Sunday, December 30, 2007

Walk, Don't Run - The Movie

I've heard a lot about this movie starring Cary Grant, but had never seen it before. I finally checked it out of the library this week.

It was typical of 60s style movies in so many ways. But what I found funny was that Jim Hutton's character never tells anyone what Olympic event he is entered in. His friend is a hurdler and he says he "used" to be a hurdler, almost as if he is embarrassed by his event. Near the end of the movie we see he is a race walker.

If you have never seen this movie, you have to watch the last 20 min or so just to see how the race walkers walk. They are so slow that Cary Grant can keep up with them with no training whatsoever!

OK, after you watch this movie, pull out your video of the last summer Olympics 50K race walk and compare. (Yea, I know you still have it.) The movie is even funnier now, isn't it.

Thoughts on Diets

As far as I'm concerned, "Diet" is a 4-letter word. In my mind diet means deprivation, suffering and a short-term eating plan that cannot be sustained.

The majority of people I know who diet do it continuously and tend to mess up their metabolisms by not eating enough quality calories. Or the first thing they do is "deprive" themselves of some food they love, making it a huge taboo. Eventually they end up binge eating or giving up totally, gaining back the weight they lost or even more. It's a vicious cycle.

There are several things in my personal history which have added to my jaded view of diets.
1) My Mom never sustained weight loss on a diet. Granted, my Mom had no self control, but she made a big deal about dieting and we all had to suffer when she was on one. She never tried what I thought were fad diets, but I was pretty young then. Regardless, diets were all about suffering.
2) I remember some relatives who went on a bunch of fad diets: the grapefruit diet (they were miserable) and the hot dog, boiled egg and banana diet. They lost a little weight, but were sick of grapefruit, hot dogs and bananas. Oh, they gained the weight back.
3) I tried a 5-lbs in 5 days diet I found in a magazine. It was right before a big party and I wanted to look great in a clingy dress. (This was about 20 years ago.) I had to buy lots of unusual foods that I would never use again, but I followed the diet to the letter. After a full day of eating just vegetables on the last day I was to drink a glass of prune juice. Needless to say, I ended up rushing to the bathroom and spent over an hour in there, unable to leave. I felt pretty stupid that it didn't occur to me what effect the food combinations would have had, and I was angry that this diet's method of weight loss was a self-induced case of intestinal distress!
4) My in-laws lost weight on a packaged meal plan right before my wedding. Not only did my father-in-law need his gallbladder removed (a common side effect of this diet we found out years later), but as soon as they went back to their own cooking they gained back the weight.
5) I have family members who tried the Adkins Diet. They lost weight pretty quickly, and sweated over the 5 goldfish crackers they ate one weekend. The weight came right back on as soon as they went returned to their normal eating.
6) I know another person who was on a diet that seemed as if she was being deprived, but complained she had not lost a single pound even though she had been eating a local restaurant's taco salad every day for lunch. (Ugh!)

Compare all of that to my Dad. He never said he was on a diet, but had such great self control he could lose weight whenever he wanted to simply by controlling portions, eating lots of fresh vegetables, and planning his daily calorie consumption around special events such as parties. (His salad tub in the fridge was pretty amazing.) He could keep the weight off as long as he wished. Unfortunately, he really enjoyed food and drink and became a yo-yo dieter. Regardless, he remains the only person I have ever known who could decide to lose weight and lost weight making it look effortless. (He quit smoking the same way, but that is another story.)

OK, not everyone can be like my Dad and have such great self-discipline. (How much peanut brittle did you eat last week, Cindi?) Many people are more successful if they have a support group environment, such as WW. Many people have difficulty knowing what is healthy to eat without help, and there are some great books on the subject. If that is what works, great!

There are a few things that people seem to forget.
First, to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you consume. If you consume too few calories you will not be healthy. Feeling deprived will probably lead to failure. And it is better to find a healthy way of eating that can be maintained for life than to alternate between starving and gaining. Afterall, isn't maintaining our health our ultimate goal?

Note: This is what I remember from my Dad's weight loss plan. (He's been gone over 10 years, so it might not be totally accurate.)

For breakfast he ate one piece of dry toast with coffee.

At around 10 a.m., he would eat a small apple.

Lunch was a large salad, usually at a restaurant. I don't know about mid-afternoon snacks.
For dinner, he would fix a HUGE salad then have a small portion of whatever the rest of us were having for dinner. His salads had become legendary in our family, and the preparation was pretty elaborate. He had a plastic tub he kept in the fridge that contained everything he could possibly want on a salad. He had the standards of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, carrots, mushrooms, etc., and other choices such as canned beets, garbanzo beans, red beans, peas, corn, low fat ham or turkey and a wide variety of fat free dressings. You name it, and it had probably been on one of his salads. He would ocassionally just put lean chicken or a small scoup of chili on the salad and skip the rest of our meal. I think I even saw him put sauerkraut on one once. His theory was, as long as it was vegetable or bean, he could consume as much as he wanted. His other theory was, as long as his salads were not boring, he could eat them every day.

If he had a hamburger or other high-calorie meal for lunch, he would skip the higher calorie salad options at dinner and eat more lettuce.

In the evening, when he got the munchies, he would eat raw baby carrots. He loved crunchy snacks, so it was the perfect solution.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Year Beginnings

Today I registered for my first ever New Year's Day race. I was a little bit leery about entering a 5K on New Year's Day, but decided it's a great way to start out the new year. Besides, it doesn't start until 11 a.m. No matter how late I stay up on New Year's Eve, I can be at a starting line by 11.

I'm not really big on making resolutions, but I do set goals for myself. And this year I do plan to walk more, improve my speed and enter more races. This race is a great beginning.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Zoo Lights

I usually get the "after holiday blues" a few days after Christmas. Before the holiday everything is crazy and stressful, but once the day is over it all hits me and I get that emotional "crash."

Exercise and sunshine are great for combating those feelings. Another thing that helps is visiting the Columbus Zoo Wildlights holiday display.

We went out to the zoo tonight and had a great time! The weather was perfect - temps in the 50s and no wind, the sky was clear. And because Christmas is over, it wasn't very crowded. (I'm not good with heavy crowds or being behind slow walking people.) We weren't walking fast, but we were faster than the crowds in a typical shopping mall.

The lights were great! It definitely put me in a festive mood. The only thing that would have made it better would have been a light dusting of snow on the ground.

The best part is, I got my family out walking with me, and we had a great time doing it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Walking this Evening

Today was absolutely beautiful! It didn't seem like December at all, more like late Fall or really early Spring. The sun was shining, the temps in the 50s and no wind. I was just aching to get out to my favorite park to walk around Antrim Lake. I got home around 4:30 and the house was empty. I was resigned to again walking around the neighborhood. Just as I was ready to leave, my husband came home and agreed to go to the park with me! Yea!

It took a couple of minutes for him to get ready and we left for the park before 5 p.m. It was so peaceful! There weren't many people and the parking lot was almost empty. The water was smooth as glass and reflected the colors of the already setting sun. It was exactly what I needed after a couple of stressful days getting through the holidays. It made such a difference in my mental attitude, my husband even agreed to do two laps around the lake!

I wish I could walk there as often as I want, but even in the cold weather and no leaves on the trees I don't feel quite safe alone. Because I can't get there as often, it did make this walk feel even more special.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Winter in Ohio

I woke up early this morning, made pancakes for the sleeping members of my family and head out for a short walk. Typical of Ohio weather, just wait a few minutes, and it will change.

When I woke up this morning, the temps were in the mid-50s and it was raining. By the time I got outside, the rain had stopped and the temps were in the low 50s.

Later, when I took my son out for one final holiday shopping trip, it had started snowing and was in the low 30s!

I'm pretty proud of myself for making it out today. However, yesterday was absolutely gorgeous! It was sunny and warm with not even a hint of precipitation. If I would have just woken up in time to walk with my walking club, I could have enjoyed that beautiful morning. Lately, my timing has been pretty bad when it comes to planning walks and weather. If I would just get out when I know I should, I'm sure I'd have a lot more beautiful days under my belt.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Great Race Today!

I entered Run Wild Racing's Holiday Run 4-mile race today and it was great!

Though it had snowed several inches earlier this week, rain was predicted for this morning. I woke up early, looked outside to see it was not raining, and went to the race. It was about 35 degrees, which was perfect weather. It was chilly enough to make you realize you were walking in a winter race, yet warm enough to prevent there being ice on the trail.

Doug Grout and Run Wild Racing do a great job, and today was no exception - hot chocolate, cookies, great breads and tons of other goodies awaited the finishers. The best thing is there is always plenty left for the walkers. And this year's shirt was a long-sleeved technical shirt! Gotta love that!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Morning Walk

Though I did not make it out to walk with the Buckeye Striders, I did walk this morning. It's funny how walking with snow on the ground is sometimes warmer than walking at this time of year when there isn't any snow.

No wind, a little sun and most of the sidewalks were clear. It was a great start to my day!

(If it is not raining in the morning, I'll be at the holiday walk at 9 a.m.)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Columbus Marathon Info

I heard something about the Columbus Marathon tonight that was pretty shocking. (Part of the reason it was shocking is that everything I heard previously was that it was a great race. But then again, those walkers were 5-hour finishers.)

The rumor I heard today is that, though the course was supposed to be open 7 hours, support for walkers was pulled after just 5 hours! Walkers on schedule to finish in under 7 hours were forced to sidewalks, and there wasn't any water after mile 20.

Did anyone else experience anything like this?

If races don't want walkers that is fine. There are plenty of marathons that really want walkers! But, if you say you are going to have the course open 7 hours and that you have a walking division, then you need to have a walking division and leave the course open as long as advertised.

Fun Night - Reconnecting

Sometimes I get so caught up in the minutia of running WALK! Magazine, I don't think I have the time to hang out with my Buckeye Strider friends. Tonight was the annual Holiday Party and I'm really glad I went!

Not only did I get caught up on all of the great races these people have been entering, I talked to one person about doing Big Sur with the Walking Team, and others about going to Detroit! Saturday I'll be up bright and early to walk with them (unless it rains) and Sunday I've agreed to enter one of our favorite Holiday runs.

It's always nice to get together with friends and especially nice to get together with walking friends.