Plate

I am visiting ChooseMyPlate.gov in search of current nutritional guidelines. I am immediately drawn to the list of people classifications. But there is a glaring problem with the list: none of the available choices fit a person like me.

  • Dieters (though I could stand to to lose a few, this is not me)
  • Pregnant & Breastfeeding Women (the particulars of my construction make this an automatic no-go)
  • Children, age 6-11 (I might act like one on occasion, but I’m too old)
  • Preschoolers, ages 2-5 (I never attended, and too old for that trick now)
  • En Español (I don’t know nearly enough Spanish for what’s behind door number cinco)
  • Educators/Teachers (I did not choose that profession way back when, because I saw what my teachers had to deal with. It has only gotten worse.)
  • Health Care Professionals (I don’t think IT at a medical facility qualifies)
  • Partners (I am neither in some kind of non-traditional marital nor business relationship, so that one’s off my, uh, plate)
  • MyPlate Graphics (I may let some graphic language slip from time to time, but…?)

That’s it, nothing for a typical (or not) middle-aged human male. Now I could try clicking every link on the page, but I am going to do what a typical middle-aged Internet user would do with a web site like this: leave the site and see what my favored search engine turns up.

Doubt

Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s too much unreasonable-deadline-driven work and not enough play. And not enough exercise. Maybe it’s blowing the new eating plan for a few days. Maybe it’s seeing the number on the Evil Scale creep back up.

Maybe it’s all of the above. Today I am filled with doubt on riding the century in three weeks. Oh, I’m sure I’ll be able to do it. Mostly sure. I want to do it reasonably well. And enjoy it.

For months my goal has been to get ‘r done in no more than seven hours, including rest stops. Seven hours isn’t looking so attainable right now. Reasonably well isn’t looking so attainable right now. For perspective, last fall I rode a century in eight and a half hours. On a heavy hybrid bike. This year I will be riding an actual, significantly lighter, road bike. Still, seven hours isn’t looking too attainable. Never mind enjoying the ride.

I am tired of the rainy weather. I know we need it, but I wish it would just pour and be done with it already. Alternative: stationary bike at the health club.

I am tired of work. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. But the entire team is burned out due to deadlines we had no say in creating. I crashed and burned a couple weeks ago. Since then three others. Maybe there’s a bug going around, but I’m seeing exhaustion all around. At least most of the pressure will be off by the end of the month. I hope. Alternative: there really isn’t any, other than try to keep balance between work and life.

I have not done much exercising at all. I had to work over the weekend, but I did manage to eek out a six-mile ride in 25 minutes yesterday, when weather allowed. (It was later afternoon, so work I gave the finger to.) I used to head to the on-site health club at work over lunch for a swim or cycle class. Office politics suggest to me it is better I don’t for the time being. Alternative: go to the home club. Love to, but my long commute and bus schedule mean I get home late. OK, I am using that as an excuse, but time is a real barrier to navigate around.

Last piece of cake eatenAfter two or three days I already went off my new meal plan. We had a birthday in the house, so I had to have cake. The birthday meal was great. But working out the nutritional information was too difficult, so I skipped tracking the entire day. I tried getting back on track, but failed there. I even finished off the final piece of birthday cake, just to get rid of it. Alternative: tomorrow is another day to try again.

Much as I feel beat down right now, the final alternative is perhaps the best: tomorrow is another day to try again.

Twenty-four days

Twenty-four days until I ride 100 miles. At least that is my goal distance. I am still unsure whether to do the regular ride or try the fondo version. The difference is that the fondo adds a time-keeping element. Not quite a race, but not quite not.

Yesterday I started tracking everything I eat again. I had planned to start tracking weight, but plans being plans, I forgot. I did go over my estimated calorie quota, but not too horribly so.

The worst part of yesterday was being hungry. All. Day. Long. Including immediately after eating a meal. I could tell my stomach was full, yet the hunger pangs did not subside. Strange but true. I had a fairly decent fat-carb-protein ratio at each meal, so I am not quite sure what the problem was. By evening I caved and ate too much peanut butter mud.

I don’t know the “standard” recipe peanut butter mud, so I guessed.
3/4 cup powdered milk (1 serving)
1/4 cup peanut butter (peanuts and salt only)
2 tbsp honey
Mix well. Enjoy.

Enjoy I did. Finally my hunger pangs were gone.

Today was much better. I remembered to weigh myself, I my calorie quota overage was much less, and I had no hunger pangs other than just before meal times. My fat-carb-protein ratio was off, however.

I still haven’t gotten back on a bike, but I did the treadmill at a fairly brisk pace for an hour tonight.

Tomorrow I hope to leave work early enough to ride when I get home. Hopefully the weather will cooperate, but rain is in the forecast. I may have to climb on a stationary bike.

That’s about it for today’s riveting report.

Do you have an event ride you are preparing for? If so, I’d love to read about it.

Twenty-six days

Twenty-six days. That’s how many days I have left to be ready for a century bike ride. The weeks of training and eating right will pay off in spades.

Great!… If only it were true. The weeks of training part. Oh, and the eating right part.

My weeks of training has really been little more than a couple 20-mile rides spread out over the last four weeks. Uh, yeah. Not quite a recommended training plan.

And my diet? Rollercoastering between heights of good food and plummeting to the depths of tasty, but oh-so-not-good-for-you treats has been my diet. And the scale shows it. Down three (hurray!). Up four (ugh!). Down two (yes!). Up one (boo!). This is the typical fluctuation over four days.

OK, folks, time to get serious.

I need to get back on the saddle and spend some quality time with my bikes. My heavy hybrid should provide more intense training rides. (That reminds me, I still need a battery for its bike computer. No way to accurately gauge speed and distance without one.)

A few rides on my lighter road bike will serve as more of a treat. Riding the road bike instead of the hybrid is almost like the difference between impulse and warp drive.

Finally, I also need to mix things up with some cycle classes at the health club.

As for my diet, I need to go back to counting calories. I’d like to drop eight to ten pounds. Yes, that is a tall order in such a short amount of time, but it is possible.

To make sure I’m eating properly I will need to watch grams of the macro-nutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. I know my ratios between those three are all over the place from day to day. While I’m at it, I’ll watch sodium, too. You would not believe how many “healthy” foods, especially soups, are loaded with the stuff.

By the way, I’d like to thank A Fat Man’s Journey for additional inspiration. My BMI might say I’m at a good weight, but BMI doesn’t account for body type. The spare tire needs to go.

I hope I’m up for this challenge…

Slice of Life (from http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com)

Breakfast

My usual morning work routine was delayed this morning. I was groggier than usual when I awoke. I took advantage of a little extra sleep by opting for the later commuter bus.

Upon safe delivery to my employer a few hours later, I spotted my brother-in-law’s mother on the way to my desk. We chatted for a few minutes before heading off to our respective destinations. Nice chat.

Then I got wrapped up in checking out my workstation. Monday morning the hard drive failed. Yesterday morning a gentleman from support took it for repair. He was able to copy the contents of the drive to another and return my workstation late in the afternoon. This morning I doubled-checked for any missing or damaged files. All appeared to be as it should.

By then my stomach signaled hunger again, and this time I could not ignore it. I was craving a cranberry-orange scone from Barnes & Noble Café, 400+ sugar-laden calories be damned. My alternate choice was a huge cinnamon roll topped with cinnamon cream cheese icing. Probably tops out at over 500 sugar-laden calories.

Fortunately, to the benefit of my waistline and continued good health, B&N didn’t have any cranberry-orange scones, fresh-baked or otherwise. (And really, if you are going to indulge, do opt for fresh-baked and still hot. You’re welcome.) By the time I paid for my coffee I no longer wanted the scone or roll.

Ultimately, I ended up skipping breakfast altogether. Not a recommended habit, but occasionally is fine.

The peanut butter bacon cheeseburger and fries at lunch made up for the caloric deficit.

More than a spoonful of sugar

Let’s go back two or three weeks. Maybe it was four, but surely no more than that. How long ago is of little consequence to the fascinating educational joyride you are about to embark.

I am on my way to lunch, and notice a display table in the employee cafeteria. A sign called to me: how many spoonfuls of sugar in the bottle of Sierra Mist Natural? Closest guess earns a copy of The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook. I’m a bit of a sucker for a good cookbook at no monetary expense to myself, so I’m game.

First things first. (1) What kind of spoon, and (2) how much fluid in the bottle? Teaspoons, and the label says 15.7 fl oz.

After getting lunch and finding a table, I whip out my trusty Windows Phone for a little Internet research and calculation.

How many grams of sugar per teaspoon? I find multiple answers, and see the more reliable sources agree with each other on 12.55g per tablespoon. Good enough. I will multiple my answer by 3 for teaspoons.

How many grams sugar in the bottle? I could have read the label, but didn’t think to do that. Multiple Internet sources agree on 25g per 8 fl oz of Sierra Mist Natural. A little math (15.7oz / 8oz * 25g) yields 49.0625g sugar in the bottle. I’ll round that number in my final answer.

Finishing up, I do the math on 49.0625g / 12.55g per Tbsp * 3 tsp per Tbsp. I stop by the table again, on my way out of the cafeteria, and record my entire answer: 11.73 tsp sugar in a 15.7 fl oz bottle of Sierra Mist Natural.

11.73 tsp is almost 4 Tbsp. For comparison, 4 Tbsp is 1/4 cup. That’s a lot of sugar in one beverage. Oh, the label says 8 fl oz is a serving. But how many people stop at 8? Not many.

Fast forward back to the present.

I received an email telling me I won the cookbook for having the closest guess. I have to smile, because I didn’t guess.