Workplace Pitfalls

13 May

Well, I didn’t do terribly today. All things considered, I did really well. Here’s the story for today:

Lunch was a going away party for our intern, who I adore and will miss terribly. We went to this fantastic Mexican place in D.C. not too far from our offices. The smells! Oh! I wanted to inhale all the food I saw.

Half of my office got there early. Big bowls of chips and salsa were plunked down in front of us. My stomach was hungry from the morning – I need to include more protein in my breakfasts, especially when I am working out early morning.  I resisted. I kept resisting. I did not have ONE TORTILLA chip! Normally I could plow through almost an entire bowl by myself!

When it came time to order, my boss decided we could have margaritas! I am definitely a social drinker, though I don’t tend to overdo it. We got a pitcher but split it between 6 of us, so it was only a half margarita. Yeah, that’s a rationalization I know, but I could have had a refill and I turned it down. I kept thinking in my mind that I didn’t NEED more.

Then we went out to a happy hour with some former members of our team. I went for a vodka soda, because I knew it was a low calorie choice. I got another one, because we were there for hours! Then our waiter adored us and brought us a free round of drinks – I couldn’t say no to that, though I was going to stop at 2. That means around 250ish calories, total. Definitely not that bad – especially compared to others I could have made.

The real champion move at happy hour (and dinner for some) was that I didn’t eat anything! I tried one sweet potato fry. It was delicious, but I knew it was not worth it to me and it wouldn’t fill me up like the dinner I had waiting at home.

My commute over, my dinner now enjoyed, I can look back and say my only regret was that half-margarita. Goodbye lunches are not common at my office, so I know that I won’t be in that position again soon. As long as I keep my eating in check, I can keep myself on track. I know that it’s unreasonable never to be put in these situations, and I can’t fear them. I must make the most of them!

When It Rains, It…

13 May

Walks and Runs!

I was dragging this morning so much. I looked at my alarm and thought to myself: i can sleep 45 more minutes if I just lay my head back down. That would have been the easy choice. But I rejected that thought and pulled myself up out of bed, got ready to head outside. Then I noticed that the sun wasn’t pouring into my living room like usual. I peeked through the blinds and saw a grey sky, but when I looked at the pavement, it was wet but no current droplets were falling.

Thinking the rain had come to an end, I headed out. I saw so many people on the trail I go on this morning, and they were all so friendly. A car honked at me to tell me “Go Thunder!” because I’m wearing a tshirt that supports my NBA team, who plays tonight! The honking really had me afraid, because I am always so self-conscious about exercising where other people can see me . Luckily my negative thoughts were dashed away  by a wonderfully positive experience.

I was dragging a bit and not wanting to disappoint myself. At one point I said, now it’s time to try and run. I jogged for a bit, and I picked a landmark to stop running. Then I picked a further one. Then a further one. Finally, I had to give in to my body and start walking again.

After I turned around at the mile marker – I didn’t have enough time this morning to do more than 2 – again the negativity started creeping in. I told myself that I wasn’t good enough, even though I could feel the burn in my legs and arms. I banished these thoughts by taking a small jog again, giving in very quickly.

Finally I could see my apartment building again in the distance. The rain started coming down fairly quickly, large pellets coating my face in a similar way to sweat – I had to realize I wasn’t sweating! I laughed at the fact I was getting soaked, but was almost grateful for the cooldown all over my body.

Now, I am back in my rain-free apartment, enjoying a banana in Kashi Go Lean with a splash of skim milk.

Time to go to work, TGIF!

Rationalizations

12 May

Tonight, I realized the dominos were falling into place for a dangerous night of eating behaviors. I had a meeting after work, and it went rather long. It was not that successful, either. It’s on a large event, and I was the only person from my subcommittee to show to the team meeting. Feelings of fear and anxiety about the work load were starting to creep into my head as I walked from the meeting to the Metro station.

As I rode the metro home, I started thinking about dinner plans. My mom had mentioned to me that the Subway chicken salad sandwich was very tasty and a healthy choice that sustained her hunger over a long time period. This sounded like exactly what I needed, feeling beaten down and already tracking for a dinner that would be eaten really late.

I stopped off at Subway, got a footlong of the chicken salad. My brain started going to the idea that I should eat the entire footlong. It’s not THAT many more calories. I’ve been so good today! I deserve this as a reward.

Luckily, when I sat down with the sandwich, I only took out half of it. I ate slowly, savoring each bite. I thought about how much I enjoyed it as I ate but how my stomach was responding to the meal, getting more and more full as I went.

I got up to put away the rest of the sandwich in the fridge. Then, another tense moment. My boyfriend is gone. I have ice cream in the freezer that I love. Maybe he wouldn’t remember that the ice cream was there before he left. Maybe I can throw out the trash before he comes back.

Again, I kept rationalizing the reasons why I should get it. Looked at the nutrition label, and instead of thinking one serving would be over twice the calories and fat of the 6 inch sandwich that left me feeling nearly full, I thought of how I could still maybe stay under 2000 calories for the day. I even opened the top of the container and saw there wasn’t much left, as though I was contemplating that I would finish the rest that was there, even though what remained was over a serving’s worth

Luckily, I put the ice cream away. I grabbed a granola bar instead, to really finish satisfying my stomach and to get some nutritional value instead of wasting my whole day of hard work in a few bites of ice cream that really doesn’t taste great enough for me to sacrifice my health, my mindset, my emotional well-being.

I will have demons to battle while I am home alone. Tonight I faced a close call and I came out on top.

Planning on getting up early to go and workout. Easier to go to sleep early without my boyfriend here, even if it makes my eating habits feel more difficult to control.

The Benefits of Planning

12 May

My job, as I’ve said, requires many different meetings. Sometimes it also requires lunches, whether it’s just a face to face introduction of new contacts, or a venue to discuss a project. A working lunch is a great excuse to leave the office and get a new perspective.

Working lunches now hold a bit of trepidation for me. There are so many easy ways to slip up in making good decisions.

The first key is restaurant choice. When I realized I would be having a lunch meeting today, I asked to pick the restaurant. Having control over that decision is important in allowing the rest to fall into place.

Thinking through restaurants in the vicinity of my and my colleague’s office, my mind immediately went to one place where I know I had seen calorie counts posted. In D.C., you are not required to do this everywhere like in other cities.

Au Bon Pain!

When I went to peruse their website, I was even happier with my decision. Au Bon Pain has a page devoted to helping you make the right decisions for your diet, the Smart Menu. On that page you can make your selections, add them all up and even print out what you want, to make sure that your order is exactly what you envision when you are at the restaurant.

I know other restaurants have menu pages devoted to healthy choices, and make calorie counts visible, but Au Bon Pain’s website really helps me feel in control.

Feeling in control about my choice for lunch – Mediterranean Chicken Salad with a Raspberry Vinaigrette –  helps me feel confident I can stay on track and control my eating. It also makes me feel more confident about myself!

Are there other restaurants you have found on your journey to be this helpful?

All by Myself

11 May

This weekend, my boyfriend is going to visit his family for an event. He leaves tomorrow night and doesn’t get back until Tuesday afternoon. This means I will have a lot of alone time at home.

There are glorious things about being alone at home:

  • Blasting the music that I like and he hates
  • Watching GLEE and singing along
  • When I get up early, taking time to peruse the closet for clothes instead of having to preplan
  • Going to sleep earlier without a night owl bad influence
  • Cooking and eating onion-filled foods
Of course, the downside is pretty intense. I’ve always been more prone to binges when I am by myself. All alone, I can eat half a bag of tortilla chips without someone to ask me when my next meal is. I can grab unhealthy choices like that candy bar and hide away any evidence of its existence. Over time, I’ve learned how to hide evidence of my binges effectively. I’ve blamed them on everything from spilling water on the offending food to it being stale.
Thinking through my binging habits, wondering about it earlier today, I stumbled upon the#7daychip group. I am committing to myself that I can get a 7 day chip, which would mean I make it through the weekend safe and sound, free from the dark desire to binge.
I am planning out weekend activities to get myself out of the apartment and entertained. I am planning outdoor workouts, including a long walk to Costco and back, weighed down with Costco purchases – they always build! Cheap Fage yogurt is impossible to resist.
Have you gotten a 7 day chip? Are there other good anti-binge motivators?

Best Intentions

11 May

I had planned on getting up early this morning to do a workout before going into the office – just a workout video, a little something to get me moving.

When my alarm went off, my head was pounding. I couldn’t believe it was already time for me to wake up! I laid in bed in denial, until 5 minutes later my snooze reminded me of my reality. That’s when I should have jumped out of bed and gotten ready to sweat. Instead, I continued to lay down and check my email, twitter on my phone. Fifteen minutes pass and there goes the time for a workout!

I need to make working out a priority in my life. There will always be excuses. There will always be a little more sleep I could have gotten. Working out leads to valuable results, and I won’t forget that.

Accountability on here will help me see my negative patterns. I went to bed early enough to do this, and I made an error. I can still eat well and redeem myself later today.

Anyone else have to battle the morning blues to get in the habit of working out?

Distracting Yourself

10 May

What a fabulous day! Today I had a major victory at work, and it was so intensely satisfying. The culmination of months of hard work is a feeling you can’t get anywhere else. The weather was gorgeous. I ate well and healthfully.

Came home and the boyfriend went off to play soccer. I decided it was time to get outside. Panic ensued as I spent forever searching for the sports bra I wanted to wear for power walking. 30 minutes later, success! I quickly dressed for outside.

As I got started, I realized with my rather new Android Smartphone I could track the distance and the speed at which I walked.  I walked the scenic route I wanted to earlier today. I was passed by several very experienced runners, and I watched people blow by me the other direction. That’s where the workout became a mental battle, not to feel ashamed that I wasn’t running. I power walked a mile, to a good stopping point. I stretched for about 15 seconds, feeling a tightness in my calves.

I turned around to head back, as the sun was starting to go down. Then I saw an older man, not too much further ahead of me, running at a rather slow pace. I looked at him and was so inspired by him; he had to be in his 70s and he could still do this! I told myself I could try. So I did! I picked up my feet fully and was running! I was running at probably the same or a slower pace than I walked, but I was doing it. My heart swelled.

I picked out a landmark in my mind and told myself run until THAT point. I just barely could not make it, breaking my run a few steps ahead. Instead of letting it get me down, I looked at my mileage – I had run .2 miles! After that, I still kept up fairly close to the old man. I decided to go for it again, and I ran a shorter distance this time, but I did it.

After running two short stints I became much slower at the end of my walk, and my apartment building beckoned on the skyline. Bright red as I am wont to do after exercising, I walked in to the lobby and greeted our concierge like normal. As soon as I hopped into the elevator, I checked my app.

Here were my pure stats:

31:38, 2 miles – a pace of just under 16 minutes per mile!

This was a baby step, but I’m still happy. Maybe it’s just the endorphins talking.

I rushed home to make dinner, and it was a labor intensive one tonight – no time to relax right after the workout! I made parmesan risotto from Stephanie Cooks, which was incredibly rich even though I halved the cheese. The leftovers will be fantastic for lunch, too! I didn’t eat dinner until around 9:05 p.m., but I’m not considering that a late night eat since it was more due to my workout.

Now I am back on my couch, typing away, TV on. This is when temptation strikes me. I need good distraction techniques! Obviously, a major one is to blog away instead. Here are a few other things I’ve thought up to keep myself from reaching into the kitchen for a snack while I watch TV:

  • Painting nails
  • Read a book (both hands busy)
  • Always have a glass of water (with straw – more fun!)
  • Take a shower
  • Listen to music and get up and move to it
  • Stretch my achy muscles
Any other good suggestions to distract my wandering mind from a desire to snack?
I want to keep today the fantastic day it was!