Monday, June 27, 2011

Annie: weigh-in week 37 and new food finds

A word for the scale: pfft.

I left ALL my bonus points on the table this week, and only ate 2/3 of my activity points... and was up on the scale this morning. I've been weighing myself every morning because my new running log wants me to (yes, I'm that type A), and while they say you shouldn't do that if you're trying to lose weight, it helps me on days like today. From last Wednesday until yesterday, I was down 0.7 - and then this morning, I was up. Was it water retention after the fabulously salty Baked Cheetos I enjoyed last night? Probably, but it doesn't matter. I know I'm following my program, I'm getting loads of exercise, I'm drinking my water etc etc etc... so it'll come off. Next week, or the week after... I just have to not focus on the scale.

I've made a few new food discoveries lately I figured I should share - this blog has picked up a few new readers I know who are undertaking their own fitness projects (hello!), so I thought I should share these.

1) Janet and Greta's Gourmet Chicken Burgers

I picked these up at Costco last weekend on a whim, and I think they are fantastic.

I must begin by stating that I am generally not a big fan of burgers that aren't beef. (OK, Mae, I'm ready for you: let me have it!) I love turkey and chicken, but not when they are disguised as something else (like, for instance, turkey bacon: I'd just as soon have ham for the same points). The one exception is Hormel turkey pepperoni, which kicks ass, but I think I've blogged about that before. (If not, try it: I've only seen it in America to date, but it's worth carrying across the border for pizza cravings.)

At any rate, these chicken burgers are great. They're from the Podleski sisters of Eat, Shrink & Be Merry fame (so The Faithful Mo will likely like them!), they're only 5 PP each -- and they're a pretty decent size. They're fully cooked, so you just warm them however you want: I had one done on the BBQ last weekend, and then took them, cold, in hamburger buns to work this week and they were great. Nicely seasoned, yummy. In Husband's words, a "definite do-again!"

2)  Bolthouse Farms Light salad dressings

These, I found at Safeway, in the refrigerated salad stuff department. They're yogurt-based, and I have both the "Classic Ranch" and the "Caesar Parmigiano" - they're both really, really good. They don't have that weird "pop" in the mouth many light salad dressings give you (I don't know what that is, but it's mildly disturbing) - I actually find they taste like they're made with sour cream as opposed to yogurt. Husband likes the caesar one so much he's requested it on all our caesar salads from now on (as opposed to my having this one and the rest of the family having a yummy PP-laden one, like the Renee's caesar dressing we've been using forever).

At ONE point per tablespoon, you can't go wrong!

Mae and I took a quick trip to America on Saturday, and I stocked up on all kinds of great WW-friendly foods we can't get here: a wide assortment of Weight Watchers and Lean Cuisine entrees we can't get (I almost always have one of these for lunch at work); fat-free cheese and Laughing Cow light wedge cheeses in a variety of flavours not available here; Hormel turkey pepperoni; Hebrew National 97% fat free beef franks; Fiber One yogurt; and, of course, 2-point 100 Grand bars, haha!  Also stocked up on 2-point Baby Ruths for The Faithful Mo.  :)

GAIN this week: 0.6
Lost so far: 82.4
Still remaining: 17.6
Activity points earned this week: 39
Weeks to go: 15

Monday, June 20, 2011

Annie: weigh-in week 36

My "pounds to go" number is so close to my "weeks to go" number! Thought I'd crossed the line this week at first, but my math was off, haha.

As suspected, this week the loss I've been earning over the last couple of weeks turned up on the scale. The big lesson here is for someone just starting out on a weight-loss project: they tell you not to focus too much on the scale, and they're right (though, let's admit it, it's just about impossible not to, to a degree).

Over the course of this project I've had big losses in weeks I wouldn't have expected them, and plateaus (yes, Mo, I checked! My dictionary accepts both eaus and eaux!) where I didn't think I deserved them. As The Faithful Mo said in a comment way, way back when this blog began: think of your weight loss as a marathon, not a sprint. Focus on what you have to do to reach the finish line, and trust your program... the loss will take care of itself. I'm living proof!

Here's the graph of my loss since the beginning of The Thanksgiving Project, as generated by the Weight Watchers eTools.

You can see the little blips and flatter parts, but the downward slope tells the story. The plateaus aren't even that long... they just seem that way when you're in one.

So this week's lesson? Keep your eye on the prize!

Loss this week: 3.5
Lost so far: 83
Still remaining: 17
Activity points earned this week: 30
Weeks to go: 16

Monday, June 13, 2011

Annie: weigh-in week 35

Either I'm on yet another plateau, or I need to start eating more of my PointsPlus.

Plateaus (eaux?) are discouraging, but par for the course... I've been on this program long enough now to get that. In fact, steep downhills and plateaus seem to be all I have anymore. Last time around I had pretty regular 2 lb losses most weeks, with the occasional sharp decline or low-loss week (and the very occasional gain) - this time, I seem to have many weeks with negligible losses, followed by a week with a sharp drop. It doesn't seem to be related to what I'm eating or how much I'm exercising or the phases of the moon, even - it just seems to be what my body does these days. Hmm.

And what's up with my font? Everything's all weird!


I've learned in the last two weeks that I need to have a goal to work towards, and a program to measure myself against, to feel truly motivated.

After my 5K, The Faithful Mo said just to keep running my 10/1s until the new 10K program started - and it was amazing how much less motivated I felt to do it! I kept going out because I know I need to do it if I want not to have lost any fitness when I do start again... and because I like the fringe benefits like getting more PointsPlus to eat... but I didn't feel that same compelling pull.

Then, Mo sent my 10K training schedule over the weekend, and already I feel it again. It's so funny - I know I'm a Myers-Briggs "J" and "S" and need order and clear deliverables, but this is crazy!  At any rate, Mo's schedule is up on my fridge, and I'm now excited to hit the treadmill tonight (thunderstorms in the forecast) and cross off my first box!  :)

PointsPlus dilemma

In the last few weeks, I've been eating my daily PointsPlus allowance, and then only eating extra if I've earned them with activity. So I'm not eating any of my "weekly points allowance" (formerly "FlexPoints").  Is that behind the plateau? Dunno. I'll stick to it this week, and if the plateau persists, will switch it up next week. With pizza, ha! Stay tuned.

A first

A teacher at Child's pre-school told me today she thinks I've lost enough weight and should stop here. She's wrong (and even gave that opinion when I was wearing my raincoat!), but it's the first time I've heard that in a long, long time. Wrong, but nice!

Loss this week: 0.2
Lost so far: 79.5
Still remaining: 20.5
Activity points earned this week: 27
Weeks to go: 17

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Annie: weigh-in week 34 and THE RACE!

I only averaged about a pound over each of the last two weeks, but that wasn't unexpected, since I'd had a big 5-pound loss the week before I went on vacation. I'll take it!

These last two weeks were such a whirlwind - I even got out of the habit of blogging, which I know is bad. But of all my new habits (eating well, exercise, blogging about eating well and exercise), if one had to fall away for a bit, I'm glad it was that one!

Topic 1: The race

Well, I finished - upright, and smiling.  :)

It was an absolutely fantastic experience - so much more so than I had expected. It wasn't just the personal satisfaction of completing the race, it also was the unbelievable feeling of support and love from my family and friends. Mae even texted me good luck with 15 minutes to the starting gun! All of my immediate family and in-laws (even the out-of-town ones) were there to cheer for me, as well as some of their friends - in a word, it was awesome.

You'd never have known it was only 5K I was running to look at how much support I had on the course.
  • My Mum was there with Child, so I'd have the most important person in my world there to celebrate at the finish line. 
  • Mo and her husband saw me to the starting line and helped me find my (new, faster!) corral.
  • Our brother, sister-in-law and their friend (who was there to run the 10K an hour later) were on the sidelines about 500m past the start, cheering me on... and then at about the 1K mark, too! (Might I add that my sister-in-law is 7 months pregnant - no comfortable feat, even with a shortcut!)
  • I saw my Dad on an overpass over the course shortly thereafter, and then
  • At about the 3K mark, there was Mo, on the course to run me in. She stayed with me until my last 750m, and then split off so I could finish on my own.
  • But that wasn't it: my brother (who was at this point less than 30 minutes from the starting gun in his own 10K race) and sister-in-law were there again in the run-up to the finish line!
Shoelace from Mo's
first marathon:
If ever I had any doubt about finishing, this tremendous support group would have seen me across that finish line, no matter what. Even now, almost two weeks later, I choke up just thinking about how lucky I am to have so much love in my life. If you're reading, thank you all - though I've tried and tried to tell you, you will never know what you did for me, or how much it meant.

At this point I also have to mention the contribution my own husband made; while he wasn't with us for the trip (he stayed at home, working), he has been tremendously encouraging the length of this project. From choosing gifts that would help me, to re-arranging the family schedule so I could go running week in and week out, to encouraging me when I was feeling doubtful, his faith was with me as I ran those five kilometres, too.

I ran my personal best at the race, which The Faithful Mo had predicted I would - even despite time lost running around people in the crowd (which in my case included old people and young children!), I ran the 5K almost a minute faster there than I had ever run at home, finishing in 37:06.2. With that said, I was frustrated when I saw my time, because I know I could have broken the 37 minute mark, had I just listened to my coach! Which leads me to...

Topic 2: What I learned about myself and racing

Remember how I said in my very last post how Coach Mo had warned me not to start out too fast? Well, I started out too fast. She had also told me to stick to my 10/1 run/walk plan even if I felt I could go longer, because in the end it would help me conserve energy for a strong finish.

So what did I do? I let the adrenaline from the race atmosphere get the better of me, and I ran faster than usual, and longer than usual, in my first set of run minutes. I think I ran about 13.5 minutes in that first set, about 30 seconds/km faster than normal, and that was enough to leave me running on fumes at the end. Idiot! Why didn't I just do what she told me? She had gotten me from unable to run 30 seconds to completing a 5K in four months... clearly she knew what she was doing. Why didn't I just listen? Aargh.

So I learned to listen to my coach.

The next thing I learned was that I'm too dependent on my Garmin. I don't know what I did to it during the race, but it somehow stopped at the 24:35 mark, showing my having run about 3.5 km. Except that I didn't realize it had stopped - so I looked at my watch a couple of times before noticing it had stopped, then got all disoriented. Mo took me to within 750m of the finish line, but I was still thinking I had 1.5 km to go, and I knew I was running out of gas, so I walked when I should have been running - I would surely have made it in under 37 minutes had I been watching the signs rather than the watch.

Now I understand how people get addicted to this racing business! I wanted a second chance, to just trust my body rather than relying on the watch... but then again, trusting my body had led me to run 3.5 minutes too long at the outset.

Aargh. See? Now I have to run another one! Which leads me to...

Topic 3: Wanting more

Before I had even run the 5K, Mo floated the idea of running a 10K together in October, to celebrate the end of The Thanksgiving Project. As she put it in her email, "How awesome would it be to celebrate that amazing accomplishment with another finish line - one after a 10k race?  (with your very own pace bunny (I won't wear the ears, I promise) and biggest fan!)... To celebrate the 1 year anniversary of such a huge thing with another huge thing... sounds pretty cool to me."

I couldn't have agreed more. She said that going from 0 to 5K is harder than going from 5K to 10K, and I have to believe that. I'm actually believing I can do it, so we're going to try.

Fargo FM Half Marathon, 10K & 5K, here we come! Which leads me to...

Topic 4: The gift that keeps on giving

The training schedule Mo made to get me ready for the 5K is now also being used by two good friends of mine, both of whom are taking up running, too. We three will be running a little 5K together just outside of town at the end of September (by "little" 5K I mean fewer than thousands of entrants, not short distance! 5K is still far in my books!), all having gotten there thanks to Mo's training plan.

So, Miss Faithful Mo: thank you for your inspiration. For gently leading me to try. For believing that I could. For building a plan to help me get there, and for advising and encouraging me along the way. For flying Child and me to the race. For celebrating what must have seemed molehills as though they were mountains. For the card you gave me the night of this race that will always be a treasure to me. For being proud of me. And for helping me be proud of me.


OK, that's about all I've got in me for tonight - apologies to my three readers for having taken so long to post, haha! I promise to get back into blogging shape with an on-time post next Monday.

Loss these last 2 weeks: 2.1
Lost so far: 79.3
Still remaining: 20.7
Activity points earned this week: 23
Weeks to go: 18