Monday, December 27, 2010

Home Stretch: Bring on the Chocolate and Bacon

I have the best excuse in the world for not blogging for 8 weeks. Really, this pregnancy card gives me a free pass to do (or not do) anything, short of a 2nd degree felony. So why not play it, right?

This baby is going to make his entrance in less than a month. Less than a month. Am I ready? Probably not, but Bobzilla and I have sure worked hard to get ready. Multiple childbirth and childcare classes. Furniture set up. Clothes and bedding washed. Baby gear acquired and in place.

It helps that we have been the recipients of such overwhelming generosity by family, friends, clients, associates, even strangers. Otherwise, we'd be less than broke.

The baby shower was...wow:


This remains a very healthy pregnancy. Perfect blood pressure and weigh gain. Baby Vincent is strong, healthy and active. He's developing at the rate he should be. I'm kind of annoyed that my "advanced maternal age" is the reason I have to be strapped to a monitor for an hour every week, but Vincent's strong and healthy heartbeat is the sweetest "fuck you" that this old lady can give to those over-zealous geezer haters at the midwifery department.

I'm eating healthy, well, ok, probably 70% of the time. But give me a friggin' break. I have to eat more carbs and, well, when baby wants chocolate and cheese, he gets chocolate and cheese.

Still staying active. Here's what an 8+ month pregnant woman of "advance maternal age" looks like doing cardio:



...OK, you know how I was talking about how generous everyone's been? Just now, a friend showed up at our front door bearing bags of baby clothes. Sweet! I swear, when you become a first time parent, it's like you're automatically initiated into this elite club that you never knew existed before spawning. I likey.

I'm now at 36 weeks, about 9 months knocked up.



Final countdown!

Current craving: Spicy hot cocoa. Thankfully, the generosity of a friend has come through once more.


Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

28 Weeks Later


It's been, what, 6 weeks since my last blog post? Despite my plan to slow down in October, things have been everything but slow and casual.

Here's the breakdown:

  1. I lost my mom. It's ok, tho. We knew it was coming. She was elderly, suffered from dementia and had been sick for a while. I said goodbye to her two years ago.

  2. I lost a good friend suddenly. That was not so easy to take.

  3. Stupid gestational diabetes screening threatened to derail my natural childbirth plans. I blew a 180 on the first sugar test. 180!! So I had to carb load for 3 days, (150 grams a day!), fast for 12 hours and do the 3 hour blood sugar test. And, go figure, I passed the 3 hour test. I no has diabeetus! But that time period in between the first and second blood test put me in an emotional tizzy, as I was worried that I was diabetic and would be put on the C-section train.

    While I'm relieved things turned out ok, what a flawed testing system! It demonstrates how eating healthy will actually result in a false high blood sugar reading, causing unnecessary follow up work, unrealistic dietary changes and anxiety. After all, how else is the body supposed to react when it's forced to ingest 50 grams of glucose in one shot, when it is not used to even half of that amount of carbs/sugar in any 12 hour period? And how ironic that one way to pass the sugar test is to ingest an assload of carbs/sugar. Kind of calls into question the whole "low carb" way of eating.

  4. Bobzilla started his own film blog. This means that we've been going to movie screenings about twice a week, usually at 7:30 at night on a school night.

  5. Marathon shopping for maternity & baby room stuff. It took a week of driving all over Cleveland just to find the right dresser. We could probably stand to be less picky.

  6. Speaking of the baby room, we spent 3-4 days moving around furniture, baby proofing, packing and hauling stuff in the attic to make room for baby.

  7. Sis had her baby!

    Xavier arrived after only, like, 5 minutes of push time. I hope I have a super vag like her come delivery time.

  8. Bob and I went on our last "babymoon," staying an extended weekend with my BFF in the Pen Mar blue ridge mountains. Le sigh. We all entered the annual Pumpkin Cooking Contest, using recipes we were perfecting since late summer.

    Bob's pumpkin pizza took third place!


    My pumpkin & cream cheese baklava took second place!


    Bridgie's pumpkin & mango curry was delicious, but did not place. She got skunked.


  9. Two Halloween weddings in one day. Whew! One of them was a costume reception. Here we are, as Rosemary (and her baby) and the Devil (proud papa):


  10. Reconnecting with lots of good friends. Ben. Alan and Margie and their uber babies. Christie and Tony. And LOTS of visits with Vincent's grandparents, who are probably more excited than we are. However, Bob suspects they are just using us to have some one-on-one time with Goji, who is really their favorite grandchild.

  11. Zombie walk. Again.


    And it doesn't look like things are going to let up this month, either. Just this week alone, we are busy every day. We start our first weekly childbirth class tomorrow night. They're 3-hour sessions after work. Ugh. More movie screenings. Funeral on Friday, followed by a memorial on Saturday. I also have to find time to cook some GF desserts for the baby shower/Hell-has-frozen-over party, which--holy shit--is this coming Sunday!

    Sure glad we did absentee voting this election.

    And after that? Bi-weekly prenatal appointments, more baby classes (CPR, breastfeeding, daddy bootcamp, etc.), the holidays and BAM! Baby.

    BABY UPDATE:

    I am now in my third trimester, at 28 weeks. I can't believe we're almost 7 months along now! So far, this has been a healthy pregnancy. Vincent's growth is right on target, and his heart rate is going strong. Blood pressure is excellent, as are the bodily fluid tests and misc. prenatal checkups. No edema/swelling or bloat. I've now gained around 18 pounds and am steadily gaining a pound a week.



    I still maintain 90 minutes of fitness every morning, one hour of cardio + 30 minutes of strength/core exercises. In fact, I think the regular exercising has really helped during this pregnancy. While I definitely poop out at times, my energy level has been pretty good. The special prenatal core exercises I follow on Babyfit will, hopefully, prime this body for some effective and efficient baby popping in a couple months.

    My mood is strong, and I actually *like* carrying this parasite around. The belly and its jerky, jumpy, squirmy contents are an endless source of fascination for me.


    Downsides? My hair is growing wacky and fast. I've given up on regular haircuts and have accepted bad hairdays as the norm. I pee a LOT. Especially at night, so straight 7-8 hour sleep is a distant memory. Heartburn is practically constant, with the baby pushing up against my stomach. Gum and Tums help some. I just can't eat a full meal except on a few occasions. Instead, I nosh here and there constantly.

    I'd like to say I will get on top of all my blog following, but I just don't know if that's being realistic. While I still read many fitness and health blogs (waves at Shelley, Cammy, Trish, TJ, Patrick, Ariel, Fat Daddy, Bobbie) I am spending most of what little free time is left hanging out at Babyfit and reading baby books (4 of them are currently stacked on the toilet tank).

    Current food craving(s): Peanut butter with anything.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Oh yeah, about that ultrasound from 3 weeks ago...

We're having a boy.



His name is Vincent Christopher. Just don't call him "Vinnie." That's too Jersey Shore for my tastes. *shudders*

All genetic screening tests came back about as good as they could get, with like a 1 in a gazillion probability that he has an abnormality. His heart is strong, over 145 bpm. He is extremely active--I started feeling him kick and squirm from the outside of my tummy at 19 weeks. Bobzilla felt him move last night. *gushes*

He has both brain hemispheres, all organs and is growing ahead of his gestational age. So despite my initial concerns about not gaining enough weight, he's getting what he needs and is thriving.

Speaking of weight...I am now 10 pounds heavier! About friggin' time. Had a growth spurt over the last 10 days or so. In just the last 3 weeks, I gained over 5 pounds!

And the belly keeps expanding. I now use it as a laptop rest. The laptop sometimes jiggles from the baby kicks. *lolz*




My sister, who is due in THREE DAYS, tells me that her boy is so fidgety and powerful that he can steer the car. Yikes!

Physically, I feel better than I have since early May. I am less tired overall and am more mentally focused.

On the other hand, my stamina for physical activity has gone down. I still work the bike an hour every morning, but not at the same speed or intensity because I overheat quicker. Bobzilla and I go to at least one show a week, and standing for more than 30 minutes or so is now a real drain. We often leave early, or I pace the club looking for a place to sit and sip my club soda and lime. We went to see an old band of his last Thursday, where I sat on the barstool all night and kept watching the clock wanting to go home. I like seeing our friends, but I feel less sociable because of this. Don't think I can keep doing that sort of thing and may be staying home a lot more beginning October. Which is fine. It'll give me time to engage in wacky nesting behavior that all the mommy friends tell us will hit this trimester. And catch up on Breaking Bad--I really want to watch that show!

I can't wait for my nephew Xavier to make his introduction early next week! My sis has an induction scheduled for the 21st. Wow. An appointment to have a baby. Craziness.

This week's food craving: Watermelon. Still.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Baking This Baby Takes FOREVER!

See this?


That's my second breakfast* I eat every morning. It's mixed fruit (cantaloupe, strawberry and red grapes), low fat yogurt and *gulp* wheat bran and wheat germ. Yeah, looks yummy, don't it? This concoction, while certainly not visually appealing, is pure baby fuel. And the added hippie dippy grains have saved my ass. Literally. These pregnancy hormones + the iron in the prenatal vitamins will plug me up for days if I don't increase my daily fiber at least triple fold.

Now that I'm 4 & 1/2 months preggers, I'm happy to report I have GAINED some poundage. I'm now 3-4 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. Weee! And who'da thought I'd be happy about gaining weight? Being pregnant is perverse.

There was some minor baby drama when I got a call from my doctor's office Tuesday, telling me that they took the wrong blood test last week and needed another blood draw stat! Little background: Because of my "advanced maternal age," I'm doing the whole genetic sequential screening, which requires two rounds of blood tests. The blood must be drawn during certain stages of the pregnancy. In this case, the test that they should have done was supposed to occur before the end of my 17th week for optimal accuracy. We were now past that. FUCK! The call came while I was at a client's house. Great timing. I had to rush from the meeting to get to the hospital lab before it closed so that they could get the blood draw in time to ship off, testing done and results back in advance of the next ultrasound. Do I have to tell you that I was a raging, hormonal, blubbering, mess by the time they jabbed me with the needle? Somebody will pay for this emotional fire drill. Oh yes.

So, about that next ultrasound....it's scheduled for next Tuesday, at which time we will find out whether the parasite is going to be a boy or girl. The Chinese gender test I took indicated it's a girl. We'll see.

Exercise is still the same. Well, except for the fact that another resistance band snapped on me, this time almost taking out the TV. I get it now. I don't need to be told a third time. I'm back to the free weights.

I have this insatiable craving for hummus, hot sauce and grass. Mixed together.


*First breakfast is a power smoothie comprised of carrot juice, orange juice, more low fat yogurt, low fat milk, and pineapple. Followed by a handful of almonds. Zing!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Gratuitous Belly Pics: Fifteen Weeks

Isn't it funny how I would die from embarrassment to show my belly just a few months ago, but now I'm sticking it out like a diamond engagement ring?

Anyway, here I am at fifteen weeks:





Of course, Goji got in on the action. Total camera whore.



I swear, this belly popped out overnight Sunday. Last week, I was wearing size 6. Now, my old size 10 dress slacks are snuggish. This parasite is undoing almost a year's worth of Jillian Shred and ab work in a matter of days.




Kinda cool, tho.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Babyfying This Body

This pregnancy is causing me to relearn eating and fitness habits, and I ain't liking it!

The workout changes aren't so bad. Dr. Giddy (a definite misnomer) told me to nix all the ab/core workouts and weight lifting anything over 10 lbs. Ok. Fine. That buys me about 15 minutes each day. I can deal.

But the eating. Shit. That has been the major ass pain. Granted, when a pregnant woman is eating for two, she should not literally "eat for two." Rather, she should be ingesting an extra 300-500 calories a day. That's not a lot, really. But for me, I'm just having a hella time with regular food intake. Including the extra calories seems a task requiring herculean efforts (and a strong stomach).

There have been no puke parties, but I'm definitely doing this strange love/hate tango with food. I'll want to eat, then after a few bites I get the sudden urge to leave the table and lie down from the perceived lead ball I just put in my belly. I'll raid Bobzilla's ice cream, but then put the pint back in the freezer before my tongue turns cold.

Consequently, I've gained zero weight. In fact, I lost about 5 pounds the first trimester. The baby bump is getting bigger and the milk jugs are swelling. This baby is being FED. Unfortunately, I'm kinda wasting away here. Now, there have been some days where I could actually eat like a food pervert. For instance, Bobzilla and I did our annual trip to Geneva-On-The-Lake. I ate greasy carnival fries, a cheeseburger, a DOUGHNUT, and some tacos. Yet, I lost almost a pound the following day. So friggin' surreal.

My doc said this is normal and not to worry and that I'll start putting on weight now that I'm in the second trimester. Really, I should be lucky, since friends have had hellish morning sickness that makes my experience pale by comparison. But do they have freaky dreams about giving birth to cats and breastfeeding them? Maybe I should just switch my prenatal vitamins.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Biggest Fear Came True Again!

Well, it finally happened. My resistance band snapped while I was doing strength training. This pretty much sucks, because I've gotten used to the convenience and freedom of the bands.



It also sucks cuz it hurt! The band whipped across my arm while I was doing military presses:


This is the second time I had a resistance band mishap, the first time being slapped in the face when it came undone from my feet. While I'm lucky I didn't lose an eye, I'm not sure there should be a third accident, so I may have to retire the bands.

Fitness can be a dangerous activity. Stay safe out there, kids!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday Weigh In 6/...oh, wait. Nevermind.

Not having to report weekly weigh-in results has un-tethered me to this blog. I haven't posted in, what, 3 weeks?

I've been leading a pretty intense jury trial which finally concluded today with the verdict, which took the jurors 2 days to deliberate. The result? A King Solomon where both sides got something. Now, I have about 3 weeks worth of backed-up work piled on my desk that I had to put aside while doing the trial gig. No big thang.

Staying fit and eating right during these hectic last few weeks was a bit of a challenge, but doable. Had to cut back my workouts to an hour each morning (hello, five a.m.!) and stuck with less-than-perfect cafeteria fare offered at the courthouse for lunch. All in all, I did pretty well. I'm actually below 138 pounds, which was a bit of a shocker to me.

Getting new suits in appropriate sizes was the bigger challenge. I hate spending money on clothes. Hate it. Most suits retailed at about $150 on clearance and I just couldn't cave. The single size 10 jacket I have hanging on my office coat rack wasn't going to get me through each day and it was looking pretty sad on me. I did have to buy a new jacket for $70 on clearance, and it brought tears to my eyes. Thankfully, Bobzilla took me to some consignment shops later and I scored a never-worn Ann Taylor suit, dress blouse and 2 jackets for about what I paid for that damn $70 dollar coat. Oh, and they're all size 6's. Yay me.

In between all the trial work, Bob and I snuck away for a 3-day retreat at my BFF's fabulous estate in the Maryland Blue Ridge Mountains. We tried Ethiopian cuisine for the first time. Loved it. As leftovers the next morning? Not so much. Miz BFF and I share a passion for vintage clothes and we spent Saturday night modeling some crazy 60's and 70's fashion, acting the fools.

Bobzilla got me this outrageous dress as a (23rd!) anniversary present earlier this month. The hippie chick in the bodice? She's showing nip. Both of 'em. No lie. I swear, this pattern must've also been used as wallpaper:


I need the perfect shoes to go with this dress. Preferably some shiny white babies with a chunky heel. Or maybe white boots.

My garden is growing out of control. Sadly, due to the unseasonably warm weather, the broccoli bolted before it even grew full size. On the upside, the tomatillos, lettuce and the prized jolokia pepper plant are thriving. There's gonna be some good eatin' in the house pretty soon.

My other BFF just ran her first 4k last weekend and I'm proud as a mama. It was freakin' hot that day, but she still pulled it off in 45 minutes. A-may-zing!

And Bob? Holy shit, he's been hitting the bike and weights practically every morning, on top of his runs with the dog after he takes me to work. What's significant about this is that he just does it without making a big announcement about it, like it's a noteworthy event. He's treating it like an everyday routine now. Kick. Ass.

In totally unrelated fit 'n healthy news, we've been watching the TV series The IT Crowd on Netlix Instant View. It may just be better than The Office. Perhaps it's because we relate much more intimately to the show given our own geek backgrounds.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Best Friggin' Contest. Ever.

Wanna suck Altoids through crazy straws? If so, click here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In 6/2/2010: The Final Edition

I never set an official "goal" for myself when I first set my mind to lose weight 3 or so years ago. I liked the idea of 140 pounds, but never put a target on that number. At around 250 pounds, I was happy at the idea of just going down to a size 16, ideally a size 14. 140 pounds has been a magical number for me. There's no logical reason for it. I just remember weighing 14o in jr. high/early high school and that I kept getting heavier ever since. And 140 seems reasonable. It's not, like, an anorexic size for someone of my 5'7" body. It's a solid, healthy zone. Yeah, 140 was pretty much the golden grail for me.

So, I finally made it to 140.0 on the beloved Tanita scale. Finally.

Now what?

Well, not much will be changing. I'm still going to work out 6 days a week, the usual program of 1 hour cardio/30 minutes strength training (different muscles on alternating days). As I head into my 40th year, this amount of exercise is about right for maintenance.

I don't think my eating is going to change. For so long now, I've been eating what I want in reasonable portions. And what I want happens to be lots of home-cooked meals made from whole foods, lean meats, veggies, nuts, cheese and fruits. I also have a serving of gelato every night. Of course, I still eat out and don't really fuss too much about what's on the menu because I only eat half of what I order anyway. I don't count calories anymore. I got this. It's ingrained.

I'm not worried about losing weight anymore, and I doubt I'm going to lose any more pounds, although I promised myself I would cut back a little on the workouts if I still lost weight. That's not likely to happen though. Getting to 140 has been a slow and easy landing. This is a comfortable place for my body to settle down.

Just to make sure that all departments in my brain are on the same page in terms of maintenance, I'm going to stop posting my weekly weigh-ins. I do still weigh myself every day, but the concept of "reporting" a weight every week places undue emphasis on weight-loss, which is not the mode I'm in anymore. If, in the future, I start noticing gains or losses of 5 pounds or more, then I'll record it and adjust the food and fitness accordingly.

And so, that's that.

I've been a bad blogger lately in that I'm rarely posting comments on anyone else's blog and just being an overall lazy bitch. I could blame work and hectic real life, but really, I do that enough already. So, I'll just acknowledge my lameness and leave it at that.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In: 5/26/2010 & Crazy Train

140.6.


I'm hanging on to this blog by my fingernails while the weight of real life is strapped firmly around my ankles, pulling me the other direction.

Work, work, work is driving me insane and sapping all of my free time. Well, except for the exercise. Gotta always make time for that. For example:

I'm supposed to be leaving for an appointment at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow. To accomplish this, I initially resigned myself to missing my first weekday workout in months. *gasp* But I came to my senses and have instead decided to just get up at 5:00 a.m. and fit the workout in that way. Yup, I'm totally sane here.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In 5/19/2010 and BRB

140.4 pounds.

Bob had dental surgery Monday to get a new implant to replace the broken one. They gave him 12 shots of novocain (no shit!) and had to graft some skin from the roof of his mouth. Poor Bob! But he hasn't taken even one vicodin. What a manly man.

Still working out per usual. Still eating and drinking what I want, but with common sense.

I heart the new laptop now. Just need time to actually enjoy it.

Back to depositions after lunch.

Bye for now!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In: 5/12/2010 and Yay for Technology. No, really. Yay.

141.2 el-bees.

I have been in 'n out of the internet loop for the last few days as we make another 'puter transition. Got a new laptop, yes I did. Cheap. But what ain't cheap are the unexpected upgrades you have to make with the upgrade. In this case, the new software and printer to make sweet love to the Windows 7 operating system. Or is it Windows that does the screwing?

Anyway, I'm about 90% back to normal. And I learned that computer stress is no longer a food/alcohol/bennies trigger. Yay for exercise!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In: 5/5/10 & Dip Me In Honey And Throw Me To Anne Klein

Scale was at 141.6 lbs. Sooo close to permanent maintenance.

Regarding clothes shopping, I have HAD IT with most stores (Kohls, Penney's, etc.). Why does everything have to be a pregnancy shirt with hideous patterns? Reconnecting with vintage and consignment shops for clothes (which I will blog about. Some day.) has proven to be at least a temporary salvation. For example, this awesome Anne Klein denim skirt for $8. Yeah, that's right. And I couldn't even find a denim skirt at Kohls. Just "skorts." Ick.

But even more kickass? This baby is a size 6. SIX!



With room to spare.
Maybe it's vanity sizing, but I'm not ashamed to take a bite from that apple.

*BLOGGING BULLETIN*

Tricia, the undisputed Sultana of Snark & Wit, is on her way to amassing 300 followers. While I admit to posting this in the hopes of boosting my chances of scoring the goodies she's giving away, her blog is most certainly worthy of more exposure. If you haven't already, check her out and subscribe to her blog. You'll be hooked almost instantly, and it won't hurt a bit.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In 4/28/10 & How Much is Too Much or Not Enough?

Posting Wednesday weigh-ins on Friday now. Getting better. I'm hanging on to this blog by a thread lately. Anyway, weighed in at 142.00, about a half-pound loss. No big whoop.

Zombie Walk was, as always, a big party of blood, booze and brains. Our zombie destroya' team double-tapped practically half of the 500+ ghouls, which ain't half bad. Here we are refueling and reloading:


Me, Meg and Mariah

This was the team logo I designed for our clothes. ZWAT...lolz:




WORKOUT UPDATES

Since the beginning of April, I have done a major overhaul of my daily workout routine. Jillian has been shelved, sadly. As much as I loved indulging my Jillian girl-crush and taking on the challenge of completing all levels of the Shred, the benefits did not outweigh some issues. The big drawback is the pounding my knees took. Plyometric training is the foundation of The Shred and Blast Fat/Boost Metabolism: Jump Squats. Rock Stars. You get the idea. While I felt like a badass doing them, I was regularly humbled post-workout by the knee pain that would set in. I had about as much difficulty navigating stairs as I did when I was running.

But not all of the Jillian moves are so easily disposable. Walking pushups, boxing with handweights, and other upper body moves she employs are sure keepers. So, I incorporate them into a new workout plan that I devised and will post later this weekend since I forgot to email it to myself before I left for the office. *slaps self*

Between eliminating plyometrics/intertal training from my daily workout regimen and going back to old-fashioned cardio and reading Merry's blog post recently asking the question How Much Cardio Do You Do?, I got to thinking about how much exercise we really need to get and stay healthy.

Currently, I workout 90 minutes every morning, 6 days a week: 30 minutes strength training followed by 60 minutes of cardio on the bike. Is this too much, not enough, or just right?

The answer depends, I guess, on the type of cardio and a person's age and weight range. The guvment chimes in that adults need at least 150 minutes of exercise every week to maintain good health. Kids/young adults need more, about an hour every day. That is just for maintenance.

As we get older, the amount of minimum exercise goes up. The esteemed Dr. Gupta has cited authority that at least an hour every day is necessary to maintain weight and fend off weight gain. The same amount is recommended for overweight women who are trying to lose weight.

The hour-a-day recommendation mirrors that cited by The Institute of Medicine (click on the internal link on that page to read the full report for free). Not just 60 minutes of any activity, but 60 minutes of vigorous exercise that is in addition to what you normally do day-to-day. So, housecleaning, wrangling kids, and laundry don't count. This is just to maintain healthy weight. For the obese or overweight, while an hour a day is great, you still need to include calorie restrictions in the diet. On the other hand, if you restrict calories, but only walk or exercise 15-30 minutes a day, it still might not be enough for long-term weight gain.

Applying this to my own experience, in the beginning I lost some weight biking only 20 minutes for 3 days a week. But then the weight loss would stop after 20 or so pounds. I increased biking to half hour then 40 minutes 5 days a week. Again, I lost some weight but quickly hit a wall again, even when restricting calories. Long-term, effective weight loss did not happen for me until I upped the cardio to an hour a day. I'm finally at my goalish weight, but does that mean I can scale back? Given my age and weight stats over the last 4 months, probably not. I'm maintaining at an hour a day, with healthy eating.

As for plyometric or interval training, this has become somewhat of a holy grail for those looking to reduce the amount of time devoted to exercising, the theory being that if you work harder for shorter periods of time, you'll achieve the same result. "Get the benefits of 60 minutes of exercise in only 20 minutes!" Really? The effectiveness of interval training remains the subject of much debate, and I'm not convinced that it works over time, especially given that higher-endurance workouts can increase the risk of injury, especially for those of us nearing, at or past middle age.

I tried intervals, loved it, but noticed that I really didn't lose much weight, if any, on an interval/plyometric program. While I sweated my ass off, there were no real results to report on the scale that were significantly different from what I achieved doing traditional cardio for an hour. On the other hand, my physical endurance increased, my muscles definitely strengthened and I lost inches. No small benefit there. But on the other other hand, the pain and injuries around the knees proved too much for me to continue. So in other words, this type of exercise depends on the person and his or her ability to maintain proper form. If it works for you, it works for you.

Developing muscle strength is nonetheless important, so rather than jump around like a kindergarten spaz, upping low-impact strength training seems to be a viable option. Thus the additional half hour of weight training each day. My new fitness goal is to lift my own body weight via chin up or pull up.

Really, everybody should be able to do this in the event of some Poseiden Adventure-type disaster so that we can pull ourselves up and out of a capsized ship or some shit.



Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In 4/21/2010 and Gonna Kill Some Zombies--BRB

Wednesday I was down a little over a pound and a half, to 142.6 lbs.

Just a quick check-in, and them I'm outtie. This is my birthday weekend and today is the semi-annual ZOMBIE WALK, the funnest way to get in one's fitness. This time around, a small group of us are storming the walk as a zombie destroyer team. Ahhh...so much better than the NBA playoffs.

Hope everyone stays alive this weekend!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In 4/14/2010: The Late Late Late Edition

Wednesday, weighed in at 144.4 lbs. Down, what, half a pound or something? Does weight loss even matter any more now that I'm focusing more on strength training? No. But, I should probably still keep a record of my weight, what with accountability and all. Still, it's hard to resist the extreme reactions with a loss or gain. It shouldn't matter anymore. I'm slowly coming around to my emotional separation from the scale and adopting this new way of thinking.

I'm so late posting this because a) Tax Day. Last minute fire drills with the accountant had me sweating late Wednesday, but I'm happy to report that at least my '09 taxes are paid AND I took care of all of my estimated '10 taxes. For the self-employed, that is a "big deal."But even more importantly, b) it was Bobzilla's 40th Birthday!!

There was much planning and side schemes with a few friends to ensure that Bob's entrance into middle age was memorable. Here was the flyer I made a few months ago that sums up this weekend's plans (yeah, that's Bob as a kid, enjoying his passion--music. Probably Captain and Tenille. Maybe the Statler Bros.):

His band was Gimme Dat Shoe (local Clevelanders who grew up watching Superhost on TV will totally get that). They were awesome, as well as the other bands.

The highlight was Bob's birthday spanking. I went pretty easy on him compared to the other spankers.:



Here is the fertility painting featuring Godzilla, Frankenstein and Tura Satana that Lacey so lovingly painted for Bob:


Aside from the old man jokes and the gag gifts of Depends and Bengay, I am overjoyed to see him reach this rite of passage. When I was young, I always wondered what it would be like to "grow old" with him, not knowing what that really meant. I'm still not 100% sure where aging will find us, but I'm happy to put our 20's and 30's behind us and experience a new stage of life. Plus, he has managed to strike the perfect balance between maintaining maturity and stumbling around in adolescent oblivion. I love and respect and adore and worry about this man:


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In: 4/7/2010 and I've Got Some Nice Garbanzos!

145.2. More of the same, more or less. There was no Easter cheatin' by way of chocolate eggs or bunnies or copious amounts of ham. I did share half a rotisserie chicken with Bobzilla, and our dessert was a GF strawberry shortcake--I supplied the fresh organic berries and homemade whipped cream, Mama Zilla supplied the GF cake. There is no shame in that.

My womanly cycle finally returned earlier this week in all its bizarrely gory glory, and Bob is getting excited about upcoming baby-making exercises. File that under TMI.

During one of our mega-shopping trips to Whole Foods, I bagged about 5 pounds of dried organic chickpeas with the idea we were going to make a lot of hummus and Indian food. BTW, once you go cooked-from-scratch chickpeas, you never go back to canned. Anyway, three months later and there is still about 3 pounds of chickpeas hanging around. Today I improvised and came up with a vegan chickpea salad that I could have for lunch. And it was no less than awesome. Even Bobzilla liked it, going for second dips after the first taste.

It is kinda, sorta like traditional chickpea salad, but I added some tahini to give it a creamy-but-vegan texture and generous amounts of cayenne pepper because its compulsory in our household.



Here's the recipe for...um, what shall I call it? Spicy Mediterranean Chickpea Salad? Sounds bland. Garbanzo Glee? Nope.

Anyway, here it is:

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup dried chick peas, soaked overnight

1 green bell pepper, finely diced

1 small or ½ large white or red onion, finely diced

2 medium roma tomatoes, diced

small handful flat leaf or curly parsley

2 small or 1 large clove garlic, crushed

1 tsp kosher salt

juice 1 lemon

2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 TB tahini

1/8 tsp ground cumin

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (I'd use more)

Ground black pepper, about 6-7 twists on the grinder


Drain chickpeas and thoroughly rinse. Put chickpeas in medium saucepan and add fresh cold water to pan, topping the beans by about 2 inches. Add a generous amount salt and boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for at least 1 hour or until beans are tender and divine. More more water may need to be added during the cooking process, depending on how thirsty the beans are, so keep an eye on them.

While beans are cooking, chop up all vegetables, garlic and parsley and throw it all into large mixing bowl. In small mixing bowl, whisk together lemon juice, tahini, oil, salt, pepper and other spices.

Once beans are cooked, drain and rinse with cold water until warmish. Add beans to vegetable bowl. Pour dressing over top and toss until well-mixed. Adjust salt, pepper and spices to suit personal taste. Toss/stir each time before serving to properly distribute dressing.

Optional:

Add finely chopped jalapeno, cukes, kamut or cooked brown rice, feta cheese and/or olives.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In: 3/31/10 and Up Up and Down Down

I've been so caught up getting crap out of the way to enjoy this 3 day weekend,that I pushed off doing my Wednesday report. Realizing it's now Thursday night, I had to force myself away from playing God of War III to be "responsible." *rolls eyes*

I had been doing the Shred for so long that some parts of it are ingrained in my head, like a bad earworm. Yesterday, I weighed in at 150.00, which is about a half pound gain from the prior week. Immediately, I thought of that part on Level III of The Shred where you're doing the walking planks on the second go 'round while Jillian chants "...and UP UP and DOWN DOWN and UP UP and DOWN DOWN..." Yup, that's me. So what of this gain? It could be water weight. It could be muscle gain from increased strength training, it could be last weekend's Amish getaway where we spent the entire time in a hot tub eating cheese and drinking grossly sweet Amish wine , or a combination of everything. What it ain't is something I should concern myself with. But that's not to say that I don't anyway. Stupid scale head games.

Oh, about that strength training, I found some great new (or rather, new to me) videos on Spark People that have been added to my morning workouts:

1. Crunchless abs! I friggin love this workout, and so does my back.



2. Fun with resistance bands. Now, I don't follow this whole video. However, Coach Nicole does an informative demo of how to do rows and chest flies with bands, which I have worked into my regular strength training regimen.



Tomorrow, we're off for a picnic and romp in the park with the doggy. Then a drive-in movie later on. Yup, it's drive-in season! We're going to milk this good weather as much as we can, since it'll probably snow again next week.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In: 3/24/10 and I'm An Adult Now

Scale was at a non-Earth-shattering 144.4 lbs. Given I've been going back and forth between 147 and 142 during this last month's baby nugget drama, it doesn't seem all too significant.

So, moving on....

We've finally reached another adulthood milestone: getting life insurance. Yeah, we should have done this sooner, but prolonged adolescence pooh-poohs such mundane expenditures.

During our medical interviews, we were asked detailed questions about drug use, alcohol consumption, smoking, history of physical and mental illnesses and family health issues. Not a single question was asked about what we ate or the extent of our physical activity. Oddly, I was grilled about my weight loss, and not in a good way. My change in diet and exercise was not viewed positively, but as a cause for concern for their actuaries. Apparently, they must think I have a non-diagnosed pre-existing condition. Maybe cancer or a parasite.

Lesson in reality learned: A healthy change doesn't always earn you a gold star.

Friday, March 19, 2010

So Now What?

Looks like I'm over the mini-pregnancy hump.

I finished the last of the antibiotics and the 800 mg-of-motrin-every-6-hours regimen that was wreaking havoc on my stomach and bowels. My gut cramped when it was empty, and cramped up again when I did eat something. The pre-natal vitamins with the "magical" iron side effects are out of my system.

Prolonged bathroom episodes and other unmentionable symptoms of a uterus turning itself inside out and violently puking are, for the most part, gone. Par-tay!

Any resemblance between me and Ozzy are purely coincidental.

So what now?

Well, there's no point in spilling my emotional guts any longer here, is there? Nope. So, no more sobby blogging about what was and what coulda been and what was lost.* The best therapy?

EXERCISE.

A return to the old workout routine this week has proven to be quite therapeutic, albeit a little painful. On early Monday morning, I popped in Jillian's Fat Blast/Boost Metabolism DVD. This was the first time I did this 40-min. workout since January. And, whoa. My legs, abs and shoulders were screaming the next morning. Fuck the pain. The following day? Back to Level I of the 30 Day Shred! Apparently, riding the recumbent bike and doing moderate resistance band training while pregnant really didn't maintain certain muscles, which atrophied during that brief Jillian hiatus. Who knew?

While temporarily painful, this return to high-endurance workouts was the single best, kindest thing I've done for myself lately. To sweat again, grunt, curse, breathe and just feel alive really made a difference in my mindset. This is a comfort that I could never find from junk food, sweets, alcohol or afternoon TV. With three + years of constant physical fitness and healthy eatin' in my routine, the good habits have become so ingrained that my brain is wired now to take pleasure from them. This gives me hope as I go into middle-age. I'm in a place where being physically active is its own drug. It's what my body craves and needs, and I can ably provide. I am past the point of no return.

And that's that.

Back to the Wednesday Weigh-Ins and all that crap next week.

In the meantime, I've been noshing on some excellent cauliflower salad and lentil salad from our local health food market, Nature's Bin. Definitely my go-to snacks for this weekend! Sadly, they did not have their infamous broccoli slaw. *sniff*



*Ok. A few things before I let this whole pregnancy miscarriage thing go.

Thank you, thank you for the thoughtful comments. The last post was a hard one to write. I felt that I needed to address what had happened before I could move on to normal blogging. I struggled with whether I should disable comments because of the frank and, well, personal nature of what I was thinking and going through. I'm glad I didn't.

I'm not looking to start an abortion debate, but I have to get this off of my chest:

Being faced with an unplanned pregnancy was a new experience that I often thought about, but was never fully prepared for. Before, I was a staunch Pro-Choice supporter. And I still am, even more so.

This was a tough, extreme experience that many readers have gone through already. It is one thing to advocate terminating a pregnancy. It is quite another to have to deal with it first-hand. It is the most difficult crossroad I ever had to deal with. I respect what every woman and couple have gone through. This is not a casual decision. I can't imagine what it's like for a pregnant woman who, for instance, isn't in a solid relationship with a committed partner or who is pregnant as a result of abuse or incest. Therefore, I really cannot judge the decision of another woman in that position. It is a serious matter left for her alone to decide. She is dealing with complex issues, so being told what she decides may be morally "wrong" is cruel and pointless. She is going through enough already. Let her be.

It is not a matter of being pro-life or not. Frankly, what I had in me was not a "life" per se. It was a potential for life. What I learned from my doctor is that many pregnancies--as much as 50%--end in miscarriage. And in my case, that potential for life fizzled. It was not viable. Having to carry the bad pregnancy and wait for the miscarriage to "just happen " was more emotionally, physically and financially dreadful than just terminating it early, to wit:

1. Early term abortion. Less than $500. Minimal medical intervention and physical trauma. Greater psychological closure. Done and done.

2. Carrying a non-viable pregnancy for another 6 weeks. Five ultrasounds, doctor's visits (where doctor keeps encouraging us to hold on and keep going, despite bad ultrasound results and non-existent hormone blood work that I was still charged for) and lab costs are over $3,800.00. The emergency hospital treatment for the miscarriage alone is totaling $3,200.00 so far, and that was just for one evening. Medication and vitamins, about $150.00. Preliminary monetary total, about $7,150.00 for medical costs. Emotionally, an extreme rollercoaster where we accept, reject and accept again the pregnancy, and then are informed it ain't happening--something we had suspected from the beginning.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Life Is What Happens When You're Busy Blogging About Losing Weight

So what got me in a tizzy last month?

No, I didn't burn my law degree in a client-induced rage. My office partner didn't drive me to the brink. Yet. Married life is not in turmoil.

Rather, I managed to become pregnant.

We found out the last week of January, when that damn EPT stick wouldn't erase the "+" despite my repeated attempts to shake it like an Etch A Sketch. I have never been pregnant before; we never planned on having kids. In our 23 years together, we successfully dodged the baby bullet while enjoying the child-free life. We are almost 40. So, my initial reaction was to remove the parasite post haste.

There are little--if any--logical reasons to have a child in this post-industrial age. I don't need kids to help with family production. If I assigned a client's case to a 7 year-old, I'm fairly certain I'd lose my law license. Being the logical person that I am, it didn't make real sense to have a kid. The negatives certainly far outweighed the benefits.

But my perspective gradually changed over the next few weeks since this dropped (literally) in my lap. I wasn't prepared for the emotional trojan horse. Nor was Bob. Despite every logical reason against having a baby, we just couldn't bring ourselves to end it. Being faced with a pregnancy is stressful and emotional no matter which decision you make. Ending the pregnancy is stressful, but carries with it a powerful feeling of grim sadness. Keeping the baby is also pretty stressful, but the primary feeling with this option is one of hope. And hope won.

So, we accepted, and then embraced, the reality of becoming new parents just as Bob is turning 40 and I am turning 39. My head exploded at the thought that we would be almost 60 when the kid reached adulthood. We made baby plans. I took the prenatal vitamins and increased my intake of fruits, veggies and tons of yogurt and cheese. The idea of lactating kept me up at night.

I thought about what direction to go in terms of blogging. Do I start a new baby blog? Do I chronicle how I try to stay healthy while pregnant? I couldn't decide.

In the meantime, there were doctor visits. And ultra sounds. And more doctor visits. And more ultra sounds. And that's when the roller coaster really took us for a ride.

At 7 weeks pregnant, the ultrasound showed fetal development at 5 weeks. At 9 weeks, the ultrasound showed growth at only 6 weeks. There was a baby nugget (fetal pole, etc.), but no heartbeat.

This past weekend, I miscarried. It was emotionally wrenching, physically painful and just plain sickening.

Looking back, intuitively, I knew that this pregnancy wasn't going to be viable. I did not "feel" pregnant. No morning sickness. No hormone-induced mood changes. No changes in appetite. In the last week leading up to the miscarriage, I inexplicably lost almost 5 pounds since my last doctor's weigh-in 10 days before. Does that mean it was "meant to be?" No. Just bad chemistry. A series of random acts and events that happened to go down a pretty shitty path.

We're doing much better today, and will be even better tomorrow and the day after. That's the beauty of time and recovery...they work well together. It's sad to lose that potential of life, our shot at throwing our joint good looks, intelligence and cockiness into the collective gene pool. We'll try again--something I never thought we'd do. We may be successful, but if not, there are other ways to channel this new "potential" that has opened our eyes over the last couple of months. Maybe adopt or foster. More likely volunteer. Most likely hoard animals.

Eventually, I will get back to blogging again about health and fitness and all that. I'm thinking next week or the week after. And pray that I don't taint this blog with future details of our baby making. Or knitting puppy booties.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In and Boosh!

Still at 143.00 Exciting, eh?

This past week ranks as one of the top ten most anxious, eye-popping, face-in-palm, bite-through-my wrists week of my life. Work. Health. Family. Accountant. Office. Some good. Some bad. Some wtf?!

Yeah.

May not be around much over the next couple of weeks. Or maybe I will. Maybe I'll paint landscapes. Or get another tattoo.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Winter Excuses

I've always thought that cold weather was the powerful force against weight loss. I mean, it makes sense. We're so often told that our metabolisms shut down during the dark, cold days of winter and go into hibernation mode. That the desire to eat more and pack on/retain fat is "natural." Not surprisingly, S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is the current weight loss fail scapegoat. Less sunlight = less Vitamin D and thus less energy, or so the theory goes. So, trying to stay fit and healthy during the winter is a no-win proposition. Even unnatural. Right?

Uh, no.

We can learn a thing or two from Icelanders. We think winter here (well, at least up North) is bad. But in Iceland, not only is the climate brutal but the country gets, on average, only 4 hours of sunlight in the winter. Relatively speaking, they eat a fairly high caloric diet consisting of fatty lamb, dairy, carbs, fried pancakes and fritter-thingies and lots of sweets. And, of course, fish. Fried, salted, preserved fish. Poultry meat is not a staple (they don't like to eat birds, traditionally), but they wholly welcome eggs into their diets. Yet, Iceland ranks as one of the top healthiest nations in the world. Why is that?

For one, Icelanders do not "shut down" in the winter. They are, for the most part, quite physically active. Even in the dark. They enjoy numerous sports, and are renowned for their great strength.

Perhaps the explanation lies with their badass Viking genes.

Public Domain and Fair Use, so suck it.

Maybe this is explained by generations of evolution where only the strongest and fittest survived. Or perhaps they are onto something that we cannot quite accept: That life goes on even in the most challenging conditions. Rather than succumb to it, we can and should adapt, move on, and make the best of it.

I just watched an Anthony Bourdain "No Reservations" episode where he stayed in Iceland in the dead of winter. One day, he visited a local gym, which was packed with buff-looking men and women who were vigorously engaging various exercise equipment even as icy blackness loomed just beyond the glass walls. Before and after their workouts, they eat large bowls of fatty lamb stew. No protein shakes, oatmeal, cereal or skipping meals.

Physical activity in Iceland is a way of life that is ingrained early on. Icelandic authorities* recommend at least an hour of moderately intensive physical activity at least 5 days per week for children to maintain physical health.** Is that what your child is doing? Is that what YOU are doing?

This kind of calls into question these old notions we have about winter. About how cold weather and lack of sunlight bring us down. As Icelanders have shown, these are no excuses. In fact, they take advantage of the time they have indoors to devote to physical fitness. Sure, they fuel up on necessary carbs, proteins and fats. But they also burn it off.

Why, then, can't we? Are we using "winter" as another excuse?

For me, this winter has been challenging in the sense that I have turned into the biggest freeze crybaby ever. I wrap myself up much like Ralphie's little brother, Randy, even indoors. On the other hand, since I'm cooped up, I've been spending a little more time on the morning workouts. Workouts warm me up, and so I'm not cold anymore. Sure, I get tired, but that's usually after I come home from work. It's a process of whining and then adapting. Since I have more dark time in the morning, I use it to exercise more.

While I may sound pretty self-righteous saying all of this, the fact is that we all have the ability to change and adapt. We shouldn't misinterpret initial, petty negative body signals to mean that we just can't do it. Sure, the darkness is a downer and we feel more tired at certain times. But summer hotness also drains some energy out of us. So do Spring allergies. When will the excuses stop and the will take over? Exercising counteracts a lot of those bad feelings. After a little while of daily, consistent activity, it will be as if weather weren't an issue at all.

Yeah, we definitely could learn a thing or to from those eccentric, but sensible, Bjork-ies.


* Well, U.S. authorities, too, but most of us tend to pooh-pooh them anyway.

**While the study shows that Icelandic children have increased their physical activity over the last ten years, Western couch-potato trends have spread their tendrils into the brain stems of a lot of adolescents, and more physical activity is recommended.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In: 1/27/10 & Shtuff

I was at 143.00 again yesterday. Fine by me. The scale today actually has me at a lot less, but whatever. I'm getting used to the fact that there isn't going to be much excitement with the scale anymore, unless I purposefully start gaining weight or come down with a terminal illness. Instead, the focus has been on toning and shit.

Didn't get a chance to post the weigh-in earlier because a.) I found out my sister is pregnant. And probably twins. Her first daughter just turned 18. So she has another 20 years of parenting, squared. Yowza! b.) I had to go along with Bob to watch a screening of the new flick When In Rome yesterday. It was horrible and put me in a downer mood the rest of the evening.

I blew my right knee. Again. I put Jillian back in her cage for now and have gone back to my usual 60 minutes of recumbent biking and 30 minutes or so of fun with resistance bands. I still do her knee-friendly-ish core circuits, tho. They rock.

So the H1N1 vaccine (or the "hynie shot" as Bobzilla calls it) is now available at our local pharmacy. We were going to get them yesterday but I wussed out. Even a one in a million chance of a horrible reaction is enough to set off my anxiety alarms. We'll try again today. If I don't post something within the next 7 days, that means I'm probably dead.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Best Weight Loss Tool Evah!

If you find yourself seduced by the next hamburger ad or sexy-looking frozen pizza box at the grocery, go to this website first:

Food In Real Life

It will give you the bitch slap of reality needed to pull you back from the edge.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Year in Review

It just dawned on me that I've been blogging for a year now. Officially, the blogiversary was Jan. 8th. Funny how I just wrote earlier this week about letting go of the past to move forward, but then I'm reminded of a poignant line from one of my favorite films, Magnolia: "We might be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us." This part of backwards reflection is acceptable, though, because it represents progress and not regression. So, I'm all for it. Another exception to the exception. Or whatever.

When I started the blog, I weighed 175 lbs. Prior to that, I was "on my own" with the weight loss and did quite well, losing about 75 lbs. before I hit a plateau in early November 2008. I figured blogging would give me the boost I needed to reignite the engine. And it seemed to do the trick. Over the last year, I lost 32 pounds. I went from a size 16/14 to a size 8 (sadly, these prized size 8 Calvins I'm sitting in are now loose in the ass and thighs and will need to be retired within the month.).

Here is an illustrated review, because one can never get enough mileage out of an outfit as tragic as this:


The gut that lingered in early '09 is now gone. The back boobs are ghosts. As is the sagging jaw line. My arms, chest, back, shoulders and thighs are toned and strong. On the down side, I went from a D cup to a barely-filled B cup. So long, boobies. But, the posture is pretty solid...probably because I ain't top heavy no mo'.

This past year has been a hybrid of weight loss and maintenance rehearsal. I'd lose, then gain, maintain, lose again and maintain. I get it. I more than get it. I embrace the way I eat, and can't imagine a day that goes by without exercising. I have even worked out when sick. It is a part of normal life. I like this new normal.

Here is a list of what has happened over the past year:

NEW SHIT

1. I took up running this year. On purpose. For the first time ever. I loved it. Then my knees said, "F**k you." I still gaze longingly at the joggers who brave even bad weather to get a good run in. I don't get pissed when they're in the street. I understand them now.

2. Related to #1, I got athletic shoes. On purpose and not because high school gym class required them. Though butt ugly, they were the single best purchase I ever made. I still wear them when I do my Jillian workouts and they serve me well on the fitness trail dates with Bobzilla.

3. I manage stress much, much better. It was not uncommon for me to have a meltdown during a stressful day at the office, dealing with family, etc. That has changed dramatically over the past year. I have learned to care less, and it's become ingrained. I talk myself out of blowing up and certain things that used to get under my skin (bad drivers, idiocacy, etc.) just don't bother me so much any more. While this may be related to my commitment to stop caring, I'm pretty sure the exercise and healthy eating has a major role in this. Even Pat Robertson's insane rant about Haiti has barely raised my pulse. I'm sure I'm passionate about something...oh God, I hope I'm not dead.

4. Showing skin. I tried on, bought, and wore a two piece swimming suit this summer. Collectively, I have never done all three things before. My boudoir wardrobe has quadrupled. I also did a fetish photo shoot and love the pictures. No, they won't be posted here. Let's just say I look pretty hot in black vinyl and rubber.

5. I am a morning person. *gasp* I am in bed at a decent hour. Usually no later than 10:00 p.m. Then I'm up no later than 6:00 a.m. for the morning workouts. Before this, I used to crash at late hours, usually after 1:00 in the morning.

6. Workout videos. Never thought I'd do them. In my mind, workout videos were made to be laughed at, not useful. Jillian proved me wrong.

7. Organic, free-range eating. Our diet is now almost all organic and free range. I make most of my lunches. I don't eat meat usually when we go out. All produce, juices, coffee/tea and grains in our kitchen are organic. Our meat and dairy come from ethical, humane sources, and absolutely no hormones, GMO's, or antibiotic-laden foods. Do they help you lose weight? Not by themselves. But once you become aware of what you put in your body, it is a natural extension to eliminate ALL crap. I'd rather spend a few extra cents on organic food than spend the money on a restaurant meal.

8. It's ok to be narcissistic. I had a hard time blogging at first. I don't like talking about myself. I am self-conscious about the use of too many "I's" in a sentence, written or spoken. I got over myself and accepted that blogging is about me. And that's ok.

WHAT I LEARNED

1. Happiness has nothing to do with weight. When I created the above photo montage, I was struck by an implicit message I might be sending, that the person I was in July 2007 was someone to be abhorred or pitied. That is totally wrong. When that picture was taken on that rad summer morning, I was happy. Notice the blush on my cheeks. I was getting ready to spend the day with my best friend and couldn't wait to get going. I was not in a cesspool of misery when I was obese. I enjoyed life then, and I enjoy life now. Losing weight is not a talisman. Sure, I feel healthier and happier, but I also didn't put all my emotional eggs in the weight loss basket. You find and take pleasure where you find it. It is not something that should be denied until you reach an ideal physical condition. I think this is why I've been able to stick with this slow weight loss process, which has lasted over three years. You don't stop living, loving and laughing just because you're fat. Losing weight won't cure problems.

2. There is no "done." Eating healthy and exercise is not a temporary thing. I have accepted that I will--and must--workout almost every day, for the rest of my life. I can't go back to eating at the deli downstairs in my office building. Taco Bell is garbage and always will be. That's it.

3. 99% is mental. No more dwelling on past pain and issues. No more yearning to eat bad things I used to think would give me pleasure. On the flip side, there is no over-thinking to this. Talking too much about losing weight will just bring you down. It's like verbal padding or filler. At some point, you have to get up from the computer and just exercise, just live.

4. Oil and fats are ok. Some olive oil and fats are good for, and necessary to, clean and healthy eating. For some reason, this was a hard one for me to overcome, but I've finally leveled out and have reached an amicable living situation with grease.

5. The scale is not the final arbiter of progress. The scale is not God. Do not revolve your life around its judgment, and certainly do not assess the status of your health by that fickle fiend. Time and commitment will see you through. I regret not taking measurements, because I am shrinking more than the scale says I am losing over the last 3 months. Plus, endurance, tone and overall emotional and mental well-being cannot be measured by the scale. Nor can trying on jeans at the store.

REINFORCING THINGS I ALREADY KNEW

1. No deprivation. Chocolate, ice cream and cheese are not no-no's. Wine is chilling for my consumption as I write this. I had french fries earlier this week. We will be eating at Melt Bar 'n Grilled tomorrow for brunch.

2. Pets are not very bright. Despite repeated injuries, my cat still sticks his face in the bike pedal as I'm spinning. He must like it.

3. Keep the tata's restrained. Don't ever, ever try to work out without proper restraint. I suppose the same thing applies to men's goods. I wouldn't know. Thank God I avoid the gym.

4. Twenty to thirty minutes of exercise, even daily, is not enough for long-term weight loss. Suck it up.

5. Jillian had a prior career operating a BDSM dungeon. Perhaps even a chain of them.

Ok! Off to pour myself an anniversary toast. Here's hoping this weekend's indulgences don't bite me in the ass!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In: 1/20/10 and Don't Look Back

First, the minor stuff. I'm at 143.00 today. Deja vu. I know that number. I think I met it at a pre-holiday party last month.

Been feeling blog-fatigued lately. Haven't read or commented much lately. Just zoning out here. Mostly due to an assload of work that has formed what will probably be a permanent "11" between my brows.

On the workout front, I'm back up to Level Three with Mistress Jillian. I have a few especially tasty, profane words in mind that would aptly describe the "traveling pushups" and the uber-painful circuit of mountain climbers immediately followed by bouncing sumo squats. Now, while the workout is difficult, I still don't feel I'm getting enough cardio in. So I hop on the bike for 30 minutes, which is a breeze compared to the aforementioned torture.

Last week, I met with a friend at my office, and we discussed the cognitive behavior therapy class she's taking. Apparently, this type of treatment--which concentrates on helping to mold effective, goal-oriented behavior rather than analyzing the past--is extremely successful in treating obesity and even drug and alcohol addiction. As she was describing this form of therapy, a spark went off in my head. I think I know now why this weight loss thing has been successful and relatively easy:

YOU CAN'T MAKE PROGRESS WHEN YOU'RE LOOKING BACKWARDS

I'm no weight loss virgin. I have started and failed many times. Common with all those prior attempts was my tendency to think in terms of the past. This could be the immediate past or long-term life history. I dwelled on my bad family life growing up and the bad eating habits formed and reinforced decades before. I was fixated on my old life. For example, I would focus on the many types of crappy food I used to turn to for comfort. I even tied in what is arguably the worst childhood ever with my obesity. I was fixated on finding, analyzing and revisiting the how's and why's of my fat ass.

Did that help me? Uh, no. If anything, this type of thinking sabotaged my weight loss efforts because I (unintentionally) continued to identify my present self with my past self. This backwards thinking made me miserable and my attempts at weight loss impossible because I perceived attempts at "dieting" and exercise to be more difficult than they were or should have been. I would overreact to feelings of hunger or any desire, really, because I wanted immediate gratification. I was greedy and impulsive. When I fell off the wagon, it wasn't just a temporary thing--it turned into a long-term relapse. I made it unnecessarily difficult to get back on track because my response to a temporary fail was to panic, overanalyze what I did wrong and re-familiarize myself with the "old" me. Thinking about the old ways was all that I knew, it was familiar to me and certainly easier to deal with than making changes. If I screwed up once, it snowballed because, hey, why bother if the cat's already out of the bag? Doing new things, of course, is uncomfortable. It's hard to visualize, construct and nurture a goal when you're distracted by continuously looking backward.

This time around was different, though. I couldn't put it into words until after my friend session last week. But now I understand. I've been goal-oriented. I don't know if I hit my head in my sleep or what, but this time around I focused on what I wanted to happen. While the weight loss was slow, every week I lost a pound meant that I was no longer carrying that weight from my past. Once I accepted that this change is permanent, it became easier, over time, to think about where I am going as opposed to where I've been. I guess that's why I don't blog much about my former bad habits. I don't agonize about physical and emotional abuse in the family, or the painful losses. I don't describe in salacious detail the types of crappy food I used to put in my mouth. I don't want to talk about it anymore. When I get frisky with food (don't call it a relapse!) nowadays, I don't talk about or dwell on it either. What is the point?

I suppose this is why the Beck diet books are so popular. I avoided looking into that program because it seemed to "cultish" to me. I'm not a fan of "movements." While I'm not ready to drink the Beck kool-aid yet, this area is more than just a little intriguing.

....EXCEPT AS STATED HEREIN

Now hold up. I'm not a past-hatah. Actually, I've been finding renewed pleasure in old things lately, such as:

1. Vintage Clothing. What finally convinced me that current fashion designers are playing a joke on consumers is when I went shopping for sweaters and found that most of them were short-sleeved or sleeveless. Sleeveless sweaters? I had it, and returned to my roots: thrift stores! I scored some incredible finds, mostly from the 60's. Most of the vintage clothes are made of higher-quality fabric, and are tailored better to bring out a flattering shape. And the crown jewel was a woman's pimp blouse. Trust me, it works.

2. Peanut Butter and Jelly. My mother-in-law gave me organic, natural peanut butter and jelly for Christmas. I swear, it tastes better than what I remember. Even on carrots.


But there is an exception to the exception, as I discovered during my sickness:

Footloose is bad. Real bad. Especially the soundtrack. How did Loggins pull it off?