Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cheater, Cheater

For the last six weeks, I've been participating in a weight loss challenge at work. I wanted to lose a few pounds (I've lost about four) and basically just kick-start the healthy habits I know are in there. Specifically, I wanted to work on my food journal-writing. All of my trainers made me do this, but it fell by the wayside when I was no longer required to show it to someone else.

I had tried My Fitness Pal before, but find that this time, it's easier to make myself post what I'm eating (there's even an iPhone app!). So I've been plugging along, drinking four 17-ounce bottles of water a day, 2-3 cups of tea, and using the loo a lot.

The best part is not being 5th in the standings (as of last week), as much as it's really learning about what I'm putting into my body. My Fitness Pal shows exactly how many calories, fat grams, protein grams, carbs, sugars, etc. you need each day based on your height, weight, and goals. It modifies them for the day when you input exercise, which I love because I exercise six days a week and need more than the applications' allowed calories for me (1,320 if I want to lose a pound a week) if I want to stay alive. Running makes a lady hungry.

The hardest part of the challenge has been the "no sweets" aspect, and here, I've lost points a time or two because I've allowed myself little indulgences, like a few pieces of Dove chocolate one day, or a cookie another. But last week, it was double points for avoiding sweets, so I put on a brave face and went for it. I figured my one "cheat day" would even things out.

Then I weighed in for the week and found that...I'd maintained my weight to the decimal.

It seems that in weeks when I allow the occasional treat, maybe every 2-3 days, just a small amount of chocolate, I actually lose more weight.

Now, I'm not saying that chocolate is now some magical diet cure-all. It's not. I can't eat six Hershey bars without facing the consequences, but I'm learning that if, 2-3 times a week, I just allow myself that small amount of chocolate amid all the veggies and fruits and lean proteins and crazy workouts, I do a lot better overall, and I'm happy because I don't feel like my diet regime is restrictive...and it's really not, because I eat a lot of flavorful, healthy foods. Still, I want my chocolate sometimes.

This has gotten me thinking about the concept of a "Cheat Day" in dieting. I ran my thoughts by the teacher in charge of the challenge and she agreed that she sometimes overindulges on her "Cheat Day" to make up for all the times in the week she was "good." I do exactly the same thing, and in the long run, it doesn't seem to be successful for me. But when I get my exercise days in, eat a lot of healthy food, and indulge in small treats a few times a week, I'm just fine. But then, eating some Justin's Peanut Butter cups (140 calories for the dark chocolate ones, and better than Reese's!) is a drop in the pan when I have a 4-mile morning run.

It all goes back to a beef I have with the so-called "diet industry" overall--that losing weight is somehow sentencing yourself to never enjoying food again, to always "being good" and never having treats. It's not true! We need to eat to stay alive, but I maintain that food should be enjoyable. Yes, I make mine mostly healthy foods (if you knew how much spinach I consume in any given week, you'd be surprised I'm not green), but there is nothing boring or tasteless about eating a veggie "fajita" of spinach, mushrooms, sweet peppers, onion, garlic and goat cheese, or my daily breakfast of scrambled eggs with veggies and black beans.

The more I learn about my eating habits and how they work for me, the more I realize that I can live a very healthy lifestyle and not feel like I'm cheating of being horrible to myself on those times I indulge in a little bit of something decadent. I hope others can learn that, too, because a healthy lifestyle isn't an all-or-nothing prospect. I don't feel like I've given anything up, except 90 extra pounds...but I've gained so much.

I'm interested in hearing what others have to say about this. Drop a comment!

Sunday, February 23, 2014


I got an impromptu workout tonight, watching the last 10 or so laps of the Daytona 500.

First I paced. 

Then I did a simple little ball-change dance with my feet.

Then I started jumping up and down and screaming.

And then my favorite driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., won the race in commanding fashion. The jumping continued for a few minutes, and the screaming, too. I ran out to the living room to yell, "HE DID IT!!!" to my amused parents (who had gathered that much from the noises coming from my room) while waving my arms in the air and slip-and-sliding on the woods floors in my stockinged feet.

I've been watching Dale since 2001 and I've seen some tremendous highs and some heartbreaking lows. It's been years since he's had a win, though he's had strong finishes, including 2nd place finishes in several Daytona 500s. 

Tonight, he got it, and it was so very, very sweet. 

Congrats, Junebug. Your fans are so proud.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Week in Instagram (Week #66)

Yeah, you could say it was a busy week, what with all that driving to Fresno and back stuff. (P.S. The non-square pics are pics that went on Instagram but didn't get a filter put on them...so my phone saves them as normal. Weird.)


Sleepy Millie

A close-up. That little tooth!

I met Summer in Dixon (about halfway between Lincoln
and Oakland) at a great little tea place. 

Even the bathroom is adorable.

They sell hats. SO tempted.

We walked around a tiny bit after, and there are always
sign pics to be found.

On the sidewalk. Gem spelled backwards is MEG!!


Where magic happens...

Mom's camellia bush is popping! 

Sometimes you just need to squee, but you don't want
to scare your piano students.

Random pic on Tuesday.

I bought myself more daffodils, and also gave some to
Lynn, my colleague, as she was frustrated over some stuff
going on. Later, I got a huge hug and a heartfelt "Thank you!!"

Or tea.

Will it rain?! Spoiler: It didn't.

Mom has been working on this heart project and it
looks amazing. She's so clever with a needle!


Stopped in Modesto on my way to Fresno to use the loo.
Took this from my car at a red light. 

Also ate some Nut-Thins in the car and shared with my

Chowchilla, California.

Also in Chowchilla.

Coming in to Fresno, I actually got off the freeway, doubled
back on a frontage road, just to get this sign. Some signs
are worth it.

Home Sweet Hotel

Clean, comfortable, and I was barely in it all weekend.

Serious, serious issues, and Central California is feeling the
pain more than the rest of us. They feed the world. 

Representing GBHS Choir in my fancy-schmancy polo!

I took these in some little town before I got to Fresno,
but Instagrammed them later.

Near the convention center, where a ton of music educators
would soon gather. 

Fabulous old Armenian church.

Downtown Fresno is a happenin' place. (That would be

We (that would be Lynn and a bunch of people she worked
with once upon a time) had dinner at a steak place.

Delicious, but not as good as Mom's.

I had an eggcicle for breakfast at Starbuck's. 

All official and whatnot. #proud

I took two.

What time is it? Too many sharps.

LOVE this and almost bought one for my room but there
was never anyone on hand to help out.

Email and tea break at Starbuck's. I had way too much time
at Starbuck's this weekend, but when you don't eat fast
food, your options can be limited.

This was the BEST clinic I went to. Very, very informative,
reassured me I'm on the right track, gave me great ideas,
and this Jeb dude was easy on the eyes. And 36. 

Walking to dinner.

We ate here--Basque food, served Basque-style, which means
A LOT of food and very, very yummy.

I kinda went a little crazy on Saturday.

Humans (and pups) of Fresno.

Saw a sign for a historic point of interest, followed it.
It's an old water tower.

Veteran's Memorial Hall

Fresno, it turns out, has a ton of old theaters. I adore
old theaters. They're all being used for other things now,
but their exteriors are glorious.

Downtown Fresno reminds me so much of downtown
Stockton...a city that must once have been really,
really nice, but is now dying. They're sad places, but I
sort of have a soft spot for them.

Another old theater.

Look at that ceiling!!

From across the street.

Sadly, many of downtown Fresno's fountains are dry.

Detail. It was hard to get great pics, even utilizing Instagram's
many filters, because of the early morning sun.

Best mural? Possibly.

Another fabulous mural. This was a pull over, stop, get the
pic opportunity. 

Another old theater.

Back at the convention center. I can't believe this rapey,
misogynistic song has a BAND SCORE. FOR KIDS.
I bought a djembe for my choir (we're doing an African
song) and all is well in my world. It's green. School color!

More wandering. So few people out and about early on a

A sculpture in honor of the Armenian community in Fresno
and absolutely marvelous.

Some of the great details.

I love street art.

This sign was fabulous. Sad I couldn't get a better one,
but I was in a hurry to get moving towards home.


Top Gas

On my way home, I stopped at the Stockton gym to work
out. G. the Meanie wasn't in, but it was fun to get a
workout in where it all started for me. 

They have this new apparatus and it is awesome.

So, over 70 pics this week. Many adventures, all Wild and Absolutely True. ; )