Friday, February 21, 2014
So the pool was closed today. It was closed yesterday too, so I only swam twice this week. I'm going to try to get to the university pool tomorrow afternoon, but it's a 50 meter pool, and that's pretty intimidating for us non-Olympic athletes.
Since the pool was closed, I took up the offer of a free happy hour, sponsored by the organizers of the service project I worked on last weekend. I had one beer, but the beers here are 24 oz, and then my friend and I left to pick up food and bring to another friend's house where we planned to watch the USA-Canada hockey game. We got chicken kebabs, hummus and pita, and fries, and since we had been out in the sun drinking beer, I was starving and ate ALL of my order, which was a fair amount of food, although I did pass up the option of more beer and just had a glass of water.
After a disappointing hockey game, I came home and started to track my food. Kebab, fries, pita, hummus.....oh yeah, 24 oz of beer......hesitant look at the total.....2,100 for the day! That's not so bad! 600 over the high end of my suggested calorie range, and right about where my BMR should be. If you look at the week as a whole, I am only over by less than 100 a day.
A year ago, a binge would have been 3-4 beers, and a stop at the shwarma stall AFTER a complete dinner, and the damage would have been more like 2000 calories over my suggested intake.
If I get in the pool for 45 minutes tomorrow, it will all even out.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
I grew up in the water. I started swimming lessons at the age of two, and swam on teams as a child. I performed with a synchronized swim group in junior high. Water was my second home. Even though I didn't swim competitively in college, I still found time to get to the pool and swim laps 4-5 days a week. At some point though, I got lost. Swimming is an expensive sport. The cheap gyms tend not to have pools, and when I was a broke 20-year-old, even the Y was too expensive for me, so I stopped swimming. And then I got really fat and the idea of being in a swimsuit in public was terrifying.
My best friend started dragging me to her gym a few years ago, super swanky, gorgeous locker rooms with whirlpools and saunas, and best of all, four pools, including two on the roof in the heart of downtown Chicago. I swallowed my pride and appeared in public in a swimsuit and got back in the water. Immediately I felt like my old self, powerful, full of grace, like a mermaid. It was glorious. Sadly, the salary of a public school teacher does not cover the fees of that kind of gym, so I didn't swim very often. The Y had very few convenient hours for lap swimming, so I didn't join.
The school where I work now has a pool, a beautiful pool, outside, under the African sun. I put off going. That whole swimsuit thing, only now even worse, because my students are around. But I've started going, 3-4 days a week, after school, with several other teachers. And again, I feel glorious. I get in the water and my stress melts away.
And I am amazed at how much strength and energy I have. I thought I would get in the pool and be able to swim for like 15-20 minutes, but right away I was swimming for 45 or so. I can feel myself getting stronger; I can feel my body changing.
I feel like I am home.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
I thought that this was a really good article from LifeHacker. The comments section is particularly interesting, with lots of ideas from fat people, and formerly fat people, on how to go about starting or maintaining an exercise program. I particularly liked one of the first threads of comments, which was pretty much exactly like what I posted about in my last blog, from someone who has decided that they hate exercise and has to shoot down any possible suggestion about how to go about exercising.
Sunday, February 09, 2014
There are certain ideas that get repeated over and over again on Spark, and not just here, all over the reputable health and nutrition sites and magazines. You have to eat a variety of healthy and nutritious foods and stay within a range of calories that is less than the amount of calories you expend. You need to track what you eat in some way, either in an online format or by journaling. You need to engage in some sort of exercise.
It is not rocket science, is it?
Actually doing them is hard, but in theory they are pretty simple rules. So it always amazes me when I read the message boards and see how many people believe that there is some way around them. So many people ask for advice that they really don't want. What they want is to be validated for making poor choices instead of doing what they know they need to do. I sort of talked about this in an earlier blog, Can't vs. Don't. It's not that you can't eat vegetables, make time to go to the gym, not eat fast food, it's that you DON'T eat vegetables, make time to go to the gym, not eat fast food. Which is totally fine, your body is your body--you can use it and fuel it however you see fit. But don't expect to be validated for your poor choices.
A lot of people post on the boards something like "I don't like to exercise, how do you make yourself like exercise?" and they will get a variety of responses from "Who cares if you like it? You don't like brushing your teeth either, but you do it because you need to." to heartfelt discussions about trying different activities like dancing, or just going for a walk. Almost invariably the original poster, or in some cases, another poster with a similar mindset will respond with, "No, you don't understand, I can't exercise" "I can't swim and it's too cold for walking outside and it's too far to the gym and I don't have a sitter for my kids and...." And you realize at some point that these people want to be told that it is ok for them not to exercise, that yes, in order to be healthy we need to move our bodies, but because they don't want to sweat, they don't have to, and here, you don't like vegetables, have a Snickers while you are sitting there watching The Biggest Loser and wishing that you could be thin too.
If there was a way to get in shape eating Snickers bars and sitting on the couch, I would be all over it, but there isn't.
Thursday, February 06, 2014
I realized last night that I had 12 overly-ripe bananas taking up space in my freezer. Sounds like time to make banana bread, right? I actually made muffins, because they are easier to share, and there is no way that I need to have 16 servings of yummy banana bread sitting around my kitchen.
The recipe is here: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-deta
I brought some in to work today, and took them in to my friend John's classroom. Another friend was there and I offered him one, and mentioned that it was vegan. His response was, "My father told me to never trust anyone who didn't drink beer or eat meat." Then he took a bite and said, "This is vegan? I could be vegan!"
It's not the most low-calorie recipe, and I may play around with the sugar quantities next time, but I have made it with half whole wheat and it is really good that way as well.
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