Friday, July 1, 2011

July 1: Hooray!

  Yesterday I did not track what I ate, but I can tell you that I ate ice cream, licorice, sesame sticks, watermelon, and a cheeseburger among other things.  Yesterday was a day to be celebrated!  My sister and I took my kids to Waldameer, an amusement park in northwestern Pennsylvania.  I knew that the kids would have a great time – they love the rides!  The question in my mind was: Would I?


  Growing up, I loved rides, too.  As an overgrown-up though, I taught myself that I was too fat for rides: I'd picture the safety harnesses not closing on me or me plugging up the water slide tubes like something out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  So, just like when I was a child afraid of imperfectly jumping rope so I'd volunteer to be a permanent rope turner instead, at amusement parks I became the permanent baby-sitter.  Yesterday though, I gave it a whirl (literally). 


  My first adventure was in Water World.  I took my youngest on my lap, and we rode down the wee little baby water slides together.  She loved it and I loved it, and I silenced any thoughts about people judging my infinitely imperfect body.  It just didn't matter; and, frankly, I didn't see anyone paying attention to me anyway.  They've got better things to do with their vacation time than thinking about meHurrah!  Strangers can be wonderful!


  My first real challenge of belief in myself came in the form of an inner tube built for two.  My son wanted to ride, but none of the others in our party were up to it.  Well I was, but I was afraid I was too heavy and fat.  There were signs that said the ride wasn't for overweight and out of shape people.  Well, sure I'm overweight.  But overweight and out of shape?  No sir, not me!  I'm in fine shape, thank you!  This pear can move!  Still, I asked a life guard whether I could ride with my son, and she said "Yes!"  Really?  I asked another guard and got the same answer!  That was that – we grabbed our tube and climbed the stairs (no problem!) and rode down and capsized and laughed with delight and did it again.  J 


  When we changed into dry clothes and headed for the land rides, I did wonder a little whether I'm too fat for the safety harnesses. Walking around the rides, I tried to look for people at least my size on the rides.  If they could fit, so could I.  To make a long story short, my body fit just fine.  It fit in the Mega Vortex (shriek!), the Wipeout (woo-hoo!), and everything else I wanted to put it in.  It had a healthy lunch of pb&J and watermelon; and it had a treat of a dinner: cheeseburger (which I split with my youngest), a bucket of fries (which 5 of us shared – and still had to throw some away), water (why drink pop?), and ice cream (yeah, baby!; which I shared with my youngest).


  So hooray! for rides and slides; hooray! for my family (both who went with us and who sponsored the trip); hooray! for ice cream and for sharing; hooray! for Laura Kessel and The News Herald for this contest which has kept me focused and motivated; and hooray! for cardio and strength training!  I can hardly wait to hit another amusement park!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 29: brownies vs. watermelon

  There came a point last evening when I thought to myself, "If there were brownies in the house right now, I'd eat them."  I wasn't hungry, I was upset and looking for the comfort which thick chewy brownies can bring.  Fortunately for my weight loss efforts, I know better than to keep brownies in the house and I wasn't about to take the time to make them.  My taste buds were on sweet alert though, so I grabbed a slice of watermelon.


  One of the first instructions I received from Weight Watchers was that I needed to do a cupboard makeover: get rid of red light foods or trigger foods, foods which I felt I had no control over.  Doesn't that sound weird?  Food I have no control over.  I mean, come on, it's just a bag of chips in the cupboard or a peanut butter cookie sitting quietly in the cookie jar. 


  Food can't do anything to me, it have no life, no consciousness, no movement.  And yet there are times when I feel so overwhelmed by what's happening in and around my life that I empower food, bestowing on it the task of comforting me.  When there's a food-related event on the horizon, say a birthday party or a dinner out, I get so excited by the anticipation of a change of pace that I start the celebrating early.  I munch away up till the event, which then becomes anticlimactic.  Often, by the time the celebration rolls around I've had such a feast for myself that I have no choice but to follow the Weight Watcher's theology that celebrations are about people, not about food.


  Ridiculously, in writing this blog I've just realized that I've been subconsciously doing things backwards.  When I think of brownies, I imagine having my friends around, playing games, laughing, enjoying company.  And yet it's not eating that magically summons people. If, in my upset yesterday, I'd eaten brownies, I would have been no less upset.  Those things which were bothering me would still exist.  Sure, I would have messed with my brain chemicals, releasing some happy hormones, but when those wore off I'd have consumed calories, made my weight loss goal that much farther to reach, spiked my blood sugar, and ended up feeling even more upset.





Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 28: zoo food

Exercise preface:  I love3 swimming at Euclid's Memorial Pool during the early morning lap swim!  It's a perfect environment: the refreshingly cool water; the sea gulls crying in the sky against the clouds breezing by; the view of the community gardens, playground, and soccer & baseball fields.  Swimming at Memorial first thing in the morning is an amazingly peaceful way to start one's day.  The lanes are longer and wider than those at the Y, and there are more of them.  I love it, love it, love it!  I send a giant thank-you to the guards who get up early on summer mornings so that we early bird swimmers can enjoy this time.


Our Three and I went to the zoo yesterday.  Having learned from experience, I decided to pack snacks & lunch to take with us.  Nothing against the zoo's vendors, but when hunger strikes, it's better to eat than to wait in line.  I was grateful for taking the time to pack and carry food because – believe it or not – after the climb up the board bridge (with yours truly pushing our youngest in the stroller), I found that my breakfast of several hours ago had worn off.  Kashi bar to the rescue!  (exercise note: This may be the first time I've ever gone steadily up that boardwalk without pausing; and I did it pushing a stroller full of child and supplies!)


We made it most of the way through the primate house before Our Threes' later-than-my breakfasts clearly wore off (bickering, testiness).  No need to stand in long lines, we simply found a shady spot and refueled.  We were all set for our journey to the Northern Trek and Africa, in jolly good moods.  It's amazing what nourishment can do for a body.


I enjoyed this outing with Our Three tremendously.  Our Three are wonderful young people who are a pleasure to be around.  They're clever and observant, funny and loving... unless they get overly hungry.


Back at home, my eating slipped.  After my early morning cardio at the Y and my additional exercise at the zoo, I really needed a nap.  Our Youngest wasn't on board with that idea, though, so I ended up gnawing on a hard pretzel and having a bowl of cocoa puffed rice cereal.  Not bad, but it was eating for the wrong reasons.  I needed to find a way to rest, not merely drug myself through a few more hours of wakefulness.


Today's a new day, and I'd better get back to tracking what I eat.  Funny how easy it is to forget about it when I've got pools and beaches on the brain.  And yet without good eating, none of those other things can happen.


Monday, June 27, 2011

June 27: The Pizza Challenge

  Exercise preface:  I'm enjoying power walking and I'm figuring out how to do it better.  Yesterday in the Metroparks I powered my youngest in her stroller up and down the gentle slopes.  Today at the Y I set the treadmill for a brisk pace and kept on walking.  I wonder how I'll be able to get that pace in my head for the triathlon.  Will it even be possible after the swimming & biking legs?


  Pizza is one of my very favorite foods, right up there with popcorn and ice cream.  So when I found myself in the position of playing Pizza Guard, I not only made sure all the kids got an equal shot at a second slice before others snuck back for thirds, but I had to overcome the temptation to have a slice myself.  And I'm proud to say that even though there were some pokey little puppies in the group, not a slice of pizza did I have. I didn't plan for it, I didn't need it, and I didn't eat it.  Victory!



Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 26: more or less

Preface: Driving home from Lighten Up's weigh-in, I listened to NPR's What Do You Know.  Michael Feldman was interviewing the owner of Chicken Charlie's, a county fair vendor in California which serves deep-fried delicacies such as Oreos, avocados, and Kool-Aid (yes, even the Kool-Aid is deep fried!).  I pass no judgment and have no comment other than noting the irony of listening to the interview after the weigh-in.


  In keeping with my promise of yesterday to focus my attention and blogging on food, I couldn't decide whether to share a list of what I ate yesterday.  Between notebook paper and the WW website, I kept an accurate log of what I ate; I can easily see what was good and what was not so great.  I would be able to list what I ate; the question was whether I would.


  There's the perfectionist part of me that doesn't want to share with you my slip-ups; that part is afraid you'll judge, sneer at, and generally ridicule me.  There's the cynical (realistic?) part of me that says you'd be bored to read a list of what I ate.  I certainly would be.  It seems to me that both these thoughts are based on fear, and if I've learned one thing from Women on Weights in particular and exercise in general, it's that I need to act not from fear but from belief.


  With that in mind, here's what I ate yesterday.


            A standard size bowl of raising bran & skim milk.

   Breakfast was a big decision for me because yesterday was contest weigh-in day.  As is the case with many people I know, I've usually opted to not eat before weigh-in.  But through the contest I've discovered that for me that's a wrong choice.  Weigh-in isn't till noon, and since 8PM is generally the latest I'll eat (okay, 9PM, but only when I'm forcing myself to stay awake), that's roughly 17 hours between meals!  That's too long.  My body is a machine which needs fuel, and to deny it fuel in hopes of a couple ounces on the scale is just wrong.  Weigh-ins reflect the entire time between weigh-ins, not just the morning of.  So I ate breakfast.


Subway turkey & ham on wheat, with lots of veggies and honey mustard (no cheese, onions, or hot peppers)

  Knowing what my schedule would be, I picked up a 12" sub, and had ½ for lunch and ½ for dinner.


Snacking: strawberries, banana, hard sourdough pretzels, fat free cottage cheese, chocolate chip cookies, carrot, ½ Klondike bar

  Yikes!  Here's where I see my slip-ups.  The strawberries, banana, carrot, and cottage cheese were obviously good choices.  The others were treats I chose.  I can tell you that the cookies were little, the pretzels were fat free, and they don't make Klondike bars like they used to, but the fact remains that I didn't need three treats yesterday.  Those extra calories = no weight loss.



  Water, water, water.  A cup of unsweetened herbal tea.  And more water, water, water.


  If you're still with me, well done!  I'll tell you: reviewing and analyzing yesterday's food intake today has been a good exercise for me.  Up till today, when I've kept a food tracker, I've simply written down what I ate when I ate it, and moved on.  This is the first time I've looked at the list the next day in an effort to learn from it.  I'm glad I did it.  I think it'll help me do better today.


  It's almost time for breakfast.  It sounds silly, but since I fell short in my consumption of vegetables yesterday, I think I'll get a good start by including a carrot or two at breakfast.  As veggies go it's the most breakfast-like one that comes to mind (people make carrot bread, etc.).  And whatever I choose, be it raisin bran & milk or Greek yogurt & kasha or what-have-you, today I'll measure and track the portion sizes (which always either annoyed or elated me in Weight Watchers).  It feels like something I need to do in order to unravel the mystery of eating).