Tuesday, March 30, 2010

War Wages On

I think I give up on running. I think I don't give up on walking however. And I don't give up on doing other things. Things like dragon boating and using the elliptical.

I stupidly managed to convince Paul to have a day trip that we couldn't afford. It was a nice trip, but probably a bad idea in hindsight. We did this before paying any other bills or buying groceries - mostly because we wouldn't have been able to go if we'd done either of these things first. Very mature right? Well, now our kitchen stock is down to bare. Luckily I should get paid over the next few days so we're not reduced to ramen noodles and condiments.

This brief experience has reminded me how fortunate I am to have the work that I do have for one and to be grateful for my husband and how hard he works for me. It has also made me realize how lucky I am to be able to buy food the way that I do.

I actually really enjoy grocery shopping. It's a relaxing for me to pick through the produce and browse through the different aisles and cases. I suppose that's why I tend to avoid the "big shopping trip" to winco and costco. They're like running the marathon whereas my trips to TJ's and New Seasons are like my leisurely strolls.

It didn't really occur to me though how much this has affected the sources in my kitchen. I've gotten accustomed to buying food every few days since I've been eating more fresh food and it tends to go bad. Because I haven't been able to buy food, I've been reduced to eating what's left - which is rather unhealthy. I just polished off two frozen waffles I found in the back of my freezer that are probably at least 9 months old with some blueberry preserves that I canned last summer. Healthy right?! I suppose it could be worse.

The moral of the story is that there are far more ways that you can enable your success when you're more financially apt.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How Unsatisfying!

As promised, here is the update about the chiropractor.

Monday I had to do a nerve scan (it's far less invasive than it sounds) on my back to see the progress that I've made throughout these last two months of treatments. He used some weird looking instruments and rolled them like a paint roller up my spine. The point of the scan is to track and see how much nerve function is being blocked from tension in the spine.

Paul had this done when he went in for his initial consultation. It will be a long while before he'll be able to go in for treatments. His scan was pretty average. He had some areas along his spine that were more strained than others, but it was pretty manageable. You can see from the picture. White is normal, blue is slightly strained, greens a bit worse and red is pretty bad. Black is hypertension. You can see that Paul has some pretty bad tense spots along his spine, but in the right scan you can see that his nerve function is pretty normal. The bottom scan shows where there's asymmetry in your spine.

So that was Paul's, here's mine:
Mine's a bit crooked, but you see the difference. I am WAY TENSE. He also pointed out that the three red bars near my neck on the bottom scan were probably affecting my nerve function to my thyroid. My thyroid that controls my metabolism. My metabolism that has always sucked not matter how much I dieted or exercised.

The good news is that at least my spine is willing to adjust to go into the right places, it's just that my muscles have to be worked out to support my spine in the right position now. Thus all the tension. Dr. Nguyen recommended that I try having a few massages the the massage therapist that works in his office. He can give them recommendations for what I need to have worked on so that it will work with my treatments hand-in-hand. I love that I have an excuse to have regular massages!

What amazes me is how much something I had no idea was even a problem affects so much of my life. Here I've been trying one thing after another to get healthy and it never seems to work properly. I've always struggled with athletic related issues, I've always had to starve myself to see any results from my diet. It doesn't matter what things I've done to boost my metabolism, and it's not because I'm lazy or I'm doing it wrong. The reason my efforts have been so fruitless is because my body isn't lined up to respond properly. I never wanted to blame it on anything beyond my control. You hear people make excuses all the time and I don't want to stay unhealthy because of my excuses. But now that I know what I'm up against, I'm so relieved that I'm not fighting a losing battle anymore. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Trying Something New

I have made arrangements to try out dragon boating on Friday. I'm a bit scared of how badly this will beat me up. But I'm trying to talk myself into going anyway. One of my voice students is on a high school team and told me about it. She said I could easily join in on an existing adult team for their practice if I wanted to try it. I always liked doing the row machine at the gym, so we'll see how this works out. I'm scared and excited at the same time, and I think this may be a way to boost my exercise with something new.

In other news, the veggie diet is on a decline. We started out our month ahead of our finances and as soon as we started to feel comfortable enough to spend without making sure we could afford it, our extra money magically disappeared from our bank account. This has left me unable to make my much enjoyed small trips to the grocery store. I usually have a stroll around the new seasons two or three times a week to pick up a few oranges and maybe an avocado or some tomatoes or I go to trader joes and get a bag of mushrooms or some greek yogurt.

Well, when we're running low on fresh foods, we end up having to revert to our pantry and freezer. Which is full of grains, pasta, and meat. Today I cut up the last few little potatoes I had left into a crock pot of pork chops. I didn't want to eat it, but beggars can't be choosers. So my diet is on a bit of a financial pause until I can afford to replenish my food supplies.

At least today I went on a nice 20 minute walk in the beautiful weather. I suppose that could make up for the pork chops and the cookies I managed to put together from what I had in the pantry! I suppose.

And for a final teaser, I will post another update on the status of my chiropractic progress tomorrow. I have some interesting news about how my back may be affecting my weight loss.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Trudging Along

This morning Paul and I got up and went for a 30 minute walk together. Normally I feel like walking is a cheaper version of the running I could be doing, but I've changed my mind. My chiropractor was telling me that whatever exercises I do he wants to monitor how my body reacts but, he said that if I was walking 3 times a week for half an hour and was breaking a sweat each time I was doing what I needed to get healthy. I don't know why I feel so luke-warm about walking, but I need to be consistently doing something on a regular basis regardless of how high or low impact it is. So on days when I really don't feel like running, I'm going to walk. I'm going to walk until my body cries out in protest!

The last couple of days I've been cleaning out our filing.  In the midst of my cleaning I found my old tracker from the first time I did weight watchers. It was kind of encouraging and discouraging at the same time. It was discouraging because I was down to 163 pounds and I haven't seen that low of a number on the scale since. It was four years ago. It was encouraging though because I know that I can get myself down to that number if I really make the effort. I remember my last weigh in I had gained 1 pound and was so angry about it. What I would give to have gain and still be at 164 right now! That's a size 10!

I think I need to do something to punch my diet into high gear. I'm starting to slip with the veggie plan. I cheated both on Wednesday and today. I didn't really go overboard with the portions, but it's only a matter of time before I start justifying more and end up back where I started. This is so not okay considering how well I've been staying on track. I'm going to trade my weekend in for my cheat days and be veggie. Now, if I could just get back on track with eating more fruits and veggies rather than beans, nuts, carbohydrates and empty calories from alcohol I might see the scale give me some feedback!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Renewing My Energy Source

I wanted to write today about adventures in clothes shopping. I am having a recital for my students (Monday April 5th at 7pm at the Sherman Clay Pianos in the Pearl fyi :) and I decided I should get a dress for this event. In all honesty, I could probably just wear something I already own. But what's the fun in that? This is why I became a singer. To buy pretty things to wear when I sing. Well, and because it's what I love to do. At any rate, I went to Target to try to find something suitable. I wanted something that was classy but not matronly, trendy but not too young, and something I could wear with heels and a sweater or with my boots and a jean jacket.

So I tried on practically every dress that they have. And they have many dresses out for spring right now. Apparently the trend is floral patterns cut into a party dress kind of shape (which flatters me pretty well actually) and the length is just above the knee. The problem is that I liked the length in the front, but not so much in the back. I am blessed with my genetic big booty. It does not do well in short flared skirts.

The reason I felt the need to write this today isn't because I couldn't find a dress to wear. It was because I was actually surprised that things were fitting me the way they were fitting me. I kept thinking something was up with the dressing room mirrors...like maybe they'd been angled to make me look taller. My legs looked slimmer. My belly didn't seem quite so swollen as it usually does. Zippers were zipping all the way up. Elastic wasn't stretching to it's maximum capacity. The XL's were baggy.

My pant size hasn't change one iota. The scale has not been my friend. My measurements aren't consistent enough to tell me if I'm making any progress. And even though some things were a bit less flattering than others, I felt good trying on clothes today. Sure, it would have been awesome to fit into a 12 instead of a 14. But I felt like I looked the best I could look in a 14 - well, besides that my legs are a delightfully pale shade of white. But they looked toned and I looked leaner.

This is what is going to keep me running. It's worth the toil and trouble to spend an entire day trying on dresses without wanting to drown my sorrows in a pint of ice cream. C'mon ladies, you know what I'm talking about. It can be so frustrating not to find what you are looking for, or to find it and have it not fit!

I found two dresses that I'm debating between at The Limited. I need to reactivate my credit card so they'll start sending me coupons again and then I might be able to afford one, so I'm going to have to wait awhile before I can pick one. Hopefully by the time I need it, I will be able to drop a size down. Thus my new motivation for getting my butt back outside and on the running track again!

Here's the two. I'm curious what people think.

Sleek Strapless Dress

Sweetheart Strapless Dress

Saturday, March 13, 2010

American to Grazer

The last couple of days I've noticed that my eating habits have really changed. Like, really changed.  I made an attempt to try to include more foods with protein such as soy and peanut butter in my diet this week. The result was that my meat cravings were nil. I've also had to practically force myself to eat a whole meal because I don't feel hungry by the time meal times have rolled around. What I have been doing is eating snack types of items every couple of hours.

Here's about what my eating schedule was yesterday:
10am half a pb*&j sandwich on daves killer bread & nonfat latte
11am lowfat greek yogurt*
noon half a frozen veggie curry entree* (practically had to force myself to eat this as I wasn't really hungry)
1pm the other half
3pm a packet of mixed nuts*: pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries
5pm green naked fruit juice (again, not hungry enough for dinner, but felt like I should probably have something of nutritious value)
10pm meat free nachos, because I felt like I should eat even if I wasn't hungry
I put an asterisk by everything I got from Trader Joes. It seems that's all I eat now.

When I got home from being out with the Greshem crew Paul wanted Muchas Gracias. He got me a carne asada taco and I found myself really enjoying the salsa and avocado that comes on it more than the meat. In fact the meat was kind of a let down.

I'm beginning to feel like I should reject our cultural notions about eating meals. When I was in the Czech Republic, the family I stayed with would eat a light breakfast of bread and butter maybe with some lunch meat on it and maybe yogurt around 6am, everyone would come home from work and school for lunch around 11 and take 1-2 hours to eat a full meal - their grandma would come to their house to cook it - they'd work for a couple hours more, and then eat a very small very early dinner around 4.

Why do americans think that dinner should be our biggest meal? Why do we equate salad with lunch? And why do we think that huge meals are necessary? Isn't starving yourself for four or five hours between each meal and then bingeing illogical? We are hunter gatherers by nature. So it seems reasonable to think that our bodies would respond better to fewer smaller meals throughout the day. Honestly, every time I ate yesterday I wasn't really hungry but I ate to sustain myself. And every time I ate I wasn't full. It seems that my body knows knows what is best for it! I suppose I should keep listening.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

When Life Happens?

I've been subbing every day since Tuesday this week and my whole exercise regimen is about shot. I haven't gone running or used the elliptical. I think the steam has almost seeped out of my drive to keep up my running. I did finally go Monday, but it was the most half-assed attempt yet. I forgot my inhaler, my hands were freezing, I didn't have a pocket or an armband for my ipod, and I really just didn't want to go.

This is the mental debate I'm having about my exercise:

Pro - I like how I look in my clothes right now, even if most of my limited pants don't fit anymore.
Pro - I haven't "felt" fat in a long time. I still want to get down in size, but I don't self-loathe.

Con - I haven't lost a single pound.
Con - I come up with every excuse I can think of not to go run which is a sign that I really don't enjoy it.

Pro - Even if I'm not seeing changes, I feel better in general. I feel like I have energy and a sense of well being because I haven't been inactive in my attempts to improve my health.

Con - When I do get my butt out onto a running path, the whole time I'm running I try to come up with any excuse I can to walk through my run intervals and to end my workout early. I'm not improving or pushing myself.

Pro - I'm getting outside more which I always feel bad about not doing.
Pro - I'm not spending money by walking around a Target (my alternative exercise routine)
Pro - I'm not eating if I'm out running.

Overall, running is never a bad idea. It's the most beneficial exercise I can do. I'm happy with myself as long as I keep doing it, the problem is that it's really hard to want to keep doing it. I suppose this is probably a typical attitude of overweight people. "I'll work until I get the results I want, and then when they start to happen, I don't have to work anymore right?" Wrong. Thus the lifestyle change. Running has to be a part of who I am and a part of my life. When people think of me, the must think "runner". This is harder than I thought.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Carpe Diem

Seize the day. Or so I planned. The problem is that I get up and instead of getting dressed and getting my butt out the door, I start coming up with things I can do instead. I've lost my zeal for running. I was so excited to get the green light to start again too! It's been four days since my last attempt at week 2. Part of the gap is due to the incredible amount of stuff I've been having to do. I've been going non-stop since Thursday with rehearsals, voice students, subbing, festivals, birthdays, and all the driving time in between (not to mention the fast food). It felt like when I was in school again. This is not a good thing.

Normally I would have been looking forward to this morning because it's the first in several days that I've had time to go run. It's cool and crisp and sunny outside. It's begging me to don the running shoes and listen to the voice of Robert Ullrey tell me that I'm doing great and I'm halfway through my running intervals. What do I do instead? I stay in my bed and read. Then I get up and cook a fancy breakfast of fried potatoes, onions and red peppers. I was hoping that confessing these transgressions would force me to stop being lazy. My run is still up in the air for the day though. It could still happen or not happen.

In other exercise news, Paul and I have begun negotiations for me to get a bike. This would be awesome because then we could spend beautiful weekend days riding trails together. It would mean so much to me to have something we could do together actively rather than watching movies and eating. These seem to be our primary marital activities. I'd like to improve that.

I've been doing pretty well with the veggie thing. I didn't cheat at all last week! Well, besides the chicken broth in my broccoli soup, but I'm not a true veggie so I'll give myself this victory.  I've been dabbling with the idea of changing my meat days. Right now it's not so bad if I can have cheese to balance my protein cravings, but the whole point of this is to be healthier and substituting cheese for some fish or chicken doesn't seem like a good trade. And boy was I craving red meat this week! So I'm thinking of perhaps moving my meat days to the beginning of the week and the end...like Wednesdays and Sundays. I think this may help take some of the edge off without having to boost my hormone levels with mass amounts of soy products when all I need is a good sushi fix. If I could harness enough self-control I could even limit my two days to the days when I have the hardest cravings. But I'm bad at having loose parameters and I know my eating will soon be on track with my running. Which will bring me right back to where I started in November.

Now that I've got that notion in my head...I'm off to enjoy the perfect running weather!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Waiting for Results

Got this article in my facebook feed today. Thought it was really good. I enjoyed reading it after a run this morning and a lunch of peanut butter and celery, carrots with hummus, and brown rice with green beans and peas. I eat food in pairs. The problem is that I ate a really great healthy lunch, and then I polished off half a tub of coconut ice cream. There are worse things I suppose.

My run wasn't half bad. I ran three intervals. The route I went today had no sidewalks so it was a bit tricky bouncing around to keep my footing. I think I hate the insoles I bought. My feet started aching as soon as I did the warm-up walk. I'm going to go back to the regular ones on my next run and see if there's any improvement. I had shooting pain in my tailbone and could  barely make it home it hurt so bad. Luckily I had an appointment with my chiropractor right after so he was able to see the effects of my running right away and remedy them. He encouraged me to keep running and he'd keep making adjustments. It seems weird to me to cause damage that needs to be fixed all the time, but I'm glad I get to run again.