Thursday, September 29, 2011

3, I mean, 2 things Thursday: The Slowing Down Edition

1. My running pace has gotten slower.  I attribute this to a couple things.  First, I've gained a little weight.  While it's not a ton of weight, it doesn't make me feel that great and running feels harder.  Second, I haven't been running outside that much at all and for some reason I get scared of running too fast on the treadmill.  6.0 is super fast for me and I never run that fast on the mill unless it's the top of an interval.  I used to run about 5.7 at home, but since I've switched to the gym treadmills, I am not running at that speed.  I'm more comfortable around 5.3-5.4. In the long run (ha ha, that's a pun intended) it's not a huge deal, but when you're talking about pace, a 10:30 mile sounds way better to most than a 11:00 mile.  As a runner, I strive to be faster not slower!

2. While I don't want to slow my running pace, I do want to slow my eating pace.  This is harder than you think!  I am usually doing two things at once, while eating.  Breakfast is about reading and eating, or talking to my son and eating, and then I have to go to work.  Lunch is about surfing the Internet or blogging and eating, and then I want to get back to work.  Dinner is about visiting with the family and eating, and I want to get done and get the dishes done, and move on with the evening.  The idea of taking slower bites, savoring each mouthful, listening to my stomach is just completely foreign.  I am a distracted eater and it's hard to focus just on the eating.  I'm a multitasker.  I like to kill two birds with one stone, per se.  But I also recognize that this behavior leads to overeating because if you're just kind of mindlessly eating, and you've eaten way more than you should before you are even aware of it.  But it's so hard to take the time to eat, just eat, when you're used to being busy busy busy and always in a hurry hurry hurry.

Do you multitask when you eat?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

If you build it, they will come.

Believe it; be it.  Ali Vincent

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.  Winston Churchill

The only disability in life is a bad attitude.  Scott Hamilton

Make your optimism come true.  Author Unknown

A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.  Mahatma Gandhi

Change your thoughts and you change your world.  Norman Vincent Peale

Today I bring you a little more on the topic of Paul McKenna.

I'm a firm believer in the power of positive thinking which is probably strange for a pessimist like myself, but I can't argue with statistics.  Maintaining a positive attitude and believing in yourself can have huge effects on all efforts from losing weight, running a marathon, even beating cancer.  I think believing in anything can have it work for you or not.  Look at the placebo effect.

So I think if I believe Paul McKenna's principles will work for me, the chances of it happening are much better than if I think it won't work.  If I criticize the idea of hypnosis as a tool for weight loss, I'm pretty much saying I'll be wasting time by even listening to the CD. 

That said, I'm not really sure how I feel either way except that I KNOW it can work.  My friend has had so much success, and for that reason I have been wanting to post about this book/CD for months.  I have had the title of yesterday's post in draft since May 9!  Visiting with my friend a couple weeks ago convinced me I needed to post about it, but also convinced me to give the whole thing a try for myself.  What have I got to lose, right?   For my journey, I'm taking it a day at a time and seeing how things go.  Right now I feel really positive in that I am not limited by calories and Points, and I feel really positive that I can eat whatever or whenever I want, as long as I'm hungry and stop when I'm full.  I also know that just because I can have the cake, doesn't mean I want it.  But tell me I can't have the cake, and man do I ever want it.  It's a totally new attitude for sure.

Speaking of cake, yesterday I ate a piece of my coworker's birthday cake.  It was fabulous.  I have not shared an office birthday treat in years.

It was ... liberating!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Do you know Paul McKenna?

Liberate: to set free, as from imprisonment or bondage.

Liberated is the word I am using to describe how I have felt this past week. 

So, Paul McKenna?  Well, he's this author of a book called I Can Make You Thin (among others).  Of course a title like that would make me skeptical, but my friend has been following Mr. McKenna's basic principles for nearly a year and swears by his system.  Included with the book is a "hypnosis" CD.  That, coupled with the title of the book, would normally make it impossible for me to buy this book, but the recommendation from my friend means a lot.

The principles are simple:
1. If you are hungry, eat.
2. Eat what you want, not what you think you should.
3. Eat consciously and enjoy every mouthful.
4. If you think you are full, stop eating.

You're probably thinking (as I am) that these concepts are basic and not groundbreaking.  To a naturally thin person, they're also probably fairly obvious.  However, for someone like me, they feel like a gift.

It is not a natural concept for me to eat only when I'm hungry.  I eat when I'm bored, lonely, happy, angry, or tired.  I probably eat when I'm actually hungry the smallest percentage of the time.  Having been a faithful follower of Weight Watchers for over half my life, I tend to eat when the clock says so, when the Points are available, or when I feel like I need more fruit or veggies for the day.  And for the years before I lost this weight, I ate a lot just because I had a "last supper" mentality a lot of the time in that I was always planning to start tomorrow, or start on Monday, or start next week.  Planning on going on a diet made me eat a whole lot, a whole lot of the time.  Hunger?  What does that even feel like?

This past week I have been getting in tune with myself.  I have been eating when my stomach feels empty, not when the clock says it's a "mealtime".  When I do eat, I eat what I want.  I know that healthy, whole foods make me feel the best, so I usually make those choices automatically, but I even allowed myself a Snickers the other day and felt okay with it.  I only wanted one small square and I ate it.  And I felt no guilt or gluttony.  Knowing that nothing is off limits to me has taken away the feeling of needing to eat and eat and eat because "I'll start again tomorrow".  I think that by allowing myself the Snickers, I ate less than if I'd eaten something "healthier" because I had what I wanted and felt satisfied.

Another change has been my daily lunches.  Usually I bring a main item (pasta, soup, sandwich, etc), Chobani, a piece of fruit, and a few nuts.  That's my lunch and that's what I eat.  Well, last week I didn't finish my lunch on several days.  Paying attention to whether I was actually hungry made a big difference than just going off the fact that I had the food available in my lunch bag. I will admit that it is hard for me to stop eating something before it is finished.  Like if I bring a bowl of soup, I am more apt to finish it than leave some in the bowl.  I'm a full fledged member of the "clean your plate club".  But if I eat the soup and then take notice of whether I'm satisfied or still hungry, it's been easier to stop eating before opening the yogurt or something else.

So is Paul McKenna going to make me thin?  Is Mr. McKenna's simple plan the answer to all of my food issues?  I do not know, but I do know what a huge difference the system has made in my friend's life.  Whether it's the concepts, the hypnosis CD, mind over matter, or all of the above, she has lost quite a bit of weight without even trying.  She's also addicted to activity.  Running, hiking, yoga, Zumba, she does it all and craves it when she doesn't.  Now, mind you, my friend is also very susceptible to hypnosis.  She's been part of a hypnsosis show more than once and she's usually the star of the show!  I do not feel hypnotized when I listen to the CD, but I have listened everyday for a week.  A couple times I have drifted off only to be awakened when he says to wake up.  Was I hypnotized or just tired?  I don't really know.

Regardless, I have always said that I do not want to count calories forever, and I do not want to count Points forever.  I want a healthy relationship with food.  I want to eat dessert when it sounds good, and not feel like I've "cheated".  This past week has been the most liberating of my life.  As I said, I rejoined WW on the 16th and counted Points on Friday & Saturday.  Sunday was when I read the book (it's short) and started listening to the CD, and that's the day I started practicing Mr. McKenna's principles and eating what I wanted without counting.  My weight loss from Friday to Friday was 5.6 pounds.  I know I had been "off plan" for a bit before that and expected a large loss for "week 1".  But I am pleasantly surprised with 5.6 pounds given that I ate whatever I wanted for most of the week.  I feel ready to continue doing what I'm doing and seeing where it leads.

If you're skeptical, I can understand that feeling very well.  I feel like I have suffered from disordered eating patterns forever and 4 principles can't possibly solve those issues.  Yet, getting rid of the all or nothing attitude, the feeling that I'm cheating on my diet, and the lack of having to meticulously plan out my Points for the day has been so liberating!  Truly!  It's amazing. 

I know people are overweight or obese for a multitude of reasons.  Some people need to delve into their pasts and make discoveries about themselves in order to combat their issues with food.  I have never felt that way.  To me, it does not matter why I was obese, it only matters that I do not become that way again.  I don't want to waste time examining my past because I can't change it.  Only the future is writable and to keep moving forward is to me the most important thing in the world. 

I'm not telling anyone to run out and buy this book/CD, I'm just giving my preliminary thoughts on it after a week of use.  I will continue to update as time goes by.  I should add that one point Mr. McKenna makes is to not weigh yourself on a daily basis.  This has been a bit hard for me because that's what I'm used to.  But I've put my scale away to avoid the temptation, and will continue to weigh in weekly at W.W.  I'm still attending the meetings because it's a good check in place, even if I'm not exactly following the plan.  I did already pay for the two months after all.

Do you know Paul McKenna?

Does this post make you intrigued enough to check out his book?

What do you think about hypnosis for weight loss?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hike to Snow Lake

My friend Joanna is quite active!  She's an avid hiker, something I wish I could interest my family in.  We live in the Pacific Northwest where outdoor activities are plentiful, but we don't really take advantage of the opportunities available.  Joanna, on the other hand, spends a lot of time taking advantage of all the Northwest has to offer.  She hikes with friends usually at least once a week and I'm super jealous!  Since I had a few extra days in Seattle planned after the 10K race on Sunday, I asked her to take me hiking at least once. 

She decided to take me on her favorite hike to Snow Lake and it did not disappoint.  What a beautiful day we had!  This hike was about six and half miles round trip.  According to my Garmin the elevation gain on the way up was about 1,970 feet and I have no idea if that is a lot in just over three miles or not.  All I know is it took us just over three and half hours to make the trek up and back, not including our stop for lunch, and I felt so accomplished when we were done.  I was actually sore for a few days after this hike, too, my calves and quads took a beating!  An awesome beating.

The trailhead can be found directly across from the ski lodge on Snowqualmie Pass at the Alpental ski area.  I found the following information about the snow lake hike on the Washington Trails website:

If there's such a thing as a wilderness superhighway, this is it. The Snow Lake Trail is Washington's most heavily used trail within a designated wilderness area. On any given summer weekend, you can expect to share the area with upward of two hundred hikers. Fortunately, midweek the route is virtually deserted, and after Labor Day the number of weekend hikers drops to more reasonable levels. Why is it so popular? It's a combination of easy-to-access wilderness trail and a route to one of the most picturesque lakes in the water-rich Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Snow Lake is surrounded by high granite peaks and is visited by deer, mountain goats, and a host of small critters and birds. What's more, the lakeshores are lined with wildflowers in early summer and juicy huckleberries later in the year. All in all, the crowds are justified--few places that are so easy to reach offer such a stunning wilderness experience.

Here are some of the gorgeous views from the day.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Athleta Iron Girl 10K - One Additional Thing

I almost forgot to share one of my favorite parts of the Athleta Iron Girl 10K.

Personalized race bibs!!

Athleta Iron Girl 10K - Seattle

In the midst of it all, I have completed another 10K race.  On 9/11/11, I ran the Athleta Iron Girl 10K in Seattle. This race was slow and steady and very easy.  The best part was running with my bestest friend in the world, Joanna.

The race was in Seattle so I had to make another trek across the state, alone.  But it's all good, I had my tunes with me.  (Are you surprised that my iPhone cover is not purple?)

The wind turbines along I-90 before and after Ellensburg always amaze me.

I arrived in Seattle on Saturday about 5:30 after stopping at the Factory Outlets in North Bend for a new Coach purse.

We promptly left for Alki Beach where we enjoyed some carbs on the sand and watched the sunset.  It was gorgeous.

We got back to the house around 10:00 p.m. and planned to go straight to bed.  I spent the next half hour texting with my husband and organizing my race gear.  Just as I closed the door to head to bed, I noticed I was not alone. 

Seriously, I am afraid of spiders, I've mentioned this before.  Usually I tell myself I just don't like them, but I was reminded that I am actually afraid of them.  I could not kill this thing and I was shaking with fear.  Luckily it wasn't moving, it was just hanging out in the corner.  I was texting my husband who was trying to coach me through killing it, but I could not do it.  My friend's husband was out having dinner with some family and I kept wishing for him to get home.  Finally, about 40 minutes after the original spotting of the beast, just as I was about to put on my shoes and socks (and headphones, I can't hear any crunching of bugs) to head into battle, the husband arrived.  My hero!  And would you believe he picked the thing up with his BARE HANDS and proceeded to talk to me for 20 minutes holding it in his hand?!  I was freaking out!  I cannot even imagine touching a spider, ewwww!!  Anyway, I finally went to bed at midnight and my alarm was set for 5:30 a.m.

Long about 3:30 a.m. I woke up.  Wide awake.  And I could not go back to sleep for anything.  Pre-race nerves again!  I passed the time by reading blogs on my iPhone and listening to music.  Finally it was time to actually get up, get dressed, eat the usual pre-race breakfast (English muffin, peanut butter, banana, and one cup of coffee) and then we were off.

The Athleta Iron Girl 10K was being held at Greenlake Park.  Greenlake is a beautiful lake that is surrounded by a paved trail that is approximately 3 miles long.  It's a popular place for the locals to get their run or walk on.  I was a little concerned about how the crowd would be managed on the trail.  I remembered the half marathon which was also on a paved trail that was way to narrow for all the runners, and the local people just out for their Sunday run or walk were kind of annoyed.  For this event, I was happily surprised to see that we would be running mostly on the road surrounding the lake- not as narrow as the trail and not displacing the locals.

We quickly picked up our packets and then walked around the expo.  Neither of us found anything we couldn't live without so we made our way back to the car to drop off our bags before the race started.  Then the fun began: the line for the bathroom.  It was clear we would not make it through the line.  They had a lot of toilets, but there were also a lot of women and the line was so long!  I had seen a Starbucks across the street so we decided to head over there.  The line was incredibly long there too, but seemed more manageable.  As we were standing there, we saw some people fiddling with the timing tags on their shoes.  TIMING TAGS!  We totally forgot to put them on.  Joanna offered to run back to the car and get them and I stayed in the line.  She returned fairly quickly and we affixed the tags.  If looks could kill, we would be dead because the girl behind us in line was not happy that Joanna came back and took her place in line.  Tough!

Finally we made our way through the line and then made our way back to the race start and lined up.  We lined up between the 10:00-11:00 minute pace markers.  My plan going into this race was to stay together and have fun.  Of course I wanted to beat my last 10K time which was 1:09 and some seconds, but if I didn't, I was okay with that too.  It wasn't the same course as my last 10K and for me, a true PR is a faster time on the same course. 

The countdown to the start began and we were off.  We took off slow and steady.  The crowd was pretty tight in the beginning and I was seriously annoyed that people were walking!  Why oh why can't people be courteous and line up where they should if they are a walker?  Oh well, we made our way around those people and it was fairly smooth running from then on.  Greenlake is so pretty and the course was very flat.  When we completed our first loop, it was a little disheartening to think we had to run the same way again.  I don't love repeat loops or out and backs, but I waved to the finish line and kept running.

Garmin and it was 1:08 or so.  I felt great and was happy with that time.  Once across the finish line we picked up our medals and grabbed some water bottles which were ice cold and wonderful!!  We made our way through the breakfast line which turned out to be a yogurt, Fuze drink, and breakfast burrito which was kinda nasty.  They also gave us some Muscle Milk and Ironman drink.  I only drank water, though.  Great Harvest Bread Co. was one of the sponsors and they had wonderful wheat rolls. I could have eaten about 20 of them!   

We had lots of fun with this race. We tried to smile and wave at all the photographers and just enjoyed the run.  The event was very well organized with plenty of swag and water. They even had a table set up where you could get a printout of your official results-usually I have to wait for the official results to appear online.  My time was 1:07:24 and Joanna's was 1:07:25, but I could swear she crossed the finish line first (see next photo).  The finisher's medal is simply awesome and such a nice treat at a 10K. Awards were also given to the first three finishers in each age group which was so nice.  There were winners ranging in age from about 11 up to 82!

10K is officially my favorite distance.  It's a challenge, but you don't have to spend hours and hours training.  The race itself is fast and you walk away feeling like you've accomplished a great thing.  I couldn't have been happier to complete this race with Joanna. My favorite event to date!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Where is this blog going?

I think this blog may have run its course and I am having one of those "where do I go from here?" moments with it.  I don't feel like I'm ready to go, exactly, but I definitely feel like I haven't had much to contribute to this awesome community lately.

I continue to gain weight.  It was lose, gain, lose, gain, lose, but now I'm just on a gain, gain cycle.  At least for the past couple of weeks anyway.

I should probably recap August.  My goals were to lose 10 pounds and run 70 miles.  I actually did pretty well.  I lost 4 pounds and I ran 67.45 miles, and I honestly feel like that was a success.

But as of today, 9/15, I am 7 pounds heavier than I was on 8/31.  I'm truly not obsessed with the number, but I have the weight history at my fingertips thanks to my handy iPhone.  I don't sit and stare at the numbers all the time, or anything.  But just know that these days I am thinking of the numbers constantly.  CONSTANTLY.  On my way to the fridge and back, especially.

Tomorrow I'm doing something I thought I would never do again in this life time.  I'm going to a Weight Watchers meeting.  A real, live meeting with the old bitties themselves.  I actually bought the WW monthly pass as they are running a special where instead of the regular $39.95 monthly fee, you can pay $43.25 for two months.  Two months is what I'm going to give it.  I already pay $16.95 a month for the online membership so this isn't too much more, and it will give me the opportunity to connect with others in real life.  I'm trying to have a positive attitude about that and hope for the best.

In related news, I rejoined the YMCA last week.  That is a really good thing and I'm excited about it.  I'm excited to try some different classes and use some of the different cardio machines besides the treadmill.  I like the elliptical a lot so far.  I'm happy to report that I've even been going before work!

I'm taking these steps to freshen things up and make some changes.  I need to do something to get back the fire and motivation that I had before.  I'm not sure what that will mean for my blog.  I'm not ready to say good bye because I'm not done yet.  But right now, I'm the last weight loss blogger you want to hear from.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Giving it up.

I've lost focus.

My "disordered eating" patterns have resurfaced a bit.

The "I'll start over tomorrow, Monday, next week" thoughts have been rearing their ugly faces.

I don't like it, but can I control it?

The answer should be yes, but can I do it alone?  Do I need Weight Watchers meetings? A gym membership? A swift kick in the ass? 

Or should I just try prayer?  I think I will.

I will give it to God.

My 37th birthday - August 28, 2011