A Little Less Of Me

My quest to become thinner and healthier

Learning to Savor 19 August 2011

Filed under: Musings — lennonzgal @ 17:42
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I’ve been meaning to write this post for a couple of weeks now, and just haven’t gotten around to it – its been just a hair busy.  My plan now is to write it peacemeal as I have a minute or two and hope that the thing is coherent when I hit the Publish button.  Good luck to me.

Ages ago, you’ll remember that I read a book called Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving–and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity, and that I was pretty obsessed (still am, by the way) with it.  It got me on a health book kick, so Will picked up a book called Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh for me.  I should mention here that Will and I have a sort of odd view of religion – I was raised Catholic, and still very much consider myself to be so, but I also try to follow and practice some general Buddhist principles as well, because I find them to be a great compliment to my own Christian beliefs. 

I will say that I don’t think that Savor is going to cause any sort of major weight loss; the concepts were great – be mindful of everything you eat.  Understand WHY you’re eating when you do.  When you eat, be mindful of each bite, and be grateful to all of the love and work that was put in to the meal that you’re consuming.  In this way, as you’re mindful of eating, you’ll be more focused on your body’s own signals.  Oftentimes, we lose focus on the little things because we have a million big things going on.  I know that for me, I eat both breakfast and lunch at work, and I don’t eat either one away from my desk.  In order to get in a 10-hour day, I eat while working to avoid having to take a lunch break.  I definitely don’t focus on what I’m eating – I tend to shovel in whatever is at my desk in an effort to get  back to whatever fire I was putting out.  Ahh, the glamorous life of a software engineer, right?  Even beyond that though, I don’t really have a minute to be mindful about dinner either – my dinner is generally spent fighting with Liam to get him to eat his dinner.  I refuse to constantly serve him chicken nuggets and fries for dinner, so he’s learning to eat what we eat.  If its not something exciting to him (chicken nuggets, fries, mac & cheese … you know, the “good” stuff), he takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R eating it – so much so that we set the timer on the microwave for an hour and have to spend that hour harassing him to eat.  Thankfully, he’s easy in every other aspect of life, so we can survive this one bit of frustration.

Each day, I’m trying to be mindful of at least one meal, and it does help.  I now taste the cherries when I’m eating them, and I’m getting that much more enjoyment out of having them.  It is not, however, going to cause me to suddenly drop 15 pounds.  I guess I knew that going in, though.

The book itself was pretty heavy – I had to space it out quite a bit to be able to really get everything out of it.  There are a lot of Buddhist concepts discussed in the book, so if you’re totally against learning anything about another religion then this is not the book for you, though I’d venture to say that maybe you might want to try branching out – understanding another culture isn’t going to suddenly negate your own.  There was a lot on light meditation in there, and there were some in-breath/out-breath exercises that I took the time to write on notecards to keep at work.  Anything to help me avoid screaming at a co-worker is okay by me.

Mostly, it just gave me a new perspective on eating.  It was a nice reminder that we are all one – that those cherries I’m eating are as much a part of the universe as I am.  It made me once again grateful for the work that a farmer does to pick the fruit that I eat; it made me appreciate the sacrifice that an animal made so that I could serve meat at my table; it made me realize that everything is connected, and that enjoying the food, really savoring every moment of a meal will connect me to everything else.

The only real complaint I had about the book was that I felt like it pushed vegetarianism.  It was rather obvious that Thich Nhat Hanh was not writing the book for Buddhists; had he been, there would not have been so many chapters explaining mindfulness and other Buddhist concepts.  Instead, he was trying to explain some general mindfulness principles to a non-Buddhist crowd.  Now, I do believe that any book – secular or not – written by a religious leader will have some sort of sales pitch involved with it.  I’m not dumb.  That said, I think he could have probably said his piece once and let it go.  That one fault wasn’t enough to convince me to drop the book though, I really thought it was well done and was able to just sort of say, “Well, I’m not a vegetarian,” and let it be.

All in all, great book that I’d recommend to some of my more open-minded friends – if you’re of the bible-thumping ilk, this book isn’t for you.  Also, you’re probably not reading anymore, because you’ve decided I’m going to hell. 

Now I’ve started reading Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen (if you follow that link, it labels the book as “vintage” – its totally not – that’s the publisher … just makes the book sound like its from 1892 … it was written really recently).  I’m only 4 chapters in and I’m TOTALLY hooked.  I can’t wait to write about it – I’m hoping to get through it, or at least most of the way through it, while on vacation next week.

 

8/16 Workout: Speed Run 16 August 2011

Filed under: Feel the Burn — lennonzgal @ 11:08
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Another 4am morning run, only this one was decent.  The weather was cool with a little breeze, so the humidity (which was thick) didn’t bother me nearly as much as it does on warmer runs.  I think the temperature was somewhere around 68, which is wonderful – perfect for a sleeveless shirt and capris.

I did about 4.3 miles this morning in just under an hour, which was great.  I don’t know if it was the breeze adding to the sensation, but I definitely felt like the sprint portion of my intervals really had me plowing through the neighborhood.  Overall, I was pleased with the run, and I think part of it had to do with the  fact that I had a break this weekend.

As frustrated as I was (and still am) that I didn’t get my 12 miles in on the weekend, I think that sometimes its a welcome break for the legs to take some time off.  Now, that’s not to say that a quick 7-miler wouldn’t have still been good for me (I seem to do fine with my weekly runs as long as the long run is around 8 miles or less), but it is what it is.  In the end, I’m a little glad that I had the break – it made me a little bit more confident this morning as I hammered around the neighborhood, and I’m hoping that the same thing happens on Thursday too … though hopefully in the evening this time – I don’t know that I can drag myself out of bed that early twice!!

 

My FiveFingers – On My Feet 14 August 2011

Filed under: Feel the Burn — lennonzgal @ 15:53

Around this time last year, we were at a wedding shower for my cousin Philip and his lovely bride-to-be, Lisa.  Philip has always been an impressive kid – on the crew team for Yale, met his now-wife on a local adult swim team (I believe), and is all-around the kind of athletic person I’d love to be.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the kid looking anything but amazingly muscular.  He’s also been a sort of attention-getter.  I remember being younger, and seeing him in these pale yellow plaid shorts in the summertime.  If I recall, he’d gotten them from a consignment shop and wore them CONSTANTLY that summer.  We all made fun, but secretly, I loved the fact that he was being his own person and rocking those shorts.  As I got older, I started doing the same thing – my taste is a little odd, to say the least.  I often get teased by family and friends on my clothing choices (like the hot pink UGGs I selected last year to wear with an otherwise all-black outfit), but I know that I look good, and I like the little bit of attention it gets me.  Plus, I like being my own person and not blending in.

Anyway, back to the shower.  Philip comes in wearing these weird-ass sneakers.  Remember toe-socks?  Yeah, think about those, but with soles.  I found out that they’re called FiveFingers, and I have to say that they were pretty fun looking.  I considered getting a pair, but wasn’t sure if I’d like them or not.  Then I started reading all about bare foot running and the benefits that it can have for a person … I was becoming more and more convinced that I might like to try it at some point, maybe after my two half-marathons this year.  And so, I started checking out the FiveFingers website, reading about the shoes, the benefits, and the wearers.  Last week, I ran out and got myself a pair, and cracked up when I saw the instructions in the box.  You’ve got to love a pair of shoes that comes with instructions: don’t wear them for long periods right away; start out by running doing only 10% of your normal distance, and increase SLOWLY; don’t put them on like a regular shoe; the list went on and on.

I wore them all day on Friday and LOVED them, and then I saw this article on CNN talking about breaking them in (the shoes in the image are the ones I got, as it happens).  Apparently, they’re quite the hit with gym junkies as well, so don’t be surprised if you see them on your next trip there.  They’re fun, they’re attention-grabbing, and they’re beneficial – if you use them correctly.  I’m already planning on getting a cuter pair for our trip to Disney World next year, and I can’t wait to give them a try running, but I think I’ll wait til after the half – I’m not limping across the finish line this time!

 

Stupid Rain.

Filed under: Feel the Burn — lennonzgal @ 15:37

I honestly meant to get out this morning for a 12-miler.  I accidentally scheduled a hair appointment for 11am yesterday, which meant that there was really no time for a long run.  I considered just running 7 miles and letting this week be a recovery week, but I really wanted to get that 12 in, so I rescheduled my run for this morning instead.  I really need to pay more attention to the weather when I do that.

I got up around 6:30am, got dressed, brushed my teeth, came downstairs and was relieved to see that there was no rain.  I grabbed my normal pre-run breakfast (PB on toast) and let it digest for about 30 minutes while I started filling my fuel belt with alternating bottles of gatorade and water.  I turned around to get my shoes on and looked outside: pouring rain.  Damn.  I put the bottles back in the fridge, kicked off my shoes, and figured I’d check the weather.  According to the big fat liars at Weather.com, the skies should have been clear from about 8am-10am, not exactly long-run timing for me, but enough to get 7-9 miles in, possibly more if I didn’t care about running in the rain for the last few miles (and for 3-4 miles, no – I don’t mind).  I ran upstairs since I heard that Liam was awake and had some snuggle time while we waited for the rain to stop.

Brought the kid downstairs, saw no rain once again.  Threw on my kicks, and it started pouring.  Ok, at least I know the trigger.  Looked for a “RAIN” button in my shoes that I didn’t know existed, couldn’t find it, and cursed at the makers of said “RAIN” button and their expertise in hiding said button.  Took the shoes off and waited once again for the weather to subside.

Rinse, repeat about 4 times before I gave in and showered.  I’ll add some mileage to both of my evening runs this week, and hopefully get in a 12 miler sometime next weekend.  I’m hoping the people at Weather.com are lying again, because it looks like rain all of that weekend, too.

 

Bloggy Weightlessness 12 August 2011

Filed under: Daily Weight Log — lennonzgal @ 10:43

I haven’t blogged my weight in a while, and I’m certianly not going to do so today.  I will say this: its not going well, and that’s REALLY getting to me.  I am VERY VERY VERY close to the weight I was when I first started this blog, and that is so incredibly discouraging.

Honestly, I don’t think that I’m eating any differently than I was just 6 months ago when I was significantly lighter and comfortable blogging my weight.  Obviously, though, something has changed. 

My 30 day challenge over on Alainn Go Deo (someday, I’m going to figure out how to add in the little slashy things above the a’s) is coming to a close, and I think that in its place I’m going to work out some sort of weight loss challenge.  I’m going to log every damn thing that I eat.  Everything.  Spoonful of peanut butter?  Write it.  Handful of raisins?  Jot it down.  That last half of a chicken nugget that Liam didn’t want?  Log that bad boy.

I honestly think that there have been a lot of factors that have kept me from losing weight or even from keeping my weight down over the past couple of months.  Being away for weekends here and there, ridiculous stress at work, that sort of thing.  And I’m sure that if I look closely, I’ll find that I have in fact NOT been eating the same as I had been 6 months ago.  I just need to write to figure out where the change happened.

So, over the next 30 days (starting on Sunday), I’m going to write everything.  Some of it will be on WeightWatchers.com, and if I can do it all there, great.  What I can’t do at WW will be done on whatever random piece of paper I can find.  I’ve always got a notepad with me, so I’ll use it when I have to.  Just something to remind myself that I’ve just eaten, and to sort of keep a record of what’s been consumed. 

Let’s see if we can’t get back down to a happy place …

 

8/12 Workout: Speed Work

Filed under: Feel the Burn — lennonzgal @ 10:36

Last night was nothing short of the PERFECT evening weather for a run!  There was a slightly cool breeze, the sun was going down and not pounding on my skin, and there were finally tons of kids back outside playing (everyone’s been hiding inside since the heat started).  I dare say I was almost pleased to get out there.

I wasn’t feeling it though – my legs were slogging; they felt heavy and hard to lift.  Really don’t know why, except that this happened during training for the last half too, and I wonder if my legs are just still not 100% healed from last week’s long run.  I did manage 4 miles though, most of which was done with some interval work thrown in, for an average of around 13:30/mile. 

This weekend sounds like its going to be nice and cool as well – I almost can’t wait for my long run!  I’m hoping to get in the 12 miler that I have planned; its going to depend on the weather, as there looks to be a storm or two coming.  I’m hoping they hold off until the afternoon on Sunday.

 

Workout Catchup 10 August 2011

Filed under: Feel the Burn — lennonzgal @ 14:13

I can’t believe that it’s been so long since I posted last! Will finally completed grad school, and now we are back to “normal life,” just waiting for his final grade to come in, though I expect that it’ll be a good one – he and his team really busted their asses on it.

In the meantime, I did my best to get my workouts in. I skipped last Thursday because it was raining in the morning, and I was tired enough to look for any excuse to get back into bed. I did, however get in an 11 miler on Saturday. I would go so far as to say that it was slower than I’d hoped, but I’m assuming that the next couple might be, simply because my legs are still pretty tired from the previous weekend’s run. That’s why you have that taper week prior to the race – to give the legs a chance to heal and be good and ready for the challenge.

Last night, I managed a 3 mile easy run, though the weather was ridiculously humid. The temps were cooler, so that was at least nice. I’m planning another run tomorrow night, probably speed work, and then a 12-miler on the weekend!