Thursday, August 15, 2013

Keeping Promises

I made a promise to myself to revive this blog and I am keeping it! We had a very busy weekend and I spent the first two days of my work week in a New Faculty Orientation, so I haven't had time to write until today (spent yesterday catching up on the mass of email and tasks that built up during the orientation). Making promises is an important part of successful lifestyle change. Accountability is crucial. Some people need to be accountable to others (such as posting an intention to work out on social media or having a running buddy) and others can get by on their own.

I fall into the latter category. I often surprise myself with my own motivation and ability to stay committed to things. I don't think I could have successfully lost 170 pounds and maintained that loss without having incredible willpower. Fortunately, technology makes it easy for people who don't have that willpower to stay accountable. Online food journaling was crucial for me when I got started and as I shifted through various dietary habits. I used Calorie Count for a long time at the beginning, and switched to My Fitness Pal after a calorie counting hiatus due to some of their features like smart phone access. As I mentioned before, I stopped counting calories in December and it's still working for me. A lot of the research I've read suggests that food logs are essential when changing dietary habits, however, they don't need to be specific to the calorie.

Every week Carly and I plan a menu for the week based on what we have in the fridge/pantry and around any special circumstances. This helps me get away from journaling because everything else I eat is pretty routine. We use an app called Our Groceries to make the menu, keep track of meal ideas, and make grocery lists. We typically eat lunch & dinner at home 6 days a week, and always eat breakfast at home. This is something I'm proud of and I enjoy our time in the kitchen together.

I'm now working on putting those old journaling skills to work with my fitness plan. I read a great article this morning from Active.com (highly recommend this site!) about making a running plan that made me realize I could be doing better. I went back through my chart of planned activities for the last few weeks and added in my mileage and made the chart reflect what I actually did. Part of my problem right now is that I don't have anything scheduled that I am training for. I'm doing a 5K in September but it's a charity event and Carly and I might do it as a walk rather than a run. The event is a Heart Walk for the American Heart Association. I'm walking in honor of my Uncle Gus who passed away last September due to complications with heart surgery, and for my Dad who suffered a major stroke in May of this year. I am almost to my fundraising goal of $300, and would welcome any donations to this important cause.

I know I need to sign up for a 10K next. I'm already running that distance on Saturday, and I do about a 5K distance twice a week. I know I can do it. I think after that I will look for a half marathon sometime in the early Spring. After reading Chi Running I realized that I needed to plan my runs specifically for different functions. I'm reading "Finding Ultra" by Rich Roll right now. He's a recovering alcoholic who at age 40 decided to get fit and adopted a plant based diet. He then completed several crazy endurance races and is considered one of the fittest athletes in the world. In one chapter he discussed his initial Ultraman training plan where he maintained a threshold heart rate for long distances to improve his body's ability to use oxygen. I know I'm running too fast a lot of the time and not achieving this goal, so that's something I know I need to work on in the future.

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