August 19, 2012

There's a war going on up in here!

For the last few weeks, my eating has been out of control. Eating out. Pizza and cookies at work. Ice cream several times. I've been above a comfortable weight since before I started working, but to every over indulgence I said "meh." "Whatever." Inside, a small part of me was screaming "Noooooooo!"

That small part of me fought back this past week, and took my wallet hostage in the process.

I'm quite poor right now. The new job barely pays enough to cover my bills, credit cards, and the student loans which have now come out of deferment. I spent my 401K, my reserves, and my savings being unemployed, and racked up a few credit cards along the way. I cannot afford new toys.

Late Monday night, I found myself once again looking at the Body Media site. You'll remember part of the reason I purchased  a heart rate monitor was because I wanted to know how many calories I actually burn in a day. I chose the wrong heart rate monitor for that. I learned about the Body Media Fit Link from this post, and was instantly fascinated.

Does anyone who knows me not know I am gadget girl? And that I like data? This thing measures your movement, temperature, and electrical conductivity, which helps it track how many calories you burn in a day. It also tells you how well or poorly you slept? Count me in!
I originally thought it kept track of heart rate as well.
I was mistaken.
This thing is also expensive. Count me out! I've been drooling over it since the beginning of August, though. Then Monday happened, and now there's this:
all it took was a coupon and a late night...
I don't know if it's due to the Fit Link device, or the return to running as my main form of exercise (over the P90X and Insanity), but I had a better exercise week than I've had since March. The eating? Meh. At least the last 2 days have been good.

It definitely acts as a reminder that I have goals and I"m trying to do something here. It's not tight, but I'm constantly aware of it on my arm. That may be the best benefit yet.

So the plan now is to run every morning, then roll out and do ab work, push-ups and pull-ups in the time between finishing my run and getting ready for work. The ab work is from the video series. I also do at least one video a week, usually Yoga, stretching, or Kenpo when I'm at Superman's in the morning.

Running every morning. I think I finally figured out what my problem was with running too much or too hard. I've been focusing on making sure my glutes are firing when I run. I ran almost 19 miles this weekend, without injury, hip, or knee pain. I ran more miles this week than I have in any week since March. No pain, other than tired glutes!

In addition, this past week I've  been using the handicap stall in the bathroom at work to do push-ups on the bar. I know. That stall is not for able bodied people. However, we almost never have anyone visit the office who doesn't work there, and no one who works there needs that stall. I'm not comfortable doing push-ups in my cube, and I haven't found a better place. Also, I can't do a real push up yet anyway.

That's about all I'm doing at work, to move. I walk on my little half hour lunch, but I rarely take my little half hour lunch. Mostly I sit at my desk from clock in to at least a half hour and sometimes an hour after I'm supposed to clock out. I get up to go help the other guys, who sit one and two cubes away from me. One of them laughed at me for putting a reminder to stretch on my calendar. Considering how engrossed I get, and how much sitting I'm doing, it's necessary!

As for real life, I'm very excited to see Monkey Boy, who's home on leave starting this coming Saturday. I'm also working on getting everything together for Superman's and my annual birthday bash over Labor Day Weekend. I'm trying to decide if the purchase of several large tissue boxes and ping pong balls will be worth the promised hilarity, if I can get people to participate in my little game.

I'll let you know how that goes!

August 12, 2012

Putting the wheels back on

The last few weeks I've been less and less motivated to move, to follow the exercise program I set out for myself. I would plan out the workout week over the weekend, but only follow a day or two before giving up. This week I didn't even halfheartedly try to follow through toward the end of the week. 

I have all sorts of rationals and reasons why I haven't done what I said. Honestly, they all contribute, but ultimately in every case I could have said "no, I'm going to do this anyway!" instead of "meh, not today..."

I'm putting the wheels back on the bus this week, and doing well overdue maintenance as well. 
Not the bus I had in mind!
After reading THIS POST, as well as THIS POST, and knowing I have not been able to donate blood for literally decades because my iron is always too low, I added a ferrous sulfate supplement to my regime. I used to be a supplement addict, and would take about 15 pills a day. I'm down now to just a few. Biotin has proven to help with weak and splitting finger and toe nails, which are a result of my auto-immune disease. Vitamin D, my family is historically deficient in. This is even more important now I'm hardly outside anymore because of work. I take 5-HTP because it's supposed to help me sleep better. I'm still a horrible sleeper, so I don't have any concrete evidence this works. I like to think I'm up fewer times in the night since I began taking it though, so there's that. Now I take Iron as well. That, methimazole for the auto-immune disease, and the periodic allergy med is all I take. 

I haven't changed the exercise plan for this week, other than cancelling Monday's morning workout. I have to visit my local bank to see if they can help me reduce my mortgage payments. It seems having a low mortgage because I own a condo instead of a house is a detriment. If I refinance through a large mortgage company, I'll have to pay $500 or so above the higher interest they use to cover closing costs. I don't have $500. I'm told a small local bank can do things the larger finance companies cannot, and I happen to have accounts at our local credit union, so we'll see. 

I've gone back to counting calories. Not in an obsessive "I ate a cracker, I need to record that!" but in planning out my weekly meals. I do all my cooking and preparing food for the week on the weekends. This week I got rid of the crap in my house and started fresh.

BreakfastRefrigerator Oatmeal. Mine is Apple-Pumpkin-Almond Butter with several other additions thrown in (like Bob's Red Mill 5 Grain cereal with flaxseed plus Grape Nuts, instead of oatmeal). Being incapable of following a recipe as written, I tracked everything I threw in using MyFitnessPal's recipe section. It comes out to about 240 calories, 39 grams of carbs, and 13 grams of protein. 

I've been struggling with fuel first thing in the morning. I don't really want to eat when I first wake up, but I need to eat something if I'm going to push myself for an hour or more before work. I made brownies filled with more raisin and date than brownie, but it turns out I don't want cookie first thing after waking up. I tried Clif Bars for breakfast too, but again, no cookies please. I'm hoping the oatmeal will work better. For one thing, it's supposed to be eaten cold. This means I can have a few spoonfuls, put it back in the fridge and do my thing, then eat a bit more if necessary.

Lunch: This is actually little more than a snack. I'm a grazer, and like to snack all day. I mixed up a bean salad with a bit of every dried bean I could find in the store, added sauteed onions and green peppers, then tossed the whole thing with some mild salsa. It's meant to be eaten cold as a grab-and-go I can eat at my desk. This way I have time to walk on my lunch, which is only half an hour anyway. If I don't walk at lunch I barely move from my desk, which is not good.

Snacks: I lean toward a whole food lifestyle, but there are some things I find REALLY hard to go without. I currently have a stash of crackers at work, portioned out carefully so I'm less inclined to binge. I've allotted myself one portion per day, plus 2 portions of grapes as snacks throughout the day. 

On the drive home, if I'm going to run before whatever is on the calendar that evening, I'll have half a Clif Bar. Cookie is ok later in the day. I just have to make sure I portion it out before, or I will eat the entire thing. I really don't need that much fuel for the one or two little miles I'll have time for. I just need to not be starving when I get home, so I'm not eating a big dinner instead of running.

Dinner: This is something along the lines of a Quesadilla, with spinach and mozzarella cheese on a Flatout. I'll cook them in my little sandwich maker so I don't have to butter them up. I've had that thing for years, and don't think I've used it once. It was a gift from the last place I worked, for sticking around 5 years. Because the sandwich is also barely above snack portion in calories, I've added a serving of long grain brown and wild rice. Two snacks = dinner!

Everything is nicely portioned out in my fridge. 
I have no intention of becoming a food blogger, as you can tell from the lack of glossy close-ups of every meal. Because I subjected you to my meal plan and did NOT include pictures, here's one of my little friend who helped me shop.
I found him while in the dairy aisle. He must have been there, hanging on my cart the whole time. After checking out, I made him climb up on my bag, from which he climbed up onto my hand as I walked out to the parking lot. I blew him off onto a bush, figuring he could find his way home from there, and walked home reflecting on good karma. 

August 4, 2012

I believe...

And the angels sang...
I believe...
I believe if I run frequently, I don't have to take my thyroid medication.
Because of the above, I tend not to take my medication. Problem is, I haven't been running much lately. My runs have also been increasingly piss poor, which of course does not entice me to run more. I blamed allergies and the heat. Why did it take until my run this morning to remember yet again that my thyroid issue is the result of an AUTO-IMMUNE disease? What are allergies? A reaction by the immune system to protect your lungs/body from foreign objects in the air. What happens when my immune system goes haywire? I experience increased allergic reactions, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure...

I believe...
I believe my fatigue of late is due more to my thyroid issue than the workouts I'm doing.
I haven't been running much lately because I'm really liking the P90X and Insanity workouts (though more the former than the latter). I'm still tweaking the schedule to fit in as much as possible, but I don't have time to do everything. Running fell by the wayside in lieu of sleep.

I've been sleeping a lot lately. 8 and 9 hours a night, which is insane for me. I usually wake up on my own after 7 hours. I thought at first this was because I'm working out more, but in reality that's not the case. I blew off 3 days of workouts this week so I could sleep in.

I think, because I'm not medicating and I'm not running, my body is working overtime. I'm reminded of Char, a blogger from Australia who writes My Life's a Marathon. Char has been struggling for about a year with what (if I remember correctly) was diagnosed as over-training. She would get physically ill from running. She would also get incredibly fatigued. She would actually NEED a nap in the middle of the day. The cure for her has been to keep an eye on her heart rate while she runs. She's not allowed to let it get too high, or she pays the price later in the day.

My heart rate runs very high when I'm not medicated or running (as has been the case of late).

I believe...
I believe there's a way to do it all.
This past week's schedule was built around the idea that I don't do well waking up before 7am. I also found things like housework were not getting done on the previous week's schedule. I cut the pre-workout run so I could wake up a little later, and also keep the cats from pissing on my carpet because their littler boxes weren't cleaned.

I hoped to make up those morning runs after work and on the weekend, but running after work has yet to happen. I almost never leave work when I'm supposed to. By the time I get home I'm starving, I now have 3 days of standing 8-o'clocks, and the heat has been oppressive.

I think I figured out a way to run in the evenings. It will take planning and preparation. I'll have to pre-pot, as my Wow friends say. I already do some of this by preparing my meals on the weekend, so I just have to grab the appropriate tupperware at the appropriate time.
This takes care of the heat problem. is amazing. Who knew you could order air conditioners delivered to your doorstep (or Superman's doorstep, as the case may be). I bought 2, and can now run in the comfort of my own home. Ish. Treadmill running will never be my favorite, but it will work for the time being.

The evening runs have to be non-negotiable, like brushing my teeth or taking a shower. Otherwise I end up taking medication I don't want to take, that costs more what with the Dr. visits and testing involved in obtaining said medication.

This week's schedule looks something like this:

Today's run was supposed to be 8 miles, with another 8 miles tomorrow. That didn't happen, and is not going to happen. I took my thyroid medication yesterday morning, last night, and again this morning, and I still felt the effects of the disease. I've let it get out of hand, which is a huge no-no.

I believe...
I really like the iFitness Belt, even though I didn't think I would.
I decided to run the park near my house. The park is only 2.5 miles, but I figured I could do two 4-mile loops, stopping back at my car for a fresh bottle of water and fuel if necessary.

I've had the iFitness belt for quite a while, but never tried it because I equated it with the water bottle belts I've used and hated in the past. This is nothing like those. It is elastic and fits snugly so it doesn't bounce around. I only used it to hold my phone and keys, so it was almost unnoticeable.

I'm very much liking carrying a water bottle as opposed to the camel back. My back can breath. I can pour water over my head of necessary.

I found myself on Energizer Bunny's favorite trail (or at least one of them) for the first half of my run.
I like how only the right half of this picture is in focus. At least it gives you an idea of the terrain I encountered. I knew it would be hills, since that is the definition of this park. I didn't know how the hills would tire me out. I ran 4 miles and decided I did not want to run another 4. I walked them instead.
Maybe climb would be a better word. I found this path and couldn't resist.
This was halfway up, when I had to stop and take a break.

I'll be out again tomorrow. I've changed the ambitious goal to 6 miles instead of 8. Those will not be on the park hill, either. The rest of the week looks like this:
The times are relative, and this does not reflect the evening runs I'll be doing. Also, the yoga is a placeholder since Superman and I have not yet cashed in the Groupon. Hopefully that will happen soon, though it may wait until September when he's no longer working the bike shop. I'm not a fan of either stretching or ab work right now, even though I know it's important and good for me. Case in point, I haven't done the stretching yet for today, and I'm about to sign off and get ready for a party...