Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Step 1 -- Casting on for left handers or paying attention to details

After a rough start, the knitting project is going well. I came to the realization that I actually don't know how to knit. I've never knitted anything except for a few scarves and potholders, mostly when I was a kid. I tried to knit a pair of mittens a few years ago but the mitten was made for extraordinarily long hands (about two inches longer than my own hand).

My mother was very talented, she knitted sweaters, gloves, mittens, and hats. She tried to teach me but I didn't have much interest back then (about 40+ years ago...I think I was 11 or 12 at the time).

When I started my current knitting project, a simple scarf made out of this cool yarn, I had some problems.

The first step to any knitting project is casting on for the first row of stitches. For the life of me I couldn't remember how to start. I had a beginners book in my big box of yarn so I pulled it out and read this:

I still couldn't figure it out. I couldn't get that first loop to work. It seemed odd, kind of backwards to me. I finally faked it by tying the yarn around the needle and casting on the first row. From there it was easy, just a simple knit stitch, which I remembered how to do.

This morning I looked at the book again. The directions, as you can see from above says "Step 1 - casting on for left handers". Aha! I'm NOT left handed, I'm right handed! No wonder it seemed backwards to me. The right hander instructions were on the next page.

So what does this has to do with weight loss? Not paying attention to details has been my downfall lately. By lately I mean the past year.

I had a lot of weight to lose when I started February 2008. 100 pounds. The first 60 pounds were easy to lose. Then I lost my focus. I lost another 20pounds but it was a struggle. Then I gained back the 20 pounds, then I lost it again. Then I gained it, which is where I sit now.

My problem is my lack of attention to detail. I only track a few days a week. I don't always weigh and measure my food. I don't stay within my allowed Points. In other words, I'm wasting my time.

The real way to lose weight is to cut back on eating. Exercise is good for you but it won't make you lose weight. When you read how much you'd have to exercise to work off the calories of a single M&M you'll realize that you're not exercising to lose weight. It's one to two minutes of exercise to work off one M&M. Yes, exercise is good for your heart, your muscles, your bones, but it's not really a weight loss technique.

I'm living proof that it takes more than exercise to lose weight. I'm faithful to my workouts but I don't cut back on my eating. I don't eat junk, I eat healthy, nutritious food, but I eat too much.

Based on my new revelation (okay, it's not really new...I knew I was slacking), I'm changing my goals for the week to just two basic goals. Track my Points and stay within my limit. I've been making this a lot harder than it has to be.

Here's something I don't post very often. Me post workout today, where I was a sweaty mess.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Time to stop floating and get grounded

From Saturday's bike ride:
I wish my legs were this long and skinny!

Beautiful Mt. Rainier. Saturday was a perfect day.

I woke up in a foul mood this morning. I had the words of a two-year old I know going through my head "I don't wanna!". I really just wanted to turn off the alarm, roll over, pull the covers over my head and forget all my responsibilities in life.

Of course, I'm not two, I'm fifty-five. I learned a long time ago that some things in life just aren't optional. Like going to work. If I want a place to live and food to eat, I have to go to work.

Exercise and eating healthy are optional. As much as I'd like to claim these things are NOT optional, in reality, they are a choice. We can choose to be a couch potato and eat crap, or we can make our best effort to do what's right for our bodies.

In high school my best friend's dad would always tell us, "the hard way is the easy way and the easy way is the hard way". At the time he meant if my we chose not to go to college, in the short run it would seem easy, but in the long run, that was really the hard way".

I've thought of that philosophy hundreds of times over the years and how it applies to weight loss. In the short run it would be easy to never exercise and to just eat whatever the hell I wanted. In the long run that would most likely cause a multitude of possible health issues as well as greatly reduce my quality of life.

Which leads me to the purpose of this post, it's really time for me to stop floating along, staying the same weight. I looked at my calendar this morning and my weight on August 1 was exactly my weight today. In almost two months I haven't lost an ounce. That is seriously a sad state of affairs.

I love reading about people setting weekly goals for themselves, and especially when they report a week later on how they did. Monday is a perfect goal setting day, because after all, all "diets" start on Monday.

Goal #1
Exercise six days a week.

Normally, this wouldn't be much of a challenge for me since that's my normal, but the last month my job has really messed up my workouts. After a 12-14 hour workday, getting to the gym or even a walk was more than I could manage on some days. My average turned into 3-4 times a week.

Goal #2
Attend a Weight Watcher meeting.

I've been terrible at attending meetings lately. I don't have an excuse other than, well, I don't really have an excuse. I just need to do this. It's one hour out of my week. Why is that so difficult?

Goal #3 
Drink water

This is really sort of pathetic to admit, but I've completely stopped drinking water at work. The reason was that I didn't want to take time to go to the bathroom. It makes me crazy that I did this, but things are back to normal at work, and it's time to get back to the water guzzling.

Goal #4
Count Points.

Not even stay within my Points, which would be mighty nice, but just count them, even three times a week (every day preferred, but I have to start small).

Goal #5
Knit a scarf.

It's not weight loss related, but I need to stop being so obsessed by weight loss. I use to do crafty stuff all the time. It's time to get back into something that has nothing to do with weight loss.

Goal #6
Read a book.

I can't remember the last non-weight loss or non-exercise book I read. I have about a dozen fun books on my nightstand. I miss reading and want to get back to it. It use to be one of my favorite things to do. Now it's all about the gym and the food. B-o-r-i-n-g.

I'll report next Monday how the week goes with my goals. Wish me luck. Lord knows I'm going to need it!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Returning to sanity

The last three weeks have wiped me out, mentally and physically. I almost feel like I'm in vegetative state. I feel like if I never moved from this couch for the rest of my life, I would be happy.

I'm thrilled that I'm not working this weekend, which is the first free weekend I had in four weeks. Thursday I worked almost non-stop from 9am until 4am in the morning. Thankfully these type of hours are rare, but when they happen, they're a killer.

Today I've recommitted myself to tracking my food online. I don't know why I make such a big deal about it. It's not difficult, and it only takes a few minutes. By seeing all the food I've eaten in the tracker, it makes me realize I'm not starving to death. My head may be telling me something different, but the tracker tells me something else. I realize I've had plenty to eat. It also helps keep me very aware of whether I'm following the healthy eight eating guidelines, something I've been struggling with lately.

Even though I haven't gone too far off track in my eating, I haven't been getting all the requirements of a healthy diet. Vegetables? Dairy? Healthy oils? No. No. No.

It's been more of a grab whatever is quick and easy. I even went to Jack in the Box a couple nights ago, the first time in at least three years.. My coworker and I were still at the office at 10pm and hadn't eaten since lunch. I got one of their grilled chicken salads, which was just awful.

After I choked down the salad with it's awful low-cal balsamic vinaigrette and two ounces of chicken that tasted weird, I ate some cookies that were in the office (five to be exact). I never eat cookies. I can't even remember the last time I had a cookie before last Thursday. I felt like I was really splurging and being bad.

Sadly they had Macadamia nuts in them. I'm allergic to Macadamia nuts. Wouldn't you know it, I decide to have a couple cookies and they made me so sick I wanted to die. The nauseousness was unbearable. It resulted in me standing over the toilet thinking I swear I'll never eat another cookie! Of course I will someday, but it's going to be a while and if there are any white chunks of anything in them, no way!

It's gorgeous weather here today in the Seattle area. Sunshine and the thermometer in the sun says 82. I'm getting off this computer and riding my bike to the gym for an hour of strength training. I've skipped the gym Thursday AND Friday. I rarely miss two days in a row, but my body just said no way. Can't and won't do it. I felt like my battery was close to dead, and I couldn't use what little energy I had at the gym or I wouldn't make it through the day.

I kind of feel like I've been to hell and back this past month. I'm really looking forward to eight hour workdays, and weekends off. I feel like I've been let out of jail, and have returned to sanity.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's not a project, it's called life

Another incredibly long day. I think it's been about 16 hours with maybe a half hour break that I've been staring at this computer. My eyeballs feel like burned out sockets.

I managed to get in a good workout this morning and my eating has been great. Mainly because I don't really have time to think much about food. That gives you a clue as to how busy my work has been. Food is always on my mind!

I've been thinking about what I wrote yesterday, Monday. About how I couldn't handle another project right now, referring to my weight loss. The truth is that I can't look at it as a "project". That's been my problem (or part of it) my entire life. If I couldn't give it 100% of my focus I would fail. When I'm 100% on and it's my entire focal point, I'm good. When things, like life, get in my way, that's when I really have problems.

My goal this time during this work stress is to just to get through it the best I can. Get to the gym, even if it's only thirty minutes, which lately there's been a few days that was all I could squeeze into my day. Today it was an hour and a half, which felt great, but thirty minutes is my minimum, an hour is better, and an hour and a half is optimal. Of course, watch my eating. Maybe I can't journal every bite, but I know what to do and what not to do when it comes to food. I'm not new at this game. :)

One of these days, soon I hope, things will be back to normal. Right now, I just have to make the best of it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I've finally hit the wall

It's taken several weeks of long hours and little sleep, but I've finally hit the wall. I'm exhausted beyond words. I feel so tired, like I could sleep for weeks.

I got hit up today with a new requirement for what I've been working on. It's not something I can do in an hour, but will probably take a full day of heads down coding. We go to prod in a week, I wanted to yell, "You've got to be kidding!". Hopefully I live through this period of my life.

I've already decided I'm taking a week off as soon as this misery is over. I need some down time to just unwind at home. I can hardly wait. I want my life back!

Not much else to report. My eating is pretty good, but not perfect. No fast food or sugar, just too much of the good stuff. I'm not gaining weight, but holding steady at 173. That doesn't make me happy but right now I just can't deal with another project in my life.

It's a little after 8:30pm and I'm going to bed. My three hours of sleep last night is catching up with me. I miss the old me. I feel like I've lost myself along the way.

When did I become so boring?

I wanted to post quickly to let everyone know I'm still alive and haven't given up.

Someone told me last week that they read my blog, and it's always either I'm working out or I'm having a bad day at work.

It made me reflect on how sad this little blog has become lately. No insight on life or revelations or thoughts about weight loss. Just work and gym. Gym and work.

I actually had a really fun Saturday this weekend (although I worked 12 hours Sunday...but such is life). We went to a Karala Association of Washington festival. It was their new year celebration. Karala is in India, the Southwestern portion. A coworker of my husband is from Karala and she invited us to attend. A coworker of mine is from a province near Karala so I invited him to go with us.

It was very fun. There was a lunch, made of traditional Indian food, all homemade. We ate on green waxed paper that symbolized bamboo leaves and ate with our fingers. I learned how to use my three fingers and thumb to mush the food together, scoop up a mouthful with my three fingers and then push it into my mouth with my thumb. Very messy but kind of fun.

After the lunch were was a three-hour show of dancing and skits (all skits were spoken in Malayalam, the language of Karala). My friend Naga speaks a different language, but could still translate some of the Malayalam for us.

Luckily most of it was dancing and a fashion show (they used Lady Gaga music for part of the fashion show). The clothing was gorgeous, some traditional Saris and then some modern Indian clothing. The women were all model material. Beautiful. Some of the music was from Bollywood, which is like Hollywood but in Bombay, India (It's called Mumbai but Naga said in India the locals all still call it Bombay and think Mumbai is stupid).

One of the dances was done by teenage girls dancing to Jai Ho (from Slimdog Millionaire - the song at the end of the movie). It was really good. Actually they were all fantastic dancers. Even the little kids did some of the dancing, five and six year olds. They were much better than I could ever dream of being.

It was really fun having Naga with us, especially since we were the only non-Indian people there, among about 300 people. I learned so much about the Indian culture, the Hindu religion, their beliefs and customs. India is very rich culturally, and I loved learning about their way life. It was also very interesting being the minority, but everyone was super nice to us.

These litle girls were just amazing.

Everyone had gorgeous costumes.

These girls were teenagers. I talked to then after the show. They were so beautiful and very talented dancers.

My husband's coworker, Divya and her husband. They were in a really sweet little skit that made everyone laugh.

Naga and myself, and lots of food.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Still standing...sort of

I just logged off my work computer and yes, it's indeed 12:03 a.m. Work is the same as the last time I posted. High stress, long hours. This is just temporary and won't last much longer (and at this rate, I won't last much longer either!).

However, today I seemed to be handling it a whole lot better. I'm not sure why, although I have a theory.

Recently during this highly chaotic time I decided to start decluttering my life. Those Hoarder shows have really bothered me. Like just maybe I could become one of "those" people.

I'm not a collector of anything, at least when you first walk into my house, that's what you'd think. I hate knick knacks. I really like the whole idea of Feng Shui, or actually, just the idea of no clutter. It makes me feel better.

I think as you get older, you realize you've accumulate a whole lot of junk during your life and you don't want anymore junk. In fact, you really want to get rid of the junk you have stockpiled over the years.

Even though I may appear to like clean surfaces and a clutter-free environment, open a closet or some of the drawers around here, and oh my goodness...look what we have here...a secret hoarder! I won't even discuss the garage...definitely the makings for a Hoarder show.

During my decluttering these last couple of weeks I've been finding stuff I didn't even know I owned. One thing was a brand new, unopened New Testament on CDs. I'd never even taken off the cellophane. I opened it up this morning and thought maybe I should listen to it on my way to work.

It's kind of cool because the reading is done with a lot of famous actors (and yes, James Caviezel does the voice of Jesus). It also has sound effect, if there's a storm, there's thunder and lightning. If there's water, you hear water running. It has all sorts of background noises and music.

I started with Matthew this morning and at first I thought oh boy, all these "begets" are b-o-r-i-n-g! But it quickly became interesting and somehow, comforting.

I know I have atheist friends that read this, but honestly, you really should give the Bible a try. It has some great advice on how to live your life.

My new thing is to stop swearing. I'm not sure how this happened but recently I'm swearing like a sailor. Not the f- word, okay, sometimes the f- word. Usually it things like "oh crap!" or "that's crap!" or "what the hell" or "Oh my God!" or "Oh Shit!". It's really gotten out of control.

I work in a business environment. One person I work with is very religious, and I'm sure he's offended by my language. I'm even kind of offended by the words coming out of my mouth.

So I've started my own swear jar. It's not for other people, just for me. I don't really care if other people swear (except the GD phrase...I hate that one...prefer the f- word over that). Other people swearing doesn't bother me, it bothers me most that I swear. My Baptist mother would die if she heard me (if she were alive).

I gathered together the dimes and quarters out of the change jar and decided the quarters are for the f- word, dimes for the "crap" and "shit" and "OMG" words (I have a lot of dimes). Within about thirty seconds of getting my money and jar together, I said "oh crap!' and then "oh shit!" because I had just said said "oh crap!"

See what I mean, it's really bad when I swear because I just said a swear word! It's kind of disgusting if you think about it, and not cute at all for a 55-year old woman to sound like a trucker. Not classy, kind of trashy.

The diet and the exercise (after all, this is a weight loss blog, in case you forgot)
I went to Weight Watchers Saturday, and had a one-pound loss. I should have done better, but I didn't. I'm at 174.8. I could write a whole lot about this, but I won't, not tonight (this morning).

I haven't been to the gym since Saturday. I know...who AM I?! Actually, I kind of hurt myself last Saturday. I pushed myself on the weights, doing concentrated dumbbell curls with 25-pound dumbbells, hammer curls with 20-pounds dumbbells, lat pulldowns with 75 pounds, and three sets of full plank for a minute each. That was just a part of my workout, and I overdid it big time. I was still sore this morning, three days later. I was trying to compete with a 20-year old working next to me. I need to remember...I am not 20. I am 55. I need to act appropriately.

Well, it's off to bed. I have a million things I want to write about, but no time right now. I'm definitely going to the gym in about five hours (ugh!). I'm really missing reading all your blogs. I haven't been taking a lunch break at work lately so I don't even have that time to read. This will all come to a grinding halt in about a week. It's just a little tough right now, and I can hardly wait to have my life back!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Stressed? Me? Maybe just a little.

Does this sound like stress?

I woke up several times last night, thinking about work. Thinking of things I needed to do at work and composing work emails in my head.

I had a nightmare where I was invisible to my husband. He kept calling my name and I was standing right in front of him. I kept saying, "can't you see me?! I'm right here!", as I waved my hands in front of him. He never did see me. I woke up crying.

I went to the gym this morning, worked out for an hour and 15 minutes. Got in my car, drove home, sat in my parked car and had a meltdown. Tears and all. Thinking about work.

I took my shower, but couldn't remember if I put conditioner on my hair, or even if I had shampooed it. I couldn't remember if I had shaved my underarms.

I couldn't remember if I gave my diabetic cat his insulin shot that morning. I pondered about it, but just could not remember. Was that last night or this morning?

As I was driving to work I glanced in the mirror at my hair. I had used hot rollers on it and I had "winglets" (thanks to these crazy layers I have now). I started laughing hysterically at how silly I looked. In my car, by myself.

At about 11am my stomach was rumbling. I suddenly remembered I didn't eat breakfast. I NEVER skip breakfast. It's the highlight of my day. How on earth could I forget breakfast?!

Yes, I'm kind of stressed out these days. I know things will eventually calm down. Things work out one way or another. Somehow. Someday.

I actually wrote the above during my 10-minute lunch break today as I shoveled lukewarm soup in my mouth. I didn't have time to head back to our lunch room and heat it a couple more minutes.

My day actually did get better. Things have a way of working out. I think I've calmed down a little and don't feel as freaked out as I did this morning.

Things aren't fabulous at work, but they're definitely better than the past week.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Diana the grouch

I'm not in a happy place today. I worked 14 hours yesterday, 7:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. Numerous work problems that caused hours of frustration.

We were creating software builds with code written by several developers, including our own code. The code did not play nicely during the builds. My only saving grace was another coworker was there with me for most of it. He has a great sense of humor. So we laughed a lot. Of course we cursed a lot too. Something I don't usually do.

I never made it to the gym yesterday. I barely took bathroom breaks. I don't remember drinking any water, just coffee. My lunch was some homemade soup heated in the microwave and a peach.

Dinner when I got home at 10 p.m. was a Flatout pizza with mushrooms, onions, sundried tomatoes, turkey pepperoni, and 2% cheese which melts really weird. It's like it's dry when it melts. Still really delicious and fairly low Points. I didn't bother figuring it out, but I think it's around 8 Points for the whole thing.

It was a very, very long day.

I am very, very tired today.

After working so many hours I feel sort of numb. I already emailed my work that I'm taking off half of the day and working from home this afternoon.

I have a weird ringing in my ears. I can't figure out what's causing it. Just a humming sound from inside my head. It's very annoying, and it's interrupting my peace and quiet.

If I can get myself moving I'm going to the gym in a few minutes. Although a nap sounds better. A  nap at 9:30 a.m. After sleeping seven hours. I'm just so tired I want to crawl under a rock and stay there forever.

Do I sound kind of crazy today? I feel kind of crazy.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday morning...back to the salt mine

Note:  I'm working today not really because I have to, it actually is a holiday at my company. Technically I do have the day off. However, today is my code complete date for a project I've been working know, the one I've been complaining about so much lately. Alpha testing starts tomorrow with all our testers. I'm just doing some final  unit testing, hoping to get it as bug free as possible. I should have come in Saturday or Sunday instead, but I was too lazy. :)

It's 7am, and I'm in the office today. Alone. It's so quiet, peaceful. I almost wish it was like this every day. I work in a cubicle, with about sixty other people on my floor. We're the epitome of the movie Office Space.

Want to see...

That's my "I don't care what I look like" hair. I'm also wearing workout clothes so I can go the gym later. I'm going to the Bally's in Kent. I've never been there before, but it's about an 11-minute drive. It'll be a nice break to get out of the office for a while during what I think is going to be a grueling day.

Here's what the floor looks like when no one is here:

Here's the view outside the window. There's a tree already turning to it's fall colors. Fall is definitely in the air this morning. Cold. Cloudy. Rainy. Typical Seattle winter weather.

Well, it's to work I go. I hope the rest of the world is enjoying the holiday. Funny, Labor Day, and I'll be laboring away!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

5/10ths of a pound a week

5/10ths of a pound

.5 pounds

8 ounces

1/2 pound

two cubes of butter

...per week

...for 124 weeks

...equals 62.4 pounds.

Starting weight 2/9/2010: 239.2

Current weight 9/4/2010:  175.6

If you had told me two years and seven months ago that I was going to lose .5 pounds per week, I would have run screaming from the room. I would have said NO WAY! That's too slow! I can't wait THAT long to get to goal. Why, at that rate it'll take me...doing the math quickly in my head--I want to lose 100 pounds at .5 pounds per week is 200 weeks or almost four freaking years!

Um, no thank you. I'll figure out a faster way to get to goal. Surgery? Jenny Craig...again? Nutri-System...again? Cut calories to 800 a day...again? MediFast? There has to be a FASTER way!!!

I use to read people's blogs where they would lament about being a slow loser, posting week after week a loss of 1/2 a pound or a pound. I'd feel sorry for them and be thankful it wasn't me. I could easily drop 2-3 pounds a week.

Yet here I sit, two years and seven months later still forty pounds from goal

My goal is still 135 pounds. It's always been my goal, and most likely, will always be my goal. I may modify it as I get closer. I have that whole age thing working against me, wrinkles and stuff. People told me I looked haggard when I was 152 about a year ago. Yes, my friends are brutally honest. I like to think it was just lack of sleep, not the fact that I'm 55 years old.

Will it take me 78 weeks to get to goal? God, I hope not! If it does, that's okay. This isn't a race, I'm in it for the long haul.

I could look at it a different way too. Considering I gained 13 pounds in 13 weeks when I was actually trying to lose weight, I'm sure I could gain 78 pounds in 78 weeks. Don't laugh, sadly I've done it before, but I certainly don't intend to do it again.

As we say at work, it is what it is. I intend to make it work this time. To really buckle down, cut back on the eating, gain control again. I have one day under my belt. It feels good, although I am a little hungry, but in the weight loss world, hunger is a good thing.

New blogger on the block - Tanya

I love new bloggers. The ones that are just starting out, trying to find their way. Everything is new and fresh to them. They're excited about losing weight. You can feel their enthusiasm.

I love reading about their successes, as well as their struggles. I love cheering them on when they face the inevitable obstacles or when they have questions or self-doubt. I love being their cheerleader.

What always surprises me is how much I can learn from them. They're discovering things I forgot about. I've been doing this "thing" for a long time, and I've come to think that I know it all. Then I'll read a little tidbit that a newbie writes and go "whoa! I forgot about that!". Or "oh yeah, they're right!".

I'd like to introduce a new blogger friend I found over the weekend. She posted a sweet, encouraging comment on my Saturday post. I checked out her blog, and I'm her first follower. She needs a few more people to support her on her journey.

I introduce to you:
                                            Tanya's Weight Loss Journey

Funny name for a blog. :) Drop in and visit her, leave a comment, and welcome her to our world.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Today is the day I...

1. Today is the day I went back to Weight Watchers, after a three-month absence.

2. Today is the day I faced the Weight Watcher's scale and a 13-pound weight gain in three months.

3. Today is the day I acknowledged my weight is 175.8.

4. Today is the day I get serious about my health and losing weight.

5. Today is the day I start counting Points, again.

6. Today is the day I get back to tracking my food online.

7. Today is the day I follow the healthy eight eating guidelines on the Weight Watcher plan.

8. Today is the day I stop beating myself up for screwing around for the last eight months.

9. Today is the day I pat myself on the back for not gaining everything back, plus some. I acknowledge I still have a loss of 63 pounds. That's a good thing.

10. Today is the day I love myself just the way I am right now, and not wait until I weigh [fill in the blank] pounds. I forgive myself.

Here's the official weigh-in:

Usually I reward myself with a gift after I have a weight loss. I'll set a goal, and if I make it, I buy something for myself.

Today I bought something for myself just because I went back to Weight Watchers. I'd been telling myself for weeks that I needed to at least get back down to where I was back in June (162.8), when I stopped going to the meetings. I know that logic was really stupid, but it's what I've been telling myself.

It's a leather eggplant (purple) Junior Drake purse. It's a lot prettier (and softer) in person. And it was on sale!


I bought this clicker thing at Weight Watchers to keep track of Points. I know there will be days when I just can't bear to track my food online. On those days, I'm going to use this clicker.

Here's my workout from today. I write down my workout every day (silly I guess, but I've been doing it two years).

Well, I started writing this several hours ago. It's 9:30pm and time for bed. I need to eat something before bed because I've only had 16 Points today. Something around five Points should do it. So far, so good. :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

If you see me dancing...

If you see me dancing on the cross ramp or the elliptical or the StairMaster, please do not call the paddy wagon! In spite of how it might look, I have not gone crazy. I've just figured out how to have fun while doing my cardio (that you all know I hate so much).

I finally feel like I have a handle on my workouts again. I was in a dark place for the last couple of months when it came to exercising, especially the cardio part. I know I have to do it, not just for weight loss but for my heart. Without my heart in good, working order I most likely won't live to a ripe old age. Since I'm already 55, I'd like to get at least a few more years out of this old body.

My tips....

1. BAD ATTITUDE - Lose the bad attitude. It's not going to do you one bit of good to be all grumpy faced about exercising. In fact, if you begrudging exercise day after day, hating every minute of it, one day you will probably say..."to hell with this, I'm not doing it anymore!" I know because recently I was starting to think along those lines. It wasn't that I was hating every minute of it, just the first 15 minutes and the last 15 minutes of my 30-minute cardio workouts. :)

2.  THE DREADED ASSISTED CARE - A friend asked me earlier this week why I go to the gym so much. Obviously I want to lose weight, but really, eating less is more conducive to weight loss than hours of exercising. I told her I wanted to live a long, healthy life, and I was really looking forward to my retirement.

My friend's response was, "so you die five years earlier, at least you don't have all that pain of exercising".  My response, I don't really mind the dying part so much, it's the not dying. It's the stroke or the heart attack or the diabetes, being in a wheelchair and having someone take care of me. Have you ever been to an assisted home? Those are the real reasons I exercise. Sure, there's no guarantees in this life, those things could still happen to me, but at least I'll know I gave it my best effort to make sure it doesn't happen.

3. MUSIC - You must have great music to get the most out of your workout. This is the one thing that has helped me immensely during the last three years of consistent, regular exercise. I've gone through three iPods in three years (sweat will destroy an iPod, just for the record). Every month I download new songs for my iPod. I personally like top forty stuff, which my husband says is "crap". Well, maybe it is, but if it helps me get my heart rate up to 144 (resting pulse is 49), then I'll do whatever it takes. My current favorite workout tune....Animal by Neon Trees. In fact, here's my current playlist...

4. FUN - Try to have fun. I mean, really have fun with it. Life is short, there's no time to be miserable. Lately I've started sort of dancing on the cardio machines. On the StairMaster I do the stairs to my music. Same with the cross ramp, it's actually easier on the cross ramp. You can really rock out on that thing. Don't worry about what other people think. They'll probably be thinking you're nuts or wonder what on earth you are doing or maybe, they just might think, she looks like she's having fun exercising...yup, she's crazy!

5. SMILE - IT WON'T KILL YOU - If you're at the gym, please do not walk around staring at the floor. I've seen the same people at the gym for three years. I say hello or good morning to everyone, if they bother to make eye contact. I realize some people are shy and perhaps it's their culture to not make eye contact, but honestly, a little hello and a smile never hurt anyone. I'm just sayin', if you act like you're miserable, most likely you're going to be miserable. It's tough enough to get your butt to the gym in the first place, don't make it an unpleasant experience. Try to enjoy it. Who knows, you might actually like it if you stop dreading it so much.

6. THE FIVE-MINUTE RULE - One last tip, one I've used several times the last three years. Sometimes when that alarm goes off at 4:40 a.m. I think to myself, I just can't do this. I'm tired, my knee hurts, my head hurts, I'm freaking old, I shouldn't have to do this. Or, I don't want to do this. When I feel like this I follow my five-minute rule.

The rule is this: get up, get dressed in my workout clothes, get in my car, drive to the gym, get on a piece of cardio equipment, my choice (it's a wildcard day - I give myself this when I feel lousy - my exercise of choice). Five minutes. Just do five minutes of exercise. If I hate it so much that I think I'm really going to die, go home. In three years I've only gone home once. It's the getting there that's the hard part.

#4 is my favorite and something I've really started doing recently. I know I look kind of funny, but it's so much more fun to bounce around and dance to the music.  I love it! Me and Neon Trees. :)

Random Thoughts Wednesday

I've seen other people do this, post their random thoughts. Since my head is constantly full of random thoughts, I thought it would be fun (well, fun for me at least), to jot down some of those thoughts.

1. I can't buy a package of vanilla and strawberry Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches and eat just one. I ate six last Sunday night. 840 calories. name is Diana, and I am a food addict. By the way, have you ever seen a "skinny" cow?

2. Fitness magazine claims working out can make you hungry, which in turn can make you fat. Really? I already knew that, but exercise isn't optional. Their suggestion is to eat more whole foods, a balance of carbs and proteins, with healthy fats and fiber. Not exactly newsworthy, and I paid $3.50 for the magazine.

3. That $3.50 did buy me some other advice that I've known for years but have chosen to ignore. Until yesterday. The experts say you should eat something small before a workout. That you shouldn't workout on an empty stomach. I actually ate a small piece of fruit BEFORE I worked out yesterday. It did wonders for my workout. I had tons of energy. Or was that just my mind playing tricks on me? The jury is still out.

4. I worked out twice yesterday. Cardio in the morning and weights at lunch. I even added Jumping Jacks in between my sets (50 at a time in 45 seconds), which really burned the calories. The only down side, two sets of dirty workout clothes in one day. I would have worn the morning clothes again at noon (I know, totally gross), but they were still wet with sweat. Ick!

5. I'm still thinking about Alicia's essay that I posted yesterday. I wonder how a 12-year old could be so smart. I'm 55 and have never been that introspective. Her middle name was Angel. That made me smile and cry at the same time. If you missed the post (I posted it late yesterday), you really should go read it. I think it's my best post ever...and I didn't even write it.

6. I made Lyn's cabbage soup yesterday, with a few modifications. I didn't have any cabbage on hand so I used Brussels sprouts (one package chopped), Rotel canned tomatoes (I like a little heat in my soup), one chopped red pepper, six chopped baby Portabellas, 1/4 chopped onion, organic chicken broth and a five-ounce chicken breast. It was delicious! Especially because it was a cold, rainy day (stupid Seattle - it's not suppose to be winter yet!).

7. I worked from home today and wore my pajamas all day. After my workouts, I took a quick shower and put my jamies back on. I let my hair dry naturally (a fuzzy, frizzy, wavy mess), and no makeup. I loved it. Plus it added at least an hour of extra time to my day (hence the extra workout).

8. I know I've said this before but I really detest evening workouts. I feel like a rat in a cage with all those people. I don't do well with groups of people, and when the gym is packed, I'm not a happy girl. Monday night at 6pm was the worst. I need to remember this at 5am when the alarm goes off.

9. I haven't worn nail polish for almost two weeks. At first it felt like freedom, not worrying chipped polish or putting my hands in hot soapy water. Now it just feels like I'm not properly groomed. I've worn polish my entire adult life. My fingers feel naked. I don't feel "girly". I don't like it. A manicure is in my near future.

10. I decided to post a random picture. I have hundreds if not thousands of pictures on my backup hard drive. I picked this one. Randomly. To go with random Wednesday.

October 2008. Almost two years ago. My weight, 170.8. Three pounds less than I weighed this morning. Funny thing. I thought I looked skinny then. In fact, looking at it now, I don't think I look like a fat pig at all. So why do I feel like a fat pig now? I wonder.

Is it Friday yet?