Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Yay me. I'm not dead.

Each time I go to the gym I do a half hour of weight training and a half hour of cardio.  The weight training varies.  I just pick up where I left off on the circuit last time and go for a half hour.  But the cardio is always the old friend the elliptical.

I LOVE the elliptical.  I can get my heartrate up quickly, sweat a ton and read all at the same time.  I can do it right next to a skinny young thing and for a half hour not feel inadequate because I can keep up with her.  What's not to love? 

First it gives me my choice of program.  I choose the "Weight Loss" program, which consists of alternating intensities in four minite increments.  It asks me for my weight.  I press the "Up" key until it gets to the right number.  This takes far longer than I would like.  Then it asks me for my age.   It's the same process with my age, but that doesn't take as long.  I press "OK" and the digital readout says "Age/Weight Accepted"

Ah...if only I could be as kind to myself as this machine is to me.

I am quite accepting of my age.  I've witnessed my friends go through major crises over turning 30, 35, 40, 45.  None of these numbers phased me.  I mean it's not like I didn't see them coming.  And consider the alternatives:
  1. I could pretend I'm not aging, but really who would that fool?  Nobody who matters. 
  2. I could stop aging (die).  There are still books to read, steaks to eat and music to be heard so let's put that off, mmkay?
  3. I can own my age proudly as evidence that I've managed to make it out of childhood and through a couple of decades of adulthood without accidentally offing myself.
My vote is for #3.  Yay me.  I'm not dead.

My weight is an entirely different issue.  I SO wish I could be one of those big, confident women who can look a man in the eye and say "MmmHmm honey, you can't handle the lovin' of a big, beautiful woman like me".  Or something like that.  I look at Queen Latifah, Cameron Manheim, Amber Riley, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Hudson before Weight Watchers, Kathy Bates, I don't see "fat chick"...I see confident, beautiful women.

When look at me I see Homer Simpson with hair.

I wonder if it has as much to do with attitude as it does Spanx and professional stylists (or lack thereof).

I'm the first to jump on my kids if they say something derogatory about fat people. The Boy is 16.  His taste in girls goes toward tiny and thin.  That's his perogative.  It is NOT his perogative to be rude to ANY girl who likes him, even if she's overweight.  And it is not acceptable to laugh at her behind her back. 

The Girl is 12, and a huge Glee fan.  She can't understand what Puck sees in Lauren.  I just tell her that fat people have feelings too and wonder if she understands that when she asks me that kind of question I can't help but think she might wonder what her dad sees in me.

As quick as I am to defend my fellow overweight person, why am I equally quick to discount my own worth because of my weight?  I am more offended by a person, or society in general, labeling a stranger unlovable or unwantable than I am by myself, or really anyone else, putting that same label on myself.  I convince myself that I WILL SOMEDAY be worthy of love and kindness, that I will someday allow myself to buy nice clothes, that I will SOMEDAY be able to dance in public or speak my mind or any number of other attention-causing things, that I will some day stop hiding...all I have to do is lose 40 pounds.

What the hell?

So today when I go to the gym, when the elliptical tells me that my weight is accepted, I'm going to try to say to myself "Yep, now let's get healthy" rather than "Oh hell no it's not, now get to work".

Why can't we all get along....with ourselves?

Today's lunch - Salad.  Boring but YUMMY.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wendie would be so proud.

It's Monday, and I'm full.

Friday when I left work I basically LEAPED off the wagon and sprinted (metaphorically, of if I COULD sprint) in the opposite direction.  I continued to travel toward the gates of diet hell straight through until Sunday morning.  I did, however, burn a few extra calories Sunday chasing the wagon down and hoisting my fat ass back up on it.

Back in the day there used to be an unauthorized subcultrure within the members of Weight Watchers who followed "The Wendie Plan".  Basically, as I recall (I can't find anything I'd call authoritative online), this plan involved eating at the low end of your 'points' allotment most of the week, then eating at the high end the other one or two days, thus keeping your metabolism from slowing down.

Well as I mentioned Friday ( the same entry where I was trying to convince myself to keep plugging along and not pay too much attention to the scale, what's your point?) I had been a diet saint for roughly ten days and had lost nothing.  Starting Friday, going through Saturday evening, I ate pretty much everything in sight and when I got on the scale today I was down 8/10th of a pound.  Clearly not stellar results, but far better than I had expected.

So the question is....if I had continued to plug along behaving myself would I have lost a full pound?  Maybe two?  Or did I kickstart my metabolism with those extra calories, without which I might still be here cursing the plateau?

I don't know.  I'm not confident enough that this wasn't just a freak incident to start considering t-bone steaks, Bud Light and my beloved Double Fudge Cookie Dough blizzard as part of an "on track" weekend...but wouldn't that be freakin' awesome?

I think I should probably just thank my lucky stars I dodged the bullett of a gain and move on.

Starting yesterday morning I am back on track.  I had an almost 1000 calorie deficit yesterday, which may not be wise to do on a daily basis but I think it's fine on the tail end of the sort of foodfest I had Saturday. 

Today's lunch:  The same crap I had last Friday, minus the pineapple.  And I do mean THE SAME crap, which was left over from Thursday night's dinner.  I'm starting to wonder if four day old leftovers are safe.  Hmm......

Friday, March 25, 2011

Numbers, my old friend, you dissapoint me.

I am pretty good with numbers.  Not necessarily math.  Math is different.  Math is confusing.  Math is all "if X = Y then Cantelope" and that confuses the crap out of me.  I'm talking about numbers.  Working with them, shuffling them, either making them do what I want them to do or using them to figure out what I need to do (to make them do what I want them to do).  I find it reassuring.

I TRUST numbers.  They're safe and the typically don't lie (aside from the cantelope thing, but I'm a forgiving soul).

So the whole idea of, to steal Fat Secret's motto, "Calories In - Calories Out = Success", makes me think I can conquer this pesky obesity thing. 

Apparently my ass didn't get the accounting memo my brain sent out.

I have been a frigging diet SAINT for the past two weeks.  Indulge my geekhood:

The pink line is the number of calories I burn and the blue line is the number of calories I consume.  Only once in the past two weeks have I failed to burn significantly more than I've consumed....but my weight has been STUCK.  And stuck SUCKS!!!

The experts say that a pound equals 3500 calories.  Should we eat 3500 more than we burn, we gain a pound and, theoretically, vice-versa.

Based on that logic I should have lost 2.1 lbs in the past 11 days.  How much did I lose?  Try NOTHING!  NUH-EFFING-THING.

Numbers, my old friend, you dissapoint me.

But being the glass-half-full person I am (STOP LAUGHING!!!) I have been trying to see beyond the numbers on the scale.  I've been trying to focus on the fact that I've been in control.  I'm trying to see it as a success that I have not let the significant stress and emotional strain of this week drive me ass deep into a vat of caramel sauce.  I'm breaking my arm patting myself on the back over the fact that I am exercising and getting stronger and healthier.  Here's a big ATTAGIRL to me for not wasting my money on so much fast food and dining out.

Boy are my pants comfortable.  Yessiree.

All of those things are basically the equivalent of receiving underwear for Christmas...I want the Red Rider BB Gun with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time.  I want the numbers on the scale to go down...pronto.
But they will.  I know they will.  I'm paying sweat and determination and will power into an account that will eventually yield's just a mystery when that will be.

It better be friggin' soon. 

Today's lunch:  LaChoy Chicken Somethingorother with brown rice and pineapple.  I love pineapple and until today I thought it was a good addition to just about anything.  Today I found this to not be the case.  Do not try this at home.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Geekhood Permeates All Areas of My Life

You guys, I can't tell you how much it means to me that you stop in and check for new postings.  Some times my brain gets full of stuff I'm dealing with that I can't write about and it's hard to shift back into blog mode.  At times I think I shouldn't bother writing because I'll never have as many readers as the big successful blogs, and probably never enough even to attact real advertisors, but I do enjoy writing and when I log in after not writing for a few days and see that people have been here, looking for new content....I just get all verklempt.

I finally made it into the Saturday Urban Iron class!  I walked in like I knew what I was doing, grabbed my equipment, squoze in between a tall, thin, young woman and a weight rack and did my very best to keep up.  Problem is that my very best is just not good enough.  To be clear, it's not good enough FOR ME.  It's a really hard class so I doubt anyone else was looking beyond their own pain and sweat to see how miserable I was doing, but I saw it.  And it made me feel like a failure.  I am just flat-out physically incapable of doing crunches or leg lifts.  I've had my stomach cut open twice, I have a bad back and I'm using these sad, broken mechanisms to try to lift more than the average weight torso and legs.  And even if I had the strength in my arms to do push ups I probably shouldn't because of my tendonitis.  Feeling like a failure after a workout is no way to ensure that I'll feel like going back again.

So I give up...for now.  I'll try again when I lose another 20 lbs.  By then hopefully I'll have built up some muscle and be able to lift my shrinking frame with less pain.  And if not...not.  If I try to do something I hate I'm going to get discouraged and quit.  I feel like I have something very precious right now in that I actually WANT to work out.  I don't want to jeopardize that.

So yesterday I did the short circuit at the gym, today I shall do the long circuit.  I like circuit training.  It makes me feel tired and sore and accomplished.  So mneh.  I think I'm going to work up a spreadsheet into which I can enter the name of each machine, the seat position number, the weight setting and reps I'm doing.  I'll access it on my tablet during my workout, reducing the time I spend trying to figure out where I'm supposed to set the seat and finding the apropriate weight, and I will also be able to increase my weights incrementally over a period of time. 

Yes my geekhood permeates all areas of my life.

Today's lunch, yet another awesome salad, but this time made at home rather than at the salad bar across the street.  I'm going to start doing this at least a couple of days a week.  The salad bar is WAY too expensive and nearly impossible to log.   This salad, including dressing, is only 400 calories. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fire Your Doctor

Sorry I've been so absent lately.  I swear if there were 30 hours in the day I still wouldn't have enough.

Last night I was digging around the wonderful WWW in search of reliable information about niacin, hoping to find dosing and side effect information to assist in my quest to naturally cure my depression and anxiety and rid myself of my daily lexapro dose.

I found myself on this page, which seems to provide some good information as to how to figure out how much to take.  GREAT!  So now I have a plan.  I'm going to buy some cheap, low-dose niacin supplements (which I found out today cannot be found at the grocery store) and work my way up to 'saturation'.  Doesn't that sound like fun?  Once I figure out how much I need I'll invest in the time released kind so I don't have to take it throughout the day.

So today I checked out the main page of the site and what do I find but a picture of Dr. Andrew Saul, who is one of the main experts on FoodMatters, the documentary I wrote about last week.  Go figure!!!

So do I look at this as information which is being preached by only one man, or do I assume he must really be a leading expert in this subject matter since I keep stumbling over him?

I bit of both I guess.

He's written several books so I'm going to see if any are available in Kindle format.  What the hay?

One of his books is titled "Fire your Doctor"....boy oh boy does that jump out at me today.

I suppose I should back up about 9 years to really tell this story.

When The Boy was 7 he couldn't read.  Not a single word.  His teachers worked with him, I worked with him, I read to him ENDLESSLY, but he just couldn't catch on to it, so his teacher suggested we have him tested for a learning disability.

None of the test results screamed anything conclusive.  He wasn't developmentally disabled, he wasn't dyslexic, he was bright.  But in a very VERY roundabout way, without ever actually SAYING it, they made it clear that it might be a good idea to have him tested for ADHD.

I took him to a psychologist, who again did several tests, and recommended we have him tested by a neurologist.

I took him to one of the top pediatric neurologists in the country, who did still MORE tests, and told me that he definitely had ADHD. 

Back at the psychologists office, we were given some copies of articles about ADHD and tips to help him focus.  We talked to his teachers about moving him to the front of the class.  We put him in a reading intevention program at school.  We made lists using drawings to keep him on track.  But we became increasingly frustrated.

During a followup visit with the pediatric neurologist I broke down in tears because there had been no improvement.  I basically was sobbing and hiccuping and going on to the gist of "We're doing this and we're doing that and nothing helps why doesn't anything help am I doing it wrong you have to tell me what I'm doing wrong!!". 

She asked me why I didn't have him on medication.  I told her that I was hoping to avoid that and she asked me "If he was diabetic, would you give him insulin?".  Well of course I would!  So why wouldn't I medicate his ADHD?

Three months after he started on medication he tested at a gifted level in reading.

Over the years I have received notes and emails from teachers saying that he was especially fidgity, that he was talking too much, that he wasn't paying attention, coming right out and asking if he took his meds that day and almost invariably it would turn out that he did not.  He was a different kid off the meds, and not in a good way.

So you can imagine how hard it is to keep my mouth shut (admittedly I often fail) when I hear people saying that parents just want to shove a pill down their kids' throat rather than (insert simple parenting duty here....teaching, disciplining, working with) their child.

I'd love to say that medication was the answer to our prayers.  It hasn't been.  Clearly it's helped and I don't even want to think about what our lives would be without it, but there are still many issues.

Did you know:  ADHD is a developmental disorder in which brain maturation is delayed. The student’s development may also be uneven. Students may behave appropriately in some situations but not in others, leading some unenlightened adults to believe “they can behave when they want to.”

I believe my 16 year old son is probably about as mature as the average 13 year old.  He has problems with impulse control which leads us to discussions that go "Why did you DO that?" "I don't know".  Yet he IS 16.  While I don't let him drive yet, he has and deserves many of the same freedoms afforded to any other 16 year old.  I can't monitor his every move 24 hours a day.  I have to trust him to deal with the fallout when he doesn't do his homework or fails to study for a test.  He attended summer school last year and probably will again this year.  I spent his elementary and junior high years harrassing teachers, insisting that they let me know what assignments were due when so that I could keep him on task.  In high school that doesn't fly, and I think that's reasonable.  ADHD or no, he has to learn to be responsible.

So a couple of weeks ago he asked me to take him to the doctor to increase his dosage.  I see this as extremely responsible on his part because he really hates how the medication makes him feel, but he realizes that he needs it and it has stopped working.  Over the years I've laid out his pill only to find out later that he was putting it down the sink, resulting in periods of time where I insisted on seeing him take it.  We've had times where he's asked me to let him go off the meds and let him try on his own, and then later when he has asked to go back on because everything is just too hard.  It has not been an easy road.

So I took him to our family doctor who took over the task of regulating his medication a few years ago from the neurologist.  She checked his weight (up a pound, a good sign), his blood pressure (excellent), listened to his chest, no problems.  She asked him why he wanted to increase his dosage and he explained that he felt that the old dose was no longer working and that for a week (until I found out) he doubled up his meds and found that he actully ENJOYED his school work.  He went back to his old dose and said "I can't explain it, but it's like I just can't make myself do it".

So she looks at me and ask me how his grades are.  I tell her that they're bad.  And here's where it all goes south.

She tells me "Well you can't just let him fail".  She tells me that I have to MAKE the teachers make exceptions for him.  She explains that I can get an order from the state that will force the teachers to give him extra time taking tests (which he refuses to study for) or extra time to turn in homework (which he doesn't bring home).  She says that I can force the teachers to tell me ahead of time what assignments are due when so that I can make sure he does what he's supposed to do.  Been there, done that.  WHEN the teachers comply, half the time they're late or they write down what they're assignging to ALL of their classes...then The Boy will tell me that the teacher never assigned the work, or never gave him the paper.  A good portion of the time, after I called my son a liar, I'd find out that he was telling the truth.  Maybe there was an assembly or the teacher was absent or any one of three thousand excuses will come up which may or may not have happened.

The bottom line is that the kid is 16 years old, he has a laptop that he hasn't had custody of since the beginning of the school year, a playstation that I've had for just as long, and he hasn't had access to the TV alone in months, all because he has grades below a C. He is grounded from 8pm Sunday night until school lets out on Friday so that he has nothing to do instead of schoolwork.  Each grade that comes up to a C or above brings him back one of his belongings or priveleges.  He won't get his learner's permit if he has to go to summer school again and until his grades come up. His sole source of income comes from a complicated system that pays out only when he gets an A or B, a system which I administer through frequent visits to the school website, updating spreadsheets and running calculations.

I can dole out rewards and consequences until the cows come home, I've become really, really good at it.  But I CAN NOT force him to do anything he doesn't want to do, short of home schooling him and locking him in the house.  Even then I'd probably have to withhold food to get him to cooperate.

The doctor finally agreed to write a prescription for higher dose medication, but as she handed it to me she said "Make sure to make an appointment to meet with his principal"


I'm used to the people in the school system looking at me like I'm something to be scraped off their shoes, because obviously if a child doesn't perform it HAS to be because the parents don't care, right? I'm used to friends well-meaning advice that all he needs is discipline (which is exactly what the psychologists say he DOES NOT need more of).  I tolerate my coworkers who say that all he needs is a job (how am I supposed to get him there?) or to be involved in school activities (which his grades will not allow). 

I know that unless you have a child with these kind of issues you can't possibly understand, but you should thank your lucky stars. 

But to have to sit there and be preached at by a doctor who has spent a grand total of MAYBE an hour with us over the last 10 years?  I don't THINK so.

So yeah....I think I'll start with the Fire Your Doctor book. 

Today's lunch:  This awesome salad.  The red stuff isn't strawberry sundae sauce, I promise, it's raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Poor Widdle Feewings

Saturday I tried, once again, to get to the Urban Iron class at my gym.  And, once again, I didn't make it.  This time I was there far before the class started, while the Yoga class was still going on.  I waited outside the door for the yoga people to get done, all the time thinking I had done well because there were only about 10 people in line in front of me.

When the yoga class was over all hell broke loose.

While the yoga people were still returning their mats to the pile in the back of the room, the Urban Iron people rushed the room to lay claim to their spots and equipment.  I, of course, wandered in with all the purpose and confidence of the feather at the end of Forrest Gump.  At this point I realized there are TWO doors to this room, and therefore two crowds of people wating to get in, and the door I used was farthest from the equipment. 

I grabbed a bench, but as I looked around I saw that some of the others had mats instead of benches.  As a beginner, I decided I might be better off with a mat, so I returned my bench and grabbed a mat.  When I turned around, nearly every space in the room was already full.  This was no more than 60 seconds after the first yoga student stood up to leave.

But I still had hope, so I went up to the leader and asked what equipment I needed.  She said "You need a......well all the barbells are taken".

She said "Saturdays are really crazy.  There's another one at 3 tomorrow".  I asked if Monday & Wednesday are this crazy and she said no.

I'm not proud of what I did next.....

I went into the bathroom and cried.

Not very "urban-iron-ish" of me, huh?

It was really REALLY hard for me to work up the courage to stand alone among strangers, most of whom were in pairs, to wait for the doors to open.  Every instinct I have told me to run while everyone else was buzzing around clueless, fat old me.  But I stayed..  And all of that was wasted.

Plus, I'm obviously a big crybaby.

Once my little pity party was over (it was blessedly short) I did the weight circuit and a half hour on the elliptical, then I came home and cleaned the bathroom, dusted the living room, went to two grocery stores and made dinner.  I burned over 3000 calories Saturday, which is not too shabby if I do say so myself.

As I was on the elliptical it occurred to my why I like it so much.  I don't half-ass it.  I don't do the fat chick version of it.  I can train on the elliptical with the best of 'em, so not only am I not embarrassed when I'm on it, I'm actually sort of PROUD of myself.  I feel normal and competent.  I'm still very much a fat chick.  I regularly see people my size get on the ET, use it for 5 minutes and get off.  I can do the full 30 minute pre-programmed "weight loss" routine, and throw in another 15 minutes just for good measure.  I could do an hour if I had decent shoes.

I'm also feeling pretty confident as far as circuit training goes.  Yes, the weight level I use is pathetic, but someone would have to pay awful close attention to know that. 

So, as I sweated through my familiar old 90 minute workout, I decied to blow off the Urban Iron class and just stick to what I know and am comfortable with.

Yeah....that lasted about an hour.  I know...I need to step outside my comfort zone.

So I'm heading there after work, hoping third try's a charm.  I'll have 30 minutes to get out of here, drive to the gym (only about a 5 minute trip), change and get my equipment.  I hope I can do it.

And if I can't I'm going to try really hard not to have a meltdown.

Here's the thing.....I lost five pounds in the past 7 days.  FIVE POUNDS.  Part of me is all "yaaaayyy", and part of me is all "Woah...dial it down missy".  I didn't deserve to gain 0.2 lbs last week, it was water, so these 5 lbs really were probably lost over the course of 2 weeks, but still, I think I'm going too fast.

Saturday night I had a complete meltdown because The Man hurt my poor widdle feewings.  I don't even think it was intentional, he's just a man and therefore sometimes completely clueless.  It wasn't a first and it won't be the last and it certainly didn't merit me wasting an evening, much less a tear, obsessing over it.

Then this morning, feeling all good about my 5 lb loss, working away with no real problems...I had a such a mood swing that I came really, really close to bursting into tears. 

Well during my normal Monday morning weight progress analysis (yes, I'm a geek) I relized that over the last 48 hours I burned 5600 clories and only consumed 3700.  Gee...think I may have a tinch of a blood sugar issue?

So I ate some pineapple for my morning snack and swapped out my can of tomato soup for a 6" subway tuna sandwich.  Hopefully I'll pep up soon.  If not I pity the woman who takes the last dumbell.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Apparently Food Matters

There's this local chiropractor named Robert DeMaria, aka Dr. Bob the Drugless Doctor, who writes books about how to naturally cure various maladies through nutrition.  Jeremiah is a big fan.  Anyway Dr. Bob says that milk is bad for us and his evidence to support this theory is that humans are the only creature on the planet who continue to consume milk beyond infancy.

I like milk, so my response is this:  We are also the only creature who cooks our food....does that mean we should start eating everything raw?

Well...according to a documentary I watched the other day, apparently we should.

The documentary is called Foodmatters, and I have to tell you it's pretty darn convincing.  It's actually more about nutrients and vitamins than raw food, but they did say that at least 51% of everything we eat should be raw.

So 51% of what we eat should be what my dear bacon-loving grandfather called rabbit food.

Now I love love LOVE me a good salad (covered in cheese and ranch dressing), but I just don't know if I could even come close to filling 51% of my diet with raw fruits & vegetables.  I guess I should just take the advice as motivation to do a little maybe buying more organic vegetables, then actually eating them rather than feeding them, wilted and smelly, to the garbage disposal.

One particular story they told really made me think.

They said that over the last 25 or so years (any and all of the statistics I'm about to quote could be WAY off from what they said) a grand total of 10 (T E N) deaths have occurred due to taking vitamins.  This is not ten per million vitamin users....this is TEN PEOPLE.  TOTAL.

Over that same period of time, a buttload (I want to say over 30,000) people have died due to reactions or interractions with prescription drugs.

YET....if you tell a doctor you're taking vitamins, most of them will tell you either that it's not necessary or that it's downright harmful.

So...there was this woman.  Wife and mother  Who was seriosuly, chronically, suicidally, non-functionally depressed.  They had tried every medication and treatment her doctor could think of and nothing helped.  She was reduced to sitting in a corner, back to the room, staring at the walls.

So her family came to this nutritionist (one of the guys interviewed on Foodmatters) and asked if he had any ideas.  And basically said that he had HEARD that niacin was good for depression.  The family asked how much they should give her and he told them that the recommended dosage was something like 600 mg but they should give her whatever it took to make her better.

So they started giving her niacin supplements.  And they just increased and increased until she was better.  Eventually, at 11,000 mg per day she was able to live a normal life.

So she went to the doctor and told him about this wonderful cure.  The doctor said "You can't take that much niacin.  It's not safe".  So she stopped...and ended up right back in the corner.

Yet...according to the documentary....there are ZERO recorded cases of death due to niacin overdose.

How many suicides do you figure there are from depression? 

Of course they want you to buy....I don't know what....a book, a plan...something to get the details of what to eat to prevent or cure this or that.  And I know juicing is involved.  And honestly I'm considering forking over the $25 or so bucks to check it out.  But I could start taking niacin NOW.  The problem is I wouldn't know when to stop.  If I have a bad day and disolve into tears does that mean I need to up the dosage or does that just mean that sometimes life sucks?  I don't trust myself to self-medicate, even with vitamins.

Anyway, according to this documentary, our brains and our bodies are starving for nutrients, even as we get fatter and fatter.  I guess I can see that...but I don't know exactly what to do about it yet.  I certainly don't want to make any major changes solely based on one documentary, no matter how much sense it makes.

But are doctors really to be believed either?  Getting us healthy would put them out of business.

Oh way too much to think about on a friday lunch break.

Today I got on the scale and I'm down 17 pounds (from last August, with a break and a gain in the middle).  When I lost 10 pounds (October? November?) I rewarded myself with a massage.  I need to try to think of a reward for myself when I hit 20 but I don't know what.  I can't really afford a massage.

I know!  A big ol' hot fudge sundae.  Kidding.  Sigh.

Today's lunch:  Progresso Chicken Barley Soup.  Not bad for 80 calories a serving (I had 2 servings).  But what  the heck is barley?  Is it good for me?  Cuz I kinda like it.

Progresso Soup - Chicken...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lord willin' and the gym don't explode.

Over the past few days, my life, or maybe my lack of basic organizational skills, has kept me from working out.

Let's see....Saturday I planned to start the Urban Iron class at the gym, which started at 10:05.  This was the first time I had been to my new gym on a Saturday morning and I had to park not in the gym parking lot, not in the lot for the grocery store next to the gym, but in the vacant lot NEXT TO the grocery store next to the gym.

I was too late to attend the class.  I did work out.  I had a good, long workout.  But it wasn't the class I wanted to attend.

Sunday by the time we got home from The Girl's bowling tournament it was too late to work out.  I was actually kind of bummed.

Monday I forgot my gym clothes. 
Tuesday I took a half vacation day to deal with some family stuff near home.  My plan was that once I was done I would go home to change clothes and then head back to the gym, which is by work.

Well I found out at 1:20 that my 1:30 appointment had been rescheduled two weeks out.  I was not a happy camper to say the least.  I broke land speed records getting back to work so as not to waste the half vacation day, which I will need to cover the rescheduled appointment.  And, of course, I did not have my gym clothes with me.

Yes, I realize I need to start keeping gym clothes in the car at all times.  Get off my back.

Wednesday I had my clothes. I had to go to traffic court and didn't get out until 5:40.  There wasn't nearly enough time to work out and pick my son up at 7 as I usually do.  Of course after I picked him up he told me he wished he could have stayed longer because he was watching Tosh.0 with his uncle.  Thanks for the heads up on that BUD!!

So today...I hate to say I'm going no matter what, because that's a sure bet that the gym will be hit by lightning or a tornado or something...but I'm going to do my best.  This would be one of those situations where my oh-so-southern ex mother in law would say "Lord willin' and the creek don't rise"...which is a bit funny because creeks are rising all around me.  Record snows, followed by rapid thaw and thunderstorms (THUNDER in March in Ohio!!!), followed by more snow, more rain, and as I type this it is pouring rain and we are under a winter storm warning.  This has resulted in major flooding in the area.  A bit over a week ago they were rescuing people from their homes in boats about two miles from my house. 

So, I guess, lord willin' and the gym don't explode, right?

Monday's weigh-in was dissapointing.  I GAINED 0.2 lbs.  It was all water, as I was down 2 on Tuesday, but still dissapointing and embarrassing.  I'm supposed to be the team captain for crying out loud.

My inability to get to the gym four days in a row has left me feeling like a fat, lazy slug.  I did bowl Sunday, and I walked on the treadmill last night, and I've been under my calorie limit every day....but I still feel fat and lazy and sluglike.  I'm hoping an hour of sweating will rid me of that feeling.

Again, who AM I????

I never work out on Friday.  Friday is my day of rest.  Well my evening of rest anyway.  I rarely cook and I don't work out.  But Saturday I'm going to try really, really hard to get to the gym at least 15 minutes before the class starts in order to get a spot.

I did peek in the door at the class, hoping to see an opening I could slide quietly and invisibly into.  Of course there were none.  But I saw that there are steps (like the old 'step arobics' steps), barbells and freeweights.  It looks challenging.  I hope I can get a spot in the back so nobody seese me fall on my head.

The idea of taking this class scares the bejezus out of me.  Joining groups is hard for me due to just a basic assumption that I will be ridiculed first and rejected later.  Add in the fact that this is a group that is all about doing something that I have failed at over and over and over again AND everyone in there knows what they're doing except me. 

If anxiety could burn calories I'd be golden right now.

It'll be good for me....physically and, hopefully emotionally.  It could make or break my confidence I guess, depending on how I do.

No pressure, right?

BUT....I tried on some previously too-small pants and they fit....well they SORTA fit.  They stay up, which I can't say about the ones I was wearing, but I have a muffintop that the Pillsbury dough boy would be proud of.

Today's lunch:  Wolfgang Puck's Organic Old Fashioned Tomato soup.  I've been dissapointed in the past with organic soup, but this was really good!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ovaries are MOSTLY Overrated

Obviously I wrote the previous entry when I WASN'T in the throes of a hot flash. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ovaries are Overrated

Many of you probably know that I had my girlparts removed a couple of months ago.  If you didn't, well now you're in the know.  You're welcome.

While I knew that this move was necessary in order to take control of my physical health, I had some serious concerns as to how it would effect my menal health.  Let's be honest, emotionally speaking I'm not the steadiest raft on the lake.  I'm prone to what The Man will tell you is probably more than my fair share of ugly mood swings, which have been mostly controlled by the wonder that is anti-anxiety medication for nigh on 13 years now.  Because my anxiety is hormonally driven, the doctors have speculated that once I get through menopause I could probably go off the medication, but realistically speaking things could have gotten a lot worse before they got better.

I consider myself extremely lucky that I managed to get myself medicated back when I did, especially considering the fact that I pretty much fell into the diagnosis.  I had no idea what was wrong with me.  I thought I had a sensitive stomach.

I was in counseling, trying to work out the kinks in my doomed marriage.  This was a good six years before we called it a marital day, but even then (and, honestly, long before that) it was clear to me that this whole wife and mom thing didn't come as easily to me as it seemed to come to everyone else.

I was discussing my marital issues with the psychologist, specifically our lack of common interests.  Funny how being from the same small town and going to the same high school doesn't guarantee anything at all in common ten years after prom.  Anyway, I told her that the only thing we both liked to do was to go to movies or out to dinner, but I had developed some sort of stomach issue that made eating out difficult, and going to a movie AFTER eating out was impossible.  So I felt that we were doomed to living separate lives, only a little boy holding us together.

We got to talking about my stomach issues, how I felt after I ate restaurant food.  I blamed the large portions, which even then I was powerless to push away, and the high fat content.  She thought for a minute and said "I really don't think you have a digestive issue, I think you're having panic attacks"., seriously.

Another thing that I didn't know was that along with what is officially called "Generalized Anxiety Disorder" I also had "Major Depressive Disorder", the symptoms of which I didn't know WERE symptoms because my mom had it too (back then I had no idea that my mom is a total loon).  I had gone through bouts of extreme sadness which left me nearly non-functional and which couldn't be blamed on any catastrophic event.  My mood would get so low you would think I had lost my best friend, but my life was nearly perfect.  Simply not having something to look forward to, no matter how small, was enough to send me sobbing to my bed and declaring that life was not worth living.

So after a little bit of trial and error I ended up with the wonderful little white pill that saved my life.  It's called Lexapro. 

Fortunately Lexapro treats both anxiety and depression, so it's been all good in my little hood for years now.  Just the fact that I was able to rebuild my life from the puddle of tears and snot that I was left with after the end of my marriage and job is a testament to how much better I am now.  But menopause was always this looming blessing and/or threat which I believed would either stabilize my chemical makeup or push me over an edge from which medication could not retrieve me.

The first two weeks after the hysterectomy were rough.  I didn't have any depression symptoms but I had constant low-grade anxiety.  If you've never had an anxiety disorder it's really hard to describe.  It's the physical and emotional feeling of dreading something, like knowing that there's a meteor hurdling toward your home, but there is no meteor or even the dilusion of one.  It's just a dread that you can't talk yourself out of.  And this old familiar black cloud followed me through my convalescence.

My doctor put me on hormone replacement therapy and my symptoms subsided, but there are health risks that go along with HRT and I wasn't willing to resign myself to these risks long-term.  So, after a month on the HRT, when the healing was done, I decided to bite the bullett, and save myself a good chunk of change, by not refilling the prescription.

It's been three months since the surgery, and six weeks since the hormone prescription ran out, and on Saturday I realized something really strange....I have nothing to look forward to.  Due recent financial setbacks we won't be taking a vacation this summer.  My tax refund came the other day and went straight to the credit card company.  I've been living with the same man for nearly five years and, God willing, I'll continue to live with him, if not for the rest of my life at least until one of us gets tired of the other's significant neuroses.  And no, there is no wedding date.  But the bizarre thing about all of this is that it's ok.  My life is good.  It's hard at times, but it's good.  I mean yes I'd love a bit more in my pay check, a carribean cruise (hell, just a massage), a nice ring on my left hand and the promise of Till Death do us Part, but I'm not crying about it and that's a HUGE change.

So I say that, for me anyway, ovaries are overrated.  I have the occasional hot flash but I'd rather have my internal thermostat be on the fritz than have my scared/sad-ometer be freaking out all the time.  I'm not really ready to give up the anti anxiety meds just yet...but I have hope.  Maybe THAT'S something I can look forward to.

Today's lunch:  Leftover homemade yam soup & roasted red pepper & asiago chicken sausage (the pic is from dinner last night).  Not so great separately, but mixed togther...YUMMY!!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sucker's Remorse

They installed a salad bar at the grocery store across from my office a few weeks ago.  I often stop at the store before work because coming straight to the office from dropping The Boy off at school gets me here about 45 minutes early.  It's a good opportunity to pick up this or that without making myself late for anything else.  It seems that ANYTHING I add in to my schedule at this point is at the expense of someone or something else.

I've often wished that they would open the salad bar in the morning so that I could have a nice salad for lunch without actually having to venture out of my office at lunch time.  It's cold out and if I'm not writing this I'm reading others' blogs, exploring the Cheezburger network or participating in some other culturally and educationally bankrupt internet activity.

Well yesterday morning I stopped to pick up frozen lunches and milk to keep at work, and I noticed that the salad bar was open.  Yay!  They read my mind!  Wait, can they hear me thinking this??

But there were no tongs or spoons with which to move the veggies from their recessed, refrigerated, previously covered bins into my eagerly waiting plastic container. 

I went to the prepared foods counter which is near to the salad bar and said "Excuse me.  There are no tongs or anything" and was rewarded with a gruff "fine we'll take care of it" from the grocery store equivalent of your typical hairnet-equipped lunch lady.  I said thank you as sweetly as I knew how and I waited.  She lumbered into the back and loudly announced that there was a customer at the salad bar who needed tongs and spoons.  A sweet young gentleman came out, followed by the lunch lady, and apologized for not having readied the salad bar.  He said that it's not "technically open" and that he had only uncovered it so that he could empty out the previous day's leftovers and ready it for the scheduled opening at 10 am.  I thanked him and started to move along.

Then the lunch lady said "I can give you some tongs if you want".  I said "No, it's ok, thanks".  She says "You sure?  Here you go" and she's holding tongs out to me. 

I asked the nice young gentleman if the bar had been covered all night and he assured me that it had.

What could I do? (don't answer that).

So I took the tongs and started to assemble my salad.  Upon closer inspection it was clear that these really were last night's leftovers and, while they had been refrigerated and covered, they they were looking pretty sad.  I tried to pick and choose items that looked less than disgusting (because isn't "less than disgusting" what we all hope for in a meal?) and couldn't really put together a salad that I thought would seem even remotely edible four hours later.

But they were watching me.

I considered closing up the container, smiling and saying thank you, and then stashing it elsewhere in the store...but this would leave my mess for some other innocent store employee to clean up or, worse, would come to the attention of the lunch lady who would later stick pins into a fat, redheaded voodoo doll.

It took some serious screwing up of determination for me to sheepishly walk up to the counter and say "I'm really sorry.  It just doesn't look good so I'm going to pass.  Sorry...again.  Have a good day!"

My apologies, and my handing over of my partially made salad, were met with cold stares from both the previously polite young man and the lunch lady.

I slunk away in shame.

Given my reaction to this situation, it should come to no surprise that I fell for high pressure sales at the Personal Training Department at my gym.

Yes folks, I've seen the error of my ways and I will be cancelling my training contract this evening, 48 hours into the 72 hour window during which I can cancel without penalty.

Talking to The Boss yesterday, I told him that I signed up for 12 months but that Chris told me that I could cancel after two.  He urged me to take a very close look at my contract (which I totally should have done in the first place rather than being a trusting doofus) because, while it's a decent facility in a great location with reasonable membership prices, he has had less than positive experiences with regard to the integrity of the PT sales staff.

Sho'nuf, when I got home I pulled out my contract and I can cancel.....if I have a documented medical condition that prohibits me from exercising or if I move more than 25 miles from any Urban Active facility.


So I sat down to pay bills and work on my budget and allocate to which debtors I want to divvy up my impending tax refund in the hopes that I'd discover a few thousand extra dollars stashed between the electric bill and gas bill, and I came to the conclusion that I had no business even committing to two months of this expense, much less twelve.  I have to cancel.  End of story.

So tonight I'll go over there with my contract in hand, try not to make eye contact, and tell them that I need to cancel. 

I'm sure I will involuntarily apologize profusely.  It's a form of tourettes I tellya.

I'm going to have to revamp my schedule but my plan is to attend two "Urban Iron" classes per week.  There's one at 10 am on Saturdays (admittedly FAR preferable to my 8:30 PT appointment) which will be no problem at all, but the other two are at 5:30 Monday and Wednesday.  Currently I work out on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so some shuffling will be required, which involves the schedules of The Man and The Ex, in order to get there either Monday or Wednesday.  

Have I mentioned....shit?

Tonight after I weasel out of my contract I'm going to try to do the full circuit (I at least learned that strength training is as important as cardio) and then spend as much time as possible on the elliptical with my e-book.

Right now I'm reading "The Pleasure of My Company" by Steve Martin.  I've seen Steve Martin books at the bookstore and thought, isn't that funny, an author with the same name as the commedian.  Did you know it's the same guy??  This book is VERY's about a guy with...I guess he has OCD.  It's very strange on the heels of Portia de Rossi's book.  A bit too mujch mental illness in my reading lately I guess.  But I'm a couple hundred pages in so I may as well continue and just make sure the next book I read is a nice, healthy murder mystery.

One thing that happens when we reach 40 or so years of age is that post-exercise pain takes longer to set in.  Where I used to be sore the day after a workout, now it takes 48 hours.  Today my legs are SCREAMING.  And I wonder if it's the workout or the voodoo doll.

Today's Lunch:  Amy's Macaroni and Soy Cheese.  The best part is the over-cooked burned on crunchy cheese around the edges.  I wonder what would happen if I cooked it like five times as long as it calls for?  Would it become one chunk of the yummy crunchy cheese? 


Disregard everything I wrote yesterday.

As you were.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Clearly Dimentia is Setting In

Within the past couple of months I've taken several steps toward creating a healthier me.  While I haven't really consciously tried to make this into fitness blog (which would be about like Charlie Sheen starting a sanity blog), it has sort of turned into a fitness blog on it's own just because I lack the imagination required to write about anything other than my daily life, and right now my daily life is very fitness-centric.

I'm done fighting it.  I guess this is just me for right now.

So I've been using the BodyBugg for a bit over a week now and I LOVE it.  It beats the heck out of logging individual exercises in FatSecret.  BodyBugg's food database sucks so I'm just using The Bugg to calculate exercise calories, which I key into FatSecret in a lump sum adjustment to see my net deficit.  

If BodyBugg is to be believed, and I don't know that it has any motivation to lie to me, FatSecret has been drastically over-estimating my metabolism.  This was initially a bit disheartening, but knowledge is power and all that rot.

I broke up with The Y and joined Urban Active Fitness.  The Big Girl Gym suits me SO much better than the family atmosphere of the Y.  I have no patience for little kids, which is why I no longer have one, and I have enough trouble dealing with my own teenager, I don't want to deal with everyone elses.  Granted I've only been there twice, but I don't dread going and that's a big plus.

In fact, and trust me what I'm about to say is so unbelievable to me that I haven't ruled out early onset dimentia, but I actually WANT to go work out.  If I could do it right this very second I would.  If I could go after work today, I would.  If I could go any time before tomorrow evening, when I actually CAN go, I would.  This whole business of being a parent and a productive member of society is getting in the way of what, admittedly, might become an unhealthy obsession if left unchecked.  I guess that's good, right?

I first visited my new gym on Sunday.  I did the upper body portion of one of the many sets of circuit training machines, followed by 45 minutes on the elliptical.  I honestly wanted to go longer on the ET.  I could have happily gone a full hour or more, reading and sweating facing out over the parking lot.  But The Man and The Girl were wandering the adjacent shopping area while I worked out and I didn't want to leave them waiting an inconsiderate amount of time.  So I stopped, showered, and met them at Barnes & Noble where I was greeeted with "That was fast".  Sigh.

Monday I couldn't go, but I met with two separate personal trainers yesterday after work.  The first, who I'll call Chris (because that's his name) had me fill out some paperwork, asked me about a million questions, then handed me over to the most adorable little (but fit) gay man I've ever met.  My fitness level was assessed (I'm pretty sure they had to create a new category for me on their assessment paperwork), I was put through a workout that included lunges, lifting and throwing a 20 lb bag of sand, squats while lifting free weights and a sad attempt at crunches while perched atop a spongy flat-bottomed ball type dealio.  During the beginning of the workout I wanted the trainer to be my new BFF.  I imagined we could do lunch, go shoe shopping, maybe take in a musical.  By the end I just wanted to throw him out a window but lacked the strength.

After my assessment and workout I was sat back down with Chris, who explained to me why I need to do this type of workout rather than the machines and cardio to which I've become accustomed.  The first problem is that I've become accustomed to them, and apparently my body is smart enough to get used to stuff and stop being impressed with my efforts, therefore not rewarding me with the desired results. 

Second, and I suppose this makes sense, if I concentrate primarily on cardio, I burn lots of calories for that 45 minutes or so and then my metabolism quickly goes back to normal.  If I concentrate on building muscle, I burn calories while I'm doing it (BodyBugg said I burned FAR more calories per minute doing lunges and throwing that stupid sandbag than I do on the ET) but also there's the whole muscle is metabolically more active thing to deal with.

Chris says I can realistically expect to gain a pound of lean muscle per month, which will burn an additional 50 calories per day when at rest.  This doesn't sound like much but if I do this for 10 months, that means I'll be burning 500 extra calories per day when at rest...and that translates to a pound of fat loss per week.

Am I ready to give up my ET?  No.  And that came as a HUGE shock to me.  I actually ENJOY my time on the elliptical.  I LIKE to sweat and zone out and read. 

What the hell is happening to me??  I smell toast.

Chris assures me that I'll still be able to cardio train, but (here we go), if I sign up for one of their training packages they will customize my workout with exactly the right amount of strength training combined with the right amount of cardio to attain the results I want.

I was actually relieved that he didn't tell me I couldn't use the ET any more.  I'm not kidding.  Stop laughing I'm serious!

Well the bottom line is that the switch from the Y to Urban Active, just membership-wise, cut my bill by 60%.  I bought the absolute least expensive bare minimum training package they offer, which is one session per week, and now I'm paying QUADRUPLE what I was paying at the Y.

QUAD-EFFING-DRUPLE.   This shit better work.

I'm not committed for more than two months.  I guess at that point I'll decide if it's worth it.

But here's the thing.  And I know this is going to sound like the sales pitch brainwashing me but this is math that I did on my own.  Even if I stick with it for a full year, if there were a surgery that could get me into shape I would GLADLY plunk down what this will cost me for a full year to attain that goal.  It's a miniscule fraction of what one would pay for bariatric surgery or even a tummy tuck (not that I've considered that, just saying).  So, other than the fact that I may not be able to pay for heat or food, why am I freaking the crap out about spending this money on myself? 


So Saturday morning I have an 8:30 am appointment with a woman who will teach me how to become the new, strong, confident me. 

All I know is that I'm more excited about getting healthy than I've been in a long time and I'm trying really hard to imagine myself staying this excited rather than repeatedly telling myself that I'll muck this up like I always do so why get my hopes up? 

This is something I've never tried before, maybe that's why I have renewed hope. 

I remember when I was probably three or four years old my dad dug a ditch across our back yard to run a gas line to the grill.   I clearly remember standing on one side of this gap, which couldn't have been more than 2 feet wide, crying because I couldn't get back to the house.  Neighborhood kids jumped over it without hesitation.  Adults stepped over.  I just couldn't bring myself to do it no matter how much encouragement was thrown my way.

Fast forward about 20 years and I was going fishing with The Ex.  There was a pond near our house that had a creek running along side of it, and the way to get to the best fishihng spot was to walk between the creek and pond, along a strip of solid yet somewhat uneven ground that was probably 3 feet wide.  I couldn't do it.  He said I could, I just lacked the confidence.  I said "Ok, I'll meet you in the car".

Last summer The Man, The Girl and I drove to Mohican state park with some of The Inlaws.  This was presented to me as "Let's go to Mohican".  Half way there I found out that a more accurate presentation would have been "Let's go HIKING at Mohican", which would have caused me to laugh and stay home.
The couple we went with consisted of a pregnant woman and a man carrying a toddler in a carrier on his back, so even though they are both young and fit I knew it couldn't been too dangerous, steep or physically challening.  What I didn't count on was a trail that runs along a river, trees and rocks on one side, water on the other, uneven path between.  I had a full blown panic attack, unable to go forward or back, sobbing and humiliated as children and even people much older than me went around me.  The Man walked me back to the car and we waited in strained silence, punctuated by my repeated apologies, for the rest of the group to return, at which point I had to endure a couple hour drive back home in my humiliation.

All of this fear comes from the certainty that I will fall if I don't have something to hold on to, becasue my balance is horrible.  I felt like such an idiot yesterday trying to do lunges.  "Hands on hips, head up, focus on the exit sign".  He may as well have asked me to levatate.  I kept having to stop and put my hands out to keep from falling over on my side like a fainting goat.  They assure me that my balance issues are caused by a lack of core strength, and they're going to help me fix this.

This boggles my mind.....the idea that my uncoordination, something that I've always seen as being as much a part of me as my love of animals and my hatred of eggplant can somehow be changed my, of all things, physical exericise.  Apparently exercise isn't just for trying to make my fants fit.  Who knew?

Or maybe I'm just a big ol'chicken and all the crunches in the world won't change it.  But I'll look better during my sniveling, humiliating panic attack, and that's something, isn't it?

Today's lunch:  Kashi Pesto Pasta Primavera.   I'm not a big Kashi fan.  It's all generally too 'twigs and bark' for me, but this is actually pretty good.  Too bad I can never bring it to work again.  WAY too much garlic smell.