8 Weeks

Introduction:  Oh Crap

I outed myself last week and said I’d shame myself by posting my progress during the next eight weeks (now seven weeks) before 2018 race season begins.

Ugh.

In 8 short weeks, I’ll be jamming my body into a spandex kit, so I can race until long after it hurts.

In 8 short weeks, I’ll be racing about 200k, over three weekends in April.

And that’s not good, because after a winter of food, I feel bloated, swellened, and really, just plain mushy.  So, I made a list of things I need to change.

My “8 Weeks” goals:

  • 18 proper rips at Joyride 150 (and I’ll only count doing 20+ laps as a proper rip)
  • No more crap food.  Yup, a Cycling Lenten season (is that sacreligious?): No chocolate; no french fries; no pop or juice; no sweet treats; 1 less burrito, and especially, NO SNACKS (unless they’re fruits or vegetables).
  • Smaller meal portions.
  • 3 minutes of nightly core exercises.

And with those lofty goals in mind, I’m going to list what I eat and do each day for the world (or at least my three regular readers–hi mom) to see.  I’m not sure if I can manage daily posts, but weekly updates for sure.

I’m going to give myself a sticker for each day I succeed in not succumbing to the alluring pull of poutine, BBQ chips, and my neighbour’s desserts.  There’s no sliding scale with this; I’m going to give myself a sticker or not.


Week 8 Update:  Uh Oh, I Got Cocky…

Well, Week 8 ended with a mix of emotions:

The week followed Easter, and the wheels totally fell off the bus program-wise, but…the week ended in a race!  Wohoo, race season is on.

Worse, my appetite was ravenous most days (likely in anticipation of the race, and that’s likely a lie), but I sort of, almost, kinda, kept things in check.

Finally, the race was really really really tough, but I did sort of, almost, kinda, okay.

So it’s complicated.

It’s also clear to me that I got cocky in the last few weeks because when I was really tested (with Easter dinner, and Easter chocolates, and Easter leftover chocolates) I let things go.

But I can’t let go of a few of the things I learned in the past 2 months.  Namely:

  • Habitual eating is the real culprit (not hunger), and it’s (somewhat) easier to control than I thought.
  • Counting calories was my most effective tool
  • I spend/spent a LOT on fast food
  • Visible changes to my body ARE possible, but it’s a heck of a lot of work, and now that I’m deep into my forties, it takes way longer
  • Physically, I feel waaaaaaay better when I eat well
  • Emotionally, I feel even waaaaaaaay better when I eat well.  Honestly, I didn’t have a clue how much the guilt/regret factor played into my diet in the past.

Okay, so here’s a State of the Union:

I feel better (a lot)

I look better (a little)

I ride better (I think)

Did I reach my 8 Weeks goals?  You bet.

Well, sort of.  I rode a bunch, ate better, and inserted a bit of strength and flexibility into my training, but I also found cheats that weren’t technically verboten according to my sticker rules (wohoo, I used verboten) which probably fed my sugar addiction.   Also, I didn’t see the physical transformation I was expecting, but my weight decreased a bit, and I’m feeling pretty groovy overall.

And….this is me at the Steaming Nostril.

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Okay, so I know I still have my side gut flap (it’s probably just hiding behind my arms) but still, I feel great.  Better than that, my result wasn’t horrible.  I raced 65k in just under 3 hours.

So, my 8 Weeks are over.  But not really.   It’s time to activate what I learned, how I grew, and make some positive changes.

8 Weeks?  Pfft.  The rest of my life.

Ride.

  • Weekly sticker tally:  3
  • Joyride x 0 (+ 1 big boss race)
  • Nightly core + morning smoothie/vitamins:  7

 

 

Week 7 Update:  Pfft, This is Easy

Nothing to see here folks…keep moving.

Well, I’m almost finished the program!

It’s 2 weeks until the Big Show starts, and I’m calling it a success.  Like I said last week, I think I may actually be on track for some long term changes.  I get stickers on most days, and on days that I don’t, the picture of gluttony isn’t all that bad.  I still need to work on smaller meal portions, and learn to maybe NOT destroy the restaurant experience with visions of EVERYTHING dancing in my head when I order, followed by everything actually dancing on my plate, and into my mouth, and down to my belly…

However, through a bunch of baby steps, I made a big change.  Again, I was totally not expecting this.

And so what if it’s not a perfect program.  It’s working for me, and I think the kicker is that it will be easier in the future to modify the program to include the portion size predicament, address how to manage the restaurant experience, and add different types of training (yoga, cardio, weight…).

I still want to get rid of, or at least reduce my side gut flap, and it would be nice to sit down and not completely muffin-top over my pants, but I’ll keep working at it.

At least next week when I don the spandex, I’ll feel a bit better about my body.

I had a few successes and failures in the past week:

team-colin.jpg
Yes, this weight is considered a success.
  • I took my students (yes, a whole class of 29 Grade Nines) to Tim Hortons for hot chocolate and Timbits…AND DIDN’T HAVE A THING TO EAT OR DRINK!
  • I lost a sticker one day because a student in my Grade Twelve class turned 18…AND I BOUGHT TWO DEEP ‘N DELICIOUS CAKES FOR THE CLASS.
  • I ate a good lunch every day…BECAUSE I PLANNED AHEAD AND BROUGHT MY LUNCH TO SCHOOL INSTEAD OF HITTING THE MALL.
  • A buddy and his family came to my house on Friday…AND I ATE TOO MUCH PIZZA, DRANK A BEER, AND HAD A POP.
  • I got four stickers this week…BECAUSE I REFRAINED FROM EATING CRAP.
  • I didn’t get stickers on the weekend…BECAUSE I’M EATING TOO MUCH.
  • I weighed myself on Wednesday…AND I WEIGHED THE LOWEST IN ALMOST 2 YEARS.
  • I went to my in-laws for Easter dinner on Saturday…AND SECRETLY CONSUMED MULTIPLE (AND HEAPING) SPOONFULS CREAM CHEESE FROSTING DIRECTLY FROM THE BOWL.

    team-colin.jpg
    Mmmmm.

So the 8 Weeks program is a complicated success…

I have three observations about last week:

  1. Holy cow, I miss drinking the occasional Brio.
  2. Cream Cheese frosting is like nectar from the gods.  I.  Love.  It.
  3. McCain’s Deep ‘n Delicious cakes are both deep AND delicious.

I’m still working on it, I feel great, and I can’t wait to keep it up.

Ride.

  • Weekly sticker tally:  4
  • Joyride x 1 (plus a 48k gravel rip)
  • Nightly core + morning smoothie/vitamins:  7

 


Week 6 Update:  I Wasn’t Expecting This

Okay, full disclosure.  I pretty much spend all day, every day feeling hungry.

And tempted.

And even a little empty.

And it’s bloody awesome.  I keep saying this, but it is so true:  prior to this 8 Weeks program, I spent far too much time feeling full…and bloated…and guilty…and chasing what I thought was hunger with more food, and then feeling worse, but mistaking that feeling for hunger, and then chasing that with even more food…

It was a cycle, it was habitual, and even though I thought was soothing, it wasn’t, and I didn’t realize until very recently, that it was making me feel so awful.

Okay, don’t get me wrong, I am not preaching, and I’m not a poster child for self restraint and healthy eating.  Heck, I’m not even very good at refraining from snacks (and I think I’ve even found a few cheats…) but I am very proud of what I’ve done in the last 6 weeks, despite a few restaurant visits that were frankly embarrassing (I’m talking about a Lone Star Fajita Fest, a Swiss Chalet Gorge-A-Thon, and the Chinese Food Gluttony of last weekend).  However, as I said, I’ve reduced snacking to a minimum, and that’s the lead in this story.

Honestly, I really didn’t think I’d be able to do this, and there were times in the beginning (and this afternoon when I really wanted a donut) when I really regretted it, but now that I’m here, and it’s so close to the end, I feel amazing.  Like I said last week, I’m not near the end though.  I’m at the beginning of what I think (hope) will be some lifelong better eating habits.

Here’s the State of the Union:

  • My weight is down 6 pounds
  • I’m riding often.
  • I’m riding hard and fast.
  • I feel like I’m in mid-summer condition
  • My legs are strong and tight, my face looks thinner, and I feel better in my clothes
  • I’m trying to get limber, and strong, and work out–with varying results

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    My pal Geoff S, made this for me.  It’s a calf stretcher.  I keep the ribbon on it as a sign of his support and to remind me that I’m not alone in this.

That’s all.  It’s as simple as that.

And here’s the crazy thing.  I keep the temptations close at hand.  There is a box of smarties in my office at my school, in a candy jar beside the sink, and I see it each time I wash my hands (which is often because I like clean hands), but it’s no longer a temptation. I went to a funeral on the weekend, and I love funeral, especially funeral desserts (don’t judge, we’ve all got our thing).  But I refrained.  Sure, I had 8 egg salad quarter sandwiches, but no dessert.

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Oh dang, funeral dessert.

Every time I see a snack, I refrain, and every time I refrain, I know I’ve got self control.  One of my students had a bad experience last week, so I took my class to Tim  Horton’s for a hot chocolate and a box of Timbits.   I poured 29 steaming cups of chocolaty good awesomeness for my kids, and held a box of 50 Timbits for them, and didn’t have a single sip, or even a Timbit.  It was tempting, but not really.  However, then it got really hard.  I loooooove the honey dipped ones, and apparently, 15 year olds hate them.  So, at the end, there were 10 of them leftover.  I held the box in my hands, drooling…yearning to for them…wanting to devour them, one by delicious one…

But I didn’t.  I had a regular coffee, and enjoyed it.

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This was tough.

It got worse in the afternoon.  I didn’t have time for lunch during my lunch period, so I was hungry going into my last classes, and then Satan himself came to my period three class with a large poutine.  Ack, my Achilles heel!  I think I may have actually screamed that.  It was embarrassing, especially since I WAS ACTUALLY DROOLING as I stood above him, watching him and his adolescent metabolism pound forkful after forkful.

He even offered to share with me.

It almost makes me cry thinking about it, and I am not exaggerating.

But I didn’t succumb.

Because it wasn’t worth it.  It wasn’t worth the fat content, or the calorie intake, or the salty awesomess that I knew I’d keep craving if I had a bite (or 7).

It wasn’t worth a moment of “Ahhhhh, that tastes so damn good” and then feeling bloated and greasy, and having to retrain my body–again.  I’m tempted constantly, but I’ve realized that the temptation isn’t long lived.  When I don’t have a treat, I’m not missing out on anything.  I mean, there’s no deficit that I’ll have to feed later.  Nope.  Each time I refrain from succumbing, it’s a new victory, and each victory gives me more confidence and better eating habits.

Okay, so I feel so hokey, and high and mighty now, but I don’t want to go back and edit too much of the heart of this post.  I spent a heck of a lot of time in the last 6 weeks beating myself up.  I’m feeling pretty confident after week 6, and I want to savour it for a bit.

Savour it like a gooey, greasy, mouthful of french fries smothered in equal parts cheese curds and gravy…

It’s 2 weeks until the Big Show, and Team Colin is more and more ready with each passing day.  I don’ t know if my side gut flap will be gone by the time I officially don my race kit, but at least it won’t be filled with poutine.

Ride.

  • Weekly sticker tally:  4
  • Joyride x 2 (plus a 45k gravel rip)
  • Nightly core + morning smoothie/vitamins:  7

NOTE:  a donut ate my sticker on Wednesday, and on the other two days, I didn’t snack, but had too much for dinner to justify a sticker.  Not bad.

 


Week 5 Update:  Uh Oh, It’s March Break

Week 5 started with a BANG.  We planned to go away for the break, so I hadn’t thought much about the Substance Projects/Cannondale/Hardwood Fatbike Race, but my daughter was sick, and we found ourselves housebound.  So, I activated my usual policy about bike races:  If there’s a race, and I can do it, I do it.  So, I did it.

As I said in last weeks update, I hadn’t even been on a fatbike in over 13 months.  Worse, I’d be riding a loaner bike (from Dan Marshall) that I’d pick-up the morning of the race.  Even worse, with Daylight Savings Time, it would men waking up at 5AM.

Pfft.  Whatever, it was all just fine point.  I was going to spend Sunday morning shredding, and that is so very cool.

However, I was worried about the week because of March Break, and my schedule was going to be off.  I hoped for the best.

Week 5 Recap:

  • Sunday.  Ugh.  Up before the crack of dawn, and it was tough to leave my family.  Each of them were snuggled in their respective beds, and I was blending a smoothie…making sure I had pedals for my borrowed bike…packing a lunch (chicken/proscuitto sandwich plus a few fruits)…packing gear…making toast…re-packing gear…choosing the appropriate gloves…filling water bottles…rethinking my glove choice and packing other gloves…making toast…re-rethinking my glove choice and bringing EVERY GLOVE I OWN…  You know, race prep stuff.  team-colin.jpgThe race was AWESOME.  It was only a short 18k rip, but it took a lot out of me, mostly because of the cold and the ungodly wake-up time.  I placed 8/12 in my category, and exactly half place overall.  Here’s a link to the race:  Hardwood Fatbike Race.  I felt great.  To be able to train and prep for zero hours, and just rip on a borrowed bike was pretty sweet.  However, the wheels totally fell off the bus when I stopped for supper on the way home.  I met a few race pals at the Flashback Diner in Barrie.  It was 4 o’clock, and I  wanted EVERYTHING on the menu, so I ordered 2 pancakes, an open faced roast beef sandwich with fries, and water.  So there goes my sticker…  And then, when I got home, it went from bad to catastrophic.  I decided to start my Paleo Diet.  No, not the actual diet, but the diet when you’re caveman hungry and you eat every available morsel of food (or otherwise) in sight:  a slice of carrot cake, some fruit, a chocolate, some juice,  another slice of carrot cake, a piece of pie (yes, cake and cake AND pie, and yes, I’m so embarrassed) some potatoes, a bit of salad, and honesty I forget what else–probably some more cake.  It was bad.  Like, really really bad.  With a crazy meal schedule, I just felt so hungry and gluttony.  Add the (very short) race, and I had the perfect excuse.  I knew listing my food on my blog had the potential for humiliation, but I didn’t think it would be this bad.  I’m not proud, and I don’t feel good about it.
  • Monday.  I was back on track!  Good breakfast, good lunch, good dinner, no snacks, and Joyride laps.  Boom.
  • Tuesday-Saturday.  I figured I’d summarize the rest of the week as a whole.  It’s deep into the fifth week, and this is getting so much easier.  I still falter (all too frequently), but it’s small transgressions instead of habitual eating.  Sure, Sunday was a bust, but that was the aberration, not the norm, and as much as I hate to say it, prior to this 8 Weeks program, it was totally the norm.  Tuesday to Saturday was good, good, good, bad, and okay.

So, here’s what I did bad this week:

  • Got to bed too late most nights.
  • Ordered three hamburgers (ketchup only, no cheese) at Mcdonalds…okay, fine, they were double hamburgers.
  • Bought a small bag of raspberry licorice when we were shopping–and ate it in one afternoon.
  • Ate a small piece of carrot cake with my kids.
  • Had half of a dark chocolate mint chocolate bar with my family.
  • Went to Lone Star and gorged myself (like, literally, GORGED MYSELF) on chips and salsa, Fajitas (pronounced fa-yitas,), and three Shirley Temples.

But here’s what I did well:

  • Raced on Saturday, did laps at Joyride three nights, and rode to Oshawa on Saturday (yeah, 5 days of riding).
  • Ordered ONE naked burrito at Mucho Burrito.
  • When we went to McDonalds for what I’m dubbing “double hamburger embarrassment” my family and I shared 1 drink and 1 fries.
  • Ate lots of fruit and veg, and drank lots of water (no change there–I always drink lots of water).
  • I’m making some solid decisions.  On days when we’re away from home and can’t avoid eating out, I have been eating less, eating better, and eating smarter.  Better, on days that we’re out and CAN make it home, we GO home instead of eating pizza or subs or something else tasty and BAD.  Oh, and naked burritos are awesome!
  • We were really active this week.  I rode a bunch, we hiked, and skated, and played hockey and tennis.28938724_10214742486451629_1012847568_o (1)

So it only took 4 weeks to nail some better habits.  Hm.

And here’s the best part, I now have a new plan.  I’m going to keep up with my program, and ADD to it.  Early in the program, my buddy Geoff suggested some Yoda.  I thought “Mmm, fun it sounds” because I like Star Wars.  But after reread Geoff’s email, and saw it said YOGA, I thought “Well, I guess that sounds fun too”.  I’m kidding. I thought “Ugh, yoga”, but I think it’s a logical step in the process.  So, I’m adding a day of yoga/flexibility/strength to each week.

3 weeks until Race Season begins.

  • Weekly sticker tally:  4 (sweet!)
  • Joyride x 3 (plus a race, plus a 50k road rode–5 rides in 7 days!)
  • Nightly core + morning smoothie/vitamins:  6

 

 


Week 4 Update:  I’m Halfway There!

But I’m not halfway there.  After four weeks at this, I’m beginning to think that instead of being in the middle of an 8 week program, I’m at the beginning of the start of lifelong habits.

Yeah, I didn’t see that coming either.

Of course, it’s still a MASSIVE struggle, and of course I feel like scraping this COCKAMAMIE idea pretty much every second of every day.

But I don’t (also I’m kind of exaggerating) because I’m kinda/sort-of/almost feeling pretty good.  Now, I’m not even close to BEING good (yet) because for the the second weekend in a row (and for the second time in more than a year) we had bacon for breakfast last Sunday.  Honest, I usually stay away from bacon, but my son had a sleepover buddy, and for some reason, bacon found its way into my gullet AGAIN.  Also, for some reason, I’m drooling as I write this (yeah, bacon).  Actually, there is a reason I’m drooling.  Bacon is a gift from heaven, and any day that starts with bacon is a good day.  A good day indeed.

However, I’m starting to feel the effects of the prior weeks–good AND bad.  I feel (and maybe possibly LOOK a teeny tiny bit better), but I sometimes don’t feel the desire to be as strict as I did at the outset of this (and I’m almost regretting doing this online).

Week 4 Recap:

  • Sunday.  Well, bacon.  So my sticker is gone, and even though I only had 6 or 7 pieces, and it was for breakfast (which also included a smoothie and some toast), it was still bacon.  However, I made a sandwich for lunch, and instead of my usual MEGA Dagwood creation (lots of meat, mayo, cheese…) I had a relatively plain sandwich, with some vegetables, and water.  Keep in mind I did this with a house full of leftover chips, cupcakes, lemon squares, chocolates, and other party favourites.  If I can refrain from succumbing, and hit Joyride or my basement gym today, I’ll forget about the bacon transgression.  Uh oh, here comes the drool again.  UPDATE @10PM: I had a small supper, but no Joyride.  At least the cravings didn’t start.
  • Monday.  Well, it was nice while it lasted.  THE DAMN CRAVINGS ARE BACK AND THEY’RE BACK WITH A VENGEANCE.  It’s not easy knowing that so much bad food is in my house, and after a good breakfast, lunch, and snack, I got home after school and it got to me.  I ate a lemon square.  And another.  And another.  And several more.  I probably had 500 calories.  Also, I made carbonera for supper (pasta with bacon, milk, an obscene amount of parmesan, and egg).  I didn’t overeat, but I didn’t undereat either.  NO STICKER!!!  Wait, I actually did something pretty neat today.  My daughter is sick, and I picked her up early from school to take her to the doctor.  I promised her a treat, and she asked for a Blizzard or McFlurry, so I took her (because kids ALWAYS get a treat when they’re sick) to McDonalds.  She had an ice cream dream, and I just had a dream.  No sticker, but no ice cream either.
  • Tuesday.  I spent the day craving, but also refraining, so that was okay.  I was out of spinach, so I couldn’t have a smoothie for breakfast, and it really messed me up. Cereal and toast for breakfast. A small lunch.  Fruit for snack.  And then I got home.  I NEEDED to have one of Saturday’s leftover cupcakes, so I ate one.  I felt bad.  And I felt good.  But mostly bad.  Aw man, it was so good though.  All frostingey and sugary.  I’m not sure if today’s transgression was a matter of not caring, or the effects of Saturday poking their head, but I also had too many peanuts for evening snack.  And juice.  My daughter is still sick, and there’s juice.  I drank juice.  Bad Colin.  No sticker.
  • Wednesday.  Okay breakfast, good lunch, decent dinner, and a few small snacks.  That’s a sticker.
  • Thursday.  Good breakfast, good lunch, great dinner (um, a naked burrito–and I didn’t die of hunger), and no bad snacks.  Yeah baby, for the second day in a row, that’s a sticker!
  • Friday.  Three stickers in a row?  Nope.  Good breakfast:  Check.  Good lunch:  Check.  No snacks:  Yup.  Pizza for dinner:  Yes (Lots.  Like, a lot).  Beer with my buddy Jeff Shikaze:  Yup (but he totally made me do it, and I only agreed because he was feeling nostalgic and I thought it would be rude if I made him drink alone, and he promised me that he’d give me a sticker nonetheless).  However, when I got to thinking, the amount of pizza I consumed (it was a LOT of pizza) probably negated a sticker anyway.  And when I really got to thinking, the miniscule bowl of chips that I had (with Helluva Good Dip) before dinner, did not help my chances.  But something really really cool happened.  After I had the chips (okay, fine, I had a glass–or two–of orange juice too) I felt lousy.  Like, really really crappy.  And, as was the case on Saturday night, it was such a familiar feeling.  I’ve been up to this for a month, and I feel bloody awesome.  I have more energy, I’m alert and even spry feeling.  I can’t believe it.  Best of all, there’s no guilt associated with eating.  This really surprised me.  Prior to starting this, I ALWAYS felt bloated, gurgly, and worst of all, terribly guilty.
  • Saturday.  Good breakfast; no morning snack; salad and two small slices of leftover pizza for lunch; no afternoon snack; a naked burrito for dinner; water when I felt thirsty; no chocolate when I really felt like eating chocolate, and two bowls of Froot Loops for an evening snack because I was just so hungry.  Okay, so the Froot Loops were pretty bad (and yes, it was probably a 600 calorie snack) but I’m calling them a draw because I didn’t have a single bite today that wasn’t part of a meal.  Boom.  A sticker.

Well, I’m not going to lie.  I’m feeling pretty good.  I’m actually down a few pounds on my scale (only 3, but I’ll take it).  Better than that, I’m totally controlling my cravings.  Even better than that, I’m having waaaaay fewer cravings (I’m down to only 23 hours of desperate yearning…).  Bestest of all, I can subject myself to sweets and not even blink.  I went to the Dad’s Cookies factory outlet on Thursday so that I could buy some cookies for my students.  That place is hallowed grounds for me, and a shrine to awesomeness.  I live close to the factory, and on warm days, you can small (TASTE) the sweet concoctions. They had boxes of 12 count, jumbo-sized, Crunchie bars, Crispy Crunch, and Mr. Big.  They had three kinds of Oreo (original, golden, and peanut butter), oatmeal like crazy, and other cookies that literally made me regret many of my life choices.  But I didn’t succumb. I didn’t even ask for a sample that they usually have under the counter (and if they don’t, they open one for me–always).  I bought a garbage bag size of chocolate-oatmeal cookies (no hyperbole here, an actual garbage bag size for 10 bucks), and served them to my students the next day AND DIDN’T HAVE A SINGLE COOKIE.

Coming into week 5, with four weeks left until go time, I’m feeling pretty groovy.

  • Weekly sticker tally:  3 (Boom) 
  • Joyride x 2
  • Nightly core + morning smoothie/vitamins:  7

Week 3 Update:  Um, It’s Kinda/Sort-Of/Almost Getting Easier…

Okay, so I’m pretty optimistic for week 3.

team-colin.jpgWell, sort of.

This is FAR from the toughest thing I’ve done, and it’s certainly a First World problem, but it’s pretty damn tough nonetheless.  I am constantly tempted.  Aside from the habitual snacking and subconscious “I’m bored/walking by the kitchen” pangs, the world is not meant for non-snackers.  The restaurant choices where I live are limitless (and so so so very tasty), and sometimes, it’s almost impossible to plan around meals.  We took my son to an 11:30 birthday party today, which meant leaving the house before 11:00.  The party was too far from home to return for lunch, and between laundry and other chores, we couldn’t pack a lunch, so we found ourselves in the mall. AND. I. WAS.  SO.  HUNGRY.  The mall had a chocolate store, and a popcorn kiosk, and a Yogun Fruz, and a Second Cup, and a fry place, and deep fried everything.  It was impossible…

Week 3 Recap:

  • Sunday.  I GOT A STICKER!!!  My biggest transgression of the day was a medium, almond milk vanilla bean latte, with 1 squirt of vanilla-whatever-it-is (instead of 3).  Otherwise, I had a smoothie and toast for breakfast; that latte thing at around noon; a sub (with minimal dressing, and NO BACON–sad face) at lunch (the menu said 680 calories); two oranges and a pear for snack; 2 egg-cheese-ham on english muffin concoctions (with margarine) and a side of 1 giant raw carrot and a massive serving of raw broccoli (#CRUCIFEROUSFORLIFE) for supper; and a handful of almonds for snack.  Boom.  I want some chocolate, I feel hungry but I know I’m not, I JUST WANT SOME DAMN TREATS, and memories of the mall and its gauntlet of sugary (and savory) temptation will dance in my head this evening, but only in my head, and not in my belly.  I was tested today, and refrained.  For that, I get a sticker.  Race season is 5 weeks away, and I feel awesome.
  • Monday.  Morning smoothie and toast, and no mid-morning snack.  Hmm.  Not bad.  Then the wheels totally fell off.  I was caveman hungry at work and I only brought a salad and two pieces of fruit for lunch, so I went to the mall…  The good news is that I refrained from succumbing to the sweet savory goodness of my usual poutine and 5 soft tacos at Taco Bell/KCF…or the breaded chickeney goodness at Jasmine Chinese…but there’s a new Indian place, and I ordered the butter chicken on rice.  Not a bad choice, but not great either (um, cream and the eponymous BUTTER), however, under the terms of my arrangement, I was still on track for a sticker…until after school.  Something possessed me and I couldn’t think straight.  I had half of one of those damn chocolate covered apples (stupid chocolate covered apple).  Tough day.  I behaved at supper (only 1 plate of pasta, with a bit of steamed broccoli), and I snacked on fruit later on.  That apple tho…no sticker.
  • Tuesday.  Damnit.  There is no other way to say it.  Today was effing tough.  I was SO HUNGRY ALL DAY.  I had my usual breakfast, but it just didn’t cut it, so I spent the school day thinking about all the bad food I was craving.  For lunch I had a salad, with a chicken breast, and some fruit, which was pretty good, but then I went for a quick lunchtime rip at Joyride, and by the time I returned to school, I was in a hunger rage.  I always have emergency cookies, chocolate, chips, and small treats for students, however…I didn’t succumb. I basically scavenged my fridge at work in between classes and managed to scrape together a half decent snack (almonds, a bit of cheese, an orange, and an apple). It didn’t satisfy me.  Not even close.  I still wasn’t satisfied when I got home, so I made a molasses sandwich (still not a horrible choice) and distracted myself with chores until I made supper.  Phew, I made it.  Nothing horrible (except for a slightly questionable sandwich snack), and a regular dinner, and I was on track for a sticker.  But then I texted my friend–one of my best friends. She’s had a lengthy illness, and we’ve been estranged for a while.  It was the first time in two years that we were able to get together, and we had plans to meet for coffee.  Well, I had plans for coffee.  She had plans to meet at the Keg for nachos.  Aw Dang it.  A few hours later, with a belly full of nachos, a virgin Pina Colada (don’t ask), and a Whiskey Sour (don’t judge), I lost my sticker.
    team.colin.jpg
    I lost MY sticker…she gave me TWO stickers.

    Totally worth it though.  I’ll gladly exchange my sticker any day for a best friend, a great conversation, and a loaded nacho plate (even though her idea of sharing was to make me eat most of it).

  • Wednesday.  Hey, I got a sticker!  I’m not saying this is getting easier, but it kinda is.  I had my usual breakfast; a salad with chicken, and some raw veggies for lunch; two fruits for afternoon snack; a small sandwich for other afternoon snack (totally legit), and dumplings and salad for supper.  Boom.  What’s more, I went to my first Lapdogs monthly social that night, and I didn’t order a single thing.  Nada.  No drink, not even a water.  My cravings were actually reasonable (or maybe I’m just getting used to them), and I went to bed somewhat satisfied.  And for being a good boy, I got a sticker.  Noice.
  • Thursday.  I was lying yesterday.  This sucks.  Okay, maybe it doesn’t completely suck, but it’s suck-adjacent.  So many temptations.  No wonder I found it so easy to succumb in the past–the world wants me to eat sugary sweet, and greasily savory nonsense.  Between the coupons in the mail, the food THAT’S ALL AROUND ME, and 20 years or so of habitually bad cravings, I need a total mindshift for this to work.  Fortunately, that’s kinda/sort-of/almost happening.  I feel…well, normal.  Actually, in many ways, I feel pretty good.  My body feels better, I think I look better, and (trust me on this, I DO NOT KNOW HOW it happened but after a few times on the Bowflex) I kinda/sort-of/almost feel a bicep.  So maybe it’s not just a mindshift that’s needed, but a body shift.  If I feel this good after less than three weeks, I can’t imagine how I’m going to feel after two months!  So now I have two carrots dangling in front of me:  I’m not only going to RACE better (and hopefully sans side gut flaps), I’m going to actually FEEL better.  And if that’s not enough, I think I’m instilling a few lifetime habits.  Hmm.  I just wish those carrots weren’t dangling in front of me along with Aero chocolate bars, tubs of ice cream, rows of Oreos, and a crate of BBQ chips…  UPDATE @ 10:46PM: I’m on my way to my third sticker this week, and my second sticker in a row.  Boom.  It’s almost bedtime and I’m not craving a thing.  1 sticker for me (say that like the Soup Nazi).
  • Friday.  Not a bad day.  Not a good day.  I had my usual breakfast, and no snacks, but I had half of a chocolate covered apple at lunch.  My cravings were actually pretty minimal, and my meal portions were acceptable, even though I ordered Greek food for my colleagues and we ate it buffet-style in my office.  No sticker (because of the apple) but I can live with that.
  • Saturday.  It was Bike Show day, and I hosted a non-birthday party at night, so waking up, I knew I was going to gorge myself, and the chance of a sticker was between “Never” and “Like, really, never”.  However…while I ate a LOT at my party, I didn’t completely over-eat (not out of line for a party, anyway), and I ate somewhat well during the day.  I had my usual breakfast, and a decent lunch before going to Bike Show, and spent the morning getting ready for the party, but here’s the big news: I didn’t eat a single speck of ANYTHING in between.  Let me paint a more clear picture.  I put chips, G.H. Cretors Chicago mix popcorn, and cheese balls in bowls, and I even unwrapped a chocolate tray, AND I DIDN’T SUCCUMB!  That’s big news. Then, at the bike show, I didn’t sample any food (or the beer at the Niagara Tourism booth).  This is big news for me.  Like, GIANT news.  Coming back from the Bike Show, it was after 6PM,and decided to eat at A&W.  I had a Mama burger (with ketchup only–no cheese), and a poutine. Not a great choice, but I have kids who needed food, it was getting late, and my house was in party form, so making a meal at home would have caused too much pre-party stress.  At the party, I ate, well, a lot.  Drank some too.  But I was super mindful of my intake, which is still rare.  I’m actually craving less, and (sort of) learning to control my desire for sweet and savory wickedness (much of the time). I just hope the party doesn’t fling the wheels off the bus, and bring my cravings back on Sunday.  The first 20 days of this program have been a killer, and I don’t want to regress.  So, I’ve got a bit of a hangover, a full and bloated belly..and no sticker.  Happy Non-Birthday, Bike Show day!  Now, all I have to do tidy the house…and try to NOT vacuum the leftover sweet and savory stuff into my belly.

team-colin.jpgHey, here’s a revelation.  After eating all of the so so very good, but so so very bad stuff on Saturday night, I felt crappy.  It (sort of) wasn’t worth it.  Laying in bed after the party, I felt bloated, guilty, and not at all sated the way I thought I would be after eating the stuff I craved so hard in the prior weeks.  Feeling bloated and guilty wasn’t a new thing.  In fact, it felt familiar.  It’s the way I ALWAYS felt after eating lousy food, and prior to starting this, I ALWAYS ate lousy food.  Hmm.

Race Season starts in 5 weeks.

  • Weekly sticker tally:  3 (Boom) 
  • Joyride x 1 (Dang)
  • Nightly core + morning smoothie/vitamins:  7

Week 2 Update:  What Have I Done?

It was all easy peasy at the start of week 2.

Until I got up.

My daughter wanted bacon.  Aw, dang it.

28500354_10214559995569471_169055753_oWeek 2 Recap:

  • Sunday.  Bacon.  ‘Nuff said.  Okay, there’s more to be said for today.  Two things in fact.  First, I’m really glad I established a “sticker or not” system, because I can see myself justifying a LOT of transgressions and cheats with by saying “Okay, I ate well most of the day, so I’ll just have this little…” and then giving myself 3/5ths of a star.  Pushing myself to refrain from EVERYTHING is the ticket.  Second, grocery shopping when you’re trying to follow rules is really really really REALLY hard.  From the sweet pre-packaged snack treats beside the produce section, to the cinnamon buns beside the bread, it was so tough, and it only got worse as we picked our way into the bowels of the store:  cheese, cheese, and more cheese; that damn aisle with the “granola” bars; the bloody ice cream and other frozen treats when I just wanted a bag of wild frozen blueberries; THE CHIPS (oh god, the chips), and that guy at the back of the store, packing the open freezer section.  He’s a giant bastard. I only picked up a Caramilk shake to see the sugar content. I was just curious.  I honestly wouldn’t think of buying it (even though it was only a buck) BECAUSE I’M LACTOSE INTOLERANT.  “Dude, those are the best.  Like, seriously, the best” (and he actually drooled).  Spoiler alert: I bought it (but only had one drink).  Strength Colin.  Strength.  It’s going to be a long week.  One mouthful of what I can only call a milky nectar of the gods and…no sticker.
  • Monday.  Happy Family Day.  Crap.  We’re off today, and we’re going to do fun stuff.  That means being out of the house and needing snacks and such.  However…so far so good.  We went skating this afternoon, and instead of grabbing fast food on the way there, or back, we made a few sandwiches before leaving, and I packed fruit for after.  This is nothing new because we usually eat pretty good as a family, but without the incentive of a sticker, I might have packed a few treats, and I definitely would have stopped at Second Cup on the way home for a vanilla bean latte.  Also, if I didn’t have to shame myself for all of my bad food choices, McDonald’s might have had a visit from Team Colin et al on the drive home.  Not gonna lie though, it’s hard at this time of day.  Actually, I’m blogging right now (it’s 5:30) so that I won’t be tempted to eat another one of those damn apples (that are still in the fridge), or have a different bad snack.  Or any snack–one of my commitments to myself was that I wouldn’t snack before supper.  Dang, it shouldn’t be this hard, but it is.  Update @ 10:54 PM:  We met my brother for dinner at a restaurant.  I’m not terribly concerned by what I ate, because I didn’t grossly overeat (just pizza, and I drank water), but we had Dairy Queen on the way home (what, my nephews are 7 years old) and I ordered a banana split (only 510 calories…).  However, I just got home from Joyride 150, so there was at least 45 minutes of sustained activity.  No snacks today, but the banana split ate my sticker.
  • Tuesday.  Pretty much everything today, with the exception of the dumplings at supper, was prepared at home.  Breakfast: spinach/blueberry/almond smoothie (300 calories); english muffin with peanut butter and jam (400 calories).  Lunch:  chicken, proscuitto, cheese wrap (700 calories); salad with misc. veggies, feta cheese, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and dressing (500 calories), 1/2 cup pineapple (60 calories).  Dinner:  6 x chicken dumplings (300 calories); 1 cup boiled potato (200 calories); 1 cup steamed broccoli (100 calories).  Snack: 1/2 cup of granola with minimal almond milk (250 calories); 2 tbsp peanut butter (160 calories).  That’s 3,000 calories (depending on whether my calorie count, the math, and my serving size is accurate) and I’m damn hungry this evening.  I’m close to hangry.  Forget that, I’m really really hangry.  But…I didn’t have a cookie with my kids after school (and instead had a cup of almond milk), I refrained from eating a packet of gummies that someone left on my desk at work (with a sweet card, noice), and I cut two remaining caramel/chocolate covered apples for my students–and didn’t eat a crumb.  So, the peanut butter snack wasn’t a great choice, I wish I didn’t need that small bowl of cereal to make me feel less empty a few hours ago, and I’m going to bed hungry (make that hangry), but I’m calling today a success, regardless of the fact that snacking on 2 tbsp of peanut butter mean NO STICKER.  Sigh.
  • Wednesday. GIVE ME MY STICKER!!!  Yeah baby.  Boom.  No treats today.  Okay, so I might have messed up a teeny tiny bit today when I was walking through the Drama studio at lunch and a student had a cup of wedge fries from Tim Horton’s.  I may or may not (I totally did) have taken a wedge from the cup, but it was only out of habit, and my firm belief that stolen fries are the best fries.  However, wedge fries are baked, and it was a mistake, so I’m allowing myself a mulligan.  Wait, I also had a molasses sandwich after supper (which was a healthy serving of broccoli-chicken risotto), and that’s not great, but it’s not that bad either.  Aw dang.  When I say it now, maybe I shouldn’t get a sticker.  Really, I just did an hour sprint at Joyride 150, and I’m nursing an almond milk as a treat…forget it, no sticker.  There’s always Thursday… Dang, I was so close.
  • Thursday.  I refrained from a purloined fry today, I doled-out Tootsie Rolls to my Grade Nine class and didn’t partake, and I ignored the call of chips (oh, the call of the chip)…but then we went to A&W for dinner and I ate two Mama burgers and a poutine.  Now….that was a meal, and technically, meals aren’t verboten (even when they include poutine), however, even though the meal totalled about 1,400 calories (regular-size diet root beer, and only had ketchup on my burgers), I think it was an UNwise choice, and I was pretty clear about not eating crap food.  How-other-ever, if I add the 700 calories from breakfast, and about 800 calories from a naked burrito (Which.  Was.  AWESOME.) at lunch, and my actual intake was good for the day, but the real win of the day was NO SNACKS.  I had reasonable lapse at dinner, which isn’t great, but if I occasionally partake in the grease of the gods with my kids, that’s sort-of-kinda okay. Almost a second sticker, but not quite.
  • Friday.  Usual breakfast, no mid morning snack, soulvalaki for lunch (with potato and rice and garlic bread and salad and lots and lots of dressing), no after school snack, and leftover soulvalaki for dinner (with potato and…).  Not bad.  I took my kids for a walk to meet my wife at Starbucks after work, and had a Decaf Grande Vanilla Bean Latte with almond milk and only 1 squirt of vanilla stuff (say that fast twice), which I’m not sure counts as a snack, but it doesn’t matter because my kids each had a small hot chocolate (with almond milk and only only 1 squirt of chocolate stuff instead of 3) a because Starbucks wants to slowly kill its customers, they had whipped cream on top, and I may or may not have (I totally did) said to the barista “You know what goes with a vanilla bean latte…”.  Scccccchlorrrrp, and just like that, in a moment of whipped cream spackling my nose, another day of NO sticker.
  • Saturday10:30 AM.  I just had a realization.  Looking back at my bad foodness this week, I saw something.  Monday night at Pizza Nova ($100), plus dessert at Dairy Queen ($25), Thursday afternoon at southwest place ($10), the same evening at A&W ($50), and last night at Starbucks ($24).  That’s over 200 bucks on crap.  Um, I could buy new tires with that amount of dough…or pay for a race series…or get new cycling shoes or a helmet.  Or I could buy something nice for my family.  I could do that too.  But new tires…  I’m kidding about most of that, but I’m not kidding about the amount.  $210 is a lot of money no matter what way you slice it.  10:30 PM.  I just got back from Joyride 150.  I met a buddy and we mostly talked, so it wasn’t really a workout, but I did a few XC laps, and a bunch of pumptrack laps and jumplines with my son.  I had a pretty good food day.  I had a rare craving for cereal at breakfast (and no smoothy, which made me caveman hungry until lunch, but I didn’t snack.  I had leftover Greek food from Friday for lunch, and a molasses sandwich for snack about an hour later (because just because), and chicken wraps (chicken, lettuce and tomato, cheese, and a bit of dressing), and that’s it.  I was caveman hungry again (honestly, I think I was pretty much the whole bloody day) when I got home a few minutes ago, so I had about a cup of granola with some almond milk. I’m satisfied.  That’s a sticker for the day!

So week 2 was a bust.  Overall, I ate pretty well, and really, I refrained from my usual snacking, but I just couldn’t manage to keep my hands of the good stuff completely.  I’m glad I did the sticker thing.  It’s making me think ABOUT EVERYTHING:  calories, the impact of even the tiniest transgression, the amount I spend eating out, and the list goes on.  The week was a total win in terms of making a pretty big change to the way I eat, but I’m still succumbing almost every day.  In the end, I’ craving a bit less, and staying true to the intent of these weeks, but damn, I just want a chocolate bar.  And chips, I want chips.  And for the love of god, is it too much to ask for MORE of everything?

Race Season starts in 6 weeks.

  • Weekly sticker tally:  1 
  • Joyride x 3
  • Nightly core + morning smoothie/vitamins:  6

Week 1 Update: I Want Treats

Sigh

Well, it’s not an auspicious start.

It’s Saturday, and I haven’t earned a sticker yet.

Not once in 6 days.

I rode twice this week, was pretty active, did a few minutes of core each night, and had a good start to each day with a with a smoothie, some Omega 3, and vitamins D and C, but that’s it.  Food wise, I was a mess.

Week 1 Recap:

  • Sunday.  Oh, c’mon.  My meals were good, but I had a few snacks, and too much cheese. I thought I’d at least get off to a good start.  It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t what I envisioned.  No sticker.
  • Monday.  Seriously, is this the way it’s going to be?  My meals were pretty good, but a friend offered a Rice Krispie treat at lunch, and I succumbed–on day 2! Then, I took my kids shopping at Costco after school, and had a hot dog, half a turkey provolone sandwich, and a giant iced tea.  I also ate a chocolate that I hid (but not really that well) in the basement.  No sticker.
  • Tuesday.   I bought chocolate covered apples at Costco yesterday, so that’s not good.  I mean, the apples were good–great actually–but eating AN ENTIRE CHOCOLATE COVERED APPLE is not good.  So very not good. I went for a nighttime rip at Joyride, but still…  No sticker.  Not even close to a sticker.
  • Wednesday.  Happy Valentines Day!  A few chocolates at school, a big lunch, some more chocolate covered apple, and a late evening visit from my baker pal (who brought over some Valentine’s cake).  This is futile.  I’m proclaiming Day 4 a total bust.  Sticker?  Pfft, whatever.
  • Thursday. Okay, not bad.  Great breakfast, good meals, an awesome rip at Joyride, and no snacks.  Who am I kidding.  My meals were okay (except for the half can of  Coke I had at lunch), but I still had a chocolate covered apple from Costco.  Sonofa…  Why did I buy four chocolate covered apples?  Oh yeah, they were two for five bucks.  They were also caramel covered, chocolatey dreams.  With nuts!  I should give myself a giant sticker–and glue it to over my mouth.  No sticker today.
  • Friday.  Well now this is just getting embarrassing.  I’m not even a drinker, but for some reason, I found myself in a group of six old friends at lunch, at a hip Italian joint on College Street, and I felt like a drink.  Maybe it was the endorphins.  I don’t know.  I never even LOOK at the drink menu, but I guess the universe wanted to play too, so it whispered in my ear “Hey Colin, why don’t you open up that nondescript looking tri-fold paper that says ‘drinks’”. They all looked so good and so Italian, so I ordered a fruity concoction with Prosecco and chinotto.  It was really good, so I said to the server “Surprise me with something else fruity and sweet”.  I cannot stress this enough, I have not ordered a drink (pop, juice, or otherwise) at a restaurant in I-don’t-know-how-long.  And if that’s not bad enough, when we were leaving the table, I finished my friend’s drink.  She only drank half, so what was I to do?  Oh, and it was probably a bad move to share lunches with my wife.  She ordered a pizza, and I ordered a chicken sandwich.  We were going to each eat half.  I pretty much ate most of BOTH MEALS.  And yes, my other friend didn’t finish her fries, so I helped her with that too.  This wasn’t a face palm of a day, this was a face slap.  Not even in the same universe as a sticker.
  • Saturday.  It’s 11AM.  I had a good breakfast, and I KNOW/HOPE this is going to be my day.  Honestly though, this shaming thing is going to be a challenge. Fingers crossed, today is the day I get a sticker. However, with 12 or 13 more hours of temptation, it’s anyone’s guess.  Update @ 11:10 PM: I only ate home-prepared food, didn’t succumb to snacks, and I nailed an hour sprint at Joyride 150.  My first sticker!  Kaboom.

Here’s my inspiration.  I want to look like this guy:

Eager-Beaver-team-colin.jpg

By the way, “this guy” is me.  It’s the 2016 Eager Beaver.  Mid season.  It’s within my reach, I just have to find the will power.  Sigh.

Race Season starts in 7 weeks.

  • Weekly sticker tally:  1 
  • Joyride x 3
  • Nightly core + morning smoothie/vitamins:  7

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