I woke up bright and early at 5:00 this morning and was out of bed by 5:10, dressed by 5:20, and at the door of Starbucks by 5:30. It is amazing—shocking, really—how much easier it was to get up for pastry than it is to get up to go to work, go running, or go to the Y!
I ordered a triple grande skinny hazelnut latte instead of my usual double tall or short, because I didn't want to darken the door of Starbucks again today until the pastry rush was over. There was no rush, by the way, at 5:30. I was the only customer and the pastry case was stuffed full of every goody I could imagine or desire.
I had already pretty much decided to go with a scone because I thought that would give me the most satisfaction and enjoyability for a one-time treat. I perused the options for a few moments. Blueberry scone—no. Fresh fruit scones (which I assume this was, though I didn't look too closely) tend not to have the same crumbly texture as dried fruit scones. Cinnamon scone—my proclaimed favorite*—reluctantly no, for a number of reasons. I couldn't quite hack the 490 calorie count, for one thing. Also, I hadn't had one since the "cinnamon scone" changed to the "cinnamon chip" scone, and I was afraid I wouldn't like the new version as well as the old. Plus, the old kind had a full coating of icing and this only had drizzles—sure to be a disappointment to a sugar lover like me. The pumpkin scone was a strong possibility. It still had full icing coverage, and I've liked pumpkin scones I've had in the past, but really, pumpkin is not my favorite flavor and I wanted the best.
The winner? The cranberry orange scone, a long-time favorite standby. 420 calories (according to my Livestrong calculator; the Starbucks website says 410), delicious hints of orange flavor and dried cranberries, drizzles (well, you can't have everything) of orange icing, a real party in your mouth. And there is a slight possibility I can even claim some antioxidant benefits to the dried cranberries. (But I'm not hanging my hat on that.)
So I stashed the scone and latte in my car (I could reheat the latte later), and headed into the Y, at least half an hour earlier than typical, maybe even more. That was good, it would allow me extra time on the elliptical. Although it's boring, the elliptical is an easy way to get a low-impact workout, and I can watch TV and read blogs on my BlackBerry, so I manage to pass the time.
My Y has two kinds of ellipticals (I don't know why), one with moving arms and the other with stationary arms, but adjustable incline, as well as resistance. What I like to do, subject to available machines, is spend 35-40 minutes on each one. Today I had enough time for an extra 35 minute session, which should give me about 350 more calories burned! (I routinely average 10 calories per minute, sometimes slightly more by the end, when I have warmed up thoroughly.)
I did two 35-minute sessions on the stationary arm machine, then hopped off to go do a set of pushups. I've slacked off on pushups for the last couple weeks (and currently, that's the only strength training I've been doing, so it's quite pathetic, really), and though I managed to get through a set of 20, when I started to do ten more (as I had done last time), I quit after six. Wimp. I did a short bent arm plank (like ten seconds), then returned to the elliptical for another round. Unfortunately the other machines were occupied, so it was back to the same one again. After about ten minutes, though, another elliptical opened up, so I moved over to do 37 minutes on that one and then called it good. Total 117 minutes, more than nine miles, 1200 calories—enough extra to pretty much compensate for the scone. I could eat with impunity!
Okay, I know that sounds like I am an obsessive freak. Shouldn't I be able to have a treat without accounting for every bite with five minutes of cardio? I suppose, but I have found to my chagrin that a treat here leads to a treat there, which leads to a pound there and there and there, and pretty soon your pants are feeling tighter and (perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not) your running starts to slow down too.
By tracking my food and exercise with Livestrong/Daily Plate (just one of many good programs out there), I can make sure that my treats—and for that matter, my healthy eating—are not overwhelming the calories I am burning by running and so forth. This is great for me, because not only does it make calorie counting fun (I do it on my Blackberry, and it's a hoot), I really have a better perspective on how much I am eating each day. Because I am no good at intuitive eating. I do think the principles of intuitive eating are good ideas to live by, but I don't think I can rely on them solely. I have no intuition when it comes to food, I just like it! I also have a love/hate relationship with sweets—I love them, they hate me. Or maybe it's just that I love them too much. My greatest success has come from largely cutting sweets and sugar out of my diet altogether. When I don't eat them, I don't crave them. When I do eat them, I usually want more!
Anyhow, today I reduced the weight setting on the elliptical trainer by a couple of pounds. I had never bothered to adjust upward when I gained some weight, and over the last few months I have returned to par, but now I weigh a little less than the original setting, so I had to move it downward so as not to give myself too much credit. The difference in calorie burning is negligible, though. Lucky for me. A couple more pounds and I guess I'll have to adjust the settings on my Garmin too.
So, finally I was done with my sojourn at the Y and was able to head home for breakfast. I added an egg/egg white with salsa combo and an apricot to the menu, along with the scone, and had a delightful breakfast. I'll be curious to hear how things went at Starbucks the rest of the morning!
*I have always loved the maple nut scone, too, but they are not selling that right now and I believe my original favorite favorite, with a thick coating of maple icing, was long ago downgraded to a version with drizzles. Drizzles, I tell you! (Head shaking in disbelief.)