Monday, August 31, 2009
Today went well. Food went ok, nothing exciting to report there. I have decided that, after much wrestling with the alarm clock, ill will, and guilty feelings, that I am going to schedule my workouts for later in the late afternoon or early evening. I just am not getting enough sleep, waking up at 5:45am to work out. Plus, after I did my Upper Body Workout this afternoon, I am now thinking that I am not alert enough in the early mornings to fully push myself. I think this may be true because this afternoon I whupped serious metal arse lifting weights. I actually got to weights I've never been able to lift before! I was lifting 12.5-lb dumbbells for my back and for my chest, and I was able to do a full 12 bench dips without stopping, a total first for me. You know the dreaded bench dip, where you sit on the edge of a bench, and lift your rear end off and do a weird reverse push up like you are using the edge of the bench to pull yourself off of the floor. Before it would take several stops and starts to do all twelve for my high point, but this time I totally made it through without stopping. I'm sure I'll feel it tomorrow, but who cares!
I'm more of a night person, and rather than fight this and end up stupidly tired all the time, I'm going to reschedule my workouts and see if I still keep up my progress with my weight and measurements. Bill Phillips (author of BFL) says it is better to work out in the morning, and that it will raise your metabolism for the whole day. It may be true, I don't know for sure, but I think progress is better than perfection here, especially if I'm awake enough to really push myself.
Other than that, it's the start of Week Three for me, and I have decided to spice up today by putting down a short list (10 items) of things I want to do with the new body I am making for myself. In no particular order, I want to try:
Belly Dancing classes
Walking/Running for a good cause
Do at least one of those crazy clapping push-ups
Go out dancing one night
Wear a swimsuit, maybe even a (gulp) two-piece, and feel good about myself in it
Swim like a fish
Tap dancing classes
What would you want to do, if you could?
I'm glad to be back in my scheduled, compartmentalized week, with my meals planned in advance, and knowing what workout is coming up. I look forward to my upcoming little expose on female body shapes, and I look forward to writing about it here. See you tomorrow!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I am very pleased to announce the two-week numbers here. I just ate lunch but, feeling feisty, I decided to hop on the scale and whip out the tape measure and let the chips fall where they may. So, here goes: I'll post the new numbers, and the old numbers, and (if the math gods are with me), I'll even tell you the difference. I was very pleasantly surprised by what I saw!
(old weight: 190------->down 6 whopping pounds!!!!!!)
(old bust (ha ha): 43"------>decreased .75"!)
(old arm: 13.5"------>decreased .5"!)
(old waist: 43"------>decreased 2"! YOWZA!)
(old abdomen: 44.5"------>decreased 1.75"!)
(old butt: 45.5"------>decreased 1.5"!)
(old thigh: 28"------>decreased 2.75" HOT DAMN!)
(old calf: 15.5"------>no change yet.)
If I ever had a doubt that this plan is working, the tape measure totally dispelled it. There's nothing quite so dizzying and euphoric as measuring oneself, trying not to tense up or "accidentally" tug the tape measure too tight, feeling like you have a good reading, then finally looking at the number on the tape only to see it's GONE DOWN! And some of those numbers really went down pretty dang well, if you ask me. Hello! Big winners this week are my thighs (I love you "hamceps" and "quadristrings", bunches and bunches!) and my waist. My pear shape is maybe not quite so pear-y now!
Losing six pounds, though. Before, when I'd try to diet (instead of changing my lifestyle), I'd lose weight and feel like six pounds (or similar) wasn't very much. Maybe there are those of you out there who feel like that too, sometimes, so here is a trick I learned about how to make those removed pounds really look like the loss they are. Six pounds removed is like:
Six packages of butter (salted or unsalted, your choice!) on a plate--that's 24 sticks of butter, yo
A five pound bag of potatoes and more besides
Six one-pounder bags of M&Ms
about a gazillion packages of rice cakes (ok, running out of six-pound items right now, but you get the gist)
I am just really happy right now. I think that's all I can say. I am going to take a rest, since Andrew is napping, but I bet I'll be smiling in my sleep. I plan to do my Aerobics Solution this evening when I get back from running errands, and with those numbers in mind, you can be sure I'm going to be working hard and imagining some more fat globules giving it up! I'm going to do it most definitely, though! I'll be having a free day tomorrow, so see you Monday!
Friday, August 28, 2009
I even got some meditaion in today, which had been hard to schedule for me. Somehow today I felt like I was better able to still my mind. It was still ferreting around in there, snuffling in the corners, but it wasn't quite the high-quality hailstorm of random thoughts that it had been. I was really enjoying the different quality of stillness. I don't normally meditate (or, at least, I never really did it regularly before starting BFL), and when I would try it would be kind of uncomfortable for me, because, since I couldn't do it perfectly right out of the gate, I would get frustrated and irritated during the whole thing. Call it a hunch, but I don't think mentally berating yourself will help you get inner peace. Yes, grasshopper, see much you do.
Today, though, I felt the slightest bit of stillness in there, though, and it was really nice. There just isn't much time in my day where I get to be still. There's always something going on, someone needing me, or me just needing to do something, anything. Even going to bed is orchestrated by reading until I'm cross-eyed and exhausted, so when I turn out the light and roll over, there is no quiet time, just coma.
Tomorrow is the end of my second week in BFL, and I am planning on some reckoning. I will be breaking out the tape measure again and hopping on ye olde Sir Scale (ours is quite ancient) to see what my progress has been. I'm not expecting to have moved mountains, but I'd like to get an idea of what is realistic for me in two weeks of mindfulness and hard work. So, like, losing 5 inches on all my parts is what I'm expecting--JUST KIDDING! It will be good to chart my progress, and I'm going to aim for doing this every two weeks, rather than every week like some programs do. Then (for me) it won't be so much about the number on the scale, but more like an overall look at how my body has changed. I'm interested and excited to see what the numbers have to say. I'm glad I worked hard and ate well today! I'll do it again tomorrow, see you then!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I've said it before and I'll say it again. When I make plans, God is somewhere, chuckling up a storm. I had all this good intent (yeah, I know the saying) of getting up at 6:30am and getting on the treadmill for my Aerobics Solution workout. But then Andrew woke up in the night, sniffling, coughing, and pretty dang pitiful. He had been such a handful (hellion) at school on Wednesday that I actually told him, "I hope you're getting sick, because if this is a new phase you're in, one of us isn't going to make it." Well, there you go...it's like I'm sort of psychic.
I went in when he woke up crying and we slept together in his room, but a two-year old kicking and tossing all night, complete with little sniffles and sad sounds, didn't make for a great night's sleep. I surrendered to the inevitable and turned off the alarm clock in my bedroom so that we could get some sleep together. The day went fairly ok, except I am now getting that lump in my throat that tells me I am coming down with the funk, too. Ah, cold and flu season is coming...are you ready? Would it be considered ironic that I bought vitamins last night, and took my first one today, only to find that I'm getting a cold? I think it is.
My eating was off today. I didn't eat anything I wasn't supposed to, but I am very surprised that I didn't take the time last night to plan my menu for today. I am usually all over that, and I completely forgot. Guess that means I'm human. I had planned five out of my six meals for the day, and ended up only eating four meals today after all. I ate a very tasty breakfast of a fried egg (done in olive oil) over a single piece of unbuttered whole wheat toast, with a plumcot (plum + apricot = plumcot = delicious). That little entree, with a piece of fruit, is fast becoming one of my most favorite breakfasts. I think a great twist on that would be to do Egg Beaters on toast with a bit of salsa on top. I'll have to try it and report back to you.
I took Andrew through a drive-thru for lunch today, and didn't feel tempted to order anything for myself. That felt like a mini-triumph, although it was in part because I couldn't smell anything. Lunch was fine, with a salad of iceberg lettuce and some green pepper and carrot. A couple sticks of low-fat string cheese to go with it (about 2 ounces total). And then I fell asleep when Andrew went to bed. And I slept...past the magic window of time I was supposed to eat in (ideally I'm supposed to eat every two to three hours). When I woke up, it was 4:30pm, and I just went ahead and made dinner. Dinner was pretty dang good, actually. A very lean steak, baked sweet potato, and more salad. I finished up my day with an Odwalla bar at 7:45pm and some water. I just didn't get all those dang meals in, but I guess it could be worse.
The other thing is, I haven't done my Aerobics Solution today. It is bugging me, but I feel very tired and I just can't imagine going to the little gym here and getting on the treadmill right now. I know I should, I know this is bugging me to have not gone, but I also know I'm probably not going to make it today. So what should I do instead? Hmmm....I'm not big on punishing myself for a missed workout, and beating myself up about it sure isn't going to solve anything, but I should maybe do something to make up for it. Perhaps I will not only workout on Saturday, but I will find time on either Saturday or Sunday to swim at the Y, replacing those lost 20 minutes with something else. I'll sleep on it and see what comes to me. Sometimes my solution percolates through my brain when I'm in REM (yeah, that's what I tell myself!).
I plan to work out even if I have the funk tomorrow, though. I enjoy the weight lifting more than I thought I would, which surprises me. In Body-for-LIFE, you are forewarned that life isn't going to stand still just because you're in the middle of a twelve-week body transformation period. You're not going to skip out on life while you're working so hard, it's going to keep on happening all around you. You are warned of speedbumps, of arguments with your spouse, sickness, falling down the stairs, muscle injuries, and on and on. Part of this program is to teach me to put my self-care as a priority. Life will always be happening, and if I am going to wait for a lull in the day-to-day business of being alive so that I can finally get in shape, well, that won't happen until someone's standing over me, giving a eulogy. It's all about making the time and realizing my worth as a person. That I am worth spending time and energy on to make myself feel better and look better, be stronger and more physically fit, and healthy too. I missed it today, and I am sorry for that, because I deserve it, and I'm beginning to realize that. I will do it tomorrow, though, dang it. I will see you then!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
First off, as the (sadly) necessary disclaimer, I gotta say I'm no doctor (but I play one on TV...), nor am I a nutritionist, a guru, a nurse, a dietician, a horse, a bookie, or anyone else that might possibly be considered an authority on Body Mass Index. I only checked out two sources, one of which was the lovely Wikipedia article I printed off, and the other being Steve's textbook on human physiology. So, it's just me, a schmoe, reading about this stuff, and trying to break it down to you (as I best understand it). Ok, now that's out of the way....
Body Mass Index was invented between 1830 and 1850 by Adolphe Quetelet, a Belgian polymath (say what?) who was working on "social physics." It is really meant to study the proportion of weight and height at the population level, rather than at the individual level. The actual term Body Mass Index was coined in 1972 by a gentleman named Ancel Keys, who explicitly stated that it was inappropriate for individual diagnosis (I'll explain why in just a moment). It was used for individuals, though, because it was so simple, didn't require fancy schmancy medical equipment, and could even be a tentative starting point for a diagnosis of things like starvation or anorexia nervosa. In the main, it is currently used to determine weight problems in a population, usually whether the population is underweight, overweight, or obese.
The proper formula for BMI is the weight (in kg) divided by the square of the height (in meters). If I knew a little bit more about computers, I would write up the formula for you and paste it up here, but you'll have to bear with me. If you want to figure out your BMI and you live in America, it is your weight (in pounds) multiplied by 703, and you divide that number by your height (in inches) squared.
My BMI is currently at 30.9. I cheated and went to a website to figure it out. I cannot do math, sorry. According to the current guidelines, I am considered to be obese (bummer). A BMI of 18.5 to 25 indicates optimal weight, a BMI lower than 18.5 suggests the person is underweight, while a BMI above 25 indicates being overweight. A BMI of 30 or greater indicates obesity, with over 40 being morbidly obese. A BMI below 17.5 may indicate the person has anorexia nervosa, and a BMI of less than 14.9 indicates starvation.
The US National Health and Nutrition Survey of 1994 said that about 59% of American men and 49% of American women have BMIs over 25. 2% of men and 4% of women were morbidly obese. Then, in 2007, came another survey that said that 63% of Americans are overweight, with 26% being in the obese catagory (go team, go!). So, I guess it's becoming patriotic to be heavy, eh?
Here's where (I think) it gets interesting. BMI can be a quick diagnosis that is not always correct. For instance, with athletes, muscle is denser than fat, and they can come out with a BMI number that is overweight or even obese, although these people are in excellent shape (you think Dwayne Johnson aka "The Rock" has a low BMI?). Also, in children and the elderly, there are considerations that need to be made regarding bone density, loss of height due to aging, different body shapes, and on and on. There are many different body types, as we all know, and the BMI doesn't take this into account...ectomorph, endomorph, pear-shaped, hourglass...you still get the same formula. There are some differences on the guidelines for optimal weight BMIs for countries in Asia, but other than that, it's pretty much a cookie cutter formula, as far as I can tell.
An interesting thing I read as well was the bit about American medical insurance companies. According to Wikipedia, most private health insurance providers use a particular high BMI as a cut-off and then raise insurance rates or deny insurance to higher-risk patients (nice.). This would reduce the cost of insurance coverage to others subscribers in the "normal" BMI range. Some will phase in surcharges as the BMI goes up, additional penalities, etc., up to a maximum BMI where, after that, the individual will be denied coverage regardless of price. This doesn't necessarily include group insurance policies. So, this cookie cutter formula can affect millions of people who are struggling with weight issues, and can condemn them to higher medical insurance rates, or even a complete lack of medical insurance.
So a BMI is not really always the best way to gauge weight loss. I think it can be used as a tool, but I wouldn't hang your hopes on it, or bet the farm. I don't know about you, but it always seems that everything is about BMI right now--why don't "they" talk about it's intended usage, on populations of people, rather than the individual? I suppose because it's such a simple formula. I think I would also get a better sense of my emerging fitness with a tape measure and even (maybe) the scale, but perhaps just a pair of pants that are in a size I want to be. What do you think is the best way to measure healthy weight?
So that is my first assignment, out of the way. Don't grade me, guys! It has been eons since I've been in school, so I hope the information wasn't too jumbled. If you want to read what I read, just go to http://www.wikipedia.org/ and type Body Mass Index into the search engine, and away you go.
You know what I want to tell you about next week? I found an interesting article (again on wikipedia) on female body shapes. Now that's a topic I think might be fun.
My day went fairly ok, otherwise. Andrew didn't get enough sleep last night, so it was screaming tantrums all morning at school, with periods of Evil Mommy In Public phased in. There's nothing like losing your...mind....in public that makes it great to be a parent of a small child. Especially when parents are coming in and out from dropping off and picking up their kids, and can see my son falling out, and me about to ship him overnight to my mother's house. What? Like you never had the urge...
Food went well, and I worked out my upper body this morning with weights. I went and got on the scale today at the Y, and while I had my shoes on and stuff, it looks like I may have lost four pounds! Yay! That's four packages of butter from the grocery store (ew). Seems a lot to me when I think of it that way. I plan to do a proper weigh in (whatever that means) every two weeks, and to re-measure my bits every two weeks as well.
My goal for tomorrow is to actually get up with my alarm clock and go running at 6:30am, instead of feebly pounding the snooze button and running later in the day. Bill Phillips (the author of Body-for-LIFE) says that your metabolism is boosted for the whole day if you work out in the morning, and frankly, I could use all the help I can get! Wish me luck! I'm going to do it tomorrow! See you then!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I know that, for myself, I feel inundated with different articles, usually pessimistic, talking about America's obesity issues, BMIs, diabetes this, toxic fat that, and on and on. But I got to wondering if I really know what all these "experts" are talking about.
So, I decided to start with something basic, simple. The good old BMI: Body Mass Index. I figured I could breeze through this and write up a little something for tonight, but I don't think so. I ended up finding an article talking about BMI on Wikipedia (one of my favorite places to visit on the web), and then I ended up finding an article on body fat percentage (I'm sure I have stock in that company), and an even more interesting topic, about female body shape types. After printing off somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 pages or so of information, I have decided that I will read tonight, absorb, and tell you all about BMI tomorrow. You know you're going to have a hard time sleeping tonight, waiting for my little report tomorrow, aren't you? Kind of like Christmas Eve....
Other than that, it was a pretty ok day. There weren't fireworks, I didn't feel like I grabbed BFL by the goodies, but I stuck with it, even though I didn't feel like a bodybuilder or an Olympic runner. Part of that was seeing myself running at my job (working with kids). There is a large room we can take the kids into, basically a large workout room, complete with lots of full-length mirrors, and seeing myself in motion made me realize I still look like a rabid water buffalo when I run. But, I have to remind myself, it took me a long time to get this big, and (sadly) I am not going to drop 25 pounds in a week and look markedly different. Not yet, anway.
I had a hard time getting out of bed at 5:30am this morning (go figure), and so my Aerobics Solution got postponed until lunchtime, about 12:45pm. I had waited two and a half hours before working out, so that my fat stores would be burned up after my workout, rather than the food still sitting in my stomach, and waited for an hour after working out, so that the feast on fat globules could continue (all as recommended the Body-for-LIFE book). But by then, about four hours had gone by since I had last eaten my midmorning snack of an apple and two one-ounce low fat string cheese sticks. I was so hungry I was beyond rational thought, so I ate way too much...soup. Yes, tie me up and beat me, I had a doubly whammy of soup. Oh well. If you want to really get aggravated at me, I'll just tell you that this afternoon, in a rush, I grabbed the whole milk rather than the skim to add to my cup of coffee (hey, I was sluggish, so sue me!). But the funny this was, I analyzed myself much more for the whole milk slip up than for the soup. Was I trying to sabotage myself? Tell me, fraulein, about your mother?
I ran on the treadmill today--a first in a looooong time. Turns out that running your butt off on one of those suckers burns more calories and covers more distance than when you do the nice soft treading-on-marshmallows dance on the elliptical (and I do love that dance). Hmmph, now that I know that, I think I'm going to have to keep up with the treadmill more than the elliptical. I started at a fairly brisk walking stride of 3 mph, then increased by .5 up until I was burning shoe rubber at a whopping 5.5 mph. It did feel good to know that I could run that fast--to me, that's fast, I mean!
Still feeling pretty good mentally about BFL. I know this isn't a fast results kind of game plan that I'm on. I am beginning to realize that 12 weeks on this program will yield results, of that I am sure, but I'm quite possibly going to need to continue removing weight and eating less in order to do that for more than just 12 weeks. This program talks about weight removal rather than weight loss, since that sounds more like you misplaced your car keys and can find and pick them up again at any time. I find I like the idea of weight removal--sounds serious, doesn't it? Sort of like a surgical procedure. But anyhoo, after weight removal comes the idea of weight management, and I think it is quite likely that weight management is a bit away on the horizon. But, alas, I just need to stay in today. I have no idea what tomorrow brings, let alone what 12 weeks of tomorrows will bring, so I just need to stay in now.
I've got an Upper Body Workout tomorrow with my name on it, and I better get ready for bed. I'm glad I stuck with BFL today, in spite of my head feeling ho-hum about it, and I will do it again tomorrow! See you then!
Monday, August 24, 2009
My day off was pretty good, and I did attack our kitchen pretty voraciously. It also, strangely enough, wasn't as much fun as I had thought it was going to be. Go figure.
I was glad to wake up again this morning and start working out again. Today was the lower body workout, and aside from two little blips (achy lower back and a funny feeling in the instep of my left foot), it went pretty well. A little attention with some ibuprofen and some ice ought to take care of it, though.
Food went well too. I noticed yesterday, on my free day, I really flagged after about 4:00pm. Today was much better, but I think it's safe to say I'm a little food hungover. It's good to keep that in mind for the next free day.
I am also thinking that I may have been hard on the person I mentioned at the end of my Day Six post. Since I am living, eating, and breathing fitness and BFL right now, it's entirely possible that I just misinterpreted the casual remark. Granted, next time I could always just ask what the heck the person is talking about, rather than assuming immediately it is a dig on me. It's one of my little quirks...a tendency to freak out and go on the defensive (or would that be offensive?) when I think I'm being judged unfairly. Oh well, live and learn.
I also made a great dinner again. With lentils, again. That little package of dried beans (legumes?) looks so small before you cook, and then, when it's all over, it looks like you have 500 gallons of the stuff. Here is what I made. I took the half cup of lentils and warmed them just a little in the microwave. In a separate bowl, I took a half cucumber and seeded it, dicing it finely (ish) and cut up a bit of red pepper and just the tiniest bit of onion. I threw in a small portion of olive oil and a few dashes of red wine vinegar. When the lentils were ready, I added it all together, and it was so good.
I am now winding down for the day. I am a bit tired, and I attribute this to the crappy fuel I put in my body on my free day, so tomorrow I should be golden.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I had a rough night last night (ahem, ahem, andrew). There's a saying: if you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans. And oh man was that true last night. I ended up going to bed rather late. Part of it was because I knew there wasn't going to be the alarm going off at 530, but also in part because Andrew went on a sleep strike, the likes of which I haven't seen in quite a while. He just would not go to sleep. He wouldn't have anything to do with it. There was a lot of negotiations, a lot of playing-the-room, a lot of begging (some of it mine), and finally, the cut off. He finally quieted down and even slept a little from about 11:20 to 1:30 am, but then he woke up again, and I went to lay down with him. Steve peeked in on us and just had to come in and say hello (why do guys do this? why?), and Andrew began to get rather chatty and, quite honestly, acrobatic. To make a long story short, after getting kicked in my aching pectoral muscles for the 4,278 time, I decided that, at 3:00 am, that Evil Mommy was going to have to come into play. Dire threats were made, and finally, I told Andrew that he could stay awake all he wanted, but he had to do it in his crib. He wasn't feverish, he said nothing hurt on him, I gave him Motrin anyway, but he just wanted to party all night...and I felt like beating my head on the carpeting until I knocked myself out or gave myself amnesia.
Waking up at 8:00 am this morning, though, wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I was groggy and cranky for a little bit, but I suddenly just woke up and had all this crazy energy. We went out and walked to the farmer's market (big shout out to the Carrboro Farmer's Market--they are incredible and they sell yarn there--double win!). We came home and danced to crappy music from the 90s (hello, Vanilla Ice). I snuck out of the house while Andrew was asleep and ran on the elliptical at the apartment complex gym for my 20 minutes Aerobics Solution. I felt a little leery leaving Andrew, but we have a very good fire alarm, and he sleeps like the dead. Eh, maybe I won't do that again, but I didn't want to work out again at 10:30 at night.
I'm off to grab a snack and get ready for dinner. I'm going to hang out with some friends later tonight, and I'm going to treat myself when we all go out to the nearby not-so-greasy spoon. I'm going to have a Diet Coke. w00t!
But for tomorrow, my first Free Day...let me think...I suppose my Bisquick mix is going to be making it out of the pantry for breakfast, I can tell you that...and I think I'm going to be making a little peanut butter popcorn for TV watching tomorrow night...don't wait up! See you Monday!
OK, I have to check back in and write this out, because my head is definitely talking to me. I went out and hung out with some friends, and two of the guys in the group started talking about their cravings for fast food joints. McDonalds this, Arby's that, yadda yadda yadda. They talked about what item they just can't resist, and, since they were right next to me, I voiced that I do have a fondness for Burger King's Whoppers, which they wholeheartedly agreed with, and we agreed the fries suck. The point? I'm getting to it right now. Out of nowhere, after a couple of short exchanges in this vein, the older of the two said to me:
"Yeah, well, lucky you're married."
Uh, what? Is there some connection here I am supposed to immediately get? First off, I am engaged, not married, although I consider it the same thing, in view of our living arrangement. But the dinger is why am I lucky I'm married? Because I like fast food? No wait, I get it, you just spoke up from your inner (shortsighted) opinion that, since I am fat, I am lucky I'm married. It came up for you because I was talking to you about shitty fast food, and you looked at my body, and assumed that's all I think about. I'm so sorry I tried to partake in your conversation, what was I thinking? What a waste of my time.
I just find this little remark very interesting. It doesn't matter that I am smart, witty, can teach myself how to do things like knit or play piano, am a good mother, am well-versed in history, I'm likable, or any of that other stuff. None of these other attributes could have possibly contributed to the fact that I am where I am in life. Just cause I'm fat, I'm lucky I'm married.
I read you loud and clear. You're lucky I'm smart like that, asshole.
I am looking forward, also, to not having to set the alarm tomorrow morning. The only alarm I will have going off is my son, waking me up! That will probably be about 7 or 8 am, but that's sleeping in to me! I have to schedule my Aerobics Solution for late tomorrow night since I have Andrew all day and evening before Steve gets done with work. Oh well, it's all doable.
I had a funny thing this evening with Andrew, by the way. My child is two, and is very two at times, if you know what I mean. So, being the two-year old that he is, he has a tendency to love a certain food one time, and another time it is presented, he won't even taste it. So imagine my surprise tonight at dinner. It was an accidentally vegetarian dinner (wasn't my plan, but I'm not complaining). We had lentils, brown rice, and I had corn on the cob for Andrew, and I had cooked spinach. I also cut up one of our tomatoes off of our tomato plant, and we ate that too. I have been serving all my meals on the smaller plates in our kitchen, and that makes a difference, tricking my eye into thinking I have a bigger portion than I really do. It actually was quite nice. Here:
What you see here is just a half cup of brown rice, a half cup of lentils, and a scant half cup of spinach, with a small cut up tomato (I know, you're saying "well duhhhh..."), and that's all there is. Do you know how much food I can tuck away? Now, this is a change for me. To say this was a nice meal and to mean it, me who is probably composed up of equal parts Dove milk chocolate bars and feta cheese and potato chips...ending up liking this meal so much that I wanted to take a picture of it?! How wild is that? Wait, don't answer that....What is also weird is that for the past day or two, there have been meals that I haven't finished, and have put the plate away with food still left on it, been satisfied and happy until my next scheduled meal. WILD!
So, that's the story for today. My head feels great today, my body has a bit more energy, and I am looking forward to my free day, I have to admit. I'm enjoying this BFL stuff, but come on, you know I'd be more than human to not say that I don't have a couple of food items I want to hang out with on my free day. But not until Sunday! I'll be good tomorrow! See you then!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Funny thing is, it was hard to go back to bed. I had almost gotten up with the alarm, but just felt too crappy and told myself that it wasn't now or never, that I could work out later in the evening. But laying there, trying to go back to sleep, was hard. I almost felt convinced that I'd just not work out at all today, and that led to a host of worry, concern (basically, fear) that I would just end up eating crappy today, not meditating, and would continue on the same old path as if I'd never started BFL.
These feelings kept coming up all morning and afternoon. I made time for meditation in the morning, and I walked to work (just in case I didn't end up doing my Aerobic Solution), and ate well. But the feeling of failure kept nagging me. Then I got ahold of myself. I had to keep telling myself not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, to not throw in the towel. It's day four, I'm hardly a pro at this, and it is going to take a period of adjustment for such a large lifestyle change. Back in the day, I used to work out, and it had to be every day, rain or shine, and if I missed a day, there was a very good (like 95%) chance that I would just never get back into the rhythm. That's seriously what I am like. I was so worried that missing one workout would set off that old habit of just saying "screw it" about the whole thing, and then I was projecting my fat, wrecked, old self on my future. Which is totally batshit crazy, I know. I just have to stay in today. I can't do a thing about yesterday, and tomorrow isn't here yet, so all I can work on is today.
I feel like I had a bit of a mental breakthrough with all of this. More so when I did get on the elliptical machine this evening (at 10:20, thank you very much). My legs are still talking to me, and I'm giving my thighs nicknames like "quadristrings" and "hamceps", and this workout was intense and hard. Especially as I kept ramping up the intensity, over and over. For the last cycle, I kept telling myself: "This is the last 6 of the workout...the last 7..." and so forth. But 9 and 10 were really pushing me. I ended up flipping in my BFL journal to the pictures of Carolyn Culverhouse. She was 51 when she did BFL, and she not only did it once, she did it three times in one year. She lost something like 80 pounds of fat. It's not just the numbers that get me, but it's her pictures. Not necessarily her body, but more her face. She looks like she's in her 50s in her before picture, but by the end, she looks like she's 35. Her mouth is closed in a frowning smile in the "before" shot, but in subsequent after shots, her mouth begins to really smile, and in the last "after" shot, she is showing teeth and just looks all lit up inside. I stared at her pictures while I chugged away and starting chanting to myself: "If Carolyn Culverhouse could do it, so can I." I said that for a while, then started inserting other people's names that I admired. For instance, Michelle Obama said in an interview that she gets up crazy early (I think she said 4:30) to work out. So: "If Michelle Obama can do it, so can I." That little bit has gotten me out of bed almost all this week, by the way. And I kept thinking of people's names to use. People I admired. And the last few minutes were gone in a rush, and I even felt a bit more pumped, knowing I had called up some kind of emotional, physical, spiritual power. I had done it, too, just like them. What great company to be in!
At the risk of sounding a bit Hallmark-y, I am proud of myself for making it through a mental speedbump. I am proud I worked out, even if it meant doing it late at night and missing out on other stuff I wanted to do. I am proud I made a decision to take care of myself today. I will do it tomorrow! See you then!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I only at five meals today, not what I had originally planned for the day. Dinner was good, turkey burgers are awfully good if you cook them with some montreal steak seasoning. I had to be somewhere at 8:00, and dinner was at 6:45. I packed a nutrition bar, but after I got done, it was too late to eat it. I read in the women's Body-for-LIFE book that eating after eight is not so good. I didn't know that yesterday, when I made a protein shake at about 10:00 at night. Also, that shake gave me a stomach ache...blech. So I missed the last meal. I am a little hungry, but not too bad right now. I keep thinking of my fat pockets all over my body, and that if I keep eating well and deal with minor hunger twinges, that fat will be melting away...
Other than that, it's been quite a nice day. Meditation went better, but I still feel like a gnat on meth trying to empty my mind out and be in the moment. It amazes me how much my mind likes to natter on. Grocery lists, musical scores, trivia, imagery all fly through my head so quickly, try as I might to still the thoughts. I try deep, controlled breathing and a bit of a mantra to keep my mind on, but it's pretty funny what I end up thinking about. Today I got off on Andrew's toys, the field trip I took with my class in elementary school to the art museum, the giant white marble Buddha that was there, then I started thinking about my old schoolmates, Facebook, who I should look up next. Ugh! I keep visualizing scooping the random thoughts out of my mind, like scooping fish out of water. Better luck next time, I guess.
Tomorrow I get back on the (elliptical) horse. Am already wincing a little internally at the upcoming ass whupping. I need it, though. At least it's only 20 minutes long. I will do it tomorrow!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
We are fortunate that there is a gym-like room at the office of our apartment complex. The machinery looks like it's from the late 80s or early 90s (and smells like it hasn't been disinfected since then), and there is an elliptical machine, a stationary bike, two treadmills, but sadly no dumbells or free weights. I plan to use the complex gym for aerobics days, and eventually get really inspired and walk or run to the nearby YMCA to use their stuff. But first things first....
I owned, pwned, PWND! this workout. I really was struggling at the end, at that "high point", where you aim for an intensity of 9 for one minute, and then an intensity of 10, trying to call on that strong desire for fitness to override your body's quaking, whimpering (or screaming) desire to slow down, or better yet, STOP! I had to close my eyes for the last couple of minutes to not stare at the timer on the elliptical. Amazing how long a few seconds are, how 10 seconds feels like a full minute, when you are so out of shape and are sweating like a pig. But I did it, and I know that I pushed it as hard as I (safely) could. For the first time in my whole life, there was a moment where I was afraid that I would keel over of a stroke or something, and my sweaty, stinky corpse wouldn't be discovered for a few hours, but I survived (obviously.). But it's interesting to me, to have that fear creep into my mind for the first time. To be afraid that being active might cause me to need an ambulance and a paramedic. A yucky first, and hopefully I won't have to think about that ever again.
I worked up a good, honest sweat and trudged home to the shower and spent some time again today practicing meditation. It's a little choppy, like gravel is kinda bumpy, but maybe I will do better tomorrow. I am starting with five minutes, so I set the microwave timer to six minutes since it takes me a few moments to sit and I start with a simple prayer and then try to empty my mind of all the crumbs of junk that accumulate. Today was pretty funky...I started thinking of anything and everything, and then got fixated on the fact that I must have been "meditating" for over five minutes by...and why hasn't the timer dinged? I ended up getting up and walking to the microwave only to find out that I had about a minute left to attain nirvana. Hah, so much for my inner sense of time.
Food today was pretty good, but I admit I am a bit hungry today. I am telling myself that that very faint gnawing feeling in my stomach is my body's way of telling me that, if I don't eat more unneccessary food, that it will have to delve into my fat stores. When I think of it that way, I'm quite happy to keep going and let the fat globules suffer a little genocide. Your days are numbered, suckers. I had Egg Beaters this morning, pretty good with salsa on top, and had a really tasty dinner. I had a salmon fillet--and I love salmon, but hardly ever get it because it always seems so expenive, and a plain sweet potato, cooked in the microwave, and the kale again. I used to drown my baked sweet potatoes in butter and salt, and thought it tasted so good (and who am I kidding, it totally does), but when I ate it plain tonight, it actually tasted really pretty good. It was a surprise. I am going to go and try making a chocolate protein shake smoothie concoction after Andrew goes to bed. I shanghaied Steve into staying up all afternoon and evening to help with Andrew and help me put him to bed...actually he totally is doing the whole bedtime routine! I better get in there and say good night. I am glad to have another day done, and done well. I will do it again tomorrow. See you then!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Day one is over...and was a success. Seriously. No, it wasn't perfect, and yes, there were some parts where I felt a bit uncertain or felt old attitudes or emotions or hungers rearing their heads, but I am here, with the very first day under my belt, and I am proud of myself.
I woke up at 5:45am (dude.) and Steve was just getting to bed. He said to me, "Are you really getting up right now?" Maybe that was meant to be, because it galvanized me into putting my feet on the floor and stumbling down the stairs to work out.
The workout went ok. I got a idea of my baseline fitness (or lack thereof) for my upper body. I am not as weak as I thought I was in a few areas, and in others, well, I went with a gusto and now know I will need to scale back for next time. For example, Side Raises, that exercise where you hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand up and raise your arms straight out to the sides...well, let me tell you, I didn't make it all the way up. For any of them. I forgot how much I used to grit my teeth during deltoid muscles exercises. But I rocked my triceps, pushing for the intensity of 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, with Dumbell Extensions and finishing with a rather brutal Bench Dip finish. I could feel it this evening when I was putting my hair up...tomorrow my arms should feel pretty interesting. The timing was rather hard this morning. Since I have the adjustable weight dumbbells, it takes more time to change the weights, so my workout ran for 56 minutes instead of the suggested 46. Oh well, I was also uncertain and it was my first day. It will all work out as I get better.
Food wise. I tried something today I haven't had ever, or at least not in a very very long time (if ever). I ate kale. I had cooked it yesterday, and I had a bit for dinner. Not bad if you cook the hell out of it and put red wine vinegar on it. It was nice to know that I was going to eat six meals today, that they would all be healthy, and that I didn't have to sweat figuring out what to cook for dinner (one of my least favorite puzzlers) because I had planned in advance. So that's what they were talking about when they said planning for success. No, I really did know that already, but sarcasm doesn't always travel so well in (my) writing. I tried to practice a moment of mindfulness before I sat down to eat each time. I have such a habit of reading or watching TV when I eat, or just spacing out during the meal. I never take the time to pause and look at my plate and see the whole picture and appreciate what I have before I launch right in. A lot of times, it was just my hand going into a bag of chips or chocolate repeatedly, while I anesthetized myself with TV or reading. It was so interesting to do it differently today. I asked for God to help me be mindful with eating today, with each meal I ate. I had a couple of moments at the beginning of lunch and at the snack this afternoon, fear at the beginning of eating that this food wouldn't possibly fill me up, that I would starve (my brain can be a bit melodramatic) and I just asked God to help me, to release me from that fear, and it worked.
Maybe some of you don't truck so much with God, or Higher Powers, but, to make a long, looong story short, I will sum up by telling you that I didn't used to believe either. Then I thought I wasn't good enough for a God of any kind to take an interest in me, let alone love me. Then I created my own conception of a loving, caring God (and He has one hell of a sense of humor, let me tell you). I have a relationship with God, and I will be relying upon Him to help me learn this new way of life. He will be coming up, most likely here and there, and I ask that you all out there (if anyone ever reads this, ever) just bear an open mind. This is my journey. I am not asking you to believe what I believe, nor am I asking you to make me believe what you believe. I respect where you are coming from, and I would be lying to you if I didn't tell you when I had to rely upon a power greater than myself. Ok? Everything copacetic? Sweet.
So I worked out, and while waiting the requisite hour after working out before eating, I practiced five minutes of meditation (gotta start somehow), did some enriching reading, watched the news (interested to see if North Carolina is going to get visited by Hurricane Bill--part of me wants it to happen...morbid, huh?), and prepared breakfast for myself. Then Andrew woke up and we had a pretty good morning. Actually we didn't do hardly any TV viewing this morning. Usually we get sucked into watching a bit of TV, but today I left it off and we played with blocks and used our imaginations and stuff. Wild. We are a fairly active playtime family, but lately the boob tube has been getting out of hand. I took Andrew swimming, we all came back home for lunch and a wee nap (I was flagging at this point). Then I went to work and earned extra credit by walking the short distance to and from work. So I got in an extra 20 minutes of walking today. I hope to be able to walk to work tomorrow morning too.
Day One is done. I shook off some inertia. I did it today. I am going to do it tomorrow. See you then.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Le Rowr. No really, stop drooling into your lap. The second photo I just had to do a little jig for joy because I'm so loving how I look right now. Oh yeah. So, enough said with downing myself or whatever. This is my real, legitimate before picture. This is my wake up call. I am starting the work already to make sure I have a successful first day tomorrow.
I am not going to sit here and think I will just be perfect right out of the gate, and that I'm never going to get frustrated or screw up or say the hell with it for an afternoon or a day, or that I'll have a hard time writing about the changes I'm trying to make. But I am going to do this. I said it yesterday, and I'll say it again today, and shoot, maybe I'll make a point to say it every day that I am going to DO this. I will change. It's already started. See you tomorrow.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I wasn't always fat, and I think I have spent considerable time and energy convincing myself that I didn't look that bad. After a while I think I got in the habit of only looking at myself from the chest up, never looking at my upper arms, looking in a full length mirror from way far away, and convincing myself that I was still thin. Well, maybe not thin, but just a little...thick. Not thin, but just a little fat. Ok, a bit fat, but not really fat. Ok, fuck you, I'm fat, but I'm not REALLY fat. Right?
I eat what I want, and sometimes I eat when I don't really want to. Ok, a lot of times I eat more than I want to. I eat when I'm upset, angry, frustrated, bored. I eat to reward myself, to make myself feel better, to celebrate, to do all kinds of things. Meanwhile, I don't like being active. I like to think of myself as graceful and physically lovely in a fleeting deer kind of way. Except I can't bound and leap like a deer. And I don't like to run (I have never been built for either speed or distance). I fantasize about being able to move, to run, to do active things, but in reality I've come to the point where it is getting hard to get around. I can totally go up stairs and down stairs, get in and out of cars and stuff like that, but running around with my two-year old is a lesson in humility (or humiliation). It's hard to be an involved parent when your kid wants to run around and play and you peter out after about 10 yards. I can feel my body moving in all sorts of ways that don't mean fitness. You know, kind of like your body keeps moving after you stop. Ooooh yeah.
So I am going to try--no wait, I am going to DO something about it. I have tried things in the past, and that was all basically bullshit. I have tried Weight Watchers, the Zone, going vegetarian, LA Fitness, more Weight Watchers, chitosan, metabolife (and these were taken back in the day when ephedra was still in them--wasn't that a wild ride.), smoking, even taking laxatives or epsom salts a few times (if you are curious, don't bother wasting your time on such a horrible thing to do to yourself), and even more things that I can vaguely recall. All of this experimentation started when I was in my early 20s. I put on a few pounds, I tried various things to get them off, basically everything except eating less and exercising more. I gave up on those pounds and acquired more. I started to get big when I was about 23, and have grown even more since then.
Right now, I am 5'5", and I weight 190 pounds.
I recently went on vacation with my fiance and our son, to visit my parents. No, my mom never said a word, but our vacation pictures sure said a lot. They said: HOLY SHIT, HONEY, YOU ARE FAT. At least, that's what I saw.
A while back (in another lifetime, but I digress), I tried Body-for-LIFE. I made it to the two-month mark before I gave up in one day because I woke up exhausted from running on empty the day before. I had worked hard, lifting weights, eating carefully prepared meals, and I had been really seeing results, but I blew it off after one bad night when I couldn't eat when I needed to, and woke up feeling like hammered crap the next day, and decided the best cure was to order a pizza. I remember that day vividly, for some reason. I also remember before that day, when my friends and co-workers remarked on my toned arms. I want to try it again, and really complete it this time. That's what this is all about.
The first time I did BFL, I didn't take a proper before picture. As I type this, I am squeezed into a torn up sports bra and a pair of jogging shorts, waiting for Steve (my fiance) to get off the phone so he can take my before pictures. I am going to do this. I am putting it all out there. If I can't do a 12 week program to get my body back in order, to love and care for myself like I try my hardest to love and care for my son and my fiance, then--well, no, there just is NO other option. 12 weeks are going to go by, whether or not I do this. Do I really want to have done nothing in this time when I feel so horrible about my body, about what I've done to myself?
I am afraid to talk too much about food in front of other people, in case they are thinking about what a fatty I am.
Clothes are running tight on me, even my big ones.
I nicknamed Andrew (my son), "green bean", and when I call him that, I wonder if people think that all I think about is food.
When I eat in front of other people, I berate myself and imagine them berating me as well for thinking I could eat when I am the size of a house.
I am so afraid someone will call me fat when I cross the street in public.
I work at the local YMCA, and I feel like such a hypocrite for working there and being so big.
I compare myself (always unfavorably) with other women, especially other mothers who aren't big, like me.
I'm scared to be active and moving in front of others, in case I look like a rabid water buffalo.
And on and on, ad nauseum.
So, as part of my being accountable to myself, I am starting the Body-for-LIFE for women plan this Monday, August 17th. I wrote up a contract for myself, like the book suggests (thank you, Pamela Peeke), I have done the written exercises as I have come across them. I just came back from the grocery store for my first food run for this new lifestyle. Ground up turkey (hmmm, ok), fruit, smaller potatoes (it's going to take some getting use to with these smaller, correct-sized portions), cottage cheese, and on and on. I also went to Play-It-Again Sports and purchased some adjustable dumbells to work out with--I'm terrified to try lifting weights at the local Y, when I would need the pictures in the book to learn how to lift, and I'd be slow, and, well, I'd be more comfortable starting out here at home, on my own, at first.
I am also going to write about my hard work and exercise, my eating, my thinking, and whatever else. Right here, and also in a journal I bought for the occasion. It is on like Donkey Kong, honey. If I don't do this, if I don't do this NOW, I am in deep shit. Really.
Pre Body-for-LIFE measurements
upper arm: 13.5"
waist: 43" (!)
butt: 45.5" (shit, Jennifer Lopez ain't got nothin' on me)
Before picture coming tomorrow. In a weird, sick, morbid way, I am off to have a last night of debauchery and sick-mindedness, with a 20 ouncer of Coke and a bag of Dove milk chocolate bars, in front of some Battlestar Galactica (kick ass show, by the way). I feel like if I really wallow in this nasty way of eating that I have been living in for the past 10 or so years, then I will feel gnarly and will be even more willing to engage in this new way of life. That, and there's a little whisper of panic in my gutt at the all the upheaval and change. Yeah, part of this accountability bit is going to be about being honest, even when it's not pretty. Especially when it's not pretty.
I'm coming back here tomorrow with some before pictures. This will be real. It won't be pretty, and I'm (for once) not going to apologize about it. See you tomorrow.