Monday, October 26, 2020

One Last Try

Years ago, I gave up trying to lose weight. Nothing seemed to work, and each time I'd lose then gain back what I lost and then some. 

I had my thyroid checked and asked my doctor to up my meds, since my numbers were creeping up. They were still in the normal zone, but my thyroid medication hadn't been adjusted in a few years. I thought I might lose a pound or two that way, but wasn't really surprised when I didn't.

I also thought I might lose a pound or two with all of the walking I was doing, but that hadn't happened, so I resigned myself to being fit/fat. I certainly don't look like I'm fit enough to do a 5k and 10k each month, but, by God, I get out there and do them. I feel so much better since I started walking. 

I had been seeing the ads for noom for a long time, but mostly blew them off. I mean, I've tried diet after diet and end up heavier than I was before. Then someone very near and dear to my heart signed up, so I followed suit the next day.

I'm not going to lie, the first few days were hard. They call it psychology. I call it a mind fuck. It's actually cognitive behavior therapy, and it seems to be working.

Food is separated into three different categories: green, yellow, and red based on caloric density. Now, I've counted calories before - who on a diet hasn't? But I've never really given any thought to caloric density. Using one of their examples, I can choose to eat 60 calories in fresh grapes, or 60 calories in raisins. The calories are the same, but because the raisins are more calorically dense, it takes more to feel full than 60 calories of grapes. You end up eating far more raisins than grapes to get the same feeling of satiety, which means you end up ingesting a ton more calories. 

Each day, there are tasks to complete in the noom app, in addition to logging every bite of food. I've done food journaling before, and hated it. I never thought that would change. Now, though, it's become something of a game to see how many greens I can eat compared to yellows and reds. Like I said, nothing is off-limits, but red category foods are ones that should be eaten with care. The bulk of the my daily calories should be greens and yellows, with a few reds. Reds are important: they're things like dried fruits, nuts, milk/cheese, but should not be the majority of the day's calories. I sometimes fail spectacularly at that.

Poor Nebalee had to listen to me whine about two days in about how calorie-restrictive noom was. It's not really that restrictive, I just had to learn to use my calorie budget wisely. In every other diet I've ever been on, especially the calorie-restrictive ones, there were foods that were forbidden. Part of the mind fuck is that I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that nothing was forbidden. I thought I'd have to give up my daily Coke and never have it again. But since I can have it if I want it, it was easy for me to stop drinking it altogether. Coke is a big ole red item and eats up most of my red calorie budget, so once I realized that, it was gone. Saturday was a "reward yourself" day, so I drank the last Coke in the fridge. I hadn't had a Coke in nine days, so I thought it would be a great reward. I loved every damn drop, but Sunday felt a craving for sugar that was hard to beat back. I'm blaming my reward Coke for that. It is comforting, though, that I can have one any time I want, that it's not off-limits.

Food journaling is only one of the daily tasks required. There are short articles to read, goals to set, and quizzes to take. It takes approximately ten minutes out of my day to complete all of the tasks in the app. Considering the amount of time I spend scrolling through FB, I was sure I could cut ten minutes from there to spend on the noom app. 

Also, each person is assigned a goal coach that checks in with them once a week. The one task that I absolutely dreaded and almost refused to do is the daily weigh-in. Fuck, I hate the scale. I cannot express how much I did not want to step on the scale, much less every day. Luckily, Jay and I left for vacation the day after I signed up for noom, and I refused to pack the scale with us. I let my goal coach know that I wouldn't be doing my daily weigh-ins while we were on our road trip. 

After the first couple of days on noom, I started to get the hang of it. Jay and I had made a goal to walk at least 1.5 miles every day while we were on the road. After all, we were headed to three different National Parks, at least there would be some beautiful places to walk. There were a couple of long driving days that we didn't quite make our 1.5 miles, but we made up for it on other days. In seven days, we walked a total of 15.87 miles, an average of 2.26 miles/day.

I began to look forward to stepping on the scale when we got home: I'd started to get a handle on my calorie budget and we'd been walking a lot. Part of me was scared, what if I stepped on the scale and nothing happened? My doc had adjusted my thyroid meds and it resulted in zero weight loss. I'd started walking pretty religiously, including virtual races each month, and that resulted in zero weight loss. I had made peace with the fact that I was going to be fit/fat. But now? I finally had hope that the scale was going to move.

In the less than two weeks I've been on noom, I'm down 9.2 pounds. I don't expect it to continue at that rate; I believe my plan has me on track to lose seven pounds a month until March, which will take me to my goal weight. They even warn you that the scale is going to be variable. Some days I'll be down, some days I'll be up. Them acknowledging that right up front, and reassuring me that it's perfectly normal, has done a lot to ease my diet and scale anxiety. Despite the scale moving in the right direction, my clothes aren't yet fitting differently, but that will come with time. (**That time came today, Monday, when I weighed in. According to the scale, I'm up a pound. Knowing that it's a normal fluctuation is helpful, but I won't lie, it's still kind of disheartening.)

Two weeks in, I know this is going to work, so then my next big question is: can I maintain it? Noom isn't a diet that you pay to be on for the rest of your life; it's training you to work within your calorie budget. I hope that in the next six months I'm able to absorb all of their "psychology" so I don't end up gaining back every pound.

Speaking of cost, one of the things that kept me from signing up in the first place is that there's no set fee scale for the program. It felt like looking at a menu with no prices listed - I just knew I wouldn't be able to afford it. It turns out, for me, it's less than a gym membership. The hard part, if you're on a budget, is that you have to pay for your entire program upfront, rather than monthly. I paid about $145 for my six month program, which works out to be about $24/month. 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Virtual Races 2020

I've neglected this blog for so long, and I feel guilty for it. I probably don't have any readers left, and that's okay. Instead of writing for others, I'm using this as a journal of sorts.

Two years ago, I started Ease Into 5k (a Couch to 5k-type app). Copper became my running partner and we completed a couple of virtual races. Then the weather rolled in, and I hung it up.

In 2019, I thought it would be a good idea to do a cumulative race of 121 miles. I thought it would be something I could complete between February and my birthday in July. I was wrong. It actually took me 13 months to complete. I just couldn't force myself, even with using the Ease Into 5k app, to take up running on a regular basis.

At the beginning of the year, though, I decided to give it a try again. I was the most out-of-shape I've ever been. A flight of stairs defeated me, so I found more virtual races that looked interesting and signed up. I joined the community rec center and started walking on the treadmill. I didn't break out the training app, figuring I could do intervals all by myself and build up that way. Because I was so unhappy with my fitness level, I managed to make it to the rec center on a fairly regular basis and forced myself through run/walk intervals, either on the treadmill or on the 0.1 mile indoor track.

I lined up 5ks for the next few months and whined to Nebalee about how much I hated running. Poor thing had to hear it before and after every workout. She likes to do the BolderBoulder 10k for her birthday, and I knew if I was going to have a snowball's chance in hell of surviving, I needed to train. Except, when I "trained" in 2019 I started strong, then gave up. The 2019BB was awful and seriously gave me PTSD. To this day, whenever I'm faced with a 10k, she has to talk me down the day or two before.

In February, I committed to doing a 5k a month for the rest of the year. I had to do something about my fitness level. So, I found a few and signed up.

I've done 5ks in the past, so when I huffed and puffed my way through the Love Your Heart race and turned in a flat-out pathetic time that underscored exactly how unconditioned I was. It was disheartening. I kept at the walk/run intervals at the rec center between my first race and my second. In doing so, I was able to shave 15 minutes off my time, but I hated every damn moment of it. Not only did my mind hate it, but my body wasn't doing well. My feet and knees were giving me fits and after each of my 5ks I was lamed up for a day or two.

 Nebalee listened to me whine about it, then suggested that maybe I give up running and just walk. I thought she was out of her ever-loving mind. She asked me to try walking the April race to see what happened and she offered to join me.

I'll be damned if I didn't shave another four minutes off my 5k time at the next race, and we never went faster than a walk. I wasn't lamed up for days after the race, plus I'd cut time. I was sold!

Right after March virtual race, the world shut down, so I was forced to "train" outside. Luckily, the weather was good enough that I didn't freeze and once Nebalee proved to me that walking was better for me than running, I never had to talk myself into putting in the miles. My entire attitude about exercising improved.

Oscar's SCRAM! 5k

Since that April virtual race, Nebalee has been my constant race partner, always setting a good pace: one that is doable, but still challenging. I was beginning to think I might make it through the BolderBoulder, now re-named the VirtuALL 10k, since the world was still mostly locked down. Tens of thousands of people crowded into downtown Boulder wasn't a great idea, so they took the race virtual. 

We did one 5k in May, prior to the VirtuALL 10k, which was good. I was beginning to think I might be fit enough to do a 10k. And I was. We didn't turn in a great time, but I finished with minimal cussing and didn't even hate my sister for one moment, as I have in the past with the BolderBoulder. I was sore, but not lame, and decided that I would commit to not only one 5k a month for the rest of the year, but also a 10k.

Nebalee was doing a great job of encouraging me, and pushing me at every race, no matter the distance, and I had hopes to hit at sub-sixteen minute mile by the end of the year. Then, August happened and our state caught on fire. The air quality since has been hit or miss. Some days it's okay to be outside, some days it's not. I wasn't going to give up on my races, so bad air or not, on race day, we walked. We didn't want to push ourselves in bad air, so went from trying to cut time to just completing the miles. I'm trying not to be frustrated about being forced to slow down; seeing improvements in my time was the motivation I needed to keep going.

I've now completed six 10ks, though I get a bit of a panic attack a day or two before each, and Nebalee calms me down each time. I've decided that next year, I'm going to walk a half-marathon at least once. I've got races lined up for the rest of the year, and I no longer dread training for them.

I'll be posting race updates in the table below, just for easy reference for myself. 


2020 Date

Race name





February 29

Love Your Heart





March 18

Super Grover Red Cape




Lockdown began mid-March

April 22

Oscar’s SCRAM!




Began walking instead of running

May 4

May the Fourth





May 25





Replaced BolderBoulder after lockdown

June 12






June 24

Smokey the Bear





July 2

World UFO Day





July 17






August 18





Intentionally slow due to poor air quality

August 28

Wonder Woman





September 7

Riveter Run




Intentionally slow due to poor air quality

September 7





Intentionally slow due to poor air quality

September 25

She Believed





October 10

Stranger Distances

6.7 mi



Odd distance

October 12

Jolly Jack-O-Lantern





October 31






November 1

Day of the Dead





November 26

Thankful Turkey




December 5





New PR

December 24

Smilin’ Santa




New PR