Wandering Around

So the results are in from the little group challenge I started yesterday, and I lost. And by “I lost”, I mean “I didn’t win” – I came in 4th, with “only” 119% of my step goal. Not that I actually feel bad about that, mind. I mean, I did hit 12,526 steps (6.31 miles), so I feel like I did pretty well. Also, I’m the only one that has a step goal higher than 10,000 (not that it would have mattered too much – the winner hit over 200% of his 10,000 step goal).

So we’re doing another one today, only it’s for total steps and not percentage of goal. Because it’s fun. And because I hate losing. But mostly because it’s fun.

Speaking of fun, I found an app that’s been a great time. It’s called Ingress, and it’s an augmented reality game that requires you to get out and physically move around to play. It’s actually why I hit 6.31 miles yesterday – I was out hunting for portals, and the closest one to my condo is nearly a kilometer away. So me and my dog hiked over and checked things out. If you like walking or running or bicycling, and if you also like science fiction, I recommend it. I’ll probably do a full review later on, once I’ve played with it some more.

Over six miles, though. Wow. It turns out that’s not a record for me – my record currently stands at 6.64 miles, apparently – but I still feel pretty good about it. Especially since I was at 4.7 miles when I started out on that last walk yesterday, and I didn’t feel a need to sit and rest at any point. More importantly, I had a good time (and not just because of the game). The area I walked in is an area I’ve walked in a lot, but I wandered around more and saw everything from a few different perspectives. Things look different when you see them from on foot instead of from inside a car, and things look different again when you get off your normal foot path and go a different direction. It made my familiar neck of the woods look new again.

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Challenge Accepted!

It turns out that half the people in my office have FitBits. I think I may have noticed hte distinctive rubber-looking wrist straps, but it only really came up when someone on my team asked me if I was wearing one as well. One thing led to another, and now I’m in a seven-person daily goal challenge. Ans since I’m really competitive, that’s getting me motivated to make sure I hit my walking goal. I’ve no desire to lose to people I work with (or, indeed, to anyone. I love winning, and I hate losing).

It should be an interesting experience, since I’ve no idea what anyone’s walking goal is except mine.

All of this just goes to proving a point, I think. It’s always better to have someone (or multiple someones) that you’re exercising with. Both for the accountability, and to give you a reason to keep going. Because, for me at least, it’s no longer about simply losing weight. It’s about victory!

Yes, I’m enjoying this far too much.

Cheap Scales Aren’t Worth It

We bought another new scale yesterday. Why? Because we finally decided that the $19 job I bought last month wasn’t doing the job. No, not because it showed me gaining weight. Because it was erratic.

Here’s the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. When I weighed in on Sunday, it showed me weighing 320 pounds. And then, a few minutes later, it showed me weighing 315 pounds. And then it showed me weighing 318 pounds. And then, when I got out of the shower, it showed me weighing 318 pounds again. Then, when I got on it yesterday morning, it showed me weighing 323 pounds.

Ladies and gentlemen, I did overeat on Sunday. But not to a level that would have made me gain three to five pounds overnight.

So, we bought a new scale. When I got on it last night, it weighed me at 317.2 pounds. This morning, it weighed me the same. It is now the new official scale of Half of Me. The other one will, I believe, become the official scale of my dumpster.

Incidentally, scales have gotten overly complicated in the past few years. When we were shopping for them, there were wifi-ready scales with apps that automatically synchronizied with FitBits and Apple Watches, and that calculated your BMI and your water consumption and tell you how many calories you can count. I’m torn between thinking “neat” and almost buying one, and the contempt that comes from seeing something with far too many bells and whistles on it. What’s next, a combination scale/foot bath/pedicure robot?

…actually, that would be kind of cool.

Anyway, though, avoid the cheap scales. Drop a few more bucks, get it web-enabled if you want, but make sure you have something that will actually work. It makes the weight loss a lot easier, if you know what you actually weigh.

*Inarticulate Noises of Frustration and Fury*

I probably shouldn’t be surprised, given how I completely ignored my goals last week, but I gained weight.  As a result, I am not a happy individual right now.

What happened?  Well, a combination of things.  First off, to be honest, I wasn’t feeling really well last Saturday and Sunday and I didn’t eat much as a result.  That probably helped skew my results – I had myself down as losing 4.2 pounds in one week, which is a lot.  But I have to be honest here, that’s only part of the reason.  The rest is that I found excuses last week to overeat and underexercise.  That caught up with me, and I lost out on two weeks of work as a result – one week where I actually met my goals, and the second where I didn’t try.

So, no.  I don’t believe I’m “plateauing”.  I believe I got slack, and backslid as a result.

Well, it’s not happening again.  This week, I’m hitting my calorie and my exercise goals.  No excuses.  I’ve made a whole lot of progress, and I feel good about what I’ve done, and I’m not sliding backwards any further than I already have.

So… Yeah

This week started out so well, and then went into a bit of a tailspin.

Two days running, now, I haven’t hit my calorie or walking goals. I’ve got reasons – I alluded to them yesterday – but it’s still frustrating. Particularly the calorie goal, which was entirely within my control. I just sort of had a moment yesterday, and decided “heck with it, I’m eating a lot”. I think the chocolate and carb loving portion of my brain staged a palace coup, because I distinctly remember deciding that I was going to do this. I’m not entirely sure why, either. Honestly, it feels like I decided to take an involuntary two-day mini vacation from those goals.

I think I’ve got it out of my system, now. I’m getting excited about walking again, and I’m no longer excited about overeating, so things should be good. Maybe I should just build a once a month “cheat day” into my routine, where I have to track my calories but I don’t have to meet my goal. Have a structured way to blow off steam, rather than allow another brain coup like the one I had for the past two days.

Hmmm… now that I’ve typed that, I think it might work. I’ll have to consider it more, though, before I implement it.

Speedbumps

Yesterday didn’t work out the way I anticipated [i]at all[/i]. As a result, I didn’t hit any of my goals – not my exercise, not my walking, not even my calorie count. But you know what? I’m all right with that.

I had some car trouble, so my first break was spent calling the garage instead of walking. Then lunch was spent feeling light-headed because I hadn’t eaten a whole lot for breakfast (it really is the most important meal of the day), so I sat and let the food boost my blood sugar back up. I did get some walking in on my last break, but I was already a mile and a half behind goal.

Fortunatly, my car trouble was easily fixed – so easily fixed, in fact, that my garage didn’t even charge me for it. Unfortuantly, it meant that I was delayed in getting my son to his doctor’s appointment. Which led to eating out of the drive-through, and going significantly over my calorie budget because I was tired and hungry and not paying attention. That is a bad state to be in when making dietary decisions, let me tell you.

But, as I said before, I’m all right with what happened. Why? Well, because life happens and sometimes you have deal with things. I still got 3.5 miles in, even with everything that went wrong. And I still burned more calories (according to my FitBit) than I ate. Walking and hitting my calorie budget are important, yes. But so’s my ability to make it to work every day. And so’s my son. And so’s my wife. And if I can’t hit all of my goals one day because all of those things need attention, I’ll pick my family first. They’re the reasons I’m doing all of this, after all.

No excuses today, though. Time to get back to work!

Eating Well: Ham and Bean Soup

In my ongoing effort to stop eating out – both for health and financial reasons – I spent a little time making this soup up yesterday. Everything was prepped the night before and then tossed into the slow cooker around 4 am, and it turned out fine. Better than fine, really, as my wife loved it and my picky five-year-old (who declared that it “smelled funny” after I told him we weren’t going to go out for tacos) declared that he liked it “a little bit”. So, wins all around.

Ham and Bean Soup

Ingredients

12 oz Ham, 492 calories
1 lb dried beans (I used red beans), 1529 calories
1 large onion. 60 calories
1 large carrot, 30 calories
3 celery ribs, 30 calories
4 cups chicken broth, 44 calories
4 cups water

Directions:

  • At least 12 hours before you plan to make the soup, soak you beans by placing them in a large bowl and covering them with about an inch of water.
  • Chop onion, celery, and carrot. I did this the night before, after starting the beans soaking.
  • Place ham in slow cooker.
  • Add beans and vegetables to the slow cooker, followed by the broth and water.
  • Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours.
  • Remove ham from soup and shred as necessary.

Notes:

  • This recipe made 121 ounces of soup, which works out to 14 calories per ounce. A good sized serving is two cups, which weighed out to about 20 ounces. So, you’re looking at about 280 calories per bowl.
  • I used leftover ham from Christmas, which was a hunk of meat attached to bone. It added more flavor, but be sure to discard the bone if you do something similar.
  • You could use canned beans for this, if you wanted.  In that case, you’ll need three cans of beans and you’ll want to drain them.  Check the calories, if you do.
  • After 8 or 9 hours, the vegetables pretty much dissolve into the broth.  Kind of an interesting effect.
  • Stupidly simple? Yes, it was. But food doesn’t have to be complicated to taste good.