What Sort of ‘Stache Should I “Grow” for Mustache Dache?

I was thinking the other day about what I love so much about racing. I swear to you, the first thing that popped into my head was “dressing up.” I mean, I never get to dress up for Halloween anymore (which used to be one of my favorite holidays for that reason), so racing is like the next best thing.

So, I may be just a little bit excited for November’s Mustache Dache 5K in Seattle. I’m planning my outfit already — thinking a Team Sparkle skirt, a shirt and tie and, of course, a sweet ‘stache. Of course, Ron Swanson has the best one.

Think I can pull it off?

Think you can pull one off? Come run the Mustache Dache! The race supports Movember for men’s health and prostate cancer awareness. The post-race party sounds like it’ll be epic with food trucks, a beer garden, giveaways, a costume contest and a mustache contest! I’m so stoked for this race.

It’s pretty cold in mid-November, but the race starts later at 10, so it shouldn’t be too bad. Besides, you’ll have a little extra facial hair to keep you warm. Here are the details if you want to “dache with your ‘stache”!

Mustache Dache 5K (costumes encouraged!)

Magnuson Park, Seattle

Registration is $30 (goes up to $35 in October — so register TODAY) or you can register as a team (4+ people, $25/person — goes up to $30 in October).

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I Am Done Losing Weight

“Strive for progress, not perfection.” -Unknown

I think I’m done losing weight. I’ve been within 5 pounds for a year, and have not been able to get below 150. That is certainly a very nice number for a person who is almost 5’8” tall (me), so I’m very pleased with it.

But I’d had 145 as a goal for so long, stopping at 150 feels like quitting. Like giving up. There was no reason behind 145, really, I just liked the sound of it. Here’s why I don’t think I’m giving up:

What I want for my body is not weight-related anymore. I do not feel heavy. I am not overweight. What I want is a fit body. A body that will do what I ask during a race. A body that is feminine, but strong. Losing more weight will not make the Jell-O baby tummy and inner thighs tighten up. I hear that lifting weights will, though.

So, I’m done losing, I guess.

What’s next?

I’ve recently learned/figured out that I need to tone now. I learned this when I read this article on losing those last pounds at Go Kaleo and this article on calories. And then I confirmed with my friend Jess (Blonde Ponytail),  an expert on matters of fitness!

So, I need to lift weight (whether they are the metal ones in the gym or my own body weight), to strengthen my body overall. Then, it will use the fat stores in my tummy and thighs to fuel my new, more muscular physique.

At least, this is what I’m hoping will happen.

But, I admit, I am scared. Like freaking out. To do this toning thing, I am supposed to eat more calories (and even more protein!). I’ve been eating about 1,300 calories for so long that I’m worried I’ve ruined my metabolism. Can it be fixed? I don’t know.

I am so, so afraid of gaining weight. Like it’s just going to magically pack itself on me. I’ve been working at this too long.

So, I’m still haven’t been eating enough because of this fear. I’ve only bumped my calories up to 1,500. I should be eating 2,000 at least, and AND…this calorie calculator is putting me at anywhere between 2,400-2,900 on work days (depending on my level of activity that day) when I’m mostly sitting! How in the world am I going to eat that much?

Right now – eating 1,500 calories for the second week – I just feel like I’m gaining weight all the time, and have not weighed myself because of this. Admittedly, my clothes do not feel any tighter. I just feel so full at mealtimes, though, and my brain equates fullness to gaining weight. How can I fix this? More frequent smaller meals? I already eat five times a day!

Looking at this makes my toes tingle. That’s how scared I am.

 

How long and how often should I be doing weights and strength work? Every day? I know I can’t do the same muscle groups every day. I need a plan. Help!

While I may be finished losing the weight, I’m not done reaching my goal of a fit body. I was not prepared for this. I did not realize that getting down to my weight goal was not the end of the process! I didn’t know finally reaching my goal was going to be so hard!

Getting My 4-year-old to Eat Healthy

The Goal: Healthy Eating for the Whole Family

“Look! Look what I got you!” I cried, holding up two boxes of Annie’s bunny-shaped macaroni and cheese. My four-year-old, who was sitting at the dinner table, turned around quickly to see what exciting prize his mommy had for him. “Thanks, Mom,” he said, appreciatively and then turned back to his dinner: scrambled eggs and cheddar rolled in a whole-grain tortilla.

“It’s bunny pasta!” I tried, as I put them in the pantry.

My son said, “Mac ‘n’ cheese falls off my fork. That bunny kind falls off my fork.” Seriously? Seriously? Then use a spoon, I thought.

“But you love mac ‘n’ cheese,” I said.

“I like the other kind.”

Kraft vs. Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese

It’s not his fault he loves the other kind. For a while there, I bought Kraft Macaroni & Cheese like it was being eliminated from the marketplace. I’d get it on sale at Safeway or stock up at Costco. It was easy and my son liked it – and that’s kind of where I was at that time with meals for me and my husband, too. If it’s easy and we like it, then it works.

He’s young, I justified, he can eat crap and not get fat. In my heart of hearts, I knew it wasn’t good for him, though. And I also know that the “fat” thing wasn’t really what I was worried about. But sometimes you just push that inner voice down until it’s so quiet you don’t really hear it anymore. I didn’t have time to think about it anyway. Besides, American kids have been eating this stuff for years, and we’re all fine. (Um, no we’re not. How about the highest rates of cancer, heart disease and obesity in history?)

And, c’mon, who was I kidding? We all know nothing good for you is easy. Running is good for you. Is it easy to get your butt out of bed before 7 a.m. on a Saturday for a 10-miler? In the winter?

I’m a copywriter. That means I write copy on packaging to sell products. Want to know what my go-to phrase is? “Fast and easy.” Fast and easy sells. Fast and easy is sexy. Fast and easy appeals to everyone.

Boxed macaroni and cheese is fast and easy. If I’m being really objective, which I try to do, no matter if it’s Annie’s or Kraft, it’s not great. I just choose to buy Annie’s because the ingredients are much less chemically frightening than Kraft’s. Here’s a great article comparing ingredients in the two products on the blog, A Life Less Sweet.

Being Honest with Kids About Food

I’ve developed some quick-mom-thinking skills over the past four years, but this healthy eating thing is a new frontier. I just can’t say I won’t buy “the other kind,” right? He won’t accept that! I need an excuse.

But, overall, I’ve always wanted to be honest with my son. Just the other night we had a serious discussion about age, death, dying, God, Heaven. Those are things not even I fully understand, but he seemed to get them when explained in a simple way. So, I just told him.

“Well, hon, I know you like the other kind, but I am not going to buy it anymore.”

He wanted to know why.

“Because it was making you sick.”

Okay, so maybe that’s a stretch. But it could contribute to making him sick later on in life. That’s where I was going with that. Of course, he thought it meant he would get a cold. “It doesn’t give you a cold, but it hurts your insides. The inside of your body. It’s just not good for you,” I explained.

Here’s the shocker! He totally accepted this.

“Oh,” he said, “That other kind will make me sick and hurt my body, so you’re not going to get it anymore.”

“Yes,” I said. Ohmygod, he gets it! And that was the end of the conversation.

I know not all 4-year-olds are on the same level with things like communication and trust. And not everyone’s working with a 4-year-old. I’m sure, if he was five, this would’ve been a much more difficult conversation – maybe even a fight. But I have always found that just telling kids the truth, maybe even siding with them a little bit (hence, the “I know you like the other kind” I threw in our conversation), usually is the best way to go.

Clean Eating for Kids

I usually make our dinner. My husband and I began eating more cleanly a couple of months ago. Naturally, I want my son to eat better, too. But it’s not easy. Besides the mac ‘n’ cheese, his other favorite food was the cheese roll-ups from Taco Bell. *sigh* Also, our fault. After he started asking for them all the time, I at least, began making them at home, but still with a white flour tortilla and rubbery shredded cheese bought in bulk at Costco.

Since our diet clean-up, though, if he gets a “cheese roll-up” it’s on a whole-grain tortilla, and it’s cheddar cheese and some shredded chicken. Or I throw some black beans in there. Avocados on the side.

My son at breakfast time a couple of months ago. He typically requests “eggs and waffles.” I try to give him a fruit, too. The waffles are your basic Eggos — not great, but once we run out of them, he will be getting a whole-grain waffle instead. I also just replaced his fake syrup with real maple syrup.

Cleaning up my son’s diet hasn’t been nearly as difficult as I thought, though. It’s not fast and easy, but it’s not terribly time consuming either. When I make dinner for me and my husband, I just use the same ingredients in a different way for something for my son. I’m not sure that’s right, but he’s four. His palate is not as refined as ours. He likes bland things.

For example, if we’re having chicken and broccoli, I’ll put his chicken and broccoli on some whole-grain pasta mixed with a little butter and some mozzarella. Done.

One of the easiest ways to improve your and your family’s diet is to just buy only healthy stuff. By healthy stuff, I mean whole grains, real produce, real proteins and real dairy. Cut out the processed crap. You may not want to take your kids with you to the store, at first. If you can’t get to the store without them, buy groceries on Amazon Fresh or get groceries delivered if that’s available where you live. I have a friend who shops at night after her husband is home so she doesn’t need to bring the kiddos. But once you’ve resolved to buy healthy foods, you may actually want to start bringing them with you; involving them in the process of choosing real, whole foods.

Eating Healthy is a Journey

I was guilty there for a while of feeding my son crap while I ate healthy foods. It was just easier! More and more is coming out about the harmful effects of toxic chemicals in our food. And I am just taking notice.

I feel like I’m standing on a little piece of ice in the ocean. It seems really small, but I know that if I were to stick my face in the water, I’d see a giant mountain of an iceberg under me.

What I’m saying is that, eating cleaner is a journey. You can’t go from one extreme to the other. You’re not going to get it fixed right away. I’m certainly not. Just work on it. Work on your and your family’s diets over time. Slowly replace the bad things with good things. Read labels. Read health articles.

We’re just starting out on our health journey, too. In the future, I probably won’t even buy Annie’s macaroni and cheese. Maybe by then he’ll get excited over whole-grain pasta and cheddar!

How do you get your kid(s) to eat healthy foods? 

 

Clean Eating Resources

I’m not an expert on healthy foods. I’m just a mom trying to figure it out. Here are some places to learn more about eating clean for you and your kids:

Evolution of a Hippie

I loved to make fun of Oregon when I was growing up. Being from California, I thought all those people up north walked around in Birkenstocks all day and never shaved their armpits. Obviously, that’s not true. Some of them actually walk around barefoot. KIDDING!

I thought people who bought organic or cared about the environment were hippies. This stereotype persisted even after I moved to Washington. Slowly (like last week), I realized there are all different types of people no matter what state you live in. For example, not all Californians are blond and they don’t all say “dude” (except I do say “dude” a lot, but that’s not the point).

In 2009, I began a journey to get healthy. I started running and tracking my calories (not for the first time) to lose weight. I thought I was being so good about my food choices, even though now I know that SmartOnes and Lean Cuisines are not the way to a healthier body.

Here’s the thing I’m just recently realizing this: To feel and look healthy, you must pay attention to both the outside AND inside of your body.

**

In the spring, my husband expressed interest in eating a healthier more protein-focused diet. We didn’t cut out carbs, but we tried to balance them with protein, which I understood as chicken and beef. His goal was to lose weight. He’s not a person that enjoys exercise and he’s struggled with being overweight for a long time. He began, in January, just focusing on eating less and moving more, and he lost some weight. Our protein-focused diet in the spring helped. Then, he heard about Bob Harper’s book, The Skinny Rules. He bought it and listened to it on his commute.

I was skeptical, but he bought the hard copy of the book so I could read it and we could more easily use the recipes. I was struggling with losing my last 5-10 pounds. I read the book and it made a lot of sense, and it was reassuring that our protein-focused diet was sort of on the right track.

Among other things, Bob’s book taught us about other healthy sources of protein – like eggs, fish, tofu and beans – and how to balance carbs and proteins (plus, to try not to eat carbs at night since your body uses them too fast; it needs a slower source of energy like protein and veggies that it can use while you’re asleep – makes sense!).

My husband has lost nearly 30 pounds since January. More than half of that weight has come off since starting The Skinny Rules two months ago.

I’m still struggling with that last 5-10 pounds, however, I’m closer to the 5 now. Part of the reason why I struggled more (up to about 2 weeks ago), I think, is that I wasn’t tracking my calories. I felt it wasn’t helping any, but it turned out that I had configured my plan wrong and I was eating too few calories. I suck at math. I can’t keep track in my head. So I need to track calories. I’m the kind of person who will probably have to track her calories for the rest of her life. That’s just the way it is. If I want to look and feel good, I just need to do that.

**

Even though I’m still trying to take off those last few pounds, I’ve noticed improvements in the way I look and feel since eating…well, basically, eating clean. My stomach is firmer, my arms are more defined, and my insides seem to be working the best they ever have

We eat a lot of fruits and veggies. We eat beans and tofu, and fish. And we eat chicken and beef, too. I don’t put sugar or chemical creamer in my coffee anymore – I don’t even like the way it tastes with cream or sugar now! I mean, that creamer. It always made my tongue feel weird. Probably you shouldn’t eat things that make your tongue feel weird. I’m no food saint, though. I admit I still eat a lot of popcorn, but now I make it with just a small amount of oil and a very, very small amount of salt. I’ve discovered that too much salt really does a number on my body and the way I feel

I also try to buy organic whenever possible. I even buy organic popcorn! I buy the more expensive grass-fed beef and began purchasing organic chicken recently. It’s not cheaper, but it’s not that much more than I was spending on groceries already.

To be honest, I’m growing more concerned about pesticides, antibiotics and chemicals that are in our food supply. I know that’s a super hippie thing to say, but you can’t tell me the high rates of cancer and obesity in this country aren’t somehow tied to the agents that get sprayed on crops or the hormones injected in cows and chickens to make them bigger, faster. Have you seen the size of those frozen chicken breasts at Costco? Lord! Chickens are not that big. That cannot be “natural.”

**

It’s actually really scary if you think about it too much. I especially don’t want my son eating chemicals and antibiotics. I am realistic, though. I do want to give him what he wants…but within reason.

My son loved Kraft Mac ‘N’ Cheese. But I stopped buying it. The thing is, kids’ little bodies can’t handle that processed food. If it makes me feel yucky, then it’s going to be worse for him because it’s even more concentrated. So…I buy Annie’s Mac & Cheese instead. It’s not the most nutritious thing ever, but it doesn’t have chemicals in it, and he likes it. He doesn’t get it all the time either. It’s a treat for him (and it’s not that expensive; Fred Meyer had a deal: 10 for $10!).

His favorite thing I make him is whole grain pasta with chicken and broccoli (he doesn’t like chicken and broccoli, but we make him eat it – WE are the parents), a teaspoon of butter and some grated mozzarella on top (the butter and mozzarella melts). So cheap and easy. Of course, we want him to eat what we are having, but sometimes it’s too spicy and things like that.

Yes, I know we are going to have some “bad” stuff occasionally. Heck, I shared two Krusty Pups (corndogs) and some cotton candy with my son at the fair over the weekend. We also walked for 5 hours. And I like beer, and wine. Nobody’s perfect.

But I’m hoping that if we eat smart and clean and organic most of the time, that we will live better. I don’t know that we’ll live longer, but we’ll hopefully live better with less chance of getting diseases and illnesses.

Today, I was looking at organic shampoos. After doing some basic research on the ones I was looking at, I noticed that even some of the supposedly natural shampoos have toxins that harm the environment and things like petroleum-based fragrances in them. Um, gross. Then I actually thought, “Maybe I’ll make my own shampoo.”

I guess I should go ahead and get some Birkenstocks now because my hippie transformation is nearly complete. I draw the line at shaving my pits, though. That would seriously chafe on a long run.

Training to Win

“Winning isn’t everything. Wanting to is.” –Unknown

There’s a mountain bike in our living room and, so far, my husband has not complained about this. Good thing because I started training for triathlon on Monday.

You might wonder why in the world would someone start training for triathlon (notice, I left out the “a” – this is how real triathletes talk) at the end of triathlon season. I could be all , “Oh it’s ‘cause I don’t know what I’m doing on the bike and I should probably figure out how to shift and get my butt calluses going,” and that actually would be true. But the real, real honest answer is: I want to win.

I want to win my age group or whatever group I happen to be in when I finally compete in triathlon this summer – just a mere 8-9 months away. I want to win something, darn it!

I am extremely competitive. However, due to unspoken rules about appropriate societal behavior, I usually keep it in check. But I was a hard-core athlete when I was younger. Naturally, I was especially competitive in sports I excelled in. Do not get in my way in a soccer game, I will run you over.

Triathlon (see how I wrote that all triathlete-like?) is bringing out my uber-competitiveness. Running, for some reason, didn’t bring it out as much – probably because when I started, it had been so long since I ran. But I’ve been running for three years now, and I’m faster.

And I am very, very confident in the water – I swam competitively for 12 years. In fact, I do not know what else to do with myself in a pool besides swim laps. Who are those people that hang out in pools? How does one do this? I’m not fast, but I’m confident with more time in the water, I’ll get fasterish. I’ve spent many hours swimming in lakes and oceans. This part of triathlon (ha!) does not scare me. Bring it. I played water polo; I’ve been kicked in the face. NBD.

Then there’s biking. This is the new and exciting part, and if I can start training early enough, I think I can make up for lack of experience. I am very grateful to be borrowing a trainer right now until I get one of my own. BTW, is it me or is cycling helping my running? Today, I ran sub-8’s…not on purpose.

I do actually have a half marathon to run at the end of November, so I do actually need to start adding mileage. (I had to cut back after some shin and calf discomfort, for which I am seeing a PT.)

No plans to win the half, though. I’ll save that for triathlon.

 

My Triathlon Training Plan

The plan is heaviest on the running right now since I have the Seattle Half at the end of November.

  • Monday: Bike and run (easy)
  • Tuesday: Run (by feel) and strength
  • Wednesday: Bike and run (speed)
  • Thursday: Strength and rest
  • Friday: Swim and run (long)
  • Saturday: Bike (long)
  • Sunday: Yoga

I’d appreciate thoughts on the training plan, but don’t give me a lecture about setting myself up for disappointment as far as wanting to win. I’m a big girl. If I don’t win the first time, I’ll just train harder and win the second time. 😉

What Would a Triathlete Do?

I am not a triathlete. (I’m not sure my triathlon in the 8th grade counts anymore.) But I would like to be one. So, let’s say I’m a triathlete-in-the-making.

In the spring, I announced I would do a triathlon this summer. Did I have a bike? No. Did I have my family’s blessing? No. Did I get influenced by other people’s announcements that they were doing triathlons? Yes! (Ahem, Jill.)

So, no, I never did a triathlon this summer. At the beginning of summer, I wasn’t sure I really even wanted to do one. But now, I really have the bug. It’s become my new thing. Of course, triathlon season is basically over and I still do not have a bike. (My mountain bike doesn’t count. I refuse to use it in a triathlon — unless I decide to do the XTerra one, I guess. I want to have a chance, people, c’mon!)

So, I am training for a triathlon. I haven’t chosen one yet, but I am looking. I have a plan to get a bike this fall or winter, so I’ll be ready to go this time. Meanwhile, I’m running a little (3 or less miles at a time on PT orders), and biking some on my mountain bike, which I am thoroughly enjoying it now that I know how to shift, etc., thanks to Selene Yeager’s book The Every Woman’s Guide to Cycling. I’ve even been to the pool a few times — and actually swam laps there, too!

But what in the heck does a triathlete do in the “off-season” to prepare for NEXT season?

I have no idea. That’s where you come in: Do you do triathlons? Do you swim and bike through the winter? Is there a non-training “training” plan for triathletes? If you have ideas, pretty please leave it in the comments! Maybe someone else is wondering, too!

Right now, I have decided that my main focus will be losing weight. I am still loving Bob Harper’s Skinny Rules. I don’t need the book anymore (although, I still like to use or get inspiration from his recipes). Our family is eating so much healthier, and my husband is still losing weight.

I, however, am not losing anything.

I am bouncing between 152 and 153. Have been for weeks. I am eating enough. I’m not eating bad (yes, some popcorn every once in a while, but I’m trying to limit it).

Today, my stomach feels like it is hanging over my jeans. I’ve got to get this in control! So, I jumped back on MyFitnessPal today and started tracking. But I’m not just tracking calories. I suspect I’ve been eating too much protein. According to Bob and other health experts, to figure out how much protein you really need, you just need to divide your weight in two. So, I need about 76 grams of protein a day. When I entered all my food into MyFitnessPal for today, I realized that I may be eating too much protein. I need to watch this closely.

I also realized that I will not have any calories left for popcorn tonight.

But, that’s okay. I’m not sure triathletes are supposed to eat popcorn anyway.