Tag Archives: health

Mile 1442: Treat or Sabotage?


“I don’t know, but I’ve been told
The world outside is, oh, so cold.”
–Fitz & the Tantrums, “Don’t Gotta Work It Out”

Miles Since Last Time: 109
Total Miles: 1442

When trying to get a handle on your diet, it can be hard to decide whether you are treating or sabotaging yourself every time you have a brownie.***

I know you aren’t supposed to reward yourself with food, but sometimes it’s difficult not to think that you deserve a little scoop of ice cream or something. I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately, and I have decided that the treat vs. sabotage label comes down to two things: frequency and attitude.

Frequency–i.e., the rate of occurrence.
There’s nothing wrong with having a brownie on a scheduled cheat day, but when you start having cheat meals and cheat snacks every day, then you have a bit of a self-sabotage problem. Trust me.

Attitude–i.e., a way of thinking/feeling that is reflected through behavior.
I’ll often find myself making excuses for having something I know I’m not supposed to have, mainly that it’s more convenient, that it’s not that bad, or that I’ll make up for it. The danger with all of those thoughts is that they tend to forget pesky things like consequences and make promises to deal with any fallout at some unspecified future date. Very self-sabotage-y.

The only way that I have found to battle the frequency and attitude of sabotage is to constantly ask myself why I am doing what I’m doing. And can I just say how annoying it is to constantly interrogate yourself and categorize anything food-related that comes into your head?


Please join me as I attempt to classify some of my thoughts.

I’ll only have Starbucks on writer group days or during special trips to Barnes & Noble. TREAT

Do they have size Trenta here? SABOTAGE

Oh, I’ll have a mini-cupcake to celebrate this holiday. TREAT

I think I’ll shove this second cupcake in my face before anyone sees me. SABOTAGE

I’ve been really good all week, so I think I’ll have a little brownie. TREAT

Well, there are three little two-bite brownies left, and if I have two, the last one will be lonely in the package, so I better eat all of them. SABOTAGE

The difference is subtle, but it is there. Treats, not sabotage!

*** Yes, I recognize the obvious trick-or-treat tie-in here that probably would have been better during Halloween, but I didn’t think of it then. So there.

Also, I apologize for all of the brownie talk. A peppermint chocolate candle is burning in my house right now. I’m kind of distracted.

Mile 856: Peaches and Buttered Popcorn


“If I had my little way,
I’d eat peaches every day.”
–Presidents of the U.S.A., “Peaches”

Miles Last Week: 50.25
Total Miles: 856

I wasn’t really sure what to write about today, so I thought I would share three big things that have been on my mind this week.

Mmmm... Source


I could eat peaches every day, much like Presidents of the U.S.A. I’ve had a lot of good peaches in the last few weeks, but this week I bit into TWO bad ones, and I’m still recovering emotionally.

Movie theatres are safe zones, right? Because I usually write these on Saturday and set them to post later, about the time this goes up I will be sitting in an IMAX movie theatre with my sister eagerly waiting for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones to start. Of course, during this outing, I plan to consume obscene amounts of buttered popcorn. It’s really pretty essential for sister movie dates. My big worry is that there is a hidden feature of the MyFitnessPal app that reaches through your phone’s screen and slaps you in the face when you have buttered popcorn. It probably won’t do that, right? I’m reasonably certain that it won’t.

I eat a lot of high-calorie dinners. A few weeks ago, I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app so that I could start to keep track of what I eat. Here’s how my food intake goes on a typical day during the week:

Breakfast: A meal shake (Oh, shoot. I’ll just say it–SLIM-FAST. I HAVE SLIM-FAST FOR BREAKFAST. I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU SAY–IT’S LIKE YUMMY CHOCOLATE MILK THAT WON’T KILL YOU.) and sometimes a piece of fruit. Like a banana. Or a peach.
Total: 200-300 calories.

Lunch: Some kind of Lean Cuisine or Weight Watchers microwave meal. They are perfect at work.
Total: 200-350 calories.

Post-work snack: Usually another Slim-Fast or a piece of fruit. Gotta get those vitamins before working out!
Total: About 200 calories.

Dinner: Whatever the hell I want. Pizza, pasta, Mexican, takeout–I don’t pull any punches. It’s usually very delicious.
Total: Basically a gazillion calories.

Part of the high calorie intake at the end of the day may be that I go to the gym after getting home from work. By the time I get back home again, I’m really hungry. I’ve always known that my dinners were a bit bigger than my breakfasts or lunches. However, keeping a food diary has helped me realize how out of balance they are, which is probably something to work on this week. Thanks, MyFitnessPal! I only mean that a little bit sarcastically. Please don’t slap me for having buttered popcorn.

On to the worries of this week. They have yet to be determined. I just hope I don’t have any bad peaches.

You wouldn’t like me when I’ve had bad peaches…

Mile 750: Ugh. Calorie Counting.


“And these flames boil in reclaim
On the way down.”
–Young the Giant, “12 Fingers”

Miles Last Week: 48
Total Miles: 750

Well, here we are. The halfway mark. Seven hundred and fifty miles down, seven hundred and fifty to go. So, why don’t I feel very satisfied or accomplished?

Because, as of today, I’ve only lost nine pounds.

Now, I know that losing nine pounds is nothing to thumb my nose at, but it’s not exactly great, either. After four months of working out, I think I should have a bit more to show for it–or a bit less, depending on how you see things. In six miles, I can easily burn at least one thousand calories if I believe what the machine tells me, which I do–robot apocalypse permitting. So, what’s the deal?

My only conclusion is that my eating habits are even worse than I originally thought. Apparently just trying to make healthier choices and having a bit more fruit isn’t going to be enough for this chickadee.

Ugh. As much as I hate it, this week I’ve had to force myself to reconcile with the idea that, no matter what I do, I’ll never be one of those people who can eat whatever they want, even if I’m burning a thousand calories per workout. Again I say UGH.

I’ve put off calorie counting for so long because I know myself well enough to realize that once there is a number out there, I’m going to obsess over it. It’s all I’m going to think about every time I eat something. It’s the same reason that I barely weigh myself once a week and I don’t measure myself. (Plus, and I’m loathe to admit this, but I might be just a little scared of what those numbers are.) I’m already obsessing over miles every week, and I didn’t want to worry about another number. I mean, it’s been a long time since I’ve taken a math class. I may nor may not be entirely certain how they work anymore.

So, I had a piece of pizza and a moment of silence as a small part of me hated those people who never have to worry about dieting. Then I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app.

For anyone who doesn’t have it, MyFitnessPal is online calorie counter/diet and exercise journal. Based on your current weight and activity level and your goals, the app will calculate the number of calories you should have per day. Then, you can either scan the barcode of your food, search for it in the database, or just add the number of calories every day into your journal. Plus, you can add the calories you burn while exercising. When you’re done for the day, the app tells you your projected weight loss for the next five weeks.

Not my food diary, but a good example. Source

Not my food diary, but a good example.

My new goal in using MyFitnessPal is to just be more conscious of what I’m eating. Call me crazy, but I still think I can get a handle on this “all things in moderation” thing.

In just the few days I’ve been using the app, I’ve been really surprised with how the projection will change from day to day. One day, it will say that I could lose twenty pounds in the next five weeks. The next day it will say that I might only lose ten. Of course, that has everything to do with what types of food I’m eating and whether I exercise. In fact, the only days I’ve had trouble staying under my calorie goal are the days that I haven’t been able to work out.

So, I suppose that the only way to really do this is to be conscious of both diet AND exercise. The experts have been right all along.

How much does that suck?

Mile 708: Planking Vs. Planking


“It’s got to happen, happen some time.
Maybe this time I’ll win.”
–“Maybe This Time,” Cabaret

Miles Last Week: 47
Total Miles: 708

In this world, there are two types of planking.

The first type looks a bit like this:

My sister planking on a semi truck, back when it was cool.

My sister planking on a semi truck, back when it was cool.

It’s really simple. You just lay there, face down with your arms at your sides and your legs together, very much like a plank of wood–hence the name. Planking in weird places kind of became a big thing a couple of years ago, but it’s pretty much over now. If you don’t remember the movement, don’t worry. You missed a couple of chuckles and “That person is crazy for doing that on a billboard,” and that’s about it.

The second type of planking looks a bit like this:

This one’s a bit trickier. You have to hold yourself up on your elbows and toes while keeping the rest of your body straight. If you’ve ever done it, you know that you really feel it in your core and it’s usually only about ten seconds before your whole body starts shaking from the effort.

When a friend of mine recently posted a 30-Day Planking Challenge on Pinterest, it was unfortunately the second type of planking that was challenged.

My reaction to this pin came in three stages:

  1. Oh, planking for thirty days. Maybe I could do that.
  2. YOU GET UP TO FIVE MINUTES?! Oh, no. I definitely can’t do that.
  3. Well… maybe I can…

So, yesterday I did that second type of planking for twenty seconds, and I’ll do it again today. Tomorrow, I’ll do thirty seconds, and I’ll keep going until I can perhaps get up to five minutes on September 1st.

I’m sure there will be several points at which I will wish that I can substitute the second type for the first type of planking, but, unfortunately, that’s not what Pinterest dictates. I’m ruled by the Internet.

Mile 661: Treat Yo’ Self


“It’s a low, low road you gotta roll down
Before you find your way, my friend.
And it’s a high, high hill you gotta climb up
Before you get to the top again.”
–Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, “Low Road”

Miles Last Week: 51
Total Miles: 661

In Parks & Recreation’s October 13, 2011, episode entitled “Pawnee Rangers,” Donna (Rhetta) and Tom (Aziz Ansari) celebrate their “Treat Yo’ Self” Day, during which they completely pamper themselves with massages, new clothes, etc. As a viewer, this sounded pretty genius and I’m still shocked that it hasn’t been instated as a national–nay, INTERNATIONAL–holiday.

We would probably really need two days so that people who work in spas and such could enjoy it, too. Still, I’m down.

How does this relate to fitness?

This week is the first week in my 1,500 Mile Project that I have put in miles every single day with no skipping. Actually, it’s been everyday since last Saturday, but who’s counting besides me?

Call me crazy, but I was pretty excited when I realized this. I’m on a streak!

I thought I deserved a little reward. I needed to treat myself.

Scratch that. I wanted to celebrate. I could be wrong about this, but I’m pretty sure that Tom and Donna’s “Treat Yo’ Self” Day is meant to be a celebration of how awesome they are.

Smarter people than myself have expounded long and hard about reward systems. It’s pretty simple: getting a reward makes you want to keep doing the thing that you associate with getting that reward. I guess I’m arrogant enough to think that I already have enough incentive to keep going to the gym (not embarrassing myself on my blog, health, blah blah blah). I just wanted a small celebration for myself. But what kind?

In the past I’ve been advised against food “rewards.” A former boss of mine who was a major fitness/health guru once pointed out that that kind of system doesn’t help a dysfunctional relationship with food. You can’t celebrate a fitness accomplishment by having a milkshake, especially when you and milkshakes have a bit of an abusive history. You have to find other ways to treat yo’ self.

I immediately knew that I wanted a new CD. I’m not much of a spa girl, but lately I’ve been in desperate need of some new tunes, man. I used to frequently purchase new music whenever I felt the whim, though a recent personal crackdown on miscellaneous spending has trimmed that down quite a bit. The last album that I bought was The 2nd Law by Muse, which was a graduation present to myself in December.

So, yesterday I fired up my iTunes account and downloaded The Lion the Beast the Beat from Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. I’ve been pining over it for over a year and now I have it and I am super excited for my commute on Monday. Treat Yo’ Self.

The first time I recall hearing of Grace Potter & the Nocturnals was when I listened to “White Rabbit,” their song on the Alice in Wonderland-inspired album Almost Alice. Then I heard “Falling or Flying” on the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack. Then I heard “Paris (Ooh La La)” and rushed out to get their album. Then I was fortunate enough to see Grace Potter & the Nocturnals perform live and I’ve been mildly obsessed ever since. The band’s 70s pop-soul-rock flavor is defined by the amazing Grace Potter’s raspy voice and retro swagger. I have to say, the girl has plenty. When my sister and I went to the concert in 2011, we both left exclaiming about how amazing the show was and how Ms. Potter danced and shook her way around the stage for an hour and a half. Seriously. It was a little difficult to get a good picture of her because she NEVER. STOPPED. MOVING.

If you think about it, she could really be a fitness inspiration. Someday, when we’re BFFs I’ll be sure to tell her how her shaking in a little mini-dress (that I would never have the courage to wear even if I looked like her) really helped me through many miles on the treadmill. I assume a massive dance break will ensue shortly after.

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, 2011 in OKC.

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, 2011 in OKC.

In summation:

  1. Grace Potter is awesome.
  2. Treat. Yo. Self.