A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Weight Loss Wednesday: Dealing with Sabotaging Thoughts

“The scale isn’t moving anyway so what does it matter what I eat for dinner.”

“Darrell misses cheesy food. Why am I trying to force him to eat like I do?”

“I can start over tomorrow.”

Know what these are? These are sabotaging thoughts. Specifically, these are sabotaging thoughts I’ve had over the last 48 hours. I’m not the only one with this kind of internal monologue, I know. Hands raised?

One of my favorite features of the Beck diet book is the way it makes you pro-actively consider those thoughts and how you’ll handle them. Each chapter, each habit change, includes discussion of the kinds of thoughts you might have to throw you off track and ways to counter them.Those countering strategies have some common themes:

– Re-read your why list. Those things are important.

Why
You’re worth it. Don’t let yourself worry too much about how your changes will negatively impact those around you. After all, if those changes are leading to a happier, healthier you, it’s more than worth the temporary inconvenience.

Good choices have value, even when the scale is slow to catch up. Remember that you can control the inputs, not the output and every one of those good inputs is a better choice you’ve made for your body. Each one counts.

– We’re not unique in our sabotaging thoughts, which means we aren’t alone. The number of times I would be reading and realize that the sample “sabotaging thought” was EXACTLY what I’d been thinking is amazing. That doesn’t mean that I’m not a special flower (because of course I’m special, darn it!) but what it does mean that we are never alone in these struggles.

Pro-actively considering how you’re going to handle those thoughts when they arise, whether it’s dealing with a bad weigh in or a slip in your food plan or the donuts that show up at 3 pm, makes it easier to stay on the path you’ve chosen. Thinking through those strategies before you actually encounter them “in the wild” counts as practice, mental practice at least, and we all know that practice makes perfect.

What are your most common sabotaging thoughts? Have you ever actually written them out and thought pro-actively about how you’d counter them?

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Back on Track!

I finally feel like I’m starting to get back on track, after my post-marathon “rest” (that got a little too lazy!) and my poor neck injury. Let’s hope I can keep this momentum! The key, I know, is not to get carried away with myself and push too hard. A slow and steady approach is essential here.

So why am I so excited about how this week went?

    • I ran!! I got clearance from PT to try running again, no more than once or twice and only short bursts. She also said to keep it slow and keep it less than a mile. After three months without running, that was no problem. I was so excited to head out Friday morning for a short little run. I confess part of me wondered if I really wanted to run again – it is HARD after all – but I had so much fun Friday morning I know I won’t be giving up on running any time soon. 🙂

Run!

  • I made the best of a day stuck inside: The PT warned me that I needed to take time off after trying to run, because the inflammation may not show up for a day or two. No running allowed Saturday since I ran Friday. I was also stuck inside due to rain and the fact that Darrell was out of the house to see Beauty & the Beast. Oliver was in his room grounded for the stealing and wall-coloring, so I decided to spend an hour dancing. Double win: Low impact movement AND drowned out the whining a bit. (Don’t worry – Oliver could also hear the music and was dancing in his room.)
  • I walked 6 miles for my Flying Pig training. I’ve gotta say – maintaining a “non-strolling” walking pace (17:30 min/mile) in my hilly neighborhood felt like more of a workout than I’ve had in ages!

Speaking of Flying Pig, I did some checking and they keep the finish line open even after they start closing the course, which is very back of the pack friendly. You also still get the finisher medallion. 🙂 Definitely a bonus for someone who will likely be walking all of the 10K and 5K – and a motivation to have me stick with my training plan so that I can finish those 10 miles. Also a huge shout out to the Flying Pig staff for answering my email question about this so quickly!

I also did great with my strength training and PT this week, including learning to play cribbage with Darrell. My poor finger and thumb were so tired after that! I’m making a more concerted effort to use those fingers rather than work around them, which will hopefully get me back to normal soon.

Self-care was also a win this week. I treated myself to a morning at Beauty and the Beast (with a pot of tea – Alamo Drafthouse for the win at 9:15 am!) and a nice long nap with Oliver.
Naps!

All in all, a good week and I have a feeling this one will be good as well (despite the fact that it started with a 4 am wake up and a vomiting kid!).

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our wrap up! I’m glad to finally have something that looks more like a wrap up of workouts to report!

What’s in your emergency kit for stomach bugs? Darrell went out this AM to restock our Gatorade, Saltine crackers and Purell. 🙂 Growing up, we always had ginger ale (or flat 7-up) and saltine crackers.

PS Made a small change to my Twitter handle (@littlemoreeach) to separate my personal and blog. I am so not adept at social media! Took way too long to make this change! Anyway, if you follow blog stuff on Twitter, be sure to follow @littlemoreeach.

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Re-evaluating my “Why”

Working through the Beck Diet book again, I decided to make a new list of “Reasons to Lose” rather than keep working with my original list. My perspective may be a little different now than it was years ago, before I’d ever successfully lost weight.

2017 List:

1) To protect my health (My heart, my blood pressure, my joints)

2) To take better care of my family (When I eat better, they eat better)

3) To remind myself I’m worth it (It’s okay to invest this effort in myself among all of the other things I do)

4) To fit in my favorite clothes again (I’d finally settled into my lower weight enough to build a wardrobe I was loving!)

5) To stop feeling that nagging sense of failure (about this at least)

While I call this my “Reasons to Lose” here, this list is more about my health and my health habits more than my size (well, except for #4). Getting back to a smaller size would be nice, but the most important thing is to rein in all of those times I’m letting the fact that I’m stressed lead to food choices I’ll regret. Exhibit A) The pancakes I ordered last night because I was stressed about work. It’s wasn’t a rationally chosen indulgence – it was a stress-induced carb fest.
Essential book of life

I’ve written my list in my “book” – I’m in this book every day to keep track of notes and to do lists. This morning, I read my list before I started my day. I’ll read it again in a little while to remind me why I don’t need the pastries I’m going to pass at the coffee shop on the way to my 1 o’clock meeting.

The first time around, I kept my list on my phone so I could always see it and it really helped. I haven’t looked at my original “reasons why” list in a while. First on that list? Diabetes. Yikes. Can’t believe I forgot that when I was listing things for my health! I’m always going to be at high risk for diabetes thanks to my family history and personal history of gestational diabetes. Add my risk of high blood pressure and the lupus (and lupus meds!) on top of that and my poor kidneys would probably appreciate it if I could avoid diabetes.

More energy was on that list – and something I definitely need more of now! There were a couple of clothes related things (it’s self care, right?) and my favorite:

“Be light enough for my husband to carry me like Rhett Butler.”

With Darrell’s back, that’s never going to happen no matter how small I get. Ah well. 🙂

Looking at the two lists, I can’t help but notice that my old list was a lot more optimistic in tone. I’m a little sad that #3 and #5 are on my current list, but I’m being honest with myself. Hopefully when I re-evaluate this list with a few months of healthy habits behind me, that nagging sense of failure will be gone and I’ll have NO DOUBT I’m worth. Because I am.

Do you have a “why” list when you try to change your lifestyle?

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Good news!

This is really about this week rather than last week, but too good not to share: the PT has cleared me to run again! Yay! It has to be small amounts of running – brief running intervals in the midst of walking and not super long distances, but it is a start. She said I have to be concerned not just for pain while I’m running, but also if it happens afterwards as the impact may cause inflammation. I’m totally on board with starting slow – I’m just relieved that I get to try starting again.

Parenting - ugh

This is why I asked the PT about running: after coming home from work Sunday, I found that Oliver had colored on his door. Sigh. In his defense, this is only the second time he’s ever colored on a non-approved surface. In defense of how frustrated this made me, he’s already in trouble for stealing in kindergarten for the second time in two weeks. I know all of this is age appropriate behavior and he’s learning how to be a rational human being. As a (not always rational) human being myself, I am worried I’m a failure as a mom and raising a kid who will grow up to a sociopath. Okay, not really – he’s generally great and I have expectations that are high. I REALLY wanted to go for a run yesterday when I noticed this. A walk helped, but it wasn’t quite the same.
Spring!

On the plus side, walking instead of running off my frustration left me the space to notice spring popping up everywhere around me. I need to do some cleaning out of my flowerbeds and garden this weekend so those tulips and hyacinths have space to grow!

Last week was chaotic at work and with parenting, but wins abound:

  • Healthy eating all week!
  • Did my PT exercises!
  • Got in lots of walking!
  • Cooked dinner!

I am SO excited to be cooking again. I still can’t chop as my fine motor control is hands still stinks, but I can do everything else. It just means I buy pre-chopped veggies for a while. My PT homework for my fine motor control was actually to start playing cribbage. Darrell loves new games, so it looks like we’ll be reintroducing game night to help me get back onto my feet (or hands as it were!).

That’s all I’ve got for today – short and sweet wrap ups when I’m not running much. 😦 This week, I’m planning on very easy reintroduction of jog intervals to two walks. I’m not going to get carried away. Plus, I’ve got to keep up my strength training and of course, learn cribbage. All interesting goals for the week! Recovery can be a strange process, can’t it?

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our link up! I hope you all have gorgeous weather on this first day of spring!

 

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Weight Loss Wednesday (Okay – Thursday): Back Again . . .

Don’t  you love when life gets busy and you forgot to post your blog until the title doesn’t make sense?

When I had my eye on the ball of marathon training, I took my eye OFF of the ball in terms of weight maintenance and have regained – to the tune of weighing 222 pounds at a recent doctor’s appointment. I won’t lie, I did a lot of wallowing in self-disgust when I crossed 200 pounds again after promising myself I would never go back there. You know what that wallowing got me? Another 20 pounds. Sigh. Enough of that. Time to put on my big-girl panties and deal with this. In addition to the weight gain, my blood pressure was 140/93 at my neurosurgery appointment last week. NOT good. I had high blood pressure for several years before I lost weight. I don’t want to go back there.

I never want to worry about this again.

Self-disgust is over. Time to own it (and tell you guys) and move forward. I’ve been tracking in Weight Watchers again and re-reading the Beck Diet, which I found really helpful the first time I did this. I thought it might be good for those of you who’ve never read this book (which I highly recommend!) to go through the exercises in the book week by week for a little while, as I’m working through them myself.
Beck diet

The book embraces cognitive behavioral therapy approaches to dealing with eating habits, rather than any specific diet. It focuses a lot on the mental aspect of weight loss, which was crucial to my success in first losing weight and in keeping it off for so long. I think once I re-lose this time (and I will!), I may need to make a deal with myself to re-read this book once a year to reinforce these habits!

So, week one gets you ready. First, you write down your why. Actually write it down (the Beck approach is big on the act of writing things down so you can re-read them). I did this early on when I first lost weight and looked at the list over and over. I even updated the list when I was in maintenance. I haven’t thought of that list in ages, which might be why I’ve regained. I wrote a new list last week, in the book where I keep all of my other essential lists. We’ll talk more about my new list later, but it’s definitely a powerful exercise if you’ve never actually thought about WHY you want to lose weight.

You also pick a diet. Beck doesn’t recommend any specific diet – just that you choose your diet AND your back up diet, for if the first one “fails” (ie you can’t follow it or don’t like it or whatever). I really like that you have to think of your plan B from the beginning. You learn a lot about what you can and can’t really follow when you actually try to change your eating habits. For now, to get back into the groove of tracking and eating better, I’m starting with Simply Filling from Weight Watchers (more here). If I don’t start to lose on this plan, I’ll go back to traditional WW. I’m just tracking in the app now, but know I should go back to meetings as well. The accountability of the weekly “public” weigh in was very helpful for me in the past and I should probably go again.

A couple of other steps in week one include sitting down to eat and slowing down to notice your food. I really need to work on this because right now, I only manage that at dinner. Breakfast and lunch are always rushed affairs on work days, without necessarily sitting and definitely without any slowing to notice my food.

My favorite step from week one is give yourself credit. It is so easy to get into this loop of focusing on all the things we’ve done wrong without noticing what we do right. Know where that gets you? Nowhere good. Yes, I’m no longer looking like that joyous first half marathon picture I see every time Facebook shows me a “your ad here” preview for the blog’s Facebook page. I did not appreciate that body nearly enough while I had it! I’m still healthier than I used to be and I’m making more and more good choices every day. I need to keep looking for those little “gold star” moments to keep my motivation up.

Hopefully, between working on my mental game, tracking with Weight Watchers again and being honest with you all here (seriously powerful to share with the world at large!), I’ll get back to the point where I’m more comfortable with my clothes and with my body. In the meantime, I’m going to appreciate every good choice I make.

How do you give yourself credit for doing well?

 

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Walkin’ in Memphis

Happy Tuesday! Anyone else really dragging in this first week post-time change? Ugh. I confess – it makes me glad that I’m not actively running and training right now, so I don’t have to drag myself out of bed early in the morning this week. On the drive to school Monday morning, Oliver complained to Darrell that “Mommy woke me up too early. It was still dark outside.” No kidding buddy.

I was in Memphis for work last week, starting early morning Thursday and getting back late Sunday. It was a fairly successful trip all in all. I resisted the conference snacks and my indulgences were well chosen. I confess, those indulgences included alcohol to make the networking easier, but weirdly I feel like the fact there were no French Fries and no pastries at the meeting mean I won.
Indulging

I treated myself to a green Bloody Mary before I headed back home. Counts as a vegetable right? I also got in lots of walking in the last week and feel like I’m making progress toward my goal of walking the 5K and 10K at Flying Pig weekend in May. My plan is to work my weekend long walk up by a mile at a time until I reach 8-9 miles. On the plus side, weeks on call (like this week!) are less of a training disruption while I’m walking instead of running because I can answer the phone while I’m on long walks easier than when I’m on long runs.

In my physical therapy, I’ve worked up to strength training. Woo hoo! My pain is mostly gone and my function is a lot better. I’m still weak, especially for anything that requires more than a few seconds of effort. My thumb and index finger are also still numb, but the neurosurgeon said that would be the last thing to return to normal. I’m just relieved that I’m relatively out of the woods in terms of surgery or more steroids! It is sort of funny to realize how weak I am now. The stretchy arm bands are tough and wall push-ups, which used to be laughably easy for me, are now a serious feat of strength!

Up for this week: 2-3 weekday walks, my PT strength exercises every day and a 4-5 mile walk this weekend. I also want to keep up that healthy-ish momentum I’ve got from making reasonably good choices in Memphis despite the work stress from being on call and the parenting stress of a 5 year old who is pushing his limits.
BoysExhibit A: The need to include (and label) his penis is a drawing in kindergarten for a story he wrote about swimming. Definitely a keeper for the photo box, right?

Good luck adjusting to the time change this week, especially for those of you waking up for early morning workouts!

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our link-up! Hope you lovely ladies had a great time hanging out together this weekend.

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Friday Favorites: Things I’m Loving Today!

It’s been a while since I’ve done Friday Favorites, but today I have some things because a) I love them and b) I’ve really missed blogging and “talking” to you guys over the last few weeks. I’m trying to avoid typing in bed, which has really cut into blogging time.

Loving:

    • My cozy new blue sweater: So comfy and so appreciated to replace my previous faded and too-short version. I kept putting my old one back in the closet because I didn’t like wearing it anymore due to the fading and finally bit the bullet to replace it. Loving this new longer version from Old Navy! Moving to Nebraska has definitely allowed me to indulge my love of sweaters. That was always wasted on life in Louisiana.

Cozy sweaters

    • Using Alexa to stay on task in the morning: We have two of the Amazon Alexa home manager devices. I love that I both use Alexa to listen to music in the morning and set a timer to keep me from taking too long in the bathroom getting ready! It’s a relief not to constantly look at the clock. Even Oliver likes giving Alexa orders (usually involving playing his favorite songs, although he also asks her questions). Creepy to have someone listening to my house all the time? A bit, but also a little Jetson-y.
    • Listening to Happy by Gretchen Rubin: I know this book is several years old, but I’m listening to it for the first time in the car and loving it as an antidote to my previous habit of listening to politics podcasts on my drive to and from work (oy). I definitely recommend it if you haven’t checked it out.
    • Traction to help my ornery neck: I am LOVING laying in traction when I go to PT. I confess, it’s tempting to swap out the inversion table at home for one of these. It pulls gently for 30-45 seconds at a time, release and then pulls again, over and over for 20 minutes or so. It’s amazingly relaxing! It feels very indulgent for “medicine” and results in some wacky selfies. 🙂

Stretch

  • Speaking of indulgences, I am really looking forward to tea at the Peabody tomorrow here in Memphis. I’ve got to do a lot of public speaking tomorrow and interacting, which is going to wear this little introvert OUT. Thankfully, I have the pleasure of tea, with little cakes on a pretty tiered stand, to look forward to once I’m done.

What are you loving today? Anything you’re looking forward to this weekend?

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Meals in a box? Worth a try . . .

One side effect of Mom losing the control of her right hand is that Dad has to step up to the plate to make dinner in my house. As Oliver says, “Daddy is good at peanut butter and jelly and pizza.” True enough, but we definitely don’t want to eat only that for the six weeks I’m going to be recovering. Thankfully, we just had a great experience with Hello Fresh so we have a healthier option to get us through the next few weeks. Note: As usual, this isn’t any kind of paid endorsement – just me telling you about something I liked that I spent my own $$ on.

All of the ingredients come in a box with a huge ice pack, so everything is fresh. The ingredients for each meal (minus any raw meat/fish) are enclosed in a box within the box with the recipe title on it, nutritional information and a card with step by step instructions for each recipe, as well as a list of all of the ingredients in case you mixed things up. Note that there are some things in the box that need refrigeration and some that don’t, so be sure to open the box. The meats are at the very bottom of the big box, beneath a cardboard divider to keep everything separate.
HelloFresh

 

Some of the things we loved about Hello Fresh:

    • Darrell really likes the specific, step by step instructions. They help him streamline things by knowing what order to do things in to optimize your time. It generally takes Darrell hours to cook a meal (for anything other than the grill, I’m not exaggerating here) but he’s been able to get these done in about an hour at most – some have been less. The one that I’ve cooked so far (very little chopping, so I could manage it) took about 30 minutes. Very doable!

Darrell cooking

    • Everything is put together for you, down to the cutest little bottle of soy sauce you’ve ever seen. Note: This might be considered a little wasteful, in terms of excess packaging, but Oliver loves the little bottles so they get reused in his toy kitchen! The box includes the main and dishes, so you don’t have think of what you’ve going to serve with any of it and don’t have to hunt for random ingredients other than olive oil, salt and pepper.

Cute fish bottles

    • So far, they’ve tasted great! Even Oliver has liked them. They’ve also been reasonably healthy. We’ve enjoyed the taste but especially the fact that the things that put these dishes over the top for us are little, anybody-could-do-it things like fresh lemon zest or a quick sauce. It’s definitely got us thinking of food differently and I think will improve our normal home cooking.

Family cooking

    • The portions are reasonably (even generously, as you can see below) sized. We get the four person serving sizes for our two and a half people and have had leftovers for lunch every time. We could probably switch down to a 2 person serving and still have plenty for the three of us.

Hello Fresh

There are, of course, a couple of drawbacks.

  • It’s an automatic renewal process, so if you don’t remember to turn it off, you’ll get boxes of food when you’re not expecting them. I’d forgotten to turn this week off and now Darrell and Oliver have a box of food to cook while I’m away in Memphis. I confess, I’m okay with them having something sort of healthy to cook instead of relying on the usual pizza and PB&J. Now I’ve gone through and turned them all off in the app for the foreseeable future and will only go in to turn one on if I specifically want it.
  • We had one box arrive with a hole in one of the two packages of fish so we couldn’t use it. The parsnips in that box were also disappointingly shriveled. That said, out of three boxes so far, this was an anomaly. Everything else has been very fresh. Also, when I contacted HelloFresh about this box, they gave me a $60 credit with apologies and no questions asked.
  • Cost, of course, is always a concern. This is more than I’d spend on groceries normally ($10/person/meal), but we’re not wasting food and are spending less than we’d spend if we were eating out every night while I’m injured. It would also be worth it in busy months where I don’t have time for normal cooking and meal planning, especially as we’re eating healthier food than if we were eating out. I’d definitely look online for a coupon before you try it out if you’re interested, so you can get it a little cheaper at least the first time.

Ultimately, the biggest advantage for us is the fact that Darrell can cook them and enjoys it. That is a huge win and load off of my shoulders. We’ve also tried a Blue Apron box, which was more exotic in terms of ingredients and combinations. One of the two recipes in our Blue Apron box was a win (blackened chicken over rice with kale and citrus fruits) and one was not (a pasta with a cauliflower/caper/currant sauce that was bland).

I prefer this approach to the EatFitGo option we tried for healthier take out last fall. This is more food and a better price, so I think we’ll keep this in our rotation occasionally both for the sake of convenience and to introduce us to new recipes. After all, one of my goals this year was to cook more.

Have you tried one of the meal-kit-in-a-box options? What did you like about it? Anybody else hear that there is now a Tom Brady version you can try if you want to eat like Tom?

 

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Finding new ways to exercise

Something about this crazy early spring has me feeling very optimistic today! That might also have something to do with the fact that I sweated a bit yesterday for the first time in WAY too long.
IMG_7296
No, I’m not running yet (despite being tempted yesterday) – I’ll wait until I’m cleared by my physical therapist to try that. However, I did make it a point to go for a walk every day last week include 3 miles yesterday where I really tried to push myself to see what my consistent “working” walk pace would be. Right now, I’m at 17:30 in my hilly neighborhood and definitely felt like I could have sped that up a bit. It was fun to sweat again and I definitely noticed that walking muscles are a little different than running muscles.

I think my plan to work on walking a 10K as close to the Flying Pig’s requested 16 minute miles is doable by the first weekend in May based on where I am now. I’m looking into walking-specific workouts to both help my pace pick up and also to keep things interesting. It’s hard to keep my effort up when walking and not let it devolve into a stroll.

I’ve been consistent with my physical therapy exercises to “improve my nerve mobility” every day and using the inversion table most days. The inversion table helps my back more than my neck, just due to the physics of it, but it’s definitely nice to stretch things out that way. As my nerve function returns, I suspect I’ll start doing some strength training with physical therapy. I’m not sure if my strength is getting better or if I’m just compensating for it better, but I’m definitely a lot more functional this week. I can now put on mascara again! (I had to stop for a while because I kept jabbing my eye)

I also actually cooked dinner for my family last night, which was so nice. I missed cooking and I know Darrell appreciated the night off. I made a recipe from our Blue Apron box that I confess I was a little wary of: a blackened chicken with an orange glaze served over rice with kale and citrus fruits. Kale and citrus aren’t things I’d typically combined. Turns out, it was delicious! I’ll have more on meal boxes later this week, as we’ve tried two different kinds of these now.
FullSizeRender(3)
Now that I’ve adjusted my goals for the Flying Pig marathon weekend, I’m working on adjusting my plan to get up to walking 9 miles so that I could potentially do both the 5K and 10K on Saturday. I did 3 miles this weekend and will work up to 9 miles. I have a feeling walking that much is going to feel very different than running that much! If I get to the point where I can run, I’ll start to mix in running with the walking so I can get to that 16 minute mile. I’m glad to have a motivation to get moving again!

All in all, my perspective on this whole nerve issue has shifted for the better. My pain is so much better – and frankly at a level I could live with if this is as good as it gets. I can write. I can type. I could cook! (Still probably no heavy chopping – don’t have that much fine motor control yet or strength) I get to explore a different kind of exercise. Yes, most of us walk every day, but I’ve never walked in a training plan. Even not running the half marathon in May has a silver lining: I get to be a full time marathon cheerleader for Meg, which will be a blast!! All in all, I’m grateful to be where I am.

Anybody else getting a more positive outlook on life now that spring approaches? I love that perk of springtime. 🙂

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our link-up!

 

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