Sunday, December 16, 2012

A weekend of such mixed emotions

The weekend started with such a horrible feeling in my heart. Learning of yet another mass shooting and this time with little ones as the victimes, less than two weeks before Christmas. It just made me realize all the more how lucky I am - now and always.

While that was with me all the rest of the weekend (and will be for a long time - and I will be more and more proactive about things) I also had a very wonderful weekend.

I spent 7 hours on Friday baking and decorating cookies. I could have seen it as one huge duty I needed to do, but I didn't. I made between 450-500 cookies. I had already planned my talk for Sunday School, practiced it and polished it as well as it could be. I could see the house would be cleanable in a whirlwind vacuum and dusting on Saturday, so I set to baking.

My mother in law (just home from a cruise and a bit under the weather) said "I am beginning to hate Christmas". How sad really. To her it just seems like one big duty. Oh, if she would only stop thinking of all the "duties" and just enjoy - take in how excited her grandson gets. Notice how people light up with a cheerful smile. Make something yummy and watch people enjoy. Sure, some of the prep can be difficult or labor intensive, but just hold onto how wonderful the payoffs are. That's what I do!

Friday night I organized all the baked goods for Sunday School, sunday platform, the Cookie exchange party, my husband's holiday party, my son's school teachers and the left overs for the family. I cleaned the kitchen and then soaked in the tub and readied for Saturday.

I spent most of Saturday cleaning. I picked up the family room, moved the clutter out of the basement, tidied my son's room, got my husband to dust, my older son to run the vacuum, and I made the salad and then got everything arranged/set for the party. We had a wonderful, wonderful party. There were 40 people, 14 of them kids. Oh my goodness, their wonder and joy is so catching. I had my son set up a couple of trains - kid heaven. The basement was a rec room fun fest. They were having so much fun doing everything else, they didn't even want to stop and make the gingerbread trees! Only the arrival of Santa got them interested in leaving the fun stuff and then they were ready to make the gingerbread trees after Santa's visit.

After the party I was smiling ear to ear. I was tired, but happy. To wrap up the day, my husband and I cuddled on the couch with a spiked eggnog with rum (and oh boy, a good eggnog is sooooo much better than the cheap stuff!)

I got a full night of sleep, showered and loaded up the car for today's Sunday. I was giving the talk today which is already a bit stressful, but today was the first ever chorus rehearsal too and I had a stand-in for my usual role. Then, I had a gay/lesbian panel for the sex. ed class I usually teach, and I had a stand in teacher for that class too. And it all went so well - the talk, the chorus rehearsal, the guest panel. Yay!!!!

We came home, ate a quick lunch and then I went to my first ever cookie swap. It was fun to see what people brought to exchange and I even got to finally meet a local person who I have gotten to know a bit through Facebook and that was nice.

I came home to a family happy to see me, easy leftovers to heat up for dinner and now I'm sitting here with the family in the family room. We're listening to the Muppets, A Green and Red Christmas while I write this blog and my husband reads stuff on the computer and the little guy is drawing pictures.

Now if I can just hold onto this feeling. I keep going back to those children, those innocents slain by a crazy man, but then I have to let it go. I will be proactive. I will speak up, but I also need to enjoy my life and move on. I also realize, only not fully enough, innocents die around the world every day and some of it due to our own actions.

But I also need to grab these wonderful, peaceful moments and savor them.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Plan for this holiday versus last holiday season

Last year I took a planned break from exercise and eating regime. I had been 100% on task for 11 months and I decided a break was what I needed.

I thought it would do me good - and in a way it did. I just got discouraged afterward at how long it took me to lose the weight I had put on. I also got frustrated at how much I had to back pedal at the gym, especially with weights.

This last year, the entire freaking year, has been - gain, lose, gain. lose and recently gain and now losing. Started the year around 184, got down to 175 back up a bit, dow to 165, up to 175, then up to 185, then down to 174 and now back up to 183 and working my way down (currently 182).

Some of the ups and downs were injury related, Some were just getting lax. Some was vacation stuff. But this year, even though I didn't intend it to be, was very much a "how will this go the rest of my life". Up and down and up and down.

I tend to have big swings on the scale. My body reacts quite strongly to eating carbs. So it can climb up 10 pounds in a week with most of it being water weight. Unfortunately, it doesn't come off as quickly (usually). I know it's not all fat as I can see the swelling in my feet and I keep a tally on the calories in, but big, wild swings will probably be the name of the game for the rest of my life.

As I've had a year to see where my body likes to settle and where my eating habits are concerned and exercise habits go, I'm thinking for realistic measures, between 160-170 will be my maintenance range. Hoping to keep it around 165. That's a good, realistic weight for me. Should be a maintainable weight too. We'll see how it goes, but I am more wanting to work on body fat percentage. I want to real shoot for 25% which I think, with exercise and working out I should be there at/around 165.

To do that though, I absolutely do not want to take a break in December. So far so good with holiday parties, etc. We have already had one party - and I didn't go crazy. I didn't take a break day for my birthday (had yummy swordfish with a pomegranate green peppercorn reduction with a pomegranate salsa with a side of steamed broccoli). This weekend we have another party, and I will not go crazy and I do not plan to do a lot of baking this year. I am doing one big bake off today and probably one next week - that's it.

I want to start the year not up on the scale, but DOWN so that I can start the year not having to go even further than I need to go from here. Right now, I have 17 pounds to get to 165. I don't want to make that 20 or 25 pounds!

So, no holiday breaks this year. This year was the year of breaks and enough of that!

Tomorrow, I'll detail my plan a bit.

Scale 182.4

Thursday, December 13, 2012

As Promised, Back at it and a shoulder update

Glad to say it was only the blog I wasn't really "doing" and a bit too free with the food the past couple weeks, but not buck crazy either.  Scale still says 182.

So, other things to update. Well, my bum shoulder. I hurt it way back in April. Finally started doing PT for it in October. In November, they told me they suspected a Labrum tear and to go to an orthopedist for an MRI. They expected it to be small and not anything to "do" for it, but they needed to know what was going on with the shoulder more before they could do more treatment.

So, I went to the orthopedist late November, had an MRI last week and this Tuesday I learned that it's unclear if I have a labrum tear - if I do it's very small and not viewable on the MRI with a dry MRI (meaning they didn't inject a contrast to show more of the shoulder). What it does show is rotator cuff tendonitis which is also impingement and from overuse. He gave me a cortisone shot, ordered more PT and a follow up appt in a month.

My shoulder feels about the same with the cortison shot, but maybe a wee bit better. Basically, nothing terrible going on there, but it's overused and I need to rebalance the muscles and rest the shoulder from certain movements to let it heal.

But, I'm a bit bummed. I had JUST gotten to a new strength level too - I can now do 24 full length pushups in a row. I can lift the most weight I've ever lifted. I had been at standstill for what seems forever and now I'm told to back off - again.

Add to that, with cardio, I'm at the max I can do for keeping my heart rate up without doing higher impact which then I run into my bladder issues. I could just drop weights for awhile while this heals and do cardio- running, fast walking, step aerobics, etc, but then I have bladder leaking issues and pretty annoying ones at that. I'm not ready mentally to have the bladder surgery done as well, I want to GET TO GOAL FIRST! I want to be at a good place with the weight loss and fitness level before I have to stop and not exercise. I need to be there mentally so that I don't feel it as such a terrible set back.

UGH! Can you sense my frustration? Darn body! Neither injury/issue is related to an exercise injury either - one from giving birth to two enormous babies and the other from doing something stupid with a 2 wheeled cart.

I could do the eliptical machine I supposed, but I get some bored of that with just FIVE minutes of warm up at the gym. I detest cardio machines. Maybe more spinning classes (not overly fond of those either and I still have bladder issues when we get out of the seat - sometimes).

Anyway... that's the shoulder update. Now I should call the PT so I can continue with that.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

No excuse, just needed a mental break

How its been more than 2 months, I have no idea.  I didn't plan on taking a break. That wasn't my intention, but things, life, just got too overwhelming.  I was trying to juggle the 2 part time jobs that required a lot of writing, 2 intensive speech therapies, 3 times a week for my son, 2 times a week physical therapy for my shoulder, taking care of a home, as well as trying to maintain at least one of my personal blogs and trying to stay on top of my fitness.  I just got burned out with writing,  I needed to write for work, so I kept that.  This, my lifeline to staying on top of things all fitness and eating related, got dropped.

Two weeks ago today my one part time job which was temporary, ended.  Just before that, my physical therapy ended (temporarily), and two of the three sessions a week of my sons speech therapy ended.  I took one week to just veg, I window shopped. I Christmas shopped online. I used some much needed me time.

So far this week, I've gotten back into the groove with getting projects at home done, and got a presentation in order for my remaining  job as well as getting things more in order for that job and I celebrated my 43rd birthday. I'm finally ready to jump back into this blog again.

As far as how I've handled fitness and eating, it's been a mixed bag.  I've managed to get in 4 workouts a week, 2 of them weight training. I am physically stronger than I have ever been. Eating has been mostly hit or miss with the last two weeks especially, miss.  Scale says around 182. Definitely not my plan as I hoped to at least stay at 175 by year's end, but for not tracking and for being unbelievably busy, it's not horrible either.  I think a lot of is water weight from too many carbs.  My big problem is that I've upped the sweets as I lost sleep with being so busy.  As life is calming back down, my desire to do better is getting better too. There is actually hope that I will be 175 by month's end if I am holding a lot of water weight as I suspect (and if a cortisone shot doesn't make me hold water).

So, I am 43.  I started this blog after just turning 41- thinking about 42 and how my dad died at the age of 42.  This last year I've spent trying to make fitness and better eating a lifestyle and it's mostly there of that I'm so proud to say. I've now reached an age my father never did.  I don't say that with sadness.  My dad wasn't a part of my life when he died.  He had walked away from us kids when I was a preteen and he died when I was 22. He died 20 years ago now.  I have so much more that he ever had and for that I'm thankful.

So, I am back and I plan to be stay back.  One last final push for this year.  And I WILL finish this weight loss journey early next year.  While this year was a success in maintenance (mostly), I want to finish this weight loss thing!

I'm back, I promise!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Am I liberated woman or not?

This has nothing to do with weight loss, but this is stolen from a conversation I have going on with a couple of friends.

It all started with us talking about planning a Halloween party. We truly are three women all giddy talking about planning a party. We all love to throw parties, and we get all excited about cooking, planning, etc.  We asked ourselves, "should we make this a party where people bring Halloween type food?" and then had to ask, "or is it that we are just crazy people that like such things and most other families will not like that idea of having to think of "halloween" food?

That then branched off into women's roles... are we liberated women because we like to cook and plan parties and do domestic things? Or are we slaves to societal expectations of women being the nuturers and caregivers?

To me, it's all about this: is it a choice I'm making or is it about an expectation of me? For me it's choice. I choice to cook and do things for my family. My husband doesn't expect it from me (the home cooking and homemade bread, etc). I like to do it because it makes me feel good to do it and to give such things to my family. And I was a stay at home mom for years - I choice that path. No one forced it on me. But does that make me a throw back to another generation? I don't think it does, because it's more complicated than it seems.

So, here's what I was writing to a friend about how I had to make a choice - family versus career:

When my older son was about 2 years old, I was working full time, trying to juggle being the mom I wanted to be, the wife I wanted to be with the employee I wanted to be. Before I had kids, I was a go-getter at work. I worked hard. I pushed myself and I had drive.  But then I became a mom. The first year I stayed home with him (while going to grad school at night and weekends when my husband would watch the baby 3 nights a week while I went to class - bringing him to me in between classes on Wednesday nights so I could nurse him as he refused to take the bottle - ah, fun times).  

Anyway back to when my son was 2... I was killing myself with commuting, working, trying to be a good mom, spouse. I remember one night just bawling and bawling to my husband - who was deep in a very vigorous PhD program at the top business school in the world. It was so vigorous, that anyone who was a significant other were called PhD widows as there simply wasn't time for family/dating/fun in the first two years of that program. People were amazed that his marriage didn't fall apart as all the other relationships of couples in that program did fall apart (and that was the most difficult time in our marriage). He basically wasn't there because he couldn't be there and I understood that - it was an investment in our future, so I sucked it up not that I didn't have times of great self-pity and have periods of feeling resentful. I am no saint.

Now, what if he were a married woman with a child in that program? And I took note that there were no married women with children in the program. A couple years later there was a pregnant woman. She dropped out of the program after her child was born - it was just too much. Men don't have to make those difficult decisions (or as often) and while I could say it's societal, I dont think it is. I think women, as nuturers by nature, struggle harder with the feeling of neglecting their family for other commitments. Men aren't as nuturing, so they don't feel the guilt pangs of leaving their child for 12 hours a day (or more).

So, one night I was bawling and bawling...I looked at the people in university administration that were higher up than me. They were single women - no kids. Or, married men with stay at home wives. Or, in the two cases that there were women; one had a nervous breakdown, was hospitalized for exhaustion, and eventually she resigned her position. The other got married at 40, had a baby at 41 and another at 46. When she had the surprise baby at 46, she volunteered for a demotion so she could have more time with her family. Family and career? Didn't seem possible.

It was then that I realized that every woman had lied to me whenever they told me I could have the career I wanted and have the family life I wanted.THEY LIED TO ME... or they were delusional. 

I realized then and there that I had to make a choice. I could go for the career I wanted or be the parent I wanted, but I couldn't have both. In the end, I chose being the parent I wanted to be because I could always go back to a career and rebuild. I couldn't redo parenting. Plus, in a job, I could and would be replaced - I had experienced that before - no employee is irreplaceable, no matter how good they are. I was not replaceable as a mother. 

From then on, I had somewhat of an inner peace. I worked and still gave a lot, but I didn't kill myself. I didn't put in the tons of extra hours that were required for moving up in the field. I would just stay where I was, holding steady, until my kids got older and I could the think about career again. Then, when we moved and my husband was only staying one year as a visiting professor, I decided to stay home. That year was blissful for all of us. Then, we moved to Virginia and I started looking, but I got pregnant immediately and then, well... looking for a job while pregnant? And then asking to quit? Then we decided I should stay home for awhile and then we kept deciding on delaying my re-entry into the work force. My career opportunities shriveled up, but I would make the same decisions again. And now I'm in the rebuilding my career phase again now that the kids are older.

So, perhaps I'm old school and not liberated, but I chose my path and would choose it again. Am I a perfect mother because of staying at home? Of course not. I am not the mother I want to be, but I'm closer to what I wanted to be than I was as a working more. I did do the working full time and parenting full time for 6 years when my oldest child was little. Those were some very, very tough years. He was so much happier when I stayed at home. I had time for him and his activities and life was just more relaxed.

Now that I am going back to work - easing myself back into it, we are already feeling the shift of priorities. I have less time to make homemade bread. My house is a wreck, I'm behind in taking my car in for a tune up and it's getting more difficult to squeeze in time for fitness. I've pulled leftovers out of the freezer twice this week too.

Working full time and parenting full time is no joke. It really is very, very difficult to balance both and my hats are off to all parents who do it and do it well. For me, I just found it easier to give up the career for awhile, but I have to say, I'm also itching for a career again. I love work, so dipping my feet in with both thee part-time jobs has re-awoken that desire in me to contribute to the world in the work environment too. And with a family that is growing up (kids are 16 and 7), I don't feel as guilty about working. I have given my best to them for a decade.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My appointment with the physical therapist

As you may or may not recall, in April I hurt my shoulder. It wasn't during a class or while doing landscaping. No, it was while I was at the grocery store and pulling a cart. This cart is the one that can pull behind the bicycle. It was filled with food and when I went to pull it, I didn't realize I had it turned around backwards, so I yanked it the wrong way and that wrenched my shoulder back in a wrong way.

It hurt pretty bad that day and led to migraine headaches and muscle strain in my shoulder and neck. That's when I stopped going to body pump for awhile.

The pain got better and it got to the point that it only ached here and there. When I pull on a door sometimes. When I sleep and put my arms over my head, it will wake me up from the discomfort.

I started doing landscaping in the yard and it didn't bug it and this later summer I started back up with body pump and it didn't hurt it. Yet, I would still have this ache in certain movements (none of which I ever do in weights class).

My husband convinced me it was time to call a physical therapist, so I did. That appointment was on Monday. The PT first took the history of what happened, and then he started doing a series of tests. He examined my posture, my flexibility, my range of motion, my balance and my strength. If anything hurt or ached, I was to let him know.

In the end, I was proud to hear that I was strong and he could tell I was active. All in all my range of motion, flexibility, strength, balance are all very good and stable. My posture though needs some tweaking and that was probably what led to the injury.

The shoulders round more forward than they should and the shoulder blade sticks out in the back more than they should (and I know that my posture has gotten better, but 20 months of being active doesn't undo decades of not being active). This, over time, has led to an imbalance in my muscles - I'm too tight in front and not strong enough in back - it is priming my shoulder for an injury as it can't rotate normally. Both shoulders and it's probably causing some impingement issues.

Then, I did have that injury. What I also found is that a lot of the other problems I sometimes get - tingling in the right pinky, carpel tunnel liking pains in the forearm are all caused by the shoulder problem. Basically, my nerve is impinged is part of the problem, but when I wrenched my shoulder I injured one of the heads of the biceps which runs through the same path as the nerve and since that opening is already being squeezed wrongly, that biceps head hasn't had a chance to heal. Lastly, there is a possibility of a tear in my lakrum. That can only be discovered with an MRI. If it's bad, it might need surgery, but it is probably small if it is there at all. We'll see soon enough.

All this time my shoulder had only ached dully. However, after all those simple tests, my shoulder aches a lot. I did body pump tonight and found that it was aching more than usually and my forearm was aching more than usually - all that arm is just 'off', so going to the PT in the short run, stirred things up that were somewhat dormant.

Here's hoping things get better! For now I can keep doing what I'm doing for fitness and I'll be doing PT twice a week. I'm starting with some stretching exercises for the shoulders to correct my posture. And let me tell you, my back muscles are FEELING it!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Just fun, frivolous stuff

I'm glad I have a busy life. I'm a happier person when I have a busy life, but we can slow down a bit, OK? Geez...

Anyway... lots of little stuff - some of it trivial, some of it ponderings, but it's about my day on Sunday and my thoughts.

First,  I didn't post at all yesterday as I was out and about from 9 am until 10:30 pm. Then I was just wiped out.

So my day yesterday... Sundays I always go into Virginia for Sunday School where I teach. That usually means that I leave the house around 9:15-9:30 am and we get back home around 2:30- 3:00 pm or so because we usually stop at Whole Foods on the way home.

This Sunday, there was another meeting at 6 pm that I wanted to go to. It didn't make sense to drive home 45 minutes and then to drive back an hour just so that I could spend 3 hours at home. So, I just stayed in Virginia and hung out for a few hours - alone, no kids, nowhere to rush off to. Ah!!!!

So, after Whole Foods (where I sent my husband and younger son off with the other car), I decided to go to a posh mall nearby. I wanted to go to a particular kitchen store as I hadn't been there for a long time and I really like kitchen shops and another favorite fun store.

I parked the car outside of Neiman Marcus, so that meant I had to walk through the store to get to the rest of the mall. I entered on the second floor from the parking lot. I entered near where they have the handbags. It's beautifully arranged with each handbag in a little spot light. There's a Prada section, a Fendi section, and I walked down the middle near the Jimmy Choo bags. $3000 handbags are commonplace there.

I had to go down the escalator to get to the main level. At the bottom they have their Christmas area set up. Yes, they do. it was September 30th folks - a day before the start of the month of October -  and the Christmas stuff was up. I walked by a pretty wreath - $180.

I then had to walk by the ladies dresses. They were pretty and again, there aren't tons of things, just a few highlighted items. There was a sales rack in the middle. Every day/business dresses were on sale for $400. I saw a really pretty dress in the regular section. Their sizing is European. They had a 44 which is the same as a 8 in US sizes. I had no intention of buying it, but I thought, what the heck. let me try it. I asked a sales lady for help (as changing rooms are individual rooms that are locked). She opened the door to the changing room that had a huge lighted 3 sided mirror, a comfy chair to sit on and tons of space. I was asked if I would like some water while I tried it on... Um, no. Made me glad that I was still all dressed up in my better clothes. If I went in my mommy clothes, maybe they would have just laughed at me and not let me try it on. (Kidding). I just would have felt sillier.

I tried on the dress and it was cute - artsy and fun and it fit (though not with the bra I had on). Tempted to buy it? No. I was not going to spend $895 on a M. Missoni dress. But I saw vanity sizing hasn't skipped the top designers either.

That was enough of that store - onwards! I didn't go into any other major stores, but take a look at the directory. Sure, they have a Macy's. It's not the typical Macy's. This is the posh, super high end stuff you don't see in the typical Macy's. I'm telling you - the only people who can buy in these stores are the "once in a life time I'm going to splurge" kind of people and the super rich. You know, the Ann Romney types. An outfit - shoes, dress, handbag would cost between $2000-$5000.

Yet, there is an entire mall like this. And it's not like this is the only mall like this in the DC area. So, there are other posh places too - for the super rich. Seriously, if you are that rich, why not just have your clothes custom made? Why go to a mall? It was bizzarro!

So, I went to my little kitchen shop (also browsed through Williams Sonoma) and found the stuff I was looking for - gems in the clearance section. I got a Kugelopf pan. Yes, they are different than bundt pans for cheaper than I can get elsewhere, a mixer blade for my mixer (cheaper at SLT and those by KA), and finally, this little jobbie, Kwik de Buyer Piston Funnel. No idea what I'll use it for yet, but it was out of box and way cheap, so I got it. Spent about $60 on fun stuff for me that will last forever and ever, unlike a dress I'll wear once or twice and that's it.

Then, I went up to one of my favorite stores. I love Anthropologie. I never allow myself to look and to be tempted by their regularly priced items. They are simply pricey - too pricey for my blood, but probably one of the cheaper stores in that mall. But I love the vintage, kitchy feel to it. They do, however, have great, great sales. The only things I've ever bought from there though are home items. I have a couple blankets, a few hand towels, that fabulous cake stand I adore, and a book or two. I have never, ever been able to wear anything from there.

Last January, when I gained all that holiday weight, I went to their store and I couldn't fit anything. Not only was I too tubby, but I have boobs. I think that store is for the tall and thin with small frames. I still love it though and hoped one day to have something from that store as I would have never imagined I would ever be able to wear something from that. it's like the "dream" store... which also means I dream of having a different body type than the one I have - grass is always greener?

So, this time, even though I'm not back down to my all time low, I decided to take a peak at their sales rack. I did see a really cute overalls jumpsuit. Not something I'm usually drawn too, but it was cute. They had only two sizes in the store - a size 0 and a 10. Well, my experience with Anthropologie is that their sizes run small, but I thought I would try it - what the heck.

I got into the room and find myself almost able to wear the ten - if I didn't have to breathe and if skin tight was my style. I could see it would be really fun and cute though. But, for $70, it wasn't that cute and it didn't fit.

After that I walked back out of the mall and drove closer to where the meeting was going to be held. I found the Barnes and Noble and hung out there for the last couple hours. I love bookstores. I walked out of there with a couple of Halloween books for my 7 year old. Yep... might have only been away from the kid for a couple hours, but I thought about him. Got the classic Charlie Brown story, and a nice one about the circle of life with the pumpkin (yes, I'm a bit granola-like). Oh, and a Halloween activity book. Man, he LOVES that thing!

So, kitchen stuff for me and books for the little guy. For a day out, spending under $100 bucks (no food or drink) isn't too bad. If my spouse complains, I'll go and buy that $895 dress that I'll be able to wear a few times and that's it.

Then, I went to the meeting, which was great, drove home and on the way home, I got to thinking about that jumper. Dang it... that jumper is denim. That jumper might be the thing I should be trying to fit into by the end of this Rock Your Jeans event. Silly me... I could zip it up. It would be a challenge and I would look so good in that outfit once I was fit and trimmer. Darn it, Melissa! Why didn't I think of that then! I don't live near an Anthropologie store!

Last night I looked it up online and yes, they have it in the online store, but not in a size 10 or 12 or 14. Ugh... Then I got another brilliant idea. I had to take my son to speech therapy today in Baltimore - they have a couple stores around there. Maybe, maybe one would have it there? So, this morning I decided to look up the number to the store. When I went online to find the number, I typed in the number on my phone and then went to the page of the overall/jumper so I could tell her what I was looking for. My heart jumped as I saw that the price was reduced again. It was $39 now. That would be great if I could find it, but now it was also more likely to be gone.

I called the store and asked if they had the overalls in a 10 or 12. She looked and they had them in a 10, not a 12. I asked her to hold them for me. After my son's speech therapy, I drove the 7 miles over there. And here, again, is another HUGE mall and lots of posh stores sprinkled with more normal upper end stores. I had no time to look, but man... good thing I never go mall shopping. I could get in serious trouble - another Sur La Table store, a Williams Sonoma, a Pottery Barn! Eeeek! All dangerous places for me. This "clothing" thing is a new thing for me as shopping for clothes has gotten fun after eons of it being pure hell and demoralizing.

Anyway, I went to the store and went back to the sales rack. They had a bunch of them in the store and they had the 10 and the 12. How did the sales lady not see the 12? Do I go for the ultimate challenge of the 10? TIGHT? Or do I go with the one that is pretty close to fitting perfect now? I wouldn't ever wear it as a overalls without a shirt... which should it be? I chickened out and bought the one that fits me close to perfect now (and it is cute). I figured... I can always take it in if it gets baggy, but I just didn't have the faith, in the end, that I would skinny down enough to be able to wear the 10 at any point and then I would have wasted the $41 after tax. Wanna see it? Here (Don't tell me it won't look cute with a shirt, because too bad - that's how I'll be wearing it!) While I was looking online, I also saw this. Now come on - a $350 Levi's overalls? huh? Even when that goes on major sale it will still be about $100 and still way overpriced.

But back to the size 12 instead of the size 10... did I wimp out on getting the 12 after all? Am I selling myself short on getting that much smaller? It's just hard for me to imagine myself getting much smaller just with more work on strength training with a personal trainer. Can't tell if it's that I have too little faith in myself or that I'm just being realistic.

Phew... I was long-winded today and now you know even better than my spouse does what I bought yesterday and today. Now... no more shopping!

And that darn scale has been creeping up on me - HATE that.. but it's water - hormones are at it again. But I fulfilled a dream today! I bought an outfit from Anthropologie and it wasn't even in their biggest size - even though I did wimp out and got the 12 instead of the 10.

Highest weight: 275  Now: 175

Saturday, September 29, 2012

So, my jeans trying day was yesterday!

I didn't spend a whole day jeans shopping. I hit one store, tried on a couple and that was it. That now makes three days I tried on a few jeans and the conclusion each of the times was the same. The 10s are too big. They don't 'feel' that they are too big, but that is because of the lycra. Now that I've tried on others, I realize that they are.

The size 8 is probably the best size for me at this current second. They go on easily, they feel nice. The size 6 is just a tad snug, not unbearably so and not crazy, horrible muffin top snug, but tighter than I would wear my jeans (though jeans are supposed to be snug when you try them on).

For shits and giggles I did grab a size 4 in the design and cut of the same jeans I ultimately bought just to see how they would fit. This Rock Your Jeans thing is supposed to be a challenge to fit into a smaller jeans. Well, I don't see how it will ever be possible to fit into a 4. I couldn't even get them past my knees (so no, there are no photos of that!). Yes, I've tried on a few extremely large 4s in the past, but those are just jeans/skirts that are clearly way out of line with the mainstream.

So, I think this size 6 will be it! The size to try to skinny into for all my pants. I highly doubt I'll ever wear a 6 in a dress as I have a bigger upper body (large rib cage and boobs) and bigger upper arms, but that's OK! I'm completely satisfied in knowing that I'm wearing (or close to wearing) a size 6 on the bottom. That is a 12/14 from my high school days. Don't believe me? I have a size 16 LLBean skirt from 1995 (the oldest piece of clothing I own) that fits perfectly now... LLBean always tended to run smaller than most stores, so their 16 is more like a 14 elsewhere just like their 10s today fit me more like other store's 8s.

As promised photos. These photos aren't the greatest and they don't show all the jeans I tried on as I didn't have a camera the first day I tried on jeans - the day I discovered I could wear 6-8-10.

So... my current jeans - size 10 DKNY:

 Now when I see them, I see they are a bit baggy. Are they wearable? Of course, but they aren't great.

These here are the jeans I tried on at Ann Taylor two days ago. I took the photos to show the fit, but I didn't like the cut of the jeans - the pockets were too low on the butt and overall, they didn't fit great:

Here is the 8:

 And here is the 6:

I didn't have more time that day, so I went home to try again yesterday. Yesterday I went to Nordstroms. They were having a big sale, so I thought, why not. I can try a lot of different brands there. Well, I only tried Lucky Brand. I went in thinking I would try Calvin Klein, but I didn't like the cut. The sales associate said I should try Lucky Brand. And I liked them.

Here is the 8 in a straight leg:

And here is the 6 in the same designer, but in boot cut:

I simply cannot see the difference in fit between the 8s and 6s. Maybe if I super, duper nitpick I can, but there is 1" size difference between the 6 and the 8 in all the brands I tried. That's not a big difference. They 'say' there is also just 1" difference for the brand I'm trying on between the 4 and 6 too. Um, I don't think so!

So, that was my jeans shopping experience. I got these Sofia Boot Lucky Brand jeans. Did I pay $99? for them. Nope. They were 40% off at Nordstroms and then yesterday they were giving away $20 gift cards if you spent over $40. These jeans, with tax cost $41. Not bad at all!

 I tried on a dress later and I need a large. I'm simply not petite and never will be, but I sure hope I'll be Rocking those jeans with a better fit (less snug) in a few weeks!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Trying on all sorts of jeans today!

I tried on some jeans yesterday at Ann Taylor, but didn't have time for more. Today, I'm taking the day to go shopping for jeans. I'm going to try on all sorts of jeans. Ones that I wouldn't normally even look at. I just want to see what is out there and what looks good.

I will take my camera with me and I will show different sizes and styles. I even wore a form fitting T-shirt today so it doesn't cover up the jeans (and muffin top) too much.

When I was at Ann Taylor yesterday, I tried on their Skinny Modern jeans (didn't have time for others). I fit the 8 and the 6, though a bit snug, wasn't too bad either. I just didn't like the cut of the jeans. The pockets were too low and the leg of the pants were too skinny. I prefer more of a straight cut.

The sales associate, when I returned the garments to the rack said that I was trying the wrong sort of jeans for my body. She started pulling all these boot cut and flared cut jeans. Some with slash pockets in the front. They are just so not me. And how can a 50 plus year old women, with a completely different build from mine (she was tiny), and 3 - 4 inches shorter than me know what looks best on me by seing me standing in front of her with a dress on?  (Here's what I was wearing yesterday):

While I agree the jeans I tried weren't great, I am pretty sure they are better than the boot cut. I told the sales associate that and she said, "that's because you wear the wrong shoe with the boot cut. That's why they look bad." So... you're supposed to wear a different kind of shoe just to make a pair of pants look better? How about I wear good comfortable shoes and buy pants that work with the shoes. It's the SHOES that are important (as I only buy shoes that don't hurt/harm my feet.).

With straight leg pants - I can wear flats, sneakers, boots or even a shoe with a bit of a heel. Ugh... Anyway, I left un-impressed. I hate sales associates bugging me. I know it's all about a commission, but for some people, it's best to leave them alone. If they aren't looking around for help or giving signals for help, they probably don't want help.

Anyway... I'm off! Busy day today! I'll post a ton of photos tomorrow - and not just flattering ones - but real and true!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I'm in for it now - working with a personal trainer

I did an interview today with one of the people in charge of the personal trainers with the organization I work for and for where I go to the gyms. I had no idea there was so much you get when you hire a personal trainer.

So, I learned a lot about what I'll be getting very soon with the Rock Your Jeans Challenge. For the Rock Your Jeans challenge, I'll be meeting with a personal trainer once a week for 8 weeks. In the first meeting, they spend an hour doing all sorts of tests - and I mean a lot of tests. Then, in the next week, they go over everything and use that information as a baseline as well as information on things that need work (along with your wishes) to come up with a program.

I just had absolutely no idea that they took measurements, used a fancy scale (no idea how accurate it is), did a stress test, a flexibility test, a physical fitness test (to exhaustion test) as well as a test on body alignment, and more. I'm sure I'm going to find out all sorts of things I had no idea about. I hope some of it is good news and not all bad!

When you are finished, they will retest many things to see your progress. This is, of course, what makes it worth it. Even if you don't see a loss on the scale, you should see gains everywhere else - flexibility, strength, agility, well, ok, losses of inches on the measuring tape!

I'm sure for most everyone this is super embarrassing, but hey... I can't see how I got better if I don't go through it.

And, I probably wouldn't have had the courage to do this until recently, which is a shame really as I think it would have been really useful to have this service - helping me along the way so that I had more support with my weight loss journey and my fitness improvement.

I had a few people tell me it would be useful, but there were several reasons for not doing it. 1. and mostly, was that I was embarrassed with my weight and my lack of fitness. Who did that hurt? No one but me, of course.

2. Money. with me not working, it was too difficult of me to ask my husband if it was OK to spend the money on a personal trainer. Don't get me wrong, he probably would have agreed to it if I felt it would have been useful, but I would have felt guilty about it. I would have wondered, always, if I was wasting money or not during a time we were pinching pennies more than now- like "Maybe I could have done just as well on my own without spending all this money."

And I guess 3. is Fear of disappointing someone else. I didn't know what I was capable of. I was afraid of failure. And, since I am a people pleaser, I was afraid of letting down a trainer. I want to be able to live up to what they expect of me. I didn't want to find it was too hard and that I gave up. Maybe not on all of it, but it would be hard for me to go to a gym later if I felt I didn't give my all to PT sessions. My problem, yes, but that's the way I am.

Now, with some time at this and some more personal growth. (Yes... even at 42 you can still grow! ) I'm ready for it. I'm ready for getting somewhere it would be difficult for me to do on my own and I know now that I'm really only disappointing myself and hurting myself if I give up or don't give my all. Personal trainers will care (if they are good), but they also won't be dissappointed in me either if I can't do one more push-up.

Will I decide I want to do more after these 8 weeks (besides continuing with working on my fitness)? Who knows. The gym will have a Biggest Winner contest in January and then following that The Next Great Eight (for the next 8 weeks following the Biggest Winner event). That would give me 24 weeks of personal training at a discount, working with others with similar goals to my own. Might even help me meet some new people too. (I still have a pathetically horrible social circle!)

All I know is that I'm looking forward to working with a personal training and working hard for this last bit of the year and I'm glad I'm overcoming a lot of my hangups.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Trying to figure out what size jeans to buy - not easy

So, I am joining the Rock Your Jeans event my gyms are hosting. I was going to do it, then my partner backed out, so I thought, "maybe this is a sign and I shouldn't do it" and then someone I work with asked me if I was going to do it and if I wanted to partner up, so I said OK. As an added bonus, since I work for the organization, I get a significant discount (woohoo!) I'm also going to use this opportunity to write for work about various classes - trying out new ones, etc.

Anyway... here's the description of the program:

In this program, you are supposed to buy a pair of jeans 2 sizes smaller than you currently wear and see how you progress in 8 weeks. Or, bring in a pair that are too small now that you wish to fit into soon. I don't have the latter, so I need to buy jeans in a size (or two) smaller.

I currently wear, quite comfortably, a size 10 in several brands - Calvin Klein, DKNY, Eddie Bauer, Anne Tayler, Anne Klein. I have a size 8 in Ralph Lauren that fit fine. When I was getting down to 165 with working out in weights and cardio, I was in between an 8 and a 10, but... what I was finding was that my hip bones were what was keeping me from going from a 10 to an 8 where all along the rest of the journey, it was the waist line.

I know I'll be doing more heavy lifting (reading and gearing up for NRFL program) and I will be building more muscle, so getting smaller, but I'm wondering if two sizes for me is unrealistic?

If I get another pair of pants, it should be of the same brand and style to be like for like. Right now I can wear 8-12 depending on the designer and cut. However, I just cannot see myself wearing a size 6 (or so I thought - more on this in a moment) Yet, I'm probably not that far now from being able to wear 8s.

Deciding what size to buy is difficult. It will be more than 2 months from purchasing said pants, so returning them won't be possible in most stores even with tags still attached. I have to decide if  I should go with a 6? or an 8?

My height 5'6.5", 173 pounds and my current measurements are 40.5-32-41.5. When I was at 165 I was 40-31-41. I would love, love, love, love, love (add a few more loves to that) to get maybe my bust and hopefully my hip measurements out of the 40s. If I can do that, I will not feel like such a freaking tank!

My shape - according to calculators, I'm straight shaped as the different between waist and hip isn't great, but I do not look good in low rise pants. There's nothing to hold them up. I need midrise for the best fit and either straight leg or skinny leg, not boot leg - believe me.

Anyway, I just went to TJMaxx and tried on these jeans. I had forgotten my camera at home. I wish I hadn't as I would have liked to show you all the fit of these jeans! I am in utter SHOCK.

So... I was wearing a pair of DKNY size 10 that were a comfortable fit. I think they fit perfectly. Well... found out something interesting.

 I took back to the dressing room these brands and sizes - why these? because these were the brands and cuts they had in all three sizes.

Size 10: wearing a DKNY midrise straight leg, Not Your Daughter's Jeans (NYDJ) boot leg, Levis Bold Curve Straight Leg

Size 8: DKNY midrise straight leg, NYDJ boot leg, Levis Bold Curve Straight Leg, Ralph Lauren Boot Cut

Size 6: DKNY midrise straight leg, NYDJ boot leg, Levis Bold Curve Straight Leg, Ralph Lauren Boot Cut

Size 4: Michael Kors Boot Cut

Now, as I said, I do not look good in boot cut, but I was wanting to check fit of the pant in the waist and hip. I would worry about finding the right cut of the leg only when I'm ready to buy.

What I found: 

Size 10: wearing a DKNY midrise straight leg - fit fine, NYDJ boot leg - too big in hips, Levis Bold Curve Straight Leg- can't get them over my hips easily

Size 8: DKNY midrise straight leg - fit perfectly, NYDJ boot leg - fit perfect, but I hate the style, Levis Bold Curve Straight Leg- couldn't get it over my hips, Ralph Lauren Boot Cut - fit slightly snug in the thighs

Size 6: DKNY midrise straight leg - fit slightly snug, but not a serious muffin top, NYDJ boot leg - fit slightly snug, again, not a serious muffin top, but I still hate the style, Levis Bold Curve Straight Leg didn't even try it, Ralph Lauren Boot Cut - couldn't get it over my hips easily and too tight in the leg

Size 4: Michael Kors Boot Cut - fit slightly snug.

Why did I even have the size 4? it was the last size 4 in the line next to the 6s and it looked big. I decided to try it, just to see.

Now, what in the heck do I do???? In the brands that fit me now, I can fit (without cutting myself in half) into a size 6. How can the same cut of pant fit me in 10, 8 and 6?

Truly, what is the size difference between a 6-8-10. It must be incredibly little. yet in levis- I couldn't even begin to put those on in a size 10!

Basically, I have no idea what size I wear and what size should be my goal size and forget knowing what size to buy for this getting fit event. Good grief!

When I was a 20, it took 20-25 pounds to drop one size. Same on down to 14. Then from 14 to 12 to 10 it's been about 10 pounds per size, but now??? Is it like 5 pounds? What?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

If money weren't an issue, would I get surgery?

I was just asking myself this question after reading another thread. I know I will never have skin removal surgery because it's a moot point. It's not covered by health insurance for most people and I'm sure I would never be able to convince a doctor of it's necessity either as it doesn't hinder me or cause me problems in any way.

But I never asked myself, "well, what if money wasn't an issue?" Would I get the surgery?" And you know... I don't know. I have loose skin on my abdomen that could be taken care of by surgery and I have terrible bat wings. My inner thighs are wiggly too - not sure anything can be done about that one.

I ask myself, "Would I be willing to put up with the pain and healing for vanity?" As, for me, it would be about vanity. And, could I risk serious health side effects and even death for vanity? Again, I don't know... I'm thinking that even if everything was covered by insurance and that I didn't even have to pay a copay or deductible, I wouldn't do it.

And I think that's because I'm 42. I would probably feel differently if I were 25 or something. I'm married, plan to stay married. I'm scarred by pregnancies and my husband loves me and is happy with my body now. So... why would I risk so much? I might be willing to risk more if I had more years of feeling young and beautiful ahead of me.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't think you need to roll over and die when you hit 50. I want to be a rocking 50! 60! and on up. I want people to say, "look at that grandma go!" But I guess I can forgive my body for having more imperfections at this age than I would have been able to do when I was much younger.

On the other hand... once in awhile I get a tickle in my brain about, "Wouldn't it be great to rock my clothes without loose skin? Wouldn't it be great to erase (or mostly erase) from my body the evidence of my fat past? But then... why did I let myself get fat in the first place? I wish I could figure that one out the most!

Monday, September 24, 2012

I am feeling so great!

Nothing like an agreeable scale to make you feel good, huh? That and the weather. I simply love, love, love fall. Only thing I don't like about it is the shortening days as there's not enough time in the day to enjoy it!

Yesterday, my husband and I took a bike ride together. We wanted to see how strenuous a ride it was up to a local park fairly close to us. I wanted to try it on my single bike first before taking the tandem with my son. That thing is a beast and without a lot of help from the 7 year old pedaler, I have to be able to do it myself.

Well, I think we'll be able to manage it, but I'm not sure. My almost new bike (it is 18 months old, but I haven't ridden it much as I ride the tandem one much more often as I usually have the younger guy with me), isn't working properly. The internal shifters, supposedly low maintenance, are messed up.

The bike has a minimal of 7 gears. It's the same as I have on the tandem - which is also internal gears and works fine despite being a much older bike with more use. Anyway... What works: 2-4-5-6. I'm not even sure if they are those gears. It 'tries' to go into 1st gear, but can't. I can't even get the shifter to get to 7th and the 3rd and 4th gears are the same. It could be that I have gears 1-2-3-5, or worse  3-5-6-7. I need those lower gears for the hills! So, I will have to take the bike in. I'm not happy about it as it was not a cheap bicycle! Grrrr...

My clothes are all fitting better and I just took some measurements yesterday morning and they are back to where they were before I went on vacation, but... they are still an inch higher than when I weighed this same weight on March 1st! UGH. Muscle is smaller than fat. Must mean I have more fat than I did in March. Darn it!  Well, only thing to do is to keep working on it as I am. It too shall follow! But I am making progress!

Stats for 9/24/12:

Highest Weight: 275  Now: 172.6

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I really needed this Whoosh!

My body has been so discombobulated these past few months that I haven't seen losses, real losses for a long time. I got waylaid by an injury, switched up my activity, started a new job, changed my thyroid meds, went on a long vacation, started my son with more speech therapy (takes up 8 hours a week) and  well, that's a lot.  My cycles got messed up and I couldn't even count on my typical monthly pattern of stall out for 2.5 weeks and whoosh for 8-10 days.

Even now, I have no idea if I ovulated, but my body is behaving as if it did as I'm dropping weight nearly every day this week after holding steady for over two weeks, despite working out and eating right. I was hoping that I would see a whoosh, but I hoped that last month too and didn't get it.

This cycle, so far, I'm down 8 pounds. I don't think it's all fat (and muscle), but stubborn water weight too as I was re-adjusting to everything. I could tell that I looked smaller in the mirror recently (measurements go down typically before the scale goes down), so I'm not too surprised that the scale followed suit. I'm just a bit surprised at the amount of weight that is coming off - but pleasantly surprised.

I'm holding onto this feeling too as who knows when I'll see a drop on the scale again. Big losses like this don't happen as often at this stage  of weight loss any more.

In other news, my friend and I have decided for sure to join the Rock Your Jeans event. So happy I found someone to do it with me! Yay! I'm hoping that intense workout (and paying for that) will be what I need to push me to the end. I am now very, very fixated on the 160 by the end of the year. That would be so freaking awesome!

With that, I'm going to resist all temptation of cake batter and frosting that I'm about to go make for Sunday school tomorrow - nothing like a drop in the scale to motivate me to be good to KEEP that drop on the scale!  Better do it before I get too tired as tiredness makes me make worse decisions, always.

Oh, and happy autumn everyone! My favorite season!

Stats for 9/23/12:

Highest weight: 275 Now: 172.8

Friday, September 21, 2012

Funny how my mind works - that darn goal number

As you all can tell, I've been struggling around the same weight for quite awhile. I do well for awhile, get waylaid and then I have a gain, have to lose the weight again and then repeat.

My end goal has been a few times, to get to 155. Why 155? Well, that would take me to the OK BMI healthy range. While I totally don't think I'll be any less healthy at 160 than 155, there is that mental line - I had crossed into even societal, medical practice, insurance norms. Even if it's a ridiculous thing to think about it, it's there in my head.

Then there is the fact that 155.6 is exactly 100 pounds from when I started this current journey in January 2011.  There's something magical about that whole, round, big number. Saying 95 pounds sounds impressive, but also like, "oh so close to 100 pounds. Can't I make it an even 100?"

So... even now, I go back and forth with the end goal weight. My husband thinks 155 is possible, but not necessary. 160 is fair, good, and probably even gets me to the body fat percentage I want. And, he's right.

When I'm struggling with gains, or stall outs or feel unmotivated, I really struggle with the 155. It seems so elusive - so far away. Then I have a good streak, and the scale cooperates and then I get this idea in my head again of, "Well, why not? Why can't I make 155 if I lost 5 pounds this month?"

But of course, one month, one whoosh might not be followed for another whoosh for several weeks, or even a couple months. Those last few pounds are hard fought for. I can't really drop my calories any more without feeling terribly hungry. I can up my exercise, but that's hard to maintain especially with jobs and kids, etc.

Though right now, while the scale is dropping and I'm feeling strong, I'm thinking about it. 155 is only 19 pounds away. That doesn't feel so huge! Of course, 160 is closer and feels even more attainable. That's only 14 pounds away! Since I got down to 165 for a microsecond, I now know 160 is attainable. So, I'm going to ignore my desire to drop my ultimate goal of 155 (for now). I'm zeroing in on that 160 number. If I can to 165 by the end of the year, I will be so happy, and if I get to 160? I will do cartwheels. Hmmm... I haven't done cartwheels since I was in middle school. Think I would hurt myself?

In other news, I made an appointment with a phsical therapist about my shoulder. It's bugging me again. Before I start heavy lifting, I need to see if I have an injury I need to address.

And by this post, can you tell that the scale did another big drop?

Stats for 9/21/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 174.4

P.S. I now FINALLY match the weight in the top most picture on the right (again). Woohoo!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Inspired someone and they gave me a feel good too

Today when I was walking back from dropping my son off from school, I passed by a couple of walkers as I walk fast naturally now. I lived in a planned community that has a lot of pathways for walking and we live just off of one of the 3 lakes for the city, so there are always a lot of walkers. 

One of the people I passed by was an Indian woman, about 50 years old or so. While I was passing her, she asked me a question.  She asked, "Excuse me, can you tell me (something). I can tell you are a fast walker. Can you lose weight walking?" 

I stop and I tell her that I've lost about 100 pounds and most of it was done by walking. She looked so shocked she said, "Really? Oh my God. You look so thin. I cannot believe you used to be so fat. I'm sorry I don't mean to sound rude, but I am fat, but you look so thin!" I laughed and said thanks, and told her that yes, I used to weigh 275 pounds. 

She looked shocked again. And said, "You did it all by walking?" I told that much of it was walking, but that I also go to the gym for classes and lift weights. I told her that walking is great exercise even for me now. I just walk faster, but yes walking was a big part of the losing weight.

Then she looked puzzled and asked, " Excuse me for being so rude, but you weigh 175 pounds?" I replied that yes, I do (only fudging by a pound). She then said, "I weigh 170 pounds and I look fat and you look so good and thin." 

And now I was shocked, I hope I didn't show it, because I would have guessed she weighed 190 or so because she was quite heavy. Not morbidly so, but she was overweight and I would never guess in a million years that she weighs less than me because I can only know how much I weighed when I looked that way. It would have been over 200 pounds with my height compared to hers.

She was about 5'3" so 170 will look different on her than on me, but she probably has a small frame and has little muscle mass. I have a big frame and probably significant muscle mass. I'm still 16 pounds from where I want to be, but it made me feel good. I get it frequently, "You look thin." I am not thin.. it's that I have muscle and fitness. People confuse thinness with looking fit.

The woman then said, "Thank you so much for talking with me. I'm just starting with walking, but you have inspired me. You look so great and it helps me be more motivated to keep walking."

And it motivate me too. People see my results and it makes me feel good. Now I want to do even more strength training. I can see the results from just the month of work I've been doing at the gym after taking some time away from strength training.

But this does go to show that people just can't get past the numbers on the scale. If people were to really look, they could  probably see I need to lose a little (by today's middle age standards). I know I need to lose weight and build muscle, but when I hear things like what this woman says (and someone at school said the other day too), it validates, a bit, that yes...the scale doesn't tell the whole story.

Stats for 9/20/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 176.2

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gearing up for the change at the gym

I've come to the conclusion that the thing I need to do to get the rest of this weight off and to up my metabolism is to increase strength training. This goes along with the joining the Rock Your Jeans event too. I just need to up what I do for exercise in the weight room and rely less on classes.

I'm not done with the books I want to read to educate myself, but I'm about halfway through the New Rules of Lifting for Women. I just finished the nutrition part.

I was happy to see that they don't condemn diet soda and caffeine - I have these things in moderation, but I do enjoy them. They also agree that alcohol is a waste of calories and hinder weight loss - already drew that conclusion too. The emphasize eating nuts and the fats that I already eat - check, and they recommend even the balance of food I eat - 40-30-30 - approximately.  I was tickled to even see that they recommend the protein bars (Atkins Advantage- why? They are high protein and low carbs/sugar) I use and the whey powder I use. Yay!  So, food-wise I'm right on track with recommended eating even with their nutritionist. But... I eat less calories than the recommend.

This is where it gets hard to trust the experts. According to their calculations, on non-workout days I should eat 1639 calories for weight maintenance. This, actually, seems pretty accurate for my age, weight, activity level. For work-out days, they recommend eating 1913 calories for weight maintenance.

For the beginning, they want everyone to eat at the weight maintenance range - one month. After that one month assess. Are the pants getting looser? Tighter? Scale going up? Down? if things are going in the wrong direction, then it's recommended to lower calories, but otherwise stay the same.

What I've been doing is eating at or around 1550 calories everyday (there is always a 100-150 range) even on workout days. I don't give my body a protein shake after working out - which is where they want you to get the extra calories on workout days.

I'm nervous about changing what I'm doing, but I also understand you need to feed your body to gain muscle and that's what I want -to gain more muscle to boost my metabolism.

I'll keep reading and see more about the program, but I'm getting kind of excited about changing things up!

Oh, and the scale is my friend today - down two pounds from yesterday!

Highest weight: 275  Now: 176.4

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

So proud of myself - I resisted (mostly) cookie dough!

Saturday night my younger son and I made cookies for Sunday school the next day. I finally got a chance to use my new Sesame Street cookie cutters I got from Williams Sonoma. Watch the video on cute ways to use these cutters. So versatile. We decided to make sandwich cookies - sugar cookies sandwiched with Ganache. I also did a review for the product, so you can see some of the finished cookies in the review.

Anyway, you know my track record with cookies, right? Well, we made 130 cookies (makes 65 sandwich cookies). I ate an equivalent of one sugar cookie. That's it. And I made room in my daily calories for that one cookie too. I was so proud of myself!

Next day I had one small cookie and also counted that in my calorie allotment and didn't go over. I have to try the finished product, right? And since then I haven't touched them. There's two left as of this morning (all but twelve were eaten at platform).

And, my efforts are beginning to pay off. My size 10 shorts which were feeling tight are feeling less snug. Still not nearly as loose as they were, as I was heading into size 8, but they are no longer tight. And this morning the scale finally moved downwards a bit. Finally! I have a feeling it will slide down a bit more this week - first size, then scale is typical for me.

I've started to read some weight lifting books. I'm thinking of transitioning out of the weight lifting class and doing it on my own. Well, not really on my own, with my husband, but out of the class setting. I need to find times that work better with my schedule. It's really tight now with the two jobs, 3 different sessions of speech therapy my younger son has and other school and meetings, etc.  Plus, at some point, the class won't be enough and I'll need to do more.

It was a good weekend for me. It was a three day weekend here as the kids had the Jewish holiday off. My younger son and I went to the Natural History Museum in DC. My older son slept until 4 pm!

Stats for 9/18/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 178.4

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Got my strength back!

Today at BodyPump, I decided that I was going to push myself really hard and see where it would take me. Not that I haven't been pushing myself, as I have been - hard, every time, but I had extra motivation this time. I would be able to get to the weights I had on the bar as I did when I stopped in April due to an injury AND for some body parts, I would be even higher.

BodyPump isn't exactly heavy lifting or light lifting. It's kind of in between. I know now the research is all on lifting heavy, but for now, at least, I know I wouldn't lift weights if it weren't in a class, so that's what I do - I do the class. Maybe, after I read these books "New Rules for Lifting" I will switch it up and start doing it differently, but I hope my husband and I will keep doing it together as it's something that helps both of us. What I do know - lifting what I do now is still better than not lifting at all.

Anyway, back in April this is where I was with weights for each track/body part:

Warm-up: 3.5 kg on each end of the bar.
Squats: 10 kg on each end of the bar.
Chest: 5 kg on each end of the bar.
Back: 7.5 kg on each end of the bar.
Triceps: 2.5 kg for kickbacks, almost all the triceps dips, half the triceps push-ups, 5 kg for overhead
Lunges: 3.5 kg on each end of the bar.
Biceps: 3.5 kg on each end of the bar.
Shoulders: 1kg on each end of the bar, 4 lbs for rotator presses,  2 push-ups on the toes, rest on knees
Abs: all crunches, all planks and side planks.

This is more than most people have in the class for most things. I had the heaviest for women for squats, back and average for chest, lunges, biceps, shoulders and abs, weaker for triceps.

When I went back on August 15th or so, I had to drop some things way back and, I was way, way sore after that for days.  This is where I started back up a month ago:

Warm-up: 2.5 kg on each end of the bar.
Squats: 5 kg on each end of the bar.
Chest: 2.5 kg on each end of the bar.
Back: 5 kg on each end of the bar.
Triceps:  4 lbs for kickbacks, almost all the triceps dips, half the triceps push-ups, 5 kg for overhead
Lunges: 2.5 kg on each end of the bar.
Biceps: 2.5 kg on each end of the bar.
Shoulders: 1kg on each end of the bar, 3 lbs for rotator presses, all push-ups on knees
Abs: all crunches, half the planks on the knees.

Today, one month into getting back into doing BodyPump twice a week, with pushing myself hard each and every time. I'm now here:

Warm-up: 3.5 kg on each end of the bar.
Squats: 10 kg on each end of the bar.
Chest: 5 kg on each end of the bar.
Back: 8.5 kg on each end of the bar.
Triceps: 2.5 kg for kickbacks, all the triceps dips, all the triceps push-ups, 5 kg for overhead
Lunges: 4.5 kg on each end of the bar.
Biceps: 4 kg on each end of the bar.
Shoulders: 2.5 kg on each end of the bar, 4 lbs for rotator presses, 4 push-ups on the toes, rest on knees
Abs: all crunches, all planks on toes and half the side planks.

The ONLY thing I'm not back to where I was are the abs and I think I wasn't able to do it today as I was full out of steam because I upped my weights on: squats, chest, triceps, lunges, biceps and shoulders today. Of course, all of that needs core stability, so my abs were just DONE by the end.

For most things, I only went up half a kilogram per side from last time. I wasn't sore after last week, so,I decided to see if I could do a bit more and I could - without missing any reps either. I was grunting pretty loud at the end, especially on the shoulder track, but I finished it!!!

My guess is that I was able to do such a rapid increase because I didn't really lose the strength over the 4 months I wasn't doing bodypump. I wasn't inactive for those 4 months. I was doing landscaping at home! I manually ripped up sod, dug up/turned over all the dirt for a 200 square foot garden, laid a stone pathway, applied 12 cubic yards of mulch all over the yard, planted a bazillion perennials and annuals, removed a half ton of sand off the driveway and hauled ceramic pots all over the yard. My upper body actually, got stronger, especially my triceps, for some reason.

It just felt great to day - after feeling soooooo bad when we started back up, I was like, "really, I lost so much?" I guess not. Muscle memory? or what? I don't know, but I'm feeling stronger!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Going to the dentist today

And I'm a bit nervous. I was blessed with naturally straight teeth, but not the strongest teeth in the world. Add to that I don't feel dental pain until it's root canal time.

I've had some pretty horrendous trips to the dentist which led to an almost phobia. The last couple trips have been better, but I still wait until the last minute and have to listen to lots of harping from my husband before I get in to see the dentist. Which, is stupid as it just makes whatever problem I have worse.

And I know I have teeth issues. I have a tooth that is broken - in the back and there is no tooth above it, so that will probably have to be pulled. Then, one of the teeth I have had a root canal and a crown, I think, isn't in very good condition any more and he might want to start talking to me about getting an implant. Egad... that's just giving me the heebie jeebies. And, two more teeth it's difficult to floss between, which probably means decay between the teeth, so at the least, fillings and hopefully not more.

Sounds like fun, huh? My teen has to go too. He's had better luck with the dentist. Let's see if it still holds true as he doesn't have the best brushing habits.

I'm sure today will just be x-rays and getting a plan, but the discovery will not be fun especially when I know there's stuff going on in my mouth. Argh!

As I've said to my husband about my teeth before, "I'm too smart to be so stupid about going to the dentist", but having a phobia is not rational. Having several treatments where the numbing didn't work will do that to you.

I would say wish me luck, but I guess the best I can hope for is wish me as little treatment as possible - like maybe it's just 4 teeth versus 8!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Is it possible to already be feeling the lack of sun?

The last few days I've really felt myself dragging. I've been going to sleep and sleeping well and going to bed earlier, but it's like there's a fog of sleepiness all around me. How is it possible? Or is it already the seasonal affect disorder stuff kicking in. It's only mid September!

I even spent several hours outside today. While I was outside walking around, I felt great. As soon as I came in, the funk came back. Huh? I don't get it.

I'm trying to make myself GO, but I am having serious energy issues. I know it can't be my thyroid being low as it was just checked and it's perfect. Well, I feel about as sluggish as I did when my thyroid was bad. Well, not quite true... back then I needed a nap nearly daily and I didn't sleep well at night. Now I never take naps and most nights I sleep great. Not sure what to think about all that.

Other than that, I got from the library some books on weight lifting. I started reading them last night. Good stuff! For now for weight lifting I've been doing a class, but if I do this 8 weeks challenge at the gym, I'll probably be doing some weight work outside of classes and I want to be sure I'm doing things correctly and not outdated stuff. Even in the years that the first of these books were published (2003), things have changed and the new book has updates. These books are: The New Rules for Lifting Weights. (the 2003 version) and there's several more. The most recent book is The New Rules for Life and I guess they have another one coming out in December. This was my night time reading last night! One night it's cookbooks, the next night it's weightlifting. Makes sense, right?

But... I'm struggling with energy. My eating is OK, but boy is my energy LOW. Hope I'm not getting sick! That didn't even enter my mind as I'm so rarely sick, but perhaps?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Was led to a cool nerd fitness site

As the premiere of the new Hobbit movie is fast approaching (I cannot wait to go see it!), interest in all things Tolkien I'm sure will start to pick up (again). I love, love, love the books and I love, even more, the movies. Is that a terrible thing to say? No... I'm a visual person, so I like seeing things and Peter Jackson's vision of the world of Hobbits is much like I imagined them myself, even better.

I got my first introduction to the Hobbit as a kid when there was the  animated movie. I think I saw it (and the follow up movie) a few times after that. One of my favorite songs and one I used to sing a lot to myself was this one: Where there's a whip, there's a way! (Rankin/Bass were awesome!) 

When I was a teen when we had to read the book in 7th grade. I had just moved to Cedar Falls from Waterloo, Iowa and the English class was in the middle of reading Tolkien's, The Hobbit. It was not difficult to catch up! At the end of the reading of this book, we watched the movie and I had a new appreciation for the movie because of the book. Sure, it skips a lot, but I knew more and watching the movie helped me relive the book as it came to life.

I tried reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy several times, but I never could get into it. For one reason or another, I would get interrupted for a week or so and when I would try to jump back into the first book of the trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, I would find myself lost. There were so many characters and names and places that I couldn't keep them straight in my head. So, I would have to start the book again, and again. I finally read all three books shortly before the Jackson movie trilogy was released. 

The books are very visual. The story is rich. I mean, really, Tolkien created a whole world, the Middle Earth with complete languages! I wanted to go there. I wanted to live in the Shire! Seeing the movies made the books come alive. And the Shire, the simple beauty of nature... aw... I was in heaven and then then magic of Rivendell, and then the ugliness of Mordor, where you could feel the oppression  Then there was all the amazing, breathtaking stops in between. Jackson did a brilliant job with the cinemotography for these movies and the images are in my head forever.

So, this piqued my interest as a Middle Earth fan and as a walker - walking your way through the books! How cool is that! This was linked in a weigh loss forum, but it's for anyone. You can walk and then when you come back in and log your miles you can see where you have walked to. Check it out at: Eowyn challenge walk. Look around the site. You can just read where you have been, visual where you have been, what's happening in the books during the time you would have walked there if you were with Frodo (or with Bilbo if you follow the Hobbit book path). It's a lot of walking. It would take most of us well over a year to complete it. But what fun! 

There's a forum, challenges, places to journal your walks, etc. I'm psyched! It's just another tool to make this fitness thing more fun and exercise should be fun!