Saturday, February 26, 2011

One Good Habit Leads to Another

I was noticing the other day that I haven't been chewing my nails as much recently. If anything I would think I'd be doing that more, since I can't just go snack whenever I want. (Actually I do snack quite a bit, but it's not the mindless snacking of days past.) They still aren't long, by any means. But, all ten of my nails have a little bit of a white tip, which I don't think has happened since I got married.

Is being more conscious of what I'm eating making me more conscious of other things I usually do without thinking?

If I can keep this up for another few weeks, I might treat myself to a manicure, if I can find somewhere around here that's not too expensive.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One More Thing

Part of the reason I've been MIA for two weeks is because I started another blog over at MFP, the website I've been using to track my food and exercise. I went ahead and started this one because I felt like I could very easily start monopolizing our joint-blog here, and not only do I not want to do that, but I don't want ALL of my posts to be about weight-loss either. (I just haven't really been up to much else lately . . . I haven't even spent much time reading this month! /gasp!)

So, if you care to read, here's a link to my other blog:

I don't think you can vote or leave comments unless you're an MFP member, but you can still read it, if you're interested.

So, It's Been A While . . .

I know I've gone far longer than two weeks without posting, but given how much I had been posting recently, it just seems like it's been a long time.

Nothing new to report. My weight is slowly but steadily coming down. Even after a weekend excursion to Milwaukee, involving lots of eating out and drinking, I managed to lose another pound when I weighed in on Monday. It's encouraging to see the weight coming off, though a part of me is getting impatient to see progress somewhere other than the scale. Part of the issue is that I FEEL so much better than I did a couple months ago, and I wish that it showed on the outside. But, that will have to wait, I guess.

Just as a comparison, though, I went back to one of my earliest posts this year, and these were my three goals to improve upon:

~ 4+ glasses of water a day
~ no more sad faces in my journal (from overeating)
~ Y 3 times a week, Wii Fit on the other days

Compared to where I am now:

~ I am drinking at LEAST 8 glasses of water a day now, usually more like 10-12.
~ With the exception of this weekend, I am staying within (or very close to) my calorie goals each day. When I do go over, it's because of calorie-dense meals, not overeating. Portion control is no longer an issue.
~ I am going to the Y 3 times a week, consistently. When I'm there, I do about an hour of cardio, broken up with circuit training, and I can do up to 30 minutes without taking a break. At the beginning of the year, I was lucky if I could get to 15 minutes and not feel like falling over when I was done.

On the downside . . . I haven't put as much effort into finding a job as I should. After the Borders thing fell through, I decided I would wait till after the holidays, and then start again. I have applied a few places, but it's just hard to put energy into something as soul-sucking as job searching (keeping in mind that I'm not even looking for a job that I'd be happy doing, since that won't really exist until I can go back to school, if that ever happens) when I'm finally filling my days with something meaningful to me. A couple months ago I was bored out of my skull staying at home all day. Now I'm wondering how I'm going to keep up this momentum if suddenly 40 hours of my week are taken away from me.

Friday, February 11, 2011

She's Inspiring Too

Well since Charleen keeps threatening to knock me off the front page of our blog, I guess I'd better write a post. What can I say, I've been pretty busy lately.

Anyway, the other day Charleen mentioned that one of our friends was particularly inspiring to her. Over the course of the last 2 years or so, he's lost a lot of weight. He went from being a pretty husky guy down to the point where he can almost wear my pants. (Maybe you'll get that story some time too...) Anyway, he looks fantastic and he's kept the weight off.

I've been trying on and off for the last couple of years to get back in shape. No particular goal (and maybe that's the problem) just getting in shape. I used to be the guy all through school who could just keep going like the energizer bunny. I was never the best at any sport, but I could always keep going long after most people were worn out. I realized mid way through college that it was gym class that did a lot to keep me in shape. But anyway, I'm rambling. My point is that I wanted to get back to that point where I could go and play a sport and just keep it up for a long while.

As I said, I've been trying on and off since college to get back in shape and this time I'm using Charleen as my motivation. Seeing her setting goals for herself, counting calories, going to the Y, working out at home, and looking for more ways she can do cardio on days she's not at the Y. It's really motivating.

With being sick at the beginning of the year I've been starting slowly to get into a pattern of doing something almost daily. Last week I went to the Y on Tuesday and swam laps. I was planning on going on Thursday as well, but due to a long day to make up for a half day Wednesday (Snow-My-God 2011) as well as a tetanus shot that was really making my arm sore, I decided not to go. Charleen and I went on Saturday and I gave my legs a good workout on the treadmill, leg-press, and leg extension machine. This week I went swimming on Tuesday, did push-ups and sit-ups on Wednesday, and went swimming again yesterday. My plan is to soon get into a pattern of swimming at the Y on Tuesday and Thursday after work, doing push-ups and sit-ups on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and going to the Y on Saturday with Charleen to do some kind of cardio and leg workout. I'm thinking of giving myself Sunday off from working out, but I may start doing something like bike riding once the weather gets better.

On a side note, I was very excited walking outside for work this morning. It was 9° F out. Considering it's been about -14° F the last couple of days, this is a vast improvement. Also it's supposed to get up to above freezing tomorrow, and next week it's supposed to not even drop below freezing overnight for a couple of days. I'm really looking forward to it not being cold out anymore. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Well I've been trying to live healthier for about a month now, and been using MFP for almost two weeks to track my calories. I've done a lot of . . . well, I wouldn't call it research, per se, since none of the information is from definitive sources . . . so we'll just call it "gathering ideas" from blogs, forums, etc. As well as paying attention to things I've been doing (and haven't been doing) and trying to come up with a plan that I can stick with.

Probably the biggest thing I've realized is that if I screw up, it's no reason to give up. Monday this week was a really bad day for me. One of my downfalls has always been that I'm an emotional eater, and Monday was the first time since I started these efforts that I just said "screw it" and ate like a pig. But so what? It doesn't mean I'm a failure, just that it'll take a little longer to reach my goals. So, no giving up, no saying "I can't do this," because even if I have a bad day, that's no reason to give up on the rest of my life.

Okay, all that inspirational crap out of the way. What I really wanted to write about today were the changes that I'm wanting to make, now that I've been at this a little while and am learning what will and won't work for me. In regards to food, I've made one minor change this week. Originally I had set my MFP profile to lose 2 lbs/week. And while I stayed within my calorie limits most days, there were some days when I went over, and I always felt discouraged by that. Then I realized that, even when I go over, I'm still on track to lose weight. I just won't be losing as quickly. So, I changed my goal to 1.5 lbs/week, which gives me a higher calorie allowance that is easier to stay within. And I know that the closer I can stay to my old goal, the better off I'll be, but it's just a mindset thing. Better to exceed this goal, than not meet the other one, even if the end result is the same.

I'm still sort of playing around with HOW to actually "spend" those calories throughout the day, and I know my nutritional choices could be better. But, again I say: baby steps. Every week when we go shopping, I add a couple new things to my arsenal of healthy choices.

As far as exercise . . . this whole time I've been trying to work out where and when I can, but I haven't really gotten into a groove yet. But I think I've finally come up with a plan that I can stick with:

~ I want to start every day with at least 10 minutes "free step" on the Wii. It's easy, takes minimal effort, but it will get my heart rate and metabolism going early in the day.

~ On days I go to the Y -- Monday, Wednesday, Saturday -- I want to take more advantage of it. When I first started I was doing about 10-15 minutes on the elliptical and then some circuit training. Last week I started adding the bike to get more cardio. This week I plan to add a C25K session on treadmill. But, I have to break up all the cardio with circuit training, because last Saturday I did 20 minutes on the bike and then tried to do elliptical immediately after, and only got 5 minutes in before I had to stop. Whereas if I break it up, I can do a good 35-40 minutes of cardio in one visit. Today I'm going to see if I can push that to an hour if I break it into three sessions, with weight training in between. I'm already way better off than I was when I started, but I really want to get the most out of my time there, since I don't burn nearly as many calories when I work out at home.

~ Speaking of home, I've started the 200 situps and 200 squats programs three days a week -- Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday. I was also going to do the pushups program, but I really can't do more than a couple "real" pushups, and gave my knees really bad rug burn trying to do multiple sets of the "modified" ones (Wulfa yelled at me for calling them "girly"). So, my plan is to focus on upper body the days I go to the Y. Eventually I'd like to start doing pushups, but I figure by waiting a while it will help in two ways. First, working on the machines will increase my upper body strength so I can do more. And second, it will give me a chance to lose some weight so the pushups will be that much less of a strain.

~ I'm also doing Wii Fit on my non-Y days (more than just the 10 minutes I mentioned before) but unfortunately I'm starting to get bored with it. I'm toying with the idea of getting either another game for the Wii or just some workout DVDs, but then Pat reminded me that we have a DDR game for PS2 that we haven't used . . . well, pretty much since we first got it. So I may give that a try, and see if that can at least get me over this slump until nicer weather, when more outdoor options will open up. (We'll both be getting new bikes when that happens, so NOT spending money on an indoor game would probably be good, if I can avoid it.)

So, that's my plan. We'll see how it holds up.