On Friday, I did something very exciting. I came home from the gym and did this:
I have a little calender where I give myself a sticker every time I work out or am active. (Like on Saturday, where we walked probably three miles around town, even though it wasn't taxing.) That visual reward seems to work fairly well for me.
Though I'd been faithful about going to the gym once a week since we joined last September, in April I realized that it wasn't making much of a difference. I told myself I needed to go twice a week. And except for a really busy end of August, I have kept up with that.
So even though it doesn't mean anything numbers-wise, it's kind of exciting to finish off a whole sheet of stickers and know that it represents me working out or at least working on a goal of being more active!
What about results? Yeah...I don't know about that. I take a phone shot of the scale after my workout (at the gym; we don't have one at home), so that I could see/track any changes. I haven't been scientific about it, but recently I saw one from last October, and I was around 143. Now I'm around 148. And for a few weeks I was just over 150! That is the very highest range for me, and it's a little depressing to know that I've gained weight over the last year, while working out.
I am in my thirties now (I'm 32! What the heck!), and I've started to see the truth in the metabolism slow-down that happens. I'd hoped that by kicking up the workouts a bit, that would help. I guess not so much. Though I do use weights and when I was young I felt pretty muscular. In my head I'm still like that; the mirror sometimes tells me a different story. (But some days, like Friday, I was feeling kind of good about the reflection. But maybe that's just the flattering workout clothes. In my pj's I promise I look and feel fatter.)
Which brings me to another goal for 2011: track everything I eat for a week. Just because.
I searched on my iPhone for an app and the first one I saw was SparkPeople. It's a whole diet and fitness tracker, which is way more than I was looking for. (I hate the word diet and I've never been on one, and I don't ever plan to start.) But I was game for the challenge and gave it a go.
I actually kept it up for two or three weeks. The food tracking was kind of fun, in a sorting kind of way. And it was interesting to know how many calories were in the things that I eat. (I was impressed every time I ate a banana or apple or salad how few calories are in Real Food.) It took me a week to realize that my daily calorie goal was 1570-1920 and how low that is! That's not a lot of food. (Again, Real Food helps. So does water. [Oh my goodness, two weeks ago I suddenly tried water with half a fresh squeezed lemon--so delicious!]) But it makes sense, since that's a diet program, that you have to cut down on calories, or at least manage them.
I found two things, neither of which are surprising:
1. A few times I decided not to eat a snack or extra nibble because I knew I had to keep track of it.
2. There were plenty of times that I was full or at least not hungry, and therefore didn't need to eat. Some days I was a little surprised at how few items were on my list of meals/snacks.
And a third duh one: Going out to eat really screws you up! There were a couple times that we went out and my calories were over 3,000 for the day!
Baking doesn't help either. Or parties. Last week at our party I had lots of nachos and two pieces of that delicious Costco cake. This past week I've had more cake, plus cookies and brownies. My tummy thanks me but my thighs won't!
The fitness tracker was also fun; I liked burning more than the "daily goal" in my trip to the gym. (Though I was irritated that you only get credit for calories in cardio and not for strength as well; that's not fair.) They give you suggested exercises and you can watch demos too. I sometimes feel at a loss with free weights and abs (because I do the same few things every time), so I was glad to have some new suggestions. I started tracking some more things with the GPS on RunKeeper and found that I do a fair amount of walking in general, just to the train and around to errands and things. I should get a pedometer; that would help motivate me to keep moving.
This past week I petered out on the whole thing. I didn't exactly have a goal when I started; I was curious about my eating habits. I'm not sure that I want to or need to continue tracking (that's a lot of effort for not dieting).
I do have some takeaways that I need to be better about focusing on:
1. I would like to get back to 145 at the highest, closer to 140 if possible.
2. To do that, I need to be active three times a week.
3. I need to be better about eating fruit and veggies.
4. I'm a grazer; sometimes I feel like I eat all day long. I need to temper that with more water and healthier snacks. (Nuts are great, but man, they will eat up your calories!)
5. I also need to eat less often and pay attention to the times that I am or am not hungry.