Entries in Weight Loss (11)


A lackluster week shows on the scale

The past week was a wildly busy one for me, as I served as an Alternate Deputy for the Diocese of Chicago to the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church (held in Indianapolis this year). This two week event required long hours in meetings, hearings, legislative sessions, and worship. My day started at 6:00am (if I wanted breakfast) and ended around midnight.

The first week I was able to get my run training "in" but that was largely because the 'heavy lifting' of Convention hadn't kicked in yet. But this past week was just way too busy to fit in my early morning runs without seriously sacrificing needed sleep time.

So the only run I did this past week was this morning, when I got my 7.7 mile Long Run done. It was 69F outside at the start which was fine, but the humidity was 91%! I have come to realize that the humidity affects me far more than heat. The higher the humidity, the more difficult it is for me to sustain my run pacing. But I got it done, and with an 11:18/mm pace which included a couple of walk breaks.

This was a cut-back week, but 7.7 miles was not exactly the weekly mileage total I was shooting for. Part of me wishes that I had gone ahead with a 5AM wake-up on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in order to get my 4-mile training runs in (a 7-mile week just makes me feel like a slacker). But my brain knows I made the right decision given the demands of the daily Convention schedule.

Hopefully, this will have no real impact upon my readiness for the Rock-n-Roll Chicago Half Marathon that I am running on the 22nd (next Sunday). We will just have to see. I am more worried about that the temp/humidity levels will be that Sunday morning. I want to run a solid race, but my finish time goal could be tossed aside if the weather is too hot and humid.

The other impact of the Convention was the kind of meals I had. Breakfasts were either non-existent or too high in carbs. Lunch and dinners were usually at a restaurant called Champions (attached to our hotel) and everything they served was large portions and high calories. And because the days were long and intense, I definitely enjoyed myself at table. And it didn't help that the snacks at our tables within the House of Deputies (legislative sessions) were far from 'healthy'.

So I gained about 8 pounds in two weeks! Oh. My. Gosh!!! That is just totally unacceptable, and I am really kicking myself in the butt for just throwing my usual caution 'to the wind' (as tasty as those meals were). The good news is that in the last three days, I have already lost 4 of those pounds. But still, that is something I cannot allow to happen. But I did not have a strategy for handling meals during the Convention, and I paid the price for that lack of planning.

This week will be focused on losing a few more of those unwanted pounds, while still keeping myself hydrated and properly fueled for the upcoming race. These two goals might be mutually exclusive but I am going to give it a try. This is my 'taper week' for the Half Marathon, so I will likely only do two Easy Runs this week (Tuesday and Thursday mornings).

Total Marathon Training mileage to-date is 83 miles. After the Half, that following weekend will be another challenge for me. I am taking some youth to a weekend leadership conference (and I am supposed to run a 14-mile Long Run that weekend). I will have to figure out how to fit that run in, since it will take me about 2.5 hours to run at my Long Run pace. I hope they have running paths at this conference center because 14 miles on a treadmill wouldn't be my first choice.


Breakfast is a key to better Weight and Blood Sugar Management

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why don't we make the time to eat it? I know that prior to starting to live a more healthy lifestyle, I almost never ate breakfast. I didn't want to allocate the time. I preferred to sleep as long as I could (given that I stayed up until after midnight most nights). And when I did eat breakfast, it was usually from McDonalds, Burger King, or donuts (plural) from Dunkin.

Now, I try to have breakfast every morning. If you are like me, you don't have a lot of time in the morning to devote to cooking a breakfast. I do most of my running in the early mornings, and if I am going to eat before a run, I prefer to have at least 30 minutes between eating and starting any exercise.

As a pre-exercise meal, I prefer eating light. So on run mornings, I usually have a banana and a cup of milk. Sometimes I add a piece of toast with almond butter. When I wake up, the first thing I do is eat, starting with a tall glass of water. Then, the time it takes me to wash up, get dressed, and outfitted for my run is usually enough for digestion to get moving so I don't have that 'full' feeling in my stomach. (And, this usually helps get the bowels moving so I can take care of that business before heading out.)

A morning meal is important for runners for so many reasons:
- weight management (eating in the morning helps avoid mid-morning snacking due to low energy)
- blood glucose control (start the day with good blood sugar levels and maintain a steady level all day)
- fuel for later activity (fueling the body in the morning builds glycogen throughout the day for use later that day)
- a mental boost (the brain will feel less sluggish when fed. It is the second highest user of glucose in the body)
- better concentration (when the brain is functioning well, you think better!)

On the mornings I don't exercise, I can take more time for breakfast so I change things up. I always start with that tall glass of water. These are some things I eat for breakfast (one bullet point is a meal):

- a smoothie with milk, Greek yogurt, and fruit. Often with some Whey protein added.
- a slice of toast with almond butter, Greek yogurt, and OJ
- Egg Beaters omelette with veggies and bacon, 1 cup of milk, a banana
- a small bowl ( 1/2-1 cup) of Honey Nut Cheerios mixed in Strawberry Greek yogurt
- three Morningstar soy sausage links, milk, and a bagel with Light Cream Cheese

If traditional breakfast foods don’t excite you, try a lunch or dinner like approach. Dinner from the night before like cold pizza or leftover stir-fry is a great choice. If you don’t like hot cereal, you can substitute rice pilaf with dried fruit and nuts for a similar nutritional benefit. I love nuts like almonds, cashews, and honey-roasted peanuts (almonds are the healthiest of the three).

The key to a good breakfast is a balanced breakfast. Build your own appealing combo using protein (milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, meat, beans), fat (nuts, nut butter, avocado, hummus, oil), carbs (cereal, bread, English muffin, rice, pasta, waffles), fiber (fruit, vegetables, beans, high fiber cereals/breads) and drink (water, juice, milk, coffee, tea).

Breakfast gives you a chance to pre-fuel for a later run, or refuel from an earlier one, so don't deprive your body. Make this meal a must on your "to do" list every day.