Archive for the ‘Weight Loss’ Category

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?

Downtrend

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Huh – It seems my posts have become a bit repetitive: Monday morning: Weight? Good/Bad. Here’s why, and here’s what I’ll do differently… or not.

Sorry for the same-old-same-old. I’ll try to post something more interesting this week.

But not right now; right now it’s the fourth Rally Point!

I’m down again this week! (I’m sure you could’ve guessed that, based on my “two steps forward, two steps back” pattern.) Today I weighed in at 178. If you look at a graph of my weight since the start of this, you’ll see that – overall – there is a downtrend. Hopefully I can hold on to that downtrend over the toughest part of the holidays: Christmas and New Year’s.

This year, my husband and I will be spending Christmas with his side of the family for the first time ever! While it will be strange not to be with my family (as that’s who I’ve spent every Christmas with since birth), I’m really looking forward to seeing my in-laws. They haven’t all been together on Christmas for 11 years (!) so this is a really big deal.

And, to round out 2010, we’ll be visiting my family the following weekend for New Year’s, which I’m excited about, as well!

What this means, though, is that for the next two weekends, I won’t be in my own house and able to control my food. Not only that, but it’s the time of the year when everyone bakes and cooks and drinks and has all sorts of delicious treats out and about. It’s going to be a challenge to continue that downtrend I mentioned so that I can start 2011 out feeling good!

My plan is to bring some healthy snacks, so that I know that I’ll always have those available to me. This will be particularly helpful on the road, when often you’re stuck trying to choose the lesser of two evils from a rest stop or gas station.

The other part of the equation is to try to work out as much as I can without interrupting the fun family activities. Since I’ve been getting up so early to workout and I’m getting used to that, maybe I can do that a few times while out of town.

What are your plans for the next two weeks? Any strategies in place to battle the holiday bulge?

For those of you still in on the Holiday Assault Challenge, now might be a good time to reassess your initial goal: We’re more than halfway through the six weeks, and the last two will be the most difficult. My initial goal was to be down 5 pounds, and I’m down 4, so I’m going to stick with that goal. Hopefully I can combat the next two weeks enough to drop one more pound and come out on top!

If you’re not more than halfway to your goal, though, reassess and adjust as necessary. There’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, it’s a lot better than giving up altogether! If you’re adjusting your goal, send your new one to me today along with your current weight.

In the Words of Paula Abdul…

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

As per usual, following my two steps forward from last week, I’ve taken two steps back this week. Well, a step and a half.

For the third Rally Point, I’m up 3.5 pounds to 182.5. This is almost as insane as last week’s five pound loss, but not a good insane like that was.

Most of the week I did really well with my eating, and my exercise is almost always on point. In fact, on Thursday I was down even further than on Monday to 178.5.

Which means that I gained four pounds in four days.

Just like last week when I said I didn’t believe that I lost 5 pounds of fat, I don’t believe that I gained four pounds of fat this week. But something has certainly gone awry this week.

I’d like to blame it on the fact that I’m female and that this is a ‘special’ time of the month, but I doubt more than half a pound is from that. Let’s be generous and say a full pound. What’s the cause of those other three pounds?

FOOD, that’s what.

On Saturday we got together with a few other couples for dinner: Lots of delicious hors d’oeuvres covering a large table, that we all stood around for three hours. One of my main techniques to thwart excess food ingestion at parties is to not linger around the food. That was nearly impossible at this party, and therefore my brain kept rationalizing eating more and more and I gave in to the deliciousness: “Oh I’ll just have one of those.” Two minutes later… “Man, everyone’s commenting on how good that is – I should try it.” Another five minutes and “I don’t want to be rude; I should try the thing the newest guest brought.” And on and on.

Then there were the desserts. I COULD have just had the one cookie (lady locks, my favorite!). But I also had a little sliver of an almond torte cake (so good). And then later I also had a brownie. There were cupcakes, too, but I refrained from eating any of those. We didn’t take any desserts home, either, so I guess that’s something.

I also had a glass of wine and two glasses of cranberry juice with ginger ale.

Am I beating myself up over my choices at one little party? Not really, because it’s just one party. But – if I can so easily fall off the wagon – so to speak – at one party, what happens when it’s a two or three parties? If you think about it, the holidays are really just a long string of parties that at some point, stop being called “parties” and are just “days”.

Also, I know that those choices affected my weight yesterday, and therefore my ultimate goal. Was the cake that good? No. It wasn’t.

So this week, I’ll do better. Over the weekend, too. It’s the last “easy” weekend of the year, since next weekend is Christmas (holy crap!) and the weekend after that is New Year’s. Hell, if I can’t control myself on normal weekends, those two will be detrimental to my goal, so I must prove to myself that I’m stronger than that.

Who’s with me?

Chugging Along

Monday, December 6th, 2010

It’s Monday again, which means it’s the second Rally Point in the Holiday Assault Challenge! There are a bunch of you out there who are officially in this, and a bunch more who have indicated to me that you’re playing along on your own. Regardless, I hope you’re keeping your health in mind as you enjoy your holiday parties and cookie exchanges!

I did damn well this week. I went to a cocktail party on Friday hosted by one of my husband’s coworkers and was very conscious of what I ate. I didn’t deprive myself of anything I really wanted, but I was discriminating as I made my way around the hors d’oeuvre tables.

A little trick? Hold out on the things that you love but aren’t good for you as long as possible. Once you get the taste in your mouth it’s harder to resist, and the longer you wait, the less time you’ll have the taste in your mouth, so the less of it you’ll eat. Probably.

Last week I was 184. This week I weighed in at 179. That’s five pounds! Yay!

I don’t actually believe I lost five pounds of fat, but more likely that my two pound gain last week was due to excess sodium from Thanksgiving.

Whatever the reason, I’m thrilled to be back in the 170s and I’m pleased to be down three pounds from the start of my little challenge just two weeks ago.

So how are the rest of you doing? Any issues that are causing road blocks to your success? Maybe I can help! It’s worth a shot, right?

Suicides

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

At Boot Camp on Friday, we did something I’ve never done before: “suicides”. Let me tell you, this exercise is appropriately named.

Often done on a basketball court, this is a speed and agility exercise. There are a lot of variations, but here’s what we did: We stood on a line at one end of a long, flat surface. There were more parallel lines going across the floor about every 5 feet. You sprint to the first line, then sprint backwards back to the starting line. Then you sprint to the second line, then backwards back to the start. Then sprint to the third line, and backwards to the start, etc. There were about 8 lines altogether.

We did this as part of a circuit: The suicides were the first exercise, then we did punches from a horse stance (not at all challenging for me considering I’ve been doing Kung Fu for over five years…), and the third station was step ups or jump ups.   

When the instructor explained what we were doing, it didn’t sound too difficult. But holy shit – run suicides four or five times and you’ll understand where the name came from.

Honestly, I was incredibly grateful for the punching station because I needed a chance to recover. The instructor kept saying that our legs might feel like jello, but it wasn’t my legs that were causing me grief – my chest hurt (not so much that I was worried, but enough to remind me that I still have a ways to go in the fitness department!) 

I didn’t like the pain, but I did, you know? It felt great to push myself that hard. And I love that I found a high-intensity exercise that will help with both my speed and agility, two areas in which I know I could use some help.  

I’ll tell you this much: I’ll be doing more suicides in the near future, whether in class or out. And I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s class!

Boot Camp: First Impressions

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Yesterday was my first “boot camp” class. In case you don’t know what that is, wikipedia tells us:

The term ‘boot camp’ is currently used in the fitness industry to describe group fitness classes that promote fat loss, camaraderie and team effort. They are designed to push people a little bit further than they would normally push themselves in the gym alone. Boot Camps often use bodyweight exercises like push ups, squats, suspension training and burpees, interspersed with running and competitive games.

Honestly, I was expecting something super intense that was going to kick my ass.

It wasn’t, and it didn’t.

That’s not to say that it wasn’t a good workout, or that I didn’t enjoy myself, because it was and I did. But it wasn’t the ass-kicking I expected – and was looking forward to. Maybe I’ve been watching The Biggest Loser too much!

The workout we did yesterday started with a strength training circuit with five stations. The stations included things like pushups, squats with resistance bands, lunges and the like. As the instructor explained what we were supposed to do at each station, he kept offering a modified version for those of us whose “first workout” it was, as well as the more advanced version for people who had been there a while. Well, it wasn’t my first workout ever, and I guess I’m not as out of shape as I thought I was, because I did the advanced version of everything.

After that we did some short distance sprinting forwards and backwards. I particularly enjoyed that part, both because I think it will help my running and also because the classes are in a cheerleading gym and the floor was springy.

Again: I enjoyed it, it just wasn’t super intense. If nothing else, I got a workout in where I otherwise might not have. I prepaid for 12 classes (3 a week for 4 weeks), so I’m trying to be optimistic. Apparently every workout is different, so maybe the rest will be more challenging for me? There were three newbies there, after all (myself and N-Cat among them).

I’ll know better in 8 hours, after my second class which starts at 5:30 am. (Have I mentioned that yet?) I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!

More Insanity

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Yesterday’s run with J-Roc was pretty good. It was fun, at least! Since he hadn’t run since that last 5k we did together either, we decided to do an easy out-and-back two miles. We got to the turnaround one mile in… and then walked back. I think we both wanted to walk at that point, and we both probably could’ve run most of that second mile, but we were enjoying our conversation, and it’s hard to talk when you’re gasping for air!

Oh, and there were no girls yelling mean things out their windows this time.

It felt good to get back out there again. So much so that I got up early and ran again today, finishing before the rain came in. I did an old – short – route I used to run frequently: 1.8 miles in 20 minutes. Slow, to be sure, but I ran nonstop, and I felt good afterwards. That’s really all that matters right now, as far as I’m concerned. I’m sure the distance and slight speed I eventually built up will return with consistent training. I’m optimistic!

Besides running, I’ve signed up for something crazy. Apparantly, my insanity knows no bounds…

I’m taking a boot camp class. I’ve prepaid for 12 hour-long classes, and the first one is tomorrow. At 5:30am.

I don’t know exactly what this class will entail, but I’ve heard some horror stories about boot camp classes and how intense they are. I’ve always secretly wanted to take one, but at this exact point in time, I don’t feel ready for it. I’m pretty sure it’s going to kick my ass.

I’ll keep you posted on the ass-kicking.