Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wrong On So Many Levels

This obnoxious banner was glaring at me while working out to one of the fitness videos on Spark People's website, which was preceded by an animated image of bacon and jalapeno cheeseburgers:

In case you can't read the small white typeface, it is an ad for White Castle cheeseburgers.

As the little note near the bottom of the ad says, "SparkPeople Sponsors help keep the site free!" I understand that websites often rely upon advertising to stay afloat. But to promote fast food cheeseburgers on a fitness and nutrition site? Really.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Experiment: Workout Music Playlist

I put together an hour's worth of workout music that I'm going to give a spin tomorrow. The playlist is bookended by slower tempo songs to coincide with warm-up and cool-down. I have more in my head...alt country, 7o's bubblegum, electro-soup, spunky punk. Music is the one exercise tool that can sometimes be overlooked.

Here's the playlist:

1. “Hold On” Neko Case (2:46)
2. “Lost Art of Keeping a Secret” Queens of the Stone Age (3:36)
3. “Violet Hill” Coldplay (3:49)
4. “Best of You” Foo Fighters (4:13)
5. “Sex on Fire” Kings of Leon (3:25)
6. “Mountain Song” Janes Addiction (4:03)
7. “Gates of Steel” Devo (3:28)
8. “New Rose” The Damned (2:42)
9. “Wolf Like Me” TV On The Radio (4:39)
10. “Re-Make, Re-Model” Roxy Music (5:14)
11. “Hung Up” Madonna (5.36)
12. “Tell the World” Vivian Girls (3:36)
13. “Angel” Massive Attack (6:19)
14. “Hold on To Yourself” Nick Cave (5:51)

And I added a music player on the side bar that's loaded up with this first workout playlist. However, I'm really using it as an excuse to avoid having to hear Pink's "Sober" for the gazillionth time on my secretary's radio station. Top Forty is the little-known Tenth Circle in Dante's Inferno.

Hope everyone has an excellent weekend and enjoy the Spring weather if you can. I'm taking one of my BFFs on the fitness trail this weekend for a little girlfriend therapy. Sure beats the bars for a change.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In: 3/25/2009 and a Question

Hey, 150's! I'm coming for you! I'm standing outside the castle gates like an angry mob with torches and pitchforks. And you know how THAT scenario usually ends. So, listen. Just give up. Open up and let me in already. K?

The scale said 161.6 this morning. That's a little less than a pound down from last week. And about 1 & 1/2 lbs. from the 150's. While that's still a steady loss, my spidey sense tells me I lost a little more than that. Unfortunately, my legs are sore from running, like they've been flayed by a cenobite, so there's probably some water retention going on. And (how do I say this delicately?) I've been a bit corked for a couple days, although I'm hoping Bobzilla's homemade black beans and tinga de pollo w/sliced avocados will remedy that soon.

Running question:

Is there a watch or other secure-able timepiece that vibrates? I would like to time my walks/sprints without having to look at my watch constantly and without taking off my earphones.

Also, does anyone have a good way to prevent or get rid of stitches? I haven't suffered from them yet, but because I'm such a heavy mouth-breather, that's likely to be a problem soon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Run, Fatgirl, Run!

Did my first run today, I did. This is gonna be short, b/c I'm out of breath:
  • Started with a 5 min. walk from home to the running trail.
  • Started hardcore running for, oh, 1 or maybe 2 min. (IRL, probably 30 seconds) and felt like a Greek goddess.
  • I peter out and walk for 3-4 minutes.
  • Run (really brisk jogging) for another min. Not feeling so badass anymore, but I don't want to go home.
  • Walk for another 3 mins.
  • Run again. Maybe 1 min., maybe 30 seconds. I feel like I'm gonna puke.
  • I walk the 5 minutes back home, cooling down. During this time, my accountant calls. Now I REALLY wanna puke.
My lungs feel like they're on fire. My feet are good to go, though--these are excellent shoes. My earbuds kept falling out, need to fix that.

C-cup + good sports bra = good thing. No way would I have come out of this unscathed if the girls were still their original size.

My endurance is caca. My lung capacity is commiserable. Riding the bike is nothing compared to running and carrying your own body weight. Lesson learned.

Here's my game plan:

I'm going to keep doing the 3-4 minute walk/1 minute run set (times 3) for the rest of the week. Then increase the run time another 1 minute per interval next week and so on.

In my Zen player: American Psycho

No, not that American Psycho (sorry guys):

Rather, this:

Monday, March 23, 2009

As you probably noticed from the sidebar...

...there are updates!

This weekend, I went shopping for new stuff as planned. And, yup, I'm definitely a size 12 now. I tried on a pair of Levi's, size 12, and they just slid right on with some room to spare. I have not worn Levi's since 1994. So, yeah, I got them. And this outfit, which was CHEAP because it was on sale. Ain't no way I'm spending a lot of cash when I'm still in transition:

If it sounds like I'm cocky and narcissistic, I am. This whole weight loss thing has made me more self-aware than at any other time I can remember. And for once, I'm not ashamed of what I see. I was so happy in the dressing rooms, I was taking cell phone pictures of myself. And to not have to shop Lane Bryant or the Women's section? To walk into The Limited or H & M and actually fit in that stuff? Surreal.

And Kristi? I got those running shoes. Check it!:

And they are about the ugliest things ever. Pink, white and silver. *gag* Really, has anyone seen the crazy color palettes for women's running shoes lately? It's insulting. They must think we all still have stuffed animals on our beds and Tiger Beat posters on the walls. There is a market for badass looking running shoes--the right designer just needs to tap into it.

But, looks aside, these are some comfy shoes. I never realized how much support a friggin' shoe can give you, after years of wearing sandals. They will be perfect for the asphalt trails around my home. With the new MP3 armband Bobzilla got me, I am set. Watch...I'll start posting my crazy workout playlists. It will be insane.

This is perfect timing. Our PS3 is about to take a dump because it needs a new graphics chip. We have to send it back to Sony for repairs and wait 3 to 4 weeks, which means I'll temporarily be without Little Big Planet or Ratchet and Clank to keep me going on the bike. Oh noes.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fitness Trail Blazer...Not.

As I had mentioned somewhere in this blog earlier (comments? a prior posting? I get many of these senior moments), I hit the fitness trail with Bobzilla last weekend. It was a beautiful day and I needed a shot of Spring in my system. Plus, I wanted to do something different from my everyday routine, to shake things up.

Well, I shook things up all right.

This fitness trail, located at the Rocky River Reservation, is a lot more challenging than it looks. Which is a good thing. The main idea behind the fitness trail is that you hike about two miles, stopping at intervals at these "exercise stations" to do whatever craziness the sign instructs you to do. The seemingly innocuous exercise stations turned out to be the deadliest.

For instance, this station featured rings that you are supposed to hang from loosely and then swing yourself in a circular motion for 10 to 15 sets to work the upper arms. Here's Bob trying to maintain his coolness while swinging like a monkey:

Yes, it looks simple. And it was fun. But my arms burned for days afterward. Poor Bob could barely carry the groceries or raise his hand to pet a kitteh. Tragic.

Vault jumps were another sadistic feature. Bob handled them much better than I did:

...and by that I mean I didn't do them at all. I'm not crazy. I know when something screams "x-rays." I have a keen sense for hypothetical sports injuries, like knowing not to touch a hot stove.

I did much better on the jumping jacks (duh), sit-ups (inclines and level), these wooden posts that you're supposed to step up on using one leg at a time, and the leg-over shown below. I was feeling the burn! But, studying the sign and what I was actually doing, my form was off. Still.....

The fitness trail also was a source of great revelation, namely that despite all of my strength training, I cannot do a single pull-up. Not one. So, we're going to install a pull-up bar at home. Man, our place is going to look more and more like a twisted fitness BDSM chamber.

In other news:

  • I broke one of my molars a few weeks ago and finally got it fixed by the dentist this morning. The visit was a little painful because the tooth fracture was close to a nerve,(which is weird, because I did not experience any pain at all when I broke it), but now I have a shiny "new" tooth surrounded by throbbing, aching, swollen gums. It's gonna be a hummus and soup weekend.
  • Bob's band is playing out at the Spitfire tonight, for any Cleveland hoodlums that want to congregate and groove.
  • Bob and I are both getting athletic shoes this weekend. Our hipster days are officially over.
  • On the plus side, we are off for a mini-vaycay to San Antonio/Austin in a couple weeks. I don't suppose anyone knows of any healthy, low-fat BBQ joints? No? Really?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In: 3/18/08

Today, I'm down to 162.4 pounds. That's a 1.2 lb loss from last week. Which means I'm about 2 & 1/2 pounds away from "normal BMI" (whatever that means, really) and the 150's. Cool.

Also, I'm pretty sure I am no longer a size 14. None of my size 14 clothes fit anymore (most pants I can take off without even unbuttoning or unzipping them), but I haven't shopped for or tried on new clothes since January. I'm thinking I may do that next week, since Spring is coming and I need some warmer weather duds. And running shoes. ;-)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Garden of Eatin'

Around this time every year, I start to sow the seeds of my summer garden. While it is probably cheaper to just buy the stuff I plant, I take a lot of joy and pride out of consuming something I grew, nurtured and fussed over. Plus, I know where it's been. Until recently, you really didn't know the source of the food you bought at the grocery store because there were no laws requiring labels of origin. The time that Bobzilla and I learned that some Chinese garlic and mushrooms are grown in "night soil" quickly shot up to one of the Top Ten Scariest Moments Ever.

Nope, to ensure (and encourage) healthy eatin', it's best to develop a relationship with the food you're going to eat.

Last Tuesday, I planned out this year's garden, purchased my supplies and seeds, and harvested seeds from the dried-out husks I saved from last year. I then planted the seeds in their starter trays and put them on a mini-greenhouse that I set up by installing a wire shelving unit over a radiator by a sunny window. Check it out:

I'm not averse to giving kudos to certain products if they work well. In this case, I am using the Jiffy brand of seed pellets and trays. The peat pellets are free-standing to promote water drainage. This set-up seems to be better than if they were stuffed into little pots or deep indentations. Last year, I didn't use Jiffy. The water in each dirt pocket had no where to drain and simply collected at the bottoms. As a result, the seedlings later became infected with a fungus and almost all of them died.

Here is a list of plants that I am starting for this year's garden:

1. Roma Tomatoes
2. Genovese Basil
3. Thai Basil. These aromatic, distinctive leaves are an absolute must for any kind of Thai stir fry or other rice/noodle dish. We went through forests of the stuff last year. Plus, the plant produces beautiful purple blooms that are also edible and delicious.
4. Cilantro
5. Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
6. Bell Peppers
7. Cayenne Peppers
8. Poblano Peppers
9. Habanero Peppers
10. Jalepeno Peppers
11. Cherry Peppers. These are neat little ornamental peppers that I snatched from my friend's garden and dried out for use this year. In the fall, the entire plant turns black while the fruit remains a vibrant red:

Adding to these seed babies are the garlic, chives, and strawberry plants that have been resting over the winter.

And already, the Genovese Basil and Thai Basil seed babies have started growing! I feel like a proud mama showing baby pictures:

(I'm less proud about those dirty windows. Time for some spring cleaning. Next week. Maybe.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Off-Topic: For Dina

Here are those pictures I was telling you about. Enjoy this fine gallery of bad art:

The last one is's personalized.

Wednesday Weigh-In: 3/11/09

Today, I'm at 163.6. That's a little less than one pound down from last week. So-so, but that's ok.

My office is BUSY today, so I gotta cut this short and inhale my rice bowl lunch in less than 2 minutes!

Monday, March 9, 2009

If You Talk Too Much My Head Will Explode

Maybe it's no accident that weight loss blogs are abuzz lately with techniques on how to motivate oneself to start an exercise routine at the same time we're going through the daylight savings time change. Even for me, trying to get going this morning was rough. It was dark and gloomy. Even the cats were too confused to get underfoot as they normally do.

So, about all this talk on motivation. There are a lot of bloggers out there with some great advice and insight on how to win that internal battle that often gets in the way of getting us off our collective ass: MizFit and her guest Kelly, Guest blogger Jill at Cranky Fitness, for example.

In the end, it seems the best way to start sweating is to just shut up. Meaning, shut up those voices in your head. They talk too much. Here is a shirt that carries my sister's favorite mantra, which I think is quite appropo:*

For me, I have to shut down my brain and thus those troublesome whining voices. I don’t waste time trying to channel my motivation. I don’t engage in conversations with myself. I just go into robot mode and do it. And when you do the routine long enough (preferably the same time every day), the habit eventually carves itself a niche that makes it easier to stick to.

Part of this mental lockdown includes a cessation of the self-babying and coddling. At the end of each workout, I don't congratulate myself. Riding my bike for an hour doesn't entitle me to a reward or license to slack the rest of the day. Of course, I feel great after working out and am usually bouncy for the rest of the morning. But I don't treat it as something special, like a major accomplishment. If I do that, then I am just setting myself up for failure later. If I take something that should be routine (albeit an enjoyable one) and put it on a pedestal, then it's just going to be harder for me to stick to it.

It's this mindset that helped me maintain the routine for three years now. Of course, some people might call it a form of mental illness.



As it turns out, I wasn't sick this weekend. There was some epic battle going on between the viral invaders and my immune system and my body won. Whew. In fact, I was feeling so *good* that I tried on a new lingerie outfit for Bobzilla...the first time I've done that in, oh, a Very Long Time. I'm not too proud to say that I looked good, especially coming from someone who has always carried a mild case of body dysmorphic disorder (on top of the workout disorder. Yeah, I'm a mess). So, I guess you might call that a non-scale victory. I would call it a vag victory.

And, speaking of sex, have any other ladies out there noticed an increase in sensitivity...a consistently more pleasurable experience..after losing weight? I'm convinced it's getting better with the fat loss. It can't all be psychological.

Pffft, knowing my luck, it's probably an early symptom of menopause.

* More awesome shirts such as that one can be found here.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Well, this cold just doesn't want to go away. I wake up everyday with a sore throat and the drips. But then I exercise and strength train for 2 hours, sweat it out of my system and feel fine. Super vixen, even. But then I feel like crap again 8 hours later. Bobzilla, who infected me with this disease, warns that this is only the beginning of a craptastic sickness that will peak in another day or two and won't go away for another 7 days. Great.

<shower me with pity here>

So, in the meantime, my life goes on...

Today, I left the office early to meet my client--run by a friend whom I shall call Vicky and who is probably the most stunning, beautiful, altruistic and self-actualized woman I know--at some commercial property located at the busiest intersection on Cleveland's East side. See, Vicky runs a non-profit housing and community redevelopment organization and is looking to purchase a large apartment building to rehab for the purpose of providing low-income housing for individuals and families who have fallen through the cracks of the traditional housing system. Vicky is no less than amazing. She left her cozy government job to volunteer full-time running a homeless shelter (she lives there with her clients!) as well as put together a program that helps people get back on their feet and reclaim their lives. Please don't take this as liberal hippie drivel. She's living it everyday. After over ten years, and hitting obstacles that would cause most people to give up and get a job at the post office, she's still going strong. Shit...she even had one of the men on her contracting team construct a shelter for the inner city's stray cats. Yeah. She's hardcore.

Anyway, we go through this building, which is huge. It's one of those old brick buildings with storefronts on the bottom and apartment units on the top 2 floors. There are over 25 units, basements, sub-basements, storefronts, etc. I'm going up and down these stairs. Some of the units have black mold. Others are dripping with strange substances from the ceiling. Stairs and ceilings are sagging. Shadows carrying scythes move out of the corner of your eye. Scary stuff. Yet, after all this exploring, I emerge feeling fine. I'm not tired. I'm not out of breath. I am alert, clear-headed and focused . I am able to identify various issues with the building and engage in meaningful conversations with my client and the building manager, contractor, etc. without pause.

Let me tell you. A year or two years ago, no way could I do this. I would have been wheezing, sweating and wanting to leave. And I certainly would not have been in a position to provide any on-site assistance to my client. The old unhealthy me would have told Vicky, "Well, let me put this down in a memo and email it to you Monday. K? K. "

Afterwards, Bobzilla (perhaps feeling guilty about infecting me) took me to Melt. Yeah, that opium-den of bad food that runs under the guise of a "restaurant." Did I mention that Bob was the "Great Underminer?" Anyway, we check out the March special and decide to go Irish. But, we are responsible. Well, as responsible as one can get under the circumstances. We decide to split the Reuben Melt sandwich. Bob takes the fries. I order a side dish of their daily vegetable special, Brussels Sprouts.

Brussels Sprouts. Oh Em Gee. These were the bomb.

Perfectly grilled, they arrived to my table on a plate glistening with balsamic glaze and chunks of carmelized garlic. Are you drooling/ovulating yet? They were so divinely good that I forgot about the carcass sandwich half that Bobzilla placed on the dish next to the plate of Goddess Bosoms. Yes, that's how much I have revered the sprouts. They were that good. And I got so many of them that I took half of them home for lunch tomorrow. *squeals*

See, this is why I love vegetables so much. Each type of vegetable is so colorful and has its own unique attitude, texture and taste. It is like an amusement park. Cooked horribly, and they're horrible. But presented right--raw, seared, steamed, etc.--they are like porn for the tongue. Man, I wish more restaurants took such care with the veggies as this place did.

Tomorrow, I'm going to do at least three full sets of Kristi's tricep pushups. I did them Thursday night and my arms are burning today. And that was just a practice run. I can't wait to add this to the tricep routine. Yeah, I should probably just set up a BDSM dungeon in my basement and get it over with.

Then, I'm off to Tar-Jay to 1) buy new dumbbells (the ones I have are relics from the 70's Gold's Gym era, too wide and interfere with my form) and 2) get an eye exam and new glasses. Assuming I'm not dead from this cold, of course.

Have a great weekend, ya'll. It's going to be in the 50's and spring-like all weekend. *sighs dreamily*

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In: 3/4/2009

Today I'm down to 164.4 pounds. That's 2.6 lbs. down from last week. Niiiiiiiice. In total, that's almost 11 pounds lost since I started this blog two months ago. And a gazillion pounds, it seems, since I started my weight loss project. Yup, I think stepping up the workouts really has launched me over the wall.

This is especially cool since my calorie intake over the past week has been above what I used to eat. I think my body just needed the extra calories anyway. Also, during te past 2-3 weeks I had been deliberately indulging in part as an experiment to see how it affected my weight (& in part because I wanted to eat dirty!). I should be going into maintenance mode in a few months and know that it's going to be a challenge trying to adjust my eating back up to a "semi-normal" level although, frankly, I am used to my food as it is and don't really feel like I'm missing out on anything.

Anyway, things are moving in the right direction.

And, no, I haven't done the :20 minute workout yet. I have a frackin' cold now and don't have the capacity to deal with Ms. Motta's 'tude.