Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Is Weight Watchers realistic?

I'm into my third week on Weight Watchers, and it's going OK - 3 pounds down. I know it will be slow and I need to be patient and stick with it. But I was curious - I plugged my various statistics into a bunch of online calorie counters and came up with numbers for how many calories i need to maintain and to lose (based on age, weight, activity level, sex, etc.) On all of them, the number of calories needed to lose is a bit higher than the WW allowance, even including the weekly points and earned activity points. As I always do, I'd been trying not to use all the points, but I think that's a bad idea - I get too hungry and eat too much at the end of the day, or have a "lost day" after which I'm not as motivated to go back to tracking (since I don't know how many banked points I've used.)

I think for the rest of this week I'll try to eat exactly how many points I have - not save any. Wonder how that will feel? Or what if I decide to eat 38 every day, instead of 34 or 36? That comes out to 1900 calories - a reasonable amount to eat and still lose slowly, as long as I'm exercising 5 days a week. Or so at least one calorie counter online tells me. (I'm 5'9 and currently 205 pounds - I walk up and down stairs a half-dozen times a day but otherwise have a fairly sedentary lifestyle other than whatever exercise I do.

On another topic: for most of the last ten years I've tried very hard not to talk about my weight or diet in front of my daughters - I haven't wanted them to think about it at all or to absorb my unhealthy obsession. Lately that's changed - I've been leaving my "Beck Diet Solution" out where my kids can see it, and they see me blogging on WW.. My 10 year old is unhappy about it - she says it makes her feel uncomfortable (she says that a lot whenever I criticize myself) and that I'm perfect and beautiful as I am. Not sure how I feel about this overall, but I think I'll dial it down again - no need to make a big deal about my wish to change myself.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Originally uploaded by jahansell
I didn't even realize my husband was taking my picture at the Classic! This is me at the end of 5 miles - I think I look pretty good! (Maybe I should have run harder!)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Weight Watchers + Beck Diet = a new day?

To do Beck, you have to choose a plan. I haven't wanted to commit to a plan for a long time. I think it's because I haven't wanted to limit what I eat other than to (theoretically) choose healther things. Until I want chocolate. It's been a long time since I've tried to get to the bottom of why I eat the way I do. I used to blame Mom. Now I have to look at other factors - stress, feeling entitled, feeling like I deserve to be indulged. (Maybe it is still all about Mom?)

I want to stick to positive self-talk, not catalogue my failings. So I can say this:
- I've exercised regularly for a long time now. I can run five miles.
- I tend to eat on the healthier side - there's at least some fruit and veggies every day, lean proteins, legumes, a decent amount of calcium. (I keep thinking of caveats and "buts" and deleting them. Positive things only.) I don't eat McDonalds or any fast food. When I have treats it's usually something worth it - dark chocolate.

I'm not finding a lot else good to say right now so I'll stop here. Tomorrow I weigh in (it will be somewhere around 207) and begin Weight Watchers online. (I may try to catch a meeting too - the timing might actually work out - the only meeting around here is Tuesday at 5:15 - right after I drop my daughter off at softball practice, one mile away.)

What choices I will make:
  • Plan my day's food in advance. One tip I read: write it all down in pencil at the beginning of hte day, and copy over in pen as I actually eat it. I have a new journal I bought just for this, and I'm putting points values of foods I usually eat for reference.
  • Choose exercise every day. The 20 minute workout plus: walking at lunch, or swimming, or an evening walk with the kids... something real, at least twice, every day. No excuses.
  • Follow Beck. (i.e. eat sitting down, no mindless munching, focus on why (that picture of me that recently appeared on Facebook with the worlds' most unattractive double chin is a good motivator!)
  • Not give up.
My first goal: 5% of my weight. That's a lot - over 10 pounds. So 2 pound increments are my intermediate goal. And to think positive!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Sharon Classic Race Report (and a Star is Born)

I love the Sharon Classic. It's our hometown race - 5 miles around gorgeous country roads. It's a fundraiser for the day care center, and they make quite a nice little festival - bouncy house, bake sale, silent auction, etc. All the locals come out, as well as a couple of really good runners from the region. There are kids, parents pushing babies in strollers, and lots of walkers. It's supportive, friendly, and well-managed for those who are more competitive (and they never run out of water or food, even if you're the last one in.) I've never enjoyed any race more than this one.

However, each year I get a little slower. In 2007,, my first time running, I did it in 1:01; last year it was 1:02. This year, 1:04 and a half, or so. I don't think I should feel too bad about it. I'm heavier than I was last year, by at least 5 pounds, and my training has been very different - I've basically stuck with the overall high-intensity, low-volume plan, so haven't run more than about 2 miles in at least 2 months. (But have been doing significant sprint work, alternating with weight training.) I am going to check in with my friend and fitness mentor who gave me this plan and ask him if he thinks I could add something more that would help.

It was a gorgeous day for a run - cool, lightly cloudy after a night of rain, no breeze. I felt less anxious than in past races - I'd slept well, and felt calm, if not confident. My 10-year-old daughter was running for the first time in the (not-quite-one) mile race, and I was focused on helping her get ready - she took it VERY seriously. She expected to do a mile in about 11 minutes. I didn't know what to expect - she's slender, fit and fast, but was also just diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma and she hasn't been running - I didn' t know how long she could sustain a run.

She partnered with a good friend who is very athletic. They went out easy, but quickly found themselves in front of just about everyone. She walked for a few seconds up a hill at about the half-mile point, but then got going again, and finished approximately 5th out of at least 25 kids, in about 6:33. I don't know how long the course is - how far short of a mile - but whatever it is, that's FAST! She felt fine afterwards - her lungs felt a little "empty" but she wasn't wheezing or coughing at all. I am so proud of her ability!

For my race, I was feeling stiff and sore, so stopped at the massage table for a pre-race rubdown. He got all the kinks out of my lower and upper back so I felt pretty comfortable starting out. There is nothing I love more than the first minute of a race when it is all possibility and camaraderie! We set off down the green and onto the road, which is all downhill for the first third of a mile. I had no plan - no intention of running and walking at particular intervals. I was just curious to see how this training plan would affect my endurance in a longer run, and decided to just run as much as I could and walk when I had to. The second part of the first mile is mostly uphill, and they put the mile marker (a person with a stopwatch) at the wrong spot - she was at the 4th mile point, which is a little beyond the one mile point (the course is a lollipop - the last part comes back along the beginning.) So my time there, of 13:40, was meaningless. The second mile is always the fastest - it's mostly flat or downhill. SO I wasn't surprised to hit the 2 mile point in 24:03.

The elderly gentleman who always runs just ahead of me was out on the course again, but the 60-something woman who also always just beats me was not here today. (I hope she's OK!) I kept pace with himf or a few miles, always just ahead or just behind, but he never walks, even on the hills, so he pulled way from me eventually. There were tonso f kids out on the course - 4th graders through about 8th grade - and one gaggle of them seemed to be determined to stay ahead of me. They'd sprint ahead, then walk for a while, and when I caught up to them and passed them they'd sprint again. I thought about saying something snarky but kept my mouth shut.

Many aches and pains - my left achilles, which has bothered me for years, both knees at one time or another - but nothing that really slowed me down. My back was fine. The road is very slanted most of the way, and the older gentleman always runs right down the yellow line, I assume because it's flattest there. I do start feeling the strain of the slant.

Psychologically I never went through a big slump - I had low expectations of myself going in, but decided as I went along that I wanted to push myself a little and try to at least match past times. I wish now I'd pushed a little harder - I'm not tired enough now!

I need to figure out a new training plan, and figure out how to commit myself to it. I want to better. I want to go faster. I want to equal or improve my performance from past years. I don't want to have peaked yet.