8-Week Challenge Update: Week One
Time for a Week One check-in. How’s it going? Here are my key takeaways from this first week of focus. (If you’re just joining us, see The Eight Week Challenge Jump Start post for the scoop.)
Week progress: 157 –> 154, -3 pounds
Week progress: 139 –> 134.5, -4.5 pounds
- Community! Man, so many of you came out of the woodwork to join me – or simply offer words of support. I can’t tell you how great that feels. I also received emails and texts from many of my friends and had a great conversation with a local chef / new friend who shared his own weight loss story and even offered to cook me extra special healthy things when I come visit the restaurant. So much love, man. Thank you.
- I did a good job on food selection this week: integrated a lot of white fish, chicken breast, ground turkey, avocado, nuts, greens, fruit, hummus, beets, and lentils.
- Increased my water consumption – mostly in the form of herbal tea during the day.
- Almost stuck to my 1 alcohol day rule. Tasted some lovely pinots over two dinner with Matt and Sal. Also indulged in some delicious milk and dark chocolates last Friday. Our “family dinners” are notoriously gluttonous, so it was really interesting to try to scale it back. I ate rockfish instead of steak and we skipped the mammoth cheese plate and two loaves of artisan bread we usually devour as “appetizers”. At the end of the night, we probably still ate more than we should have, but it was a big improvement while still feeling indulgent and special.
- Got a few good rides in and set a new 20 min power PR. Also PR’d a beautiful climb just north and west of Portland (Rocky Point). Knocked out two slow, short runs and felt really good after both. I barely hit my 8-hour cycling goal for the week, but I was efficient with my time on the bike.
- Took steps to address stress management, which is a huge roadblock for me for weight loss. Stress eating isn’t necessarily the problem but high cortisol levels are. I’m working with a naturopath on this. Keeping stress low is a high priority but it can be tricky business with deadline-oriented work like mine.
- Down 3 pounds. I dipped as low as -5 pounds this week, but that was probably mostly due to water weight loss since I cut out a lot of carbs and sodium and junk. I feel good about this morning’s number as an indicator that I’m on the right track, especially since I didn’t do anything besides cardio.
- Sal is on board. Having my partner join me is a big win. We’ve been cooking and planning together – he’s running more. It’s good to have support.
- My calorie intake was way too low. I’m not really counting calories, per se, but a quick review of the week reveals that maybe I should: not to keep them low, but to make sure I’m eating enough. My V02 bike workout on Wednesday was a bit of mess: I hit the numbers, but just barely. It was clear that I was under-fueled. Big rookie mistake. This week I’ll try to hit 1800 calories on low-intensity workout or non-workout days and 2200-2300 for high-intensity workout days. Keeping the fire stoked is essential to maintaining a healthy metabolism and preventing my body from going into starvation (store! store! store!) mode. This part is always hard for me.
- No resistance training. I didn’t get my two weight sessions in. Simply a time-management / prioritization issue. Weight training is pretty key to this whole process as it really amps the metabolism. Also, increasing muscle helps burn fat. Besides that, I always really enjoy it.
- Too much coffee. Part of what my naturopath and I discussed last week was the effect of coffee on cortisol levels. She advised I cut back to a cup a day and I agreed to give it a go. Obviously, my heart wasn’t really in it, because I averaged at least 3 per day. :)
- Not enough greens. I’d like to be eating green vegetables with every meal and I’m not quite there yet.
- I hate MyPlate. I might ditch the public food journal in place of periodic updates here. Not being able to enter a custom food is kind of a deal breaker for me – MyNetDiary is a better option in this respect, but I can’t figure out how to publish a public food diary there. Training Peaks has a pretty decent UX, but it’s not easy to share publicly either. That said, I’ll probably start logging in Peaks simply because it’s where I go to deal with workout tracking and analysis every day.
Focus for Week Two
- Maintain the good habits established in week one (quality food, fluid intake, stress management)
- More food! My strategy to increase calories is to start using my VitaMix to make smoothies an almond milk or herbal tea base + kale, spinach, flax seeds, avo, frozen banana, protein powder, etc.
- (A little) less coffee.
- Alcohol only on one night (really this time).
- A little more green stuff.
- Hit the iron at least twice.
These are some things I found that helped me last week. Interesting reading if you have the time:
INSPIRATION FROM GREATIST
Chef who lost 55 pounds : I like this weight loss story because of the focus on integrating good habits into the lifestyle you already have – in this case a chef (long days, late nights, constantly around great food) found ways to change key things so he could drop the weight. The discussion of “trigger foods” is also pretty compelling.
MIRONDA’S KALE SMOOTHIE RECIPE
This is one of Mironda’s favorite treats. As she puts it “Full of vitamins and minerals – a nice snack. A good pick me up.” Next week she’ll share her Almond Milk Smoothie.
You’ll need a vita mix or a blend tec.
Two big kale leaves with stem removed
Half a cup of water
1/4 cup of frozen blueberies or fresh
Makes one glass.
Heidi’s note: I freeze my bananas too, mostly to keep them from going bad when I don’t eat my fresh ones fast enough. Peel them, cut them into pieces, place in a zip loc bag and place them in the freezer for convenient smoothie use.
How’s it going?
Check in time. How was week one?
Have any good tips or interesting articles to recommend?
What foods are you loving? (I’m doing a ton of foil-packet fish… white fish, fresh herbs from my garden, fresh lemon, 8 minutes in a foil packet on the gril = moist, healthy, fast dinner perfection).
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