Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A slippery slope


     I've lost it...and this time I mean the POUNDS!  I lost the 3 pounds I "found" during last week's Weight Watchers weigh-in...those 3 annoying pounds which caused me to cry for several hours, actually DAYS.  Where the hell did they come from anyway?  After talking to a good friend today about our struggle with losing weight, I reevaluated what I did last week.  I ate right (whole grains, lots of veggies, fruit, lean, lowfat protein, water, yada, yada, yada) and exercised 5 days a week as usual.  But then, I rewarded myself.  I had the Margarita.  And the Chips and Guacamole.  I know the rules.  I followed them.  But then I treated myself.  I can't do that.  Not even 48 months after I started "dieting" because I haven't reached my goal.  It's a VERY slippery slope and I have to remember that EVERY SINGLE DAY.  That can seem distressing and daunting and unfair at times but then I have to remember there is a GOAL ahead, something I want to achieve.  I have to imagine how it will feel to weigh in and officially consider myself "healthy" - having a normal Body Mass Index, or how it will feel to be in the next size jeans or look in the mirror during aerobics class and not cringe.

     I actually sat through the entire Weight Watchers meeting today (I usually duck out early because I have my two year old).  My leader suggested that when I have a sudden weight gain, just walk away from the scale, be confident in what I did that week and where you're headed the next week and it WILL come off.  JUST KEEP AT IT.  Even though I'd been feeling strong bouts of fatigue, I ran on the treadmill 2 1/2 miles yesterday.  I also recommitted to writing down my Points.  After years of doing Weight Watchers I get a little cocky sometimes.  I feel a sense of entitlement.  Like writing down your points is for the "freshmen" and I'm a "senior" - I've been here forever.  I have to get back to the basics of accounting for every little bite and rewarding myself in other ways. Let's see where that leads me this week.

How do you reward yourself or get through the "tough" times when all you want is your chips? or chocolate? Or wine?

Goin' With the Flow

     This weekend I took some time to get myself together after Friday's weigh-in debacle.  I decided I must recommit, relax a little bit and just move forward.  I realize I can't abandon "getting healthy", it's really not a choice at all.  I took a Yoga Flow class at my gym...and it helped me to focus, take long, deep breaths, concentrate on the strength that I have already built up in the my body and just feel a little bit better.  At first, I found the class really easy but as usual, the next day I felt sore in those hard to reach places, the muscles I just can't seem to get to by running.

     In my effort to feel better, I bought myself a couple of new "warm weather" shirts and spent a considerable amount of time perusing the aisles in Trader Joe's.  I actually find grocery shopping relaxing...when my husband watches the kids, that is!  He was a saint, letting me have the entire day to feel better.  I felt a sense of accomplishment in getting myself and the family set up for the week.  I planned out Weight Watchers recipes and filled our pantry and fridge with low-Point food.  I'm not going to let that damn scale win!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Inspired By: Rachael Wilcox-Periera

   I've had some setbacks, and I'm trying to recover emotionally from my recent weight gain.  It's taken a toll on my motivation and dedication to getting healthy.  To pick myself up, I've decided to look to someone who has always been an inspiration, a role model and a girl's best friend,  

Rachael Wilcox-Periera

She has been a leader to me in athletics and has motivated me to move since we were on the high school soccer team together.  She has shared with me (and now you) her secrets to staying fit and fabulous (and motivated!) while raising two beautiful little girls and obtaining her Master's Degree.  Rachael truly inspires me to run a little further (even though I hate it!) and to push myself.  I even got my butt on that treadmill for 2.2 miles today, thanks to her!  Here's what she had to say:

K: How do you manage your time and fit exercise in? 

R: Set realistic expectations and make it a priority!

Realistic expectations: I have exercised regularly since I was in high school.  Ideally I’d like to work-out about five times a week but I can tell you that RARELY happens.  I set realistic work-out schedules; best case scenario (5-6x/wk), likely (3-4x/wk) and worst (1-2x/wk).  I’m usually between likely and worst case scenarios but I’ll take whatever I can get. As long as you maintain a basic level of fitness, you can pretty much bounce back into ideal shape whenever you can dedicate more time.  I think many people give up if they can’t achieve the ideal work-out schedule.  Anything is better than nothing!  And health benefits occur with only 90 minutes per week (reduce blood pressure, reduce risk of diabetes, decreased cholesterol, etc.).

Make it a priority: Exercise is a priority in my life.  Sometimes exercise takes a back seat to family obligations, school, work or unexpected events but other than that I make sure exercise comes first.  Those closest to me know that it’s important and they respect my priorities. 

I often try to combine exercise with socializing since I find it hard to have time for both. I enjoy the camaraderie of athletic groups and enjoy the relationships that I’ve established through them.  It’s also a great way to surround yourself with others that share the same goals and push you to achieving them.  Research shows that friends are the greatest influence of exercise and eating habits so find others that share the same goals and make it a priority.

K: How many marathons or half marathons have you run?

R:  I have completed three 10 mile races, six half marathons, two full marathons and five 25K trail races.  The half marathon is my favorite distance; you can be race ready in a short period of time as long as you run regularly and it doesn’t take a toll on your body or your life.  Training for a marathon takes a much greater level of time and commitment.  Life balance is important to me and I find it hard to commit to the time demands of training for a marathon without it taking a toll on my life.  Check out Rachael's race times HERE.

K: What are your goals right now? fitness goals?

Personal/professional goal: Finish my master’s degree in Kinesiology with a focus on Sports Management, expected May 2010.  I’d also like to continue with my education and pursue a Ph.D.  But it will have to wait a few years, being that school has taken time away from my family and I don’t feel like it’s fair to them at this point.

Fitness goal: I just ran the Goofy Challenge (half and full in same weekend) so I’m trying to figure out what to do next. I’m always looking for a new challenge (time, distance or different type of race) since it keeps me motivated. I haven’t decided yet but I may try to improve my marathon time or try an ultra race.

I’d also like to get back into strength training. I haven’t had a regular routine in the last few years and it’s important for muscular strength. It’s also a great way to boost your metabolism. My goal for this year is to get into a regular routine and stick with it.

Goal setting is important; make sure your goals are attainable and realistic.  For example, if you don’t have time to dedicate to training for a marathon, try a half marathon instead. Research on motivation for first-time marathon finishers’ showed that only 30% of people that had committed to the goal actually completed the six month training program and the marathon (Havenar & Lochbaum, 2007).  Hence the importance of setting realistic and attainable goals.

K: How do you balance family with your fitness regime? 

R: I run very early on the weekends, that way it doesn’t affect my family’s weekend activities. When I was working full-time, I used to get up early and run before work. It was hard getting into routine but once I got going, it was great to get it done early. My kids also understand the importance of exercise and a healthy lifestyle; I’m hoping they might want to run with me when they get older.

K: What is your fitness regime? 

R: Usually running 4x per week. If I can get a day or two of cross training (biking) and/or strength training then I’m happy.  Ideally, I’d do cardio 4x/per week, strength train 2-3x/per week and cross train 2x/ per week.  But as I mentioned before, that rarely happens.

K: Do you worry about what you eat? What is an average day like?

R: Yes! 

I usually gain about 5 lbs when I reduce my running mileage, even when I’m still running and cut back on calories.  I would gain more if I stopped working out completely, but I won’t stop to find out!  I’ve watched my diet since I was young but I’ve learned not to obsess about it.  Moderation is the key; make dietary lifestyle changes that you can maintain and manage. 

I eat frequently, probably six small meals a day. Foods that I eat frequently: almonds, cottage cheese, apples, bananas, lettuce, broccoli and black beans.  I often take a snack with me when I go out along with a bottle of water.  Eating out has gotten easier with healthier options as long as you are familiar with the nutritional content of food and conscious about portion sizes. Be conscious of beverages too, many people forget to take into account what they drink.  It’s probably one of the easiest dietary changes you can make, switch to unsweetened beverages or water.  And skip the specialty coffees; they are loaded with calories and fat.

Long distance running is great for weight management; I have to admit that I enjoy not having to watch my diet as closely when I run long distance. If I cut back on training then I’ll definitely have to cut back on calories.  I’ll keep running!!

K: What motivates you to run?

R: Good question! 

Research states that motivations for running a marathon are more closely related to intrinsic behaviors (personal achievement, goal achievement, enhancing one’s personal life, etc.). I would say I am now mostly motivated by personal achievement. 

My personal motivation has changed over time.  I started running in high school as a way to train for sports. I continued running since it was always the most efficient way to achieve my goals (weight management, sports training, stress reliever, etc.).  Over the last several years, I would say that I’ve continued to run as a way of relieving stress and problem solving.  I always feel better after a run; it seems to clear my head. Exercise metabolizes stress hormones; running seems to do that more efficiently for me that any other forms of exercise.

Running a marathon also made me realize that I am capable of so much more, as long as I was committed to my goal.  People are more likely to adhere to fitness programs when they are intrinsically motivated (Weinberg & Gould, 2007).  My best advice is to make sure you are doing it for yourself and you are committed to achieving your goals.

K: What advice would you offer those who are struggling with weight loss and fitness goals?

Do it for yourself - I’ve talked about this earlier, you’re more likely to stick to your goals if you are doing it for yourself.

Find a partner or group – Surround yourself with people that influence you positively and will help you accomplish your goals. A partner or group will provide more support than anything else. 

Make lifestyle changes – Make lifestyle changes that you can continue.  Don’t give up foods that you love, just eat them in moderation.  Otherwise you’re just setting yourself up for failure.  Forget the fad diets; eat a balanced diet with carbs, protein and fats. 

Don’t compare yourself to others – Everyone is different, don’t worry about anyone else.  Focus on your goals and what you’re doing to achieve them.  Everyone is different so each program must be customized to take your body type, goals and lifestyle challenges (work, family, etc.) into account.

Exercise MUST be included in your program – If your goal is to lose weight, you MUST incorporate exercise into your program.  Dietary changes alone will not successfully help you lose weight and keep it off.  Building lean muscle mass is essential for proper weight loss, it helps boost metabolism.  Lean muscle mass burns more calories at rest, the more lean muscle mass you have the higher your metabolism.

Yo-yo dieting wrecks havoc on your metabolism.  Every time you diet and lose weight by cutting calories, you are essentially tampering with your metabolism.  As soon as you increase calories, you gain weight.  When you lose weight without a proper exercise program, you are more likely to lose lean muscles mass.  And if you regain weight, you are more likely to gain adipose tissue (aka fat).   In essence, dieting makes you fatter.  Make sure you incorporate exercise in your program to effectively loose weight and keep it off. 

Books that have influenced my lifestyle

      1.  The New Fit or Fat by Covert Bailey – I first read his books back in 1995. I love Covert Bailey, he always          
           said, “Diets don’t work!”   He has a passion for health and fitness and is an inspiration.
The New Fit or Fat

     2.  The Zone by Barry Sears and Bill Lawren – first developed to improve athletic performance, use it as a      
          guide not a literal way of eating.  The important thing to remember is that you need carbohydrates, protein         
          and fats in your diet.
The Zone: A Dietary Road Map To Lose Weight Permanently : Reset Your Genetic Code : Prevent Disease : Achieve Maximum Physical Performance

     3.  Eating for Optimum Health by Andrew Weil – I love Andrew Weil’s books; he has an impressive background and covers all aspects of health.  He doesn’t preach losing weight, rather eating for optimum health.
Eating Well for Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Food, Diet and Nutrition

   4.  The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz – given to be by a coworker years ago, four guiding principles that everyone should live by.  They are simple and the book is an easy read, this book changed my thinking.
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, A Toltec Wisdom Book

       5.  Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman – something I think everyone should read.
Emotional Intelligence

       6. The Power of Now by Eckert Tolle – I’ve read a few of his books.  My thinking had already been      
          transformed but this book provided the context around my thinking. 

Power of Now

Friday, April 9, 2010

Cry Baby

I can't stop crying today.

I stopped in at Weight Watchers this morning with my two-year-old in tow.  He was in his little car that I push and as soon as we got there he started to throw himself out of it and screamed for the granola bars that they sell there.  I stepped on the scale at the front desk, which means I can't actually see the results.  I have to rely on the woman behind the counter to tell me how I did.

"Were you expecting a gain?"  she said.

Meanwhile, my baby was starting to rip open packages.  And the fact that the Weight Watchers lady asked me that question completely irritated me.  Of COURSE I didn't EXPECT it, or I wouldn't have had a smile on my face when I walked in the door.  And I probably wouldn't have gone out of my way to come in with a two-year-old.

Enough lady! Couldn't she just cut to the chase? Did she have to tease me?

"How much?"  I said.

"3 Pounds."  She said.


"No, I wasn't EXPECTING that."  I answered and peeled the granola bars out of the baby's hand which made him scream even louder.  I could feel my body get tense and my eyes well up with tears and I shoved the baby back in his little car and strapped on the seatbelt, which of course, sent his scream up a few decibels.  I was now "that" mom.

"Is it that time of month maybe?" Oh God. Now she was really getting on my nerves.

"No." I said flippantly.  "Don't worry about it" and I tried to maneuver the stupid little car through people so I could get the hell out of there.

Once I reached my car I couldn't stop crying and neither could the baby.  We were competing for who could shed the most tears.  I called my husband, but he was not in a position to be consoling a psycho wife about her Weight Watchers results...he had important things to do.  So through my tears, I navigated my way to the gym.  My body fell weak and I felt hopeless.  I was completely unmotivated despite my horrible results.  But, I knew I had to move.  No matter what.  I had to get moving.  So I hit the bike for 30 minutes and read an article about Jillian Michaels and how she weighed 175 pounds when she was just 13.  It was sort of inspiring.  Then I hit the treadmill for 15 minutes.  It wasn't a lot but I couldn't go home and just sulk, or eat.

I felt so good about the workouts I put in over the last two weeks.  I ran several miles,  biked 5 miles,  took a few different yoga classes including Sculptworks, and took a Total Body Sculpt class.  My body is sore, so how can I be heavier?! Was I so distraught because my weigh-in's are the only objective results I have to the work I do each week?  Was I irritated because I didn't exercise enough self-control with the guacamole?  Or mad at myself because I filled our fridge with healthy food, cooked homemade Weight Watchers meals, but didn't take the time to count every single Point?  I do know that I am absolutely exhausted by this process and trying to manage a family at the same time.  And I'm thoroughly frustrated because in order to even MAINTAIN my weight, I have to be on a strict diet.

I'm on the verge on abandoning all of this.  I essentially gained back all of the weight I've lost since November.  And that just plain sucks.

Any motivation would be helpful! How do I get back to caring?  How do I get myself back on course?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Holy Guacamole!


My weakness is chips and guacamole.  Once I get started, it's like an addiction.  I can't stop. Especially when they're served alongside a hand muddled, house made margarita - I prefer the Fresco Pepino (Corzo Silver Tequila, English Hothouse cucumber, lime and cane nectar) from  MUCHO ULTIMA MEXICANA restaurant in Manhattan Beach, California.   And if you're not into cucumber, Mucho has plenty of margaritas to choose from -- a list of approximately 200 phenomenal tequilas.

     The food at Mucho is made with the greatest love and respect for mexican cuisine.  They use the freshest ingredients, including tomatoes and avocados that spend time in their "ripening room" before being served. Last night I ordered the Blue Corn Tortilla Crusted Mahi Mahi with nopales (prickly pear cactus) risotto, pepperjack rajas (roasted chili strips) and a pineapple black bean salsa.  TO DIE FOR.

     As for the attack of the guacamole -- At approximately 91 calories and 8 grams of fat per 1/4 cup, I probably downed about 400 calories just in guacamole alone.  I know the rules, tell the waiter not to bring the chips.  I tried.  But this time, I just couldn't do it.  Next time...

Definitely check out Mucho if you are in Manhattan Beach but beware:

The guacamole will take hold of you and won't let go.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

National Start Walking Day



Monday, April 5, 2010

Why I Deserve A Sugar High

     For moms with two-year-olds the world can be cruel and unsympathetic to our plight as we try to navigate our way through seemingly simple errands.  Today I just wanted to drop my two "older" kids off at preschool, take my 2 year old to My Gym and have a prescription filled.  Sounds easy, right?

Not so much.

  Since it's the first day back after Spring break, everyone slept in and we were running late.  And it's raining in L.A., which makes our kids spazz out and have to put on boots and all kinds of extra gear.  We got to preschool about 15 minutes late, which meant that we'd be late for My Gym.  The two-year-old screamed the whole way because he wanted to play the "Ahh Ahh Game"'s some stupid Monkey game on my iPhone...and I really don't know why the kid can't say the word monkey yet.  He was being really irritating so I threatened not to take him.  He screamed louder.  Then I realized that that was actually punishing ME, not him.  My Gym gives me an hour break from trying to entertain the little guy, plus, I get to socialize with my friend.   Otherwise, it's just him and me at home the whole day and I wasn't going to have that.  I NEED to see other people during the day or I'll go insane.  So we went. Yes, I know, I made an empty threat.  Save it, parenting experts.

   After My Gym I stopped at CVS, where I stood in line for 10 minutes only to learn I was in the "Pick Up" line, not the "Drop Off" line.  Annoying.  Then I stood on the red line for drop off's and waited for the couple in front on me to finish up their conversation with the pharmacist, which was in Chinese.  It felt like it took about 20 minutes and I started to wonder if they were just gossiping.  Meanwhile, Mr. 2 year old was in the process of pooping his pants.  I started to get agitated and began to scoff at the length of time the couple was taking.  I was hoping that the diaper smell would be so disturbing it would hurry them along.  No such luck.  The pharmacist FINALLY took my order and said "We'll call your name in about 20 minutes".  So Mr. Poopy Pants and I picked out some diapers and wipes, I chased after him and reprimanded him for touching all of the breakable items in the store.  And no, I couldn't put him in a cart because he'd scream on the top of his lungs, plus then he'd be sitting in his dirty diaper.  We ate the bag of M and M's my 5 year old left in my purse and I opened up a bag of Smart Food.  The Poopster dropped popcorn all over the carpet.  I picked up what I could and pretended not to see the rest. We continued to wait and the smell of the diaper was getting worse, but there was no way that I could leave and come back.  Mr. Poops ran up and down the aisles and made me chase him, he was giggling, I was not.  During all of this I had an intense sneezing/allergy attack so my nose was itching, eyes were watering and I was so tired!  Finally, I took my little guy under my arm and marched up to the counter.

"Excuse Me."  I said to the pharmacist.  "How much longer will my prescription take?"

"Oh, you mean this one?"  She reached behind her and grabbed the prescription that had obviously been sitting there for quite some time.

"You mean, you guys didn't even call my name? I've been standing here the whole time."  I wanted to reach over the counter and tackle her.

"I don't know about that, I don't do that part".  She seemed to take on a snotty, defensive tone.

"Well, he smells like poop.  I wish someone had called my name."

"Well, I think he smells like popcorn" she said and smiled at him.

At this point, I envisioned myself leaping over the counter and rubbing the dirty diaper in her face.

I had about three other errands that I had planned to do, plus clean my house.  I ended up buying some Benedryl, and all I can do is lay down now.  The baby was throwing such a temper tantrum when I got home that I put him down for a nap without any lunch.  What a bust.  Sometimes it's difficult to see the accomplishments throughout my days.  That's where food can be quite satisfying. For one brief moment, I feel really, really good.  And don't I deserve to feel really, really good?

An M and M cookie and a chocolate brownie are staring me in the face right now....