Monday, February 28, 2011
I've owned them before. But I find it to be a giant hassle to load all of my CDs onto my computer and then onto the mp3. So I decided, out of laziness, that I would just put the 50 or so songs I had stored on my computer onto the thing before Sunday's workout.
First of all, I'm an idiot. I can't believe, for the past two months, I have stared out the window in silence and attempted to read the garbled closed-captioning on the muted TVs when I could have been listening to tunes this entire time. What a difference that makes with the boredom factor. I could have gone another hour!
But, I must admit, the music I listen to doesn't exactly get you going. (Except when "Born to Run" came on. I felt like I was!) Pete Yorn, Ingrid Michaelson, Leonard Coen and Bob Dylan songs were among the 50 that got loaded onto the mp3. And let me say, "Not Dark Yet" doesn't exactly make me want to peddle like a maniac on the bike. Although I must say, I had a great deal of Bob Seger on there, and I found it oddly motivating.
A friend suggested Girl Talk, which I've been considering. But I think, two songs in, I'd want to throw my earbuds across the room. Which leaves me considering another option that makes me feel a little uneasy: selections from commercial radio. Your Beyonces, your Clarksons, your Rhiannas. Good beats, everyone. Good, strong, rhythmic beats.
Me thinks my mp3 soon will be filled with pop music. It's out of my hands, people! Can't elliptical like a crazy person to "So long, Marianne," although I tried Sunday, damn it.
So I'm taking suggestions! What's your favorite pop song that won't annoy me too much?
Friday, February 25, 2011
Cut to this morning. I still strolled in like I owned the place. But that's about where the deja vu ended. No more Lynette. Apparently she teaches water aerobics now. In her place was a lovely, sprightly red-head whose energy got me going, for sure, but whom I had a lot of trouble following after so many years out of commission.
I started with risers under my step. I mean, I've been working with a trainer for two months! I've been exercising at least five hours a week for just as long! I've got this! ... No, no. By break, I was huffing and puffing, face red, miserable. I had to remove my risers to keep going.
At first I was able to follow the routine. I still know what to do when she says "corner knees," or "three knees," or "turn it," and "diagonal." But I couldn't quite grasp the combinations today. Something about a diagonal and off the back and two steps to the middle then lunge off the side then jacks then around the step then ... um ...
It also didn't help that the teacher -- while she was great, and I was sweating, and that's the whole point -- wasn't on her game today, it seemed. Her words didn't match her movements and she kept correcting herself. So, for the last third, I just kind of did my own thing. The most important thing is to just keep moving, anyway.
Even though the above scenario sounds like a real mess, it was actually really energizing. And the parts I could follow were really fun. I haven't sweat that much in a long time, so I think it'll be a good, fun addition to my cardio routine to incorporate more of those Step classes into my routine.
Also, a lady in class put a bug in my ear that on Tuesdays and Thursdays, there's a strength-training class that might make the transition from having a trainer a lot easier. Apparently, it's a difficult class. So between that and Step, I would have five workouts planned for me. FOR FREE!
Now I just have to build up to using the risers again and not gasping for air the whole time.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Every time I checked the scale in the women’s locker room this month, I saw a different number, and none of them were good. I thought I was going to finish month 2 with only a 4-pound loss, which was really messing with my head after losing 18 the first month.
Overall, February was hard for a lot of reasons. I have the whole plantar fasciitis thing. And the “Diet Momentum” lessened pretty significantly. Plus, I had a stretch of days where I just didn’t have the drive to workout. One day I even gave Jackie some serious attitude.
Nothing gelled this month. And I was sure it would be reflected on the scale.
Well, it’s not quite the end of the month yet. But Jackie thought I should weigh-in one week before the month 2 marker to make sure I’m on track to meet the goal.
Somehow -- despite two missed workout sessions with Jackie -- I’m down 29 pounds in 7 1/2 weeks. That means I have three pounds to lose this week to meet my month 2 goal of a 32-pound total loss.
Three pounds is certainly a lot more manageable than 10 or 12, which is how far off I expected to be. So I’m actually pretty excited.(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
I also sat down this week to write out my plan for the next few months until I hit my final goal weight. The big debate now is whether I should keep working with Jackie after my initial 20 personal-training sessions are spent.
As of now, our last session together will be April 4, at the end of month 3.
There are pros and cons to consider.
Pros: She knows what she’s doing. I never workout as hard as I do when I’m with her. Plus, it would be nice to stay together as a team the whole way through. We started this together. It would be great to cross the finish line together.
Cons: Another 20 sessions would cost $500. I don’t have that. It was difficult scrounging the initial $500 together, and I had to make sacrifices in other areas of my life.
Also, March 31 is the exact halfway point to my goal weight. At some point, I’ve got to prove I can do this on my own. I won’t have Jackie forever, so maybe three months with her is enough time to have learned the skills I need, and then after that, I should put myself to the test to see if I can achieve goals on my own.
There’s a lot to consider.
For now, I plan to take one week at a time. And this week should be a piece of cake. Three pounds to go!
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Today is my pal Jessical Flatequal's birthday, and she has the most incredible girlfriend on the planet, a one Ms. Maria Bevacqua.
Maria e-mailed a bunch of friends and colleagues several weeks ago informing us of Jessica's upcoming birthday and an idea she garnered from an episode of "Modern Family." One of the show's main characters, Mitchell, had surprised his boyfriend, Cam, with a flash mob at the mall because Cam's favorite thing in the world is a flash mob.
Jessica's favorite thing in the world is also a flash mob. So Maria asked the incredible Paul Finocchiaro to choreograph a dance to Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" (which Jessica loves) and teach it to a group of us. Last week, we rehearsed for about four hours over two sessions. And Paul, God bless him, had his work cut out for him with some of us. Let's just say I don't exactly pop my movements. But he got us there, and we all waited in anticipation of the big day.
It all went down at 12:15 p.m. Maria and Jessica's parents (who also were involved in the mob) went to get Jessica from the LGBT Center and brought her through the student union over to the Wells Fargo and Hub area. We were scattered about, secretly trying to watch to see if she was coming. When she rounded the bend, our DJ started the music, which thumped loudly throughout the whole area on the overhead sound system. And when Gaga kicked in, we found our places and got our groove on! (Watch the video again!)
Jessica freaked out. She was crying, she was smiling from ear to ear, she couldn't believe it. Meanwhile, EVERYONE else in the vicinity gathered around with their camera phones to shoot video and take pictures. I was so nervous. Hands shaking. Hoping not to miss the beat on EVERY step, just a few. It didn't matter, though. Jessica's face told us we'd done a good job.
After the song ended, a cake was wheeled out for Jess and we sang her Happy Birthday.
I cannot imagine a more thoughtful gift from a girlfriend. Maria really hit it out of the park, and her and Paul deserve all the credit in the world. Amazing, thoughtful gift. Jessica thought so, too. (Incidentally, Cam's reaction on "Modern Family" was a little different: "I can't believe you did this, Mitchell. ... You cheated on me with choreography and that is the worst kind!")
So, here's to Jessica! We were so excited to get to flash her today. Happy Birthday, Jess!!!
We’ll call the interested party in the below examples “I.P.” We’ll call the dieter “Me.”
I.P.: I read how much weight you’ve lost. (Looks me up and down.) I can tell ... in your face.
I.P.: Is that chocolate on your desk? You can’t have chocolate.
I.P.: Did you workout today?
Me: Not today.
I.P.: Oh, why not?
Me: (Not really your concern is why not.) I had other things to do.
I.P.: You’ve lost 21 pounds in, what, a month? ... Oh, six weeks? Don’t feel bad about that. You’ve got that woman thing going on. You’re bloated half the time.
Me: ... OK, thanks.
I.P.: (In the company of others) Hey there, Slim.
Me: You’re going to make me feel like I have to suck it in every time I come down here. (Glances at the faces around looking at her gigantic tush and thinking, “Slim?”)
I.P.: I don’t think you should only work with a trainer for three months and then try it on your own. You probably won’t keep doing it.
Me: (Blank stare.) OK, do you have $500 I can, like, have? (And in return I’ll give you etiquette lessons.)
No. 7 is less of a scenario and more of just a statement: Don’t ONLY talk to “Me” or “Dieter” about her weight-loss journey. She’s got other things going on, and she doesn’t always want to be concentrating on and discussing her “fight to be fit.” If she pinpoints you as “Diet Conversation Person,” she will avoid making eye contact so she doesn’t constantly have to rehash that day’s workout.
I mean, I’m just sayin’ ... : )
Monday, February 21, 2011
Today ... I got nuthin.
Sunday morning, I laced up my sneakers and headed out at 10 a.m. when the Y opened only to be met by heavy snowfall and unplowed roads. I nearly got stuck at two intersections. (Don't worry, I made it to Hy-Vee where I was able to purchase coffee. I ran out, which is unacceptable on a Sunday morning.) I had to admit defeat and go home.
My mom made it safely from Fairmont, and she parked behind me, and we waited out the storm all day Sunday. Then my roommate and her boyfriend parked behind us due to the snow emergency.
With cars behind and snow to shovel to get out, I had to cancel today's workout with Jackie.
So, I've just tried to be really careful with food, and when I weigh-in Thursday to check my progress before the final push of month 2, I guess we'll see if my lack of activity has caused any damage.
I sure hope not!!!
Thursday, February 17, 2011
I woke up not wanting to work out. Sometimes, I've got to talk myself into feeling good about going. And some days are harder than others. So feeling like I wasn't in the mood, I ate an apple at about 6:15 (for that little helpful burst of energy), and I headed there a little bit early so that I would have a few extra minutes to psyche myself up instead of procrastinating in front of the TV.
Today's workout was akin to the kind I complained about a couple of blog posts ago, the kind I call "high-impact cardio torture" days. We went right into a blast of burpees; raising the bosu over my head 10 times fast; lunges; three-part squats; stepping up and down off of a bench with a knee left on each side; a side step off the bench with a lateral leg raise on each side; and curtsy squats on each leg. All of these sets of 10 and 12 were repeated three times.
In the midst of this cardio onslaught, I felt my mind shutting down. For the most part, what you can and can't do in the gym is a total mental game. Yes, your muscles get so tired, but you are able to find one last push or one last lift if you tell yourself you can. I don't know what it is that causes it, but sometimes I can't seem to find those words in my mind.
Within the first 20 minutes of the workout, I quit talking. (Usually, Jackie and I chat about whatever the whole time.) Within 30 minutes, I kept stopping during sets for rests. More than usual. By the time we finished with arms during the 45- to 50-minute mark, I was struggling. I couldn't finish my sets.
Jackie asked me if I was getting sick. I said no, but I was feeling that pukey reflex. She asked me repeatedly, "How are you doing?" I just quit answering her. She kept telling me, "It's all mental. Quit talking yourself out of it. Talk yourself into it. You can do this." I didn't want to.
So after arms, 10 minutes before 8, she said, "You're out of here." This woke me up out of my daze of "I can't do this." I said, "No abs? Is it because I've been fighting you so much today?" She said no, but she looked mildly annoyed and also like she was conceding today's workout. That I'd made it clear I didn't want to be here, and she was giving in. I said, "Are you sure? Because you look pissed off at me, and I'm sorry." She went on to say that wasn't it, that some days a person just doesn't have it, that there could be other things going on, that the last set seemed to hurt a lot, and that we should just cash it in for the day. I teared up a little. I felt like I'd really let her down. But I left, anyway.
I was wondering if she was right and there was more going on. I did feel a lot of disappointment. Looking in the mirror during the workout today, I was down on myself, thinking it didn't look like enough improvement had been made. I was thinking about the scale in the women's locker room, how it hasn't been kind this month. I was thinking about the goal of a loss of 32 pounds by March 1. But mostly, I was just thinking that I don't want to do this anymore.
Once home, showered, with a cup of coffee, the mind clears a bit and you realize that quitting is out of the question and today was just a bad day. But there's nothing worse than that feeling that the only person standing in the way of success is yourself. And yet, still, you can't bring yourself to do what's necessary.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I don’t think he knew how right he was.
People came out of the woodwork, mostly with the same two messages, sometimes in ALL CAPS: “It sounds like plantar fasciitis,” and, “Get it checked out, but first tell your trainer.”
What seemed to disturb people the most is that I said I didn’t want to tell Jackie because I worried she would tone down our workouts, and I really need to perform at my best -- especially since we set new goals this week. (So, yes, I told her. And the look on her face was not good. Worried.)
This foot injury couldn’t come at a worse time. My goal is to be down a total of 32 pounds by March 1. It’s a lofty aspiration considering this month has been slow-going.
I haven’t weighed-in officially on the Iron Man scale, which is the only scale I trust. But I’ve been checking my weight on the scale in the women’s locker room at the Y, which always seems to have a different number for me. So I can only ballpark my estimate that, since Feb. 3, which was two weeks ago, I’ve only lost an additional three pounds.
That means I have 13 days, counting today, to lose 11 pounds. How can I possibly do that when I have to stay off my darn left foot?
With this thought in mind, after I did 20 minutes on the bike at the gym this morning, I decided to just try the elliptical. After 2 minutes I thought, “This ain’t so bad.” After 5 minutes: “Well, actually ... .” After 10 minutes: “OK, ow. I’m getting off this thing.”
I headed back to the weight room and put together a couple of circuits I remembered from training with Jackie. I did some ab work and knee lifts. And then I went back into the life center and did some strength-training on the machines.
Here’s the thing, though: Cardio burns fat. C-A-R-D-I-O. Yes, it’s important to build muscle through strength-training, but to lose weight, you’ve got to get your heartrate up and keep it up.
Bottom line: I need my feet. Gah! So frustrating.
Even more frustrating is the thought that everyone is right and my injury is plantar fasciitis: a painful inflammation of the thick, fibrous, connective tissue along the heel bone and sole of the foot, commonly associated with long periods of weight bearing. (Yet another “thanks a lot” to the sizable bottom I’ve been carrying around for years.)
Several people who informed me their wife/mother/sister/brother battled the injury also informed me that it’s something that only goes away with time and by staying off of it for a long while. So, I really hope that’s not what this is.
It’s more than a little ironic to me that my mind -- my will power, or lack thereof -- was what was keeping me from weight loss for so long. And now that my mind is all in, my body decides to crap out.
I guess all I can do is focus on the food side as much as possible and do what I can in the gym. (Insert frowny face here.)
Monday, February 14, 2011
Which brings me to today's post. Here are a few tips given to me by readers that I think are pretty fantastic.
1. I'm a night eater. Right around 8 p.m., I get the urge to go snack on something. A coworker told me she is, too, and so after dinner, when she knows she's not going out anymore, she goes and puts on her pajamas. It's sort of a mind trick that gets her thinking about bedtime rather than snack time. I've tried this, and it really works for me. I also go up to my room to watch TV and play on the computer so that the kitchen is far away.
2. One reader suggested I try lemon juice and pepper on my salads instead of fat free dressing. It cuts about 100 calories, and it's delicious. I also like the salad sprays by Wishbone. Ten calories!
3. Do you have a sweet tooth? A reader told me she hated dieting because it felt like she could never eat anything sweet. So her trick was to buy strawberries, strawberry yogurt and low-fat granola. When she gets a sweet craving, she makes her own homemade parfaits that are about 200 calories, and it cuts her craving. I LOVE parfaits. Kwik Trip has them premade for 280 calories. I stock up and have them for breakfast.
4. One reader said she read my column about having four glasses of wine one night and offered a tip for another kind of drink. She suggested using diet soft drinks in place of full-sugar when ordering mixed drinks. Like a Diet Coke and bacardi is about 80 calories, whereas a full sugar version could be twice that if not more.
5. After reading my blog entry about "wishful closet organizing," where I talked about gazing at clothes that don't fit yet, a reader told me that she always keeps one shirt hung up in her closet in plain site that she doesn't fit into yet. Every time she loses a few more pounds, she tries on the shirt. When it finally fits, her reward is to wear the shirt to the mall, where she buys another pretty shirt that doesn't quite fit yet. The incentive keeps her going.
Keep the tips coming, everyone! I'm using a lot of them.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
I know it sounds like a small thing, but think about the number of cardio exercises that depend upon a functioning pair of feet. Ellipical and treadmill are two of my go-tos, and I've been having to avoid them the past couple of days. I could work through the pain, I'm sure, but I don't want to prolongue or worsen the injury.
So today I did the bike for 20, then did some strength-training for half an hour on the machines, then did another 20 on the bike. My intention was to stay off the darn thing as much as possible today, but the weather was so unbelievably gorgeous that I ended up taking my dog for a long walk, so I guess I blew it.
I don't think I'll mention it to Jackie. I want to get 100 percent out of our workouts together, and they just wouldn't be as hard without all the crazy jumping around on stuff.
Anyway, I'm taking suggestions on good cardio workouts that allow me to keep off my heel. Anyone? Anyone? ... Bueller?
P.S. The blog title on The Free Press home page is a bit vague. "My foot hurts. Can I go to the nurse?" is a line from "Clueless," which I watched over and over again in my teen years. Just thought I'd clear that up. Yeah ...
Thursday, February 10, 2011
On Monday I was warned: "I spent some time writing new workouts this weekend," she said, "and on Wednesday I'm going to kick ... your ... butt."
The past two days my mind has wandered back to those words, including early this morning when I was sitting at home eating a banana before heading to the gym. My eyes flashed to my cell phone. "Maybe I could text her that my car won't start. It's 10 below, so it's a good excuse."
I didn't do that. I went to the gym. I faced the music. And, going with that metaphor, if one were to liken exercise to music, Mozart this was not. More like death metal. Korn maybe. Yes, this was a Korn workout today. I might have even been able to hit some of those throaty, screamy notes.
On strength days, most of the work is stationary. There are segments of cardio between the segments of lifting, but the majority of the emphasis is on the muscles to perform. It's still hard and very effective. And my heartrate goes up and stays up most of the time. But it's manageable.
High-impact cardio circuits like today, to me, are not manageable. I hug the concrete beams for support. I walk in circles trying to catch my breath. I sweat all over the Bosu. My heart beats out of my chest. Today, twice, I revisited my banana and warned Jackie that I might have to dart over to the garbage bin and yack. I was serious, too. My stomach was warning me: "Do one more burpee, I dare you. I'll spray banana all over this mutha."
How does Jackie achieve this affect? Cardio circuits that really aren't broken up by large amounts of strength-training. Meaning, I'll do 15 mountain climbers with the Bosu and then go right into lunges and then repeat three times. That might be followed by a segment involving burpees, or jumping squats or leg lifts.
It all sounds so innocent on paper, as does the tiny Bosu just laying there on the floor, like a toy you'd bounce around on when you were a kid. But I've learned that anything in the world can become an object of torture when involved in some sort of lifting, squatting, crunching or kicking-back and jumping scenario.
I drove home, showered and even a half an hour later, my face is still red. Today, Jackie meant business.
She did give me an idea that I really liked today, though. She suggested that I set up an awards system. I should set benchmarks along the way to my goal, and when I reach each, I get some sort of award, and I should set that award ahead of time so that I know what I'm working toward. That sounds really fun! Now I just have to think of prizes.
...How about when I hit 30 pounds, I get to CHOOSE whether the next training session with Jackie is strength-training or high-impact cardio torture? Think she'd go for that? : )
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
1. Clothes I fit in now but hope to someday donate to charity when I'm wayyyyy to skinny.
2. Clothes I love that I almost fit into but can't quite pull off.
3. Clothes that I'm months from squeezing into, but damn it, I'm going to again.
Small victory this morning when I pulled an old favorite from category 2 and put it on. It fit, and I didn't feel like I had a giant spare tire sticking out when I sat down. So, the item is now going into category 1, and I'm kind of struttin' my stuff a little bit today wearing it.
It's really all about the small victories, isn't it?
Now let's talk about set backs. My last post was about alcohol and how it's so hard to stop at just one drink. Being social in America tends to revolve heavily around what one puts into their mouth. You gather around a table, and drinks start coming and coming and then there are appetizers and then more drinks. It's crazy. And it can be easy to leave a bar having added 1,000 calories to an otherwise healthy day.
Here's a tip from my trainer I find helpful. When she knows she's going out, she tries to work in an extra workout beforehand. That way her metabolism is up and also she's burned some of the calories she's planned on consuming.
Here's a tip from me, which I have learned over various years of terrible diets. Don't let that bad night derail you. My MO is this: I start a diet. I do well for a few days. I have a bad day, and for whatever reason, the next day I say, "Well, I'll just have the rest of the ice cream I bought yesterday and then I'll be good tomorrow." This pattern of thinking continues until I'm no longer with the program at all.
Routine is a dieter's best friend. If you go off the tracks for a day, get right back on and you will have done very little damage.
It's a marathon, peeps! It's OK to stumble as long as you keep running.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
I call it the Diet Momentum. It's a serge of stick-to-it-iveness that fills your mind with only positive thoughts. "I can do this. I will. There's no going back now. I'll never see this number on the scale again."
The true test of will comes when routine sets in, achievements have been made, however minor, and your brain loses that cloud of determination. It's a tricky time because you've got to keep up the momentum without that incredible drive that kickstarted you like a bat out of hell. Truly now, after a little more than a month, this is when the hard part sets in.
I will admit, I had one bad night. I was talking with my trainer about the occasional glass of wine, and she said it's not terrible. The trick is to stop at one. Alcohol and inhibition, as many of us know, are best friends. So I went out one night with my day's worth of calories within the boundary I have set for myself. And I decided to have a glass of Cabarnet, my favorite kind of red wine. After not having a drop of alcohol for over a month, one made me feel pretty good. Which made one lead to two and then three and, yes, a fourth. Four glasses of wine.
Guess how many calories that adds to the day? 500. More than a typical meal for me.
What have I learned? I'm not ready yet. In this critical stage of weightloss when the momentum is waning and my will is tested, I don't need anything to make it harder.
Cabarnet, I'll see you in a few months.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Today, as you may know, is the one-month mark on my "flight to be fit," as one reader put it. As such, today was the day I weighed-in at the Y on the Iron Man scale for my one-month progress report.
Drum roll, please ...
My one-month weight-loss is: 18 pounds!!! I lost 18 pounds in just one month, which is actually MORE than my last 500-calorie-per-day crazy diet fad. So, seriously people, even though I was one of those girls who rolled their eyes when someone said "Eat less and move more is the only surefire way to lose weight," I'm now a believer.
I feel like I should give an acceptance speech or something. I'd like to thank my mom who always believed I could do it, and my trainer, Jackie, who kicks my butt twice a week, and ... maybe I should save the speeches for when I hit my final goal.
Anyway, I'm away from the office this week, so I won't be posting again for a few days. But don't worry, I'm not going to go on a celebratory doughnut bender or anything.