Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Educated Eating Plan

I've decided I will never be on a diet again. Going on a diet has a mentality attached where there will be an end. You start the diet, it's intense, and then you hope to sustain the intensity long enough to reach a goal weight. Which never happens. At least not for me.

I've been learning quite a bit about foods from some various documentaries and I have been slowly transitioning to a different style of eating. Today I watched the documentary Hungry for Change. It's on Netflix in case you want to watch it. It's like they read my blog. Diets aren't working, exercise is too inconsistent, my food is uncontrollable. This documentary explains why diets don't work and what eating lifestyle you can adopt to be healthy.

I also rewatched Forks Over Knives a few days ago. It basically makes the case that animal based foods are what make people sick. While I'm not ready to jump on the vegan bandwagon, I am willing to adjust toward a more vegan diet. Another great one is Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.

So far we've been eating more tofu at home. Honestly, groceries have been getting so expensive, tofu is a far cheaper protein source anyway. I have also been alternating Charlottes milk between organic whole milk, enriched almond milk, and enriched rice milk. She likes all three just fine, and she likes to drink milk so much that I feel better about her not having quite so much animal protein.

Another adjustment we've made is that I don't buy soda. I bought Paul a soda stream for christmas and I think that will definitely help with our drinking empty calories.

I also make sure that most of our food is whole food based. Whole grains, unprocessed, and simple. Thus my Bob's Red Mill shrine in the garage and my new love affair with the produce market on 82nd and Powell.

After watching Hungry for Change, I want to do a juice detox after the new year. I originally wanted to do this when we moved into our house but it just didn't happen. Hopefully we'll be able to pay down some christmas bills and buy a juicer. Now I just have to get Paul on board. I think the closer we can get to this whole food vegetarian/vegan food lifestyle the better we'll be setting up Charlotte for a healthy relationship with food, and the longer we'll be around to enjoy it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Reality Check

I've been thinking lately about whether I want to continue with this blog or not. I've been keeping it for a couple years now and you would think that with all of the ups and downs I would have gotten somewhere by now. The sad reality is that I've gotten pretty much nowhere. I just can't ever seem to push past the hump and get to a healthy weight. There's always some excuse or something holding me back.

Years of dieting, tracking my calories and points, trying new exercise, trying to find something that will really stick have started to wear me out. I'm feeling motivated again but I can't help but wonder, is it enough? The prospect of trying to track my food intake and trying to exercise with little to no support at home is daunting at best.

Our bathroom scale has had a dead battery for probably two months now. I have no idea how much I weigh right now, and other than my clothes not looking as good around the deflated inner tube that is my belly, I kind of don't really care. So I have to wonder, after all of this time wanting to look hot and feel good in my own skin, do I really want it badly enough? Bad enough to just get it effing taken care of? Bad enough to stop eating so much food? Bad enough to get off my couch and do something about it?

I guess my actions will always answer for me. Right now I have no excuses, just the results of the choices I make every day. If I made different choices, I'd have a different body. End of story.

The answer to whether I'm done blogging or not? No, I'm not done blogging. Because I'm not ready to give up yet.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Challenge!

Alright, when I wrote my last post I had hoped that this post would talk about how I started carrying Truvia packets in my purse and how I'd found naturally sweet alternatives to my refined sugar friends. Instead I humbly report that I've failed again. As of today I've somehow managed to gain 5 pounds as well.

This is bad. This is really bad.

Last summer I watched a marathon of Biggest Loser. I decided to make it a tradition. Nothing is quite as motivating as watching people twice my size work twice as hard as I do. The problem is that I sit there watching with tears in my eyes as these people work to make it happen for themselves and the reality is that I'm still sitting. I'm still having my mental hang ups. I'm still not believing I can do it, and I'm most definitely still stuck.

I was thinking about the nature of exercise and it's purpose. Exercise is meant to keep us healthy so we can do more of the things we want to be able to do. Play with your kids, have more energy, have fewer health issues so that you're not stuck being sick all the time. It improves your quality of life. The problem is that my quality of life (for the most part) right now low enough to motivate me to work to improve it. If I want to go for a walk I can do it. If I want to play with Charlotte, I can do it. I don't long to be able to go for a run. I don't have any friends that I wish I could go hiking with or any other activity that requires some level of fitness. It's really all about looks and self esteem for me at this point and that's just not good enough. I will choose to wallow in self pity every time.

What does motivate me is competition. Dragon boating taught me that. I worked hard to get better because I wanted the respect of my team and my coach and I wanted to be given the privilege of participation in races. I wanted something. So I worked for it.

So I need something that challenges me the right way. I need someone to tell me I'm not good enough to win. I need something that kicks my butt so that I want to defeat it. Call me rebellious I suppose. Something about being underestimated pushes me like nothing else.

Since I don't have a sport to play right now, I thought that maybe I could compete with my friends instead. Here's what I'm thinking:

Each person contributes $10 (could be more) into a pool of cash. We could choose to win the pot of cash, or to use the cash for a prize item or trip or something - it has to be something for you that you want, not for your kids, not for your husband. In order to win you'd have to lose a certain amount of weight (say 10 pounds?) or a percentage of your body weight first - or we could do something like consecutive days working out or logging meals. Something along those lines. We'd have to have somebody to vouch for us that we did what we were supposed to. Anyone interested?!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Round 2

My taped up ankle. 
About the only thing that is routine for me is my morning weigh in. I'm not gonna lie, I usually tinkle first so I weigh a little less. I always ball my fists to feel how bloated I am while I wait for me digital scale to asses my weight. 188.6

This is not what I wanted to see. Maybe I did have a ridiculously rich chocolate soufflé last night, but I should seriously be down more by now! It wouldn't even be so bad if I could finally fit into my size 14 pants, but that hasn't happened either. An entire wardrobe of useless size 14 clothing waits in a giant plastic bin for the day I finally shrink enough to fit in them.

I ate a breakfast of leftover giant sushi, and a lunch of my remaining chocolate soufflé before going to physical therapy. I half contemplated canceling my appointment. But I decided to talk to my physical therapist, Tawnie, about my frustration instead. It occurred to me as I was driving that it's not her fault that I haven't followed her advice right yet.

I was glad I chose to talk to her instead of shutting down. We decided that if I wanted to get the results I was after, I should cut out sugar and simple carbs. She also said that she thought I should give my current efforts more time to work. Even if it hasn't been manifesting they way I think it should yet, the work I am doing will eventually make a difference. She taped my ankle since it had been bothering me after a weekend at the beach full of walking long distances in flip flops. Now I look like an olympic athlete (yep, I feel pretty bad ass). She also pushed me through some more difficult resistance exercises. I think she's figured out that I'm pretty motivated by being challenged.

After my first round of stretches my chest felt like pudding. This reminded me of dragon boating for some reason. I thought about a practice I blogged about where my coach pushed us through a race exercise that I thought would end the practice. I pushed myself to my limits in that race heat and was completely taken by surprise when he had us do it again. Instead of giving up because I hadn't expected it, I decided to push myself and give it my all a second time.

I feel like I need to fight this fight still. As much as I feel like I've pushed myself up to this point, I need to fight even harder to push myself through this plateau like I never have before. This is a test of my self-discipline and perseverance and I do not intend to fail! Besides, I need to make the most out of having the support from Tawnie. And what kind of olympic athlete would I be if I just gave up?


Friday, August 3, 2012

Olympic Inspiration

Last night as I was debating about whether to eat more food or not I started to think about the olympics and what the athletes must have to sacrifice in order to reach their goal of olympic gold. There's one commercial in particular that really makes the point that shows the perspective of the athletes as they perform their sports and state how they have not read a book, watched a tv show, or eaten at a restaurant in years. I wanted to post the video but I couldn't find it. I'll post it if I do.

My goals may not be as lofty or as difficult as an olympic hopeful. I'm not in any rush to become a great athlete. But I do relate to having something I want - to be a healthy weight. It's something I've wanted for years. Since I was a teenager.

For something I've wanted for so long, I certainly haven't sacrificed much to get it. Over and over again I've chosen things that hold me back. Sure, I can have cheese fries once in a great while, but it's not the occasional cheese fries that have been my undoing. It's the handful of peanuts, the one or two snuck oreos, an added egg roll, white rice when I could have had brown.

It started to settle in that I don't have to give up half as much as some people do to reach their goals. I can still do many things that I enjoy and the journey to weight loss has brought many new activities that I might not have enjoyed otherwise. It's become a very black and white choice all of a sudden. Either I choose to reach my goal, or I choose to be where I am and have always been.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Subtlety and Self Doubt

The last few days I've been in this weird limbo state where I'm second guessing how well I'm doing with this whole dieting thing. I've been here before. Finally I'm starting to feel a sense of equilibrium about my eating habits. I don't overeat, I eat pretty healthy for the most part and I'm not feeling deprived. And yet I have this doubt in the back of my head that anything that feels this maintainable must not be enough.

The media is so inundated with ads and personalities that promise huge losses in a short amount of time.   I can't watch tv without seeing an ad for a diet program or a weight loss pill. There are a few gems like Biggest Loser and Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition that, although the participants are expensively supported, do offer some realistic ideas about what it takes lose large amounts of weight. I still tend to feel a bit of a disconnect from them however because a) I don't have hundreds of pounds to lose, and b) running is out.

As often as I've vowed never to do any kind of crash dieting again, it's not always evident that I'm doing the right thing. My results so far have been very subtle. I may lose one or two pounds in a week, but my weight fluctuates so much during the day that it's often hard to tell if I've actually achieved a loss or not. Right now I weight myself all the time and if I ever get a number that's lower than the last one I record it. Somehow this feels like cheating.

This brings me to the concept of dieting. When I did weight watchers they stressed constantly that I was not on a diet but in the process of a lifestyle change. I never felt much peace with this. Anytime I have to choose a salad over a cheeseburger I am most definitely on a diet. And when food takes up more time than the actually moment I'm preparing or eating (aka looking up foods to keep a food log) - also very much a diet.

Tracking with weight watchers was a pain in the butt. Tracking with lose-it isn't so bad. It doesn't feel as much like an inconvenient chore. I think I've been conditioned to think that success equates to being uncomfortable or irritated by what I'm doing. So now since I'm not either of those things I keep getting this feeling that I need to be doing more so that it is. Self torture much?

So it seems my obstacle at this point is myself. Rather than tell myself that what I'm doing isn't good enough, maybe I need to finally give myself a break and a pat on the back. Keep it up self!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

When to "Cheat"

The picture you see here is of the coney fries at Roake's. I'm sure many have never experienced them, but for those that have, you cannot live knowing your health depends on your never having them again. The fries are skin-on and perfectly chewy and crispy at the same time. The coney sauce is spicy and rich, the cheese is gooey and fatty and delicious. The tomatoes add a fresh light juiciness to the otherwise rich meaty flavor. This to me is the epitome of greasy, grubby, fatty, over-indulgent, wonderful gut-busting food.

Everyone has their one dish that completely destroys their healthy eating intentions. I'm sure to some this giant platter of deep fried mush looks absolutely repulsive. But for me, this is my best friend and my worst enemy.

My mom, sister, and I have been using the lose-it app for awhile now and it's interesting how we all regard it differently. My mom and I are dieting veterans and take any restrictions on our eating habits with a grain of salt. But my sister is fairly new to this whole concept of keeping a food log. It was kind of interesting to watch her discovery of how many calories are actually in the foods she eats. I can recall a time when I hit that wall and went Special K crazy (we currently have about 6 boxes of various Special K foods in our pantry that belong to my sister now). At the moment she is perusing a coupon book and contemplating what food she can still eat "safely".

For my sister, something like these fries wouldn't be too much of a trip up. She'd have the self control to only eat a certain portion of them or to only eat a dish this calorie rich once before getting right back on track again. But for me, I give myself a day, and then it turns into two days, and then a week, a couple months, and then I have to start over again. Self control much?

So why point this out? Because what kind of life would I have left if I never got to eat coney fries again? Not one I want to live. I'm not gonna lie, if I had to choose between being fat and never eating this again, I'd have a hard time deciding. But there's no reason I can't have my fries and my health.

I think what I'm finally starting to master is learning when to cheat. The trouble seems to be that I have my fries, and then I have my cake, and my pie, and my burger, and my chicken wings and then I give up and start all over again a few months later. What I've finally managed to do is to pull myself out of my cycle. Yeah, I stopped tracking for several days, but I've been tracking and staying within my calorie range for the last three days and that's nothing to sneeze at considering how much I normally hate keeping a food log.

I feel as though I've overcome a hump that I've been trying to get over for years. I guess we'll see if it's as significant as I think.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Getting Positive

I'm not sorry to report that I've just polished off an english muffin topped with Kenny & Zukes pastrami and a few slices of smoked sharp cheddar. Not sorry at all. Actually, it was pretty much amazing. What I am sorry about is the bowl of ice cream I ate a couple hours ago followed by a piece of bread from Great Harvest. I wouldn't feel so bad except that before I went and got myself my bowl of ice cream I thought to myself, I don't even really want it, I just know that it's there and thus I'm going to have some.  Halfway through eating it I stopped enjoying it, and I should have just tossed the rest. But I didn't.

I'm watching extreme makeover weight-loss edition right now. The girl on the show is about 300 pounds overweight and has come up with every excuse in the book to sabotage herself. As I'm listening to excuse after excuse it's really easy to see that none of them hold water and eventually she's going to have to deal with her demons and just effing do what she's supposed to do. So why do I let myself make the same excuses? What her trainer is finding is that her biggest obstacle is positivity. When she gets positive she succeeds. Perhaps I need to take some of this away for myself.

Last week was an interesting adventure in hormone-land. Typically when I hit my pms wall it's a couple days of extreme depression followed by the insane cravings for chocolate and salt and then I wake up completely fine and wonder why I was ever so crazy. All-in-all it's about 3 or 4 days of nuttiness. This last round completely caught me off-guard. I was super tired and lethargic, (the humidity doesn't help) and not too depressive as far as I could tell. I got a call Thursday morning that I'd missed my physical therapy appointment. That's when I hit my low. I ended up crying on the phone because I felt bad for missing it and because I really wanted to go. My therapist called later in the evening to chat and talk about my appointment next week and it was all I could do to keep it together.

My therapist wanted me to e-mail her my food journal every day and I was doing it with the lose-it app. Problem is that when I knew I wanted to just have a day off the books (like my anniversary) I just wouldn't log anything. Giving myself that wiggle room has always been a problem. As soon as I stop tracking, I stop tracking. I'm going to talk to her at my next appointment about how I can do better and about doing my exercises at the gym instead of at home since they pretty much never happen at home.

I'm going to get past this! Right now I'm teetering between 191 and 192 lbs. I'm going to make it my goal to get under 190 in the next 10 days. This means I have to not only track my meals, I have to actually stay within my calorie ranges and get my exercise in!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Physical Therapy Round 1

Today I had my first full therapy session complete with workout and stretches. It wasn't too intense because I didn't have my inhaler today but I can see where I'm going to be sore! I have a set of exercises to do at home to start out and then she'll have me doing some work at the gym later on. So far this feels a lot more like having a personal trainer than having therapy. I've been assigned the task of eating 100 grams of protein per day. She gave me some suggestions for foods I can be eating to get closer to this number every day.

She's told me how much she likes the app I send my daily reports with. I debated about adjusting the settings to have me lose 1.5 pounds per week instead of 2 which would allow me to have 1500 instead of 1300 calories every day. I decided to keep it at 1300 calories because I tend to go up to about 1500 anyway. If I allow 1500 I'll probably go over that too, so better to stay lower. So far, still good.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Physical Therapy



Yesterday I had my initial consultation with my physical therapist. I had asked my doctor for a referral so I could get my abs worked back to center. She sent me to CH Physical Therapy.

I have to say I feel a sense of hope like I've never had before. Tawnie, my therapist, measured my mobility and asked me what all of my issues were. After just a few minutes I already felt like the problems I have were not only better but were going to be better in the long run. She told me that we'd work on getting me to a place where my feet, calves, and shins don't hurt when I run, that I'd lose weight, and that I'd be able to keep it off. She also told me she has 3 kids, lost 65 pounds 6 years ago and hasn't gained it back. She knows what she's doing!

So part of my program is to send her my daily food log in an e-mail. Lucky for me, I have the Lose It! app that makes this really easy to do.

Speaking of which, I've managed to lose some weight! Almost 5 pounds this week! I found this somewhat surprising considering I haven't managed to stay within my calorie limit more than once so far, but I've stayed around 1500 and that seems to be good enough. I've not been feeling particularly well the last couple days either so eating hasn't been very appealing. This seems to be the winning strategy so far. The best part is that I still eat what I want, I just think about whether I really need what I'm eating.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lose It! Week 1ish

It's only been 5 days using the lose it! app but I wanted to check in on it. So far I see positives and negatives.
The positives are that it's really easy to use. It lets me scan barcodes and so far it's found info for everything I scanned. I'm also far more aware of what I'm eating and the reward that exercise brings.
The negatives are that I've gone over my calorie limit every day so far and I can't really tell if I've lost anything yet. My weight fluctuates enough that a two pound loss isn't very obvious because it could just be that I'm less bloated or it's a different time of the day. I also feel like I need to get better about having a daily exercise routine. Even if it's just a walk, going for a walk burns off that latte or piece of banana bread.

I can see that I need to strike a deal with myself. I have the app set to help me lose 2 pounds per week. I either need to really start to limit my calorie intake or I need to adjust my weekly loss goal. Allowing myself a few more calories doubles the time its going to take to reach my goal, but if I'm having a hard time staying under it may just be a reality that I need to come to terms with.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Lose it!

I found something last night that I think might help. It's an app and a website called Lose It! It's basically like the weight watchers app except instead of points it tracks calories. It's very basic. What I like about it (so far) is that it actually has foods I eat in its database - this was one of my biggest annoyances with WW.

I entered in most of my food yesterday and found the culprit for my lack of weight loss. I eat too much. Crazy right?! It also gives me some calories back for playing the piano. It isn't much but I'm happy that I get something for it! If I actually stay under my daily calories in this app it has me set to lose 2 pounds a week which would put me at my target weight of 145 in December.

The also lets you keep track with your friends. I kind of see this as being similar to meetings. If anyone wants to try it out with me it would be great to actually be accountable to people I know and care about instead of a bunch of old ladies at a weight watchers meeting.

My goal weight is out there somewhere...
This is an interesting thought. I've never put a date on when I'd achieve my weight loss goal. It's always been this glimmering illusion in the distance that I would never reach. I think it makes it more palpable. Getting off track for a few weeks adds a few weeks to reaching my goal. When I did weight watchers they always talked about taking it a day at a time. Maybe you get off track and eat a whole pie one day, but the next day you can start over. This had me allowing myself to fall off the wagon more often than I stayed on it. If I think about these days off moving my goal to January or February this makes staying on the wagon seem more worth it.

So far my plan to eat the same breakfasts and lunches has been going okay. Better for breakfasts than lunches. I've been really good at eating my steel cut oats every morning. I found some quick cooking ones that take less than 10 minutes instead of 25 like the regular ones do. The quinoa flakes weren't really floating my boat, but I love oats so this is good news. I also bought some prepackaged salads at Trader Joes. They were only $3.50 a piece and they're really good. I think these were a good deal and healthy, I just need more.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Under Pressure

I'm tired of being fat. Nothing's working. What the hell?!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Taking Control

I've been contemplating how I want to go about dealing with my eating habits the last few days and I feel like I may have a solution.
Here's what I know about what doesn't work with regards to diets:

  1. I hate counting calories/points/carbs/whatever I have to count. It's time consuming and I end up just eating stuff that I know is terrible because I am rebelling against the system!
  2. I am a foodie. I like to try things, I like to eat a variety of things, I don't like sameness. This is why pre-packaged meals, restrictive diet plans that rule out food groups, and diets that make restaurants difficult never work for me.
  3. Meetings, counsellors, and diet buddies tend to cause me to rebel. The only buddy that's worked is Paul. Getting him to do things with me doesn't really work because he doesn't care to participate most of the time.


Now, here is what does work:

  1. Small meals through the day. Even if I just eat some of my big meal and save the rest for later it tends to help me lose and I don't binge.
  2. Focus on certain specific foods to try to make sure I eat regularly. When I was pregnant I had a list of 30 foods to try to make sure to eat for each trimester. If I have a list of things to make sure I have in my meals each week I'm much more likely to make sure I eat what I'm supposed to. 




So here's what I'm thinking I'm going to do.

  • Rule 1: I'm going to preplan the same breakfast, lunch, and two snacks for the week. I'll have two options for each. For example, some mornings I have time to cook steel cut oats (it takes about 25 minutes) and that works fine, but for the mornings I don't have time I can make quinoa flakes in the microwave in about 2 minutes. This way I'm making sure I eat foods I should be eating regularly.
  • Rule 2: If I eat out, I eat salad. Given restaurant salads can have just as many calories as a double cheeseburger, but at least I'm getting some nutrition from the lettuce and vegetables and I'll be more full. No desserts!
  • Rule 3: Once every two weeks I can eat anything I want when I go out. 
  • Rule 4: Dinners at home are fair game. I just need to add salad or a vegetable to whatever we're having. 
We'll see how this goes. I have some planning to do to make this work, but I think if I can do this it would be really good.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Life Changing?

The other night I was listening to the Dave Ramsay program on my way home from teaching. He had a couple about Paul's and my age that called in to make a debt free scream. He spent a pretty substantial amount of time stressing the point that these people have lived in self induced poverty for two years to get themselves out of debt and now not only will they spend the rest of their lives being in control of their finances, they now have the live experience that gives them the confidence to push through difficulties knowing that they have the strength to do this.

Usually listening to happy debt free people makes me feel kind of bitter. But the commentary had me re-contemplating the healthy lifestyle journey.

Just like getting out of debt, getting healthy can either be something I struggle with off and on for the rest of my life, or it can be something I conquer now so that I can enjoy the rest of my life. If I get the weight off now, I'll be able to do it again the next time I have baby weight to lose because I'll have the experience of having done it before.

I was thinking about one of the times I successfully started to get my weight down. I remember feeling so good about myself and so confident. I try not to let my weight dictate my self worth, but I definitely feel better about myself when I feel better in general.

This is all great in theory. The next step is to do something about it. This is the hard part. What do I do about it? What is the right way? What's healthy? What's going to last? Experience tells me that there's more to it than I keep thinking there is. Experience tells me that it's going to take me getting more fed up with my state than I am. And that's the sad truth. I don't hate how I feel enough to really put myself through another diet and the mediocre attempt at exercise isn't really helping me. If anything I've been eating more because I justify it since I went to a zumba class.

Perhaps the first step for me then isn't to change anything but to come face to face with the reality of my lifestyle. It could be that what pushes me to really change things are the cold hard facts. So I'm going to make an attempt to log my food again. I'm not going to change what I eat, but I am going to be honest with myself about how out of control my diet has gotten so I can begin to make adjustments.

This time its not about kicking my ass, its not about forcing myself to get in control, its not about calories or clothing size or weight. I'm not on a diet, I'm not doing it anyone else's way. I'm not doing a method or a trick. It's about doing things my way. Doing things in a way that works for me and fits who I am. This time its about changing the rest of my life.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Nowhere But Up

Today I went on the first run I've been on since before I was pregnant. That makes it over a year and a half since I've been on a run. And that's sad. But now is better than never.

My last post was a product of my still crazy hormones. In the past when I've been in my pms funk it's only lasted a day or so and then I'm back on track again. This seems to be lasting a few more days and I'm just not accustomed to it I guess.

While I haven't found a solution for hormone craziness yet, I have started to feel a little more motivated about getting my health back. It's kind of nice that this bout of motivation seems manageable. Instead of overhauling my eating habits I've been trying to go on a meal-by-meal basis. I try to eat salad or something on the lighter side if I have the option and I've been trying to avoid soda. It's a start at least. With exercise it's one day at a time.

Today Paul said he'd go on a walk with me. I downloaded a couch to 5k app on my phone that plays a ringing sound whenever you switch from running to walking. We strapped Charlotte in the jogging stroller and to my surprise he actually did the intervals with me. It was really nice. I want so badly for us to be a family that does things like go for runs together. I hope that this continues!

I'm not making any promises in terms of training for a 5k but I'd really like to get to where Paul and I can both run a 5k in the fall. Oh, and I just have to give props to my brooks shoes. My Aunt Colleen recommended them for me and they are fabulous for running! I only had a little bit of a hamstring ache (probably due to a lack of strength) but my feet didn't hurt hardly at all. Even with my shoes that are meant for overpronation and with very expensive custom orthotics I have a pretty substantial amount of foot pain but these were great. I'm sold!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Bottom of the Bottomless Pit

I'm in a slump. I really bad slump. A slump that I don't even know how to begin to solve slump.
Lately I've been a little more than busy and exercise just isn't happening. I've been a little less than happy and food is the key to my happiness lately.

Yesterday I had a "I'm turning 28 this month" reality check. I'm had a voice lesson where we decided to focus on my work to prepare for the met audition. For anyone that doesn't know the met audition is the new york  metropolitan opera competition where they award large cash prizes to winners and it's an opportunity for singers to "get discovered". I spent some time Friday evening researching it to find out when it is, what I need to do to prep for it, and who has done well in the past.
What I found is that past winners and mentionable participants have resumes that make me look like an amateur. And most of those participants are younger than I am. This combined with the fact that I can only participate 3 times before I'm too old and that I feel so behind in spite of my experience had me in tears in my lesson. And I didn't really realize it was because of my birthday this month until I started to think about it in the car on the way home and burst into tears.
Now, I know I'm not that old. And I know most of the people that are reading this are older. But that doesn't mean you didn't feel the same way when you turned 28!
In my unexpected mourning episode I started to think about how to be in better health as I approach what feels like a significant birthday now - significant because I've never cared about getting older until now. And as I started to go through the how-to list of things I could do I realized I really don't want to do anything.

I enjoy exercise but it's so hard to fit it in when I feel like I'm not doing the best job taking care of my baby. I'd work on couch to 5k again but I feel like it jacks up my body and I spend a fortune fixing it at the chiropractor. I'd eat better but it's nearly impossible without spending a bunch of extra money on food when I share meals with 4 other people most of the time. And it doesn't help that my appetite is ridiculous. I end up having second lunch, second dinner, first, second, and third dessert. I drink regular soda. I eat candy. I don't even hesitate when there's fried food to be had. I am a bottomless pit. I eat until I'm miserable, wait an hour, and eat again.

I feel like this whole weight loss thing has spiraled so far out of control and the worst of it is that I don't even care enough to really buckle down and do anything about it. It doesn't help that nobody in my household is willing to do anything remotely helpful to encourage or support me. I tried to convince Paul to train to run a 5k with me but he refuses. I feel like I've completely lost all motivation and all support to do better.

Typically I come up with some sort of solution to battle my frustrations when I get down on myself like this, but I'm out of ideas. Seriously. I don't even know if I believe that I'm ever going to know what it's like to be a healthy weight.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sugar High

Last weekend for Easter my mom made an easter basket for Charlotte and another one for the grown ups. It was filled to the brim with bags of candy. Snickers, nuggets, skittles, butterfinger, peanut butter cups galore.
I've found myself in a downward spiral of craptacular eating. Not only have I been finding myself eating candy for breakfast, it seems that regular sodas, fried food, and simple carbs have creeped their way into my diet.
I'm out of control! I'm a snacking fatty food eating fiend! The only redeeming thing about my diet is that at least I'm getting some exercise with my zumba classes. I found out today that eating McDonalds before zumba class is a bad idea. A really really bad idea.
So I'm going on a detox next week. No more candy. No more fast food. Nothing deep fried. No adding sugar to my tea. No adding syrup to my coffee.

On the softball front I'm still on the fence. It turns out that Paul isn't going to be able to play because the Sunday team doesn't need any men. So if I play it will just be me. The main issue is cost. I'm looking at close to $200 for the league and to buy myself a glove. Then there's the cost of travel. Practices are in North Portland which is a bit of a commute for me. I really want to play, but I'm thinking that with our saving for a house and my time stretched as it is, taking on another activity might be too much. So I think for now, zumba is going to have to be good enough by itself. Maybe next year.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Softball Tryout

I have to admit I was a bit nervous about trying out for softball again. It's been so long since I've played and I was ready to have the tryout be the end. But I was pleasantly surprised.
It seems this league was meant for people like me. The have teams that only meet once a week for double headers. They try to find a place for everybody and all skill levels, and they were really encouraging. I didn't have coaches chatting me up like they did the girl that came to try out after having played ball for her community college team, but I'll still get to play.
I'm a bit sore today but thankfully arnica cream and ice packs are a miracle worker. I probably wouldn't be as sore if I hadn't ever played before. Most of it is in my thighs. I found myself crouching down and moving involuntarily every time a ball was hit. I guess it's good that some of my playing is instinctual from when I played as a kid, but my thighs are not happy about it! I feel like I fielded pretty poorly. I missed several ground balls and overthrew the ball to first a couple times, but at least I hit the crap out of the ball. Most of my hits went to the outfield. I was happy about that. Still, no million dollar contract offers from the coaches haha.
There's a possibility that Paul and I can play on the same team. The only downside is the cost. It's $92 for the league. They play on really nice fields so I'm not surprised. It just means we have to pay two fees instead of one and then we'd both need gloves and cleats. It might be worth the money though to have something like that we can do together that's exercisey!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Prepping for my Tryout

For the last week I've been trying to wrap myself around the whole trying out for softball thing. The tryout is tomorrow. So I got some cleats and have been playing catch with my sister. I also went to the batting cages Sunday.
I knew I was a bit rusty, but I had no idea I was this out of shape. My back and stomach have been all kinds of sore. The most unexpected sore is my hands. The palms of my hands are sore from batting. The good news is that even if I'm not super strong right now, I can still hit pretty well and I can aim.

The other good news is that if this is how sore I am after just a little bit of practicing, I'll probably get into great shape if I'm doing it on a regular basis. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Moving On

Well, I finally got a response from my dragon boat coach today. It seems there isn't any room for me on the team. I can't say I'm very surprised. I really liked my team but I got the impression that I made my coach and my captain uncomfortable somehow and I don't really know why.

So this leaves me at a crossroads. I could find another team, or I could give up on dragon boating. I really enjoyed paddling, but I think a huge part of it was my team. I felt really connected with my coach's style and my teammates. Half of my motivation was because of them. So if I had to join another team it would always be tainted by what I'm missing, and it would be hard to go to races and see my old teammates and miss them like I would.

My other option is not to paddle anymore. This makes me a bit sad because I did enjoy being outdoors and on the water during the summer and I really like working to perfect a new skill. It would have been really difficult to figure out the practice schedule with little toot to keep track of as well.

The thought popped into my head after I talked to my coach that I should find some other sport to play outside then. And then I thought about how much I missed softball. I played for 6 years until I was 15. I wasn't half bad either. I figure I still have most of the motor skills I just need to get back into shape so that they work better.

I looked it up and there's an adult league that's holding tryouts next week. I used to have tons of gear, but I've since lost or gotten rid of nearly everything softball related so now it's a matter of gathering the respective items I need for the tryout without spending a ton of money. Paul and I went and priced stuff out and it looks like cleats will be $36 and a new glove will be anywhere from $60 to $100. I like the more expensive one of course. First I'm going to call tomorrow and ask what the chances are of getting on a team. Then I'm going to pick up the cleats and borrow a glove from one of my sister's friends. I hope the weather holds out this week so I can play some catch to brush up on my skills!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Zumba Shoes

Today was my third Zumba class and I think I'm already an addict. I've downloaded tons of songs (although I want to find the ones my instructors use more often), and I got a more appropriate pair of shoes for all the dancing and jumping. I like the instructor Monday mornings because she gives more verbal cues about how to do the steps and she uses the same songs for the beginning of the workout and it really gave me a chance to learn the steps better.

Nike Shox for Dancing
I went on a grand hunt for a good Zumba shoe last week. I've never had to find a shoe that was more light-weight and flexible because I'm used to the clunkers that prevent me from rolling my ankles. I ended up finding that I preferred shoes that weren't really meant for exercise at all. I liked the Merrell barefoot shoe and a pair of Nike Shox meant for dance.

I tried on the Merrell's and liked how flexible and lightweight they were and how the support in the arch and mid-foot, but after a few minutes the outsides of my feet started to ache, and that was just standing and walking in them. My Aunt works at REI and when I told her I liked the barefoot shoes but didn't think they'd work for my flat feet she convinced me to try the Brooks Pure Connect running shoes. They are a minimalist shoe which seems to be a trend lately, very lightweight and flexible, and a little bit more supportive and shock absorbing than the merrells. This video kind of gives you an idea about them.



I'm not sure how these are going to work out yet, but I'm holding out hope (if only for the fun color!). I did a workout in them today and my feet ached about halfway through the class, but they did that with my Nike's before too. I wonder if it's just a matter of getting used to them and breaking them in. I'm going to give them a few more classes before I decide if they're going to work for Zumba.

This is the color I got. I want to get a neon
yellow sports bra to match now.
I also wore them this evening for a choir rehearsal thinking I wouldn't be doing much walking so it was a chance to break them in a bit. My feet did start to hurt while I was standing during rehearsal, but I couldn't help but notice how good my posture was and how long my stride felt walking in them. I kind of want to try the first couch to 5k workout to see how they are for running. Perhaps this is the ticket to my running career!



Thursday, March 1, 2012

An Exercise State of Mind

There's just something about exercise that gets me in a good state of mind. It's probably the endorphins, but I think it's more than that. I think it gives me a sense of structure that I've been lacking in the chaos of new motherhood, and, besides my voice lessons, it gives me something to look forward to. I feel like I'm being proactive in working on myself and it feels really good!

you've probably already seen this
on Facebook but...
I went to Zumba for the second time last night. I can't really say too much yet because I've only been to two classes, but the classes seem really different even though it's the same exercise. The morning class was smaller, and I think this made it easier to follow along. Wednesday there were so many people and it was obvious that many of them had been doing this awhile. I think this made it more difficult because several of them seem to be modifying the steps and doing their own thing (especially the ones dressed head to toe in zumba gear). It was also really difficult to see the instructor and the music was so loud I had a hard time hearing myself think. I also got some stink eye looks from some of the women around me when I would talk between songs to Heather who had come to try the class out with me. I'm not a fan of bitchy intense exercise snobs. I'm glad this wasn't my first class experience because I don't know that I would have been as excited about it.

I'm going to try the gold class next week since it's supposed to be more for beginners. Hopefully that will help clarify some of the steps and I'll be able to keep up in the main classes better. Having done other things similar to this I know that there must be some technique to it if I really want to strengthen my core and improve my posture. I think Zumba will be a good fit for my competitive perfectionist personality!

I managed to wiggle my butt into a size 14 pair of jeans today. Given there Old Navy and they're a bit broken in already but I think it still counts. My size 16 jeans were getting so big I didn't have to unbutton them to get them off. I haven't weighed myself in a couple weeks and I think I'm going to continue putting it off for awhile. I'm tired of being attached to a number. So for now I'm just going to enjoy the endorphin high of doing something good for myself!


Monday, February 27, 2012

I Like to Move It

Yesterday I took the plunge (yet again) and joined 24 hour fitness. This is the third time I've joined the gym and I'm hoping it will be the last. Especially since it's almost double the monthly dues I paid before. Yay inflation.

Anyway, as I've been saying, diet is just not on my side lately. Given, I choose not to eat the healthiest of things all the time, but even when I eat healthy I eat enough for three people. I blame hormones for making me ravenous. I fail at counting points and I fail at portion control. So I've decided to come at my baby weight from the exercise side instead.

The 24 hour fitness by my house offers several fitness classes besides the various exercise equipment and the pool. I really like the constancy of classes (although I sucked at yoga) and I feel like if I have certain classes I always go to I'll be far more likely to get regular exercise. So I'm making the commitment to go to Zumba every Monday and Wednesday with the intention of trying some other classes later on.


I tried Zumba this morning for the first time and it was really fun in spite of my trying to keep up! I've done some similar kinds of workouts before so I was able to keep up okay. I found myself doing some weird bunny hopping steps as I was trying to figure out how to move my feet. It didn't occur to me that the whole back wall was windows so people waiting for yoga were probably thoroughly amused at my uncoordinated booty shaking. Overall though it was really fun and I think I'll be able to follow without any trouble after a few more classes.

I also get a free hour with a trainer and I'm hoping I can have them show me some stuff to build my core strength for dragon boating. I still need to find out when the team is practicing again so I can start paddling. This is proving to be more difficult than I expected, so hopefully I don't have to find a new team! I miss my team!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Where have all my points gone?

This week so far has been a weight watchers points black hole. Saturday we went to mexican food for a friends birthday. I haven't been very good with planning my meals and before I knew it I had gone through my entire weekly points balance. This has been a bit of a challenge since my weekly points don't reset until Thursday.
I see tracking as a way to remind myself of how much I'm really eating. It's kind of baffling to me that it's such a wakeup call every time. And every time I think, "Oh, I'm not that bad, I probably go a little over my points, but it's not that far off." Yeah, I'm off by about a mile.

My weight watchers membership expires the end of this month, so I decided the cost effective strategy would be to finish out the month at weight watchers and then to join the gym next month. In the meantime I've decided to keep track of my points (something I haven't hardly done since I started WW). I'm glad now that I did because, like always, I'm not nearly as on track as I think I am. So perhaps these weeks will help me get back on the right eating path so that my exercise efforts aren't wasted!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lets Think About This Shall We?

For the month of January I made it my goal to eat healthier. This meant cutting out processed foods, fried foods, sugar, and cutting back on meat. As far as meeting my goals, lets just say I tried.


Actually I did pretty well for the couple of weeks that I journaled for my doctor. But I can't afford a $20 copay every two weeks so she can tell me I need to eat better. That's what weight watchers was supposed to be for. I even told my meeting leader that I was going to give her my tracker every week so she could keep me accountable. Except she forgot and never asked me for it.


I didn't completely bomb, but the last few days have been a free-for-all in terms of eating. To some extent I blame hormones. Even though I'm 7 1/2 months post partum things are still off kilter at times and it's the only way I can explain why I'm completely ravenous sometimes.


So now that January is over I feel like I need to stop and reevaluate my goals. First I shall review what they were:


  1. Walk 20 minutes EVERY DAY.
  2. Cut out all sugar (including fake sugar) for the month of January and July.
I had a goal about Dragon Boating too, but I'm going to revisit that later on when my team starts paddling more regularly again. 


Now that I've reviewed my resolutions, I need to think about what worked and what didn't. Let's star with walking.


Walking didn't work at all. Initially I tried and made it out the door maybe two or three times a week maximum. Then I just stopped trying altogether and most days I didn't even think about it. I think the reason it doesn't work for me is because I think of it as something that other people do, but not something that I do. It also doesn't help that we're living in suburban sprawl where the only level places to walk either don't have sidewalks or are on super busy streets. This isn't really a very good excuse, but it's an excuse nonetheless. I don't like walking the mall either because then I just end up going shopping. 
In the past the best time for me to get exercise is first thing in the morning before I do anything else. If I wake up and put my tennis shoes on, I get out and get active. This is incredibly difficult with a baby because my night of sleep varies every night, and then I have to do all sorts of things in the morning to get her happy enough to go anywhere. It could easily take me two hours to get out the door. By the time I get her fed, changed, clothed, fed again, bundled, packed and ready to go, I'm ready for a nap and so is she! This doesn't even include feeding, bathing and clothing myself. Walking may just have to be out for awhile. 
Instead I think I'm going to join the gym. I still can't go first thing in the morning, but I can go in the evening when everyone else is home to watch the baby. I could really use a couple hours a few days a week to just go be by myself and get the endorphines going. 


There's just one problem. I can't afford to join the gym without quitting weight watchers. And this brings me to the second goal of cutting out sugar. I really didn't do to badly at keeping my sugar down, but I did have a few snags. I think I'm going to continue to try to keep sugar out of my diet altogether. I feel like I am better without it and I really enjoy naturally sweet foods more. 
My last post I said I was going to quit weight watchers. I've been frustrated because I was doing so well in keeping my diet pretty strict and I kept gaining. Right after I wrote my last post I weighed in and was down 2.5 pounds, got my 5% goal and hit my 10lb loss. Was it because of weight watchers? Nope. But I can't help but feel like I could do better with the program. I'm still fairly convinced that my hormones are going to make losing weight through diet more difficult than normal, so maybe what I need to do is exercise until I stop nursing and try it again. I don't need meetings to eat well, and honestly I haven't tracked since September anyway. 


As far as my diet geared toward lowering my cholesterol I've completely derailed. It's really difficult to eat a certain way when you live in a house that you don't have control of the meals. I don't really want to have control of all the meals while we live here either, and I don't feel like it's reasonable for me to have to make my own food when there's food already made. So, until I have my own kitchen again, I'm going to control what I eat when I'm out by staying vegetarian, whole grain, and not eating anything that's deep fried, and I'll do the best I can with meals at home. I think this is a reasonable approach, but probably not good enough as far as my doctors concerned. 


I guess I'll wrap this up with my new goals.


  1. Join a gym and work out at least 2 nights a week. I'm going to do this by writing my workouts in my calendar so I know I have time.
  2. Continue to be sugar free.
  3. Eat more vegetarian meals than non-vegetarian ones and no fried food. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Changing it up

I listen to a pretty fair amount of talk radio. There's an ad that plays pretty frequently about amberin, which is a hormone medication for menopause. This isn't really relevant to me, but it makes mention of how having a hormonal imbalance can make weight loss nearly impossible.

I was thinking about this and how I've tried nearly everything I can think of with dieting and I've come to a conclusion. I'm just not going to lose my baby weight as long as I'm breastfeeding. Throwing money at the problem (aka weight watchers) isn't going to solve it either. What I can do is exercise. If I exercise now, at least when Charlotte's weened I'll be in good shape and losing weight won't be difficult (I hope!).

So I'm going to cancel weight watchers, stick to my mostly vegetarian/sugar free/whole grain diet and join 24 hour. Now I just need to come up with a workout schedule around available childcare!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Navigating Resolutions


If you don't read My Way, my blog about being a mom, then you probably don't know about my list of new years resolutions. I wrote several, but these are the three that are pertinent to this blog:
  1. Walk 20 minutes EVERY DAY.
  2. Start Dragon Boating again.
  3. Cut out all sugar (including fake sugar) for the month of January and July.
I wrote these down the night before last. I couldn't sleep very well so I thought I'd make a to-do list and resolutions, while I don't usually make any, seemed like a good idea. I make resolutions about my health all the time. I feel like my New Years ones are a continuation of the healthy lifestyle I've been trying to establish.

If you've been following me you already know that I've been instructed toward to a Pescetarian bordering on vegan diet that cuts out all processed foods and emphasizes whole grains, vegetables and fruits. I was doing pretty well at sticking to it up until Christmas day. The meal was an ode to my Oma - so a spread of simple carbs fried up nice with bacon. But there was squash in the pierogi's (pierogi's are a stuffed pastry that's fried). . . healthy right?

So I gave up being very strict through New Years and now I'm back on track.

Yesterday I started working on integrating my resolutions. I didn't get my walk in, although it was on my radar all day long. It's hard to get outside and walk if I don't do it first thing in the morning because by the time I do have time it's dark outside. The other challenge is if it's raining I can't take Charlotte in her stroller with me. I don't have a rain cover for her stroller (note to self: find stroller cover). 

I had started to eat a candy bar - a moonstruck mayan chocolate candy bar - the night I wrote my resolutions. I couldn't not finish it, so I ate the rest of it for breakfast. I figured after that I'd get on track with the no sugar thing. I ordered a tall soy latte at Starbucks in the afternoon thinking I was being so good and not adding any syrups. My drink seemed rather sweet in spite of the lack of flavors, so when I went in again today I asked if there was sugar in their soymilk. "A whole lot of it" was their response. Considering I'm trying to lean more toward vegan and they don't have just plain soymilk, this is kind of a disappointment. I guess I shall be having my coffee at New Seasons now. It's better quality (mmmm stumptown) and cheaper too. Just not close enough to walk to. And there's not a cool app that lets me pay on my phone either. 
Other blunders include the dried fruit on my steel cut oatmeal. I figure it's better than some of the things I could be eating with sugar so I'll finish it out and just won't buy anymore when it's gone. 

As for walking I wouldn't have gone to Starbucks at all today if I wasn't overdoing it. I thought that since it was nice and sunny out I'd make it longer than 20 minutes. I walked down to the high school and looped up back to the shopping center on 122nd - about 2 miles. This took around 35 minutes plus another 15 to get back home. Now I have shin splints - although not as bad as when I was running - and my legs feel a little undependable. I think I'll stick to the 20 minutes thing tomorrow. 

Dragon Boating is going to have to wait until the spring. I think I'd be asking for pain if I tried to get back into it now! Especially since I can't afford the rain gear and it gets mighty wet even if it isn't raining.