27 February 2012

Disclosure: 27 February

This week was insane. Utterly insane. Day 1, although I walked around for a few hours enjoying the holiday, I made a cheesecake for the first time because David prodded me about the several pounds of cream cheese I've had in the fridge--and we ordered a pizza for dinner that night. Day 2, the rest of the cheesecake was my breakfast and lunch. Day 3, I skipped breakfast and had a reasonable lunch--but then I was ravenous and ordered Chinese delivery for dinner. I got a little bit more in control for the rest of the week, but I didn't go to the gym or do anything remotely physical except walk a little bit, and there were definitely things I ate that didn't end up being recorded (perhaps a few ounces of dry-roasted unsalted peanuts, for example).

I expected to be up. I expected to have to re-lose more weight.

I'm down 2.6 this week.

Daily Record
Monday 20 February1,8834,593613 3,9802,097 
Tuesday 21 February1,883 3,405 03,405 1,522 
Wednesday 22 February1,883 2,770 02,178888 
Thursday 23 February1,883 2,235 259 1,976 94 
Friday 24 February1,883 2,105 02,105 222 
Saturday 25 February1,883 1,761 01,761 -121
Sunday 26 February1,883 2,344 144 2,200 317 
Weekly Total13,18119,2131,01617,6055,019

Weekly Nutrient Summary
Fat931 grams43.9%
Saturated Fat360 grams
Cholesterol3,169 milligrams
Sodium29,111 milligrams
Carbohydrates2,099 grams44%
Fiber175 grams
Sugars584 grams
Protein579 grams12.1%

20 February 2012

Disclosure: 20 February

This week, I feel like I started getting into the weight-loss tracking rhythm again. I know it takes some time, and I love weeks like this, where my effort yields measurable results.

Daily Record
Monday 13 February1,9092,4904242,066157
Tuesday 14 February1,9092,6367161,92011
Wednesday 15 February1,9092,8316522,178270
Thursday 16 February1,9092,185622,123214
Friday 17 February1,9092,3512752,076167
Saturday 18 February1,9092,5574812,076167
Sunday 19 February1,9092,5971902,408499
Weekly Total13,36317,6472,80014,8471,485

I did much better tracking, exercising, and eating at home rather than getting delivery--I stayed not too far over my caloric limit, exercised many times (three days in a row on the stationary bike at the gym, but then I told myself I was too busy and sore to do so the other days and ended up walking at least an hour on each of those days, so it balanced out), and ate a bit better as well. I ended up losing the weight I gained last week--and then some: down 4 pounds to 220.6!

Weekly Nutrient Summary
Fat597 grams32.3%
Saturated Fat277 grams
Cholesterol3,017 milligrams
Sodium25,340 milligrams
Carbohydrates2,146 grams51.5%
Fiber184 grams
Sugars632 grams
Protein676 grams16.2%

My nutrient profile is a better balance--more protein, a bit less fat and carbohydrates. I want to work on getting protein up to 25%, carbohydrates to 50%, and fat to 25% and see how easy that is to work with. I drink a lot of coffee with half and half and eat a lot of cheese, which are the primary sources of fat in my diet. Not exactly the healthiest options, so I'll have to learn (ugh) moderation.

15 February 2012

Cycling: 15 February

I met with a fellow gardener this evening--he has offered to share his landlord's backyard with me to grow vegetables in! I met him at the seed exchange a week and a half ago. It's quite a nice yard he has set up, and I'm excited to grow with him and the others who share the yard.

So, I biked 4.39 miles round trip--getting there was hard, going up the hill with my legs burning from the past few days of riding the stationary bike at the gym. But every mile counts!

Find more Bike Ride in Washington D.C., DC

Gym: 15 February

Three days in a row, huh? I guess Monday's Disclosure is having it's desired effect--gotta make up for all that sloth.

It doesn't hurt that I've had a lot of work this week. My hobbies always get more face time with me when I have work to do!

I did another 62 minutes of a random hill program on the stationary bike this afternoon, burning 488 calories over 19.77 miles with an average heart rate of 118 beats per minute and an average rpm of 86. Although I did the same program and time yesterday, I didn't seem to work as hard today--the distance, heart rate, and calories burned were lower, although the rpm was higher. The difference was in the program. Yesterday's had a lot of really intense peaks with only one or two valleys to rest before the next peak. Today, there were two intense peaks toward the end of the ride, with only a couple semi-intense peaks for the rest. So, I got a good workout in--but I am not as exhausted as I was yesterday.

Also, this is my third day in a row, so I'm a bit glad it wasn't as intense. I think I will take a bit of a break tomorrow--I haven't done any weight lifting in the past few days, so I'll do some of that along with a few parkour exercises I enjoy: wall sits, hollow holds, quadrupedal movement, and perhaps box jumps.

14 February 2012

Gym: 14 February

Not to be outdone by a fellow plant blogger in the physical activity area, I went whole-hog today: 62 minutes on the random hill program on the stationary bike, burning 599 calories over 21.17 miles, with an average heart rate of 120 and an average rpm of 83. My heart rate was up a bit, but the rpm went down--because of the length of the ride, there were more hills to climb, and this particular one had some pretty sharp peaks.

I'll need those earned calories tonight for Valentine's Day. Although I had made plans for this evening including eating out and a show at a theatre, David broke his foot while hurtling over the hood of a car last week--so, instead, we'll be ordering in and spending a romantic evening in our little den. As long as I don't collapse from dehydration, that is!

13 February 2012

Gym: 13 February

I'm not happy with my eating and exercise from last week. So, I went to the gym shortly after posting this morning's Disclosure. But, because I have a lot of writing work right now, I spent only 32 minutes on the bike, burning 294 calories over 11.01 miles with an average heart rate of 119 and an average rpm of 88.

I also had a wonderful breakfast of cottage cheese and blueberries, copious amounts of coffee, and now a lunch of egg-n-cheese bagel sandwich (surprisingly not terribly unhealthy when the egg isn't fried, there's only one slice of cheese, it's on a plain bagel, and there's no butter or other spread applied). My protein intake is definitely high so far today!

Disclosure: 13 February

This week was a cluster, in terms of my oral intake. Let's get right into it.

Daily Record
Monday 6 February1,8963,4393453,0941,198
Tuesday 7 February1,8852,3403711,96984
Wednesday 8 February1,8852,807402,766881
Thursday 9 February1,8851,7261611,565-320
Friday 10 February1,8852,885602,825940
Saturday 11 February1,8853,2843632,9211,036
Sunday 12 February1,8852,274612,213328
Weekly Total13,20618,7551,40117,3534,148

The basic summary of the week: I barely exercised and I ate a shit-ton. I bolded Thursday's data because it's all a lie--I didn't track most of my day. I'm definitely over by much more than what my little table says--and the scale reflects that, for a gain of 2 pounds.

Weekly Nutrient Summary
Fat847 grams39.8%
Saturated Fat362 grams
Cholesterol2,718 milligrams
Sodium32,102 milligrams
Carbohydrates2,311 grams48.2%
Fiber156 grams
Sugars687 grams
Protein575 grams12%

Although I decreased my carb intake (from what I tracked, at least), it's only because I ate more fat. At least the cholesterol went down, too. I really need to start entering the for-real nutritional information in the foods that I eat to get a better accounting of my nutrition. I'm sure the Kimchi Puppies I made didn't help at all.

07 February 2012

Gym: 7 February

After Saturday's adventure uphill and in the rain, I took a little break from exercising. Leg muscles I barely use were sore, and I just wanted to relax for a little bit.

Plus, I had catering orders to fill on Sunday, and yesterday was spent catching up on reading and writing I had put off during the weekend. I have plenty of Excuses.

Recognizing that, and the feeling of not wanting to go to the gym today, I got my butt over there.

It's not just psychological, however--my body really didn't want to be working. I feel drained, a bit. It could be my renewed calorie-tracking kick and my body adjusting to a new nutrient profile, or it could be that I'm starting to get sick. I did feel a bit woozy yesterday and was coughing a little bit.

I did get 30 minutes on the stationary bike (I definitely would have had a better workout on it if I hadn't had to get off and move it a few times so it was level on the floor--it kept rocking side-to-side like a defective child's rocking horse) and some weight lifting: 2 sets with 10 reps at 120 pounds of lat pulldowns, with an attempted third set that only got up to 5 reps; 2 sets with 10 reps at 90 pounds of chest presses, again with an attempted third set that only got up to 5 reps; and 2 sets with 10 reps and a 10-pound weight of back crunch things.

I'm sitting in a coffee shop across the street from the gym, arm and leg muscles twitching and feeling like they aren't working quite right--but I know what I did at the gym today isn't even close to pushing myself hard. I want to go to the cardio kickboxing class tomorrow morning--so I hope I start feeling a little more together by then.

06 February 2012

Gut-Spilling Monday

I recently started tracking all the food I eat again. I used to be on Weight Watchers and lost a whole lot of weight on the program--and, most of the time, I tracked. I went through a period where I was almost a raw-foodist (no real cooked foods, very simple meals of raw vegetables, perhaps some hummus or the occasional bread product), so I didn't track for a few months. Once I hit lifetime (I reached my goal weight of 187 [where I had a body fat percentage in the "athletic" range {it was about 11-13%} despite my BMI saying I was still overweight--any less and I would have started to look gaunt] and maintained it for 6 weeks), I struggled to keep up the good behaviour for various reasons--my personal situation changed drastically, several times; I moved internationally, several times; and my professional life has been on a massive rollercoaster for more than a year.

But, the one thing that really helped me stay motivated and going in my previous weight-loss program was tracking. Monitoring everything that goes in your mouth makes you really wake up and realize how much you stick in there--and how much of it you don't really need. Beyond that basic revelation, developing a sense of compromise is integral--for example, is eating Item A worth riding a stationary bike for 1.5 hours to "earn" the calories needed to "pay" for it? Usually, the answer is "no." I'm still working to getting back to considering the effort required to earn each food item--which used to be second nature to me.

On Mondays, I am now going to post a summary of my caloric intake for the week and "earned" calories through various exercise. This is an added level of accountability--full disclosure of all my naughty, sneaked foods and guilty pleasures.

I am tracking my intake with Lose It!, a website and iPhone app that has a lot of food items, so even when I can't find exactly what I'm eating, at least I can choose something to record so the item isn't lost in the ether--although that has its own problems, as posited below.

With a goal of losing 2 pounds per week (which is the maximum suggested for sustainable, healthy weight loss), I have a caloric budget of 1,944 per day. Some things that I wasn't used to tracking on Weight Watchers, such as pears or a handful of carrots, are now included in my budget (small fish though they are, calorie-wise), but sometimes I do forget them. In the same vein, I often forget to log random walks--in Weight Watchers, you pick something along the lines of "Sedentary," "Moderately Active," and "Active" to determine your Points values when you sign up--so if you are a kick-boxing instructor, for example, your usual classroom activities are built into your plan, but if you do additional exercise on the side, you'd log that. With Lose It!, nothing is taken into account when you start the program--even walking to the refrigerator could net you a few extra calories to chew on! But when I'm walking around the grocery store or to a friend's house, I don't always remember to log that, even though it could easily add up to a few hundred calories per day (on days I actually wander around, that is).

With all that potential forgetting in mind, I was still over my caloric budget by 3,283 calories this week.

Daily Record
Monday 30 January1,9443,2758212,454510
Tuesday 31 January1,9442,8414202,421477
Wednesday 1 February1,9443,28703,2871,343
Thursday 2 February1,9442,5052482,256312
Friday 3 February1,9443,6209332,687743
Saturday 4 February1,9443,0531,2781,775-169
Sunday 5 February1,8962,2152521,96367
Weekly Total13,56020,7963,95216,8433,283

I have been using Lose It! on and off for the past year and a half. During that time, I have found that the caloric intake it suggests for me is always a bit low--I end up losing weight even when I consistently eat several hundred calories over what I should, even after eating my earned exercise calories. That happened for the first few weeks in Weight Watchers, too--I consistently overate, sometimes the equivalent of 2.5 extra days worth of food, and lost weight. At the beginning. So although I was about a day and a half worth of calories over my budget this week and still lost several pounds (I can't actually be sure--I weighed myself fully clothed on Friday 27 January and clocked in at 230, way more than I've been in the past two years. Yesterday, I weighed in in the morning at 222.6--without clothes--and that's why Sunday's calorie budget is lower than the other days.), but that buffer won't last. In a few weeks, I'll have to be within my budget in order to see the benefit. Luckily, I have a bit more time to get settled into the habit of tracking!

National guidelines suggest macronutrient proportions of 20-35% for fat, 45-65% for carbohydrates, and 10-35% for protein. Although I fall in those healthy ranges in terms of what I ate during this past week, I'd still like to decrease the fat and carbohydrate portion and up the protein. Those guidelines also say to keep sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams daily (16,100 milligrams per week)--I doubled that. And cholesterol is suggested at 200 milligrams or less each day--I ended up with about 865 milligrams per day. I don't necessarily completely trust this breakdown, but I can't completely discount it either--I search for food items, and often, the closest match in the Lose It! system is an item from a frozen-foods section or restaurant, both of which likely contain a ton of sodium and cholesterol. Even though almost everything I ate was made by my own hands with ingredients I totally know all the nutritional information for (and I'm notorious for not including "enough" salt in my dishes), I searched and tracked items from the app rather than spending the time to add individual recipes and calculating it out. Doing so, however, would give me a much better picture of my actual intake than what is shown below--because now I'm very concerned! No wonder my cholesterol hasn't changed despite having dropped a ton of weight and gone vegetarian years ago--although the overall number is in a healthy range, my HDL ("good" cholesterol) levels have consistently been lower than the doctors seem to like and my LDL ("bad" cholesterol) levels are always a bit high.

Weekly Nutrient Summary
Fat727.4 grams31.3%
Saturated Fat283.8 grams
Cholesterol6,060.4 milligrams
Sodium31,923.5 milligrams
Carbohydrates2,914.2 grams55.8%
Fiber254.7 grams
Sugars916.8 grams
Protein673.9 grams12.9%

As you can see from my nutrient breakdown, my carbohydrate and fat intake is a bit high--I eat a lot of baked goodies that I create (the first several days, I survived almost entirely off of leftover biscotti from the DC Grey Market) and coffee with cream and Splenda.

Noticing that, toward the end of the week I started making more bean-focused dishes: Maangchi's kongjang (teriyaki-like soybean side dish); home-made Thai panang tofu; and miser wat, Ethiopian spicy red lentil stew. I'll start adding recipes that help keep me satisfied and losing weight to The House Husband and linking them on my Monday Disclosure posts--I think the miser wat will be the first one! Injera bread is (perhaps not quite) surprisingly uncaloric!

04 February 2012

Cycling: 4 February


Today was rough. Although it was cold (almost freezing when I left the apartment) and threatening rain all day, I did the bike ride I told myself (and you) that I would:

13.67 miles from here to Green Spring Gardens for a seed exchange.

And I felt like dying because of all the hills.

It ended up being 13.81 for various reasons (I had to backtrack once or twice and I didn't follow the exact route out of DC). Then, I did another 3.16 miles to the metro--with David, who randomly showed up right at the end of the seed exchange!

That's a total of 16.97 miles for the day. I call that a good day.

03 February 2012

Cycling and Gym: 3 February

I did a twofer again today--I biked downtown to a gym to work out with David during his lunch break, and I biked back home. I got 5.46 miles in around town, round-trip:

At the gym, I pedaled 35 minutes, working off an estimated 325 calories and cycling 9.25 miles using a random hill program at kind of a medium resistance setting.

While David was still on the bicycle, I went to the weight-lifting area and did a few lat pulldowns: 2 sets with 12 reps at 120 pounds. Then I went to the chest press machine and did 2 sets with 12 reps at 95 pounds. Then I found one of the back-crunch-thingummybobs and did 2 sets with 12 reps holding a 10-pound weight. Then I was about done. I'm pretty sure I should up my sets or weights with the lat pulldowns and chest presses, but AT&T reception was horrid in that location--I couldn't check the stats from the last time I did these exercises. Next time, I'll try to remember to add a full set of lat pulldowns, but with 10 reps each, and ditto for the chest presses.

I'm happy to report that this particular location (which I've never been to) was at least okay--the bike wasn't broken, the machines weren't being hogged by squatters, and the lunch-time crowd was light.

Video: 2 February Cycling

I have been using my iPhone as a video-recording device for some of my rides. It's not nearly adequate--I run out of storage space on the 32-gigabyte phone in a matter of minutes. What if I want to go on a 4-hour ride and share it with folks? David has a battery pack I can hook up to the phone--but the way I have it "mounted" (clipped onto my backpack, so it shakes every time I pedal, and it has to be attached in just such a perfect way or all you get is a view of my hand on the handlebars) and the storage space makes this an issue.

I'll try to figure something out.

In the meantime, here's a shaky, poorly edited video of a portion of my trip around town yesterday. I cut out all the time I spent at the ATM depositing cash from the DC Grey Market last weekend, and apparently the phone also decided not to record the jaunt from 14th Street over to U Street via Florida Avenue (not sure why it stopped recording and started up again later). It finally ran out of space when I was just about at the third stop, where I picked up rice noodles for a gluten-free catering order.

02 February 2012

Cycling: 2 February

I need to start going to the gym and cycling more, but it has been so nice outside lately. Problem is, I think I get a better workout in the gym--the bike controls the resistance when I use a preset program, and I just keep going. When I'm out on the road, I slow down--seemingly more when I'm with David than when I'm alone, but then, I don't usually do anything more than a few miles by myself, anyway.

Today, I wandered around the city for a few shopping errands, getting 3.1 miles in.

It's definitely better than nothing! With all the support my friends and family are showing me in donating for AIDS/LifeCycle, I feel it only fair to do my part and get my ass on that bike seat. I'm still concerned about the brake being bent or the wheel falling off--yet again. But like with the nerve-damaging slice I have on my finger, I can't afford to see the professionals about it, so I'll work with what I've got!

To keep pushing myself, I'm doing a few things in the coming weeks. This Saturday, I plan on riding out to Virginia for a seed exchange. I plan on using this route:

There's a 200-foot climb between mile 4 and mile 7 (of a total of 13.67 miles, one way)--it doesn't seem like that much, but there's an 80-foot climb in the route I took today (going up 18th Street), and although that's only over the course of a mile or so, it always makes me want to keel over (a lot less so than when I first started cycling a year ago, but still). Prolonged inclines are the bane of my cycling existence. I've done that climb in Arlington before, and I'm not looking forward to doing it again. I am, however, looking forward to looking forward to doing it--then I'll know I'm ready for AIDS/LifeCycle's legendary Quad Buster.

One of my DC State Fair comrades encouraged me to register for the Vasa ride in early March, put on by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and the House of Sweden. David rode this last year--in the rain!--almost solely for the blueberry soup, I believe. I'm not doing the 59 miler that David'll surely do; I registered for the challenging-yet-perhaps-manageable-for-me 30-mile ride.

Still plenty of time to train before then!