The Weight of the Matter–Maintenance Mode

“Ladies, once you reach 40, it will take you an HOUR at the gym EVERY DAY JUST to maintain your weight!!” 

These are words I’ve recently heard on a radio infomercial trying to sell a revolutionary new weight-loss smoothie. To help avoid going to the gym EVERY DAY.  (can you imagine?!?)

No, I’m not letting my fingers do the walking to my phone or laptop to order said-weight-loss-smoothie.  However,  I have definitely noticed over the last 6 or so months, that I am CLEARLY in maintenance mode.  (must be that hour a day of running around!)

Over the last year, I have made a point to eat less, eat better, and exercise more.  I’m not a health nut. I have not gone organic. I am not a gym rat (and never will be).  But there was a good 4 month period where I would go to the gym 3x week–on Wednesday’s I would attend my fave Pilates class, and the other 2 days I did 20-30 minutes of Cardio (yes, I even JOGGED!!!) and 20-30 minutes of “machines.”

But there was no weight loss. None.  The scale bounces between 138-142….averaging at 140. 

Actually, the only time I lost any weight this winter—and it was about 3-4 pounds–was when I had a week-long bug. No appetite. At the time I was recording my eating/exercise habits in my iPhone app “My Net Diary.” When sick, I was only eating 900-1100 calories per day.  I normally eat between 1400-1600 calories per day. (with the occasional 2000/day splurge). I’m not willing to eat 1000 calories per day to lose weight.

Where does this leave me?  At 140 pounds. And I’m perfectly OK with that.   I’ve decided that I like my body. I think the time at the gym actually “toned” me a little…..not a lot, but a little.  I have a fairly flat stomach (twin-skin minimal ;>)), with decent abs.  Depending on the clothes I wear, my waist is a nice asset.  And I still have my long legs. Not bad for a mom of 3 boys (one twin pregnancy) who just celebrated her 40th Birthday. 

I will continue on the course I am on.  Eat small and well, and exercise here and there.  And be happy!  :>)

Maintenance Mode.

 

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Preservatives

It’s one of those “weighty” issues I’m going to blog about again. 

I thought I wrote about my preservative-theory previously, but I did a search through my posts and came out empty handed. It must have been a chat I had with my BFF.

What I have written about previously is my “battle” with the pounds creeping back.  In 2006 I weighed about 150-ish. We moved to England, and without any extra exercise, I lost over 15 pounds. And that baffled me, because there was no dieting or extra-exercise involved.  Although the exact number was never fully confirmed (due to my old scale, and then I used a kilo scale and did the conversion), at my lowest, I think I was about 132 lbs.  And I *LOVED* the way I looked and felt.

Upon returning to the US in 2008, my weight has slowly been increasing. I will post that I am bouncing between 140-145. Again, I will write–I am not Fat or Overweight (but as a woman, I have an obligatory right to bitch about my weight). I simply would like my body weight to be 137. I would be ecstatic if I could go down and maintain that. But it scares me that I have significantly reduced my calorie intake andsignificantly  increased my activity (in the form of walks, jogs (!), and going to the gym) and those F’n pounds are NOT melting away. And in some cases, they are being added! We don’t eat out much (maybe once a week)–I make “healthy”  choices at restaurants and eat only until I’m full, instead of cleaning off my plate, keeping in mind that portions in America are huge in comparison to England (this was a previous blog). My honey keeps telling me it’s an age thing….approaching 40 and all. To some degree, yes, I’ll go with that.

But I have another theory that I’ve bounced off my BFF a few times……Preservatives.

For example, In the UK, there are very few preservatives in food.  Here, I can buy a loaf of bread and it stays “fresh” (using that term loosely) for over a week. A loaf of bread in England would go green in 3 days if not eaten. I don’t have any other examples to offer, but considering the size of the refrigerators and lack of storage space, food bought in England (and Europe) needs to be eaten fast.

And then, I see a picture of this:

THE HAPPY MEAL THAT WOULDN”T TURN GREEN.

How many preservatives are in that sucker?

And if you are eating it, what does that say about the food and preservatives and who-knows-what-else that stays inside you?

And I’m not just talking Happy Meals (or other McD’s fare) or other fast-food place….I’m talking about just about any other food we buy and input……

Maybe that’s why the pudgy won’t go away. I don’t think the body is able to process all the preservatives we, as Americans, are stuffing ourselves with. Not that I eat McD’s. As a matter of fact, I can’t recall the last time I ate something from there.

I suppose the only way to test my theory is that I go on an all-natural, organic diet. But I’m not comfortable going to that extreme. So, instead, I will continue to eat less, shop smart, eat smart, continue on my Pilates, walks, jogs, and use of the gym…and see what goes.

Just food for thought.

Member of the D.A. Club

Don’t they say that to come to terms that you have a problem, you have to admit publicly that you have a problem? (or something like that)

I am a charter member (and founder?) of the Dehydrated-Anonymous club. I’ve been a member for years. Only my husband knows about this problem. Now you all know.

I am constantly dehydrated. And it causes me problems: Frequent headaches, colds, and the worst offender—bedrest while pregnant with the twins. (I’m sure there’s a few more I could list, but they are probably TMI)

Now, you just read my list and thinking–dehydration isn’t necessarily the cause of those problems. You’re probably thinking, “Don’t most twin-pregnancies end up on bedrest?” and “Colds are spread by viruses.”

Well, yes, you are correct. But for me, at 24 weeks of twin pregnancy, I was running around doing errands and unpacking a house after our move back to the Boston-area, trying to settle in. I wasn’t drinking the requisite bottles of water.  I’m just not a fan of drinking (ha!). I usually have a cup of coffee in the morning, something at lunch, and then at dinner. I’ll take a sip of something throughout the day if I’m thirsty. That’s a far cry from the 8+ glasses of water one is SUPPOSED to drink while pregnant.  Once I was home from the hospital, all propped on the couch, Hubby made sure I was CONSTANTLY chugging the H2O. (I did much better during Little Guy’s Tummy Tenure)

I also know when I’m dehydrated when I get headaches. Once I drink 20 oz of water, headaches go away.  I got this tip from Hubby several years ago. Amazing. I would never have put the two together.

And yes, I know colds are spread by viruses. Having 3 school-age children, many of those little buggers come home. But I have come to realize that when I’m dehydrated I get sore throats, and because it’s dry in there, I end up getting sick.  When I’m being a good girl, and drinking plenty of fluids, I end up being healthy as a horse.  This past week was a close one. For whatever reason, I haven’t been drinking much water. As a result, last Sunday I was feeling run down and felt “under attack.” I rested and drank LOTS OF WATER.  Monday I was fine. Crisis averted. Same thing happened yesterday (Saturday). Today I am fine.

You’re now asking, “Why don’t you just drink more water?”

I wish I knew.  I’ve gotten much better with age. I also tend to do better when I have a Poland Spring water bottle I can easily refill and tote around with me. But then, sometimes, I fill the bottle, leave it next to my car keys, and FORGET to take it with me. But when I do remember to take it in the car to run errands, I am very good at drinking while driving around. Then, I just have to remember to take the bottle out of the car to refill!!

Oh well. Maybe by blogging about this, my friends can help me fight this battle.  Make sure I have my water bottle with me.

Eating Out (wisely)

I love food. Period.

And I thought I loved eating out.

But recently (over the past year?), I’ve struggled with eating out. Nothing interests me. I feel like I eat the same-old-same-old when I eat out. Or I don’t want a HUGE meal to make me feel guilty and bloated.

The past couple of weeks (since all the kids went back to school) I’ve had an opportunity to splurge and treat myself to lunch out while doing errands. Something “nicer” than left-overs or Lean Cuisine. But when it came down to choosing WHERE TO GO or WHAT TO EAT….I was stumped. 

Chain Restaurants? (i.e 99, Applebees, Chili’s) Food Not that Exciting and HUGE PORTIONS WITH TONS OF CALORIES.

Mom & Pop Sub/Pizza Shops?  Eh.  I’m getting tired of my “traditional” favorites….steak & cheese sub, chicken parm, Italian or American.  Plus, I really don’t want a WHOLE sub….a half would really suffice.

Yesterday, after a doctor appointment, all I wanted was a nice small healthy sandwich (or 1/2 sandwich) with maybe a side salad in a nice cozy cafe. But I was too hungry to drive far and up where I was, such a novelty did not exist.  I ended up at an Italian restaurant and ordered an Eggplant Parm sub.  The pasta dishes seemed unimaginative—and truthfully, I don’t want a HUGE plate of pasta for lunch. Nor do I want to pay $10 for pasta that probably cost less than $1 a box.  Salads—I’m not the biggest salad fan….it has to be “creative” for me to crave it…and this place didn’t go past the boring Caesar Salad.  Burgers? eh.  So I ended up with the Eggplant Parm Sandwich because no one else in my fam likes eggplant—hence, I treat for me. 

And it ended up being slightly above mediocre.  Sigh.

So on the way home, I called Hubby who was at the airport about to fly  home. I asked him “Is it me? Why does eating out not appeal to me anymore? Have my taste buds changed?” He concluded that yes, they have evolved…..matured. 

He used this as an example:  once upon a time, I went ga-ga over Giovanni’s steak tips. It was such a treat to go back to my home town and pick up a steak tip dinner. Well, the last 2 times, the steak tips were just OK.  Hubby attributes that to the fact that over the last 2 years, I have bought all our grilling steak-tips from a butcher, and with the great butcher-shop quality, anything else tastes sub-par.

We also talked about how, once you reach 40 (or near 40), your metabolism slows down and the more you eat, the more stays on you. Or the more you have to go to the gym/workout/exercise. I have DEFINITELY noticed this over the past year. Which is why these LARGE AMERICAN PORTIONS make it hard for me to like eating out anymore (well, for lunch anyway).

I began to think…..wouldn’t it be nice if restaurant’s offered a “Woman’s size portion”? Somewhere in between a Kids Meal (although some of those seem LARGE) and a Regular Portion. Or maybe a Kids Meal sized-portion, but with “grown-up” food? Maybe a 1/2 a sub or sandwich, instead of a whole.  Salad instead of fries as a side. Things like that…..

I brought this idea up with a friend this morning, and they said “Well, The Cheesecake Factory offers lunch portions.” Yeah, they do….but even those are pretty big.  And the 99 offers “real size portions” for $10….and I’ve had a couple of  those….they are actually a good size.

And then…..while at Panera Bread today……I noticed that Panera now lists the calorie content next to the price of their menu options….on EVERYTHING!! I was going to order a Caramel Latte…..until I noticed it had 420 calories. Instead, I chose a regular Latte with 120 calories. And Panera does offer 1/2 sandwich and/or a salad on the side as an option.  Hmmmm….Panera just might become my new best friend……

It all boils down to making smart decisions. Clearly, eating at home you have more control of what and how much you eat.  But it’s good to see that some restaurants are working at helping us out (or at least those of us who want some help!)

Getting PRO-Active

Yes, another installment of the “trying to get in shape” saga…..(it has been a while since I posted on this topic)

Last time, I shared with you how I began using an iPhone App Calorie-Counter.  Based on the data I was entering, I was eating on average 1600 calories per day, and with my “exercise” I should have been losing 1.2 pounds per week, thus reaching my goal of 5-6 pounds in about a months time.  I used this app for 2 months, and didn’t lose a lick. So I stopped using it. I feel fairly confident that my calorie intake is not the issue, it’s my lack of (serious) activity.

I tried to add more activity into my life–taking Miss Lily for 2 mile walks a couple of times a week. But in reality, the life of the VP, those opportunities are few and far between–especially with school getting out, being more of a taxi service with all these summer camps, having kids around—unless I want to exercise/walk/gym at 5am or 8pm. Neither of those times are very appealing to me at all.

What’s going on now? you ask.

The past 2 summers, I have been brave enough to wear a bikini in the summer–especially on our boat (I figure if I’m not brave enough to wear a 2-piece on my own boat, when/where would I wear a 2-piece?). I thought I looked OK–not great–but definitely acceptable.

But then, a photo was taken of me in my 2-piece. In 2 or 3 different angles. And I didn’t like the way I looked. I NEED to tone-up. Seriously.

I talked to hubby about getting more gym time before our upcoming trip to Hawaii, especially since he’s been going to the gym 2-3 times a week (for months) to “buff-up” for Hawaii. He goes straight after work. His response (more than once) was “You can go anytime you want.” OHHHHH….I cannot tell you how much this IRKED me. Finally I asked him “When, exactly, is ‘anytime’?” Clearly he doesn’t understand or appreciate the VP’s summer schedule. It didn’t seem like he was going to offer any flexibility to me, and that the onus would be on me to find a solution to this problem.

I came up with a plan. I would ask our neighbor’s son if he could come over 2-3 times a week to watch the boys. I would use that time to walk Lily, go on a long bike ride, and perhaps a trip or two to the gym.  Good plan in theory, but his availability is sketchy. This week is a week that works well for both of us. But I figured that the walks and bike rides wouldn’t give me the results I yearn for.

So, since time is of the essence, I decided I would use a personal trainer at our gym. The gym has several “trainer packages” available, and after long consideration of my issues, my persona (i.e. motivation), and my time issues, I would purchase a 4 1-hr trainer package. I would use 2 before Hawaii, and then 2 after the kids go back to school, so the “training” would be fresh in my mind and I would have more time to take care of me.

Yesterday I met with Joe the Trainer, who interviewed, assessed, and evaluated me for 45 minutes. The interview took 15 minutes. I explained that I’m not really looking to lose weight. I’m OK with where I am–not too bad for an almost-40, 5’8″, size 8.  I explained that I lost 15 pounds of “baby-weight” while living in England, loved the way I looked and felt, but those nasty “lost” pounds are s..l…o…w…l..y finding their way back to me. I will admit that I have probably gained almost 1/2 back, but I’m still ok with the way I look. I’m not looking to shrink to a size 6 or 4. I never call myself “fat” (how could I? I’m a size 8). But I need to TONE. FIRM THINGS UP. The bathing suit pictures were borderline “not-pretty.”

Joe the Trainer seemed to understand my “needs” and we moved onto a 1/2 hour of balance/strength/endurance evaluation. I’ll tell you…..that 1/2 hour kicked my butt. Seriously.  I didn’t feel it right away, but the rest of the day I had “wobbly legs” and my muscles definitely felt like they had been used for the first time in MONTHS. 

Due to Joe’s schedule, my schedule, and my sitter’s schedule, I had to schedule my next 2 “pre-Hawaii” training sessions back-to-back.  Hubby laughed when I told him, because he heard my moaning and groaning after a 1/2 hour ‘work-out.’ How would I handle 2 days of 1-hr training/exercising, if 1/2 hour kicked my butt? Good Question. Hubby seems to forget that I have a fairly high pain tolerance and that I am resilient.

The good-thing about yesterday’s experience, is that Joe the Trainer showed me a bunch of exercises I could do at home on my own time. During our next session, he will incorporate free weights and exercise balls—things I could get for the home. He said he doesn’t use exercise machines (which is good, because I’m very intimidated by them).

I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this will be a turning point in keeping active and taking care of myself.

How many steps does it take….

to find the center of a tootsie pop? No…that is not what this post is about.

Hubby came home the other day with a pedometer attached to his belt. His company is taking part in the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC)….”The World’s Most Exciting Corporate Health Initiative.” It’s purpose is to increase fitness, promote teamwork, foster a competitive spirit, and supports you to be active, healthy and more productive.  Hubby’s group is a “team” and starting May 20th each person has to enter into a database how much they’ve walked (according to the pedometer). The World Health Organization recommends individuals take 10,000 steps daily to improve health and reduce the risk of disease.

(all the above information was taken from the booklet Hubby recieved for the Global Corporate Challenge)

I have to admit that I chuckled at Hubby when he told me about the GCC. Over the last couple of years, it is pretty obvious that he has a DESK JOB, and only gets up and walks around to get a cup of coffee or move to a conference room. I said “I have trouble believing that you could do 10,000 steps in one day.”

Luckily, Hubby came home with a 2nd pedometer. I asked if I could have it.  Just to see how I measure up (especially after the blog post where I listed my daily activities).

Three out of four days (so far) I have measured approximately 12,000 steps. The odd third day I had only 8000–I spent more time in my car that day than “doing” any walking.   All three of my 12K days includes my 20 minute dog walk (which I have to say includes lots of sniff-stops).  And each of those four days, I was at or near the 1/2 way mark of between 4000-5000 steps by 10am.  (I’ve always said I’m a morning person, and that’s when I get most of my chores/errands done. My energy level drops significantly at 2pm)

Hubby on the other hand has only logged 8000 steps as his high so far.

Just another example of why I’m “stagnant” in the weight-loss department–I “exercise” just enough on a daily basis. Could you imagine how effective going to the gym would be for me?

Stagnant…but at least I know why

Being a “normal” woman, it’s that time to post about weight/weight-loss….that disgusting topic that is on every woman’s mind. For those who know me, stop rolling your eyes. For those that don’t….I admit….I am tall and “lean.” I have an OK shape (however, I am NOT IN SHAPE). I have also discovered that I am pretty much a perfect size 8. Therefore, I probably have no right to complain. HOWEVER, being an (almost) middle-age mother of 3 boys (one which was a TWIN pregnancy), having lost a significant amount of weight in England….and loving the looks of my body back then….only to have “found” some of those pounds again, and lastly, Summer is approaching (and a trip to Hawaii)….I WILL write about my weight/body/etc.  Because, readers, as many of us know, it’s a lifelong struggle.

A month ago, the family took a trip to Richardson’s in Middleton to hit some balls at the driving range (“practice” before Hubby’s big Bday trip). Well, it was near lunch time, and the boys had a big and late snack, so they weren’t hungry for a real lunch. And there’s NO WAY we would make a trip to Richardson’s without having some ice cream (and did I mention the weather was GORGEOUS?).  So we had ice cream for lunch. More specifically, the VP had a strawberry sundae for lunch. (I made the decision not to eat anything else until dinner)

On the way home, hubby and I were joking around about our “lunch.” Hubby asked out loud, how many calories would a strawberry sundae have? I took out my nifty little Iphone, looked up “an app for that” and have been counting calories ever since.

 It’s called “MyNetDiary.”

What does it do? It allows me to enter in what I eat for my 3 meals and snacks. It has a pretty impressive and extensive database.  It has “the numbers” for restaurant specific items (ex. Taco Bell al fresco steak taco, Dunkin Donuts coffee), grocery items (ex. Eggo Waffle…as well as Brit grocery stores—Tesco & Sainsbury items). The one “deficiency” I have found in the database is for “homemade” items. For example, when I made a chicken quesadilla or spag&meatballs at home, my only choices were from restaurants, and I’m sure the calorie/nutrition numbers are way off. There is a feature where you can enter your own recipes—individually list the ingredients, and then it calculates the calorie/fat/nutrition numbers–which is what I did for my quesadillas.

The program also lets you add your daily activities, and calulates it into your weight-loss goal. For example, a 15 min dog walk (something I do every day) burns 58 calories, a 1-hr Pilates class burns 324 calories. Vacumming and shopping are also  listed!

So how has this helped? After entering my age, weight, height, gender, and my goal of losing 5 pounds, it tells me how many calories I need per day. Based on the “target calories” I should be losing 2 lbs per week for the next month (clearly that’s more than 5 pounds).  At the end of each day, it gives an analysis of the days meals/activity/progress towards weight-loss goals.

It’s been very interesting to see my daily calorie intake. I can’t say that I’ve been “dieting.” I’ve been eating the same foods, sometimes a little less (back to that portion control). By journaling it, I’ve been very good about that. But with my “normal” daily activity level…..and my slightly lower calorie intake…I’m stagnant. Nothing lost, and nothing gained. Somehow I need to incorporate MORE ACTIVITY into my life. (Collective DERRRRRR)

Maybe for my birthday I’ll buy myself a 6-pack of personal training at the gym. That’ll motivate me.