It makes me angry that I have to be afraid to go get my hair cut because I’m fairly sure that, despite my hard work for the past thirteen weeks, my butt still won’t fit in the stupid chair.
One of my favorites January 4, 2011
This is one of my favorite posts by Jack (see my blogs I read section, if you don’t know who I mean). I think it is brilliant, and inspiring to boot!
I will always be fat
And I refuse to believe that
I can lose this weight
I realize that isn’t the way most people think but
“Eating to live instead of living to eat”
That’s just not working out, and I truly believe
Eating what I want will make me happier in the end
It’s just a big fat lie, thinking
Being fit is the most important thing in my life
Now I understand that
Making myself happy with food
Is more important than
Making myself healthy with food
And this much is true:
People are succeeding at losing weight every day
But I know in my heart this will not be the case for me
This could wind up killing me
Doctors tell me
I will shorten my life and steal time away from my family
Right now it doesn’t seem possible that
I can change my ways and be fit for the rest of my life
This is what I believe:
This journey is just too tough for me
I don’t want to even consider the fact that
I can control the causes of my shortcomings and my failings
It’s just a fact of life that
People like me are weak-willed and lazy
And it’s ridiculous to believe that
I will lose weight and be healthy
That’s how I used to think; then I chose to reverse it (read from the bottom up).
Christmas cookies and other misadventures December 29, 2010
My mother-in-law makes some really incredible Christmas cookies. Little snowballs coated with powdered sugar. Wonderfully flaky sandwich butter cookies with icing between the layers. I had more than a few, for sure!
With the exception of my sister-in-law’s delicious green bean casserole, I was the one making Christmas dinner. It can be summarized in one word–butter. There was butter in the stuffing (a stick, but I used two loaves of bread), butter in the mashed potatoes, of course (probably 3/4 stick), and butter on the turkey–I rub butter under the skin and on the skin before I throw the spices on. Everything was delicious–but I can’t in good conscience say it was low-calorie! Happily, I wasn’t invited to any Christmas parties, so I didn’t have to navigate tons of delectable foods. (Wait…that’s not so happy! ha ha!!) Although I had more than I should, I wouldn’t qualify how I ate as bingeing. I didn’t go quite as crazy as I would have before, and that’s a good thing! Still, I’m done with goodies for this year. 😉
The other day I read this (and I wish I could remember where, so I could give them props)
It’s not what you eat between Christmas and New Year’s, it’s what you eat between New Year’s and Christmas that matters!!
That’s a great reminder!! By all means, I’m not giving myself or anyone else license to eat with wild abandon. I’m simply saying–if you ate a bit more than you should’ve, just MOVE ON. A few parties, one week–it’s not going to ruin you–as long you don’t beat yourself up over it and just toss all your healthy habits in the trash! So, climb back on that wagon, people!
With all the festivities, I was SO happy to get back to the gym on Monday. Oh, elliptical, how I’d missed you!! I’ve been staying up later than usual since my husband has been off work over Christmas, and I stayed up until 1:30 am on Tuesday morning. That isn’t such a wise thing to do when you’re planning on getting up at 5 and going to the gym by 6:30. My husband suggested I sleep in; after all, we were going into town later, and we could all go together, and I could workout while he and my son were doing other things. I reluctantly agreed, but stated we needed to leave by 9:30 for me to be able to get to the gym before noon (my gym membership is valid from 6 am-12). WELL, I slept in until 10!! I was SO.VERY. ANNOYED. For me, there’s a big difference when I exercise–I like to get up early and go. I like to feel like I’ve accomplished something significant. Because as the day wears on, the chances of me exercising become slimmer. I look around, and see too many other things that need to be done, Life just comes in…you know what I mean. I called my gym to see if perhaps I would be permitted to come in a little later. The conversation went like this:
Me: “Hi, this is Billie. I was wondering if I could still come in and exercise, since I didn’t get to this morning. I usually come in around 6:30.”
Owner: “Oh, I apologize for that! Our employee wasn’t able to make it this morning. She called me at 6:30 saying she was sick. I’m sorry that she wasn’t there to let you in. I hope you didn’t wait too long.”
Me: “Um…No, I actually stayed in bed this morning because I didn’t get much sleep, so I didn’t show up at my regular time. I was wondering if I could come work out, even though it will be past noon, and I purchased a morning membership?”
He was very accommodating, and said that would be fine. While I am not happy that the worker was ill, I am THRILLED that I relented to my husband’s suggestion of staying in bed! I would’ve been so ticked to go in, and not be able to GET in, especially since I drive about 25 minutes to get there. I got extra sleep AND was able to work out. Ha HA! I was so very happy to be able to exercise!!
Monday and Tuesday’s workouts were both really excellent. I mean, I love it when sweat drips off my bangs. I did both cardio and strength training. It felt great!! This morning, I don’t know what the problem was, exactly. I started out on the treadmill, intending to do 25 minutes, but only ended up doing 15. (My left shin was bothering me, probably because I’ve started to walk faster than I did before.) I switched to the elliptical, with the intent of doing 13 minutes and then doing the circuit thing with ab work. Well, I hate ab work. After one set, I headed back to the elliptical for another 12 minutes, so I could at least say I did my normal 25. Instead, I did TWO more minutes, and I was done. I don’t know why, really. Total cardio today, 30 measly minutes. I plan on doing a 2 mile brisk video later, so at least I can feel like I got in my normal amount of work. And, in the grand scheme of things, 30 measly minutes is still better than nothing! =)
AND, if you’re still reading at this point, I wanted to mention that Jack featured me on his blog again. I thought what he wrote was really sweet, and I am blessed that he is being motivated by me as well.
That’s all for today. Nothing too terribly deep (I’ve got one of those in the works). Hope you are all doing well! Thanks for checking in with me, and have a wonderful New Year!
Pain and Progress December 22, 2010
On sunday morning, I dropped an 8 lb weight on my right foot.
It wasn’t dropped from too high up, it rolled onto my foot from a pile of clothes in my bedroom! It landed on the bridge of my foot, somewhere close to the ankle, on the top of the foot. It hurt quite a bit, and so I thought it best to rest a couple of days. The weather wasn’t very nice this way, either, so my decision to stay home wasn’t a tough one. Wednesday, I went back to the gym and tried to get on the treadmill–my foot still didn’t feel great , so after 2
minutes, I hopped on the elliptical for 35 minutes (10 minutes more than usual) and had a great workout,–set the incline up higher than usual, level 13. I tried to get on the treadmill to cool down, and I still didn’t like how the foot felt. SO, being in denial about weighing close to 400 lbs, (in my mind sometimes I am Super Woman!) I jumped back on the elliptical for another ten minutes. I don’t think the time
on the treadmill was a problem, even though it was 20 minutes more than I’m usually on. I think it was the incline perhaps. Or it could’ve been that I took my husband’s car to get snow tires; it’s an escort wagon and low to the ground. Pretty tough for me to get out of. By the end of the day, my right buttcheek was KILLING me. I know that sounds somewhat hilarious, but if you’ve every had experience with the Piriformis muscle being aggravated, it is not funny at ALL. It’s a muscle that goes from your hip and ends just about your buttcrack, right below the tailbone. I could not sit down, or stand up from a sitting position without EXTREME pain. And I mean extreme, as in I yelled in pain, each time I had to stand up! I rested for 4 days (Thursday-Sunday), and just was able to workout again Monday morning. I did 20 min on the treadmill (foot seemed to be okay) and 25 on the elliptical, taking care to keep the incline below 10 (mostly at a 7 or 8–if I have no incline on the E, it hurts my knees). I stretched thoroughly after, and so far, so good. It bothered me to have missed so many workouts last week, but in my head, I didn’t feel like I wouldn’t go back (as opposed to times past, where it would’ve been all too easy to stop after only working out once in the past week). This morning I was late to the gym, but I still made it. I put in 20 minutes on the treadmill, 13 on the elliptical, and then I did some circuit training–4 sets of shoulder exercises, followed by 4 minutes on the elliptical. I repeated that three times. I made certain to stretch well afterwards! I absolutely do NOT want a repeat performance of last week, ever.
Now, onto the progress! I finally posted some progress pictures. I wanted to wait until there was something that could be seen. It’s tough when you’re the one losing weight–you’re often the last person that can see the results, even though you’ve been feeling the benefits of your efforts for a while. When I looked at these, I could finally see it!
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Enjoy your time with friend and family, and please, back away from the cookies. 😉
Balance December 13, 2010
I am in a super mood this morning! I’m sitting at the local coffeehouse, sipping excellent coffee, observing the snow falling outside the window, and downloading some new workout tunes. Despite having a shorter workout this morning (35 minutes vs 55), it was a good one. An intense one. I started out with the elliptical for 25 minutes and then I finished up on the treadmill. I feel like I’m in cruise mode with my workouts–I hate to miss one, I’m up to 50-55 minutes, being more consistent with the strength training. I’m feeling more energetic, tighter, and all-around better. I used to get up feeling tired, no matter how much sleep I got. I can’t pinpoint when it happened, but I don’t feel that way anymore. Now that I’ve got these workouts in the bag (haha), I just have to stick in for the long haul, and eventually, I’ll get where I need to be, right?
There’s more to this equation than just exercise. A friend of mine once told me that exercising wasn’t what I struggled with, it was food. I thought she was a little nuts; after all, it wasn’t as if exercise was ever easy for me–as long as she’s known me I’ve been much bigger than the average person, and even though there were periods when I was working out consistently, making the decision to move my butt every day was a struggle at times. Some days, it still is!
A while ago, Time Magazine came out with an article that I found to be absolutely ridiculous. It was titled, “Why exercise won’t make you thin.” “Psh!” I said to myself. “These people don’t know what they’re talking about!” The basic assertion was this: They did a study of 4 groups of women who were told to exercise a certain amount of time per week with a personal trainer (72 min, 136 min, 194 min), and the fourth group was to do nothing. They were not to make any dietary changes during this time (six months). When all was said and done,
” On average, the women in all the groups, even the control group, lost weight, but the women who exercised — sweating it out with a trainer several days a week for six months — did not lose significantly more weight than the control subjects did. (The control-group women may have lost weight because they were filling out those regular health forms, which may have prompted them to consume fewer doughnuts.) Some of the women in each of the four groups actually gained weight, some more than 10 lb. each”
Now before you toss your exercise shoes in the trash, let me say this: There are a lot, and I mean a lot of things that this author didn’t address when writing this article. We’re not told what kind of activity these women were doing. We’re not given any beginning or ending body measurements. Any improvements in blood pressure, blood sugar levels or cholesterol were not discussed. We have no idea what their body fat percentage was before starting this study; It’s quite possible that the women who were working their butts off had gained muscle mass and so the scale didn’t show any “significant” loss. The number on the scale is NOT the only determining factor of fitness. Let me just say that one more time: The number on the scale is NOT the only determining factor of fitness (or health)! I’ve known people that have lost significant amounts of weight without exercising; in fact, there were weeks when I didn’t work out as often, and I’ve had a bigger loss on the scale. However, if you lose weight quickly without strength training or exercise (especially strength training!), you are also losing some muscle mass along with the fat. You may end up smaller, but not necessarily in better shape.
What the author states that I think is valid is this: Often times, when we are working out, we give ourselves carte blanche on what we eat. We’ve worked hard, so perhaps we feel entitled to splurge a little and treat ourselves. We can easily undo the calorie burn from a 50 minute workout with some sort of mocha-latte-double-whip-something-or-other. While I don’t fall into the entitlement eating trap often, I’ve certainly reasoned that way in my head once or twice.
I’ve followed the Weight watchers plan here and there over the past ten years. Although it’s been tweaked a few times since I was first introduced to it (most recently about two weeks ago), it has been a solid plan that stresses portion control and making wise choices. Nothing has ever been off limits, but you learn pretty quickly that some food items take up your daily points allowance and leave you feeling pretty hungry, while others “cost” fewer points and leave you feeling more satisfied. While I am not opposed to the occasional brownie or biscotti, I do understand that some things are simply better suited to fuel my body than others. For those of us who have had an emotional relationship with food, it takes some effort to think of it as fuel and not a friend. After all, how many of us have turned to food for reasons other than hunger? (This is the struggle to which my friend was referring, certainly. That’s a whole other post.)
I’ve gotten away from watching what I’m eating. I don’t think, “Oh, I’ve exercised, I’m gonna go wild!” but I haven’t been paying close attention to what I’m eating like I have in times past when I was meticulous about measuring food and writing things down. I’m not aiming for perfection in eating; I just need to make some better choices and keep track of things. I think that will really help me to make more progress. Lately my goal has been to eat more veggies and watch the portion sizes of everything else. Not to eat only what is quick, but to really choose what would be best for my body. I titled this post “balance”, but as I think about it, I suppose it should have been named differently. Honestly, as much as I wish it weren’t so, what goes into my body is incredibly important, for so many reasons. For me to be successful in this endeavor, I need to pay more attention to that aspect of the weight loss equation.
(link to the Time magazine article: http://tiny.cc/tuc2y )
Week 9 December 6, 2010
The roads this morning were treacherous. Really. Snow-covered, not yet plowed. The person in front of me was driving 30 mph. I didn’t mind; I wasn’t planning on going much faster than that, anyway! The trip that would have normally taken 20-25 min. or so ended up taking 35 or 40. I did not feel like going this morning. When I told my husband that, he replied, “You’ll be glad you went once you get there.” He was right, of course.
This is what my workout looked like this morning:
20 minutes, treadmill. 2.8 mph
21 minutes, elliptical
Strength training: Shoulder circuit: 4 different types of shoulder exercises, followed by 4 minutes of cardio; shoulder sets, 5 minutes elliptical; shoulder sets, 5 minutes cardio.
Totals: 25 min. treadmill; 30 elliptical.
This is the beginning of my ninth week. I feel like it’s been forever. I must remind myself that this HAS to be my lifestyle; not just a temporary thing until I get to my goal weight. I know from the testimony of others that that’s when the hard work begins–Maintenance! For me, that is afar off. Lately I’ve been getting frustrated with how far I know I have to go–I’ve been working hard and I want to see more results NOW! We’re such impatient creatures. This scripture keeps popping into my mind, and I feel like I should write it out and tape it to the treadmill in the morning:
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”
Beset: harass somebody or something: to harass or trouble somebody or something continually ; surround somebody or something: to attack somebody or something from all sides.
What besets me?
“This is going to take FOREVER. What’s the use? You lose 100 lbs, you’ll still be fat. You shouldn’t be working so hard at your size. You’re probably going to hurt yourself.”
I have to be vigilant–recognize these thoughts as lies, replace them with truth, and keep pressing on. I need to “run with patience the race set before me.” Because this isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. I know that I will make it, by the grace of God.
One thing I want to add: chances are, not all my readers share my faith, and that’s okay; the principle is still the same. Run with patience the race! Don’t allow those types of thoughts to beset you. Keep moving forward!
All or nothing December 1, 2010
The past week hasn’t gone the way I’d wanted it to, ideally.
I only made it to the gym twice this week. I did exercise the other three days, though–I did the Leslie Sansone 1 mile “easy” walk on Wednesday, the 2 mile brisk walk on Thursday, and the 1 mile again yesterday, and added five minutes to it, so that it would be at least 25 minutes total. I love Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away the Pounds videos. If you are unfamiliar with them, they are a walk at home workout, using four moves: marching in place, side steps, knee lifts and kicks. The videos I have come with a “stretchie band” for upper body work that you do while still marching in place. It is a simple concept, but the videos still give a good workout because you are moving to the beat of the music (which increases as you go), and using muscles that you normally would not use while simply walking. Despite the fact that the one mile video is only about 18 minutes or so with stretching, and I am used to doing 40-45 minutes of cardio a day, it was still a good workout for me. The 2 mile one was definitely much more brisk than I am used to walking (it is essentially a 4 mph pace), but I did it and finished it–and I haven’t been able to do that video in a long time.
One of the hardest things about losing weight is the mental aspect of things. I’ve mentioned it before, and I will surely mention it again, because really, it is much more complex than someone who has not struggled with their weight could possibly imagine. I didn’t get to the gym like I wanted to, but I did workout, and that’s a lot more than I would’ve done before. Still, I ended up feeling a little down. Why? The “All-or-Nothing“ mindset. Have you ever said this to yourself?
“I already blew it by eating _______, I might as well have enjoy myself the rest of the day. I’ll start again tomorrow.”
I’ve done it. Chances are, you have, too. For me, it manifested this way: Even though I exercised every day , it wasn’t what I usually did. Because it wasn’t as much as I usually do, it wasn’t good enough. I should have been thrilled that I did some form of exercise; it’s much more than I would’ve done two months ago! You see, the all-or-nothing mindset is really a form of perfectionism in disguise. Because you don’t perform perfectly (or in my case, to whatever standard you have set for yourself), you just chuck it all in the garbage. (Or at least you feel like it.) The idea of a perfectionist mindset holding us back is addressed in the book, Body Clutter, by Maria Cilley and Leanne Ely. Otherwise known as “the FLYlady”, Maria talks about how being a perfectionist holds us back from living, from changing and losing weight, because the soundtrack in our mind repeats,
“If you can’t do something right, don’t do it at all.”
While I am not a fan of doing things halfway, the idea that something has to be done in a specific manner in order for it to count has seriously kept me from progressing in this journey for fitness. Should I lift weights first, or do cardio? Lift heavy, lift light? Should I eat before I work out, or not? I become so paralyzed by all the options, and figure if I’m not doing it “right”, then I may as well just not do it. BAD thinking. Something is always better than nothing. To succeed in this endeavor, I have to learn to keep my eyes on my successes, and not my (perceived) failures.
Despite the fact that my journey will be long, here are a few of the triumphs I’ve already experienced:
8 weeks ago:
- Could only do 10 minutes on the treadmill. Walked at 2.2 mph. 2.5 was considered a fast pace for me. Any time I would increase my speed, my ankles, shins, and the sides of my lower legs would hurt.
- Only lasted 7 minutes on the elliptical. Did not get above 100 rpm.
- Was on the treadmill for a total of 30 minutes. 2.5 is now my warm-up pace. Was cruising along at 2.7-2.8 mph, with occasional bursts of 3.0. Shins and ankles no longer hurt.
- Did the elliptical for 20 minutes, which is five minutes less than I normally do. Am able to go much faster, and at much higher resistance.
Truly, I thank God for this progress!!
Lately I have been grooving to this song off of Mercy Me’s new album. I really love the lyrics, and it reminds me to just keep moving!! (The song’s called, “Move.” Imagine that!)
I’m not about to give up
Because I heard you say
There’s gonna be brighter days
There’s gonna be brighter days
I wont stop, I’ll keep my head up
No, I’m not here to stay
There’s gonna be brighter days
There’s gonna be brighter days
I just might bend but wont break
As long as I can see your face
When life wont play along
And right keeps going wrong
And I cant seem to find my way
I know where I am found
So I wont let it drag me down
Oh, I’ll keep dancing anyway
I’m gonna move (move)
I’m gonna move (move)
I’m gonna move [gonna move]
Ive got to hold it steady
Keep my head in the game
Everything is about to change
Everything is about to change
This burdens getting heavy
But I’m not about to cave
Everything’s about to change
There’s gonna be brighter days