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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!

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10-Point Lunch Challenge: Panera Bread

1 Mar

When I first joined Weight Watchers, a co-worker and I would challenge ourselves to find places (and menu items) that could give us a lunch for 10 points or lower. For various reasons, this has gone by the wayside.

Now that I’m struggling in my weight loss efforts, now seems the perfect time to reinstate this challenge. I didn’t really feel like eating the frozen meal I brought with me today, so I took myself and a book to one of my favorite haunts, Panera Bread. (This is not a paid endorsement — unfortunately!)

I like Panera for two reasons: the food is good, and they are very fast. And really, shouldn’t that be the goal of any sit-down fast-food restaurant. I particularly like their “You Pick Two” menu, which offers smaller portions of their salads, soups and sandwiches, so you can get a taste of a couple things without the calories (and cost!) you’d incur buying a full serving of each item. Their Web site is also great, as they have a separate microsite offering full nutritional information on each of their menu items, so it’s easy to plan what you want to have before you get there.

So here’s my submission for the 10-point challenge, from the “You Pick Two” menu:

  • Broccoli cheddar soup – 4 WW points
  • Baguette (comes with the soup, or you can choose chips or an apple I think — I just have a love affair with bread) – 3 WW points
  • Classic salad, no onion – 0 WW points
  • Balsamic vinaigrette dressing, on the side – 1 WW point
    • I probably didn’t even eat one point’s worth of dressing just by dipping my fork in it, but I’d rather overestimate than underestimate
  • Total: 8 WW points

Unfortunately I’m not always this “good” when I go to Panera. Those cherry danishes behind the display glass just kill me, and those are 10 points. But today — and at this point I’m taking it one day at a time, if not one meal at a time — I was strong and didn’t indulge.

Do you have any yummy, healthy ideas for eating out at lunch? If so, share!

Failure, Thy Name is Fat

25 Feb

I need to accept that I’m failing in my weight loss efforts because I’m concentrating on the scale, not on changing the way I eat.

Lifestyle change is where it’s at.

I need to get into that mentality.

Let the Great Fridge Cleanout of 2010 begin.

Back in the Saddle Again

4 Feb

My weigh-in made me very happy today, I was down 2.2 pounds. I have a long way to go, but I’m celebrating small victories this time around.

I had a very nutritious dinner tonight and a not-so-nutritious dessert. However, as opposed to the past where I would pretend I never ate those points, they will be counted.

As soon as I get my WW book — left carelessly at the office — when I go to work tomorrow morning.

I also worked out for 30 minutes with My Fitness Coach on my Wii. I did the flexibility exercises tonight.

Man, those yoga poses are hard!

Weight Loss: Game (Back) On!

28 Jan

I’ve not blogged about my weight loss efforts lately because there isn’t much good news to share. I’ve gained back more than half of what I lost, and am in a bad place mentally.

Until now.

(I hope.)

I got on the scale expecting to gain (see, this is how far I’ve fallen). What I did not expect was to gain 3.4 pounds.

Well, enough of this shit.

I’ve decided to (once again) commit to getting my act together as far as weight loss is concerned, and make myself a priority.

I know I won’t lose every week, but I will lose more often than I gain.

It’s on.

Turkey Day Recap

27 Nov

My Dad is coming over tomorrow morning to help me bring my Christmas tree up from the basement, so I really need to get moving on this whole distasteful cleaning thing.

But before I do, I thought I’d recap how my Thanksgiving went from an eating standpoint. Below is a recap of my six-point-plan from yesterday’s post, with comments on how I did (or didn’t do) on each one.

  1. Cut the pie. I didn’t cut the pie before I left the house, but I did cut it once I got there. I wanted to have just half a slice, but ended up having a whole slice and a small piece of carrot cake. Half-check.
  2. Turkey Day workout. I went, I exercised, and today my whole body hurts. Check.
  3. Limit pre-dinner snacking. I did a GREAT job at this, compared to previous years. I had a small amount of the Mexican slop dip I love (and feared my aunt would make this year) with some chips, but then stuck to a small amount of M&Ms, and carrots and cucumber from the veggie tray (no dip). Check.
  4. Eat calories, don’t drink them. I did a great job with this as well, having just two glasses of wine. Before dinner I drank a TON of water, and then had two cans of diet soda the rest of the night. BIG Check.
  5. No leftovers allowed. While I enjoyed a small amount of dessert at my aunt’s house, I did take two pieces of pumpkin pie home with me, and they were gone before I went to sleep. And, truth be told, I didn’t try that hard — well, at all — to get someone else to take them home. Uncheck.
  6. Post-dinner walk. It was cold and windy, but I did get my cousin, three aunts and two other gals to go for a short walk around my aunt’s neighborhood. We were probably only gone ten minutes, but it was something. Also, I did the dishes which, while not burning a ton of calories, kept me moving and is something I don’t normally offer to do. Check.

You may remember my goal was to accomplish at least four of these goals and, by my complicated and top-secret check/un-check equation, I count that I completed four-and-a-half of these goals. Add to that the fact that I didn’t go back for seconds on the main meal, and I declare this Thanksgiving a rousing success.

I tried to tally up all my WW points when I got home last night. By those standards, I didn’t do so great of a job. (Let’s just say my 35 weekly allowance points are no longer available to me until they reboot six days from now.) When I put this Thanksgiving up against previous ones, however, I have to say I hit a solid triple.

If you take out the two pieces of pie I ate when I got home, it would have been a home run.

But I’ll take the triple.

Hope everyone who celebrates had a good time spent with family, friends and food. Now off to clean!

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!