Archive for the ‘Trials and Tribulations’ Category

Cooking up a Storm

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

This week I’ve been hugely successful with my cooking goal. With the exception of yesterday’s lunch, every single meal this week has been prepared at home by either my husband or myself. We had things like roasted chicken, pork chops with sauerkraut, tilapia with quinoa and broccoli, stuffed pepper with turkey sausage, and other delicious eats.

It wasn’t all that hard, either. I went grocery shopping early in the week and really thought about the meals we would make. Then we froze all of the meats that we weren’t going to have that day or the next, and each morning (or the night before) we would decide what we were having for dinner and pull out the necessary food from the freezer.

This worked beautifully! What often trips me up is not being able to decide what to make, and not having things in the house to cook (or them being frozen, which I hate). There were 2 days when I almost gave in and said “Screw it: Let’s order Chinese” but my über-supportive husband stepped in and made dinner those nights. It really helps to have a sidekick!

Yesterday I was down something like 4.5 pounds from the beginning of the week. That’s absolutely absurd! Luckily, today I was only down 3 pounds, which is much more sane, lol. I really think that cooking more regularly is going to help me achieve my weight-loss goal of 20 pounds by December 31 (for those keeping track, that would put me at 156.5, as I was 176.5 at the beginning of The Hot 100). 

Regarding my other goals: I ran twice this week (not bad) and only blogged once (fail). I’ll have to work on those two more this week!

A lot of you said you were in on this challenge but had to consider your goals first. Have you come up with anything yet? You’re losing days! We’re down to 92 days left in 2012 – let’s do this!!


Saturday, September 8th, 2012

This morning was the half-marathon that I started training for 12 weeks ago. Even though I never got around to blogging about my training past that first run, I kept up with it! It was hard, and took a lot of time and a lot of people helping with Alexandra (mostly my awesome husband and helpful nanny), but I completed the vast majority of the training runs. I wasn’t as consistent (re: obsessive) about it as I was when I trained the first time, but I had a lot more going on this time around.

Unfortunately, my performance during the race reflected my somewhat half-hearted training.

In training, I worked my way up to 11 miles, which I did this past Sunday without too much trouble (meaning I didn’t walk, which is always my goal). And yet, today, I had to walk shortly after I passed the ten-mile mark. And I walked quite a bit, I’m sorry to say.

It started pouring soon after I resorted to walking, and that didn’t make me start back up with running (or run faster, as it did my training buddies – my sister, and my two best friends). Instead, it made me walk MORE and start feeling sorry for myself: All three of my cohorts were long ahead of me, my entire lower body was tired and sore, I was cold and wet, and I was having some digestive distress… if you know what I mean.

I ended up walking/running/walking/running a lot in miles 10 & 11, and then ran solidly from 12.25 to the finish line.

And when I finished, I wasn’t all that happy (except that it was over) – I was cranky. I was really hoping for a better performance, and I feel like I put in the work to have had a better performance, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way, I guess.

My friends did GREAT and I’m super proud of them all! My sister has been having shin splints all through training, one friend had a baby 6 months ago AND was dealing with an ankle injury from a few weeks ago, and my other friend has a weird toe/foot issue wherein he feels a stabbing pain and goes numb after a few miles of running. They were all able to overcome these obstacles and post damn fine times! Like I said: I’m super proud of them :)

As for me? Well, I did it: I finished, and really, that’s the important thing. I was hoping to beat or match my time from two years ago, but I missed that by a good amount. For my first half, my time was 2:24:39, and my time today was 2:41:07. Oh well! At least I did it, and that’s what the main goal was! And now I’m warm, dry, have resolved my digestive distress, and can say that I completed a half-marathon today, and that’s pretty cool.

New Year, New Baby!

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

I’m back! And I had my baby! Her name is Alexandra Constantina, and she surprised her father and I by arriving over 2 weeks early. She was born on October 28, 2011 and weighed just 5lb 10oz. We’ve decided to keep her :)

Since this is a health, fitness, and weight-loss blog, I’ll try to keep my posts centered around that – even though so much of my life these days is about feeding this little creature and less about feeding myself…

Prior to getting pregnant, I weighed 178. At my last doctor’s appointment before having the baby, I weighed 224. Riddle me this: If the baby weighed less than 6 pounds, and the rest of the fluids and birth ‘stuff’ weighed about 10 pounds, how did I gain 46 pounds?

Answer: Eating whatever the hell I wanted to eat and not exercising. Shocker.

Since giving birth, I’ve gotten down to 199 pounds (finally, yesterday morning, after weeks of hovering around 201 – how about THAT for a good way to enter the new year?!). That  means I’ve lost 24 of the 46 pounds I gained, and I have 22 more to go to get to my pre-pregnancy weight. Sure, there’s another 10 pounds to get back down to my lowest, and then another 18 to get down to my ultimate goal of 150, but I’m taking baby steps. (Ha – “baby” steps – get it?)

I entered a Biggest Loser Contest that started 2 weeks after Alexandra was born. I felt a little bad at first because during the first 2 weeks of the contest I lost 5 or 6 pounds, which I attribute to the loss of fluids from the pregnancy. However, now I’m struggling to lose weight again (ie: I have to WORK for it) so I no longer feel like it’s unfair. I just got a little head start.

My goal is to get back down to pre-pregnancy weight – 178 – by May 3rd when the contest ends. That gives me 4 months to lose another 21 pounds. I figure if I do that, I might actually win! And if I don’t win but I reach that goal, well who cares about the bragging rights and a little bit of cash?

For the first 6 weeks after giving birth, I wasn’t supposed to exercise. Some days I felt really good though, so I took Alex for a number of walks in those weeks. I felt sore afterward, but it was wonderful getting outside and doing something again! And so nice to have some company, even if she’s less sentient than my cat at this point :)

Two weeks ago I was cleared for exercise by my doctor. I was so excited to get that news, but did I start exercising? No, not really. Not right away at least. I don’t want to be one of those people who uses their kid as an excuse for not exercising, but seriously – a newborn requires a LOT of attention! And when she’s sleeping, I feel like I should either get some sleep myself, do some client work, or do some housework. I’m going to start making more of an effort to schedule it in, though. It’s just as important as those other things.

Last week I exercised a little – I went for a run and I did a 25 minute workout video, both of which I’m sad to say were quite difficult. The run was just under 2 miles and I couldn’t even make it that distance without walking. I walked frequently, but not for long each time. When I returned home, the recovery took a lot longer than it used to. For a few hours, every time I tried to take a deep breath, I coughed. I think much of that had to do with the cold weather, but I’m clearly very out of shape, so it’s likely a combination.

I’m not going to let it get me down, though! It just gives me a good idea of where I am right now. A baseline, if you will. I’ve decided to run another half marathon in September of this year, so I have a long way to go, but I’m confident I can do it. I did it before!

So there you have it: I’m back to eating right. I’m back to exercising. And I’m back to blogging.

I hope you’re all doing well! Here’s to a fantastic 2012! 

The (Temporary) End of an Era

Monday, August 15th, 2011

I’m now in my third trimester. In fact, my due date is exactly 3 months from last Saturday!

That’s the good news. The bad news is that I’m worried. Not about the pregnancy, or the baby, or even that we won’t be ready in time. I’m worried that for the next three months, I’m going to be lonely. I know: So pathetic, right? Sorry.

As it turns out, Saturday was my last day of Kung Fu for a while – likely 6 months at minimum. My husband and Kung Fu instructor are both concerned about me continuing, so even though I feel okay to go for at least another week or two, I’m just going to call it quits rather than worry them both. I’m okay with not taking classes anymore – I knew it was coming and I was prepared for that. Plus, it’s only temporary: If I miss it, I’ll go back when I’m ready. (I suspect I’ll miss it!)

But here’s what I wasn’t prepared for: The overwhelming panic that I’m not going to see my friends anymore. 

Kung Fu for me has always been more about the social aspect than the physical. It’s particularly important to me because I have my own business and work out of the house – meaning no coworkers. My cats are great and they do their part to keep me company, but there’s not a lot of give-and-take there. So Kung Fu began as a way for me to be around people and get the social interaction that I was lacking.

Over the last 6 years though, it’s become much more than that: Many of the people there aren’t just training buddies, they’re my friends. In fact, they’re among the best friends I have in Pittsburgh.

Of course, we get together outside of Kung Fu, but, most frequently, those activities are tied to class: Dinner after class in the evening, coffee after class in the afternoon. I can certainly still join them for dinner and coffee even though I’m not in class – in fact, 2 of my friends stopped taking classes in December and they still get join us for food + drink pretty frequently. I usually coordinate these get togethers, too (they’ve dubbed me the “Social Chair”), so it shouldn’t be too difficult to maintain, but I still worry about it. Without them, I won’t see anyone much at all (except my husband who is wonderful and with whom I love spending time – but that’s a lot of pressure on him! To be my ONLY social interaction? Ouch.)

I don’t know. I’m probably overreacting. Let’s blame it on the pregnancy hormones. But when I realized I wouldn’t be going back to class for 6+ months, I was really upset. The friends I’ve made through Kung Fu are essential to my sanity. I guess I’ll have to make a concerted effort to maintain those friendships even though we won’t have the convenience of class to keep us together.

Wish me luck!

And if you know me in real life, throw me a bone and invite me to do something with you. I don’t want to live in a cave.

Mission Accomplished!

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Today is Day 7 in my little 7-Day Challenge, and I’m proud to say that I worked out each and every day this past week! This challenge has caused me to remember what it was like when I was training for the half marathon or doing P90X – when, in both cases, I worked out every day, or nearly every day. Here are my insights:

• Planning is essential. In order to fit in a workout every day – or even just on a day that you intend to work out – it’s necessary to think ahead and fit it in when you can. This week, I’ve had other commitments like client meetings, taxi-ing husbands and friends (just one of each) to the airport and back, dinner with friends, etc, and in many cases, if I hadn’t thought ahead of what my day entailed and squeezed in my workout when I had the chance, I would have missed my only opportunity and ended up missing that day.

• I hate doing laundry. After one of my long-term fitness commitments which meant working out on a daily basis, I purchased enough shorts, tank tops and sports bras to get me through 4-5 days without having to wash clothes. But now that I’m pregnant, only a few of those things still fit, and I haven’t bought more of that type of clothing that will fit my new shape, so I’ve had to do laundry at least every other day. It sucks. I hate it. I need more pregnancy-friendly workout clothes. Period.

• When I work out, I feel good. I don’t generally feel good DURING the workout, though some days, I do. And I don’t generally feel good (or excited about working out) BEFORE the workout, but after the post-workout shower? I feel great! And then for the rest of the day! And not just physically, but also mentally. I can look back on my day and say that I did something positive and healthy for myself (and my baby!). Right now, after 7 days of working out, I feel much less like an amorphous blob than I did a week ago.

• Some days I feel better than others. With the exception of Saturday, when I counted my Kung Fu class as my workout for the day, I did Suzanne Bowen’s Long and Lean Prenatal Workout. Overall, I progressed quite nicely with this workout: I was able to do more and more of the workout (today I did damn near everything without  having to pause at all), and generally felt better doing the moves – like I had better form and wasn’t going to die from them. However, Thursday was a bad day. A rather lackluster workout. I simply wasn’t in the mood to do it in the first place, and that didn’t go away even though I pushed myself to do it anyway. I don’t know if it was something I ate (or didn’t eat) or the weather, or what, but I just didn’t have as good of a workout as the other days. In fact, I may have skipped a few moves altogether. But then on Friday? Great again! Ebbs and flows, people: Don’t let it get you down.

• Being physically active makes me want to make healthier food choices. After working out, the last thing I want to do is eat a heavy, calorie-laden meal. I’ve had more salads this week than I have in ages, and I ate them because I wanted to, and they tasted great. Focus on one area of health, and the others seem to follow!

I know at least a few other people were doing this challenge with me – how did you girls end up? Did anyone else do it in secret? That’s cool too – I hope anyone who attempted it was successful. Even if you didn’t work out every day, if you worked out more than you usually do, I’d call that a success.

Now time to schedule my massage reward!

I’m Pregnant

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

For the few of you readers out there who don’t actually know me in real life – or for anyone who may have slipped through the cracks – the secret’s out: I’m pregnant!

I’m nearly 19 weeks at this point, with a due date of November 13. My husband and I are very excited, but we’re also terrified, though we’re scared about different things. He’s worried about soft spots and diaper changes and not being able to do anything for the next 18 years – things after the impending baby enters the world. For at least the time being, I’m more concerned with getting through the pregnancy itself – and the whole giving birth bit, but even that isn’t at the forefront of my mind just yet.

I had a miscarriage last year. It sucked.

We moved on: We took some time to recover, tried again, and 6-ish months later, here we are. Obviously, that’s great – one thing we have going for us is that we seem to be reasonably fertile. My heart goes out to those who aren’t so lucky. There’s little sadder than couples who want children but can’t have them.

Given our loss last year, we were obviously a bit anxious at the start of this pregnancy. That was only compounded by a number of various complications in my first trimester. My doctors were equally concerned, so much so that I was told not to exercise.

No exercise?! A few years ago, I never would have imagined that being forbidden from exercising would bother me – hell, a few years ago, nothing would have changed since I didn’t exercise anyway.

But now? That was really tough. For weeks and weeks and weeks, all I could do was walk, and I didn’t even do that much. I had to quit boot camp. I had to take a hiatus from Kung Fu. I haven’t run in months.

I know, I know: It’s a small price to pay for a healthy baby, and nine months isn’t that long. That’s very true, but it doesn’t make it easier! I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up the same level of intensity while pregnant, but I wasn’t ready to be benched completely – especially so early on.

Other than the complications, the first trimester was pretty good – meaning I (thankfully) wasn’t a victim of morning sickness. However, I was tired and hungry. All. The. Time.

It was insane! If I wasn’t sleeping, I was eating. And I’m ashamed to admit that my food choices weren’t always the healthiest. When I ate at home, the problem was portion sizes – and ice cream. But I also ate out a lot. A lot.

So you can imagine my surprise (ahem) when at my last appointment, my doctor informed me that I’ve gained 24 pounds with this pregnancy. Already. That’s as much as I’m supposed to gain in all 40 weeks, and I did it in 18.

Holy. Shit.

Pardon my vulgarity, but seriously, what the hell?! I guess four months of eating as much as you want, sleeping all the time, and not exercising – oh and using your body as an incubator for the next Khan – will do that to a person.

Even though I knew the number on the scale wouldn’t be good, and that I wasn’t being healthy – for me or my baby – I was still shocked when I saw the number (202 – ouch). I was ashamed and embarrassed and angry.

And I cried. Right there in the doctor’s office. Thankfully it was after the nurse left and before the doctor came in, but I think I threw my poor husband into a panic. That or he just thinks I’m a crazy, hormonal, pregnant woman.

The good thing about that emotional breakdown is that I’ve turned a new (old) leaf. Since my appointment on Friday morning, I’ve been a lot better, both with my eating and with exercise (which I’m allowed to do now, with the exception of running, lifting weights, sparring at Kung Fu and overly intense stuff in general – I’ll take it!).

What’s more is that I don’t want the bad stuff anymore – I swear! I threw out all the ice cream I had in the house and I haven’t missed it one bit. I’ve been eating less (but still plenty, don’t worry!), and I don’t feel hungry. I’ve gone out of my way to work exercise into my day – even walking, which I find extremely difficult to do on my own, since I’m always dying to break into a run.

I guess sometimes we need to hit ‘rock bottom’ in order to be motivated to make a positive change in our lives. Whether that’s a change with your health, a relationship that’s run its course, a job that’s no longer a good fit, or something else holding you back.

I’m just glad my rock bottom came after only 24 pounds or I’d probably gain 100 by the time this baby is born!

Making Headway

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

Since I wrote the last post about my deviant snacking behavior, I’ve forced myself to be more aware of how frequently I’m eating in the afternoon/early evening. I think just admitting to the world that I have a problem has compelled me to face the issue head-on… and work to fix it.

So far, so good!

There are two main obstacles to escaping my snacking hell: 1) Habit and 2) Boredom.

Eating frequently between lunch and dinner has become a routine for me. For instance, every day around 3 or 4, I leave my office and go downstairs to get myself a cup of tea and a snack. I take them both back up to my office and continue working until about 5 (when I usually get another snack!). This week, I’ve forced myself to either not go downstairs at all, or to stop at the cup of tea and just go back upstairs without getting something to chew on.

I’ve started staying in my office later than usual, too – more like 6pm than my usual 5pm. This is good because it’s less time that I’m bored and looking for something to do with my hands, plus I get more work done and make more money (except when I get sucked in to playing Zuma Blitz on Facebook…)

I will still eat a snack if I’m actually hungry, but I’m pushing myself to first ask myself if I am hungry, or if I just want to eat because it’s habit or I’m bored. The fact of the matter is: I like eating, and I have to be more aware of when I’m eating on autopilot, or I will never reach my goals.

Thank you all for your support and commiseration! It makes me feel more normal, and that goes a long way!


Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Let me tell you (and by ‘you’ I mean the 2 of you who are still reading this): I am STRUGGLING.

In general, I eat well. I cleaned up most of my bad eating habits a few years ago when I decided to make a change with myself and my life. I removed high calorie junk foods, reduced portion sizes, started cooking more, ate more vegetables and whole grains, seriously cut back on snacking, cut out the vast majority of processed foods – and nearly all processed foods containing additives & preservatives (like the dreaded high fructose corn syrup).

I’m still doing great with most of those things.It’s the snacking that’s getting me.

I can’t seem to stop! They’re all healthy snacks, there are just way too many of them. Between the hours of about 3 & 7, I eat.

And eat.

And eat.

And eat.

Each time I eat, I choose a healthy snack, and a reasonable amount of it. But that doesn’t satisfy me. So I pick something else to eat. Still healthy, still a reasonable amount, but another one. And that doesn’t satisfy me, either. So the pattern continues.

Let me give you a specific example: Yesterday, on my way home from a meeting at about 3pm, I ate a granola bar that I happened to still have in my purse from when I was out of town last week. After I got home, I worked until about 5, when I ate a banana, with the teeniest smear of peanut butter and a sprinkling of granola. Fifteen minutes later, I ate the last of some home fries leftover from Sunday’s breakfast. An hour after that, I ate a grapefruit. Not long after that, I had ANOTHER granola bar (different flavor!). Then I went to Kung Fu, so I had a break from food for about 2 hours, at which time I had dinner.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!

Now, granted, yesterday was worse than usual, but this is not a new thing. I know I wasn’t actually hungry for each of those snacks. So what was I doing? Why was I shoving food in my mouth even though I didn’t actually want it?

I was bored. And I like eating. And that’s all that mattered at that point in time.

I thought I had a better handle on the mental aspect of food and had control of my eating habits. I guess I still have some work to do!

I’m certainly not back at the beginning. At least all of my snacks are healthy now!

It’s so very frustrating though. As I scoured the kitchen for my next snack, I thought about how I wasn’t hungry. That I was just bored. And that this is the exact reason that I’ve been bouncing up and down with my weight, losing and gaining the same 5 pounds for months and months on end.

But did that keep me from eating what I wanted to eat? Not even a little.

Think I need therapy?

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.

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?