Friday, July 29, 2011

Feed Me

Fitnessista just wrote about her first pregnancy hormone/hunger-related meltdown, then asked everyone about their own meltdowns. I don't have the pregnancy excuse, but I definitely have the hunger meltdowns. I thought I would share, lest you think this blog is only about me rocking my swims.

I have a tendency to get insane (and migrainey) when I have low blood sugar. I discovered long ago that if I don't eat at least a little something before I work out, I get a migraine. Doesn't matter if I eat right after the workout, the damage is done.

Jason has found out the hard way that when I get too hungry, I get snippy and irrational, and we need to get me some food, stat. Eventually I will become completely implacable and all sorts of food will sound WRONG, which, as you can imagine, is super fun for Jason.

Our worst experience was when we were in Paris about 3 months after we got married. We had 3 days to see all of Paris and crammed those days chock full. One day we took the Metro out to Versailles, toured the palace and grounds, came back to Paris, and went to the Louvre for its free night. The plan was to get dinner when we got back to Paris. Only, every place we looked, Jason deemed too expensive. And, let's be honest, he wasn't wrong. Europe is expensive!

As we walked from one cafe to the next, I felt myself getting more and more frustrated and exhausted and just ticked off in general. Then Jason, observing my foul mood, said we could go anywhere I wanted. But by that point, we had crossed that insane line and nothing sounded good to me anymore.

Eventually, we ran out of time and needed to get in the LONG line to enter the Louvre. We finally got inside, and I felt miserable. Tired, getting a headache, not excited about being in Paris anymore, or, in fact, about being married to Jason at that moment.

So Jason sat me down on a bench and came back with a Louvre vending machine sandwich that probably cost about forty-seven dollars and was kind of nasty, but, boy, did I cheer up after eating half of that.

That was the worst and Jason mentions it periodically in the context of, "We don't want another Paris experience on our hands." It still happens, though.

I vividly remember a couple of weeks ago telling Jason in my angry voice that I realized I was being completely irrational, but I couldn't help it and I was tired and hungry and if he knew what was good for him, he would get out of my face and let me just make dinner alone in the kitchen.

He left the kitchen.

So let this serve as my apology to Jason for all past and future hunger meltdowns. Because I know I'm insane, but I know it will happen again.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Swim Challenge Update

Just in case you were wondering, the Swim Challenge is going great! I'm counting Week 3 as a success because even though I only swam 3 times that week, I showed up at the gym for the 4th swim, and it's not my fault the pool was closed. I don't get credit on my fitness tracker on SparkPeople or on the Fitbit, of course, but I'm giving myself a pass for my personal challenge.

Week 4 was a success too. I swam Tuesday, then Thursday, Friday, Saturday. I thought I would be worn out by Saturday morning, but I actually rocked the difficult 2800 yard workout our coach emailed to us, and even tacked on another 200 yards to get to an even 3000.

This week, I'm a little unsure about completing 4 swims. We're supposed to go hiking and camping this weekend, and I blew off swimming this morning because I never am thinking straight when that alarm goes off at 5:30. Tomorrow is Masters, but I have an 8 AM work meeting. However, I'm thinking about possibly scooting over to the gym super early and getting in 45 minutes.

Never mind that we're going to a concert tonight in Cambridge and won't be home until late. I really want to meet my goals! We'll see how realistic that feels tomorrow morning.

Fitbit Results Lately: Am Slug

I love my Fitbit, but the bummer part is that in the same way that your body adapts to exercise, the Fitbit adapts too. So my one hour of swimming in the morning 4 times a week is not giving me as big a bang for my buck as it was a few weeks ago. Added to that is the fact that I've been really babying my heel in the hope that it will feel better, and my daily steps are averaging about 3,000 per day. Pathetic!

Being easy on my heel hasn't really helped. I've been trying to get better about taking anti-inflammatories regularly, but I keep forgetting. Maybe I'll start setting an alarm to remind me. The point is, my heel hurts whether I walk a bunch or I don't. So maybe I should just bring my sneakers to work and start doing my lunch walks again. I can start out easy, a half hour at a time or something like that.

I'm just getting really tired of being still all day. It's especially bad on the days when I swim in the morning because I arrive at work buzzing from endorphins and I just want to MOVE. But I have the least moving job in the whole world, so all of that energy goes to waste. I think it would help to know I'm going to get out on my lunch hours again.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mean Girls

Joining Masters swimming has been awesome. I have 2 coach-planned workouts per week and generally get nothing but encouragement from the other swimmers.

Only...I got moved up a lane, right? There's another woman in my lane who is kind of brusque, kind of stand-offish. To the point of it being a little awkward when she doesn't respond when I speak directly to her. There's just me and her and a guy in our lane now, and she's super chummy with him.

(Though, 2 weeks ago when he went first, she made a remark to me about how she kept catching him and how his hard swim doesn't really look like he's going that hard. Uh, ok. I wasn't really sure what to say, so I just shrugged and suggested she tell him she would like to go first in the next set)

It's just odd - we're grown women, after all. We'll be getting ready for the next set and she'll make a general comment, but it's very obvious that's it's only directed at the guy in the lane, and I'm not included. Or she won't make eye contact with me. Or I'll say something to her and she'll just ignore it.

Anyway, like I said, it's odd. I figure I'll just keep being friendly to her and see what happens. At least the guy is nice to me.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


(Only 5 months since we all learned how crazy Charlie Sheen really is, and that subject line already feels dated)

I feel awesome!!

That's pretty much all there is to it. I woke up this morning feeling refreshed for the first time in MONTHS. I went to the pool and swam with my Masters group. I'm still in the fast lane*, and I'm keeping up pretty well

Seriously, someone smack me the next time I forget how good I feel when I'm not eating crap. I tell myself over and over not to forget, yet I always do. I really need to make this a lifestyle, and not just something I do here and there.

I've cut out the grains, the sugar, the majority of the dairy (I'm still sprinkling cheese on my veggies because I don't want to waste it. Also, parmesan cheese on roasted broccoli is the best thing ever). This time I haven't cut out fruit, though. The Paleo/Primal people let you eat fruit, just not too much. I think knowing that I CAN have a banana if I want it, helps me not feel deprived and makes this whole plan feel more liveable.

Still not weighing and measuring myself at all. I'm just focusing on being healthy. I think my stomach is flatter, I think my thighs have a little less visible cellulite, I think my calves are getting more defined. If I'm wrong, it doesn't really matter, because the point is, I feel great!

* Well, the fastER lane. Faster than where I was. There are these 2 freaks of nature in the lane next to us who do 100s on the 1:30, but I just ignore them when I'm assessing how well I'm doing.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Reason #427 Why It's Best To Just Stay Away from Carbs and Caffeine

Detox sucks.

I suppose I could just leave it at that, but maybe if I give more details, I will remember this the next time I decide drinking 3-4 Diet Cokes a day is an AWESOME idea.

Basically, I've had a headache since Saturday afternoon around 3. It varies in intensity, but is mainly of the behind one eyebrow, stabbing me in the head, migraine-variety. Saturday I started the Whole30, which means no grains, no sugar, no processed junk (which translates to NO DIET COKE).

I admit, I had a Diet Coke yesterday afternoon because I just wanted the headache to ease off a bit so I could get done some of the million things around the house that needed to get done. It helped for a little bit, but then the headache came back full force just as I was going to bed, and stayed with me until, well, now, really. Which meant I was not getting up to go swim this morning, that's for sure.

Whenever I detox, it usually takes about 3 days before the junk is out of my system and I feel better. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Friday, July 15, 2011

WHOLE30 Fail

So remember that whole food discussion I had not so long ago and how I was going to do a WHOLE30 and get on the Paleo train? Well, it didn't work out like I hoped it would. First of all, there is food in the fridge that I just didn't want to waste by throwing out. Mostly dairy - cheese and milk.

However, the bigger issue was the caffeine. I had a 2-hour presentation yesterday morning and work has been so crazy busy lately that I hadn't really had a chance to go over my materials since I submitted them in May. I knew I would have to hurriedly review everything Wednesday night, then get up early on Thursday to get to the seminar location by 8 AM. It occurred to me that maybe these couple of days weren't the best time to ween myself off of Diet Coke (which I've been drinking a lot of lately).

Apparently my personal license to have caffeine equaled no holds barred crappy eating in my brain. I really don't know where it came from, but yesterday was kind of a junk food free-for-all. I didn't even TRY to eat the Paleo/low-carb option. Not even marginally.

Now, though, I have no excuse. I have a weekend ahead of me with no huge responsibilities, only social commitments. It's the perfect opportunity to knock it off with the caffeine. So tomorrow I take a deep breath, and I show the self-restraint that I know is there, but has been lacking lately.

If this is like prior times when I've laid off the Diet Coke, in a couple of weeks, it will probably taste disgusting to me. Which I know is a good thing, what with all the chemicals in those little cans, but is kind of sad too since Diet Coke with Lime has become a nice mid-afternoon treat for me. Must acquire new, healthy treat options!

I Need A Ruling Here...

I'm not going to meet my challenge of swimming 4 times a week for Week 3. I know this because regardless of my Herculean effort this morning to pull myself out of bed after not getting a lot of sleep on Wednesday night, giving a 2-hour presentation yesterday and having another late night last night for a friend's birthday party, I got to the gym and the pool was closed. Apparently the lifeguard didn't show up for work this morning.

I'm pretty positive I won't be able to leave work early two Fridays in a row to make the lap swim this evening (though if the opportunity presents itself, I'll jump at it).

Jason designated himself the official arbiter of these matters and declared I get to count this day for my challenge. Thoughts?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Let's Talk Food

I've decided to take on a food challenge in addition to my swimming challenge. I think I've got the swimming pretty well under control, and I've succeeded with fitness challenges before so I know I can push myself to get this one done too.

However, my eating has been - not so great. For instance, I had some graham crackers and milk for an evening snack on Sunday. I usually don't even buy processed foods. It's much easier to eat healthy when the stuff isn't in the house and it would take some major effort to get it. I only had the graham crackers because I bought s'mores fixings for the hiking/camping trip that never happened on the 4th. Granted, I only really had one meal Sunday, but the point isn't really the calorie intake, it's WHAT I'm eating that's the issue.

Over the past couple of weeks I've really let my eating slide and have taken in a fair amount of sugar and grains. It's really hard to remember in the moment that those types of foods make me feel bad. (TMI Alert->) When I cut out the carbs, I very rarely have gas or have any sort of upset stomach. When I eat carbs, all that comes rolling back.

Also, I've been drinking way, WAY too much Diet Coke. To the point that on a couple of days it's made me feel shaky. My favorite thing right now is Diet Coke with a packet of True Lime. I'm still a fan of True Lime (like a lime wedge in a packet!), but I need to lay off the Diet Coke. Need to remember: water with True Lime is tasty too.

I've decided to leap on Jenna at the Paleo Project's Whole30 Challenge. This is a challenge to eat Paleo for 30 days. Jenna's challenge started yesterday, but I'm starting today because we had friends in town and had a farewell dinner last night at a restaurant that has amazing desserts. Might as well end my crappy eating with a bang.

On the Paleo diet you cut out grains, sugar, legumes and dairy. I honestly think the dairy part will be the hardest for me because I love dairy. I use cheese a lot to accent my vegetable dishes and to spice up my salads. I've never noticed any type of physical reaction to dairy, so I'll try adding dairy back in after these 30 days and see if it has any effect on me. Fingers crossed that it doesn't and I can bring reasonable amounts of dairy back into my diet. But for these 30 days, I'm going to do the real challenge.

The Paleo diet also focuses on whole foods (thus, the WHOLE30 challenge). I generally eat whole foods anyway (occasional graham crackers notwithstanding) so the cooking and planning part won't be hard. It's just time-consuming. I've been swamped at work lately and I know the only way I will succeed is if I plan, use the crock pot more than I have been this summer, and PLAN.

Jason says he'll be happy to pick up my slack in the Diet Coke department. He's so giving.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Swim Challenge: Week 2 - Success!

Week 2 went off without a hitch. Well, except for my procrastination that I wrote about in my last post. But I got in 4 swims, even if I didn't get them in as leisurely as I might have hoped.

Friday I had the opportunity to swim the mile again, since that was in our workout of the week from our Masters coach. I shaved 1:05 off my time*, which means I swam it in 28:55. Nice! I think it helped that I could go at 5 PM, instead of 6 AM. I swim better after I've been up for awhile. 9 AM is really my optimal lap swimming time, but I have to go to work and dumb stuff like that.

*Not 1:55 which I mistakenly posted to Facebook, but couldn't erase until a couple of hours later after a couple people had Liked it and I didn't want to lose that positive reinforcement. I am actually really pleased with 1:05 since that's a lot of time to take off in a week.

I was supposed to swim this morning (Monday) and start off the week right, but I just couldn't get up. We have friends visiting who have 3 little boys under the age of 4. They arrived Saturday night and I honestly don't know how their parents do it.

Oh, wait, yes I do. The parents usually go to sleep by 8:30 or 9.

The kids are actually pretty low-key, as really small kids go, but their energy still wears me out. Added to that is the fact that Jason hates the idea of having the AC on all night, so I'm usually hot all night, and wind up waking up about 150 times per night. So sometimes I have a hard time getting up at 5:45 AM.

My plan for this week is to swim tomorrow (Masters!), Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

I'm a little worried about my right shoulder. Or rather, my right shoulder blade. I have a definite ache there when I swim, and even a bit when I'm not swimming. I want to get in my 4 swims per week, but I don't want to hurt my shoulder. Hopefully it won't end up being a problem.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Natural State: Sloth

This morning I posted on the daily thread of my SparkPeople swimming group that I work really well with a goal, but otherwise I'm a slacker. This is Week 2 of my 4 days a week swimming challenge and I have already identified a pattern. I start out strong and swim on Monday and Tuesday. The plan for the last 2 weeks has been to take Wednesday and Friday off, and swim on Thursday and Saturday.

Only, Thursday morning rolls around and it just feels so good to sleep in. It probably has something to do with the fact that Wednesday nights are our Young Womens activity nights so I end up winding down my evening later than usual.

(Maybe I should change my strategy and swim Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday... I'll think about that.)

Then I have to make sure to swim both Friday and Saturday to meet my goal, and hope nothing gets in the way to distract me, which on Saturdays is always a possibility. I have a feeling, though, that if not for this challenge, I could easily convince myself not to wake up early and only get in 2 or 3 swims per week. Because sleep is nice and, no matter how good those endorphins feel, exercise is hard.

I think I'm going to continually need to set challenges for myself in order to keep my exercising consistent. Maybe this is what has been lacking in the past when I've fallen off the exercise bandwagon. This challenge still has 10 weeks left so I don't have to have any amazing ideas until then, but I'll be thinking about it.

In other news, today I noticed that my right tricep is getting a little bit defined. When I noticed it in the mirror while doing my hair, I thought, "My arms are going to look awesome in 10 weeks!" I'm positive I'm the only one who can see it, but it's great motivation.

Saturday, July 02, 2011


2 mph is roughly my speed in the water. I swam a mile during my workout today to get an idea of my timing when I didn't feel yucky like the last time I swam a mile. It took me 30 minutes exactly and I swam it straight through instead of breaking it up in chunks like last time.

I think I'll time myself swimming a mile every couple of weeks to see if I'm actually improving.

In related news, today was Day 4 of swimming this week, which means Week 1 was a success! I don't know if I'm losing any weight, but I feel stronger and on the days I swim, I have so much energy and an extra bounce in my step.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Not To Be All Judgey McJudgerson, But...

Wednesday night we took the Youth from church (ages 12-17) to a Pawtucket Red Sox game. The Paw Sox are the minor league team to the Boston Red Sox.

A couple of rows down from us was a family that was kind of a study in obesity. There was the maybe 6 year-old boy sucking down a 20 ounce bottle of Mountain Dew. He was still pretty skinny because, you know, he's 6.

Sitting next to him was his I'm guessing 10 year-old brother, eating ballpark food and drinking soda. He was a bit chunky.

Next to him was the approximately 15 year-old oldest brother, also eating crap and drinking a big Pepsi. The oldest brother was carrying a pretty large amount of extra weight.

Anyway, as I looked from the youngest with his Mountain Dew to the oldest, I just thought, Do they not see the connection here?

* Full disclosure: I ate nachos for dinner Wednesday night. And I paid for it. My stomach felt yucky for the rest of the evening.