Thursday, March 22, 2012

Running vs. The Rest

Yes, I weighed myself this week.  I was pretty much exactly what I was last week.  I had a few bad eating days, plus the issues with my knee.  That all adds up to not losing any weight.

But, my knee is almost completely back to 100%.  I'm stretching it, resting it when I can, and it appears to be working.  That means I'm back on my C210K program, and boy am I happy about that!

Here's why...

Yesterday I did my Week 3, Day 3 program.  There are only three scheduled program days per week because you are supposed to either rest or cross train (any cardio that doesn't use the same muscle groups as running: elliptical, swimming, bike or even walking) on the in between days.  On my training day yesterday I was to run 90 seconds then walk 3:30 ten times.  By the end I was dripping in sweat.  I was tired and I felt great.  My heart rate had been high, but a good high.  I got a very good workout in, but I didn't over do it.  After some light weight lifting, I had burned well over 800 calories in 1 hour 20 minutes.  Simply put, I kicked ass.

Then tonight came...  I hadn't been on the elliptical in a few weeks and I felt it would be a good cross training device.  I actually wanted to swim, but the hotel pool closes early here so I wasn't able to get there in time.  I got on the elliptical and chose the same hill program that I alway use.  I set it to a lower level to warm up with and proceeded to increase the levels continuously.  Here's the thing...  I never really worked up a sweat for the entire 45 minutes I was on there.  My heart rate barely got up to 140 (and that was rare) and I burned a disappointing 450 calories.  I thought it was interesting that a machine that had given me such a good workout just a few short weeks ago now simply isn't cutting it.

I realized after only a few weeks of running, I've already increased my stamina so much that running back to giving me the best workout in terms of calories burnt, and heart rate (and I can do it!).  The others will work in a pinch, but I'm back to using running as my primary source of cardiovascular exercise!


I'm really excited about this.  I actually really enjoyed running before.  It was difficult and constantly challenging my body in ways that I couldn't believe.  However when I achieved the new goals it gave me a high like I had never felt before.  I guess it comes from being overweight/obese my entire life.  I got so used to telling myself I couldn't ever do something, that when I finally did it?  Words can't describe that feeling of joy accurately.

I still have doubts creep back into my brain periodically (especially when my knee was hurting) about whether or not I can get back into shape enough to run a half marathon next year.  But you know, I think I'm a bit wiser going in this time...  I know what I need to do and not do, or at least I have a better idea.  I can learn from my previous mistakes.  I can be smart about it.

I will do this.  I will achieve this goal.  I will achieve all my weight loss/fitness goals.

I believe it.

Week 4 of my training is tomorrow.  I can't wait.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Oh so lost

I haven't posted in a couple of weeks.  It's because I haven't really known what to say.

I've gained more weight.  Since about a month ago, I've gained 10 pounds.  I'm at the highest I've been in almost a year.  I'm really depressed about it.  I'm not going to lie, but the thought actually crossed my mind "oh screw it, I'm just going to eat what I want and gain all the weight back.  I don't care anymore."

This scared me more than anything.

But the fact of the matter is, I feel disgusting.  I still feel like that failure from a couple of weeks ago.  A couple of pairs of pants have started to feel snug.  I no longer look at myself in the mirror and feel proud of what I've accomplished.  I look in the mirror and cringe.  I feel fat and ugly.  Mentally, I think I might be in the exact same place (self image wise at least) as when I first started this thing a year and a half ago.  When I feel like this I start to doubt myself in so many other ways too.  It really affects my entire life.

I know it's only ten pounds and in the grand scheme of things its not a huge amount and I was probably destined for a bit of a weight gain.  Most people whose story I've either read about or talked to them about has included a weight gain like this.  A bit of set back to help them get their crap together.  I'm hoping this is all this is.

Here's my course of action:

 - Back to tracking my calories full time.  (Have been okay about this, but there have been some skipped days and that always means those are days where I ate poorly and made bad decisions.)

 - Getting back into running.  I downloaded a Couch to 10K app for my phone.  I kind of did a C25K back when I first started running but I ended up getting bored and just started doing my own thing.  I'm almost starting from scratch again so I thought I would give this program another go.  For those that don't know (I can't imagine many of you who read this don't know what a C25k or C210K program is, but bear with me...) with this app it allows you to play your music on your phone and then a voice will pop up and tell you when you need to run and when to walk.  It's a super simple way build your stamina and increase speed and distance.  Since I'm not completely new to running I'm using the program as a way to also help me quicken my pace.  At my "fastest" I was a quite slow 13:30/mile person.  I'm starting this program at a 12:00/mile pace, or slightly faster.  I feel good about it.  I'm also doing it on the treadmill because I need to learn to run on one of these things without wanting to kill myself from boredom.

 - Buy individually wrapped snacks when possible.  This goes hand in hand with eating better.  Eating healthy while on the road is incredibly difficult but one of the few things I can make sure to do is to plan at least my snacking better.  When I went grocery shopping today, in addition to my yogurt and fruit, I knew that I would need a saltier snack for when I just need to curb the craving.  I went down the cracker aisle and these cheese crackers caught my eye.  They are not healthy and I won't try to say they are, but each individual bag is 200 calories.  I won't eat these everyday but it's a lot better for me to grab one of these small bags and stop when I'm done than to grab a BIG ol' bag of pita chips and chomp away.  I'm accountable this way.  I know what I ate and can measure and track it.  Who knows how many servings of those pita chips I would have eaten.  Other things I bought individually wrapped are the "to go" containers of peanut butter (actually realized I can't eat a full one in one sitting.  Quite a nice discovery.) rice cake "chips", fiber one bars, and I guess my apples, bananas, yogurts and cottage cheese containers count too.  I know that buying food this way is actually more expensive then buying in bulk, but I need to suck it up and spend a few extra dollars to try and see if this will help me.

 - Wear my heart rate monitor.  I just bought a new heart rate monitor and I'm quite excited to be keeping an accurate account of how many calories I'm burning per workout.  The treadmills/ellipticals are notoriously bad about giving you an accurate count so I've essentially been guessing for the past 9 months (or however long ago my other monitor died.)  It was nice to know that while I was on the treadmill I actually burned more than what they said and while I was on the exercise bike I burned less.  See?  TRICKY!

- Drink lots of water!  I get bored with drinking plain water.  I need flavor!!  So, in order to help me make sure I get my full intake of water I stocked up on Mio (those little squirt bottles that flavor your water with what I'm sure is plenty of chemicals.  Oh well, my chemical water will at least taste like orange-y goodness!  I also got Crystal Light.  Mmmm...  And the other thing that I bought (which I had completely forgotten about!) are the flavored carbonated waters from the grocery.  They taste really good and the carbonation might help me curb the amount of soda I'm drinking.  I'm a Diet Coke/Diet Dr. Pepper addict and I really should try and cut back a bit.

 - Limit myself to no more than one or two alcoholic drinks.  I went out last week and VERY MUCH overindulged.  It affected me much longer than it should have and I really just don't want to deal with it.  Also, I don't need the calories.

 - Get more sleep!  I was not sleeping well last week.  There were a few nights where I probably only ended up getting 4-5 hours of sleep.  That's really not okay.  I need to be shooting for at least 7 - 8.

Hmm, that's all I can think of right now.  It's a lot to think about, but it's all necessary.  I can't keep beating myself up like I've been doing.  I'm starting to feel hopeless and like I said before... it's scaring me.  My biggest fear is that no matter what I do the scale is going to continue to go up.