Wednesday, June 8, 2011

100 Days Strong--Day 21 Travel Plans

Day 21

Tomorrow begins a long weekend of travel to a convention.

Each year my wife and I head out to get new ideas, see new materials, and enjoy a few days ALONE with several thousand of our closest friends.

We eat at the hotel and various restaurants around Richmond.  Lunches are often found at the convention center--expensive, moderate quality but super-convenient compared to walking to the parking garage, driving to find someplace, paying to park again, and be back in an hour.

Advance Warning

This year will be different though, as I'm wading through the 100 Days Strong.  I'm packing for the pool and the gym, in addition to the miles of walking I'll get in through the vendor hall.

I also know that food choices won't be so great.  It is hard to bring food to a hotel room for 4 days without proper refrigeration and the ability to cook.

So I'm thinking ahead--and am planning on simply making the best choices I can, where I am, and avoiding the unnecessary items like chips, fried foods, and the like.  If I watch the portion sizes, that will help, too.  No late night pizza delivery.  Water, drink a lot of water.

My goal is to "do no harm".  I want to have the normal fun and experiences, and if I keep my weight the same or even lose a little while I'm there, it will be a success.

At least sleep won't be an issue.  The hotel has the best beds.

I really look forward to this convention each year to recharge my batteries.  This is the first time though that I'll add in the gym and making good choices.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

100 Days Strong--Day 20 Technology Rocks

Day 20

I'm getting hammered by technology this week, in a good way.

What does that have to do with my 100 Days Strong?  Like everything else, technology is permeating my efforts--and I'm open to it.

Earlier this week my bathroom scale died.  Before I scooted off to Walmart yesterday to hunt down a new one, I decided to check and see what Amazon could offer.


So I decided on this one.  Clicked the button to order it, and BAM!  Arrived today.  Well-made, easy-to-read, and has a capacity that far exceeds my ability to tax it.  Even five years ago, I would have been looking at an expensive scale, it would have weighed a ton, and been ugly as sin.  Technology wins.

I posted about the "scale death" on Twitter (sharing the find with other 100 Days Strong-ers)...and my gym tweeted back to remind me of the heavy-duty scale they have.  And later mentioned that they could help me with my knee.

Even this whole idea of connecting with other people online about my health, tracking my sleep and catching those calories from my phone makes me laugh.  C25K and Hundred Push-ups, too...on my phone.

Where am I going with this?

Not sure yet, but I like the direction it is headed.  Technology is making it easier than ever to keep all of those excuses and potential hurdles at bay.  Others are tweeting me about fitness programs they are using, which opens my mind to other possibilities down the road.

In the gym I turn on Pandora to listen to while C25K application dings me to run or walk.  I don't have to write down reps and times--just tweet, IM or email them to myself.  GPS software on my phone can map my route and times.  What do you think is coming next?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

100 Days Strong--Day 18 Movie Day

Day 18

Today we celebrated my wife's birthday.

Each year, we take a whole day and go to the movies.  Usually in June there are enough new movies to fill at least 2, usually 3 and once even 4 time slots.  Romantic comedies, action films, superhero movies, sequels to other blockbusters...all are fair game and her choice.

As a creature of habit (again, one of the reasons I'm a big guy), I have a routine.

Get to the movies, purchase tickets, swing by the snack bar, get the special with a large no-extra-butter popcorn (free refills) and 2 large diet sodas (free refills), the $2.50 candy special (special because it costs $1 at Walmart, or special because I get that 50 cent discount for buying the popcorn and dual-soda special--I'm not sure)...and make our way down to the theater.

See, if I'm going to miss meals to watch movies and maximize our date, I know I'm going to get hungry.  So I save money by buying the magnum-opus sized popcorn and drinks, because I can refill them.

And then I do.

Take Two!

This time, my wife wants a water instead and no popcorn--she's working on improving her own health habits. So I'm stuck, as a creature of habit, and I don't know what to do.

So I do the unthinkable...and change my usual order.  I didn't even know they had other specials, let alone other food.  OK, soft pretzel and 2 cups of cheese  127 chips and 2 cups of cheese

Got it--medium popcorn and medium drink.  Saved a dollar-fifty over the usual price, and got about half of the popcorn.  The medium drink was virtually the same size as the large (seriously, 3.5 quarts compared to 4 quarts).

And then it hit refills.

I'm sitting in the theater, eating my popcorn and watching the bottom race into view.  Panic is in my mind.  Do I go buy more?  Do I shift in my seat so my wife quits filching my popcorn that she didn't want anyway?

Then, a miracle happened.  I finished the popcorn, and was satisfied, and enjoyed the movies.  The soda made it through 2 shows.

But the popcorn was the surprise and it has got me thinking.  If I have unlimited popcorn, I eat unlimited popcorn.  If I get a bag of popcorn, large by any reasonable non-movie theater standard, and eat it until it is gone, I'm full and OK.

Work with me, I'm slow sometimes.

So if there is a lot of food, I'll eat a lot of food.  If there isn't a lot of food, I don't eat a lot of food, and I'm OK, not craving the piece of popcorn that bounced off my lap and rolled under the movie theater chair.

I wonder if I get a smaller glass and plate at home, what would happen...nah, it couldn't be that simple!

Another AHA! moment in my 100 Days Strong.  Some of these moments are embarrassing to feel free to share your own in the comments!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

100 Days Strong--Day 17 Farmer's Market

Day 17

My wife isn't feeling well, and I decided to step in and take care of getting everyone fed for breakfast.

Old me:  3-egg omelets with lots of cheese, sausage, bacon, buttered toast or biscuits, jelly, lots of OJ, coffee, fried potatoes, maybe some sour cream or salsa on top.

New me:  2-egg omelets with just enough cheese to get the flavor, turkey bacon (only 2 slices per person), dry multi-grain toast with a little orange marmalade, chopped spring onion fresh from the farmer's market.  Still a lot of coffee.

Guess what?  Everyone was satisfied.  No one felt hungry afterward.  No one missed the fried everything.  Ice water replaced juice.  Tons of flavor.  Filling.

Secondary benefits--only took a fraction of the mess, about half the time and was cheaper--much cheaper.

Tertiary benefit--the farmer's market sold me some great onions and peas picked the night before at a reasonable price ("reasonable" defined as close enough to Walmart's pricing that I don't even think about it).  We're going to cook those for lunch.  But my local economy made money on the deal, helping to ensure that there will be a market for me to shop in.

Today's Lessons

Food experience is more social that calorie based.  Yes, that is news to me, which is why I'm a big guy.
Cheaper, faster, better...all from my conscious decision to do better.
I can help my family and community by helping myself.

OK, some things come hard to me.  But today was a "light-bulb" moment day.  Seventeen days into the 100 Days Strong, what "light-bulb" moments have you had?

Friday, June 3, 2011

100 Days Strong--Day 16 Weight Check

Day 16

OK, a few days ago I suggested that Friday be a weight check day.

So here goes...


Down 2.8 pounds since my moment of truth.  I guess for anyone who was concerned that I'd be eating like a bird, we can put those fears to rest.


Yeah, a little.  But I suspected as much, too.

My exercise has been sporadic, and I'm learning to fit it in to my hectic schedule.  Hectic schedule being part of the problem.  I've made a lot of good food choices that will bear fruit in the future as I develop good habits.

And, my belt has gone in a notch.  The amount of sleep has gone up, so I'm feeling better and sharper.  Not needing quite as much caffeine either.

When I get back from my trip next week, it will be the first time my calendar has a planned slot in it for daily exercise at the gym.

Good things are happening, I just have to be patient.

The weight didn't all appear overnight and I shouldn't expect it to go overnight either.  This isn't the Biggest Loser, this is real life.  Making changes for the long haul...and it will be a long haul.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

100 Days Strong--Day 15 Why am I fat?

Day 15

Time for a little quiet reflection.

Why am I fat?

In high school, I was an athlete.  I could run the quarter-mile in 52 seconds.  I wrestled at 167-185 pounds for years.  I walked to work often, about 3 miles in the dry heat of Albuquerque.  Just me and a Super Big Gulp.

So what happened?

It might be that I was simply getting enough exercise then to compensate for the way I ate.  But the bad eating habits were already there.  Once I finished school, reality began to set in.  Married life, kids, more sedentary work.

When I turned 30, I began 3-5 hours of commuting each day for 14 years.  Commuting to a desk job.  That transformed into telecommuting as the technology enabled it (and when someone realized that we paid a lot of rent for office space that didn't really help us complete our work).

I ate in the car and at work.  I often had breakfast on the way to the office at 6AM, lunch at the office (even if they were leftovers from home), and would grab something from Taco Bell on the way home at 7PM.  The sleep apnea compounded the problem, and chips seemed to provide the crunch to stay awake while I was driving.

Excuses or Reasons

Now, I can take all of those things as either excuses or reasons.

But it doesn't matter.  I am where I am, and I have a lot of work to do to fix it.  I'm trying to focus on identifying the problems, understanding them, making a plan to fix them, and move on.

Have you stopped to think about why you are where you are?  This is similar to the adage about being doomed to repeat history by not understanding history.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

100 Days Strong--Day 14 Avoiding Temptation

Day 14

OK, big Scouting event tonight called a "Court of Honor".  Lots of Scouts receiving advancement, so maybe a hundred folks in attendance to watch.

And there will be food--lots of casseroles, chips-and-dips, bread-encrusted morsels of unidentifiable've been there, you know what I'm talking about.

And my plan is to avoid it altogether.  Every square of brownie, scoop of cheesy broccoli, and piece of fried chicken.

And I think I'll be successful...because I have a plan.


Now, don't get me wrong.  I love all that stuff.  And that's the problem.  If I go near it my will of iron will fold and crumple like tinfoil.  But if I can keep busy doing all the things that are required for my meeting, I can avoid the entire meal.

There are always plenty of folks to talk to that I don't often see.  Lots of younger brothers (future Scouts) to speak to and answer questions.

We'll have a speaker toward the end of the meal, so tending to the details for his talk will eat up some time.

And before you know it, they'll be cleaning up, I won't have really missed anything, and all will be well.

Seriously though, I do miss the cheesy broccoli.  Good to make a plan to avoid the temptations.