Friday, January 28, 2011

Thickhead

I have felt thick-headed all day.  My muscles are stiff, including my tongue and smile muscles, my ears feel slightly stuffy, my sinuses feel very stuffy.  I feel like, if I didn't have anything better to do today, I could have just slept the entire day away.
But I did have something to do.  I finally had an interview today, and it was for a job in my field.  I think I did well, despite my thick head, I had to do very little talking, it was very informal and casual.  I think I have a decent chance of landing this one, which will be amazing.  It will be such a relief (financially and emotionally) to finally have a job again.  I have never been unemployed for this long, and without any other source of income.  It has been so hard for our family, but we are surviving.
My first attempt at cardio was this morning, as I usually do it before eating breakfast.  After ten clumsy minutes of trying to accomodate for a "loose" feeling knee and a thick head, I gave up.  That is really rare for me, usually once I've begun a workout, there's no turning back.  After my interview, I was on the fence about trying again, because I still felt all thick-headed and clumsy.  But, I stretched my stiff muscles out a bit and went outside to give it another go.  The sidewalks were littered with icy dangerous spots that threatened to turn my knee issues from minor irritation to major complication.  But, I did what I could safely do, and got a pretty decent workout out of it.  When I came back inside, I felt dizzy from the difference in temperature.  My head is still thick and slightly achey.  I think I need a nap.  At least, now that I followed through and did my cardio, I feel like I've earned one.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'm Going to Throw Away My Scale!

I have shoulders.  Yeah, I've always had shoulders, but they were always round and fat, and stark-white from never seeing the light of day.  I have always HATED how my shoulders look, and would be so jealous every time I would see someone in a cute strappy dress or tank top.  Even some bigger women can pull it off.  But I have never been able to pull that look off, my skin is too brutally white and I have so many stretch marks, and I have been so hung-up on that part of my body and the fat that lingers there.  But today as I stood in the mirror I saw them.  The start of the shoulders I have always wanted.  I spent a good ten minutes trying on my strappy dress (from a summer wedding, and I did wear a cover-up over top for that event) and admiring the new reward for all my dedication and effort.  And the best feeling washed over me.  I felt so good about what I saw, that I knew if it was summer, I would have absolutely no qualms about walking around in public with these arms exposed.  They are good enough to make me not hide in shame or be totally self-conscious the entire time.  I realize I have a long way to go until I reach my goal, but this whole thing has taught me the very thing I was trying to convince myself I was already aware of.  This is what they mean by that phrase, "The journey is the reward", this feeling right now.  Not being at my goal, but on my way, and able to have pride in what I've done.  What an overwhelming feeling!  I am awesome!  I am finally doing something I said I was going to do, and I'm not letting anything get in my way.
This is big, because a few days ago I was getting so frustrated by what the scale has been showing me, that I was thinking of throwing in the towel.  I am not going down that easy, not this time.  I will invest whatever amount of pain and time into this as it requires.  But seeing the same few pounds go up and down, over and over is really frustrating.  So when my husband and I were discussing the show Heavy last night, we were talking about the rate at which people lose weight, and why it can be so dramatically different between people.  He confirmed what I was saying in an earlier blog, that the more obese/sedentary you've been, the more effort it takes to do things that could be done with little effort for people who are more fit.  Your body learns to adapt to the level of fitness that you are at, so you have to keep shaking things up every few weeks, keep stepping up your game.  Then I said, jokingly, that THAT must be the reason the scale isn't moving for me, because I am already so lean and fit!  He looked me over and said, "I can see a huge difference in you!"  That was the most uplifting thing to hear.  While he had already told me how proud of me he is, he hadn't said that he noticed a change until last night, so it really made me feel phenomenal!  I decided to sneak a peak at my measurements, just my hips and waist, the two biggest areas.  There was significant change from Jan 1 measurements, and that just affirmed that I AM progressing in my endeavors, no matter what the flippin' scale says!  Why we put so much stock in the scale is beyond me.  Even though I have had this awesome experience, I will still have the gut instinct to want to weigh myself often.  There is an obsession with our weight, but there is so much more that the stupid scale doesn't measure.  Inches, for one.  And how does one lose inches without losing weight?  You put on lean muscle.  That is why I can see my shoulders and quads starting to pop out, lean muscle mass is really effective at burning fat, so just by adding muscle, you are burning fat.  Muscle, however, weighs more than fat, so the scale can be very deceptive.  So, I am going to make an effort to ONLY weigh myself on Monday mornings.  That will be hard for me, but if I ever want to check my progress, I can just look at my smile in the mirror. 
Measurements coming in less than a week! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Exertion

I watched another episode of "Heavy" on A&E last night.  Man, that's a good show.  It is so interesting and addictive; so uplifting and inspirational.  One thing I am noticing, and have noticed on Biggest Loser as well, is how hard they work these people.  Granted, they are doing this on TV, and the results have to be dramatic or else who would watch, right?  But, seeing how hard these people are working is bringing up so many thoughts, some of them conflicting.
First of all, without even thinking, the thought came into my head that maybe I'm not working hard enough, maybe that's why I am having such a hard time getting past the sticking point.  I allowed myself to ponder that for a bit.  Here's how I answered myself.  When you are obese and pretty much do zero activity, the weight falls off pretty easily when you first transition to a healthy lifestyle.  The more weight you have hanging off you, the less effort you have to exert (at least, in the beginning).  Losing weight too quickly increases the chances of having that really disgusting loose, hanging skin.  I do not want loose, hanging skin, but I also don't want to be in the high 170's forever either. 
So where is the balance?  I admit that I had a weak moment on Sunday and allowed myself to eat way more peanut butter than I should have, and that was after my quasi-cheat meal on Saturday night.  And I skipped both of my workouts on Sunday (weights and cardio).  This type of activity(or lack thereof)  is what got me to 223 lbs in the first place (my all-time high).  I didn't dwell on my careless behavior, I just turned the fun bus around as soon as I was done with my little indulgence.  I have been on track since then, though yesterday was only a short session of moderate-to-high level intesity interval cardio.  Twenty minutes in the morning and I was done.  Very little effort goes into that workout, but it does get my heart pumping like mad.  Then I wonder, should I be sweaty?  And another question follows, is it possible for me to sweat, being on diuretics?  Of course it is, I get sweaty from my weight training, especially this circuit training.  Something to consider and ask my husband about.  Did I mention how lucky I feel to have my own personal fitness expert in my home?  And I don't even have to pay him!  I have tried to convince him to start his own blog, as a Q & A/ fitness advice page, but so far, no go.
I have been trying to stave off a family cold lately, and have woken up feeling like death the past three days.  I have the worst sinus pressure ever, and a headache that makes me nauseous, my eyes burn as if there is sidewalk salt directly in them.  Just lousy.  I was yawning so much this morning that my 5 year old told me, "I think you should have a nap once I get on the bus."  He assured me that he gets tired in the mornings as well, it was so sweet.  Ironically, the one thing that relieved a little bit of the pressure in my head this morning, was the brisk air outside.  So once I got my little cuties on their busses, I went for a walk outside.  It was 23 degrees this morning, which is still really stinking cold, but much warmer than it has been lately.  I walked less than 15 minutes before the reality of the temperature set in and I had to seek out some heat, but it made my head feel slightly tollerable.  I can't wait for spring!  I am giving some thought to the idea of turning my most high-intensity portion of my interval cardio into running instead of walking.  It will depend on how my achilles tendons handle it.  I have also been planning on touring the gyms of Green Bay, using the free trial memberships to see which one I'd like to join.  We'll see about all that.
I have a butt-kicking session of circuit training to get through today, and I will probably finish with a 15 minute session of cardio, because I don't think my morning walk did enough.  I realize that I have to up the ante if I am going to get that scale moving again.  If I continue to lose focus of the dream, I will have nothing motivating me, and I deserve better than that!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Again?

I am beginning to love Wednesdays, and loathe Mondays.  I am noticing a bizzare trend of weight loss on Wednesday and regain by Monday.  Today I was back up to 179 after reaching an all-time low of 176 on Wed.  That is after doing extra cardio last week. 
I did have a "cheat" meal on Saturday night, when my father-in-law asked to watch the kids for a while, to give my husband and I a few hours to ourselves.  I was all geared up to have sushi, easily my favorite food, and so clean.  There are currently only two sushi restaurants in Green Bay, and we chose the more upscale one since it was close to the movie theater we were planning on going to afterword.  There was a long line and a wait.  Plan B was my other favorite cuisine, Indian.  There is a fantastic restaurant called Tast of India in Green Bay, that is hidden away a little.  We arrived there after passing restaurant after restaurant so packed full, the wait time was over one hour just to get a table.  Taste of India was able to seat us immediately, and in my opinion, the food there is 100 times better than any of those packed-full restaurants we passed up along the way.  The smell of all the slow-cooked spices alone was worth the visit, but the food was such a treat that I felt like I was indulging when really it was very healthy.  I had Chicken Bhuna, which is chicken breast in a wonderfully spiced tomato, onion and pepper sauce.  My body was humming afterword, all the spices awakened my senses.  I skipped the white rice and just ate the Bhuna, because I did indulge in two pieces of garlic nan bread, which was the best I've tasted, and I've had my share of Indian food.  The service was really pleasant, the food was piping hot.  What a fantastic change of plans!  I told myself right then, while sipping my darjeerling tea, that any weight gain from this meal was worth it!
After dinner we saw the movie "Black Swan" and it only added to the heightened the senses.  Overall, a nice evening out.  The weight gain was worth it.  I also skipped my workout yesterday due to feeling hungover (even though I hadn't had anything to drink) and on the verge of catching a cold.  Back on track today, gonna see if I can't get that scale back down by next Monday!  Hope everyone is on pace to have a successful week!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cha Cha Cha!

My husband started his pre-contest diet for his body building contest he's competing in this spring.  He started a little more than a week ago and has lost 12 pounds already.  He has an insane metabolism, and the only reason he has weight to lose in the first place is because he has been consuming an almost inhumane amounts of food (clean food) in order to add muscle.  He knows I've been stuck on this stupid plateau for a few weeks now so I always jokingly tell him to quit bragging.  Well last night when we were discussing it I proudly told him, "Yeah, well I did my two sessions of cardio today, so there!"  He looked at me like I was insane.  "Why two?"
"Um, cuz you said I have to start doing more cardio in order to see results."
He meant that I should add an extra cardio session to my non-cardio days so that I am doing some form of cardio each day.  We had a bit of a chuckle over that. 
Today was my day to weight train.  Now, I have heard conflicting things about the best time to do cardio.  A lot of folks say it is best to do it in the morning before you eat (has to do with what your body is using as fuel/burning more fat), but I have also read that doing cardio immediately after weight training torches fat too.  I asked my husband, whom I consider an expert in fitness-related matters, and he said both are really effective, but that he gives the edge to morning cardio.  So, even though I was starving, I went ahead and did cardio.  My first attempt was ridiculous, I admit.  My digital cable has a lot of free on-demand exercise videos, so I tried a dance video that was supposed to help you sweat by teaching you how to dance latin.  Ooh la la, saucy!  I could only participate in such ridiculousness for ten minutes.  As you might imagine, I was trying so hard to catch what they were teaching that I couldn't really participate enough to raise my heart rate.  And, it wasn't saucy at all.  So I reverted back to my old stand by, dancing to my iTunes library.  After a half hour I was sweaty and in good spirits again.  Doing this kind of cardio is actually enjoyable, and I always have to convince myself to stop, because the music gets me high.  Today though, my stomach made the decision easier.  'Feed me now or I will slow down your metablolism!' It growled.
I did my weight training today, and it actually took me less than 30 minutes to do three complete circuits.  That is the first time since I began this new plan.  I had to throw in a few lunges today because my knee was bothering me again, and they worked as magically as ever, knee feels great now!  Lunges kick my butt, but they are awesome for my overall health!
I'm not feeling too chatty today, got a lot of house work to do before my father-in-law comes to watch the kids for us tomorrow night.  There are really some great advantages to living near family!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hot in Herre

I recently told my husband that I don't think I am going to acheive my goal by the time the contest closes.  I was really just trying to be a realist, but wasn't prepared to overthink anything.  After asking me a few questions about my diet, which has been pretty clean, he said very matter-of-factly that it is time to start doing more cardio if I want the scale to move.  From the minute those words left his lips I was making the ewww face.  I get bored enough doing my interval walking inside my house, now I have to do even more of it? 
I let that stew for a couple days.  Yesterday I made the horrible choice of saving my workout til later in the evening, when the kids were home and begging for attention.  It was not easy, Zach kept trying to lay under the chair that I was doing step-ups on, and I had to try and avoid crushing him on the way down, which is harder than it sounds given my being balance-challenged.  But, I got through it and once again, had a great workout despite not really wanting to do it.  Afterwords I started thinking about what my husband said and thinking about how hard I had just exerted myself with my weight training.  Why would I put that much effort into one part of the formula and slack on another?  I realized by not taking my husband's advice I was cheating myself out of the results I was longing for.  More cardio.  More calories torched.  Makes sense.
So this morning, after I got the kids on the bus, I cranked up some jams and danced.  It is the most enjoyable form of cardio for me.  Not only does dancing take me back to my "clubbing days" and a multitude of awesome memories, but also makes me feel happy and confident.  And if I am being totally honest, even a little bit sexy. (shh!)  I mean it, the next time you are alone in your house, put on Nelly's "Hot in Herre" and dance like you are ashamed to admit you know how to.  You will feel amazing.  And dancing is something you can do even if you are like me, balance-challenged. 
I only meant to dance for a half hour, but the iPod kept serving up song after song that I simply couldn't resist, and before I knew it, nearly 50 minutes had passed.  I guess I found an enjoyable form of cardio that I think I can stick to.  And, yes, I was red-faced and sweaty when I was done, just as I used to be in the clubs!  I guess I am OK with exchanging a little bit of my morning in front of the boob tube with some good old fashioned mood boost with a side of heightened self-esteem.  I am actually looking forward to tomorrow's session.
Is it hot in herre or is it just me?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Better

I am happy to report that I am in better spirits today.  I am still in the same rut that I've been in for a few weeks, teetering between the same few pounds, but I have plans to see if I can't change that, so there is a break in the clouds up ahead.  I haven't done my weight training yet today, which means I either have to hurry and crank it out in the next hour before the kids get home, or I will be fighting for floor space just to get it done.  The rebellious brat inside of me is tempting, no daring me to skip it.  I am not going to give myself the option.  NOT skipping a workout, even when we want to, is the sacrifice we make in order to reach our goals.  I have been less than inspired lately, due to my ridiculous ritual of weighing myself every morning, and seeing no results recently, but I am finding that inspiration comes from accomplishing.  If I do my workout and really pour my whole self into it, I will be reinspired.  I think.
I would like to thank Debbie Ex Yo-Yo Dieter for giving me a "Stylish Blogger" award!  As a newbie, Debbie was one of only four people I was following, and I am extremely honored that she not only read my post, but gave me this recognition, since she is someone who inspires me with her blog. 
So, in receiving this award, the rules are:
1. Thank and link to the person who gave you the award
2.  Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award other blogs that you've recently discovered, and contact them to tell them so.
Now, I was supposed to name 15 others with the award, but I will start with the five I have recently found, as it will be a long process for me!  Here are the gems I've discovered, not in any particular order.
1. Nat Nat the Fat Rat I wish I could write like her.  And take photos like her, for that matter!
2. Bothered Things That Bother Me funny blog, and I agree with so much of it!
3. Simple Dude Simple Dude in a Complex World  My husband and I share chuckles over this one together
4. Mad Marshy Marshy She's the kind of person I could just spend hours in a coffee shop with
5. Tamara One Last Kick at the Cat motivating and funny.  I can almost hear her accent, and I love a good accent!
So now I will try not to bore you with my 7 things.
1. I have this funny tendency to acquire symptoms of whatever disease I am researching.  There must be a term for people like me.  Psychosomatic schizophrenia?  Case in point, my boys are both on the Autism Spectrum, and whenever I research it, I am completely convinced that I too am Autistic.  Never mind genetics.  ADHD, thyroid problems, depression, I have it all!  One would think I would  be wiser to spend my time researching things like how to win the lottery.

2. Writing the number 5 (and, a lower-case, cursive q for that matter) more than a few times in a row, is like fingernails on a chalboard to me.  It literally makes me nauseous.

3. I am nearly 40 and still completely clueless about what I want to be when I grow up.  I am completely jealous of people who have a dream, no matter how far-fetched, and chase it.  One should not have to force themself to think of a dream job and yet, here I am.  Well, I still have 30 good working years left to figure it out!

4.I LOATHE snow.  I grew up in the midwest and loved it as a kid, but after living in sunny Las Vegas for 5 years, and returning to it, I hate it.  This is our 2nd winter back in the midwest and I am cursing it.  I hate the fact that my feet are NEVER warm.  I hate that it makes me terrified to drive even trivial distances.  I hate that it makes my entire world salty.  I miss Las Vegas.

5. I am addicted to caffeine and kind of proud of it.

6. I am writing a book.  Who isn't, right?  It is about the crazy people I helped while working in a convenience store for 8 years, with a love story thrown in for good measure.  I worked in a fairly small city, and we all know that small cities breed the craziest folks in all the land.

7. In 2009 I was chosen, from thousands of applicants, to provide vision services to the needy people in Phayao, Thailand.  In our two week clinic, we gave away nearly 25,000 pairs of eye glasses and exam services.  It is something I am so proud to have been a part of, and an experience I will never forget.

And that, is all the more I will reveal about myself.  Today.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Heavy

I am having a really emotional day.  I took my son to his first dental repair visit today.  It was very stressful for both of us, and I just wanted to bring him home and cuddle/comfort him afterwards, but I had to bring him to school.  I'm sure he is fine, but the whole experience made me feel like a horrible parent for exposing him to it (read my other blog, Raising Autism for details).  Then, when I did get him to school, the staff in the office was just as cold as his dentist had been, and I just wanted to scream.  Or self-comfort.  Or sleep off the bad vibe.  I did none of the above.  I made myself my usual breakfast and ate it while watching The View.  It just seems like this family has been going through our little health hiccups lately, and I am growing exhausted from trying to hold things together.  I totally understand how stay-at-home moms tell you raising a family is a full time job.  I am way more stressed out just handling the family than I was when I was working. 
Since I was already all emotional, and not in a good place, I decided to watch A&E's new show "Heavy" on-line.  WOW!  That show is AWESOME!!!  I thought biggest loser was inspiring, but they've got nothing on this show.  I couldn't take my eyes off it, it was so fascinating to me.  I was really pulling for them to stick with it and lose the weight, and found it really uplifting to see the mental transformation in progress.  What an awesome, inspirational show!   I hope it does well in ratings so that they continue it.  I am definitely a fan.
Being that I am in a pretty low place today, I am not going to drone on and on.  Hope everyone is having a super successful day and loving every minute of it! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Work It!

Monday again, and my weigh in isn't the huge success I thought it would be earlier in the week, but a loss nonetheless.  178 today, not too shabby.  That marks a 14 pound loss since beginning the South Beach Diet November 29.  The reason I am enjoying these 14 pound so much is because they are stacked on top of prior losses in the past year, and cumulatively add up to a 36 pound loss over a year's time.  Not earth-shattering, but moving in the right direction!
That being said, I am starting to have doubts about achieving my goal by the end of the contest.  I was just assuming that if I kept on track with my diet and exercise that I would continue losing 1-2 pounds per week, which would put me well ahead of schedule.  I knew I would hit plateaus, but I didn't expect one this early on, and to last this long.  I'm OK with it, as long as I am still moving in the right direction.
I didn't have any cheat meals this week/weekend, and honestly didn't even think of it.  I also didn't skip any workouts this week.  I overcame all my obstacles and just focused on my goal.  This weight workout is kicking my butt a little, so I know it will lead to positive results, it's just a matter of time!  I am trying hard to keep my mind focused on everything I do, particualrily to make the mind-muscle connection when I am working out.  I am finding that I have a stronger mind-muscle connection with my left half of my body than my right.  It is a strange sensation, and I wonder if anyone else has a similar experience.  Anyway, I promised I would share my workout in case anyone wants to follow along.  It is an article called "Oxygen's Beach Body Circuit 2010" and it is from the June 2010 issue.  For circuits you do all your exercises one right after the other without rest.  For this workout, you are told to aim for completing three complete circuits in thirty minutes.  That means you are really getting your heart rate up.  I admit, I take a few rests in between certain exercises to catch my breath.  I like this workout because you need very little equipment; some weights, a stability ball, and a kitchen chair.  The article claims, "Half an hour of weight-training circuits burns just as much fat as running at 10 miles per hour for an identical period of time."  So be prepared to work if you give this a try.  Here is the plan.  Be sure to Google the moves if you aren't sure how to do them, and modify where you need to so you don't get hurt!
1. Plie squat (8-10 reps)
2. Dumbbell row (10-12 reps)
3.  Alternating dumbell curl (10-12 reps)
4.  Dumbell step-up (due to poor balance, I do this without weights on my kitchen chair) (8-10 reps per leg)
5.  Flat-bench dumbbell chest press (I don't have a bench so I use a stability ball)(10-12 reps)
6.  Seated dumbell shoulder press (10-12 reps)
7.  Seated triceps extension (8-10 reps)
8.  Stiff-legged deadlift (8-10 reps)
9.  Cross-bench pullover (This one hurts my shoulder so I don't do it) (10-12 reps)
10.  Standing dumbbell cross-chest curl (10-12 reps)
I can tell you that in all my years of doing weight-bearing exercise (I have always enjoyed it much more than cardio!)  this workout really makes me hurt so good.  When your muscles are sore that means your workout was effective.  When muscles are pushed, they get tiny tears or rips, which leads to muscle growth.  (That's where that business of calling someone "ripped" came from).  So, don't be afraid of the soreness unless it is so painful that it inhibits normal activity.  Stretching afterword or 10-15 minutes of walking at a slow and even pace should help alleviate the soreness.  It does get less intense after the first few workouts.
So, here's to ripping muscle tissue and feeling good!  Hope you are accomplishing your goals, one workout at a time!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Guilty Inspiration

I need to spend a little time talking about my husband, because I think he is amazing, and he has been a huge inspiration for me in my trials with my weight.
When I first moved to Green Bay, I had been single for several years, very introverted and trying to put on a tough facade by looking goth.  One Saturday night, a girlfriend from my hometown came to GB to visit me and we decided to go out to a nightclub that advertised they have artsy-fartsy preformers like beat poets and the like.  That night, there was a Hawaiian Reggae band playing, and the instant I laid eyes on him, it was over for me.  He was beauty and grace personified.  So, despite the irony between my appearance and the music being performed, I kept following his band, not certain if we would ever connect, but happy just to see him and hear the music.  After several months of watching him fend off herds of female admirers, we finally spoke.  It was awkward.  The man took my breath away, and I couldn't believe he was taking time out to talk to me.  Eventually, we ended up "hanging out" together, and gradually I won him over with my charm.   The rest, as they say, is history. 
What I find so amazing is that this beautiful creature, who could have any woman he chose, saw past the obesity and found me within.  Never once has he made a comment about my weight, even after he became absorbed in the body building and fitness industry.  He has shown me so much respect, whether I am trying to lose or in a self-indulgent stage, and he is very supportive when I am trying to lose, and gives great advice.  He started working out about a year into our knowing each other, which would've been 2002.  At the time, he was fairly thin from years of skateboarding and just genetically gifted with fast metabolism.  But he wanted to add muscle.  He approached this new interest the way he approaches everything in his life, giving it 500%.  Now he is using weights that could rival a heavy lifter!  He competed in his first body building show last spring and got second place in his weight class (middle weight) and he looked AMAZING!  His work ethic and determination have been a constant inspiration, not just to me, but to almost everyone he meets. 
What happened last night, was a little more personal inspiration.  He has been working hard to support us since I have been unemployed, and he gets up quite early for work.  After I picked up the kids from school, we came home to find him catching a cat nap.  I could tell he didn't feel good when he woke, we've all been trying to stave off some minor viruses lately, and he kept saying how exhasuted he felt.  But, he got up, stretched, and headed off to the gym.  Earlier in the day I had given myself a free pass from doing my workout because of some horrible stomach pain (hormonal, blech!).  Right before he left, he said his stomach was irritating him a bit too, but he said it kind of matter-of-factly and still went to do his workout.  I knew he would.  He needs to be just about on his deathbed to skip a workout, and even then, sometimes he'll still go, and just do a "light" workout.  His resolve is nearly unhuman!  So, after watching him head off to the gym, a little under the weather, I felt guilt creeping in.  Here he was, working all day in a physical job, then despite feeling less than great, still goes to the gym to work toward his goal.  All I had were some cramps and I was giving myself permission to take the day off.  So, I did my workout.  It was not a cakewalk, but I did it, and I felt really good after, and slept like a baby.  I told him that he inspired me and he answered by telling me how proud of me he is.  For me, it was a lesson in inspirations, and how guilt can be a great motivator.  I have always looked at my husband and marvelled at his work ethic/ discipline, but in the end it comes down to not giving yourself the option of doing things that go against your goals, particularily when you know one negative action will snowball into others, and provide disappointing results.  Lately I have been talking myself into doing the right thing because I know if I don't, I will slip right back to where I have always been, and I would be miserable.  This time around, I am proving to myself that I can do this.  As Henry Ford so elloquently put it, "Whether you think you can, or you  think you can't, you are right."  I am certain I can do this, and you can too, if you believe!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Inner Peace

The past two days I have been feeling so good!  I feel like my plateau is finally starting to budge, and I am noticing subtle changes taking place.  My metabolism has sped up, and with it, my energy level is fairly high; my mood elevated to contented glow.  I am finally honoring my committment to myself, and the rewards are magnificent!  I have a lot more self-esteem and even feel graceful, which is a word I never would have imagined using to describe myself.  Everything takes a lot less effort these days, and that is a nice feeling.  The weight loss in my face and neck/collarbone area has me looking younger and healthier.  Today as I gussied myself up to deliver a resume, I looked in the mirror and genuinely thought I look cute!  I have been sticking to my plan pretty religiously since last week, and I think changing things up has been a great catalyst for my additional loss this week.  I won't record the weight loss officially until Monday, since there are hormonal factors in place right now (wink!), but I am pleased with my recent weigh-ins, and have a renewed excitement. 
I got some bad news yesterday, that my appeal for unemployment benefits was denied on a technicality.  I was really crushed inside.  All the negative thoughts and feelings of being a burden on my husband returned, and my mood dipped for a few hours last night.  The temptation was strong to just give in to comfort food, to drown my apathy in fat.  I even considered drinking some wine, which is allowed in moderation, but I knew that if I had one glass, I wouldn't stop until I was numb.  So, I just reminded myself of my blessings, my family.  And, today I got up and made an attempt to make things happen, knowing that I will not be jobless forever, someone will see the greatness in me and give me a chance.  I made the decision to focus on the positive things that are happening right now, and not let the other stuff get me down.  When I first met my husband I was so dark inside, and he taught me that Rastafari never stress out.  In my exuberance just to be in his presence, I started working toward achieving the whole mysterious act of not stressing out.  I allowed myself to stop and enjoy a moment in the sun when it was shining, and appreciate the cleansing of rain-filled days.  It was the deepest peace I have ever known, and now, ten years later, I realize that stress and peace are both options waiting for us every minute of the day, we just have to make the committment to chose the more productive of the two, and stick to it.  Which one are you choosing?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Research and Recharging

Towards the end of last week, which was week 6 for me, I was starting to feel really strongly that I needed a cheat meal.  I was getting so sick of ground turkey and spinach that I could scream.  So, on Friday after running some errands, I picked up some Taco Bell on the way home, and ate it in front of the most ridiculus TV show.  I usually don't give in to myself so easily, but I was starting to drive myself nuts thinking of the 'can't haves' that I knew I was in for total self-destruction if I didn't give in.  So I ate my grilled stuffed burrito, which I don't normally eat and I found it to taste quite aweful, partially because it had half-dried rice inside and one of my least favorite seasonings on earth, cilantro.  And the coveted nacho cheese sauce that has been the one thing I have dreamt of since chosing a healthier path, was just OK, nothing to write home about.  When I finished, I decided that my favorite part of my cheat was the drink (Diet Pepsi), even though I am a Diet Coke drinker, fountain soda on ice rocks my world.  I didn't dwell on my choice to have a cheat meal, I merely spent a few minutes wondering if it was all worth it.  The only guilt I felt was in knowing that my husband and I had planned a cheat meal for the weekend, and we did indeed end up having McDonald's.  There too, the fish sandwhich is my fave and I usually think I've died and gone to heaven when that impossibly soft bun gives way to the tang underneath, and the juice of the perfectly-cooked fish filet explodes in my mouth.  This time all I could think was, wow, this is so salty!  But, of course, I ate the entire combo meal, and out of shame, didn't tell my husband that I had already cheated the day before.  In the end, I know that an occassional treat is healthy for your mind, but there are healthy ways of going about it.  I will say, that after skipping two days of workouts last week, I got back on track and have felt a renewed enthusiasm, like my batteries have somehow been recharged.
Today I was due to start my new muscle workout, but OOPS!  My husband and I ran out of time to design a workout for me to do.  I spent a little time deciding whether to just do the one I'd been using one more time or try to figure something else out.  That sent me paging through my Oxygen magazines, through a multitude of different exercises.  I finally found an at home workout that looked promising.  Jamie Eason was the model showing the moves (if you don't know who she is, google her and you'll see why she's a workout inspiration), and it was circuit-style.  I gave it a try, and after 3 complete circuits I was sweaty and tired.  That said, I felt so ALIVE and even a bit athletic, which doesn't happen to an always-been-overweight girl too often.  I think I will stick to this workout for another month or so, then look for something new.  It felt really good in the end, that I did it on my own.  Well, with Oxygen's help.  But I found something that made me feel really good. 
So good, in fact, that I have been toying with the idea of joining a gym.  I have stuck to this for six weeks.  I think once I complete this workout in 4 more weeks, I might just go ahead and join one as a reward to myself.  I will be able to work different muscle groups that are difficult to train at home, and I am finding that I would have to add multiple different weights to my home "gym" in order to continue working out here. 
I finally had my unemployment appeal hearing yesterday, and will find out whether or not I will get my backpay and benefits.  If I do, I am strongly considering going back to school.  That is a big deal for me, because I finally have the self esteem to go and sit in a class of peers and not worry what everyone is thinking about me.  And one final good thing that happened recently.  In a prior post I said that I bought a shirt without trying it on, and it didn't fit the way I like, being that it is 2 sizes smaller than I habitually wear.  I tried it on again this weekend and haven't stopped wearing it since.  It is the most flattering piece of clothing I own right now.  I feel so small and cute in it.  That just fuels the fire to keep on the right path, more rewards will reveal themselves than I could ever imagine.  Oh and by the way, my weight has been a steady 179 for a while now, but I am seeing more and more muscle popping up and I look better, and feel great, even if the scale doesn't show a change.  I'm excited to see what the measuring tape reveals on Feb 1! 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hanging On

The past two days I have found myself lacking my usual cheery optimism about my weight loss journey.  There are multiple reasons, including the fact that I am getting sick (and I rarely do, so I am am irritated) and that old hormonal reason creeping up ever so sneaky.  I am the kind of person who lets things compile when I am "in a mood", so every other event, no matter how insignificant, irritated me further.  Please forgive me while I vent!
In a city that is icy cold and covered in snow, it sure is difficult to find a good pair of snow pants for my boys.  I had been running around town for two days, going from thrift store to thrift store trying to find some at a good price.  No luck.  I finally had to settle for some at a popular discount retailer we all love to hate, but at least my kids finally have snow pants that aren't 2 sizes too small anymore. 
While I was in the process of seeking out said pants, I have had a few negative clothing experiences myself.  One came in the fashion of me buying a shirt I liked because of it's beautiful deep orange color.  I didn't try it on because I knew even if it didn't fit great right now, in a few months it would.  Plus, me being the thrifty shopper I am, it was only &2, and it was name brand!  It was a 1X, which I don't generally fit into too well, but my 3X wardrobe I have right now is too baggy.  When I got home and tried it on, it wasn't horrible, the front fit good, but the arms were too clingy near the shoulders for me.  I absolutely HATE my arms, and it is the part of me I will be most happy to be rid of.  That, coupled with the fact that the stinking scale hasn't moved much in the past couple weeks, had me a little down.  Then, after a full morning of rushing around, my sciatic nerve started to really irritate me.  I don't ever have issues with it, but for some reason it was really hurting me yesterday.  I had made a decision to skip my weight workout, sure that it would only complicate the issue.  I justified it further by the fact that stress and being sick were making me feel a little burnt out.  I was fighting with the idea of going to McDonald's to get a grilled Chicken Sandwich and large Diet Coke (no fries) and only eating one half of the wheat bun, but in the end, my level of exhaustion and bad mood made me decide against it.  That was a bit of a victory.  I ate a turkey burger loaded with veggies instead, and it was scrumptious!  Then, after the ibuprophen and relaxation had it's chance to set in, I felt loads better, and decided to rush through that weight workout before picking up the boys from school.  I really had to rush it, and change up my reps a bit, but the workout was great, and left me feeling a lot better.  The snow began while I was picking up my first son, and I was happy to be getting home before the roads got too slippery.  Later that evening, I let my family down when I ran out to get dryer sheets so we could do a load of laundry (and a few other things that the kids requested), and discovered at the checkout that I left my purse at home.  The roads were so slippery I had a challenge getting home safely, dispite it being only 2 blocks away.  I told my husband I didn't feel safe driving on it, and didn't want to go back.  He seemed irritated, but I later came up with a solution that satisfied us temporarily.  The irritation of my husband made me feel like a complete loser, among the other things I already feel that way about (particularily, not having a job).  He doesn't get irritated at me often, so when he does I take it pretty hard.  I think he was just "having a day' too. 
There was another clothing issue but I won't go into too much detail except to say a size 22 blazer was noticibly too large on me (sloppy) and a different brand size 18 wouldn't come close to buttoning.  How can we keep our heads on straight when sizes are so different from brand to brand?  I don't particularily need a blazer right now, but the one and only interview dress I own has seen its better days.  I left the store feeling irritated and questioning myself.  What am I doing wrong?  I feel like I am pretty much following things to a T, but this scale is just not budging.
Then, this morning I weighed myself (as I do every morning, despite the emotion rollercoaster it creates) and I was finally over that 180 business and back down to 179.  I smiled at myself in the mirror thinking, it's only Thursday, I have three more days before my official weigh-in, maybe I'll be down to 178 by then.  Thinking like that is dangerous.  Physically, 179 (or even 178 for that matter) is the same as 180, but mentally, 179 means I am going to reach my goal and 180 means I am going to have a worse struggle than I ever imagined.  One thing that I know is what the South Beach Diet is doing to my bloodwork, and that is the reason I began it so long ago, to impress my doctor with my triglycerides and prevent him from being stern with me.  When I am on this diet, my cholesterol and blood pressure numbers look the way they should for someone my age, and even younger.    So, even though I was trying to talk myself out of working out again today (justified by the head cold once again), I just shut that part out, laced up my shoes and did it before I had a chance to convince to myself that skipping was even an option.  Oh yeah, and I popped a caffeine pill a half hour before, when I was getting my second son ready for his bus, so by the time I got back inside, I felt alert and even energized. 
Next week, my husband begins the first phase of his diet for his body building contest in May.  I have planned to have a cheat meal on Saturday, but I might keep it pretty clean since I am finally seeing progress on the scale.  Whatever happens, I know that it is planned, and only one meal, and I will keep things under control. 
We all have off days, days when we feel drained or out of sync, but what I have discovered is that if I let myself off the hook because of it,  those feeling just continue and progress.  Making the choice to workout, especially when I really don't want to, makes me feel like I am defeating the ugly little beast that has been sabotaging me for so many years.  And while a workout doesn't fix all the things wrong about my day, it does help me to be less irritated by the little things that crop up, because in the back of my mind, I know I challenged myself and I didn't let myself down.  And that is priceless!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Weighting Game

I think I am finally gaining some footage on those extra pounds I put on during Christmas.  I was getting pretty irritated that the scale hadn't moved for almost two weeks, and then this morning, finally, back down to 180.  The difference?  I drank more liquids yesterday.  I have been feeling like I've been retaining water a lot lately, and the best way to deal with that is to drink more fluids to wash the excess out.  Drinking fluids also helps your body metabolize, so if you are dehydrated, you aren't going to lose as fast, even if you are doing everything else correctly.  So, I am going to make a conscious effort to drink more good stuff!  I usually have a bunch of coffee in the morning and switch to sugar-free drink mix after, but since it has been cold lately, I've been drinking more hot tea, including green tea, which is full of antioxidants and helpful in weight loss.  I will take all the help I can get right now!
So I am entering week six of my workout plan, and this is the last week of the weight program I've been following.  My husband has agreed to design something for me, and I will certainly post what it is once I have it, in case anyone wants to follow along.  If you saw how he can transform his body, you would understand why I feel so lucky to have a tool like this at my disposal!
So, at the end of six weeks of doing things right, I have lost 12 pounds and several inches, created a few new recipes, and found the joy of trying on clothes in sizes that haven't fit me in years.  What have I lost?  A few hours of lounging on the couch, eating garbage that would make me feel horrible, a little bit of self hatred, and a lot of self-doubt.  There is no competition.  Feeling good makes everything else hum!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Jan 1 measurements

Despite the scale being a little fickle lately, my measurements, one month out, are promising.  Here are the results, in terms of loss.
Bust: 1 1/8 inch
Chest: 1 1/4 inch
Waist: 7/8 inch
Hips: 2 inches
Midway: 1 1/8 inches
Thighs 1/4 inch
Calves: 1/8 inch
Upper arm: 1/2 inch
Forearms: 1/8 inch

Not too bad for the scale only showing 10-12 pounds of loss.  The inches are much more meaningful than the pounds.  That indicates the gain of muscle and loss of fat, especially in my fattest part, my hips.  So, the results are fantastic!  The only number that didn't budge was my knee measurement, the part of the leg right above the knee.  I am fortunate to have fairly decent legs, and I don't hold a lot of weight at the knee, so that is insignificant to me at this point.  I have also noticed, but haven't measured a difference in my wrist, as my watch fits loose now. 
So a new year will bring about the changes I have been wanting to make for so long!  I am excited to be taking this journey, and can't wait to see what 2011 brings!  Happy New Year everyone!