Thursday, May 31, 2012

Workout 120531: Going Up

Today's Workout:

5 min Recumbent Bike warmup
30 min Arc Trainer - Interval level 3
5 min Treadmill cool down

Today the stretch deserved CAPITAL letters.  I got home last night and was sore.  My arms and abs and legs.  Just all a big bucket of soreness.  Maybe I didn't have enough water in the week.  Maybe I didn't stretch enough.  No idea.  I was sore.  This morning I woke up still sore.  I made myself complete my workout using the just-one-more-minute strategy, promising myself I could quit after just. one. more minute.

And then I got to stretch.  Ahhhh.  It felt so good.  I just kept stretching.  Ten minutes went by and I had done every stretch I could think of minus a few Yoga positions.  It was awesome.  I love stretches like that.  Like waking up unassisted after a great night's sleep and you just stretch your body awake.  It felt like that.  So awesome.

Following yesterday's post, a commenter asked about my progress on the no elevator resolution.  I'm well overdue to give an update on that one.  To my original resolution I have stuck!  I have not taken the elevator at work since April 24th.  Additionally, I stopped taking the elevator at my hospital when I have my PT appointments.  As of today I have been completely elevator free for 21 days.  Three whole weeks!  I can't say it has gotten easy, but I'm learning more about how to protect my knees when I climb stairs (abs - get some) and I can now climb two consecutive flights without gasping for air at the top.  Woohoo!

I'm sure I'll take the elevator again at some point, but I find myself actively seeking out the alternatives these days.  That coming from the girl who knew all the passages between her college campus buildings so that she'd never ever have to take the stairs is quite an accomplishment.  I've also found that someone has posted signs with encouraging slogans in the stairwells at the hospital.  It's nice to have some one encourage you to keep moving when you really wish you'd gotten on the elevator with the 10 other people you passed in the lobby.

But the best feeling was the first day I took the stairs to PT.  There was a woman waiting outside the elevator on level 1.  I passed her on my very first trip to the stairs.  When I exited the stairwell on level 2 she was just leaving the elevator.  As we walked along side each other, she said "You just inspired me.  I'm not taking that elevator anymore."  Maybe I inspired her, but her comment has stayed with me every day since then.  Everyday that I have to walk past the elevator and slog up another flight of stairs her words come to mind.  I love that my choice touched someone.  And I'm so very thankful she shared that moment with me.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Getting my Butt Kicked

This morning I met with my trainer (it sounds sooo cool to have a trainer) and here's what we did.

10min Treadmill warmup
25 Swiss Ball Crunches
12 Swiss Ball Bridges
5 Swiss Ball Bridges bringing Legs In (meaning: do a SB Bridge; while still bridged bed knees to pull feet in; then extend out and lower back to the ground)
12 Swiss Ball Bridges
5 Swiss Ball Bridges bringing Legs In
20 Bird Dogs (10 each side)
2 Planks with arms on Bosu - 30 sec hold each
Side Planks with arm on Bosu - 25 sec hold each side
12 Hip Extensions
12 Dirty Dogs (this one is funny - it works the Gluteus Medius/Minimus and the motions is pretty much a dog lifting it's leg against a fire hydrant)
12 Hip Extensions
12 Dirty Dogs
12 Adductors
Arm Work - All exercises done on Swiss Ball with 5lb weight in each hand:
Front Raise
Side Raise
Shoulder Press
Bicep Curl
I felt pretty low going into the gym this morning.  My husband and kids were all up during the night and I'm the only person who wakes up every time someone else wakes up.  All I can say is at least they all went back to bed easily and I got 3 solid hours of sleep before my alarm went off. I was concerned about keeping up my energy during me workout.

Turns out I had nothing to worry about.  With every exercise I felt a little better.  It felt really good to get moving this morning and try some new things.  I also had two major accomplishments.  One - Check out the 30 sec planks!  That's my longest since removing the knee bent modification a few weeks ago.  Maybe by the end of June I'll be able to do a plank without any modification.  That would be seriously amazing.

My second accomplishment was going to the gym in my running pants.  Back when I thought I was going to run 5Ks this year, I bought an awesome pair of Under Armour running pants.  Given my size I had to buy a Mens XL to fit my butt and I was only willing wear them with a very long shirt or short skirt.  I just felt like there was too much of me showing in those tight pants.

However, in the past month, all my workout clothes have been starting to sag and some are impossible to workout in they are so loose (sooo awesome!).  A friend suggested I wear the running pants.  I tried them on last night thinking there was no way I was wearing them to the gym.  I'm not into showing off my body at the gym.  And those pants were still tight.  Then I noticed my XL t-shirt (just started wearing XL in the past month as well - down from a 2X - Woohoo!) now fits comfortably around my hips!!!  No stretching or pulling at all.  That means a good portion of my butt is covered and the outfit doesn't look immodest at all!  In fact, I might even be looking a little cute.  :)  Very very cool accomplishment.  And it felt much better to workout in pants that fit.

Update 120604: Added Arm Work

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Workout 120529: Focus

Tuesday's Cardio:

5 min Stationary Bike warmup
25 min Elliptical - Cross Trainer 2 setting
5 min Treadmill cool down

Oh the stretching felt good today.  So good.  I'm in love with the Figure Four stretch (which I could be calling the completely wrong name).  It is awesome and feels so good.  Yesterday and today I repeated my hamstring stretch after I did the figure four and it made a huge difference.  I'll have to play around a little more with the order of my stretches and see what happens.

I've been thinking on a new goal or habit for this week and I'm kind of at a loss.  I'm feeling pretty good with the progress I'm making.  I don't know that I want to mix anything up.  Or add anything new in.  So...  I guess I'm not.  However, I am open to any suggestions.  Let me know in the comments.

Over the past couple of weeks I've been talking with my husband more and more about what I'm doing.  I've been complaining about how many calories are in something or how there is no data available for a lot of restaurants.  And did you know that alcohol doesn't have the nutritional data printed on the labels?  I find that to be unacceptable.

As you can see I have a lot to talk about.  I'm pretty into this right now.  I would call it a hobby but I feel that doesn't reflect well on my sticking to it.  Whatever I call it, a good portion of my energy each day is dedicating to figuring, tracking, calculating and planning my diet.  Given that I like to control things, all these numbers and ideas can make me a ratchet up the intensity to a point where those around me get annoyed.

So I asked my husband if I was being better this time around.  I don't want to be a lunatic after all.  His response?  "You are talking about it incessantly, but it's better than talking about the budget."


My husband is very supportive.  But I don't want to be a bore.  And I don't want to drive him crazy.  And I worry about what all this talk says to my girls.  But I'm also not sure there is a better way.  To accomplish this goal I have to be a little obsessive, right?  That focus is commendable?  And healthy?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Workout 120528: Tears of Joy

Today I repeated the trainer workout from last week.  It felt good.  Very few twinges, though I did have to take it slow on the stairs when I was going between the circuit and cardio rooms.  I think I most liked that I worked up a sweat while going through a wide range of motions.  I wasn't just one the elliptical for 30 minutes straight.  Not that I won't still be doing that.  I just think it would be mind-numbing to do it every day.

I don't have PT this week so I'm headed to the gym everyday.  Tomorrow will be a long cardio workout. I meet with the trainer on Wednesday to try out another strength routine.  This one will be more inline with what I've been doing at PT most likely.  I asked for that as I'm not having PT this week.

But none of that was what moved me to tears.

At the end of my workout, I laid down to stretch my legs.  Glut Stretch.  IT Band Stretch.  This Figure Four Stretch the trainer showed me.  It stretches the same muscles (or close to the same muscles) that seem to be aggravating my coccyx.

Then it occurred to me to me to try a back massage.  Or tummy massage.  It is something we did in Yoga.  You pull your knees into your chest and then circle them around.  Being that you are on your back it massages the back and the stomach.  It is supposed to feel great, but I'd log written it off because of the scar tissue in my hips.  Everything was just too sore.  It hurt too much.

This morning it didn't.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Engineering My Life

I'm an Engineer.  Albeit a Software Engineer, but an Engineer nonetheless.  Looking up common qualities found in Engineers:
  • Problem Solver
  • Communicates well
  • Analytical
  • Creative
  • Detail Oriented
Given all these traits, I am more than adequately equipped to successfully form and execute a weight loss plan.  I can identify problems when they arise, analyze the contributing factors, define goals, devise strategies to reach those goals, monitor progress and eliminate ineffective approaches.  And if all else fails I can explain the problems to others and seek help.  It's empowering to know that I posses all the qualities of a trained professional problem solver to address issues in my life.

However, this is my life.  It isn't a problem to be solved.  Maybe my weight is, but not me.  The road I'm walking right now is long and hard and not always kind.  The weight I want so desperately to shed is part of me, part of who I am.  I keep approaching it as a problem needing a solution.  But I'm starting to think there is no solution.  There is just me, in all my glorious imperfection.  I can devise strategies, make new habits and try to eliminate behaviors that don't benefit me, but at the end of the day...  This is me we're talking about.  And I'm not a problem.

So where does that leave me?

I have the desire to change an aspect of myself.  My weight.  There are many traits I possess which have manifested in weight gain.  One by one, I must address them.  With each I get to brainstorm what I want my life to look like and decide on changes I want to make to get there.  Through this process I get to reinvent myself.  Re-engineer my life.

That sounds exciting.  I've done it before to different degrees.  Moving away from home.  Integrating myself into a professional team.  Becoming a Working Mom.  But I must remember to value the process as much as the result.  I don't know what the result will look like yet.  Weight-loss is the goal, but the result will be much more.  It will be me.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Calorie Counting

For the past week and a half my goal has been Calorie Counting.  Here's the data:

Monday, May 14162237 WW Points
Tuesday, May 151875
Wednesday, May 161620
Thursday, May 172292Began the day well, but made worse choices as the day progressed. Bad Choices culminated in a 500 calorie ice cream cone.
Friday, May 18---No tracking today.
Saturday, May 191608
Sunday, May 201550
Monday, May 211746
Tuesday, May 221566
Wednesday, May 231755
Thursday, May 241605

All in all I think I've done well.  I'm considering any value within 50 calories of my 1600 calorie goal to be a success.  That makes 6 out of 11 days successful.  Not passing grades in school, but for my first 11 days of calorie counting I find it to be acceptable.

The first day I tracked, I also input the food into Weight Watchers.  There my daily points allowance was 35 points.  The food I consumed that Monday was 37 points.  Comparing calories to points is like comparing apples to oranges, but I was glad to see that my 1600 calories loosely correlated to the number of points I was allowed in the WW program.

Not tracking is what I have the biggest problem with.  I need to track every day.  I had a rough day on Thursday and just gave up towards the end of the day.  It's not good that I gave up but I am proud that I kept up my tracking.  Friday I intended to track, but left my book in my car and then ate out lunch and had completely given up by dinner time.  As I would tell my 3 year old, that is unacceptable.

Over the past 11 days I've felt pretty good.  There haven't been any crash days like I experienced 2 weeks ago and my cravings have been manageable.  I've used Spark People to support calorie lookups as well as general web sources.  I even started asking Siri for calorie information.  I dare say it's been fun getting this setup and figured out.

I'm going to hold steady and see what my June weigh-in says about my progress.  Again this month...  I'm hopeful!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I rock!

Today I ate out with my team.  I ordered a broiled crab cake and sauteed vegetables.  It tasted great and now I can still have my pasta for dinner.  The fries were tempting, but I resisted!  It took the drive from the restaurant to my office for the full feeling to set in.  But now it's here and I'm so happy I didn't eat more.  I must remember this lesson in the coming weeks.

1. Research the restaurant.
2. Make healthy substitutions.
3. Stick to your plan.

I know not every restaurant visit will go this way, but it is nice to have a plan of attack which is working.

Workout 120524: Cravings

Thursday's workout:

30 min Elliptical - Cross Training 1
5 min Treadmill Cooldown

I woke up this morning with sore abdominal muscles.  Go figure.  :)

But I made myself go to the gym.  And I didn't just "dial it in."  Apparently when you moving out of the Interval and Weight Loss setting on the Elliptical, it tells you to Pedal Backwards as certain times in the training.  WOW!  That was hard!  I was able to keep up my intensity through the whole workout, but I couldn't do the prolonged periods of backward pedaling the programs directed me to.  Each pedal Backward chunk for me was about 2 minutes and then I would start going forward again.  It was a very different movement.

As I left the gym, I started to review my day.  The fourth Thursday of each month my team at work goes out to lunch.  I needed to stop and get money.  As I'm going out to lunch I have my breakfast muffin in my purse and would eat that when I got into the office.  During all this intense planning, I developed a down right obsessive craving for a egg and cheese biscuit with a side of hash browns.  I'm not sure which I was more obsessed with, but my mouth was watering and my stomach rumbling.  For the rest of my 10 min drive it was all I could think about.

I hate to pay ATM fees, so I know all the places locally where I can get cash without paying extra for the 'convenience'.  The first plan I developed had me driving past a Chick-Fil-A.  They have great biscuits.  No good.  Then I started to wonder if you could get cash back at Panera.  I eat their Mediterranean Egg White without Cheese at least once a week.  Better but still not in my plan for the day.  I'm planning on eating that breakfast tomorrow.  Finally I settle on Giant.  I walked straight to the Iced Tea case and picked out the one variety of tea that is truly unsweetened.  Then I paid with my debt card and got cash back.

Whew.  Mission Accomplished.

But really?  Did it need to be that hard?

Most days I'm fine.  Really I am.  I don't have this internal strength to turn aside all cravings.  I just don't get the cravings all the time.  And, in general, I make room for foods that satisfy my cravings.  Like the 5 tortilla chips dipped in queso from a few weeks back.  However, eating 1000 calories for breakfast on a day when I'm going to go out to lunch is really a bad idea.  There's no negotiating with a craving like that.  I don't know where the craving came from but damn it was strong.  It almost took away my happy over getting myself out of bed and to the gym.

Almost but not quite.  I won this time.  :)

Unsweetened Iced Tea in hand, I at my Savory Breakfast Muffin at my desk as planned.  Who know what I'll order for lunch, but at least I know I started the day out right.  Whew.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The new PT

In the coming weeks I hope the acronym PT leaves my vocabulary entirely.

But on Wednesday I met with a personal trainer for the first time.  My trainer is a Mom who won a lifelong battle against weight and found herself to be a runner on the other side of the fight.  Of all the choices I had at the gym I chose her because she's been where I am now and she has a lot of tools for getting out of my situation.  Also.  Possibly more important.  She's happy to meet with me at 5:30am.

So here's what we did:
10 min Treadmill warmup - 2mph
Circuit Rotation - 12 Reps of each - weight is in parenthesis
Leg Extension (30)
Leg Curl (30)
Leg Press (40)
Adductor (30)
Abductor (30)
3 min Cardio (Elliptical or Arc Trainer moving fast!)
Circuit Rotation
3 min Cardio
Circuit Rotation
3min Cardio
Shoulder work - 5 lb free weight in each hand - 10 reps each
Front Raise (arms moving forward from side to just below my shoulders)
Side Raise (arms moving out to the side lifted no higher than my shoulders)
Shoulder Press
Crunches on a Swiss Ball

At the beginning of the workout I was a little concerned.  I'm not a huge fan of the circuit machines and it has been months since I've used them.  However, I really liked mixing the cardio in between sets.  I'd never thought to do that before. By the time we got to the stretch I really felt satisfied with the workout.

The other lesson for me what to maintain my form by supporting all my movements with my core.  I know core strength is important, but maybe my abdominals have been so weak for so long that I really didn't know what it felt like to use them during strength exercises.  It made a huge difference in performing the exercises correctly and keeping the hurt away.  Thankfully I didn't have so much as a twinge in my knees during the workout.  I'm at a loss to describe how big a relief that was.

As my husband purchased 3 sessions for me (I love that man), we meet again this coming Wednesday.  I don't have PT next week, so I'll be attempting to repeat this Wednesday's workout on Monday and she'll come up with a more PT style work out for me on Wednesday.  I can't believe I'm excited about this, but I really am.  I love feeling strong and positive!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

PT: Day 29: What I Can Accomplish

Monday's PT:

6 min Elliptical - Level 4
Side Steps with Band
Monster Walk with Band
Backwards Monster Walk
Squats - 20 reps
Side Lunges - 10 reps each side
The Superman on Bosu - 10 reps each side
Bird Dogs with Crunch - 20 reps each side
Cage Stretch
Reverse Curl with Stick - 15 reps
Bridges with Kickout - 5 reps
Planks - 2 reps for 20 sec
Side Planks - 2 reps each side for 20 sec

So...  Um, Yeah.  I'm making progress.  I'm kind of proud of this list.  This was a 45 minute workout.  I had sweat soaking my clothes.  It felt pretty darn good.  *grin*

This is my only PT appointment this week.  With the holiday next week, I don't have another PT appointment until June.  I reminded myself of that a few times when I was feeling done.  I'm really hoping I can continue this trend and not get hurt.  I'm not sure if I'm more worried about getting hurt or regressing.  Both are scary fears and they compete with each other.  If I push too hard I could get hurt again.  If I don't push I'll eventually regress.  Or stagnate in the best case.  I want to keep progressing so I'm going to have to keep striving.  Fears be damned!

This week's goal is to work through some of this.  Not the deep emotion sludge.  Just the act of getting up each day and continuing with my plan.  By Friday last week I was feeling very overwhelmed and exhausted.  I don't want to end this week that way.  I'm thinking that exhausted feeling is a good reason to have a hold steady week.  Why heap on more?

So I'm monitoring my calories.  I'm keeping my work out schedule (MWF at the gym; M at PT; maybe W Yoga).  I'm making it to bed at a reasonable hour (turned out 7:45pm was a reasonable hour last night - who knew?).  I'm going to make this week work for me.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Workout 120521: To Summarize

Monday morning workout:

30 min Arc Trainer (Interval level 3)
5 min Treadmill cooldown

There's a lot going on and this weekend I really wanted nothing to do with my computer.  I unplugged at 5:30pm and didn't return until Monday.  It was good.  And busy.  But that is life, right?

There are a few things I've been wanting to write about, but haven't had the time or focus or something to sit down and knock out the story.  So in the interest of not forgetting them I'm going to summarize.

I can do squats!  I might mentioned it earlier, but it is pretty awesome.  So I'll say it again.  I can do squats!!!  Right now it is just me and a spotter (or bench to catch me if I fall down), no additional weights.  But did I tell you?  I can do squats!

As such, PT is finishing up.  I am down to one appointment per week until the end of June.  I'm absolutely terrified about this.  I should be delving into those feelings and figuring it out, but I'm just scared.  I takes a lot of energy to power through this fear and will require even more to deal with and dispel it.  I will have to do that.  I'm not ready.

Last week my knees started hurting again.  My therapist says that it is a flare up and I'll work through it.  She put some magic pink tape on my legs and one of my knees felt better.  Maybe all my fear is manifesting itself as leg pain.  Either way the bright pink tape helped and I felt a bit better.  Until I started itching.  Apparently I'm allergic to the adhesive they use on the tape.  Hopefully it worked enough magic to last for a bit because I still have hives from where it was stuck to my skin.  Grr.

To help with the transition from PT monitored strength work to going it alone, I've enlisted a personal trainer.  My husband purchased me 3 personal training sessions for Christmas to get assistance with training for running a 5K.  When that didn't pan out an I ended up in PT, I wasn't sure when I would use them or how.  Five full months later I am so thankful that I have these visits.  I meet with my trainer for the first time on Wednesday.  She runs a boot camp on Tuesday and Friday.  I don't know that I'll be up for that, but she'll probably be the best person to tell me.  We'll see.

Wish me luck.  Hopefully I'll have time to week to elaborate a little on all my neuroses; but, if not, be assured I'm just building up for killer stories later on.  *sigh*

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Maintenance Fears

Today I found My Fitspiration, a blog written by Olivia and Hannah from The Biggest Loser Season 11.  Olivia lost 129 pounds; Hannah, 120.  It was amazing to watch them change as the season carried on.  I'd heard of The Biggest Loser before, but that was the first season I followed from beginning to end.  I found it inspiring.  Inspiring and terrifying.

I work a full-time sedentary job.  I'm raising 2 daughters along side my husband.  I've been overweight most of my life.  While I understand that my weight endangers my health, I'm not willing to leave my family and career at this point to spend 22 weeks in isolation redefining my mind, body and life.  I'm not always happy with where I am.  But I'm not THAT unhappy either.

So I took the show for what it was, a glimpse into an immersion experience focused on changing lives.  It's not something I should expect for myself.  That's fine.

At the end of the show, the conquering heroes return to their lives.  They go home, return to their jobs and get mired in everyday life.  Just like me.  Somehow they figure out how to maintain.  The show is over at that point.  There are no more cameras, no more being accountable to millions of at home viewers.

But somehow many of them maintain the weight loss.  Olivia and Hannah have made fitness and spreading the word their new mission in life.  That brings a bit of accountability into the equation for sure.  Reading their blog, they are maintaining their weight loss with 90 minutes of exercise 6 days a week.

Full stop.  Please wait a moment while I close my jaw and try to refocus my eyes.  90 minutes per day.  6 days per week.  For maintenance.  Um.  I'm not sure I can do that.  Let me rephrase.  I'm not sure I want to do that.  What if that is what it takes?  What if I reach a point where nothing else is working?  Will I find a place in my life for that kind of dedication to exercise?

Thankfully I'm making progress with my plan.  I have quite a bit of room for adjustment before I have to face that decision.  And I don't know how going through all this will change me.  I know that things have to change.  Every day I go to the gym, I change a little more.  But where I'll end up?  What I'll make a priority in my life?  I don't know.

In the meantime, I do worry.  And fret.  And wonder.  And hope.  I hope that I'll succeed this time.  I hope I'll find out what it takes to maintain a monumental weight loss.  I hope these are fears I get to face.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Workout 120516: Strange Morning

Wednesday's Workout:

30 min Elliptical - Hill Climbing
5 min Treadmill cool down
Hip Abductors - 2 set 15 reps each side
Bridges - 2 sets 10 reps 5 sec hold
Reverse Curls - 2 sets 10 reps
Bird Dogs - 15 reps each side

I arrived at the gym early today.  The woman I usual chat with wasn't there.  She's there almost everyday, but she wasn't this morning.  That's happened before; it was really just a passing observation.  Then a high school age girl started jogging on the treadmill to my left.  Pretty unusual.  At 6am there are pretty much never high-schoolers in the gym.  And then another one showed up.  I checked my phone concerned that I'd somehow gotten the time wrong.

I finished my cardio workout and headed out to do my strength stuff.  Nothing unusual there.  I felt good.  I was able to do all my exercises without pain.  My energy did dry up towards the end so I skipped my last five bird dogs on each side, but I'm still up from last time.  :)

Downstairs in the locker room, there was the whole female side of a family getting ready for their day.  I said good morning and showered and changed.  But strange!  Things I didn't even realize were part of my routine are very definitely part of my routine.  The lady I talk to each day.  The lack of high schoolers.  An empty locker room.  I wonder if I'm getting stodgy.

Thankfully I'm at work now.  A little early.  Let's hope the odd feeling this day has taken on starts to fade a little.

Refine Tracking

A week of tracking my diet and I'm feeling good.  I made some decent decisions and remembered to write everything down that I ate.  I can already see that the weekends are going to be the hardest.  I have a difficult time pulling out my notebook and writing down what I'm eating around other people.  And on the weekends I'm pretty much always around other people.

Last Thursday, I had a rough evening.  I got through my PT session with no problems, but as I walked to the car I could tell something was wrong.  I was shaky and skittish.  I needed food.  I determined that chocolate milk would do the trick and headed out in my car.  I stopped at the first grocery store and there were no individual sized drinks.  Not quite comfortable doing so, I packed myself back into my car and headed towards home.

Thankfully there was a 7-Eleven on the drive home.  I went in and got some self-prescribed chocolate milk and downed it.  I felt so much better.  I picked up my girls and headed home for dinner.  The cycle of shakiness continued through the evening.  I'd get shaky, eat something and it would go away.  I was feeling rough and not really sure why.

Prior to PT, I'd eaten 911 calories for the day.  By the end of the day, I'd eaten 1391.  I counted and then fell asleep for the night.

This week my goal is to start tracking calories.  I joined SparkPeople again (dublythe) and determined my base calories.  Each day I should be consuming 1520 - 1870 calories.  I'm still going to keep my paper journal.  I find the searching for things to enter when I already know the numbers to be tedious and a time waste.  However, SparkPeople is good for helping me look up the value for things that I don't know.  It also can offer me more insight into other nutritional information I'm not tracking by hand.

I'm glad to have a direction.  Hopefully it is the right one.  I'd certainly like to avoid any more days like Thursday.  Of course, I am not looking forward to the day when all I really want in the world is a big unhealthy plate of nachos.  Seeing those calories is a definite deterrent!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Workout 120514: Out of Gas

Monday's Workout:

25 min Arc Trainer (Interval Level 3)
5 min Treadmill Cool down
Hip Abductors - 2 Sets 15 Reps
Bridges - 10 Reps w/ no Hold and 10 Reps w/ 10 sec Hold
Bird Dogs - 10 reps each side
Reverse Curl - 10 Reps

This past week has been the week of sore.  Following my PT session on Monday, I was sore.  That lasted until a couple hours before my PT session on Thursday.  I wasn't quite as sore on Friday as I was on Tuesday, but then I child wrangled on Saturday and gardened on Sunday.  Thankfully PT is not until Tuesday this week.

Today's workout felt good, but my heart wasn't in it by the end.  I ran out of steam.  I'm still working on determining a good breakfast snack to have before my workouts.  I ate oatmeal when I got to work and that really hit the spot.  But I'm thinking the flagging energy after 30 minutes might have something to do with eating half a granola bar for breakfast.  Maybe I'll grab a few protein bars and try those first thing in the morning.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Workout 120509: Relief

Wednesday's Workout:

30 min Treadmill Walk (1.5 mi - Hill level 5)
Hip Abductors (2 sets 15 reps each side)
Bridges (5 reps with 15 sec hold - OW)
Bird Dogs (10 reps each side - No stick)
Reverse Curl (15 reps)

This morning felt good.  I was worried that I was going to peter out; I've been feeling a little tired this week.  But a few minutes into my treadmill walk and I started perking up.  It helps that there was good music on Pandora.  I can never remember exactly what I've listened to, but I was bopping along this morning and it felt good.

Also, being Wednesday, I weighed myself.  I'm still only sharing on a monthly basis; but, having kicked WW to the curb, I feel the need to monitor more closely.  I don't want to undo the work that I've done.  The verdict?  I've maintained!  This is GREAT news to me!  With attempting to make good food choices and writing down what I've consumed, I've maintained.  I'm good with that while I'm trying to figure out a new plan of attack.  Yeah me!

Tonight I'm attempting to make it back to yoga as well.  Prior to having kids, I used to take at least one Yoga class each week.  I miss them.  But I've always taken the classes in the evenings.  We'll see if I can get back into the habit.  Starts with making it to one class.  *sigh*  As much as getting up at 4:45am to get to the gym sucks, it is a lot easier for me than going to the gym for a 7:30pm class.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

PT: Day 25

Monday's work over:

6 min Elliptical - Level 4
Monster Walk with Band (black)
Side Steps with Band (moved up to the black band for side steps - ow!)
Assisted Squats - 10 reps (12 pounds of assistance)
Bosu Planks - 3 reps for 15 sec
Slightly-Less-Modified (SLM) Side Planks - 2 reps each side for 15 sec
The Superman - 20 reps each side
Cage Stretch

This all looks a new and interesting, right?  It's been two full weeks since I wrote up one of my PT sessions.  Long overdue!  The sessions have been challenging, but I'm making progress quickly.  I guess that is why my therapist feels the need to continue challenging me.  *sigh*

Recent additions to the routine include:

Monster Walk with Band - the band goes around my ankles like it does in the Side Steps.  Then I bend my knees and stomp down the track with my feet at least hip width apart and never straightening my legs.  It's hard, but fun.  Sometimes I growl.

The Superman - I made up the name for this one.  I stand facing a counter with one foot bent, toes resting on a Swiss Ball behind me.  Then I bent the knee supporting my weight and lower.  The leg on the ball stretches back, rolling the ball with it.  I put my weight in my heel to stand back up again.  This is possibly my favorite exercise.  It is tough but the stretch in my hips feels fantastic.

Easily the hardest thing I'm doing is the Assisted Squats.  I started out doing them with 40 pounds of assistance and am down to 12 pounds.  The hardest part for me is releasing my tail bone so I can hold proper form while still being able to get back up.  My understanding is that my gluts are still too weak to perform squats properly.  That will be my graduation test.  Do a set of squats in proper form without assistance.  Then I can be on my own.

You caught that, right?  I'm 12 pounds of assistance away from being released from physical therapy.  Wow.

Where to Now?

Over the past week, I made my decision to kick Weight Watchers to the curb.  As shown over the past two months, the program can lead to positive results.  However, I've done WW before.  Having followed the program for almost a year last time, I'd begun manipulating the program.  I found that those habits picked up right where they'd left off this time.  Versus fighting with myself to use the program as intended, I'm going to seek out another way.  But I don't regret going back in the least!  The biggest thing I've learned from rejoining is that bad habits return when you aren't watching.

My present bad habits include:
  1. Snacking after dinner.  I eat my dinner every night and then proceed to continue eating long after the dinner hours has ended.  I don't sit down and eat a pint of ice cream.  Instead, I grab something small every 20 - 30 minutes and just nibble for the rest of the night.  Writing down my nibbles showed that I consume another whole meal between dinner and bedtime most nights.
  2. Eyeballing portions.  It's one thing to make good food choices, but without portion control even the good foods can become unhealthy.  I guesstimate a lot more than I measure.  This is handy when you are cooking in a hurry; not so good when trying to determine how many calories you've eaten.
  3. Skipping the water.  When I eat out, I need water refills constantly.  However, I often get side tracked on the way to refill my glass or let it sit for hours untouched at my desk during the day.  If I have a cup of coffee to nurse I drink even less water.  And in the evenings I can barely find the time to eat my dinner, much less finish a beverage.
  4. Cheese.  My husband actually pointed this one out to me a few months ago.  Even so I didn't realize the impact cheese was having on my diet.  I've been including cheese in almost every major meal, particularly my vegetarian dishes. 

So what does that mean for my weight loss plan?  It means I have to develop a plan of attack.

I've already developed the good habit of working out 4 times each week.  That is not changing.  PT twice a week; gym workouts twice a week.  Take the stairs at work.  For the time being, I'm deeming that enough activity each week.  Adding on bonus hours of walking on the weekends is... well...  bonus.

On the food front, I'm starting at the beginning.  I've purchased a cute little notebook with blank lined pages and pretty flowers on the cover to carry around with me.  In it, I'm going to

Write down what I eat.

Everything I eat starting today goes into my shiny new notebook.  Bonus points will be awarded for measuring the quantity of food consumed, noting moods or struggles during the day or including calorie counts.  But the main focus is to simply write everything down.  In doing this I hope to create a habit of noting the food consumed while it is in front of me and before it is only a memory.  I also firmly believe that the act of writing it down curbs cravings and keeps me honest.

Each week I'll be building on what I learned in the previous weeks.  I can't lay out the plan now, because I don't know what I'm going to learn yet.  I have a few ideas and as more develop I'll be noting them in my little book.  My general plan right now is to develop a calorie counting method that works for me, hone in on problem areas, learn ways to cope with them and eventually define a lifestyle formula for myself to continue my weight loss.

I'm a little worried that I'm reinventing the wheel, but isn't that how every successful weight loss story goes?  "This is what worked for me."  I've learned a lot from the programs I've tried.  None of them have fit my life very well.  Or maybe portions of my life just aren't ready to be changed?  I might just be on to something there.

Monday, May 7, 2012

How Much a Number Can Mean

There's a piece of news that I've been keeping to myself.  Mostly due to all the offline introspection going on, but also...  I'm proud of it.  This month's weight-in results?


I am 10 pounds down from my start weight in January!  This is 10 % of my overall goal!  I'm just a little thrilled.  *grin*  I'm happy to be seeing progress and I'm hoping that I'll get to continue seeing it.  Just so you have an idea of where I've been for the past week, here's more on what this number means to me.

The last time I weighed in at 230, I had a tiny baby in my arms.  My second baby was 6 weeks old.  When I found out I was pregnant with her, I weighed 245 lbs.  I'd had a c-section with my first child and was terrified to go through that process again.  I knew it would be worth it to have a healthy baby, but I was out-of-my-mind scared.  I blamed the c-section for the depression which followed the birth of my first baby.  Recovery was slow and painful and scary for me.  Thinking of going through all that again with the addition of a toddler was mind-numbing.

I'm not sure my doctors ever fully understood the depth of my fear.  But they did present me with a way out.  A VBAC.  I could have my second child naturally if nothing went wrong.  I had to have a completely uneventful pregnancy AND I had to gain minimal weight.  The sheer fact that I weighted 245 lbs at 8 weeks pregnant made me high risk; it didn't matter than my first pregnancy contained no weight-related complications (my c-section was required due to my first baby being in a breech position).  Adding to my weight was the previous surgery.  The doctors would accept no additional risk factors.

Fear is motivating.  I went home from that first appointment determined to make this work.  I made a plan.  I joined BabyFit - Spark People's pregnancy accommodations.  Using their exercise suggestions (which appeared to have actual pregnant women performing the exercises), I planned out a workout for 5 days a week.  I did strength training MWF and walked for 30 minutes on TuTh.  I also abandoned my habit-forming French Fry Fridays I'd adopted during my first pregnancy.  These changes, constant monitoring by my OB and obsessive worrying on my part resulted in a 12 pound gain for my entire pregnancy.

For the first time in my health life, I felt powerful and successful.  Move the body and monitor the food to get the results you seek.  It was empowering and just what I needed to conquer my fears upon finding out I was pregnant a second time.  During those months, I truly believed "You can do this!" and I did.  It was terrific.  And at my 6 week check up, my hard work was validated.  I was 15 pounds lighter that I was at the start of the pregnancy.  And I had two beautiful babies.  Life was absolutely wonderful.

So this past week, I returned to that place.  The place where I felt accomplished and powerful.  I'd achieved my goals and felt terrific.  I'm feeling a little more of that these days.  Life is still wonder filled.  And I can accomplish goals just as I did 2 years ago.  I make a plan.  I execute the plan.  I find the results I seek.

Next up?  More on the plan.

Workout 120507: Time Off

Monday's Workout:

10 min Treadmill Warmup
3 min Rowing Machine (2 1:30min legs)
15 min Elliptical
Hip Abductors (10 Reps 3 Sets each leg)
Bridges (10 Reps with 5 sec hold)
Stretch (Aaahhhh)

This morning I felt good. The good feeling is coming from a full life being worked hard to meet my goals. I like it! My body is feeling reasonably good right now. I reserve great for when I no longer need physical therapy. My diet is decent and, for this weekend, I just allowed myself to eat what I wanted. I feel as though I made some good decisions, but I can also see that I need to track my food intake if I'm going to succeed in the long run. Snack sneak up on you so quickly!

This weekend's break was rejuvenating. I needed it. But now I'm back to work. You know what? It also feels good to have work to do.