March 9, 2012

Roses and thorns

I lost 4 pounds this week, for a total loss of 154 pounds. I'm not all that shocked, as I logged more exercise the past few days than I did for the whole three weeks that I didn't have a bike. I'm certain that the huge loss is due to the spike in activity level.

It feels good to have lost two weeks in a row.

It feels really great to be able to record my lowest weigh-in since (yikes) the first week of August.

It feels amazing to be this close to the 180s, a new and important decade - at 185 pounds, I am no longer obese per the BMI, "only" overweight. A huge milestone, overweight means between a BMI 25 and 29.9; I started at 55.7.

Best of all, it feels fantastic to be in control of my eating again. I took a few rest days this week to catch up on work and sleep, and still lost a good amount of weight. I owe this entirely to having balanced eating. I didn't go out and bike 2+ hours a day to undo bad eating, and I didn't use great workouts to justify poor eating. I've been eating well, and have even tried cooking non-Lean Cuisine lunches - usually some chicken and roasted veggies, or a measured portion of pasta (I'm fine with it as long as I only cook one serving at a time).

I'm noticing patterns with my eating, that I am very hungry in the morning to early afternoon, but not hungry when I get to work or after. So I've been listening to my body and responding accordingly, eating most of my day's calories before heading to the office around 1 or 2 p.m., and then having a light dinner when I get home around 7:30, if I am hungry. A bigger lunch than dinner makes sense - in Chicago, I had a small lunch with an afternoon snack a few hours later, then went to the gym after work, and had a big dinner. Here, I exercise, then have a big lunch, then head to work (where I no longer keep any snacks). Listening to hunger cues and not having myself eat based on a clock has been really interesting, and I think I can safely say it's working out quite well.

Huge NSV for me: for snacks, I've had mostly fruits and vegetables, with the exception of some Girl Scout cookies I bought last weekend. I put them in sandwich bags with 1-2 servings in each and wrote the number of calories on the bag, then had some every day until they were gone. A box of Girl Scout cookies has never lasted me more than 10 minutes. These lasted several days! I'm not running out to go buy more - mostly because my craving has been satisfied and I just don't want any more right now. But also, because even though I'm going to enjoy the feeling of the victory, I also know my personal limits and don't want to get ahead of myself, especially when I am doing so well again at long last.

Non-weight wise, this was a busy week. Good, just busy. Lots of things to do for work - I am very much looking forward to spring break! I am flying out to Chicago two weeks from today, spending most of the week there, with an overnight in San Francisco on the way back to break up the traveling a bit ... and also to see more of the city since Matt and I just did a quick whirlwind tour of a lot of big sights. This time, I want to see parks, gardens, used bookstores! So this weekend I'll be taking breaks from my pile of grading to make itineraries for both cities. For Chicago, Matt and I talked about a day trip somewhere, but we're not sure just yet. His birthday is a few weeks after spring break, plus he's been losing weight too (in onederland as of yesterday! so proud of him - and he looks SO good! :] ), so I want to do something really special.

What about you? How was your week? Brag about your NSVs! Also - any suggestions for Chicago or San Francisco sights to see?

March 7, 2012

On the road again

Blogging hasn't been at the front of my mind for a few days - I've been busy, but nothing entirely update-worthy. So here's a random smattering of recent updates.

This has been a very busy week - most of my weekend was spent grading exams, and this week so far has been a lot of preparation for upcoming assignments. It's not difficult work, just time-consuming and time-sensitive.

The best part of the weekend was taking breaks from the piles of exams and riding my bike around in the absolutely gorgeous weather - sunny and 60º-70º every day, and it even hit 78º the other day! Though, the most important part of this update is the fact that I have a bike again, and I love him.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Gus:

I do not know why I named him that, I don't know anyone named Gus (though Tim does, and his Gus is pretty awesome). But as I wheeled the bike out of the shop Friday morning, I looked down and the first thought in my mind was "your name is Gus."

From the bike shop, I rode out to the lake by the university, then home - a good ride, but not so much as to overdo it, since I haven't ridden in weeks. It felt so good to be back on wheels!

I found a local cycling club, as well as a century ride in a neighboring town in a few months, but both are not possible for me right now. The cycling club does group rides on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, but you need to be able to maintain 18-28 miles per hour for the ride (they're 20-60 mile rides, depending on the weather). The century ride, as well, asks that riders be comfortable with maintaining "a comfortable pace of 17-19 miles an hour on flats." My longest ride here has been about 35 miles, and I can do about 13-14 miles per hour, but figuring in a few hills, I tend to average around 12 miles per hour. Continuing to lose weight will help me with speed, for sure, so I have even more inspiration to keep focused with my eating.

In the meantime, it's just nice to be back riding.

I've certainly missed how good it makes me feel. Other things that have made me feel really fantastic lately:

1. Getting my little garden ready - I have a little patio but no real backyard, so I'm a bit limited with what I can grow. I started some peppers, tomatoes, basil, and lavender ... might expand and add more, we'll see.

2. Having incredible friends who reach out and help me find my bearings when I feel lost and start to struggle.

3. Expanding my local offline support system. I've been spending my Tuesday nights with a few university faculty/staff who want to practice their French - we meet up for coffee/tea and conversation, and it's a lot of fun. I decided not to make the same mistake that I did with the book club, and have openly discussed my weight loss from the beginning. Last night, one of the coffee group members was asking me for advice about training for a half marathon, and let me tell you, it is so, so wonderful to feel as if I am being taken seriously. Yes, I am big. Yes, I am a half marathoner. It's not so unbelievable.

4. And speaking of running, my university has an annual on-campus 5k race, and I told my students I'd offer bonus points on an exam if they participated. They cheered, and I'm going to let myself believe it was for the idea of running with me, and not for the promise of extra credit. I told them that "pretty much the only thing I love more than everything French is racing," and it's wonderful to know that it's a true statement.

5. Thinking about spring break and summer travel plans. I got my official job offer for teaching a summer course, which is great - I have already budgeted and saved enough to cover all my summer bills/living expenses, so the summer job means a whole nother paycheck I hadn't counted on. My friend Lorelei from back in Chicago and I have talked about going to France for a few weeks. I have a list on my desk of things I want to write whole blog posts about, and one of them is about weight loss and money; very short version, it's weird to finally have a job that pays well enough that I can travel. I'm still hesitant to make serious plans until I have an official job offer for the next full academic year, but it's been nice to daydream about going on an adventure. At the very least, I'll be in Chicago for part of spring break (including running the Shamrock Shuffle 8k again!), then a day in San Francisco on the way back.

So, things are quite good right now. I'm moving around, my eating is on point, and I'm staying busy with work.

What about you? What little things are making you smile these days?