Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Weekly Check-in: Running the Numbers

Welcome to the second edition of The Weekly Check-in, where you can catch all things related to my journey to weight loss and getting back on the road post-partum. I learned a lot this week.

To get started, I logged into, which I hadn't done in a very long time, and reset my current weight, goal weight (-18lb), current exercise level (walking 5mi/week), and a target date for my slimmer physique. For anyone trying to lose weight, I highly recommend sparkpeople. It's free and gives you all the tools you need for the task at hand. Right away, the site told me how many calories per day I should be eating to lose 1 lb per week. And immediately I learned lesson #1 of 3 about why I lost zero pounds in the past week.

Lesson #1: It is really difficult to lose weight while I am both breastfeeding and not yet cleared for exercise. 
This came as something of a surprise because I've always heard that bf'ing helps melt the pounds away. The problem? BF'ing women are advised to eat a minimum of 1800 calories per day. However, according to sparkpeople, I should be eating 1440-1690 calories per day in order to lose about 1 lb per week. When I increase the number by 300 calories (what you burn by BF'ing), that brings me to 1740-1990. Adjust the lower number to a minimum of 1800, and I have a range of 1800-1990 calories per day that I can consume. In short, I'm trying to hit a smaller than usual target (a 190 calorie range rather than a 250 range), and I'm right at the minimum number of calories I should be eating to bf, but at the maximum to lose weight. 
Lesson #2: I eat too many carbs
Ok, so this isn't really a surprise. While I've cut way back on the ice cream consumption since giving birth, I still eat too many sweets and carbs. However, it was fairly easy to modify, which brings me to lesson #3,

Lesson #3: The Hawthorne Effect
Hawthorne Effect: "a form of reactivity whereby subjects improve or modify an aspect of their behavior being experimentally measured simply in response to the fact that they know they are being studied..." (Yes, I'm an academic who just cited Wikipedia. Shameful!)

Even on Day 1, I changed what I was eating because I knew I was keeping track of it. Also, I could see immediately, just from entering what I ate for breakfast, that there wouldn't be room for many indulgences. I swear by keeping a food journal for exactly this reason!

I am embarking on Week 2 better armed with a knowledge of what I need to be doing and a reality check that it will simply be slow until I can increase my activity level (t-8 days, hopefully!). Here's hoping for even modest results in the coming week! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mondays in Love: The Smile

Baby Brother has been smiling for about 3 weeks, but we only just caught it on camera. To steal a quote from a friend, if this doesn't make you smile you might be dead inside. 

I never post face pictures of my older son, and I won't post pictures of Baby Brother either for long. But while he's still changing so much I will post them occasionally. Especially when they make me smile like this.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Road Ahead

I had a dream last night that I was running. Outdoors, in gorgeous weather, free. Even in the dream I was surprised that it felt so easy, because I knew that I've been in recovery mode. Here in reality I am still some time off from running so free and easy. The road ahead is a bit longer. This is the first in what is to become a weekly post about my progress toward recovery, weight loss, and getting back on the road.

Weight Loss: I'm not going to fixate on this too much until I get the all-clear to return to exercising, but I decided yesterday that I am going to start tracking what I eat again. No excuse not to eat healthy, right?!? I'm willing to bet I will be shocked at how badly I'm eating once I really start writing it down (more on this next week!). Of the ~30lb. I gained during the pregnancy, I've lost ~12. How can I possibly not have lost more than 12lb?? On the positive side, I'm only 4lb. over my Christmas 2010 weight, which is my initial weight loss goal. Also, I have 2 pairs of pants I can successfully button and zip! 

Exercise: Our weather has been gorgeous and I have been getting out frequently to walk in the park. I've tried to take my Garmin a few times, but the first time I tried the satellite signal was too weak. The second time I forgot it, and yesterday my Garmin FAIL happened again. I used mapmyrun and figured out that I've been walking about 1.5 miles at a time. I have some miles posted again!! 

Work: My maternity leave has technically ended, but since faculty are on 9-month contracts ending mid-May, I'm very thankfully able to stay home a little while longer. I'm back to at least staying on top of work-related email and putting out the raging fires, but for all intents and purposes, I'm still home with baby. 

Baby's Milestones: He started smiling about 2 weeks ago and the smiles have gotten more frequent. They just light up the room! He's also doing well holding up his head and chest during tummy time and he is becoming ever so slightly more responsive to us and things going on around him. 

Countdown to O-Run-thirty: Hopefully in 16 more days!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mondays in Love: The Blur

The past few weeks my days have blurred together and passed so quickly. I won't have the all-clear to return to running for a few weeks yet (fingers crossed for an R2R June 1!). But from time to time I pluck some thoughts from my brain that are mile markers of where I'm at on this crazy road.

I drive past the track and hear it calling me to come back, come back. 

I look longingly at my piles and drawers of clothing that I love and cannot wear yet, and I can't wait to shed more weight/inches. 

I read race recaps and smile thinking about getting back to racing, even short distances, though I'm not impatient about it in any way. I know it will take time. 

I take the baby for walks and feel good about life and the world. 

I look at my babies and wonder if either of them will ever want to run with me, or will ever become a runner themselves. 

I wonder if they'll grow up and think my girly habits are silly or endearing. 

Sometimes I wake up in the early early hours, before sunrise or at sunrise, and I think about what the park looks like at that hour and what it feels like to be out, an easy run or a blistering fast one. And I miss it. But patiently. 

I watch Baby Brother slowly grow. At four weeks old he can hold his head up for short periods of time. When you think about it, it's amazing that children take multiple years to get from birth to dressing themselves, and I'm reminded that it will take time to get myself back to full speed too, and that that's ok. 

I don't care what any doctor or nurse tells you, giving birth is harder than running a marathon. I'm reminded of this every time I read a race recap from Boston, Flying Pig, Illinois, and the other races y'all have been busy with these last few weeks. 

Mostly, I think that my life is beautiful, and I'm so incredibly thankful that I know to appreciate it for what it is right now.