Oh, Good! It’s Friday!

Generally speaking, I don’t get too worked up about Friday. Sure, I like the weekend – it’s nice not to have to go to work for two days. But I like my job, so I don’t get the same sort of emotional “I’ve escaped for two whole days!” feeling that some people get. Honestly, it’s nice to not feel like that.

But I am so glad that I’ve hit the end of this week. As you might imagine, last weekend wasn’t especially restful for me. You know, with my mother in the hospital and all. And that managed to set the tone for what has felt like an especially unsuccessful week. I’ve gone over my calorie budget most of the week, I’ve struggled to get my walking in and I haven’t even attempted my other exercises, and generally I feel like I’ve been struggling just to get through the week. And then I slept through my alarm this morning and barely made it to work on time.

At this rate, I think I’ll be lucky if I haven’t gained weight.

So, yeah. While I know it’s purely psychological, and that nothing really changes over the weekend, I’m looking forward to the weekend. To getting a rough week behind me, and starting fresh. Because, unsuccessful week or not, I’m not letting this derail me. If I’ve gained weight, I’ll shout at the scales for a bit and fume and then get on with getting myself back on track. And if I haven’t? Well, I’ll be surprised for a bit and then I’ll get on with getting myself back on track. Minor setbacks aren’t the end of the world, and they’re certainly no reason to give up on my goal.

Advertisements

Inspiration, Lack Of

Some days, the subject of an entry comes easily. I’m fired up from something I’ve done, or something I’ve read or heard, and I’m raring to go. Other days, I stare at my blank screen and wonder how on earth I’m going to write something that isn’t “I’m still working on losing weight. How was your day?”

This is one of those latter days.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t one of those “goaldrum” days I lamented about back in December. I feel fine. I still feel motivated. I’m struggling a little to meet all of my goals because of working overtime, but I’m not discouraged. I’m just, well, staring at the screen and wondering how on earth I’m going to write something that isn’t “I’m still working on losing weight.”

Maybe that’s the point, though. Maybe every day isn’t – even shouldn’t – be a new emotional day. You can’t have new, deep insights every day. Some days, you just do what you need to do. Maybe you struggle a little, or maybe it comes easily. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you did it, and you had another little victory that took you one step closer to realizing your goal. And you know what? That’s all right. Because slow and steady wins the race.

Goals Aren’t Finish Lines

I’ve observed an interesting habit I seem to have developed – and by interesting I mean stupid. I have a FitBit (I’ve mentioned this once or twice, I believe…), and a daily step goal of 10,530. Why that odd number? Because it seems to be the minimum number of steps required to hit my walking goal of 5.3 miles. And there are days in which I fight to hit that goal. I’ll see myself at 10,000 steps (or, more likely, something odd like 9,983), and I’ll push myself to hit that goal. But then, as soon as I do, I’m done. Time to go sit down and read, or play video games.

The more I think about it, the more counterintuitive that seems. I’m trying to get healthy and lose weight, right? And I set a goal for the minimum amount of exercise I figure I should be doing to succeed. So why am I stopping just because I hit that minimum target? It would make sense if I was busy, and I was taking a break from something else I needed to do to meet that goal. But… why do I do it when I’ve got plenty of time? Why not go a little further?

That led me to do some thinking, and I think I’ve hit the answer. It’s easy to see that daily goal as the target. It’s easy to think “well, I’ve hit goal now. I’m done.” Because it’s easy to see a daily goal as something you [i]have[/i] to do, and as something to be gotten out of the way, rather than as something you’re doing because you want to. I mean, I sure want to. Nobody held a gun to my head and started forcing me to exercise, after all. Oh, sure, my doctor threatened me with high blood pressure and diabetes. But he didn’t force me to do anything about it. I chose to.

So, why should I treat the things I’m doing about my weight and my high blood pressure and my diabetes as a chore? They’re things I chose to do. And if I’ve got the time, and if the weather’s good and I’m enjoying myself, why not walk a little further? Splash in the puddles and stomp in the snow? Enjoy myself, doing the things I want to do?

I think I’ll start doing just that. When I have time, anyway.

Eating Well: My Meal Plan

I thought I’d take a break from my usual routine of providing a recipe here – mostly because I didn’t make anything interesting enough to include – and talk a little more about meal planning. Specifically, I’m going to demonstrate what a week’s meal plan looks like and use it to explain why they can help when you’re working with a calorie budget.

Breakfast

I’m very much a creature of habit with breakfast, so I don’t actually have to do a whole lot of planning here. My breakfast is usually one of the following:

  • Fried egg sandwich, consisting of two pieces of bread, a slice of American cheese, and two large fried eggs. That’s 364 calories.
  • Scrambled egg sandwich, consisting of two pieces of bread, a slice of American cheese, and three large scrambled eggs. That’s 436 calories.
  • Scrambled eggs, consisting of two pieces of toast, a tablespoon of butter, and three large scrambled eggs. That’s 476 calories.

I like eggs, is what I’m saying. I also recognize that I should be eating some fruit or a vegetables with breakfast, but I’m not pushing myself yet. This is the first week in a while where breakfast hasn’t been “drive through”, so I won’t get down on myself yet. When making breakfast I’ll splurge on occasion and have a strip of bacon or some turkey sausage, but I’m not doing that this week.

Lunch

This is more changeable, as I like more variety in lunch than I like in breakfast. Here’s what I planned for this week:

  • Monday and Tuesday: Chili dogs and chili, which consists of 2 turkey hot dogs, 2 slices of bread, and 13 oz of my Lazy Man’s Homemade Chili. That’s 717 calories, plus an orange, so 785 calories in total.
  • Wednesday and Friday: Two bologna and cheese sandwiches, each consisting of two slices of bread, two slices of light pork & turkey bologna, an one slice American cheese. That’s 676 calories, plus either an orange (744 calories total) or an apple (756 calories total).
  • Thursday: Two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, each consisting of two slices of bread, 1 ounce smooth peanut butter, and 1 tablespoon of fruit spread. That’s 768 calories, plus an apple, so 848 calories.

Dinner

My wife’s cooking dinner this week, so I don’t know exactly what I’m having. Still, I’ll have some calories to work with as long as I stick with my meal plan. My planned calorie intake looks something like this (using the scrambled egg sandwich as the baseline for breakfast):

  • Monday: 1,153 calories in
  • Tuesday: 1,321 calories in (I’m planning on eating a yogurt as well), 979 left.
  • Wednesday: 1,180 calories in, 1,120 left.
  • Thursday: 1,284 calories in, 1,016 left.
  • Friday: 1,192 calories in, 1,108 calories left.

Clearly, I have no concerns that I’ll have to skimp on dinner. As long as I stay on the meal plan, that is.

What A Long, Strange Weekend It Was

I spent most of the weekend at the hospital, for reasons discussed in the last post. The good news is that my mom was discharged on Saturday. She’s not doing “fine”, precisely – she had a heart attack, after all. But for someone that had a heart attack, she’s doing fine.

It’s a strange feeling, being an adult and sitting with your mother in the hospital. I remember still remember when I’d get sick as a child, and just her presence would make me feel better. I’d curl up in bed, and she’d bring me water and juice and medicine, and sing to me or tell me stories, and everything seemed right in the world. But now it’s her in bed, and me sitting with her and telling her stories and trying to make her feel like everything will be all right.

Man. I’m 44, and I’m still not ready to be a grown-up. Not like this.

I ended up eating out a lot this weekend, because of all the time at the hospital. And I didn’t eat so well, and I didn’t really do a good job sticking with my calorie budget. Despite this, I managed to lose some weight. I’m down a total of 90.2 pounds right now, and I still can’t quite grasp that. Ninety pounds. My halfway point is close! Even if it does feel a million miles away, because I’m impatient.

Sometimes, Life Gets In The Way

I didn’t manage to meet most of my goals yesterday, but I think my reasons were acceptable. My mother had a heart attack yesterday, and was airlifted to a hospital near where I live.  She’s doing well, as of when I left the hospital last night. And optimistically, she’ll be going home tomorrow.

It was a reminder, though. No matter what, you can’t plan for everything. You can’t control everything. All you can do is your best, and then let your priorities guide you when things go out of control. 

And as far as I’m concerned, family is more important than whether or not I walked 5.3 miles.

Words Have Power

I’ve got a whole bunch of weight to lose. It’s clearly not something I’ve made a secret of, since I’m writing an entire blog about it. And it’s something my son knows about. We’ve talked about why daddy is exercising, and he’s heard me talk about how much weight I’ve lost. I want him to be aware of it, because I want to set a good example for him.

A few weeks ago, though, he said something about how he needed to lose weight. This was not something I wanted to hear – he’s in the 60th percentile for weight and the 99th percentile for height, and his pediatrician says he’s in great shape. He’s not overweight. And, most likely, he was just echoing what I’ve been saying because he wants to be like his daddy. But it sent chills down my spine. Because he does not need body image issues.

Am I overreacting? Possibly. But it’s made me reassess the way I talk about my weight loss. I’ve written multiple times about how I’m not on a diet, and how I’m changing my diet. And about how I’m working to make a permanent change in my health. What I hadn’t realized, though, was that my language was still focused on weight loss. It took my son to point that out.

Words are powerful things. They’re thoughts, cast into the air, looking for a home. Words can stop and start wars, move mountains, change and control minds. The pen, as they say, is mightier than the sword. But the pen is merely a tool, serving the needs of the words it writes. The things you say and the way you say them can and will control your thoughts and your attitudes. They will also shape the thoughts and the attitudes of the people around you.

So, regardless of what it is you’re trying to do – lose weight, get ready for a marathon, learn to code in C++, whatever – be very careful about how you talk about what you are doing. For example, I’m now working on talking about my goals in the context of getting healthy, and being able to do things with my son, and the benefits of the exercise I’m doing. Because I want to set a positive example for my son. I want him to learn that exercise is important because it keeps you healthy and gives you the ability to do things. And because I want him to know that he’s important – important enough to keep me working, keep my trying, so I can be a better dad.