weight loss

GOODBYE 2014

So, I’m spending New Year’s Eve at home, as I usually do. I’m not a fan of NYE celebrations; I don’t enjoy being around drunk people, especially masses of them, and I before I was injured, I wanted to go for a run on New Year’s Day. Instead of that, I’ll enjoy my morning, do some reading, stretching and watch hockey. Not a bad way to spend the morning.

I bought a bottle of Trader Joe’s Sparkling Wine Chardonnay Grape Juice to open for the occasion, but I couldn’t get it open. In my drinking days, I opened hundreds of champagne bottles, but I could not get this one uncorked.

So, I looked at this unopened bottle as the past year. There are lots of good things and great moments, but the best is yet to come.

2014 has been a year of hard work, disappointments, proud achievements, frustrations, amazingly wonderful surprises and through it all there were the people I truly care about: my family, my friends, my foam roller and my new friend, the roller ball.

The Holiday Season was difficult for me this year. It was a little lonely and also hard because of my lack of finances but once Christmas Day was here and being with my friends everything was right again. When it comes to Christmas, the best thing is to enjoy yourself as best as you can and ignore everything else. Ignore all those boasting about what presents they got, or where they’re going or anything else that you wish you could have or do. Just enjoy what you already have.

And that’s exactly where I continue my journey in 2015…enjoy what I have already, PLUS open that bottle!

This past year was about setting the foundation. The upcoming year is about setting and finishing the first floor.

My workouts will take center stage. Weight control is of prime importance and once I can start running again, I will add on the miles and be back in business. Until then, I need to get my core, legs and arms strong.

Attitude is another area I will be working on. Many times I defeat myself by being so self-judgmental. If I recognize those self doubts when they rear their ugly head, I can stop them. And if I can do that, my attitudes towards everything will improve.

For 2015, my fitness goals are:

  • Run 1 half marathon and 1 marathon
  • Lose weight
  • Obtain my Personal Trainer Certificate
  • Be more positive in my thinking

Enjoy your New Year. I just know 2015 is going to rock!

Cheers!

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RICE CAKES – Why Are They Still “A Thing”?

The Dreaded Rice Cake

The Dreaded Rice Cake

Much of my focus these days is on what I should be eating, what I need to be eating and what really isn’t all that great for me to be eating. In doing so, I spend a lot of time re

I read a lot of websites about fitness and nutrition. I discover some really excellent ones that help with running, fitness, weight loss as well as healthy recipes and eating ideas.

Once in a while though, I come across something that puzzles me. The majority of people that I’ve read and met who are successful in fitness know most of what they’re talking about. However, there is a tendency, especially by those who are in it just for looks or beauty-type contests to go to extremes and by doing so, they develop odd food habits. I’m focusing only on one of them today, perhaps I’ll write about the others in future blogs.

I’m talking about the existence of Rice Cakes. Why are these still around?

I glanced over a website that was a collection of pictures, bios and the eating habits of extremely fit (and some VERY underweight females) the website owner looked up to as role models. Some of them were healthy and ate healthy; meaning, they didn’t radically limit their eating nor did they starve themselves. But two of the women did. They consisted on meals of protein shakes, or chicken breast and broccoli and maybe a sweet potato if it was a heavy lift day. And then for snacks, they had rice cakes.

It’s trendy to make ALL flour, even good healthy whole wheat or rye flours, a BAD food. If it’s gluten and flour, it must be BAD, so they must be avoided AT ALL COSTS! This just isn’t the case. In moderation, there is nothing wrong with a slice of 100% whole wheat or rye bread. Make it homemade or organic from a local baker and that’s even better. In fact, a slice of whole grain bread has more nutrition than a rice cake and I dare say tastes worlds better. Those slices of cardboard don’t even fill a person up.

Perhaps it’s the crunch in a rice cake that makes it appealing to some. OK, then, how about Akmak crackers instead? They have crunch and guess what? They have nutritional value too.

So, give up the cardboard and eat real food!

Cheers!

IN DEFENSE OF CALORIE COUNTING

I enjoy receiving emails from a few different fitness and nutritional sources. One of the websites I like is MindBodyGreen. I’ve had no reason to question them until this morning when I read something that irked me enough to want to write about it.

Hundreds of weight loss and “diet” tips are thrown at us all the time. One of the latest trends is to avoid counting calories. In the latest email from MindBodyGreen the author writes that we should avoid doing this because 500 worth of soda isn’t the same as 500 calories worth of Brussels Sprouts. Well, duh.

I think I can speak for most, if not all of us when I say, thank you for underestimating the readers’ intelligence here. For the beginner just entering into weight loss, this may be a good suggestion, but for those of us who do know the difference between a sugary drink and a vegetable, it’s insulting.

Keeping track of the food I eat through a website like MyFitnessPal is a great way to not only help me with portion control, but it also helps me ensure I get the right amount of nutrients, fiber, etc, I need. Calories are just one of the many tools I use to help keep my Way Of Eating where I want it to be. I never use it to replace healthy foods with junk and I never rely on counting up calories alone.

I think the original author of this article’s biggest mistake is to assume that her readers don’t know a darn thing about nutrition. We know, we know. We know that kale is one of the best foods out there. We know that white flour and white sugar has virtually nothing nutritionally for us. We know that we should be working out rather than sitting in front of the television. So why try to take away one item in our workshop?

Nutritionists should not be writing for all their readers with the same broad brushstroke. I would love to read an article that didn’t treat me like I knew zilch about the food I eat. I don’t have the degree, but I’ve probably done TONS of reading about nutrition and can sit and have an intellectual conversation with any PhD’d Nutritionist. And I bet a lot of you can too. I wouldn’t be reading all the emails and websites if it was a subject I wasn’t interested in learning more about.

At my age, it’s vitally important that I practice portion control. One of the ways I do this is by understanding not only the size of the portion of food I eat, but also the calorie count. It all goes hand in hand. Maybe a young person doesn’t need to exact such control over what they eat; youth is on their side. But even with all the physical activities I do, if I am not very careful about what I eat, I will gain weight. I wasn’t always this way, when I was young, I could eat whatever I wanted and I’d lose weight. It was pretty hard accepting that as we get older, this stops. At least for me it did.

Maybe I make the wrong assumption thinking there are others who are as meticulous as I am about counting calories. I’m much too busy to think about the caloric count of everything. Is that what you’re thinking? Sure, it takes a few minutes, but not that long. It takes about as long as checking into Four Square. And I dare say, it’s more worthwhile.

So, to all you health/nutrition writers: please understand that some of your audience knows a little bit about the subject you’re writing and also that not everyone fits neatly into little boxes.

Cheers!

 

Digging Deep to Find Answers

In my past, I avoided solving problems and facing really difficult issues. Back then, I turned to alcohol, and that was not the answer. When I became sober, I learned that only through confronting our problems can we resolve them.

This wasn’t anything new to me, really. People had told me this many times since I was a girl. But truly comprehending that we have to accept and understand why we do the things we do and then take the appropriate and necessary steps to not repeat them is another thing. This is where the hardest work begins.

I have been successful losing weight previously. I’ve been at an idea weight and felt great about 10 years ago and then I had terrible migraine issues that completely changed everything in my life and forced me to deal with the debilitating vertigo and more. And so I gained it all back…and more.

Since then, I have given my weight loss half-hearted attempts, trying with no real follow through. Until now. Now I must look at it realistically. I’m 55 years old, it won’t get any easier to lose and the time is NOW.

Last night while enjoying StumbleUpon, one of my favorite places to visit, I read a website with three ways to stop food addiction. I’ve included a link to the original website below and I want to thank them for such a great piece. It made a lot of sense to me.

“You’re not a dog. Don’t reward yourself with food.”

As harsh as that may sound, it’s true, many of us (myself included) do that and it leads us (myself included) to big trouble.

FOOD = FUEL

That’s what it should be. It energizes your body, your mind, your being. For me, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to completely reduce food to just fuel, but I can make it less important.

So, today, I stopped making lunch and dinner so important. I enjoyed them, but they were not highlights of my day. The best part of my day was my cycling workout at the gym. It was spectacular. And tomorrow morning will be my first run after my race. Not sure how the rest of tomorrow is going to compete with that.

The Simplest Ways to Stop Food Addiction:

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/3-ways-stop-eating-like-pig.html/

 

Back to the Grind….And a Recipe

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I have really enjoyed this all too brief mini-vacation. My race completed, I used the last two days off as rest days, but also as days to re-charge and to help think how to get myself going to lose the remaining weight i need to and to boost myself into the next step in my training process.

My next long distance race, the Giant Step half Marathon, isn’t until early September, so I have a couple months to focus on low mileage speed work in my running, as well as focus on swimming, stationary cycling, until I can purchase my bike, core work and weight training.

The other part of my training is my weight loss and toning. I have about 25 to 30 pounds to lose. These will not come off easily. I’m not as young as I once was and I have lost them before, but I have determination and the will to accomplish it. And I am stubborn. Yeah, I’m stubborn, ask anyone who knows me. 🙂

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Today, I took full advantage of having a day off work and the beautiful weather and went for a lovely hike just north of The City. I took Golden Gate Transit to Sausalito and hiked to Fort Baker and back to San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a lovely hike and I was back home in time to watch my Giants win Opening Day at AT&T Park.

During my race Sunday, there were many water stations that gave out Gatorade. I can’t stand the stuff and refuse to drink it, if at all possible. I make my own electrolyte mix and you can too if you so desire. It’s very easy, and can be completely organic too.

 

HOMEMADE ELECTROLYTE MIX

(for 8 oz)

1/2 cup fruit juice of your choice (I’ve tried apple juice and cranberry, but try what you like, adjust honey, sweetener as needed)

1-2 tablespoons honey, barley syrup, or whatever sweetener you like (this is all up to you and your taste)

1/8th teaspoon salt

juice of 1 lemon

Mix everything together and refrigerate until needed. I like to keep mine very cold until I go for my run. You can always adjust the taste if it’s too salty or sweet or not enough, but it should be a bit salty and slightly sweet.

This recipe can be doubled and made into a pitcher to last a few days if you’re doing some heavy workouts over some time. It will last a little while, but if it’s made from all organic ingredients, it won’t last forever.

I’m also working on switching over my solid food from Clif Shot Blocks to dates and orange segments and I have halfway but i still like the Shot Bloks so I haven’t converted totally yet.

 

Too Long of a Break

Things happen in life. Unfortunately, when we say that, it’s always the bad things that happen. My very favorite hockey team, the local minor league hockey team, the San Francisco Bulls folded last week and it completely wrecked my workout schedule. We knew it was coming, the fans weren’t there, the money wasn’t there, it was sad.

But this isn’t about their demise, that’s for another day. This post is about how taking time off from workouts or not going at them full-on is hard, so hard.

And when I went back today, it felt better than I could ever imagine. Blasting Orange Goblin, one of my very favorite bands, on Spotify while on the bike felt awesome, as I sweat my way through the minutes.

Now I’m ready to tackle my workouts, to eat right again, to maintain that positive attitude. Things are leveling right-side-up again.

Swimming Til I Drop….

Tonight’s workout was pretty exceptional. Since my Hot Chocolate 15K race about a week and a half ago, I drifted a few days out of my workouts, so it was really nice to get back into it.

I hit the gym after work, starting first with some core work…

First some yoga poses, Cat, Cow, Baby, part of the Sun Salutation, plank, some back stretches.

Crunches on the exercise ball. I LOVE doing them that way! Yes, I said LOVE. You get all the benefits and none of the pain of doing crunches on the floor. Your back feels fine, your stomach muscles feel great, but you know you’re working them. You also get added benefits of working out your leg muscles.

Squats on the bosu ball. This is a really good way to develop balance. I enjoy doing these as well. My trainer had said that runners have to make sure to keep their knees straight in front rather than go into Vs, He said that’s pretty typical of runners, and I forgot why he said we do it.

I do step ups on one foot with weights. Scott (my trainer) said this helps with balance which triathletes need so much. He’s a firm believer in doing as much in a few combined exercises as you can rather than doing a whole bunch of time-consuming individual exercises. Triathletes spend enough time working out, we don’t need more to do.

Next free weights. two sets, 20 reps each, about three different moves. And then a few different machines, 3 sets, 15 reps each with varied weights.

And then the pool. Lucky me, the hot water in the showers was BROKEN!!! So, I rushed through the rinse off before swimming and hit the pool.

I swam 26 laps, the first 22 were nonstop, while I worked on my swimmer’s turns. The pool is 25 yards long, so I swam 650 yards. I also did a couple laps breast stroke and swam some sprints. The last couple laps my legs started cramping up so I knew it was time to finish.

I ate well today. Well, almost perfectly. I stopped at Milan’s and got a veggie pizza with garlic on my way home. I was soooo hungry! Let me tell you….I’ve run a marathon and a few halfs. I’ve trained for a lot of running races and NOTHING, no, NOTHING makes you as hungry as swimming.

It was delicious and I have plenty left for tomorrow night. Tomorrow morning, running.

Beginnings & an Intro

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Usually, when I write it’s about or for someone else. I don’t do much writing about me. So, after spending so much time writing about others, I thought I’d start a blog all about my running, weight loss and beginning triathlon training. I’ll probably also throw in some other things that are going on in my life, but it will mostly cover that.

I hope you enjoy it and I hope I can bring you some entertaining, motivational and sometimes funny blogs!

Cheers!

Martha