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Friday, July 26, 2013

Victory List and Why Exercise is So Important

I got home last night and couldn’t think what I wanted to eat.  I was really hungry, so I ate my protein – some smoked turkey sausage – and was sitting there thinking what else I wanted.  I fell asleep for a good little while.  I had a hard time staying awake the rest of the evening.  It’s those darned muscle relaxants.  They help, but they sure make me drag.  The only other things I got around to eating were a few almonds and a little peanut butter on some bread.  Not a great meal, I know, but it is what it is.  I was actually still hungry when I went to bed, but too sleepy to mess with it.

My head feels pretty good this morning.  The danger is, when I feel better, I forget to watch my mechanics.  So I am trying to be careful to keep my shoulders back and chin tucked!  It really makes a difference.  I find myself sitting with my chin in my hand while reading something from my computer screen.  I am sure this is exactly the position I do not want my neck to be in.  I have to stop that!

I woke up hungry this morning.  I had a cheese stick and a peach early, before my workout.  Then, for breakfast I had bacon and eggs again.  I had cooked up all the bacon I had left the other day, so all I have to do is warm it up.  That’s why I keep going back to it every day.  It’s easy.  Then I just scramble up some eggs to go with it and that’s it.  I got to work and someone had brought donuts and a vendor had sent in breakfast (breakfast tacos).  I should have just ignored them, but I was so happy there was something non-sweet that I ate an egg and potato taco with some salsa and a sausage roll.  Way more breakfast than I needed, and the stuff wasn’t really very good, to tell you the truth.  I will have to watch it at lunchtime, if I am even hungry then.  No problem passing up the donuts, at least.

I had so much written in my post yesterday that I had to cut some of it out.  My post was still too long, I am sure.  But I will get it in today’s post.  I had to read back through yesterday’s post to see what I had left out.  I realized that I made a couple of references later to what I had cut out.  It still made sense, but not as much.  One reason I cut the following out was, since I fell asleep early last night, I did not get some stuff done on my checklist.  Duh.  I am going to have to fight that as long as I am having to take the muscle relaxant regularly.

So much of weight loss, or any other big changes you are trying to make in your life, are about little steps done consistently.  Holly uses a “Victory List” (I think that’s what she calls it) of things to check off daily that keep her on track.  Hers might be a little different than mine, but I decided to try that as I am trying to build new habits.  There are certain things I need to do to keep myself on the right track.  Most have everything to do with weight loss; one thing not as much, but it is something that I think is important for me.  I tried to either start where I am, or start small.  The last thing on the list is 30 minutes of housework each day.  That means 30 minutes of concentrated work (all together).  My plan is to set a timer.  That doesn’t sound like much time, and I know it is not enough to keep everything maintained, but if I develop that habit, I can add to it.   A lot of days I am doing that, anyway (although not all together).  But I want to start building consistency and then add to the time after that.  If I can check that off every day, that builds my satisfaction.  I may not be getting it “all” done, but I have met my current goal.  I think that is important.  Doing too much, too soon is rarely a good idea.

So, here is my Victory List:


Cardio Workout ____ minutes (last week plus 2”) (this week it is 35 minutes; I probably will stop at 60 minutes)
At or Under Daily Points – _____ + ____ Weekly Points (whatever I have available) (it’s 36 points plus 49 weekly now)
Water – at least 72 oz.
Neck stretches (some from the article I posted yesterday)
Toning Workout (Arms/Abs or Chest/Back/Butt)
Housework – 30 minutes
This is actually pretty ambitious for where I am right now.  The two that will be the most difficult are the neck stretches and the toning workout.  By most difficult, I mean most difficult to get myself to do consistently.  I am not doing these things right now, but I need to be to get some of my pain issues under better control.  I have decided to start increasing my cardio by 2 mins. per week instead of 5.  That gives me a little more time to build up stamina.  The toning plan I have is simple.  It does not require any special equipment except dumbbells, which I have.  The neck stretches are pretty simple too and could be done throughout the day.  It is mostly a matter of working them into my routine and not letting myself talk myself out of doing them.  I think consistency with the small things is the most important thing I can do right now.

The stretches my MT gave me yesterday will be part of what I work into my routine under “neck stretches.”  I tried one last night.  You put your chin to your chest, press down firmly on this certain area at the base of your neck in the front, then lean your head all the way back and feel the stretch of that muscle you are holding down.  I am supposed to do this for 3-4 minutes.  The problem I had with this last night was holding it 3-4 minutes.  That was kind of tough.  My fingers got tired.  I probably held it more like 2 minutes, but at least that is a start.  She said as I do this, things at the back of my neck will begin to line up better.  And she said it has the added bonus of tightening up the skin and muscle under your chin.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought about whether to do paleo or not.  The problem with it is, these sorts of tangents tend to confuse me.  I get it all mixed up in my mind as to what I should and should not eat and I end up not doing anything on plan (because I haven’t made up my mind about the plan or it is too restrictive, or whatever).  This is actually why I had trouble thinking of what to eat last night.  I also have a tendency to pop from one thing to another.  Whatever I do, consistency is going to be the key.  The thing I like about WW is you can do almost any kind of eating plan – just count your points and stay within your points range.  I could also do the Simply Filling technique.  I do not mind counting points.  If I do not, I tend to overdo.  For instance, nuts are a good thing to have on paleo, but in moderation.  If I do not have some kind of structure that tells me how many nuts are too much, I do not do well.  So I might start building some elements of paleo into my eating plan, but still be on WW.  I am very sold on the benefit (to me) of not eating sugar.  That is the only thing that has worked for me in the past.  And I know processed foods are not good.  I know certain foods are triggers – like crackers, chips, etc. – so I best leave those alone.  Especially because they are processed.  I’ve been thinking about making some homemade whole grain crackers to see if they were less addictive to me.  (I started a book that exposes the food industry and how they purposely make things addictive so you will keep buying it).  I want to cut out as much processed food as possible, so anything I make at home is better than commercially packaged.  I know that eating lower carb works better for me.  These are the principles I want to work on right now.  And I can do that using the WW plan.  I don’t think I am ready for “no dairy” or “no grains” until it becomes apparent that that is causing me a problem.  I will do some experimenting on some days and see how I do and may want to work that into my diet slowly.  It won’t hurt to try going gluten free on some days and other days be a little more “normal.”  I may find that wheat or dairy is giving me a problem and so that would be something I would want to eliminate.  I know they talk about the benefits of paleo on arthritis and inflammation, so those might be changes I want to make in the future.  But baby steps.

I know I talk about Holly’s blog a lot, but that’s what I am reading right now.  She said the most profound thing.  She was being interviewed on CrossFit Live Radio in November 2012.  She was telling her story and how her brother was instrumental in showing her what to do to be successful with her weight loss surgery (he had the surgery and lost 250 pounds himself) and the battle with food addiction.  Her brother told her (talking about daily exercise):

“We are not doing this just to lose the pounds.  We are doing this to become mentally stronger, so we can fight the battle that we are going to face every day.”

 Wow.  That is good stuff.  And it is so true.  That’s why the workout every morning is so important, even if it is only 10 minutes.  This is one tool I use.  If doing a 35-minute workout seems too much to tackle on a certain day, I give myself permission to do 10 minutes.  Often, after I have done 10 minutes, I am ready to do the rest of it.  And even 10 minutes gives me the mental satisfaction that I have at least worked out.

Holly also has some strategies for using your imagination to change the course of your day.  This post was excellent.  I actually have done this, although I said it in a different way.  I would think, if I were writing a book, making myself the main character and the “heroine” of the story, how would my character behave on any given day?  Would she sit in a chair all day and watch television, getting up every hour or so to get something to eat?  Or would she get up and exercise and take care of her home and walk her dog and spend time with friends?  I try to envision myself as being that person in the book – like that is how I already go about my day.  But Holly takes it to the point of imagining how you would feel if you did the things you would like to do -- the things that at the end of the day made you feel like you had a happy and productive day.  Read her post.  It is most excellent.

So, because I ate the extra stuff this morning, I did not eat a formal lunch.  I did eat another sausage roll and a peach.  So I certainly haven’t eaten enough to mess up my whole day.  Tonight needs to be about protein and veggies.

I have noticed my appetite has regulated.  I think that is because I am not eating sweets.  And I am not having as many cravings.  I am just more “normal” when I don’t eat sweets (as in appetite).  That is so awesome.

I made it through the afternoon with only eating fruit.  When I got home, I had not pre-planned what to eat.  Last night what I should have done was get a Subway sandwich.  But I was wrestling with this paleo thing and was thinking that had too many carbs.  Tonight, I looked in the freezer and saw some stuffed pasta shells I had made a while back and frozen the leftovers.  I decided to have some of that.  I melted some parmesan and mozzarella on top and I grilled some asparagus spears to go with it.  I had some grapes while waiting for dinner to get ready, because I was pretty hungry.  I'm not sure how many points I have had today, but I have the feeling I am under my daily quota.  I was still a little hungry later and I had a couple of dill pickle spears.  That was it for today.

I got down until after 9:00 and was thinking that I had not done some of the stuff on my Victory List.  I didn't want to have told you about it and then not done it the first day.  So I got up and did some toning exercises (4 or 5 for abs and 3 for arms).  I also did this for neck stretching:

I would not have thought this was hard.  But I am so tight, I could only drop my head a little between my arms before I was in pain.  I didn't try to push it any further.  I will keep working at it and hopefully will begin loosening up.

I sat a little more and was trying to rationalize not doing my 30 minutes of housework, but again, I didn't want to have to tell you I didn't do it.  So I set a timer and got up and cleaned for the whole time.  When the timer went off, I finished the task I was on and called it a night.  Things were already feeling much more pleasant around here.  I was really bummed for doing that.  I wish I had not done that cleaning.  NOT!  When do you ever do something like that and regret it afterward?  It's the dreading it beforehand that's the most difficult and really, it's no big deal.  You are done in no time.

I got almost finished with that 30 minutes when I remembered, I had not finalized my post yet.  I could have taken that part of the post out (again) to get out of doing it tonight.  Of course I'm glad I didn't.  I'm going to try to report in every day about my Victory List.  If I don't, I give you full permission to call me on it.  That's what I want -- some accountability.  But tonight I have the satisfaction of getting those things done.  I did at least part of everything (not quite all of the toning exercises and only one neck stretch, but I'm going to do another one before going to bed).  I'm okay with that.  It is progress.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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