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Alive and Kicking (Stream of Consciousness Post)

10 May

Contrary to unpopular belief, I am still here. I just haven’t had much to say lately.

Unfortunately, my 50 Book Challenge has gone a bit off the rails. I’ve not gotten through many books this year, but I’m still reading, albeit very slowly. I don’t know that something like the 50 Book Challenge is suited all that well to me, as I tend to read in spurts. But I shall keep plugging away.

I’ve also gone off the rails with regard to Weight Watchers, and have gained back almost all the weight I lost. Our final WW at Work session is this Thursday, because we weren’t able to scrounge up the required number of members to keep it going. For a company of our size (about 120 employees at our Brookfield, Wis. location) we had a great run.

For me, the end of Weight Watchers has meant the beginning of Sparkpeople. It’s enabling me to track things like the amount of cholesterol and sodium I take in each day, I’ve downloaded an app for it on my Blackberry, and best of all … it’s FREE! This is a terribly difficult and bumpy road I’m traveling on, but I’m determined to see it through, no matter how long it takes. Something our WW leader said at a recent meeting has stuck with me, and I’m trying to use it as my mantra when things get hard.

You are what you repeat.

How much more simply can it be laid out than that? While I’m obviously not the poster child for perfect, sustained weight loss, I’d like to think I am banking some sort of karmic interest for at least trying.

I had my first appointment with a chiropractor tonight after work. A co-worker recommended him to me, and I really like him, even though he’s a bit chatty and some of his thories seem a bit “out there” (or at least warranting investigation on my part). I have all kinds of little issues that could potentially benefit from chiropractic, like headaches, sinus and digestive problems, lower back pain, neck and shoulder aches, ad infinitum. This first appointment was pretty long, but he did some adjustments that seemed helpful, including clearing out my sinuses a bit.

I treated my visit with him much like I would a psychic — chiropractic is somewhat otherworldly to me, not really a field of medicine I’m familiar with or understand. Therefore, I tried not to lead him in one direction or another by giving away too many of my body’s secrets, and instead waited to see what he would find as he examined me. I was pretty impressed that he was able to find my hiatal hernia without me having to tell him (it took my regular MD a barium enema and an X-ray to figure it out).

When he began to discuss weight loss through chiropractic was when I got a bit skeptical. If it were as easy as making abdominal adjustments to aid digestion, why weren’t fat people like me lining up outside chiropractors’ offices? While I have to admit he did bring down some bloating in my stomach with some of the abdominal adjustments he made, I think I will still continue to watch my calories and cholesterol. 🙂

Though I’ll let him continue to make those adjustments, because it certainly can’t hurt!

Exercising has been a big issue for me lately as well, in that I’m not doing it. I briefly toyed with the idea of canceling my membership and either working out at home or hiring a personal trainer, but I didn’t think I could keep it up or afford it, respectively. In an effort to make it more of a habit, I made note of some classes at my gym that might keep me interested in fitness, and my goal through the summer is to get to the gym and participate in a class at least twice a week, if not more. By the end of the summer, if working out has not become a habit, I’ll re-evaluate.

Since I’ve gained back a lot of weight and am not in as good a shape as I was, most of my choices have focused on water exercise. Last Saturday morning I went to a half-hour class called “Aqua Tone” that promised a good resistance workout with water weights, and that was pretty enjoyable (I’ve only been to that one once, me being a lazy ass prevented me from going again this last weekend). Then last Monday I tried something called “Water Walking,” which turns out is an unstructured free hour in the exercise pool where people 30-40 years older than me walk laps in the pool. The night I showed up for that “class” I’d only brought my swimming suit, so I made the most of it and actually got a pretty decent workout (couldn’t go tonight because of my chiropractic appointment). Tuesday was regular water aerobics, which I’ve been to before. It was a new instructor, and she was great! I’m really looking forward to going again tomorrow night. Then last Thursday was a class called “Core Bodyworks,” which is basically exactly how it sounds: 30 minutes — non-stop — working all the abdominal muscles. I wasn’t even remotely able to keep up with the instructor but, while I didn’t do the moves exactly as she did, I did some sort of ab work for the entire 30 minutes (pats self on back). However, I think I tore every single abdominal muscle I have and until yesterday wasn’t able to sit up from a laying position or stand up straight without wanting to cry out in pain.

I won’t be going back to that class for awhile.

So I think for now I’ll stick with the water classes, and supplement that with either walking, or doing my pyramid weight routine at the gym.

Someone on another, more private, blog I have asked me if I had considered lap band surgery. I told them that I didn’t think I was overweight enough for that, but according to a friend of mine who has had the surgery, I am. I don’t think I could ever do that, though. I’m not so overweight that I can’t get around and live a normal life. And I also feel like I’d be taking the easy way out — while I know that many people have tried everything they possibly can to lose weight and have failed, which is what brought them to the surgery, I don’t think I have tried everything. I’m ready to throw in the towel just yet.

Though I must admit, a small part of me is thinking about looking into the weight loss drug alli. If there is anyone still out there that reads this blog, please comment and let me know if you have experience with it or know someone who has. I’d love to get feedback of real-world use, not just basing my decision on what their marketing materials say. :p

Okay, I’ve written enough here for one night. I’ll try to be better about posting on here, I swear!


Turkey Day Plan

24 Nov

I’m too ashamed to write here how well I’ve not been following Weight Watchers these last weeks, so I won’t. Suffice to say it’s a miracle I’ve squeaked by with the few small losses I’ve enjoyed the past few weigh-ins.

Motivation has always been a challenge for me, and fortunately the holidays don’t make this problem even worse. Being single and not having in-laws to visit makes life a lot less hectic this time of year. Still, I’ve decided to at least be conscious of the pitfalls of holiday eating and take it one occasion at a time. And when there’s no holiday, one day at a time.

So here is my plan for Thanksgiving, which my Dad and I are spending at my aunt’s house:

  1. Cut the pie. I’m baking a pumpkin pie Wednesday night, and am going to cut it into slices before I leave for my aunt’s house so I can control the size of piece I get. If I cut it into 16 slices, it’s four WW points per slice. (Note: I’m already planning to lower the fat content of the pie by using egg substitute and fat free evaporated milk. Can’t do much about the homemade — by request — crust.)
  2. Turkey Day Workout. I’m meeting my friend/co-worker Melissa at the Wisconsin Athletic Club at 8 a.m. Thursday for a one-hour strength training class. I’m so glad she wanted to go, because it will virtually guarantee that I drag myself out of bed and get to the gym. Left to my own devices, I know I would hit the snooze (or not set the alarm at all). I suppose my back-up plan if she bails is to try my hardest to go anyway.
  3. Limit pre-dinner snacking. Part of our family festivities this year is the Packer game, which starts at 11:30 a.m. We’re not eating until 3 p.m., so that’s a long time and a lot of snack foods.
  4. Eat calories, don’t drink them. I will have a glass of wine or two, but then am going to switch to soda and water the rest of the day/evening.
  5. No leftovers allowed. I will use the response I use every year when asked if I want to take anything home. “No, because I’ll just eat it.”
  6. Post-dinner walk. The plan is to suggest a walk after dinner to settle our stomachs. I don’t think I’ll have trouble getting takers on this, as this is a semi-regular occurrence at our family get togethers. I just don’t usually participate.

Barring some kind of unnatural event, Nos. 1, 2 and 5 will happen, no question. If I can accomplish at least one more of the above goals, I will consider this a successful holiday, foodwise. I’m not planning to track what I eat on Thursday, but having these six goals in mind will go a long way in helping me to be successful, even though I’m not writing down every bite that goes in my mouth.

Happy Thanksgiving, my American friends!

Cool Running

13 Feb

I don’t know whether it’s the success I’ve been having in Weight Watchers this time around, or if I have some brain fever from which I need to recover, but I’m wondering if doing something like Couch to 5K isn’t such a bad idea.

I already do running/walking intervals at the gym, this would just be expanding on them with some kind of goal in mind.

I’ll have to ask my trainer about that tonight when I see her.

The big question is whether my knees and ankles can handle it. I’m carrying around a good bit of weight, and don’t feel like being sidelined with any kind of fitness injury.

Have any of you tried this (or something similar)? If so, what did you think?

Alternative to Running

29 Jan

My regular cardio routine at the gym as of late has been 30 minutes of internal training in the form of walking and running. Up until a few days ago it had been going well.

Sporadic, but well.

The last couple of times I’ve done it this week, I’ve found that it’s more difficult to get through the full minute of running. My shins and knees hurt, and after I get home I find my left food has some soreness as well.

The same thing happened last night, and I only made it about 15 minutes through my ‘scheduled’ half-hour. I went downstairs, went to the bathroom, came back up and got on the elliptical trainer. I used to do the elliptical trainer all the time back in the day, but stopped for one reason or another.

Wow, did I get a good workout! I consistently kept my heart rate right around where my trainer wanted it to be, and I was sweating buckets by the time I finished just 15 minutes.

Maybe in the future I’ll tag team my cardio workout between the treadmill and the elliptical.


Oh, weigh-in is today! Be prepared for not-so-good news.

Let the Losing Begin!

20 Jan

One of my general New Year’s resolutions is to embrace opportunities that present themselves, no matter how scared or uneasy it may make me.

I’ve been overweight for more years than I’ve not been overweight. Puberty was the killer for me…I only got wider from there on out.

For a brief time in my 20s I lost some weight with the help of Weight Watchers, enjoying shopping in regular department stores.

Invariably, as with many one-time losers, I gained the weight back. And then some.

Two more stints with Weight Watchers proved unsuccessful, the fault lying solely with me and my lack of willpower.

I am hoping this time will be different.

The company for which I work just began a 15-week ‘Weight Watchers at Work’ program. This being an opportunity, I kept my New Year’s resolution and signed up.

My base weight (taken last Thursday) was a bit higher than I expected, but I’m not letting that hinder my determination. The first official weigh-in is coming up this Thursday, and I’m hoping to have lost a little weight to start the program off on the right foot.

My first ‘goal’ is to lose 10 percent of my body weight. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

My even smaller goal is to go to the gym more often than my twice-a-week training sessions, because that will only help me lose weight more consistently. It’s already helped me lower my cholesterol from 229 to 196 in 11 months.

It’s amazing what big changes a little thing like exercise can make.

I’m also including my 10 percent goal ticker. You math genuises out there will probably be able to figure out how much I weigh. I’m okay with that. 🙂

10% ticker:

Progress is Shown By More Than the Scale

31 Oct

I’ve been seeing a personal trainer at my gym for almost a year. Currently I see her for two 30-minute sessions a week. With her I primarily work on strength training, and do cardio on my own.

While I’ve not lost much weight (maybe 10 pounds at the most, but it fluctuates), I’m noticing benefits in other ways; specifically, in how my clothes fit. Lately I’m starting to notice that many of my tops and pants are starting to become a little too big for me — not to the point where I can’t wear them anymore, but they are definitely more roomy. I’m not losing weight, but my body is definitely changing — I actually am starting to get muscle definition in my triceps!

I also have her measure me about once a month, and I’ve noticed differences there as well. One of the biggest changes is that I could barely get through a half hour session when I first started working with her, and now I’m actually running on the treadmill on occasion (only for small bursts at a time, but still!).

It’s definitely not cheap to work with her, but I’m so glad I started doing this, and am making it a priority to continue to be able to pay for additional sessions when my current ones run out. And the best part is that she and I have become pretty good friends, so there’s double the benefit for me!

Arms Akimbo

11 Sep

Remember that villain from the “Freakazoid” cartoon? Whose arms were, well, akimbo?

Well, that’s how I pretty much feel right now. After skipping my personal training session on Tuesday because of extreme fatigue, I made sure to pack my gym bag and make my Thursday session. I got there at 5:30 and did 30 minutes walking on the treadmill. According to the machine I burned 255 calories.

Go me.

Then my trainer came to collect me and take me in the basement, where she subjected me to all kinds of tricep, chest, shoulder and bicep torture. Then we went upstairs and she attacked my abs.

I feel amazing, the best I’ve felt all week, but I can feel the muscles in my arms *throbbing*, even as I type this entry.

That’s the sign of a good workout.

I agreed to meet with her on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. (even though I’m having a party the night before). I think I’m a glutton for punishment.

She did scold me for not eating though. I think I’ve probably lost between 6-8 pounds this week because I’ve just been too tired to eat, or not hungry. The last two nights I had a lemonade fruit and juice bar for dinner. When I said I wanted to work on my eating, I didn’t have quite this extreme in mind. So, I’m sure some of it will come back once I start eating regularly again (especially all the eating and drinking I probably will do on Saturday). So maybe the Sunday morning workout will do me good.

* * *

Now it’s off to clean my apartment for my housewarming party on Saturday.

I hate cleaning, but it has to be done.

I hope I can keep Ginger out of the kitchen long enough to mop the floor.

A Chill in the Air

26 Aug

I’m up this morning a bit earlier than usual, and as I’m sitting here typing there’s a decidedly chilly breeze coming in at me through the northern window in my guest bedroom. Fall is definitely on its way. I’m sure we’ll have more warm days, but it doesn’t smell like summer to me this morning. It smells…cold.

Fall is my favorite season, second only to spring. Summer I could do without for the most part (or at least the humidity). Last night I took a different path for my walk, and went to the cemetery to visit my mother. By car I think it’s about a two-mile walk round trip, which I knew I could handle, no problem.

The change in scenery was a nice diversion from the usual round-and-round-the-block that I’ve gotten used to. I also did and saw some new things/things I’ve not done in awhile.

  • I ran through a sprinkler.
  • I saw a vegetable garden right out near the street with green and red tomatoes at various stages of ripeness.
  • I saw a homemade, laminated sign leaning up against a tree that said, “Beware of attack cats,” with a picture of two cats on it.
  • I saw through a window a silhouette of man playing guitar for his blond-haired toddler.

Afterwards I came home, ate dinner, and watched a little Twin Peaks, in addition to an inspiring speech by (what I hope is) the next First Lady of the United States. (The precocious seven-year-old talking into the microphone I could have done without, but ah well.)

Sweatin’ to the Oldies (or “Oldie Sweatin’)

7 Aug

In Nov. 2007 I started working with a personal trainer. While I’ve not really lost any weight, I certainly have improved my muscle mass and have actually lost some inches (I’d be further along if I could just get the eating thing down, but baby steps…). Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. for half an hour.

Tuesday we did cardio, and she had me walking for two minutes at 3 mph and running for a full minute at speeds from 4 mph-4.5 mph (this is the fastest my short legs have been able to carry me so far). About halfway through the session, another gym member my trainer knew stopped to say hi to her. She looked at me and said to him, “When she first started working with me, there’s no way she could have done this, and look at her now!” And this guy, this huge body-builder guy, got a big smile on his face and said, “that’s awesome, way to go!”

That felt pretty cool. And she was right. I’m doing things that I never would have even attempted nine months ago. I’m starting to get muscle definition, becoming a little more curvy instead of just a blob, and I’m noticing little changes, too. For instance, when I moved, my Dad and I took a couple of trips with both of our cars in addition to me hiring movers. I moved on the most humid day of the year to date, and while I was sweating and tired, I carried and toted way more than I could have before I started working with Nikki (my trainer).

It’s not cheap (I pay her in addition to my monthly gym fee), but it’s been totally worth it so far. I’ve lucked out with little financial windfalls that have enabled me to keep paying for sessions with her (first set of sessions were a birthday gift, then came a work bonus, then tax returns, then the economic stimulus check, etc.), and I hope I get my security deposit back in time for me to continue when my latest batch of sessions are up.

Praise Jesus! At Least She Was Wearing Underwear.

2 Jul

My life has been pretty dull over the last few days. Lots of non-packing going on. I do have to get my butt in gear this weekend, however.

During my appointment with my personal trainer last night we did kick boxing, with actual boxing gloves. It was a lot of fun, and got quite a bit of tension out that I’ve been feeling the last few days. We worked arms, legs and abs. And I’m not sore today like I thought I would be, so that’s good news.

I have a busy rest of the day ahead of me: news releases and newsletters to write, mail to get sent out to friends, and (ugh) packing.