Category Archives: FARfetched

Looking Back/Looking Forward (postprandial post-mortem)

Thanksgiving Day has passed in the US, although some of you might be on the hook for another feast this afternoon. I think I did alright… I loaded up my plate, but mostly with salad and veggies (and of course, a piece of challah bread I made). I had a couple strips of turkey, a bit of dressing, and some gravy, but I didn’t go overboard with the cholesterol stuff — as much as I like deviled eggs, I didn’t have any. The chocolate cake tasted a bit strange to me, so I didn’t have more than one piece of that and concentrated on the fruit salad.

More important than a single large meal, I managed to ride the exerbike every evening, Monday through Saturday! The display said I burned roughly 100 calories with each ride, but there were side benefits that I consider more significant:

  1. I felt warmer the rest of the evening. Where I might have been chilly without a sweater before the ride, after I was comfortable just wearing the t-shirt and pants (a couple nights, the shorts I wore on the bike were fine).
  2. Sleep came quicker. I tend to have a hard time getting to sleep, always have. This worked as well as several drinks, without the hazardous side effects.
  3. It had a noticeable effect on my blood pressure.

It wasn’t a difficult thing to accomplish, once I figured out how to work it: I streamed the AOL Trance station on my iPhone and read a magazine while pedaling away. How often can you get two things done at once that you want to do?

All in all, it’s been a positive week for me. I didn’t blow up my calorie intake too much, and I’ve been getting a decent amount of exercise while figuring out how to turn it into a healthy habit. I tweaked a tendon in my left ankle a couple weeks ago, not sure how, and if walking was the only thing I could have done to exercise, I’d be in trouble. Fortunately, the exerbike doesn’t work that joint and I can pedal comfortably. So I’m in pretty good shape to get through the next five weeks of Eating Season, as long as I keep up my end of things.

How did your week go? “I decided not to worry about it” is an acceptable answer; after all, letting go for one day is fine — as long as it’s only one day! How can you apply what you did this week to the week ahead?

Just4Today (Turkey and football)

Just 4 TodayThanksgiving, and the month-long peak of Eating Season, is only two days away. No doubt (at least in the US) the turkey is thawing in the fridge, taking up a lot of space and pushing out other food items. Is that displaced chow — be it leftovers, or stuff you hadn’t gotten around to preparing get — getting eaten “just to get it out of the way” or “so it doesn’t go to waste”?

What do holiday dinners mean to you? Stress? Fun? A day to forget about the diet? When I was a kid, it was Grandma’s Parker House Rolls (for which I got the recipe), ham, and a big ol’ after-dinner game of tackle football with my many cousins while the dads watched the Lions on TV and the moms talked (and incidentally cleaned up). Ah, to be a kid again… well, not really.

“Football is 80% physical and 40% mental.” (Little Giants) Yeah, and so is dieting. Combinations can complement each other, in both football and dieting, adding up to 120%. The stress of preparing for a holiday get-together is the perfect opportunity for old, destructive habits to reassert themselves. Calories are only part of the equation; keeping your mental focus during this time of year can truly make you a 120% performer. I lost weight during last year’s Eating Season — I’m not doing so hot so far this year, but I know I can get back on track and get the trend going in the right direction. I just have to get both my dinner plate and my head in the right places.

So… Just4Today, I’m going to drink my water (2l) and remember my fiber supplement. I’ll limit my fat intake by limiting myself to one serving of meat. Finally, I’ll get 20 minutes on the Evil Exerbike.

What are you going to do today? It doesn’t have to be food- or diet-related!

Looking Back/Looking Forward

grumble… Man, look at all the dust. And cobwebs. At least the management kept the spammer-droppings swept up. I know KB has had some serious things going on in her life, so I’m not criticizing… I’ve had posting privileges all along and could have stepped in at any time.

Okay, while I start dusting, I’ll start talking about what I have in mind. My daily commitment has definitely slipped here; I’ve gained back 20 of the 25 pounds that I managed to lose. I need to get back on track… but that’s what I’ve been telling myself for a while now.

The daily commitment is important — I think all the long-time readers agree with that. Our primary focus should be on the day ahead of us. After all, it’s pretty difficult to see in advance what’s going to be possible in the day ahead of us; how can we expect to plan for weeks or months ahead? But not all daily commitments, obviously, get fulfilled.

Again, the daily commitment is important — it’s really the baseline of how we roll here. But just like weighing yourself each morning (“oh cool, I lost a pound” … “oh rats, I gained a pound”) looking at each data point doesn’t tell us anything about the trends. As KB often points out in the Hacker’s Diet, it’s the trend line, those weigh-ins plotted over weeks or months, that matters.

So last week, I wanted to get a walk (or some other kind of exercise) at least four times. I managed two. Not good, but infinitely better than the week before that, in which I got no exercise at all. Doubleplusungood when peak Eating Season is closing in fast.

So what went wrong? Well, regular readers of my own blog, Tales from FAR Manor, know I have a new grandson spending a lot of time with us. Taking care of a baby can be time-consuming, and cut into exercise time, but at the same time the warmest November I can remember has given me the opportunity to drop him in a stroller and get my walk in while not leaving the kid unattended. We didn’t have the usual crazy-running-everywhere kind of October we usually have, but now we’re doing it in November. We’ve been eating out far too often. I’ve been pounding hard on a new story (also being posted on the blog).

I’ve managed above to identify several things that get in the way of my daily commitment, and one thing that actually helps with it. Now the question is, what am I going to do about it? You might know that too much sodium can run up your blood pressure, but if you keep unscrewing the salt shaker and dumping it on your meatloaf, what good has it done you?

I know that I can work taking care of Mason into my exercise routine; he likes getting outside. I know that even if I can’t stop the eating out madness, I can exercise portion control. I know that if I’m pressed for time, I can walk away from the computer for a little while and jump on the Evil Exerbike.

What has gotten in the way of your daily commitments over the last week? What has helped? How can you use this information to improve your commitment score this week?

I’ll do this Sunday mornings from now on, unless KB tells me to quit. Maybe I’ll get a chance to post through the week until she can get back into the swing.