Sunday, April 29, 2012

Week Five!

Week Five of the Ready For Summer Challenge is now behind me. I can honestly say this was probably my best week of the challenge. You will soon see why:

 1. Weight loss: My weight loss goal is to lose 7 pounds. I will not weigh in until June 3; so nothing yet to report here.

2. NSV (Non-Scale Victory): For me my NSV for this challenge is in moving forward in my health and fitness so that I am able to ride the 62-mile bike event that I am registered for on June 2. This past week there were two tangible NSVs for me and they both had to do with food. The first one involved a work related dinner that I attended on Wednesday night. The food is always tasty, but not necessarily low in calories. I was very careful to bank extra calories for over two days, knowing that there will be high calories at this meal. I kept my hunger at bay by first eating a cut up apple and a smoothie before I entered the room. I ate the salad to start off, even with dressing. The main entrée was stuffed chicken, herb-buttered carrots, and fried potatoes. I ate most of the chicken, although I pushed away all the stuffing. I had a few carrots and NO potatoes. My NSV was the blueberry pie. At these kinds of work events they put the dessert out when they bring the salads. For the entire meal I stared at that pie. But I never ate a SINGLE bite!! I have never left so much for on my plate or passed up pie like that.

My second NSV was another meeting where I had volunteered to bring all the breakfast treats. I bake a mean and delicious scone (if I do say so myself). I also found recipes for fresh blueberry and banana muffins. I baked 5 dozen muffins and 3 dozen scones. I did not have a single bite of those either. As a matter of fact there were a few leftovers, but I distributed those to my children. In years past I could not have made those goodies without licks, bites, and tastes. But no more!!

3. Exercise: As far as my four targets for this goal:

a. Improving my strength and stamina. This week I rode 83 miles over 5/6 days! I did the fastest 20 miles ever (13 mph average) on Monday. I try to incorporate a little hill work in every ride, too.

b. My second target is to work on my cycling distance. Today I rode my longest ride in over a year: 30 miles. I did great for the first 15. I have to work at pacing myself more for these long rides and fueling my body at regular intervals. Today I did eat something every 10 miles. On my next long ride I am going to plan on fueling at 7. I think this might make a difference in my energy and stamina as I ride. I did keep hydrated.

c. Increasing my speed: My average speed this week was again about 12.5 mph. On the flats I can keep 14-15 miles steady now, too.

d. Cross training: I saw my physical therapist last week. My strength training now includes squats. I did all of my core exercises 5/7 days.

4. Nutrition: I stayed under 1500 calories on 6/7 days. Today was my 30-mile ride so I know I will go over, but then I also burned close to 1800 calories! With those two NSVs, I believe week 5 is now my best of this challenge.


Maren asked us to share what motivates us to keep going on our journey toward better health. For me it is simple right now: cycling. The two bike events that are coming up for me (Tour de Cure and Venus de Miles) are keeping my food choices in check and my motivation high for one. But also, I really want to lose some of my belly bulge so I ca get in a better tuck on my bike. It is SOOO uncomfortable to try to tuck with that bulge getting in the way! Each time I bike, I force myself to tuck as a reminder that I have away to go still.

My goals for week 6 are to:
1.     Exercise: Ride a thirty-five and two twenty milers during the week. Keep my total biking distance around 85 miles
2.     Nutrition: include beans and legumes at least twice for breakfast


How are you doing in meeting your own lifestyle and fitness challenges?

Have a great week everyone! Stay strong!

Thanks for stopping by.

TTFN!
Michele

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Week 4 RFSC!

Greetings!

I am going to start off today by thanking YOU for stopping by my blog. I am continuously in awe of how many people stop to read and/or leave a comment. I have said this before but I never feel like I am alone on my road to getting healthy. Thank-you for all your support and encouragement!!  

Paying it forward: The mini challenge from Maren who is leading the Ready for Summer Challenge (RFSC) this week was about “paying it forward” as it relates to weight loss and this challenge. One way I paid it forward is telling my own story of obesity and my pursuit of better health and fitness within the health and nutrition unit I taught this semester to my non-science majors class. This is the first time that I have taught health and nutrition in this course. I know that in my college there are few courses offered regarding health and nutrition unless one majors in health, aspires to a medical field, or maybe athletic training. Most courses for non-science majors are crammed full of a plethora of important topics in science, but not health and nutrition. I am deeply committed to these two topics. I put one of Marion Nestle's books (What to eat) and a plethora of other materials from various credible resources at the center of our work. One of my challenges was creating an environment of trust and openness (this is a discussion based course) especially given that one of the students is obese. I am happy to report that the unit went really well. In our discussions they would mention how this topic permeated conversations with their friends and roommates and even spilled over into other class discussions. I learned with them, too, especially when they presented their research projects. For now, they have a license to make more informed decisions about their health and of course their nutrition.

In years past, I would never have taught a unit on health and nutrition. But not any more. I am committed to improving my health. I am guessing this will be the first of many, many more units to come! This unit was my most tangible way of “paying it forward.” I am not naïve enough to think that because of this unit that my students will maintain their health and fitness, but at least they are better informed as they make their own choices.  

Here is my update for week four:

1. Weight loss: My weight loss goal is to lose 7 pounds. I decided that I will only report on my weight at the end of this challenge. Most of you know that I am a very slow loser. I do not want my focus right now to be on the scale, but rather on eating well and exercising. I suffer from scale distress. When I step on it and see that all that work has amounted to almost nothing, well, let’s just say I am not happy. So I have decided to weigh in only once for this challenge and that will be at the end. In the meantime, I know that I am making steady progress in my eating and of course exercise.

2. NSV (Non-Scale Victory): Overall, ride that 60-mile ride is the NSV goal that I am aspiring to. Total bike mileage for week 4 was 56 miles. Fewer miles, but more hills!

3. Exercise: As far as my three targets for this goal:

      a. Improving my strength and stamina. I rode 5/7 days last week. I am now able to stay on the bike a good 40 minutes without a break. I did one 22-mile ride over hills on a very cold and wet day (37-41 degrees!). I also did hill work on two other rides as well.

      b. My second target is to work on my cycling distance. As I wrote, I did get in one long rode of 22 miles.

      c. Increasing my speed: My average speed this week was again about 12.5 mph. On the flats I can keep 14-15 miles steady now, too.

      d. Cross training: I walked (3 miles) and did my strength training 5/7 days.

4. Nutrition: I stayed under 1500 calories on 6/7 days. The only day I was really over was the day I did the 22 miles. I am striving to find the right amount of calories to fuel my long rides. For me that means ingesting about 1000 calories (I burn about 1500) before and during my ride. I also don’t like to feel really “full” when I am riding that long. What is working for me right now are: Cliff bars (one), raisins, and sliced apples on top of my regular meal.

Overall, I believe Week 4 was my very best so far. I have to say that my upcoming challenge (Tour de Cure) on June 2 is really motivating me to stay on target with my eating. I really want to shed a few more pounds and even more before I do the Venus in August. I feel like I am in training!

Finally, enjoy a few pictures of my bike and I one early morning last week:
Have a great and strong week everyone! TTFN, Michele

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A good week of spring

Greetings Bloggers!
Spring is a lovely season in Minnesota this year. Our temps hovered about 60 and even 70 for at least 4/7 days last week. It is just wonderful to see all the trees leafing out. And the birds! We are right in the migratory path for many birds that return north for breeding. Last night we saw two beautiful tundra swans at twilight. We actually heard their wings before we saw the birds. At our feeders we have counted three different kinds of woodpeckers, several kinds of finches, grosbeaks, chickadees, cardinals and phoebes to name just a few. The pileated woodpecker is one of my favorites!


On my bike ride yesterday, I saw a pair of bald eagles. I never saw a pair of eagles before. I know, too, that, one eagle has nested very close to our cabin. Every time I pass by on my bike, she takes off. Did you know that an eagle’s wings are silent as they fly? Just a beautiful time to be outdoors observing all the changes that are occurring in both plants and animals as spring moves along.

On the getting healthy and fit front, it was a good week. If you are reading this post, you know that I am taking part in Maren’s Get Ready for Summer challenge. The mini challenge was to try to check in on all of the participating bloggers and to write about it. I checked in with many of you. To me what I noticed was that the majority of GRFS bloggers are doing well in the weight loss front (maybe small losses, but still a loss), and meeting their other goals, but where people seem to fall is in the exercise department. For me it helped to set a time (calendar it in) to exercise during my work week. As it became a habit I found that I missed it terribly if I could not exercise for whatever reason. I just feel so much better when I exercise. So, my tip to you is to make time in your very busy schedules just for exercise. You are worth that effort. Believe me, it makes a difference. Many thanks to all of you GRFS bloggers who hopped over to support me. Together we are moving forward!

Here is my update for week three:

1.Weight loss: My weight loss goal is to lose 7 pounds. Nothing to report here because I will not weigh in until April 22.

2.NSV (Non-Scale Victory): Overall, ride that 60-mile ride is the NSV goal that I am aspiring to. Total bike mileage for week 3 was 68!

3.Exercise: As far as my three targets for this goal:

a. Improving my strength and stamina. I am really proud to report that I did a 27-mile ride yesterday in the very hilly countryside of Northwest WI. That 27-mile ride was tough! My average speed was 10. 50 mph over the hills, which I think is really great. I am going to use that 27-mile route for training through the whole summer because it really challenges me. The cool thing about the ride is that according to Endomondo I burned 2265 calories! It was the first day in my life that I burned more calories than I ate! I never got off my bike, not once on any hill. I am also trying to stay on my bike and pedal steadily. I can do about 30 minutes now without a break. Here are some pictures of my 27-mile ride where I passed by no less than eight lakes, including the beautiful one called Sand Lake.

b. My second target is to work on my cycling distance. My total was 68 miles, with my longest ride at 27 and 5/7 days on the bike. I am trying to do a longer ride every 3-4 days now (as my schedule permits) with a long ride of at least 25 miles on the weekend when I have more time.

c. Increasing my speed: My average speed this week was 12.5 mph. On the flats I am slowly improving to where I can maintain 14 -15 mph for about 9-10 miles.

d. Cross training: I really did not cross train this week (☹). I did continue to work on my new exercises to strengthen my core (specifically the dead bug, the fire hydrant and the clam with one of those resistance bands) four times last week.

4. Nutrition: I stayed under 1500 calories on 5/7 days. Definitely some area for improvement here.

All in all, another good week for me with this challenge.

Do you like smoothies?? Well, I sure do, especially when they are made with yogurt and some frozen fruit (no sugar) and a little banana. This is my favorite yogurt right now.

Here is the whole mix in the blender.

How about you? How did you do in your getting healthy targets for last week?

Have a great week, bloggers! Thanks for stopping by. Stay strong!
TTFN!
Michele

Monday, April 9, 2012

Week 2 RFSC!

Happy Monday!

It was a beautiful spring week of weather in the 60's last week in the upper Midwest. Week two of the Ready for Summer Challenge is behind me. Are you ready for my report??

1. Weight loss: My weight loss goal is to lose 7 pounds. Nothing to report here because I will not weigh in until April 22.

2. NSV (Non-Scale Victory): Overall, ride that 60-mile ride is the NSV goal that I am aspiring to. Total bike mileage was 46. Last week I started training for my first bike event on June 2. I think many of you know that I use Endomondo as a way to keep track of my biking mileage and others stats per week. Each week since early March I have increased my outdoor biking as the graph below illustrates.
I did one day of repeated hills and two days of flats.

3. Exercise: As far as my three targets for this goal:

a. Improving my strength and stamina. I started hills and flats work as I mentioned above. Hills are still hard for me, thus I am incorporating hill work every week now in my cycling training. I was on spring break last week and spent most of the week at our cabin where there are many hills. I developed a two-mile “hills “course that I tackled 3 times on one ride. I got up and out of my seat 4 times for a total of 2 minutes riding up hills out of seat. here are a couple of pictures of soem of the hills that I tackled:

b. My second target is to work on my cycling distance. My total was 46 miles, with my longest ride at 15.27 and others of 10, 9 and 8 miles with 6/7 days on the bike. 

c. Increasing my speed: My average speed this week was 12.34 mph. I worked on flats in another area near our cabin where vehicles infrequently travel the road, yet is in top condition with little or know debris (rocks) on the road surface. I can really work on my speed here. I topped off at 17 mph with steady biking (15 miles) of 16-17 mph with the wind and 13 mph against the wind. Here are my flats:

d. Cross training: I cross-trained this week with two short walks of 2 miles each. I did new exercises under the tutelage of my physical therapist to strengthen my core (specifically the dead bug, the fire hydrant and the clam with one of those resistance bands) three times last week.

 4. Nutrition: I stayed under 1500 calories on 6/7 days. I granted myself permission to enjoy the treats of Easter on Sunday where I know I was over my calories by at least 1000 calories. We usually are the ones that fill the Easter eggs for the hunt by our 6 grandbabies. I bought some healthy fillers and some candy a couple of weeks ago. I am happy to report that I never once opened any of the bags until Saturday before Easter. I believe that was the first time in my entire life that the bags remained sealed until I was actually filling the eggs. I did not even have a bite of chocolate until Sunday morning.

I prepared all the meals on Easter for my family. Besides chocolate I had a hot cross bun  and scones that were simply delicious. Although the recipes call for very little sugar (1-2 Tbsp) they are made with butter and cream so definitely a treat for once in a while, like yesterday. I have two small Sees chocolate eggs left (each at 100 calories) that I will portion out over the next two days. So yes, I was over by 1000 calories or more yesterday. I am okay with that and here is why: I am learning to eat things that I enjoy in moderation and with some control. Part of that 1000 calories is truthfully popping a number of delicious jellybeans in my mouth more than once, but the truth is I was very deliberate about the foods that comprised that 1000 calories. I ate my scones slowly and savored every bite. Michael Pollan wrote in one of his books “the banquet is in the first bite.” For me that first bite banquet was enjoyed yesterday. My wait and perseverance were worth their delicious taste.

Finally, last week found me riding around the lakes with 5 of my young grandbabies (5-9 years). I rode a hybrid bike that easily pulls the two year old in the Burley when I am out with them.
Have a great week and stay strong! TTFN, Michele

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Weekly updates

Greetings Friendly Bloggers! I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful weekend. Here in the Upper Midwest we were treated to upper 60’s on Sunday. A brilliantly beautiful sunny day with a light breeze. Our trees in Minneapolis are beginning to leave out. There are some early blooming flowers showing off their beauty including magnolias.

First week of the Ready for Summer Challenge is under my belt. How did I do? Read on for my update.

1. Weight loss: My weight loss goal is to lose 7 pounds over this 10 week challenge. I have decided that I will post an official weighing only once a month for this challenge (April 22, May 22 and June 3, 2012). I am a slow loser. Weighing more than that is just frustrating to me. Besides, losing weight so only one part of my overall health and fitness goals fro this challenge.

2. NSV (Non-Scale Victory): Overall, ride that 60-mile ride is the NSV goal that I am aspiring to. This week I put in 52 miles on my trainer and or my road bike. My longest ride is now at 15 miles for this season.

3. Exercise: As I wrote above I put in 52 miles on my bike. I brought my bike in last week and had it serviced and new tires put on. Riding on a trainer wears out the rear tire. Because of my cycling aspirations I want to be confident that my tires are in the best shape. As far as my three targets for this goal: 1. Improving my strength and stamina. I started some lunges, squats, push-ups and other floor exercise. I meet with a physical therapist on Wednesday to design a program that will build my strength, stamina and endurance. Much more to report on this target for next week. 2. Cycling distance. My total of 52 miles is 10 miles more than the week before. I easily achieved my increase of 20% distance per week. 3. Increasing my speed: This past week was really about getting back in the saddle and out on the road. My average each day was around 12MPH. 4. Cross training: Did not do any cross training this week.

4. Nutrition: I stayed under 1500 calories on only 3/7 days this week, admittedly one of my worst weeks in a long time. However, I know exactly what I need to do to hit my 1500 calories on 6/7 days.

Targets for second week of this challenge: Maintain 50 or so miles per week of cycling. I am hoping to start my first repeated hill work which I will do tomorrow, weather permitting. I would like to increase my average speed to 12.5 miles per hour. Finally, I will be learning about a number of new exercises. My hope is that I work on these at least 3x per week. Nutrition: My target is to come in under 1500 calories on 6/7 days this coming week.

I would like to welcome my new followers, especially those of you who are participating in the Ready for Summer Challenge. Together we can make steady progress towards our health and fitness goals. And finally, I want to send my gratitude and thanks to my readers and followers for your supportive and encouraging comments. As I have said before, I never feel alone on this journey. I hope you all have a great week with solid progress toward your own weight loss and fitness goals. Stay strong and TTFN, Michele