Sunday, May 30, 2010

Oh yeah..I have a blog

Hello world.
It's been awhile since I've posted anything and I noticed my little blogger icon just now and thought I should probably update.

So, I have pretty much epic failed my 30 day challenge. I think I went the entirety of last week without a lick of real exercise (other than one day of dragon boating)
I could throw in the towel and assume that I set the bar too high. But I don't think I did. I think I just stopped trying very hard. And the thing is that since I publicly announced my challenge and was doing so well at it up until then, I thought about it every day even though I didn't always push myself to do anything. And that's better than not thinking about it at all. So I am going to start another challenge on the first of June. Anyone else in?

Today I made up for lost calories burned. This morning I went to the two hour dragon boat practice and paddled through the entire practice (including 20 minutes of straight paddling with varying intensity levels). Not only did I paddle the entire practice, I also paddled a time trial on an outrigger canoe (pictured ).  I was a bit worried about having a sliver of fiberglass between me and the Willamette, but once I got comfortable with the idea I really liked how connected I felt to the paddle and the water. My coach told me he didn't expect me to finish the 250 meter time trial in under 2 minutes and I finished 1:51:97. I was pretty proud of that. It was nowhere near the fastest time among the women, but it was a personal victory and it wasn't the worst. The girl with the fastest time was watching from the dock said that my form looked really good for a beginner and that I was really getting the technique. I loved hearing this after feeling so frustrated with it a few weeks ago!

This is the exercise that will stick I think. And I've also realized that even though I feel like I know myself better and better, there's always more to learn. I only wished I would have realized that team sports is the way that I stick with things a long time ago!

I'm pretty much very competitive by nature. I like to be told I that I exceed expectations. But I also like doing things on my own terms.

For example, I played little league softball for 6 years. When I started I sucked. I couldn't catch, I couldn't throw, I couldn't run, and I couldn't bat. Not only that, I rarely did what my coaches told me half the time because I wanted to learn my way.

My way tends to consist of not to exerting too much energy while trying to figure things out. Rather, I pick them apart and get them just right before I really dig in and push myself. This initial picking apart of things takes quite awhile though and usually within that time period my coaches have always determined that I'm pretty much lazy or just really out of shape. Anyway, once I started to really understand the mechanics of batting, I put more effort into it and became one of the best batters on my team. And as I thought about this I realized I did the same thing with every other sport I've ever played - volleyball I wouldn't run but I was one of the best at digging out the ball, swim team I got out of the pool all the time to catch my breath but I killed at the swim meets. The list goes on.

That said, I should have realized long ago that the best way to stay motivated for me is to have someone there to underestimate me. And that usually means a coach. This coach yells at everyone else in the boat but me when they stop paddling. This coach told me he had low expectations for me. And that's why this coach has fostered my stubborn determination to prove him wrong. The second thing that keeps me motivated is feeling a sense of loyalty and responsibility to a team. My team could care less if I stuck around. But I'm determined to have them see me as an equal. Not just an equal, an asset.

Since it was so nice this afternoon I couldn't resist the urge to attempt the bike ride from home to the high school I teach at. So Paul went with me. It was pretty much brutal getting there, but almost all downhill coming back. We rode about 8 miles and took a break to eat cheap food at Salvador Molly's in the middle.

Overall, I feel like today makes up for some of the exercise I haven't been getting. Now if only I could get back on the calorie counting wagon! I lost 5 pounds in a week doing that. If I could just work at it a few more weeks I'd be at a goal weight in less than two months + muscle tone from all the exercise!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

For the Win!

Okay, so I was avoiding posting anything lately because I've been seriously slacking on the challenge. I managed to make it 7 days...actually it was more than that and I even went to yoga the day after we got back from California. But the next day I got booted from the Dragon Boats and when I should have come home and gone to yoga or done the elliptical, I decided to have a pity party and laid on my couch all evening. Then four more days went by with no effort to exercise.

Yesterday I got back on track and was able to paddle with the dragon boat team. I am in that phase of anything I do where it's been a few weeks and I feel like I should be getting better but time is my enemy. I was able to paddle through all of the drills for nearly the entire practice. I had to stop here and there to catch my breath but I really pushed myself. This is a great improvement! Especially when I had nearly two weeks away from paddling. But I got frustrated because I couldn't get my technique honed in and my paddle was too short to do it quite right. I nearly cried because I was so frustrated as I walked up the dock back to my car. I am pretty competitive by nature and it's hard for me to not be immediately exceed peoples expectations. So I just need to accept I'm average and keep pushing to be better.

The calorie thing has paid off. I've lost almost five pounds now. It actually hasn't been that difficult either. I've been doing pretty well at keeping track of my breakfasts and lunches but I haven't been that on top of it for dinners. The way I've been managing is to just be scared to eat anything. So if I do eat something that I know isn't particularly healthy, I just don't eat much. This is probably not the best way I could approach my diet, but it's working and that is what matters!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I felt skinny today.

That is all.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Counting Calories Day 1

I am sitting here enjoying my salad and I can't believe that I'm at my limit for what I can eat today already! How do people eat like this?!

First of all I estimated what my intake should be by using spark people. Here's what my ranges are:

Calories: 1200-1550
Carbohydrates: 163-236
Fat: 32-56
Protein: 60-127

I also used weight watchers parameters to make sure those calories are healthy ones:

6 cups of water per day
5 servings of fruits or vegetables
1 serving of milk (or other source of calcium and protein)
daily vitamins

So, with those daily parameters in mind, I attacked my meals today. This is what I had.

1 slice dave's killer bread with 2 Tbsp peanut butter
330 calories, 28 carbs, 19g fat, 9g protein

4oz. chicken, 1C brown rice, 1 1/2 C Asian veggie stir fry mix (from Trader Joe's)
1060 calories, 108 carbs, 29g fat, 41g protein

strawberry cake square, rainbow chip frosting
380 calories, 58 carbs, 8.5g fat, 1g protein

1/2 Avocado, chopped lettuce, tomato, yellow pepper, 1Tbsp olive oil, 10 croutons
300 calories, 20 carbs, 27g fat, 5g protein

My totals for the day:
1360 calories, 128 carbs, 56g fat, 46g protein

This feels like a tightrope walk! I figured my small square of cake wouldn't hurt me that bad, and honestly if I hadn't been keeping track I would have had at least 3 squares of cake today. I'm right in line for the calories and fat but I'm lacking protein and carbs. But if I ate something else right now to compensate, I'd probably go over my calories!

I think I understand better now why being a vegetarian wasn't working for me in spite of the improvement in my fruit and veggie intake. If I don't eat enough of all of the nutrients I need I imagine my body will still cling to what it can get to compensate. This isn't going to be easy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

If only I had stuck with it

While we were in Los Angeles this last weekend we went to visit Paul's cousin Emily (Hi Emily!), her husband Nick, and their daughter Kate. She had asked me how the exercise was going and I told her that it was hard but I needed to stick it out. We ended up talking about all of the things we've started but quit somewhere along the way. And I started thinking about what it would be like if I'd just stuck to weight watchers or an exercise routine or any of the things I've started that would have had me looking and feeling better by now.
There's a book by Malcolm Gladwell called "Outliers". Gladwell talks about a study by Anders Ericsson that shows most people that have mastered a skill have had to spend 10,000 in their life up to that point practicing and working on that skill. I've always considered this relevant to my career but I've never really related it to my weight loss goals.

But now I am. If I want to not only improve and succeed at taking care of myself not only for now but for the rest of my life, I have to commit to the time. This has always been a point of contention for me. I hate tracking what I eat and I hate having to write anything down. Obviously I prefer just omitting food groups and having pretty basic limitations. But I don't think that's going to work. Obviously.

After a four day calorie fest in California it's time to throw in the towel and start counting calories. I'm not going to weight watch anymore, but I will be tracking what I eat and trying to stay within a calorie range. More on this to come.

In other news, I'm doing well on the challenge so far. I didn't set aside time for actual exercise while on vacation but I'm sure I've walked more in the last four days than I do in a whole month. So I think it counts. Today I went to Bikram yoga and it was rather challenging. I'm not flexible. I think this is something I need to accept before I'm going to enjoy these classes more.

How are you all doing on the challenge?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Challenge Updates

Hopefully the comments link should work properly now. I've been told that it can be problematic.

Now on to the challenge and some good news!

So far my routine has been going well. I didn't get to do anything Monday because I got really busy. But I did do a bit of walking throughout my day so that was something.  Dragon Boating is getting better. Sunday's practice was BRUTAL! It was reassuring to talk to a couple of the other women on the team that said that they were also sore from the workout and they've been doing it for a very long time. I found this video that sort of shows how the paddling works.

These people are fit. And they make it look really easy. I feel like the technique is starting to work for me, I just have to build up the strength to have my body keep up. I nearly paddled the whole practice yesterday.

So, let me hear about your challenge! What are you doing? How is it going? Have you noticed a difference yet?

Good News:
I had another exam with the chiropractor yesterday and got the results back today. I'll post up the nerve scan against the old one soon. Anyway, the prognosis is good. My nerve function and muscle function has improved quite a bit in my back (especially with the kinds of exercise I'm doing) and he thinks I'll be able to cut down my visits even more now since everything has improved. I can definitely tell that there's a difference. Before any kind of activity I might do had to be cut short because I was in pain. But strain and soreness are different than pain and I can deal with the former.
So that's the good news!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Okay, so I had a bit of a lapse and I wanted to say thank you to everyone that responded. I was having a weak moment and was feeling very discouraged with my efforts. So thank you again for all being so supportive and responsive.

Here's the update on the challenge.

I kind of started it early, so today makes day 5 of my 7/30 day challenge, but to keep everyone on the same page we'll make May 1st the first day.

I'm sort of going easy on the eating restrictions right now. I've continued with the gluten free for the most part. I did give myself a day on Thursday for having done it for a whole week without any slip-ups. Honestly I haven't noticed any difference in my digestion or my energy with change. I'm going to give it another week or two in order to be sure that it will make no difference in my health.

As far as the exercise goes, I went to the free session of Bikram's Yoga yesterday and they let me sign up for the introductory rate again. So I get a month of yoga again. I had intended on having some of my students join me but they missed the free class. They wanted to go to the next class so I agreed to do it again. I think it was a big challenge to do two classes in a day and I'm definitely sore today! But not damaging.

These pictures are of two of my favorite poses. I can almost get to the first part of the one holding your foot in front when I'm balancing on my right foot. It's so difficult to keep your base leg strong enough to be on one foot though! Obviously these photos are of people who are incredible at the poses. If I ever reach their level in my lifetime I'll be impressed with myself.

This picture is of the team that I've been practicing with. They're going to race in Tacoma in two weeks. Today marked three practices with them and it was tough! I have a really difficult time rowing through the whole practice but I think anyone would struggle with the intensity of this exercise as a beginner. Most of the regulars on the team do this and outrigger (another kind of rowing) as well as work out at the gym. These people live and breathe health and fitness. I have to remember that the other new people are in much better shape than I am and I just have to push myself through what my own body can handle. I think after a month of this and yoga and whatever else I squeeze in every day I'll be pretty strong. The next race is in a month in Vancouver BC. I asked the coach about whether I needed to be giving them money or anything and he said that I will eventually and that if I stuck to it and really built up my skill that I might be able to race with them. I think this is a great goal and I'm going to work hard to reach it!