Saturday, December 29, 2012


I've been thinking a lot about my New Years resolutions.  I want to be healthier, but I also have a goal with a defined date to shoot for, which is always more useful for me than just vague notions of "being healthy". I have a swim coming up!

American Airlines oversold our flight for Christmas in Chicago and asked for volunteers to give up their seats.  In exchange they offered a $500 travel voucher, seats on a flight the next morning, meal vouchers and a night at a hotel with cab fare if we weren't local.  As Jason proclaimed as he dashed over to the gate counter, "That's our next trip to St. John!"


So we now have $1,000 in travel vouchers on American, one of the airlines with direct Boston to St. Thomas flights.  And here's where my goals come into play.

See, several months ago I discovered that there's an open-water swim in St. John on Memorial Day weekend to raise money for the National Park.  I thought to myself, "Wouldn't that be cool to do?"  Then I started talking with my swimming buddy about it.  One of the things Jason and I bonded with her and her husband over was our mutual love of St. John.  Turns out they had traveled there a couple of months after Jason and I went in 2011.  Also, both she and her husband swam in high school.

You can see where this is going, right?

Since Jason and I now have unexpected travel money, I mentioned the swim to our friends again as something that might actually happen and they both enthusiastically said they want to go and have been talking about it amongst themselves ever since I told them about it.  So barring some unforeseen problem, the 3 of us are doing the swim in May!  Jason will be our cheerleader/towel holder.

(I spent last night looking at villas for 4 in St. John.  It's amazing what you can rent for a week when you have 4 people to share the expense!)  

The thing is, I have gotten even more soft and squishy and haven't been swimming regularly for a couple of months now.  In the St. John swim, the swimmers can swim 1, 2 or 3 miles.  Of course, I would like to be hardcore and do the 3-mile swim, but I'm not sure if I can.  I'm a sprinter and I'm ok with that.  But I would like to try to get ready for a 3-mile swim.  Which means I need a training plan! 

So here are my official Resolutions.

First, diet:
1) Starting January 1, I am doing Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.  This means I'll be basically eating protein, fat and vegetables.  No fruit and definitely no grains and sugar.  And NO Diet Coke!  I've done this a few times before and it's a good way for me to go cold turkey on the carbs (and caffeine) and lose the cravings.

2) After that, I'll probably add in some fruits and sweet potatoes, and stick to a more Paleo/Primal food plan.

3) I'll see how I feel, but I plan to be strict for 30 days and then possibly give myself a splurge day.  A monthly splurge day has worked well for me in the past.  It's a crutch, I know, but it's easier for me to turn down a treat if I think, "That's ok, on my splurge day I can have something sugary."  In reality, the longer I stay away from sugar and carbs, the less I want on my splurge day anyway.

Second, exercise:
1) Two strength training classes per week, most likely Monday and Friday mornings.

2) At least two 30-60 minute cardio workouts per week.  Obviously I need to swim, but, oh my gosh, it is HARD to convince myself to put on a swimsuit in January in Rhode Island.  Swimming might need to wait a month or so.  I'll elliptical to start.  Right now I'm so out of shape again, that I'll just do a basic elliptical workout, but by the 3rd week, I plan to throw in a HIIT workout at least once a week.

3) Separate from #2, I'll walk home from work when I can.  Sometimes it's too icy on the streets in the winter for this to be feasible, but when I can, I'll shoot for 2 walks home per week.

This is the plan for now.  As I move into February and March, I'll modify as I begin to increase my swimming and work on endurance.

It all starts Tuesday!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Helping Out A Little

I wrote about our experience in Queens on my other blog.


We had the opportunity yesterday to go to Queens and help families clean up after Hurricane Sandy.  Yes, it's been over a month since the hurricane swept through New York City, but there are still people with disaster areas for homes as Winter approaches.  There were lot of groups there helping, which was great to see, but there's a lot to do.

I'm going to write something a little later today about the actual experience, but I'm going to be navel-gazely here and talk about food and me because I need to remember this.

So this past week I've been very mindful about my eating.  I've had a cookie here or there (ONE cookie), but generally I haven't eaten wheat at all (except for the little bit in a cookie) and instead have been eating meat and fat and fruits and vegetables. I made most of my meals this week at home.

Yesterday morning I made us sandwiches to take to New York.  I also bought crackers and Mint Oreos and apples and carrots to take and share with out group.  One of my Young Women from church came with me and Jason so I had to feed her too.  We left the house at 5:30 AM and stopped at McDonald's for breakfast at around 7:30 because highway food offerings are limited.  I had a Sausage biscuit.  Sausage, good.  Biscuit, bad (but so, SO good too, even if it is McDonald's.  I have deep Southern roots and love a buttery biscuit).

Lunch came and I ate my sandwich (on whole wheat bread everyone!  No problem, right?)  I also had a couple of corn chips someone brought and a couple of Mint Oreos.

After we were done, we went to a diner for dinner, and I ate most of a hamburger (with bun), plus a couple of bites of cake (Jason got a meal that included dessert).

We drove home and 4 hours later watched a TV show and I had a couple more Mint Oreos.  Because, Mint Oreos!

I thought, I'm doing manual labor, my body can handle some wheat and other carbs.

Last night, at about 12:30 AM, I almost threw up.  I went to bed with a stomach ache, and at 12:30, woke up wide awake, trying not to lose those Oreos.

This morning I'm trying to keep my head from exploding into a full-on migraine and my stomach isn't so hot.  I'm popping Excedrin and I just ate some eggs in a bunch of butter and I feel a little better.  Aren't you supposed to eat greasy foods for hangovers?  For me, I think I'm being literal when I say I have a carb hangover.

I have a ton of stuff to do today (go to church, teach a lesson, Evensong rehearsal and service) so I just can't be sick.

Can someone please sit on my shoulder and be that little angel who reminds me how I feel when I eat grains all day long?  Geez!  You'd think I would have learned by now.