Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Week #46 - Why?

I hope that after this week's meeting, you will spend some time reflecting on why you originally joined Weight Watchers, and why you continue to spend Wednesday mornings with us.

Preparing for and delivering a meeting every week gives me a chance to reflect as well, and I spent a little time remembering what was going on in my mind back in October 1996, when I (re)joined Weight Watchers the time I made it to my weight goal.


Yep, I joined Weight Watchers because I didn't like the way I looked. I'd seen a photo of myself in a sleeveless shirt and was not happy. My clothes were tight, and I knew that wearing ill-fitting clothes wasn't really doing me many favors.

As many of you may have discovered, the original reason to join is often not enough to be the reason to sustain. So the question I then reflected on this week became "why is it I've stayed with Weight Watchers for so many years?" And there are a whole host of answers and reasons.

From a health perspective, things are 100% different. I was inactive, didn't care about what I ate, and based on family genetics was probably on track to develop high cholesterol and heart disease. Now I am consciously eating a well balanced diet, and get regular physical activity. When I go to the doctor, my vitals are always impressive. In short, Weight Watchers has given me good health.

Weight Watchers has helped me develop a community of like-minded people to surround myself with. Some of my really good friends are fellow Weight Watchers employees. Because I am now regularly active, I've met and formed friendships with people who enjoy working out and eating healthy. It has enabled me to build a village of people whose goals are similar - some form of healthy living and eating. That makes it a million times easier for me to stick to the routines I built while losing weight.

One other thing I'd like to attribute to Weight Watchers is confidence. It could just be coincidental, that I became a Lifetime Member at the age of 23 in the midst of developing my entire personal and career identity. But knowing that I could accomplish something like changing my lifestyle was huge for me. I'd always been the fat couch potato...and now things were changing. I was now the healthy eater in the office. The one who always had some sort of workout scheduled.

And most importantly, working for Weight Watchers gave me my voice. Remember those people in school who were the WORST public speakers? The nerves, the quivering voice, that was me. Thinking about speaking in a room of 50 people I didn't know was frankly a fate worse than death. The training, mentoring and practice I got from becoming a Weight Watchers leader means that in my "real job" I'm the person to volunteer for the job of presenting. Small talk is still something I can't say I'm thrilled about having to do, but practicing it each and every week has made me so much better at it than I used to be.

Had I known back in October 1996 that all this would have happened, I'm not sure I'd have believed it. So if you're ready to change, get out there and get on it. What do you have to lose? And more importantly, what's out there that you have to gain?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Day in the Life

It's a rare day when Weight Watchers is closed. We pretty much stick to our schedule but for a few holidays each year, and Easter is one of them. Since I work a Sunday meeting (as many of you know), this is pretty much my only guaranteed Sunday off, unless Christmas or New Year's Day happens to fall the right way.

Being with my Weight Watcher peeps is actually one of the highlights of my life, but I'm not gonna lie - it's nice to have a day off once in awhile! But since we didn't hang out today, I thought it might be fun to share with you some things I did to make good use of my time.

I started the morning down at Mission Beach for an early run. I met up with a couple of friends after that to walk up and down the boardwalk. There were plenty of surfers, a few beach Easter services, and more than a few people out for a nice stroll.

When all was said and done, I covered about 12 miles. Which worked up an appetite. This dish is called "Nirvana" and it's from Isabel's Cantina. I highly recommend their breakfast and lunch menus if you're ever in the area.

The rest of the afternoon was spent cooking (I made the couscous with chickpeas and oranges from our latest cookbook...among other things) and lamenting the state of Padres baseball.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Race Recap: Sand Pit 5K

In a post a few days ago I mentioned I'd be participating in a 5K course with obstacles. I am pleased to say that I emerged *mostly* unscathed, and present to you a post-race rundown of what you could have been doing this morning.

The course began on the sand just north of the Giant Dipper coaster at Belmont park. We started in waves, and the pink wristband you may or may not be able to see in the photos meant all the other 30-39 year old gals like myself started at 8:12am. We started the course in loosely packed dry sand and headed to the first obstacle.

This was supposed to be "knee deep" water, but when you're only 5'4" it's more like mid-thigh level. Running progress was awfully slow here as we made our way down the beach. We periodically would pop back up onto hard packed sand, which was a million times easier to run on. Eventually, we were routed back onto soft sand for the next obstacle, the Seal Crawl.

These ropes weren't nearly as low as I expected, so I didn't have to be as low on the sand as I thought I would be. After running in the water, this was a relief.

Next up was the "In & Outs" which meant that we'd enter the water, run out to a flag in "waist deep" water, run back to shore, and do the same thing two or three more times. I should add that the tide was coming in at this point, so "waist deep" actually meant "waves crashing over your head and totally submerging you." A few of us lost our footing and crashed into each other, but in the spirit of the event, a few apologies were given, and we were on our way. This was the second hardest part of the race. Running against water rushing back out to sea turns out to be extremely challenging.

We ran a little further north on hard sand until we had to pop up for the next obstacle - the limbo. We'd jump over a bar, then duck under one, three times, the high bar getting lower each time. We were a little loosey-goosey with our limboing at this point, but no one cared.

Now we headed up onto soft sand, where we stayed for the remainder of the course. We hit the turnaround, and started heading south to the next obstacle.

The Small Walls of China were easier than I expected. The walls were those plastic barriers you see on the edge of construction or road work. Very easy to swing a leg over, which was a relief after running on soft sand.

More soft sand running until we hit the tires, where we met someone channeling his inner Drill Instructor, telling us to high step it and hurry up. Frankly I was relieved to not have gotten my toes stuck in a tire for a face plant.

By this point we all seem to be shuffling down the sand, running when we can, walking when we realize it's probably faster than "running." Aha, the next obstacle...quicksand.

I was worried about this one, but it was the easiest of all. An obstacLOL if you will. Their attempt to wet down sand until saturated really meant we just got to run over a square of densely packed sand, a quick respite from slogging through all the dry stuff. Hooray!

Next obstacle was Hoop La. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a video of me navigating my way through the obstacle.

I am now sick and tired of running on soft sand, and it seems so are the people around me. One woman claimed that she would rather run a half marathon than have to run on this sand, and I'm inclined to agree.

Next up: Sand Everest

Thanks to the lady cheering us up this mountain, and for her suggestion to "use your arms" and "step quickly!" The hill was supposed to be 7-10 feet high, and that's probably about right.

Just at the bottom of Sand Everest we needed to drop and once again crawl under ropes, and right after that we got to "rinse off" by running through a pit of water that was actually knee deep, and perhaps 10-15 feet long. There's where the cheering stopped, but the finish line wasn't as close as I would have liked.

Finally, about 45 minutes after I began, I crossed the finish line. Sandy, sweaty, slightly bruised and tired. Thanks go to my husband for the photos and video of the day, and for having something dry and not sandy for me to rub my eyes with at the finish line.

So what did I learn here today?

1. Running on soft sand is hard. No, really. Harder than I seemed to recall.
2. While this was a fun adventure, I don't need to seek this kind of thing out again.
3. I'm OK with a low level of dirt/dust/mud when I run, but this was dirtier than I cared to get.
4. In light of #3, I doubt I'll ever bother with a triathlon.

And now, for some well-earned couch loafing.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm Home!

By now you know that I wasn't at meetings last week (and last night). My husband and I went on vacation and spent a week in Tokyo. I got home yesterday afternoon and spent a jet-lagged afternoon and evening trying to stay up until bedtime, meaning that I was up for something like 30 hours. It's been a long time since I have had to do that, and I don't care if I'm only 36, I'm TOO OLD FOR THAT BUSINESS. I'm definitely an 8-hour a night kind of gal.

So anyway, I'm back, and it's time to get back to Weight Watchering. While on vacation I didn't track my food or count Points. I didn't specifically exercise, but we certainly did get in a lot of walking. Sadly I realized I'd forgotten my pedometer once we got to the airport and I saw someone else wearing one. Regardless, I do feel pretty good about things post-vacation.

Tokyo is a very different city from San Diego. Compact and vertical instead of flat and spread out. The city has a multitude of train and subway options, and we took advantage of that. Using public transportation is way different than living with a car (as I'm sure some of you know from experience) because instead of driving from door to door, inevitably there's someplace you need to go that's not right at the mouth of a train station. And so you walk.

Tokyo is also different culturally...well duh. But taking a look around, I noticed very few native people carrying extra weight. And I have to say that there's something at the heart of the culture that leads to that result.

My husband is a coffee fanatic, so a few times we popped into a cafe (and yes, sometimes it was a Starbucks, SHUT UP!) and the thing is, their small is SMALL. I've heard you can ask for a short coffee at Starbucks in the states, and the thing is, that's the small in Japan. Then you can get your tall and grande as well. That's it. Everything's smaller there. What holds true for coffee holds true for food as well. I never ate until I was full. Even when we got what seemed like a good quantity of food, because of what it was, we never left feeling sluggish or heavy.

Here are some photos of our most extravagant meal while we were there:

I'm sure the grinding of the sesame seeds with the mortar and pestle was good for an Activity Point, right? Anyway, look at that food. On my plate, despite all the noodles and rice, there are like 3 little pieces of chicken. Meat as a condiment, practically. My husband's plate is the one with all the sashimi. If you've looked up the Points for sushi you know that doesn't add up quickly.

So. Lighter, healthy foods, smaller portions. Lots of walking in the city. Hmm.... I may not live in Tokyo, but perhaps I can train my brain to think like I do.

MONDAY GROUP: I just realized that because of the holiday I'm not going to see you until JUNE! Crazy talk. Y'all better be at that meeting, okay?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Crunching the Numbers

I've been exercising regularly for a long time now. I started it when (surprise) I was on Weight Watchers back in the day losing my weight, and I've kept at it initially as a means to maintain my weight loss, but eventually because I got hooked on it and enjoyed it.

Over the years my routine has changed a lot, and it really started getting crazy when I was training for marathons. As some of you know for yourselves, that involves a lot of time, and you end up working out A LOT. For reasons that aren't important for the topic at hand, I stopped running marathons and am now what you'd call a gym rat. But longing for those days of endurance, I end up spending a few hours at the gym on the weekends cobbling together a mix of strength and endurance.

In all these years I've had a lot of gadgets, but never a heart rate monitor. Until today. I used a $50 Amazon gift certificate and finally bought one - a Polar F6 in case you're interested. Today was the first day I took it out for a spin.

I have a lot of information here. From my heart rate monitor I found out that:

Run - 61:00 (10K distance)
Calories burned - 626
Max HR - 174
Avg HR - 163

Bodyworks class - 60:00 (circuit training with free weights)
Calories burned - 424
Max HR - 172
Avg HR - 132

Kickbox - 60:00
Calories burned - 502
Max HR - 178
Avg HR - 149

Total calories burned - 1,552
Total exercise time - 3 hours, 1 minute

Now of course I have to log this stuff into eTools:

Jogging (oh how I hate that term) - 7 Points
Circuit training including some aerobic work with minimal rest - 7 Points
Kickboxing - 7 Points

Total Points Earned - 21

If I were to (ahem) log my activity on a free website that tracks calories, I might use their database to select activities, just like I would on eTools. Hypothetically if I were to do that at, oh I don't know, SparkPeople as an example, here's what it would tell me:

Running 10 min/mile (I was at 9:49 close enough) - 575 calories
Circuit Training - 460 calories
Kickboxing - 623 calories

Total calories burned - 1,658

Here's one last batch of data. My heart rate monitor tracks my exercise intensity level, since it knows my heart rate. Of the time I spent working out today, here's how it breaks down:

Low intensity - 41 minutes
Moderate intensity - 22 minutes
High intensity - 121 minutes

If I log these in eTools using the little calculator, here's what it comes up with:

Low - 1 Point
Moderate - 1 Point
High - 14 Points

Total Points earned - 16 Points

So. What did I learn from all of this? Databases with activities may not be the most accurate way to assess your calorie burn/effort expended/Points earned. While the SparkPeople database wasn't too far off, it still overestimates my calorie burn by about 100. If it does that today, presumably my totals for the week would be overstated as well. Using the database on eTools, I'm giving myself credit for 5 extra Activity Points - a big deal if I'm planning on swapping them for food later on tonight, less so if I'm not.

Basically, what eTools and SparkPeople (and the read out on the treadmill) can't tell me is just how much effort I'm expending. Let's take the run as an example. A lot of people think running is hard, and it is to some extent. But I found it interesting that in all of today's workouts, what spiked my heart rate the most wasn't the run, it was kickboxing. It was probably that 2 minute "Turbo Kick" portion where we're doing jumping jacks, burpies, and all sorts of high tempo stuff in quick succession. The run I did today was for endurance. To run an hour. Not to run balls to the wall fast.

I'll save that for the Iron Girl 10K on May 8th. We'll see what my heart rate is that day!

In short (too late!) I guess what my conclusion why didn't I get one of these sooner? It does my accountant's heart good to sift through the numbers.

By the way, it strikes me that this is all so appropriate given last week's topic of self monitoring. I told you to go out this week and maybe track something you never have before. And here I am doing the same thing!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Check Yourself!

Earlier this week I had a physical for the first time...since adulthood, really. Among other things, we did some blood work to run the usual battery of tests. I was specifically interested in my cholesterol levels, as I have a familial history that works against me.

First off, I want to give it up for the offices of Dr. Brian First in Clairemont. I called on Monday for an appointment, and went in for the visit first thing Tuesday. I had blood work results by Wednesday and results from my Pap test by Friday. And my nurse practitioner, Shirley Fett, is wonderful and took the time to call me with those results. Highly recommended if you're in the market for a PCP and his office comes up on your provider list.

Having a physical when you're a Lifetime member at goal is kind of hilarious. You get to give all the right answers. Healthy diet? Check. Regular activity? Check. I felt like the teacher's pet, and it took until she checked my ears for me to come up with my fatal flaw: I stick the Q-Tip in my ear canal. I can't help it! It feels so good.

But let's get down to the real point of this entry: my cholesterol results.

Hopefully you can read the results (try clicking on the image if you cannot), but if not - total cholesterol is 231. Blerg. BUT, my HDL (the healthy stuff) is optimal, and my LDL (the bad stuff) is near optimal. Triglycerides are low. The verdict from the nurse practitioner is that I don't need to do anything about this sort-of-high number since my ratio is so advantageous. I, of course, have it in my head that I'm going to be more diligent and see if I can't get that number down a bit.

So what does this tell us? No matter how healthy you are, sometimes there are things worth checking. When I found out 3 of my dad's 5 siblings were on medication for their cholesterol, I knew I had to get tested. This makes keeping to a healthy eating and activity plan even more important for me. If I were to let this slide, and go back to terrible eating habits and inactivity, my cholesterol has nowhere to go but up.

So get yourself checked! Know your cholesterol. Know your blood pressure. Keep in mind your age and whether or not there are other indicators to keep an eye on. Good health is what you're at Weight Watchers for, and this is a critical part of it!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Ends With a Bang...and a Whimper

Today I ended my fitness year by taking a special two hour long spin class. And it was honestly the best workout I have had all year.

Before I became a gym rat, I was a half-marathon and marathon junkie. I've run 5 marathons and I don't even know how many half-marathons. Too many to count. I love the way that long distance running feels, and I love pushing my body farther than I ever thought it could go. But then, a nerve in my right foot decided it had other plans for me.

Today's workout is honestly the first time since running that I felt myself pushed beyond my comfort zone. Standing beside the bike after class, my workout pants were literally dripping sweat on the floor. Gross I know, but a testament to how hard I worked. There were a few times when the beat of the music, the beat of my heart and whatever was going on in my brain synced up so well that it nearly had me in tears - I've cried while crossing the finish line of every marathon I've run, so it was a sensation I've felt before, but not for awhile.

At some point during the workout, I started talking to myself (mentally, not out loud!) and I told myself that I was as strong as I ever have been. Real positive stuff. Anyone who really knows me and my neuroses would find that hard to believe! I cannot believe how good it felt. What a wonderful way to end the year!

Many thanks to Elizabeth and Chris, neither of whom will ever see this, for pushing me beyond what I thought I could do today. You are among a select few in my life who has done this for me. Cheers!

Oh, and before we get all emotional up in here, I should say that I am so ridiculously spent it isn't even funny. I fell asleep watching TV and woke up to a huge pile of drool. That's also something that hasn't happened much since I stopped distance running. How on earth did I ever get anything done on Saturdays after long runs is beyond me. I forgot what this shredded feeling was like!

Happy New Year, and thanks for sharing this moment with me.