Wednesday, February 29, 2012

These last pounds take FOREVER

I went to blogger stats today and saw someone had looked at a post I had written back in August. For some reason I looked at it to see what it was. And there I saw I weighed 187 point something late August. I've only lost 14 pounds in 4 months since then. That was utterly depressing to see. I lost 14 pounds a month the first couple months! What????

And it's not like I've been falling off the wagon left and right. I had one month off - tis true and I gained in that month and had to relose (and I'm still trying to relose those 5 pounds). AND... it seems in winter I'm a bit hungrier, but still. I should be losing faster than I am. Even the little gizmo is telling me thatI am burning about 500 more calories a day than I'm consuming on average, but am I really? That would be about 1 pound a week. I would be so happy with one pound a week right now! Instead, for the month of February it seems I have lost a bit over 2 pounds for the month (one more day to see the end results).

Yes, it's a loss and a loss is a good thing and it's much better than gaining or even maintaining, of course, but oh. my. gosh. this. is. slow!!! Ugh!!!!

Deep breaths Melissa. This is for life, remember? Some months it will be easier to lose weight. Other months more difficult. What I'm learning (and my past experience should have prepared me for this) is that winter is a hard time to lose weight - especially for me who seems to have some seasonal affect disorder stuff going on. Short days, cloudy days, rainy days really affect my mood. Guess what today is? A heavily rainy day.

My goal for today was to clean the stairs in the hallway, but I'm not going to do it today because I need better light and no real outside light will be helpful today. That front entryway is so dark because of one dim light and no door or windows near it. Usually when we check the mail we keep the door open while we sort it. My mother in law has her bedroom and living room off the entrance way and she always keeps those doors close. I think if I would have really been aware of that I would have insisted we replace our front door with another door with glass instead of flat like we did. Oh well. Too late now.

Instead today I'll make my son a 1/2 birthday cake (it's only his 4th half birthday and since he had pneumonia on his birthday and didn't have cake until a few months later, he deserves a treat) and make some yogurt and some snack stuff for the kids as they are running low again. Maybe I'll sort through my kitchen pantry items too as I have some stuff I'll never use that is just taking up space at this point. I have to do something productive to help me out of this weather, scale and sleep deprived funk.

Doing bodypump and bodystep tonight at the gym. That, at least, I'm looking forward to!

Stats for 2/29/12:

Highest weight: 275 Now: 173.4

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Changing my focus of where the calorie burn is going to come from

For the next few weeks I'm going to go to a few classes at the gym, but I am going to start working on some big projects around the house. Now that I have my gizmo, I know how to watch the calorie burn too.

Today I will be running errands and will work out in the basement. I started my errands with going to the vampire for my thyroid check. I was really hoping it would go smoothly now that I'm thinner and it did, but still not without a hitch. My vein popped up - no problem there, but she still missed it and even she was shocked. She said, "How did I miss that? I'm so sorry!" But, she got it in the same vein on the second try. It didn't hurt either time because now that it pops up there is no digging around. That right there is a good enough reason to keep exercising - no more getting tortured at the phlebotomist's office! Yes, I was still stuck twice, but really no pain.

Anyway, I have a lot of projects to do in the house that I have been meaning to get to for like a year for some of them and a few months for others. I'm beginning to get spring fever even though it's still winter. The super mild winter isn't helping, but the longer days are making me come out of my winter hibernation mode. It's too early to be digging in the garden, but that's good. The interior of the house needs some attention.

First thing I need to do is to clean the steps, paint the trim on the steps and put down carpet treads. Then, I need to hang the bikes in the garage and clean out the garage of all the unnecessary stuff. We have quite a bit of stuff I can free cycle or sell. After that it will be the turn of the mudroom. I need to hang a cabinet in there, squeeze in some other storage, paint and reorganize. A lot of stuff needs to fit in that tiny little room. After that, I need to paint the hallways and entrance ways and all the trim on all the door frames. That is a lot, lot, lot of trim and doorframes. Then I need to reorganize the basement storage space as we have too much stuff out down there and more stuff we can get rid. Then, lastly, I want to go around the house, room by room and hang pictures and curtains. We are devoid of all things decorative in the house - only blinds up on the windows and not a single picture except in my mother in law's rooms. By the time I get all of that done, it will be time to move outside and plant and work on beautifying that space. That's quite a bit of stuff, huh?

I figure, I will still try to make 2 cardio classes a week and 2 strength training classes a week. That will keep me in the loop of things, but the bulk of my calorie burn for the next few weeks will be the house painting and reorganizing.

So first, running errands!

Stats for 2/28/12:

Highest weight: 275 Now 174.4

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bouncing up and down the same pound

It gets frustrating to be sooooo good and to be greeted with the same pound or two on the scale. Day after day. Week after week. Ugh! My little gizmo is telling me I'm at a deficit nearly every day and some days by a lot, but my body's rhythm has other plans. It's called stall out time of the month Melissa! Remember? It doesn't help that I didn't get as much exercise in the weeks I usually lose more, so my losses were less than they have been in the past. I have now dropped out of the 175 range, but still am hovering at the 273-274 range. One pound loss last month? That bites!

But, I can feel my body is changing. My stomach is tightening up. The muscles are holding themselves in better - I don't have to suck it in consciously as they are being sucked in on their own. I feel stronger. I feel better, so I know eventually the scale will catch up.

On Saturday I did bodypump as I always do and I was able to increase the weights on several muscle groups which is a good sign. And, because parking was so tight, I ran into the gym from a far distant parking lot. Me. Ran. That felt great and kind of tested me on the whole, "Do I think I could run?" idea. I'm not sure I can, but I will be tossing it in a bit here and there. Sunday I didn't get formal exercise in but I burned enough calories to have a decent deficit for the day and today will be a step aerobics day.

I just really want the scale to start moving. It's been stuck for what seems like forever and ever!

Stats for 2/27/12
Highest weight: 275  Now: 174.8
Total hours exercised in 2012: 41/250

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dusted off another oldie but goodie

So, last night I wanted to see how far I have come in step since I started going to the gym. I have mentioned before that I love the Reebok Step video. It's athletic moves based step routine - very basic steps, but very effective. I am not a dancy type girl and find that it just distracts me from getting in the zone. I have gone back to this video many times.

Well, the last time I did this tape was also way back in June. Back then I did it with no risers, just the step platform. And I did it with no propulsion (not that there's a lot of it in this video). At the step class I take at the gym, I always have one riser and I know soon I'll be able to use 2 risers. This is easier than the step class I take at the gym, so I wanted to see if I could do this workout with two risers.

Yep! I did it! My heart rate was up there and I was definitely working hard, but at the level I should be working. I did the propulsion too. And then, because I was still at 7500 steps for the day (and I wanted to get to 8000), I ran around the basement a bit to get to 8000. That gizmo is pushing me! (Of course, it didn't count the short bike ride I did earlier in the day).

I came upstairs and told my husband about my accomplishments. Yesterday with the strength training workout and last night with the step workout. Both things I am leaps ahead of where I was 8 months ago. Like miles ahead of where I was 8 months ago and even then I was light years ahead of where I was starting in January 2011. I am finally feeling like I am fit. Not that I can't get more fit, but that I can say and believe that I am a fit woman. I love that!

And when I was running around our basement last night to get my step count up (the room is close to square - about 25' by 27') that running around felt great. I love the free feeling movement of my body and I got to thinking that maybe I could run. I wasn't having bladder issues as I was running on the balls of my feet instead of striking with my heels. That holds my body differently, cushions the impact a bit. So, I thought, "what if I tried that outside?"

Of course, mother nature decided to throw a curve ball and the one possible thundershower afternoon today turned into a day of showers and wind advisories, so not today, but I am going to try it. I'm curious about what I can do!

Stats for 2/24/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 173.6
Total hours worked out in 2012: 40/250

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dusted off an old video and was suprised

Even the best laid plans can fall apart.

I really, really love my Wednesday night classes - 45 minutes of bodypump (resistance training) followed by 45 minutes of bodystep. It's the perfect combination of exercises and just long enough without being too long. I once did those two full classes back to back to make it 2 hours long and I was dying and I felt it took such a huge chunk of time. The express classes are just perfect. But...

It didn't work out last night.  To make that class at 6 pm means all the stars have to align correctly. I have to eat my dinner early enough. I need to have dinner done for the rest of the family (and either easily reheatable or in the slow cooker), my younger son needs to be fed and his homework needs to be done as there's no time after the class. Lastly, I need to be out the door no later than 5:30 pm because it's a drive there during rush hour and they require you to be there 10 minutes before classes start. AND I have to get the little guy to the children's kidspace. It's amazing that I've made it every time I've attempted it before, but not this time.

I got my dinner. I had dinner done for the family. I was going to be on time for me, but my younger son was busy and didn't want to be bothered to stop and eat. By the time I could finally get him to stop his business, there wasn't enough time for homework and his dinner. I looked at the clock at 5:15 pm and realized there was no way unless he ate in the car ride there and skipped homework. I couldn't do either of those things in good conscience.

My track record for going down to the basement if I miss a workout is like 0/30. But, I promised myself to do it. I had to do it. Almost like I wouldn't forgive myself if I didn't do it. And what I really needed last night was strength training. I really feel that doing that twice a week is key.

So, after my son went to bed, I got in my workout clothes and went downstairs. The video still in the VCR was the strength training workout video that I last did way back in early June. I hadn't worked out in my basement since then! I lined up the weights - 2, 5, 8 and 10 - not knowing which I would need as I use a barbell for weights at the gym. I cued up the video and dove in.

The last time I did that video I was using mostly the 5s and sometimes the 8s for the upper body portion. This time I was using mostly the 10s and sometimes the 8s. I could have used a 12 for some of it. For the lower body portion I used to use the chair for balance and didn't use any weights. Now I was using 20 lbs of weight on my shoulders and didn't need the chair for balance. At the end of the video there is a 7 minute abs section. Each time I had tried that before I was able to do maybe a minute of the video before dying - marveling at how anyone could do a full 7 minutes of abs work. Last night I did the full 7 minutes and could have done more.

Holy cow! I guess the gym has helped me a lot! Now I'm curious how easy the video step routines will feel. I might pull out a step routine tonight and check it out. I'll do a short one, the Reebok Step and if that seems easy, then I'll pop in another - or add a riser to it. I was doing it without risers before, so I'll be sure to have one riser in and see if doing it with two is possible.

It was a good feeling last night to realize that I have come a long way with my fitness over the last year. While my weight has stalled out the last couple months, my fitness is still improving and that was what it was all about anyway. To end the good night, I checked my resting heart rate as I was laying in bed - 55 beats per minute. A far cry from the 85 it was before I started working out!

Lastly, wouldn't you know it. I mention the lump I had found in my abdomen and now it is gone. I had noticed it a couple weeks ago and with my monthly cycle passing, the lump passed. My guess now is that it was an ovarian cyst which are quite common and normal - they tend to come and go and aren't a big deal 99% of the time. Of course, I will still check for it and will mention it to my doctor and will keep my appointment to see the doctor, but I am no longer worried at least.

And the scale is beginning to drop the hormonal water weight. Let's see if this month I can get out of the 170s! I've been here much too long!

Stats for 2/23/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 174.6
Total hours worked out in 2012: 38.5/250

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Having a hard time buckling down

I do great and then have a high day. Then I do great again, and then have another high day. All that equals out to is maintaining or slight gains (for now those gains are water and I know it).

I'm a bit frustrated with myself. I was chugging along just fine and then the holidays hit. I got back into the swing of things and then I got a cold. Again, I got back into things and the the kids schedule all last week was off with school conferences and holidays - more cooking and baking and again, I'm not where I want to be.

I look back a year ago and I had more determination then. I would go exercise at 10 pm if that was the only time in the day to do it. Now, I can't force myself to do it. I "say" I'll do it, but I haven't. I haven't in months and months and months.

And I don't know what it is about. I don't know if some part of me is just satisfied with where I am now -around 175 or if it's the winter blahs that are messing with me (much easier to lose weight at 240-250 than at 175). I'm actually eating the same or less than last year at this time, but with weighing so much less, I'm not creating the same calorie deficit!

I have my little gizmo that is telling me that most days I'm creating a calorie deficit, but small - very small. Without exercise, the deficit is 100-300 a day. That will take a long time to add up to even one pound (3500 calories for a pound). On days I exercise, I create about a 700-900 calorie deficit.

Today is an exercise day and I am looking forward to going, but I need to carve out exercise days more regularly. I'm skimping out on them too much. While I do try to run up and down stairs and I try to be more active around the house, it's not the same as a formal workout. AND when I don't work out, I am hungrier - always has been the case. It's a vicious cycle!

Add to that and I'm not sure my meds are right for my thyroid. I'm noticing feeling very fatigued even after getting a full night of sleep (like last night). and twice now I've felt my legs get restless (the last two days). I haven't had that in months and months and it worries me a bit. It's about time to get those levels checked again. I'll probably do it tomorrow. It's just up to me to get it done before this prescription runs out.

Speaking of appointments. I made a gyn appointment for March 1st. I haven't been since the birth of my second son which was almost 7 years ago. Why? Some of it was embarrassment of my weight. Some of it was not having a doctor in the area and simply forgetting about it - like all the rest of my health.

What prompted me now is that I found a lump in my abdomen on the right side. I think it is just a muscle cluster as it starts right down the middle of my abdomen where my abdominal muscle separate a bit (they split during my first pregnancy and delivery). I can feel those muscles now and the lump because I'm not buried in heaps of fat. The lump is about golf ball size and hard, but not painful and I can only detect it when I'm lying on my back with my stomach muscles relaxed. My husband says it feels a bit elongated, but to me it feels completely cylindrical. Anyway, I'll see about it when I get my exam. I don't think it's in the ovary area either.... but to be sure, I'm getting it checked out. It could have been there for years and years and I just never felt it as I was buried in fat. Best to find out what it is all about.

Double workout tonight and being a domestic goddess today. I'll need the workouts to work out my frustrations of having to pick up after everyone all day long.

Stats for 2/22/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 175.8

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Busy, fun weekend!

Well, I skipped two days for a couple reasons. One, I was uber busy and second, only if I post from my husband's computer will it format correctly. Since hubby was around all weekend, his computer was less accessible and when it was, I was pooped and ready for bed!

But I didn't fall off the wagon. I had a great weekend with my family. Sunday we had a family day after I taught in Virginia and then on Monday we went skiing and snowboarding. Well, I didn't ski or snowboard, but the rest did. I figured one novice for the weekend was enough. My little guy tried snowboarding and he was so thrilled. I watched his two hour lesson and then for a few hours I helped him down the side of the small slope (a place I could go without skis/board), so I got a workout too. And what a happy kid he was. I love it when we can be all active together. We are a happier family when we 'do' things together - especially active things. And it feels good that I could be as active as the rest of them unlike in the past.

So now it is back to reality. This morning I got everything put away, did some dishes, etc. Reality of life is back. Even the little guy didn't want to go back to school. He had fun! Last week he had half days Wed, Thursday and then had Friday - Monday off. School? What school? Though it did make it harder to fit in my usual activities with so much schedule changes, but I was active enough - fitting it in here and there.

Scale is up with hormone weight and eating sauerkraut (high in sodium) several days, but I know it will come down.

Stats for 2/20/12:

Highest weight: 275 Now: 176.0
Total hours worked out in 2012: 37.5/250

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Some more tricks I'm learning

You would think that at 42 years old I would know myself well enough by now. Well, I'm still learning. And one thing I'm learning is how to get over sugar cravings. Writing down what I eat every day (well, I plug it into an iPhone app), I see patterns. I see that when I'm sleep deprived I make worse food decisions and when I'm not feeling well, I make worse food decisions. And usually I grab something carb heavy to boost me through the day. And those urges to eat sugar are strong! Well, I've been noticing a way that I've conquered eating a bit too many calories, too many carbs is by eating when my body says it needs to eat and wants sugar, but by giving it something high in protein and high in fat. It's totally not great health food and that day I might still end up too high on calories, but it keeps me from loading up on carbs that day and helps breaks the urge to eat carbs the days following it too. So, when I see it's going to be one of those days where I must want to eat cookies and cake and crap, I buy myself my favorite burger instead - taking off the top bun. I buy a bacon cheeseburger from wherever. It fills me up for hours and hours and it breaks the carb/sugar cravings for me every single time I've done it! I have been struggling with getting my calories down to 1450 or anywhere close because I was wanting carbs... I ate a burger on Wednesday and since then, including that day, my calories have been under 1500 and I haven't caved to sugars or even wanted to eat sugars. Ah-ha! The way to control MY urge to chow down on simple carbs is to eat a juicy hamburger. I feel like I indulged in something (and I have) and then magically the cravings disappear. I'm totally going to give myself permission from now on to do that sooner rather than later when I'm fighting sugar cravings. Why have I never realized that before? Stats for 2/19/12: Highest weight: 275. Now: 173.6 Total hours worked out in 2012: 36.5/250

Friday, February 17, 2012

Determining a healthy weight - not so simple!

We all have heard about weight charts and more recently, BMI charts. For every height they give a range of weights. This was devised to chart whole groups of people, not for individuals, but it has become the standard - people should weigh between X and Y.

So, for my height I'm going metric on ya since I'm a smidgeon more than 5 foot 6.5 inches tall and I get different numbers if I use 5'6" or 5'7". So, in metrics - I'm 169 centimeters. My current BMI is 27.6 which is solidly in the "overweight" range for my height. The healthy BMI range for my height is this: 120-157. (You can look up BMI info here

That is a huge range - 37 pounds!!! Does that mean that anyone my height should weigh within that range and anywhere within that range? Of course not! The BMI chart, again, was designed to fit the majority of people - the majority of people who are a healthy weight at 169 centimeters will weigh between 120-157 pounds.  And each of us at that height will weigh more or less depending on our frame size and our fitness level.

Basically, the most used tool for determining what we should weigh is very flawed. Read up a little bit on wikipedia. That is just a start, but it gives you an idea of the imperfections of the system. And the people it is least useful for? The fit! Go figure!

So... what other ways can we determine what we should weigh? Well, there are some body frame measurements you can take. See here: According to those measurements, I have a large frame if you look at my wrist or my elbow measurments. I even used a type of caliper thing to check my elbow size because it seemed so big when I measured.  My wrist (supposed to be measured above the wristbone). is 6.75 inches around. That gives me a large body frame. My elbow measurment is 2.75 and that also gives me a large frame. Even if I were male at this height, I would be considered to be large framed based on either of these measurements. Using their calculators, (and I've seen this elsewhere too), for having a large body frame, I probably should weigh around 147 pounds.  So, looking at that, I can see it's within the BMI range, but not by much, but it also helps me realize that striving for something around 120 pounds is unrealistic.

But then there is this whole other thing about fat versus lean. Muscle weighs more than fat. And being a certain weight doesn't mean I'm healthy or fit. All it means is that I'm a particular weight.

There is a blog post I have bookmarked because it so clearly shows how even the same weight on the scale by the same women looks so completely different. This is a middle aged woman at 155 before getting fit and after getting fit:

This person worked with a personal trainer. Dramatic difference, huh? And the same weight.

Later she went on to lose 20 pounds and really got strong. The blog posts this trainer talks about scale addiction and why he thinks people should throw away their scales and you know.... he has a point! Take a read at Part 1 and Part 2:

I look at those pictures and yes, she looks more 'done up' in the after, but guess how happy she was probably taking her before photo at the trainer? It was probably humiliating! Of course, she didn't smile! After, she felt better and therefore was proud to show off her body.

I look at those photos and guessing at her weight she would be considered overweight by BMI charts in either case.  Is that an overweight person on the right? Nope! On the left? Over fat - yes.

And then that takes me to body fat measurements in determining ideal weight. Oh if there was only a foolproof affordable way to determine body fat! Many of us have scales that show body fat. Well, they are flawed. You can help by following directions. Like these: It still won't give you super accurate results, but it's about the best we can do on our own.

There are many ways to determine body fat percentages, but most are not accurate or not affordable:

For body fat percentages, that changes by sex and age. Here are a couple of charts.

I'll look for me.... I'm 42 years old and my Tanita scale - when I follow the directions up above tell me I'm between 27-29% body fat. (Gave me 49.8% when I was at 255 and very unfit). I can't know if it's accurate or not, but the trend is definitely in the right direction!

Then.... how do you determine a healthy weight? By feel I think. We can get an idea of where we should be by crude measurements. I can see by the mirror that I have more work to do. I can see by the body fat scale that the trend is going in the right direction, but I would like to get to the "ideal" range and out of the average range. But the number on the scale is pretty random. I could skinny down to 150 and be "skinny fat" and unfit. or get down to 160 and still weight a bit on the scale and be a fairly fit woman with a body fat percentage below 25%. What does that number really mean? I'm learning that it doesn't mean very much. I need to pay more attention to how I feel - do I feel energetic? Can I run up stairs and not get winded? How is my resting heart rate? How is my blood work? I think those are much better indicators to health than the number on the scale.

So while I would like to see 160 on the scale, I'm not going to fret about getting within the norms of BMI or even for my body frame size. I'm going to just keep exercising and try to keep at a good range of body fat. I'll see if my pants fit right and not go up in sizes if they get snug, but buckle down and get trimmer to fit into a smaller size.

Maybe it's not a healthy weight, but a healthy feeling and healthy report card from the doctor that is more important than the number on the scale?

Stats for 2/17/12:

Highest weight: 275 Now: 173.6
Total hours worked out in 2012: 35/250

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Perceptions from others on our weight loss

So, there was a gal on the weight loss site I frequent who I think looks great, but now there are people who are worrying about her getting too thin. When I look at her picture, I see someone at a healthy weight.

How ironic that just yesterday, my very critical mother in law who lives with us also worried that I was going to get too thin when I said I wanted to lose about 15 more pounds. Um... I weight 174 pounds. There is no way that 15 more pounds is going to make me too thin for my height!

So, what is this? I think it's that the people around us have gotten very used to us being very overweight and seeing us at a more normal weight freaks them out a bit. That, and I think that we have gotten so fat as a nation that we don't realize what an ideal weight looks like any more. We are more accepting of people who have more fat on their frames than we have in the past. And lastly, we are bombarded with messages about eating disorders so that we look for them even when they are not there. (Is it a coincidence that eating disorders are at a record high when as a nation we are at record levels of fatness? I don't think so!)

My mother in law fits in the first category. She has known me as overweight the entire time she's known me. She thought I was too fat when my husband and I got married when I was hovering around 185-190 and she was none too quiet about her thoughts either. On this weight loss journey she has said I look perfect from about 195 downwards. And she doesn't understand why I would want to lose more. For her, at my age (42) and with being a mother of 2 kids, I now have an acceptable body. Sure, I'm not thin, but I look the norm for my age and that's what I should strive for - not to be too thin or too fat. Plus, she worries I will look too old if I lose too much weight (showing more wrinkles). For her, it's all about how I look and not so much about how I feel or being healthy/fit. As she has always worried about her looks and not about her fitness.

And that leads to the second thing, we are more accepting of extra weight more now than ever.  When I weighed what I weigh now - back when I was 17 or so, I had a hard time finding clothes. The only place I could find clothes was in women's sections as teen sizes were too small for me. I remember in high school when I could no longer shop at Casual Corner, my favorite store at the mall. Their larges size was a 13. I needed a 15. Now almost all mall stores have sizes that go up to 16 or higher and that size 16 was a 19/20 back in the late 80s. People are bigger, so there are more options for clothes and with so many people wearing those upper sizes, we have grown accustomed to seeing all those fuller figures, so when people are normal weight, we think they are too thin. Especialy if they are normal weight and fit.

Lastly, we worry about eating disorders. We are bombarded with messages about eating disorders. We all know about anorexia and bulimia and binge eating. We worry about it with our teens if they are thin or seem to eat too little. And since so many of us who were really overweight had binge eating issues or compulsive eating issues, we already had one type of eating disorders, so maybe we just traded it in for another. Maybe we are compulsive exercisers now, or obsessive in some other way. And while that does happen to some people who are dropping weight, it's not a given that it is happening. Exercising daily and watching how much we eat should be the norm, not seen as a compulsion or a problem.

For me, I had to laugh at my mother in law's worries. She's slightly worried that at 160 I'll be too thin. Good grief. Even on the BMI charts, I'll just be scraping into the normal weight range for my height. And, that's what I'll talk about tomorrow - how to determine what our ideal weight should be when we have to guess!

Stats for 2/16/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 174.0
Total hours exercised in 2012: 34/250

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Feeling the cloud lift with the cold going away

I'm always a bit amazed at how much colds affect me. I think they must affect my energy level more than the average person. Definitely affects me more than it affects my husband and it's always been that way. I just feel like I walk through the day walking through mud.

Yesterday, however, I had a pep in my step. I walked to and from my son's school twice and did it as fast as my legs would take me. I made it a challenge at home that each time I went up the stairs, I ran up the stairs and I didn't purposefully try to make as few trips as possible - like I usually do. I was feeling better.

Today is continuing the trend. I got a good night of sleep last night so that is two nights in a row of better sleep. It's still not long enough, but it's on the right track and guess what?

I'm making better food decisions with better sleep and with feeling better. How everything is so connected and the key to doing well and feeling well is to make the best food and sleep decisions as much as possible.

So, tonight I'm doing the double class. Hoping it will go well.

Did yoga last night with my husband at the gym. When we were struggling to do a pose on the floor I looked over at him and said, "This is so romantic." And he laughed. But at least we were doing something together that was good for us. Date night will come soon. We haven't had a date since October. How does it seem to happen that the only times we go out on a date is when there is an occasion to? Means we need to find more occasions! Twice a year is not ideal!

OK... little guy is off from school early today as it's teacher conference time and I promised him we would go to the mall so he can play for a bit. We already rode the bike for a bit and he is so proud of himself!

Stats for 2/15/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 174.8
Total hours worked out in 2012: 32.5/250

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ugh... Another Valentine's Day

I just read my Valentine's day blog post from last year. It pretty much sums up everything about what I feel about Valentine's day.

This year is worse as I have a stupid cold and I've been avoiding getting too close to my husband as I don't want him to get it, so no real kisses either! I got a peck on the check this morning and a neck nuzzle and then he was off. He is soooo not a romantic. That was done out of "Oh, it's Valentine's Day - I guess I should show some affection".

My younger son is all excited about it today though. They have a party today AND they earned enough stars for following directions at school to have their pajama party, so he's wearing his pajamas too. He was bubbling over this morning with excitement and was so cute!

Last night we did the Valentine's cards and little boxes of hearts filled with M&M's. He was concentrating so hard on it and didn't want any help as this was an important job.

Of course he was up at the crack of dawn this morning, so I had more time for getting ready, so I made him a cute Valentine's day lunch. At least I can enjoy the day through his eyes.

I'm just feeling blah today - really blah. I'm tired of this cold and I'm tired of fighting (and losing) the munchies battle. I've decided that now that I'm closer to my ideal weight that winter is a hard time to lose weight. I'm just hungrier, so creating a calorie deficit is much harder. At this point I will be happy if I can maintain or lose just a little for the rest of this winter and then can gear back up in spring and summer when it is easier to eat light and to move more.

Not much else. I need to run some errands today and all that jazz... the dentist's office, making phone calls, volunteering at my son's school and dinner and dishes and all that crap. Basically a normal day.

Stats for 2/14/12:
Highest weight: 275 Now: 174.8 (dude and I've been misspelling highest for a long time as I cut and paste! Pathetic!)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Life got busy but my new gizmo kept track!

This past week has been quite a week. First, I got a head cold. It first started with me feeling very, very tired. Then I got a post nasal drip that deepened my voice by an octave. Then my energy came back, but then my nose turned into a faucet with it being the worst this morning. It's like pure salty water dripping from my nose every few seconds. It's been a very strange cold, but has zapped me on many levels. Even leveled my one son for a day with a fever and had my younger son all out of sorts for a week at school the week before.

So, first there was that. Then, in the beginning of the week my mother in law was coming home so you may remember I had a marathon cleaning session where I cleaned for over 10 hours in one day. Next day I worked some more.

I had one day of a reprieve where I got some sleep and then this weekend hit and it was a whirlwind weekend. It started Friday morning. I worked at home, cleaned up the kitchen and the headed to the grocery store where I spent over an hour.

Then I cam home and started cooking. I needed to make lunch next day for 20 - mostly teen boys, a couple teen girls and their mentors. I cooked up 18 pounds of pulled pork, a huge salad, 75 chocolate chip cookies, and made homemade rolls - 50 or so. On top of that, I had found for really cheap some bruised tomatoes, so I cooked up a huge pot of tomatoes to freeze to later use for spaghetti or chili. Then, of course, dinner needed to be made too.

Saturday I went to BodyPump, delivered the food, made lunch and then started on making 55 banana split cupcakes - making the banana cupcakes, the strawberry filling, the pineapple buttercream,  and the chocolate ganache. Fortunately, there was leftovers for dinner.

Sunday started bright and early as I needed to make 4 pounds of bacon for my contribution to the teens' breakfast for the robotics club my son goes to. Then it was off to teach Sunday School. I taught, went to Whole Foods to get our Sunday fish and then came home. Waiting for me were the mountains of baking dishes and as soon as those were done it was time to start making dinner.

I was just exhausted. My fitness gizmo (BodyMedia Fit Core) had to say this:

Friday: burned 2520 calories, Consumed 1600 calories. Sleep Duration: around 7 hours
Saturday: burned 2265 calories, Consumed 1800 calories. Sleep duration: a shade under 6 hours.
Sunday: burned 2125 calories, Consumed 2200 calories. Sleep duration: 5 hours and 30 minutes.

What I'm noticing, is that, when I was getting close to enough sleep, I made better food choices. By Sunday, I was eating way too much - even more than maintaining calories. Last night I got a good night's sleep (a full 8 hours) and I can tell I will have a good, on target day for food. We still have cupcakes in the house, but today I'm not tempted by them. I gave into the temptations yesterday  - when I was too tired.

So, the gizmo is helping me learn even more about what my triggers are. And it also helped me realize that yes, indeed, working around the house does burn a lot of calories. too. I did work out for an hour on Saturday, but I burned MORE calories on Friday when I was just working around the house and cooking. Running up and down stairs, and carrying things all around the house as well as rolling out dough and working with your hands does count.

OK, now off to do MORE dishes and make some bread and get some pizza dough going to make pizza for dinner. All the while keeping tissues at hand for my drippy nose.

Stats for 2/13/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 174.8
Total hours worked out in 2012: 31/250

Friday, February 10, 2012

How our mind distorts reality

There is a thread right now on the weight loss forum that I frequent that is about how we see ourselves incorrectly. The thread has had several people comment on how they felt as huge as at their top weight as 100 pounds less.

Think about that for a second... maybe two. These people, myself included felt fat as a teen (or even a preteen). Some were a bit overweight. Some were not, but maybe had a larger body frame. Or, their weight was fine, but they weren't fit, so they just had some fat on them, but they weren't actually overweight.

And so, as a not so fat, or not fat at all teen, they felt horrible about themselves (myself included). They felt fat and ugly. So, when they started gaining weight, myself included, they didn't really care that much because we thought of ourselves as already fat and ugly, so what is a bit more fat and ugly. Fat is fat, right?

How twisted is that?????  I so fit into that mind trap.  I felt very, very fat at this age and size:

I was just turning 16 years old in this picture. I was about 5'5.5" tall (I grew another inch after that time) and I weighed about 155-160 pounds and I thought I was enormous! Why? I was the largest girl on the squad my sophomore year (or about the largest, or tied for largest). And, I had a poochy stomach. What do I see now? I see a girl who could use some toning - some muscle. I do not see a fat girl, just an unfit one.

Yet, I felt soooooo fat. So huge. So undesirable. So awful. I weighed so much more than most girls my age.

I felt as huge then as I did here:

There is a 115-120 pound difference there. So, how, how is it possible that I felt I was just as undesirable and fat and ugly at 155-160 as at 275? Who took over my brain to equate those two weights as the same fatness. Honestly and truly, I felt just as huge and fat before getting fat and after getting fat.

Even the last time I lost weight I dealt with the demons of "I'm still fat". I got all the way down to 185 (from 235) and I felt as fat at 185 as I did at 235. So is it any surprise then that it was so easy to balloon back up? In the mirror I still say a chubby face, a saggy stomach, etc.

What happens to us, as I'm not alone in this thinking that we can't see reality?

My weight now is 173 and my goal is to get to 160 - a fit 160. So, I will get down to the weight (or slightly bigger) than I was in that age 16 photo.

This time I hope I don't feel so huge. This time I hope I can see myself in a healthy light. I'm doing everything in my power to feel that way. I'm blogging. I'm taking measurements. I'm taking photos every 20 pounds (or more frequently) and I'm giving myself some slack for body imperfections. I so hope this time that I can love my body for what it is - flaws and all and realize that while it might not be perfect, it's a healthy weight and a healthy lifestyle and that should be enough. That yes, I still won't be as small as some women at my height, but that is OK.

Stats for 2/10/12:
Highest weight 275  Now: 173.0

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oh the things we do!

So, I was a lazy bum for the three weeks my mother in law was gone. I did laundry a few times to keep somewhat up to date. I cooked our food and did dishes every day, but that's about it. So, yesterday, the day she was coming home, I had to do the marathon cleaning session.

We share just two spaces in our house - the kitchen and the dining room area (which has a little sitting area). It had been awhile since I had done a deep clean of the kitchen and since my mother in law is one of these people who looks in every corner to find dirt and looks in ever crevice, I decided I needed to do a good cleaning.

Took me all flipping day long (along with 4 loads of laundry and a quick trip to the grocery store and making dinner). I scrubbed the cooktop, did a gazillion dishes by hand (cooking dishes), ran the dishwasher and loaded it. Cleaned the toaster oven, range hood, and microwave and then wiped down the fronts of all the appliances, cabinet fronts, counter tops and table and the drawer handles. Then it was picking up all the clutter in the rooms, hanging coats, rearranging things a bit in the closet, sorting mail, running the vacuum in those rooms plus entryway, and finally cleaning the litter boxes in the basement.

According to my nifty little BodyMedia Fit Core. I did this yesterday:

Steps taken: 8465
Calories burned: 2492
Active minutes: (moderate level, like taking a walk): 25 minutes
Vigorous minutes: (High level, like running): 00 minutes
Calories consumed: 1847 (which is about 400 more than I usually try to eat - but I was hungry)

So, I'm trying to figure out if that is accurate. I did take that many steps. That's not from arm movements, but steps. I was up, down and all around the house yesterday. It's equivalent to about 4.25 miles.

But, I'm not sure it registered that I was standing in front of the sink for almost an hour scrubbing stubborn spots on a few pans, or 30 plus minutes scrubbing similar stubborn spots on a cooktop (and please, if anyone has a secret on how to get off cooked on grease, please tell me, I cannot get all the black marks off around the cooktop burners). It has to burn more calories to be scrubbing than just standing still, right?

Basically I'm skeptical that it counted the calories correctly. Today I am wearing a pedometer and the Core to see if I do take as many steps as it registers (and that it's not counting arm movements as steps) and it does seem that it doesn't count arm movements, which makes sense because I'm right handed and so most of the scrubbing was with the right hand while I held the pot or pan with the left. Even with doing laundry, I move things from basket to machine with the right hand, not the left.

Anyway... I was putting the new gizmo through the paces yesterday and I'm not sure what to believe. Time will tell I guess. Good news too is that the scale is down a wee bit this morning which means I should see a much bigger loss tomorrow. I usually gain when on my feet so much.

I also had problems sleeping last night which bites. That is two nights out of three which is super unusual for me. Hope it stops! Busy day today again... and I'm still fighting a cold and deciding whether or not to go to the gym. I guess I'll see. It would be the ballroom class which was a lighter cardio day for me last time. Yoga tomorrow though, for sure.

Stats for 2/9/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 173.8
Total hours worked out in 2012: 27/250

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Been feeling cruddy

Just as I got this new BodyMedia Fit Core, all ready to use with exercise, I caught my son's cold and I've been a slug. I can't be a slug today as my mother in law is coming home this evening and I have a ton of clean up to do in the dining/living area and kitchen and a backlog of laundry to do, but for the last two days I have basically been sitting on my duff.

The good news is that despite that, I am still burning more calories that I am consuming. Which is good at least. And today I'll be putting the fitness gizmo to the test - will it register the work around the house as moving and grooving. Or will it not pick it up as activity? We will see. I think there is hope as this morning before school drop off I started the dishes, hung the Valentine's decoration set and started a load of laundry. It already registered about half the steps it did for all day yesterday total (I really was a slug yesterday).

So... not much today. I have always gotten so completely drained from head colds. I don't know why, but they totally zap the energy from my body.

Scale is heading down. 2.8 pounds to go to get to my all time low and I really hope I get there by Valentine's day and start heading into new territory and out of the 170s very, very soon!

Stats for 2/8/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 174.0

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Too much sugar

I remember when I was in my adolescence when the whole "fat is evil" campaign started. Eggs became evil too because of cholesterol. So, we Americans stopped eating so much fat, especially saturated fats and eggs. I remember the big deal when McDonald's switched from lard to vegetable oils for making french fries, supposedly making them healthier. I remember people not using butter any more to opt for the healthier margarine. And I remember the craze of eliminating eggs, especially the yolks.

Fast forward 30 years and things are changing. Some of those "healthier" fats weren't so healthy. Butter is seen as healthier than margarine (I switched back to butter back in 1995 or so feeling the chemicals in margarine were worse than the saturated fats in butter. I believe, whenever possible, natural is better). My nurse midwife told me to start eating more eggs when I was pregnant, including the yolk because so many trace elements are in the yolks. She recommended at least one a day! Now eggs are seen (again) as a great food - very dense in protein and nutrients and filling with relatively few calories.

And, with all that fat ridding craze, what really happened is that sugars (and salts) were added to foods to make them taste yummier as fat gave a lot of flavor to foods. (alfredo sauce anyone?). Processed foods tasted too bland without the fats. So, yogurts became sweeter. Lower in fat, but the same number of calories because it was loaded with more sugar. And sugar started to be added in places you wouldn't even think to look for sugar. Packaged meals enticed you back with your sweet tooth.

And then, of course, health foods became all the rage. We needed more whole grains.. So, we started eating more whole grains, but again, because we were shying away from fats, we used sugars to make them taste better. Granola. Oh, sweet granola. Good for you, right? Add some granola to your yogurt. Eat it as cereal, as a nutrition bar. Yes, there is some good stuff in granola, but man is it sugary! A Kashi granola bar has 8 grams of sugar. A half cup of Quaker Oats Natural granola oats and honey has 14 grams of sugar (and who eats just a half cup of cereal?)

How much is too much sugar?  I heard this upon waking up this morning: (the Morning Edition piece is at the top of the page, but this blog post talks about the radio segment if you don't want to hear it).

Women should get no more than 30 grams of refined/added sugars to their diet every day. That is about 6 teaspoons. (Fruits sugars are excluded). So, if a woman eats a half cup of granola for breakfast, she has already eaten nearly half of her allotment of refined sugar for the day. Want a coke for lunch? Just a 12 ounce can (which is 1.5 servings, by the way)  That is 39 grams of sugar. OK, so no 'real' Coke. Maybe a McDonald's Sweet Tea? That is 69 grams of sugar.

Ok, so you don't drink your calories (good for you, that is a huge problem), but you have one serving of cookies every day - either two Nutter Butters (8 grams of sugar) or 2 regular Oreos (8 grams sugar). Oh, after dinner, you just have to have a scoop of ice cream.  Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is 20 grams of sugar (that is half a cup people... How many of you eat just half a cup??? There are 4 servings per little container... be honest, does it last for four servings?) Breyer's Cookies and Cream is 16 grams of sugar for half a cup.

And of course, that is not counting the jam on your toast, the sweetened fruit yogurt at lunch or the sweetened peanut butter we use nearly every day. A Greek yogurt, pre-sweetened is 19 grams of sugar (you know, that full of protein, healthy Greek Yogurt?). Oh, and that fruit juice drink that is 100% juice, sweetened by fruit juice. What a marketing ploy! Fruit juice is grape juice used to sweeten your cranberry juice and it's refined sugar - just refined from the grapes, not corn syrup or sugar cane. A cup of that (a cup people, not a tall 16 ounce glass) is 30 grams of refined sugar.

That peanut butter you spread on your kid's toast every morning. You know, the stuff they love, not the healthy peanut butter, has 2 grams of added sugar per tablespoon (so like what you would put on normally on a single slice of bread). Nutella? 11 grams of sugar per tablespoon.  No wonder why it tastes so good!

We eat a lot of sugar. A lot of it. And we are eating it on top of an already calorie dense diet. We are not a starving nation for the most part. And those refined sugars get converted really quickly in our bodies and it's killing us. It's creating fatty liver disease, making us obese, giving us heart disease and creating a type 2 diabetic epidemic.

The worst part about sugar (and especially paired with a low fat diet)? It makes you hungrier! I'm convinced it's the trigger for most binge eating and is responsible for most out of control eating.  Read this: (and if you have time, watch the imbedded video about sugar addiction and the evils of sugar:) This is the same man giving a lecture that is in the blog above. I strongly encourage you to listen. It's eye opening. And said so much better what I am trying to say here.

Why do I feel so strongly about it? Because I was/am addicted to sugar. It was destroying my health. I needed endless sugar highs to function.

I got the wake up call to change everything. And the first thing I gave up was sugar. And I gave it up only because I had sugar issues. I didn't give it up when I was losing weight a decade ago and I still had binge eating issues back then. Now I do not and I'm convinced it's the sugar.

Even when I'm done with this weight loss journey, and even though my blood sugars are perfect, I'm keeping my refined sugars low.

I'll be curious to see the follow-up studies to this. He's onto something and anyone who has given up sugar and realizes how much better they feel without it, will believe he's onto something too.

Me? With fruit I eat about 40-50 grams of sugar a day on average. In refined sugars I eat about 10 grams of refined sugar a day (at most).  And I will continue this way forever!

Stats for 2/7/12:

Highest Weight: 275  Now: 175.2 (yep, ovulation is over and scale is going down - phew!)

Monday, February 6, 2012

My new toy! BodyMedia Fit Core and Display

As you may recall, I have been toying with the idea of a new toy for awhile. I still hadn't gotten my birthday present and my birthday was almost 2 months ago! I hemmed and hawed and finally decided on the BodyMedia Fit Core and Display. Here is the link to tell you about it if you are interested.

It looks like this:

The display here is shown on the arm as a watch. The watchband is an optional accessory. You can also clip it to your clothes. For now I'm opting to clip it to my clothes. Reviews of the watchband itself have been iffy (and people say it looks cheap, which I believe as the display itself looks cheap - like a cheapo kids watch you can buy for $5. 

Yep, Jillian Michael's is an endorser for the product. It is basically identical to the BodyBugg that is used on The Biggest Loser, but better, from what the reviews say. It's made by the same parent company, but the BodyMedia Fit is supposedly less "buggy" (couldn't resist) and also tracks sleep. (Like the FitBit). Plus, it's monthly fees are cheaper.

I decided on the Core and display instead of the BodyMedia Fit Link because that seems to be buggier and you can't 'really' see your progress as you go. Maybe over time the Link version will be better, but for now it appears the Core with Display is more apt to work without issues. Plus, the Core is smaller in size (the say 30% smaller), less obtrusive on the arm. Compare these two (ignore the one on the right in back):

The Link is the one on the Left (in blue and a darker gray band). The Core is the one front and center. Not sure what the third one is. (The clips are the FitBit.)

I find it kind of funny that I'm getting something that is promoted on The Biggest Loser and by Jillian Michaels when A) I have never watched The Biggest Loser and B) I have never watched anything with Jillian Michaels. Though I do own her 30 Day Shred DVD... I've just never watched it or done the workout. Should I feel ashamed to say that? I'm not. I've opted to go to the gym instead of working out at home!

I'm curious to see what it has to say. The first day or so will be "off" as it gets information from my body. Plus, today is my slow day with less activity. Tomorrow I'll be cleaning around the house and doing Yoga. Wednesday, I'll be cleaning around the house and doing that double class of strength training and step.

So, around 10 am it arrived. I charged it up, set up my account and now I'm wearing it. I rode the BuddyBike to get my son from school and it registered 3 minutes of activity. OK, it took me longer than 3 minutes to get there, but really, when you ride a bike, are you 'active' all of that time? And it registered 2 minutes for the ride back (it's mostly downhill coming home). Then my son and I rode to the boathouse and back. (about 1.75 miles in all school to home, boathouse to home) and that boathouse ride registered as 4 minutes. So, 9 minutes of activity. It didn't count any of those minutes as steps (well maybe a few bumps) as well, it's not steps!

Things like strength training, biking and other such things where you aren't moving much don't register well on any of these fitness monitors. That's just the way it is. That is why I will also wear a heart rate monitor. The Garmin heartrate monitors can by synced with these fitness montors, so hopefully over time, I'll get a truer picture of what I'm burning, taking in and will learn how to base my calories for when I get to maintenance. Right now I just try to eat around 1450 calories a day to keep losing. It averages out to about that, but day to day I could be 200 under or 200 over that amount depending on how hungry I am.

Do I need such a fitness gizmo? No... but I figure if it helps me to stay focused and helps me get those last 20 pounds off faster, then it's worth it. It's making it a bit of a game, I guess as I go along.

Oh, and you all should know me. I never, ever buy things full price. I got it through Amazon and then got both pieces from their warehouse deals (returned items). For much less than the price you will see on the BodyMedia site. Is it cheap? No. But you can get it cheaper. I'm kicking myself for not getting on their half price sale before the holidays! That would have been sweet and more timely for a birthday present. Oh well. I didn't really know about these back then.

Stats for 2/6/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 176.6

Sunday, February 5, 2012

So freaking mad at my scale!

And now, not only am I mad at my scale, I'm mad at my iPad too as it deleted my post when I went to edit it. For some reason, my postings from the iPad don't show any paragraph breaks and since that is my main computer, that stinks! And this time, when trying to correct it, the page just disappeared. Ugh!

Anyway, I was mad at the scale today because I was soooooooo good yesterday and was fighting the urge to eat all day long and my reward was a pound gain on the scale this morning. I was so exasperated when I saw that this morning. I had worked out hard yesterday. I've been very consistent with working out despite our whacko schedule this past month and and my eating has been pretty spot on. And the scale just keeps slowly climbing up.

I know it's the time of the month I see gains typically, but it's not feeling good this month. I'm still trying to get to where I was before the holidays, so this just bites that I'm not even relosing the pounds I gained over the holidays. I've been in the 170s forever!

Rationally, I know the weight will come off. Rationally I know that the scale will catch up, but the rest of me right now just wants to the scale to cooperate.

Stats for 2/5/12:
Highest weight: 275. Now: 176.6

Saturday, February 4, 2012

This baker is learning some lessons on what to bake

I am a baker. I'm a pretty darn good baker. Well, I love to cook period, but I really love to bake. And that includes all kinds of baking. Cookies, cakes, pies, quick breads and yeasted breads. What I am finding, however, is that I cannot keep my fingers out of cookie dough - no matter what kind. Or out of cake batter or frosting. I simply cannot.

Pies are a bit better, but if there is any leftover pie crust (and there always is) it's too tempting to roll it out and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar and then eat that. Yum! And fruit fillings are easy to munch on... But pies are a better choice as it is harder to nibble on. So, I now make mini pies for kids lunches fairly often. I just have to use all the pie crust!

But what about yeast breads? I love to make bread! And you cannot nibble on the dough! Score! And I can make breads sweet or savory for the family. And as much as I love bread (and I really do). I can resist the finished product. Even when they are my favorite cinnamon rolls. Plus, working with breads is a workout. I do most of my kneading by machine, but I always do big batches and have to work the dough down the sides of the bowl (machine is a Electrolux dlx2000). And then there is the final kneading and shaping or rolling of the dough.

My family loves my homemade breads and of all baked things to make my family, the breads are the healthiest too. And I always make whole grain breads or at least 50% whole wheat. The cinnamon rolls I make that my family loves is made with rolled oats, whole wheat flour and white flour. It is so good and so much better for you than regular cinnamon rolls.

So, today I baked bread. Did a quadruple batch and made one loaf of honey wheat oatmeal bread and then 3 pans of Cinnamon rolls using the same dough. I'll freeze one or two pans, depending on how fast the family chows down on it. Best of all, I still get to do my hobby of baking without the temptations of sampling the goods before they are done and I'm not tempted by the final product.

So happy to have figured that out about myself.... Other goodies will just have to be a rarity at least until I get to maintenance. I just can't stay out of batter!

Stats for 2/4/12:

Highest weight: 275. Now: 175.6
Total hours exercised in 2012: 25/250

Friday, February 3, 2012

Tried a new fitness class last night - observations

A friend of mine here locally told me of a class offered at our gym twice a week. I can never make the Sunday one because it's when I'm teaching, but with flipping around when I take yoga, I had a chance to try this class.

It's called Dance Sport Endurance. It's basically the same idea as Zumba, but it's all ballroom dance steps done as an aerobics class - no partners. Here's a link to show you more about it:

My friend thought I would like it because it's less hard on the knees and less bouncy and she was right. It was good in that way. And it was fun to sort of learn some dance steps to popular dances like the Viennese Waltz, Quickstep, the Jive, Foxtrot as well as the Latin dances like Samba and Tango, etc.

Of course, the instructor makes the moves look soooooo easy and so smooth and none of us could move like that. She's a professional ballroom dancer (and professor) so for her it is easy.

What I'm finding though is that these classes aren't intense enough. I wore a cheapo heart rate monitor I picked up just to see how intense the workout was and really, only a couple songs got my heart rate really going (the middle two) and a few had parts that got me going, but I was in the low aerobic heart rate zone for much of the class. I can probably make it better with these two things.

1. I need to learn the steps because trying to move as quickly as I need to for cardio work isn't possible when I'm learning how to do the steps at the same time as moving fast. I miss steps and turns and moves which keeps my heart rate lower than it would if I knew what steps came next.

2. I need to move to the back of the room away from other people in the class. The instructor in front of the gym makes big, broad movements front to back and side to side. People in class tend to make short steps which, of course, limits the cardio peaks if you move small. I can't move big if I'm around other people because I'll knock into them, so maybe I can just hang out in back and move bigger there.

All in all it was a good class and I guess it's good that I've gotten to a point in my fitness level that I need to push myself harder in such classes. And it was good that it was on the day after a tough workout day. I still got exercise, but in a less intense way.

Tonight, the yoga class. It's a new class, so I'll see if it's the same instructors we've had in the other two classes or a third instructor. The two instructors for yoga 1 I've had have been night and day in their approach to everything, even though they are teaching the same yoga poses!

Stats for 2/3/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 175.8
Total hours exercised in 2012: 23/250

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Eating and heavy exercise

Yesterday was a great day of exercise for me. I power walked to my son's school and back when I went to volunteer (adds up to just under a mile). I rode the monster bike to school pick-up (all uphill) and then coasted home with my son's help. And then last night I did 45 minutes of BodyPump which is Resistance training and 45 minutes of BodyStep which is step aerobics with some resistance training thrown in. All in all I did about 2 hours of exercise yesterday when you count in cleaning up the garage a bit too.

I also ate a bit more yesterday. My caloric intake and exercise habits for the last two weeks has looked like this:

January 19th: 1559 (with one hour of exercise)
January 20th: 1323 (with 1.5 hours of exercise)
January 21st: 1456
January 22nd: 1207
January 23rd: 1402
January 24th: 1226 (with one hour of exercise)
January 25th: 1420 (with 1.5 hours of exercise)
January 26th: 1402 (with one hour of exercise)
January 27th: 1423
January 28th: 1508 (with one hour of exercise)
January 29th: 1609
January 30th: 1802
January 31st: 1178 (with one hour of exercise)
February 1st: 1684 (with two hours of exercise)

As you can see, my eating has been all over the place, but exercise has been fairly consistent. But, my eating hasn't been out of control. Some days I'm just hungrier than other days. Yesterday was one of those days, so I ate more.

But you know what else? I felt stronger yesterday and I wonder if it has to do with eating more. The days preceding that workout, I had, on average, been eating more than normally with the exception of the day before yesterday where I just wasn't hungry. I aim for 1450 for calories, this past week it's been more like 1515 for the week. The previous week averaged 1371. So, an average of 200 more calories per day this past week. Now to figure out if that was a fluke, or if I need more fuel.

Yesterday at bodypump I increased my weights for every single muscle group and didn't need to skip a single rep. It was time to up the weights as last time I didn't feel sore afterward and I felt I could do a bit more, but usually when I up weights, I really struggle getting through the song and have to skip a few reps. Not this time.

Then, I followed that tough new resistance routine with those added weights with a step workout and I did much more power stuff than I have ever done before. I added in jumps I've never added in before. I kept my riser in a song that I most often want to take it out. And I felt great. And I did all that after already exercising a bit earlier in the day. I can't even say I was better rested or something, because I wasn't.

It's very interesting and I'm going to watch more carefully about how I feel with workout out and the amount of calories I'm eating. around November some time I was feeling like I was exercising through mud and it felt sooooo hard. Maybe I was eating too little? But at that time too is when my thyroid was getting pretty low again. Huh...

It's something to keep observing, for sure.

Stats for 2/2/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 176.2
Total hours worked out in 2012: 22/250

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Spring in February

So, yesterday, the last day of January, I was outside without a jacket. I went to the local big box store and it took everything in me not to go look at gardening stuff. I was there for painting supplies for the dreaded painting project I still need to do. Then I went to the local REI and bought some pedal clips for the BuddyBike that my son and I share. It may have seemed crazy, but I was going to get the bike ready to pick him up from school.

I went home, attached the clips to the front pedals, raised the seat for the ever growing boy, lubed the chain, filled the tires, dusted off the cobwebs from the month of no use and then went to pick up the 6 year old from school. He had the hugest smile on his face when he saw me there with our bike. As a reminder, my youngest son is high functioning autistic. He is fully mainstreamed and doing well in school, but he his a bit delayed in several areas, one being gross motor skills. This whole bike riding thing is something he wants to do, but is a bit fearful to try. A bit over a year ago I found this bike:

It was designed for kids with special needs in mind. Instead of a child being pulled behind in a trail a bike, they are part of the main bike. Two adults can ride this bike too, but I'm sure it's much more comfortable with a significantly smaller front rider as it's quite a bit smaller than a traditional tandem bike. Anyway, yesterday, for the first time he put his foot on the pedals and helped me pedal. All other times we have ridden this bike, he put his feet up on the foot rests meant for non-able riders. Seeing he was starting to show more initiative with riding gave me hope that we would be riding much more this spring - like to the pool, the library, and so on. Yay!!!
But it was January folks! I shouldn't be able to ride bikes comfortably in January! And today in February! Huh?

And so, there we are, got a short bike ride in, went to yoga (I'm inching closer to my toes!) and worked a bit on the bike. Today I'm going to ride the bike to school pick up again, clean up the garage a bit (finally getting the bike hanging stuff up on the wall so I can actually organize our bikes better) and then tonight at the gym I'll be doing the double express class of weights and step. My mini spring weather makes me a much more active person too!

Lastly, it's February 1st which is measurement time! Happy to see the fluff of January 1st is gone.

Stats for 2/1/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 175.6
Total hours worked out in 2012: 20.5/250

Starting chest: 47" Now: 41" (change since last month: down 0" for a total loss of 6")
Starting Waist: 43" Now: 32" (change since last month: down 1" for a total loss of 11")
Starting Hips: 50" Now: 41" (change since last month: down 1" for a total loss of 9")
Starting Arm: 18" Now: 13" (change since last month: down 1.75" for a total loss of 5")
Starting Thigh: 30" Now: 23"(change since last month: down .5" for a total loss of 7")