Tuesday, September 10, 2013

little starbursts.

I'm torn between sharing frustrations about work and sharing some of the bizarre highlights of what has become my life of late. So, perhaps a little of both. Work: There are a bunch of pregnant ladies at work right now and I have been flipping out about what will happen when they all go out on maternity leave at THE SAME TIME! We are already down some folks on our team and the idea makes my tummy flip.

Outside of work: I started teaching at a local university. I kind of can't believe it. I got out of class the first night and texted my Dude with, "I just taught COLLEGE!!!" I floated home in a warm, happy bubble. Last night was our 2nd class and I started getting the anxious tickles, the kind that make me feel like I screwed up. There is a woman in my class who makes me feel like she is mad all the time. Almost every contribution she has made in class had made me wonder if she is mad at me. 2 classes are not enough to be able to tell. Seriously, I am teaching a college class. I know that parts of it will make me flip out with self-imposed expectations (every time I percieve I've made a mistake, for instance). And other parts will make me insanely tickled. Overall, it's SO MUCH WORK! And so far, the thrill is the strongest part.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Balancing act.

How do you balance social etiquette, socializing and diet restrictions. With some things, like food intolerances, it is very straight forward: eat this, feel like crap. But keeping track of every item I eat (which I do) and being able to plan ahead for every social occasion is frustrating. I find myself being very reasonable in each setting, except that the frequency of each dalliance is the problem. How do you limit the social interactions? How do you build the bridges to have people want to support you instead of get frustrated by your constant refusals? I've cut way back on my calorie intake. I've tracked what a "normal" day was like before I started hitting the gym hardcore and using MyFitnessPal and I feel like I should be seeing an improvement faster than I am. I know that it is normal to make a sort of exchange of fat and muscle as you begin "losing weight" but I don't see it in my clothes. This is super frustrating. So, I look at the possible areas where I am still slipping up and thus, the paragraph above. What do you do? Who could I partner with to better understand the effect of my intake and output? Ultimately, I know that I am getting fitter. My skin texture is better. I feel my muscle tone improving. My energy is better. But I want it all. I want to be a better shape for my height. I want to have a healthy height/weight ratio. I want to wear smaller pants and feel even better nekkid. What to do!??!?!

Monday, August 5, 2013

More on swimsuit shopping.

I promised before that I would share more about my swimsuit adventure and here are a few oddball things I learned:

-If it is on the sale rack, there is a reason.
I tried on a few different suits from the sale rack and these were some of the worst suits I have EVER encountered. I am chubby, I get it. I don't expect to look like a supermodel in a swimsuit but I am also shapely. I have big hips and a big chest and suits that make me look like the Hanes Fruit of the Loom Apple man are pure atrocities of swim design.

-Every full-price suit with a hope was black.
This is not so bad, but patterns are better for masking flaws. It's just true. Not to mention it's hard to see the differences between one suit and another when they are all black black black. Cut, dimension, etc are helpful to understand before trying to pour yourself into one of these spandex chambers.

-Looking at the framed racing suit on the wall in the dressing room.
Made my head spin. It was so tiny I really could not imagine ever having been such a size myself. It's not like looking at a kid's suit and knowing that at some point in my life I fit into kid's clothing. This suit was worn by a grown woman. A tiny, grown, insanely athletic woman, yes. But it puts my head in a less than awesome space looking at that, and then my chubby butt trying to fit into these tubes without mercy.

-How we are performing now.
Once I got out of the suits I actually felt better. I landed with a TYR fitness suit that has some crossed/twisted/rushing on the chest that is a little more flattering but the whole thing stays on, covers well and is COMFORTABLE! I marched across the street and huffed my way through about 6 laps. And it felt good. I get like I was getting the burn I wanted. And I actually think it helps my foot. I am curious and will need to ask my podiatrist about it this afternoon. The best part is really that I feel empowered. I feel like I can still make this shit happen. That I won't just focus on what I can't do. That I am still making progress and kicking ass.

Walk a mile in my shoes.

More than a mile. With my FitBit I've set a personal gial of walking 12k steps a day. Well, last week I blew the cieling of that piece while attending a trade show for work. On the days we walked the show I cleared 20k steps a day, easy. I even had a day where I hit 26k+! Since I have learned that my heel pain is real pain I know that that much walking is kinda a no-no. I did what I could to mitigate the pain: rolled my ball, changed shoes daily, wore my sleeping boot but by the time we were ready to come home I knew I'd pushed too far. However, at the trade show I met a man named Eric from Icebug shoes and he was better than cake and ice cream. I swear I learned more from him that I did in my whole diagnosis adventure. I went to their booth since they were giving out free sample insoles and that sounded like a good idea to me! While chatting with him he dropped a few reality bombs on me like: -I should always wear shoes, not go barefoot (even at home) -keep using my ball -my boot's effectiveness is debatable -I need a shoe guru to lay the truth on my closet.

 I came away from the meeting with some great insoles and feeling more determined than ever to kick this pain. I took his advice and got some house shoes (so not sexy, but as the Dude said repeatedly, this will be GOOD for you). Like some sort of god-sent sign my trainer called to tell me he was not going to be able to make our 6am this morning, could I call the gym to reschedule? Yes! After days of foot abuse it was what I needed to hear. It's a swimming day. And hopefully by week's end I will have a better handle on how to work with my trainer to keep kicking my butt! While also healing my foot. Rock on!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

New challenges. Oh, my dear feet.

A few months ago I went absolutely wild for barefoot technology shoes. I loved the simple, ballet-slipper feel of them. I felt like I could dance across the world as my stage. They are light, flexible and they are finally coming out with styles that I can wear to work instead of just the awesome sneaker variety. Oh, I should also mention that these are not the 5-finger, toe separating variety. I love them.

And then I noticed that my heel would hurt a bit at the end of the day. I thought it mostly had to do with the resistance of my right foot to adapt to the barefoot cadence (a midfoot strike instead of a heel strike). However, further experience led me to believe that was not the case.

Over the course of a couple of months I felt the pain increase occasionally but still was not convinced it was a real problem. Which is goofy, since I remember the 5 worst words in personal health:

Maybe It Will Just Go Away

Dumb, dumb, dumb. So last week, after a pretty damn AWESOME workout with my trainer (lots of squats and lunges) and I felt like my heel was damn near about to abort it's relationship with my body I finally made an appointment to see the doctor. And learned that I have plantar fascitis. And a heel spur.

To combat my pain I am to: ice, stretch, stay off my foot, wear supportive footwear, sleep in this funky flexed-foot boot thing and roll my foot with a spiky massage ball. For I don't know how long. I have an appointment with a podiatrist in a week or so.

So how to do I keep kicking my own butt at the gym if I have to stay off of one of my feet so much? I don't want to create an imbalance in my upper and lower body. I want to slim and shape my legs/thighs. So I thought about swimming.

Need an ego-boosting pick me up? Don't go swimsuit shopping. I was determined to keep burning calories and marched my butt into a local swim shop to try their selection of plus size fitness suits. After a series of suits that had me doubting the true shape and proportions of my own body I found a suit that works and secured it for my own. Marched my butt across the street to one of my gym's branches and huffed my way through 6 laps of freestyle swimming. And went home satisfied.

In high school my dude was a swim team nut. He offered to write out a short workout for me and I think I might actually take him up on it. Feet! You will not keep me from my quest!

Now, do you know anything about how swimming may actually improve my foot pain? After several swim sessions I have noticed a sense of improvement in my feet that I am hesitant to trust just yet... Any clues???

Friday, July 19, 2013

Things are never what you expect.

Home nearly a week and what a difference a few days make. As per usual Dude and I have had a fascinatingly full week. I don't know what it is but there always seems to be something that mucks up the works. This week it was my dude who had the rough day rather than me but it was a doozy. Locked himself out of his house, had to taxi to me downtown to get my keys (stupid meetings!) and then learned that the Peanut (Dude's daughter) might have head lice. And then, at some point in the day a spider decided he was a delicious snack and gave him two big chomps. By the time I met up with Dude and Peanut for dinner he was a ball of swollen, itchy nerves.

We had a surprisingly smooth evening given that the Peanut is amazing: we kept her up 'til 10pm working on her hair, etc and she didn't cry or scream or complain at all. She is 4 years old. I am endlessly grateful. However, we were all so exhausted that the entire next day felt like a chore with every step.

Thankful it is Friday. Thankful to snuggle up the dude tonight after our long week. Thankful to be meeting with the trainer tomorrow to get me off of my exercise rut. I haven't been all that motivated to push hard this week. Just so tired and post-vacation reluctant. I'm excited to get my butt kicked a little. I need it to snap me back in.

An additional amusement on the fitness front: on vacation my steps per day were hardly ideal. I don't know that I met the 10k/day goal on a single day that we traveled. There was actually a day that I did not crack 4k (I napped, a lot. And LOVED it!). On returning home I've amped up my daily step goal. As I average about 12k while home and at work I decided to bump my daily goal up to 15k with the more active intention of actually achieving the goal steps. Every. Day.

Having a general step goal has given me good insight into how much I move. A few weeks of tracking my steps with the FitBit has shown me that I am much more active during the week than on weekends. I am a slug while visiting family. On days that I do not hit the gym my steps are low low low. I started out just wanting to see how much I walk. How much I move. Now, to get closer to my goal and faster I'm working on 15k/day. Every day. Regardless of hitting the gym.

How will I get it? Here's how-
-park further away at the store
-walk to the further bus stop
-stop taking the elevator for short trips
-plan active things to do with Mike
-go walking with lady friends

Have more ideas? Share 'em!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Vacation exercise. Or not.

I have dutifully worn my fitbit every day of our vacation. I've also catalogued all of my food and drink. I even went to the gym. Once. But at least I went. I am eager to get home to Minneapolis because you know what you learn when you where your FitBit on vacation? I move more when I'm at work. What a vacation slug!

Sure it helps to be exercising every day at home, and eating well and yes, I know, it's vacation. It's not reasonable, or fun, to completely deny myself rule breaking but I know I've been indulgent. Donuts and fried chicken for breakfast? Yep. It's been rough on my skin, my gut and my sleep. I am excited to get back to regular foods and exercise.

I think hitting the gym when I visit in the winter may be easier. The humidity and never quite being able to be fully cooled has been a deterrent on the mornings I could go. Plus, there's the late nights, bad food and snuggling with my dude to keep me in bed. Life could be worse!

Oh FitBit, you will be as rewarding when I get home as your were silently chiding me while on vacation. I look forward to keeping those digits in check! And, admittedly, knowing I would log everything I eat has kept me closer to not-crazy. Which is nice. It's been a delicious debauchery....

Philadelphia Freedom, I loooooove you... Yes I do.

Swiftly approaching our last few hours in Philly and I am right where I want to be: sitting on the couch enjoying a little downtime with my dude, mentally prepping for our last dinner in town before heading home in the morning. This week has been awesome.

First off: Dude is a hit. My parents like him, my friends think he's cute, they like how happy I am with him, they fully support his gloriously beardedness. (His mother keeps threatening to chop it off, so, this means something extra to me.) 

We've been running around like mad, with days and nights coming in mini-series split between Philly and NJ. We have eaten many delicious things. Some twice. We have visits, frolicked, tripped down memory lane, snuck in a little nooky here and there and generally, had a lovely time. I forget how lucky I am sometimes. Having my friends and family point out things about my dude or the way we are together reminds me how lucky I am. He is nice, he pays attention, he relaxes and stays himself, he's affectionate and makes me feel comfortable doing all the same things in return. That may sound a lot like, Well, duh! territory but I've been in a few relationships where I felt constantly at odds with my own desires, shut out or down by my partner, more concerned with whether or not they would shake loose of my displays of affection. It's a nice change. Sometimes I'm so happy I take it for granted. Not altogether awful.

Anywho, here are some highlights of our adventures thus far:
-met the parents, all my step brothers and 9 good friends. Whoah.
-witnessed a sauced family night and hardly abtted an eye
-ate at Han Dynasty in Old City and, oh, I just love it so much...!
-ate: Phó, Sabrina's, Mediterra, Federal Donuts (TWICE!!!) family home cooking and tonight we head to Honey's
-oh, and, Dude got his very first tattoo! Making him the sexiest creature on the planet. I am not allowed to reveal photos of his tattoo yet. But I got a new one, too!

The picture isn't great, but it's still amazing to me that I can keep up with my blog on the go from just a tablet. Awesome. My newest tattoos are a Liberty Bell and a cherry. A little Philly and a little Minneapolis. One of my other tattoos is a Claus Oldenberg scultpure, The Embrace (aka The Clothespin) which lives over the entrance to Suburban Station in Philadelphia. Minneapolis boasts a fine Oldenberg of its own: The Spoonbridge Cherry which consists of an enormous spoon with an equally enormous cherry sitting in its bowl. The stem sprays water over the handle and the whole work lives in the Walker Sculpture Garden. So, a cherry for my new home, and the bell for my roots and my freedom to explore the world.

Having a wonderful time, but can't wait to come home!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Little Fitbit, you intrigue me.

You may recall I wrote just a short while ago of my interest in getting a fitness tracker. After reading many reviews and calling in the opinion-giving assistance of my dude I landed on the Fitbit One. There are features about the other front-runner devices I considered that I do wish I could have captured in this purchase, such as:
The Jawbone Up-
-sleek design aesthetic
-idleness activity alarm
-in-built ability to tell the difference between your waking and sleeping activity
The Fitbit Zip-
-no need to recharge more than every few months (SOOO set and forget!)

Okay, it's not a long list. When I first started looking at devices I hadn't realized a non-wrist-strap option was really out there. Besides traditional pedometers it seemed like all the popular devices were wrist-babies (Nike Fuelband, Jawbone Up, Fitbit Flex) but in a classic episode of cognitive dissonance (where your brain works to reinforce your decisons and make you feel good about them) I am very happy to have chosen a device that no one has to see except my boyfriend or people at the gym. I wear it clipped to my bra when wearing  normal clothes so it's super James-Bond-esque invisble to common passerby.

On days I work out it's been very easy to hit the daily 10k step goal and I excited to see how I do with it while on vacation. Although I have a goal to hit the gym the mornings we are in Philly (it's not close enough to parents place in Jersey) I want tombe able to stay somewhat on track with my fitness plans.  Having the fitbit track my activity and show whether I've been a slug will help me make better decisions about that second beer or those tasty french fries! Excited!

Up, up and away.

We're in the air! En route to Philadelphia, PA for a whirlwind of hugging, delicious foods and introducing the dude to my (metaphorically? emotionally?) nearest and dearest. Although we've been together more than a year and a half I have not before had the opportunity to introduce him to the majority of my family. Last summer he did get to my one of my brothers (I have 4, more on that later perhaps. We representthe beauty of the blended family, for sure!) but today will be the first time he meets my parents.

Our friends in MN have all layered heavy meaning and impact on our current adventure. Having not just met dude's family but helped him move his mom out of their childhood home, dined with all of his siblings, etc I feel like we are really just catching up to where we would be if my family were a reasonable drive away, instead of 1500 miles away.

All that aside... I am WICKED PUMPED!!!!!

We have plans to see my family, meet friends, tour my childhood stomping grounds and eat at many delicious restaurants. Oddly, the two things I am most concerned about are what he will think of the restaurants I've been yearning for and whether he will actually tell me when he needs a break. I want this to feel like a vacation for him, not a chore. Here's hoping!

I will do my best to capture the highlights of our trip in a later post. Yummmmmmm...

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fitness tracker debate.

When I first joined the gym I told myself it was a big step. It was. I changed my daily schedule to include a 5am wake-up every weekday and a whole lot more energy to get through my days. I've been tracking my calories and my general food intake and I'm seeing a difference. I'm down an acceptable 7lbs so far. Many more to go.

I motivate myself with all sorts of things. Not food. I am surprised to say I actually ENJOY exercising. Which is a big wow moment for me. I buy workout pants and socks and sneakers to make getting dressed to work more appealing. I download music. I revel in sleeping late on the weekends when I don't have to get up at the crack to fit my gym time in. 

Time for a mini-success highlight along the journey. I think my skin feels better. Tighter, firmer. Yes, I am still rocking the cellulite and the under arm jiggle. But I am also feeling firmer skin covering all that jiggle. My dude says he can already see a shifting in my upper body. I'm pretty pumped to give my tattoos a better canvas to live on.

Onto this week's internal debate: do I want a fitness tracker?

Have you used any of these? I have heard through the grapevine that the Up is a little glitchy, prone to breakage. Which stinks since I generally LOVE Jawbone product (the Jambox I have, for instance, is AMAZING!) the Fitbit devices seem promising, though with different functionality and wearability for each...

So, my questions:
-best battery life?
-best ease of syncing?
-comfort in use
-will look good over time? (Ie- no white rubber picking up gray yick all the time)
-has a sleep alarm
-easy to use interface
-can I buy it through my company (since I will get a discount that way)

My next stop on the research tour is tomfind out if I can have my health insurance pay for it. Then, Apple, tomsee if they have any such devices on their site (implying endorsement of said product.) wish me luck! Updates coming soon!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Hoping for a normal day.

Since returning home from dude's mom's house/new house we've been on a strange little roller coaster ride. We got together to unload his fancy, original, supremely heavy victrola from the car, took little lady J to dinner and had a nice, quiet night. I was eager to get home and take care of a few things of my own but was just too tired when I got home.

Little did I know it would be the last quiet for days. I woke up at some very late hour feeling ill. By late morning I'd been sick several times and learned that my dude was also sick. It was one of those rare times I've been grateful we still live separately. We spent the day texting support and checking in on each other. Nothing pretty.

We both tried getting back to work on Friday and found it... challenging. Couldn't keep much down (bananas, crackers, ginger ale... yay...) and both left early. Thought some chicken noodle soup was the order of the evening.

Just as I had the pot about ready to eat a storm started rolling in, whipping trees around like Willow Smith's hair and Shakira's gyrating hips. Howling wind and pounding rain. Didn't know if I should look out the windows or hide in a closet. And dude was just about to come home from work.

My place lost power. We both felt yucky. We packed up my pot of soup and headed to his place in the hopes of power (or at least some cool air without my wall-to-wall carpets). No power for him, either.

I got power back last night but he's still without power today. Blows. We could use a day toward normalcy. It would be restive.

So here are the things I am focusing on at the start of this week:
-dude is amazingly patient and supportive
-he makes annoying situations better
-got new, neon gym sneakers on our "power's out, let's go shopping" trip
-went back to the gym and had a good workout
-calling the trainer to set up my next appt today
-get to go back to Kabbalah Sparks tonight (I haven't been in three months! More on that another time)

Making it work.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

This evening brought to you by the corny chicken dance.

Chester Chicken's here to say, don't you dare try to dress me up that way! Chicken fingers, tenders or sticks aren't for you, they make you sick! Grill me, roast me, pan-fry me crisp, serve me with salad or a lemon twist! But please, oh please, just leave alone, those goofy fingers that gots no bones.

Back to work and normal life today, good. Didn't get to grocery shop this week so I picked up a salad, some soup and some chicken fingers for lunch in the cafe at work. They were yummy, but later on it felt like I had a herd of buffalo migrating through my belly. No bueno.  No bueno burrito. I know better. It was the icing on the road trip cake of less-than-great food choices and options.

If you've read my early entries you might remember my elimination diet and that corn and cow's milk dairy are my primary food-distress culprits. That means all forms of either. Corn syrup, maltodextrin, dextrose, on and on. The milk products are easier to spot and since my trouble is mostly with casein I can still enjoy butter. I generally won't risk it with other dairy except in very planned circumstances. If you want to know more about just what happens shoot me a comment or an email and we can chat. So I knew the chicken was a bad idea. I'm sure it's got corn in it. It'll be many weeks before I make a major slip like that again. I say weeks as I being realistic. The slips are further and further apart as they seem more unpleasant each time. Why wouldn't they? I feel so good the rest of the time that my body has developed higher standards. And it takes days for all the symptoms to really clear up. Itchy skin, achy belly, buffalos.

So, I hope you're having a better belly night than I am. A bad day does not mean a bad week! Here we go go!

Not every day is amazing.

If every day started like today it would be hard to keep motivated and going to the gym.  Takes 21 days to make a habit but only three to break it, right? Well...

I spent the last three days driving 14 hours roundtrip to Wisconsin to help my dude's mom pack up the home dude grew up in, where they lived for over 30 years. It was a really good trip, we took the little lady J (my dude's daughter) and got to see all of the cousins and have lots of hugs. There were a few high tension moments but overall really good, productive. 

For me personally it was great to be there, to support his family, to keep building my relationship with his mom and sisters. But it also meant a vegetable desert, fried foods as far as the eye can see, awkward body work and poor sleep.  Coming home to sleep in my own bed and get back on the normal food train is really nice. 

Getting up this morning after our long car ride home and awesome parade of road food and pastries,  I had a hard time.  My trainer didn't show up for our appointment. I could barely hack 5 minutes in the stair climber. I did some walking on the treadmill and a good bit of cycling but trudged home feeling super tired and blah. 

Tomorrow will be better. I might need some pinterest time today. And maybe some window shopping on lucy or lululemon, too. Tomorrow will be better. Getting back in the swing.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Did you know I'm on Pinterest, too?

On Pinterest I while away the minutes (hours?) finding inspiration, motivation, food, and that sweet, tickly feeling I get from seeing and learning new things. My "Healthy" board is one of my most busy lately. Though I admit to using Pinterest a fair amount for work also and you can see my interests range fairly wide for subjects to hunt down. I don't super often pin things about my own fashion tastes or desires but I do have a "My Style" board where a few gems like this one are:
My aspirational hair.  Assymmetrical with big curls tumbling down one side... It's motivating to look at the picture occasionally since I've got a few months to go. Here's a progress shot, er, collage!

And my favorite hair product of the moment.  My boss also has very curly hair and said this stuff wasn't a great fit for her. It's amazing for me! Free hair product for me!

Anywho, I heart Pinterest and I invite you to follow my boards or live vicariously through my pins if you don't have an account yourself! http://pinterest.com/biscuit_buster Happy Pinning!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Adventures in shopping and the daily grind.

Since I joined a gym on May 20th I have gone every weekday morning at about 515am. I've been tracking my calories (which I never thought I would do) and my exercise. I am doing my best to not be "that girl" in my day to day life but I've also been pleasantly surprised by the support that I have gotten from friends, coworkers and family.

I continue to find motivation wandering through the cyber highways of pretty, pretty Pinterest and also picked up a couple of new pairs of workout pants. I've been on the hunt for a second pair of gym shoes but I am finding that if you do not fit in New Balance or Nike's concept of an athletic foot (long and narrow?) the market is a little hard to shop. I also admit to trolling Marshall's and similar stores with a rabid determination only further validated when I found that my friend M has my SAME Saucony Grids and that on Zappos they are still $75. I picked mine up for $40 at Marshall's. WIN!

The other thing I've recently embarked on (and my head is still not fully wrapped around it) is meeting with a trainer. I went in for my initial consultation and he was actually very nice. Encouraging and enthusiastic without being slimy or creepy (unlike my experience with the first sales guy, ugh!) so here I am in this meeting and suddenly I've signed up to meet once a week (not sneaky in any way, just one of those got-swept-up kinda things) and I've quadrupled my monthly gym costs. And I remind myself: this is an investment. In me. In my future. My health. My sex life! 

That first meeting made realize how very little I know and that although I've got a weighty (yes, I went there) goal I can do it. It will take time. And energy. And it's a better investment than lunches out and Starbucks.

So back to the important bit on shopping: the best pair of shoes I've found are Brooks. They are super comfy. But they are brown and seafoam green. I wear 90% black and grey when I work out. I bought them. They are on my kitchen table staring me down. I'm just not sure about the brown. What would YOU do?


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Some things. unrelated in nature.

First, the announcement of a small victory. I burned two pounds this week! I am lucky to have access to one of those doctor-style scales at work. I confess to stepping onto the scale at the gym and being dismayed by the inaccuracy of its readout. The scale at work can show me cleanly and clearly measurements as small as a quarter pound. I am a believer of using the same scale consistently.

Second, I have a lust for one of these chairs. They come in a few different styles but, ultimately, I want a ball chair. I have noticed that my circulation is very affected by sitting in my office chair all day long. I have a life-long (bad?) habit of sitting with my legs folded beneath me. You may recall I am a mere 4'11"... my feet do not ordinarily touch the floor in most chairs. So, I can sit with my feet tucked or propped and reach all the things on my desk appropriately, or, I can lower my chair so that my feet rest comfortably on the floor and feel like a child trying to reach across my desk. My hope is that with a chair like this one, I will improve my circulation, engage my muscles more actively and also sit at a workable height at my desk. Have you tried one? Wanna tell me all about it???

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Finding inspiration.

This morning when I went looking for a little inspirational fit and healthy blah blah blah I found this image. Which made me think of Charlie. Charlie the Unicorn. Don't know it? Aw, dang. You need to know about it.

I learned about Charlie many years ago and he has stayed with me. So, Shun the Non-Believers! But don't let anyone fool you into following them into Candy Mountain. It just ends in pain and disappointment. I read a lot of motivational/inspirational quotes and posters about how sweating makes you hardcore, pain is something to overcome, push yourself! Go harder! Faster! Whatever. Here's my favorite encouragement:

It's simple. It is not demeaning. It is not a chastisement hidden within an encouragement. I think it at least once every time I go to yoga, the gym or for a run. I look for posters and such that make me feel like I can keep going, like I can do it, like there is something worth working toward in the near term and also the short.

And lastly, because I have long-held desire to figure out how to wear secret yoga pants (yoga pants that look like fashion pants or trousers) to work, I would like to share this with you, too.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Is there anything you wish people talked about from their weight loss journey?

In future posts I plan to cover things I wish other folks wrote about:
  • how to buy clothing that will help you through your transitional weights and sizes
  • what the little victories are and how to find your own
  • how much freakin' work it is to plan and execute a successful weight loss plan
  • navigating the weight loss conversation with friends, family, co-workers
  •  what happens when you DO lose weight
    • changes in energy (fact or crap?)
    • what happens to your skin
    • the mysteries of cellulite
 Are there other things you want to hear about? 

I joined a gym.

I also downloaded MyFitnessPal. Spending the last few days chronicling my every calorie and rep has been... revealing. My determination to get back to a manageable, healthy-feeling body is sharply focused. Here are a few shots of my journey so far.

Left to right: May 2010 BSB @225lbs (Before South Beach), Fall 2011 Height of my Success@174lbs, May 2013 Current State of Affairs @209lbs

Here's the current plan: 
  • Weekdays 
    • early morning workout 30-60min mixing cardio and strength training
    • record my workout content and rotate muscle group focus
    • record calorie intake and stay under my daily calorie goal
  • Weekends
    • days off of daily workouts
    • 1 yoga or other class
    • prepare for the week (menu prep, grocery/foods prep)
    • keep calorie counts consistent with workout days (about 1550)
      • this may get tweaked but my no-exercise calorie goal of 1200 just makes me hungry all the time and I know that will only lead to binging which defeats the purpose altogether
And that's kind of it for the moment. I'll be on the lookout for great salad combos since I get a lot of eating satisfaction from eating them without a huge whomp to my daily totals. Some days will be more successful than others. I plan to reward myself with clothing and music. Days that I go over or fall off the wagon are just that: days.

I've also made the move to rework my closet and dresser contents. For awhile now I've been slowly migrating my these-don't-fit-right-now items to the corner of my closet. I think it's good to have them out of the daily rotation but I know it will be more exciting to pull them out of their cleanly packed bins and feel the victory of wearing things I love and will fit again.

I got two large bins that now hold everything that falls into the SMALLER category. Under the tape labels of the second bin are a second set of labels that say BIGGER. I'm excited to migrate clothes out of the SMALLER bin and rotate clothes into the BIGGER bin. And rip those SMALLER labels off.

I won't make the mistake I did previously of getting rid of everything. I have been between a rock and a hard place as I have gained weight: I have little that fits and that I enjoy wearing and yet I do not want to buy things that will fit my body now. I don't want to buy things that have such large numbers on the tags. So no, I won't purge my whole wardrobe this time around. I will hold it as a reminder.  Just as the presence of too-small clothing in my closet drives me to feel ashamed, the presence of clothing that is too big will make me feel victorious.

I look forward to writing about the little victories and the big.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Well that took awhile...

Here we are, approaching Memorial Day weekend and I've had it. I am tired of feeling fat, holding my breath to tie my shoes, feeling my belly push my breasts up and make normal tops and necklines seem like after-hours-only clothes. I am tired of being winded walking up the stairs at work every morning. I am tired of my calves burning while I try to keep up with friends while simply walking through the skyway. I am done.

I am 4'11" tall. About 3 years ago I started on the South Beach diet and lost 51 pounds. I was in grad school, living in Philadelphia and working full time. I had a full, busy life and I still made those changes. I got down to 174 pounds and cried in relief. I was still very overweight for someone my height.

In my transition to living in Minnesota I lost my progress. The things that had worked weren't working anymore:
  • I didn't love my yoga classes anymore- In Philly I had been going 2-3 times a week and felt utter joy and resonating calm and determination. I felt motivated to keep coming back. I loved all of the teachers. In MN I struggled to find a studio that gave me those feelings. I still haven't and I have only recently come to realize I may need to find a new exercise-drug.
  • I was a dating maniac and my diet became less stable. 
  • The winters here are long and dark and cold. I just didn't want to do anything. 
  • I have struggled to make a new circle of friends. Having long-held, close ties with a large group in Philly meant always being able to fall into the net of finding a buddy and having a true choice about going solo for various activities. 
I stopped feeling motivated. I blamed my diet. I went to yoga less. I tried running (which I LOVE but is very hard to get going seriously in the winter!) I tried going gluten free (gained 20 pounds!). Slowly, all of my progress slipped off as I stopped holding onto it. I made poor food choices. I wasn't exercising.

So. Here I am. Again. Just about 10 pounds lighter than when I first embarked on my big weight loss journey. I am not fucking around. I am determined. I want to be able to run and jump and play. I want to be able to buy pants in a traditional size run.

I will post separately on my plans to shed the pounds. There are plans, for sure. And I am gonna kick this chubby machine into action. Checking in here will remind me to revel in the small victories as well as the bigger ones.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

More experimentation.

This week marks a new round of trials. I had my test day for adding corn back into my diet early this week and tomorrow I try wheat! I have plans, major plans, for wheat day. Oven-fried chicken and mac-n-cheese with whole wheat noodles and oodles of delicious goat and sheep cheese.

I am slightly hesitant about embarking on this next trial given that I have broken out in a couple of spots with itchy bumps (low back and, ugh, in a body roll). I confess I feel ashamed of things like this, embarrassed, since I associate the outbreaks with a lack of control and also a feeling of sloth and fatness.

So what do I do? Keep trucking. Treat and cleanse and rest and drink water. And plot. Plotting exercise. And food. And health. I would like a bottom like this.

I found this fun Brazillian Butt Workout set on Pinterest. Last night I made my first foray into the world of round bottom shaping... and it was good. I feel it more in my quads today than my butt. I'll still take it. More tomorrow.

Even better than the butt will be the heart. Hopefully like the one below. All shiny and happy and surrounded by cosmic energy... Ok, maybe not cosmic energy, but definitely kid-chasing, trail hiking, faster running energy.

On the docket this weekend: wheat experiment. Purchase running bra and seek out advice on leg compression sleeves to get my running progress on track. Oh yeah. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I crave the vintage.

I grew up surrounded by antiques, knick knacks and art. My family is full of artists and creatives, passionate, visual people. My mother has passed through many phases of collecting fervor over the year (pink flamingos, Billy Bob Thornton, jewelry, jewelry, jewelry...!) and frequently changed the overtones of her wardrobe to match. My uncle is a paragon of fashion and creative clothing consumption. Regardless of what each gravitates toward at the moment they maintain one consistent, key quality- they dress for their bodies.

Adorable face, exhibit B
 Since my teens I have experimented with a wide array of looks but for the past decade or so I seem to yo-yo around late-40's to early-60's fashion and looks. Partly, it's my face.  

Adorable face, exhibit A

The "vintage" or "retro" look works very well for me. Deep red lips, strong eye makeup and pearls. Spit curls, soft pink lips and button earrings. I adore cardigans, pencil skirts, circle skirts. Fortunately these things are fairly universal in how well they work on bodies. The things I really super bad have always wanted to wear are more a struggle. Swingy shirtwaist dresses, wiggle dresses, fitted woven tops are a rare addition to my wardrobe. Let's just say never store-bought. If I make it myself I can make it work.

So here's another goal, a dress that makes me feel like this looks on her: 

I pass by here on my way to or from work pretty much every day. And everyday I think, "I could do that." With short hair and a folding bike, of course!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Also, learning to run.

Never in my life have I had the yen to run. You know, other than the odd occurrence of running to catch a train/plain/automobile/thief/narrow window for a bathroom break. However, this past summer I was shoe-shopping with my dude and encouraged him to try on some barefoot-style sneakers. He is particularly fond of the color orange and when I found a pair in his size with orange accents I knew he'd at least give them a walk around the store. He slipped them on and it was like his whole body lit up. I thought they might be a hard sell, that he would argue against their light construction and thin soles. No. Love. Deep, instantaneous love. Naturally, it piqued my interest.

A few months later we were shoe-browsing again and I slipped into a lady pair of the same shoes my dude had snapped up previously. Oh my! Like ballet slippers but better for all the pokey-pointy prevention they provide. That is when the feeling struck. Prancing about in my new shoes, dancing up and down stairs I thought, "These might make it kind of fun to run..."

*shock face*

I didn't really know how the thought had happened. The more I thought about it the more attractive it was. I could take running shoes with me anywhere. I could run on vacation. It would make me fit, it would work different muscles than my other fitness pleasures (mostly dance and yoga). The biggest hurdle I saw in my path was that it was already deep into the fall and I live in Minnesota. Getting an itch to try running when you live in one of the coldest states in the US on approach to winter is not, well, practical.

My weird salvation came in the form of a friend making casual mention of the Metrodome hosting running nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays through the winter. For one dollar you can run around the concessions level in relative warmth and comfort. Excellent. Next, shoes. I picked up an inexpensive pair of Saucony runners from the nearby Marshall's. While I wholly believe in the idea that you should restrict running shoes to running alone, I do not believe that investing a heap of cash into a pair when I have no idea if this idea will stick. So now, armed with shoes I downloaded the Couch to 5k app for iPhone and set off for the Metrodome.

I admit that my first run was hardly a run. I walked the majority of the time. I stopped often to stretch. A lot. When I first downloaded the app I thought, "Great! This sounds super doable," and that my goal would be as the program laid it out, a 5k. Now, however, I see that my first goal is to get up to the level that I can follow the first workout. My shins and calves were on fire. I kept tugging at my pants and wishing my breasts would stop flopping around. But, at the end of it, I felt, good. I was sore and ached from shoulder to foot but I felt like I had done something. I felt quietly energized. I wanted to be able to do better. It's been awhile since yoga made me feel like that. I miss it terribly. Tomorrow I go back to the Metrodome for another try.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Elimination Diet

I started seeing my nutritionist with the goal of getting a handle on the crazy. I felt like I had lost sight of what made sense nutritionally. South beach made me see some foods as complete junk and others as only allowed in moderation. Some of these foods included bananas, white rice, potatoes, carrots. Making sure these things weren't in my diet became second nature. I didn't miss most of them. When the diet wasn't working so well for me I felt like I was cheating by having bananas and the feeling of the forbidden drove me to overindulge. No bananas? Wellllll, it's only once in a while, I can have this smoothie just this once... So now, instead of eating the damn banana I was eating everything else that went into that smoothie, too.

As I moved away from those ideas I had less and less understanding of what I was putting into my body. I felt like it was a "bad day" when I had had a smoothie and a chai and whole grain toast from the cafeteria at work.

Back to the first appointments with the nutritionist. We talked about all sorts of things: flipping my days to have the heaviest meal in the morning, bringing all the veggies and fruits back into the light, my learnings from regulating my blood sugar. She suggested trying an elimination diet.

What is an elimination diet, you ask? In this particular version I am eliminating 4 major categories of foods: corn (and all its derivatives), wheat, cow's milk dairy and nightshade vegetables (white potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant). I am starting by taking all 4 categories out for 10 days then will add each back in for a trial day, followed by a few days of basic elimination to note reactions. The whole process takes a little less than a month. I am currently a week in.

So far I think I'm doing ok. I find that I am sleeping much better. I also find that I am eating a lot more fruit and have had juice a couple of times, which still feels like a no-no. I know I get hooked on something that makes me feel like I've found a loop-hole (remember the gluten-free cookie debacle???) and I know I have to keep those things in check.

I've also taken to sharing what I am doing with those around me. Although I feel a bit like a freak of nature for telling them I have also found that the folks I work with and socialize with to be very supportive. And when I tell them what I am doing and why I feel supported, they ask questions and help me by not offering treats they might usually have done. It makes a world of difference.

I'm excited to see what more the week will bring. Soon I will share a post of one of my recent culinary explorations! Apricot-coconut energy bars!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Backstory

As you will learn in the coming days, weeks and months I have struggled with my weight for years. I come from stocky stock but I do not believe that it should be my destiny. I want to be healthy. And comfortable. And I am going to do it.

Two years ago I set out to conquer my bulge with the South Beach Diet. I was a great believer and set to making my lifestyle, workable, sustainable and enjoyable. I read the books. I created a weekly menu. I decided to measure my weight loss in clothing rather than the scale.

When my pants began to sag I was nervously excited. Nearly a year into the plan I walked into a dressing room at my favorite outlet store and stood crying over the array of things I had brought in which FIT. I had started the South Beach diet weighing nearly 225lbs and wearing size 20 jeans. I am just shy of 5' tall. That day, in the dressing room, I had brought in a stack of size Medium shirts, sweaters and other things. I was overwhelmed by how far I had come. I met with my doctor for my annual physical that year and she teared up at how my hard work was paying off; that my choice to make a change with hard work and a healthy diet had been working so well. I weighed 174lbs and fit into size 12 jeans.

Then something changed. I plateaued. I began to tweak my diet, trying to shore up my rules, increasing my fiber, reducing alcohol intake. The pounds I worked so hard to lose began to creep back on. After a couple of months without change I decided to try going gluten free. I gained nearly 20lbs during the time I tried to live the gluten free life. I made some big mistakes. Like cookies. A gluten free cookie is still a cookie. I wasn't eating them before, I shouldn't have allowed myself such laxity when I shifted my diet.

For months I tinkered. I kept the majority of my rules but I was slipping. I wasn't motivated. I was gaining weight. I felt helpless and so I told myself that as long as I stayed the size I was (back to a 14 at the time) I wouldn't worry. I had still made progress. When my pants kept getting tighter and I began to avoid the things I loved (short shorts, yoga nearly 3 times a week, some of my favorite clothes) I knew I needed help.

I sought out a nutritionist and it took nearly 2 months to get an intake appointment. Seeing her that first time and having to give her my whole history and relationship with food and my body... telling her about my family history and my fears about aging and what my weight could mean... I felt like I was laying my soul bare. But I also felt like she was listening. That I wasn't just a number and that this was the beginning of making a change. Again.

I like seeing her. The bared soul feeling has subsided and been replaced by hope. And determination. We've been talking about trying an elimination diet and this week I've embarked on this strange challenge. I look forward to sharing my progress and the effects. All the good and all the bad.

If you read any of this and it is helpful to you in any way, I am thrilled. If you have been here and made it to the other side let me know. I will do my best to be brutally honest with myself here and in the real world, too. Time to make my old self new.


Here's to new beginnings. How apt given we are in the first month of the new year! Let us not make resolutions but real, positive change.