Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Coming back after a hiatus...

So, I started this blog back at the end of November with a lot of excitement and then the Christmas season grabbed hold and it got put on the back burner.  I'm going to try to write more frequently, though it's doubtful I'll be able to post everyday.  Several big changes have happened since December 1st. 

First, I signed up for the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville that took place on April 30, 2011.  I trained up to the 8 mile mark and then I got shin splints that continued to set me back to where I couldn't get any more mileage added to be able to be ready for the Half Marathon.  So, I ended up just enjoying a small vacation to Nashville instead and got to cheer on Mr. Perky as he crossed the finish line of his first Half Marathon!  I do plan to do another Half in the future (I did one back in January 2007 in Phoenix), but it will have to wait until after Baby #2 comes.  In the mean time, I will just continue to run and enjoy being outside.

Second, at the end of March 2011, I went Gluten-free.  Best decision I think I ever made!  I cannot remember the last time I have had as much energy or felt better.  For so many years, I just thought it was normal to have stomach issues after almost every meal I ate.  I couldn't seem to pin point an exact trigger, be it dairy or nuts or something like that, but I had never considered gluten products as a possible culprit.  Well, lo and behold, I eliminated it and stomach problems disappeared like that!  I also lost so much of the constant bloat that I carried around my stomach as well as I lost 10 pounds within 2 and a half weeks. 

Since my last post, I have continued my workouts, running, and following Weight Watchers.  I am still struggling to lose any substantial weight, but I will keep going.  If nothing else, I feel better, even if my work is not showing on the scale.  I am feeling a renewed vigor, especially after watching this season of the Biggest Loser, which had its finale last night.  I am so thrilled that it was Olivia who won.  I rooted for her from the beginning.  There is something about her to which I can relate.  I've been through a lot of the same things that she has.  Heck, I even got my hair cut like her makeover hair cut.  Like Olivia, I plan to just keep plugging away, one pound at a time....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


When I first heard about Tabata, I thought "ta-what-a"?  I read about it in a fitness magazine.  Turns out it is a type of interval training.  I'm a huge proponent of interval training.  I love it!  Nothing feels better than putting on my playlist specifically made for intervals.  One mid tempo song folowed by one high energy song followed by a slower song, then the cycle repeats.  It's by far the quickest way to get in shape.  It works for elliptical, treadmill, bike, anything really.  My personal favorite is to do it on the elliptical.  Almost invariably, the last song I play during my intervals in "Lose Yourself" by Eminem.  I do intervals just in that song alone.  Something inside me clicks when those guitar licks start.  I start running harder, then the chorus comes and I love to all out sprint, then I go back to hard running until the next chorus comes up.  A few months ago, I saw on my iTunes counter that I've played that song alone almost 1000 times.  I guess it's my go-to song. 

So when I read about Tabata, I was immediately intrigued.  It's basically a 4 minute cycle of intervals.  4 minutes, that is it.  But my goodness, are those 4 minutes killer.  The premise is to run on an all out sprint for 20 seconds, completely stop and rest for 10 seconds, then do another 20 second sprint and 10 second rest.  You do the cycle 8 times for a total of 4 minutes.  I decided to try it tonight after already doing 35 minutes of intervals on the elliptical.  For the elliptical, tonight I did something called the Countdown.  It's a 5 minute warm-up, then you go hard for 4 minutes, easy pace for 4 minutes, hard for 3, easy for 3, hard for 2, easy for 2, hard for 1, then easy for 1.  After that, you do 30 seconds of all out sprint, 1 minute of easy pace.  Those you do 4 times for a total of 6 minutes, then it's a 4 minute cool-down.  So by the time that was over, I was already spent, but I was determined to try out this Tabata thing.  So, over to the treadmill I went. I walked for 2 minutes just to get ready, then I did those 4 minutes.  They went by surprisingly quickly, but I thought I was going to die.  It took forever, it seemed, for my heart rate to come down during my 4 minute walking cool-down.  I felt like I was on the Biggest Loser and I had just finished my last chance workout.  I left the gym feeling like I left everything I had there.  That's a successful workout to me.  And the whole thing took just 45 minutes.  It earned me 10 WW activity points.  For those who don't know WW points, suffice it to say, it's a lot.  I see a whole lotta tabata in my future...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Weight Watchers Plan

So, yesterday, Weight Watchers changed their points system to go to this new Points Plus.  I'm honestly not sure what to think about this right now.  In some ways it is nicer in that they are finally taking Protein and Carbohydrates into account along with Fiber and Fat.  It also means there are more daily points to work with as well as weekly allowance points.  But at that the same time, calories no longer matter in their equation.  From everything I've ever heard or read, calories make the most difference in weight loss, so how could they possibly remove them?  It seems crazy and completely counterintuitive.  After years of dieting, I've gotten pretty good at guessing calories in an item.  When I joined WW, even if you didn't know the fat and the fiber, you could be pretty close on getting the points value right if you knew the calories.  None of that matters anymore.  The other frustration I am having with it is from a purely "selfish" viewpoint.  Whenever there is no points value for something in their system, you can create it.  You just had to plug in calories, fat, and fiber.  Over the almost 2 years I've been a member, I've created literally hundreds of items.  All worthless now.  It asked me today if I wanted to edit them.  Well, how the hell am I supposed to do that??  At the time, I had the packaging in front of me.  I no longer have a clue what their FFPC counts are.  This is going to be quite a headache for the next several weeks going back to look at all kinds of packaging to create a food in the database.  I'm hoping it's just going to take a little while to get used to this new system.  So far, WW has never steered me wrong, so I'm going to keep trusting them.

On a completely different note, I just finished watching The Biggest Loser.  I LOVE that show!  I'm not completely on board with their whole notion of a week is worthless if you haven't lost 10 pounds (which I just don't believe is ever healthy), but the inspiration it gives me is just awesome.  This year, the contestant who tugs at my heartstrings the most is Ada.  I just feel for that girl.  I've never been in her type of situation, thank goodness, but it breaks my heart to think of the way her parents have treated her and how she just cannot yet seem to grasp that she is worthy of good things.  I was so happy that she made it into the final four.  I was so hoping Brendan would go home and I'm still glad he did, but he finally seemed to show a bit of humility and not be so darn obnoxious when he went under the Red Line.  For a split second, I was sad to see him go, but it passed quickly.  I am glad to see that he's done well at home.  I would never want to see any of them revert back no matter how obnoxious I may have found them.  Here's hoping for Ada to be the next Biggest Loser....

Monday, November 29, 2010

Surviving Stan

So, I did in fact make it back to my first Aerobics class at the gym tonight.  Yay for me!  I haven't been since at least June.  Mr. Perky and I started going together back in August 2009 and he's been diligent in still going.  It's every Monday night, so it's always a great way to start off the work week.  Our instructor is Stan and he is just the most awesome, upbeat guy.  He makes all the hard work just seem like it's no biggie.  Tonight was killer, but I made it through.  I had to stop going in June due to a series of injuries that ultimately lead to me having leg vein surgery. 

Back in May, I started playing indoor soccer again on a team for the first time in years.  I had a blast!  Until 3 weeks in and I tore my right calf muscle beyond belief.  So, there went Zumba, Stan's class, and general gym going for about 3 weeks as it was hard enough just to walk.  I didn't rest the muscle long enough and when I went back to soccer, sure enough, I strained the calf again.  Just as the calf was finally healing at the beginning of July, I threw my back out.  This is an old recurring soccer injury that ended my playing days years ago.  It had been years since it had acted up, but I guess with carting around an almost 18 month old (at the time), it took a beating.  So, I started going to the chiropractor twice a week.  He told me in no uncertain terms that soccer is no longer an option competitively.  My back can't handle it and probably is the main reason for the spasm. 

At the same time, he referred me to a vein specialist because he was getting concerned about the varicose veins on my left calf.  I've had these veins since I was 13 years old.  They were horrible to look at!  They were the main reason, I just didn't wear shorts and skirts unless I had to wear them.  My grandmother has the same kind and I grew up hearing that they were just a cosmetic problem and there's nothing really I could do about them.  So I didn't worry about them.  Over the years, I began to have a lot of pain whenever I jumped.  So, jumping jacks have been like torture for the last five years.  I never once attributed it to the veins in my legs.  I just thought because I'm heavy, it hurts.  A little pain never killed anyone.  Denial works in so many forms.  So, off I went to the vein doctor.  I left that appointment practically in tears.  The doctor could not believe that a 31 year old woman could have veins like that for over half of her life and not have done anything about them.  He asked me if I have pain in my leg.  I said yes, and he asked how I was able to do any type of excercise with all of that pressure in my leg.  All I could say was that I had just never noticed.  And that was true, but I felt like such an idiot to not have noticed that it was my leg making me hurt.  That when I feel sometimes like it's hard to move, it was because my left leg felt 50 pounds heavier than my right leg.  It's amazing how much I started to realize how I've lived with pain for years and just never really thought about it.  My mom has rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.  She has pain.  I figured my pain was nothing compared to hers and what right do I have to complain (even to myself) about it.  On the way home from that appointment, I thought about how almost every single day something on me hurts and it's been that way since I was a teenager.  From back pain, to foot pain (plantar fasciatis), to the leg pain, to knee pain, to mouth pain (my jaws are seriously out of alignment) and how I really don't need to just keep dealing with it.  I made a vow that I will start to take care of myself more and make getting rid of my pain a priority.  The chiropractor has already helped immensely with the back pain.  I went from twice a week to once a week, to twice a month, now to once a month.  As for the leg veins, I had two surgeries, one on a Thursday in September to kill the bad veins and the other the following Monday to actually removed the bad 'dead' veins.  I was supposed to be back in the gym by the beginning of October, but with my luck, wouldn't you know I got an infection in three of the nine incision sites.  So, there went another 3 weeks laid up on antibiotics and waiting for the swelling to go down.  But it has been so worth it!  The black and blue marks are almost gone and it still amazes me every day to feel down my calf and it's flat!  No more grotesque, huge tangles of veins sticking out.  And my left leg now feels the same as my right leg!  And I can jump!   I did jumping jacks during my first Zumba class and for the first time in five years, there was no pain!  And what a difference it makes in my running!  (I know I'm full of exclamation marks, I'm perky, what can I say?)  I can move so much easier now and I had no idea that my leg had been holding me back.  That was part of the motivation to try another half-marathon.  I figure this time around, the training could be much easier.  Come spring (and raise time at work), I can start thinking about finally getting the surgery I need to fix my jaw and my teeth.  It's expensive, so I've always had good reason to put it off.  So, I'm working on me, one body ailment at a time. 

So, back to the original start of my post.  (I meander and digress a lot, I guess I'll have to work on that).  I survived Stan tonight!  Tomorrow may be a different story as I'm sure my calves and my butt are going to be sore after the routine he put us through, but for now it doesn't matter.  I am just happy that I made it back to a class I love and a class I desperately need.  I'm getting my fitness routine back on track, one Stan class at a time...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Inaugural Post

Okay, so I have no idea if anyone is even going to read this blog, but I thought I'd use it as a way to keep myself on track and stay motivated.  Even if I'm the only one reading my own posts, at least I've gotten off my chest what I'm thinking and feeling.

Confession #1 - I have had an almost lifelong struggle with my weight.  No big surprise there.  About half the population of women have this same struggle.  I feel as though I've done about every diet under the sun and nothing seems to work.  I spent 16 years playing soccer and that kept my weight "under control," but since those days ended, my weight has just continued to climb.  Don't get me wrong, even while being a totally conditioned athlete, I have still always had at least 20 extra pounds on me.  Since my junior year of college, when I discovered how to work out in a gym, I have always worked out.  Sure, there could be weeks where I may only go once or twice and even the occasional month I may not go, but those are the exceptions.  Otherwise, I'm working out for 30 minutes to an hour, 4 to 6 days a week.  I also eat really well and always have.  Really well as in healthy, not big quantity.  In fact, I really don't eat that much, quantity-wise, at all.  Hence, the struggle I have and the frustration I face.  Even while pregnant with my daughter, I was eating 1600 calories a day and worked out 3 days a week, I still managed to gain 52 pounds.  My daughter is almost 2 and back in July, I was only 15 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight.  Then my doctor had to change my birth control pill.  In 2 weeks without any type of trying, 10 pounds back on just like that.  And that's where I've been since July.  I've consistently lost and gained the same 4 to 5 pounds.  I've struggled with whether or not I want to go back on the previous pill, but I'm still not even sure it would make a difference.  Plus, the old pill cost more, I had longer periods, and I'd also have to deal with the "issue" I had which was the reason for the change anyway. 

Confession #2 - I am a Weight Watchers devotee.  It really seems to be the only thing that has worked in any way, shape, or form for me.  I have been a member since January 2008.  I took a hiatus in June 2008 when I found out I was pregnant and then came back in August 2009.  In my first 6 months on WW, I lost 15 pounds.  Since August 2009 being back on, I have lost a net total of 10 pounds.  It works, but it is beyond slow for me.  It is really tough in that I can have a near perfect week and I still may only lose 0.5 pounds.  I've had numerous tests done by my doctor to figure out what may be wrong with me.  The best she's been able to come up with after months of testing is that I probably have bad genes (my parents are both morbidly obese) and my body likes to hoard every single calorie that goes into it.  Case in point: I have done an "experiment" on several occasions.  I weigh myself, eat 2 hardboiled eggs and drink 8 oz of water.  Then I weigh myself again.  Almost invariably, my weight jumps by 2 pounds.  Did I eat 2 pounds of food?  Hell no!  So why does it do that?  Another interesting example, I weighed myself before going out to dinner to an Indian restaurant.  At the restaurant I ate 1 piece of Naan bread and 1/2 cup of rice with 1/2 cup of Chicken Korma.  Then the friends I was with wanted to go to Cold Stone for dessert.  I got a kid size "sundae," only ate about 3 bites and gave the rest to my husband.  When I got home and weighed myself, my weight had jumped up 9 pounds!  I most certainly did not even come close to eating 9 pounds worth of food or water.  So for anyone thinking it's just the sodium/water retention, it'll be gone by morning, the next morning, only 4 of those pounds were gone.  But, I keep plugging away at WW hoping and praying one day my body is just going to "click" and I really will be able to lose the average 2 pounds per week and keep them gone.

Confession #3 - I am an extremely perky, happy person.  I've been told this more times than I can count.  My outlook on life is that we can choose to be happy with what we've got or we can choose to be unhappy and mope about.  I choose to be happy.  I recognize that I have a wonderful husband, an amazing daughter, supportive family, and an awesome group of friends who have been there for me for years.  I have a job I love (most days), I get to work 3 days a week and be home for long weekends with my daughter, and I have very little stress.  These are things that make me happy.  My body, on the other hand, I have a love/hate relationship with it.  Most days, I love it.  It got me through years of hard soccer, it made me start to like cardio and strength training, it also made me start to enjoy running, it has gotten me through several 5ks, a 10k, and even a half-marathon and it helped me to deliver a child.  It's pretty cool like that.  Then there are the days when I despise it.  The days when my weigh-ins just suck, the days when my back is killing me (and I still have 2 weeks left to my next chiropractor appt), the days when my stomach is just so bloated and clothes look awful, and the days when the plantar fasciatis in my foot is acting up and just taking a step feels like a knife in me.  Lately I feel like I am letting the hate sink in more and more and I don't like that.  I am finding it harder and harder to be happy.  I feel so defeated some days that it seems like it would be easier to throw my hands up and say 'what's the point?'  But I don't do that and I won't do that.  I know that I can do it.  I know that I just need to find a way to get my optimism, my body, and my drive all on the same page. 

So, that brings me back to my original intention for posting on this blog.  I have weight to lose, a lot of it, and I need to get more serious about getting it off.  All together, I realistically have between 90 to 100 pounds to lose.  But I am taking it in 10 pound increments so I can celebrate the small steps and goals.  I am back to my Zumba class at the gym now (couldn't do it for several months due to not being able to jump around due to leg surgery - more on that in another post), and it just makes me feel so good afterwards.  Tomorrow, I am finally able to go back to my aerobics class at the gym for the first in months.  I have signed up to run the Country Music Half-Marathon in Nashville in April 2011.  Training for that begins in earnest on January 2nd, but I'm already getting back outside and getting some short runs in.  I just want to feel good again.  I want to get my happy back and I want to get healthy.  And if by chance, all of that means I can get hotter, all the better....