Getting all of the Pieces working

I have been struggling with trying to lose weight for several years.  Activity has never been hard for me, I enjoy athletics and sports and getting outside and doing things.  For me it was always getting the nutrition part in sync with the activity and making it work in a way that I could live with the rest of my life.    For me it feels like I am finally getting all the pieces in place where they need to be.

First, let me talk about the activity a little bit.   As I have said before I like training for things, so that helps keep me motivated.   Besides having that race goal I have found a few small changes that I am making to my routine.

  • First off I am trying to get more overall steps in every day reaching for at least 10,000 steps.   Why this surprised me I do not know, but with working from home in a job in IT, most days I didn’t get more than 2000-3000 steps in unless I went for a run.  There were days when I didn’t leave the house and didn’t even get 2000 steps in!   WOAH!   Making that small change has helped me feel better overall.
  • Second, I am getting at least one good weight session in with a personal Trainer every week.    I think adding weights to my routine is a very good thing, and I would like to try and get this bumped up to 2 times per week at least.  I am still working on that.  Training takes a lot of time, so I need to figure out how to work another session of weights in to my busy schedule.

Now for the nutrition part of things.    I have tried a lot of different diets, and methods, and had yet to find one that seemed to work well for me.    I tried Weight Watchers and lost weight for a while, looking back I see that it taught me bad habits.  On the points system I could eat what I wanted as long as I stayed under a certain number of points, but it wasn’t necessarily nutritious.   I had some success with the Mayo Clinic Diet for a while as well.  With that one I was always hungry because the calories were too restricted for me, and I wasn’t getting enough dairy/protein.    I also tried counting macros for a while trying to balance the carbs/proteins/fats at certain percentages of my daily calorie intake.   All of these are fine plans and they will work for some people, but they were not for me.   They were not maintainable for me in the long run.

What I am doing currently, and seems to be working for me so far is as follows.

  • First, I am eating 4-6 smaller meals per day instead of 2-3 big ones.   I eat every 2-3 hours throughout the day to keep my metabolism going.
  • Second… I am eating a bigger breakfast and smaller dinner.   More carbs at breakfast, and less at dinner.   I am getting at least 1200 calories in before I even get to dinner time.
  • Third, I have been taking a visual approach to what is on my plate at each meal.   I am using the visual of the  My Plate picture (http://www.choosemyplate.gov/) .  For my major meals, I try and make my plate look as close to this picture as I can. Half my plate is fruit and veggies, one fourth protein, one fourth grains, and a dairy item.   Having this picture in my head at each meal is helping me eat more well balanced.  For my snacks, I try and get a protein and a fruit or vegetable in.

myplate_green

So far I haven’t had to remove anything from my diet.  I still have a glass of wine, or a piece of cake, or slice of pizza..but not as often.    Greasy foods don’t really appeal to me as much as they used to.    I will continue to make this a habit for me so I will continue to be successful, and have a healthy lifestyle for years to come.

It has been working for me, I have lost 8 lbs (FINALLY) after several years of up and down.  And I will continue to lose as long as I keep going and keep my positive attitude.  I feel like I have finally found something that works for me and all of the pieces are in place for me to be successful.

My new mantra is “I am TOTALLY doing this!”

Girl In Training

I love being in training.   There is something about working toward a goal that motivates me to keep moving.   Last summer I did my first Sprint Triathlon and I fell in love with the sport.   Who would love a sport that combines swimming, cycling and running all into one event!  Ok, there may be some people, but I love it!   I did My First Tri (http://trifitnesswbl.com/as_my-first-tri) back in August.  My goal was to finish in 1 hour 45 minutes, and I did it in 1 hour 43 minutes.     There is lots of room for improvement, but I finished in the time I wanted to!

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This year I have been working hard on my running game.  I had the crazy idea to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2016 with my friends from college.   I am working on increasing my distance as well as improving my time.   I have several running races planned for this year leading up to it.

  • Resolution Run (5K) – Dec 31 – This one was COLD and icy…so my time was not great 50 minutes roughly.
  • Unleash the She (10K) –  April 26 –  Rochester
  • Med City Marathon Relay – (2nd leg – 7 miles)   May 24 Rochester
  • Big Woods Run (10K) – October 11 – or perhaps a different fall one
  • Monster Dash (10 Mile) – October 31
  • Disney Princess Half (13.1 Miles ) – Feb 2016

My pace for a 5K has typically been around 15 – 16 minutes per mile.   I am starting to see some of my shorter runs down in the 14 minute per mile range, so my time is starting to improve.   My longest distance has increased to 6.3 Miles at this point, so I am ready for my 10K at the end of the month.  I am doing better distance-wise than I thought I would be at this time of year, so I may try and add some other longer races this fall so the Princess one is not my first half…we will see how the summer goes .

There are also a couple of Sprint Triathlons I am thinking about doing this summer.   I was going to skip them this year, but they offered a Triathlon Swimming class at my gym.  I totally signed up for it, and had my first class this week.  It is GREAT.  I know it is going to make me want to do at least one race this summer so I can try out what I have learned in an actual race.  The two I have been thinking about are:

  • Rochesterfest Triathlon Sprint (1/4 Mile Swim – 10 Mile Bike – 5k Run) – June 21 – Rochester
  • Toughman Minnesota Sprint (1/4 mile swim, 22 mile bike, 3.1 mile run) – July 26 – Chisago City

Very excited for the coming year and what it will bring for me and my health!

 

I’m In Training – Week 1

My first week of training went well.   I have to admit, I underestimated my abilities, and I am in better shape than I thought I was in.      I adjusted my training plan a bit to compensate for this fact and make it more challenging.   I am sure I will make more adjustments as I go along.  I also started tracking my times and am keeping a pace log.  This way I can estimate my race time, and work on improving in time as well as distance.

This week’s training completed:

  • 2 days weight training
  • 1 day swim – 10 laps  which is just over .25 mile. (18 laps is half mile)
  • 1 brick : 8 mile bike ride followed by 1.5 mile run.

Being “In Training” helped me to want to stick to my food plan as well.  I had a couple of days that were a little off plan (a bit higher fat content & calories than I hand planned), but my calories out were more than my calories in every day this week.

Going to “Tri” a Sprint Again

After much discussion with some of my friends, workout buddies, and my Personal Trainer, I have decided to once again start training for a Sprint length Triathalon.  For those that don’t know this consists of a half mile swim, followed by 13 mile bike ride, followed by a 5K.   I have realized that I do much better in my “training” if I have a carrot to shoot for.  Just constantly working out to lose weight is starting to get me down, especially when the hard work doesn’t seem to show up on the scale!  Having a goal in mind to complete this race will keep me motivated to keep moving, and hopefully the weight will come off at the same time!

triathlon-pictureMy goal is to be able to do my own race on Sept 20th.  At that point, I will continue to train until next summer and do an actual race then.   I have developed a training plan that starts where I am right now, and adds just a little bit each week to get me to where I need to be.    The running is my weak point right now, and the cycling is my strength.

I am starting at being able to run 2.5 miles (starting my training at around 1.5 miles) and swimming about 10 laps. For the bike ride…I could easily do 13 miles this summer…so I am starting somewhere around 8 miles, but doing some HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training) on my cycle only days until I start getting to longer distances.  I am also incorporating weight lifting 2-3 times per week to continue to build strength.

I am very excited to start this training plan, and motivated to make it work!  I am hoping I can find some friends who might want to race with me in June 2015!

Finding the “Time”

How often have we planned a workout early morning, and instead of getting up to do it rolling over and hitting the snooze button?

I have struggled off an on with “when” to do my workouts for a very long time.  The winter is especially tough because during the majority of the daylight hours I am working, as are most people.    My first plan was to enlist a workout buddy to force me to go.   While this works pretty well, if my buddy decides to cancel,  I still have to force myself to go.

I have one buddy who likes to go in the morning before work.  This is great for her, but I struggle to get up early in the morning.  If she didn’t come pick me up, there would be no way I would get myself out of bed to go.   I did go with her for a while but it was hard to keep up the routine when she could no longer go.    I would have to get up at 4:30 or so in order to get breakfast and a cup of coffee in me before she picked me up at 5:15am.  I have made the mistake of exercising without any food in my stomach, and i get dizzy if I try that.  Then I would get through my workout in a daze, not sure if I was the most effective when I was half asleep.

I have another buddy who likes to workout before bed because it makes her tired.   Again, this does not work for me.  By the time 7 or 8 rolls around, I am already tired and ready for PJs.  I have gone with her a few times as well.  First, getting up the energy to leave the house, much less getting the energy for a good workout was really hard.   Plus working out invigorates me, and does not make me tired.  So it would keep me up extra hours and I would not get enough sleep.    An additional item I did not like about going at this time, besides the fact I am already exhausted from a long day, was that this was one of the busiest times of the day at the gym.  I am ok doing my workout with other people around, but I like to have space as well, especially when doing free weights.

Last week it dawned on me that I needed to find a better time to go to the gym.  One that works for me, even if my buddies decide not to go.   I decided to start going over lunch.   I found a buddy to go with me too, which is great.   For the first time, when my buddy was not able to go with, I STILL WENT!!   I know many people do not have the luxury of being able to take a long lunch break.  I am thankful I do because I think this is going to be a sustainable practice for me to go during my lunch break.     I am awake enough that I get a great workout in.  I have plenty of time to get food in my stomach before I go.   It is a great way for a mental break in the day, and I am not so exhausted that I am effective in my workout.   Then I go back to work in the afternoon with a renewed energy to keep me going the rest of the workday.

Everyone has their own “time” that fits them best.  I hope that you make the effort to find yours 🙂  It has made all the difference for me.