Tuesday, July 29, 2008

DVD Recommendation

I was in the fitness section at Target today looking for something I could do as an upper body work out, and I happened upon a DVD called 10 Minute Solution: Dance It Off & Tone It Up! I like 10 minute work outs. They don't seem too strenuous and I don't get bored with them. To be honest, I go just a little bit crazy on the treadmill, even if I have the TV on.

So I bought it. As a bonus it came with a toning band, and we're possibly having a toning band class at work, so I thought it would be fun to take a crack at using one early. (I also bought 2 two pound weights for when I'm walking, but I digress.)

So I popped it in and looked at the overview of the 5 workouts on the disc. Immediately I could rule out 4 of them due to my leg. There's a lot of hopping around and so forth. But I took a crack at the one entitled "Upper Body Tone Up" which uses the band and very little leg action.

And I have to say, I'm very impressed. I got a really nice little work out, so much so that I was sweating and my arms were feeling the burn a little bit. There was very little action on the legs, except for holding down the band for some of the exercises, and it was very easy to learn the moves.

I look forward to being able to try the other exercises at some point when my knee gets stronger. But for now, this is a good addition to the repertoire and I can reduce my treadmill time by 20 minutes if I add this in.

Anyone else have good DVD's to recommend?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Updates from the Kitchen and Gym...

I decided today that I was not going to sit around. I had been given permission to walk, and so I decided to hop up on the treadmill. I put Life of Brian in the VCR (man is the picture quality sucky) and decided to do a half an hour, which is still about 15 minutes less than the aerobics I was doing. I started out VERY slowly, and built up to a speed of about 2.4--I didn't want to go too fast because I was concerned about the knee. After 20 minutes or so, I had to slow it back down because my knee was really starting to hurt. But I did last the full 30 minutes and walked over a mile in that time, so I was pleased. I'll be doing that this week instead of worrying about not doing anything at all.

In signs that something is happening, I went to put on a shirt today and instead of the usual pulling on of the shirt, it literally slid right down over me like something out of a commercial for fabric softener. I never wear tight clothing, but usually there is some sort of adjusting or pulling down of the shirt. Not today. It just slid right on. I was like, "AWESOME!"

We continue to cook and find new things to appreciate in the kitchen. This weekend, I made the pumpkin apple bread out of one of the WW cookbooks. I know it's a fall food, but I really wanted something seriously sweet, and I wasn't going to settle for anything less. Unfortunately for me, this is not seriously sweet. It was actually kind of bland. It was very good, but not what I was expecting after a life time of apple breads, banana breads, etc. I will definitely kick up the amount of pie spice I put in there next time, since I could barely taste any, and I will try a different kind of apple. Still, it was a quick and easy bread to make and only 3 points per very ample slice.

Tonight I'm going to prepare a black bean, corn, and rice salad, since Lauren got me all hot and bothered with hers at our last book club meeting. The rice is sitting in my fridge cooling as I type. I hope I like brown rice. I'm a little ambivalent based on the taste test I had while determining if it was cooked or not.

We also discovered another variety of V8 juice that the General loves. It's a mixed berry type and he can't get enough of it. He told me this evening that he would drink the whole entire bottle if he could, but he didn't think it would be wise.

I won a bento box off Ebay and it arrived this past week. It's so cute, red with a little white bunny, pink flowers, and butterflies. I almost don't want to use it. If you've visited any bento sites, you'll see how detailed and lovely they get when they are filled. I assure you, I'm not making anything photography-worthy. But it will be nice to have this little box filled with my lunch and I'm hoping it will end my what-to-do-for-lunch-on-the-road conundrum. I've got a second box and some accoutrements arriving this week hopefully from a store in San Francisco, and hopefully with that I can start bentoing away. But I don't see myself getting up at 4am to lovingly slice miniscule pieces of red pepper and arrange them just so in order to create a perfect replica of the Mona Lisa in a box. Call me crazy.

We found out that our good friends Tim and Cheryl up in Boston have started WW this week. They are both visually impaired so we're going to be looking at the WW site to see if it's accessible. I did get kinda pissed off when Cheryl told me that she got some of the books in Braille from WW, but they didn't give them the entire equivalent of what's in the print books. When she called to complain, they informed her that they'd given her what was mandated to be provided. I call that capital B, capital S bullshit. Granted, Braille is bulky and can be costly to produce, but that's not her problem, that's theirs. Nice, WW, real nice. Anyway, it was so fun to talk to them about being on the program and swap tips and so forth. Michael's going to be staying with them in a couple weeks when he goes to Boston, lucky bum, but I am staying here. The four of us used to go out together, and Michael would have my arm, Tim would have Michael's arm, and Cheryl would have Tim's arm. Once we went out like that and it was pouring rain and they had on yellow rainslickers and I dubbed us The Puddle Duck Brigade. Good times, I miss them so much and hope they will come to DC sometime soon.

I guess that's about all. Dinner is over and I have 12 points left, so I'm going to allow myself some PB cups tonight, which is what I've been seriously dying for. I'm going to have them with my one serving that is left of Ben & Jerry's light chocolate brownie frozen yogurt--so good you'll never believe it's only 3 points.

And that's about it! Hope everyone else is having a good week. I've got my fingers crossed for my fellow weighers-in as their days approach!!! Let's see if we can break 200 collective pounds sometime by the end of September. :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Well, Considering...

...that I was down 19 activity points this week from where I usually am, a loss of only .6 is pretty good.

I was disappointed, I won't lie, I really wanted to lose 1.2 and hit 25 on the nose, but it looks like that will have to wait till next week, HOPEFULLY. Till then, I'm happy just to have lost while basically sitting on my butt all week.

Friday, July 25, 2008


So, with today's spectacular disappointment on the adoption front (STUPID, STUPID, STUPID SUSAN), what I really wanted to do was bury my face in a trough full of the worst foods available. I had dreams of deep fried everything: pizza, ice cream, french fries, fried dough, hell, I'd have deep fried my own hair and ate it.

This is how I deal with stress and emotional upset. I eat. A lot. And I made a list of foods I was prepared to eat, devil be damned. I wanted KFC--a full bucket of chicken, a quart of mashed potatoes and gravy, I wanted a peanut butter cup sundae from Friendly's, and then I'd make a stop over at the Chinese buffet for a pile of crab rangoons and egg rolls, before going to the fair for cotton candy, fried dough, and if I was lucky, Dippin Dots.

But I hadn't counted on one minor little stumbling block in the road to total meltdown: my husband.

And he was hearing none of this insurrectionist, defeatist talk from me. No sir. He really drew the line when I lay in bed giggling over deep frying pizza, something I've never done but today was quite convinced wouldn't be hard and would probably be quite tasty. Not happening in this household, I was informed. He would take me to dinner, but it had to be within what I was allowed.

Grumble, grumble, I decided I wanted a Friendly's sundae for dinner. 17 of my 21 points. But I could eat it if I wanted to.

"Cookies, that is not dinner!" I was informed.

"But I waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaant it!"

How about a little cheese with that whine?

"You did not put in all this work these past 2 months to blow it in one night."


So finally, I went on the computer and started tabulating what I could eat. I wanted a deep dish pizza from Uno's. 17 points for A THIRD of the Uno Original personal size.

And I knew if I got started, I was going to clean my plate.

So we settled on Applebee's. I had a 3 course dinner for the 17 points that pizza would have cost me. Over dinner the General asked how I was enjoying my chicken sandwich, and I said, "Well, it'd be better if it was fried." He just laughed at me. He actually laughed at me!!!

But I got the last laugh with their chocolate raspberry cake. Mmmm... It almost filled in the gaping hole left in my psyche by the memory of that PB cup sundae.

Damn him for getting on board anyway!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Knee Update

Well, it turns out I have something called patellar-femural syndrome and I'm developing arthritis. Years of extra weight, plus overcompensating for my weaker leg, plus driving have worn down my knee's cartilage and now my kneecap is trying to find itself a new home by sliding. It would also appear I may have been overdoing it slightly with my workout routine...

I saw the folks over at the clinic where I had my leg repaired, and I would seriously trust them with my life after the great job they did on my leg. I saw someone new today, and I really liked him, although it's clear that Sunshine is the star of the show. This guy looked just slightly beleaguered, kind of like "I dare you to be disappointed that I'm not Sunshine." But I was a good patient and let him poke around, even when I thought he was trying to kill me. Seriously? It HURT. Joe (the PA) even said, "You've got a lot of movement going on in there."

They took some x-rays to confirm it, showed me some diagrams that I really didn't understand very well, and then sent me across the hall to the physical therapy department. Fortunately, the place where I'm going to have my PT is only 2 streets over from here. Unfortunately, the earliest they can see me is a week from now. And until then, the most activity I'm allowed to engage in is to walk and possibly do water aerobics (fat chance, the Y here is too expensive to join if I'm not sure I'm going to stick with it). Otherwise, I have a few exercises to do daily to strengthen my knee, and I just have to wait for PT.

The good thing about doing WW is that they were very encouraged with my losing weight and taking some of the pressure off my knees. So an added benefit of all this is that my health, even though I'm in pain, is improving. Cool.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

This Does Not Bode Well

I have hurt my knee. Badly. Really badly. I am going to the orthopedist tomorrow. This basically means an entire 3 days of sitting on my butt, no activity. I'm freakin'.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Another Loss, Albeit Smaller

This week I am down 1.8 pounds for a total of 23.8. I am definitely happy with this loss, although I wish it could have been .2 more so I could have had an even 2 pound loss this week. I'm going to aim for 1.2 this week to hit 25 pounds total...

The meeting was fun, we talked about eating patterns and I actually participated in the group, which is unusual--I'm usually a watcher and a listener. But I enjoyed it anyway...

So onwards and upwards (or is that downwards?)

And per Lauren's suggestion, I've started a little running total to the right, in case you missed it, of all our losses this year to date. I was VERY impressed with us as a group! :-)

Hope you all have a great week!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Some of the Nuts and Bolts

I thought I would post a few of the practical matters that I am following as part of my Weight Watchers experience. The last 2 or 3 meetings I've been to where I've broken a 5 pound barrier, the leaders have asked me to share what's been working for me.

1. Accountability: this is a big one, perhaps THE biggest one. I feel like having this blog up makes me accountable to you all in a way. Oh, none of you is going to come over and flog me if I mess up a week or two, but it feels good to share a loss and to report back that I've had a good week and lost something. I also feel some accountability to family members who have been supportive. Every week my sister calls on Saturday and asks me to relay my weight loss in terms of bags of sugar and boxes of butter. My husband is up and waiting when I get home from meetings, giving me big hugs and words of encouragement before we sit down to breakfast together and enjoy a nice Saturday morning. Having people around "real time" and "on line" who are checking my progress and encouraging me is helpful.

Additionally, stepping on that scale is a big time taskmaster. Getting on it the first time was a curse. I knew I didn't want to see the numbers that were going to come up, and I was right. It was a shock to the system. But now I actually look forward to it. I don't weigh myself at home, but I do look forward to seeing the numbers at the meetings so I can gauge my progress.

2. Not Going It Alone: I know that this is not something I am trying to do myself. Russell, Amy, Lauren, Annette, Michael, Emily, and Nancy are all doing it too. Plus I have the group at my meetings going through similar experiences. The day I joined, I sat down and read Annette's Weighty Matters blog from beginning to end, following it up with Russell and Amy's blogs about their experiences. Knowing some of the stumbling blocks they encountered helped me to see that I don't need to give up if I have a bad day. And I can talk about it with you all, which is amazing. I emailed the Southern Crew the first time I had a question and I had answers in minutes. It was so nice to know everyone is only an email away!

I really like my Saturday morning group, and although people have encouraged me to find a different group than Saturdays at 7am, it's a nice time for me to go, meet with people, and start off my weekend in a postive light. The losses I've seen lately have been a boon to my spirits, I really like Vicki, our group leader, and I like the way they give a total for the room of how much our group has lost on any given week. I feel like I'm contributing to something greater. And when you're away for a while, people welcome you back like a long lost relative. It's real nice. Plus the little "way to go" and "come back soon" postcards are so nice to receive. You really feel like you haven't been forgotten.

3. Making Smarter Food Choices: This hasn't been too difficult, but there have been a few issues. My number one issue is that I work on the road. It is so hard to eat a sensible lunch in the car, driving between clients. McD's is so convenient, fast, and cheap. I can pack a lunch, sure, but for some reason, I just never feel like it. I'm not hot on deli meat for sandwiches, I work in a LOT of remote territory where it's not easy to find a "to go" salad bar (which would be a royal pain in the butt anyway), and on and on. But ultimately, those are excuses. I've found sandwiches I enjoy and have found a blog on creating bento box lunches, which I am seriously considering... I've tried to arrange my schedule such that I can eat at home for lunch as much as possible--scheduling morning appointments around Stafford or Spotsylvania Counties and spending my afternoons in Prince William, Culpeper, Orange, or Fauquier Counties.

Otherwise, where food is concerned, I'm doing pretty well. It's helpful that Michael is on board with this whole thing, and we are making similar changes. For instance, it didn't used to be a challenge for the two of us to put away a couple of 12 packs of soda in 10-12 days. Now, we buy 2 six packs of 8 oz sodas and they last us the better part of two weeks. My soda intake is way down (I keep hearing Melissa in my head saying "Don't drink calories!") and I only drink a soda if I need a boost on a particularly tiring day. And then it's an 8 oz can and that's that. On occasions I'm just dying for a soda, I'll drink a diet soda, which typically curbs my taste for it for a long time. Otherwise I'm drinking water. If I get tired of water, I throw a Crystal Light lemonade to go in a bottle of water and I'm ready to rock and roll. It's a challenge, for sure, since I didn't like Crystal Light all that much at first, but it's not so bad when you get used to it. And I like lemonade, so that's helpful.

Food substitutions we've made: I've gone with Lauren's whitewheat bread, which is very good, we eat turkey burgers instead of beef, whole wheat pasta instead of white (I still prefer white, but I'm acclimating), fat free ranch or Newman's Own Salad Spray Balsamic Vinaigrette instead of high test salad dressings, Dove and Reese's minis instead of full size big candy bars, flat bread pizza instead of deep dish or rising crust, and 97% fat free hot dogs. I've also started eating sensible snacks like 100 calorie pack carrot cakes from Hostess (only 1 point) or WW Giant Fudge Bars.

Food eliminations: there's not too much we've given up, but we have basically given up most potatos except for potato chips. Michael's eating regular chips and I'm eating baked. We haven't had fries or mashed potatoes in I-don't-know-when. I have given up my (at times daily) Starbucks fix. I went there yesterday and got a chai frappucino and decided to splurge on a scone. And I'll be honest, that scone was fan-freakin'-tastic, but together, they came in at a whopping 19 points, and so for dinner, I had to have next to nothing to make up for it. Even with the activity points, I was so careful not to overeat at supper, I only had 6 points left!

Other food news: I went right to salads when I first started WW, and ate so much salad I thought I'd puke. I was also having trouble using up points that way. So ultimately, I decided I would go to the Giant salad bar, make a great big salad and eat a bit with dinner each night. That seems to be working really well for me and I'm getting in some veggies without going overboard. I like that I don't have to give up things that I love. Michael asked me tonight what I wanted for dinner--we wanted to celebrate having lived here in the 'burg for exactly 3 years--and what I really wanted was pizza and wings. So that's what we had, and it was delicious. And the points added up, so who am I to complain?

Weighing/Measuring: As for weighing and measuring my food, i was really pretty religious about it at first. but now I only do it when I'm packaging up leftovers to make little meals that I can grab and go. I don't want to have to worry about whether or not what I take out of the fridge is a certain number of points, so I bag them appropriately and then write the number of points on the bag. That way, I can do it without thinking.

4. Exercise/Activity: I've always been pretty active--I love walking around and can walk circles around lots of people. All spring I walked the Tidal Basin, and on my doctor's advice, to get extra steps, I don't park right near the entrance to the store any more. But now, when I have a break at work between appointments, rather than go to the Culpeper Library, I take some time to take a walk. If it's hot, I walk around Target or Super Walmart. If it's nice out, I park downtown wherever I am and walk the streets. Every night, Michael and I exercise together in the basement. He hits the treadmill and I roll with Richard Simmons. In addition to Sweating to the Oldies, which I've been doing nightly, I've got 60's Blast Off and Disco Sweat. Unfortunately (?), they are both a lot harder, so I'm sticking with Sweating, which I could do with my eyes closed and I'm putting a bit more oomph into it now to make up for what seems like a fairly easy routine. I've decided that as long as I love it, I'm going to do it. I will put more energy and motion into Sweatin' and that will hopefully keep me going until I'm ready to move to something more challenging.

5. Seeing Tangible Results: All my clothing fits better. I'm more comfortable in tight spaces (for instance, in my bathroom, the sink, tub, and toilet are all right in a tight little row with little wiggle room; theater seats; narrow aisles in stores). My bra size went down. I don't have as intense PMS cravings. (TMI?) My dress for my sister's wedding had to be taken in. My husband and I are having a much easier time sleeping because it's not as hard for us to roll over without disturbing each other--there's more room in the bed. Friends saying, "I can see the difference!" even if I can't. Not getting out of breath as easily when exercising or doing physical labor (hauling tables and chairs out of the church basement wasn't exactly easy, but it wasn't as hard as I'm sure it would have been had I been 20 pounds heavier!). My wedding rings are loose. And this is after only 2 months and 22 pounds.

6. Focusing on Myself: For far too long I've been taking care of many other people in my life. Now at age 32 11/12, I've realized I need and deserve to take care of myself so that I can be here for a long time to come. With the adoption getting underway, I can see a reason now to prolong my life--it will take long enough to have my child in my arms and I want to be with him/her for a long time afterwards. I feel like I can't do anything more for anyone else--I've given all I have to give. And now it's time to take some time for myself and do what I need to do to be happy and healthy.

7. Unintended benefits: Already, I've mentioned that Michael and I are now eating breakfast together on the weekends. This used to be unheard of. I am not a breakfast person. So usually, we would just sort of sleep till we felt like it, I'd get up and go downstairs and toodle around for a while before lunch and we'd meet up at lunch time for some food... Now we're spending our mornings touching base. We spend our evenings together exercising and discussing things after our routines. We are an even bigger source of support and encouragement to one another, and I never thought this would be an occasion to strengthen our marriage on a new level, but it has been!

8. Rewards: When all else fails, bribery is a good incentive. I no longer wish to see food as a reward, so as mentioned, I stole Annette's idea and decided to give myself a tangible reward for every 20 pounds gone. I had previously posted that I'd give myself a book from my wish list, but frankly, I am about drowning in books, and I feel like I need to have something a bit more "special". This weekend was my first time getting rewarded, and I decided to get a new game for the Wii. I picked a doozy--Emergency Mayhem--which when playing, I wound up laughing so hard I was weeping. Unfortunately, the city I was attempting to save didn't make out so well, and I hit a lot of people with my ambulance, but they had it coming. It felt nice to spend a little money on something that I wanted and that I had to work for to get. Michael and I have agreed that the only time I will stray from this formula is if I can get my hands on Wii Fit--I'm allowed to have that one any time I want it. Otherwise, new games will have to be earned.

So that's a lot of information, and it's probably not useful to anyone but me, but there it is. I'm heading to bed now. Hope you are all well and keep on losing! :-D

Thoughts on a Tuesday

I've been doing a lot of thinking the past couple of days about this whole weight loss journey and what it might mean and who I am and how I got here and where I'm going...

It all got started with an experience I started having at work. Working with the visually impaired has been easy on me, as typically they don't have stereotypical ideas about me when I walk in the door... We all know the stereotypes of fat people--lazy, poor eaters, bad health, etc. In fact, I'm quite active, quite healthy, have a broad range of interests, see my doctor, and in general live a pretty good life.

Well, taking folks to the eye doctor so they can find devices to help them see better has become a chore. And the reason why is that for many of these people, when they put on the distance glasses, they can actually see me for the first time clearly, and many of them say, "I didn't know you'd be fat."

This bothers me on so many levels, but the main one that it bothers me on is this: Do you see the person who is trying to help you or do you see the person who is fat? And several of them have brought it up numerous times on home visits.

The fact of the matter is, I'm not so sure I know how to be unfat. I was 9 years old when I hit 100 pounds and bounced around in the low 200's throughout my teen years. After that, it was about clothing size and not weight--I roundly refused to step on a scale after a certain point and started making pledges like, "I will never wear above a size 24" until I did, and then it was "I'll never wear above a size 26." And in fact, I haven't ever worn above a size 26. But only just...

But when the numbers game stopped working, I moved into the territory of, "Well, as long as I never look like him/her!" passing people on the street who I thought I looked thinner then. But the fact of the matter was, I didn't know whether I looked better or worse, because frankly, I stopped looking at myself in the mirror a long, long time ago. I don't know when I stopped wanting to see myself or what I'd become--I remember looking at myself as a "tween" in my grandparents' mirror and being horrified and strangely fascinated at the way my body was changing as I got heavier and heavier, but I don't remember stopping looking. It must have been in high school is all I can think of. I've never worn make up, haven't messed with my hair in forever, so what did I need to look at?

And if I'm being honest, it has pissed me off in the past when people have said, "Oh, you look so much better. Have you lost weight?" Why should how I look be important in that sense? And what are you telling me? That every time we've met up or spoken, you've thought, "Man, she looks like crap!" Is that what you've noticed? Why shouldn't what's important be that over the course of my career, I've helped 100's of visually impaired people? Why shouldn't what's important be that I have a great marriage? Why shouldn't what's important be that I am a good and decent person?

But it could cut both ways. I recently read a piece by a woman who said that her fat was her way of getting rejection out of the way early. That if people rejected her because she was overweight, they couldn't reject her because of some other, much more personal reason. And I wonder if (in some small part) that isn't my own excuse? I don't deal well with people who reject me--I need people to like me. Almost pathalogically... I am a pleaser, a fixer, a helper. I will do anything, often to my own detriment, to make people like me. When in fact, perhaps all they like is my doing, not my being. Because I have definitely noticed that when I take time to step back and take care of myself, those people vanish when I can't be there for them any more.

But is my weight a barrier between me and the rest of the world? I think it's possible. I don't know if there are people out there who took a look at me and made assumptions and gave up on getting to know me. I had a friend in college who was nice to my face but ultimately behind my back did reject me due to my weight and my weight alone. But that is the sole instance I know of firsthand.

And I know that it cut the other way too. It's kind of stereotypical that gay men love to hang around with fat chicks, but honestly, I'm starting to wonder if I knew one single straight man in college. I had a lot of guy friends in college and it's seeming like perhaps 2 of them were straight. And many of you know that my husband and I met through on-line personal ads, but what you may not know is that we met through on-line personals catering to men looking for fat chicks.

So now, I'm shedding pounds and I'm starting to wonder what life is going to be like if I do push through to the ultimate goal. I was looking in my WW folder the other day, the first time I really looked in and saw the numbers 130-164, I freaked a little and tears came to my eyes. I don't remember the last time I weighed that little--possibly 6th or 7th grade. If I make--when I make it--who will I be? What will my life be like? I'm terrified to find out.

But I'm determined to find out too. That's it for tonight... Mr. is home and it's time to have dinner.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Another Good Loss

It has been since June 26th for my last weigh in, so it's been a while... In that time, I managed to lose 4.2 pounds. Amazing. I now weigh less than I've weighed the last 2 years. Incredible. I can't believe how well this works. But R has moved ahead of me by .6... I'll have to redouble my efforts. Mwahaha.

Of course, I am now down another point! YIKES. This week, I went over twice, but it didn't seem to affect anything.

I'm amazed that this happened for a couple reasons.

Number one, I gave up on tracking after we left my in-laws' house. My dad's computer is on the blink and I wasn't able to stick to any kind of schedule.

Number two, I wound up eating whatever the hell I wanted. Granted, it was in much smaller portions and I didn't have seconds or thirds. Still, I was eating potato salad, pizza, Chinese, ice cream, and fried chicken. And it was GOOD.

So the week ahead, I'm down a point. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully now that I'm back on the plan and sticking to it, everything will go well. The tracking is definitely helpful. I had one of those "lightbulb turns on" moments this week. I bought some Dove dark chocolate pieces to get me through the chocolate cravings. And 5 of those litle suckers is 4 points! So I said "Ok, I'll count out 5, but I'll just eat one." And one became 2 and then I reached for the 3rd before my brain kicked in and said, "What the hell are you doing!?"

So the tracking is definitely a consciousness awaker.

And today Mike and I are going to pick up an exercise bike from someone selling one for $25. Hopefully it works well and we fit on it. :-)