Monday, February 24, 2014

#476: Burning Calories / Earning Calories

"Supermans" image from BarStarzz
After a good breakfast, I hit the gym.

Treadmill Warm-up, 10:00 @ 4.6 mph
Squats
Step-ups
Barbell Bent-over Row
Dumbbell Chest Press
V-Ups on Bench with Plate
Core Series... Plank, Side Plank, Supermans
Recumbent Stationary Bike, 30:00 @ 15 mph

That's a pretty long workout... almost 90 minutes, but I don't teach any group exercise classes today, so I wanted to hit the strength training hard. After three classes, personal training, and my own cardio work tomorrow, I won't be in any mood for weight lifting anyway.

Helped Coach Rita with LIVESTRONG at the YMCA after my shower, then stopped by the drive-through for some protein. Not my first choice, but I have no dead animals at home, and was too bushed to think about shopping and cooking. Of course when I got home and logged everything into myfitnesspal.com, I learned a couple of things.

  • While a McDonald's Double Cheeseburger may not be the most wholesome delivery system, it does pack 25 grams of protein along with a manageable 23 grams of fat. The bad surprise for me was that the sucker also hides 1050 grams of sodium... no wonder those "small" drinks have to be so big.
  • No matter how righteous that extra set of side planks make you feel at the end of a monster day in the weight room... there's just no good reason to refuel with an 820 calorie Shamrock Shake carrying 23 grams of fat.
  • About that sodium... I've been tracking every calorie now for five days, and I'm shocked by how much Na(sty) is hidden in the food I eat. Fat is MUCH easier to control. 
After my post workout indulgence, my food log told me I was running low on calories allowed for supper, so I decided to go buy some with an hour stroll downtown. The walk was nice... cold and dark, but relaxing. I had Emmylou Harris on my headphones, and she always makes my soul feel better. And when I got home, I was able to have a nice salad for supper.

The log I'm using let not only told me that I'd made some poor choices for lunch, it also let me be proactive about  deciding if I should go out for an easy walk, and what I might eat for supper that wouldn't undo all the hard work I did in the gym. I like that. I've tried a lot of online fitness log tools over the years, and none is perfect, but for my present purpose - watching calories in/calories out like a hawk - myfitnesspal.com seems to be pretty effective. Of course, the proof will be in the belt loops, so I'm reserving my endorsement until all those running shorts fit again.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

#475 Reboot

#reboot
The last couple of days have been a kind of a two-part reboot experiment for me.

For nearly all of February, I have been sick. Really sick.Cold. Flu. Fever. Dizzy. Sick as I've been since the bad old days, to tell the truth. And when you're a throat cancer survivor, those barking coughs and hackings can really mess with your head when they wake you up at 2:30 AM.

Of course, Murphy's Law being what it is, confusion and loss on the personal, financial, and professional fronts all hit at the same time leaving me feeling like the magical start of 2014 had been a God playing a cruel joke. No sooner did my lungs begin to clear, than I felt like the emotional rug was being pulled out from under me in about 6 different directions.

Well, all that stuff is sort of resolving itself now, some for better, mostly for worse, but at least I'm not sick in bed, letting it all just roll over me anymore.

Reboot Part One

I've decided to try to keep more of my personal drama offline in the future. Several things have happened over the past few weeks that make me think that I am hurting myself and  people I care about by being so candid about my day to day mental health struggles on the internet. I deactivated my Facebook account for a few days, then went in and took a look at the kinds of things I say and do there. It was an illuminating, and not always flattering picture. I've done some housekeeping. Made some promises to myself that I want very much to keep, and last night, I reactivated the account.

Reboot Part Two

Being sick in bed for most of two weeks really drove it home for me: I can not afford to take my health for granted ever again. Sounds like a pretty stupid thing for a cancer survivor to say, doesn't it? Nevertheless, that's what I've been doing. Sure, there were lots of reasons, and some of them were pretty good, but good reasons don't change bad consequences... I stopped taking care of my body, and I am weaker as a result.

And self-inflicted weakness is a luxury I can not afford.

So I dug out the passwords for my account on myfitnesspal.com. I've been walking every day. I've started logging calories. Every blessed one of them. I'm chucking the canned weight training plan I've been using, and have written my own program for the next six weeks I've started actually ticking items off my Outlook
Task list, instead of shaking my head at it and then rushing off to voice my half-cocked opinions about the Outrage-of-the-Day™ on Facebook.

Talk is cheap. And I can talk one hell of a game. But I have always needed to put a thing in words before I can put it into action. And action is what I'm doing now. It's the lesson that the Marathon taught me. You may not finish pretty, but you will finish if you just keep moving. And I've been sitting still much too long.

Fat Man Walking

Last night's walk was a beauty. It was great to get out into the evening air and to feel like my lungs were finally working again. I walked about 3.5 miles to the center of town and back. Went out today for about 4.5. It was early afternoon, but about 10°colder than last night. Uglier, too. I went through some of North Lexington's industrial district, which naturally includes the bars, bookstores, and "Gentlemen's Clubs" that seem to spawn around working men like mold on leftovers. I don't notice this stuff as much when I run, but walking through it made me feel sort of dirty. I think I'll not include that particular block again if I can help it.

Another difference between walking and running for me is that my mind keeps working when I walk. Not so much fatigue, I guess. Not so many endorphins. I'm not sure what the reason is. I just think more when I walk. About love. About the dogs I meet. About the groups of people standing on the street talking. About whatever I'm obsessing about at the moment. About how I can stop obsessing and just let myself be where I am. It's funny, but I find that walking... I mean the actual act of walking... requires a little more mental discipline than running. I suppose I'll learn more about that as I go along. In any case, I've walked more in the last two days than I've run in the last two months, and it feels good to be back on the road.







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