Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Off the rails


So yeah, less than 30 days since starting South Beach and exercise for my most recent attempt at weight loss, I am basically in non-compliance. I've cut back on carbs considerably from my pre-SB eating but am not really following the program fully and am certainly not eating enough veggies. I only went to the gym twice last week (and both times had scaled-back workouts). With my various social commitments, I've been eating out more than I should and not always making the healthiest choices.

To be fair, I had to scale back my workouts, though I didn't have to cut them down to only two in a week. And we all know how much harder it is to make healthier food choices when eating out nearly every meal. Not impossible, but harder.

I am jumping back on the exercise wagon full-steam tonight. I've got my gym clothes and iPod packed and ready to go. MM is counting on my meeting him at the gym (which is a helpful motivator). I would've gone last night but I had a migraine yesterday.

As for the healthier eating, I do have healthy foods at work for lunch (Lean Cuisine with supplemental veggies) and have some wholesome ready-to-cook meals in the freezer at home for dinner. I didn't bring any between-meal snacks to work, though, so I hope I don't succumb to the candy dish out of hunger this afternoon. (Be strong!)

I'm still optimistic that one (or more) of my friends is going to jump on with me and start doing a challenge. I think that might give me a little added incentive. Not that I can rely on others for my motivation, but a little healthy competition can be a good thing.

On the plus side, the scale hasn't really gone back up too much, despite my lesser efforts the past week or two. I am still 4.4 lbs less than when I started this time on June 1.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another week almost over

It's funny that how often I post on my blog seems to be directly correlated to how well I'm doing with food and exercise. When I was gung-ho the first couple of weeks back on track, I was posting nearly every day. Now that my enthusiasm has waned, I'm lucky to put up a post twice a week. Tsk, tsk.

Aside from not being as diligent with the healthy eating and exercise this past week or so, my other reason for not posting much is that I don't have much to share. I have a lot going on--work is busy, my CASA case has been busy, I've had quite a few social commitments--but nothing that is interesting to write (or read) about. Plus I have been more "nose to the grindstone" at work of late after getting a talking-to about my billable hours last week.

I don't know if others feel this way, but it seems to me that each day once I finish work, go to the gym (or to my piano lesson or to meet friends), eat dinner, spend a little time with my husband, and walk the dogs, there is not time for much else in my day. I guess this is how most people's lives are? I've even brought work home a few nights this week, and it has sucked up the little bit of "free time" I have in the evenings. . . time that I would usually spend unwinding by reading for pleasure.

The above is one reason that I often think that I don't know how I would ever integrate a child into my life. It certainly feels to me that my life is already about as full as it can get! ;-)

A high school friend of mine ("CP") is coming into town today to stay with us for a week or so while she works for a nursing agency here and looks for a more permanent position. It will be good to see her and catch up. Having a house guest adds just one more thing to my "to do" list, too, though.

I plan to get back on track with the healthier eating Monday and will go to the gym at least one day this weekend with MM. (I will try to make healthier choices over the weekend but know that I will be eating out a lot.)

In addition to entertaining CP, plans for the weekend include taking the dogs to Petsmart tomorrow morning for grooming (it'll be Hunter's first time; hope he does OK), dinner with friends C and her husband and baby tomorrow night, and lunch with KC on Sunday. In between, I need to work for 4-5 hours, clean out my car, and clean out/reorganize my closet, which has gotten to a point where I am having a hard time finding things to wear for work.

Fun, fun, fun. . . . .

MM and I discussed last week the fact that we neglected to plan anything for the three-day weekend we have coming up next week for Independence Day. We talked about various options for weekend getaways and ultimately decided that we didn't feel like going out of town. So we have absolutely nothing planned, which is actually sounding pretty good to me at the moment.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Quick check-in


As predicted, I am not nearly as gung ho about healthier eating and exercise, three weeks in, as I was when I started. My eating this past weekend left much to be desired--way to few veggies and even some (gasp!) off-limits carbs, including nacho chips--and I only made it to the gym twice last week. (I've been plagued with migraine headaches again the past few days.)

I plan on going to the gym after work this evening and going to the grocery store after that to pick up some groceries, including fresh veggies. (Part of the problem last week was that I never went to the grocery store and was therefore forced to either eat out or eat convenience foods I had at home.) I am still on reduced-intensity in regard to my exercise, but that doesn't mean I can't exercise at least 3-4 days this week.

I was surprised that the scale gave me the reading it did this morning: Sunday's number was 213.0. We ate out last night for my in-laws' anniversary/Fathers Day and I had a pasta in a cream sauce. Not at all South Beach compliant.

Well, today is a new day. I haven't eaten at all today yet (felt vaguely nauseated so only had a cup of coffee with cream & Splenda) but have my low-carb Lean Cuisine entree and some supplemental frozen veggies for lunch and am planning on a chicken salad for dinner. I'll get back on track.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Plugging along


My weight seems to be hovering around the same 212-213 range this week. Given that I have been reintroducing carbs and have scaled back my workouts, I'll take it. I am well-hydrated and getting plenty of rest, and my energy levels remain high on the South Beach-style eating. (Oh, and I had to laugh at Lisa's comments on the last couple of posts. As far as I know, I am not pregnant. LOL)

I did a 30-minute workout on the elliptical trainer last night, but nothing too intense; I kept my heart rate in the 130s. (Usually I aim for mid-to-high 140s with a jump into the 150s during my "speed bursts.") It felt good to get a little exercise.

One benefit of working out less has been that my right piriformis muscle is no longer bothering me. I had gotten to where it was sore most of the time and worse after sitting all day. I had an intense deep-tissue massage last Wednesday, and the therapist--someone I go to regularly--worked that area for 10-15 minutes. At my request, she used so much pressure that it hurt at times and I was faintly bruised and sore the next day. She definitely worked out the tightness, though, and it has not returned.

I think that scaling back my workouts has helped a lot with my piriforimis tightness, too. As much as I like the idea of working out every day (or at least 5-6 days a week) and as much as that helps speed my weight loss, I think that for now I am going to have to settle for 3-4 days a week. Working out at that frequency these past two weeks, my piriformis tightness and pain have not returned post-massage.

Work has been busy, which is an especially good thing because my supervising attorney had a talk with me yesterday about my billable hours. For those reading who are not lawyers in private practice (count your blessings), my entire day must be broken down into tenth-of-an-hour increments and billed to clients. I have no problem doing the work but am not great about tracking my time. I am sure that I often underestimate the time I spend on tasks, and there are several things I do that I (apparently wrongly) understood I could not bill for. My supervisor's solution is to have the most junior partner in the firm--who is a "great biller" and someone with whom I get along well--monitor my timesheets and activities for a month to see if I can improve on capturing all my time.

I can't really complain, though. I know that there are some firms where your pay can be docked if your billables are not where they should be; some firms will even eventually fire an attorney for billing below requirements. Although I don't like billing, I understand that it is a "necessary evil," and I am actually looking forward to improving on it in a way. I've had lots of Catholic guilt over the past months when my billables have been below my target.

Starting at the end of next week, the two partners for whom I do 85% percent of my work will both be on vacation, one for a week and the other for three weeks (he's going to Maui for 10 days, and I'm so envious!). Not sure if having them gone will result in more or less work for me, though.

I am going to Tucson tomorrow to visit my CASA child M. To make a long story short, M was urgently removed from the home where she had been placed with some potential adoptive parents on Tuesday and is currently in a group home. I had been planning to visit her tomorrow in any case, and now that she has been disrupted, it is especially important that I do so. Though I am NOT looking forward to the 5-hour round trip drive! Ugh.

Other than my trip to Tucson, MM and I have plans to see The Proposal on Sunday morning (his suggestion, believe it or not) and to take his parents out to dinner on Sunday evening. Not only is Sunday Fathers Day, it is also my in-laws' 40th wedding anniversary. Pretty impressive.

In between all my commitments, I am hoping to do some laundry and go to the grocery store and do all the usual stuff I need to do to prepare for the week. I have had a real hankering lately to do some organizing and de-cluttering at home; alas, I have not really had the time. By the time we get home from dinner and the gym each evening, it's usually around 8:00 and I don't have time do much besides take the boys to the park and read for a little while. And this week I have also brought work home a few nights. I've also gone to bed before 10:00 twice this week.

Ooh, forgot to mention that MM and I are having the Merry Maids come tomorrow to do a thorough deep-cleaning of our house. We (well, mostly MM) do a good job of keeping the house fairly clean, but we don't scrub baseboards or wash windows or dust the tops of cabinets and that kind of thing. It'll be nice to come home to a spic and span house! We are also looking into getting monthly maid service. (Monthly may sound odd, but it is a compromise: MM thought we should only get a deep-cleaning twice a year, and I wanted to get bi-weekly maid service.) Hooray!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The scale is a lying jade

213.0 this morning.

Which makes no sense to me, considering that I am eating less than usual and still complying with South Beach. Sure, I have scaled back my workouts. . . but can't figure out why the scale is creeping up.

Water retention maybe? I usually have no problem drinking 2-3 liters a day but lately haven't been drinking as much, between feeling bloated and/or nauseated. Plus plain water just hasn't tasted as good to me the past few days, though it's the same filtered water (at work) that I've always been drinking for the past nearly-two years.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Exercise break


The scale sure is a weird thing. I've been dieting long enough to know not to freak out over one day's reading, but I find it very perplexing that my weight went up 0.2 lbs from yesterday when I ate basically half as much on Monday as I usually do, due to GI upset. Huh.

I've been trying to drink lots of water today because I know yesterday's intake was way below what it should have been. It's hard to drink water when you're really bloated and mildly nauseated, though.

Not too much new to report. I am taking a few days off from exercise and will return to the gym on Thursday evening. Not only do I think it's good for me to take a break once a while, I have another reason for taking it easy that has nothing to do with my weight loss efforts or laziness. (Not one I plan to discuss on this blog, though. ;-P )

Continuing with reintroducing some "good" carbs, I had corn tortillas and pinto beans with lunch today. Plenty of fiber, though I'm not sure if that'll actually be a good thing, given how bloated I was yesterday. Oh well. I had a taste for Mexican food, and there aren't a lot of lower/healthier carb options there.

Piano tonight and then I plan to get caught up on some stuff around the house that has been sadly neglected of late. Hey, if I'm going to take time off from the gym, I should at least use it wisely to do other stuff, right?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday weigh-in


Week 2 of South Beach went well, as evidenced by the weight above. I didn't work out as often or as intensely because my right hip started bothering me again. I still got in three workouts over the course of the week, though.

Eating was easier this past week because the carb cravings were less. Plus I've had very little appetite; not sure what that's about, but I'll take it.

One criticism of my eating over the past few days: I haven't been getting enough veggies in. I will work on that this week. I'll also be reintroducing some "good carbs." Well, truth be told, I allowed myself to have a slice of whole wheat toast on Saturday and some whole wheat crackers last night, so I've actually already started reintroducing some good carbs.

I think a 5.2-lb loss over two weeks is pretty respectable. Just need to keep chipping away at this. . . .

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Post and dash


I'm writing this (short) post on my BlackBerry as I sit in an exam room at the vet waiting for Hunter to have the stitches removed from his right ear. (Hunter is doing very well, btw. All facial paralysis resolved and surgical site healing well. God willing, this poor dog won't have to come to the vet again until next year's annual appointment.)

Just had to share my weight from this morning. I weighed myself three times because I couldn't believe it. Hope it's accurate! But I won't change my ticker 'cause I chose Mondays as my "official" weigh-in day.

Monday, June 08, 2009

This & that


The scale is down 2.6 lbs from last Monday, and I'm quite happy about that! Reading about others' 5+ lb losses makes me a little bummed that I didn't lose more, but really, at this point, any time the scale is moving down, I'm satisfied.

MM and I had a wonderful, relaxing weekend at the resort. We relaxed by the pool and in the "lazy river," did some shopping at a nearby open-air mall (went to Crate & Barrel, among other stores), ate at a couple of fancier-than-usual restaurants, and just hung out.

I did the best I could with eating. I didn't have any carbs, for which I was proud of myself. . . . especially given the fact that Friday night's restaurant served me a HUGE portion of brown rice (which I love) and Saturday night's dinner was at an Italian restaurant with some delicious pasta dishes available and bread. At the same time, I'm sure I ate more fat (and more food in general) and fewer veggies than I should have, and I know I didn't drink enough water. But today is a new day, and I can get right back on track.

I also worked out Friday evening between work and heading to the resort and also at the resort's fitness center on Saturday afternoon, in addition to doing a lot of walking around the resort and around a nearby shopping center. All told, I exercised 5 of my first 7 days back on track; not too shabby.

I made a discovery yesterday when I actually went back and read the South Beach Diet book. (When I re-started, I went by memory and didn't re-read.) I'd forgotten that full-fat dairy products are not allowed on SB. However, I must have half-and-half (and Splenda) in my coffee in the mornings. Having only acquired the habit of drinking coffee after age 33, I'm not a "real" coffee drinker and need something to help the flavor be less bitter. Usually I accomplish this through mocha syrup and the like, so I actually think that cutting back to simply 2 Splenda packets and 2-3 oz of half-and-half is progress.

Oh, and before someone helpfully suggests that I either (a) use non-fat or low-fat milk or fat-free half-and-half, or (b) use sugar free mocha syrup, let me say that I have tried these options and don't like the taste. There is something special and unique about Starbucks's mocha syrup that doesn't taste like anything else I've found, sugar-free or not. Plus with fat-free half-and-half, I can't help but think "what the hell is this made of?!" Both cream and whole milk have fat, so it makes no sense to me.

For now, even though I know it's not allowed, I am going to continue to use my 3 oz of half-and-half in the one cup of coffee I am allowing myself per day. Regular half-and-half is about 40 calories per oz, according to sparkpeople so it's worth it to me.

My right piriformis muscle is acting up again. Starting on Friday morning, I have started to have the same dull ache (and occasional stabbing pain) in the same spot as before. Because I don't foresee too many other realistic options for me for regular exercise besides walking or using the elliptical trainer, I really don't know what to do about this except continuing to stretch well after workouts and continuing to work on strengthening the surrounding muscles. I can't even take NSAIDs to help with the pain and inflammation because my doctor has warned me off them for now (long, unrelated story there).

I've been wanting MM to try a yoga class for a long time, and he has agreed to go to one with me at our gym tomorrow night! Now to see if he will follow through. . . .

Friday, June 05, 2009

All dressed up with somewhere to go


I couldn't believe the number on the scale this morning--in a good way, for a change--and had to weigh myself three times to be sure. Yep, I have gone down two pounds since Monday morning. Hooray!

I stayed on track with my eating yesterday but didn't exercise. For some reason, I just didn't feel physically like doing it. This wasn't my usual lack of motivation thing; it was more my body didn't feel prepared to go out and do 30 minutes of cardio. Part of the issue could have been that I had an hour-long massage from 5 to 6 and was just too loose and relaxed. And I still have a lot of muscle soreness all over from the various exercises I'd done the prior three days, especially in my legs.

In any event, I made a conscious decision to skip last night's workout; I figured I was due, after three straight days at the gym. At about 8:30, I was hit with a wave of exhaustion that kinda came out of nowhere. So I was actually in bed by 9:00, though it took at least another half hour for me to actually fall asleep.

I will hit the gym this evening before MM and I head to the resort for the weekend.

This weekend's eating should be challenging because so far I have been staying on track mostly by preparing the majority of my meals myself, and that will not be an option while staying in a hotel. I am optimistic that I can still make it work, though; so many people do "low carb" eating nowadays that I feel confident in my ability to find foods that are SB-compliant. Though I may have to eat a little more Phase Two at a meal or two than I'd hoped.

I must not have that many readers who are married with children 'cause my last post only garnered one comment. Either that, or the rest of you are keeping mum on the subject.

One little grouse and then I'll close. My office is quite casual, and I almost always wear jeans to work on Fridays (truth be told, I have done it mid-week on occasion, too). The exception to this is when I have a deposition or a court appearance on a Friday. My supervising partner and I have to appear in federal court at 4:00 today (ugh! on a Friday!), so I will have to get all dressed up for work today. Well, who knows, maybe it will lead to increased productivity today. LOL

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Quick query for all who are willing to share

For those of you who have been married and also had children. . . .

Which brought you more happiness overall: being a spouse or parent?

I'm interested in hearing any and all opinions on this topic.

(Is there even anyone who reads this blog who is married with children besides my sister and my friend K?)

Starting SB Day 4


Day 3 of SB Phase One yesterday was fine. Still some carb cravings, but no real hunger, except when 3+ hours had passed since my last meal or snack, which seems totally appropriate to me. I wasn't able to eat entirely as planned, as I learned on returning home from work that our refrigerator was set on too cold a temperature and froze my lettuce for my salad. So no salad for dinner; I ended up eating salmon and a little cheese on their own with half a cucumber instead. Kind of a weird dinner, but it worked.

A quick peek at my sparkpeople nutrition tracker shows that I have consistently eaten between 1400 and 1600 calories a day, even though I am not counting calories (or points). And I am definitely doing low carb: every day the "daily nutrition feedback" report tells me that I have fallen below the goal for carbohydrates. That's just I want at this point.

Exercise was, once again, challenging. For the cardio, I actually did the workout for Day 4 and will do Day 3's workout today. The challenge was now compounded by the fact that I am sore from the prior two days of working out! Tonight's exercise session will be at home: I have a massage from 5 to 6 and just don't see myself driving straight to the gym after that. So I will do my strength training in my living room with the dumbbells I have at home and will do a brisk 30-minute walk with the dogs once the sun goes down for my cardio.

I am pretty proud of myself so far. I know three days in a row of consistency is not much, but it's huge compared to what I'd been doing for a long time prior to this week! Baby steps, right?

Oh, and not to let negativity into my mostly positive post. . . . but can I share that I am sick of preparing my meals? Just tired of it! That fact really highlights for me how often I either eat out or eat convenience foods.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


(forgot to weigh before breakfast)

Not much exciting to report, but I wanted to post anyway for accountability purposes. I survived Day 2 of SB Phase One yesterday and had fewer carb cravings (but still had some). I ate what I'd planned and only what I'd planned, which is a good feeling. I have been tracking my food on sparkpeople.com, too, and it's interesting to read the feedback the site provides once you've tracked your whole day of food.

I also hit the gym last night and did Day 2 of the 2-week Turnaround Mo turned me on to. Once again, the cardio was challenging and the strength training didn't seem hard, but I am feeling it today! I have my gym stuff packed to work out tonight again, too. This time, MM will actually be meeting me at the gym.

My right piriformis muscle (the one that gave me trouble when I did my 30-day exercise challenge earlier this year) has been tight and a little sore, but I am spending 10 minutes stretching well after each workout and getting up to walk around no less than once an hour. Because that muscle is irritated by forward motion and by sitting--two activities that I cannot eliminate entirely--I will just have to live with some discomfort, I think. At least I am not having the stabbing-hot-poker-type pain there that I had back in February, and I haven't had any numbness or tingling in my right thigh as I did before.

I brought my healthy lunch and snacks to work and am planning on another salad for dinner, perhaps with tuna instead of chicken this time; we'll see.

Happy Humpday!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Kickin' my own ass


My first day of South Beach Phase One yesterday was a little challenging. I was hungry at times and craving carbs like nobody's business! But interestingly, as Hilly noted in the comments of yesterday's post, I did feel much peppier. And my concentration was better, too, which is huge for me. Of late, I have so often felt tired and had a hard time focusing.

Today I don't feel as great, but I don't think I can blame it on the diet: I woke up between 5 and 5:30 this morning with a bad headache (maybe the start of a migraine). I took Excedrin, and then went back to sleep for a couple of hours. . . . but now it's 10:45, and I am still sluggish, drowsy (eyelids feel heavy), and have a mild throbbing in my head.

I must give props to Mo for her suggestion in yesterday's comments for the two-week turnaround. I did Day 1 of Week 1 yesterday, and found the cardio quite challenging; I sweated a lot more than I usually do during my workout. The strength training didn't feel all that difficult at the time, but I am mildly sore today, which is a good sign that I actually worked some muscles. I am going to do Day 2 this evening.

Days like today make it really hard to stick to healthier eating and exercise. When I feel sub-par, I get a bad case of the "f$&k its" and don't feel like putting forth the effort. It's all I can do to get out of bed and get to work, let alone put forth any extra effort in any area of my life. Plus there is no enjoyment in doing cardio when I'm sluggish and headache-y.

Oh well. That's life! Every day isn't going to be a bed of roses, right? If I want to do this, I have to find a way to kick my ass into gear, even when I don't want to.

My one small problem yesterday was that I didn't time out my meals and snacks appropriately. This meant that I didn't have an afternoon snack, so I went to the gym hungry and was ravenous by the time I finished my workout. Allowing myself to get over-hungry often leads to overeating or poor food choices (not to mention making me quite irritable). Instead of hitting a drive-through somewhere on my way home--as would be my usual M.O.--I walked over to the Trader Joe's in the same complex as my gym and picked up some low-fat cheese and pistachios to snack on during the drive home. I ended up eating a little more fat than I'd planned, but it was a far cry from my usual eating habits. Dinner was the same healthy chicken salad that I had planned. . . . I just bought it at TJ's rather than preparing it myself when I arrived home, as I'd intended. Whew! Crisis averted.

Today I have all the "provisions" I need to get me through the day, plus an extra snack just in case. I've got my gym bag packed and will go work out after my piano lesson.

Oh, and I forgot to mention: MM had to skip the gym last night (had to arrest someone) and will be going to a different gym location than me tonight. That's right, people: I am working out despite the fact that my husband won't be at the gym with me! Ha! Now there's dedication.

P.S. Anyone have any suggestions for something low-carb to order when eating Italian? I'm usually all over the pasta, but I'd like to finish out two weeks of Phase One without interruption. We have planning for weeks to have dinner at Maggiano's this weekend.

Monday, June 01, 2009

It's on


(photo taken at 0725 this morning)

After seeing numbers on the scale in the range of 220-point-something at the end of last week and mulling it over, I have decided to do something about my weight (for the million-and-first time). To that end, I went to the grocery store yesterday and bought all the food (I think) I need to start the South Beach diet Phase One today.

Yesterday I went to the gym with MM in the morning and did a (slower-than-usual) 30-minute walk on the treadmill in the morning and walked to the park with MM and the doggies in the evening (about 10 minutes round trip). I also had a healthy salad and some soup for dinner. Funny how just one day of eating healthier and getting some exercise affects the scale: I was 219.4 on Saturday morning!

I was surprised to see 217.0 on the scale this morning, but I am glad my weight adjusted itself before I started trying to lose weight again. Although I must say, it would have been very encouraging if the scale had waited a day to go down and I'd seen a 2.4-pound "loss" immediately. LOL

Aside from planning on challenges with my sister and a friend to get/keep me motivated, I haven't put any thought at all into how long I intend to do this. If I go by BMI, I am far above what I should weigh: one calculator I found (and like) online tells me that my current BMI is 36.1, which is in the 87th percentile for my age and height (yikes!). It lists my "people's choice ideal weight" as 160 pounds and notes that the medical recommendation for my weight is 116-150 pounds.

Going by the more generous standard--and really, I don't see any possible way for me to EVER weigh less than 150 pounds--I need to lose 57 pounds. Even if I averaged a pound a week of loss, that would take me over a year to achieve.

So at this point. . . . . baby steps. I am going to do chip away at this slowly. My first goal is to see the scale under 200 pounds. . . . . something that hasn't happened in a while.