Tuesday, August 31, 2010

READ ME (only if you want)

I had a ton of things I wanted to blog about today, weight loss and exercise stuff, but that can all wait.

I came across an email today. It was from a co-worker on another team. He's someone I've worked with, and someone I respect. He has a unique sense of humor that makes even difficult IT situations funny. He's often referred to as a really nice guy.

His email was dated March 2009, and the subject was: "That which blindsides you at 4 PM on some random Tuesday". It was a thank you email to the IT division for all their caring emails and cards. He wrote that he'd said goodbye to his Alicia. I vaguely remember this incident from last year. His 12-year daughter, Alicia, was accidentally shot and killed while visiting her grandparents.

I realized I'd never read anything about this little girl. I did a search online and found her obituary. She loved reading and loved to write. They posted the following essay written by Alicia. I'm taking the liberty of posting it here. I found it to be a very moving essay. I hope you enjoy it.

In memory of Alicia Mead.

READ ME (only if you want) Composed by Alicia Mead.
Copyrights are reserved.

"Live everyday like your last" were the words lining the page of a generic book I flipped through. Wow, that seems pretty depressing, I thought, squeezing it back into an empty space on its bookshelf. Who would want to live like they're gonna die the next morning? The author or people who took that advice seriously would probably end up living with extreme anxiety every day of their lives, worrying about death than actually enjoy living.

Whatever. I progressed down into the Manga (Japanese comics) section of the store and scanned their titles, After thumbing through another book, somehow the quote seemed to snag my thoughts. Live every day like your last, there has to be some reason the author spent his time writing it…

Glancing, a clock informed me it was time to leave. Live everyday like your last, and at that moment I realized I would never view things the same way again.

Staring out a window on my drive home, I questioned why this one, petite, microscopic quote would have such a huge impact on my perspective. I mean, it should have already been forgotten three seconds after I declined the book, but somehow the line stood out through my noggin like an eight footed elephant trapped inside a field of angry, raging monkeys. But anyway, I had nothing else to ponder, so I gave thought to this unique sentence and reasons to follow its "advice".

An obvious point to living your days like your last is because you'll always do your best. Expanding, I thought, is to get the most out of the things you do. After all, if it really was my last day, then I'd like to fall asleep knowing I got the most out of my daily activities. Further, I'll take pride in the last things I ever do, knowing I wish to be remembered by the quality that people see. Also, knowing that I've done my best will leave me assured of nothing to regret.

Another reason is because you'll waste less time. If you decide this to be your last day on Earth, then it's only logical to put the smallest time possible to waste. For one thing you'll be more focused on your current actions, in fear of not completing them in what may your last opportunity. Further and for the same reason you'll be less likely to procrastinate. In the end, not procrastinating and better focus will result in accomplishing faster. Thus, wasting less time.

Frowning at the passing scenery and brainstorming harder, you won't take things for granted. Being on the verge of losing everything, you'll take advantage of opportunities more. From that, you'll appreciate the important things in life, family for instance, and possibly stress less about lesser consequential issues. Also, you'll be less likely to spend time with negative emotions, concentrating on the positive things that are of higher importance.

My final reason to this thesis is because you'll savor life more than you did before. Converse to negative feelings, you'll shove in space for positive emotions, enabling you to contain more joy. Also, you'll be more likely to "smell the roses", again helping to appreciate what's important in life. Living everyday like your last will show you to be lucky and thankful for the gift of life, while there are so many people who have difficulty appreciating it.

All in all, just from that one quote, I learned a whole new way of living. I realized the choices I make and the things I do will affect everything in the future, for every action comes a consequence of time. I vowed to see the worth of my actions, and only pursue those that I would value most. I realized my life would never be the same, as I randomly began doodling on my homework paper out of boredom and procrastination.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It turns out I can do anything for 20 minutes

I just got into the office, a little later than I would have liked (it's noon), but I decided to go to the gym before work instead of after work. I only plan on working about five hours this afternoon, and then have a little down time at home tonight.

I thought it might also be nice if I posted when I was actually feeling a little happy and hopeful instead of so sad. I'm even getting bored with my "woe is me" attitude. It's just work, not the end of the world. :)

I took your advice and did interval cardio this morning. Well, at least my version of intervals. I worked out on three cardio machines, 20 minutes each. It did cost me an extra ten minutes to get in an hour of cardio since I wipe down the machines before and after I use them, but it was well worth it.

On each machine, the cross ramp, elliptical, and stationary bike, I did interval speeds of high resistance and as fast as I could go for one minute, then recover for a minute, then back to fast and hard for a minute. Just knowing I only had to stay on any one machine for twenty minutes made it totally bearable and not as boring as one machine for an hour.

I was a sweaty, dripping mess after I was finished, and my Polar heart rate monitor said I burned 423 calories. Not too bad, especially when it thinks I weigh 155, and since I weigh 175 (yes, still!), I probably burned a few more calories.

I don't have much else to talk about, just work stuff. I'm consumed with it right now. If I can just make it through this next week without having a heart attack or something, life will be good again. It sure makes me appreciate my 40-hour work weeks. Fortunately that's the norm around here, it's just this project I'm on has to be finished by the end of the week.

I hope the rest of your are having a fun and restful Sunday.

Note (posted at 2:40pm): One really positive note about being in the office alone on a Sunday, I can have a big bowl of steamed Brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar without someone going "Oh My God! What's that smell!?". Hee hee. Just me here, and I love Brussels sprouts.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

It wasn't really that funny

My manager drew this on the white board in my cubicle yesterday. She was trying to make me laugh. It didn't really work. Because the picture on the left is definitely me, including the dark circles under my eyes. We have a software release on 10/12, with a code complete date of 9/3. Pretty much anything that could go wrong, has gone wrong.

61 hours. That's how many hours I've worked in the last seven days. That includes last Sunday and today. Three days left the office at 8pm, 11-hour days with no lunch.

A weird thing happens when I work too much and don't get enough sleep. I cry. Deep, sad, weeping. For no apparent reason. That was what happened yesterday when I was driving home at 8pm. I was crying so hard I could hardly see to drive. Why? I have no explanation other than complete exhaustion.  It's just a deep sadness that overwhelms me. After ten-hours of sleep I'm usually like a new person. This morning, not so much.

Even though I had a really productive day in the office today, and I'm confident I'll make Friday's deadline, I'm tired of working. I even went to the gym for an hour and half after work today, hoping it would create some happy endorphins. It didn't work.

Tomorrow I have to go in to the office again. I think I'm going to go to the gym before I go. Going tonight wasn't fun, but I manage an intense StairMaster session for 30 minutes, and 45 minutes of weights. I added some bonus exercises, concentrated dumbbell curls 25 pounds, and that was after three sets of 12 with a 20-pound dumbbell. I also did some dumbbell curls with that big 44-pound barbell. Gosh that thing is heavy all by itself. It was a great workout, but I didn't really change my mood for the better. Okay, maybe just a tiny bit.

As far as my eating, it's been pretty good but not good enough to lose weight. I'm holding steady at 175.4. I really need to lose weight. Not just so I can fit into my clothes comfortably, but also because my blood pressure has skyrocketed lately. I've been checking it the last few weeks and it's creeping up. Last night it was 154/82. Not good.

I was on blood pressure medicine three years ago for almost two years. Then my doctor took me off of it about a year ago when I was down to 160 pounds. I held steady at 110/60 for about a year. I'm sure the extra weight and the stress at work, a lethal combination, is causing my high blood pressure.

Since I can't quit my job, I need to at least lose the weight. The thought of a stroke or a heart attack scares me to death (ha..ha..now that's kind of funny).

I probably shouldn't write anything when I'm feeling like this. I'm not exactly an inspiration right now.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 4 and 11, 340 days to go...

Yikes, I missed posting on Thursday! However, it's 1:12 a.m. Friday morning, and I haven't been to bed yet. So it's sort of still Thursday night as far as I'm concerned.

I had a really fun night out with my best girlfriend. We went to dinner and a movie, which was a lot of fun.

Dinner was at Joey's at Southcenter, a place where the wait staff all look like young, beautiful models. No one is overweight or unattractive. It's kind of weird and a little disconcerting. They don't look like real people, kind of like Stepford-people. If you've ever been there, you know what I mean.

I had Panang Curry Prawn Bowl with organic brown rice (no peanuts because I'm allergic). It was one of the lowest calorie items on the menu, but it was still was 680 calories and 24 grams of fat! I'd eaten lightly all day so I think I'll be okay. It was delicious, but that's a lot of calories and fat for one meal.

We saw The Switch, a really fun movie. It's a chick flick, but if you like Jennifer Anniston, you'll love this movie. It was Jennifer at her best, basically playing Rachel from Friends (a few years older, but just as pretty as ever...actually, I think she's gotten prettier). It was her typical role, but she's good at it so why not play what she's good at doing.  Plus Justin Bateman was excellent and he's a cutie.

I managed to drag myself to the gym this morning at 5:30 a.m. My goal of an hour of cardio a day is no longer my goal. After 36 minutes on the elliptical I thought to myself - I'd rather take a bullet to the head than do an hour of cardio a day. I wouldn't mind biking for an hour, or hiking, or even walking outside. But stuck on a piece of cardio equipment in the gym, um, no thanks. Total and complete boredom. Even with my iPod and the TV and people to watch, I really don't enjoy it. I know it's necessary, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

In case you're wondering, the title of this post, "11, 340 days to go" is how may days I have left to live, approximately of course since no one knows when they'll die. If I live until I'm 86 (same as my mom), then that's another 31 years or 11,340 days. That's how many days left that I need to eat healthy and exercise...not the 127 days until December 31, 2010...it's more like forever.

The moon Thursday morning at 5:20 a.m., on my way to the gym.

The strange thing is I love lifting weights. I can't explain why, but I can easily lift weights for an hour or more and not get bored. I wish would be to only lift weights and never do cardio (unless it's outside). If only...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Not as good as day one (128 days left!)

Part of my December 31, 2010 challenge (besides the obvious - lose weight)...is to post on a more regular basis.

Therefore, even though I had a hell of day at work, even though I worked eleven hours again, and even though I'm past the point of exhaustion, here I am. Another short post without any inspiring words.

Absolutely no exercise today, although my eating was great. I'm actually too busy and too stressed to give much thought to food. I'm eating, but at work I usually eat my lunch. I've brought home most of my snacks every day this week.

When I left my office at eight tonight, I had really good intentions to stop at the gym on my way. I talked myself out of it before I got there. I'm was too exhausted. Plus, I really hate evening workouts. The free weights areas (we have two at my gym), are packed at night with guys hoisting 50-pound dumbbells (show offs!). I don't really mind all that testerone, but it's much quieter in the early mornings. It's like the gym belongs to me in the mornings. At night I'm just one of the masses.Tomorrow Im to back morning workouts.

Day 1 of the challenge

A very quick post tonight because I'm beyond exhausted. After an 11-hour work day, tonight I went to the gym for a an hour after work. It's was the hardest thing I've ever done. I really wanted to go home, sit quietly and curl up in a ball. Work is killing me lately.

I had walked at lunch, very briskly, for 45 minutes. I had a whole list of why I should skip the gym. Then I thought about the challenge and it's only day one. I couldn't blow on day one! I mean, who does something like that?!

The only reason I forced myself to hit the gym because it's day one of Tony's challenge. I couldn't let myself down.

Challenge goal for December 31, 2010 (approximately 18 weeks from today):

Weight - 155

That means I must lose 21 pounds in 18 weeks.

I'm also going to start increasing my exercise by doubling my cardio. That's right, double it! I've been doing 30 minutes of cardio and 40 minutes strength most days. I'm going to start increasing cardio by 5 minutes a week until I hit 60 minutes. This is going to take some work, but I'm up for it!

I'm also cutting back on my food. It's after midnight so day one was a total success for food and exercise.


Something on heard on the news this morning. When I was losing weight fast, I drank tons of water. Then Weight Watchers came out a few years ago and said you only need six eight-ounce servings of fluid a day. That included coffee and other beverages. Since Weight Watchers said that it wasn't important to drink 64-ounces a day (my old standard), I cut way back water.

Hearing about the article below has me back to guzzling the water. If nothing else, it just puts in the right mindset to do this.
Bed now. Must sleep!
176 - ?

If you're over 50, the key to shedding a few extra pounds could be as simple as having two cups of water before meals, a new study shows.

The study looked at overweight or obese adults ages 55 to 75 and separated them into two groups. Both groups were given low-fat, low-calorie meals for 12 weeks. One group was also instructed to drink two 8 oz cups of water before meals.

While both groups lost weight, the group that drank the water lost 30 percent more weight than the other group, said Dr. Jennifer Ashton, medical correspondent for CBS.

Drinking water before meals isn't quite as effective for younger adults, said Ashton. One theory is that since the stomach empties more quickly in younger bodies, the water doesn't cause the same feeling of fullness.

Monday, August 23, 2010

December 31, 2010...where will you be?

It's not that long until December 31, 2010. A ittle over four months. What you can you accomplish in four short months? Where will you be on that day? Who will you be with? What will you be thinking?

You can throw away these four months if that's what you want. But...on December 31, 2010, you'll be filled with regrets. You'll be wondering why? Why didn't you eat better and exercise more? Why didn't you just try harder?

I'm starting Tony's Weight Loss Challenge. It's not really a contest with other people, but a challenge to yourself to really give it 100% of your effort to get to a healthier weight by December 31.

This is just the kick I needed. I'll post my progress here each Monday to let your know how I'm doing.

Tomorrow is  my new day one. I'm planning on the gym in the morning nad a walk at lunch. I haven't been both of those activities on the same for seal

I also plan on breaking my bad habit of packing a gigantic lunch for work. It's all Point friendly food, but I'm eating too much.  From now on, I only pack what I can act

Where will you be on Decmeber 31. Hating yourself or patting yourself on the back for a job well-done. I hope you're there with me ceebraing!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Why I haven't been posting very often

My posts have been few and far between these days. Last week I only posted once. That usually means something bad in the blog world. If that's what you're thinking, you're right.

I'm kind of in a funk lately. Not exactly depressed, but not my usual happy self. I'm finding it harder and harder to even fake happiness, and usually I'm pretty good at faking happy. In fact, I'm so good at it I can usually talk myself out of a bad mood just by pretending to be happy. Lately though, it's just not that easy.

I wonder if maybe this is depression and what if I feel like this forever. Is that what people feel like when they're clinically depressed and seek out psychiatric help and antidepressants? Okay, maybe I'm not that sad, I'm just kind of sad. I'm not happy where I am at this point of my life, on many levels, but I'm not quite ready for nut house.

I'm reading all your blogs, but I'm not commenting. No particular reason, just that I always feel rushed and exhausted. Plus, honestly, I say the same old thing over and over. It's never really inspiring or helpful. Just the same old thing. I wish I had some worthy bits of wisdom to share, but I'm struggling myself so I don't feel anything I have to say is worthwhile. If I had the answers, I'd fix myself.

My personal weight loss journey has come to a standstill. I'm not gaining weight, but I'm up 20 pounds from my lowest weight in the last two years (175.6 this morning). I'm not losing weight. More importantly, I'm not really trying anymore. I've become lazy, bored, and just tired of it all.

I still exercise, but lately my heart really hasn't been into it. I'm finding it difficult to make myself get out of bed in the mornings and get to the gym. Instead of working out six or seven times a week, I've cut back to four times a week.

I haven't been tracking my food either. I usually start out with good intentions, but about halfway through my day, I usually just give up.

My eating isn't terrible, I'm not eating junk food unless you call the Dreyers 70 calories Pomegranate frozen juice bars junk food (and they are sort of). Other than that one thing, my food is completely healthy and wholesome, but my servings are too large.

So what am I going to do about this situation? I honestly don't know. I'd kick my own butt if I could, but I just don't have the energy nor the desire anymore. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I need to get out of this mood I've been in. I miss the old me.

There were a few things that made me smile this week:

1. I tried to call Riverroad Animal Hospital on my Blackberry using my Bluetooth. I said, "Call Riverroad". The phone said, "Call rrrr-rrrr?". I thought, well, sort of sounds like Riverroad. I said "yes". Phone said "Calling rrrr-rrrr". It called Linda Mathys (my niece). Really, Linda Mathys sounds like "Riverroad"?

2. I constantly forget to lock my cell phone when I throw it in my purse. As a result, it's always yelling at me "Say a command!". Yesterday I said, "Just shut up and turn off!". The phone said "Voice prompts off". Blessed silence. Then I had a moment of my panic because I didn't know how to turn voice prompts back on.."turn on" worked.

3. I was sitting at my desk at work today (and yes, today is Sunday!), stepping through the same chunk of code for five freaking hours and not being able to figure out why my web service call kept failing, I literally said out loud to myself (alone in the office): "I wish I was smarter!".  Then it occurred to me to to take the web service error I was getting and search for it in Google. The first search result that came back said to check the CurrentState of the object. That was the problem! Okay, so I'm not smart, but Google is smart (thank you Larry Page and Sergey Brin!).

4. I was listening to a new Ke$ha song on my iPod. I wanted to know the name of the song so I pressed the middle button, the iPod said "My First Kiss featuring Kah-dollar-sign-ha 303". It's obviously Ke$ha
30H!3. No wonder iPod is confused!

5. Thursday was my twenty-second wedding anniversary. After work my husband met me at a restaurant for dinner. When I pulled into the parking lot he was standing there holding a dozen peach roses and the sweetest card he's ever given me. I haven't exactly been a joy to live with lately so I was surprised. It made me smile.

I guess life isn't all black and horrible. As my mom would say, this too shall pass. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lakes, mountains and mosquitoes

Seattle broke a record on Saturday, 95 degrees! Fortunately we were up near Mt. Rainier where the it was comfortable, low 70's.

Unfortunately the mosquitoes and flies loved the heat and were out in full force while we were hiking. I've never seen anything like it, and I'm from Alaska where the mosquito is called the state bird.

We started off the hike at the Mowich Lake trailhead and our goal was Tolmie Peak Lookout, a fire lookout. Round-trip was only 6.5 miles and it was rated moderate. Moderate is never what I would expect it to be (somewhat easy), it's always a lot harder.

The views were breathtaking, but when we got to Lake Eunice the mosquitoes ruined my good time. There were literally thousands of the little blood-sucking beasts. Of all the times I've hiked up near Mt. Rainier I've never been bothered by mosquitoes, yet I always carried insect repellent. In my infinite wisdom yesterday I decided to lightened my 20-pound backpack and take out the repellent. I never use it anyway so why carry it?

Oh.my.God. I was eaten alive. Lake Eunice was beautiful, but the mosquitoes swarmed me. I was covered in bites, at least 30 on each arm. They were weird mosquitoes, very small but they left big bumps that itched like crazy. However my husband didn't get a single bite!

Sunday morning the bites didn't itch anymore, and were just lots of tiny bumps. In Alaska the mosquitoes are huge, and they leave a bite that itches for days with huge welts. The bites still look awful, it's like I have some sort of arm and leg acne, but at least they don't itch.

The hike was difficult, and we didn't make it all the way to Tolmie Peak. Mainly because the mosquitoes were so bad I couldn't take it anymore. I felt like I was going insane trying to keep them from biting me. Plus that last mile to Tolmie Peak was very steep, up the side of a mountain. We both agreed to head back to the trail head.

Even though the hike was beatiful, the bugs were horrible. Besides the mosquitoes, there were swarms of small flies everywhere. We might try the hike again in late September when there aren't so many bugs.
My eating was good until I got home and made a Flatout pizza, which has become my new favorite food. It's mostly vegetables (red bell peppers, onions, mushrooms) with either chicken breast or turkey pepperoni and 1/4 cup 2% cheese. It makes a huge serving and it's delicious, but I haven't figured out the calories/Points yet (because I'm not sure I want to know). Then I ate four--yes four so sort of a binge--Dreyers Pomegranate frozen fruit bars (second ingredient is sugar so not exactly a health food). They're 70 calories each, but I ate four. Not a good thing.
Even though I burned 800 calories on our three-hour hike yesterday (only 5.5 miles round-trip but they were HARD miles), I still weighed 173.6 Sunday morning. Oh well, it's a new week.


Mowich Lake at the trailhead.

Just an example of the how rough the trail was, and this wasn't even the bad part. After we hiked another mile we were looking forward to getting to back to this part. It made this look easy.

 Mt. Rainier

Lupine (?)

Paintbrush (?)

Some sort of wild lily
A sweet, young couple offered to take our picture. It seems like the people we meet when hiking are the nicest people. I've never run into anyone weird or rude. Maybe just lucky, or maybe people that like nature are innately nice. :)

Me wading in Lake Eunice. It was icy cold, but felt wonderful to my hot, tired feet.  As long as I was out in the water the mosquitoes left me alone.

Lake Eunice

Crystal clear water of Lake Eunice with a soft, sandy bottom. And me with naked toes!
There was another couple there that were actually swimming in it. Probably to escape the mosquitoes.

Jack looking at the incredible scenery. At the very top of that peak is Tolmie Lookout.
You can see why we didn't hike up there. Maybe next time.

Back at the trailhead, Mowich Lake

Another view of Mowich Lake

Mt. Rainier

And Mt. Rainier again. One can never
have too many Mt. Rainier pictures.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Free National Parks Weekend

Did you know this weekend is free admission to all National Parks? We're heading out to Mt. Rainier this morning and a hike around Mowich Lake. It's a  little over an hour's drive to get there. I'm so excited! I love going to the mountains.

Last weekend was a bust because it rained hard all weekend, we (I) decided not to hike in the rain. I've done it but it's just not very fun even with rain gear. I'm really a fair weather hiker.

I'm hoping it's a little cooler in the park since the weather forecast for most of Western Washington is sunny and in the 90's (even Mt. Rainier at the lower altitudes is forecasting 90 degrees!). We don't see that kind of weather very often.

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why the f--- not?

Yesterday when I was driving home I pulled up next to an older Jeep Cherokee at a stoplight. The back side and rear windows had several smiley face stickers. In small letters on the side window were the words:
"Why the f--- not?"

The f- word wasn't spelled out, it was just "f---". It's embarrassing to admit this, but I didn't know what it meant. I actually said to myself, Why the what not? Why not what? What are they talking about?

I'd had a bad day at work, and I had been feeling overwhelmed, stressed and just generally not in a happy mood. As I stared at the words, it finally clicked, and I started giggling, then laughing, and then thinking that was the funniest thing I'd ever seen. "Why the f---- not smile?" I wanted to thank the driver for making me laugh, it was one of those 'I needed that!' moments.
Back on the wagon
I've finally returned to sanity. I'm even allowing myself to feel hunger pains again. I'm not starving myself, just eating like a person trying to lose weight on Weight Watchers. Smaller portions, weighing and measuring my food, and for the most part, tracking my food. More importantly, facing the reality that I can't eat what I want when I want it.

My exercise has been really good this week. I've taken a spin class, an aerobics class and a strength training class, plus my regular gym workouts. I didn't like the aerobics class. It wasn't as fun as I remembered. In fact, I could barely walk the next day.

This morning my weight was 173.4 (down from the 176.6 on Monday), so I'm feeling very hopeful I'll at least be back into the 160's again very soon.

Giving away all my size 14 clothes was really an incentive for me to get a reality check. Since I didn't have any bigger pants to wear, it was lose some weight or be really uncomfortable in tight clothes. You would think that was an easy decision, but surprisingly, it's taken me a couple weeks to get back to doing what I should be doing. I guess I just wanted that vacation from watching what I eat to go on indefinitely.

Women Food and God
I've finished the book. Although it's a good book, and I agree with most of it, it's not a miracle. This week I caught the first half of Oprah's interview with the author, Geneen Roth (a re-run of a re-run). When Oprah proclaimed 'this is the miracle you've been looking for!' I just shook my head. There are no miracles when it comes to losing weight. Even Geneen says in her book, 'there are no quick fixes'.

It's a great read and if you have food issues like me, you'll probably identify with most of it, but I don't think you'll think it's a miracle. I wish it was a miracle. I wish we could all easily follow Geneen's eating guidelines and miraculously get to our healthy weight. I think it'll help, and Geneen's ideas are solid and make sense, but the hard work is still on us. We have to create our own miracle. 

I'm going to read through it again. There were a couple places I skimmed over because they were boring, and I was eager to get to the good parts. Maybe I missed the "miracle" part. One can always hope. :)

Here are Geneen's Eating Guidelines, and if you were to follow them, I'm positive you'd get to your healthy weight. From page 211 (the last page) of Women Food and God by Geneen Roth.

The Eating Guidelines

1. Eat when you are hungry.
2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
3. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music.
4. Eat what your body wants.
5. Eat until you are satisfied.
6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.   <----I've got this one down already!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's never too late to start over

Birthday Flowers

This morning I weighed 175 pounds. I've finally decided the only way I'm going to get back to losing weight is to pretend like every day is the very first day I'm on Weight Watchers.

If you've ever done Weight Watchers, you know how exciting and "almost" fun it is at the beginning. You have a set of rules to follow, and you try to follow them exactly. You're rewarded week after week with nice, healthy losses.

Then one day, after, oh, let's say two and half years, you kind of get tired of it all. The weighing and measuring, the tracking, and all the other tedious things that are part of the Weight Watcher plan.

The compliments stop because you've been at the same weight for months, or maybe you've even gained ten or twenty pounds. No one cares or seems to notice that you're still trying to lose weight, but you're struggling. You've lost your momentum.

You've stop measuring your portions, so four ounces of chicken becomes seven or eight ounces. You stop trying to get in five vegetables a day, and take the five to seven vegetables or fruits to mean seven to nine fruits per day (maybe an obligatory vegetable or two). You certainly don't track your Points, because if you're honest, you don't really want to know.

Maybe you stay away from the bad* stuff, the candy and cookies, but you eat too much of the healthy stuff. Your size 12 jeans are now snug and your thighs are starting to take over. In fact, when you look in the mirror all you see are your thighs.

That's where I am right now. So let's just say this is my day one, not day 912 (that's approximate, but it's been about 2 1/2 years since I started).

For today, my day one, I'm tracking my food, staying within my Points, weighing and measuring everything that goes in my mouth, and trying to follow the healthy eight guidelines. Easy peasy, right? I certainly hope so because my critical voice is driving me insane. She won't shut up about my eating, and if I could just smash her into tiny pieces, I'd be happy.

Geneen (WFG) says to quiet The Voice, which I agree with to a point. However, I still think that internal voice serves a purpose. It really does have my best interest at heart, and it helps keep me in check, because Lord knows, someone needs to. However, these days I use a somewhat kinder, gentler voice with myself. I wasn't making any progress with the old voice.

One other thing I have to do this week is face my Weight Watcher leader. She's been sending me cards in the mail, "Where are you?" or "We miss you!" or (and I love this one), "It's never too late to come back!". I haven't been to a meeting since June 5, when I weighed in at 162.8. I've definitely done some damage over the summer.

What it feels like to be the fattest person in the room

Today I went to a spinning class. I've attended spinning classes before but always when I weighed less, 150 to 165. At 175 I usually feel too fat to be walking (or spinning) among the fittest people at the gym. Today I thought to hell with it, I'm going.

I hadn't been to a spinning class in months and the instructor was new to me. She came over and talked to me before class. I could tell she thought I was a novice to spinning, but I'm not. I know how to ride a spin cycle. It's just like riding a bike, anyone can do it and it doesn't take any special talent, just endurance.

Right before the class started I looked around the room, and yes, I was indeed the largest person in the room. I'd guess the average woman was maybe 125 pounds (skinny!), and the average man, maybe 150-160. There were about 20 people and every one of them looked like they had stepped right off the pages of a fitness magazine. Strong, muscular arms, flat abs and of course, great legs.

I was able to keep up without too much pain (okay, a lot of pain!). In 45 minutes I burned 340 calories, and since I had warmed up for five minutes before the class, I'm counting all 45 minutes of the spinning class for 6 APs. I had also done 20 minutes of upper body strength training before the class.

* I'm pretty sure someone is going to comment that there aren't any "bad" foods. I know that's true, sort of. Most people can have these foods in their house without going crazy. My sister is like that, she always keeps ice cream, cookies and candy in her house for her grandchildren. She very rarely eats any of it. She doesn't have a weight problem.

I'm not one of those fortunate people like my sister. I will eat it until it's gone, every cookie, every piece of candy or every bite of the ice cream. It's a sickness I have, similar to an alcoholic, but one I can deal with it. I just can't have those foods in my house. That's why I call it "bad" food.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's official, I can get the senior discount at IHOP now...or 55 and still alive!

Today is my birthday, and I am now 55 years old. In some circles I qualify for the senior citizen discount. If you Google "is 55 a senior citizen?", this is the most popular answer (and one I personally like):

Depends on who's asking. many businesses have set 55 as the age to qualify for a senior citizens discount. This does not mean that one is actually "over the hill" so to speak but is a marketing gimmick to draw the business of baby boomers. The official age of a senior citizen of the United States is 65.

I started to write a list of my accomplishments, but it's a pretty short list and I don't really feel like tooting my own horn today (not that there's much to toot about). The only one that's important to me anyway is my weight loss. Sadly, I'm not at goal today which was what I set out to do in January.

This morning I was at 174.2 pounds (down from the 176.6 on Monday). Not great, but it could be worse (it could always be worse). I have reined in my eating somewhat, but not to the level I need to lose weight quickly. Also, because of various reasons (excuses), I only made it to the gym four times last week.

I saw a show on TLC last night, "How I Lost 100 Pounds", which is exactly how much I need to lose. It was somewhat inspirational. They told the story of five people and how they all lost a significant amount of weight (including two with surgery--learned a lot about Lap Band--definitely not for me).

The first couple lost their weight through Weight Watchers, although they never said "Weight Watchers" they did say they were using a Point system that counts calories, fat and fiber. Plus I saw a Weight Watchers food scale they were using (just like the one I own).

The husband lost over 200 pounds and the wife lost 90 pounds. They reminded me of how I was in the beginning, three years ago, maybe even two years or a year ago, still very gung-ho on the weight loss path. They were diligent about weighing and measuring their food, exercising consistently, and have made it a "life change".

I remember the excitement of losing weight, of nearing goal. Then I stagnated for some reason that I've yet to figure out. Boredom? Just plain exhaustion from the constant vigilance it requires? The hard work? Fear of reaching goal?

That last one is just plain stupid. I have no fear of reaching goal, even though it might appear that way since I keep sabotaging myself. I don't harbor any unrealistic fantasies about reaching goal and living happily ever after.

I've been near goal several times in the last year, hitting 151 a few times (goal is 135). It didn't make life all that much sweeter, I just felt better and my clothes fit better. I still had to go to work every day, I still struggled with food, I still had fight arguments with my  husband over stupid stuff, I still had to exercise. Life was still hard, just not as hard as it was at 240 pounds.

Funny, I don't really know where I'm going with this post. I guess I have no point to make. Just that it's my birthday, I'm older than dirt, and I'm still struggling with my weight. At least, for today, I get to do something I love, hiking at Mt. Rainier.

With that final note, I have to get ready, pack our rain gear (darn Pacific Northwest weather), a little food (all healthy stuff), and get the heck out of Dodge (Federal Way, WA)!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Diana's Weight Gain Journey

I was thinking about renaming my blog today, to Diana's Weight Gain Journey. I wondered if anyone would even notice. Since all I'm doing lately is gaining weight it seems like an appropriate name.

It's all Geneen's fault, her stupid idea of eat what you want when you want it Ha! What a preposterous idea. Seriously, it's my own fault. I didn't read past chapter 10, that's where she tells you what to do to lose weight. I purposely didn't read that far because I kind of liked the idea of eating what I wanted.

I went on vacation and stayed with my sister for nine days, in a house full of treats for the grandkids, cookies, candy, and lots of ice cream. She doesn't have a sweet tooth and doesn't touch the stuff herself. Me, well, that's a different story. It triggered something in me that continued after I got home. Add in the stress of going back to work after being off for sixteen days and you have the recipe for a big, fat gain of 10 pounds.

That's right, I'm up to 176.4. Scary territory. After squeezing my big, fat butt into my slim fit size 12 jeans today,  I was miserable. Clothing should not leave it's imprint on your skin. By the end of the day I had a tummy ache, and I know it was from my tight jeans that were cutting off the circulation to my lower half. And yes, I said size 12, the 10's are just hanging in the closet, mocking me.

So what am I going to do? Lose the weight of course. My plan is simple and it involves restriction of my food intake. Smaller quantities of what I've been eating this week, and continue with the workouts but amped it up a bit. I really need to get to the gym at 5am and not at 6am so I can get in 40 minutes of cardio and 40 minutes of weights. My 30/30 plan isn't really enough, especially since I haven't been walking at lunch. I'm adding that back in to my routine and have a lunch walking date already scheduled for tomorrow.

My beloved StairMaster was finally working this morning, after being out of service for two months. I was practically squealing with joy this morning when I saw the pink out-of-order sign was missing from it. It's my favorite piece of cardio equipment and it's where I get my best cardio workout. I thought that was a sign from God that I need to get serious about losing weight.

A lot of people might think I'm on the road to going back up to 240 pounds, but for the first time in my life, I don't think that's going to happen. I started this journey February 2008. I've been under 180 since July 2008 (yes, I lost 60 pounds in the first six months). I've been down to 152 since that time and up as high as 179. I'm pretty sure I can stop this freight train I'm on of gaining weight and shift gears back to what has become my normal. Healthy eating and exercise (and losing weight!).

Besides the tight jeans that made me physically ill today, here's a good visual to help me get my butt in gear 110%. I was looking at some pictures on a friend's Facebook page and stumbled on this picture taken of me at at wedding three years ago. I weighed 240 pounds. That's me in the black dress. I remember how awful I felt, big, fat, hot (that's hot not in a good way, sweaty hot), and ugly. It's not a feeling I want to re-visit. Today's jean fiasco was as close as I want to get to that time in my life.