Archive for January, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened

Monday, January 31st, 2011

With my main company, Design Intervention, my clients are all professionals, so they are available to meet with me during normal business hours. However, with my wedding invitation division, Purple Wagon Designs, my clients are brides and grooms who generally can’t meet during the day, so I schedule meetings with them on evenings and weekends.

This past Saturday, I had a meeting with a potential client – a lovely young couple – at 11am. Saturday mornings I’m typically at Kung Fu, and the meeting location was only a few blocks away from the school, so it was quite convenient. I brought everything I needed for my meeting with me in the morning: Invitation samples, paper samples, notebook & pen, business cards, change of clothes, etc., and felt very prepared.

But not extremely confident.

You see, I had a meeting scheduled with this same couple last weekend… but I forgot. Completely, irrefutably forgot. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized I missed the meeting, and I quickly got in touch with the bride and apologized profusely. I hoped that since she didn’t call or email they forgot, too, but alas: They did not. They went to the coffee shop. And sat there. Waiting. Drinking coffee which I later learned was not very good.

The bride – in spite of the fact that she was understandably not thrilled – still wanted to meet with me. In her words, though, her future husband “wasn’t quite as forgiving”, but would agree since she wanted him to. Which means I seriously pissed him off.

Clearly I had some work to do to pull myself out of this hole I’ve dug for myself – really turn on the charm, and not mess up again.

When Kung Fu was done at 9:30, and I hung out with my classmates until 10:15 when they went into another class and I took my time freshening up (ie: Tried to make it look like I didn’t just work out). Things were going great until I went to change my shirt – and discovered that what I *thought* was a black sweater, was really a black shrug, and I had nothing to wear under it.

For any men out there who are confused, a shrug is a cropped sweater that MUST be worn over something else, as it doesn’t even come close to covering up your lady parts. In fact, it was the same shrug that I’m wearing in my ‘During’ photo in the corner of this page. Clearly, I couldn’t wear that.

The only other thing I had was my sweaty Kung Fu tee shirt, which I couldn’t wear. With anyone else? Maybe… but to *finally* meet this couple who is already dubious about how reliable I am? No, I don’t think they would find it amusing, and it sure as hell wouldn’t instill confidence in my abilities.

So with the twenty minutes I had between the time I realized my predicament and the time I was scheduled to meet with this couple, I went shopping. I ran into the nearest clothing store, did a quick lap of the place, picked up the first thing I thought was appropriate and that was dark enough to compensate for the black bra I was wearing (I planned on wearing a black sweater!), and tried it on. It fit, so I bought it and asked the cashier to remove the tag for me so I could wear it out. I then ran back in the dressing room to change, shoved my dirty Kung Fu tee in my purse (ew), ran across the street to our scheduled meeting place, and awaited the future bride and groom.

They were a few minutes late (probably putting me in my place) so I started second-guessing myself, thinking that I had the wrong coffee shop and they were a block away sitting in the cafe I always confuse with the one I was in, sure that I was standing them up again.

But I had the right place and – surprisingly – the meeting went great. I think I may have even charmed the fiance’ into liking me… or at least not hating me :)

What’s funny is that a few years ago I never would have been able to fix my clothing mishap like I did. It simply was an impossibility to walk into a random clothes store and – in just a few minutes – pick out something that 1) I liked and 2) that fit. I used to have to shop almost exclusively in plus-size stores, and the few times I did buy something from ‘regular’ stores, I was basically stuck with whatever ugly thing they had in my size.

Just another reminder that life these days is much easier than it used to be.

Sometimes I Forget

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

I don’t often have deep conversations with the other women in my boot camp class, for a few reasons: First and foremost, because we’re working out – there’s not a lot of time for chatting. Also, since I don’t really know them, most of the brief conversations are small talk: About the workout, how early it is, the fact that it’s 2º in the cheerleading gym the class is in, etc. And besides, I take the class with someone that I do know, so any talking I do is usually with her.

But she’s out of town.

And the other day, I had a real conversation with a few of the women.

It started out – typically – with talk about the workout. One of them said to me, “You always do the most advanced versions of everything?” It sounded like a question, so I wasn’t sure how to respond. I said – “If I can, yeah. I try to, at least!”

Then she continued by insisting that I DO always do the most advanced versions of everything, and that I always have perfect form (aw, shucks) and that when she’s confused or forgets what she’s supposed to do she just looks at me. So nice :)

Not long after, her friend said something about how she knows I’m married (probably because I’m always smiling… or because of the ring) but if I wasn’t, she’d set me up with her son.

Seriously – these women were giving me a huge head at this point, lol.

After the workout, we were sitting around stretching and they asked how long I had been taking the class. I told them just for a few months – since sometime in November. It seemed to make them feel bad about where they are fitness-wise, since I do the advanced moves but haven’t been going very long, so then I added that I also do Kung Fu. The first woman said, “No wonder we can’t keep up!” (ha!)

Then they asked if I had always been athletic(!), and I told them truthfully, that no – I definitely wasn’t always athletic (if you can call me that now!). I elaborated at this point and told them about how a few years ago, I was significantly overweight. Like, 90 pounds heavier than I am now. They were surprised and… proud?

It’s always weird for me to tell people that didn’t know me when I was fat that I was fat. How do I bring it up? Should I? It often feels like I’m bragging or sharing too much. Sometimes, though, I think it’s important for the other person to know – as in the case of the boot camp instructor and my new doctor. But sometimes I want to tell people because I want them to know that they CAN do it.

But honestly, sometimes I forget.

I forget how big I used to be. How unhealthy I was. How difficult it was to do the simplest things, like get in and out of the car and bend over to pick something up that had fallen. How I could never cross my legs or wrap a towel around myself after a shower.

They asked if it’s been hard for me to keep the weight off, and the answer is a resounding no. Maybe that’s because I still haven’t gotten to my goal weight so I’m still trying to lose and not thinking about maintenance. But I think it’s more that my life is completely different now – for the better of course.

None of those things are difficult anymore. I can do those things a thousand times a day and not think twice about it. I work out regularly – and when I don’t, I feel anxious and lazy. I eat right – and when I don’t I feel sluggish and gross. I find enjoyment in more adventurous and physical activities instead of always preferring to veg on the couch.

I’m completely different.

The other day I bought a 35-pound bucket of kitty litter, and it was a challenge to carry that beast down to the basement. Then I thought about how I used to carry around more than twice that amount of weight with me all the time and it blew my mind.

Because sometimes I forget.

Full Moon Hike

Friday, January 21st, 2011

My brother, Stephen, and I went on an adventure on Wednesday, as we like to do. This time it was in the form of an evening hike in the snowy hills of Pennsylvania by the light of a full moon. Unfortunately, there was a lot of cloud cover so you couldn’t actually see the moon, but I’m confident it was there.

We went with a group of like-minded people led by Venture Outdoors. We didn’t know how many people to expect, but it was a good-sized group – 21 including the two of us and the hike leaders.

It was cold and a bit windy, but it wasn’t raining or snowing, so it wasn’t so bad. Actually, once we got moving I warmed up pretty quickly! Of course, since there were a lot of us, we had to stop a number of times to regroup. That’s logical and necessary to keep everyone together, but a couple of times the break was a few minutes too long and I got cold again. But it wasn’t long before we were back to hiking and my body temperature rose again.

Prior to the start, I was concerned about my footwear: An old pair of running shoes, vents and all. Can you believe I don’t have a single pair of winter boots? I haven’t since I was a child either. Very strange, considering I have always lived in places that get snow a few months every year. I guess I’ve never gotten outside enough in the winter to find them necessary, but the few times each year I had to borrow some or go without was always annoying. After we decided to do this hike I ordered some boots, but of course they haven’t come in yet. Guess I’ll have to plan some more winter activities once they come in! As it turned out, though, the running shoes held up pretty good, thankfully.

The hike itself was invigorating! We covered 4+miles in just over two hours. There were a few breaks, as I mentioned, but when we were moving, we moved at a good pace. Stephen and I were right up front just behind the leader 95% of the time, and I like to think we helped keep the pace quick and steady.

Incidentally, often when I partake in a physical activity, I am pleasantly surprised at how well I do compared to the rest of the participants. I’m by no means perfect, but I’m a lot more physically fit than I give myself credit for. That makes me happy.

The hike was in Deer Lakes Park in Tarentum, PA, which is quite hilly. The hills were difficult at times, not just because they were steep in places, but also because they were covered in snow… and I was wearing running shoes. Of course, I enjoy challenges, so I liked the hills :) I also want to mention that I didn’t fall at all — quite a feat for the girl who, as a child, was ironically referred to as Grace because she had none.

I’ve never hiked in the snow before — or at night, for that matter. It was a neat way to burn a bunch of calories, and I look forward to doing it again. Next time with my new boots, of course!

The best part was spending quality time with my little brother. Hiking in and of itself is great, but it’s even better when done with people you enjoy being around, and Steve is definitely in that category!

I wonder what our next adventure will be…

Promises of An Adventure

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Remember my little brother? He’s the one I chased after waterfalls with last summer. He’s one of my favorite people in the world and he reminded me of that fact a few days ago via text message:

Hey! I want to visit next week. Which day should I come that you’d be available for an adventure?”

How fantastic is that?! Not only does he want to visit me (I wish my family and friends would visit more often… hint*hint!) but he wants to go on AN ADVENTURE!!!

I love adventures.

It just so happens that a mere 2 days prior to his text I received the latest newsletter from Venture Outdoors, a company dedicated to getting Pittsburghers outside. I pulled out their calendar of events and discovered that they’re hosting a Full Moon Hike tomorrow.

It didn’t take much more than a brief text-versation to settle our plans. Stephen will be here tomorrow afternoon, and we’ll be joining a small group of like-minded folks on a 4-6 mile evening hike by the light of the full moon. In January. In the snow.

I’m so freaking excited! Photos and details of our adventure to come :D

The War Continues…

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Today marks the end of the 6-week Holiday Assault Challenge that spanned the winter holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.

During this period, it is said that Americans gain an average of 7 pounds. I’m pleased to say that no one who accepted my challenge gained seven pounds — though I’m still awaiting final numbers from a few of you!

Overall, people didn’t lose as much as they hoped, but those who hung in there throughout the challenge faired reasonably well. A few made it to or exceeded their goals, some made it to their revised goal from the halfway point, some — like me — came close to their goals, and the rest gained a bit. I’m willing to bet, though, that those people would have been worse off if they didn’t put forth any effort over the last 6 weeks!

As I said, I came close to my goal of a five-pound loss, but came up short. Like yesterday, I weighed 178.5 this morning, 3.5 pounds less than 6 weeks ago. Not what I had hoped, but I still feel good about it, especially knowing how bad it could have been.

And now I feel like I’ve got a running start on the new year and the next battle!

This morning was my first boot camp class in nearly 2 weeks and it felt great. There were so many people there — about three times the average. So wonderful to see so many people working on their health and fitness! I know gyms across the country are bogged down with new recruits these days, I just hope they stick to it!

I know I plan on sticking to it! How about you?

Auld Lang Syne

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

I feel like I just got used to the idea that it was Christmastime, and now Christmas and New Year’s have come and gone. There’s a reason that ‘time flies’ has become an oft used idiom.

Though in recent years I have learned to dislike the idea of ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ per se because they have a connotation that they are never going to last longer than a few weeks or a month, I do still tend to reflect and set new goals for myself on or around the first of the year. Agree or disagree, the beginning of a new year – or decade! – seems like a natural time to examine where I am, where I’d like to be, and what steps I need to take to get from Point A to Point B.

Since this is a health, fitness and weight-loss blog, I’m going to limit this post to health-related items, though I have set goals in other areas of my life as well, such as my business and relationships.

A few minutes ago, I reread a few posts from the beginning of last year, and I’m a bit dismayed to see that I weigh nearly the same that I did 365 days ago… after attempting to lose weight much of the year. A lot happened toward the end of last year that I haven’t gotten in to on the blog – maybe someday… or maybe not – but regardless of the reasons, it’s still disheartening to know that I’m at Square One again. Okay, so not exactly Square One, because I’m still roughly 80 pounds less than my high, but you know what I mean…

I intend to do better this year. I’m not going to put a number on my goal (though my ultimate weight-loss goal has always been 150), however, I want to be in better shape at this time next year than I’m in now: I’d like to lose some fat, gain some muscle, and stop feeling like my pants are too small. FYI my weight this morning was 178.5.

My plan to get there? I’m putting a lot of eggs into one man’s basket: Bootcamp Guy, as I like to refer to him. I decided to sign up for his classes indefinitely, after he assured me that I can always go to his evening classes if I decide the mornings are too tough, which was my biggest concern about continuing on. Between these classes three days a week and Kung Fu another three days a week, I find it unlikely that I’ll frequent the gym with any sort of regularity, so on the day that thousands of Americans are joining gyms, I’m canceling my gym membership. I love the irony of that.

In addition to the workouts, Bootcamp Guy stresses nutrition – like me! We all know by now (or should) that weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20% perspiration, so my eating habits need to improve. Looking back on the last few months, I’ve been incredibly inconsistent, even within a single week: I’ll be good for three days, then have two days where I give in to a bunch of temptations – and not in moderation. If I were tracking my food with any sort of consistency, I’d know better where I’ve gone wrong, but I’ve floundered there, too. All I can say is that I’ve reverted to eating out with far too much regularity, and without control over the ingredients and preparation of your food, you never know what you’re really eating. Plus, I have an affinity for a good burger and fries…

Thankfully, Bootcamp Guy has a nutrition program integrated into his system. It seems similar to My Food Diary, which I love, with one huge difference: He can log in to my food journal and see what I’ve been eating. Now, after a solid year or more of logging my food (not last year, of course), I pretty much know what I should be eating and in what amounts (though that’s not to say that I can’t learn a thing or two). The real value that I see in this for me personally is that I know he’ll be checking, which will hold me accountable for logging, and as long as I log I’ll eat better, and if I eat better I’ll lose weight and be healthier. It’s a no-brainer.

So yes, that’s a lot on one man’s shoulders, but it’s really just holding me accountable for my own actions, and frankly, that’s what I’m paying him for. That, and to kick my ass in class three times a week.

The other big fitness-related thing I’d like to do this year is another big run or event of some type that will require training. Some girlfriends and I were going to do the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in DC, but it’s a lottery race and our group wasn’t picked. Boo.

So, a triathlon finally, perhaps? Another half marathon? A full? No, probably not that last one… Not this year, at least. I want to think on this one a little more – do some research into events in my area, pick one and just register for it. I’m such a cheapskate that I won’t want to lose out on my registration fee so I’ll feel obligated to train for and do it! I’ll be sure to let you know what I decide on.

What are your fitness goals for the year? I believe that it makes more sense to tell people your goals rather than keep them to yourselves for fear of not succeeding. Go into a challenge with the belief that you WILL succeed and you’re much more likely to!

Here’s to a great 2011 for us all!