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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January Review

Several bloggers that I've started following participated in a link-up in which they graded or evaluated their fitness/diet efforts for the month of January. Here are a couple of those posts (their main blogs are also now linked on my sidebar).
I had already pre-written my post for January 31st so I'll come late to the party and add my thoughts on January as of February 1st. Much of this is covered in my weekly results but I really enjoy looking back at "summary" types of posts once I get far away enough from this moment and look back on previous posts (yes, I go back and read a lot of my old stuff fairly regularly - it's a great motivational tool for me).

I'm not going to grade my efforts but rather talk about the strengths and weaknesses of each section.

Strengths -  I started again. That's a biggie. While my overall endurance and speed have suffered by several months off, it's been a joy to build back up again. I started off with C25K and then switched to 3/2 intervals. My paces in the intervals have increased back to the 9:30'ish range. I'm happy with 3-4 mile runs and will stick with intervals until I'm really ready to take a crack at getting back to sub-30 minute 5k's again. I've signed up for a 5k in early April and plan to do a few more over the course of this year. I might do a 10k at some point too.
Weaknesses -  I started off the month by running 4 times a week and ended with 2. Some of this is because I decided to try out other cardio options or didn't have enough time to fit in a run. There were also several days where it's been nice enough to run outside but I still choose the more comfortable inside runs.  I could push myself to do more with my running but for some reason I'm not.

Other Cardio and Strength Training
Strengths - My exercise is pretty diverse. While my running miles may be low I always get some type of cardio in: elliptical, Zumba, step, or rowing. So there were only two days of doing absolutely nothing exercise wise in the past month. And to be frank, those were rest days that my body probably desperately needed. Though I posted calories burned above, I keep more focus on overall minutes and types of exercise rather than calories burned since I can't trust those numbers. The peaks in the chart above show my higher intensity days if nothing else.
Weaknesses -  I'm really proud of my month but if there are areas to improve it would be in strength training. The last two weeks were better but only because I participated in classes that included strength training. When left on my own it's very hard to motivate myself to do anything with weights. I still also need my ego to know that a day off exercising is not a day in which I've failed.

Seriously, track your food if you're trying to lose weight. www.myfooddiary.com

Food Tracking and diet
Strengths - Pretty consistent with tracking and generally hitting my caloric needs. I've really tried to focus on getting adequate calories every day since I usually will screw up my net calories and thus put my body into a stall as it tries to hold onto all of its stored energy. I also have allowed occasional indulgences and while there have been higher calorie days they weren't all out binges which is a huge win after the past few months. Tracking also helps me keep an eye on carbs and protein percentages which helps in the overall effort as well. Also, I joke about my love of alcohol but I really did cut it back a lot this month as I don't want to become dependent upon it. I didn't have any at all for the first 2-3 weeks and after that it was only a glass or two of red wine on the weekends.
Weaknesses - Five total days where I didn't complete a food tracking entry. I usually would start off fine and then have some excesses that I either felt guilty about or it was too bothersome to figure out calories for a particular meal. I also can't guarantee that each day includes everything I ate. I do sometimes forget to add something on - or will close out a day and then eat a snack and not add it. And while I made the effort there were some days when I should have eaten more calories but didn't because I would feel guilty about a previous high calorie day.

Weight Loss
Strengths and weaknesses doesn't really apply to this category. Weight loss is what it is and the other efforts are what to focus on. I started the month at 209 pounds and have ended at 201. It's painful to type that as it wiped out several months of progress (I haven't been over 200 since September 2015 and my low weight in June 2016 was 182.6 pounds). While I know a few of those pounds were just bloat it's been more difficult than I anticipated to get to 201. I was pretty damn confident that I would be in the mid 190's by the end of this month. I was wrong. That being said, I'm grateful for any loss and stay motivated to continue on rather than feeling frustrated.

Overall Reflection: I think I do a pretty job in general of keeping things in perspective. Of course I have my bad days but I usually deal with it with some sarcasm, humor, or internet meme and move on with my life. But sometimes my moods seem out of my control. I truly believe that hormones and my thyroid issues control a lot of this. My meds for thyroid seem to be in a good place right now and that has helped tremendously this month. If my TSH levels are low then I feel like I'm constantly dealing with PMS and am hungry all the damn time; if they're too high I feel depressed and lethargic. Neither is conducive to fitness and weight loss. I'm not often in the magic "all is well" zone and I'm truly appreciative of the days when I am.

But it's not all outside of my control either. Diet and fitness are also important to keeping my mood even. Too much sugar and caffeine will make me go just as crazy as too little TSH. And if I feel low energy but manage to exercise at least a little my energy levels will improve - if I give in to sitting on the couch because I don't feel "it" then I'll feel even more lethargic. Some days the hardest part is just getting off the couch or out from behind my desk. 

I'm proud of my January and am looking forward to an excellent February as well. This has been my anthem:


  1. I really like your sense of humor--I am fluent in sarcasm and cynicism, so I think we compliment each other nicely!

  2. I have a serious love/hate relationship with running. I'd always wanted to be able to run and when I finally started I freaking hated it. But the funny thing is, when I stopped I missed it. It felt so good to start back up again. I've stopped again since winter/pregnancy hit but after I pop this child out I plan on going at it again. Starting again is always the hardest part. Congrats on doing it!

  3. I can so relate to what you said about mood. I'm usually pretty upbeat and optimistic so when I'm dark and dragging something's up. Damn thyroid. Getting back to running is huge so own that! Starting is the hardest part.