Getting back on track, again.

September 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

The Gist – short

I’ve had a rough time balancing life and my health for the past few months.  It’s a work in progress. So is my fitness.

Recap – long and full of details.

It’s been a rough few months.  With the start of residency came not only job performance stress as a newbie intern, but very little sleep, very little energy, and nearly no time to sit down to a healthy meal.  I wish I could say this was a gross over exaggeration. My days consist of pre-rounding at 5am and working until anywhere from 4pm(rarely) until 6 or 9pm.  After work all I ever want to do is come home and prep a dinner that the food pyramid God’s would admonish, read a few pages from Harrison’s or NEJM, and spend at least an hour on the elliptical with my favorite punk bands.  Instead, much to my chagrin, I somehow have about 6-7/10 energy level when I leave work and progressively decline to outright sleepy on the way home.  Driving has always been a sedative for me -yeah, watch out 😉 -and I think it might be from the subtle vibration of the car.  Neither here nor there.  I feel exhausted when I finally reach the driveway. I’m left eating from a 4 – 6 pt Lean cuisine or Smart Ones box, reading a few poorly written clinical summaries on UpToDate, and maybe finding time to do a few push ups before I throw myself at my giant cozy bed with every intention of reading a few review articles…..but my eyes are too heavy.  I’m sure this schedule isnt’ that far off from many other folks out there, but it does get a bit tricky with 24 hour calls and overnight shifts thrown in the mix.

Don’t get me wrong, I can say with pride that I love every minute of my job. Every stinking minute.  I love teaching, I love examining my patients, that my mentors LOVE to teach, that I’m grateful to Vishnu, Shiva, Jehovah, Allah, what have you -that I’m in this particular residency program which I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid, I love meandering over to radiology to talk about some obscure CT, practicing a slight smile all day to show my appreciation for work, socializing with my co-workers in the halls with the occasional wink or high-five, really, I love it all.  I just don’t love the fact that it does terrible things to my metabolism, patience, emotional capacity, cognitive abilities, and above all; my waistline. Worst of all, I was getting so frustrated over my crappy schedule because I wasn’t finding time to make it to a weight-in.  No bueno. This started to make me resent my choice of occupation and I would find myself getting less motivated to stick with Weight Watchers because JUST as I’d get ready to leave work for a weigh-in, I’d open my giant mouth to ask someone if he/she needed help with something and I’d land myself a new patient admission.  Again, no bueno.  This is my ASS we’re talking about people, my hips, my thighs and my gut!  And it was all seemingly larger than a few weeks prior.

I gained nearly 4 pounds during that time period and potentially a bit more, ahem, “subcutaneous tissue” around my midsection.  I know what this is attributed to.  It took a few Twitter exchanges with Christina Williams and lots of head scratching while pouring over my food log to figure out why I had veered off my climb to Mount Everest and landed on the Oregon Trail.   Minus one sheep.

What I learned about myself

So here I was thinking that it was simply the lack of time and energy that was crimping my success on weight watchers.  It dawned on me that while my life has changed significatly over the past few months, there is no reason for me to lose control over it. I don’t have an excuse not to eat well. Not at all. I carefully select my groceries weekly, scrutinizing labels and separate portions. So why was I letting myself become lazy – buying lunch from the cafeteria (did I tell you we have a giant SUSHI bar??) or grabbing lunch at a local bar or festival with fellow interns on the weekends (which by the way I refuse to stop doing because my sanity depends on it)?  I was not making terribly poor choices but what I was doing…….was tracking AFTER I ATE.  SUCH a poor idea for me.  This is exactly the opposite of (1) what I should be doing (2) what I had been been doing.  I let the EXCUSE of my hectic schedule get in the way of holding myself responsible for my points.

I had gotten in the habit of using my 35 Weekly allowance points every day…of course not all at once, but I was slowly chiseling at them daily.  Prior to this, I had been saving my points for a dinner out or special occasion.  Well that control was trampled.  The scale was moving up and I was feeling more an more miserable.  I sat down that night of my ( for lack of a better word) revelation, and wrote down exactly what I was going to eat the following day. I also decreased my daily points allowance by 2pts.  I needed to not only give my giant butt a kick start, but I had to re-train myself to stick to a daily regimen.  The following day it worked.  I resumed packing my lunch and making my coffee at home (with my beautiful new Keurig – just to save money thru the year), leaving my wallet in the car so I wasn’t tempted to buy what I didn’t need around my waist. I didn’t go over points AND I had my skinny COW dessert. Win – Win.  This is exactly how I’d been running the show since March and was pretty successful, and here I was again, finding a way to save myself from falling back into old behavioral patterns.

While I need a regimented menu, I also struggle as a fatty-bo-batty who loves…… (sorry I was distracted by the ridiculously hot guy walking his dog down my street)…both quality and quantity in food.  Hence my need for weight watchers to begin with.  Keeping my new regimen in mind, I do allow myself to go off schedule for 1-2 days per week, usually when I’m going to a community event with friends, and I will enjoy a beer or three with some sort of ethnic treat. So that issue is settled. I need to live with my regimen but I never lock myself into it for the sake of my sanity and social life.

Much Ado About My Giant Ass

So now that I figured out how to control my food again, now it was back to square one with my exercise. What the hell was I going to do about my energy and time?   This is one I haven’t quite figured out yet.  I have been lucky enough to have been on vacation and outpatient clinic for the past 2.5 weeks so things are nowhere near as hectic as they had been, so I’ve had ample time to work out multiple times a day.  The question is how I’m going to handle this once vacation is over and I head back to the hospital.

My favorite work outs involve Spin Class every other day, yoga/Bikram, Pilates, elliptical, occasionally running (I had been working on the couch to 5K and hit week 6 but had to tone that way down b/c of my hips, knee and shin splints…despite having a gait analysis for proper sneakers and orthotics) and, as of this week – the 30-Day Shred.  I’m also waiting to get that P90x video in the mail that I was supposed receive back in July…we’ll see how that works out. I’ll hammer something out soon.

What’s my motivation (rewind to late 1990’s Sprite commercials)

Not to add a whole new level of creepy to the blog, but I not-so-recently started following (god, not literally) Bitch Cakes and her blog that feels like a big shoulder to lean on.  Better yet, what I really wanted to write was that she ALSO follows me now…I know, lame…but she’s BitchCakes and rides her HK cruiser AND has made LifeTime, so yeah, I got a little excited.  After having many days feeling that I was just bound to put all of my weight back on, I’d occasionally flip through one of many blogs I read for my little desperate moments of motivation. It was a breath of fresh air to see that like me, all of these fine ladies have struggled to stay on plan and incorporate activity in their life.  They’re all had ups and down’s.  This is not easy. Never has been and I don’t think it ever will be, but it’s a work in progress.  I’d have to say that’s why I’m stoked about Twitter. For as annoying as it is to keep up with 140-character blurbs about everyone’s lunch (including my own until my POS Blackberry’s phone chose to revolt against me), random updates about where everyone is (ahem, me at starbucks all of the time), what they’re drinking (my non-stop mentions of the #PSL), the weird and random sarcasm, who they hate, (hmm, sounds so much like my twitter feed), and loss of productivity, the aspect I find most useful is the fine group of fitness tweeters who help get me back on track.  High-five, you sexy bitches! You helped me get back on track.  Cupcakes for everyone!

So where has all of this thinking, tracking and tweeting led me?

My schedule switched over on September 1st and it’s been much less hectic b/c I’m in an outpatient clinic.  I’ve been back at my previous level and frequency of exercise. This consists of 60-min of spinning every other day (>78% max HR and an average of ~450 cal/session), with 60 min cardio and weights in between. I’ve recently started the 30-day shred but I’m definitely not doing this every day – maybe every other day.

I’ve lost exactly 5.2 pounds since sept 1.  Talk about ecstatic and satisfied.  I haven’t used all of my additional weekly allowance points and I haven’t felt like I’m starving, despite decreasing my points allowance by 2.  I’ve lost a total of 24.4 lbs total Since march, but this has included ups and downs with the occasional 5-lb fatty bastard that sneaked into my plump physique.  I somehow lost 10 pounds prior to WW so I’m at a grand total of 34.4 lbs so far AND I’m about 10 lbs from goal but I think I’d like to push beyond that.  One day at a time. (Side note* here’s an article I posted on Twitter recently that I thought was a beautiful representation of everything we go thru on our journey towards fitness)

Food – Oh is there ever food.  As ya’ll know, I LOVE to cook.  Details aside, I love food so much that I read about it, subscribe to several foo-foo shi shi cooking mags, and even received a Canon Rebel xs  for graduation because everyone knows that I love me some food photog.  And as my life goes, I, of course, have no time to sit down to read those mags more than 2x/month anymore, ergo, I don’t cook anything fantastic anymore.  At least nothing from Bon Appetit or Food and Wine anymore…it’s somewhat time consuming.  But boy do I miss the aromas and the relaxing little place it takes me.  All that nonsense being said, I have taken a few photos of my half-assed lunches, dinners and other crap I’ve made while working on lighting…and seasoning.  I’ve mainly been figuring out a way to make a boxed meal (low points) into a fab meal.

Lunch #1: mixed salad, mixed fruit and, of course, a Kind bar for snack.

Breakfast: Red Quinoa, almond milk, banana, mixed nuts, almond butter, and honey.

Snack: Heirloom tomatoes I picked up from the Farmer’s market. Pricey little bastards, but so delicious with squeeze of lime and pinch of salt 🙂

Dinner: Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Lasagna, spinach/cucumber/tomato salad w dijon-lime-dill vinaigrette, and boiled potatoes. yeah, I pretty much rocked the house with this meal.

These were just little tid bits of my daily meals…I’ll post recipes on another page.

This is all a balancing act, complete with successes and failures.  Some may come in the form numbers on a scale, an ill fitting outfit, over indulgence but in the end there are all things we can learn from.  While I’m sure I’ll trip and fall again, but I’m sure I’ll find a fellow twitter friend who can help me brush off and get to my next goal post. My failures have helped me succeed thus far. (Side note #2* While This article from Success Mag is about Bouncing back in the business world, it’s important to realize the essence of the article is about making a comeback in life.  Getting back on your feet once you’ve hit the proverbial wall.

A few random notes that are not in any way related to my post

1. Eat Pray Love – shouldn’t we all?  – My current read. I relate to it on so many levels…most of which I’ll keep to myself. Read it if you have a few hours to spare and I’d love to chat about it with you.

2. Latest rump-shakers – I have a tiny obsession with music and constantly revamp my work out lists.  I have a tendency to make mixes that are on-the- spot with the intervals I’m doing – I mean to the second!  To spare you my obsessive compulsive mannerisms from henceforth, I’ll just list some of the songs on my two latest mixes.  There’s some over lap but I think you can handle that.  Let me know if you like this stuff 🙂

Mix 1: This is for either elliptical, running, walking – when I’m feeling ridiculously ghetto.  I’m ususally in the >75% Max HR with this mix

  1. rapture – Alicia Keys
  2. Memories ft Kid Cudi – David Guetta
  3. Supernova – Jason Darulo
  4. Dynamite – Taio Cruz
  5. Krazy – Pit Bull
  6. Feel it – Thee-6-Mafia
  7. poker round (fristy remix) – flo-rida
  8. Bad Romance – Gaga
  9. Come Fly away – Benny Benassi
  10. Up – the Saturdays
  11. The Fame – gaga
  12. Cyber Love – Jason Derulo
  13. break your heart – taio Cruz
  14. gettin’ over you – David guetta
  15. Forever – Chris Brown
  16. Turn it up – stereos
  17. la Musique – Riot in Belgium
  18. Meet me half way – Black eyed peas
  19. the way I are – Timbaland
  20. Sweet dreams – Benny Benassi
  21. Satisfaction – Benny Benassi
  22. Can’t stop me now – pitbull
  23. gettin over you – david guetta
  24. shots – LMFAO
  25. sex, lies, Audiotape – DeadMau5
  26. Love is gone – david guetta
  27. Hey! – Laidback luke
  28. Sleepy Head – passion Pit
  29. Finger Food  – Benny Benassi
  30. Satellite – Lena
  31. Beat dat Beat – Dj Pauly D
  32. I need a miracle – fragma
  33. take it off – kesha
  34. calabria 2007 – Enur
  35. you make me sick – pink
  36. thong song – sisqo (you know you love it)
  37. remedy – little boots
  38. outta control – peter andre

I admit, a lot of these are annoying but, hell, if you listen to the beat and ignore the lyrics you’ll be OK and survive. there are a few others but I’ll spare you.

Mix #2: Hotter and better. Love it. I also occasionally listen to this when I feel like a bad ass. I’m usually at <75% max HR with this list. Elliptical and walking.

  1. Heads will Roll – yeah yeah yeahs
  2. Good ol’ Fashion Nightmare – Matt and Kim
  3. magic – B.o.B
  4. Kill me Carolyne – The Whigs
  5. Dashboard – Modest mouse
  6. I can talk – two door cinema club
  7. Whoo! alright – the rapture
  8. This is your life  – The killers
  9. Clark gable – The postal service
  10. Sleepy head – Passion pit
  11. Memories – david guetta
  12. supernova – jason derulo
  13. Bad romance – Gaga
  14. Break your heart – Taio cruz
  15. rebellion – the arcade fire
  16. dog days are over  – florence and the machines
  17. what ever you like (single version) – anya marina
  18. DJ Got us falling in love again – usher
  19. Use somebody  – Kings of leon
  20. Until we bleed – Lykke li

In closing, thanks to all the fine ladies who have helped me past my pity party a few weeks ago. You rock my socks off. Truly.

How do you guys push past through plateaus or those rough patches?

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