn't know about it)

Kelly L said...

Super proud of you lady!

One of the best grocery shopping tips I've ever seen, is to stay on the outside - don't go into the aisles if you can avoid them because the good stuff - the real foods like meat and vegetables and whatnot, are on the outside. I still hop into the pasta aisle and the bean aisle from time to time, but for the most part, I stick to the outside.

Also, yay running! Sometimes I don't feel like running, but I never, ever regret a run, and that's what makes it worth it.