You Take The Good, You Take The Bad

You take it all and then you have…  Well, if you’re my age, you have a flashback moment to an annoying sitcom from the 80s.  Which was, if you stop and think about it, thirty years ago.  Which goes to show how much television I watch these days, if a bunch of my pop culture references are three decades out of date.

Anyway, I’m not here to talk about the facts of life.  I’m here to reflect on my week, which is a combination of good and bad.  To the good, I’ve hit my walking goal every day so far and most of my exercise goals.  To the bad, I’ve been sort of ignoring my calorie budget.  I was good with it one day, came near it two other days, and sort of blew through it two more days.  So, I’m thinking I probably held my ground on the weight.  Which is the bad, because I really wanted to see some progress this week.  Still, life happens.

I’m not moping, though.  I’m just trying to recognize that I made some mistakes, and to figure out why.  And most of that “why” comes down to “poor planning”.  I didn’t plan out making my breakfasts and lunches in advance, so I had to eat out.  And that leads to eating more than I should.  Also, having cash or a debit card on me makes snacking easier.  And if I’m already primed by eating out, it’s a whole lot harder to discipline myself and not snack.

Long story short, I need to prep my meals in advance for next week.  Important lesson, that.

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Eating Well: Peanut Butter and Jelly

I thought for sure, last night, that I’d have a new recipe to share with you today.  It seemed like it would be a win, because it was a cheeseburger macaroni casserole and I love that sort of thing.  And the calories wouldn’t even have been all that bad, really.  I did the math in advance, this time.

And then I ate it.

Well, let’s be honest here.  I ate part of it.  The first bite was just sort of, well, boring.  The second was unpleasant, and then I started getting this aftertaste.  And my son, who I’ve told time and again has to try the recipe before asking if he can have something different, gamely tried it as well.  Then, after his third bite, he looks at me.  “Dad?  This tastes funny.”

“Yeah, it does.  Doesn’t it?” I reply.

“Do I have to eat it?” he asks.

“No,” I decide, then and there.  “No, you don’t.  And I don’t either.”

So we threw it away, and we had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and fruit for dinner.  I won’t bother with the actual “recipe” for that meal, though.  Because it’s PBJ.

Man, though.  That specific cheeseburger casserole recipe was gross.

Walking

The nice thing about all the walking I do these days isn’t the opportunity for weight loss.  I mean, sure.  That’s why I started it, and that’s what I’m hoping will come out of it as I get myself back on track with my goals.  But it really isn’t the best part about walking.  Weight loss is a side effect, these days.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned the nature trails at my place of work.  They’re really quite nice, particularly when you consider that I work in a call center for a national financial firm and that they could have just set us up in a windowless concrete box somewhere.  But, instead, I can get out and wander up and down trails that lead through trees and over a (usually dry) creek bed, and that end at one point with a spectacular view of the nearby town.  And there’s a lot of flowering shrubs and trees and parasitical plants, too.  Dogwood and honeysuckle, mostly.  They beat twelve kinds of hell out of my sinuses if I don’t keep up my allergy medicine, but there’s a subtle sort of perfume that fills the trails.  Not heavy and cloying, either.  Just enough that you take a deep breath and you think to yourself “I’m glad I’m outside.”

I hit those trails on my breaks, weather permitting.  Sometimes – like now, because my legs are a little sore from the exercises I’ve been doing – I try to talk myself out of going for walks when they start.  “I’m tired,” I’ll say.  Or, “I’m sore.”  And I’m sure that I don’t want to go, and that it’s going to be a chore, and that I’ll hate doing it.  But then I get outside, and the weather is just warm enough and just cool enough to be pleasant, and the floral scents hit on a gentle breeze, and I can feel myself unwind.  I start walking, feeling the concrete sidewalks give way to the shifting gravel of the trail, and I start to relax.

Sure, I walk for exercise these days.  But also, I walk just to walk.

Failing To Save Time

Things went a little off the rails yesterday, because I had to leave work early to take care of my son.  He was sick, and my work has a more generous policy revolving around using sick time to take care of children, so it fell on my shoulders to take him to the doctor.  Fortunately, it turned out to be allergies and he’s doing just fine now.  But it means I fell short on my walking goal, and I didn’t do such a great job of sticking with my calorie goals, and yadda yadda yadda.

What happened?  Well, he was hungry when we left the doctor’s office – it was around noon, which is when he has lunch at Kindergarten, and instead of doing the smart thing and going home and making peanut butter and jelly, I did the quick thing and went to McDonalds.  Didn’t even think about it.  Just hit the drive through, which is the strangest part.  We ate at home anyway, so what was the point of going through the drive through?  It’s not like we saved any time or anything.

Still, no beating myself up.  I’m feeling good, right now.  I had my breakfast and lunch packed last night and ready to go, so I got up and did part of my daily exercises before I got out of the shower.  Yes, at 3:30 a.m., I was doing planks and rotator cuff exercises and working on my legs.  It felt… well, to be honest, it felt really strange.  But I was nice and awake once I was done, so that was nice.

Forget Cake, Weekends Are My Kryptonite

I’ve discovered a distressing recent trend in my life:  I’ll do just fine with my calorie budgets through the week, and then utterly lose control and blow through the limits on the weekend.  I mean, I blow through it in a “I didn’t even bother to track it” sort of way.  This is not a good trend to have, particularly since I refuse to give up weekends.  They are, after all, kind of vital for maintaining my sanity.

Time to make sure I’m cooking and eating meals at home during the weekend, I suppose.  Which, really, shouldn’t be as big a hardship as that makes it sound.

All that walking last week seems to have paid off, though.  I started the week at 315 pounds(!), and ended at 313.2 pounds, so not too bad.  Probably would have been better had I done a better job controlling my calorie intake all week, but let’s not dwell on the negatives here.  Instead, let’s focus on the fact that I averaged 5.98 miles a day last week, which is not bad at all and which I credit for the success I had.  Now (as I make one of those overly simplistic statements that disguise just how hard some of this really is), I just need to combine all of that walking with better control of my calorie intake in order to see some significant success.

Easy, right?

Well. That’s annoying.

I know for a fact that I was over five miles of walking yesterday.  How do I know this?  Because I walked 1.7 miles before bed, and when I started I had 4.6 miles logged on my FitBit.  But, well, I forgot to make sure to sync the FitBit with my phone before I went to bed.  And now, the app is showing that I walked only 3.99 miles.  It isn’t a disaster or anything, because I still know what I did.  But it skews my records, you know?

Ah, well.  If that’s the worst thing that happens today, it’ll still be a good day.

Yesterday was incredibly successful, though.  I hit my walking goal (even if the FitBit doesn’t want to admit it), I got all my exercise in, and I came in under my calorie budget!  Yay, me!  Now, I just need to do it again today.

Let’s Get Physical, Physical

I got all hot and sweaty with my wife last night.

See, we’re going to our personal trainer together, as a way of helping motivate one another, and I got run ragged.  A few weeks back, the first time we went, we were instructed by our trainer to text her when we stopped feeling sore.  I got up the next day, and wasn’t feeling sore at all.  So I texted her and said “at the risk of you kicking my butt next week, I feel fine.”

She took that to heart.  I’ve been a little sore the next day, each and every time I’ve gone back after that.

So, what did she have me do?  Well, a total of 12 minutes on an elliptical machine (5 to warm up, 7 to cool down) and 5 minutes on a treadmill.  But not just walking, no sir.  What I had to do was walk forward for twenty steps or so, then turn sideways and “gorilla walk” for twenty steps, then walk forward again, then turn sideways to the other side and “gorilla walk” again.  Then I got to do squats with a ten pound weight that I had to swing up into the air, and the “Superman”.  You know the one.  You get down on your hands and knees and stretch out your right arm and left leg, and then your left arm and right leg.  That one.  Then it was on to running around cones.  Sideways.  While facing forward, constantly.  And after that came the worst exercise of the lot:  bouncing a ball against a wall.

You laugh, but it was brutal.  Keep your arms at shoulder level and hold the ball against your head.  Then bounce it into the wall, and catch it on the rebound.  Repeat, for one minute.  My arms – specifically, my triceps – were gelatin by the end.

I did all of that twice.  Well, not the treadmill.  By the end, I was dripping with sweat.  Even now, my arms and legs aren’t sore (well, maybe my calves and thighs, a little), but I’ve got a whole lot of muscles telling me “hey, we’re here.  Pay attention.”

Man.  It was great!