I feel like I should have had a few drinks last night — at least then there would be a reason for how cruddy I’m feeling this morning.  I’m sore (from my workouts) and headache-y (for no reason at all) and would like to crawl back into bed, but Sunday mornings are my time to get things done:  grocery shopping, laundry and food prep being the big three.

And – exciting! – NFL football starts today!  So – that means I’ve got a noon deadline to take care of business.

This week has been good in terms of not only eating healthy, but really working on not letting a little hunger scare me into eating.  I’m doing a better job at proactively asking myself whether I’m hungry or just bored and then making the right decision based on that information.  And I’ll also say that I’ve indulged a few times this week, too, which helps me with the “Oh my god I might never have this again I should eat a lot of it” kind of mentality that in the past has caused a lot of over-eating.

With that, here’s the round-up of my week (because I know you’ve been waiting all week in anticipation):

What do you know — progress!  Like, real progress.  Weight is headed in the right direction and measurements as well.  While I’m trying my best not to pay attention to the numbers, I have to admit that it’s gratifying to see some results.

Still haven’t missed one, which totally makes me a badass, in case you were wondering. I’ll say that I don’t think I’ve ever before been this consistent at strength training 3-4x/week, and I’m definitely feeling a change for the better. I’m more convinced than ever in the importance of lifting heavy things on a regular basis.

Lean protein with each meal was our new habit this week.  On the surface, it’s fairly easy for me because it’s something I’ve been working on for a few years now.  Of course, before I was worried about hitting a certain amount of protein per day which is different than having lean protein with every meal.  This requires planning and is more difficult, for sure.  Still – this is more straightforward than the mental habits we are already working on.

Habit Log:
Weeks 1-2: Fish oil and probiotic
Weeks 3-4: Eating slowly
Weeks 5-6: Stop eating at 80% full

Week 7:  Lean protein with every meal

Go Bears!  Hope everyone has a fabulous football Sunday!

Practice, practice, practice … that’s what I’ve been doing.  Eat slowly!  Eat to 80%!  Add lean protein to every meal! And I’ve been doing pretty well at these habits.  Of course, staying on the right side of healthy is easier when you’ve got complete control of the environment:  my house no longer contains junk food to tempt me and no reason to shovel food in or overeat (though that doesn’t always stop me!).

But recently I’ve had a few opportunities to spread my Lean Eating wings and see if I could fly (or go SPLAT on someone’s windshield).  First was a BBQ at my brother’s house — starting with appetizers and drinks, ending with two different desserts and lots of good food in between the two.  My strategy going in was to just be incredibly conscious of what I was putting in my mouth because normally when I’m in front of appetizers, I can stuff myself full just from that — and still eat dinner afterwards.

So, I sat next to the vegetables on purpose and they turned out to be wonderful conversation partners.  I managed to mostly stay away from the chips and guac, which are my best friend and sworn enemy all rolled into one.  It’s funny, though — old habits die hard.  I kept finding myself reaching for them and then my brain would kick in; nope, not gonna do that.  But I had to very actively keep an eye on myself — it was hard! I’m tough to keep in line, apparently.

My next function was today — I met up with some good friends for dinner, carb-loading for my friend’s half marathon. We went to an Italian restaurant that I absolutely love and I knew it would be easy to indulge, indulge and indulge some more.

First, I opted for water instead of a drink — I was the chauffeur so that made it a little easier — but I still missed having a glass of wine.  And yes, I could have had it, but figured it was one thing I could do without.

The tough part?  Not having any bread — that’s like my gateway drug, without a doubt.  I could eat an entire loaf without even thinking twice.  Hell, I could eat it without even thinking once.

We ordered an antipasto salad for the table, and I had a little of that.  And then dinner — the waitress gave me a sales pitch that they had the best eggplant parmigiana in the city and I had to bite on it (heh.  See what I did there?). And it was tasty!  Even, ah-MAZE-ing, like the waitress touted. The best eggplant parmigiana I’ve ever had in the city (we won’t mention that the was the only eggplant parmigiana that I’ve had in the city)!  

Since I opted to not have any protein with dinner, I steadfastly implemented my other two habits:  eating slowly and not overeating.  Eating slowly was harder than I thought it would be.  It seemed weird to be putting my fork down and stopping while everyone else was eating away.  But it really did the trick — I ate half of my meal and was done. Could I have finished it?  Sure.  Did I want to finish it?  Heck yea. Would I have finished it before I started all this?  Without a friggin’ doubt.  But stopping felt really good.  My stomach didn’t feel like it was going to burst which is something that isn’t normal for me when I go out for dinner.  

So – two occasions and two relative victories.  What do you know:  it IS possible to go out, be social AND stick to some healthy habits.  Who knew?

I feel … optimistic about the Lean Eating program laying out the skills that I need to live a healthier life.  As I’ve talked about before, this is a different approach for me and I think the “mental side first” way of doing things might be just what I was looking for.

I feel … scared that I’ll have the solution in front of me and not follow through anyway. 

I feel … stronger than I have in quite awhile and have remembered how much I like lifting heavy stuff (but not that desk, Jim!). I still have a good layer of mushiness on top of everything, but I’m starting to see muscles peeking out just a bit.

I feel … anxious that this might work for everyone but me, because I’m somehow broken. Goes back to the whole thing where I give it my best effort and still it doesn’t work.

I feel … determined to give this my best effort, and as long as I do that, be happy no matter what the results might be.  There’s pride to be had in the doing.  I really need to remember this.

I feel … resistant sometimes to being told what to do, even though I know it’s for my own good — apparently I still have a bit of rebellious teenager left in me.  Or toddler.  One of the two.

I feel … hopeful that in a year’s time, I’ll be much more fit and able to get back to doing all the things that I love to do without feeling self-conscious.  I just want my body to respond and take orders when I give them … you know, how I’d like my dogs to act.

I feel … buoyed by the support of all the women in my small accountability group.  They’re great with the “you go, girl!” motivation when needed and sound advice when asked for it.  I think this group will be my lifeline.  We’re all going through the same thing and the shared experience will be critical to our success.

I feel … regretful that I didn’t do anything sooner.  I hate how much time I’ve wasted not feeling good about myself.

I feel … kick-ass for finally deciding not to waste any more time and do something about what was bothering me. It’s empowering to know that I’ve that I’ve got it in me to change. 

I feel … good.  And that about sums it up, I suppose.  All of the above, wrapped up in a nice, neat package, is good. Nothing is perfect, no situation is custom-made, but where I’m at right now?  It’s good.  Not great, not totally awesome, but a solid, sure-that-things-will-just-get-better-and-better good.

I don’t have a whole lot to say today.  I’m exhausted and feeling a little out of sorts — right outside my office there’s a big-ass machine breaking up concrete and it’s like living with a 2.8 earthquake all day (seriously! I put a vibrometer app on my phone and measured it!). The noise is bad, but looking at a shaking monitor makes me a little ill (anyone remember microfiche machines at the library?  Looking at one of those for more than 3 minutes used to make me just about lose my lunch, too).

So, instead of one of my normal witty, insightful and delightful posts, I have this:

That pretty much sums everything up, doesn’t it?  I’m doing better at the first part, but having faith in being able to take this the distance is still a little shaky.  It’s all going pretty well now, but I know there are going to be periods where making the right choice — the healthy choice — will be near impossible.  And that’s okay, but what’s gotta be different this time is not letting that snowball.  Acknowledge the choice and then move forward. 

And I need to have faith that I can do this.  Because I can, I know it.

That is the question.

I’ve been a daily weigher-in for years now.  It’s just habit:  roll out of bed, pee, get on the scale and then grunt either positively or negatively depending on the number.  I like to think that I pay attention to what the scales says, but don’t let it rule my life.  I’ve been around long enough to know that my weight can vary as much as 3-5 pounds over the course of a few days, due to things such as too much salt, hormones or ice cream (YUM).

And I’ve been tracking my weekly Friday weigh-in for a long time as well.  Some weeks it’s not so pleasant to record that number, but I have to admit — it’s cool to graph it out over years to see where I’ve been.

But recently, Coach V. told us that she’d watch the numbers for us.  That we didn’t need to worry about them.  And since then, I’ve been trying out not getting on the scale every morning.  And it’s been weird, and a little uncomfortable with a dash of awesomeness thrown in just to confuse me.

And so I’m not sure what way to go with this — should I get on the scale every day?  Or just once a week to report in measurements to LE?

Let’s make a list, shall we?  Exciting!

An argument for weighing in daily:

  • I like having the daily feedback.  While I might not always know what to attribute weight gain/loss to, sometimes I can put it together and make adjustments as necessary.
  • Seeing the number every day makes it not too meaningful, if that makes sense. Because I see it swing up and down, those blips don’t mean as much.
  • And the flip side of that — if I only see the number once a week, that one weigh-in becomes MUCH more meaningful because it represents an entire week of work (or week of having headed in the wrong direction)
  • Because I’ve always done it (good reason, right?)

An argument for only getting on the scale weekly:

  • There’s a real sense of freedom in not having to see that number every day. It focuses me on my behavior (which I can control) and not on the outcome (which I cannot control).
  • There’s the possibility of getting on the scale and seeing a big loss from last week and somehow that would feel like more of an accomplishment than seeing my weight creep down bit by bit over a week.  Talk about motivation!
  • Because I’ve never done it this way (and I’m all about doing things differently now, right?)

So, what’s everyone else’s opinion?  How do you treat weigh-ins?  Does anybody do a “hidden” weigh-in where they have someone else looking at the scale and recording the number so they can’t see it?

Over at my other online home — beginnertriathlete.com — I’ve had this graphic posted for the past month and I wanted to share here because I think it’s especially on target for what I’m trying to accomplish:

I’m still learning to trust the process, to take that leap not exactly knowing how this is all going to work.  The LE program very specifically does not tell you what’s coming in the future — I can only look at lessons 2 days in advance — so that we won’t spend any time worrying about the future.  They tell us:  trust us.  Trust that we’ve been successful for thousands of clients.  Trust that we’ve done our research.  Trust that we’re leading you in the right direction, even if you don’t see results at this early point.

It’s hard sometimes, but I’m going along with it.  It’s not like what I’ve done has ever worked long term, so it’s time to trust someone other than me, right?

The new habit this week is to eat some lean protein with every meal.  Finally, a return to concrete, measurable, did-I-or-didn’t-I habits!  Whew.  It’s nice to be concentrating on something that doesn’t take as much brain power and mental acrobatics to be successful.

This habit will be more of a logistical challenge than anything else — doing the planning to make sure that I have some lean protein available for all of my meals.  A year or so ago, I started upping my protein intake — or, at least, being mindful of trying to get more protein — so I’m thinking that this won’t be all that difficult for me.  It helps that I like almost all of the good sources of protein, from chicken to eggs and beans and fish.  And I’m looking forward to trying out a new recipe that I ran across for homemade turkey jerky (this recipe will wait for cooler weather, though… no sense in having my oven on for 6-10 hours when I’m paying for air-conditioning).

Of course, the previous habits just don’t get thrown out the window; while my happy, I’m-compliant green checkmark no longer depends on me eating slowly and eating to 80% full, I still have to keep implementing those habits. Seeing as how these are dubbed The Two Super Habits, this shouln’t come as a huge shock to anyone.  The Super Habits (I like thinking of them in superhero costumes somehow) will work in conjunction with the new lean protein habit — by having more lean protein on the plate (which will ideally displace something else that I was eating), I’ll feel more satisfied after meals, even with only eating to 80%. That’s what’s supposed to happen, at least.

On a side note, the first habit — taking fish oil and probiotic — has been brought down to smaller quantities:  1 tsp of fish oil and a normal dose of the probiotic.  Everything I’ve been reading lately has been touting the awesomeness of these two things, but I have to say that I don’t really notice any difference after having taken both for 6 weeks.  Oh well – it can’t hurt, right?

So – onward!  Another 2-week habit to learn and master!

Another week in the books and the end of Phase 1!  And what a week it’s been:  drama and chaos abounded with work being a bear and requiring overtime, my dryer dying on me, a dog with a UTI and the news that my here-again-gone-again roommate was moving back in. But I’m proud of myself because throughout it all, I had only one bad night where I very mindfully ditched the healthy way of responding to the stress and instead took it out on a bag of chips. That’s a step in the right direction for me — in the past, that would have had to potential to derail me for days.

The lessons and assignments this week have all been on the mental/emotional side of things — talking about fears and discomfort and the ability to let go of the outcomes and concentrate solely on behaviors.  It’s been good work and the piece of the puzzle that’s always been missing from other forays into getting back into shape.

And without further adieu, my weekly round-up:

Yesterday was scale/measurement/photo (BLECH!) day.  The photos, as I well knew, showed no sign of progress, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, ya know?  A very small victory: for the first time my weight has dropped below where I started the program!  Measurements are all about the same, but I’ll say that I’m feeling a touch more in shape, which feeds my motivation.

Still none missed!  Woot!  The strength training sessions got looong, but I enjoyed the challenge.  I’m also really liking the interval training and getting back into running, which is good for my soul.  With the end of the phase, tomorrow will start with new workouts that will be even more challenging.  Bring it on!

Eating to 80% full has been difficult, but I think I’m finally getting the hang of it.  Doesn’t mean that it’s always easy and I’ll always be true to it, but I’m much more likely now than I was just a few months ago. 

Habit Log:
Weeks 1-2: Fish oil and probiotic
Weeks 3-4: Eating slowly
Weeks 5-6: Stop eating at 80% full