Okay, so the 80% thing is weird.  That’s the best way I can find to explain it. 

I’ve always known that I had a tendency towards emotional eating, but I didn’t realize how much I equated being filled with being fulfilled.  It’s hard to stop at 80%, just short of what’s always felt satisfying.  It’s like not quite being able to reach that mosquito bite that’s smack dab in the middle of your back.

Another challenge for me is that if I skip meals (mostly breakfast or lunch), a migraine is a distinct possibility.  So, I have a second equation that resides in my brain:  hunger = migraine.  I start to get hungry and alarm bells start going off in my head:  EAT FOOD! EAT FOOD!  Of course, I can be hungry without getting a migraine but I don’t let that little fact get in the way of shoveling the food into my mouth when that’s what I want to do.

I need two different strategies to mitigate these two very different situations.  For the first, I need to figure out how to divorce feelings and emotion from eating.  Make eating something that’s all about fueling my body and enjoying the food and stop allowing food to provide comfort, because that’s just an illusion anyway.

For the migraine situation, I need to tune in to what my body is telling me and know that every hunger pang doesn’t mean that a migraine is inevitable.  It’s looking at the situation logically and trust that as long as I’m not skipping meals or drastically cutting calories that any headache I get isn’t linked to a lack of food.  

Trolling the PN discussion forums, someone posted the following link, and the article has given me some more insight on the whole 80% thing.  Basically, stopping at 80% really is like stopping at 100%.  Huh?  Because it takes 20 minutes for the stomach to get the signal to your brain that it’s full, if you stop at 80%, you’ll usually find that 80% is 100% in disguise.

A couple of graphics that have also been posted show hunger on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being starving and 10 being overstuffed (a.k.a “Did I really just eat that whole pizza?”). I want to learn to eat when my hunger level is at about a 2-3 … don’t get too hungry, but also make sure that I’m actually hungry before eating.  The flip side of that is to stop eating when I’m at about a 7 or 8, knowing that 9 and 10 are really uncomfortable and will cause me regret and an evening of sitting on the couch, moaning all night about how I can no longer button my jeans.

All easier said than done, but at least I’ve got something to work with now.

Through dumb luck, I had a massage scheduled for today — perfect timing with my back still being pretty sore from the weekend.

My massage guy (I love having a guy that I can call “my massage guy”), after hearing about what was going on, suggested that I might benefit from some cupping therapy. “Huh?” I intelligently replied.  He explained that it involved using cups and suction to increase blood flow to the area which would encourage more healing.  Being the adventurous type, I told him to go for it.  He did mention that there might be some red spots or bruising, but that it depended on the individual.  Since I normally don’t bruise easily, I didn’t figure there would be much to show for it.

The process was uncomfortable, but didn’t really hurt.  It felt more like my skin being pulled very taut and held that way for 10 minutes or so. I was happy to have the cups removed, but I could have stayed that way for quite awhile longer if I had to.  Afterwards, my guy followed with a normal deep tissue massage, concentrating on my lower back.

Well, here’s the result (sorry for the bad picture — it’s a very difficult spot to take a picture of by yourself, and the dogs weren’t being very helpful, either):

Um, yea. I look like I have a bunch of big ol’ hickeys on my back!  And this picture doesn’t really do a good job at showing how beat up I look, either. Oh, and there are 4 more big bruises that you can’t see because I’m nice enough to save you from having to look at my bare butt.  You’re welcome.

But you know what?  I think it must be some sort of voodoo black magic because my back feels AWESOME.  Like, it barely hurts anymore.  Maybe overnight it’ll go back to being sore and cranky, but right now?  It feels pretty darn good.  Whodda thunk it, right?

PN’s visual representation of 80%

Remember all the way back to two weeks again when I said something silly like “Wow things are getting tough!” when we were told to eat slowly?

Well, I didn’t mean it. NOW things are getting tough.

The new habit?  Stop eating when I’m 80% full.  What?  I can’t top off the tank?  Eat until I’m not hungry any longer?  I’m not even sure I know how to do this.

This is our second “super habit” — eating slowly and eating to 80% are the two cornerstone habits of the Lean Eating program.

PN suggests things like leaving a few bites of food on your plate or simply serving up smaller portion sizes. In theory, this should be easy.  In practice, I’m not entirely sure how to implement it, to be honest.  Smaller portion sizes seems straightforward, but what is smaller?  I don’t know that I have a good enough sense of what my portion size normally is to make it 20% smaller.  

And leaving a few bites on my plate?  This seems logical, but my latent Catholic “you must clean your plate there are starving children in Africa” guilt makes that a challenge.  I’ve been very well trained to eat everything!  I hate wasting food, especially when it’s something I’ve gone through the trouble of making.

What about when it’s lunchtime and I’m not necessarily hungry (but have to eat because that’s the one time I get to sit down for it)… what’s 80% when I wasn’t starving to begin with?  Or a small snack?  Do I eat one less slice of pepper or cucumber?

(do I sound a little stressed about this?)

So, right now I’m just concentrating on staying calm … breathe… breathe… breathe… and trusting that there will be a ton more information on this topic in the next week which will give me some clear guidelines and the tools I need to be able to implement this habit.  I get the concept, but that’s about where it ends.  Just gotta play with it, I suppose. Relax a little… understand that this isn’t rocket science and — once again — trust the process.

My, how time flies when you’re having fun, right?

Already have about a month in the books.  Amazing.  This week has been a little up and down, but I’m feeling good about everything.  Well – everything except every muscle in my body.  Between running for the first time in forever yesterday morning, and helping my brother move a very big, heavy and awkward desk, I’m in a world of hurt!  Good thing it’s a rest day, because I’m walking around like an old woman.

This week also featured a bunch of really great reading and writing assignments focused on identity — who I am and who I want to be — and why I have the goals that I do.  Toss in some work on the behavioral vs. outcome goals and how best to accomplish them, and my brain got a workout in this week, too.

Also key — we had our small accountability groups set up and had our first online meeting! It’ll be great to get to know some of the ladies on more of an in-depth basis.  I’m hoping this group turns into one that I can count on for daily support.

Onto the wrap-up for the week…

I’m still pretty much status quo, which is a little frustrating, but not all that surprising especially since I’m fighting some hormonal battles.  It’s still just scale and measurements (no more photos yet, thankfully!), and nothing much is budging, but I’m not panicking. Well, I’m not panicking too much, at least.

Training has been outstanding!  I’m not sure how it happened, but I went from reluctantly strength training maybe 1-2x/week to training 5 times a week and feeling great about it. Next week the strength training ramps up again, adding a third set to all the exercises, so that’ll be challenging.  And as far as interval training goes, I’m already exceeding what I’m supposed to be doing and excited about it.

I keep getting more and more mindful of eating slowly, despite not always adhering to the practice, and that’s a big part of the battle for me.  A new habit will be introduced tomorrow, but eating slowly will be something that I’ll continue to work on until I feel more comfortable with it and start doing it without having to concentrate so hard.

Habit Log:
Weeks 1-2:  Fish oil and probiotic
Weeks 3-4:  Eating slowly

(PS … my DVR box is dead.  *sniff*)

I woke up this morning still kind of halfway in the dream I was having.  In the dream, I was talking to a friend of mine who had asked if I were running the Chicago Marathon this year. I guffawed at the thought and told her “Hell NO!”. After that, she brought up the idea of Chicago 2014, and dream-me found myself being talked into it (I cave easily to peer pressure, what can I say?) and thinking, “Yea, I could do that…”.

Chicago 2011 Finisher

Whaaaat?  Let’s just say, I was happy it was just a dream.

And then … and then… (in real life)

…I thought, “why not?”

Back in what feels like a different life, I’ve done 4 marathons, the most recent being Chicago 2011. After that one (as after every other marathon I’ve done) I swore up and down that I’d never do one again. Never! And plus, this last one, I was finally satisfied with my results — a 4:09 finish and I never once quit on the course — and haven’t really had an urge to do one since then.

This morning I had an interval workout to get in — I had intended to do what I did last week and head downstairs to hit the rowing machine — but dream-me kept poking at my brain.  I started thinking (I know, I know… I’m just asking for trouble):  one of the things that I want from this program is to feel like a runner again. I’ve been waiting to hit the pavement, though, because all the extra weight makes running uncomfortable.  It struck me, though — you don’t have to feel like a runner to be a runner.  And all it takes to be a runner is to go out and (surprise!) run.

So, I made a few slogging steps towards my goal and did my interval training out running. It hurt, it was hard, and I felt like a faux runner out there, but, indeed — by definition — I am once again a runner. And if I keep being a runner, I’ll soon feel like a runner as well. Makes sense to me.

And Chicago Marathon 2014?  I’ve tucked that idea into the back of my head, letting it percolate and I’ll see if it bubbles up again … or if I’ll come to my senses and do what dream-me was unable to do and just say no to marathons!  

My DVR box is on the fritz.  All of my favorite shows, still unwatched, hang in the balance as I do everything I can to save it.  The box freezes when it’s booting and I’m afraid that the hard drive is the culprit, which would mean bad, bad things for my recorded TV viewing future.

I hardly ever watch shows in real time anymore (the few times I do, I still try and use the remote to fast forward through commercials…) and keep a stash of (mostly mindless) shows on hand to give myself something to relax to, ya know?

Wondering what you’d find on my DVR?

  • A few episodes of Extreme Makeover:  Weightloss Edition (I love me some Chris Powell!)
  • Under the Dome (I read the book and am mildly disappointed in the series so far)
  • Inkmaster (because there’s nothing better than adults acting badly AND showing off some mad tattooing skills in front of a camera)
  • Whodunnit?  (eh… probably not worth the time)
  • Bar Rescue (getting tired of this one… but there’s a part of me drawn to seeing how incredibly messed up some of these bars are)

A few other shows are on there, but nothing that’s in the least bit interesting for me to tell you about (what? Dancing With The Stars?  Me?? Of course not!!).

I’m a techy type (at least that’s what I’ve been getting paid to do for the last 20 years), so I’m going to give resurrecting this device my best shot before calling ATT and talking to someone from India who doesn’t know anything about anything.  Right now I’m letting the box rest.  Sometimes it just needs a good night’s sleep.  I hope.

And that’s my Friday night.  Excitement abounds.  I know you’re jealous.

(and no, this has absolutely nothing to do with LE.  Deal with it…)

The other day we had an assignment:  answer the question “Why are you doing Lean Eating?”  Easy, right?  I’ve probably written at least a few blog posts on this question already.

But – not done yet.  Follow up that first “why” with another 4 “whys”.  That’s when it gets a little more interesting.

An example, using my furry monsters:

Why did you get another dog?
–> Because I thought Belle would like a brother.

Why did I think Belle would want a brother?
–> So she would have someone to play with. 

And why does she need someone to play with?
–> Because I love the thrill of keeping two 70-pound dogs from taking out my TV while wrestling with each other when my back is turned or I have to (god forbid!) pee.

And then on for another couple of whys.  You get the idea.

When doing it for real — the whole why LE question — it took me awhile to come up with an answer that satisfied me.  I kept going in the wrong direction, or ending up somewhere that didn’t really feel like me.  So, I doggedly kept at it, working it around until it rang true.

And without further ado, here it is:

Why did I decide to join the Lean Eating program?
–> To lose weight and regain my strength.

Why do I want to lose weight and regain strength?

–> Because that will make it easier and more fun to be more active.

Why do I want to be more active?

–> Because being more active will get me in better shape.

Why do I want to get in better shape?

–> Because I want to have the body of an athlete.

And why do I want to have the body of an athlete?

–> Because having the body of an athlete will remove the awful sense of dissonance that I walk around with right now — I think of myself as an athlete, but certainly don’t look like one, and I kinda hate that.  I want that identity back!
I’ve always been an athlete in various stages of being in (or out of) shape, but this is as far away as I’ve been from looking like it on the outside.  And that’s just not who I am. I want people to actually believe that I’ve done marathons and such without raised eyebrows and an “oh really?  I never would have guessed…”.

Over the weekend, the large group of Coach V’s girls were separated into small accountability groups.  My group has about 10 ladies in it and we hang out in a Google+ community, which has turned out to be a pretty great way to be able to connect.

Tonight we had our first meet-and-greet using Google+ Hangouts and it was definitely cool.  It’s one thing to get to know people through their postings and a whole ‘nother thing to see people and really feel like there’s a human being on the other end of the line. It adds an entirely new dimension to the relationships.

We talked for almost an hour, doing introductions and talking about what we thought of the program so far.  It struck me, about 15 minutes in, that these women — there were 4 of us, plus our mentor on the call — are the ones that I’ll be spending the next year with. As much as I know that I can count on my friends and family to be there for me, after awhile I’m guessing they’ll get a little annoyed with me constantly talking about it (you triathletes out there know what I’m talking about!).

On the other hand, my LE peeps will have my back.  They’ll also have a complete understanding about what I’m going through, and that’ll be more valuable than anything else.  I believe this accountability group will be the lynch pin to my success.

A tangent:  Google+ Hangouts are way cool!  It was a little laggy sometimes, but overall, for a free tool, it was pretty awesome.  Of course, I love all things Google, so I might be a little biased (and no, they don’t pay me for all the nice things I say about them).

Back to the group.  We’ll meet on a scheduled every other week basis, with as many impromptu get togethers as we want.  We’re a geographically diverse group (though mainly all from the Midwest), but I get the feeling that some of these women will end up being really good friends by the time we’re done with this.

And you know what?  That’s a great feeling.

My supervisors looking at me sternly
My supervisors

What can I say — yes, it’s a blog post about my blog posting.

I’ve had more than a couple of blogs in the last few years and without exception, I started out all gung-ho and 2-3 weeks later I’d miss a posting… maybe two… and then POOF! it was an abandoned bloggy ghost town.

This blog, though, has gone further than any other I’ve started and my goal is to post every day for the 365 days that I’m part of the Precision Nutrition Lean Eating program.  Aren’t you excited? A little bit of me every day!

Following the PN tenets, though, I’m giving myself permission to do the following things:  

  • make entries short… not only does this help me out, but I’m thinking of you too!  Who really wants to read 3,000 words a day about this stuff?
  • not have to obsessively edit each entry… this is the one area of my life that I’m incredibly type “A” — I want everything to be absolutely perfect
  • not have to recreate the wisdom of the great American novel or the hilarity of an SNL sketch each time out… basically, this is an online journal for me and while I want it to be entertaining, I also don’t want to have to slave over my computer for 4 hours every night.  Get over it.

Essentially, I am giving myself the permission to be imperfect, knowing that it’s a true reflection of the person I am today.

Now you know what to expect from me and feel free to give me hell if I start missing entries.  Of course, I’ll say that the dog ate my homework (and knowing my monsters, that might actually be true), just so you know.

This isn’t my first weight-loss, get-in-shape rodeo.  While I haven’t done many of the more trendy diets (South Beach, no carbs, grapefruit diet, etc), in the past I’ve been successful with simply tracking food and exercise and eating whole, healthy foods. Pretty straightforward, right?

Of course, this time around that wasn’t working for me.  It’s a method that requires a certain amount of willpower and single-minded dedication and I just didn’t have it in me (the siren calls of pizza and ice cream and cookies were too irresistible to ignore!).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m confident in my knowledge of nutrition and training — I’ve gotten myself lean and in shape and have even helped others as well.  But going into the Lean Eating program, I promised myself one thing:  I would approach it with a beginner’s mind, as if I didn’t know a damn thing about anything.

I wouldn’t make assumptions, or think that my way was better (clearly, it wasn’t). I decided that since I was paying someone else monthly that I’d let them do the thinking for me.  Do what I’m told and do it to the best of my ability. No questioning, no whining, no second-guessing.

Sometimes it’s hard.  Take the fish oil, for example: I’ve been doing this for over 3 weeks now and while it’s easy and I do it every day, I don’t feel any different.  Part of my brain is going, “… and why am I still doing this??” and calculating the money I could save by not having to buy it at all.

At which point, I start telling that part of my brain to shut up.

(The whole thing is pretty comical if you happen to catch me in the act!  I think the dogs even laugh at me… of course, that wouldn’t be the only thing they laugh at me for)

Anyway – I’m going into this with an open mind, ready to learn, ready to change.  And ready for that boundlessness, limitlessness and infinite wealth.