Welcome to my blog. The purpose here is simple: to chronicle my thoughts, actions, plans, and goals in getting healthy in the year 2017. Feel free to look around and offer encouragement or suggestions.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In Case I Ever Wondered...

...which side of the sado-masochism set I fall under, I now feel firmly certain that I am NOT a masochist. There are some people that really love muscle exhaustion and take that quiet ache as a sign of a workout well done. I am not one of those people. I'm in a constant state of soreness, and everyone seems really excited about it. Everyone except me, that is. It seems that now that I've made the decision to commit to both the gym and my TurboFire program I'm doomed to a life of one thing hurting or another. Seriously, as soon as the ache leaves my arms, my legs hurt. As soon as my legs heal up it's my abs. I've felt muscles ache that I'm almost certain I never saw on that guy in the doctor's offices and anatomy textbook. You know, the one who's been skinned so patients can learn something while waiting for the doctor to get around to seeing them. Yesterday I worked really hard, both in the gym and again when I got home. As a result, my legs feel like any wrong move will cause my calves to snap off at the knee and roll up like a bad cartoon. My back took nearly two hours to warm up enough for me to have full range of motion. Also if I bend and lift just right, as I discovered in the middle of my workday, my teres major remind me forcefully that they are there. I'm taking a break today and it couldn't come a minute too soon. Pain makes me cranky.

On the positive side, I am beginning to really notice a change in the way my clothes fit for the first time. I'm talking about the stuff I wear every day. Especially around my thighs, my pants are getting a little looser every day. This brings me the joy that I keep getting told I'm supposed to feel about my sore muscles. I'm not, however, excited about the way my fat seems to be coming off. I feel like I'm losing everywhere but the two  places I'd like to see a change the most: my belly and my arms. I may just be exhibiting my neuroses, but I feel like all the fat in my torso is traveling to my kangaroo pouch and throwing a farewell party there. In fact, I had this weird dream that I got really skinny around my ribcage, and my legs and arms were like sticks, but my belly was as fat and flabby as ever. In my dream my fat stomach swayed when I walked like my cat's does. It really wasn't cool. Now, when I look in the mirror it seems like the bulge of my belly keeps growing while my face and everything else (except my water wings) get smaller.

The scale said I gained two pounds back last week, but I feel thinner so I wonder if I actually put back on fat or if I'm beefing up the muscle, which is denser. Since my body fat is down by 2% from when I started, which I'm coming to realize is a good bit, I'm voting for muscle. I guess that's just going to have to be worth the pain.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Part Of The Problem

So I've noticed a few things that I need to focus on improving upon. I got lazy last week and didn't drink my water. As a result I felt kind of crappy and got lazy about everywhere else too. Seriously my house is a mess because I just "didn't feel like it." What is it? Anything. I didn't feel like cleaning, or cooking, or doing anything more taxing than laying in bed reading a book or watching a movie. Worse, I really only gave the gym half an effort. In fact I think the only reason I managed to not gain weight was because I also didn't feel like eating all that much either. So that is one thing I am aiming to work on as I move forward. I really need to move beyond "I don't feel like it" to "I need to get it done." And this week I have been drinking my water and I feel worlds better. I've also been going to the gym in addition to doing my TurboFire. Speaking of, I am soooooo sore and trying hard not to use it as an excuse. I've been hurting since I started TurboFire on Monday and after the tone class I took today that is only going to get worse. My only hope is that I whip this pathetic lump of fat I call a body into enough shape that I'm not punished all week for each class. I have a feeling this is a long road.

Another point of improvement: my eating habits. While I still stick mostly to the plan the quality of stuff I've been eating has taken a turn for the worse. I've been giving in to cravings. I've been losing track of how many sodas I've had or how many times I've eaten out in a week. I've been indulging in very very sweet tea....and beer. Things like that have me questioning my decision making processes. I've decided it has to be because I stopped logging my food. I got into a wreck (not my fault this time) a few weeks back and as a result hurriedly cleaned out my car. One of the things to come out of my car and go into a box to be sorted later was my food journal. It is in that box still and I believe that lack of accountability has caused this downward spiral. So, as soon as I log off I'm dusting it off and recording again. Okay, maybe when I wake up.

I've fallen back into the habit of indulging my sweet tooth. It seems every time I fall off the anti-sugar wagon it gets harder and harder to drag myself back up. It's becoming clear to me that sugar and I aren't ready to part ways yet. I'm going to invest in some snack size candies to try to wean myself off. That way I can satisfy the need for something sweet by eating just one. I get the sweet taste without going overboard and seriously standing in my own way.

Now to some things that have gone right. One of my supervisors turned to me this week, looked me up and down and said, "You've lost weight." Period, no question. After gazing at me pensively for a few moments she concluded with, "You look good." I have to say this made me very happy. That it wasn't a question but a statement of fact, even more so. And I got a personal confirmation on two fronts: I can wear (comfortably) jeans I haven't been able to fit into in a year, and my fingers have gone down a ring size and are flirting with another. Both discoveries left me a little giddy. It truly is the little things, stacking one on top of the other, that are quietly whispering of my successes. I'm just eager, at this point, to keep them talking.

Monday, March 21, 2011

What Have I Gotten Myself Into...

So I got a tax return this year and spent some of it on TurboFire. It's a cardio/weight loss program from Beach Body Fitness that focuses on high intensity workouts that are dancy and fun. I, admittedly, paid a lot of money for it, but the package comes with 10 "classes" and a schedule of when to do which workout. It also has some information on healthy eating habits as well as a suggested diet which I am largely ignoring. I bought it because it looked like a reasonably entertaining program and the before and after pictures looked legit. You know how some programs try to sell you a before and after picture that don't even closely resemble the original person? Not so, TurboFire. The pictures were obviously the same people, looked convincingly free of photoshop, AND didn't have that "results not typical" tagline. I was sold. I ordered a week ago and picked up my package today. I decided to go ahead and dive right in.

Holy Cow. If this doesn't do the job nothing will. It was everything it promised. The routines were fun and I feel confident that as I continue to do them I'll pick up on the transitions better. I'll be honest, all in all with the catch-my-breath breaks I took I did about half of the workout. Even then, my legs are still tingling over an hour later. This was the first workout I've ever done that made me sweat enough to immediately want to wash my hair after. I, in general, am not a big sweater. I've decided to go with the pre-program to work myself up to the crowning glory of the TurboFire system: the HIIT workout. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Basically you go really really hard for about 30 to 60 seconds, then rest for the same amount of time and then go hard again. It cycles this way for anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes. I watched the HIIT and I don't think I'm ready yet. So I'm taking the extended class schedule in which I can take two months of doing the "easier" (I use this term very lightly) cardio, sculpting, stretch, and toning classes. This way I can psych myself up for the big leagues. I'm interested to see the other classes. The instructor, Chalene, is like a cheerleader on speed and I love it. I also don't feel bad when I see HER, the creator of this program, get winded. I feel like I've accomplished something just because I didn't quit. So far it incorporates a lot of kick-boxing which I actually enjoy. Now the test is to see if I maintain this enthusiasm for the next six months...and I think I just might.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Salad is for Suckers

So there seems to be this idea that in order to lead a healthy lifestyle, maintain a healthy weight, and proudly boast of a healthy diet you must eat salad. I say nay. I've never liked salad. I feel vaguely like a ruminant when chomping on raw lettuce and various other veggies. In fact, by the time I like salad, you know after adding all the meat and egg and cheese and fatty fatty dressing, it's no longer healthy. Salad sucks. I have serious doubts as to the trustworthiness of anyone who claims to love it. It could just be me, but it seems that liking salad is a lie we tell ourselves to make the fact that we have to eat it for the so-and-so-whatever-weight-loss-regimen bearable. The reason I'm ranting about salad is because of a conversation that a friend and I had yesterday. It pissed me off and since I'm still thinking about it I figured I'd write about it. He has decided to eat healthier. Yay him. He was telling me how good he was doing with his diet and mentioned with this tiny hint of smug superiority that he's been eating salad as a meal replacement every day. At this point I told him bluntly that I hate salad and haven't had a single one all year, even on vegetarian days. For a time the salad conversation was over. Then he mentioned wanting cookies. Apparently the quarter cookie he had as a sample sparked a need for more sugar. I understand, having just battled with my sugar craving not so long ago. I suggested he eat a piece of fruit instead at which point he turns his head and says "yeah, well, you need to eat a salad." THAT was the part that pissed me off. For one thing, I was genuinely suggesting a healthy alternative to a cookie binge. For another, I've successfully lost 27 pounds and counting without a single salad in sight.  Nobody needs salad. Screw salad. I resent being considered less dedicated because I refuse to eat them. And I will continue to refuse to eat them. I'm down to 288, so clearly the veggies I am eating are serving me just fine WITHOUT reminding me of cattle.

Friday, March 11, 2011

This Wagon is Clearly Unsafe.

I keep falling off it. Someone should look into that. I spent half of my week eating very very badly. Oh, technically, I never deviated from my plan. But everything I ate, at least the first half of the week, was either fried or baked. Oh, no, not the good "baked" as in chicken. I mean "baked" as in goods. As in before it was baked it was batter. I've been in the grips of a relentless sweet tooth. It seemed, as is often the case with sugar, that the more I gave in, the more I wanted. I would then feel horribly guilty and try to compensate by NOT eating anything. This, I know, is perhaps the least healthy of all the ways I could handle this situation. Starvation is never the answer....and it makes me cranky. About midweek I made a serious effort to curb this trend. I was successful in purging the fried foods, but I was weak when it came to the baked goods. I managed to walk away from an entire booth of yummies at the farmer's market today, so the sweets might be on their way out the door. We'll see how badly my slip has effected me when I weigh tomorrow morning.

I've been good about my working out. I didn't really slack this week, with the exception of today. I opted not to go this morning because I was exhausted. I still am. I never got to sleep, so in retrospect I should have just gone when I got off work as usual. Even if I did a slack "I'm tired" workout, it's better than none at all. I borrowed a Billy Blanks DVD that hasn't moved from my table, where I placed it after I borrowed it. Correction: it is now on the floor where my cats knocked it over. I'll get to it, I'm just intimidated. I've done a Tae Bo workout before and it about killed me. I'm giving serious thought to purchasing a similar "system" I saw on an infomercial. It comes with several DVDs and any other tools needed to successfully complete the program. The program, called Turbo Fire, focuses on dancing and looks somewhat "fun" as much as working out can be. It also looks a little intimidating, but if I pay for it I will have the incentive to at least give all the DVDs a try. The "before and after" pictures were impressive. If anyone has tried the Turbo Fire system let me know how it worked for you, or what you thought of it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I'm a Loser, Baby!

And it's not even killing me. I did my weekly weigh in and found I've managed to drop to a very svelte 292.6. I feel great! Lately, I have been feeling really, really good. I've been happy for no good reason, I dance around the  house just because I feel like it, and I've been singing at work (much to the chagrin of my coworkers, I'm sure). I can't say if it's because of all the exercising or the eating right, but perhaps there's something to all those reports that a healthier lifestyle improves the mood. Or maybe I'm just on an upswing. They happen too. I guess we'll just have to wait and see if this great mood continues as I continue to eat right and exercise.

I'm gearing up to make my changes for the second quarter of the year. I'll be adding vegetarian Tuesdays and some weight training into the mix. I'm a little apprehensive of the weight training, not so much because it involves weights, but more because I've not done it before. It will be totally new for me and that is always a little disconcerting. That and I really hate sore muscles, which, if done right, I should be having lots of. I'm hoping it's kind of like when you have a persistent headache that you keep so long you stop really feeling it. Surprisingly I'm less worried about the vegetarian Tuesdays than I thought I'd be. Surrendering my meat has been relatively painless. I eat a lot of beans and brown rice and other really filling things so I don't feel the absence of meat as much. Don't get me wrong, I still find myself looking forward to the days I'm allowed chicken or steak, but I'm also kind of looking forward to exploring my veggies more. Mostly I do simple, because it's faster, but I have come up with some really interesting and very tasty veggie combinations.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Call Me "Flexitarian"

I thought carefully about what kind of eating patterns I wanted to have once I've made my "lifestyle transition." I call it a lifestyle transition because that is exactly what it is. I want to be clear; I'm not on a diet. "Diet", in my opinion, is a dirty word (when used in reference to a restrictive eating pattern with the express purpose of losing weight quickly). Diets are temporary, ultra-restrictive, often unhealthy, unsustainable, and ultimately unsuccessful. I am engaged in changing the whole way I think about and prepare my food. This is, hopefully, a permanent change that I hope to keep enthusiasm for. I looked long and hard at what changes I felt needed to be made and came up with one glaringly obvious adjustment. I ate way too much meat. Too much meat? Is there such a thing? I would have answered no, but I was consuming meat as the main food product for EVERY meal. No exceptions. With the kind of lifestyle I lead there was really no cause for consuming such calorie dense sustenance with that kind of consistency. I have, however, tried the vegetarian thing and I was miserable without my meat. So I needed to find a middle ground I could stick with. For those of you who have read The Plan, you know that by the end of this year I will have split my week into three strictly vegetarian days, two pescatarian days (with fish and/or shellfish only), and two carnivorous days (call them free-for-alls). I thought it was just common sense and a plan I could maintain. Apparently there is a "movement" which is all about cutting back on meat. It is called flexitarianism. There was even an article in the paper about it.

'Flexitarians' find new path: Occasional carnivores - CharlotteObserver.com

Who knew this was news? I can't say I have reasons as noble as saving the planet or ensuring animals are happy before they are slaughtered. I just recognized an unhealthy tendency and wanted to work to change it. Look at me being trendy without trying!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

February in Summary

I began February at 300.8 pounds, and I ended it at an even 295. I have mixed feelings about my progress. On the one hand, five pounds is nothing to sneeze at. On the other hand, I know I could have done better. On the other hand (I feel like Tevye), being set back by a tragedy is understandable. On the other hand, I made more excuses than I strictly needed to and I knew it.

I made a few discoveries this month. The first, and perhaps best as far as my health is concerned, is that I have really lost my appetite for fast food. I've indulged a handful of times this past month and came away unsatisfied each and every time. Even my old favorites have lost their luster, so unless I am struck by an uncontrollable need for fries or am really running short on time, I think the fast food may be gone for good. I don't even mourn its passing. In fact, I feel really good about this decision.

I would really recommend that anyone who is stuck on fast food to leave it alone for a month or two. Go sit down in an actual restaurant and enjoy yourself. Better yet, cook. That's right, I said it. Make time in your schedule and cook for yourself. It is the best way to control what you are eating. Anyway, if after two months you still want the fast food I'd be surprised.

Second, I have found I have no capability to make reasonable amounts of rice or pasta. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as I make whole wheat pasta and brown rice, but it means I have a ton of leftovers. Which brings me to discovery three: I am no good at eating leftovers. I just like variety and eating the same thing over and over doesn't appeal to me. I find myself letting food sit, which eventually needs to be thrown out and I hate wasting food. It would seem the solution would be to make less, which I believe I mentioned I have trouble doing. Oh, the vicious cycle.

I am also a self-saboteur. I know I was down to at least 294.2 midweek, but instead of continuing to lose I went to Chick-Fil-A and Sonic. Instead of drinking extra water and eating plenty of veggies, I drank soda and ate a triple chocolate mousse. I made conscious decisions to eat badly. It's a personality flaw I'm going to have to be very aware of if I want to avoid backsliding.