Archive for January, 2010

The Munchies

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

One of the challenges that I’ve always faced when it comes to my weight-loss efforts is a simple truth about myself:

I like to eat. A lot.

This creates some serious difficulties considering I’m trying to limit my food intake. What I have to do to accommodate this penchant for eating is 1 – find foods that are low in calories so I can eat a lot of them, or 2 – foods that take a long time to eat. That way I can prolong the eating process as much as possible to feed this weird passion.

One thing that does not fit into either of those two categories is crackers. As you may know, crackers are evil. And silly me, I continue to buy them. They’re fine if you can limit yourself to 5 or 6, but I have an extremely difficult time doing that. I love them. And again, I love to eat. Therefore, I inevitably end up stuffing my face with cracker after cracker, until I’ve eaten hundreds of calories worth of them… or finished the box. It’s like I have this insatiable urge to munch and even though my head says “Enough, already!” my fingers and mouth say “Shut up, Head – crackers are delicious!”

It’s gotten to the point that I have forbidden myself to purchase any more crackers until further notice. Maybe in a few months I’ll try them again and test my resolve. For now, though, I know having them in the house is just asking for trouble.

It’s far easier to avoid temptation in the grocery store than in your kitchen.

Remember that.

A Vicious Cycle

Friday, January 29th, 2010

I weigh myself a few times each week. Friday is the day whose weight I actually count, and the other numbers I use as a gauge to see how I’m doing.

You may be aware that today is Friday. My weight today was 174.5. That’s not awful, but it’s not good, either. I say that it’s not awful because on Monday, I was 178.5. It’s not good though, because last Friday I was 173.5.

This has been a common theme for me, unfortunately. In fact, my weight has yo-yoed between 174ish and 178ish on Fridays and Mondays, respectively, for roughly two months. TWO MONTHS!

Let me paint you a picture:

On Friday I weigh myself. It’s a decent number – I’m not horribly disappointed or upset with myself. Then it’s the weekend! I go out to eat, and get basically whatever I feel like eating. I go out of town, and am not in charge of preparing my own meals, and therefore eat basically whatever is available. I slack on my exercise.

And then it’s Monday and I weigh myself. It’s a terrible number – I’m horribly disappointed and upset with myself. Then it’s time to get down to business! I stay in town, don’t go out to eat, and instead, cook something healthy and delicious. I go to kung fu. I go to my aerobics class (or now Hip Hop). I go to the gym. I go running.

And then it’s Friday again. The scale shows a decent number – I’ve basically made up for last weekend’s indulgences, so I’m not horribly disappointed or upset with myself. Then it’s the weekend!

You get the idea.

I recognize that this is insane and not all that difficult to fix. I simply need to stop throwing a week’s worth of effort and positive actions out the window for a few moments of gratification on the weekend. And to be honest, much of what I’ve yielded to food-wise hasn’t even been all that tasty. Just convenient.

This two steps forward – two steps back B.S. has got to stop.

So here it is: I’m not going to go crazy this weekend on the weekends. Difficult as it will be at times, I will keep myself in check and not indulge in food that is not good for me… or my waistline. And I’ll keep up the exercise on the weekends, too.

Mark my words, internets!

Up Jumped the Boogie

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

When I started kung fu almost 5 years ago, I *thought* I was uncoordinated. I asked my body to move in ways it had never moved before, and – on the whole – it refused to do so. Combine bad hand-eye-coordination with a lack of balance, more than 100 extra pounds of fat, and a lifetime of klutziness, and you get a big, sloppy mess.

But let me tell you: I didn’t know what uncoordinated was until my first Hip Hop class on Monday! I’ve entered a brand new realm of uncoordination that I had never dreamed of!

My biggest issue was doing the moves quickly. I could do them slowly (or at least some approximation of the moves), but then we did them at speed with the music, and I had no chance.

I felt ridiculous.

Or at least I would have felt ridiculous if I was the only one who wasn’t very good. Instead, it was a very friendly group of people, none of whom seemed to be particularly adept at dancing Hip Hop. Everyone was just trying their best and having a good time.

Rather than feeling foolish for being uncoordinated at the moves, I simply had a ton of fun!

I can’t believe I waited so long to get up the nerve to take a class like this – and really only did it now because a friend was doing it. Yes, having a friend there makes it better (obviously), but after having taken the class, I realize that I made it out to be far more intimidating than it actually is, and I could have done it on my own all along.

I’m going to file this information away for the next time my irrational fears are preventing me from doing something I really want to do.

My Best Friend’s Wedding

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Today’s the big day: The day my best friend* marries her best friend. The culmination of a lot of planning. And worry. For me, most of that worry was about the dress.

If you’ve been following along, you know that the bridesmaid dress I ordered didn’t quite fit when it came in (even though the same size was a little big when I tried it on in the store, grr grr grr). It was snug, and snug in an unattractive way. The exact opposite of what I was going for.

Rather than take everyone’s advice and call the store and find out what the deal was (great advice, but it just didn’t happen), I worried about it in the back of my mind for a while, and did nothing.

Of course, I’ve continued to do an adequate job of eating well (and by that I mean good amounts of healthy food, not eating like a king) and exercising. I got the dress altered so the strap that goes around the neck was the correct length (it’s a halter-style dress), and I bought some body smoothing under garments (ie: fat squishing torture devices).

And it fits.

And looks pretty good, too, if I do say so myself.

Of course, now the problem is shoes, but that’s another story altogether. Quickly, though: Did you know that when you lose a significant amount of weight your shoe size can go down?! That seems so odd to me, but it’s happened folks: I used to wear a size 10.5 – even 11 sometimes – and now I’m in a  9.5/10. In fact, the shoes I’m wearing to this wedding should have been a 9. (Instead, the first ones I ordered were a 10… WAY too big, and the next pair I ordered were a 9.5… still too big, but they’ll have to make do, considering they came in yesterday. ) It’s very hard to find white shoes in Winter…

I’m about to eat some breakfast, and then I’ll be heading to get my hair done with the girls. Then it’s wedding time!

Photos to come.

*Excepting my fabulous husband.

Cabin Fever

Monday, January 18th, 2010

I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to Spring more than I do right now. I’m so eager to get outside and do things! You might say I’ve got the bug. The slight warm-up we’ve had in Western Pennsylvania over the last few days (high 30s/low 40s!) has only served to make me long for Spring even more. Some things I am anxious to get back into:

  • When my husband and I were in Arizona for New Year’s, we went hiking with some friends. It was so wonderful to be outside without having to be bundled up! We hiked for about three hours in Phoenix’s South Mountain Park. I’m telling you: If I had a mountain in my backyard I’d be out there all the time. I’ve been feeling the urge to go hiking again since returning to Pittsburgh, but the weather here in January isn’t really conducive to it. Soon enough though! One of my clients told me about a great place to hike in the ‘burgh that has over 10 miles of trails. Sure it’s no mountain, but it will have to do!

Hiking

  • You may recall that last year I bought a bicycle. I didn’t use it as often as I should have, but I intend to make that right as soon as possible. My husband has a bike, too, and loves riding. It’s a great way to spend time together outside of a restaurant or the dinner table.
  • This past Fall, I got back into softball after a hiatus of more than 10 years… and I loved every minute of it. I’ll be playing again come Spring (Go Water Buffaloes!), and I’m just itching to lace up my kicks and hit a few. Actually, I believe there are indoor batting cages somewhere around here – I should look into that.
  • Last year I also went kayaking on the river with a friend, which was super fun – and an unparalleled upper body workout, particularly when rowing against the current. Just a few more months and this will once again be a viable way to spend an afternoon.
  • And of course, there’s outdoor running. I’ve actually been able to get some runs in outside lately, which has been swell. As long as there isn’t insane wind, precipitation or bitter cold (about 30º or less) I’ll go out, though not enthusiastically when the sun is nowhere to be found (more often than not these days).

I’m trying to keep my spirits up and my workouts varied and interesting, even during these cold, dark months. I’ve never been a ‘gym rat’, and in fact, do a decent good job of avoiding the gym pretty often – though I really love my Total Body Workout class that I take once a week. Of course, I’ll be trading that for Hip Hop (!) starting next Monday. (More on that later!)

What are you doing to stay in shape this Winter? Any great ideas for me?

Whelmed

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

I have some interesting personality quirks.* One of them is that I rarely take the first (or even second) opportunity to do something. Instead, I usually procrastinate until the last minute – and then get really overwhelmed and almost panicky when things pile up and I really think about all the crap I need to do. It happens all the time, so why don’t I learn my lesson and just do things right away rather than putting them off? Who knows. That’s just how I am.

Anyway, one of the things that was on my growing mental list of things to do for weeks is cleaning my house. Every time I went into any new room, I thought about it… and groaned… and then didn’t clean it.

Foolishly, rather than taking it in pieces and doing a room each night after work, I was waiting for a weekend at home so that I could get it all done at once. And because I’ve been out of town every weekend since before Christmas**, it was put on the back burner.

When there are too many items on my self-inflicted to-do list, I have a hard time ‘allowing’ myself to do things I want to do for ME – like going to the gym or for a run – because I have x, y, and z to do. It’s an tragic cycle, and what I all too often end up doing is a whole lot of nothing. (Again, I’m calling this a lovable quirk…)

So this weekend, which was thankfully not spent traveling, was spent cleaning. Every item of clothing is clean. Every dish is washed. Floors are vacuumed and Christmas decorations have finally put away. There’s more that could be done, but it’s a world better, and I no longer feel overwhelmed by it.

For the time being, I’m simply whelmed.

And that leaves me free to run my little heart out. Which I did today. In the rain.

*If you happen to know me, this is not an invitation to share with the internets my many idiosyncrasies. Besides, you know they make you love me even more!

**Plus I really didn’t want to do it.

Taking Advantage

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

At about 3:30 this afternoon, I realized that there was sun streaming through my office window – for the first time all year. That was all the prodding I needed.

I donned my new cold weather running clothes (good buys!), filled my pockets with tissues, grabbed my iPod, and headed out the door.

Usually when I run I have a specific route/distance in mind. But not today; I went out with zero expectations. I simply wanted to run.

It was great running weather: Cool and sunny. Not windy. Not icy. Of course, far too often I came across sections of sidewalk that were still covered in snow (it hasn’t snowed in days). What are people thinking? Shovel your damn sidewalk, folks. Running in snow is tough – like running in sand, but with an added sense of danger (I’m a bit of a klutz, remember?).

Anyway, it was an enjoyable run. I ran more than my typical route, but didn’t set any records. Of course, it’s the first time I’ve run outside in Pittsburgh (ie: with HILLS) in a few weeks, so I feel great about what I did: 3.78 miles in 44 minutes, with no walking. It’s good to know that I haven’t lost too much of my fitness to the cold. Of course, that’s what the gym is for, though I don’t take advantage of it like I should.

But the rare January sun? That I took advantage of.

Half Marathon Commitment

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

I know I’ve already mentioned it, but I’m committing to running a half-marathon in 2010. Ever since the thought first popped into my head, I’ve been really excited about it. Nervous, sure, but excited more than anything.

Remember my first 5-mile run? From my parent’s house to my sister’s? I keep thinking – eagerly – about the day that I can run from my parent’s house to my sister’s… AND BACK. Just thinking about it gets me all tingly :)

The Pittsburgh Marathon/Half Marathon is on May 2, 2010. And as of this evening, I am officially registered. During the registration process, they ask what your expected finish time is. I said 2:20:00. If I finish in that time or less, I’ll be thrilled.

In order to be able to do that – or even finish at all for that matter – I will have to do quite a bit of training. Most of the training schedules I’ve looked at are 12 weeks long. Working backwards, that means I need to start really training on February 7th. Hopefully the weather will be less frigid by then so I can run outside. I am not a fan of the treadmill, but if I must? I must.

It feels good to commit to something so challenging. Because when I accomplish it, I’ll know that I did something big.

Playing Catch-Up

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Perhaps you’re wondering what’s become of me since I haven’t posted anything since the third when I said how bummed I was. Well? I’m fantastic. Tired, but fantastic. Busy, but fantastic.

I’ve been meaning to assure you all that I did, in fact, stop feeling sorry for myself upon completing my last post. I’ve been eating great (most of it cooked in house), getting in a bunch of exercise (despite the deep freeze), and accomplishing a ton at work (a necessity given my week-and-a-half-long hiatus). It has really made me feel better about myself and get over my holiday/vacation indiscretions. Which is good, because life is meant to be lived, not regretted.

I still haven’t made any real goals for the year. Usually I take some time to reflect at the start of the year, but I swear to you: I haven’t gotten an opportunity to yet… and it’s the 6th. Crazy. All of my free time has been spent doing things that are not conducive to reflection. Like sleeping.

There are, however, some new things I want to try this year, some of which I’ve already started or have signed up for/committed to. Like the half marathon(!) on May 2nd. And a hip-hop class(!!) that starts in 3 weeks. And hiking, which I did in Arizona last week, and plan on doing more of when Pittsburgh is no longer frigid. And racquetball and/or tennis.

That seems like a good list for now. I’ll keep you posted.

Though, not with photos of me attempting hip hop, so don’t get your hopes up.

Feeling Sorry For Myself

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

I’m finally home, following a wonderful trip out west to visit with some great friends. For the first time in roughly 2 weeks, I’ve been able to weigh myself at home, and it’s nasty.

181.

That’s extremely bad. I don’t even want to do the math on that – it might make me sick.

But there it is. I’m sitting here going over every decision I made in the last week or so. Most of them were bad. I DID exercise a decent amount, but clearly not enough to counteract the immense amount of crap I ate (and drank): Cookies, pizza, ice cream, chex mix, Disaronno, etc etc.

So here it is: January 3, 2010. I’m going to call today my official start to a healthy new year. And as soon as I hit the ‘publish’ button on this post, I’m going to stop feeling sorry for myself and just fix it. I’ve been thinking about it for days, and it’s time to get back to it. I’m ready, and I know what works: Eat right – and log everything (hello again, My Food Diary!) and exercise – often and intensely.