Wednesday, April 27, 2011

First Day

Today was my first day at my new job, so there was a lot of panic and worry leading up to it, arranging daycare (at the last minute, I'm such a horrible procrastinator), getting clothes ready, dealing with a new schedule for all of us, and a late bus that nearly gave me an ulcer and almost made me late for my first day.  But, I made it, and everything is in full swing.  My kids got picked up and delivered to the daycare just fine, and no one threw a fit or got kicked out. 
The job seems a lot slower paced than most of the places I've worked, but that also will give me a lot more freedom in the long run, and I will be in complete control of the frame inventory eventually, which means I can chose to purchase whatever frames I like.  My head is swelling already!  Next week I will be going through an official orientation, that will introduce me to the computer systems used, etc. 
I did pretty good with my diet and exercise today.  It was a cardio-only day, so I got up extra early to do my cardio.  Just out of initial discomfort with being new, and not wanting to take too many breaks, I skipped a snack today, which meant I went for 5 1/2 hours between eating.  Oh well, once things get more settled, I will be able to regulate these things much easier.  Tomorrow will be a little different, as I will be starting earlier, and will have a whole new level of chaos in getting the kids to daycare and then scooting across town to my training site, but I'm confident it will go smoothly.  I will somehow learn to juggle it all and still turn down the coffee cake, muffins and ice cream cake (those were just 3 of the items on the lounge room table in our department today.)  Finding time to do weight training in the evenings might prove a hefty challenge right now, but I'll play it by ear. 
I have nothing of interest to talk more about, so here's hoping your week is going well!  More snow possible for tomorrow, I am beginning to think Mother Nature has a sick sense of humor!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Enough Celebrating Already!

Since I got the job offer, I have let things slowly unravel.  At first, it made me stronger, I worked out so hard the next couple days.  Then, I started thinking about how much less time I would have to focus on my goals, assuming the worst, as I always do, and damning myself before I even begin.  Friday night was a celebration dinner with my father-in-law, and after waiting an hour and a half to be seated (trust me, this restaurant is worth the wait) and another 45 minutes for the food to arrive, our table of six was already 4 baskets of tortilla chips, salsa and queso dip deep, and I was indulging at free will because, I deserved it, damn it.  Right.  When the meal arrived, I ate more than a sensible amount of chicken smothered in queso and refried beans, and even a little rice.  I skipped my cardio session on Saturday, stating a general feeling of sleepiness and sinus pressure.  No good reason except laziness, and once again, letting myself off the hook.  While my diet was right on plan all of Saturday, Sunday was Easter celbration.  My father-in-law stopped over with easter baskets for the boys, crammed full of sweets of every kind.  I didn't let it bother me too much, I tried to remember the coutless bouts of stomach distress from the times I'd overindulged in candy, particularily chocolate.  Then it was off to my mother-in-law's house for Easter dinner.  She was so considerate to make chicken for my family, as we do not eat pork, and it was so tender and juicy, and right on plan for me.  I also ate about two tablespoons of mashed potatoes w/gravy and some carrots, and some mystery noodle/egg salad, and some mixed fruit for desert.  Everyone (even my husband) was eating the jellybean cupcakes and bunny cookies, but I held out just fine, telling myself I already ate WHITE POTATOES, and surely I was going to have to do hours of cardio just to work that off.  I finished the day off strong, eating on plan all day.  Today was spent doing some shopping for work-appropriate clothes, which had me running around town most of the day, and I ended up being out longer than I had planned, putting me at a dangerous two hours late for a planned meal.  I was starving, and everything I shouldn't be having was looking awefully good.  As I was driving home, I was having the usual inner-conversation, trying to convince myself that it'd be OK to stop and get ONE fast food meal, that I could be really strict the rest of the month to make up.  By the time I would have had to turn, I couldn't decide what sounded good, much less if I even wanted to do that to myself, so I decided that must be a sign not to do it.  I came home and began cooking immediately.  Then, the easter cookies (grandma had to send some along for the kids, you know) were giving me the evil eye, and before I could let my good sense take over, I popped one in my mouth.  I didn't even taste that first bite.  Then three more cookies followed, then a few jelly beans.  Then I ate my sensible lunch of turkey burger and salad, which felt a bit absurd, but tasted good and made my body buzz happily.  Why did I do that?  Well, I know the physical reason why, I waited too long to eat, and it made my blood sugar plummet, and my body was saying, "GIVE ME CALORIES!"  But mentally, it is almost like I don't care anymore, like I was just doing that to occupy time until I got a job, and now that I have one, all bets are off.  Also, though the food on Friday was delicious, and I felt very satisfied by it, I refrained from desert that night too.  And even though my mother-in-law is taking me to lunch tomorrow to celebrate (again), part of me felt like I didn't celebrate the news yet, not fully.  I should have had a glass of wine or I should have had dessert when it was a planned cheat.  But I didn't then, and I did just get a job, so I took that time to celebrate it with food.  That was the mentality.  At any rate, I felt bad about it afterword, realizing that I can't let that derail me, that I need to just jump right back on track, full steam ahead.  This will not be the last time this happens to me, everyone goes overboard sometimes.  How well I bounce back from it will be what determines if I truly have what it takes to see this thing through to the finish.  I am not happy with the way I look yet,  I have much work to do before I reach my goal.  And while I'm truly proud of my accomplishments, to me they mean little if I quit before I make it all the way.  So I just need to suck it up and move on.  I ate sugary junk, that is just part of my story.  It makes me human, but by no means does it mean that my journey is over or even paused.  If anything, it gives me renewed enthusiasm that I can mess up and still move on and kick this thing.   And all my worries aobut time constraints will dissapate once I prove to myself that no matter what, I can make this work.  Any obstacles in my way are just temporary wake up calls.  Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Neon and Leotards

Oh have I forgotten about the challenges of finding decent, affordable daycare.  We had it so good when I was working before, but unfortunately our old babysitter is no longer doing daycare.  I am happy to be having a reason to seek out daycare, so I am not going to complain.
I did a little running this morning, incorporated into my high-intensity interval cardio, one minute running, 30 seconds walking for 10 intervals.  It felt good, and that one minute interval is getting easier.   So sometime this weekend or next week, I am going to challenge myself to run as long as I can, just to see where I'm at.  It will be interesting.  I have started a wish list of things I want to purchase once the paychecks start rolling in and new running shoes and a treadmill are at the top of that list.  I can't wait to pick them out.
I must admit, since I found out I am going to be going back to work, my fitness journey has taken a bit of a back burner out of necessity, but I haven't faltered, and have stayed on track, I've just been thinking about it a little less than usual. 
Today I was browsing through the thrift shops and came across the book "Stop the Insanity" by Susan Powter.  Remember that book?  I think everyone on the planet tried Susan Powter's method for a while.  I had 3 work out videos, two books and a cookbook.  I have always loved reading weight loss books, because they gave me such tremendous hope and inspiration.  Seeing someone else doing it gives me hope that I can too. I guess that's why all the weight loss shows like Heavy and Biggest Loser are so popular.  It was quite an interesting trip through the mental anals though, thinking back to the days before there were shreds and bootcamps, and it was just ridiculously-dressed ladies and effeminate men in leotards doing aerobics in a neon-lit studio.  It conjurs up images of Olivia Newton John.  Fitness has come a long, long way, baby!  And I'm glad to be on the wagon, for what its worth! 
Well, with the holiday festivities approaching, I may not be back until Monday, so, Happy Easter everyone!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Good Things

Yesterday I was woken by a horrific dream that included Satan being in my house, torturing my sister and making my son sleep like a bat, hanging by his toes from the towel rack.  That jolted me awake.  The fact that I actually saw the face of Satan, all covered in orange veins was disturbing.  I don't believe in Satan, I think that evil is a uniquely human trait, and neither my sister nor my son are evil.  I do, however see my son (Zach) as an innocent.  And in the dream, I knew that my husband, mother, older son and I were powerful enough to defend the weak.  The only thing I can think of as far as my sister goes is, today she turns 40, and when I think about her turning 40 that seems so old, but when I think of myself being only 1 1/2 years away from that age, it doesn't seems so old.  Funny the tricks the mind can play.
Anyway, that set the tone for my day, along with the morning news forecasting a hefty snow storm.  Blech.  So after I got the kids off to school, I quickly ate and rushed out to get my errands done before the snow came.  My husband had asked me to get a book for him from the library, and when I was there I just peeked to see if they had the Anthony Bourdain book I've been wanting to read.  They didn't have "Kitchen Confidentials" (I put it on hold last week, and was expecting it to take a month or so to come in), but they had his follow-up book, "Medium Raw", which I decided to get.  If nothing else, it is reading about something I like.  As I was pulling in my driveway, the library called to say the book I had on hold was in.  I ignored it and went in the house to start reading "Medium Raw".  I got through the foreward and a page into the first chapter I knew I couldn't read them in reverse order.  So, I went to get "Kitchen Confidential", and I was giddy like a school girl with a hot crush the whole way to the library and back.  It felt to me, like I was beginning my journey into the culinary world (that outside of Food Network, that is).  Let me say, I can't put the book down.  It is a wonder I have the strength to resist it long enough to blog today, as you see I didn't have the same will yesterday. 
Then, my day got even better.  I finally got the call I've been waiting for.  From the company I've been waiting to hear it from.  I. Got. A. Job!!!!!!  They offered me more money than I was asking for, and they hours are absolutely brilliant, no weekends, so we can enjoy a whole bunch of family time together this summer!  I am so excited, I nearly have to be scraped from the ceiling.  It has been a long seven months living on one income.  Now we can start to work toward our goals instead of stressing about how we're going to make it through each month.  Whew!  I hope I never have to go through this whole ordeal again.
Green Bay got 10 inches of snow, which actually sets a new record for most snow in one day (this late in the season) and puts this winter at the 3rd snowiest winter of all time (for Green Bay, since the mid-1800's).  But, the scale said 159 this morning, so not one little thing can get me down!  Everything seems to be going my way.  The kids had a late start to school this morning, but Zach's bus came early (a miracle) just when I needed her to, so I could make it to my drug screening/health screening for my new employer.  And my blood pressure was really good today at my physical.  And the roads are really quite drivable, I wasn't stressed about having an accident at all.  So, it has shaped up to be quite a wonderful couple of days.  Friday night, my father-in-law is taking my family out for a nice dinner/celebration.  It is going to be so good to be working again.  The blogs might not come as frequently, but that's a small price to pay.  It will be interesting to see how I can accomplish everything I need to in the mornings, workouts, getting myself ready and the kids ready and dropped off at the daycare before school, then get to work, and make time for weight work afterwords.  I am hoping that fitness is ingrained enough that I will just continue to make it a priority, but I guess only time will tell.  I am getting so close to my goal now, maybe only 20 more pounds to lose, and I can not let anything stand in my way.  Well, I start work next Wednesday, I've got some lose ends to tie up before that happens, and two Anthony Bourdain books to read.  Happy Wednesday everyone!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Take One Step

Sometimes life whirls around me like a twister, and all I can do is just watch with wide eyes, and wait for my moment to jump into its stream.  The past few days have been just that for me, and I took a much needed rest from the chaos.
Several things came together late last week, that had me really run-down and exhausted physically and mentally, and for those reasons, I did not workout all weekend.  I am getting really good at staving off the guilt that usually comes with skipping a workout, but only if my body truly does feel bad, and it really did.  Happy to say, I stayed on track with my diet, except for a planned cheat meal on Friday evening, which consisted of 2 homemade tacos (the shells were horribly stale, yeck) and some chips with beans.  After that meal, my lips were tortured by the salt, and it didn't even taste that good to me.  Oh well.  I did get a lot of house cleaning done over the weekend, which is a big deal for me, considering how messy my house usually is. 
Speaking of messy houses, yesterday I had to spend all day in my neighbor's house, and it was just one step better than a house they would show on Hoarders.  And the worst part about it is she has a six year old boy on the Autism spectrum with ADHD.  Talk about sensory sensitivities!  Anyway, being in that environment gave me an instant headache, I couldn't walk without stepping on something, I couldn't find one (NOT ONE!) empty spot on any surface to put my water bottle or even my notebook.  How can people live like that?  Without going into too much detail, her life is crashing down on her.  On the surface, she is seeming to handle it with grace.  But that look inside her life tells a lot.  When we don't feel good about ourselves, our life screams it out in more ways than one.  The chaos inside her house was an exact representation of how she feels inside.  And though there are so many things she wants to change (she's always saying how she has to lose weight, clean her house, buy a house, get a good job, etc), she is so out of balance that it is an uphill climb she's not ready for right now.  And that's how we become overwhelmed by life.  Have you ever let the dishes go so long that you don't have any left to eat off?  And you see the pile building and it just seems too much to take on, so you procrastinate.  In the end, in tackling the first dish, you are taking control back of the situation.  Weight loss is the same.  If you look at it on a grand scale, it will overwhelm you, but the first step you take is reassuring your control over the outcome.  If your environment is pure chaos, start with one simple thing, take control over it, and good things are sure to follow.  Just the way that washing the piles of dishes turns into suddenly having the drive to clean up the entire kitchen. A messy house-mind-diet-finances usually go hand-in-hand.  Taking control over one, proves to you that you can affect the outcome of nearly every goal you set out to acheive. 
Scale says 161 today.  I decided to switch things up and do my strength training first thing this morning, instead of my normal time, 1-2 hours after breakfast.  I can tell my muscles were ready to get back into action, it was a great workout, and I felt really strong.  I followed it up with a 20-minute, high intensity cardio session, and half-way through the session, I decided to run a bit.  I tested myself to see how long I could run before I felt like I needed to stop,  and to my surprise, I lasted 4 1/2 minutes before my quads felt too exhausted to continue.  If I hadn't just done a weight workout, I may have been able to last longer, so I will experiment again on day that is designated as strictly cardio.  I am interested to see where I'm at.  This city has a multitude of marathons nearly all year long, and to say it isn't in the far corners of my mind would be a lie. 
More snow about to dump on us, I am seriously considering throwing a party whenever spring decides to visit us in Green Bay.  But I scored a huge interview (for an optical manager) on Thursday, so I am feeling no pain.  Hope you are all pain free and in control!  Happy Monday!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Calling in

Today my body feels like a brittle, aged tree succoming to fierce January winds, and all I can do is hunker down and hope it doesn't uproot me.  After a few days of beautiful weather, it is brutally cold and exceptionally windy today, and my body is protesting. 
I have been losing sleep due to my metabolism, and that has led to my immune system being compromised enough to catch the cold my kids both have.  It is just a swollen throat and a bit of the sniffles at this point, and I'm hoping I can keep it at bay.  This morning, despite drinking more than the usual amount of caffeine, I felt over-tired and had absolutely no desire to move.  So I decided to put off my workout til this afternoon.  Procrastination rarely ever pays off, and today is no exception.  It was supposed to be a weight training day, but I also knew I couldn't go "all out" today and tax my central nervous system too severly, or I will regret it when my cold turns into something worse.  So, my idea was to walk to the park about 2 blocks away, and use the equipment to do some non-weight strength training such as step-ups and bench dips.  By the time I made the five minute walk to the park, it was painfully obvious that my body did not want me to be out in the frigid winds, much less be requiring it to burn some non-existent energy source. My knee was already feeling the forecasted rain/snow storm that is approaching, and it wasn't going to be doing me any service to ignore the aggrivation.  So, I decided that I am calling in sick today.  Rather, listening to my body and having a rest.  I may dig out my ancient yoga video and do some gentle stretching later, but that will be the extent of it.  And I'm OK with that.
I finally made myself a 'bucket list' of sorts.  I felt a little silly doing it, because some of the things were pretty outlandish, but then again, that's why they call it dreaming, right?  What I discovered is that, my dream of doing something in the culinary arts is not going away.  So I finally took the next step and found a few schools in the area that have degrees in the field.  A kind of excitement I haven't felt in a long time washed over me as I looked at the described courses, wishing I could immerse myself in them right now.  When I get a job, I will take serious strides toward making that happen.  I feel really excited that I have finally decided where I truly want to focus my energies, and that excitement reignites my drive for what I am doing now, on this weight loss journey.  Life is funny like that, a continuum of interrelated inspirations.  It took a little bit of apathy to get me to this point, and a lot of trial and error.  But that's the reason it has worked so brilliantly.  If it were easy, everyone would be a fitness model.  If it were easy, we would never learn anything about ourselves, and the journey would have little meaning.  Here's to the tough stuff in life bringing out the best of us! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Crack in the Mirror

This morning's sunshine and somewhat mild temps inspired me to run again.  This time I just went around the neighborhood, nothing fancy.  I did ten intervals of 1 minute running, and 30-60 seconds walking at an easy pace, depending on how much wind I was sucking.  It felt pretty good, natural.  I even corrected a posture issue I noticed (my chin was leading me, I must have looked pretty comical).  I'm not sure if I get a runner's high just yet, you probably need to run for more consecutive minutes than I do, but running makes me feel fit, smart, and strong.  When I see my shadow next to me on the street I think, that's me, running.  And I look normal doing it, WHAT A TRIP!  So forget what I said about letting my interval cardio dictate when I would be running.  I started my interval cycle over on Monday (which means it is a lot lower intensity the first week), and I didn't want to wait until Sunday, when the weather's supposed to be garbage, to run because chances are, it wouldn't happen.  The most I can ethically committ to during the weekend is a little cardio, indoors, where my guys can see me.  Anything else is just a bonus, as far as I'm concerned.
Since I had so much muscle tightness after I ran last time, I made sure to get a good stretch in afterword, and I took a long bath to relax the muscles.  So far, I think I will be able to walk tomorrow.  Thumbs up.
Now, I wouldn't normally tax my system like that on a weight training day, but I was just going with what felt right at the moment.  How my body handles doing both in a matter of just a few hours, is yet to be determined.  But it has been a few days since I've had a good solid weight session, so I went ahead and laced up my shoes yet again.  To my surprise, I had plenty of energy to get a great weight session in, my only modification was I had to leave out the lunges, because after only five of them I noticed my knee was irriated again (from the running).  And, I have noticed that, I happen to be "in between" the weights I have available for the kickbacks, so I have swaped them out for Skull Crushers, which feel a lot more natural and effective for my triceps.  I can't wait to get rid of the loose stuff on the back of my arms! 
While I was training my hamstrings on the stability ball, I watched myself in the full-length mirror.  It has a long crack in it (my kids love to play in closets) and for an instant, my stomach looked so small and flat, but I realized that it was being distorted by the crack in the mirror, which split my body in half. I thought to myself, that even if it was a distortion, it was nice to get a glimpse of where I could be someday.  Then I moved over to get my full image in one side, and realized that it wasn't a distortion after all.  When I am laying down, my stomach looks that way.  It is my mind playing tricks with me again, thinking I am still 223 pounds.  Then I thought back to this morning's run and it reminded me of my newfound strength and much improved fitness level, and with a quiet, content, smile I thought to myself, I am on my way, and it is only going to get better as it goes!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Skip a Workout, Lose a Pound?

I am still rocking out the goals, but I will say this, I have had about enough of sick kids and snow in the forecast!  There, now I feel better.  One kid has yet another cold, complete with soupy nose, the other had stomach flu last night, and is now catching his brother's cold.  And there is a rain/snow mix in the forecast for Friday, when just yesterday it was in the 70's and thunderstorming.  Well, not much I can do about it, so I won't whine.  Anymore.
My metabolism has been insane.  Its as though I cannot keep myself full.  I am hungry within an hour of eating, so lately my meals are closer to 2 hours apart rather than 3, which means I am taking in more calories, and still nearly insatiable.  Last night, I kept a jar of peanuts by my bed, because I was sick of getting up to eat every couple hours.  Maybe I need to eat something with a little higher fat content before bed.  Whatever the case, it is raging.  And I am pretty excited about that, it's a small price to pay for my dream in progress.  And this morning when I woke up, I was 1 pound lighter than yesterday, despite skipping my workout.  That puts me at 161, a new all-time low.  The 150's are looking accomplishable from here, barring any disasters. 
As for the skipping the workout, it seems to me that I either cannot get in the right mindset, or am so interrupted from strength training when my kids are around, so I have decided not to stress out about doing that portion of my workout on the weekends.  I will still do cardio, which is a lot less of a time committment, and a lot less to ask of them (to be patient for Mommy's attention and not play right in my walking path).  Besides, it seems like I tend to lose weight when I do 1 less weight session per week.  Just an obeservation at this point, but I may put it to the test.  I have no problem do extra cardio on days I don't do weight work. 
I am planning to do some more running this week, perhaps on Friday.  I don't want to do too much too soon, as I was sore for a number of days after my last run.  I am letting my interval cardio schedule dictate, whenever it calls for top level intensity, it will be those days that I run, weather permitting. 
Not much else for now.  Did my interval cardio today (low intensity) while my sick boy was resting, and spent the day nursing him back to health.  No extra cardio for me today, it's already time to pick up the other guy from school, then homework, cook dinner, give them baths, reading time, and bed.  Yawn.  Haven't been sleeping well, due to my crazy metabolism.  Hoping tonight provides some peaceful Zzzz's.  Hope everyone had an adventurous weekend, and feels energized for the new week! 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Just You Try to Stop Me!

In one of my previous blogs I said that I felt like the universe was rushing into me, because for the first time in my life, I was open to it.  Then, I let my personal life overwhelm me, and it carried over across the board.  Well, I finally feel the universe rushing in again.  Or maybe it is just strength.  And joy.  And the confidence of knowing I can do anything.  The truth is, I feel even stronger now than I did before it happened.  I am unstoppable!
Yesterday's running is part of why I feel so strong.  Not because I ran a marathon, but because I made a goal I wasn't sure I could acheive, and I conquered it.  And I am wearing my sore muscles like a badge, chest all puffed out like a goofy kid, with a goofy grin to match.  And this morning when I started my cardio walk, it was supposed to be low intensity (burns more fat) but I kept having to remind myself to slow down because my positive mood is giving me so much energy I can hardly contain it.  The cardio helped a little with the sore muscles, so it was a win-win. 
I decided to try and make poached eggs for the first time yesterday.  I haven't ever tried them, and I had this misconception that they were terribly difficult to make.  I did them perfect the first time, and they were delicious.  Score!
I had a huge "duh" moment on Wednesday, which has led to a few switches in my diet yet again.  Before I ate the pizza last Friday, I was 163, then I went up to 168 by Sunday, and since then have been at 166.  It is really unusual that my weight would stay unfluctuating all week, so I took a look at my diet.  Now, South Beach does not encourage calorie counting or analyzing each little macronutrient, they just tell you what you can and can't eat.   But I was curious, so I logged everything I ate for Wednesday.  To my surprise the changes I made to my diet this week, actually added a whole heap of sodium and calories to my diet.  The whole wheat tortilla wraps (which I thought would be healthier than bread) were a whopping 660 mg of sodium for one!  And I was eating 2 a day some days.  Anyway, after seeing the breakdown, I made some crucial changes to my diet, and reduced my sodium by more than 3,000 mg yesterday (yes, you read that right!).  The result?  I get to eat greek yogurt (which I am convinced is from the Gods) and a three pound weight loss overnight!  It just goes to show, just because something is touted as being "healthy" doesn't make it so.  And, even though you don't have to analyze things to a hair, it's best to be proactive and investigate, especially if the scale isn't moving. 
While I was doing my strength training today, I felt so much stronger.  My mind-muscle connection was just 'on' today, and I got some great pumps.  I love it when that happens!  During my workout I noticed that one of my ugliest spots (inner thighs) is starting to tighten up nicely, and I just about shouted out.  It is a spot I wasn't sure would get better, it's been pretty saggy for a long time.  The weight training made my stiff muscles (from the run) feel much better.  In the past, those sore muscles would have been a convenient excuse to skip my strength training today, but I didn't even let that be an option.  I wasn't going to work that hard yesterday, just to slack today.  That would be self-defeating.
Another positive thing that happened last night, is that my husband and I finally got a little quality time to have a conversation.  He has been working 12 days straight, mostly 10-hour shifts, and still hasn't relented on his grueling gym schedule, so I have hardly seen him, which was one of the reasons for my foul mood lately.  Anyway, he told me that seeing me change my body has changed his whole view on overweight people.  Previously, he was certain that if a person was overweight to a certain extent, that they were never going to change.  Pretty cynical, but as far as the (middle-aged, overweight) guys he works with, it has pretty much been true.  But since I have shown him that it can be done, his eyes are being opened a little.  He told me how proud he is of me, and that when people ask him for weight loss advice, he tells them how I'm doing it the South Beach way, and doing it on my own.  I felt so proud when he said that, and it only inspired me to push even harder.  And maybe someday, I will help someone else with their journey.  Who better to do that, than someone who's been there?  There was a job posting for a Jenny Craig consultant, and I am actually thinking about applying for it.  That might be a career I would be happy doing.  Just a thought.
I sent out 4 more resumes today, so I'm hoping to hear something from those employers.  It is sad how many hours I spend seeking out jobs to apply for, writing tedious cover letters, and waiting by the phone, to no avail.  I did, however contact the HR contact for the Prevea (optician) job I interviewed for a month ago, and she said they are still reviewing the candidates, but I should know about the position by the end of next week.  At least there's still a chance.  That is the one I am really crossing my fingers for.
I have been listening to more reggae music lately, which connects me to a peaceful time in my life, when I first started to explore the Rastafarian life.  I have missed that spirituality, and have begun incorperating it back into my life.  Funny thing is, my husband just admited he is doing the same thing right now, and among all the other things he's got on his plate right now, he wants to become and official member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.  So many things opening up in our lives right now, I can feel something really positive on the horizon.  It's already positive.
We have a pregnant Mourning Dove and her partner making their nest in the rafters of our patio.  It may seem like a small thing, but it feels like we have been 'chosen', and I'm proud to host them.  Besides, it those little chance happenings that make life so rich, right?
Well, that was a whole bunch of miscellaneous babble today, I guess that's the mindset I am in!  It's going to be a gorgeous weekend here, complete with thunderstorms and 70 degree temps (I love rain!)  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Little Help From My Friends

It seems each day that I am on this journey, I learn something new that will be a tool I can use indefinitely, in my weight loss, and in life.  Yesterday symbolized my return to a healthy mindset, and though I didn't enjoy going through my 'down' period, I learned a lot about my character.  I discovered that I do have the strength to stay the course, even when the waters are rough, and that, (like the saying goes) it isn't how many times we fall down, but how many times we get back up. 
I want to thank Tony for his kind comment to my last post, it really brought tears (good ones, I swear) to my eyes and touched me.  And with what you said, I gained a new strength that propelled me to reach a new goal today.  Even though I don't respond to every comment every time, it really means the world to me that you not only read my blog, but always have a thoughtful comment.  Thank you, friend!
In yesterday's blog, I mentioned that I was thinking of taking up running, or at least adding some of it into my cardio plan.  I honestly didn't know if I could physically do it, but the idea has been drifting around in my head a lot lately.  So, I decided to sort of test the waters today, by incorporating a little running into my interval work this morning.  Taking Tony's advice, I selected my only shirts I have that is too tight on me, and when I put it on I was surprised to find that it's not going to work for too much longer.  Happy surprise.  I had so many layers of clothing on, to help keep things in place, it was a bit ridiculous!  But, with temperatures in the high 30's and a slight breeze, I was happy I had those layers on.  I drove to one of my favorite places in the city, the City Deck, which is a boardwalk of sorts, along the Fox River.  After a nice walk over the draw bridge, I made it to the City Deck, and began my first interval, 60 seconds running, 30 seconds easy pace walking in between.  There were intervals when I thought I was going to give up, but then I'd look at my watch and it was nearly time to switch, so to my amazement, I completed all ten intervals.  I didn't know I had it in me!  I felt like exhaulting.  Instead, I just let a wide, content smile claim my face, and enjoyed the sunny walk back over the river to my car.  Yes!  I did it!  And I wasn't sucking wind like when I used to try to run for any length of time, I actually had nice, controlled breathing.  I could get used to this.  I AM AWESOME!
If you haven't already checked out Tony's blog, you should do so, it is wonderfully written, and he's a great blog-buddy to have.  Here's the link:Tony Van Helsing's Mystery Theatre.  Here's to everyone who's testing what they have in them, and continuing to get back up no matter what life throws their way!  Have an awesome Thursday!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Taking Flight

That thing that was eating at me has been resolved, and my energy and mood have skyrocketed today!  I learned from this challenge, that it weakened me mentally and physically, but did not break me.  And, what I was asking of another, I was not giving.  Long story short, I feel fantastic today, and that is a blessing!
The kids had a late start day for school, so it was nice to leisurely lull about this morning and take our time getting ready for school.  I think this morning's temperatures were the warmest morning temps since last Fall, so the boys decided they wanted to walk to the bus stop.  It's only a block away, but most mornings we are running late and Israel walks at a snail's pace, so we usually end up driving.  Along the way, the boys decided they wanted to run, so we ran nearly all the way off the property and to the bus stop.  Running felt so good to me.  After Israel got on the bus, I challenged Zach to a race back home, where we spent about another half hour outside, waiting for his bus, and it felt so good to be outside in the warmer weather.  It has me making plans for the summer.  And what an awesome summer it's going to be, now that I don't feel like I have to completely cover every inch of skin on my body in shame.
For my weight session, I challenged myself to complete it in half the time, by taking shorter rests between sets and doing some of the moves as more of a concentrated manner.  Wow, my body is feeling the difference!  That shoulder super-set I added is really effective at completely exhausting the muscles group.  After my weight session, I went for a walk outside, and did 35 minutes of intense cardio walking.  While I was walking, I was noticing how much my fitness level has improved.  A few months ago, if I had walked at today's pace, I would have been sucking wind.  Today, I felt like my body wanted to take flight, as if I almost couldn't walk fast enough.  I am feeling the momentum shifting toward running.  The only thing that is stopping me at this point is the embarassment of what my body is doing when I am running.  My stomach still has so much fat/flab there that it "flaps" when I run, complete with a slapping noise.  Yikes, can't believe I just put that out there, but there it is, and I don't know what to do about it.  Part of me thinks, there's a reason you don't see very many obese people running.  But, why shouldn't we be able to?  Surely there must be a solution, I just don't know much about the sport, so I am starting from scratch.  So, if any of my lovely readers have any info or suggestions, I would be gratful.  I'm not thinking about running marathons or anything, just running for fitness.  There have been so many times where I would dream (during sleep) about running, and my heart always felt so warm and good, and there was always a smile on my face.  In my dreams I always felt like I was gliding when I ran.  So, I took it to mean that I was meant to be a runner, but I always thought you had to already be fit to be a runner, so I never took it up.  I think I might be ready. 
I tested my blood pressure today, and it is getting a little on the low end, 109/72.  I might be able to get off some of these meds soon, which has been one of my biggest goals in this journey.  All positive things happening.
Sorry my blog has been so negative lately.  I'm so happy to be happy again.  And I'm really proud that I didn't let it ruin everything I've worked for.  Thanks for being awesome readers, and thanks for the support and comments!  Happy hump day!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Just One of Those Days

This morning welcomed me with a giant headache, and it hasn't subsided.  I have a nagging feeling of depression following me around, which I've been prone to in the past.  This time, I think I know the root of my worries, and it has been eating away in my gut for a while now, threatening to derail me if I don't deal with it.  It is probably just my imagination working overtime, and I am sure I will feel better once I take the proper steps to work through it.  Funny how a few, small things can blow up so big in my head, and take over the controls like a bully.  Well, I am going to approach this sticky spot with logic and reason, and take those controls back, baby!
My lagging spirit and headache short-tracked my morning session of interval cardio.  It was just one of those times when I knew it wasn't going to happen the way it should, it was feeling too forced and not good, so I ended after only 6 minutes.  Did 35 minutes of cardio this afternoon, which spiked my spirits slightly.  Last night I made a recipe from my South Beach Diet book, it was for peanut butter and jelly cookies.  For such a simple recipe, they are pretty tastey.  Maybe too tastey.  They are ridiculously tiny, not much bigger than a Hershey's kiss, and one serving consists of 2 cookies.  I was supposed to control myself and only eat 1 serving, but I ate 2 servings of them last night.  I was using food to comfort, and the issue that was causing me to want to comfort was further agrivated last night, so this morning I had 2 more servings before breakfast.  And though I am not proud of what I did, part of me wanted to eat that whole darn bag of cookies this morning, but I was able to stop, and put them in the freezer where I can't see them and won't be tempted by them. 
Everything else is going smoothly today.  Tempuratures are finally starting to creep up this week, snow is melting and the sun is gracing us with its loveliness.  I should be back in 'Fitness Goddess' mode soon enough, just have to do a little "spring cleaning" first.  Hope everyone's is feeling loved and happy today!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Damn Pizza!

Boy did I have to dig deep today!  There has been a lot going on inside of me lately, and in the chaotic swirl of introspection, my weight issues always bubble to the surface.  A month ago, I was so on top of all of this, absolutely no doubts in my mind about any of it, thinking this was all so easy.  I am learning the frustrating way, beginning the journey toward fitness doesn't fix the rest of the things that are out of place in your life, and if you let your happiness lie solely on what you see in the mirror(or the number on the scale), there are bound to be plenty of days to bring you down.
Last week, the scale was creeping ever closer to 162, which would mark a 30-pound loss.  I was doing an extra cardio session every day, which actually improved my mood and gave me more energy, and as a result, my metabolism was roaring.  So on Friday, when we had our ritual, family cheat meal of Domino's Pizza, I didn't think anything of it.  In fact, I knew my body could handle it because I was doing so well.  Not true.  The next morning I woke up 4 pounds heavier!  Mostly water weight I assume, but still disheartening.  I even felt thicker, jigglier, blah.  My mood, as you might guess, left much to be desired, I didn't have as much energy, and even my temper flared more than usual.  My poor kids!  I only did one workout this weekend, on Saturday morning I did cardio.  By Sunday, I had gained another pound, all the way back up to 168.  I started to feel like things were slipping away on me, and thoughts of eating junk flooded over me.  I was able to control myself, and didn't eat junk, but it was another thing to make me feel disappointed and frustrated.  Why am I having this struggle all of the sudden?
Well, part of the weight was due to the eating of mega doses of sodium right before bed.  Friday's pizza and Saturday's cottage cheese with green olives were poor bedtime meal choices.  In fact, there is so much sodium in cottage cheese, that I have eliminated it from my menu for the time being, and will use it as an occasional treat.  I spent a good deal of time looking through my South Beach Diet book to find ideas of other things I could eat, that would have less sodium, and found some great recipes that will breathe a little life in my stale menu.
This morning's weight was 166.  Since I ate that damn pizza, my metabolism hasn't been the same.  I slept through the night all weekend.  So, this week, along with my lower-sodium menu, I will try to rev that metabolism back up by continuing to do an extra session of cardio each day and drinking more water/fluids.  I have also added some shoulder moves into my weight workout, and am doing them as a super-set.  Wow, are my arms trashed today!  While I was working out today, I felt so good, happy and confident.  I kept looking at my muscle, face and body in the mirror and thinking, I look cute.  And it wasn't because I was trying to convince myself of it, but because I honestly felt it.  Yes, I still have work to do, but I've already got a lot going for me.  Genetics being a biggie.  I have always wanted muscular arms, shoulders with the separation and definition.  I have the genetics to make that happen, I already have some great things starting there.  Working out in front of a mirror is a really great motivator.  The things you don't like about yourself will be right there in your face, daring you to try and make them go away, and the things you do like SHINE.  It was the workout that brought my focus back, not the scale.  And that is the way it should be. 
After a shakey start this morning, I am feeling FANTASTIC, and hope you are too!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Metabolic Rage and M&Ms

This morning I went to get a few groceries, and while I was waiting in line to checkout, I had some Combos, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, a king-sized Snickers, and some Funyuns. 
April Fools!  Well actually, I saw an interesting study (ashamed to admit it was on the Dr. Oz show.  It was the first time I watched it, I swear!)  The study went like this:  Group One was sent into a room and asked to think about drinking a glass of water, to use all their senses to 'experience' the water, and were then presented with a bowl of M&M's and told to eat as many as they wished.  Group Two was asked to think about eating one single M&M, to imagine looking at it, smelling it's aroma as it neared their mouths, feel the crunchy shell on their tongue and even acknowledge the urge to crunch into the shell, to let the chocolate melt on their tongue and slide down their throat.  They were also given a bowl of M&Ms and told to eat as much as they wished.  Can anyone guess the result?  The group who imagined drinking water ate the entire bowl, the other group ate only 60% of their bowl.  The message was that satisfaction comes not just from the taste but from all the senses, and that you can trick your mind into feeling partially satisfied and it will result in weight loss.  They had a lady on the show who'd apparently lost 15 pounds in a year just by doing this mental exercise alone.  She claims that she feels totally satisfied, and even enjoys the food more, even though she's eating less.  I am on the fence on this one.  I know the power of the mind, and I know that can work for or against you.  I think if you have bingeing or portion control issues, this might be a bit of a help, but I am not totally convinced.  It is almost giving people the green light to eat unconstructive things, as long as they do the mental trick beforehand.  Then again, I do find when I begin a diet, that smells become very satisfying to me, especially of things I am not eating, like the bread baking at Subway, or cinnamon rolls.  So, not sure what to make of that whole thing.  Another fad that people will buy into and be disappointed when they too do not lose 15 pounds in a year by eating their M&Ms slower.
As I was shopping today, a lightbulb went on and I figured out what my body image issues are right now.  The reason I feel like I should look better than I do, is because I was in complete denial about how big I truly was to begin with.  When I looked through some old photos yesterday, there were literally times when I gasped in horror at the size of my body.  I knew I was big, and I have seen the photos before, but it really hit home for me (finally!) yesterday.  And when I compared, I was able to see how far I'd come, how good I'm doing.  Thanks to getting back on schedule with my meal timing, not to mention all the extra cardio I did this week, my metabolism is RAGING!  I had to get up twice during the night to eat, because once my stomach starts growling my eyes pop wide open until I eat something to get my blood sugars stabalized again.  That was after eating a little extra serving of fat with my bedtime meal, because this has been happening all week.  I'm OK with my metabolism speeding up, but I am losing a lot of sleep because of it.  Ah well, the price we pay to look good, right? 
Today I changed up my interval walking (still doing it in my house because it's still icy outside) by listening to music instead of watching Good Morning America.  Even though I am sleep-deprived, I had one of the best workouts in a long time, thanks to the music.  I can't believe I never thought of it before, I always use my iPod when I walk outdoors, but never indoors.  Well, from now on, I will listen to music for walking.  To think there was a time in my life when I really wasn't that interested in music anymore.  I think I wasn't interested in life much either at that point, just existing.  Sigh.  Glad those days are long gone!
Not much else going on today, so I'll procede with the monthly measurements.
March 1-April 1 Loss                                                                                  Total loss since Dec 1
Bust: 1 1/4 inch                                                                                             5 1/4 inches
Chest: 1 1/2 inch                                                                                            4 inches
Waist: 1 1/4 inch                                                                                           4 1/2 inches
Hips: 1 inch                                                                                                   5 inches
Midway: 1 7/8 inch                                                                                        4 7/8 inches
Thighs: 1/4 inch                                                                                              1 1/4 inches
Knees: 1/4 inch                                                                                              3/4 inch
Calves: 1/4 inch                                                                                              5/8 inch
Upper Arm: 1/4 inch                                                                                      1 1/2 inch
Forearms: 0 difference                                                                                    1/2 inch

And the scale said 163 today.  I am determined to get under 162 will be 30 pounds.  Hope to get down to 160 or less by the end of April.  Just going to keep plugging away at the extra cardio and keeping those meal intervals 3 hours or less.  Speaking of which, time to eat!  Hope everyone has a super fantastic weekend!