Sometimes you know you need a vacation but gosh you don’t know HOW MUCH you needed a vacation until about halfway through.

#mfw I’ve been in the ocean for hours

10 days off – really and truly off – as in we didn’t even really talk or scheme much about work at all beyond poking our nose into work chat a few times to observe (and warm fuzzies about everyone handling things so well while we were out!). I feel like my patience and perspective have been restored. All the time away was very much needed, I had a great and relaxing time, and I actually worked on establishing some good habits including waking up REALLY early most days (6-7am), hitting the gym every day I wasn’t diving/snorkeling and doing strength and stretching sessions daily.

Soon, there will be a post about our vacation, but first I’d like to look beyond. #projectraceweight starts today. Yep, Saturday. This is how I roll.

I have had trouble prioritizing things over work lately. That is in and of itself a thing I need to work on, but for now, I’m just going to use it to my advantage instead of trying to fight against it. There’s a work thing that is more than tentatively planned for the end of August, which could mean meeting a lot of new people and likely some press/interviews. For many reasons – most importantly the confidence that looking my best gives me – there is now a work-related reason and a deadline for me to work on #projectraceweighttakefour

Also a chance to photograph something besides oceans, woods, and sunsets!

So, I’ve got 88 days. I’ve set a very ambitious goal of 20 lbs. This is a “shoot for the moon, end up among the stars” situation that I don’t expect to hit, but I’d like to approach. This is still a safe rate of loss for me (up to 2 lbs/week), though it’s aggressive. It’s up to my tolerance to push as hard as I can without cracking. Now that this is 100% my highest priority (ahead of training for races, even though I am still doing that), I shall pen a reminder to myself on what the next 88 days will entail:

#1 30 mins cardio per day (5-7 days a week)

The cruise proved to me that if I can wake up at sunrise and make time for (and actually super enjoy) 30 mins/day of cardio, there’s just no reason I can’t find 30 mins every day at home to move my arse. When this starts to sound hard, here’s a reminder to future me of all the things I can do to satisfy this goal without driving and/or leaving my neighborhood:

  • Swim treadmill in the backyard pool
  • Trainer ride indoors
  • Put on your shoes and run
  • Put on your shoes and walk
  • Walk to the gym and do a spin class
  • Walk to the gym and do the elliptical
  • Walk to the gym and run on the treadmill
  • Walk to the gym and swim in the crappy pool (and bring backup for something else if the lanes are taken)
  • Walk to the gym and use some other machine for ish and giggles (stairmaster? why not?)
Everything I need is right here. No excuses

This doesn’t even include riding my bike outdoors, swimming in the nicer pools or lake that are a short drive/bike ride away, or whatever other class/equipment options Lifetime fitness has. This here is my lazy list. I can be arsed to do one of these things for 30 mins a day. I *may* have some designs on using some of these sessions to get faster (let me whisper the word speedwork into the universe and see what happens), but the one and only REQUIREMENT is to do them.

#2 1-3x week trainer gym sessions (3x week lifting)

We paused our trainer sessions at the beginning of the year because vacation, then covid was rampant, then race training took precedence, then vacation again, and now FINALLY it’s time to get back to it. We’ll be going at least once a week starting next week, possibly more (depending on whether the sessions expire 1 year after we bought them, I am unclear on this), and aiming to lift whether it’s with our trainer or solo 3x week.

Back to doing this stuff on the regular

These strength sessions include, non-optionally, a stretch and roll. Stretching daily on vacation made my body feel so much better. It’s not hard, it’s just… haaaaaaaard to get myself to plop down on a mat after a long day instead of the couch. From my vacation-rested perspective, this sounds sooooo stupid. But I know how things feel when I’m knee deep in it. It would be neat to stretch daily, do some extra ab work on off days, and do other recovery things daily. However, at minimum, I lift, stretch, and roll 3x week.

So, if we’re at the gym lifting, absolutely no reason we shouldn’t just knock out the cardio at the same time if all we need is 30 extra minutes. This takes care of three sessions per week. Then I just need to figure out the other days. No problem, because I have my low-effort list above to reference. Worst case, just like the cruise, I alternate between the bike and the elliptical for a bit (just like on vacation).

#3 Food, and tracking it

Nothing revolutionary shall be said here, and if you’re getting sick of reading it, I’m getting sick of SAYING it. I just need to DO IT:

  • 4-5 days/week: 1200-1400 calories (1200+ a little bit more for exercise if needed)
  • 1-2 days/week: 1500 calories (a little bit more on days I exercise intensely or just feel extra hungry)
  • up to 1 day/week: up to 2000 calories (longer exercise/splurge day)

I’ll be tracking daily and aim that my weeks average out around 1400 cal/day.

Good thing the grill is going to get fired up more often for this sort of deliciousness

I’m not going to impose any other restrictions, but to keep myself sane/not hungry at this level, I need to employ all my dirty calorie-saving tricks like:

  • Eating spicy food usually satiates you for fewer calories
  • Abusing the hell out of salads full of veggies and lite italian dressing, vegetables, chicken broth, and pickles as very low calorie but super filling snacks
  • Being nitpicky about minor calorie additions (aka – my sandwich doesn’t neeeeed cheese or mayo, my salad doesn’t neeeeed croutons)
  • Lots of zero calorie tasty beverages like fizzy water, tea, and an occasional diet soda if I want something sweet with flavor.

I also need to remember that the next three months on the hunger scale, I should be aiming for a max of 5 out of 10 (no longer hungry) vs any level of feeling “full”, and that being hungry is not an emergency to be avoided at all costs, it’s totally natural. And yes, yes, I know complex carbs, green plants, and lean proteins will fill me up on fewer calories than simple carbs, processed foods, and fatty meats, so of course I’ll trend towards the former. But… not in any exclusionary way. Calorie count is king, diet quality is merely its squire.

#4 *Grumble grumble something something less alcohol grumble grumble*

‘Tis the last priority on the list, I’d rather clean up everything else about my diet before this, but I could probably do away with fewer empty calories that take the form of my favorite brown liquid-y relaxant, bourbon.

Up to 3 nights per week, when the mood strikes, I’ll have a few drinks. I’d like to cut that down to up to 2 nights per week as long as that doesn’t mean I increase the number of drinks I have on those days to balance the scales (cramming the “fun” into fewer days). I am lucky that even at 43, I can easily have some drinks a few times a week and still get up in the morning and get on with my triathlete and work life – it takes a LOT for me to have a hangover that impairs my daily functions. So, it’s rare that cutting down on it crosses my mind.

However, my tolerance also means I ingest a lot of empty calories without any sort of satiety or nutritional benefit. Also, let’s be real – while I can get by, I’m not at peak performance those mornings so maybe an extra day of being 100% raring to go per week will benefit me in other ways.

Here we begin yet again. 88 days for 20 lbs. Let’s do this thing once more with feeling, shall we?

I have done it before

It only made me go a LITTLE crazy

I didn’t (quite) kill anyone

But it definitely changed my headspace

So, once more, onto the breach, and let’s see how my life changes this time in the next three months.