Where I’m At, and Fitness Update

Book Update:

So, I feel good about where 2/3 of the book is. Which is not to say it’s done, but it just needs tweaking rather than major overhauls.

Of the remaining four chapters, two are in rough draft form, and two are in rough-rough draft form. Steady as she goes.

Concluding a book is hard. It’s not like a sermon, in which you can deliver a zinger, stare at the congregation for a beat, and say “Thanks be to God.”

Fitness Update:

But I also wanted to say that I’ve lost about 19 pounds in the last 3-4 months, and am on track to hit 20 right in time for Thanksgiving. Goody! I am wearing a size that I have not worn since my 20s, also known as Before What’s-Her-Name Came Along.

The weight loss and book-writing are not related.

Here are my favorite fitness hacks; I’d love to hear yours.

  • MyFitnessPal, or something similar that tracks food and exercise. Write everything down. The bar code scanner is just fun.
  • Kitchen scale and measuring cups are the best tools you have. Portion size is the name of the game. I count my Tostitos, weigh my cereal, and measure out peanut butter for sandwiches.
  • I don’t do Healthy Options / Smart Choices / Mega Low-Cal Hi-Fiber Super Diet Food. I just eat food. I tend to agree with Michael Pollan’s suspicion of food that touts its health benefits—it’s often highly processed.
  • I basically count calories. It’s not the most precise way to go, but it’s easy and good enough.
  • That said, I had to tell Robert to hide the kids’ Halloween candy because I was overindulging—and even though I was within my caloric range each day, I lost no weight that week. Go figure!
  • I don’t do Atkins/South Beach but I sure understand where they’re coming from. I don’t like sandwiches that much, but now even more so. 200-250 calories before you even put anything on the bread? Yikes.
  • That said, whole grains are good for you.
  • I let myself do whatever I want once a week; I don’t track what I eat and just enjoy. I figure this is for the long haul. The day off is usually on a weekend. The other day of the weekend, I will keep track, but I don’t stress if I go over my allotment.
  • When I do indulge in a dessert thing, I serve myself one at a time instead of a handful. That means one Oreo, one Dove chocolate, or whatever. Eventually I get tired of getting up from the couch or desk and walking into the kitchen for seconds, or thirds, or…
  • Dessert, alcoholic beverage, or a day off from exercise. Pick two. You’ll likely stay in range each day, but you can still enjoy life.
  • Exercise: I exercise to feel good, but really it’s so I can eat more. I’m not that virtuous. However, I am running my first race on December 3. Hopefully it will be a celebration of having turned in the manuscript too.

What are your fitness tips?


13 thoughts on “Where I’m At, and Fitness Update

  1. Keith Snyder says:

    These are all great. I’ll probably come back when I’m mentally ready to diet again.

    For now, I’m just concentrating on doing more cycling, finally, after a year of basically sitting on the bed with a laptop. Brevet season starts in April, and I’m feeling more confident I can actually make time between now and then. I’ve found a couple of Starbuckses in New Jersey that I can bike-commute to, which lets me get a couple hours of riding in. Add a long ride on the weekend, and it’s the foundation of a good periodic training regimen.

    If I can keep this up, I’ll get to a point in January or so where I can’t stand hauling this much weight up all the hills on State Bike Route 9 and hate the idea of showing up to my first 200K flabby, so the diet will probably happen around then.

  2. Keith Snyder says:

    Oh–you know who does amazing chapter endings, worth inspecting closely? Forster.

  3. Keith Snyder says:

    The best of them rely on the full book to that point.

    I just learned that a minute ago, as I went to link to the example in my head, and it referred to a character who doesn’t appear in that chapter.

  4. Kris Lewis says:

    I’ve lost 52 pounds since March using Weight Watchers. Much of what you said applies to me except I’m counting points instead of calories–and I keep track and record faithfully each day, and weigh and measure every thing. There are many things I choose not to eat, but nothing I CAN’T eat as long as I am doing it intentionally (and I’m glad I didn’t have any Hallowe’en candy in the house!) I’d like to lose 20 more pounds before I move on to maintenance. And I too am wearing sizes I haven’t worn in MANY (like 20) years.

    I haven’t taken on exercise though, and that is the next thing I need to work on. Once upon a time I enjoyed running. I didn’t think I could do it anymore, but now that I’m lighter I’m reconsidering.

    Good luck on your race!!

    • MaryAnn says:

      Wow!!! Excellent!
      One of the things that helps, and that WW provides, is the community/accountability. What’s been great for me is that Robert and I are doing this together. Between the two of us we’ve almost lost the equivalent of a Jamesy 🙂

      Robert never used to run—always got joint pain—but this time he learned to run properly (even experimented with barefoot running, which he doesn’t do anymore but it helped him learn to run the right way). He’s really doing well too. You never know!

  5. Sarah says:

    YAY for you and Robert and the “long haul” outlook. Ditto what you say about community/accountability – WW does that for me, too – and exercise is what keeps me sane AND energetic and able to eat differently when I choose to.

    So glad the book is getting where it needs to go – keep up the great work.

  6. Rachel says:

    For me, the most important things about fitness are sustainability and a holistic attitude towards life. Many years ago, I found that my weight was directly correlated with my emotional health. When I take the time to breathe and meditate and work towards a positive outlook on life, I’m not as interested in refined carbs, which helps me feel better and almost incidentally stabilizes my weight. And yes, I do my best to eat Real Food.

    As far as exercise, I’ve put together a full-body, progressive routine that takes 5-10 minutes that I do 4-5 days a week, and I’m delighted that, over the course of several months, it’s made a noticeable difference. (Okay, so my cardio still needs work. One step at a time….)

    • Rachel says:

      Oh, and the other big breakthrough with stabilizing my weight is when I stopped focusing on what I looked like and started concentrating more on what I can *do*. Made a *huge* difference in mindset.

      • MaryAnn says:

        I totally agree, although it’s startling to me how much I’m enjoying fitting into size [redacted]. It’s just a number, and yet…

  7. Elaine says:

    Good you you, MaryAnn! I’ve been losing weight recently through WeightWatchers and exercise. I love your tips! I plan to stop paying for WeightWatchers soon, and MyFitnessPal sounds like a great substitute. Take care!

  8. Writing poetry is my favorite no-calorie exercise. I do my typing at my basement desk and all the food is on the next higher level of the house

  9. […] a big bucket list year: I climbed the mountain, ran the race, finished the book (two actually) and lost almost 25 pounds (and […]

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