Thursday, March 31, 2011

Better

After a weight training session, some Flyleaf, and a comparison photo, I am feeling much better.  I did my weight work in front of my full length mirror today, which gave me a great boost of confidence.  I could actually see my muscles working, see their strength.  I listened to Flyleaf while working out, their music/lyrics make me feel really strong as well.  After my workout, I searched for a photo of myself, in a peice of clothing that I still have, so I could compare.  There weren't many!  I have really done a great job of avoiding having my photo taken, and I got rid of a lot of clothing when we moved out of Vegas.  I cleaned out my closet a few weeks ago, trying on each peice of clothing I owned, and almost everything had to go, it was just too big.  That was bittersweet.  But I haven't donated them yet, so I was able to get this photo today for comparison.  The first is of me at my "going away" party in Las Vegas, with my dear friend, Thelma (March 2009).  I realize it isn't fair to be too analytical of the photos as the first was taken in a dark casino and today's was taken in my home, where I could take multiple photos and save the best one.  But, it helped me, mentally, to see how far I've come.  In person, the dress looks horrible, you can tell it is baggy.  This is one I was considering keeping, but it doesn't do anything for my new size/shape. 
Anyway, while I was searching for photos, I found plenty of really aweful photos of me, and for a moment I stopped and thought about how nice it will be when I can have photos taken of me that don't make me cringe.  Someday!
During my workout, I was thinking about what my husband said to me the other day, that very few people do what I am doing.  He wanted to be sure I understood the magnitude of it.  Of course I do.  I have been trying to do this for 25 years.  And then I thought about how aweful I have felt being unemployed for so long and for the first time I actually saw the blessing in it.  It took this (seemingly horrible) life event to free up the time and space for me to focus on myself.  How many people get this opportunity?  It hasn't been easy living on one income, but now I know, there was a really remarkable reason why this is happening to me.  And it is saving my life.
I will leave you with a few lines of the Flyleaf song, Again, that was particularily inspiring me today, as I imagined I was saying them to myself.

Here you are down on your knees again
Trying to find air to breathe again
And only surrender will help you now
I love you please see and believe again.

Speed Bumps

I have been reflecting on the past couple of weeks, and trying to see things subjectively, but it seems subjectivity is sort of a sticky spot for me lately.  I have been having problems with not wanting to stay on track with both food and exercise, letting myself slip into thoughts that work against me, even indulge in activities that are counter-productive, such as eating popcorn, extra cheat meals, drinking wine.  I am feeling a bit half-hearted about the journey right now, and this is exactly the time I should be making a big push, to help get me over the halfway point.  I think all of these things are completely normal during a journey like this, it is just getting under my skin a bit because up until recently, I hadn't really experienced them.
I don't like the body image issues I am encountering lately.  I feel like I am standing in front of a funhouse mirror, where everything is distorted.  My mind is in complete chaos.  I keep looking at my arms thinking, did they look better last month than now?  And if so, how did that happen?  And what do I do next?  Just how hard do I have to work, and how long is this going to take?  And is this gross stuff hanging off me fat, skin or both?  And, if the measuring tape keeps showing me a loss, why do some XL clothes not fit and some do?  My frustration is taking the wind out of my sails a little bit.  Am I right to assume most people go through this?  At least, the ones who've got more than 10  pounds to lose? 
The shoes made me feel better yesterday, but it didn't last, because the other part of my shopping trip was trying on shirts, in the size I am "kind of" in, and all of them made me feel like I am delusional about being in that size, clinging to the fat around my middle, advertising it in neon.  And when I looked at the clothing in the next larger size, everything looks like hideous moo-moos, aweful patterns and flowers, bright polka dots.  Vomit.  Its as if the designers of plus-sized clothing feel they need to distract people's attention from the fact that they are indeed plus-sized, by putting the most putrid designs on the front of their clothing.  What gives?  Anyway, once the novelty of the shoes wore off for the day (didn't get much of a reaction from my husband, which deflated me a bit), I started to let my frustrations take over.  It got me to such a low point, that I decided to get the tape measure out and measure my hips, (what I have referred to as "the bottom roll") as it is the most flawed area on me.  That was the smartest thing I'd done all day (other than my two cardio sessions and eating right).  And tomorrow is the day I take/post my monthly measurements, so I will see how the rest of my body is doing.  I'm sure I am moving in the right direction, my brain is just so confused right now.  I can't remember what I looked like a month ago, and I am thinking I was thinner than I am now (which, of course, isn't true) and its making me feel like I have lost some momentum, and then I internalize that.  I think, after twenty-some years of dieting, I am so hard-wired to believe I will never beat this thing, that I am starting to let some of that old, habitual doubt creep in.  That, is the most counter-productive thing anyone can do. 
So today, I am going to begin to sort things out in my mind by looking at photos of my journey, and spend some time focusing on where I began and where I'm going.  The contest ends in 3 months, which both motivates me and terrifies me a bit.  I was hoping to be 80-90% to my goal by then, and right now, I don't know if that'll happen.  Then, when I think about next fall, I feel totally confident that I will be in a great place with my goals.  Maybe the take-home message is that deadlines are great for challenging yourself (and I am still going to work hard to see if I can reach my goal by then), but what matters most is that I do reach my goals, no matter when.  And believing that I not only can do it but will, is all the empowerment I need.  This mental roadblock is just a speed bump in my path, and now it's time to move past it.
Happy April Fool's Eve everyone.  Hope you all have some delicious pranks up your sleeve for tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Feels Good

Every year around springtime, there is one song that stands out and really takes my mood to a whole nother level.  Usually it is a song that is older, whether or not it brings back a particular memory.  I am perpetually behind the trends, and heavily influenced by the likes of (in this case) Ellen.  When I hear said song, I feel the need to youtube-stalk it until I decide it is worth paying the $1.29 to download (lest it be just a fluke because I am already in a good mood), and then finally, I break down and buy it and play it over and over and over.  Last year it was Rob Base's "It Takes Two".  I still play that song way more than anyone on the planet I bet.  This year's winner is (drumroll) "Low" by Flo Rida.  For some reason, that song is just hitting the right nerve right now.
I am still going through a bunch of weird body image issues right now, mostly my mind playing tricks on me.  I know, logically, that I only about halfway to my goal, but since I can wear smaller sized clothing, my mind is telling me I should look better than I do.  Everything in the middle of me is so ugly yet.  I am totally cool with it because I know it will be gone eventually, but it still messes with my mind from time to time.  But, it also reminds me where I came from.  Still, I was in a good mood this morning, and felt like finding something new and cute to wear, to remind myself that I am already starting to look better.  All the clothes I tried on looked OK, but not great.  Then I found these shoes:
Now, summers for me, mean long skirts or maybe capri pants if I find a pair I like.  I usually wear Converse One Star shoes, because they make me feel very punk.  But when I saw these hot shoes, I knew I had to have them.  And once I tried them on, I knew that this summer, my clothing choices will have to include some short-shorts and mini skirts.  I am stoked about how great my legs look with these shoes!

They've always been my most muscular body part, my best physical asset, now I have the confidence to show them off.  Just as soon as I learn how to walk in these babies!  I got a lot of practice today, because I didn't want to take them off, they make me feel fabulous!  And everyone should feel that way, no matter what size they are!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sun is Shining

Ok, enough of the gloomy gus stuff.  I am back to my peppy self.  I ended up doing two session of cardio yesterday, one in the morning (interval walking) to get that extra fat burn before breakfast, and the second before 1pm, (dancing) for a little extra push.  I was a bit surprised to discover how much the afternoon cardio session elevated my energy level and mood.  I did delay a meal to do that later session of cardio, it was just poor planning, and for a good cause.
Today was weight day, so I began my morning with dancing to my iTunes library.  Man, I've got an eclectic collection of music.  From cheesy 80's and 90's dance music to Timbaland/Justin Timberlake and Taio Cruz.  when I am dancing, I let myself remember the days when my friends and I ruled the dance clubs, and sometimes I let myself imagine I am out with friends, having a blast.  It may be corney, but it works.  And time slips by so quickly because I am someplace else.  Anyway, it's just one more thing that puts me in a good mood. 
I had a pretty killer weight session today, and it looks like the lunges will be a permanent fixture, as I was able to do them without strain again today.  I figured out what I was doing, moving forward with the front leg, instead of up and down with the back leg.  So that is a triumph I am happy about.  My legs are looking crazy.  My husband calls them "tree trunk legs" because they are pretty thick.  I guess I have decent genetics for building muscle.   I was whining a bit about how it doesn't look that feminine, and my dear husband said he likes that look, and that it's better than having chicken legs.  We have had a long-standing joke about how, after years of body building, his calves still haven't caught up to mine in size.  Genetics goes a long way.  I have never been a graceful, feminine beauty in the traditional sense of the word, so in the end, I'd rather have the tree trunks than fat, saggy thighs.  One thing is for sure, I will not be hiding my legs under long capris and dresses all summer, some shorts will definitely be in order!  Sounds good already, if only it were warmer out. 
 Did anyone watch this week's episode of A&E's show Heavy?  Wow, this one got me particularily emotional.  The two people featured both had "dad issues", one of them had an abusive father and he ended up being raised by his mom, the other, the girl, her dad committed suicide when she was young.  It was so heartbreaking to see them going through their journey toward healing, the one who'd lost her father urging the one who was abused to make ammends.  Anyway, that is my favorite show, hands down.  How much more inspirational could a show be.  If you haven't already seen it, you should watch it.  This week was Sallie and Chad.  I like that they work out the psychological stuff on that show.  Obesity has a psychological cause.  I was speaking to a morbidly obese woman yesterday who claims she doesn't have any deep, dark things bothering her, that she is just lazy.  I felt like she was in denial.  What she said was one thing, what I heard was, "I don't care about myself/health."  No one comes to that point in life without there being some deep emotional stuff they are not able to come to terms with.  Even if you are in denial or just not sure what is hurting you, there is something behind the careless eating.  I am in the boat of not really knowing what made me stop caring about myself.  I have used food in so many ways that have nothing to do with hunger, but I am not really sure when or why that all began.  I'm sure I will find the answers when I begin looking.  I'm on a good track now, and things are starting to come together, now it is time to start healing my mind.  Fixing the body is the easy part, but fixing the mind is perhaps the most crucial part of lasting success.  I'm really glad I began this journey now, when I have so much time left to drink in life, and savor it the way it was meant to be.  I'm in such high spirits, I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!  Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Almost Derailed

This weekend introduced me to thoughts and feelings I thought I was well rid of, and I almost derailed in a horrific way.
My mother had the kids for the weekend, so it was just my husband and me.  Thursday was our five year wedding anniversary (though we've been together ten years), and we never make a big deal out of it, but the fact that the stars aligned for us to be able to have a weekend without the kids, meant we celebrated a bit.  Friday evening we went to a late dinner at one of our old favorites, Bangkok Garden.  The atmosphere is so inviting, relaxing.  The food is nice, we both chose curry dishes, mine shrimp (which I never eat, but felt like trying something different).  The curry sauce was delicious, I wasn't really feeling the shrimp, but the experience was just what we were looking for, quiet, charming, slightly upscale with exceptional service.  It was a lovely dinner, and besides the white rice and coconut milk (in the curry sauce), it was a fairly clean meal. 
On Saturday, we had some errands to run, and spent some time at the library and window shopping at the mall, a place we could never take the kids as they have no patience.  Afterwords, we had a late lunch at Applebees.  By the time we sat down, I had decided that I was going to pull out all the stops and just eat whatever I wanted.  I ended up getting sizzling (cajun) chicken in white queso sauce with fried potatoes.  The potatoes melted in my mouth, and that queso sauce was just dreamy!  By the end of the meal, I was feeling so overpowered by the naughty feelings of indulgence, that I wished my next meal could be just as indulgent, even if I cooked it myself.  We went grocery shopping next, which isn't very exciting, but it's nice without the kids!  We stopped in the chip aisle, and were admiring a new flavor of tortilla chips and a jar of white queso.  All through the store, my husband had been commenting on high-calorie/ high fat/high carb items in a dreamy way.  When we got to those chips, he seemed interested, and I asked if we should get them.  I must admit, I was a bit disappointed when he said, "Lets not get carried away.  It's one thing to fantasize about eating those things, and quite another to put them in the cart and bring them home."  Oh poo.  I wanted a partner in crime, but he is just too disciplined.  We used to balance each other out so nicely, he the most disciplined person I've met, and me the total opposite.  I was starting to let the feeling of indulgence envelope me and hug me passionately, but even though his guard was slightly down, he pulled me back.  Later he told me, he was testing to see how hard it would be to talk me out of those chips.  I gave up right away, and felt ashamed for wanting to indulge and be carried away.  We did, however, purchase a bottle of wine, Shiraz, and after a sensible, clean dinner, indulged in some wine.  He only had one glass, before moving on to something a little stronger.  I finished the bottle.  The first two glasses made me feel relaxed and warm, and I should have stopped there.  But, I kept going.  Why did I do that?  I think I was compensating for not being able to indulge with food.  And since my husband was drinking too, and harder stuff than me (and he never drinks), that made it OK to have nearly an entire bottle of wine.  Yikes.  The next morning I was dizzy, tired and dehydrated.  And craving sugar.  I ate my usual breakfast, which took care of the sugar cravings in a hurry and a few cups of coffee made me feel more alive.  Our drive to get the kids and come back home is about three hours, and the kids were fighting nearly all the way home.  Then we had to pick up a few things from Target, and here is where I nearly changed the entire course of my journey.  While walking through the store, I had hit my 3-hours-since-my-last-meal point, and they had all their delicious Easter candy proudly displayed, seeminly down every aisle of the store.  I could smell it, the sweet sweet chocolate, the jelly beans, the Cadbury eggs.  I wanted it, and I wanted it BAD.  I haven't had this feeling really since I started this journey, I was simultaneously irritated and invited by the thought.  Then, the worst happened.  A naughty little plan creeped into my head.  I will buy chocolate tomorrow while everyone's out of the house.  I will eat every last morsel and hide the evidence.  I will get right back on track after that.  No one has to know but me.  Just the sneaky little plan in the back of my head gave me some gratification.  When I got home, I ate clean the rest of the day, and kept my intervals to 3 hours or less.  But I was still planning on following through with my damaging plan.  Then, as I was looking for something, I came across a shirt I like to workout it.  A shirt that was always too small for me until recently.  And reason returned.  Why on earth would I jeopordize or halt my own progress?!  Eating all those garbage-sugars would just put me on the blood sugar roller coaster I've been on my whole life.  One binge like that, and I would completely derail.  And I was really close to letting that naughty little feeling of indulgence sabotage everything.  That was a really close call, too close.  But I learned from it.  My weight issues have been very much about how the act of indulging makes me feel; rebellious, impetuous, joyous.  In the past I would get a high off indulging, but the aftermath was damaging to the core.   Which is why I am on this journey in the first place.  My husband has been so supportive, but I know he would be really disappointed if I went off track.  And more than that, I would be disappointed in myself.  I allow myself one cheat meal per week, and usually don't even entertain the thought of letting there be anything more than that.  I am glad that I was faced with this challenge, because it showed me what I am made of.  I had the strength to make the right choice, and not because my husband was telling me not to do it, or refusing to do it with me; not because of my husband at all.  I did it because I deserve to reach my goal and be proud of myself.  I know what the other life felt like and I hated it.
So, this week I am going to work on my meal intervals, getting back to eating every three hours or less, to speed up my metabolism.  I have been slacking on that lately.  I will also up the anti on cardio sessions, which will help kick up the metabolism too.  Cardio every day.  It's not a chore for me, I actually like cardio.  The weather will be warming up again this week, that means summer is coming in a hurry, and I still have a way to go before those tank tops look good on me.  Scale said 165 this morning, but I did see a 164 during the week last week, and am hoping for a reappearance of that little friend during the week.  Measurements on Friday, and I promise not to April Fools.  Well, maybe.  Here's to everyone having a successful week!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Black Cloud

That's me with some Hill Tribe women.  They were actually Chinese, not Thai, but they were so gracious and sweet.  I was self-conscious just to be standing next to them, how absurd!
A little momento from my time in Thailand surfaced the other day, and it started me thinking about how much of my joy has been stolen from me by my obesity.  Granted, Thailand wasn't a vacation for me, I was working really hard, long hours in high heat and humidity(talk about a hairstyle killer), but there was plenty of opportunity to socialize with the rest of the team members and our hosts.  I did the scheduled excursions, the elephant riding and visiting temples in Chang Mai, and street markets at night, but the people who bonded the most, were the ones who went to the pool after we returned to the hotel.  The hotel had flown in a bartender from Bangkok to be at our disposal to make "American drinks" and serve them to us poolside, and the hotel kept the pool open til midnight for us, it normally closes at 8pm, but most nights we didn't return from our clinic/dinner until after that.  We were accompanied by some of the most powerful people in the country, and shuttled around by the ministry of health.  We had festivals thrown in our honor, compelte with dancers bussed in from various parts of Thailand, Laos, and Burma.  We ate dinner at the governors mansion and had police escort wherever we went.  We were treated to foot, neck, and body massage at our clinic site.  Lines were opened just for us at the airport.  We were showered with gifts and ceremonies reserved only for high dignitaries. It was the first time I had been out of the country, and I was surrounded by people from all over the globe who shared the same passion to preserve eyesight as I did, I should have been having the time of my life.  But all I could think about was how, there were only a few other overweight people there, and even then, they had better skin, better hair or better personalities than me.  So while everyone else was forming fantastic memories and friendships, I was wallowing in self defication about all that I was embarassed to be, and all I was ashamed not to be. 
And Thailand is just one small example of a lifetime of events I have allowed my own mind to ruin for me.  I have always been extremely shy, but after the age of five, it isn't "cute" anymore, it's just seen as abnormal and disrespectful.  And, people stop wanting to be around you or try to get to know you.  I know now, that since the age of 12, my shyness ( or more appropriately, my being withdrawn) is due to my complete lack of self-esteem.  And my lack of self esteem is owed to my being overweight. 
I have had some periods of success with my weight, brief though they were.  I remember I was thinking of joining the Army when I got out of high school (wanted to be a paratrooper! HA!) and they told me in order to be considered, I had to lose 10 pounds.  I never ended up doing it, not because of the weight, which I thought I could starve myself and go jogging to get off, but because my mother expressed her displeasure in my decision.  So, those 10 extra pounds compounded.  And multiplied.  My self-esteem taking blow after blow.  And I went through what most overweight folks do, yo-yo dieting.  When I wasn't dieting, I was bingeing, using food to self-medicate and escape.  Most of my paychecks were spent on food, until I was old enough to be able to drink.  That is another story entirely, but it did add a lot of empty calories and packed on even more pounds. 
My weight has always been a black cloud hanging over my head.  All major events, and even the small ones, have been overshadowed by the negative thoughts I am shouting inside my head.  They all add up to feeling completely unworthy.  And when I think back to those events, I feel sad at how much I missed out on.  And most of those losses come at the cost of relationships to others.  And when I look at it from where I am standing now, I think it is so absurd that I let my body determine my worth.  I would never hold anyone else but me to those ridiculous standards, would never judge a person by how much they weigh.  The other heavy people that were with me in Thailand, I didn't think of them as unworthy or fat, I saw the beauty in each of them, laughed at their jokes, admired their skin, found them interesting.  Why did I allow myself to be so self-deficating?  It is difficult to change your self-image, but not impossible to see yourself in a more positive light.  Even if you don't think you have anything to offer the world, others are seeing your light.  We are humans, we are fascinating for that very fact.  It wasn't my weight that made people disinterested in me, but the fact that I withdrew.  And withdrawing from others only amplified my feelings that they didn't want to be by me, when in reality it was the other way around. 
I can sit and wish I could have a do-over for all the major events in my life, to treat them differently, be outgoing and enjoy them to the fullest, but that would be a waste of time and energy.  For now, the best I can do is go forward armed with this knowledge and learn from my past mistakes.  I may never be the life of the party, but at least I can allow the party to breathe a little life into me.  I can finally breathe a sigh of relief, and for once, relax and enjoy things.  And not because I weigh less, but because I know I am priceless!

Friday, March 25, 2011

All the Way

This has been a long week.  I love my kids, but spring break is draining me.  They have been fighting so much.  And since it Mother Nature decided to dump another foot and a half of snow and ice on us (this following a week of 50 degree temps that melted nearly all remaining snow and making us believe spring was finally here) my kids have been bored and are suffering from cabin fever.  My focus has been on trying to keep them entertained and peaceful. 
All of this has led to a mediocre week of self-healing for me, which spawned me making some bad, impulse decisions.  Two days in a row I ate microwave popcorn, one of those days I ate an entire bag of it.  Yikes!  And I skipped my weight session on Wednesday.  I told myself it is because I am starting to get sick, and the last time I didn't give myself a break when I felt a cold coming on, I ended up with bronchitis.  So I spent some time reading advice on how to write well.  I didn't even feel guilty about missing my workout and eating popcorn in the same day.  That is a sign to me, that I am not making myself and my health a priority. 
Yesterday morning, I got a call from my mom, asking if I could bring the boys to her so she could have them for the weekend.  I am so fortunate to have parents and in-laws that actually ask to watch my kids.  There were many frustrations compiling on my morning, the chaos of getting bags packed, the wishy-washiness of Zach who wasn't sure if he wanted to go, the trying to get a foot and a half of half-frozen snow and ice slop off my vehicle, zippers getting stuck, heads getting bonked, kids crying when Mommy couldn't get her car out of her parking spot and had to call off the plans.  I did eventually get my car free, and we did make the hour and a half drive to deliver my precious cargo.  The roads were a bit frightening for the first part of the trip, which drove my blood pressure through the roof.  Driving on snowy/icy roads is my number one fear.  At any rate, we arrived safely and in good spirits.  Part of me was nervous to go, after what seemed like a morning comprised of fate telling us not to.  And, by the time I headed back home, the roads were much better.  I didn't get in my planned cardio session, but the hour of unearthing my car plus even more time spent shovelling made up for that day's cardio plus wednesday's weight work!  Ashamedly, I let myself go six hours between meals, because there just wasn't anything decent to eat, so I waited until I got home and cooked a nice chicken breast and had it with a small serving of spaghetti and sauce.  I rounded out my meal with 2 glasses of red wine, which definitely took the edge off.
Yesterday was my 5 year wedding anniversary, though we both forgot, we still had some close time because the kids were gone.  My husband told me he can totally tell all the weight I've lost, and that it must feel really good to me; that most people don't even get 1/4 of the way to where I've gotten.  He doesn't overly compensate me with praise, so when I get it, it puts me over the moon!  And, it helped me to get my mind back on track.
I have had a hard time seeing or feeling the extent of my weight loss, it is hard to tell by numbers on a measuring tape or scale, and the photos are not that good.  I get distracted by how much further I have to go, instead of seeing how far I have come.  Yesterday was the first time I have been in a car without a big bulky winter jacket since I began this journey, and I was amazed by how little I had to pull the seat belt out, and how it sat nice and flat and low on the bulge that seemed to have shrunk to a mere fraction of its size.  I glanced down every once in a while, to make sure it wasn't just my mind playing tricks on me, or a trick of lighting or something.  Nope, it's real.  I have had some great success.  And the really amazing thing is, it has been pretty easy to get to this point.  When I think about the contest ending July 31, I have mixed feelings depending on the day, but it has really helped drive me to stay on track.   Even though I know I'm not going to win, I want to prove to myself that I can take this farther than I have ever taken it before.  And, for once in my life, I am not going to stop until I have gone all the way!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Owning It

Today I begin my 16th week in my weight loss journey, and things are moving along pretty smoothly.  I have lost nearly 30 pounds, several inches, have a lot less aches and pains, and a ton more energy.  I'm not saying every day is rainbows and puppy dogs, but the positive changes definitely help to cope with the everyday stresses of life.  And with two boys on the Autism spectrum, every day certainly brings some stress.
My timing of meals has been a little off track since Thursday, when I was in the hospital with Zach.  It wasn't even that I didn't plan/prepare, I brought my healthy snacks with me, but there was so much going on when it was time to eat (namely, Zach had just woken from his procedure and was sobbing uncontrollably and wanted to be held and comforted).  So, everything sort of fell apart at that point.  I let my next meal stretch for nearly 5 hours, then the next one for 4 hours...you get the idea.  My metabolism slowed way down over the weekend.  We had our usual cheat meal of pizza on Friday evening, and I had my usual 3 pieces.  My weight made the usual 1 pound hike the next day, but dropped back down.  I have been teetering between 165-166 for about a week now.  166 this morning.
This morning was interrupted by an appointment for Israel to be checked for ADHD, so I didn't get to my weight session until after 1:30.  I was really frustrated to find that, for the second session in a row, I had to cut my lunges down to only 2 sets.  I am doing something wrong, and it is making me feel like I am going to tear a quad muscle.  I have tried and tried to do it different ways, even looked at a video on YouTube for "proper form", but I still have such a tightness in the quad, and don't even feel it in my ham/glutes.  I am really miffed about it.  I don't like feeling like I can't do something, or can't get it right.  I won't put my health at risk for my pride either though, so for the time being, I am going to elliminate the lunges.  I will try them periodically to see if I can't catch onto it again at some point.  I used to be able to do them, only a few months ago.  Hmmpf!  My legs are looking so crazy to me, already, so I am going to stick to the squats and hamstring roll ups, and when I join a gym, I will see about adding other things as I go along.
For the past month, I have been dealing with my first complications with fleeting motivation.  I always just make myself do my workouts, but haven't really focused on what is driving that motivation.  What would I tell someone who wants to know how I find the motivation to keep on going, even on high-stress or low-energy days.  Motivation is a funny thing.  Everything I have ever read says you will never be successful unless your motivation comes from you.  I have dealt with this a lot in the past.  Wanting to impress a certain somone, or a number of certain someones, didn't work.  Wanting to get healthy so I could be around for my husband and kids, didn't work.  Wanting to do it to feel better about myself didn't work.  Wanting to do it so I could get as much attention as my coworkers didn't work.  Doing it for Oprah didn't work.  Doing it for my mom's approval didn't work.  Doing it to improve my blood panels worked, for a while, then...  The truth is, I don't really know what is driving me, other than the fact that I know I can do it.  And maybe that is the key.  Really, all of those other things are part of the equation, lucky little side effects if you will, but the key is BELIEVING that you CAN do it, and absolutely not leaving any room for doubt.  And that being said, knowing I can do something, means that it is completely in my hands.  I am owning it.  So today when I didn't feel like working out, I told myself that I knew I could work out, there is nothing physically wrong with me, and that if I didn't follow through and do my work out, that I was making a choice to not make my dream happen.  I owned it.  And I did my workout.  And now I have that happy little ache in my muscles that means I will wake up tomorrow feeling thinner than I did today.  And next time I do my workout, I will be able to do more.  And next time I take my measurements I will have progressed again.  And eventually all these little steps will add up to one, huge goal accomplished, one mind repaired.  There is no magic to motivation, it is about knowing that you are in control of the outcome, and making the choice to do what it takes to progress.
Happy Monday!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Not Much to Say

In the past two days, I have been inside 4 different medical facilities.  On Wednesday, Zach had a physical exam, to be sure he was healthy enough to go under anesthesia (for dental work) on Thursday.  Then we had to go to the dental office because the hospital's dental X-ray equipment was down.  Then on Wednesday evening, my older son came down with an ear infection, so it was back to the ER to have that taken care of.  Yesterday was Zach's dental procedure, which had us in the hospital most of the day, but I am happy to say, he came through it just fine, and we are gratful he was able to get the work done all at once.  Israel will finally get to the doctor on Monday, to get the ball rolling on a posible ADHD diagnosis, and I hope that will be the last of the appointments for the near future.
So yesterday was kind of an off day for me, as my entire day was focused on Zach.  I let my eating intervals slide for more than 3 hours apart, even though I ate all on-plan things, I know my metabolism took a hit yesterday.  I also didn't do any exercise at all.  I was supposed to do weight training, but there wasn't an opportunity until late evening, and by then I was so exhausted from a stressful day (not to mention, still sore from Tuesday's workout!)  As a matter of fact, I am even a bit sore today yet.  I guess I found a good combo of moves to do for now.  I did my cardio this morning, and it felt good to be back in my groove, and it made my stomach growl fiercely as soon as I began.  The boys are on spring break next week, so it will be extra challenging to get my workouts in, but I will perservere!
This spring weather is putting me in the mood for some new, upbeat music to workout to.  I haven't listened to the radio in months, so I have some catching up to do.  What are your current faves that get you fired up in the gym? 
Hmmm.  I don't have a whole lot on my mind today, so I'll end with a wish for you all to have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Random Thoughts

Today's weigh in of 165 puts me just 3 pounds shy of a 30-pound loss.  At first I couldn't believe it when I figured it out, but it has been about three and a half months since I began, so that is about right.  Yesterday's weight session did leave me sore today, which is a good sign that I am building new muscle, but this morning's cardio helped ease some of that.  I will make it a point to stretch well this morning to help alleviate the rest of the soreness.
I found a new ad that has inspired me, it is for Bodybuilding.com (I found it in my latest copy of Oxygen Magazine).  It features Jamie Eason with her back to the camera, curling a 20 lb weight (her muscles look so awesome!)  The ad reads: How about some guns to go with that little black dress?  The way she looks in that ad is really inspirational.  I tried to find the ad online so I could post a link, but couldn't find it.  In the process of looking, I found a million photos of her, some are more geared toward men, showing a little more than I wanted to see.  Oxygen Magazine portrays her in such an innocent, girl-next-door kind of light, that when I first saw the other photos, I felt a bit disillusioned.  But maybe that's just my own hang-up.  Most fitness models (females, at least) end up posing for these racier type of photos.  It seems to be part of the job description.  And why shouldn't they be proud of the body they've worked so hard to acheive?  I think I am just uncomfortable seeing it because of the way I have always felt about my own body, that it should be covered up at all costs, because it is so hideous.  I live in a state with maybe the highest concentration of obese people in the U.S. (not an insult, but reality.  When your state is known for producing the best cheese money can buy, there's bound to be some weight issues!), so I have been witness to many a fashion tragedy involving the overweight.  Remeber when Spandex bike shorts and sports bras were the popular style?  I saw way too many obese people stuffing themselves into that gear.  And with the recent craze of low riders, the muffin top action is horrifying!  Shudder.  And, I've heard what everyone around me was/is saying about such people.  This led me to dress in moo-moo type clothing, the baggier and longer, the better.  I had shirts that hung down to my knees.  I thought I was hiding my fat, but man did it make me look like a floating barn.  So, my body image issues have prevented me from breaking free of the mental block that I have had about seeing too much skin, even on particularily beautiful bodies.  Then again, maybe its just because it is always women.  If L.L. Cool J were to be practically nude in a photo shoot, I would think, "Hello!  I will take three of whatever it is you are selling!"  But sadly,  those type of male ads are few and far between.  Here in the U.S, the media still treats us women as if we only think about losing weight (to try and compete with other women, of course) and shopping, and treats men as if all they think about is sex.  I don't particularily care for the all-or-nothing mentality.
So my husband has been so passionate about chasing the dream of being an actor, that we've been talking about dreams a lot lately, and I leave those conversations feeling a bit restless.  What is my big, grand dream, I wonder.  I feel like the Julia Child character from the movie Julie and Julia, when she was trying to figure out what to do with her time.  Which direction do I make my aimless passion go?  I am already living what used to be my biggest dream (losing the weight) and I know that I will reach that goal.  I don't have a big, grand dream in mind.  My husband seems to think that if you don't follow your biggest dream, that you are missing out on life.  I told him, maybe some people don't have a grand dream, but are content in the small, everyday ins and outs of life.  It is why the phrase "stop and smell the roses" was invented.  So maybe my big, grand dream in life is to be an awesome wife and mother, and show my kids the world once their dad becomes a world-class actor.  I'm OK with that.
Here's to having dreams and helping them along!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Refreshed

In honor of Spring, I have been making a few changes to sort of freshen things up.  I moved my furniture around last week, which not only feels refreshing, but also allows more space (for working out) and light in.  I have also reached the end of the programmed workouts in the South Beach Diet Supercharged book (for the second time) so I figured it's time to choose a new weight program as well.  I just chose moves a la carte, from fitness magazines, ones that either challenged me in the past, or that I haven't done in a long time.  This morning, since it is weight day, I did some cardio before breakfast.  I have really been wanting to try cardio boxing (Tai Bo or something) but there wasn't any on my Exercise-On-Demand progamming, so I chose a dance class that included Hip Hop and Bollywood styles.  For these kind of choreographed cardio dance classes, I usually end up disappointed, but wanted to try something different, cuz that's the kind of mood I'm in today.  I didn't love the class, it took too long to get into the high-intensity, and then it was mostly jumping, which irritated my knee a bit.  But I did a little more than a half hour of it, maybe only 10 minutes of that was high-intensity.  No big deal, the lower intensity is better at burning fat, so I did my job. 
The weights kicked my butt today!  And, I can see why people use stability balls, that thing was literally kicking me off it when I was trying to do my roll ups, it was a challenge just to stay on it, much less do the movement!  The moves I'm doing for this weight plan are:
Front squats with weights at chest height
Walking lunges
Stability ball hamstring curl
Standing reverse bicep curl
Stability ball chest flye
Kickbacks (triceps)
Stability ball roll up (abs)
I usually don't put much emphasis on ab work, because as we all know, you can't spot reduce.  If you have any fat on top of your abs, they are not going to look lean.  And I have a whole heap of ugly on top of mine.  But, it is important to strengthen your abs to avoid back injury, so I've added them in.  This is a new ab move that I've never tried, and is very effective and to me, kind of fun.  It turns out, switching things up was just what I needed to put a little pep back into my step with my training.  Now that I'm doing new moves, I realize how bored I was with the same old routine I'd been using for 8 weeks.  I am really going to be sore tomorrow!  I did go for a 12 minute walk at easy pace after my weight session, to help break up the lactic acid in the muscles (helps you to be less sore), but I can tell I will still be sore.  It's OK, in the right lighting, I am starting to see some muscles taking shape in my arms, shoulders and traps, and that is so exciting.  I am interested to see what kind of changes happen by the end of the month.  I keep expecting the measuring tape to disappoint me (or at least stagnate) every month, but it keeps on proving me wrong!  It makes me realize how uninportant the scale is (though I will continue to measure this way, it's already ingrained).  Even if my weight barely fluctuates within the course of a month, I am still losing inches.  That reminds me of when I was in college and had my body composition analyzed at a gym and they told me, with how "solid" I am (I was offended until I learned they meant "muscular") that my ideal weight would be 159, even though I am only 5 feet tall.  Seems a bit absurd to me, as I weighed in at 166 this morning, and am nowhere near looking the way I want to.  I guess the best way to measure is by how you look and feel, and when you feel you are finished.  Now that I've come this far, I am not going to stop until I am satisfied with how I look and feel, and keep pushing myself to grow inside and out!  What greater end can we wish for, right?  Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Keep Moving

My walk from my son's bus stop to my front door went like this in my head:
I am so tired.  How am I going to find the energy to do cardio?
I have to do cardio.
I could save it for later.
It would be less effective after eating.
I don't want to do it.
I need to do it.
What am I working toward anyway, I know I will not win the contest.
If I don't get back on track, I will be allowing myself to go in the opposite direction.
I have no energy.

There was more of the same, despite it being a short distance between the bus and my house, but I was trying to convince myself to workout.  I didn't have a reason not to do it, other than the fact that I was being lazy.  I am 99% back to health after being sick last week, and I haven't worked out since Tuesday.  I feel the difference in my body.  I have used the lack of energy excuse in the past, to not even begin an attempt at weight loss, and have used it to skip workouts in the past as well, when I was half-heartedly trying to "get skinny".  But I have been doing this long enough to realize that energy comes from moving.  If you don't move, you don't have energy.  So, I did my cardio.  It felt a little more challenging than usual, but not as bad as when I first started out.  I wish I could say that every day I wake up, I look forward to my workout, but that just isn't true.  And if I am correct in my assumption, that is the way most people feel.  But truth be told, I dread the thought of doing these necessary evils much more than the actual doing of them.  I usually feel quite exillerated after a good sweat-producing workout.  And working out has the added side-effect of making me want to eat healthy, so I didn't do that work for nothing. 
This weekend, my father-in-law asked to watch the kids, so my husband and I went out to dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant, and a movie.  I had a delicious Tandoori Chicken in curry, and this time, I indulged in a bit of white rice, which I usually abstain from.  I also tried Lambrusco for my first time, and decided it is my new favorite wine!  My husband and I shared a basket of garlic Nan bread (stuff of the heavens) and then we were off to see King's Speech.  What a beautiful, human movie!  That capped off a great night.  I normally try to keep my cheat meals lower carb than I did this time, but i figured white rice definitely has to have a lower glycemic index and fat content than pizza, which is the cheat meal we've resorted to the past 2 weeks.  All told, I ended up right back at 168 this morning, after the flux during the week due to being sick. I must admit, seeing 166 on the scale was a novelty, but the reason behind it was not desirable!  It is a little hard to get back on track, mentally, but I will get there.  I can't imagine going back to where I came from, that is my own personal nightmare!  Happy new week everyone!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Just My Time

I have been slowly trying to recover from stomach death, and today presented more of a challenge than yesterday.  I tried to eat "on plan" and about midday, my stomach started to seriously protest.  So I had one break in the program, to eat something neutral for my stomach, which was one cinnamon toast waffle topped with ground ginger and dipped in sugar-free syrup.  But I didn't feel better until just a while ago, after eating a turkey burger and taking some ginger capsules.  Now I am finally starting to feel human again.  My metablism has slowed WAY down, and my appetite only peaks every 4-5 hours, and even then, my throat/esophagus is so sore that I hate eating.  Hoping this will all go away soon.
Earlier this week, I read an article about friends and loved ones who suffer from jealousy and try to sabotage the efforts of someone who is making strides to lead a healthier lifestyle.  It got me thinking about it, and relating it to my own life.  I am fortunate to have a lot of support, not just from my family, but from my friends and my lovely readers.  But it does really ring true.  When someone close to us is taking the initiative to improve their health, and we are not, we tend to feel a bit ashamed of what we are not doing.  I know this because I have done this myself.  To friends, and even my husband.  They were doing something I didn't feel I had the power to do at the time, and it made me feel like a huge failure.  It was especially damaging for me to feel that way, because not only did I feel like garbage, which made me self-soothe by eating crap, but I was distancing myself from the people I cared about and being a really ugly person.  I'd like to think I was good at hiding how I felt, but I know my husband knew part of my frustration in him alwaysbeing at the gym (which was more dramatization than reality) stemmed from feelings of my own shortcomings of not being able to committ to getting healthy.  But I always knew that I would cut out the time for me, when it was my time.  And, just like my husband, and the others I secretly envied, I wouldn't let anything stand in my way.  So it has literally taken my 30 years of being overweight to reach that pinnacle, to decide that I want this more than I want to indulge and self-medicate with food.  And the important words in that last sentence are "I want", which is something I have not focused on too heavily since I have been married with kids.  I have always put others first because I always felt like they were more important than me.  And now I know that I am making it work because my needs/wants are important, and the only thing that was standing in my way were the thoughts I was wrongly allowing myself to think.  And though I have been really lucky to have so much support, I have met with some negativity from time to time and I from now on I will tell them exactly what I think.  I know you feel bad that you are not taking steps to improve your health right now, that doesn't mean you are a bad person, it just means it's just not the right time for you.  Healing your body has to start with your mind, because not only is it your only limit, but it is the doorway to your wildest dreams.  And when you are ready, you will be wherever you dreamed you could, and I will be so happy for you!
Happy happy weekend everyone!  Keep rockin your goals!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Quick Update

I spent all day and night Tuesday repairing and moving furniture.  It was a major undertaking, since we haven't moved our large pieces of furniture since we moved in two years ago.  By the time I went to bed I was so physically exhausted, and things were still not all back in place.  I awoke at 2AM with a horrible stomach flu, and spent all yesterday resting.  I was eating things that I normally don't, just because they were the most bland things in the house.  Toast with honey and ginger, animal crackers, ramen noodles (could only get a few of those down) and cinnamon toast waffles.  When I feed these things to my kids I always feel envious of them, because they smell so good.  But, they really don't taste as good as they smell, which is good for me, so I don't get hooked on any of it.  One of my sons got it, and is home with me today, we are expecting a phone call from his brother's school at some point today, but Zach insisted on going to school today, because he has a field trip to see Pinnochio on stage.  We shall see.
I am feeling quite a bit better today, still sore and a little weak, but good enough to eat my normal foods and try to get my living room put back together. 
We also lost one of our pet mice, Sweet Pea on Tuesday overnight.  It has been a chaotic couple days.   I'm going to give my body a break from working out until my energy level returns.
Hope everyone's rocking out their goals!  Have a great day!

Monday, March 7, 2011

I Need a Nap

Ahhh, Monday, how I love thee.  Probably because I am not employed.  I had my big, important interview this morning, and I think I did really well, as the interviewers kept looking at each other, agreeing that I answered each question well.  I came up with relavent questions for them (the hardest part for me) and they gave me a formal application which I promplty turned into to headquarters within an hour of my interview.  After any interview, I have a million doubts, but I feel really good about this one.  If I don't get the job, I will be shocked and disappointed. 
All that running around changed my normal routine a little, and I ended up working out later than I normally do, which can be rough on my focus and ambition/energy level.  Though I was feeling extra sluggish, I made myself push until I was completely exhausted.  Before I even caught my breath, I was out the door for a half hour of high intensity cardio outside.  By the time I got home, I was ready to drop!  I had a delicious turkey burger and orange for lunch/recovery and now, for the first time today, I am relaxing.  I am going to sleep like a log tonight!
My Monday weigh in is 168, but I'm not going to go making a big deal about that number because every time I do,  the number goes away, and not in the right direction! 
My joints are not liking this cold, wet winter, I am starting to feel my age.  So, I have upped my dosage of  fish oils to 3-4grams per day, which is the level my doctor told me I need in order to have any effect on cholesterol as well.  We'll see how that works.  I could just move out of the state.  Would that I could!
This lackluster post is the result of me completely exhausting myself with my workout, so I will spare you the long, drawn-out pepfest I normally post.  For today.  Hope everyone had a relaxing weekend and a good start to the week!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Burning off the Za

It took a lot of patience to get through my morning weight session, both on the part of myself and my kids.  My husband had to work today, so it was just me and the boys.  When I began my workout, they were busy on the computer and watching TV, but they caught on to my absence in a hurry, and were continually goofing off too close to me for comfort.  I love my boys and always want them around, but there has already been one incident where one of them walked into my weight as I was working out, and too many close calls got me to the point of extreme irritation.  I found myself yelling at them and sounding like a crochety old witch.  I even went so far as to move my workout spot and put up a line for them not to cross, in order for them not to get accidentally bumped by me or my weights.  They were as understanding and obedient as a six and seven year old could be, even when I spent an additional half hour doing cardio afterword.  When I was done I made sure they knew the reasons why the can't be playing around where mommy's working out, for their own safety.  It really threw my concentration off, and made me realize how spoiled I am to have so much alone time during the week.  It also confirmed my need to join a gym.  I have hesitated only because I don't know what my schedule will be like once I get a job, and I am really really hoping BIG that I get the job I am interviewing for on Monday. 
I worked out really hard today, and followed with a high intensity cardio session, no intervals today, just straight high-intensity for a half hour.  Hoping to torch off some of the calories I consumed last night.  My husband is really miserable at his job right now, and for the first time since I met him 10 years ago, is not a body builder, so he is finding comfort in food.  He has a metabloism like none I've ever witnessed, he can eat an entire Domino's pizza, and wake up the next day 2 pounds lighter.  I mean it, since he decided he was done with body building in late January, he has lost 30 pounds and still going.  But that is how his genetics work, it is hard for him to keep weight on him, he is naturally a thin person with a fast metabolism who will not need to worry much about keeping a super-strict diet.  Me on the other hand, have the genetics that equate to having to always be careful what I eat, and being aware of the chemical reactions that lead to downfalls. 
After my workout, I took some phots in the same poses as the original "before" photos that I took when I entered the contest.  They are not meant to be "after" photos, as I realize I have a long way to go before I reach my goal, but they are a way to see my "in progress" gains.  It really helped me to see the side-by-side comparison, to see where I've made progress and how far I have left to go.  Honestly, sometimes I feel like I'm almost to my goal, and then I take a photo of myself, and everything in the middle of me looks horrible, like it hasn't changed at all.  So seeing the photos from today helped me realize that, even though my gut is still huge, there has been quite a bit of progress.  That does great things for my mind and spirit.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Shout Out!

I wanted to single out Kelly at My Joy Project.   Thanks to Kelly I have two new followers.  Kelly's blog is full of fantastic photos of her jealousy-invoking vacations,  and her thoughts as she makes her way through life.  If you are not already reading her blog, give her a visit!  Welcome new readers!  It's wonderful to have you along.

Fully Alive

Today is one of those days where just everything has gone right.  I'm thinking I should play the lottery, but that might be pushing my luck.  The morning went smooth, getting my happy and coorperative kids on their busses without incident or struggle.  There were two new comments on my latest photo on Facebook, friends telling me how fabulous and thin I look.  It was sprinkling today, which was melting the snow and making it feel like spring, which lifted my spirits right off the bat.  I actually love the rain.  I did my interval cardio, which included the most intense level (supercharged).  I am finding that walking at that pace is really awkward, my legs are going so fast that I feel clumsy.  I may have to start running on that level.  Crazy thought!  At breakfast time I ate all my usually goodies, and took a whole heap of vitamins, a caffeine pill and some yohimbine(my husband's recommendation, says it burns brown fat cells?).  Then, I headed off to the mall to try and find a proper interview suit.  Now, I am not a mall kind of girl.  I have been obese my entire adult life, and that has meant that very little of the mall's offerings fit a girl like me, unless I shop in specialty shops, and over the years, some of them have had the most ridiculous names (16 Plus comes to mind.  Yuck!)  Anyway, I knew if I was going to get a proper, professional suit, I had to go to the mall.  I was headed toward Younkers department store, when I happened upon a Dress Barn (another less-than-flattering name).  I popped in and immediately loved nearly every item they had.  A saleslady approached and asked if I was looking for anything in particular and I explained my needs.  She showed me to the Jones New York buisness wear and asked my size.  I said that I'd lost weight recently, and thought I was an 18.  She told me the Jones line runs generous, and to take a 16 as well.  Then, as she was unlocking a dressing room for me, she said, "You sure don't look like a size 16-18 to me, you look smaller.  Try those on and we'll go from there."  So I started with the 16.  It fit, and the jacket was baggy.  She told me I had way too much room in the dress, and brought me a 14.  The 14 fits perfect and makes me look nice and slim.  Then she got me a size 14 jacket and that was still too big, so she had to go to the jackets on the other side of the store, the side where the "regular" sized women shop.  She found me the most adorable, classy jacket in a "regular" person's size 16 and it tapers just perfectly to make me look like I have a waist for the first time in my life.  It was way more than I wanted to spend, but once I had the ensemble on, I couldn't pass it up.  I felt classy and sophisticated like Jackie O.  The sales lady was awesome, she kept congratulating me on my weight loss, telling me I look great, and wishing me luck on the interview, even after the sale was in the bag.  Being in the customer service industry for more than 20 years, I was really impressed with the service I got and will make time to send a letter off to the manager. 
One I got dressed back in my own clothes, my one and only pair of jeans that I own, and one of my newer shirts, I realized how desperately I needed a new pair of jeans.  The ones I had been wearing are a size 22 and look so baggy and aweful on me that it's embarassing.  So, I went to Old Navy, because I still haven't spent my gift card I got at Christmas time.  I wasn't sure if anything was going to fit me, some department store sizes run small, and they only go up to 18 or 2X.  I tried on some boot cut jeans and another pair of tan casuals in size 18.  Both too big.  I tasked the sales lady for a size 16 and 14, and she brought me a 14 and a 12 by mistake.  I could get the 14's on and buttoned and zipped, but they would've given me a muffin top, so I got a pair of 16's.  They are a little baggy in the legs, but I think a washing should make them fit about perfect.  I am still in disbelief that I am wearing sizes 14 and 16 anythings.  In December I was still in 22-24 range, so this is whole new territory for me.  And, mentally it is really screwing with me.  When I put on these smaller sizes (and even the realization that I can now shop in the mall) I feel so good and much thinner.  But then I will see all the fat hanging off my midsection, or try on some clothes that emphasize how much further I have to go, and it makes me feel bad, as though I don't look as good as I feel I should.  It is just a mind game.  And no matter what, I know that I am not all the way to my goal, and I can take it as far as I want to go.  And when I think about it, I have lost more than 20 pounds in 3 months, if I continue on losing at this pace, I will be nearly to my goal in another 3-4 months I think.  That thought is a little absurd to me.  If I had known it would take so little time to lose the stuff I'd been carrying around for 30 years, I would have done it a long time ago.  I always made it out to be so hard in my mind.  Maybe that is just another exscuse we give ourselves because we don't want to let go of the things we like to eat.
On my drive home, I blindly grabbed for any cd I could reach, and it turned out to be Flyleaf, which is a new fave of mine.  The song Fully Alive came on, and I blasted it so loud, and it just took my spirits as high as they have been since I've started this journey.  The chorus is so great, I will leave you with this and bid you all a fantastic weekend!
Fully alive, more than most
Ready to smile, and love life
Fully alive, and she knows
How to believe in futures.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Still Learning

The things that led to me having the most lackluster weight session today:
1.  We were out of bread this morning, due to my son consuming his weight in turkey sandwhiches as of late, so instead of substituting and having some other form of grains, I skipped my serving of grains for breakfast this morning.  So all I had was turkey bacon, eggs and a small orange.  Maybe that isn't the biggest factor, but those slow-digesting carbs can come in handy when working out.

2. I only had one cup of coffee this morning, and no other caffeine until right before my workout.

3. I didn't workout until 1:30 PM.  My body doesn't like working out after noon.  Just feels twice as hard to get inspired to do it, and even harder to get through it.

4.  I waited too long in between my breakfast and my snack.

It was all for good cause, I scored a really big interview with a hospital/health center for Monday morning, and I was out searching for a new interview outfit to buy, because the one I  have is so big that it looks sloppy.  I detest trying to find interview wear.  Everytime I shop, I run into the same issues with sizing being so off.  I didn't find any gems, so the search will continue.  While I was out, I stopped to get some groceries.  The store I went to has a Subway in it, and boy did it smell good!  I was trying to plan out what I could possibly eat that would be "on plan" for me, and discovered the only thing that would, is a salad, and I could make that at home.  So, despite it being nearly four hours since my last meal, I didn't get any food while I was out.  Let me tell you, every treat and snack looked good to me in that state!  I'm glad I know why, and am able to reason with myself.  When I got home, I popped a caffeine pill (200 mg), had a protein shake, and strapped on my shoes to get ready for a workout.  It was aweful.  I felt like my limbs were made of lead.  I was improperly fueled, inspired, and caffeinated.  I was breathing like I was running a marathon, and needing more breaks than usual, unfocused and unenthused.  After two circuit sets, I decided to stop.  My body and mind were just not where they needed to be to continue, and nothing good ever comes from that scenario.  Though I am disappointed about the workout, I'm glad I at least gave it a go, and got two sets in.  My muscles are still shakey and tired, so I at least did some good.  I think part of being successful with any goal is realizing that some days are just going to be a little lower-key than others.  Not every workout can be "the most intense".  So, I am going to let this one go, and chalk it up to a learning experience, and try to avoid my mistakes for next time.  Hope everyone is having a successful day!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I'm Back Baby!

My two day haitus was just what my body needed to rejuvinate and recover from the stresses I was putting it through.  I woke today feeling revitalized and ready to get back down to business.  I am happy to say that since the week began, my mind-food connection is back where it needs to be as well, and I was able to ditch that horrible, nagging feeling that I just want to crunch on something.  My kids had a 1 hour late start for school today, so I got up at my normal time and did my cardio before they woke, which was so peaceful and pleasant.  It was a shorter bout of interval cardio today, which was a nice way to ease back into training.  I think tomorrow I may join the gym my husband belongs to.  It is mere minutes away from my house, and only $10/month, and the best part, they have a pool.  The clientel is comprised mostly of elderly folks who like to sit in the sauna/whirlpool, so the weight/cardio area is pretty quiet, I am told.   I have a brand new Planet Fitness right by my house too, and they charge the same amount, but I refuse to join that gym on principal.  They don't allow body builders, and if you make too much noise when you lift, an alarm sounds and you are asked to leave.  Guess what, when you truly push yourself, you are going to make sound.  I will not rant forever, I am just offended by their very existence, and surprised no one has sued them yet. HMPF!
It is hard for me to not go from zero to 100 right away my first day back.  I feel like I might just do an extra cardio session later, just because I feel so good.  That would defeat the purpose of taking a break in the first place, so I will refrain, but the mindset is there.  Funny, if at any point someone would have told me there would come a day when it would make me fidgety and restless to miss a workout, I would tried to have them committed.  But here I am, finally understanding what was driving my husband for all those years.  Maybe this would be a good time to show a photo of him, so that people don't just think I am biased because he is the man I love.  That's him at his first ever show, in May 2010.  He took second place in his weight class, and I was so very proud.  When I met him he was a skinny skateboarder, about 135 pounds, and he said, "I'm sick of being skinny" and the rest is history.  That was in 2001, a body like this takes years to build.  So now you see why I consider him an expert when it comes to all things nutrition and exercise.  He is the kind of person who doesn't know "maybe", and in the past, I could never understand that because I am all about the grey area, all wishy-washy.  But now, for the first time ever, I get it.  I am in control of my destiny, and no one can tell me I can't make my wish come true.  I'm going to take this thing to tip of the mountain, and boy, won't the view from the top be a vision!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Awe, Nuts! (And March 1 Measurements)

I have a confession.  I purposely didn't post my weigh in yesterday, because I was not happy with what I saw on the scale.  This, after I swore I would no longer do daily weigh-ins or let the number on the scale effect me.  The number is so insignificant, really.  When I look in the mirror, I can see so much more muscle there than even a month ago, and logically I know it will weigh more, but I still have the irrational thought processes of the obese, depressed, trapped lady afraid to step on the scale, because it alone will determine my self-worth.  The only difference these days, is that I have positive reinforcement by way of loose-fitting clothing and the magical yellow measuring tape. 
So, my weight for yesterday's weigh in is 171, disappointing since I was teetering between 169/170 last week.  Beginning on Friday, I went through my first true bout of waning desire for this whole adventure.  Even though I was working out, I was starting to feel myself wanting to slip and indulge in all kinds of foods I haven't craved or even thought about since I began 3 months ago.  So I had the pizza on Friday, and then on Saturday, while the rest of my family was devouring ice cream cake (from the b-day party we attended) I took one small forkfull, just to have a taste.  Even though I know one taste isn't going to derail me, sugar is so dangerous for me.  I handled it OK, but part of me wished I would've just skipped that taste.  After all, what did it really do for me, except make me wish I could eat a whole slice?  I continued eating what I would normally eat, at regular intervals (about 2.5-3 hours apart), but I had a hard time staying away from the extremely fresh dry-roasted peanuts (with sea salt), and ate a few servings in between meals and snacks.  What a waste of fat, calories and salt!  For the entire weekend, I was snacking on those darn peanuts.  It is really the first time I've allowed myself to eat something as a snack, instead of a tool to acheiving my goals.  By the time yesterday came around, I was really starting to doubt myself.  Not only was I so tired/burnt out, but I was starting to allow myself to think about foods I hadn't wanted for months.  Then when I went thrifting, I was trying on tops in size XL, and some were flattering and some looked hideously too small for me, which was another mind-trip which added to my doubts.  Thankfully, the flattering shirts I did buy (5 of them, I actually have a few things that don't make me look pregnant now) and a 20 minute catnap gave me enough of an energizing zing to stay on course.  I stuck to my plan of resting for yesterday and today, even though it is hard for me to stay away from it, went to bed early last night and awoke feeling really well-rested and alive again.  Thankfully, I didn't have any problem leaving those damn nuts alone today!  This morning, I have spent nearly 4 hours job hunting (I am starting to get really discouraged) and then took measurements, which is making me want to work out, but I am not going to.  So, without babbling any longer, here are my monthly results:
Loss since Feb 1                                                                    Loss since Dec 1
Bust: 1 1/4 inches                                                                      4 inches
Chest: 5/8 inches                                                                        2 1/2 inches
Waist:  1 1/2 inches                                                                    3 1/4 inches
Hips:  7/8 inches                                                                         4 inches
Midway:  2 3/8 inches                                                                 4 inches
Thighs:  1/4 inch                                                                          7/8 inches
Knees:  3/8 inch                                                                          5/8 inches
Calves:  1/4 inch                                                                           3/8 inch
Upper Arm: 3/8 inch                                                                     1 3/8 inches
Forearms:  1/4 inch                                                                       1/2 inch

So that's it.  I try to do it the same each time I measure, and measure several times.  The upper arms are the hardest to measure, it seems to me, by looking at them, they have shrunk a lot, but they are hard for me to measure.  Anyway, the numbers are continuing to go in the right direction.  I don't expect to lose much from my legs, as they are pretty tone already, from years of carrying all that extra weight around!  So, even though I'm a little frustrated by the numbers I see on the scale right now, these are numbers I can live with!  I am SO going to be a fitness model when I'm done!  Well, maybe not, but I sure do feel fine!  If I feel this good (physically) tomorrow I will start my workouts again.  Less than five months until the contest closes, I am going to cross the finish line with my head held high!