My Better Half


We had an early rise and shine this morning as we started our official race season with the My Better Half Marathon (and 10k/5k).  Last year I was so lonely racing. I met friends there but once you cross the start line and start running, you’re pretty much on your own.  I don’t like to pace with anyone as I hate to feel like I’m holding someone back, so the celebration at the end is usually a lonely affair with me grabbing swag and scooting to my car asap.  This year I cut my race quantity in half so I could bring a friend to my races.  I spent just as much on enrollment but I’ll have a kid or two with me on each race!  

Today it was all three of us; I ran the 5k with Jude while Gigi ran the 10k. Last year Gigi won first place and a blanket for the 10k, so hopes were high as we headed out.  We knew there were prizes for the top three in each category, but also knew that little kids were more likely to run the 5k, so Jude probably wouldn’t win, while Gigi had a fighting chance; not many kids sign up for the 10k.  Jude trucked around there, chatting it up with fellow runners, sharing information about races he’d run prior…  yep.  He was ‘that guy’.  I finally had to tell him to let people focus as the lady he was talking to was gasping for breath and there’s this little chatterbug next to her asking questions a million miles an hour…  but goodness he was cute.


We reached the end faster than anyone expected.  Jude was surprised at how easy three miles felt after sufficient training and declared that he loves races, medals and running, but made it clear that it’s only fun at races.  Training is not fun but he’s willing to do it for the bling and bragging rights of races.  He let me know that he is interested in running the 10k next year.  My proud mama buttons kinda burst right then.  And if they popped then they sure flew themselves across the room when both of my kids placed third in their age divisions!!!  They each earned a cupcake to nibble on tonight.

I make no secret of my love for Orca Races and ran a bunch of them last year, before I became a running ambassador.  Our next one is coming up for St. Patrick’s Day: The Kirkland Shamrock Run!  You should come, too, and if you do, use my code: tamarashazam17 for 10% off!

Adjusting my Dial


Goodness gracious!  Last week I must have been riding my high horse of success and I had big ideas of what I was going to accomplish when I made my workout goals!  Wow!  I planned on running, walking, lifting and losing fat like a badass.  But I didn’t.  Life happens, you know, and then there you are at the end of an endless day of chasing second graders around the classroom nonstop wondering why ever you committed to running a 5k AND six miles AND 3 lifting sessions AND…  Nope.  Last week I was served a big glass of nope on Monday morning and it kind of carried me through the week. 

 I decided, however, to not see it as nope, but rather as a dial adjustment.  My studly friend Denise posted this article about the dial versus the switch the other day to Facebook and it’s been in my head ever since.  In essence, the author suggests that you think of your health as a dial.  Instead of getting busy and taking a break from your health goals, it’s suggested that you dial back your expectations to what you can do rather than stopping or failing altogether.  So this week when things got crazy, I realized I had the energy to eat well and get my steps in but I might not have the energy to meet the rest of my fitness goals.  Then, later in the week, I literally crawled into bed at about 5:00 and fell asleep by 8:30.  I actually woke up around 9:30 wondering why Gigi was up so darn late!  Ha !  Anyhow, I’m living by the dial.  Adjusting as necessary. I’m being gentle with myself.  Last week marked the halfway point of the year as well as a pound lost.  Pilgrims progress in the right direction!


The rest of the week, outside of my failed fitness goals, was a balance of odd, sad and personally fulfilling:

  • I dug up the old picture of my mom and I from several years ago and it was fun to see how much things have changed.  
  • I came home on Tuesday to find my medal rack hung up and it was such a pleasant surprise to have that honeydo checked off!  It’s my new favorite corner.  
  • A close family friend of our died suddenly at a hockey game last weekend from a massive heart attack so I headed to the service this weekend.  He was one of my blueprints for adulthood- a real Mister Rogers type who loved everyone and accepted all.  He loved his wife passionately and I decided early on that I needed to find a husband who would love me like Johnny loved Lynda.  He was one of those grown ups who saw kids and made them feel special, and I was a kid who needed a lot of special.  It was a sad surprise for sure.  My brothers and I all came to show our respects and represent our family, and it was a rare sibling sighting for the three of us so we grabbed a pictureto commemorate the moment.  
  • We spent Sunday at Cafe Lj.  We boiled some eggs, set out some bagels and made a cafe downstairs complete with music, candles and a fireplace.  We spent the day cuddling with our kids, reading, drawing and nibbling on snacks while the snow fell.  A perfect day!


This week in high- fiber, clean-eatin’ macros lunches!!!  By the way, all of my plasticware is from Ikea.  Super reasonable price and it seems to be lasting. 

(I got so sick of sweet potatoes, y’all.  I had to have something new!)

Progress


Well.  I met my January goals.  I needed to run five 5k’s, I planned to lose ten pounds and I wanted to try lifting weights five times.  I actually exceeded my goal everywhere except the scale.  There I ‘only’ met my goal, and I couldn’t feel happier.  I don’t feel hungry enough to be losing weight.  It’s weird. But I’ll take it.  🙂 

The Food


The greatest curiosity for me, when trying to untangle the snarl that is eating by macros, has been what do people eat?  I follow plenty of ladies on Instagram who regularly snap a shot of this beautiful, healthy food, but I have no idea of measurements or anything.  For me, I learn visually and seeing the food people eat has been helpful, so this week I decided to snap a few picture as I prepped my lunches.  I’m certainly still not meeting my macros splits, but I’m adjusting as I go, tweaking here and there, and I think I should start being a little more accurate with time.  For now, though, this is what I’ll be eating around noon (and 10:00 snacktime) all week long:

Sweet Potatoes & Tofurkey (339 calories):

  • 3 oz roasted sweet potatoes
  • 100 g tofurkey
  • 1 T sour cream

Chicken Crunch Salad (431 calories):

  • 3 oz cabbage
  • 2 oz shredded carrot
  • 3 oz Morningstar chik 
  • 15 g each: ramen, sunflower seeds, almonds
  • Dressing: 1/4t sugar, 1t rice vinegar, 1/2 t oil
  • This is higher in carbs and fat than I’d like and I’ll be playing with it.

Snack (215 calories):

  • 3 oz carrots
  • 4 T hummus
  • 50 g tofurkey (5 slices)


What I know for sure is that last week was quite successful and I didn’t even do it close to right.  Over time as I improve my splits I imagine that my progress will only become more significant.  I’m so excited that I seem to have found something that’s helping me over this hump!  I think that the most important thing is that shifting to macros has allowed me the opportunity to turn a magnifying glass onto my eating.  I’m tracking it closely , monitoring myself, seeing progress and it’s very motivating.  I feel like I’m finally working that whole ‘abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym’ thought process and I’m really paying attention to keeping that balance.

*To Paula- I’ll also be making a few dinnertime posts as I continue to puzzle this out.  The vegetarian thing has definitely been tricky and is why I’m being so lenient for now.  😉 Love that you’re interested, too!

Limitless

The other day I found myself, at 9:30 at night, with about 500 steps left to take to meet my goal of getting 10,000 steps per day. Instead of getting dressed, going downstairs, turning on the treadmill and meeting my goal down there, I decided to just step into my bathroom/walk-in closet to see if I could get my steps completed right there. I wouldn’t have to change my clothes, leave the room or alert anybody to the fact that I was doing something really active during a time which is a quiet time at my house. Bradley snored just on the other side of the bathroom door while I marched back-and-forth, from my toilet to my shoe rack, and considered what I have figured out. What I have figured out is that I am only limited by the limitations that I see around me. I’m only limited by the fear that I have of failing, becoming injured, percieved lack of access, someone else’s opinion or something else intangible that I can’t think of at this very second. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert or somebody who is qualified to give a lot of advice, but at the same time I see myself as a person who, previously, executed her life in a very specific and regimented kind of way that allowed her to tell herself untruths thereby making those fears a greater reality than they ever deserved to be.

We were lucky duckies last night and got to dress up for an eighties party. it was so much fun!

As I paced back-and-forth, my mind went into kind of a bizarre fantasy realm. I thought about what if I were trapped in this space for a long period of time?  I took stock of the sink, the shower, toilet, my clothes, shoes and everything else that was in there and realized I could sustain a life in my bathroom and closet for a period of time, as long as somebody delivered food to me, like a prisoner.  Goodness.  I sound twisted.  Anyhow, I also realized that in this limited amount of space, I could keep it active and fit lifestyle. While it would certainly be limited by the distance I would be able to go or the speed I would be able to achieve, I could still do enough walking to get 10,000 steps in a day, I could still do some lifting, and certainly can do plenty of cardio to stay in shape in a small space. This led me to realize that I have the ability, along with many other humans, to put a lot of walls up in front of myself that prevent me from making choices that will make me healthier.  In other words, I am willing to allow fear of failure to guide my choices rather than smart, common sense thinking unless I am proactive.

I believe I can be rather creative when it comes to opportunities to get my workouts in. I will try almost anything. The small bit of experience over the last four years that I have with being an active person tells me that until you try it, you really don’t know if you’re going to like it or not.  I have learned that it’s silly to fight myself in workouts, though. If I have decided that outside it’s too cold, then I go out and run, usually I’m not very happy during the whole run. It’s much better for me to make a negotiation with myself than to force myself to do something that I really don’t want to do. To that end I have come up with a lot of different ways of running or getting it done. Sometimes I get a lot of feedback about how I am torquing my hips or knees or people are concerned about damage being done to my feet. I look at that as fears and walls. I’ve talked to my doctor about what I’m doing, I listen to my body and believe that I don’t do those tight, small, rotation workouts consistently enough to have them make a negative impact on me long term.  I also try to balance out the thinking I have that I can skip the workout or negotiate to walk laps and at least do something.  As a result, I rarely skip working out and almost always find an alternative.

My entire point is that when working out gets tiresome, you can give yourself a break by trying something different.  Don’t allow your attitude or fear to misguide you.  Don’t limit yourself with rules about the way you do things or the way you are.  Negotiate and find something that will work for you right now.

  • I love walking laps around my kitchen island and table.  I still get to be in the thick of my family’s life, get to watch tv, help with homework and all of that good stuff while meeting my step goals.
  • I love to walk (or jog) laps in my kids’ summer pool (in summer when it’s blazing hot!). But this summer I got a blister.  Apparently I need to invest in aquasox or something.
  • Wander runs are when I’m bored with a route and start just being like a dog and running toward anything that looks interesting.  It’s disorganized and crazy, which, when I’m non commital to a distance or timing, is helpful and allows me to be rebellious in my own weird way.
  • When my kids are playing outside I will often turn on some music and will dance all over my patio.  Like, those big, dorky moves that you’d never try in public along with toddler-like marching.  I monitor my heartrate and step count to make sure I’m being productive, but otherwise don’t take myself too seriously.  I sometimes wonder what the neighbors think of me in the summer…😂
  • On rainy days when I just can’t run inside on the treadmill or kitchen laps, I head to our local high school or elementary school.  The walkways are usually flat, level, paved, covered, lit, clean and security swings by every once in a while so you’re kinda safe, too, at least in my hood.  No one runs around at schools, either, so you usually have the run of the place.  The kids can play and run around while I get mine.  
  • During recess at school you can often find me walking laps around my classroom while I read my math book or think through something.  I believe I look obsessive.  Lol.
  • I must add that exercising close to home or in my home allows me to quit whenever I want, so commitment isn’t as big of an issue starting out.  Plus I’m usually much more likely to go longer and meet my intended goal.
  • And, as always, kegels and butt squeezes; kegels and butt squeezes, at all stoplights.😋

It Worked!


Guinevere and I stepped up our training a little bit today with our first ‘longer than a 5k’ run.  While I don’t have an official longer distance that I have to run until March, my kid is running a 10k on 2/12 at the My Better Half Marathon*!  It’s time to get our running legs under us!  It’s fun to know that my starting point is the 5k, now.  I often think back to my first 30 seconds, my first full block length, and eventually, my first mile.  Every one of those first was intimidating and arduous.  I didn’t believe in myself and had to keep taking baby steps in order to prove that I had it in me.  I never thought I would be as capable as I am now…  Anyhow, we are a little slow right now (well, it’s me who is slow, truthfully), but it felt good to push outside of the comfort zone and push a longer distance than I’ve run since the injury.  It was wonderful to reconnect with the kiddo and talk about stuff.  She’s got some strong feelings about being a feminist and young woman in this current climate and it was pretty interesting to hear her perspective.  

And it was shocking to see the number 205 on the scale when I got home!  Yesterday I reported feeling porky and heavy, but in the interest of monitoring my new food plan I decided I needed all of the current data and braved the scale.  I still feel porky and heavy, but maybe that’s just because I’m chock full of protein, still!  Needless to say, I’m sticking with this food plan.  I’m excited to see what happens as I stick with it!  

*Be sure to use code tamarashazam17 when you register for an extra 10% off!

Macros Update: AKA What I Learned 


Today I was that person you see at Panera’s and you wonder how they managed to bring so much stuff with them!  Did they move in?  Did they have help?  And why do they need all of that crap, anyways?!  Yep, I did need it all.  I was writing report cards today!  I actually did have help carrying my computer, basket of science notebooks, bin of filed student writing, my iPad, planner and more.  Imagine my irritation at hauling all of that into the first Panera and the wifi was out.  This girl needs wifi to complete report cards, so we found another and nestled in for a few hours.  I tell you what: today was the most productive and fun report card writing session I’ve had in ever.  This will be a repeat event!

Going in, I knew I’d be compromising my eating plan for the day today.  I mean, coffee and a pastry were in order to get the report cards going.  Up to this point, and really, the rest of the day today, I’d color my week pretty successful.  I have yet to meet my macros splits, though.  It is HARD to do!!  What I did do, however, was pay really close attention to eating clean, tracking my food and learning a lot about the food that I eat.

  • I found out that vegetarian protein is seriously tricky to find enough of.  Most fake meat is also packed full of carbs, so opportunities for ‘fun’ carbs all but disappears.  Like, my max ‘carb’, in the traditional sense of the word, has been pared down to 1/4 a cup of brown rice.  And even that seems like too much mathematically, but I’m easing into this a bit and still want a little rice.
  • I am ALWAYS eating protein.  Like, my rule has become: eat the protein first then fill in the gaps later.  But I still haven’t met my protein intake once.
  • I’m stuffed.  I eat and eat and eat.  I feel like a cow, chewing on my cud forever.  Sometimes at lunch I look down at my bowl of food and sigh, like, damn.  Gotta finish that.  And despite being stuffed full of high fiber, high protein food and my tummy is not growling, I still obsess over something sweet at the end of the day.  Can you say sugar addiction?  
  • I feel good.  Like, healthy and energetic kind of good.  I know it’s a good thing if I feel like this.
  • I discovered new to me yummy foods. Roasted sweet potatoes are pretty amazing.  I made an clean avocado dressing that was super simple and yum.*
  • I understand why people need cheat days, now.  I’ve never eaten quite this clean before.  Allowing the treat of the pecan braid seemed totally reasonable and without need for justification unlike ever before.  I’m really proud of how I’m eating right now.  It feels whole and healthy and so pure that the pecan roll was hardly a drop in my bucket.  If that makes sense.  
  • I think I need to adjust my calories a little.  I’m not losing anything, I’m not gaining, but I’m feeling porky and stuffed all the time which doesn’t exactly make me want to hustle around the block at all.   Right now I’m supposed to eat a little over 1800.  I have eaten between 1200-1300 during the week and felt weighed down.  think if I just stop putting pressure on myself to meet the calories and just focus on the 40/40/20 (carbs/protein/fat) split at each meal, I might be more successful.
  • I think I need to change my sweet morning coffee habit.  I think it’s responsible to starting my day off high in cheap, easy carbs.  I love that habit.  I think I’ll hang on just until I run out…  (I may or may not have a fridge with a huge reserve…😂)
  • I focused on making the wrong kinds of food during my prep day.  I focused on lots of vegetables and way too many grains and ended up scurrying around for protein.  This time I’ll know much better how to prepare.

In other news, I’ve entered into a step competition with a few friends via our Garmin devices ….  Can you say motivating?!?!  It’s not even that I want to win.  I just don’t want to fail, and if I don’t make my 10,000 steps each day, I fail.  This just offers great motivation!  Plus, I love seeing the totals add up for each of us every day.  😊

* Cube and toss sweet potatoes with a small amount of oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Bake at 325 for 25-35 minutes and enjoy heartily.       

 Blend one regular sized avocado, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, salt, and a small clove of garlic.  Add a tablespoon or two of plain yogurt if you want to get fancy.  This was nice as salad dressing and as a condiment/dip like you would use ranch.  But avocado flavored because you can’t escape that.  😉 

**Not that I need to justify it or anything, but I wasn’t just playing hooky and living it up at Panera with my report cards.  I also had a dr. Appt.  I just chose to focus on the best part of my day.  ❤️

Planner Update


Really, now, Tamara.  How exciting is it to read about someone else’s planner?!?!?  Ha ha!  I have to confess something though: I got a new one!  I know, my other one is literally less than three weeks old, but I was really unhappy with it.  The problem for me was that it had the days arranged in a horizontal pattern but I like the vertical design like what is used in my teaching planners and I think it was just a matter of teaching an old dog new tricks: I just couldn’t get comfortable.  I promised myself I’d stick out the year with the planner I bought, but then Michael’s put all planners on sale for ten bucks.  SOLD!  So I came home and transferred all of my old stuff over, made some new layouts and I’m back in business.

I wasn’t sure the planner was going to work for me at all.  After all, I’ve never been a planner girl.  But I find that the act of putting stickers on, adding washi tape and looking at the week really just makes me process the week a little better.  While making it pretty I’m also laying groundwork to meet goals.  As my own personal trainer, it’s been important to set goals or suggest activities to myself in stronger moments so that in weaker moments I’ve done the work that will help keep me on the right path.  In the end, I want this planner to be a collection of my experiences and accomplishments at the end of the year.  If I don’t meet my goals then I’m not going to want to look at the silly thing.  For now though, pleasing myself means I still get to spend time making pretty pages, buying stickers and I get to keep on planning my tail off!  In the meantime though, I’ve actually found it to be even more useful than I thought.  It makes sense to write down important dates and to keep track of appointments.  I store my goals in there and am surprised at how often I refer to them as a reminder.  I write down all of my weight lifting presses, lifts and squats, keep the menus and have already started referring back to the list for future circuits.  It’s pleasantly surprised me.  😊

So, want a partially used planner?  LOL!

Macros At Last

The garage fridge holds my prepped food: boiled eggs, brown rice, brown lentils, shredded cabbage and carrots, vegetable soup/broth, tofu, prepped brussels, roasted sweet potatoes, & portioned out veggie chik.

Last year all I wanted for Mother’s Day was a scale.  I was going to start eating by weighing my food and figuring the macros and the only thing standing in my way was the lack of a scale.  I got the scale, tried it out, planned on learning how to eat macros style and then did nothing about it. I weighed stuff.  I weighed air.  Then the scale disappeared.

Macros is basically eating with intent.  I want to eat food that most efficiently will fuel my system while also allowing me to lose some fat and potentially gain some muscle.  I’m also coming from the angle of really healthy, whole food eating.  I’m looking at clean eating.  You can eat junky macros, but I’m trying to refocus my food.  Not like obsessive.  I mean, this is still me.  I’ll still be eating chocolate and cake and pizza from time to time, but for now I want to try eating like this.  There’s a whole formula that is both extremely complicated and not complicated at all once you get rolling (I’m guessing), but I used an online calculator to figure out what my macro nutrient needs are: 

My daily alottment based on my weight, height and activity level.

Today was day one and it looked like this:


From what I understand, people who eat like this see results, like, for real results, so I’m happy to try this out and find out if this is the trick for getting me over the hump. My understanding is also that I’ve just reinvented the weightwatchers wheel, but I’m okay with that.  I feel like I have a solid understanding of what I’m really doing with my food instead of just following a prescribed formula and I like the independence of that.  In addition, I’m working hard in the gym with running, lifting and walking. With the balance of a healthy diet, I should start to see some real results!

Weights

While I’ve been doing just fine on my own over the past few years with getting in shape and losing a lot of excess fat, I’ve been going a little crazy, lately, just hovering around 200 for-ev-ER.  I know a few things.  I know I want to lose a few more pounds so I can reach that magic number*.  I know that I’ve reached some kind of plateau.  I know that I need to work on my lean muscle mass for my metabolism and aging.  I know I need help.  I know this because I had a moment of desperation a few weeks ago when I started seriously considering the whole beachbody thing.  I just wanted to get it gone and was seeking out a plan that took away the thinking, rethinking, overthinking, angsting and then throwing up my hands in frustration.  Fortunately, my friends reached out to me and offered some guidance that would save me a few bucks and offer a different route before I decide to go so extreme with the beachbody plan.


My goal this week was to ‘make a plan for weights.’  I didn’t know how to go about doing that so I got back to one of the friends of mine who reached out to me, who also has lost over 100 pounds and is passionate about fitness and nutrition.  She’s gone a few steps further, though.  She’s taken classes and learned the science behind things and is on a path to become a personal trainer.  While I’ve been on a journey guided by trial, error and inference, she’s been on a journey guided by science, classes and deep learning.  While I embraced cardio and running, she and her husband embraced weights.  We were both successful, but I needed the science, at last, to help me and the expertise of someone who lifts.

Starting weights is just so serious.  I don’t want to hurt myself, so striking out on my own just didn’t seem smart.  Denise took me down to her gym where she taught me some kettle bell lifts.  She and her husband love the kettle bells, but for some reason they just freak me out.  I’m always afraid of throwing out my back.  I think I may give them a try once I feel a little stronger.  So instead we focused on using my own body weight as restistance and a few things with barbells and lift bars.  I didn’t do a lot, but I did enough to be more sore than I ever would have guessed the next day!


{I failed to look at our selfie and Denise’s eyes were closed when I finally peeked so I did some pretty sly photoshop with one of her Facebook pics here!  LOL!}

For now, Denise came up with a basic rotation for me based on five main moves: the squat, the dead lift, a pull with arms, a pull with arms and the abs/core workout.  I am to start out with a little warm up, then I have three sets with around ten reps in each set, and I am supposed to do the circuit three times before moving onto the next rotation.  She said I should do that m-w-f for six weeks, then I can revisit my whole workout routine and see what needs to change, if anything.


So this week I am trying it.  I’m planning to lift mwf, I’ll walk or jog twice this week and I’ll run my 5k this weekend.  I’ll also journal my food every day so I can get a better picture of how the food intake is going and how I can polish that up for utmost health and fat loss.  Here we go: week one is done and was successful, week two of January can be just as awesome!  I wonder if the scale will change much this week?!

*magic number:170 -simultaneously is half of my starting weight and also, magically, the number that puts me in the ‘normal weight’ category for my height.