Sunday, February 13, 2011

Good Riddance Snow!

(L) My car buried in about 2.5 ft of snow after a historic snowfall. The snow was almost up to the top of the doors of my Honda Civic.

(R) After 1 hr, I freed my car with the help of 2 guys, 2 girls, 1 cookie sheet, 2 brooms, windwhield de-icer, a snow shovel, a Nissan XTerra, a tow strap, and a Chevy Silverado. Success!

I am over this snow. It was nice to have a bit of a break from school (we have had 6 or 7 days of school cancelled which is insane a) for Arkansas b) for a university), but I am so over this. SO. OVER. IT!

Today it was 70 so I was able to go for a bit of a bike ride. It was so nice, and for an Ohio girl quite odd to have a day of biking just a couple days after having 24" of snow dumped on us this week. Arkansas is just not equipped to handle this kind of weather and neither am I after having lived here for a few years. But I digress...the biking weather this weekend was lovely.

Having missed so much school and being stuck in my house for days on end has severely messed with my routine. That is, there hasn't been one. I also noticed today that it has messed with my body too. Because I have not been able to go to the gym that much and have not been disciplined about doing exercise at home, I think I have lost a slight bit of definition in my arms. I also realized today that I don't do much explicitly to workout my lower body these days -- I think the closest thing is the spin class I do on Tuesdays (when I'm not stuck in my house due to snow...). I really need to pick up my strength training/toning game because it helps me to feel better about myself and stronger. Also I am sure there is some truth to the metabolic benefits of being more muscly than fatty.

This week as I re-establish some sort of routine (no chance of snow this week -- thank goodness), I am going to be intentional about getting a well-rounded workout schedule. I want to incorporate a couple days of cardio, some good strength training/toning, and it is critical for my back that I am intentional about stretching and yoga.

What do you guys do to workout? (i.e., how much strength training vs. cardio? what types of exercise do you do) Any suggestions for me? I'm willing to spend an hour a day, 6x/week and I want to make sure I get a total body workout over the course of a week.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Brilliant Quote and Realization

I am not sure how exactly it fits into this healthiness journey, but I know it does. I heard it today in an interview with Elle, who is a healthiness blogger too as she talked about life as a single lady. The quote is:
I choose not to be defined by what I don't have.
That's deep, right?!

Maybe this is the way it relates to getting healthy. I'm not to goal yet. I am not able to make wise decisions in 100% of situations yet. I'm not perfect. But yet, I shouldn't choose to be defined by that. I make good decisions much of the time. I have lost about 70 lbs. I am WORLDS healthier than I was when I started. I won't choose to be defined by what I'm not, I will choose to be defined by what I am and who I am becoming. Thanks for the realization Elle!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Snow 2.0

OMG it snowed almost 2 feet here yesterday. This is certainly not what I had in mind when I moved from Michigan to Arkansas! School has been cancelled for the last two days, which means I have been stuck inside. AGAIN. We all know how that went last week.

On the one hand, I was/am kind of annoyed to have to face such a hard challenge again. As I reflect on it, though, this is a second chance to make up for what I did wrong last time. I can prove to myself that I CAN do this. I am stronger than food.

My goal for the time I was stuck inside was to track my food. Even if it was bad, I would track it as a way to be accountable for my decisions.

So how have I done? Pretty well overall. I did not meet my goal of tracking -- I stopped on the first day. However, I have done really well on my water intake, I have not made any sweets, and have eaten really healthfully and mindfully. I've probably eaten more than I would on a "normal" day, but I realized something from last time's experience. A lot of times for me those "I want (unhealthy food of choice...)" thoughts are actually hunger that my body is manifesting in an odd way. Instead of satisfying that hunger with (unhealthy food of choice...), it can often be met another related, more healthy way. For example, instead of making cookies I can eat a sweet piece of fruit. If the craving is more high in fat/salt content, I can have cottage cheese or reduced fat cheese. I usually feel satisfied and the craving goes away -- because my hunger has been satisfied. Also I find it so much easier to stop eating fruit when I am satisfied than I usually do with (unhealthy food of choice...) -- mostly because I rarely keep unhealthy choices around so I feel like they are going to disappear on me and I gobble them up like a possessed mad woman. Odd/dysfunctional thinking, but something deeply engrained and that I am working to change.

As a result of this realization -- that cravings are really hunger in disguise -- I have been vigilant about making sure I stay satisfied and not very hungry which helps me avoid strong cravings and, as a result, binges. I am pleased with this strategy, and we will see how it works out for me at this week's weigh in. Regardless, it is so good for my psyche to have made it through this snowstorm without a binge or monumentally unhealthy choices.

Small Veins

On Monday I went to go donate blood. We have been slammed with snow (well at least for our area) and so the area is very low on blood donations since a lot of the blood drives that were scheduled have had to be cancelled due to weather.

I have only donated blood once in my life and it was a horrible experience. Every time I squeezed the little ball, it jutted into my vein and I swore I would never donate blood again. I have kept my word since this awful experience in 1997.

The blood shortage, however, made me reconsider. After all, giving blood is the right thing to do. I sucked it up and decided to do it.

An aside -- I've been big pretty much all my life. I was 8 lb. 10 oz. when born. I have always had big boobs (I used to be an H cup - did you even know those existed?). Even when I was relatively skinny, I was considered "big boned" -- and I weighed 195 and looked very height/weight proportional. The other day at the eye doctor, I was even told I had big pupils (? - apparently, this is a sign of "youth and beauty" per the eye doctor after I was like "oh great, one more thing to be self conscious about!"). I wear size 11 shoes. I have always been big. Virtually everything about me. I don't consider it a bad thing necessarily, but there is little denying that it is true: I'm big.

Back to the story - the nurse who was taking the donation poked around my right arm with her finger and said "Hmm, let's try the other arm". After feeling around on my left arm, she's like "Let's go with the first one". Now, I was about to go crazy and jump out of my skin realizing that this was going to make it hard and perhaps painful to get a good stick but I kept thinking -- "You are strong! You can do this!" and was not going to give up. People need blood, and I believe I am one of the types that is badly needed in the area (A-).

It ended up not being terrible (it wasn't great either, but it was nowhere near as bad as the first time), but it was so funny that after the donation was going the nurse made a point to tell me what small veins I have. For someone who doesn't have small anything, it is ironic that I have small veins.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pareto Principle

Do you know what the Pareto Principle is? This is something very fundamental that we teach students in my field. Basically, it says that 80% of your problems are caused by 20% of your situations (or more generally, k% of your problems are caused by 100-k% of your situations). I am finding that this is so true on the WL/life change front.

This week we had a very not great weather week. School was cancelled 3 of the 5 days, and the roads were impassable. Friday I decided to work from home as the roads were still not good and nothing I needed to do required me to be at the office. Hence, I was stuck in the house almost all week.

During this time, I gained 8 lbs. EIGHT FREAKING POUNDS!!

It is funny. Sometimes I really think I've got the whole healthy living thing down. It feels easy and natural. I can go to a party, have lots of unhealthy choices, and have thought about how I am going to handle it, and make the choices I am comfortable with -- either a calculated splurge, or making the best choices available to me. I feel like a rock star.

Other times, such as this snowstorm and Christmas break, not so much. These uncommon (and/or unplanned) situations fall into the 20%(or less) of situations which cause me 80% of the damage on my WL/healthiness journey. I wonder "Why?"

Well, four days of not leaving the house will leave a girl with plenty of time to ponder such questions. Here are the things I can think of.
  1. Feeling trapped and cold makes me crave comfort food. I tell you, I really don't even keep anything unhealthy or trigger-food-ish in my house. However, during the break I found a way to eat unhealthy stuff. I made pecan sandies and pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting. Sure enough, I ate the whole freaking batch each time I made something. This was no small task, actually. Finding stuff to make required me to spend a significant amount of time browsing allrecipes for something that was simultaneously delicious (and unhealthy) sounding, and that I had all of the ingredients for which was quite tough given my very limited supply of unhealthy stuff (I think sugar and butter are probably the "worst" thing around). Sigh. I guess we can call that a "premeditated binge" and a case of "old habits die so hard".
  2. The idle mind is the devil's playground. Without the usual routine and distractions, it left me plenty of time to do what I wanted -- and to think about what I wanted. More often than not, that was food. Sigh.
  3. Willpower can only carry you so far. I find that when I talk myself up for something, I can usually last 24-48 hours. I was good on tracking and drinking water for the first day of the snowstorm. After that, it was significantly downhill. I find the same thing on vacation. After the expiration of the 24 hour willpower window, I basically do what I want. Sometimes that is the "right" thing. Sometimes, it's not (see bullet one).
Yes, the Pareto principle. While I am so proud of myself and convinced to maintain the changes and healthy decisions I typically make in day to day life, I find that I want to continue to change my life and move to the 90-10% or 95-5% rule. I am glad that many of my routines involve making the right choices, but if I want to truly be tranformed I need to find a better way to manage the atypical situations and circumstances that are still tough for me.

It is great that, per the title of my blog, I'm realizing that food doesn't define me about 80% of the time. The truth is, though, that I don't want food to define me, ever. I want to define me and not be captive to food. I'm not there yet.
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