2013: Pretty Well Done

Perfect? No

Well done? Absolutely

From the end of January through January 1, 2014
From the end of January through January 1, 2014

That graph is from when I restarted through today. Was the year perfect? Nope. But I ended 2013 17.3 lbs less than where I started it. That’s good.

I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday.
I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.

I was very good with mini goals and quarterly goals this year. Time to look back at 2013 and set some new ones for 2014:

January

  • Blog. Yeah, we’ll see how that goes. But when I was losing, I was blogging. So we’re going to try it again. I wasn’t very good with it this summer and fall but I was thinking about blogging even if I never got to writing.
  • On the writing theme, I’m tracking. I was a master at tracking way back when and it’s time to go back. I don’t see what my road block is here. I face the foods when I see the number on the scale, it’s time to face it in my tracker. I tracked today. Including the m&ms. That’s a start. I have been very good at tracking. I’d say 95% overall, when I don’t it’s not because I don’t want to face it, but rather because I leave it too long and don’t catch everything. But I still give myself an A- here. ETA: I almost didn’t track Christmas but then felt guilty. So I went back and tracked it. It wasn’t pretty but I dealt with it.
  • Money. I joined Run With Jess‘ DietBet challenge at the instigation of a Hive friend. It cost me $10 but I will lose my 4% and if I do that every month it won’t cost me another cent I don’t think. AND if I hit the 4% goals each month (a big if, I know), I’ll hit goal by July, which gives me plenty of breathing room if I have an off month. Well I didn’t hit it in July or September, and I got bored with DietBet partially because I wasn’t losing at that rate. I ended up buying the iPad I was thinking of anyway and I love it. ETA: thinking of starting a DietBet again to kick start me.
  • #GoTheDist. I gave up on tracking this a chunk of the way through last year although I continued to track my workouts in MapMyFitness. But the challenge is a great motivator and it gets me to the gym when I don’t want to go. A+ here. I beat my goals and tracked throughout the entire year.
  • Smoothies. Yep, back to smoothies for dinner. They help with the salt retention and they give me my chocolate fix when I otherwise eat things I have no business eating when I get home. This didn’t last, I lost my appetite for them. Do I miss them for my chocolate fix? Yes.
  • I’m not giving up soda. Not yet, at least. I was the queen of fake lemonade last time and while I’m contemplating getting a soda stream, I’m not ready to make the switch off soda. I’m afraid I won’t drink enough until it’s warmer. But it’s diet soda so that’s a partial win. I’m drinking too much soda, and probably too much coffee, but that’s not changing right now.
  • S is for Spark. as in the Spark to get to goal. As in SparkPeople. If I do what I did with Weight Watchers online, I can make it work with Spark. There is no difference in the foods I’m eating. I love LoseIt, and as  I mentioned above, I’m tracking.
  • I’m going to get my knees to the point where I can do more than one squat, or I’m going to quit putting off knee surgery and get it done. This one is still up in the air, but my knee isn’t holding me back too badly.

April

  • Exercise everyday. It doesn’t have to be the gym, and my 64 stairs a day probably count anyway, but with the weather getting nice there’s no reason not to spend some time outside walking, etc. Especially because I’d really like to finish the Great Manhattan Loop. One thing I realized when I was home for about ten days in July is how much I walk by default when I’m here. There are sloth days, but I think I’ve been good on this step. And I finished the Loop and have started on another goal with the bridges.
  • Eat better. Not just within the calories, but more fruits and vegetables. It’s the perfect season. Eh, sort of. I give myself a C here. ETA C-, but I’ve been a B+ of late so I’m getting back.
  • Diversify my breakfasts. I’m getting sick of Cheerios. I think there are better options to keep me fuller too. Straight up D here. It’s coffee, cheerios or both.
  • Set a goal. Maybe even a Goal. Time to figure out what I’m working toward. F. F – if possible.

October/Q4

  • Stay on track and finish strong. Fall is crazy at work, but that’s not an excuse to undo all the progress I’ve made this year. I wasn’t perfect, but I was pretty good. I didn’t gain over my birthday, Thanksgiving, the gala or vacation. I’m happy with this.
  • #GoTheDist Q4. Detailed yesterdayDetailed above. Nailed this.
  • Better food choices. Goldfish aren’t dinner and coffee isn’t breakfast. No comment.
  • Set a Goal, goal, oal-gay or what have you. Time to stop this ridiculosity and just do it. Um, I plead the 5th

So mixed results, but I’m overall happy because I kept thinking about the goals I’d set and why. So, with that in mind, here are some ones to start 2014.

2014

  • Meet or exceed my #GoTheDist goals.
  • Specifically, exceed my Q4 2013 GTD totals.
  • I’m not sure LoseIt’s 147 days is realistic, but 2014 is the last year I will start overweight
  • Learn to cook. I’m already laughing at myself for this one, but I really wish I could. I think it would make some food choices better.
  • Get back to a regular gym schedule. It sounds cliche, but I feel good when I go. So I need to GO
  • Relax. Keep doing what I did last year. It (mostly) worked and I’m on the right track.

#GoTheDist minigoal: met

At the beginning of September I said my newest goal was to do better Q3 than Q2 I knew it was going to be a tall order with some long walks this spring, but I thought I could do it. Well Q3 ended this week, how did I do?

Time Frame Steps Miles walked Miles biked
Totals for 3Q 758,057 316.3 31.66
Totals for 2Q 489,726 300.5 98.36
Totals for 1Q 0 ** 61.88 150.65

I did it!
Skin of my teeth, but I DID IT.

Time to finish the year out strong. Here are my Q4 #GoTheDist mini goals:

  • get to the gym more often. That 31 miles biked is indicative of a larger problem. Walking is good, but so is the gym. I need to find a balance between the two. I think this will come somewhat naturally with the changing weather not being as conducive to walking home.
  • Do better than Q1. This is weather driven, Jan-Mar are about as conducive to walking as Oct-December, especially since work is busier than the fall. Q1 was somewhat undercounted, when I got the Jawbone I realized I walked more in a given day than I gave myself credit for so this should be easy.
  • Numerical goals, I was going to say one third better than my poorest showing for each total, but 82 miles seems too little. So 2/3 better it is. 102.7 miles walking and 52.5 miles on the bike. I’m hoping I’ve hit both by the end of November, but we’ll see.

** didn’t get the Jawbone Up until May, so no steps until then

GoTheDist: Went and other NSVs

I am kicking #GoTheDist‘s ass.Some recent totals by month:

  • June –  315,031 steps and 132.24 miles
  • July – 261, 380 steps and 108.1 miles (suburban vacation, drove me nuts how little I walked)
  • August – 271, 288 steps and 112.5 miles

My original GoTheDist goal was 750 miles which I revised to 500 in May. And now?

1,086,631 steps and 610.28 miles for the year.

I only started tracking steps in May when I got my Jawbone so  that figure isn’t particularly meaningful, but 750? You are going down.

Speaking of (not) going down, I’m a shape shifter. I stopped posting weigh ins because it really hasn’t changed since May. I’ve been yo-yoing and losing and gaining the same two pounds. BUT I’m shape shifting. Or something. Because jeans that kind of fit right out of the dryer are falling off the next day. Good problem to have, but so bizarre.

On the plus side, I’ve been a master tracker and have been making (mostly) good food choices. I’ve still been pretty accountable. Except for that goal/Goal thing.

One day.

#GoTheDist: Halfway There

Whooah, we’re half way there
Livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand and we’ll make it – I swear
Livin’ on a prayer

Holy crap. Not only am I way more than halfway to my 500 miles goal, but I’m almost halfway to my original goal of 750 which I revised in early May. Part of that is due to the improved weather, part due to some ridiculous walks and part due to my determination to beat my daily Jawbone goals. Competitive with myself? Never! But I love my data.

Here’s to an even more amazing Q3 and second half.

Chubster: where reading and weight loss intersect

Part of the reason for the increased number of book reviews here is simple, an increase in reading. It’s partially the iPad, partially more down time, but whatever it is, I’ll take it. It has led to this blog being a bit disjointed but, to be honest, it always has been at heart.

Anyway, Chubster, a “hipster” weight loss guide from a self-called hipster in Phoenix.  I’ve really lived here too long if I think his hipster habits are completely normal and anything super hipster-ish, except talking at length at how the Chubster non diet is better than every other diet out there. Oh, and everything is ironic. No one ever just does something, they do it….ironically.  That said, it was a fun, light, two-day read.

 

I really liked his start with calorie counting. As I mentioned, I decided to break from Weight Watchers this time and it’s always interesting to see others facing the same internal debate. I truly don’t understand the national fear of calorie counting, especially with the umpteen smart phone apps that will now do the math. I lost weight more quickly when I was doing WW, but I also had a lot more weight to lose then I do now. Of course I was going to lose more quickly. I also shared his issues with Points Plus. I don’t like it when weight loss methods change with the latest fads. If you stick with science* you understand what causes weight loss and how to “fix” it if you go off track.

You don’t have to worry about a company changing a formula or deciding that the old program (under which I actually lost 50 lbs) suddenly “wasn’t right” and needed blowing up to attract new members. Weight loss as a business is infuriating and, I believe, contributes to the nation’s inability to keep weight off. It’s OK to teach people about the current hot trend, but if they don’t understand the basics… the science, they’ll regain and spend more money on a company’s product.

The fact of the matter is, there’s nothing wrong with being fat. Or, at least there’s nothing wrong with you because you’re fat…  It’s not a character flaw … But “happily fat” is not a sustainable…There was little chance I could plan to be indefinitely overweight and keep that little pink heart on my Facebook relationship status intact.

This was the part that resonated the most with me. It wasn’t a slurpee that got me — or someone pointing out the calories in a slurpee, but rather thinking I’d gained 5 lbs in four days. It wasn’t so much an ultimatum as a realization that I didn’t like that me. I look back at my Whys? and realize how different that person was, yet I still see some of her in the current me. I see some of Shauna in me. That won’t change. It’s how to get past that part of me.  Oddly? when I refocused in January it was some of the same position — I felt horrible in my skin. I was done talking about finishing the weight loss and was ready to just do it.

Four doughnuts with coffee or one bagel with cream cheese and a skinny chai: your choice. Obviously I’m not saying that four doughnuts is a good breakfast for someone trying to lose weight; I’m just saying that a bagel and cream cheese isn’t any better.

The forbidden food thing he said he wasn’t going to do? I agree with him in the silliness around Weight Watchers’ “free” foods, but he’s doing the same thing here. Forget his silly gingerbread ban, but he’s saying avoid bagels because they’re high in calories — but go ahead and eat the frozen food that’s just as bad? It’s not that he (or WW) are right/wrong, but I think that in trying to prove himself “better” he also acknowledged the inexact science/”black magic” behind even calorie counting. He returns to his anti bagel quest later when picking the good/bad choices at a number of restaurants: No: The multigrain bagel is on the “DD Smart” menu, but it has 390 calories plain. Is a dry multigrain bagel really what you want for almost 400 calories? I doubt it. That’s the same as their eclair, and it isn’t anywhere near as delicious. Actually, I disagree, bagel > eclair any day, but also a bagel with peanut butter will actually keep you full longer than a sugar bomb of an eclair. Does a bagel compare to a more balanced breakfast? Maybe not, but to compare it to an eclair while arguing about the merits of Super Size Me? Come On.

One of the great things about the Chubster plan is that it lets you choose between Hi-Fi and Lo-Fi options, from the iPhone to an old-fashioned Moleskine notebook. Chances are, you cringed a little when reading either “iPhone” or “Moleskine.” That’s normal. Most of you will find one of those things indispensable (or at least desirable) and the other useless, annoying, and overpriced to the point of being

This is exactly why I don’t understand why people have such an aversion to calorie counting. You don’t need any tools, but if you are the type of person who prefers tools, there are a metric ton of apps for the various devices with which to do it. That’s part of why I don’t understand one of the primary criticisms of the Up. While an instant readout can be nice, syncing to phone isn’t really an issue and if you’re not the type of person who carries a phone regularly, these smart phone enabled devices probably aren’t the best fit.
One of the best thing about this book was his insight into the calorie counts for some foods. Some I knew, but for some I had the same challenge as he did in a) making healthy choices, b) finding the NI for non chain foods. For example, I still cannot find the calorie count for my occasional indulgence – a glass of Stella, so I was grateful for his type by type analysis.
  • the inability to eat 10 oz / 1500 calories of blue cheese dressing in one sitting vs. absent-mindedly consuming about the same as a dip is frightening, and eye opening. After a (tracked!) indulgence tonight it was horrifying to see how many calories are in so-called  “appetizers”. No wonder the country has an obesity issue.
  • On the Americanization of food: Rollatini isn’t actually a type of pasta. It’s not even an Italian word, but in the American version of Italian food it means something breaded and baked. This is also the case with sushi — which in Japan lacks things like cream cheese and fried chicken – takes otherwise healthy or semi-healthy food and turns it into complete rubbish. Which is why you have to read what you’re eating, or as close of an approximation as possible. And speaking of reading, and tracking.
  • People bash McDonald’s, but they’re the motherfucking Gandhi of chain restaurants compared to the Cheesecake Factory. Now, taking the Cheesecake Factory back to the woodshed is the bread and butter of the Eat This, Not That series … so I won’t rehash all that, but it’s absolutely true that they sell salads with close to 2, 000 calories in them and you should avoid eating there on the Chubster. People assume salads are safe and McDonald’s, evil. While I don’t blame Spurlock as much as Cizmor does, I do think the media has gone after fast food in a way they haven’t gone after family style restaurants — but maybe they should. 2,000 calories for a salad?!?! That’s ridiculous and irresponsible.
  • Maybe Pollan’s credo ””Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” and avoiding anything his grandmother would not have recognized as food” would be an effective weight-loss plan, but I haven’t heard of anyone succeeding that … Instead, Chubster is all about taking advantage of every modern convenience afforded us. In my unapologetically innovationist view, technology got us into this mess by making it possible to consume so many cheap calories while being so sedentary, and it’ll somehow get us out of it. … I have very little interest in killing any animal myself or getting up early on Saturday morning to schlep down to a parking lot and pick out vegetables I can purchase for a similar price at a nearby grocery store, even if they do have the best arugula ever. Sorry, but that’s just not my scene. Maybe people like Pollan are right that the stuff we eat today isn’t even “food” and that it’ll eventually poison us; however, life expectancy seems to be on an upward trajectory even if the light sour cream we now eat doesn’t fit an organic dairy farmer’s definition. Maybe I’ll be proven a fool, but I’m putting my faith in common sense and scientific

I’ve read some of Pollan’s stuff and while I like the idea of eating cleaner, I also agree with Cizmar, there’s limited practicality to it today – or need. We’re not meant to subsist entirely on processed foods, but I think there’s a reason we’ve also evolved from hunter/gatherers.

That’s not to say I always agree with him, in some cases I think his premises, especially on what constitutes a “grown up” drink are ridiculously off base. Tequila shots are “the grownup way”? No, shots belong in the frat house along with the other wisdom he’s trying to throw up. Are sour apple martinis not ironic enough for him?

You can still enjoy everything that plumped you up, you just need to do it in moderation and mix in more activities. Hey, as it turns out, even an evening Slurpee isn’t off the table. Remember the Slurpee that changed my life? The one I had on the way from that awful Dave Matthews concert lo those many moons ago? The one that prompted the stern lecture from my girlfriend that, in turn, launched my weight-loss project? Turns out, that Slurpee was the last one I had for nearly two years. Not that I stopped wanting them. I’m a sucker for pretty much any frozen confection and have always had a soft spot for the sweet, slushy treat favored by Bart Simpson. Since losing 100 pounds, I had allowed myself occasional indulgences of most types on limited occasions (see above), but never a Slurpee. Then, one day, things came full. … On my stop home I was lured into a 7-Eleven for a giant diet fountain soda. Instead, I found something I hadn’t seen before: a Diet Slurpee. Now, the Crystal Light Slurpee isn’t calorie-free. There are actually 80 calories in a 16-ounce serving. But after hiking 7 long, steep miles, I was certainly willing to allow myself such a splurge.  …  This is what I’ve come to realize: There are two ways up the mountain. You can drive up with 600 calories of sugary ice in your hand, or you can walk up and drink the artificially sweetened version. One route is wide, paved, and busy; the other, narrow, a little rocky, and far less crowded. One will give you little tastes of life as we were meant to live it from time to time; the other will immerse you in it fully. We all choose a path, consciously or not.

But he redeemed himself… and ended the book on the strongest note. I haven’t yet gotten to the point where I can have the “diet Slurpee” (or, for me, diet Sour Patch Kids), but I understand the feeling the wanting to prove your dominance over food. I can do that now with chocolate chip cookies (but not dough). I can do that with Subway. One day I’ll do it with Sour Patch Kids… one day.

* speaking of which, Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories  and Why We Get Fat are on Mt. TBR. It’s not that I think he’s completely wrong, but there is something to be said for the basic math of calories in, calories out vs. trend hopping.