Thursday, June 30, 2011

Two hours of workouts and I survived!

So, the first class - BodyStep. I had done this once before, a week before and it was tough. This time it didn't seem as hard, but then maybe I wasn't pushing myself as hard either knowing that I was following that class up with another class. I don't know which of those two it was. And then I followed BodyStep with BodyPump. Since it's in the same classroom and the also use the step, I didn't have much to get ready and I had a chance to talk to the instructor beforehand. She was really nice and helpful and throughout the entire routine she pointed out form and help for me and the other new person in the class.

I started with 2 kgs on each end of the bar and 5 kgs on each end of the bar. She told us when to switch to heavier or lighter weights and she had made the recommendation of what weights to start out with. For the most part, what she recommended was right on. In the beginning I probably could have used the medium weight instead of the light weight, but that is also the warm-up... however, I already was warmed up with because of the BodyStep class.

That second hour was surprisingly fast and I found it fun. I'll definitely be doing it again. This morning I feel it a bit all over - abs, thighs, shoulders, back. You name it, it's a tad sore, but nothing terrible or painful which means I worked the muscles, but didn't overdo it. Today I'll do a Zumba class in the evening to stretch out the muscles and work them a bit and to keep up the fitness. I'm feeling good and in a groove, so I want to keep going with it while it lasts.

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 198.0 (57.4 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 203
Total miles walked/biked in 2011: 546/1000

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It Stuck! No longer in the 200s!

It looked promising when I went to bed last night that the 199.8 would stick or go a bit lower and sure enough, it did. I am no longer in the 200s! Yay! Throughout the day yesterday it started to hit me more and more. "Wow. I'm closer! 25 pounds to go!!!) I feel stronger, healthier, happier.

I remember when I went over 200 for the first time. It was shortly after I got married - less than a year after I got married. I remember looking at the scale in dismay. I had crossed that "I will never get that heavy" line. I don't have much memory of getting below it in my last weight loss journey over a decade ago and I have no memory of going back over it as I was ignoring the scale during those times. I don't even know if we had a scale at home then. I was weighing at the Weight Watcher's meetings which I then quit. I really only remember going over that number the first time. I remember the feeling of dread in my stomach because I didn't see how I could remedy the situation.

Now that I'm under that line in the sand again, I really believe I'll never get over it again if I remain healthy and strong. I used to doubt I would be one of the 2% that would keep it off, but I believe I will be. Why? I'm changing my life - not temporarily dieting. Plus, I'm not sure how much stock I put into that research anyway. Most research sucks. and I don't think it should factor into how I feel about my chance of success at this.

Yesterday I went to an aqua fitness class. That class can be tough if you really push it. Water resistance is a great thing! Today I'm taking a Body Step class AND a BodyPump class (there was an opening directly after BodyStep, so I thought, "what the heck!") I might be a bit crazy trying two classes in a row, especially after BodyStep which is the hardest class for me, but I figure the first time I do BodyPump I should learn what it's about and work on proper form and should keep the weights really light. One person even suggested doing it with the barbell only - no weights. So, I 'think' I'll survive! Eek!

That's it for now! End of the month is almost here! Wow!

Stats for 6/29/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now 199.6 (56 pounds lost)
Total hours exercised in 2011: 201
Total number of miles Walked/Biked in 2011: 538/1000

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"One"derland!!!

Not sure if it will stick tomorrow, but for right now, this morning, I weighed 199.8. Well, probably closer to 199.9 because the first time I weighed, it said 199.8. Second time 200.0. Third time 199.8. A hair band would probably tip the balance, but it's there for this moment at least and I can only hope that tomorrow I will add to today's 1.2 pound drop and not add weight to it.

My plan was to go to BodyPump today, but all five classes at all 3 gyms was full. Ugh. So then I was planning to go to Total Body Conditioning, but that timing doesn't work very well because my more in law wants to go to an aqua fitness class at a gym she hasn't been to yet, so she needs help getting there. So, I while have her drive and we'll go to that class (it's good toning too) and I'll try to get to a conditioning class some other day.

Yesterday I accidentally didn't eat anything before taking the Zumba class. I know many people do that and even prefer that, but oh boy, that is so not for me. I felt so weak and even my eyes felt funny and tired. Lesson learned, better to be a little late than too hungry.

And how do I feel about finally reaching the one hundreds? Well, it's not real yet and even slightly anticlimactic. I was stuck and gaining for more than two weeks preceding it that kind of took the wind out of my sails. But I am fully aware that I now weigh 75 pounds less than my all time high and 55 pounds less from where I started on this journey. I've come a long ways and for the most part it's been painless and I feel better than ever. But I'm also becoming more aware of how much further I need to go. I'm also beginning to deal with some loose skin (mostly on my upper arms for now). So, basically, I need to work on some mental stuff as I settle into this new low too. Still hoping to eek out a bit more weight loss too before my monthly stall hits again.


Stats for 6/28/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6. Now: 199.8 (like rolling back the speedometer - all 4 numbers rolling back!)
Total exercise hours in 2011: 200 hours! Another big milestone!
Total miles biked/walked in 2011: 534/1000

Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekend is over!

We actually had a very nice weekend. The weather was warm, but very low humidity. I spent a big chunk of yesterday weeding and hacking at a bazillion forsythia bushes. Discovered we have poison ivy in the back of the side yard  - fun. And for two years now I've been battling a nasty weed. It's a fast growing vine that has barbs on it, so removing it is a painful proposition. Looked it up last evening and it's called, "Mile High Weed". Sounds like an appealing weed, huh?  I didn't get to mowing as that took over three hours of my day yesterday and I was pooped. Going to the pool was a welcome change.

My husband went into Northern Virginia last night to meet up with some online friends from the Jeopardy board. My husband is a former Jeopardy champion and has always loved trivia. As a young adult he used to write trivia questions for a a trivia show similar to Jeopardy in Croatia. (He also played the game and lost).  Anyway, he met up with 5 time winners, 8 time winners, some non-winners and they did a trivia night at a restaurant. Those three teams came in 1, 2, 3.... not surprisingly. His team was tied for first, but lost in the tie breaker. He said he didn't help his team at all because he didn't know anything they didn't know! And for those who know my husband, this is a feat!

While he was gone the two boys and I watched the movie Cars. Such a cute movie. We plan to see it in a movie theater this week or this weekend. A relaxing weekend is what I needed, but it was also productive which is also good!

Not much more to report! I'm off to a Zumba class in about 20 minutes. Scales are still moving in the right direction!

Stats for 6/27/11:

Beginning Weight: 255.6  Now: 201.0
Exercise total hours in 2011: 199
Walking/Biking total miles in 2011: 530/1000

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lazy weekend with family and shocked at some fit people's words

Yesterday I hung out with youngest in the morning and then we went to the sporting goods store and then the grocery store. At the sport goods store I was looking for water shoes or aerobics shoes. Struck out on both. I'm just going to have to order them and hope they work out. I'll order from zappos.com to at least save on return shipping if they don't work out.

Anyway, at the sporting goods store, I looked through their running/fitness clothes as they were all on sale. While looking through the racks, I overheard a couple talking. They were both very active and fit. That was obvious from looking at them. The woman was about 5'2" and was built very petite. The man was about 5'8" and was very fit and had a average build for his size. She was looking for a new running outfit and her husband was trying to help her. She found a rack of cute shirts and said, "oh, here are some cute ones!". And her husband responded, "I already told you I looked there and they don't have your size. See, they are all size large. Like there are any size large runners (said in a very snide way)". Said so ugly and I found it so jarring. Now this was a sales rack, probably the larges were what were left, but still. I wear a size Large now and while I'm not running I could be! And I know plenty of runners as big or bigger than me, so what was that about?

Another time, about 3 weeks ago at the pool, a very fit couple came to the pool to do laps. They came riding their race bikes and I'm pretty sure they are/were training for a triathlon. Anyway, while playing with my younger son in the shallow end, I overheard this guy say to his girlfriend, "look at these people, they are standing at the ends more than they are swimming". And said with a vey condescending voice. I found that very shocking too. These people were there for an hour swimming and yes, they took breaks at the end of laps, but they we doing something! They weren't sitting at home eating popcorn and doing nothing. They were at the pool swimming! Why the attitude?

I had always hoped and assumed that when more fit people saw less fit people exercising, that they would try to encourage the newcomers. Or would smile and be happy to see more and more people at least starting on the road to a healthier life. I never dreamed that there would be open hostility towards the novices or less vigorous exercisers. But now twice in a month I've run into people quite by accident who quite openly say some nasty things about heavier exercisers or slow exercisers. I find that very sad and it does rattle me a bit. Not that it will stop me in doing what I need to do, but I won't assume ever again that fit people are happy to be sharing the gym floor with me! Well, I know I will always have a soft spot for the newbie and for the overweight trying to get thin. Their road to fitness is much more difficult road than it ever will be for a person who grew up with fitness in their life and are a natural athlete.

For the rest of the day, I watered the flowers, went swimming with the family and made dinner. In the evening we watched a movie and just thoroughly enjoyed family time.

Today I have already walked around the lake once. Then we'll go swimming and then this evening I'll mow. Tomorrow it's back to the gym and this time I'm take my older son too! He needs to get more active again. He has really turned into a skinny marshmallow. Skinny marshmallow? What do you call a stick thin unfit person?

Stats for 6/26/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6. now: 201.8

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The power of a little voice and let the Whoosh begin!

Yesterday was a busy day for a summer vacation day of the first week. I had to run an errand around 10 am, had to take my son to occupational therapy at 1 pm (so that takes from noon to 2 pm) and then REI started their summer clearance sale today and I wanted to get to that and dinner is usually around 6:30 pm.  In the morning, there was a class at 10:45 am that I would have loved to make it to (BodyStep), but that would not allow for a shower after class and I really need a shower after that class. Then there was a class at 6 pm, but that really interferes with dinner and I have already messed with dinner hours three times this week! So, I had decided to not go to the gym on Friday and to go on Saturday and Sunday.

But, this little six year old voice, at 5:40 pm said, "Mom, let's go to the gym!". I said, "We're not going to go today." or something like that and he promptly followed with a pleading voice, "Mom, please can we go? Of course we can go today." How could I resist that? I looked at the clock and realized I would almost definitely be a few minutes late, but went for it. I ran upstairs, changed into workout clothes, put on my shoes, while telling the little guy to get his shoes. I ran dowstairs to get my drink and membership cards and went out to the car. Realized I had forgotten my heart rate monitor, I ran back in and upstairs and then back down and drove off. We got lucky with the traffic and the traffic lights and got to the gym at 5:55 pm. We went to the Kidspace area for kids 3-6 and it was locked! What??? I know it's supposed to be open. I go next door to the 6-12 year old Kidspace room and fortunately, it was open, "Phew!" Fortunately the room where they do Zumba is next door to the KidSpace rooms, so I got in just as the instructor was cuing up the music. There were still some obvious available spots left on the floor and off I went!

That did mean that dinner was late. My husband texted me that he was on his way home seconds before the music started. I quickly texted "at Zumba". No plan for dinner at home for my husband to start a meal, but oh well, life happens.

We got home a bit after 7 pm. I quickly grabbed some basil and oregano from the garden and washed it up. Added some fresh garlic and sundried tomatoes and olive oil while the water boiled for fresh tortellini. That's what they ate. I cooked up 1.5 brats for me and we all had a green and red pepper salad. Dinner was served shortly after 7:30 pm. About an hour late, but that's OK.

When I weighed myself after dinner and full of water, I weighed the same as I did in the morning and I realized, right on cue, I was dropping the water weight. And sure enough, this morning I'm 1.4 down from yesterday putting me back to my all time low for this journey. Onederland is like RIGHT there now (again). Woohoo!

Not sure what the plan is for today, but I know it will involve going to the swimming pool with the kids and hopefully the hubby.

Stats for 6/25/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now 201.8
Exercise total hours in 2011: 195
Total miles biked/walked in 2011: 524/1000

Friday, June 24, 2011

Things that mess with our mind and Aqua Zumba

I think I figurred out what was messing with and aided in me getting too low in calories. I use mynetdiary.com  for my fitness and food tracker. It's a nifty program that I can use on my iphone, ipad and on a PC. You set up your account and plan and it will give you a target for eating. Well, I didn't think I was 'following' what it said (at least I didn't used to). I was eating for hunger. But... it seems I might have been subconsciously affected by the numbers I saw on the screen.

When I set up the account, I set it to sedentary lifestyle which they describe as, ": A person engages in typical daily living activities (shopping, cooking, laundry, walking a few minutes to and from car/bus/train) but sits for much of the day. Sample occupations: computer programmers, office and phone jobs."

Now, that does pretty much fit my lifestyle, but maybe a bit too 'extreme' in assuming I sit that much in a day. Sure, some days I do, but I am usually in the kitchen 2 hours a day. I don't think most people cook the way I cook. I water my flowers/plants for 30-45 minutes a day, etc.

The next activity level they have is low active. It is described like this, ": Sedentary activities above PLUS 30-60 minutes of MODERATE activities (e.g. walks 2 miles at 3-4 mph). Sample occupations: school teachers, cashiers, retail workers, and stay-at-home parents with active children." With this one, I am probably not quite that active, but by putting that as my activity level, it now says I can eat 1406 calories a day instead of 1160. I think seeing that I should only be eating 1160 calories a day was messing with my head subconsciously and I was eating that low (or lower) on most days. I think eating (with my activity level with exercising) around 1400 is a much better number for me. We'll see how it goes.
Yesterday I was quite hungry, so I ended up eating closer to 1550 calories for the day, but that's normal variations in eating and I won't get upset by it. It was all good eating - nutritious foods, but a bit fattier than usual with a brat for dinner. I just needed a couple more snacks throughout the day too. So far today, I seem to be more normal - small breakfast and no need for more (yet).
My exercise for yesterday was aqua zumba. My mother in law has just joined the gym and I thought a water fitness class might be something she was interested in, so I asked if she wanted to go and she did. For me, the class can't produce a high enough heart rate for an aerobic exercise, but it's a really good toning workout with all that water resistance. It was fun. My mother in law seemed quite overwhelmed with following choreography (I don't think she's ever done anything like that ever), but she said she liked it afterwards and plans to go again. For me it must have done something because my abs ache a little bit this morning.
Today is the day my son has occupational therapy, so going to the gym this morning is a bit tough. I will go to a zumba class this evening at 6 pm. That means I will have gone to the gym every day Monday through Friday. Yay me!
Scale is still coming down v-e-r-y---s-l-o-w-l-y, but at least it's moving in the right direction. Eating salty brats for supper last night probably didn't help me much in the weight loss department, but it was yummy!

Stats for 6/24/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 203.2
Exercise total hours in 2011: 194
Total miles walked/biked in 2011: 520/1000

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Every month I get to the "I can't stand it any more" and BodyStep

I'm referring to my monthly stall out. When it starts, I'm always a little like, "Well, that weight loss was fun... guess it's over now... Oh well, this too shall pass." For the first week of the stall out I sometimes see a small loss and that keeps me 'OK' for awhile, but then the gain. It's somewhat comical, but it gets me at the same time. When I go to bed at night I can predict pretty accurately what I'll see in the morning, so it's the dread in the evening as I step on the scale. It slowly creeps up and it just takes me further and further from where I was. I get to the point where I pleading with my body to just OVULATE so we can get this over with.

Then I do ovulate and I know things will get better, but... it takes my body several days to lose that water weight. I guess it's hoping to catch a fertilized egg? (not happening!) And when it realizes there is no new baby to support, it finally lets the water go. My body knows what it's doing and it's doing it for a reason and doing it consistently, but my head can't deal with it.

Every month at about this point I start to reach my breaking point. I start to doubt everything I'm doing. Am I eating too much (Old fears)? Am I eating too little (New fears)? Am I exercising enough? Is this the month I will plateau and not lose anything?

Reality is for about 20 days a month I lose nothing and slightly gain - month after month. Then for about 10 days I lose my month's worth of weight in one big rush. It feels great when I get to the whoosh, but I start to doubt the whoosh will happen and every month when I get to that point, like that day or the day after the water weight starts to disappear. Yet how can I be certain it will?

So, my new fear as I'm teetering on the cusp of the monthly weight loss (I hope) is that maybe I've cut back on calories too much. And how can I know? Sure, I feel slight hunger, but I did when I started this too when I was eating far more. I'm trying to follow my body's clues, but I'm learning our body's clues can be trained. Your hunger response is partially trained. If it's used to being fed at certain times, the body will start to feel hungry - even when it's not. The opposite is also true, if your body actually needs fuel, it might not send hunger signs if it knows it never gets fed during that time.

What has happened over the last 6 months is that my calories have gotten lower and lower not by some decision I've made, but by me just not feeling as hungry and since I won't eat just to eat, it means I'm consuming way less. Right now that caloric intake is around 1100-1200 and that's with an hour of exercise thrown in there.

But should I worry if that is too little? I have energy. I can do tough workouts. I don't feel faint or weak. I feel the same as I've felt since I got my health back in order. But have I trained my body that it just won't get food, so it doesn't ask for it. Or, does it not need it, so it's not asking for it. And how can I know?

There is so much out there that says a woman shouldn't eat below 1200 calories a day for nutritional needs, but I think that's baloney. A 4'11" woman can't needs the same calories as a 5'11" tall woman. A 20 year old woman can't need to same as a 70 year old woman and so on. Plus, that number used to be 1000 and for some reason it was changed to 1200. Why the change?

I was just shown a calculator for optimal calories for my weight, age height and activity level. It said I should be eating 1624 calories a day for extreme fat loss (extreme fat loss was not explained, but I'll assume it means 2 pounds a week). That is a lot more than I am eating. Sure, I could eat that much quite easily by upping my fat and protein intake, but do I 'need' it? And how can I know?

So, I'm struggling here a bit with knowing what to do. Stay the same or up my calories a bit (with nutritious foods - not junk). My hunger signals aren't working well for me now, so that's not a good indicator for my needs.

Ironically, I am hungry right now (Oh, I used to get headaches when I got hungry, but now I think that was part of the carb crashing and not a sign of true hunger). I guess I should grab something else for breakfast. Like a hobbit, second breakfast.

Now, about going to the gym. So, I've done Zumba twice, but another class that was appealing to me was BodyStep . I got a little worried when I was talking to the lady I talk to everyday at school drop off. She goes to the gym regularly and seems to be pretty fit. She said she took that class once and that she found it really tough. Now, she prefaced it with she hadn't done step since 199X, but still... she's more fit than me!

Then I got to the class. I had seen in the rooms before that they use the same step that I have at home, so that would be good as my foot would know where the step was - the height size, etc., but what I saw was that the women in that class were lean mean machines. I was definitely the biggest person in the room. There was one other woman with a bit of a stomach pudge and the woman in front of me was about 50 and slightly overweight, but I was the oddball in the classroom. I even texted my husband that I was a bit scared of the class.

At the beginning of the class the instructor asked if anyone was new to BodyStep and I raised my hand. She came, introduced herself and asked if I had done step before. I said I had been doing it in my basement to videos. She said it's a bit different than normal step routines in that it does intervals and she was happy to see I was starting with a step with no risers and she wished me luck. During class a couple times she asked if I was doing OK and off we went.

The class does a lot of high impact. I probably did 50% of the higher impact stuff depending in how I felt at the moment and my thoughts on how it would impact my bladder control. My heart rate was between 144-160 the entire time with once getting to about 165. I did the full hour and it felt great. After class the gal who was behind me said that I did great and she would have never guessed it was my first class and then the instructor came and said I did great too. That made me feel good. I have so far to go yet in my fitness, but I was happy to see that I could indeed do most of it. Well, I did all of the steps, just skipped the jumping parts here and there.

And that is the beauty of step routines. It is competely adaptable to all fitness levels. For someone not fit, the routine can be done mostly on the floor or on and off the step depending on how one feels. It can be where I am - no risers, all the steps and all or none of the propulsion/lift. Then I'll up it to more propulsion, then add a riser, then maybe another riser. There were some women in this class that were serious, seriously fit and they got a good workout because of a higher step, strong jumping and huge movements. You can't do that as much with Zumba.

Anyway it was great and I'll be doing it again. Now I need to find some strength training class too. Not that I want to, but I need to. There are a couple options - body pump, bodyvive  and total conditioning.

Stats for 6/23/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 203.4 (slowly coming down - way too slowly)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 193
Total miles walked/biked in 2011: 517/1000

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Different Zumba class and the last day of school!

My son had so much fun at the KidSpace area in the gym that I decided to go in the evening again so he could go and he was very excited about that. This time we went to a different gym because the class that sounded the most appealing was Zumba (again) and it was offered only at this one gym. I'm not sure if I explained here ever, but we live in a planned community and with that there is a community association. Besides the regular association fees that covers garbage/recycling/yard waste and public space maintenance, there is also an optional fee/membership to join their fitness facilities. For a fee, you get to join all the community's gyms, pools, golf courses and a few other things. There are still fees associated with golf greens and some special classes like Tae Kwon Do, but most things are included. So, there are 3 main gyms, 20 or so pools, an indoor pool center, mini golf, batting cages, tennis courts, etc all over the town that we can use. For our family of four we pay $84 a month for their premiere membership which includes this kidspace thing I'm talking about. KidSpace is pretty cool. They have kids divided by age and then the kids can play while parents work out. The gym I went to last night is the the biggest one and it has a pretty cool Kidspace. They have a climbing wall, basketball, bowling and more for the 6-12 year olds. For the 3-6 year olds they have a type of jungle gym, doll house, kitchen and other stuff. The staff organize the kids and they rotate from activity to activity and do team games and so on. That 'perk' costs an extra $5 a month. So, so worth it! Otherwise, it's $8 for every 2 hours a kid is in the kidspace area. It's offered 9 am to 9 pm too. Super sweet!

So, it was at this larger gym where the Zumba class was offered last night. This room was smaller and it had mirrors. I was a bit worried about the mirrors, but they are helpful and surprisingly, I'm finding I'm one of the more coordinated people in class. I guess when I compare myself to cheerleaders and dance teams I suck, but when compared to the general public, I have above average skills.

The biggest problem last night was that it was so crowded it was difficult to follow the teacher and there really was no one else in class who knew the routine well enough for me to follow easily. So, I struggled with the choreography a bit more, even though it was easier than the class on Monday evening. There was only one song that was the same between the two classes and doing a routine for a second time definitely helps! Next time I go to that class, I will move closer to the front. WIth the mirrors, I can see the instructor better. It was fun though and a good work out and this morning I'm beginning to feel some muscle aches on my inner thighs, so I am working it!

Today's plan is to go to a step class while the kids are in school. After that, I'll be hauling the kids with me all summer long. It will be good for all of us. We'll mix going to the gym with going to the pool and throw in some days going to the museums in DC. Should be a great summer!

And yes, the last day of school finally. This midwestern girl is still having a hard time dealing with school until late June. My younger son is sad that he'll never see is teacher again and he really won't because she's retiring! My older son just wants to sleep in. We negotiated for 9:30 am.. we'll see. I'm thinking 9 am if we ever want to do anything with the day at the gym or go to DC.

So, that's it. I'm pretty sure I've ovulated so this water weight should be leaving me soon. Keep your fingers crossed!

Stats for 6/22/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now 203.6
Exercise total hours in 2011: 192
Total miles walked biked in 2011: 512.2/1000

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I love Zumba and I am getting so much stronger!

I went to the 6 pm class and was happy to see that there were no mirrors in the gym - so, so happy about that! The class was pretty full. There were about 25-30 women in the gym ranging in age from about 15 to 60. Most of the ladies were thin or average sized. Then there was me and two women bigger than me.

I admit, I was a bit nervous. I've heard so much about Zumba and how it takes a few classes to get the steps and this time with my fitness, I've been doing mostly step arerobics or walking as I don't feel comfortable doing any twisting movements on the plush carpeting in the basement.

But, it went so well! I forgot to turn on my fitness watch until we were 8 minutes into the routine, but here is my workout. Untitled by berryblondeboys at Garmin Connect - Details You can see how my heart rate was great! I didn't need to modify anything (unless there was a lot of jumping and that has more to do with bladder control issues than with them being too hard - maybe too much information, but I'm currently doing pelvic floor exercises too to help with those issues too. Having a 10 lbs 9 ounces baby and a 11 pounds 14 ounces baby naturally did a number on those muscles!).

Of course, I didn't get all the steps, but I got most of it. I think because I've taken a dance class in college, taken dance lessons at school events and because I was formerly on a drill team and mostly because I've done a lot of dance aerobic videos, I've learned how to pick up routines fairly well. Routines have a pattern of 4 and 8 usually and so on. So, I didn't feel like I was a lost puppy in class. I got the moves about as well as most of the people in the class and it was my first time doing any zumba at all.

Most of the class was average sized people. There were a couple women larger than me, but I was definitely one of the biggest, but I moved with the group. In the squatting sections of the songs, I probably did that better than most of the class which is sort of funny! I've worked really hard at being able to do squats and lunges these last couple months and it's paid off. My knees no longer hurt while doing them because I finally learned better form it seems!

So, Zumba is definitely on the roster for doing it more often. I had my heart rate up there for almost the entire time (came down quickly inbetween songs which is where you can see dips in the heart rate) and I could have kept going for another 30 minutes at least.

The heart rate thing is interesting to me too. When I started this fitness thing, getting my heart rate up to 144 felt like I was going to die. Now, my heart rate regularly goes to 160-167 and I can keep that up for awhile. My average heart rate last night for the 51 minutes I recorded was 144. That was the average where a couple months ago, that would have been my "I need to slow down"  level! It spiked at 159.

The floor at that gym was a rubberized floor. Isn't that an odd choice for zumba? I wore my  nonrunning shoes (they are running shoes, but it's what I use for aerobics in the basement. I use a different pair of running shoes for walking that give me more stabilization for fast walking).

Anyway, it was great! I took my 6 year old son to the gym with me. With part of my gym membership, we pay an extra $5 a month to have child care. They have it for babies 6 weeks to 13 years old and have different rooms for different age groups. They have rooms for 0-3 year olds, 3-6 year olds, and 6-13 year olds. They first directed me to the 6-13 room, but it's games like foosball, computers, shooting hoops, etc. Not quite what my 6 year old is up for yet. Then I peaked into the 3-6 year old room and it has climbing toys, teeter totters, craft areas, book areas and so on. That is way more his speed so I moved him. He had a great time which is a double bonus. He gets to do something different while I get to work out. He had fun and I had fun! After my older son finishes his finals, I'll be dragging him too. He needs to work on his fitness. He's as skinny as a rail, but has gotten really out of shape in this past year. He went from a toned black belt in Tae Kwon Do to a total computer geek with no stamina. So, this summer will be the summer we hit the gyms!

Scale is a 'bit' down today, but not by much and I'm sure it's dehydration and not from the water weight leaving me. Here's a picture I took of my ankle last evening. It was left from my sock which is not a tight sock. Me and my body with holding water cyclically is just something I have to get used to: 


Stats for 6/21/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 203.8
Exercise total hours in 2011: 191
Total miles walked/biked in 2011: 508.2/1000

Monday, June 20, 2011

Zumba!

Going to my first class of Zumba this morning. I have no idea if it will be too hard, just right or what. I don't know exactly what I should wear. How many people tend to be there and so on. I have never, ever taken an aerobics class in a gym before. I've never, ever exercised in front of mirror before either (do they have mirrors in gyms?) I have no idea what to expect! I just know I need to do something different than I've been doing because I'm finding night time exercise isn't working for me any more. I get too tired. Plus, I want to meet more people and to feel more connected. I know a woman I talk to after school drop off nearly every morning takes Zumba, but other than that, I don't know much. I'm a little worried about my knees and regular gym shoes, but that's what I have so that's what I have to use for now. Lots of unknowns here, but I'm ready to try!

I plan to update this blog after the class to give you my impressions. So, if you are curious, remember to check back in around 11 am or later.

Edited to add: I think there is a conspiracy to keep me away from a Zumba class. First, my son was late in getting up. We got him to school on time, but close to the last minute. Then, I got delayed at school by the teacher and then now when I get home, my mother in law is informing me that she's taking the car in and might need a ride home if they can't get to her car quickly. Argh!!!! So, I guess I'm walking around the lake this morning and no Zumba. This is the THIRD time my attempt to go has been foiled!

Edited again: There is another class this evening at 7:30 pm. I am GOING! I will have my husband watch the kids and I'm outa here! I will not let people keep derailing me!

Stats for 6/20/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6 Now: 204.2 (yes, up again - darn scale - my ankles are so swollen!)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful husband!

I've been married for 17 and a half years and we've been parents for nearly 15 years. We have had rough patches and great patches and through it all we have mostly weathered it well- especially this parenting gig. We are more "on" now more than ever.

We were lucky to have two children who are super healthy and always have been, but one has very strong attention deficit and hyperactive disorder (don't ever doubt how difficult this can be - it is more trying than our son with autism). And as mentioned a second son who is high functioning autistic. They are 14 and 6 years old and I couldn't do this parenting gig without a supportive father. He's strong where I'm weak and vice versa. In that regard, we make a great team.

I didn't grow up with a great father. My father was not very involved and picked on me pretty hard. Even at 9 years old, I was happier without him in my life, than with him in it. Kind of sad. And from age 9 I was mostly fatherless and completely fatherless at age 11.

My husband never had a father. His parents split a month before he was born and then his father moved to the United States. He had a couple very short term step fathers and had a good relationship with one of them, but he was only there part time for a short time. His mother was working hard and finishing her education, so his grandmother raised him almost solely until she got sick when he was a teenager. Yet, despite that, he is a great father. Which is the greatest gift I can give my children.

We're not doing much today and playing it low key, but I am trying to make him feel special and valued because he is so very much. I also appreciate his love of me no matter what size I have been. He may not have liked my high weight, but he has never ridiculed me or treated me poorly because of it. He was more afraid of what it would mean for our future than anything else.

Ok, enough sappy father's day stuff. About yesterday. Yesterday I took a great morning walk and walked the fastest I ever have at a teeny bit faster than 4 miles per hour for 2.7 miles. We also went to a house concert at a friend's house on the Chesapeake Bay. Eating was a bit out of ordinary, but it was less than 1500 calories for the day, so no worries there.

Editing because I forgot to add: I decided to take some measurements yesterday to see if I'm at least losing inches if not losing pounds and while I've stalled out for almost two weeks on the scale, I've lost an inch off my bust, an inch off my waist, an inch off my hips, an inch off my upper arms and a half inch off my upper thighs. That's about what I usually see after a month, so I'm definitely 'losing'. It's just not showing up on the scale yet.

Stats for 6/19/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6. now: 203.6 (yep up a bit again today)
Total exercise hours in 2011: 190
Total miles biked or walked in 2011: 504.2/1000

Saturday, June 18, 2011

And this is why weight loss is hard - the mental game

No worries, I'm in no way losing my resolve, quitting, cheating, etc. I'm just grinning and bearing it because I know I'm not doing anything wrong, it's just the way weight loss goes -especially for me.

So, yesterday was a busy day - starting at 5:20 am with my son's nosebleed. Two days in a row of little sleep and LONG days means I didn't work out two days in a row. That's a first, but it's also life. I'll be exercising this morning to make sure it gets done as we have a house concert to go to this evening, but other than that, my days are as they should be with eating and active behaviors.

My son had a picnic at his school yesterday to celebrate their kindergarten graduation. I had a light lunch then, but an hour later we needed to go to his occupational therapy appointment, so we were running around. I was getting so hungry and I knew I wouldn't have time to make dinner and so I would order pizza. Pizza is not the best choice for me with blood sugar issues and I was hungry then and there, so I stopped at a fast food drive thru and got some grilled chicken and some fries (potatoes don't spike my blood sugars). That filled me up and kept me filled up for the rest of the day. So, I didn't eat from 2:15 pm until I went to bed at 10:30 pm.  I just wasn't hungry. (and not being hungry in the evening is pretty typical for me).

Anyway, everything I'm doing should result in a drop on the scale, but for one thing. The time of the month it is for me. So first I had the monthly stall out - more extreme this month than I've had another time THIS weight loss journey (but I've seen it like this in my previous weight loss journey). And now I'm hitting the pre-ovulation weight gain. Yep, I was up 1.2 pounds on the scale this morning.  I knew it was coming because I was up over a pound when I went to bed last night.

I know it's water. I can see it in my ankles. I know it will come off. But it is a mind game.  It's just good that I know what my body does and that this too will pass. Only thing really annoying is that it did it RIGHT before I reached the 100s. It's just taunting me! Oh well, I will see those numbers sooner than later because I'm plugging onwards!

Stats for 6/18/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now 203.4

Friday, June 17, 2011

Struggling with seeing my progress in pictures

While I feel great (Ok, not so great this morning as it was a very, very short night), my mental image of myself and what I see in photographs don't jive.

Let me try to explain. In my head, when I started high school and weighed 165 pounds, I felt huge. I had a bit of a stomach, my arms were a bit big, but more. I was bigger than most other teen girls, so I felt super fat.

Here's a picture from that time (on any of these pictures you can click on them to make them bigger).



When I started college, I had gained a bit of weight. I weighed 178-185 during my college years and again. I felt huge. Here's a picture from that time:



When I got married at age 23. I weighed about 185-190 and... I felt HUGE. Here's a wedding day photo:



When I was a parent and married and having kids, I got up to 275. Here's a professional photo from close to my highest weight (with my bestie, Deb) I was about 270 at that time. I felt huge.



But see.... each of these times, I felt really big. I felt as huge at 165 as I felt at 275. While I saw my clothing size was getting bigger, I didn't 'feel' any bigger because I was already fat. Fat is fat. Blubber is blubber.  In my messed up mental image in my head - 165 and a 'little' blubber is exaggerated to be the same as 450 and a ton of blubber.

So, while I feel so much better these days - I have more energy. I don't have achy knees and so on, I sometimes still get caught up in this mental disaster. Yesterday was one of those days. Yesterday I needed to take some photos of something I need to sell and when I went to put the pictures on the computer, I see there were other pictures to import. Those pictures were taken by my husband of when I was cutting our two boys' hair. I felt my heart sink when I saw those pictures. I looked so bad - so huge. They were from only two weeks ago, so I weigh about the same now as then. I immediately went into the mindset of, "You thought you were making progress? Look at how huge you still are? You are still so fat!" I stared at the pictures and really, truly could not see the difference from before and now - over 50 pounds difference. I told that to my husband and he said I was crazy that I look a ton better in those pictures and then I had to laugh, almost cry, "Well, if that looks so much better, I really look like crap."

So, to show what I'm thinking about here. A couple before photos (first two were same day - before haircut and after haircut. Next is a month later at Christmas) and those hair cutting photos from two weeks ago.










In the newer photos I see my saggy, fat arms, my gut and my double chin. In the before photos I see my big arms, my gut and my double chin.

Now, when I sit and compare. OK, I can see a difference, but not as much of a difference as you would expect with over 50 pounds! And I'm not saying that to get attention or for people to come say, "Melissa you look great!" I'm really worried that I can't SEE IT. When I got to 185 over a decade ago, I saw the same fat Melissa. Because - I still had big arms. Still had a stretched out flabbier than it should be stomach and a slight double chin. To me, I looked just as bad at 185 as 235. I know that's not healthy thinking and it worries me that I went back there so quickly too.

And that is where weight loss is difficult. It's not that difficult to eat better and to exercise moderately. It's this mental game that is the tough stuff. We truly are our own worst enemies.

Stats for 6/17/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now 202.2 (53 and a half pounds lost)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Couple big accomplishments

While the scale is doing it's funky thing of doing it's monthly stall out, other things are going nicely. I continue to feel strong and energetic. Sleeping has been great and I feel better than I have for probably 20 years. 41? Pfft. I feel like I'm 21.

The first big accomplishment is that I am down to one medication - just one. The thyroid medication which I will need for the rest of my life. So that means what? It means I have weaned myself off the blood pressure medicine! My blood pressure went fro 230-130 in the beginning of December to 114/76 (without medication) now in mid-June. A couple weeks ago I saw my blood pressure was getting lower again and at that time I was taking 10 mg a day. I dropped it to 10 mg every other day, but my bp was still low, so I finally just dropped it altogether and more than a week later and it's stabilized at 114/76 or thereabouts within a few digits.

One of the big motivators for this lifestyle change was to get off the blood pressure medicine and I'm very happy that I was able to do that so quickly. So, I averted needing diabetes intervention and got my blood sugars back to normal and now have managed to get my blood pressure back to normal. By all measures, my health is now fine as my cholesterol came down to within normal ranges too. Only thing that remains is to take the rest of this weight off and to keep at it with being active and getting fit so I can stay healthy.

The other big accomplishment is that I have gotten to the halfway mark of walking/biking 1000 miles in 2011. I needed to get to 500 miles by the end of June and I did it! With two weeks to spare! Yesterday's super active day pushed me over the top.

So, while the scale is still playing around with that same one pound it has been playing with for the last 8 days, other important things are happening and progress is being made. Not everything is about the scale!

Stats for 2011:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 202.4 (a bit more than 53 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 189
Total miles walked/biked in 2011: 501.5/1000

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Difficult day of munchies and the scale still hates me

Yesterday I was so munchie - from the time I woke up until late afternoon. I had a much bigger breakfast, a bigger lunch and even an afternoon snack. I was just hungry yesterday. By dinner the munchies had subsided and I was proud of myself for not going off plan because the urge to do so the last couple days have been there.

I'm not sure why that is, but it's a common pattern not only for me, but a lot of people. It seems people have two different reactions. Some people really buckle down and get tough to make the scale move when it stalls out. It motivates them to push harder. Or, the opposite. Some people get discouraged from doing everything right just to see the scale stick or even go up, so they say, "Well, if it's not going to move when being good, I might as well splurge (or worse, give up).".

Those same people then react different during the times the scales move. Some people when they see the scale moving quickly and nicely will then splurge because they feel they can since they are losing so quickly. And other people (like me) tend to buckle down more during weight loss moments because it's super motivating to see the scale move downwards and you don't want to see it stop or slow down!

So, here I am - over a week now hovering within the same pound, but steadily going UP. I am not overeating. I am not skipping exercise. Yet, the scale is not cooperating. Argh! But, I will keep being good because I know that going off plan will only exacerbate the situation. What's worse is that I'm getting to that week where I usually gain before ovulation. I really don't want to see it going up more!

Stats for 6/15/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 202.8 (not quite 53 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 186.5
Total miles walked/biked in 2011: 496/1000

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Great concert. Great weather. Great walk.

Yesterday was just a lovely day. I hung outside yesterday, went window shopping, then came home and spent time with the kids, made dinner and then got ready for the concert.

My husband and I walked to the concert venue. It's about 1.8 miles to the stage area. It was such a gorgeous day that the walk there, even with the sun still up was so enjoyable. My husband was teasing me though for walking fast and making him sweat. I would slow down a bit, but found myself speeding up again. My natural pace has increased.

We got there in about 30 minutes and then had a lot of time to kill. It was 7:15 and the intro band wasn't even playing yet. So, we explored the area a bit, bought a water for me and a beer for my husband and just enjoyed the environs. At 7:30 we took our seats and listened to the intro band. They weren't great, but it was fun anyway. And then the concert. Oh my goodness are The Decemberists good. And they put on such a good show. As Sven said, that $90 for the show and drinks was more enjoyable than a nice dinner out and he's right.

Walking home was very nice too. Again, a beautiful night and my sweetie and I are together and we can talk and just enjoy each others company. We got home at 11:30 pm, chased our older son to bed and then I hit the sack and was out/asleep immediately. Morning came too soon, but it was worth it. And today is another gorgeous day and so I shall mow. We're the last one to mow on the block, so our yard looks the worst, of course. I would like to plant too, but the gutter repair guy still hasn't gotten his ladders from the side of the house, but I might start tearing things up. It's a day meant for the outdoors.

Scale is still messing with me, but I know it's water. Last night when I took off my socks I had major sock indentations which is a big sign of holding a lot of water. Not sure why that is.

Stats for 6/14/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6 Now: 202.4 (a bit more than 53 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 186
Walking/Biking totals for 2011: 494.5/1000

Monday, June 13, 2011

It's supposed to be a beautiful day and we're going to a concert this evening

After so much heat, having a day around 81 will feel so fantastic and luckily, we have this gorgeous weather on the day my husband and I are going on a date.

We live 1.5 miles from a major concert venue. Many evenings, if our windows are open, we can hear the concerts. Even with the AC on, we get some sound from it, especially if the winds are blowing from that direction. We kept hearing all these great bands and kept saying, "we need to go to one of these" but then we never have. Until today that is.

Now, I love music, but I'm not 'into' music - never really have been. I can tell you what I like and don't like, but that's about it. My husband is a real music aficionado and lucky for him, I do enjoy much of what he likes (minus the punk stuff). He has gotten a couple CDs by the Decemberists and I have commented while listening, "they're really good" and so when my husband saw they were going to be in town, he wanted to go and remembered I had enjoyed listening to their music.

We've also decided, since it is a gorgeous day that we will walk to the venue. To the gates, it's about 1.8 miles. It just seems silly to drive and then have to search for parking, and then walk from parking to the pavilion and then after the concert to wait in the lines to leave. Walking is a lot less hassle. It will take a bit to walk it, but seems silly to not walk it. So, that will be my exercise for today - the 3.6 miles walking there and back.

Last night I wanted to take a walk especially when I saw how gorgeous and cool it had gotten, but my little guy didn't want to go - not even with his scooter. He hasn't wanted to take a walk for ages, so I kept pushing him. Finally, when I said we could walk somewhere new, then he got excited. Ah, the kid was bored of the same tour around the lake. So, he hopped on his scooter and my husband and I walked. I took them along the paths that would lead to the grocery store. We went .95 miles and then turned back.

As I mentioned when I biked there, it's mostly uphill on the way there and mostly downhill on the way back. Which means my son could scooter fast on the way back. My husband started running to catch up with the scooter (I think he's always a little worried the little guy will fall), so I decided, "what the heck, I can run too." And I did. And it was easy. We would run for only a block or so before we would catch up or he would slow down or stop, but we did that about 5-6 times in the mile home, so it was almost half running home and half walking home. So, yes, this girl can run when she needs to too. Not that I'm ready to start that, but it's good to know that I can! I noticed my shins were a little iffy later, but I'll just keep working on them and they'll be ok when/if I ever do start running.

Scale is still messing with me which sucks. I hate it that I can be so good and the scale can behave so badly. But this too shall pass.

Stats for 6/12/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 202.6 (up .4 to put me at exactly 53 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 185
Biking/Walking totals in 2011: 489.5/1000

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Realizing how things are truly getting better

Last night I took a walk with my husband for one loop around the lake. He ditched me to go check on the kids (left the 14 year old to watch the 6 year old) and then I did a loop by myself.

The first loop I did with my husband was quick, but not pushing things hard. We were talking the entire time. The air was heavy and muggy and when walking two abreast, speed isn't the highest priority. It was 3.4 miles per hour. Which is a brisk walk, but not super hard. When my husband left, I set the fitness watch for the second lap and took off. I realized, when I was about a third of the way into it, that it was my best pace yet. What was interesting is that it didn't feel like I was pushing myself harder or walking faster, but I was.

I went down the steep hill and then back up the other side. I saw I lost a bit of my time even though I always try to walk as fast up the hill as on the flats, I apparently do slow down. Now, not happy that I had lost time, I started to really push it which is about the halfway point. I caught back up to where I was, but then I wanted to build a bit of a buffer because the last leg of the walk has two small steep hills. My heart rate usually hangs around 130 when walking the lake, but on this last 1/3 of the lap, I was keeping it between 150-160. It felt great. My legs (especially my shins) were handling it fine with no complaints, and I pushed it to the very end. My best time ever before was 3.7 miles per hour. Last night, the second lap (which is 1.35 miles) I had it at 3.9 miles per hour. If I had started with a bit more gusto, I would have had a 4.0 miles per hour  - or 15 minute miles.

Here's my fitness log from that walk: June 11th walk by berryblondeboys at Garmin Connect - Details

Of course, for those of you who are really fit and beyond me in what you can do, walking 2.7 miles fast might seem like nothing, but it still works for me and you have to start somewhere. My starting point was walking in place for an hour and that in the beginning was difficult. The month before that, when my blood pressure was through the roof, walking across a parking lot had me huffing and puffing. Grocery shopping wore me completely out. Now, I can walk 4 miles per hour with no aching and I feel great. That's in less than 6 months which is the most amazing. The body is an amazing machine!

Stats for 6/12/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now 202.2 (up a bit)
Exercise total hours/minutes in 2011: 184.25
Walking/Biking total miles in 2011: 487.5/1000

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Something has changed about me - Being more comfortable with my body

When I was a teenager and in college - basically before I got married and even after getting married, I was very self conscious about my body. I think it was for several reasons. First, I was chesty and that made me self conscious. Second, I was 'bigger'. Not fat (initially), but heavier than most of my peers because I do have a larger frame. And third, and I don't know why, I just didn't like the idea of people looking at me or seeing me as 'sexy'. Basically, I wanted to cover up.

An example, when I was 15 I needed a new swimsuit. I went shopping with my mom and grandma. At the time I was a swimmer and wanted a suit that didn't fall off when I jumped in the pool. My mom or grandma came back to the fitting room with a playboy bunny string bikini. It was white with black trim and strings and a little black bunny on the hip and on one of the triangles of the top. I didn't even want to try it on. They made me. I put it on and they were fawning over me in it. I felt so incredibly uncomfortable and took it off and kept trying on more one piece 'full coverage' swimsuits.

When I got home, my grandma surprised me. She had bought me two suits. She also bought the string bikini. I told her I would probably never wear it (while thanking her, but feeling bad she bought it) and my mom said I could wear it in the back yard for sunbathing. And, I did do that a couple times, but I do remember being extremely self conscious and hoping no one could see me in it and it basically sat in my dresser drawer.

In college, my dresses were modest. I had gained a little weight and I didn't feel I 'fit' anything that was sexy and I didn't feel I felt like a sexual person. You have to be thin for that. I was not thin.

When I got married, I weighed around 190, a bit overweight for me. My husband kept working with me to feel less self conscious with my body. In that first year, I dropped to about 180, I think for a little blip, and I was beginning to see that yes, actually, I had a nice body, but again... I wanted to cover up.

But now, here I am at 41 and I want to feel sexy. I want to feel like I have a body worth showing. I'm not trying to hide myself any more. No worries, I'm not going to turn into one of those mom who are showing too much skin and trying to look like they are 18 when they are in their 40s. No way. Not me, but I would love to be able to rock a form fitting dress. Or wear a full coverage bikini (like something here: full coverage bikini ).

I am no longer afraid to show I have a figure (it's not here yet, but I'm working on it!). Or to wear something a bit fitted. I think I'm finally beginning to feel comfortable in my own skin. I have accepted its imperfections (and there are plenty) and have decided I should flaunt what good features I have and just realize it's OK not to be perfect. I will always have bigger arms and bigger hips and a lower stomach full of stretch marks and probably somewhat of a gut (it's never been flat). But it's OK. I'm a 41 year old woman and that's just how my body was put together and it's how it has weathered life. I'll probably have some saggy skin too.

I guess I've just come to realize that covering up doesn't hide things and doesn't mask things. It just covers you up and makes you look like a blob which isn't flattering either. I'll always be modest in my clothing as that's just my nature, but I will relax a bit and enjoy my re-emerging figure and will try to enjoy feeling good in my body for the first time in my life.

States for 6/11/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 201.8 (no change for three days)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 183.5
Walking/Biking total miles in 2011: 485/1000

Friday, June 10, 2011

Yesterday's hour of temptation and heart rate changes

Yep, it is very true, when I don't get enough sleep, it is much, much harder to make good decisions about food or anything for that matter. I tend to want to spend more money when I'm tired (I didn't yesterday). And I don't care as much about what I eat when I'm overly tired. And that almost derailed me yesterday.

I was totally experiencing PMS cravings yesterday. For me it's always been salt. I just need salt! Of course, my husband says, "Well, if you are bloating and holding water, then the last thing you should have is salt." Well, sure, tell that to a body that drools over anything that looks salty and makes your mind crave anything salty. Couple that with being overly tired and it's hard to resist the calling of salt.

Yesterday the craving was for bacon. Yum, bacon! We even have the no nitrate and other funny business bacon. It tastes so good! I have a pack in the refrigerator. I wanted it so much, I decided that I would make it. Not a few pieces, but the whole darn thing. Yep, I wanted to eat the whole package of bacon. I had only eaten a protein shake and an apple at that point, so I went to the refrigerator to make the bacon. I looked at the calorie count - 800 for the entire package. That's not too bad. I could eat that and still have room for supper. Yes, I got that close to making it and eating it. Then I decided, "No, that is so stupid. You don't need bacon. Maybe you're just thirsty and there are other things to satisfy the salt need ." So, I poured myself a big glass of iced tea and added lime juice and then I went to the pantry and grabbed a couple pieces of teryaki beef jerky. Now that stuff is full of sodium too and not the healthiest thing in the world, but it was world's better than eating an entire package of bacon (and I would have done it too). So, instead of 800 calories and a bajillion grams of sodium. I had about 100 calories and a 'moderate' amount of salt. That was a huge success!

In other things, I was tired from my efforts in the garage yesterday and lack of sleep, of course, but I was also very unexcited about going out in the heat at all. I had to water my garden because we've had no rain for ages and this heat is drying them out like mad and in that 45 minutes I was puttering outside at 10 am, I got soaked in sweat. I really did have to hang my clothes up to dry after that. I came in and saw at 10:45 am it was already 91 degrees and felt like 99 degrees. Just awful!

In the late afternoon after school and snacks, I went to the pool with the little guy. That's the only good thing about summer heat - the pool. Especially this pool as it's not heated.

And then, I still needed to work out. I had to talk myself into it, but I knew I would feel better. I decided to do Kathy Smith's Step workout (can you tell I like step routines?). Step gets the heart rate going without having to put stress on the joints and without complex, fast moves. I love that!

Anyway, I decided I would do at least two sections after the warm-up (the beginner and intermediate sections) and if I was up for it and not too tired, the advanced section. I ended up doing all three and it felt great. For the first time in this video, I did the propulsion (jumping). There's none of that in the beginner section a wee bit in the intermediate section and quite a bit in the advanced section.

When I first did this video a couple months ago, I could only do the beginner and intermediate sections with very little propulsion and my heart rate skyrocketed. Then I was able to do all three sections, but no propulsion in the advanced section. And now I can do all three sections with the propulsion and my heart rate doesn't go as high as it used to. Still a good workout and still on the lowest step, but I can definitely see marked progress and that feels great!

I can and do chart my progress with my heart rate monitor and I also see my resting heart rate often with checking my blood pressure and it's been interesting to watch that number go lower and lower. When I started in January, my resting heart rate was 85 beats per minutes. Very quickly it dropped to 75 and not long after that to 65. I've been watching it slowly drop the last couple months little by little some more. Last night while waiting for the video to cue up, it was 53. FIFTY-THREE. Wow! My heart is getting stronger and healthier and so quickly! When I exercise it shoots up. I'm noticing I can maintain higher numbers now too. Anything over 145 used to feel like I was going to die. Now that number is around 155 to feel I'm going to die. And my recovery is fairly quick too. Within 10 minutes of exercising, it was down to 80 beats per minute. It's amazing what the body can do!

That's about it for me. Getting ready for the weekend!

Stats for 6/10/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 201.8 (no change from yesterday - almost 54 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 183
Total miles walked/biked in 2011: 483/1000

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ok, maybe my predictions were right? athletic clothes, and cleaning the garage

Well, just when I think I'm smarter than my body, it throws in a monkey wrench. I knew it was coming because yesterday afternoon I weighed less than the morning weigh in, but I thought, "You haven't eaten dinner, you're dehydrated, etc." Well, I ate dinner (a nice one too) and drank a ton of water last night and when I went to bed I weighed the same as I did in the morning which means, a lower number in the morning. And sure enough, 1.4 drop to 201.8.

Last night and this morning while the scale was bouncing around to get to its final number, I saw it bouncing down to 199.8 Eek! I'm that close to it that it's in the range of scale bouncing now! Even that was enough to make me want to squeal with glee. But, when it did it last night I rationalized it. This morning I fully realized, no, it's really, really close. I'm just 2 pounds from reaching the one hundreds! Woohoo!

My plan for yesterday was to clean out the garage and organize it so my mother in law can get her car inside. It's been outside of it since April which was OK when it wasn't so hot outside, but now? She needs her car where it's cool. She simply can't take the heat any more.

Our garage is a single garage, but used to be a double garage. There are two doors, but only one opened originally (last week I got the door to open by breaking the painted on seal in the front of the garage). The other half of the garage was turned into a mudroom for laundry and more kitchen storage and they left a front portion for storage in the garage.

In the spring last year I organized it after the remodeling and again in the fall to put away the summer stuff, but this spring we needed to get to the mower and my husband bought a bike and then I started gardening and got a wheelbarrow and more tools. With that, we no longer had room for the car and while I was gardening, it was nice to have a place to put the soil, etc. Then my son and I got bikes too and a bike trailer. Now all of a sudden, we had a storage problem.

So, yesterday I took every single thing out of the garage, swept it and reorganized. The big thing is that in the storage section of the garage there is a big 7 foot tall cabinet by 5 feet wide by 2 feet deep. It's a great cabinet and we didn't want to get rid of it, but it's location was prime - the storage area in front of the mudroom. Better for the bikes to go there and the cabinet to go in the back of the garage. So, that's what I did with my teenager. I first unloaded it and then we tipped it down to get past the garage door stuff on the ceiling and then slid it to the back on little coaster thingees and then tilted it back up and slid it into place, refilled it with its contents in a more organized way and then brought everything back into the garage in a more organized way.

There are a few things we need to sell that are stored in the garage and my husband and I need to decide if we want the big tool chest in the garage or in the basement, but at least my mother in law could pull in the car. Which is a good thing. At 8:45 am this morning it was already 88 degrees outside!

I'm still working on bike storage. I got some wall mount thingees for them, so I'll see if that works. But, I'm waiting until it cools down a bit. They are leaning nicely against the wall and can wait for a day not near 100 degrees - like tomorrow when it's supposed to be 92.

While I was thinking of what to do with the bikes in the garage, I went to Dick's Sporting goods to see if they had bike racks. They had one, but not the type I was looking for, but while I was there, I decided to look around. They have the cutest fitness clothes and since it was a bajillion degrees outside, the sleeveless fitness tanks and running shorts looked appealing. I took back a size XL back to the dressing room and, they were too big! I think my jaw hit the floor. I went back, grabbed a size L and wow, the large fit! So, that definitely helped with my mood yesterday despite not happy about the near stall out on the scale. They were on super sale, so I got two sets for $40 ($10 a piece). I probably don't look cute in them, but when it's summer and I'm exercising or tooling around at home, it's all about comfort baby!

So, that was that. I walked a bit yesterday in the morning before it got too hot and then worked my arse off in the garage for 4 hours yesterday. You would think that meant I slept well. Oh, no. Terrible night of sleep, but I did sleep in a bit this morning and then did the mad rush to get the little one to school this morning.  We'll see if my monthly visitor arrives today or not. it's about 15 hours late!

Stats for 6/9/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 201.8 (almost 54 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 182
Walking/Biking total miles in 2011: 480/1000

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Well, my predictions were wrong

I had predicted that by the time I got the end of my cycle, I would probably get close to 200 pounds. Figuring 201 to 202. Well, nope. I'm down a bit today to put me at 203.2. My usual steady decline during these two weeks lasted for only a few days this time. Wah! I think it's because my working out has been lesser than. I do something every day, but it's not an hour. It's 30 minutes or what I do is long, but not strenuous. A lot of that has had to do with erratic sleep schedules of mine and my youngest son. And some headaches too. Or who knows. I'm definitely not eating too much. Heck yesterday I was running errands and didn't realize until 3 pm that the only thing I had eaten so far during the day was a protein shake! I seriously wasn't hungry. I ate a snack then and then ate a big (healthy) dinner, but was under 1000 calories for the day. I simply wasn't hungry! My guess hunger level for the next couple days will be lower. 100 degree weather is a natural appetite suppressant! Not that I plan to be hanging out in the heat, but I do need to clean out the garage and reorganize it so my mother in law can park in there which means being in the shade in the heat. And I'll have to go on watering duty to help all those young plants and those in pots too.

I must admit, my mood isn't the best this morning. Hormones anyone? I really could have used a drop on the scale this morning. But then again, we did have chicken fajitas last night for dinner and something about fajitas make me retain water. I won't give them up though. Besides the water retention, it's a nearly perfect meal and so yummy!

OK, off to start another day. I won't let the little guy sleep in this morning since I know he slept OK last night. This mama has plans today!

Stats for 6/8/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 203.2 (a bit more than 52 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 179
Biking/Walking totals in 2011: 472/1000

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

And biking success!

After my mediocre short ride with my husband the other afternoon, I was a little worried about my plan to ride my bike everywhere, but... it is possible!

First, I had to get my bike together today. First, I got the lock attached (later I realized that it's not snug enough, so I'll have to tighten it tomorrow), then I got the Burley Travoy trailer set up. I had to do some finessing with my rear bike rack to have it work, but work it does! As a reminder, it's this: http://www.burley.com/home/bur/page_416/travoy.html.

When it was all set up, I did a little tour on a couple local streets. Yep, this was going to be great. You can't even feel you're pulling anything. So, last evening I rode my bike to the grocery store. Now, I know there are trails everywhere going through my city, but I've explored almost none of them. See, this is one of the things about me and walking. I enjoy a good walk, I really do, but I don't like to just wander about aimlessly. I also don't enjoy a boring walk with very little view or not very scenic. That's probably why I don't like walking in big open areas. It's boring to my brain and it seems to take forever to get from point A to point B. Biking makes things so much quicker. Now, since my mind is still in the "boring suburbs" mentality, I didn't really have a desire to walk trails not knowing what to expect, but man, I was so ill informed. The trails through this area are so interesting. There are little bridges crossing streams all over the place. There are boulders and it's all tree covered. Since my town doesn't allow privacy fencing except to block off super busy streets, even the areas near people's home are open and inviting, not blocked off by miles of wood privacy fences.

The big worry I had was that the ride would be too hilly and I would need to end up walking a good portion of it. However, that wasn't the case. While the roads are hilly, it seems they designed the paths to avoid the worst of the hills. The twist and turn and branch off all over the place, but I studied the map well before heading out and carried it with me in my handy dandy map holder for the bike. My iphone map system doesn't have the trails marked yet which is a bummer because google maps does.

I didn't make any wrong turns and while it was going mostly uphill and I was in 1st through 3rd gear most of the ride there, I could do it. There was just one tiny stretch that got to me. My heart was going 160 beats per minute and I came to a complete stop. I got off the bike and about fell as they were shaking, but I only had to walk up about 15 feet before I could hop back on. I was so amazingly surprised that only one little hill was a problem and in a couple weeks, I'll be strong enough to do that hill, with no doubt.

I got to the store and locked up the bike and undid the trailer thingee. I could just pull it along and fill it as I got things, but with a helmet and small purse, I found it easier to just fold up the trailer and tuck it under the cart. Yep, it's that small! I'm a pretty visual person, so I knew how much I could buy safely and I got quite a bit!

I got 20 Gala apples, 4 boxes of cereal for the kiddos (big time sale), 4 boxes of herbal teas, 2 loaves of bread (I rode my bike instead of staying home and making bread!), a liter of drinkable yogurt, a packet of beef jerky, a bag of yellow onions, 5 large red pepper, a packet of swiss cheese and the movie Cars. I started to load it up at the self-serve check out and the cashier commented on the cart. Then, when I was loading the cart to the bike, three more people commented on how cool and great that was. And it truly is great. Maybe it will inspire more people in the area to bike and not drive to the stores. I can hope!

The ride home was fast and easy which is good considering I now had a full cart behind me. It was all smooth sailing and I felt so great. Like really great. I was exercising with a purpose. I was doing something good for the environment and I realized this is something I can do from now on unless it's too dark or snowing. (Another reason why winter stinks! The days are so bleeping short!)

I did decide on a bag for the rear bike rack too. the only style that will fit with the bike are the ones that go complete flat or even with the bike rack. They can't be above it in any way. That left two bags. The green flower one or the canvas city scene one. I decided on the city scene one. First, it's recycled canvas. Two, it has two outside pockets and three, it's just more style and fits the bike's style too. I can't wait to get it. That will allow two more bags of groceries.

Other news is that my husband and I are going to a concert at the venue near us. We live near a very large venue (we can hear the concerts most evenings), which we love. We are seeing The Decemberists. Tomorrow I will bike to the ticket office (buying directly from them is no additional fee while all these ticket selling places online have a fee - they even give discount for cash!). Since that ticket office is just next to the library, I'll pop into the library too. All within 2 miles of my house.

We did buy our house knowing that everything was very close to us and convenient, but we both misunderstood how convenient and pleasant it would be to live where we do. I am so utterly thrilled to be able to move around my city without a car - all schools from preschool to community college, the hospital, the mall, the library, the 'downtown' the grocery store, the farmer's market, restaurants, movie theater, several lakes and a county park - all here within 2 miles. A bit far to walk because of how long it takes to walk it, but a perfect bike ride. I think I'll be getting every cent's worth out of this bike and trailer and getting more and more fit while at it.

Stats for 6/7/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 203.6 (exactly 52 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 178
Total miles walked/biked in 2011: 470/1000

Monday, June 6, 2011

All about the bike!

On Saturday afternoon we got my son's bike. He was pretty excited about it and then on Saturday evening I went first to Target to get a lock for my son's new bike and then I went to get my bike, waiting for me and a lock for it too.

When I got home, I did a quick test drive around the cul de sac. I felt so free! I figured out how to turn on the generator headlamp and the taillight and took another spin. Yep, this was the right choice.

Yesterday, Sunday, was a rough day for me, but I did get out and started to piddle with getting the bike ready. First I got the basket on. I was a bit worried the basket would hang too low and block the light, but no worries. All's fine and it looks so cute and it will be useful!

Then my husband took a little tour around the cul de sac with my bike (and with the basket - ah, so cute!) and he likes the internal gears too. See? I know! Awesome! And then he suggested we take a spin around the adjoining circular street. That street is 1/3 uphill and 2/3s downhill. I had to walk a bit of that uphill climb. I just don't have the strength in my legs yet to power all the way up. My husband could and that sparked a bit of competitiveness in me! I don't want to be wimpy! Not that I want my husband to be wimpy either, but I want to be able to keep up!

After that very short bike ride (we wanted to do more, but my 6 year old was not dealing well with his lack of sleep and wanted mom home), I tried to get the new bike lock clamp to attach to my frame, but after struggling through the bad directions for the basket, I didn't have the energy to do it. Today then, I hope to get the bike lock on, the new comfier seat and to get the little trailer thingee to work.

My goal is to not drive to the grocery store except in winter. There is no reason I can't ride to the grocery store 2-3 times a week to get what we need. It's just a couple miles there and back. I know that initially, I will have to stop and walk the bike up the hills, but I also know how quickly the body builds strength and soon, very soon, I'll be able to power up all the hills there and back. Bike riding muscles are just differently used muscles from walking and aerobics. But I'll get there!

The one last thing I need to decide on for the bike are panniers for hauling stuff - like groceries or library books. And, my deep hope is that I will find a job that is biking distance and then I'll bike to work on all days except snowy days. The community college is 1.5 miles. The hospital is 1.8 miles. The downtown business offices is one mile and the schools (primary, middle and high school) are all within a mile. I'm not looking for a glamorous job at this point. I want one close, easy to get to, and a fast commute so I can still be there for my kids. But, that's jumping ahead of myself.

There are three possibilities for panniers. Buy one more of this type (we already have one that my husband uses):

Here is a link that shows more photos: http://www.ebags.com/product/detours/toocan-grassy/139755

My worry is that it will interfere with the little trailer thingee behind the bike. Look how high it sits (not my bike, but a photo from online):

That pannier is almost as tall/high up as the bag on the bike rack. Plus, and this is the petty sounding part of me. I want something cute. This is my bike and I want something a bit girly and fun. I'm tired of being so darn practical with everything. This company used to make a girl pannier, but they are completely sold out everywhere. I've called and checked the couple of sites that said they still had them - and they don't. Today, after I check if this pannier sits too high or not, I will call the Detours company to ask if they are planning on making it again. One store I called said they were, but that's all second hand information. Isn't this a cute bag?

But again, look how high it sits up on the rack/side of the bike. This is a big if, but I'll know within the hour if it will interfere or not. At least we have one of these bags, so I can be sure either way.

Now, this company still has in stock some panniers of a different type, but they don't have any internal organization, no waterproof cover and it's a bit smaller. It's advantage is that it can become a backpack. Here is the other bag:



And here is a youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkFkCWsZ6j8 But again, it sits high.

Then, the other two possibilities. One is another removable bag. it folds flat and is a bit smaller than the toocan. It's not super girly, but it's functional. The Bontrager City Interchange Grocery Pannier: 


That little zipper covers the hooks that attach it to the bike rack when not in use. Pretty practical, but also the most expensive option. It sits lower, but on the 'fun' side of things, still pretty blah.

Then there are these. The green one is cheaper (cheaper material and no exterior pockets):

Looks like this (different color shown) on a bike:


See how it sits flat, so it shouldn't interfere with that bike trailer thingee. However, they are meant to stay on the bike at all times, not to be removed every time you use it. it's possible to lock them on, but also the straps are a deterrent too in that they are hard to undo.

Of coruse, I prefer the more expensive one with the outside pockets, but it's nearly double the price:
This is how it looks on a bike:


And, of course, these last two are the smallest of the panniers. They are big enough for groceries, though. (the heavier groceries would go in the trailer thingee).

I can't decide. Price is all relative as the difference isn't huge, but it's about what will be more useful. Being able to take the bag off is definitely useful, but I don't like the options. I suppose I could do this one as a removable bag:

See, too many decisions, which is why I haven't made one yet!  You all have any opinions? I would gladly entertain them!

Stats for 6/6/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 204.0
Exercise total hours in 2011: 177.5
Walking/Biking total miles in 2011: 467/1000

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Did you think I would miss a day?

This day has not been my own. It's one I wish I could restart from midnight onwards.

First, my husband is a night owl, so he gets these ideas of doing projects that will be "quick". Last night's quick was until 1:30 am. Now he had slept until 9 am that morning. I had gotten up at 6:30 am. But, at least it's a Sunday and I can sleep in again. However, my kindergartner woke up at 5:45 am. He saw light in the sky so that meant morning! so, he couldn't go back to sleep. I tried rubbing his back, lying beside him in his bed (easier to do now that I'm smaller) and it was a no go. We got out of bed finally at 7:15 am.

I woke up my husband at 9 am and was hoping to take a nap. I weighed myself, and as I knew from the night before, I was up. It's something about canned beans or salsa - or both. I know it's water, but still. Not a way to enhance my mood. At 11 am I tried to take a nap. I felt myself slipping into sleep, but then my mother in law came upstairs to ask how to use the vacuum. My husband was having my son show her when I shouted out that I would prefer no vacuuming while I'm trying to sleep (as her living room is right below my bedroom).

Ok, I try again. My little one is running up and down the hall saying, "Look this room is empty." I don't know why. Then my older son (his room adjoins mine) is shouting to my husband across the hall about this computer gizmo he wants to buy with the money he's earned. I tried, tried to sleep for 45 minutes. It was impossible. So, I got up and warned everyone that I was likely to be a big ole grump and to just not push my buttons. My 6 year old wasn't in much better shape either with getting less than 8 hours of sleep too. (He usually sleeps 10 or 10 and a half).

I had lunch, watered all the plants because the rain we were supposed to get didn't come and then piddled with getting my bike ready. Did I mention bike? Why yes,  I have it, but that will be tomorrow's post when I'm in a jollier mood from getting more sleep.

Of course, I'm sitting here at 10 pm and I should be in bed, sleeping, but I'm wide awake. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to turn it all on and off at will?

Other news is that my blood pressure is coming down some more, so now I'm down to 10 mg a day. (Highest was 40 mg a day just 5 months ago).  I'll be checking it more and more (twice a day) to see if I can start weaning myself from it completely. That will be a big check off the getting my health back in order!

But now, I must go sleep!  Night all! Just 14 hours late with my blog today!

Stats for 6/5/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 204.4 (I know - up 1.4 from yesterday so much for onederland this cycle!)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Temporarily feel like I'm in a race, blood sugar, and getting my bicycle (and my son's) today!

I am in that post ovulation, pre period hey days of weight loss. In the past four I have dropped a significant amount each day. I have 4 more days (max) until my period starts. My body is having it's own race to see if I'll get below 200 this cycle or not. All bets are on not, but as I predicted at the beginning of this cycle, it's going to get very, very close and then (most likely) I'll stall out. I have to admit, it's kind of fun watching where I'll end up this cycle as I'm beginning to really know my body's tricks fairly well! I'm still going to predict that I'll get to below 200 sometime in the next two weeks, just below it. And then, as the ovulation weight starts to come on, I'll go back over 200 for 8-10 days, and then should whoosh down and never, ever see it again. But part of me is still irrationally hoping I'll get to that big milestone yet and it get it out of the ovulation weight gain territory. But, not by doing stupid things! Exercising moderately and eating low fat, lower calorie, but safely!

Speaking of exercising, I did Reebok Step - The Video again last night and it felt great. I added a bit of propulsion to up my heart rate a bit and it felt good. I took it out for a bit here and there to lower the heart rate a bit as I got tired, but added it back in when I could. Love, love, love that routine and it doesn't aggravate my back - no twisting motions in it which I just don't want to do on a carpeted, plush floor.

We had pizza for supper last night, so I decided to take my 2 hour post eating blood sugar test. And WOW! Pizza spikes me. The charts for someone who does not have diabetes say that 2 hours after eating, the blood sugar level should be under 140. if you have diabetes, good control is under 180 (though this is too liberal an allowance - Type 2 diabetics should aim for the 140 too and those not diabetic normally are much lower than 140). Anyway, the pizza put me at 155. It's that white bread. We got a thick crust and wow! I just can't eat that. Maybe thin crust would be easier on my blood sugar. I'll have to check. When that happens though, there is something I can do about it and that is to lightly exercise because exercise (light - not hard core) lowers blood sugar. So, that's what I did - I exercised and hopefully, that brought down the blood sugar faster. It was nothing dangerous high, but when I eat a low carb meal, my blood sugars are around 80 2 hours after eating 80 and 155 is a huge difference for me.

And lastly, today is going to be a high of 75 and sunny. How perfect is that? We have no plans, so I think it's a perfect day to ride bikes! First, we'll get my son's bike and then, I'll go pick up mine. I am so excited! For a family bike ride I need to ride the buddy bike tandem with my little guy, but I can take my new bike for a spin later on my own. Might throw in a picnic today (after I grocery shop as we are like Old Mother Hubbard's house right now).

Stats for 6/4/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now 203.0 (52 and a half pounds lost)
Exercise total hours/minutes in 2011: 177
Total Miles Walked/Biked in 2011: 465.5