Sunday, March 24, 2013

Health News!

Greetings Bloggers! 
Last week was a truly great week for me. First of all, I lost three pounds!!!! I am now down to an even 170. This is my first loss in 18 months. I cannot tell you how inspiring it is to finally knock off some pounds. I think I am hitting my stride now with eating and I am keeping to the same basic eating habits every day. It is paying off. I will blog more about my daily eating habits next week, because I have MORE great news to share with you.
I had my annual physical last Thursday. I was a little nervous, not because of the exam part, but, because I knew I would have a bunch of lab tests, including fasting glucose and my first diabetes screen the: HEMOGLOBIN A1C. My mother was diabetic, my younger brother is diabetic, and being still in the obese category I am at high risk. Here are my results: 

Here is the message from my doctor:
Your cholesterol is about the same as at your last check, it does not need to be monitored annually. Your blood sugar is excellent and your A1C is in the non-diabetic range.
I was astounded that my blood glucose has gone from 90 last year to 66 this year!! Plus, my overall lipid panel has improved as well. As you know, I  maintained the same weight loss (40 pounds) for almost 18 months. However, it is not just weight loss that is a measure of my vastly improving health. I kept up my exercise and continued to eat, for the most part very healthy. It has paid off in spades! With that 3-pound loss, well, I have not had a week of good healthy news in a long, long time.
As far as exercise,  I rode 27 miles this week on either my trainer or my Dutch bike (14). I am getting in at least 30 minutes 5 times per week on one bike or another.
Last week was a fairly intense week professionally. It was our once every 6 year programmatic accreditation by the North Central Association for Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Minnesota Board of Teaching (BOT) licensure review. We passed it all with flying colors. As  matter of fact, we were commended by NCATE for such a high quality evaluation. I was not too worried about the evaluation, but I was concerned about all the FOOD that would be part of every event, including some large gatherings with NCATE/BOT folks and alums over the lunch/dinner hours. I am happy to report that I passed on all the buffet food: chips, wraps, cookies, bars, pasta, gourmet sandwiches, etc., by planning ahead carefully and having my own food in my little cooler or a lunchbox. It was so busy, that I do not think a single person noticed that I was not eating most of the delicious foods served by our great kitchen at the college where I teach. I did  get a plate at times, but my plate only hosted tomatoes or carrots or fruit. It was a great strategy and got me through what could have been a solid 72 hours of overeating.
One more event: Saturday was my granddaughter’s tenth birthday. She asked for a carrot cake, which is one of my specialties. I planned for that, too. I rode my trainer bike for 30 minutes in the morning. Later that morning I went out for another 7.5 miles on my Dutch bike. I banked about 500 extra calories from the double rides enough for a nice slice of carrot cake. I enjoyed every single delicious bite!
So, folks, planning, planning and more planning are the keys to my success.  If I can do it, so can you. Really you can.  Don't give up. You are worth it. 
Have a great week! TTFN!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Exercise of many kinds and status quo in weight loss

Greetings !
Already the middle of March. Wow!
Cross country skiing is about over for me for this year. Temperatures are pushing over 32 degrees during the day, which means the snow is just too icy to ski safely. I am proud to say I got in about 66 miles this winter of cross country skiing! That is over 10, 000 kcals burned, too, by the way. My goal was 50 miles, so obviously I went past that. I know many of you live in areas of the country where you can not cross country ski. If you get a chance, give it a try. It is one of the best, low impact, full body exercises that you can do. My legs and arms are both much stronger because of it, plus you are outdoors which is for me one of the best parts. Here is a picture of my skis on one of my last runs. 
I am skiing in a snow mobile track that my neighbor made so that I wouldn’t have to make my own tracks and sink in. 
Last Wednesday I spent the afternoon with two of my favorite girls: Ellery and Nani. Nani will turn 10 next week, so we celebrated a little with just the three of us. Nani got to pick what she wanted to do and she chose the very popular indoor park in our area. As you can see from the pictures the indoor park has quite a climbing apparatus. Well I was thinking I would sit on one of the benches and just keep an eye on the girls. Well, no, they invited Oma to come play with them. So, why not? I climbed in the hamster cages and went down the slides, too (except the long tunnel one~I am a little claustrophobic!). I was pleasantly surprised to see how much more agile I have become, more than likely due to all that skiing. I can’t compete with those two girls, but I could keep up and climb up all the steps. It was actually fun! Getting in better shape allowed me to have fun with my two favorite girls and not be afraid that I could not play along with them. I forgot to snap a picture so you will have to make do with one taken last year at Nani's First Communion.

In other fitness related news, I rode my bike and trainer last week for 17 miles. Now that biking season is nearing, I am working on getting some of my rhythm back. That trainer is way easier for me this year. I can easily do 5 miles without stopping. If you never rode a bike hooked to a trainer you may not know that the tension on the wheel can be significant. Yes, you can adjust it, but there still is more tension than a typical ride. All that skiing and cycling from last year has definitely increased the strength in my legs that I can get on the trainer and ride steady.
Lastly, I am still holding my own with weight. Nothing lost this week. Clothes feel loser, but that is it. The last two weeks have been pretty much perfect for me in terms of eating. I have shared with you that my basal metabolic rate is 1070 kcals per day. Meaning that is what my body expends at rest, naturally. 1070 is VERY low. I am guessing that most of your metabolic rates are closer to 2000 kcals if you are a woman and men well you probably top off way over 2000. I exercise regularly, eat well, and the pounds do not just fall off. I try not to be discouraged, but last week there were a few low points. I picked myself up though. What choice do I have? I want to lose the weight. I really want to get out of the obese category... Eventually it will come off. Right?
How do you keep from being discouraged?
Have a great week. Stay strong and steady in your getting healthy efforts!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

How do you handle treats?

A couple of pieces of toast are one of my on the go breakfast options. I do not usually enjoy a little nutella or apricot jam (two of my favorite foods) on my toast, except on the weekend. I follow the serving size for both, carefully measure that amount out and relish every single bite.  It is a weekend treat that I look forward to. Speaking of treats, I can think of no other time in my life where I have become so consistent about planning for treats that are foods. Like I did with those two pieces of toast, I plan for them and work them into my calorie budget. They are a treat, thus for me, something that I savor occasionally, and not daily. As a matter of fact, I think that is the normal way that we should think of treats, a food item that we have once in a while. With our modern food production, treats are available to us daily in grocery stores, coffee houses and the like and of course surround us at work and maybe even at home. In earlier times, like when I was growing up, treats were just that: once-in-a-while special food item. What is different about me now is that I look at food treats as just that: once-in-a-while. When I have them, I plan for them and enjoy every morsel.
I was able to get in over 15 miles of cross-country skiing, 9 miles on my trainer and 5 miles of walking last week. My cross-country ski miles are up to 45 for 2013, which is very close to my 50 mile goal for the year. I probably have a couple of weeks left, so I believe I will easily surpass that goal. My eating was very good last week. I finally shed the few pounds that I gained over the holidays and with the three weeks traveling to the Netherlands. So, now I am really working on that 20 pound goal!
How do you handle food treats??
I leave you with a few pictures of my ski launching pad on our small lake. You can see that the snow is still quite deep. Instead of cutting my own trails I have skied on the tracks left by snow mobiles. 

Have a great week! TTFN, Michele