Another notch

I don’t have time to write a “real” post, just documenting that I hit my third 10-pound mini-goal this morning.  I’m now down 30.1 pounds.  I expect to fluctuate back above the mark tomorrow, but it should settle in a few days.  Just for giggles – and because of lack of other content – here’s my progress graph from MyFitnessPal.

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Final Chantix thoughts, Housecleaning.

I really can’t express enough how glad I am to finally be finished with Chantix.  I was fortunate to not experience any negative side effects beyond a few really nasty dreams and three months without any truly restful sleep.  On a whim, I decided to check out my stress levels as recorded by my Garmin tracker and compare the two periods, and the difference is staggering.

This first image compares my stress levels on average Wednesdays.  On the left are my stress levels while I was on Chantix.  Levels on the right are about one week after finishing it.

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And here are similar stats but from two different Sundays, which are largely spent hanging out on the couch with the cats.  Again the left is while on Chantix, the right is about a week after finishing.

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So, yeah.  I’m not just imagining feeling better.  But it’s nice to have that visual proof as well.  And it certainly helps explain how “on edge” I felt for those three months.  While I’m sure some of that was simply from quitting smoking, I think the medication had a lot to do with it as well.

Also this past weekend I spent a lot of time cleaning up and rearranging my laundry room.  When I moved into the house almost two years ago, that was the “throw it in there and deal with it later” room.  I kept meaning to get around to reorganizing it but just kept… not.  To complicate matters when Wes was sick earlier this year, he apparently started peeing on the utility shelves in the corner.  Which I did not realize until it got warm and began to bake said pee into whatever was there.

I had taken a half day at work on Friday and wasn’t sure what to do with myself when the bug to do something about that room finally bit.  Mostly because it’s not air conditioned and those damn shelves were making the whole house smell like cat pee as the room heated up during the day.  So I cleared off and disinfected the shelves, then pulled back the rug so I could move the shelves out and clean behind them.  That was when I discovered that Wes had also peed on the rugs.  A lot.*  So those went out to the dumpster – because ew – and Project: Organize The Shelves suddenly became Project: Reorganize The Laundry Room And Mop All The Things, which took pretty much all afternoon and evening.

So here’s the fun part: before and after pictures!

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Most of the boxes on those bottom two shelves in the “after” photo are empty.  They’re just filling space to hopefully keep Wes from trying to pee there again.  Over the weekend, I also ended up taking 47 pounds of paper (those boxes on the left side of “before”) to be shredded.  The room already feels way better, and no longer reeks of cat pee.

I still have to organize the tool table, which is located behind the door and is not pictured. Most of that stuff will likely go into the white cabinets in the photos, which I also cleared out of a bunch of junk that was left by the previous homeowners. Also not pictured is the massive box of “donation” stuff which has been sitting in there since I unpacked after the move, waiting for me to re-pack it into smaller, more manageable boxes and get it out of the house.  And I’d like to move a bunch of drums and stuff from the music room onto those corner shelves.  But those are maybe projects for this weekend.

*None of your stuff got peed on, Daphna.  I checked.

Strange progress

I’ve had some interesting progress points recently.

First, my shorts refused to stay up today. I didn’t notice how loose they were before I left the house this morning, but the walk from the parking garage to the office was awkward at best. As was the walk from my office to the department where my work has been most heavily focused lately. It got to the point where I actually went up to the local drug store in hopes of finding a belt. (It was that, or attempt to use an ethernet cable from the surplus equipment pile.) Found one of those “As Seen on TV” click-belts for about $20 and decided it was worth the cost to avoid accidentally mooning*… well… anyone… as I walked around campus.

Given that experience, tonight I went into my bin of smaller shorts and pants and got to pull out a couple pairs of shorts which just about fit, and hopefully will be a better fit very soon. They’ve gone into the laundry bin so they’ll be freshly clean when I’m really ready to swap them in.

Now for the strangest thing. Tonight was cardio night with my P90 Sweat! Level 1-2 and Ab Ripper 100 DVD. I’ve been struggling to keep up with the pace and with having to modify some of the motions for quite some time. For whatever reason tonight I was able to keep pace with almost all of the exercises, and even was able to get through most of each of the more challenging exercises as demonstrated. (Those lunge-runs and cross-hops are tough!) I also inadvertently did the Ab Ripper 100 as Ab Ripper 110. It’s supposed to be 10 sets of 10 crunches and crunch-type exercises, but as I finished set 6 I realized I’d been counting to 11 for some reason. I figured I might as well finish the last four sets that way. Eleven. It’s ridiculous, it’s not even funny.

I have no clue where this extra energy and endurance came from so suddenly. Maybe it’s all the cross-campus walks I’ve had to take for work lately. Or maybe it’s because I’ve finally dropped enough weight to make all that jumping around easier to do. (I’m down 27 pounds as of this morning.) Or maybe it’s the new mustache wax I’m trying this week. I guess we’ll see whether this was a fluke or not next cardio day.

Oh, it’s been about two and a half weeks since I finished the Chantix. It took a week or so but I’ve started sleeping much better, which has been very nice. And I’m still smoke-free.

I injured my right shoulder a few weeks ago trying to push to heavier dumb bells too quickly on resistance days. Saw my doc about it yesterday and now have exercises along with an ice and ibuprofen regimen. If it doesn’t improve in a few weeks, then we’ll talk about PT.

*Mooning should always be intentional.

Another 10 down

Finally knocked down the next 10 pound mini-goal this morning.  For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 20 pounds down since the end of March.

I’m now down to the same weight I was around this time in 2013, the last time I started losing weight and getting healthier.  The big difference is this time I have a better idea of what I’m doing and how my body is most likely to react to the choices I make.

I also got to go “shopping” in the back of my closet this weekend.  I was pleased to discover that some of my “fat clothes” which had become too tight are once again wearable.  It’s still way too soon to be able to go “shopping” in my storage bins of super-smaller clothes, but it’s nice to be able to wear some of these shirts again.  Maybe in another three months I’ll be able start swapping them out for some of the stuff in storage.

I’m on my last week of Chantix, and cannot wait to be done with it.  I’m really looking forward to seeing if my sleep quality gets any better next week.  Because three months is a long time to go without much (if any) real rest.  A very long time.

Listicle

Haven’t had time to write properly so I’ve been keeping a short list of things over the last week. Here it is.

Sunday night/Monday morning – another bad Chantix dream.  At least this time I wasn’t the bad guy. I’m so ready to be done with this stuff. Just four weeks plus a couple of days left.

Monday – Started working with 15lb dumb bells.  Got about half way through P90 before having to switch back to the 10lbers.

Tuesday – I hate that I got to a place where this statement makes sense, but I didn’t get winded while tying my shoes.

Thursday – went out to a really good Mexican restaurant for dinner with the parental units. Even though I felt famished and still had over 1600 calories available to eat for the day, I only ate about 700 calories and left satiated instead of uncomfortably stuffed. Even with the chips & salsa.

Friday – VACATION!!!!

Mileposts

When you’re working to lose 100 pounds – which is my goal – that number is pretty daunting.  That’s why I’ve broken it down into 10 pound mini-goals.  Today I hit that first milepost.  I’m finally down 10 pounds!  (I was hoping to be able to write this post yesterday, but I was still over by a tenth of a pound and I don’t want to get into the habit of rounding down.)

When I went to the doctor for a check-up in late March, I weighed the most I ever have.  For the next month or so I yo-yoed over a five pound range, eventually settling around the five pounds lost mark for another month-ish.  Over the last two weeks those next five pounds have just disappeared, three of them falling off this week.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the weight loss pattern appears to line up with acquiring a fitness band just over two weeks ago, then starting to log caloric intake just over a week ago.  I haven’t made any drastic changes. I’ve just been more aware of what I am or am not doing and making small adjustments here and there.

For example, someone brought bagels and cream cheese to the office for everyone earlier this week.  Normally I’d tell myself, “I don’t need it.  I’m trying to be better.”  Of course I’d eventually cave and say, “Screw it.  Gimme,” then go slather a bagel with cream cheese and wolf it down.  This time because I’d already logged everything I planned to eat for the day, I knew I didn’t have any wiggle room.  That made it much easier to ignore the temptation. Never mind the part where I exercised after work and ended up with a calorie deficit for the day, so technically had plenty of room for the bagel.  That’s another slippery slope I don’t want to get anywhere near.

I’m sure quitting smoking has also helped a ton.  It’s been just over six weeks since I last did any regular smoking, and just over three weeks since my last “Let’s see if the Chantix is really doing what it says it does” experiment – which I have no need or desire to repeat.  Exercise is getting easier.  I’m starting to sleep a little better, Chantix side effects notwithstanding.  Thanks to some noise-cancelling headphones acquired at work, my stress levels have also noticeably decreased… mostly  Any thoughts of having a cigarette are just that – thoughts.  Recognizing that I’m in a place or doing an activity where I would have normally smoked helps me realize I don’t actually want to smoke.  It’s what I’d become accustomed to doing in those situations, so my brain goes there out of habit.  And the thought is never strong enough to make me want to go buy a pack, or even bum a smoke from a friend.  So that’s good.

I do know that losing 3 pounds a week is not sustainable.  As much as I’d love to be rid of the next 90 pounds by early January, that’s just not going to happen.  Which is fine, since I also don’t think that would be a particularly healthy way to go about it.  This is probably mostly water weight that I’m dropping so quickly, and I expect it to taper off any day now.  And that’s okay.  This is a process.

On counting calories

I’ve had an account at myfitnesspal for years and largely ignored it beyond making sure my exercise (when it happens) gets logged.  I never got into the whole calorie counting thing because, well, I know how… focused… I can get on such things and I didn’t want that to take over my every waking thought.

Since acquiring my fitness band last week I’ve discovered that while it does track my exercise, it also tracks the calories I burn just by being alive.  For some reason, that made me want to start actually tracking my food calories in MFP.  So I started doing that Thursday night.

It’s actually pretty easy to do.  Lots of foods are already in their system.  You just scan the barcode on a package with the app on your phone and record how much of it you ate.  Or you can do a simple search for things.  But entering items that don’t have bar codes (produce, fresh meat, stuff from the bulk bins, etc.) helped me realize that while I had an idea of what smart portions looked like, I didn’t really know.

So today I went out and bought a food scale.  I was afraid it would add a lot of time to my meal prep, but it really doesn’t.  (At least, it didn’t tonight.)  I can actually put my baking vessel on the scale, zero it out, then it pretty much automagically weighs each ingredient as I add it as long as I remember to zero the scale after each addition.  Makes it super easy to record accurate amounts of pretty much everything.  And I’m not dirtying any extra equipment since I can weigh right in whatever vessel is about to go into the oven.

So that’s new to my routine.

I’ve also learned just in the last three days that my proportions of carbs to fat to protein are WAY off.  I’m eating way too much fat and not nearly enough carbs, apparently.  Protein is pretty much right on.  And I have a tendency to overdo the sodium.  At least, according to what MFP says I should be eating.  So now I have a better idea of what to change and how.

It’s too soon to say if it really helps, but it’s another step along the road.  Let’s see where it goes.