Jun 30, 2015

Sugar Addiction and Binge Eating - 1 Month Check In

So this isn't exactly a fitness post, but Alyssa kindly gave me the thumbs up to link up to Training for Tuesday anyway.  Here's the background, if you missed it, but basically about a month ago I decided to cut out a huge amount of the sugars and refined grain I consume pretty much daily.

It feels like it's been so much longer than a month.  I thought, "I should write an update.  It's probably been a month and a half or so."  Nope, just one.

It's a good thing though.  It feels like I've been doing it longer, not because it's still hard or I'm suffering, but because I've settled in and it all feels fairly normal.  I still want to eat terrible things fairly frequently, but my, "I should eat ___" is pretty quickly followed by, "No, you're not even hungry" or "No, go eat something with nutritional value instead."  And when I do break down and indulge in my unhealthy craving, I eat 1 cookie instead of 5.

I've actually taken it a step further.  I always used to get annoyed by those people who ask, "Will anyone split a ___ with me?"  Those same people are the ones who eat part of something and put the rest back in the fridge or pantry.  But you know... it's smart!  It's so much better to indulge yourself occasionally than to completely deprive yourself for days until you break down and splurge.  And it's even better if those indulgences are small and low impact (with all my leg issues, the phrase "low impact" is getting a lot of use these days).

So yes, I've become one of "those people."  I split things.  I don't order dessert and then ask for a bite of someone else's.  I cut a half, or a quarter, off of something, wrap it back up and put it away again.

It keeps me from hating life, while staying on a healthy path.

One thing that's been interesting is that I never feel like I've succeeded.  Each day is a series of battles, and inevitably there are one or two that I lose.  But even when those losses are fairly harmless - a granola bar, or a "peanut butter cup" made of cocoa powder, greek yogurt, and peanut butter - I still feel like I gave in.

Jun 28, 2015

Sunday Sweats - A Bump in the Road

Sunday Sweats Theme Inspired by Holly

This week was a little rough.  I finally saw a physical therapist.  At first I thought it was going to be bad news, and it turned out to be alright, but I've got a lot of work to do, and I've been sabotaging myself in a myriad of ways.

Weekly Workouts

Monday - Biking | DTT: 30 Min (The Hypothesis)

I finally made an appointment to see someone about a newer issue that's been cropping up in my shins.  Well, sort of shins.  Kind of off to the side.  The physical therapist prodded my legs a bit, talked about scar tissue (in the previously broken leg), tight tendons (apparently my squat form is bad and is putting too much pressure on my lower legs), and a possible stress fracture (oh, so a small, sharp pain on the bone is bad?).  He sent me off to get some x-rays so we could determine how far along my stress injury is (is it a fracture yet or just one in the making?) and told me to hold off on doing much else until we figure it out and make a plan.  He did not specifically forbid me to bike, and it never hurts, so I did it because I needed to do something other than mope around feeling sorry for myself like I'd been doing for most of the day.

Tuesday - Biking | DTT: 30 Min (The Diagnosis)


I am so relieved.  This is still going to be a huge hitch in my running plan, but I don't have to stop entirely, and the physical therapist is going to help me alleviate some of the problems I've been having.  I learned a ton in our 2 sessions already, and while treatment sucks (lots of painful calf and shin prodding and scraping), it's nice to be doing something instead of just ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away.

The Treatment: painful "massaging" 2x a week, gym time/muscle training 1x a week, and running only when and what the doctor orders.  No squats or cleans, other weight lifting is fine BUT pilates is highly encouraged because my core needs work to take some of the stress off my lower extremities, and biking is fine.  Which is what I did after my appointment.

Jun 25, 2015

The Transracial Thing

I'm confused.  I've seen a lot of outrage and upset, until finally I had to google "transracial" to figure out what was even going on.

I feel like we've finally gotten to the point where there's a large support for the LGBT community.  Obviously there's plenty of opposition as well, but we're having open conversations about things now, celebrities are making positive strides for those communities, and in general we're headed in the right direction, even if it's sloppily and slowly.

But now there's a new kind of identity mixup.  Instead of a man in a woman's body or a woman in a man's body, we have what looks to be a white woman claiming to be black.

My offhand reaction is that it sounds ridiculous, and I understand that it's douche-y to pretend to be something you're not in order to reap the benefits.  A lot of people are accusing Dolezal of faking her race in order to get special treatment, jobs, etc.  But I'm not sure how they can know what her internal motives are.

After giving it some thought, I also don't understand how it's terribly different from being transgender.  Women have been oppressed, and denied the right to vote, and even now are seen differently than men in many ways, including negatively in leadership positions.  And there are plenty of groups and scholarships and support networks for women to help remedy that.  Could not a man want to masquerade as a woman in order to be treated differently?

And really, what is it that defines gender or race?  Gender used to seem pretty clear cut; you've got one set of parts and you're a man, the other and you're a woman.  But there's so much culturally that goes into how we think of women vs men, and how we define gender roles that it becomes much more complicated.

Jun 23, 2015

Quarterly Goals - Summer 2015

Goals???  What are those?  It's been a while since I've done a goals post or even looked to see what my spring goals were.  I think it was necessary while life was piling stuff on me, but now I'm pretty much caught up and ready to get back into it!

Here's how I've done for spring.

Spring Seasonal Goals

1. Canoe - Nope.  Other than running, not a lot of outdoorsy things happened this spring.

2. Organize File Cabinet - Nada.

3. Ace My Class - Close enough (A-).  Part of it was getting sick, part was getting used to the user interface, and part of it was a miscommunication between myself and the instructor.  Overall it was a fantastic class and I learned a lot, so I'm not going to worry about that pesky minus.

4. Write Speech/Ceremony for Sister2's Wedding - Check!

5. Run 10 Miles - Sort of?  I completed the Broad Street Run, but I didn't exactly run the whole way.  I'm still counting it.

6. Research Home Buying - Check!  I'm so glad I said "research" instead of "start looking."  But I'm glad I got to this step, because the whole process seems a bit less scary now.

7. Hike - Nah.

8. Spring Cleaning (Combat the dog smell) - Check!  Ryan actually found this amazing powder that you sprinkle over the carpet and then vacuum up.  It makes the whole house smell amazing!

9. Organize Portfolio & Computer Files - Check!  I actually did this while procrastinating on my homework one night.  Lol!  Not great for my sleep that night, but it was something that needed to be done, and I'm a lot happier with my file organization system now.

10. Be Less "Busy" and Enjoy Life More - Ehhh... I tried.  I wrote about eliminating some of the busywork from my life.  It was partially successful, but while I remained busier than I intended, I did get a lot better at handling it.  So I'll take this one.

7/10!  As you can see, I'm very flexible on what I call a "success."  But I kind of feel like, now that it's over, what's the point of beating yourself up that you didn't get things done exactly the way you envisioned it?  Give yourself credit for what you did accomplish, enjoy the small victories, and then move on.  If you're not enjoying it, then what's the point?!

Anyway, here's the new goals...

Jun 22, 2015

#LiteraryLadies Summer Reading Challenge - My Book Picks

So Kristin is awesome, and if you've ever tried to keep up with her on Goodreads you know she reads A LOT.  Like a shitton.  So it totally makes sense that she's finally hosting one of these book challenge thingies, along with Kay and Kari (who I don't know as well but I'm sure are fantastic, well-read people as well).

I'm not supposed to be buying books, because I signed up for Kindle Unlimited specifically to save money, but this was too good to not participate.  Kindle Unlimited might have to take a recess.

Here's the categories and what I'll be reading!

1. YA Book - The Selection, Kiera Cass (336 pages)

2. Non US Author - The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Victor Hugo (614 pages) (France) (I really liked Les Miserables, so when I realized this is the same author it was a no-brainer.)

Jun 21, 2015

Sunday Sweats - Defining Success

Sunday Sweats Theme Inspired by Holly

How do you measure progress?  With some things, it's easy.  Like weight lifting.  Every few weeks you find yourself being able to lift just a little bit more.  Running has a definite progression as well, although I've found it to be more variable, depending on how well-rested I am, if I've eaten too recently or too long ago, etc.  But as I've continued, I've definitely noticed how much easier it is to breathe, and my perception of distance is altered.  3 miles is no longer a "long" run like it once was.

I'm stumped on is this healthy eating thing.  I mean, obviously many people eat better in the hopes that they'll lose weight.  And my weight is inching it's way down, slowly.  But I find myself becoming far too interested in the scale, and weighing myself far more often than I ever wanted to.  I never wanted to focus on weight, or even size.  I wanted to focus on health.  But other than the minuscule change in weight, I haven't noticed too many benefits of better eating habits.  Which is not to say they aren't there, but thus far they haven't been anything measurable or noticeable enough that I can celebrate a particular success.

Any thoughts on this one?  How do I measure success in the healthy eating area without getting too tied to the scale?

Weekly Workouts

Monday - Strength Training, 3 Mile Run, Biking, Yoga | DTT: 94 Min

I didn't get up early enough to bike before work (Game of Thrones finale last night - up late but totally worth it!).  Lunchtime: bench press with dumbbells today, for some variety.  Also pull downs, around the worlds, and various ankle rehab things.  I took a nap after work and then Ryan convinced me to run with him when I woke up.  My legs were hurting (shins instead of calves, which has me mildly concerned), so I biked for a bit afterwards, hoping that would help like it has in the past (nope), and then finally did another day from my yoga challenge.  Now that I'm backed up, I can pick and choose which ones to watch, so I did the lower back one.

Jun 19, 2015

The Trish List - Design Day Friday

Oh hey guys.  Did I mention I did someone's blog design a couple months ago?

Yeah, so, being a designer and all I probably should have been promoting the heck out of that.  But... then again, that's why I split into 2 blogs.

Since this is the non-professional blog, I won't go into the nitty gritty design details.  Just that Trish from The Trish List wanted something bright and fun, while also being a little cleaner and more professional than her previous layout.

She was super awesome to work with and didn't even mind that I was teaching myself on the fly.  And I think we're both pretty happy with how it turned out.

Jun 18, 2015

If You Give an Optimizer a Blog...

...she will want another one to go with it!  (Get it?  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?  No?  Ok...)

Hello All!  Welcome to my new space, Optimization, Actually.

In case you didn't just travel here from my other blog, the backstory:

After a year of fun on Business, Life & Design, and a wee bit of soul searching, I came to a conclusion.  I'm not a graphic designer with a blog and I'm not a blogger who does graphic design.  I'm a graphic designer AND I'm a blogger.  They're separate identities.

I love being able to talk about social issues, religion, and working to improve my (plethora of) flaws.  But I don't necessarily want to broadcast that to potential clients or employers.  So I'm dividing these two sides of myself so that each blog can focus on just one thing.

To sum up: Business, Life & Design is about to get a bit more, well, business-y.  And Optimization, Actually... is the answer to the question, "What do I blog about?"

Jun 16, 2015

Phone Photo Pick Me Up

I've been feeling cranky.  A little tired, and drained, and wanting to write but not having anything nice to say.  So I looked through my phone photos to cheer myself up and you know what?  It worked!  It always does.

So, like last time, I'm sharing.  Here's 5 recent phone photos and why they put a smile on my face!

1. New Orleans Style Omelette

New Orleans style omelette

I'm not normally a food picture taker, but this was the last meal I ate in New Orleans (at the airport, actually) and it was soooo good.  Totally unexpected for airport food, and an excellent way to bid adieu to Sister2's bachelorette weekend adventure.

Jun 14, 2015

Sunday Sweats - I raced! Slowly.

Sunday Sweats Theme Inspired by Holly

After an interesting conversation with Nadine about placebo effect and seeing what we expect to see, I've decided not to track sugar withdrawal symptoms anymore.  It wasn't terribly scientific anyway and whatever was going on last week seems to be over.  I can tell my taste buds have recalibrated a bit already, because a peanut butter smoothie or square of dark chocolate is about as much sweetness as I want, and cravings are decreasing in frequency.  Overall, I'm quite pleased with how smoothly this is going!

As far as exercise, I kicked butt this week!

Weekly Workouts

Monday - Biking, Strength Training, 6 Mile Run | DTT: 133 Min

I was up early enough to bike or do a day of my yoga challenge, and I picked biking.  Lunchtime was a relatively light workout - just bench and ankle rehab.  After work, I realized today was really the best day to run, as far as things to be done and relatives to visit.  So I dragged Ryan and Luke around the neighborhood for 3 miles, and then took myself to my parent's treadmill for the next 3 so I could coast along whilst watching El Dorado.  Doing the miles in sets of 3 is nice.  My brain doesn't even flinch at the idea of 3 miles anymore.  But 4 or 5?  Those numbers are much too high!

Tuesday - Biking, Strength Training | DTT: 75 Min

Got up early and biked again!  (On a roll?  Yes I am.)  Clean and presses for our lunchtime workout, which was way harder than last week.  (Perhaps running 6 miles the night before tires my body out just a wee bit?)  But I pushed through and did my usual number of reps, albeit with extra sweat and wheezing, and I think I even improved my form!  When I finished up everything else hurt, but my back felt pretty good.  We'll see tomorrow.

Jun 11, 2015

My Little Sister's a Bride!

Sister2 and Brother-in-Law have tied the knot!

It was a beautiful day, and a beautiful wedding, and my entire family was awesome, and nothing went wrong.  Well, I suppose technically the officiant (that would be me) could have told the guests to sit back down after the bride made it to the altar in a more punctual fashion, but I hadn't gotten that far into the speechifying before Sister2 reminded me.

Jun 9, 2015

Sugar Addiction Update

I figured 2 weeks into the refined sugar avoidance plan was a good time for an update.  And I never really explained what I was doing.

A quick recap: I believe my relationship with sweets goes beyond indulgence and off into unhealthy addictive behavior land.  I'm attempting to break that addiction both physically (craving sweets) and mentally (wanting "rewards" or deciding I don't care).

My plan for doing that was fairly simple.  I noticed that my addictive behaviors are triggered primarily by refined sugars: candy, baked goods, chocolate, etc.  I don't think I've ever binged on granola bars or fruit, so I saw no need to cut out those foods and, realistically, if I didn't have any sources of sweetness, I'd be unlikely to make it.

So I wanted to stop eating things that lack any sort of nutritional value.  I realize that's a little vague, but it allows me to taper off slowly as my perception changes and I raise my standards for how nutritional foods should be to meet that criteria.

Example: a chocolate chip cookie has no nutritional value.  And they make me want 5 more.  So cookies are out, but something like a Fiber One brownie might still be considered acceptable (although after scrutiny of the ingredients, those are probably out too, as soon as this box is gone).

The next step would be cutting out the pretend healthy snacks (Fiber One brownies, most granola bars, etc).

2 reasons for focusing so heavily on refined sugars: 1) They digest quickly, giving you that sugar spike and messing with your insulin levels 2) Probably because of that quick sugar high, they trigger my addictive behaviors far more than natural sources of sugar.

I've been getting frustrated because I talk about cutting out refined sugars and then people say things like, "You know fruit is high in sugar."  Yes, yes it is.  But it's not REFINED.  And it's nowhere near as bad as a candy bar.  Let's do some comparisons.

Jun 8, 2015

Sunday Sweats - Yoga Challenges and a Weddin'!

Sunday Sweats Theme Inspired by Holly

Still focusing primarily on the sugar thing.  It would be nice to get exercise every day, but as long as I stick to my half training plan and follow through with sugar avoidance, I'm not going to worry too much about light exercise days.

Weekly Workouts

Monday - Strength Training | DTT: 30 Min

Bench with dumbbells, which is always interesting, because you find out where your weak points are.  My "stabilizer" muscles have improved immensely since I've started doing more free weight activities with my dad.  (Machines are great, but they do a lot of the work for you by keeping things stabilized)  No cardio, because obviously running around with my friend and goddaughter was far more important than running or biking!  We got pedicures and my goddaughter giggled the entire time they were touching her feet.  So cute!

Sugar Withdrawal Day 6: I was all set to type "nothing terribly important" and then I got light-headed and my heart rate jumped for no reason and stayed that way for a couple hours.  It was a lot like caffeine jitters, but the most caffeinated thing I drink these days is green tea, so...

Tuesday - Strength Training, 2.4 Mile Run | DTT: 54 Min

Clean and press, curls and tris.  I was definitely breathing hard after this workout!  Lots of ankle rehab the last couple days.  Ran with Ryan and Luke later in the evening.  Despite doing my best to run slowly, we were pretty close to 10 minute miles.  The time is kind of exciting, I guess, but mostly it's a tribute to my utter lack of any ability to pace myself when I'm not running on a treadmill.  Oh well.

SW Day 7: It's really hard to pinpoint symptoms, because they're all things that could be coincidental.  I tried to find caffeine content for the tea I usually drink, and it could be anywhere from half as much as coffee to negligible.  So that seems unlikely to have caused my jitters from yesterday.  Today I feel kind of like I do when I'm really sleep deprived, which could be from getting 6 hours of sleep, but typically isn't this bad unless I get less than that.  So really I've got no clue.  I'm fine when I get up and move around, but my attention span is crap and I feel kind of hazy.

Jun 4, 2015

Kickass Blogger Recommendations - Nadine's Peanut Butter Cookies

Sooo... I wrote this post almost a month ago before I started my sugar reduction project.  As much as I enjoyed these, it might be a while before I make them again, because I need a temptation-less house right now.  But I have hopes for the future!

Another installment of things from other bloggers that made Jenn's life better (last month was smoothies).  Before I begin singing Nadine's praises, I want you all to take note: I DOCUMENTED SOMETHING!  I took several pictures of the process.  This is utterly amazing.

Super Awesome Thing that was Recommended: Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

Super Awesome Blogger that Recommended it: Life by Nadine Lynn

So, it's a recipe for peanut butter cookies.  I'm not going to repeat the recipe here (link above), but the first part is pretty normal.

Jun 2, 2015

The Stages of Weight Loss (According to Top Experts)

As the only person I know (you know, in person) who has successfully lost some weight, I consider Sister3 to be the ultimate authority on the subject.

We were discussing it a while back and she told me there are distinct stages in the weight loss process.  It's not at all what I expected, so of course I had to share!

The Stages of Weight Loss: Which Body Parts Lose What

1. Boobs

This right here is the saddest part of the whole weight loss process.  Here we all are, trying to lose weight for whatever reason, health, confidence, convenience, but there's at least a little edge of vanity in there for all of us.  Wouldn't it be nice to lose a few pounds and be more attractive?

Alas, it doesn't work that way.  The first few pounds come straight out of the boobs.  And it's hard to be inspired to continue when weight loss has done the opposite of the glories it's always promised.

2. Hands

What???  How can hands lose weight?  That's the one body part I've never thought of as having any extra weight to lose!

But they can and they do.  The fingers lose the extra padding you didn't know they had, and the flesh between the tendons settles down a little more tightly to the hands.  Bony fingers are sexy, right?