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!