Last night’s Weight Watchers meeting was about the same as it is every year on the week before Thanksgiving, focusing on trying to get everyone to think about what they’re going to eat ahead of time so that the feast doesn’t overwhelm your waistline as well as your senses. There were some really good suggestions there at the meeting though, so I’ll talk about that a little bit.
I’m also going to talk a little bit more about the lifting program that I’m on now that I’ve been doing it for three weeks, and how I’ve used some of what I’ve learned from that to help design workouts for Jenny to do at home with the dumbbells that we picked up for here recently. I’m also going to touch quickly on Fitocracy and some of the things we’ve got going on there, a 5K that’s coming up here in my hometown of Pampa in a couple of week, and as always we’ll cover the results from our weigh-in last night.
If you have any tips you’d like to share for how to make it through Thanksgiving without going overboard, feel free to share them in the comments below.
Jenny: -1.0 lbs (Total Loss: 55.8 lbs)
Jason: -2.4 lbs (Total Loss: 80.4 lbs)
I was kind of surprised and not surprised at my number at the same time. On the one hand, I was surprised to see that I lost that much considering the lifting plan that I’m using is focused pretty heavily on building muscle which of course adds weight to your body. On the other hand, I’m hitting these weights pretty hard and doing my best to keep up a good pace and minimize my downtime while I’m there as much as possible. I knew I had worked hard enough to earn a loss, but at the same time I wasn’t sure how much bulk I was adding from the lifting and how they would counter each other. I’m more than happy to have that loss, though.
Here in the US, Thanksgiving is a time for hanging out with family and friends and stuffing as much food in your face as you can before the day is through (or the turkey-coma hits you and sends you into unconsciousness). Social events in America are almost always based primarily around food and socialization. Occasionally, we even take a moment to think about whatever the event itself was supposedly built on in the first place, but usually it’s just those two things that actually matter. When’s the last time you really spent time on Thanksgiving focusing on anything other than food? Food is the big thing here, so it’s important to think about how you’re going to handle that monstrous feast without packing on some monstrous pounds to go with it.
One of the tips that our leader shared with us is to avoid eating things on Thanksgiving that you eat throughout the year anyway and instead focus on the things that are actually special to you. If your grandmother makes the best pumpkin pie in the world but she only makes it twice a year, then that’s something special worth eating. If your sister makes a killer casserole, but she makes it at her house for dinner every couple of weeks, then that’s something you can skip on Thanksgiving and enjoy it another time throughout the year instead. Things that you can probably get your hands on pretty easily throughout the year include things like mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, biscuits/rolls/breads that are store-bought rather than homemade, cheese & crackers and other similar finger foods.
Other tips included drinking water or diet soda with your actual food and saving things like alcohol, juices, and other things that do actually have calories or PointsPlus values for after the meal while you’re socializing or to simply avoid them all together. I know water’s not thrilling, but would you rather spend points on a drink that’s just washing your food down, or would you rather spend it on food that actually tastes good?
And remember that your stomach takes time to communicate to your brain that it’s full, so remember to take your time while you’re eating rather than rushing through it to fix another plate. Remember to be social, and have a conversation with the people around you while you eat so that you’re giving your body time to realize its full so you’re not overeating. In the long run, you’re going to remember the people you spent the time with and the things that you did more so than you will the food that you ate, so don’t get caught up too much in the food.
There are more things I could discuss here, but this post is already getting long and I’d rather see if we can spark up some conversation in the comments than for me to try to set up an exhaustive list in the post.
Fitness & Fitocracy
As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been following a lifting routine called “Get Swole” which focuses on lifting a lot of big weights and taking minimal breaks. Some of the lifts I can do just fine, some of them I have to do modified versions of because I’m not strong enough yet, and some I’m so weak that I have to use the smallest weights I can find. After three weeks following this routine, I have to admit that I’m pretty happy with it. I’m not following the nutrition part of the program as I’ve said before, because I’m using Weight Watchers for my nutrition. The lifting though has been really good for me, and I’ve been able to see the results from it already.
Getting back into the habit of lifting weights has also had an impact on the things that I want to do. For example, a good morning workout at the gym makes me feel like doing things throughout the day. As a programmer, my job is to sit in front of a computer all day wiggling my fingers around to make computer magic happen. Yesterday though, when I got to work I didn’t want to be in my office at all, I hated that I was supposed to sit here hour after hour flexing nothing but my fingers when I could be somewhere else doing physical things. Heck, I would have been happy taking the day off and going back to the gym for a few hours for even more lifting and maybe some cardio thrown in just to do it.
Having a plan to follow has been a tremendous benefit. Before I started Get Swole, I’d go to the gym each morning and try to figure out whether I was going to lift that day or if I was just going to use the treadmill. If I decided it was lifting, then I’d wander around the gym looking for something that appealed to me, then I’d do however many reps felt good before moving on to something else. I had no plan, no strategy, no nothing. And the results that I got were just as unfulfilling. Having a plan and sticking to it is just as important for exercising as it is for eating. If you’re looking to start an exercise routine, I strongly suggest you find a plan online or get one from your doctor, trainer, or other certified professional rather than playing the guessing game. You, and your waistline, will thank me later.
When we got Jenny started on her dumbbell exercises at home, we weren’t following a strict plan. I did put it together with knowledge and experience, but at the time we didn’t know how often she was going to use them or whether or not she would even be interested in doing it more than once. After we got over that initial hurdle of her not being able to walk very well for a few days, we found that she really enjoyed it and she’s done a workout almost every night since then. So instead of the initial workout which was sort of a full body split, she’s now doing a different set of exercises every night to focus on different parts of her body much like I do with my routine.
We’re tracking our exercise on a site called Fitocracy which rewards your workouts with different points values based on the workout and a few other calculations that go on in the background and allows you to “level up” as you earn more points. Other people on the site can then go around and give you “Props” for things you do and say, and they can leave comments to encourage and inspire you to keep going. It’s a great community full of people at all different levels of fitness from absolute beginners to people who compete professionally in lifting competitions. The site is really great for encouragement, socialization, inspiration, and learning about fitness.
For the handful of our readers who are locals to the Texas panhandle, there is a holiday 5K coming up on Saturday, December 7th sponsored by Habitat for Humanity. You can click on the image below to see the flyer with the rest of the information. My assumption is that it is taking place in the afternoon rather than 5:30 AM. I’ve tried to contact the person listed on the flyer but haven’t gotten a clear response yet.