Monday, March 17, 2014

Update on Goals

There's only four more weeks left in my Wellness program. I've made some positive changes in the past couple of months and I've tried several new things like kale, Fage Greek yogurt, the Fresh Market, climbing the rock wall, running, TRX suspension training, making homemade granola bars, and MyFitnessPal.com. I've only lost 4-5 pounds so far, but I feel like I've learned lots of new tips and I'm on the right track. I've already reached some of my goals. Here's a status update:

Process-oriented Goals:
  1. Follow the daily dietary plan the nutritionist gives me for at least 5 days a week for the next 12 weeks. I've followed the dietary plan the best I could. There's always room for improvement and I love the fact that I have a good plan to follow in the future.
  2. Record what I eat at least 6 days a week for the next 12 weeks. Yes! I have recorded everything I've eaten in the past 8 weeks, with the exception of a few random days. For the first 7 weeks, I recorded everything with pen and paper--the old fashioned, but faster, easier, and simpler way. I keep the clipboard with my food diary on the kitchen table and, since I'm not working, it's been easy for me to write down what I eat when I eat it. The last week I've tried MyFitnessPal.com to record my food because the other five women in my class use it and recommend it. There are advantages and disadvantages of keeping my food diary online--that's a good subject for another blog post! Next week, I'm planning to do both. Keep my manual food log on the kitchen table, and then update my online food log every evening. 
  3. Read the week's "lesson" ahead of time. Read all materials we are given. I've read most of the materials in time for each week's class, although I amaze myself at how I'm always reading as fast as I can in the few hours before the class starts. You would think that I have all the time in the world now that I'm not working, but nope. I find all kinds of other things to do.
  4. Establish a good breakfast routine that makes me feel good about starting the day. Yes! I've been eating a satisfying breakfast of 1 1/2 cups of cereal, 1 cup skim milk, raisins, and a protein such as deli meat or a cheesestick. I feel good about this breakfast. My only concern is whether I can keep it up once I start working.
  5. Identify at least 10 healthy, easy, and yummy recipes to make for dinners. I have found at least two good recipes to add to my collection, and I just checked out "The Six O'Clock Scramble" cookbook from the library.
  6. Identify at least 5 healthy and yummy options for eating out at lunch time. Subway sandwiches are one option. This goal has become less important since I'm not working.
  7. Exercise 3-5 times a week for the entire 12 weeks. Yes! There were a few weeks when I struggled to exercise 3 times, but I've certainly exercised significantly more once I started this program. My goal for the last 4 weeks is to exercise 5 times a week to finish strong.
  8. Establish a good weight lifting routine that I can do on my own in 20 minutes. We did learn weight lifting exercises in the program. The problem is that I struggle to get them done in 20 minutes and I get bored as hell doing strength training. Today I went to a TRX Suspension Training class at the gym and it kicked my ass. But, it does count as strength training. 
  9. Create a run mix on my Ipod of upbeat music I love. Not yet. I've been running while listening to audiobooks.
  10. Fix up my bike and find a 5-10 mile bike route near my house. Not yet. Mostly because winter keeps coming back and we've only had a couple of days of spring.
  11. Blog about my progress at least once/week. Oops. Not exactly once a week, but close enough?
  12. Arrive 5 minutes early to every meeting. Not exactly, but I've been on time.
  13. Take care of myself in other ways to keep my spirits up. Enjoy the social interaction. Get enough sleep. Have fun. Stop doing things I don't want to do just to please other people who don't care about pleasing me. Stop putting my life on hold. I have been getting enough sleep. When I first got laid off, I thought I'd get up at the same time as I did when I was working so I could get a lot done during the day. That only lasted a week before I was exhausted. I decided that I should sleep in as much as I could while I have the chance. One day I'll get a new job and I'll have to get up. Until then, I'm going to sleep!
Results-oriented:
  1. Lose 12 pounds (one pound/week).
  2. Get my BMI under 35.
  3. Get down to a size 12.
  4. Complete the Couch-to-5k app. I have Weeks 7 and 8 left. I pushed through Weeks 4, 5, and 6 even though they were hard. Week 7 is running 25 minutes in a row. 
  5. Climb to the top of the rock wall, or at least try to climb the rock wall. Yes! I tried the rock wall last Tuesday. I didn't get even remotely near the top of the wall. I only made it up four panels (I estimate about 8 feet) before my forearms were screaming for me to let go. Basically, you have to hold on with your fingertips while you try to step from tiny foothold to tiny foothold. When I let go, the staff member at the gym let me down gradually until I was heaped on the floor. My forearms were almost stinging from the exertion. It was fun though, and I hope to push myself to do it a few more times. Great strength workout.
  6. Lift an African elephant (the FitLinx program at the wellness center keeps track) (or even an Asian elephant ;-) I don't have the patience to enter the strength training I've been doing into FitLinx, so I may forget this goal. Would be cool to see my progress, but too cumbersome.
  7. Buy new running shoes. Yes! Got them a few weeks ago. Paid about $110 for the shoes and $30 or so for the inserts to correct for my low arches. Expensive, but they feel good.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I'm Slowly Becoming a Runner

Last weekend, spring was in the air and it was warm and sunny outside. I decided to go for a walk on the greenway like I used to back when I was in better shape. There was a time when I would walk an hour 5-6 days a week. But, I didn't like running so I always walked, usually listening to an audiobook on a CD-player strapped to my waist. On Saturday, by the time I pushed myself out of my comfy reading chair and forced myself to put on my exercise clothes, it was late in the afternoon and I was still feeling sore from the Muscle Conditioning class that I took on Friday at the gym. I told myself that I didn't need to jog, it was perfectly okay if I just walked for an hour. (I usually call it jogging because I feel my pace is so slow it doesn't technically qualify as "running" and my mother taught me to be absolutely honest so I can't bring myself to call it running when it's only jogging.) Walking is a good exercise and I would eventually work up a sweat.

Well, after I had walked on the trail for about 30 minutes, I felt this urge to start jogging. I felt like walking was not enough, I needed to jog at least a little bit. My legs needed to go faster. So, I started jogging very slowly (my normal speed is very slow at first and gradually becomes less slow but still not fast). I timed myself for 8 minutes, then I needed a break. I did my fair share of huffing and puffing. I walked for about 5 minutes, then jogged for 5 minutes, then walked the rest of the way home. I feel like something shifted in my brain or my body or somewhere. Maybe it's the power of habit from weeks of doing my Couch-to-5K app. I now feel like I need to insert some jogging into my walks. This is a fundamental shift for me. I'm gradually incorporating running into my life.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Trying New Foods: Kale

Today, I ate kale for the first time at home. I got some in my Produce Box, a service which delivers fresh, locally-grown fruit and vegetables once a week to my house. I love ordering my Produce Box online every Friday afternoon and having a box of beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables show up at my door on Thursdays. I'm starting my second season with the Produce Box, and this year they're starting a few months earlier and offering regionally-grown produce until the local produce is ready. So, this week I decided to try some fresh kale. I found an easy recipe on the internet to pan-fry kale, including awesome pictures:
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/06/panfried-kale/

I substituted an onion for the garlic and added some fresh cabbage and a splash of soy sauce for extra flavor. It turned out great! The kale tasted kind of like fresh spinach but it was still a little crispy and crunchy after sauteeing for a short time. I felt good that I was eating healthy vegetables that tasted good. Now, I won't be afraid of kale anymore!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Week 5 of Wellness Program

So, I weighed in with my wellness coach this morning and I've lost four pounds since the start of the program! I've been recording everything I eat for a month, following the dietary plan at least 6 out of 7 days per week, and exercising at least three times a week. It hasn't been easy, but it's doable and realistic, as long as I can maintain my exercise routine once I start working again. This week I've exercised four days in a row and now I'm pooped! I feel like my sluggish body has finally been coaxed into responding to the dietary changes and exercise, like a child dragged out of their snugly bed to go to school.



Saturday, February 1, 2014

First Week at Home

Just finished my first week at home after getting laid off last Friday. I spent the weekend repeating to myself that I was laid off, trying to make it sound real and not just a daydream. Monday and Tuesday I went to the gym, went grocery shopping, painted the trim around two doors in the garage, and kept myself so busy that by Wednesday I was exhausted. So, I've slept in the past four days. I felt some depression on Wednesday and Thursday, just couldn't get myself to do much, but it could have been from the snowy weather that shut everything down. By Friday afternoon, I felt re-energized. I couldn't bring myself to call the career counselor on my list. I just felt I needed more time to process my new situation and recover from the shock--both the bad shock of having no income starting in May and the good shock of having the free time to do whatever I want during the day.

I've done decently following my meal plan and exercising this week, even though sleeping in pushed my breakfast back until 10 am or later and then I skipped my mid-morning snack and had lunch late. I've been to the gym 4 times, which meets my goal for this week.

So after a week at home, I've finally accepted what happened and now I feel that I'm ready to start planning the future. I'll call the career counselor on Monday, sign up for a certification class on Wednesdays, and start applying to companies that I'm interested in. I want to enjoy my three months of severance pay and line up a new job to start in May. I trust that something great will come along!

Monday, January 27, 2014

An Unexpected Turn of Events

Once again I learned that life can turn on a dime. On Tuesday through Thursday, I painstakingly followed the meal plan the dietitian gave me and recorded what I ate in a food log. By Thursday night, I felt kind of hungry and ate an extra snack, but still a reasonable, measured amount of food. On Friday morning, I ate breakfast like I was supposed to, drove to work, walked in the door, and... got laid off. I was shocked because I didn't see it coming, amazed that I got 3 months severance pay when I was hoping to quit and get a better job this year anyway, and giddy with the new freedom I now have. With the whirlwind of calling my husband to shock him with the news and emailing my friends to explain what happened, I totally forgot to eat my snacks. I did have a healthy lunch but I pretty much gave up sticking to the plan for the weekend. I went out to "celebrate" twice, once with a friend and once with my husband, where I just had to have a pint of cider, one of which had a shot of whiskey in it (they called it Angry Balls). At the second "celebration," I got overstuffed. I sort of knew I was eating too much at the time, but I have to admit it felt good to feel full (at first, but when I got up to leave, I felt too full).

So, I followed my meal plan and food journal for 3 out of 7 days this week. Now that I'm over the shock, I'll get back to the plan this week. One of the benefits of being unemployed is that now I have plenty of time to go to the gym! I went to aqua aerobics this morning and I hope to go to more exercise classes during the day this week.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Week 1: Setting SMART Goals

Okay, so we had the first meeting of my wellness program on Tuesday evening and the subject was setting goals. The leader encouraged us to use the SMART system for setting goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. She also cautioned us that some people are perfectionists and will make lots of goals and hold themselves to very high standards and then will often get discouraged when they can't/don't meet all of their goals. I sheepishly remembered the 20 goals I published in my blog for all of the internet to see. Looks like I might be one of the perfectionists she's talking about! So, I've revised my goals to be a little more attainable and separated my goals into process-oriented and results-oriented goals. I understand that I may not be able to reach all of these goals in 12 weeks, but most of them are realistic and attainable.

Here's my revised list of goals:

Process-oriented:
  1. Follow the daily dietary plan the nutritionist gives me for at least 5 days a week for the next 12 weeks.
  2. Record what I eat at least 6 days a week for the next 12 weeks.
  3. Read the week's "lesson" ahead of time. Read all materials we are given.
  4. Establish a good breakfast routine that makes me feel good about starting the day.
  5. Identify at least 10 healthy, easy, and yummy recipes to make for dinners.
  6. Identify at least 5 healthy and yummy options for eating out at lunch time.
  7. Exercise 3-5 times a week for the entire 12 weeks.
  8. Establish a good weight lifting routine that I can do on my own in 20 minutes.
  9. Create a run mix on my Ipod of upbeat music I love.
  10. Fix up my bike and find a 5-10 mile bike route near my house.
  11. Blog about my progress at least once/week.
  12. Arrive 5 minutes early to every meeting.
  13. Take care of myself in other ways to keep my spirits up. Enjoy the social interaction. Get enough sleep. Have fun. Stop doing things I don't want to do just to please other people who don't care about pleasing me. Stop putting my life on hold.
Results-oriented:
  1. Lose 12 pounds (one pound/week).
  2. Get my BMI under 35.
  3. Get down to a size 12.
  4. Complete the Couch-to-5k app.
  5. Climb to the top of the rock wall, or at least try to climb the rock wall.
  6. Lift an African elephant (the FitLinx program at the wellness center keeps track) (or even an Asian elephant ;-)
  7. Buy new running shoes.
I can pick one or two of these to focus on each week so I don't get overwhelmed.