Since my last post, I ran my very first 10K and finished in 1:09:14. The Tri-Cities Race on May 2 began in College Park and looped through East Point, Hapeville, and back again. I have to admit, I was apprehensive when I got out of bed that morning. In fact, writing about it now makes me feel slightly queasy again, but once the gun went off at the starting line and I hit a comfortable pace about a quarter of a mile in, I knew I would finish and was able to settle down and enjoy the run. I set a PR (personal record) for average speed – 11:10 minute mile. At home I usually average 12-13 minutes, so I was pleasantly surprised by my finish – and I felt great too!
To continue our discussion of Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before (Crown, 2015), I got to thinking about the importance of taking that first step toward positive change. Some people prefer to use the clean slate strategy, while others do better making small incremental changes. Both strategies are valid. I used a combination of the two when I first decided to get serious about weight loss.
My eating habits were so out of control, the only way I could wrap my mind around what I needed to do was to clean out the pantry and start from scratch, hence the clean slate. We threw out the full fat mayo, the processed foods (chips, cookies, etc.), and all the expired unmentionables. Then I used the shopping list provided by Weight Watchers for their Simple Start program (now called What to Eat) and filled our pantry and fridge with things like fat free dairy products, whole wheat bread and pasta, lean meats, and fresh fruits and veggies. The clean slate strategy worked well for me in this area. If it wasn’t in the house, I couldn’t eat it.
To increase my activity, I started out small. I vowed to never take the stairs again at work, unless I was carrying something heavy or pushing a cart. It’s only one flight of stairs. Not too tough. But it was a small change that I could handle. A week or two later, I started taking water fitness classes at Summit Family YMCA. They were challenging, but doable since there was zero impact on my poor knees and ankles. I worked my way back into indoor cycling classes (spin), and finally, running. Most recently I’ve added HIIT (High Impact Interval Training). It was a gradual process and didn’t happen overnight. It takes time to build up strength and endurance. Start small and over time you’ll see results.
No Finish Line
A while back I overheard someone at my Weight Watchers meeting say that they were “ready to be done.” I had to bite me tongue. Thinking there is a stopping point is dangerous. Eating healthfully and exercising isn’t something you do for a while and then stop. It’s supposed to be permanent – otherwise you go right back to where you started. Or worse. The whole idea behind Better Than Before (and Weight Watchers, for that matter) is that you create habits that are permanent. You want your habits to be so ingrained that you don’t have to think about them because doing them becomes automatic – like brushing your teeth before bedtime. You do it without thinking. There is no finish line!
- 2 very ripe bananas
- ⅓ cup reduced fat peanut butter
- ⅔ cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1½ cup oats (quick or old fashioned)
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Mix together the bananas, peanut butter, applesauce, vanilla, and cinnamon. Add in the oats, walnuts, chocolate chips, and coconut; stir until well combined.
- Spoon a rounded 2 tbsp. mixture onto the lined baking sheet, leaving an inch or two between each. Gently press 2-3 chocolate chips into the top of each cookie. Bake for 20-30 minutes and allow to cool.