Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ringing Out The Old In 2009

I saw this on The Daily Mel blog, and thought it would be a fun way to ring out 2009!

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

Went to a July gathering of people that I knew from an online message board but had never met in real life. And it was a blast! I have seen several of them a few times since, and hope to see them even more in 2010.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't have any specific resolutions (did I?), but I have lost 45 pounds since I rang in 2009 so I consider it a success in terms of my biggest goal. I also kept up with my running and significantly improved my mile time, so I am pleased!

3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?

With my daughter, my mother, and our friend Jan at my house. We will stay up until midnight, do our 2010 prosperity "rituals", and then head right to bed!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

A co-worker and a relative by marriage from my father's remarriage, but I was not close to either one of them except by proximity.

5. What countries did you visit?

The good old US of A!

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

A romantic relationship.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

December 9th - My 40th birthday!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Making great new friends and creating a new social life for myself.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not saving as much money as I could have to offset future raining days.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had the stomach flu in February, and then had a three week long cold in November/December.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A new wardrobe to fit my smaller figure.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Mortgage and childcare costs.

13. What song will always remind you of 2009?

There is no single song that comes to mind for me.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Enjoying quality time with my daughter and my family.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Wasting time on the computer.

16. What was your favorite TV program?

Two: The Biggest Loser and Top Chef.

17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. Not really into hating. But I have had some major disappointments.

18. What was the best book you read?

The Time Traveler's Wife.

19. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Again, no big musical revelations this year that come to mind.

20. What was your favorite film of this year?

The Hangover and Inglourious Basterds. Anitchrist was the most shocking.

21. What did you do on your birthday?

Worked and went to Chinatown for dinner with vendors from Taiwan.

22. What kept you sane?

Exercise.

23. Who did you miss?

I missed having a partner.

24. Who was the best new person you met?

Too many to name, but there are two special ones here and several from other states! It was a great year for new friends.

25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:

That you have to both enjoy yourself and challenge yourself in order to feel peaceful.

Here's to a fantastic 2010!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sign Me Up!

I have been playing around with the same 4 pounds for awhile now. My own fault for letting my focus slip over the past couple of months, so this is not a guilt-ridden post. I have been enjoying myself, sometimes a bit too much in the food and drink department, but such is life!

The week before (and including) Christmas was an out of control pig-fest of food and alcohol. I had a great time, in oh so many ways, but by December 26th I WAS DONE. Like "stick a fork in me, I'm done" done. So I started counting points again and went back to the gym. It was actually a relief. I now have 4 solidly on-plan days under my belt along with three hour-long workouts, so everything is moving along smoothly.

But it is time to really kick my weight loss into high gear again to reach my goal in 2010, so I signed up for The Weight Off at work. Basically, we are forming as many teams of 4 as there are interested people, and each team must have at least one female on it. We have our first weigh-in on 1/8/2010, a second one four weeks later, and then a final one eight weeks after that, for a total of 12 weeks of weight loss competition. Each team member pays $25.00, and the team that loses the biggest percentage of weight gets the entire pot to split evenly between the four members. Last time the pot was $1200, so this can be some good money!

I was put together with 3 people in different areas of the company because I could not find a team of 4 in my department willing to sign up. This is actually good in a way because it makes me feel more committed because I do not want to slack off and make them lose their investment and a shot at the pot.

I plan to keep myself on plan until 1/8, but then I am going to kick it into high gear. Hopefully these upcoming 12 weeks will find me close to goal, which would make me so very happy!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Three Weeks of Illness

I have been sick for almost three weeks in a row with no break. I first got sick on November 30th, had my second wave hit on December 4th, and the third (and hopefully final) wave take me down on December 14th. Since it was in my nose and lungs, and I barely had enough energy to drag myself through each work day when I was not home with a fever, I have not exercised since November 26th.

Three weeks to the day since my last run, my last any type of workout. That's the longest I have gone since July 2008. It really threw me for a loop and shook my roots. I was feeling sorry for myself because I felt so sick, so I was comfort eating. And I was feeling guilty that I was not working out, so I was comfort eating. All of this comfort eating was a waster because 1) it did not make me well and 2) it didn't make up for my lack of physical activity.

After my last birthday celebration on December 13th, I pulled it together and got back on plan. Last Friday I weighed in and was actually down 0.4 from my most recent low weight, and that was very empowering... but still no exercise.

I was actually feeling nervous about going. Would I be able to do much after three weeks of poor lung health, and three weeks off in general? Would I become discouraged in having to start back at a reduced level than I had been at before? Would that throw me mentally off track again?

This morning I went to the gym with a friend. Thank goodness he came to town and wanted to go to the gym because I felt much less nervous about my return to the gym with a friend by my side. My mile time was off about a minute per mile, but I was able to complete 2.3 miles on the track and then 30 minutes on the elliptical. I'm proud of that.

It took a lot out of me, and I am actually about to lay down for a nap now to recoup some energy, but I am glad that I plowed through my overblown fears and got back to it. I plan to hit the gym again tomorrow, although maybe not quite as hard since I am still not at 100% health yet, but it is good to be back!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

40 It Is!



It's my 40th birthday today, and I embrace it!
I plan to make this decade the best one of my life so far.
Hello Fabulous Forties!

And thanks, Mom, for the pain you were enduring 40 years ago at this time! And for being there for me in the forty years to follow.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

1 Week and Counting Until the Big 4-0

That's right, I have only one week until I turn forty. Where have the years gone?

I ordered myself a birthday present on Black Friday after I used a bosu ball with my friend at her gym:

Bosu 3D System

It arrived today, and I am excited to try the workouts that came with it! Right now that would mean kicking my daughter off of it because she thinks it is the coolest thing ever!

I'll give a review in a few weeks after I have had some time to play around with it and give it a real workout.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving & An EP Turkey Trot 5K Recap




Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!!!

I have so much to be thankful for this year. My health, the health of my loved ones, my family, great friends (both old and new), my wonderful job, our lovely home, time to myself, 50 fewer pounds... I could keep going, but I think you get my point. It had been a blessed year, and I am truly thankful!

Today I am overbooked, which is a blessing in and of itself. I will be going to two different places for Thanksgiving, so I have to pace myself with all the food! Then I am spending the night at my friend's house and we are making an early morning visit to the gym to burn some of it off.

This morning I ran my second annual EP Turkey Trot 5K race, and I had another PR. I also ran it 7 minutes and 10 seconds faster than last year, and that is something to cheer about! It was a very cold and raining morning, but we were lucky enough to have the rain hold off during the race itself, and I was not cold with all the exertion so no problem there.

I ran the race by myself last year, but this year I had two friends come and run it with me. We had dramatically different paces, so we did not truly run together, but it was nice to have friends with me!

I hope that you all have a wonderful day with your friends and family, and that you spend your weekend as you like whether that is shopping, relaxing, or visiting with family and friends.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Coasting

The past couple of months have brought little on the weight loss front. Maybe 2 pounds, if that. I was really framing this the wrong way until it hit me yesterday that I have basically maintained my weight for several months, and that it is actually a great achievement.

I have spent my adult life in only one of two modes: Weight Loss Mode or Weight Gain Mode. Either I was following my plan and getting the high of losing weight and changing my body, or I was tossing everything healthy out the window and strapping on the high cal feed bag. In all honesty, there has been no middle ground.

These past few months have been a mini-cycle of gain a few and then lose a few. It seems really frustrating, but when I really think about it this is probably going to be my real life pattern once I hit my goal. Events will come along, bad days will happen, and then I will have to get a little strict with myself and get back to my happy weight place. So this has been really good practice because that is what I have been doing. I have had several big weekends or events and have even been up 5 pounds at one point, but then I went back to basics and took them off again in a healthy way.

I was hoping to be at my WW goal weight (which is about 10 pounds higher than my current personal goal weight) by the time the big 4-0 came around in December, but it is not going to happen. And I am okay with this because, honestly, I can live with being 8 pounds away from that. It is a lot closer than I would ever have believed a couple of years ago. I am not going to link that goal weight to start of 2010, either, because I expect that I will continue to be in maintain mode over the holidays. But next year is my year to meet my goals, and that is certainly something to smile about. It is now within reach!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Photo Opportunity

I don't know about you, but I have always hated the camera. I don't like to look at pictures of myself because all I see is what is wrong with me in the photo. Of course, there have been a handful of pictures that I have liked throughout the years, but not enough to make me comfortable in front of a camera.

My daughter is now 7 years old. When I look through pictures of me at that age, I see so many of me alone, my brother and me, my father and me, and even my father and brother and me. I do not see very many of my mother, either with me, with anyone else, or alone. My mother hated the camera, and refused to have her picture taken except under great duress.

There are so few pictures of my daughter and me together. She will have the same experience looking back on her life that I have looking back on mine. And frankly, that is sad. Sad enough that I scheduled a photo session for us to have our first photos taken together.

That session was scheduled for last Saturday. I spent many a night before it researching what to wear to look best in photos and how to apply makeup for photos, and I made sure that all of our clothes were ready well ahead of time. I was seriously nervous.

I asked my mother to join us for some three generation shots... and she consented. So when the big day came, I prayed for nice weather so that we could go outside and take the shots as I pictured in my mind. And we did indeed have beautiful weather! So we went outside to the forest surrounding my house, and we took about 220 pictures. The hour went by quickly, and then it was just a wait to see the proofs online which were supposed to be posted Monday or Tuesday.

As the days passed by and our photos did not find their way up to the site, I became increasingly nervous. My mind was twisting with thoughts that the pictures were terrible and the photographer needed to do extra work to make some of them look okay. Monday... Tuesday... Wednesday morning came and went, so I wrote to the photographer just to make sure that I was looking in the right place. At noon on Wednesday, they showed up for viewing. And I was more nervous than ever.

Suffice it to say that there are some beautiful shots. Of the 220 photos, I placed almost half in my Favorites link on her site. I cannot stop looking at them because I see the love between us, our smiling faces, and happiness.

I never would have done this last year. Losing the weight gave me confidence and made me open to taking these photos with my daughter and my mother. We have some photos that will only become more precious as the years pass and the events that befall us all come to pass. And I hope that this is just the start of photo sessions to come so that my daughter does not find herself upset by the fact that she has no pictures of herself as a child with her mother when she is 30 years older than she is today.

Total NSV.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Low Down On My Weigh In

Drumroll, please......

I was down 6.6 pounds at the week's WW at Work weigh in!

That's the good news. The reality of that is that I had put on several pounds these past few weeks, so I am actually down 1.4 pounds from my low weight, and the other 5.2 was "fluff removal" from bad choices in October.

Either way, I'll take it! Onward and downward on the scale I go!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What a Weekend!

Chicago had a warm and sunny weekend after a summer and fall of relative cold weather. It's amazing what a couple of 70 degree days can do for the spirit!

I usually attend a 60 minute Zumba class on Saturday morning, but this Saturday I decided to skip the indoor class and take my workout outside to enjoy what may be one of the last beautiful Saturdays before winter descends upon our fair city. I strapped on my iPod, Garmin 405, and heart rate monitor and hit the sidestreets of this beautiful tree city. The songs that were popping up on shuffle seemed perfect in the filtered sunlight and breeze: Fields of Gold, Blow Away, and other less pounding music. I had no real time or agenda in mind, and decided to just slow down my pace and make it a long run.

Five miles and an hour later, I made my way back to my mom's door (I usually do my outdoor runs in her neighborhood because she will watch my daughter for me), and she was waiting outside all worried because I was gone for so long! But it was a wonderful run, and it left me itching for another one.

Saturday night I went into the city for coffee, a movie, and dinner (in that order). I am working really hard to break the self-imposed poor eating habits plateau that I have been on since Sepetember, so I was determined to choose wisely. After a beautiful evening wandering the city streets, I had a healthy and delicious meal of apple salad with celery root, pumpkin seeds, and shaved aged gouda, red squash with burrata cheese and apple balsamic, and brussel sprouts and chestnuts in a balsamic reduction. It was delicious, and I enjoyed every bite!

Sunday was another gorgeous day, and I worked hard to fit in another run. Since I had done a long one yesterday, I chose a 3 mile path that took me just over thirty minutes.

All of these things set me up for an evening of cooking and food prep for this week. I made spinach pie, which should cover me for three lunches this week, cut up cucumbers and peppers, and packed daily servings of sugar snap peas to reduce the morning rush to get food ready for work each day.

Tomorrow I have my Weight Watchers at Work meeting, and I expect a nice loss. I bet it would have been better had AF not shown up a bit early, but a loss is a loss and I want to be back on that path.

I am off to bed now so that I can get up a bit earlier than my usual 5:30 a.m. in order to get in a weight workout before heading off to work for the day. Here's to a great week!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trick or Treat Trot 5K

I ran a 5K last weekend, but did not do it for time as I did not run at my pace. Instead, I ran it with a friend who recently finished the Couch to 5K program and came to Chicago to run her first 5K with me. What an honor! We had a great group of friends come to town for the event, and it was the best race that I have attended! The weather held for us, too. Despite a gloomy forecast there was no rain. It was a bit cooler and windy, but a beautiful day overall by the lakefront. There were many people in costume, and it was a blast to watch them go!

Running this race taught me a huge lesson about running slower than my normal pace. It seems that I always push myself to run as fast as I can, and I have problems backing off my pace for any significant amount of time. Thus my long run days are really never long runs. By running this race at a pace almost 5 minutes longer per mile than my normal pace I realized that I could have kept going and going and going even when we completed the race. It gave me incentive to do some longer runs at a slower pace and improve my distance base. Yes, I have read about it a million times... but only by actually trying it did I find out that it works for me, too (DUH).

This fall has been crazy, but in a good way. I have had every non-work day packed with activities, and my daughter and I have had so much fun apple picking, making scarecrows, carving pumpkins, decorating the house for Halloween, roller skating, and going to parties that I feel like I missed October altogether!

My weight loss has been pretty stalled because I have been indulging at all of these events, both food-wise and in terms of adult beverages (and then with more food!). But I am okay with the (relative) maintain that I experienced, and feel that I am getting back on track now. I see good things coming this holiday season!




Monday, October 5, 2009

Cooking Up a Storm

The spirit moved me, and I have been cooking up a produce storm these last two weeks! I found an inexpensive store with a wide variety of fresh produce, and I was inspired!

So far I have made:
  • Swiss chard with tamari, garlic, and olive oil
  • Roasted beets with balsamic vinegar and olive oil (complete with the beet greens tossed in)
  • Slow baked sweet potatoes
  • Greek style green beans
  • Sauteed zucchini with garlic
  • Steamed asparagus with lemon juice
  • Crustless spinach pie (recipe to follow)

And these new items are on deck for this week:
  • Dandelion greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Collard Greens

I am also making the beets, zucchini, and crustless spinach pie for a second week in a row.

I have to say that I am in love with The World's Healthiest Foods by George Mateljan, and have used it as a reference to find different ways to cook the produce. I want to work my way through the book! The recipes are very simple and very quick, and that is about my speed right now.

I also dug out some of my old Core recipes, and have found this one to be a current favorites:

Crustless Spinach Pie
Servings: 4
Pts. per Serving: 2

Ingredients
10 oz chopped frozen spinach
1/2 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup(s) fat-free cottage cheese
6 oz crumbled feta, fat free plain
3/4 cup egg substitute
Pepper to taste

Instructions
Defrost and squeeze water from the spinach. Saute onion and garlic in the oil until soft, and let it cool. Then mix it all together, put the mixture in a pie plate sprayed with Pam (or equivalent), and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Now that I am down to 23 points a day (I know, I know... that is probably A LOT compared to some of you!), I am on the hunt for low point meatless meals. If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them!

Back to the kitchen for another round of meal making!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

PR Charity Classic 5K Recap

Despite being sick for the better part of the week, I decided that I was in good enough shape to run the PR Charity Classic 5K race this morning. I am glad that I made that choice. :-)

It was a smaller race, with maybe 350 to 375 runners. No strollers, dogs, scooters, roller blades, or young children allowed (THANK GOODNESS!!!!), so it was a very enjoyable course. The rain held off, but it was a bit humid out so I should have skipped the long sleeve pull-over because I was too hot.

Nonetheless, I ran it at a pretty consistent pace and finished with a PR time which made me very happy. Afterward, I stopped by my friends at the tea shop for some iced herbal tea... and then I headed to a 60 minute Zumba class.

Yes, you read that correctly. I went from a 5K race to an hour long fitness class. By choice.

About 10 minutes in Zumba, I started to think that it might not be a good idea. I was tired and my feet were not responding as usual. But there was NO WAY that I was going to walk out of the class before it was over so I stuck it out and just did what I could.

Altogether, the calorie burn for the two activites was 975 calroies per my GoWear fit... wowza!!! That was worth it! And I really needed the boost that it gave me because I have not been to the gym since last Saturday because I was not feeling well, and I was starting to get that guilty mentality where it is hard to get back on track. Not anymore, though, because if I can do this then I'm back, Baby!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ups and Downs

September has flown by so quickly that even my seven year old cannot believe it will be October next week. It seems like the years go by so much faster now that she is in school.

It has been a pretty good month. I am 10 pounds from my Weight Watchers goal, and about 19 pounds from my personal goal. This last week has been a bit off because I have been sick, but I will get back on my feet and keep plugging away. I would like to be at my Weight Watchers goal before I hit the big 4-0 in December (and how did THAT happen, because in my mind I am still 28!).

I have been getting a lot more attention lately from the men, which has been both fun and a bit annoying. Last weekend I was asked out on the train as I stood with my nose in my book (annoying), let in without having to pay cover charge at a club by the doorman (fun), and inquired about by someone that I met out with friends (very flattering). But the honest truth is that I am still not feeling like I am ready for a relationship, so I view these things with detachment. Either that or I have not met the right person that will make me want to make the leap (uh... at least I have not met one that is actually available).

I went on a big shopping trip last weekend and am now emptying my closet of old clothes. I am now wearing Medium and Large tops, so I am getting rid of all of the bigger ones. I am also getting rid of any pants larger than a Size 12 because they are just plain too big. But I find that it is a bit tough for me to let go of some of the old clothing because I really like the clothes... and also because they made me feel nice when I was at a higher weight. I have some weird sentimental attachment to the items, but when I put them on I look downright dumpy. I think it is just a matter of letting my mind catch up with the changes in my body, and also gaining some confidence that I am not going to put the weight back on AGAIN.

On the positive side, my company started a wellness initiative which includes 1) trying to get a Weight Watchers at Work group going and 2) creating a Walking Club that meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunch to walk a brisk mile. I have signed up for both. We are not sure if we will have enough people sign up for WeWa, and will find out at the preliminary meeting on Monday. I am really hoping that there are enough because I would like to start attending meetings again, but I do not have the time to go to the only ones close to my house in the evenings.

Other than that, things have been status quo. I have added a Wednesday night Zumba class to my weekly schedule and, although I usually feel like I am too tired to do it, I always have a great time. And my daughter has enjoyed having a babysitter for the first time that she can remember (the last time she had one she was 2 years old!).

I am getting a bit nervous about the approaching holidays, but plan to take it a meal at a time and to reign in my indulgences. I gained a few over the holidays last year and am prepared for that again, but I want to keep it minimal if not maintain. It's a lofty goal for me with all of the temptations, but it is doable.

Monday, September 7, 2009

"She's Got Big Pants!!!!"

What a weekend so far! We have had a great one with social activities every day, and now the last day is upon us (sniff, sniff).

On Saturday, we went to our friends' house for dinner and s'mores around the fire pit in the backyard. The family has two girls that my daughter has known for a few years, and they currently attend an after-school care program together. Once we arrived, the kids were off to play and the moms were off to talking!

At one point, the girls decided that it would be fun to fill their clothes and hair with sand. MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF SAND. When my blond child with hair down to her waist showed up with sand encrusted in her braid, we decided to strip all three children down in the backyard, shake off the sand, and then give then showers. They loved it... three girls in a shower!

As they were getting their clothes on, I stayed back to clean up the bathroom a bit after the explosion of children. While I was bending over, one of the little girls came in pointed at me and laughed, and then told her sister that she had to come in and see me because I had "big pants". I looked at my pants and thought they must be saying something about me being large, so I asked their mom what they meant and she told me that I needed new (smaller) jeans because I had droopy drawers! And here I was, flipping into fat-girl mentality and thinking that it was an insult about my size!

So yesterday we went to the store and I bought myself some new jeans. Some SIZE 10 JEANS!!!! Woo-hoo! And I wore them for the first time last night. :-)

Have a wonderful Labor Day!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

NSV

Today I had a major NSV (non-scale victory, for those who are not familiar with the acronym). We had an off-site departmental outing for work, and thus I had no confirmed transportation to the train station because I usually take a shuttle provided by my company after work. I figured that I would take a cab because one of my more city-savvy coworkers had told me that the location was too far from the train station to walk.

About midway through the event, I started talking to some of the other commuters in our department and one of the men told me that he was going to walk to the station. He said that it was a 2 mile walk, and I said count me in!

In the end, three of us walked to the train. We did the 2 miles in about 35 minutes, which is pretty good considering that we walked through the heart of downtown Chicago, stoplights and all. And, frankly, it was a breeze for me! I actually thought it was kind of a "short" walk, and I didn't even get winded or log any Vigorous activity minutes on my GoWear Fit! And I did it all in my sandals without thinking twice.

What that tells me is that the running that I have been doing for the part year has really paid off in terms of my fitness level. Last summer I would not have chosen to walk the 2 miles because it would have seemed SO FAR, but now that I run that distance a few times a week it felt like a stroll thorough the city... which it was!

Things like this highlight the unmeasurable differences in my life, the decisions like this that I make on a daily basis that reflect my improved health and my increased endurance. Frankly, I didn't even consider this an NSV until I reflected on the day and realized that I chose to walk 2 miles to the train station as just a normal part of my day!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Keep Breathing

Last week was a bad week. A very bad week. I experienced an issue with my j-pouch that scared the hell out of me, and thus I skipped exercise for a week. I also pulled away from fibrous foods and dove headfirst into comfort foods.

After eating an entire small deep dish pizza for dinner on Sunday, I finally put my foot down and ended the madness. I know where those behaviors will take me, and I do not want to go back there again.

So I made sure that I had plenty of fruits and veggies on hand, and now I have two days of healthy choices under my belt. I went to the gym tonight and had a great workout, and I am feeling back on track.

The health thing really threw me for a loop. Since I recovered from my last large intestine removal/j-pouch creation surgery in December 2005, I have been very lucky with my health. This was a huge flashback to my sick years with Ulcerative Colitis, and it freaked me out. But my reaction was extreme and unnecessary and actually made things worse because eating all of the refined flour and sugar that passed my lips last week left me with gastrointestinal distress of another kind. Adding insult to injury, frankly.

The upside of this experience is that I can feel back on track as quickly as I can feel out of control. One bad day can make me feel out of control, but one good day can start me back down the path of healthy choices. Again, it is my lesson of minimizing the damage and getting back on track as soon as possible. Once I had one good day completed, I was able to take a step back and realize that one bad week is not the end of the world. One week without exercise will not undo all of the hard work that I have put into my fitness for the last 14 months. And in a couple of weeks, if I stick to my plan, I will be back on the road to my weight loss goal and this will have been but a blip in the screen.

Monday, August 24, 2009

HYC Update

Last week was a good one! Excellent weigh-in, several trips to the gym, and healthy food choices. I call that a success. :-)

Tonight I am struggling, though. I have been trolling the cabinets, poised for a binge. Chocolate is on my mind. But instead of giving in, I am fighting.

Let's hope I win the battle AND the war.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A High... and Then Slacking

I'm not sure what it is... complacency, a bit of freedom after so much control, a celebration... but I notice that I sometimes let things slip after a win.

Yesterday I was down 4.4 pounds at my weigh in (YEA!!!!!) and was on Cloud 9 all day long. I went out to dinner and a movie, and ordered a sensible meal. But the portion was huge, and yet I proceeded to eat it all. This morning I was planning to go to Zumba class, but woke up with a bit of a headache from the wine at dinner and the late night, so I skipped class. It is like I allowed myself to slack off a bit because I had a good weigh in yesterday... which will not bode well for my weigh in this week if I do not pull back on the reins.

So I have put on my gym clothes and now plan to hit the gym to make up for the 500 calories that I didn't burn in Zumba class this morning. What I *really* want to do is take a nap, but I'll just go to bed at 8:00 p.m. with my daughter tonight instead. I need to make sure that my routine doesn't slip too much on the days when it can be done because I know that fall is almost upon us... and then come the holidays. And that time of year always draws me away from my routine and into a world of indulgence!

I have been on a downward trend with my weight for 14 months now, and the biggest thing that I have learned is that I still have to consciously choose to live healthfully every day. It is second nature to some degree because it is more of a habit now, but it is still not easy and it probably never will be.

But it IS worth it. I will be buying size 10 jeans during my next shopping outing, and it has been well over a decade since I did that. So even though I still struggle, and even though I wish I did not have to wage war on unhealthy habits every single day, I sure do like the results of my efforts.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Differences

I have some hard realities to face as I near my goal weight. The old body ain't what it used to be, folks.

When I was at this weight before (about 10 or 11 years ago), I still wanted to lose about 30 pounds off of my 5' 10" body, but I was comfortable enough with my figure to get naked with my boyfriend. But now, after having lost and gained and lost a large amount again, my body fat percentage is so much higher and my shape looks very different. It is hard to look in the mirror naked and not be freaked out!

So now my focus has changed. It is no longer to lose weight so that the scale reads a certain number or to wear a specific size of clothes, but instead I am focusing on losing body fat and gaining muscle. I am going for the "look okay naked" goal, and this is new for me because I have never specifically focused on changing my fat to lean ratio.

I dream of a tummy tuck, but I really want to wait until I have made my body look as good as can be without surgery... and then maintain that body for awhile... before I go for a visit with my surgeon. Since I also have a hernia that needs repair, I hope to combine these two procedures into one.

I guess I always thought that it was just a matter of losing weight, and that the rest would follow and I would feel great about myself. But since I have been on this weight loss roller coaster for so long, and so many times, my body has undergone some dramatic (and undesirable) composition changes. I wish I could urge every person who needs to lose weight to avoid the yo-yo dieting that I have experienced because now I am staring the ramifications right in the face whenever I see myself without my clothes on.

The silver lining in all of this is that I spend 98% of my day in clothes, and I look a hell of a lot better in them than I did this time last year! No one besides my daughter sees me naked, so all of this is my private shame and disappointment. But it sure makes me think twice about starting to date again!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Healthy You Challenge Update

Hello World!!! Once again, the summer has taken hold of me and I have been away for longer than I expected.

My daughter and I had a wonderful trip to Columbus just over a week ago, and we got to enjoy her first plane trip together. We also made a visit to the beautiful Columbus Zoo on the hottest day of the summer, and was I ever happy that I felt good enough to wear a pair of shorts!!! NSV, I say!!!

I have been keeping myself busy on the exercise front. Besides my standard three days a week at the gym with running/elliptical/weight machines, I am now doing Zumba for an hour on Saturday morning and yoga for an hour every other Friday night. Swimming is still on the agenda on off nights when the weather permits. And I do the stairs at work after lunch every day that I can.

I have also added more walking to my life. I park farther away from places, walk to more places than ever before, and find myself running up and down the stairs to get things all the time. Even though tonight is my night off, I am contemplating a visit with Jillian for her 30 Day Shred! Who would have thought?!?

Starting September 9th, I am adding another night of Zumba to the routine because I signed up for a Wednesday night class, too. My plan is to get in as much formal exercise as possible before the holidays descend and I find myself with other obligations (and lots of temptations).

I am now in the 180s with my weight, and I have not seen that number on the scale for 10 years! So this has been a good summer in terms of healthy life choices, and thus a success in the Healthy You Challenge.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Healthy You Challenge Update

Things have been going well these past few weeks! Last week I was down 2.5 pounds, which is one of the biggest drops in weight that I have had in recent months. It has been a bit frustrating dealing with the slowed weight loss, but frankly the gains that I have seen in areas not realted to the scale have been great and have kept me going.

One of those changes is Zumba class. I went to the first one on the recommendation of a friend, and it was great! I torched about 550 calories in the hour long class, but I felt REALLY uncoordinated because I did not know the moves. But when I went to the second one last weekend, I felt like I knew the moves better and that I did better overall in class. The quick gains I experienced were very encouraging!

Also, I have spent more time in a swimsuit this summer than any time since I was a child in grade school. How liberating!!! And fun! My daughter and I have had so many great bonding moments in the pool, and I have enjoyed watching her learn to swim this year with me by her side and not on the sidelines.

Yoga class was an excellent experience, too. I was a bit nervous that it would be disappointing since I have not taken any classes in over 10 years, but it seems that the other exercise that I do helped with my flexibility and muscle strength and thus I felt really powerful doing it.

Last night while I was at the gym I had to deal with a stupid woman taking on her cellphone while running on the track (seriously, phone to ear... not even with an earpiece!). She was weaving all over the lanes and was going in fits and starts with a inconsistent pace because she was so engaged in her conversation. I have seen this stupid woman do this before, but last night I almost started a fight with her about it. I am finding that I have less and less patience for people who are inconsiderate of other gym members, and whereas before I would have avoided confrontation with her because of my weight I am not hiding behind it anymore. If anyone has any suggestions (short of physical violence, LOL), I would love to hear them!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Shaking Things Up a Bit

I started shaking things up this last month, and I am feeling good about it!

On the food front, I have switched from tracking calories on The Daily Plate to counting points on Weight Watchers Online. I have also been trying to eat foods that keep me fuller for a longer period of time in order to keep from eating all day long.

On the exercise front, I have reduced my overall weekly running mileage while still running three days a week, but have added 30 minutes on the elliptical and 10 minutes on the weight machines to each workout. I also found a yoga class that I really like and am making provisions to be able to attend it weekly. I also started taking Zumba classes at the community center in town, and am signing up as a regular for the next session. Branching out like this has made me want to be even more active in my non-exercise time, so I find myself getting in the pool with my daughter as much as possible and doing activities with lots of walking and doing the stairs at work during my lunch break (I am now doing 13 floors down and then back up in about 8 minutes).

I have wanted to get back into yoga since I stopped taking classes about 11 years ago, and I am thrilled that I have found an instructor that inspires me again. And Zumba... well, that is just plain fun! My second class was even better than my first, and I felt like I got more of the steps down. But honestly, even when I had no idea what I was doing, I just danced to my own thing and kept moving and had a great time.

I am seeing big changes in my body now. Muscles are coming out in my legs, and I am generally slimmer at this weight than I have been at other times at this same weight. I wet shopping today and bought tops in a Medium because the Large was just too big, and am ready to buy some Size 10 jeans. I still have quite a ways to go, but now the last 28 pounds seems doable and I am enjoying the way that I feel now as I keep moving forward in my weight loss journey.

It was just over a year ago that I made changes to lose the weight for good, and I shook things up pretty fiercely then. So now I am shaking them up again, continuing the annual cycle of improvement and change that I have established for myself these last two summers. And it feels good!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Workouts & Must See TV

Tonight I went to the gym to catch a 6:00 p.m. yoga class for the first time at this gym. Although I studied yoga both in college and in my 20s, I have not taken a class since that time (Read: 10 years ago). My gym offers one on Friday evening, but since they do not have the childcare room open at that time I usually forget all about it. Since the child was with her father tonight, I took advantage of it.

It was a great class! The instructor was wonderful, and she really helped me to focus on and isolate the stretches and poses with some subtle cue and great tips and tricks. I was able to do Downward Dog without too much pain, and that is HUGE for me!

So I finished the hour long class and then decided to go on the elliptical machine for awhile since it was a rest day for running. It was 7:09 p.m. when I got on the machine, and I was off!

I noticed that there was a new show on. The first thing that I saw was a large man in a suit standing and greeting some lovely plus sized women as they exited a limo one by one. It reminded me of The Bachelor for bigger folks. And that is what it is about, I guess! It is called "More to Love", and after the women came out I was hooked and needed to know who was eliminated. Why am I so curious about these reality TV things?!? Once I turn them on, I need to know how they end... grr.

Tonight that character flaw was actually a benefit, though, because I stayed on the elliptical for 51 minutes until the show was over!!!! And I was going at a good clip so I burned almost 600 calories in that time. Woo-hoo!

Thus, I got in a bonus day of exercise because going to the gym was unplanned tonight as I was supposed to go out drinking for Happy Hour. Frankly, I will feel better in the morning without the drinks, and since I have my second Zumba class tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. I will be even more thankful then!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's Been Awhile

My goodness, the summer has flown by! I have been so busy enjoying the pool with my daughter after work that I have not made the time to post on a regular basis. I guess that is the point of trying to get healthy and lose the weight... to go out and live my life, which I have been doing.

I have been averaging three runs a week, but have decreased my weekly mileage to less than 10 miles a week. Instead, I have tacked on 30 minutes on the elliptical and then 10 minutes on the weight machines to each workout. So, even though my overall mileage has decreased, I am working out longer and burning more calories with each workout. This is in line with my weight loss goals and, once I hit my goal weight and figure out how to maintain it, I will focus on increasing my mileage.

The good news is that my normal mile is now in the 11 minute zone. That's a big movement for me! So I have improved my speed during this time of decreased mileage, and thus I get in more mileage in a shorter time period.

Additionally, I took my first Zumba class last weekend (thanks, Jolene!) and loved it! I plan to make this a regular Saturday morning activity as it is a good break from the gym that actually blasts the calories in a hour-long class.

I have also reinstated my stair climbing at lunch, and now am up to 13 floors of stairs down and then back up in about 8 minutes. It is something, and it is a good mid-day break to detach my bottom from my office chair!

In other news, I broke my 1 1/2 month plateau, but the scale is still declining very slowly. I have about 28 pounds left to goal, so this may be a trend that I need to get used to from this point on... although I hope not!

Now that my "catch up" post is done, I will try to be more regular in posting so that don't have to do one again!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Thank Heaven for Little Girls!

I hit the wall while waiting for the shuttle to take me from work to the train station to catch my train home tonight. I was so tired that I paid $3.00 for a South Beach bar at the train station to try to wake myself up enough to go to the gym tonight.

No luck.

When I picked my daughter up from summer camp, I told her that we were going to skip the gym tonight because Mommy was too tired to go... and she started crying. Which made me feel tired AND guilty. And crabby. And guilty.

Now I know that the biggest reason that she looks forward to Tuesday nights at the gym is because she gets to eat McDonald's afterward (how's that for a screwed-up scenario... the child eats junky fast food after the parent finishes a hard workout). But she also likes to play in the childcare room while I am at the gym, and she (like her mother) is a creature of habit who likes her weekly routines. Whatever the reason, I changed my mind and told her that we would go.

After a quick stop at home to change and fuel the child with some popcorn, we headed back out to the gym. I wasn't much into running tonight, so I just did a quick 1.5 miles and then went to the machines. 25 minutes on the elliptical, and then upper arm weight machines. 575 calories burned, and I felt like a million bucks afterward.

I then proceeded to create my own future monster because I told my daughter that her "new" job at home was to make sure that mommy went to the gym every night I was supposed to go, no excuses. I can see this backfiring on me, and I predict tears in the future (probably mine!). But right now she is the little angel sitting on my shoulder and making me do what I should do, and I have to capitalize on that while I can!

As we walked back to the house from the van, she accidentally touched my sweaty (and at that point, cold and clammy) shirt and asked "Mom, is that the same sweat necklace from last time you went to the gym, or is that a new one?" How funny!!! I told her that I made a new "sweat necklace" every time I went to the gym. :-)

I love that new term because that is exactly what I have when I leave the gym... a huge sweat necklace that I wear with pride because I made it myself. From the mouths of babes!

Monday, July 13, 2009

My 100th Post

And it's all about the NSV (non-scale victory)!!!

I wore a pair of jeans today that I have not worn in 10 years. They are the only pair of jeans that I saved from my pre-weight gain days because I just loved them. Calvin Klein, 5 pocket, medium blue denim. And one of the guys at work called me "Skinny" today as I was walking down the hall.

It was a good day. :-)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Healthy You Challenge Update

I have decided to change the day that I post my Healthy You Challenge updates to Sunday because this seems to be the only day of the week that I have time to post so far this summer! That's actually a good thing because it means that I have been keeping myself busy and away from the computer (and thus I have been keeping my bottom OUT of my comfy chair)!

I broke through my plateau last week, and only have 23 more pounds to go until I hit my Weight Watchers goal. I have 32 pounds to lose to hit my personal goal, but frankly that is still up in the air because I am going to base it more on how I look. Right now the remaining weight that I want to use is clustered as fat in a few places: My stomach, inner thighs, and upper arms.

I was down 2.9 pounds for the week, and I had so much activity that it was crazy! I was at the gym before 8:00 a.m. on each day of my three day weekend, and did each of these three activities each day: 1) Running on the track, 2) Elliptical machine, and 3) Weights. I also climbed stairs at work at lunch almost every day, and swam many an evening. I am really enjoying an active summer, and that makes me very happy. :-)

I went to the pool today with my daughter, for the first time in the afternoon when there were a bunch of other neighbors there. And frankly, I just put my self-consciousness behind me and had a good time in the water. I even spent about 30 minutes laying in the sun afterward, and now I am a bit pink around the edges!

As I was laying in the sun, I was daydreaming about what it will feel like to be at goal next year. After massive weight loss, I know that my body will never be "perfect" again, but it will be nice to be a healthy weight again where I feel good about myself. The best part of it is that I am enjoying the summer that I have now, at the weight that I am at now, which is something I can't really remember doing as I was always waiting for "next year", and assuming that the next year would bring me to the weight I wanted to be so that I could start living. But the living has started, and now it will just continue to improve!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Healthy You Challenge - Week 8

Weight Change Last Week
- 0.0 Pounds (Maintain)

Exercise
6/22
30 Minutes Swimming

6/23
12 Floors of Stairs Down & Up (230 Stairs Down + 230 Stairs Up)
30 Minutes Swimming

6/24
30 Minutes Swimming

6/26
30 Minutes Swimming

6/27
30 Minutes Swimming

6/28
1.5 Mile Run
15 Minutes on Elliptical Machine
Weight Machines - Legs
30 Minutes Swimming

Hmmm... does anyone see a pattern in my activity last week?! Swimming, swimming, and more swimming! I only counted 30 minutes per day, but most days we were actually in the pool for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. It was so hot last week that all my daughter and I wanted to do was jump in the pool once we got home in the evening, so we had a standing appointment with the pool on the nights that she was with me.

I only got in one run, but such is life. I made it a goal to get in three runs this week, and I already have one under my belt so I see this as doable. Also, it is much colder outside this week than it was last week, so we are not choosing the pool over the gym every evening as we did last week.

I decided to mix it up a bit on the food front and start counting points again in addition to tracking my calories on The Daily Plate. The scale has been moving this week, so I hope to see good news on the scale when I formally weigh in on Friday.

Even though I have been on a plateau for the better part of the last 1 1/2 months, there must be some changes happening in my body because the compliments have started rushing in again this week. Seriously, three or so a day! I must admit that I am loving it, and it certainly has renewed my motivation this week.

I also rediscovered the elliptical machine at the gym, and have been using it for interval training. What I have done the past two workouts is run on the track, then come down to the machines and hop on the elliptical for 15 minutes with intervals of over 200 strides per minutes, and then I have closed the workout with weight machines until my body felt like jello. It is adding some much needed variety to my workouts!

Onward to another good week! I hope that you all are doing well on your journey, too.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

If Every Day Was Sunday

I would be fit and firm and at goal in no time! For whatever reason, Sundays seem to be the days that I rock the exercise. Today I have done the following:

1.5 mile run
15 minutes of interval training on the elliptical
10 minutes of weights (legs)
1 hour of swimming in the pool (leisure, not laps)

Not to mention over an hour walking around Costco pushing a heavy cart (including my 50 pound child!) and countless trips up and down the stairs while doing six loads of laundry. Whew, I am ready for some time in my chair!

I have been slacking on my running this week because my daughter and I have been spending every evening in the pool! It was so hot last week that we couldn't wait to get some dinner in and then hit the pool until her bedtime. But it wasn't all because when I went for a run today, I ran my first mile in 10 minutes 45 seconds, which is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G for me!

Wednesday will mark one year since I restarted my weight loss journey after a "break" of almost 2 years. A "break" that resulted in a 60 pound weight gain. :-(

In this year, I have lost those 60 pounds and am at a fitness level that I have not seen for over 10 years. So even though I have been on a plateau for the better part of the last month and a half, I am still thankful for the progress that I have made. I am also thankful for the fun that I am now having with my child, including roller skating and swimming and badminton and tossing the ball around in the yard. Things have certainly changed for the better since last summer!

In order to mix it up a bit, I have started counting point again in addition to tracking my calories. One interesting observation is that I may not be eating ENOUGH now. When I first went from counting points to tracking calories, I was eating different foods (more sweets and carbs) and thus it felt like I got to eat more food when I hit my calorie target on The Daily Plate than I did when I ate my daily points allowance. Now the reverse seems to be true since I am eating so many more fruits and vegetables, many of which are 0 or 1 point foods. So we shall see if this change in my intake logging will help me to break the plateau.

It's time to put my child to bed, so good night for now. Until tomorrow ad the Healthy You Challenge check-in!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Healthy You Challenge Update - Week 6 & 7

Weight Change for Week 6
+1.3 Pounds

Weight Change for Week 7
-1.1 Pounds

Activities for Week 6 & Week 7
6/9
20 Minute Walk

6/10
30 Minutes Rollerskating

6/14
2.52 Mile Run
Weight Machines - Arms

6/15
30 Minutes Swimming

6/16
2.34 Mile Run
Weight Machines - Legs

6/17
12 Floors of Stairs Down & Up (230 Stairs Down + 230 Stairs Up)
15 Minutes Wii Gold's Gym Cardio Workout

6/18
12 Floors of Stairs Down & Up (230 Stairs Down + 230 Stairs Up)
2.12 Mile Run
Weight Machines - Arms

6/19
12 Floors of Stairs Down & Up (230 Stairs Down + 230 Stairs Up)
60 Minute Pilates Stretch & Relax Class

6/20
30 Minutes Swimming

6/21
2.33 Mile Run
Weight Machines - Legs
30 Minutes Rollerskating


Summer is upon us here in Chicago! We have had several days around 90 degrees, and I have been taking advantage of our pool. I love to swim, and because I have been so heavy for so long and shunned swimsuits, I am tickled to be at a place where I will put one on again and jump in the pool on a regular basis. I have come to realize that this is one of the true rewards of losing weight for me... doing fun things that I love without worrying so much about how I look.

I had a gain in Week 6 as I expected, but I jumped back on plan and most of it was gone for my Week 7 weigh-in. Such is life. The good thing is that I have been taking my activity outside of the gym and doing things like rollerskating at the roller rink with my daughter and swimming in the pool with my friends and family. This has made the whole process even that much more enjoyable for me.

I have not lost much weight this last month and a half, and I am trying to jumpstart the weight loss again. I have been focusing on balancing my meals closer to the 40-30-30 principle, and have been eating more clean foods with a heavy emphasis on fruits and vegetables. I have a beautiful bowl of orange persimmons and nectarines on my countertop, and have been choosing them as my snack of choice. I also bought some kumquats, which I love, and fresh strawberries, blueberries, and red grapes. Baby spinach and broccoli slaw have also been staples on my menu these past two weeks.

I am off to shower after another night in the pool... what a treat!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Healthy You Challenge Update - Week 5

Weight Change Last Week
- 0.4 Pounds

Exercise
6/1
30 Minutes Wii EA Sports Active Personal Trainer (30 Day Challenge, - Intermediate - Day 5)

6/2
1.75 Mile Run

6/7
2.57 Mile Run
Weight Machines - Legs

My groove from last week took off for greener pastures, and I found myself really struggling this week. My exercise frequency was way down, and I spent four days in binge eating land. That is not a happy place for me to be. And this upcoming weigh in is probably going to be a severe blow to me because I am pretty sure I will have a gain. Such is life.

It's ironic, though, that I just reached two big weight loss milestones and then I had crazy binge/less exercise week. I also had some serious depression, for no particular reason other than the week before AF. I spent a lot of time sleeping or just sitting in my chair in a generally foul mood.

The good news in that I have been back on track since Saturday, and am feeling centered with my eating again. The real news, the news that is hard to swallow, is that I have not mastered binge eating and probably never will. I have just learned how to manage it a bit better so that it is four days in duration and not a month or a year or ten years of binge eating.

Here's to a better week for my health goals! Thanks for all of your support. :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Healthy You Challenge Update - Week 4

Weight Change Last Week
- 1.5 Pounds

Exercise
5/26
30 Minutes Wii EA Sports Active Personal Trainer (30 Day Challenge, - Intermediate - Day 2)

5/27
28 Minutes Wii EA Sports Active Personal Trainer (30 Day Challenge, - Intermediate - Day 3)

5/28
2.2 Mile Run

5/31
3.4 Mile Run
22 Minutes Wii EA Sports Active Personal Trainer (30 Day Challenge, - Intermediate - Day 4)


I had a respectable loss this week, and continued on with the EA Sports Active Personal Trainer. One things that was missing from my week was weight work, so I have to work harder at getting that in this week.

Food-wise, things were good and I was in a groove. I dodged a bullet on Friday when my boss was unable to find me as he was taking a group out for Dim Sum in Chinatown. Although I would have enjoyed myself, I can only imagine the calories that I would have consumed. He is a food pusher in a caring way, and always makes sure that we order my favorite things!

Onward to a new week!


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Taking It To The Streets

My daughter was gone early this morning, on her way to a birthday party at The American Girl store in Chicago, so I decided to go for a nice run. I was about to head over to the gym when I realized that I was staring a sunny, 60-some degree morning right in the face. So I decided to take a run through my childhood neighborhood.

First of all, let me say that it was a rut-breaker. I haven't enjoyed a run that much in quite some time.

I started out with 3 minutes of walking, and then took off at a very easy pace. I weaved up and down the side streets of the old neighborhood, through the shade of the old trees. I waved at cats and dogs and children as we passed, admired the old and the new house that lined the streets, and reminisced about old friends who had lived in these house during my childhood. It was a great run.

I seriously could have run another couple of miles, but chores called before the child came back home. All in all, it was about a 3.5 mile run. I am already planning to do this one again.

It broke a barrier that has been there for me, a mental roadblock of sorts: Running in public. A race is different because there are SO many people there that I am just part of the crowd. The gym... well, I work out with a lot of old people, and even the ones who are not old are there for the same reason that I am there. But outside, in residential neighborhoods, I feel very conspicuous. Or at least I thought I would feel very conspicuous. But frankly I did not feel like that at all, and it was eye-opening how much more I enjoyed the experience.

Now I am home, diving head first into my chores, but at least I had some fun this morning! I hope to do my EA Sports Active Personal Trainer workout tonight after the child has gone to bed, which will be Day 4 of the workout (in a 6 day span). I am still really enjoying it, much more so than the Wii Fit which hasn't been pulled out in weeks.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Healthy You Challenge Update - Week 3

Weight Change Last Week
- 0.6 Pounds

Exercise
5/19
2.6 Mile Run
13 Minutes Wii Gold's Gym Cardio Workout

5/21
2.2 Mile Run

5/22
15 Minute Walk at Lunch

5/23
10 Minute Kettlebell Workout

5/24
2.34 Mile Run
10 Minutes Weight Training (Lower Body)

5/25
2.52 Mile Run
12 Minutes Wii EA Sports Active Personal Trainer (30 Day Challenge, - Intermediate - Day 1)


First of all, I want to thank all of you that left me comments here or messages at the Scale Junkie check-in last week when I announced my 100 pounds lost milestone. They all meant so much to me, and I really appreciate your support!

My weight loss has been soooooooooooooo slow these past three weeks. I kicked it up on the exercise this week, and I really hope that the scale starts moving downward at a better clip again. But at least I know that I am doing the right things to make this happen.

I also had a great weekend over this long holiday, and even though I was very busy with social activities I was able to keep a pretty good grip on my eating and drinking. That is certainly a win for me!

Onward to another week, and hopefully to another drop on the scale!

Review: EA Sports Active Personal Trainer for Wii

I have been an active woman today! I decided to go to the gym for a run even though I ran yesterday because... well, because I could! My daughter is with her father for the weekend, so I figured that I should take advantage of my personal time and get in some extra activity.

So I went to the gym for a 2 mile run and then came home to try out the Wii EA Sports Active Personal trainer. I chose the 30 Day Challenge option at the Intermediate level, and I was off!

My first impression was that I like the interface, with my character representation in the middle of the screen and the trainer in the lower right hand corner.

I started with a walk/run warm-up which was actually quite fun and got my heart rate up a bit.

Squats and lunges were next, and they were good with a nice hold in each position before the next rep.

Cardio boxing with targets was a blast, and is probably my favorite so far... which should be no surprise to anyone who has read my previous posts about my infatuation with the Gold's Gym Cardio Workout.

I did not get much from the bicep curls or the bent rows because the resistance band is just too loose for me. I tried doubling it over, but I am almost 6 feet tall and then it did not stretch far enough. So I am going to look for a new one that offers more resistance, and that will enhance the effectiveness of the exercises.

My least favorite segment was the inline skating. Maybe my timing was off, or maybe I did not understand exactly when to jump, but I did not do well. The second time I did the activity was better, but I still did not care for it very much.

I liked the shoulder raises, and actually felt them a bit as I neared the end of the set. That was an effective move for me.

I finished up with the run/walk cool-down, and the whole workout lasted about 21 minutes. According to my GoWear Fit, I burned just over 200 calories which is great for what felt like a lot of fun!

I think this program is going to be a great addition to my routine, and I am going to stick with it through the 30 Day Challenge. I'll give intermediate and final reviews as I progress.

I hope you are all enjoying your Memorial Day holiday (if you are in the U.S... and if not, I hope you are having a great day anyway!). A big thanks from my household to the men and women who work to keep us free and safe in this country and around the world.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Holiday Weekend Balance

This has been a fun weekend thus far, with several social activities that include drinking and eating. Weekends like this often mean a loss of control for me, thus driving me to avoid the mirror and the scale for the rest of the week until my Thursday weigh-in as I try to make up for high intake event. Because I had plans on Friday night (drinks after work), Saturday night (drinks in the city), and today (BBQ at a friend's house), I realized that this could be a three day binge weekend if I didn't make some conscious choices.

I planned my meals on Friday so that I would eat my last real meal at lunch, have a snack before hitting the bar with my co-workers, and then use my evening calories for drinks. I also took a 15 minute walk around the neighborhood at lunchtime to get in some activity since I do not think that planting my ass on a bar stool counts. It worked like a charm, and the scale was actually down on Saturday morning.

Yesterday I took the same strategy in terms of my eating, and added a kettlebell workout to my afternoon for some extra calorie burn. I kept the drinks to three, and only had three bites of the dessert that we shared. Another success!

Today I decided to hit the gym for a run this morning, so I am now getting ready for the BBQ but have a 2 mile run and some weight training under my belt, so I have more motivation to watch my intake at the party. I am also bringing some veggie burgers so that I have a good choice for dinner.

The way that I handled this weekend is something I need to remember and use again. I enjoyed the company of everyone that I was with at each event, yet did not drink to excess or eat unhealthy and unplanned food, and I had no lingering guilt from overindulgence. What a feeling!

The plan for the rest of the weekend is to enjoy the BBQ tonight, keeping my long-term goals in mind, and tomorrow I am going to spend working around the house and getting ready for the work and school week. I am going to go to the gym for another run because today's was a light one, and I also plan to try out the EA Sports Active Personal Trainer for the Wii program that I bought yesterday (yes, expect my review soon!). I am so happy that I have been maintaining a balance between the fun and the healthy this weekend, and I plan to draw on my experiences this weekend in order to make good choices as the summer progresses.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Motivation

I have been struggling with low motivation lately in terms of running. I try to talk myself out of going for a run every time I have one scheduled, and it is getting pretty silly. Of course, I have been doing them despite my internal struggles, but it is painful to have to negotiate another mile out of myself while I am literally in the middle of a run.

I am not sure why my motivation is waning. I am not in any weird place hormonally, so I can't blame it on that. I have also noticed a downturn in my mood this past week, although I think the low motivation preceded the poor mood. Either way, I have been a pretty pathetic person for the better part of this week, and I need to snap out of it. I have even been day dreaming of binges, and that is a place that I just do not want to go.

The good news in all of this is that I am ignoring that lazy voice that tells me to skip the run. I am also ignoring the urge to stuff my face with all kinds of crappy food. But what I have been doing is sleeping a lot more (as in I was sound asleep last night by 8:30 p.m.), and have also been feeling sorry for myself and moping around all day.

Seriously, WTF?!? I know my life is far from perfect, but I have a great job that allows me to support my daughter and myself as a single mom, I have a lovely home in a safe area, a family that loves me, some good friends, a bunch of wonderful kitties, and my health. But of course I have been dwelling on that which I do not have... and that is just a shame.

I am spilling my guts on this in the hopes that it will snap me out of my blue mood and put my attitude back where it should be, in the "half full" view of life. I know that dark times like these will come, and I am glad that I have been managing them in a non-destructive manner, but I am ready for some sunshine in my mood. Bring it on!

Now, on to my runs: Both of my runs this week have been in the 2 to 3 mile range, and I need to kick up my mileage. The good news is that my pace has been quicker, mostly in the high 11 minute mile range, and one of my laps in tonight's speedwork clocked in at a 10 minute 25 second per mile pace!

The improvement in my speed in less than a year of running is very motivating, and I dream of a day when I can run a 5K in less than 3o minutes. That is going to be my main 2010 running goal, so I am continuing my Thursday speedwork runs in order to keep progression going in that area. But I also want to focus on increasing my distance in my long runs, so I have to discipline myself a bit more and run farther than just my comfortable 3 mile runs on the weekend when I have the time.

So that is my goal for this weekend: A run that is over 3 miles in distance. Hopefully it will be nice outside so that I can mix it up a bit and skip the track. Maybe that will bring me out of my rut... a girl can dream!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Healthy You Challenge Update - Week 2

This week flew by so quickly! Here's the recap:


Weight Change Last Week
- 0.4 Pounds

Exercise
5/14: 2.2 Mile Run
5/16: Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred
5/17: 3.12 Mile Run
10 Minutes Weight Training (Upper Body)
13 Minutes Wii Gold's Gym Cardio Workout


This was a milestone week for me because I surpassed the "100 pounds lost" mark! Everything else pales in my mind other than that, but all in all it was a good week!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up

I am enjoying a quiet moment in my chair as the sunlight streams in from the patio, my daughter is playing on the couch, and the cats are sleeping in sunny puddles on the floor. This is peace and happiness as I know it. :-)

We had a busy weekend, but I managed to sneak in some exercise both days. After an unexpected splurge of a lunch at a local Mexican restaurant yesterday, I called it quits for the day on the eating front at 1:45 p.m. Then I did Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred using 5 pound weights instead of my usual 3 pound ones. What a difference! I can feel it in my arms and legs today, that's for sure.

This morning we headed over to the gym, and I ran an easy 30 minute run. I was having some, er, gastro-intestinal distress from the huge lunch on Saturday, but my body cooperated enough to allow me to finish the run and then get in about 10 minutes of arms/shoulders/chest on the weight machines. I really pushed myself so I am already achy, but it is a good achy feeling... the feeling of pushing myself a bit outside of my comfort zone.

All in all, it was a great weekend. My daughter and I got to spend a lot of time together doing fun things, and we certainly had our fair share of fresh air. I love this time of year, and really enjoy the weekends that we can get outside (although it would be even better were it 10 degrees warmer, but I am not complaining). I hope the weather holds next weekend because I have BBQ plans and would love to hang out on my mom's new patio with a cool one on Monday if the weather cooperates!

Now it's time to make a last run out to Target before getting the child into homework and bath mode in preparation for school tomorrow. The weekends go by so quickly when they are wonderful ones like this one!

Friday, May 15, 2009

ONE HUNDRED GONE

I weighed in this morning... and I have officially lost 100 pounds!!!

100.3 pounds, to be exact!!!

Needless to say it was a milestone morning, and it ended up being a pretty darn good day, too.

I was still on a high from the speedwork that I did for last night's run, too. I hit the track late, around 7:00 p.m., and was worried that I would be too tired to do much good. After a warm-up walking lap, I tried to run a fairly fast mile and ended up with a mile time of less than 11 minutes 15 seconds, which is certainly a good time for me. Then I walked another lap, ran another quick one, walked another lap, and ran a final one at a pace of 10 minutes 40 seconds per mile. Woo-hoo! Now if I could just sustain that pace, LOL!

All in all, the last 24 hours have been pretty darn good. And now it is onward and downward to tackle the remaining weight and get to goal!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Healthy You Challenge Update

I recently joined the Healthy You Challenge hosted by Scale Junkie, and this is my first weekly update post! I am going to test out some formats for this weekly check-in until I find one that fits well with my goals and achievements each week.

Weight Change Last Week
- 0.8 Pounds

Exercise
5/5: 1.55 Mile Run, 10 Minutes Wii Gold's Gym Cardio Workout
5/7: 2.44 Mile Run
5/9: 3.2 Mile Run
5/10: 14 Minutes Wii Gold's Gym Cardio Workout
5/11: 2.57 Mile Run

It was a good week for running, and I even got in one run above my target three per week. I also had a fun time with the Wii Gold's Gym Cardio Workout, which is basically cardio boxing.

My calorie intake was good except for Saturday when I indulged a bit more than planned at the two birthday parties that I attended, but I was right back on track on Sunday and within target even though it was Mother's Day and we went out for dinner. All in all, a good week!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Random Thoughts

There are so many topics fluttering around in my head right now, so please bear with my crazy trains of thought. Oh, and the three Stella beers probably have not helped on the coherence front.

I went out for drinks with some co-workers tonight, and it was a milestone night for me. I walked past mirrors many times as I visited the Ladies Room, and never once did I look at my reflection and think "I look fat." Not once. That is amazing. I felt curvy and pretty okay for a woman in her late (late late late) 30s! And what a relief that was because it actually allowed me to ENJOY myself and not just worry about how I looked. No worries, just fun!

I mentioned that I am nearing some big milestones in terms of weight loss numbers, but I will elaborate. It is not something that I talk about IRL because I feel kind of embarrassed about how heavy I was, and thus the number of pounds lost seems to represent not only an accomplishment but also a shame that I let myself get that heavy. But the truth of the matter is that I have only 0.8 pounds to lose until I have lost 100 pounds from my highest weight. I had reached this point for about a minute back in June of 2006, but then proceeded to put back on almost 60 pounds during a stressful time in my life after my divorce. I restarted my weight loss journey back on July 1st of 2008, and since that time have lost about 57 pounds. I am excited to reach that point, but still want to lose at least 30 pounds and hopefully more like 40 pounds. That would be the weight I was when I graduated from college, and I felt damn healthy.

Anyway, nearing this milestone is exciting for me and makes me feel like I will reach my weight loss goal this year. I am even going to do the terrifying and schedule a photo session with a professional photographer so that she can take pictures of my daughter and me for our holiday card this year. We have never had professional photos taken together, and frankly have very few together whatsoever. How sad is that, seeing as she is seven years old already?

I have also started wearing more form-fitting clothes again... tighter jeans and figure-hugging sweaters, and oh my are the compliments coming my way! It is so motivating and flattering, but it also brings up weird issues of the wrong kind of attention. Being almost 6 feet tall, I have always looked out of the ordinary for a woman. Add into that very long and curly hair, ultra pale skin and, an EXTREMELY curvy body, and I sometimes feel like a freak among normal women. And now that I am being noticed again (because when you are fat, you are much more invisible to the world around you from my experience), it is both motivating and a bit uncomfortable. But with my age and experience on this journey with me, this no longer throws me off my center to the point that I fear I will need a layer of fat to protect me. I want to be thin and fabulous, and I am NOT scared of that! I embrace it!

So now I am home from my night out, and I have two birthday parties to contend with tomorrow. But tonight gave me the motivation to stay strong, enjoy myself, but not go crazy with the food and drink. Because I want to focus on the fun and not how I look, like I did tonight, and if I am not mindful of this and go in the wrong direction I will end up right back where I started... and that is a place that I never want to revisit.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Review: Wii Gold's Gym Cardio Workout

This is not going to be a comprehensive review by any stretch of the imagination because I have only used this Wii game three times, but I have to say that the Gold's Gym Cardio Workout for Wii is my current favorite!

I read the reviews before my purchase and thus I was aware that it is basically a cardio boxing game, but that is what I was looking for because I have been enjoying Tae Bo again. The first time I used it consisted of learning the basic moves (punches, footwork, ducks and weaves, etc.). That was pretty fun, and left me with some achiness in my arms a couple of days later. The second time I tried it I let them customize a workout for me, and it was a blast! I couldn't wait to do it again tonight!

Again tonight, I let it customize a workout for me but chose a light one because I ran at the gym earlier and didn't even start up the Wii until after 9:00 p.m. The workout got my heartrate up, and I added another exercise after the end of the customized workout to bring the whole thing to a bit over 10 minutes of exercise overall.

I plan to do it, even if only for 10 minutes, at least 5 nights a week because it is downright fun! I have not used it with my Wii Fit balance board yet, but it looks like there are some exercises that can only be done with the balance board in use. I have to replace my balance board batteries before I can add that to the mix, though, so maybe next week.

Frankly, this makes me want to find a cardio boxing class. I have never punched anyone in my life and am not a physical fighter by ANY stretch of the imagination, but I find the boxing moves to be quick and fierce and powerful... and I like it!

Overall, I would rate this as a great addition to my Wii collection. I think it's worth a rent or library check out for you if you find any interest in cardio boxing.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Binge-O-Rama

I knew I was in trouble on Friday after lunch when my Mexican Food craving began. I was daydreaming of burritos for the rest of the afternoon, and had to drive myself directly home after picking DD up from after school care in order to make sure that a Taco Bell run was not in the cards.

Saturday morning came, and the craving remained... except it was more specific in that I wanted a Grande Burro from Ay Carumba, a restaurant here in town. By the time I was at my daughter's swim lesson at noon, I knew where lunch was going to be eaten! So we went there and I had the super duper awesome Grande Burro, suisa-style with sour cream and fresh guacamole. And a few chips and salsa. And some of DD's french fries. And then we went to the bakery next store and said goodbye to calorie counting for the day.

Suffice it to say that I ate my way through the day and night, having everything yummy that I could find in the fridge and freezer and cabinets. I woke up this morning with a serious food hangover and no desire for a repeat performance of yesterday's food frenzy. YUCK.

After breakfast and coffee, we set out for the gym. I did an easy 30 minute run, with a total workout distance with warmup and cooldown walking of 3.12 miles. And I was back on track!

Next we went to Trader Joe's to stock up on some healthy foods for the week, and then we came home to enjoy the beautiful 70 degree and sunny weather by playing badminton on the lawn.

I was still feeling a bit green from the unhealthy food, so I took a short nap before tacking the last load of laundry and the dishes. Now the vacuuming has been completed and I am resting before my mom comes over for a chicken piccata dinner. YUM!

The bad news is that my binge behavior is NOT a thing of the past, but the good news is that I am able to detach from the guilt and turn it around quickly. I want to lose the last 35 pounds more than I want to eat like a ravenous monster on a daily basis. And I want to keep off the weight, so I am finding ways to keep the binges at bay as much as possible and keep the exercise and activity a solid part of my week, which also helps me keep my food intake in line because I just cannot fathom "throwing away" a 3 mile run (calorie-wise) in exchange for a candy bar and a Coke.

Now I am off to enjoy the remains of the day, and keep on keeping on through the work week. Next weekend is going to be a big challenge for me because I am going out drinking with my co-workers on Friday (which always leads to excess), two birthday parties on Saturday, and then Mother's Day on Sunday. But I am up for the challenge!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday's Crazy Eights

I considered myself tagged by Carly for Crazy 8's today, so here goes!

8 Things I'm Looking Forward To:

  1. Being able to run both farther and faster.
  2. Reaching my weight loss goal (and staying there).
  3. Swimming with my daughter in our pool this summer.
  4. Disney in December.
  5. Decluttering my home.
  6. Summertime pedicures (which are much less frequent in cold weather).
  7. The longer days of summer.
  8. The return of my favorite season: Fall.

8 Things I Did Yesterday (Not in This Order):

  1. Worked, in the office and at home.
  2. Grocery shopping.
  3. Dishes.
  4. Played Word Challenge on Facebook.
  5. Cleaned up cat barf from the carpet (fun fun fun).
  6. Took the garbage out.
  7. Made plans to go out on May 8th.
  8. Snuggled with the child.

8 Things I Wish I Could/Want To Do:

  1. Be independently wealthy and not have to work full-time.
  2. Run 10 minute miles.
  3. Run 10 consecutive miles.
  4. Wear sleeveless shirts.
  5. Eat whatever I like without gaining weight.
  6. Spend more time with my daughter.
  7. Hire daily household help.
  8. Be 15 years younger (in body).

8 Shows I Sometimes Watch:

  1. The Biggest Loser
  2. Top Chef
  3. News
  4. Grey's Anatomy
  5. Brothers & Sisters
  6. Property Ladder/Flip That House
  7. What Not to Wear
  8. America's Next Top Model marathons (while I clean)

8 People I Want to Know More About: TAG! You are it!

I had a short run tonight, about 2 miles, but I went and did it despite being soooooooooooo tired which is a good thing. I am looking forward to getting outside for runs more before the dog days of summer hit and I go back inside to the track again by choice.

I am nearing some big weight loss milestones, and am starting to feel more comfortable in my body again. The compliments are pouring in at work, and it certainly is motivating. But I am already booking up for the summer, and I know that those parties are going to bring eating challenges so I am going to have some learning to do on that front if I want to reach my goal weight early next Fall as planned.

This year I want to have professional photos taken of the child and me for our Christmas cards, which is something that we have never done. That is going to be one strong anchor for me because I can picture them in my mind... and I am thin in them, LOL! I am also planning a Disney trip in December with her, and again I am thin in my mind while we are there on vacation! I want to make sure that I have some things to look forward to, new and fun things that I can think and dream about when the frozen drinks and BBQ goodies and ice cream delights come to greet me over the summer.

It is late, so I am off to bed to creat some more dreams!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Anelise's 5K Run Post Race Report

I didn't speak too much about this race because my event track record for 2009 has been pretty dismal, but lo and behold I ran a 5K this morning! Although, when the rain started 20 minutes before race time, I will admit that I was feeling a bit cursed again. Thank goodness it was just a brief shower and the race was dry!

The race was held a mile from my house, so I had my mom drop me off because so many of the local roads were closed. I arrived about 10 minutes before the race began and actually saw some people that I know (and like, which can often be the tricky part now that I am back living in the town in which I grew up).

It was not timed, and most people did not have bibs. All of the ones who did either had a Number 8 or Number 88 on their bib in honor of the girl for whom the race was named. She was born on 8/8/88, so those were her favorite numbers. And she was killed in a hit and run accident 9 years ago while on her rollerblades. Her friends and family have this race in her honor each year and donate the proceeds to the Make A Wish Foundation, which I think is a wonderful tribute to her life.

Thus I timed myself with my Garmin 405. I love that thing! And I even ran a PR, beating my previous 5K record by FIVE MINUTES AND 20 SECONDS!!! I was seriously thrilled! This means that, since November, I have had a great improvement in my mile pace. My first mile was significantly faster than the other 2.1 miles, but at least it is leading to an overall better finishing time.

After the race, I felt so good that I decided to walk the mile back home and savor the moment. I am so glad that I was able to run in the race this morning, and it certainly is setting the stage for a healthy weekend. And a good nap this afternoon!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Until Saturday

Last Thursday afternoon, I ran outside for the first time this year. I got to use the GPS function on my Garmin 405 and it was so cool! And it validated that my first mile in a run is under 12 minutes, which is a big ol' WOO-HOO for me!

I did not get another run in until tonight. I had a 3 mile workout, and feel good. I am signed up for a 5K on Saturday, so I am going to stick with cross-training until then.

I am really looking forward to the 5K, and hope to beat my best time (which hopefully will be easy). The weather looks to be good and, since my daughter will be spending the weekend with her father, I should be able to get some decent rest before the race to try to kick this cold that has been bothering me since last week.

On the GoWear Fit front, I received my replacement unit today and am charging it up to start wearing it again... YIPPEE! I really missed it! It will be interesting to see what it records tomorrow and the next few days so that I can see if the metal corrosion on the pad was messing with the calorie reporting.

I also got the new Gold's Gym Wii game today and hope to try it out this week. From the reviews on amazon.com, it appears that it is mostly cardio boxing which sounds like something I would like to do! I'll review it here once I try it out.

I feel like this post is kind of flat, and really I am not surprised because I have been feeling kind of flat on a personal level due to interpersonal garbage at work.

One of my employees gave notice and had his last day this past Friday, but he wasn't very forthright with his reason for leaving until I took him out for lunch on his last day. He did not leave for another job (and actually had nothing lined up even after his three weeks notice was over), so I couldn't understand why he was leaving when he kept saying that he loved his job and that he would follow me anywhere job-wise. Then he told me that he was having trouble dealing with the office politics and gossip. He specifically told me that there was someone in our department who was badmouthing me and talking about me behind my back. I had a good idea who it was, and told him that I was aware that she was doing it but that I chose not to let it bother me and to be a bigger person.

And then he gave me some of the specifics of what she had been saying about me. And, although I knew she was talking badly about me, knowing the specifics took it to a whole different level and I am not sure that I really wanted to know that much detail. And then I had to figure out where to put it so that I could get back to business and work with her since this woman actually sits right next to me.

I was tossing around so many possible conversations with her in my mind last weekend but knew that, as a manager and a professional, I had to just put it behind me and move on. It has been hard, though. Shit like this is a direct throwback to Junior High and High School, and frankly I do not miss that time in my life.

So anyway, it really made me feel unsure of myself for a few days. I certainly do not speak of anything personal anymore when she is at her desk, so my work dynamic has changed (and this may actually turn out to be a good change). But I have also had to work hard to even speak with her this week, and it has caused me to pull out some Veruca Salt tunes to sooth my seething soul.

The hurt will fade as time passes, but it really goes to show that sometimes you really are better off not knowing the details of what others this about you when it makes no real difference in your life.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pretty Woman

Now that I have dropped 50 pounds and am feeling better about my body, I have found that I am even more interested in looking as good as I can look. But when it comes to make-up and skincare products, I am out of touch and out of date!

As I near the big 4-0, I feel like I need to change things up a bit. I have always been a fan of foundation, but now find that it is settling into the lines that seem to have magically appeared on my face this year. After some research on the web, I found many good reviews for Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. I am hoping that it will make my lines less noticeable, and will try it out for the first time tomorrow morning because it just arrived today!

Now I need something for the lips. I ordered Lancome Juicy Tubes Rose Fishnets Lip Gloss. I tried some tonight and it is nice and has a very pretty shimmer, but not quite the be all and end all. I am looking for something that is just slightly darker than the natural lip color, that is long wearing but still feels moist.

As for skincare, I switched to the Olay Pro-X line near the beginning of the year and I really like it so far. I usually jump ship on skincare before I even finish the bottle, so the fact that I have blown through two starter kits of this stuff is pretty amazing!

If you have any favorites and would like to share them, I would love some recommendations on what to try next! For some background, I have dark brownish-red hair, blue eyes, and very fair skin... and I am at a pivotal point where I am open to moving past my comfort zone for good products!