Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter foibles

Boy, so much for getting back to plan. With Easter and this yummy homemade Easter bread? Impossible!

I stayed up until 1 am getting things ready for today. As, for some reason, all things holidays or special events seems to be mom duty. All was going well. The bread was difficult as always, but I didn't burn it this year.  Pretty huh?  It's basically a yeasted cake. Mmmmm, yum!  And yes, I've eaten about a half of a loaf all by myself!

Then, the Egg hunt today. There was a good chance we would get rain, so I got up and out early to hide the eggs while my husband tried to keep the younger guy away from the window. Well, the little guy saw me out there, but then just wanted to go out and find them. He says, "the Easter bunny", but I think he knows it's me who hides the eggs and fills the baskets. I think in his mind that not saying it's me helps keep the magic alive (much like he wouldn't let us call cooked fish, fish, even though he knew it was fish. When we asked him if he wanted us to lie to him, he said "Yes.".)

So, we go out and that was fun. Here are a couple photos of that.

Oh, this last egg finding photo shows the remains of the snowbunny we made last Monday. My younger son named it Mr. Frosty Bunny. It was mostly melted by Tuesday, but here is it 6 days later, hiding an egg.  Since Mr. Frosty Bunny was our Easter snow man, makes sense to show him today. The only reason there's any hint of it remaining was that it was six and a half feet tall. Second picture is to show it next to my two boys. The taller one being 6'2" tall without shoes.

BUT... while we were getting read to go out, I was setting up breakfast. I got the Easter eggs out (we did natural dyes this year - red cabbage, red onion skins, yellow onion skins, blueberries, beets, and tumeric).

I got the ham sliced up on the fancy slicer and I arranged it on the plate. I made the coffee and I was just washing up strawberries when my husband and younger son came down all ready for the egg hunt. I just stopped what I was doing and went on out.

When we came back in, I saw on the table the ham covered up by paper towels. I asked my husband, "did you cover the ham? That was smart." He said no. Then I figured my mother-in-law must be up, so she must have done it. Just then she comes out of her bedroom and says, "Oh, Melissa. I didn't know where you were. I was calling and calling you. The cats were on the table eating the ham!"

Oh. My. God!!! So, we started a pot of water on the stove, got it boiling and then reboiled our sliced up ham, shriveling it up, but at least keeping it edible. Sigh... our cats aren't known to get on counters or tables, so I'm not used to worrying about it, but what cat WOULDN'T jump on a table for nice, fresh, sliced ham? Ugh. A foible indeed.

We laughed about it later and my mother-in-law said she'll never forget the sight ever. She said it's the best Easter ever.

Later, we had some misadventures with breakfast - strawberries and blueberries flying everywhere. My egg that was dyed in beets was pink to the yolk - that was funny.  And we aren't even halfway through the day! I still have a lamb to bake and cookies to bake with my younger son. I wonder if we'll have more stories to tell later on.

Older son slept till noon. He had been in an exhausting 3 day robotics tournament where he got very little sleep. So, we filled him in on all the doings when he woke up and ate lunch with him while he ate breakfast. We are about off to make Easter cookies using this kit (I'm trying to get away from using fake dyes, if you couldn't tell from using natural dyes on Easter eggs.)

And last, a picture of me and the littler guy on our walk yesterday.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

When a nap trumps a workout!

I've been running on fumes for days. My older son is part of a high school robotics club and they are having their regional competition this past Thursday, Friday and today, Saturday. He's had to be at school at 6:30 am each of these days. This is after a long week of early rising already.

I wear a little gizmo that tells me my sleep and its' been saying 5.5 hours, 5 hours, etc for the last 4 nights. That probably hasn't been helping my funk, huh?

So, this morning I got up at 6 am, packed up a day's worth of food for him while my husband roused him out of bed. I had breakfast, lounged around and was trying to get fully awake. It wasn't working. I was exhausted.

I excused myself to take a nap and decided that if I actually fell asleep at 8:30 and slept, then no workout at the gym (class started at 10:15). If I didn't fall asleep, then I would go to class. Well, I fairly quickly fell asleep and slept until 10 am. And even upon waking, I could tell I felt a ton better.

While I missed that workout, I'll have more energy today. I'll get all the things done today that I need to get done (and it's the day before Easter and I have a lot to do - make the eggs, dye the eggs, make the Easter cookies, make the Easter bread, cook the Easter ham, etc). It's also a lovely, sunny day (thank you mother nature!), so I can take a long walk today to burn some calories too.

I'm not a big nap taker. I maybe take a nap 2-3 times a year, but man oh man did I need it today.  In the end, it will probably mean that I burn a few less calories, but I'll probably ingest fewer too as I'll be able to make better food decisions without being so exhausted while surrounded by food! Hello? Resist cookie dough in a sleep deprived state? Like that would ever happen! I'm going to try the bubble gum trick today and see if it keeps me out of the dough! Wish me luck!

So, no formal workout, but it's all good. Sometimes you just need sleep. Ok, off to clean the dishes and prep the kitchen for the flurry of activity today!

Friday, March 29, 2013

My mind caught up with my body and it's not satisfied

Now when I see myself in the mirrors in Zumba classes or the like, I see my chubbiness and I don't like it. On the way down at this weight, I thought I was looking svelte. As well, I was looking much better than at higher weights. But, this time I know what I look like at a lower weight and I prefer that!

It's mostly in my gut. That's where I put it in and it's where I need to take it off. It's exasperated by loose skin on the abdomen, but it's not just loose skin, but flab, true flab too.


I know what I need to do and most days I do it, but what happened to that total 100% gung-ho attitude I had in the first 8-9 months of this? Why can't I recapture that? I can do well for a few weeks now, but then get derailed and mess up for 2-3 days, undoing all the progress I just made in the 2-3 weeks prior.

There is a saying that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. And well, it's true most of the time, but sometimes... it's not true. Like last night at dinner. It was so good. I had seconds. I shouldn't have had seconds, but I did and it tasted so good and it felt nice to be truly full for a change.

Then today, I'm making pizza for my son. It's smells so good. I could eat the whole thing. Instead, I ate my apple and peanut butter  and a pepperoni stick to keep the pizza urge at bay.

Doing the exercise has become habit. I do it and I enjoy it (mostly). I think I have won that battle. However, the food one I think will be with me forever and ever. I like food too much to not eat whole categories of food. I can do really well and stay on plan, but who doesn't want to eat a slice of homemade bread? or a cookie? or an ice cream cone? Yet, when I eat those things, I just lose control of eating so that it takes days to detox and settle back down.

I was hoping finding some low carb alternatives would help and it probably will, but they are more labor intensive to make, more expensive to make and just as caloric as traditional snacks. So, a slice of low carb pizza is still a gazillion calories as is a low carb cookie. They are yummy, but not very satiating. Eating a salad of 150 calories looks and feels like more food that a single cookie!

So, I like my food - real food. I also like seeing a thinner me in the mirror reflected back at me. I don't like seeing what eating too much food looks like in a mirror or how it feels on my body.  Why can't I remember that when I get tempted by food? Like grabbing seconds at dinner last night, huh?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Going to start C25K (again).

I've started C25K three times. I've never done more than the first week as I just couldn't find the motivation to run when I could do other exercise I enjoy more.

Oh... let me step back. There are some people who don't know what C25K is. It's short for Couch to Five Kilometers.  I've linked it before, but let me do it again:

While it says it's for a couch potato, I wouldn't recommend going from completely inactive and expecting to be able to run a 5k in 8-9 weeks. It is doable, but many people need to repeat weeks to get to the next step up in intensity. And, even if you think you are fit, running is different from other fitness.  It will still take some time.

There is also a treadmill version:  and some recommendations on speeds:

So, that's C25K. But why am I doing it now if I don't really enjoy running and I have bladder issues that make it even less enjoyable?

I have new motivation. One, I desperately want to take off this winter weight I gained so that I don't have to buy a size bigger clothes for summer! I need to find more high intensity exercises to burn more calories.

And two, I've mentioned on Facebook in a couple places that I'm thinking of running a 5K when I go back to Iowa for my high school reunion this summer. I figure what better opportunity is there to do something to prove that 25 years out of high school does not equal old and falling apart?

It gives me enough time to train for one and well, why not? I plan to start on Sunday. Then continue on Tuesday and Thursdays as part of my fitness rotation. I will start on the treadmill at the gym as the weather is still yucky and so that I can control the conditions a bit better.

We'll see how it goes though. If my bladder becomes an issue or that knee injury, then I'll have to scrap the idea and just keep mixing up other lower impact exercises.

Today I did a combo or cardio and toning. Friday I'll do cardio (and perhaps strength training if my shoulder is up for it) and then cardio on Saturday.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The end of winter doldrums

My life right now has a hodge podge of stuff going on. I'm trying to get my home organized (I'm failing at it horribly). I'm trying to job hunt (I feel like I spend a lot of hours on that for naught). And I'm trying to keep up with the exercise and the eating. And I just feel blah.

My eating was bad (carby and too much) the last several days. I don't know why. It happened to coincide with no exercise. No exercise tends to mean (for me) worse decision making as I feel in a rut. And, I feel hungrier. That one I don't quite understand, but it's been a constant.

So, no exercise, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Today I did two hours and guess what? I'm eating better. It's not a coincidence. But my head is still in a funk.

I think the cold and hanging on winter is beginning to get to me. Which also doesn't make sense as I'm an Iowa native and I have spent more years after that in cold regions too - so well over half my life and I'm getting sick of winter?

I see daffodils beginning to open, but my body says it's still winter and it's not happy with it.  I need to spend time outside in the sun. It's the lack of light. It's getting to me. It took until the end of March, but it finally took hold.

Today I let myself browse some gardening stuff. At some point the yard will be done, right? As I'm sure my husband and mother in law don't understand the need to get more stuff every year and digging up more and more of the yard, but it's this need I have. I don't even know why I need it. I just do.

Then I got in a funk because I would like to grow a lot of things and I can't because of critters. We have deer, rabbits, slugs, groundhogs, etc.

I planted a dozen knockout rose bushes last fall. Something ate them to the ground within a few days of me planting them. I see most of them survived the winter, but will they be eaten down again?

I would love to plant vegetables, but it's a lost cause unless I build a fortress around them and then the cost effectiveness is lost and my yard becomes the neighborhood eyesore.

Can you tell I'm in a funk? I just can't seem to shake it the last couple days and it's why I didn't write in the blog. I couldn't think of what to say because I feel so blah.

Good thing this feeling is fleeting and rare as it's just not nice.

Here's to hoping tomorrow is a better day all around.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Oh how I have changed!

The last two weeks I have been text book good. Completely on plan with my food. Exercising every day and if I missed a day, I made up for that hour during the week. I've done a mix of cardio and strength and I push myself every day.

Today was my rest day. I also decided I would make it a "eat what I want day". In the past, this would have meant a total pig out. Now?

Well, I had a normal breakfast in every way. Later, I ate two small pieces of cake (and they were small) and a danish at a meeting. Totally off plan, but that was my "lunch". I later ate 3 monster cookies at home and then I ate a smaller dinner than usually at home as I was full.

It was a total carb fest day and I am way over my calorie allotment, but later when I thought about getting something more, I thought to myself, "You don't really want anything more. You are just thinking you can because you gave yourself a free pass for the day. Every bite you eat is a bite that you will need to make up for later. It's not like tomorrow is a clean slate."

And that's the difference. I know that my extra 700 or so calories today will take about 2 to 3 days to make up, but if I kept eating and went totally crazy, it would take a week to make up for it.

I could tell I needed an off day today too. I'm finding that every 2-3 weeks I need to refuel with more food. This time I let the carb monster get me, but it's not always the case. And because I'm well rested and plan to get another good night of sleep, I don't think the one day of indulgence will hurt me except for the re-losing those calories I consumed today.

In the past, today wouldn't have been a 700 calorie fest, but a 3000 calorie fest. Yes, I have been known to eat an entire box of oreos. A single oreo cookie is 75 calories!!! And that would have to be offset by something salty, so a bag, a big bag, of chips with diet soda to wash it down. Why diet? I prefer the taste of it as I don't like sweet drinks.

So, I'm happy to see the changes. I'm happy to see the mind shift.

Now, I wish I could get to the point where I would never need or want these carby treats, but I doubt I will be able to erase a lifetime of a sweet tooth, but keeping it in check and tempering it with exercise and good eating will help, a lot!

Friday, March 22, 2013

That little voice in your head

You know what I'm talking about. That voice that tells you to turn off the alarm and just sleep in. The voice that tells you it's OK to eat a cookie. That voice that tells you that you can just exercise tomorrow.  That voice is so strong and so convincing.

Have you ever had a whole conversation with that little voice? I have them all the time. Here is the internal dialogue from today. It kind of reminds of Gollum talking with Smeagol (the same creature talking - one is good, the other is bad from JRR Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy).

Edited to add: It's a smallllll world. I wrote this post around noon. At 5 pm-ish someone posted this photo on the weight loss forum I frequent. See, exactly.

Rational voice, "You should get ready for the gym to get there on time."
Little voice, "Why not just do Zumba today instead. Your two teammates from Biggest Winner are going to be there and you talked one of them into yesterday."
Rational voice, "Yes, but you also told them you weren't going to Zumba because of taking a strength class instead, remember?"
Little voice, "Yes, but your one teammate has been slacking a bit and could use that extra support. Go to Zumba."
Rational voice, "OK, maybe I'll go to Zumba, but only after I've done strength training. I need to get at least two days of strength training and you've only done one this week Melissa!"
Little voice, "Well, you are still sore from Wednesdays strength training. Take a break."
Rational voice, "You aren't that sore. Get ready to go. You need to go."
Little voice, "You know, you've been working hard this week. You could take today off and do it tomorrow with your husband."
Rational voice, "No, you know that your knee is still bothering you and BodyPump is what caused that injury."
Little voice, "Well, how do you know it won't be OK? You can try it and see."
Rational voice, "And then injure myself some more? And then what?"
Little voice, "You could stop if you start to feel pain."
Rational voice, "And then I would have skipped today and a good chance tomorrow. That's not a good plan. I need to get ready for the gym now."
Little voice, "Then just do Zumba, then you aren't skipping a day, right?"
Rational voice, "I am getting ready right now!"

So, the rational voice won. Or did it?

I started to get ready for the gym. My sports bra (a must), a wicking shirt, a pair of workout shorts/capris, longer pants over top, the zip up fitness shirt, socks, shoes. Huh... I need to go to the bathroom. OK, I still have time.

Now, while on the toilet, which as we all know, we can't control how fast or slow we will be on the toilet.

Little voice, "You aren't going to have time to get there. You might as well not go to the strength training class and just go to Zumba an hour later."
Rational voice, "I still have time."
Little voice, "I don't know. You've never been to that strength class before. You should get there a little early to talk to the instructor to find out what you need to know for class. You don't have time for that now."
Rational voice, "I have time."
Little voice, "Ok, just go to Zumba, and then, like the earlier plan, do BodyPump tomorrow."

Upon getting up and checking the clock, I see I have time.

Rational voice, "See, I have time. Let's go!"

So, I drive there, get there in time and had a great workout. The entire workout (which is from 9:35 to 10:35) I kept thinking, "If I get out of here quick enough, I'll be able to get to Zumba at the other gym too." I kind of wanted to get to that as my Biggest Winner teammate was going to be there and I think I had talked another into going as well. I wanted to be there to support her.

But, I was TIRED when I was done with the class. This is how the class went: We did 5 stations of strength, 3 times. We had pushups on the ball, planks elbows up to hands on the bosu balls, squats with kettle bells, triceps dips on the step and then biceps curls with the bands. Then we had 5 stations, 3 times of cardio: jumping jacks with bouncing the ball, alternating foot taps on the bosu ball, kettle bell swings, next was stepping fast while straddling the step, lastly jump rope. We ended with 5 stations, 2 times of core. Crunches on the ball, planks and stepping out on the bosu ball, on our tummies feet up in the air while holding the kettle bell, lifting up to reach to the feet, on our backs on the step, lifting and lowering our straightened legs, and finally on our backs doing bicycle crunches.

It was a LOT and I was tired. I looked at the clock when we were done: 10:35. Zumba started in 10 minutes at another gym.

Little voice, "OK, you are tired. You worked hard. This class wiped you out. Go home."
Rational voice, "I don't know."
Little voice, "The goal is an hour a day. You did an hour. Go home. You have errands to run today anyway."
Rational voice is silent.

I start to drive home. To get home I have to drive right past the other gym. I hit the lights well. I was passing it at 10:45, just as the class would start.

Rational voice, "You know, you've had time to recuperate a bit. You could total go. You would only miss the warm up and you're already warm."
Little voice, "You don't need to do more today."
Rational voice, "It would be really nice to support your teammates by being there today. Go."

So, I go to park. The lot is full. I will have to park far away, making me later.

Little voice, "See, you are late. Just go home."
Rational voice, "You will only be five minutes late. You are already warmed up. It's OK. Plus, in this class people join late all the time."

I park and go on in. The irony, the one teammate wasn't there. When I got home I see that her daughter needed her car, so she was car-less. My other teammate was there, but she was surprised to see me. She said, "Oh, what happened. You didn't make the other class?" I told her I made it but decided to come to this one too.

And I'm glad I went. It loosened up the tightening muscles. This instructor is so much fun and it was good for my head.

But was the little voice silent during class? Heck no.

Little voice, "You don't have to work so hard. Remember, you've already worked out an hour."
Rational voice, "If I can do it and it doesn't hurt, or feel too hard, I should do it."
Little voice, "You'll be more tired tomorrow because of it."
Rational voice, "Tomorrow is step. Sunday is a rest day. You can totally do this full out. Just do it!"

And I did it with full range of motion as always, not wimping out.

I'm looking at my gizmo and I've already taken 10,000 steps today. I've done 1 hour of vigorous exercise and 30 minutes of moderate exercise. And that's pretty good considering the gizmo doesn't count all strength very well.

Today the little voice didn't win. It didn't win because I had enough sleep, so it stayed a little voice. Sometimes it turns into a loud, bossy voice that totally smothers the rational voice. So, I try to keep it at a little voice as much as possible because even as a little voice, it's mighty convincing and hard to keep in check.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Can we say we love ourselves if we don't take care of ourselves?

Yesterday, two different articles about the same woman and same book came up on a weight loss forum. I like this article better, but this one is good too. It's a short read, both of them, give them a look. She has also written a book. You can find more about it here.

Editing to add: It seems she was on Good Morning America this morning too. Here's a clip of that interview.

It goes into how a lot of people lose weight because they think it's their weight that is making them unhappy. They hope that if they lose the weight that they will somehow be happy; that they will resolve their social problems, work problems, etc by being thin.

Then, they lose the weight and while things might temporarily feel great - more attention, feeling light on your feet, not feeling invisible to the world, etc, the old unhappy feelings settle back in once the initial euphoric feeling of weight loss has passed. They discover that it wasn't the weight that made them unhappy, but something else. Perhaps that something else is what led them to getting fat in the first place?

So, there has been some discussion about it and some of the comments I heard were, "They assume that fat people must hate themselves for being fat. It's not true. I don't hate myself or my body. I just want to take the weight off for my health."

And I understand this statement to a point. I can't say I hated myself when I was heavy. I was overweight when I got married, overweight when I finished my degrees, overweight when I was job hunting and working full time, overweight when I had kids. I was friendly and social and me. If I hated myself - truly hated myself, could I have accomplished those things? I don't think so. But... there was unhappiness and problems.

Did my weight bother me? Yes, it did. I looked around me and in most of my circles I was the largest woman. Most educated women are not heavy and since my husband is even more educated than me, so that our social circle included mostly PhDs and the equivalent, nearly no one was obese. I felt that by my obesity, in a way, I was wearing a badge that said, "I am not a phd grad and I grew up in poverty." Because those are my roots - welfare and food stamps as a kid.

Not that I was ashamed of how I grew up, but it was like this in my head, "Darn it. I was able to beat everything else with my humble beginnings. I was able to get my degree, get good jobs, get married to a great guy, live a nice life, why then did I allow myself to become fat?" By being fat it was like I let my childhood socio-economic status win.

And I totally understand why many poorer people are heavier. First, they don't have time to exercise as they are juggling school and jobs and kids much more than someone who has more income. They have more stress, "Will I be able to pay the electrical bill this month?", so they stress eat, and probably get less sleep due to stress which leads to poor eating. And then, of course, processed food is cheap and health food is not. You can feed a family on Macaroni and cheese and hotdogs for a lot less money than  fresh or frozen vegetables and organic chicken. And then there is the lack of education about foods. Add it all up and it leads to obesity.

But I wasn't poor any more, so what was my excuse for being over weight? I had the time. I had the means to good food. I had the knowledge. Why did I not love myself enough to take care of my body?

And that gets to the crux of it. Can you say you really love yourself and your body if you don't take care of it? We don't get a second body. The one we are born with is it. If we saw someone cutting themselves or doing drugs or abusing alcohol, we would say, "Something is wrong." But is it the same with someone who is morbidly obese? Isn't that also abusing the body?

If we loved ourselves would we risk our health? our fertility? our sex life? our job security? EVERYTHING? by being obese?

I simply cannot buy that we loved ourselves if we allowed ourselves to become obese. It just doesn't make sense to me. Maybe someone can explain it if it's true for them, but it's not for me. I don't think it's the weight that makes us unhappy. We were unhappy and we allowed ourselves to become obese. Losing the weight won't fix the unhappiness.

For me, I have to admit that I didn't care enough about myself to take care of myself. It was only when I realized that I was jeopardizing my life for real, with tangible health problems, that I woke up and realized, "Wait a minute! I don't want to die!" And even then, it wasn't so much for me. I didn't want to die because I had a 5 year old, high functioning autistic son, who needed me. I didn't want to make his life any harder by having to grow up without a mom. I felt a bit of that for my 14 year old too, but more so for the wee guy as he was that much younger and still extremely attached to me.

But, I had already done a lot of self-healing before I got scared into action. I had come to terms with a lot of things in my life - forgiven myself and others so that I could move on. It was like the last battle/barrier was that I simply had to undo the damage that I had done to my body with the weight gain.

Then, fixing my bum thyroid made the effort a lot easier and it makes me hope that I will keep the weight off because by the time I started taking off the weight, I was already in a good place mentally. I didn't feel that losing the weight would make me happier. It would just make me healthier.  In the end though, I found that exercise makes me happier and weight loss is a consequence of exercise (and eating right).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Finding my new rhythm

I think I have found my temporary new workout schedule. I think. And it's temporary, because if you do anything too much without mixing it up, you get in a rut again. But for now, I think I've found a mostly good solution.

So, this will be my routine:

Mondays: Advanced Aeroboxing
Tuesdays: Spinning
Wednesdays: Zumba, Personal Training Session
Thursdays: BodyVive
Friday: Total Conditioning
Saturday: BodyStep
Sunday: rest day or flexibility stuff

I'll do that for a few weeks and see how it goes.  It's a mix of strength and cardio stuff - some intervals and straight cardio. A big mix of pretty much everything.

The boxing is a mix of cardio, strength, intervals
Spinning is cardio with intervals
Zumba is straight up cardio, personal training is straight on strength training.
BodyVive is light cardio and light toning
Total conditioning is strength training (I hope it's not a super easy class - I haven't taken it yet)
BodyStep is cardio with some interval work
And we all know what a rest day is, right?

After that, I'll look into getting TRX and perhaps doing different classes to keep the mix up of activities.  I'll be throwing in some gardening/landscaping too as spring really takes hold, but not to replace classes at the gym. And of course, walks around the lake can always happen as well as walking my son to and from school once or twice a day, depending on the weather and our schedule.

I'm extra motivated right now, so I might as well take advantage of that strong dedication!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Your state of mind and how you handle comments

I think any of us can be sensitive. I'm a woman and only know my perspective, but from what I see and hear and experience, the sensitivity thing seems to be much more a woman thing. At least it is in our household.

When I'm feeling low, lethargic, tired, worn down, I tend to take things pretty sensitively. Even if they are said in the least offensive, sweetest way, I would find a way to be sensitive about it.  Of course, monthly hormones can play into that big time too.

I notice it a lot on forums - some women take every comment as an insult - like everything. It's exhausting trying to say things in a way that they can't possibly take the wrong way. In the end, I just try to avoid such contact because it's a no win situation and too emotionally draining.

With myself, I notice that if I'm exercising well and regularly, I am much less sensitive. My mood is lifted, so I take things to mean as they were intended, or I take it lightly. I don't take them to my heart.  A good example of that is a comment my husband said last night.

So, last night my husband and I were getting ready for bed. We were both in the master bathroom brushing our teeth at our respective sinks. While in there, I started to get undressed so I could throw the dirty clothes down the nearby laundry chute. I was standing at the sink in my my underwear and bra while he was finishing with his teeth. I pointed to my tummy and the gazillion stretch marks and said jokingly, "My stomach and these stretch marks are like an Escher drawing. It's impossible to count the stretch marks because they twist and turn and connect with each other." Then, "how come you've never tried to count all the stretch marks on my tummy. Oh, I know... you would be up all night counting and wouldn't get any sleep."

I was playing around and just being silly - and he knew that. I started to put my robe on and when he was done with brushing his teeth he said, "I don't pay much attention to your tummy. I pay more attention to the more attractive parts of your body - which is the rest of your body. The rest of your body is beautiful." I gave him a kiss and we went to bed - me to zonk immediately, him to read for a bit.

I was thinking on it this morning and I think it was a really sweet thing to say. I like that he is so honest. He could have said, "Your tummy is fine." That would be lying. My tummy is a mess. And it's almost completely pregnancy related, but a bit from the loose skin too. But he basically told me, in a nice way, "Yes, your tummy is full of stretch marks and isn't beautiful, but I don't care. The rest of you is beautiful to me and I enjoy your body."

I also realized that if I were in a different frame of mind - not exercising, lethargic, sleep deprived, or hormonal, I would have heard what he said more like this, "Your stomach is ugly. I don't pay attention to it because it's gross. I only look at the non-gross parts of your body."

Big difference in ways of interpreting it, huh?

Glad that 95% of the time I'm in a good state of mind. And exercising regularly is a big reason I am in that good state of mind. The only times I tend to get in the more sensitive range nowadays is when I'm  hormonal. So, one or so days a month tops am I a bit touchy, and even then, it's more that I'm grumpy or weepy, not that I'm sensitive to comments.

But before I started exercising and losing weight? I was very, very sensitive to any comments about my body or weight. So insecure. I'm glad I'm over that!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tried a new class and it wasn't so scary!

The title of the class scared me: Advanced Aero-boxing. Eek! Advanced? Where was the regular aero-boxing? There isn't one. There is a kickboxing class listed, but not another aeroboxing. Is this the harder version of Tae-Bo? Tae-Bo can be tough.

"Ah, maybe I should try Tae-Bo or Kickboxing on Tuesday or Wednesday instead." I tried to convince myself this morning of skipping it as I was thinking of getting ready for class. But, skipping this class would mean doing another step class which was already full or skipping today. Skipping today wasn't an option, so... off to Advanced Aero-boxing I went.

Once I got to the gym I started to get really nervous. I get to the class and I discovered it's in the big gym. Lots of women were already there (no men - interesting). And they have gloves on - not boxing gloves, not weight gloves, but later I discovered, they had martial arts gloves. They also had jump ropes. We're going to jump rope? Eeek! My bladder? Hmm... and then they had paddles. O.M.G. this is like for real! We aren't just stabbing in the air, we're hitting things!

Before class started the instructor asked if there were any new people in class. I was one of three. I know this instructor, but not as an instructor. I know him as a martial arts master and a personal trainer. The instructor is serious ripped. I mean SERIOUSLY ripped. Here's a video from the gym about his style and shows a bit of his "stuff".

So, Darrell shows us about jabs and upper cuts and roundhouse kicks, etc. Holy crap! What have I gotten myself into?

The warm up (was it a warm up? Felt more like jumping right in full steam) was mostly jump roping. I haven't jumped rope for pffft.... 29 years? And I haven't done a single jump rope for at least 33 years. Would I make a fool of myself? I was beginning to get really nervous. But, just like riding a bike, you don't forget how to jump rope. That, and I was able to do it fast, like the instructor. On one foot, on the other foot, alternating feet, both feet. Sure, I missed once in awhile, but so did most everyone else. And no bladder issues. Yay!  Now, the instructor started throwing some hard stuff out there (which no one could do). Like crossing your feet back and forth while jumping. Like this. I think it's more that I've never tried it and I didn't know how to break it down. My arms kept wanting to cross! Oops! But, this is one I should be able to do, so I will practice it so I can get it. Darn it!

I can't even find a video of jump rope stuff he ended with (which I think is mainly to show off - but that's OK - he's earned the right to show off)... OK, he would jump the rope in a full, deep squat position. I don't know how you can even begin to do that and I know I never will and never want to, but seriously tough to do!

Then we started with boxing moves. It's intense, but it's in partners, so you do stand around for a wee bit, enough time to recover. Then, between sets, you do things like burpees, push-ups, mountain climbers etc. All things I have done and can do. After the arm work, we did leg work, again in partners. Then near the end we went back to arm work, punching as fast and as hard as we can. Then to end the class we did some sprints. It was totally like exercises from middle school gym; run to the middle of the court, back to the end, then across the full court and then run all the way back and then punch, punch, punch, burpee, punch, punch, punch and then your partner goes. Repeat twice.

I ended the class tired, but pleasantly so. I was definitely not the fittest in class and definitely not the weakest. I was probably somewhere in the top third, which made me feel good. At the end of class the instructor came up to me and said, "You're a natural. You did really good. Can't believe you haven't done this class before." Wow... I know he's a positive instructor, but he didn't say anything to the other newbies, so maybe I wasn't too shabby.

And, it's a class I will work into the rotation. It was good. But, I will buy some of those gel gloves. I have a small blister on one knuckle and small cuts on three others. And, at the end of class, it was beginning to really sting.

Who knew I would like boxing? Huh... I felt a bit like I was training like Maggie in the movie Million Dollar Baby.  But don't worry. I have absolutely no desire to hit someone - ever. Boxing and physical fighting grosses me out. (And here's an irony. My mother in law loves boxing. Why? She loves fights, but also, she was a neurologist and part of her career was spent studying/researching what those hits did to a boxer's brain. She'll know what certain hits do. Creepy to think about killing your brain and damaging it! Ick!) I'll stick to hitting paddles - not humans!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

That class felt great!

In my gym, there are some class snobs. They look down on some of the other cardio classes. I'll hear steppers saying, "Oh, I went to that bodyvive class. Yah... that was hard (heavy sarcasm)." I'll hear runners diss Zumba people. And spinners dis any nonbike aerobics, and so on.  I don't know what's up with the "I can do more than you can do" syndrome so many people have. I HATE that crap. And it's simple not true that you can't get really good workouts in almost any of them. It's what you put into it.

So, I used to do BodyStep and BodyPump religiously. I stopped doing BodyPump a month or so ago due to a knew injury. I've been doing other strength stuff to let that tendon heel.  I haven't done BodyStep in 7 months or so. Instead, I've been doing some intervals, doing Zumba, fast walking and  that 'easy' BodyVive class and an occasional spinning class. Three or so times I've done a step workout at home. I've also even dabbled in a wee bit of light running.

When I left step 7 months ago I was using two sets of risers with all propulsion. I was pretty fit then, but I stepped away from step, so who knew where I would be today.

So, today I decided to use a single riser (options are no step, flat step, step with one set of risers, and step with two set of risers.) I also wasn't sure I would be able to do all the propulsion as it's been so long.

Well, I was fine and never felt, in the entire hour that I was going to pass out. Next time I will add the second set of risers under the step. I did as well if not better than a big chunk of the class of stepping regulars, especially whenever there were intervals or strength moves. I actually think I'm stronger and better at step than I was 7 months ago when I left because I've been doing a mix of other stuff, including some of those "easy" classes.

A lot of steppers (and runners and spinners) are cardio junkies. The specialize in their one thing and are really good at it, but they ignore other things. It's obvious when we go to do push-ups in step and most of the women drop to their knees immediately. Or when we do some planks and they all give out immediately. On the other side, people who do only strength, can't keep up in cardio classes.

I'm not feeling smug as I have a LOT more to go to get better. I still consider myself a dabbler in many ways, but this whole idea of, "Stepping is harder than X" or Y is harder than Z is bogus. I've done no step in 7 months and was doing the much dissed "easier" cardio and I was able to increase my cardio endurance doing it. How? by moving bigger and harder.

I think it's perhaps that you can't really make step easy, so it's always a fairly hard workout and hard for a beginner. You have to go up and down the step. In Zumba or other low impact floor aerobics, you can start easy and build up. Or, if you have a tendency to not push yourself if you aren't forced to, you can 'cheat' and go easy. You can move less and not get much out of it.

Same with spinning. It can be a great workout, but how hard it is completely dependent on how hard you push yourself - same with treadmills and ellipticals and weight training. Hard for running to be 'easy' or step as you have to have a certain level of fitness, but is it the only exercises that can build up great cardio endurance? Heck no!

So, today felt great. I am as strong and as fit as when I left step 7 months ago. I'll add the second set of risers next time and if I still find all that interval stuff is easier going than I remember it 7 months ago, then I will know for sure that the 'easier' stuff I've been doing, wasn't so easy.

And, I think it is fair to say, I'm at tied at my fitness level I was at last spring around late April. I was just 20 pounds lighter then. Still working on dropping the weight (just not checking the scale for awhile and doing what I need to do to see the progress soon enough).

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sigh... having to change up my workouts again

I get into these workout ruts. I do something for awhile and then I get bored of them. Or, I outgrow them.

For some things, like step, you can increase the intensity by raising the step or doing propulsion. I haven't gotten to a fitness level yet where doing that gets to the point of being too easy. With spinning, you can spin faster or crank up the resistance.

But with straight up aerobics, it can get too easy. Starting in November, I started doing a cardio/toning class once a week. I did a lot more jumping around and bigger movements than the rest of the class or the instructor, but by doing that, I could get my heart rate up there. I still can for a couple of songs, but otherwise, I'm not getting in the zone for the bulk of the class any more.

Same with Zumba. There is only one instructor at our gyms that can really get my heart pumping, but again, I'm noticing that even with super big movements, I can't keep my heart rate up there for all the songs. It's just not intense enough.

Today after Zumba, I went to the elliptical machine and set it's resistance to 10 and then put in intervals for 30 minutes.  My heart rate was 139-146 the bulk of the time and I was going about 5.1 miles per hour on average. It was boring though as I didn't have any music or radio with me and the TVs there are muted and it's hard to read the captions if you are bouncing up and down.

All the people who read while exercising... are you really getting a workout if you can read at the same time? I guess it's better than doing nothing, but it's not a hard effort either. Maybe that doesn't matter to them.

So, for classes (cardio) that leaves spinning (not my favorite) and bodystep of those that I know. I think I'm going to try a few other new classes next week. I'm going to try  kickboxing and/or advanced aeroboxing. There's also Tae-Bo, but all of those are similar types of classes, so I don't think I want to do all three boxing like classes. That's it for harder cardio that aren't fee based. Sigh.

I thought about using the treadmill today instead of the elliptical, but that darn bladder issue I have is a nuisance! Grrrr!!!!  On easier cardio class days, I'll hop on the elliptical for 30 minutes (or longer if I have music/radio) to lengthen the amount of time my heart rate is actually in the zone.

I still need to figure out what to do for strength training too. Starting next week I'll be back with the personal trainer once a week, but I need to do something else at least one other time a week if not two. Just not sure! I'm thinking of doing/getting FitnessBuilder and/or doing the New Rules for Lifting SuperCharged and if not that then TRX. Actually they all three can overlap, but which to do!?!?!? I just can't do bodypump any more. Too many repetitive movements and it's given me two injuries.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Who are real women?

Got into an interesting discussion about real women which segued into a discussion on curvy women.

In this whole fat acceptance thing, we've kind of backlashed at women who are thin and fit. The whole point of accepting all body types and sizes and stopping fat discrimination was just that, not to demonize the beautiful and thin people in the world.

Who are real women?

Here are some real women. Recognize the first one? She's 39 years old now. The first photo was her in her early modeling career. Second photo is her in 2013 and last is her out and about with her child about 5 years ago. She is a real woman. She is also a curvy woman. Her measurements are 36(C)-27-37.

Let's go a little bit older. Someone older than me (I'm 43). This model is 48. Recognize this woman/model? She's a real woman too. In her peak modeling career she was Sports Illustrated top bikini model. But in 2012 when she was 47, she still looks great in a swimming suite (last of three photos). She is a real woman. Maybe she doesn't look as curvy (as she's very thin at 6'1" tall), but curvy she is. Her measurements are 36(C)-25-35.

Here are some more real women and curvy women. They are a bipartisan group of US Congresswomen:

All the women I posted about yesterday - thin and fat. Young and old. They are real women and from what I can tell, they are curvy women.

If we have female chromosomes, we are a real woman. If we have had plastic surgery, we are still a real woman. We breathe. We eat. We pee and poop. We die. That makes us real.

This whole real woman thing came about because most of the images we see of women in the media are the Heidi Klums and the Elle Macphersons of the world. We see them because they are seen as beautiful by most people. Yes they are real, but that is not what most of us look like. People started doing ordinary women photo shoots to make us all realize that we don't need to be Heidi Klum to be beautiful.

Now, not only white people are beautiful. Let me be clean about that.

Naomi Campbell (42) is beautiful.

Tyra Banks (39) is beautiful.

Ming Xi (23) is beautiful.

We like to see beautiful people. That's how we are programmed. Beauty means healthy. Healthy means fertile. Fertile means she can reproduce and have lots of babies. That is what beauty is about - babies. Did you know that?

But, these women above (save the Congresswomen) are models for a reason. They hold exceptional beauty. So much so that they get paid lots and lots of money just to show off clothes, shoes, cars, makeup, food, anything and everything.

Sure, the photos get touched up, but anyone who met any of these women on the street could not deny that they are beautiful women. And real women.

Most of us though are not paid to pose in photos. We go about our lives. Yet many women are beautiful. I see beautiful women every day. They just may not be model material. Salma Hayek (46) is gorgeous. No one would dispute that, but at 5'2" tall, she's not runway model material.

But this image of beauty is what our children grow up with seeing (besides their parents' bodies). They see gorgeous bodies. Real, yes. But probably not something we all can have. They rarely see other women's bodies and how most of us look.

That's why I love these "real" photo shoots where they take ordinary women in ordinary settings and take professional photos. Some people diss them saying that they are saying that real means flawed. I don't think they are saying that at all. They are saying, "Hey folks, some of us are gorgeous. Some of us have scars. Some of us have wrinkles. Some of us are old. Some of us have saggy boobs and some of us have no boobs. We are all real." And I think sharing those images and realizing the realness of how we as a people really look is important. No one should have to be running to get plastic surgery to try to have a model perfect body. Having flaws is OK. We all have them.

Other people don't like the nudity - thinking it should be private. Again, I think the nudity is important as otherwise all our young (and older) see are porno photos, centerfold photos and near nakedness in things like the Victoria Secret catalog/fashion shows and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue where they see perfection. Why not let them see how they probably will look when they grow up too?

So, here are some real photos (and I'm sure there are more such photo shoots) of every day women - in the nude. This is your warning. There is nudity. Please click through.

Please select the galleries for the link below - there are 6 galleries:

I love this following project of breast cancer survivors:

My post yesterday was about how we scar and damage our bodies with life and with neglect. That is life, however. We still should celebrate who we are and not hate ourselves for those journeys. We are real.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How we abuse our bodies and it shows

Today I was at Zumba class again. It's a great place to people watch!

In that class, again, all ages, all ethnicities and even some men.

What I notice is this. Once we get flawed, few of us go back to the 'before' status.

Now, let me expand on this a bit. Let's go back to high school. And I'm not even talking about high school today where there are more obese teens, but let's go back to when I was a teen - so about 25 year ago! (EEEEK!)

Most every girl looked like this in the late 80s. Ah prom (of which I never went, maybe that's a good thing now that I see photos:

Most girls had flat tummies, nice arms, nice bodies, period. Age them 25 years and how many would wear sleeveless now? or form fitting tight? Probably not many.

I look around the gym and I see a lot of women around my age and nearly none of us have those same firm bodies. We have poochie stomaches or flabby arms or saggy butt or something and I'm not even talking about the ones that are overweight, but the average women in the room.

In all the time I've been going to the gym and taking classes. I think I've seen maybe 3-4 women out of a couple hundred that didn't have some trouble spot (some of us have more than one).

And those that don't have trouble spots seem to be the people who never got unfit or overweight. Or, they were super lucky and were able to get to their former body with lots and lots of serious work.

This got me to wondering. How do we develop these trouble spots if we didn't have them in our teens?

Is it pregnancy? Well, there are tons of stars/models who bounce right back from pregnancy. That can't be it, can it?

Something happens to us that I don't know what. As young women in the 40s and 50s they looked like this:

But now they probably look like this:

I remember seeing photos of when my grandmother was young and comparing that to the woman I knew. Could it be the same person? I see it with my mother in law too.

But some people never seem to get "that" way. Like these women:

This woman here is the same woman in the 40s and currently. She's over 80. A model then and a model again. Her secret? Pilates, Yoga and being fit - always.

This woman below? You have to watch the clip with her interview. A female body builder at 75 and DANG she looks good! Now, she didn't start working out until she was 56, but from the photos I see, she was never heavy either, but she also said she was very sedentary. That is so serious, serious muscle! You can read more about her here

So why do some women get all flabby and saggy and become the old grandma type? While other stay trim and pretty. Dang, I would look to look at any age like Helen Mirren!

Mirren in her youth:

 And her recently:

Now seriously. 67??? Dang... Though... angle does make a difference. This one isn't as flattering, but still much better than most 67 year olds I see:

And how does she explain her rocking body that won her Best Body of the year in 2011 in an LA Fitness poll when she was 66:

So just how is the Oscar winner rocking a healthy, fit body when the rest of us half her age are struggling to get similar results? Certainly, genetics play a role, but Mirren has also revealed that she keeps it simple. "I've never done anything to excess. I've never drunk or eaten too much. It helps to stay balanced," she told People magazine in 2008. 
"I go through phases of exercising, if I start getting puffy when I go upstairs, I’ll force myself back into minimalist exercise," she said. "I’m a great believer in the Canadian Air Force exercises because they only take 15 minutes…I’ve gone through many diets that are also very boring. You stop eating, and that’s what makes you lose weight: not eating. But as you get older, losing weight doesn’t make your body look better, don’t you think?"
She also has another weapon — Nintendo's Wii Fit. 
"The Wii is fun, and it's infinitely varied. You can hula, jog, yoga, step, all in one session. You need never get bored as every day you can tailor a new workout. It challenges you, and you do it at home, so nobody need see you in those old yoga pants and torn T-shirt. It's my new best friend,"says Mirren.
I highlighted the part that I think is key, "I've never done anything to excess. I've never drunk or eaten too much. It helps to stay balanced."

Once you get out of balance, your body doesn't return to the way it was before. That's my thoughts on it anyway.

My husband's aunt is 67, same as Helen Mirren and her body looks as good (if not better) than Helen Mirren's body. She's never formally exercised, but she walks everywhere and walks briskly, purposefully. She watches what she eats. She never smoked or drank or gained weight. She also doesn't eat sweets because she doesn't like them. Her body shows it. She's taken care of it always. And she got lucky in the pregnancy department as she didn't get stretch marks. 

Me on the other hand, I show all kinds of signs of former abuse of the body. I can get super fit (which I'm not yet) and drop all this weight, but the effects are there from the neglect and abuse. As they are for most of us. This one is not my body, but it looks a lot like mine (I just don't have the surgical scar on the tummy). How sad that my body doubles are usually found in photos for before a tummy tuck!  Nice way to feel good about my body, "We can cut it all off and you can be in pain and pay us thousands and thousands of dollars!"

If only I would have always treated my body well. But, I see most of us haven't and don't. At least I've started to turn things around to prevent further damage (I hope), but I wish I would have learned the lesson at 18 and not 41.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The good and the bad with Daylight Saving Time

The bad, of course, is that I'm waking up in the dark again. And, my body doesn't like it. It knows that it's 5:30 am, not 6:30 am. I'm thanking my lucky stars that I'm not exercising in the early morning as I certainly would have skipped the last three days because of the body confusion.

The positive side of it is that now we have more daylight hours where we need them - in the evening while we are awake! Of course, it's still throwing me for a loop a bit. Like, being shocked to see that it's nearly 6 pm and time for dinner when it feels/looks like 4:30 and I'm not even thinking about dinners yet.

The other positive is that my younger son is very in tune with the sun. That has meant that the last several weeks he's gotten up earlier and earlier, despite not needing to be up. On Saturday morning he was up at 6:15. Ugh!!! It does feel better psychologically to feel that it's 7:15 instead. He hasn't had any problems going to sleep earlier either. His eyes are glazing over as we read the story before going to bed. However, the rest of us? We're having a hard time winding down, despite the lack of sleep in the morning.

It seems the older I get (we get, as my husband I think is just as affected if not more) the harder it is to adjust to the time difference.

But.... it means more evening walks, warmer sun, spring time is coming and I'm itching to get outside.

We took a really nice walk on Sunday afternoon. My knee is paying for it the last couple days. That overuse injury in the tendon is NOT going away. I had no idea walking would aggravate it. Zumba doesn't and neither does the elliptical or most strength training. I guess I'll just need to tailor my workouts to avoid that tendon for awhile and if it doesn't get better on it's own, head back to the stinking physical therapist again. I was hoping to be forever done with that!!! Argh!

Now... to bed. I am trying to adjust to this super early, dark mornings yet.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Trying to find ways to increase my protein intake

I've been reading the New Rules for Weight Lifting books and other things about weight lifting and strength training and one thing seems fairly obvious. I am not getting enough protein in my diet.

Since I log everything, I can see what I get for the day on average. I feel I'm trying to get enough protein, but I am not, sadly. Time to tweak the diet some more, especially if I am exercising and weight training.

So, right now this is a typical day, on a good day and if I eat two protein bars in the morning:


two cups of decaf. coffee with a total of about 1 cup of whole milk
Protein bar (sometimes two protein bars)

30-40 grams of protein for breakfast


Large apple, sliced sprinkled liberally with cinnamon
3.5 tablespoons of peanut butter (carefully measured)

12 grams of protein for lunch


Large helping of a green vegetable/salad
4-6 ounces of a protein/meat.

30-40 grams of protein for dinner

That averages out to about 1450 calories a day and 72 to 92 grams of protein a day on a good day. When I look over my charts, I tend to get about 65-70 grams of protein a day. That is way more than I used to get and I get there by eating whey proteins in the morning, without that, I would be way lower.

I should be getting no less than 100 grams of protein a day. To do that, I need to give up my lovely peanut butter and apple lunch because I just don't get enough protein with it. Sigh.

There are all kinds of recommendations for protein but most things agree that the FDA recommendations are way too low. Just like they are way too high on carb intake recommendations.

Depending on what you read - I could need anywhere from 70 to 180 grams of protein every day. I think 180 is way high and would near impossible for me to achieve. But, getting around 100-110 should be doable, maintainable and what I need for what I'm asking my body to do on a regular basis which is doing aerobic exercise 4 times a week and strength training twice a week.

But, it will be tricky.

For breakfasts, I get quite a bit of protein because of those protein bars. I wish I could eat eggs or cottage cheese or something, but I simply cannot handle meat and/or eggs in the morning and since I can't stomach many/most dairy products, those are out too. If I try to eat ham and eggs or the like, I feel like I will vomit. It's just too heavy in the morning. Brunch, OK, but not for breakfast.

I have issues with dairy products. As a baby, I couldn't handle milk (and I don't think I was switched to any non dairy formulas). Because of that, I grew up hating anything and everything that looked or tasted like milk - except ice cream. Even then, I learned early on that too much ice cream gave me stomach cramps and diarrhea. I couldn't eat/drink milk, yogurt, most cheeses, sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, and similar things.

I obviously had a problem with dairy, but I think my immature brain saw 'liquid white' and thought ick! So, it was more an aversion than a problem for most of my childhood. I could eat, for instance, cheeses on pizza, or baked in lasagna (until one day I saw my mom putting cottage cheese in lasagna - I gave up lasagna for awhile). I would eat yellow cheese, just not white, and so on.

So, little by little, I developed a taste for some dairy products. I can eat yogurt now, but not by itself  - only baked in things or in things like a fruit smoothie. I can eat cottage cheese in lasagna or other bakes goods, but again, not by itself. Same with sour cream. I will now eat cream cheese (thinly spread), white cheeses (just not bleu cheeses) and such. But I still cannot handle much milk. That cup of milk in my coffee for some reason is OK, but a fruit smoothie with milk is not (gives me stomach cramps).

Mostly, I hate the taste of milky things. If it's disguised, OK, but it can still kick in a very strong gag reflex. I have tried and tried and tried to like plain yogurt (or greek yogurt) and cottage cheese as it is so good for you. But I just can't. It's too milky. Even some whey protein powders I cannot handle as they taste too much like milk (especially vanilla flavors).

With that limitation, getting enough protein gets challenging. I like nuts, but they are OK in protein, but are so high calorie (with a lot of fat) that I can't eat enough of them to make up for the protein I need without going over my caloric limit.

I like meat, but for some reason, I'm not a huge meat fan. Once a day is enough for me. Before I had kids? We ate meat like 2-3 times a week. Sure, we eat beans and lentils too, but I don't make them all the time because the little guy won't touch them. I could make tofu, but my mother in law won't touch it.

Already as it is, I feel like I am a short order cook. I don't want to be making three-four different dinners every night - no way. I just need to find more ways to sneak in protein and the most likely way seems to be giving up my apple and peanut butter lunch and either making a lentil/bean stew that I can eat for lunches or a nice big salad with eggs and or meat proteins/bean proteins.

If I switch that up, I should be able to get to the 100 grams of proteins in a day. Getting 30-40 grams of protein for lunch versus 12 would be a big change and it would mean I'm getting about 30-40 grams of protein at every meal without going over my caloric limit too.

Now, just to get over my laziness. A peanut butter and apple lunch is quick and easy. A salad lunch takes prep time! But, that's what I'm off to go make right now. My first salad with cheese, peppers, tomato and grilled chicken salad.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Well, goodness, I did get smaller!

So, I was all bummed at the 10.25 pounds lost in 8 weeks. Especially knowing that some of that was water weight from coming down from carbs. But you know what? I lost quite a few inches!

My starting chest was 40.5
My starting waist was 35.75
My starting hip was 44.5

This is where I was at 190 as we didn't take measurements for the first 1.5 weeks. That means I was even bigger at the beginning of the challenge.

My ending measurements at 183.5 were:

Ending chest: 39.75
Ending waist: 34.75
Ending hip: 42.5

So, in 6 weeks I lose 3/4s of an inch from my chest, 1 inch from my waist and 2 inches from my hips. That's like a fast loss for me! And no wonder I wasn't feeling smaller, or felt my waist was getting bigger. In the past, my waist would go down more than the hips/chest. This time, the hips went down faster and probably from all the leg/butt work we were doing (tons of squats, etc).

Still bums me out a bit as I was at 39-31-41. Ugh... just gotta keep working!

And no scale!!!!

I am also doing a fitness challenge with myself. I am going to try to work out 80 hours in 84 days (12 weeks).  Off in a few to do hour 2. It always seems so daunting at the beginning of a challenge!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Going to try something new - no more scale and more cardio

I have been a slave to the scale for over two years. I know my patterns. I know how to eat. I know how to exercise, so why am I letting the scale beat me up?

I was so bummed at the slow losses with the weight loss challenge, that I just ate more than I should have for the last several days - undoing some of the work I just did! How stupid is that? Why did I let a slower loss than I wanted to see upset me so much? It's stupid!

So, I've decided that I'm not going to step on the scale until sometime in late May or early June. I'll do it in the part of the month where I can expect to see the least amount of water weight. If my cycle stays as is, that will be around May 29th or so. In that time, I hope it will down about 10 pounds (or more), but if it isn't, am I going to get upset? No... the only thing I will be upset about is no weight loss or a weight gain. Those just aren't options!  It doesn't matter how fast or how slow it comes off at this point. It is the weight coming off and getting more fit that matters. The pace of it DOES NOT.

We'll see if I can stick with it. It will be a big change after monitoring my weight so frequently for so long. Though, even now I haven't been weighing myself daily until it's the time of the month I expect to see losses. What's the point of watching the water weight creep up on me?

I'm also going to do more cardio. While strength is good, it's the cardio that burns more calories and it boosts my mood the most. So, I'm going to shoot for cardio 4 days a week and strength 2 times a week. I had been doing about 3 and 3 or 2 and 3 (with more strength than cardio). I need to mix it up a bit and go with what I know works. I've lost better with doing more cardio.

I plan to start doing step again (a great cardio burn), some spinning, and maybe some fast walking outside and/or some running on the treadmill - oh and Zumba with the only instructor that really works us (on Fridays!). On other days, I'll do strength training. My husband and I are thinking of moving away from bodypump and going to the weight room to work out. If I don't like that, or can't get the hang of it, then I'll switch to TRX.

So, lots of options. Lots of things changing. I just need to change things up as I'm feeling a bit in a rut and disappointed with how things are going. That's no good.

I'll probably monitor my measurements a bit, but again, not stress about it. I just need to do what I know I should be doing. Warmer weather and more daylight will help. The winter funk will lift and I will have an easier time of it.

This winter was one of the easiest it's been as far as winter funks go (actually the last three have been) and I know it's the exercise, but I still feel it. Darn lack of sunlight!!! I'm already planning some gardening/landscaping projects too - more ways to get some vitamin D the natural way too! But this year I will be ultra vigilant about poison ivy (and poison oak!)

Starting weight is probably about 185ish as I'm sure I gained with the M&Ms and Reeses Pieces the last couple days.

Back at it Melissa!!!!! (Hey, and only two to three days of too much isn't the end of the world - though not caving in would have been even better!)

Oh, and our snow day yesterday? Pffft. Nothing of it. There is no evidence of snow left either. It snowed a bit and then rained. it looked like a big slurpee where there was snow. No fun and so we just sat in the house all day and felt bummed at the lack of snow! Wah! Another year of no snow to play in. Last year we didn't get ANYTHING, this year we got snow 4 times but less than an inch each of those times.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fingers crossed for making it a REAL snow day!

Snow has been rare in these parts. We had no snow last year. Like not a single flurry. This year so far we've had enough to kind of cover the ground three times. It taunts us, but it hasn't been enough to shovel or even make a snow ball with.

Today, the kids are off for a snow day and we woke up to a wee bit of snow on the ground, but all morning, so far, it's been a mix of snow and rain. Just in the last 15 minutes it's turned to more snowflakes than raindrops, but it would need to snow for days for it to really accumulate to much of anything at the rate it is falling.

This is what it looks like from the window of our upstairs family room looking out back:

It's a bit white, but it's not a winter wonderland. No one is cuing the "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas" song quite yet. Though for March 6th, that would be a bit late for that song anyhow.

So, to helpt things along a bit, I just put on my skiing woman shirt (and it now has a warm wool/fleece zip up sweater over top as I'm always cold). Maybe if I dress like I'm going to the slopes, it will snow more? This shirt is as close to skiing as I'll probably ever get! My younger son was quite pleased with my clothing choice though! And I really should learn to put on some make up and do my hair before snapping photos, but well... this is how I look - I don't usually get all gussied up for hanging out around the house and playing in the snow (or going to the gym).

Melissa - 183... pudgy around the middle!

I don't even mind cleaning up the snow. It's good exercise to shovel. I love functional exercise versus jumping around at the gym. So will you snow mother nature? Gosh darn it!!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Seeing imperfections in others helps with self-acceptance

This morning I did my first heavy duty/hard workout routine since getting all that dental work done. I had been walking and doing light stuff to keep moving, but had put off any strength training and hard cardio as per doctor's instructions (24 hours for cardio, 72 for strength).

So... there I was. It felt great. It got me out of the funk I was sliding into and it is was good for my self-esteem.

The class I decided to take was Zumba Circuit. It's taught by the Zumba instructor I really like and a personal trainer. You dance for 2 minutes, then go to a station for 2 minutes. All in all you dance 7 times and do 6 different strength stations.  In the end, you do some core work (without crunches). This class is usually a fee based class, but was offered as a freebie today. I like the class and have taken it once before, but I don't like it enough to pay $20 every time I go.

Most of us in the class were there just for the freebie.  I saw a few faces I know from some other classes. I saw some people from the BodyVive class, from spinning class, from Zumba classes and from BodyStep and BodyPump classes. The first thing I was super happy to see was that the very fit stepper I regularly see, was struggling a wee bit with some of the choreography of Zumba and a bit wobbly with some of the strength stuff. So, she had specialized in step (and spinning), but wasn't perfect in everything. Made me feel better.

Then, the gals I recognized from Zumba - the same. They could dance, but they struggled with some of the strength stuff. Reverse for some others, they were good at the strength, but struggled with some of the dance/aerobics stuff. It goes right to the message - cross training is good for the body. And mixing it up keeps the body guessing. What I see is that people tend to stick to one or two things and get really good at it, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they are as well-rounded in fitness as they might appear.

I felt good that despite being a very stiff Latin Dancer (yes, I would be one of those you would laugh at on Dancing with the Stars), I can do everything. I can jump around and keep to the beat and do all the strength and balance stuff. I may not be the fastest or most graceful or the strongest, or the most balanced, but I can also see that no one else in the room is either. We're all imperfect.

Then, I felt a WHOLE lot better after spying our instructor's physical imperfections.

I really, really, really enjoy taking this fitness instructor's classes. She always makes it fun. She's always smiling. She throws her whole body into it and sweats up a storm right along with us. I would LOVE to be able to throw my body around as well as she does. She also teaches other classes - lots of classes. She mostly does dance stuff, but she teaches some strength training too. She is strooooong and fit. No one would ever, ever in a million years say she is weak or unfit or overweight. She is a spitball of energy.

Today, she was wearing her compression fitness capris (like me and most of the class), a Tback bra and a flowy fitness top over that. It was really cute and fit her personality and what type of work she was doing. It did, however, shift up and swirl around a bit so that part of her belly was exposed while dancing. She, this spit ball of fire and energy, has a slightly poochy stomach. And, I can see part of it is loose skin. When she was demonstrating some of the fitness moves, I could also see that she has the SAME kind of all over stretch marks on her belly from being pregnant that I have.

As fit as she is, she has imperfections. Similar imperfections to mine. I don't know why that made me feel better about my imperfections, but it did. It made me feel less of a freak or oddity of nature or something. While my imperfections are more than hers AND I still have excess weight, I am beginning to realize that even those who didn't ever have weight issues, still have marks from life. This instructor is teeny tiny petite. I'm sure that her loose skin is from pregnancy, and the stretch marks were for sure. But she's still beautiful and radiant despite imperfections.

Even though I know no one is perfect, there are enough perfect specimens displayed all around us all the time that it makes it easy to forget that they are the odd ones for being so perfect. For the rest of us, life happens and it's OK!!!