Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Trip Down Memory Lane . . .

College '94 @ 220 lbs.

When I entered college in 1992, I weighed in at 225 lbs.  Growing up with my Mom, I was on a perpetual diet, but she didn't allow for exercise and athletic activities when I was growing up in NYC.  When I entered college, I had no idea about dieting and burning fat through exercise.  I socially exercised because I went with my friends to the gym.  It was the thing to do.  

I didn't really put an effort into losing weight until one night after my sophomore year when a good friend of mine hit on a guy I had a crush on, and he hit back.  I was devastated.  And I knew that no matter "how pretty" I was, the weight was a hindrance.  So I set on a path of diet and exercise in 1994.  I went on a vegetarian diet from May to September (aahhh, youth) with eating more fruits and vegetables, and exercise.  I would exercise everyday; sometimes twice a day.  And it didn't matter what time of day or night, I got a workout in.

After weightloss

The result was going down from a size 20 dress size to a size 10.  I lost 75 lbs.  It was an incredible day when I went to the store and had to keep going down jean sizes.  It was even more incredible when the friend that always got hit on wasn't getting hit on so much when I was around.  It was sweet comeuppance. 

Modeling for the YMCA in Boston.

I even did a bit of modeling for the local YMCA where I worked as a membership sales rep. I continued to exercise and maintain that weight loss for many years; even after moving in with my first ever boyfriend, now husband.  I loved being fit and slim.  These were happier times for me.  I was confident and sure of myself.  I made a ton of friends because I had a sunnier disposition.  Sometime over the years the weight began to creep up.  I have a pretty good idea how and when.  The "when" came when I started law school.  I placed more importance on studies than I did the exercise and eating right.  The stress of proving myself caused me to eat more bowls of cereal in one sitting; it could've fed a village.  The "how" was not exercising as often as I should have.  I didn't take the time to walk or lift weights.  I then got married and started having my babies.  I forgot how to get myself back to what is best for me.

I am hoping that I can once again achieve that weight loss, and make it permanent.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fitness Friday . . . Mr. Linky


Minnesota Mami from Making Me Over, proposed a wonderful idea. In a comment, she stated that we should take pictures of ourselves doing Yoga and post them on a Mr. Linky. Phenomenal idea!

I am going to expand on that. I propose that we put a Mr. Linky for Fitness Fridays. Put a link to a picture of you during or after exercise; whatever date that you did a workout. Put a description of what you are doing or what you did and how you feel in the description of your picture--whether that is your blog or online photo storage. And encourage others to post and share their picture on Mr. Linky too.  I love seeing what everybody is doing. Exercisers come in all shapes and sizes; let's motivate each other. 

When I first started blogging about my journey to health and fitness, I was hesitant to take a picture of myself in general, much less in a sports bra, snug capri pants, busting a Yoga move, but I did it.  And the comments that I've received have encouraged and motivated me to continue on my path.

With an $18 remote, I have the ability to snap a picture of myself while I am exercising.  If you don't have someone to assist in taking a pic of yourself, you can take a great picture of yourself on your camera's timer.  Check your manual for directions if you don't know how.  Set it down on a table, a stack of books, or the floor, and click away. Many people have mastered the art of taking a pic before a mirror.  I never have, so that is entirely acceptable.  Just remember to describe the workout and how you are feeling.  And be honest.  If it sucked . . . it sucked.  If it was a great workout, then tell us so. 

Here I am doing a plank.  That is the most heinous move for me in both Yoga and Jillian Michael's workouts.  Plank requires upper body strength and major core strength.  For Yoga, The arms are tucked into the body and under the shoulders.  For Jillian workouts, the arms can be either tucked into the body or shoulder width apart and angled outside of the body for a pushup.  After 3 babies and being obese for such a long time, it is hard to keep plank, but I try and I push myself each time.  I felt really strong here.  I'd just finished 3 miles on the treadmill.  I had to push myself the whole time because I just wasn't mentally capable of doing 3 miles.  I'd done so twice in the last week, but this was hard.  I did it, and I felt strong enough to do some stretches and Yoga moves. 

So what say you? Will you join me?  Show me and the healthy living world what you're doing?  And don't forget to come back every week and show yourself and your workout. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dealing with Stress . . .


Since going back to work last May, I've been dealing with how to balance mothering 3 children, being a wife to one busy,  traveling husband, developing my career, and maintaining my home.  I gave up a lot of things in order to prioritize it all, such as my crafts and craft blogging, photography has taken a back step, and the organization of the house has seen better days.  

Now I am dealing with all those stressors and have added new ones: autism spectrum diagnosis for my boy and special ed observations in Kindergarten requiring my attending meetings and therapy with him while still having to put in time at work; possible surgery for my boy to remove his tonsils and adenoids so he can breath at night and get a good night's rest; braces for my oldest because a tooth has no room to poke through; planning summer programs (applications with deadlines are due) which may mean moving Baby from beloved daycare to where older two go to afterschool and potentially summer camp (that will relieve a big part of my stress); birthday party planning; planning my summer teaching program that is quite intensive; hubby wanting to take vacation when there is no time or money to do so; and most stress of all--the landlady planning to raise rent again when she just did so when we renewed last year, and not having any money to buy a house or rent a more reasonably priced home by June 31 of this year.  Aaaarrrrggghhhh!

I am wracked with stress; and I am seeing it on my face with the adult acne that pops up to declare to the world that I am out of balance.  I think I am doing my best to manage it and trying not to overeat, nor eat junk foods  However, I did have a sugary latte yesterday, but no fruit juices.  I vow to only allow one latte, if any, per week.  Okay, none for now because caffeine + stress = crazy mama.

So I've been thinking of ways to relieve stress.  I think finding a Yoga class when hubby is home would be the ticket.  I also want to do another cycling class.  I feel that I should take a day off from work to accomplish tasks that are driving me batty at home: like the home office that needs organizing; or starting my spring cleaning by getting rid of all the junk in the house; working on the wood furniture that I want to refinish so I can decorate my Master.  I just feel I need some time, but don't know how to get it when I am over-committed.

Exercise tonight will help: walking on the treadmill and Yoga.  Thank you Yoga for keeping me sane.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A drop in the bucket . . .

Frozen Drops

Even after buying a new scale, I didn't get the result that I wanted.  This fancy scale with all the bells and whistles gives me a picture of what is going on inside, but it isn't coinciding with how I physically feel.  And the fact that the scale hasn't moved is starting to make me feel bad, which it shouldn't.  I am going to use the best go-to reason for gaining weight while eating well and exercising . . . "muscle weighs more than fat".  Honestly, the weight gain brought on by muscle is miniscule, unless I am actually benching and squatting hundreds of pounds and have a clean diet made mostly of protein and minimal complex carbs, and taking supplements galore.  

I know better. Therefore, I am planning on ceasing weight checks on the scale. I don't want the "numbers" to distract me from the good work I put in at 5 a.m. every morning.  And last night, I did 30 minutes of Yoga when I'd already put in strength and conditioning with a DVD in the a.m.  That scale can't tell my sore hamstrings, from running 3 miles on the treadmill at 5 a.m., that I am not on the right track.  The scale can't tell my upper body that I am not getting strong enough to hold the planks while doing Yoga and during the torture that is a Jillian Michael's workout. 

From today on (and at least for a week), I will continue to focus on how I feel, and hope that along the way I do get to that "magical" number of 199 that I've been so aching for . . . and eventually to the 150 lbs that my body truly is desperate for.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Menu Planning . . .

Yellow Week: Saturday
Making healthy meals isn't an easy task for anyone.  And I am finding it even more difficult as a working mother.  I haven't even had time to do menu planning, which is such a simple task that saves so much time and anxiety.  I am hoping to get back to the task.  I use this book, Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely, for some quick recipes for chicken because chicken has become the go-to protein.  While this book can be used as a weekly guide per season, I prefer to pick a recipe for the day.  There are many things that I know my children will not eat.  I have a few standbys that I have memorized and improvise, like caramelized garlic chicken.  Additionally, I will use a chicken or fish recipe to marinade pork, which she doesn't use in her recipes. 

Soy-Orange Chicken

I decided to make soy-orange chicken last night.  I used soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, orange marmelade with salt and pepper to taste.  I put it in an iron skillet and cooked in the oven at 350 degrees.  It cooked in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes depends on the size of the chicken.  These were small chicken tenderloins so they cook much faster. 

Cooked chicken

I love cast iron because it heats so wonderfully and retains the heat for such a good length of time.  I could have my entire cookware be cast iron and be a very happy Mama.  One of my wish lists is to buy a range (when I buy my own house) with a bridge for my cast iron grill/griddle that is peeking in the picture.  I love that thing for eggs, pancakes, steaks, even toasting bread with butter, which I can't have anymore.  *sigh*

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Morning Workout . . .


I got up early this morning and did a T5K.  That is 3.1 miles on the treadmill.  It was still a challenge, but not as much as actually running in the snow, slush, grit and grime, wind, cold, and hills.  I then did a tiny bit of yoga moves to stretch the muscles that burned on mile 2.5.  The right knee started to ache.  The left ankle twinged with some discomfort.  But I pushed myself.  I even sprinted to the "finish line" after hitting mile 3.  I am proud.

Now, I must confess that I got on the scale and nothing good happened.  No weight loss.  I kept moving the scale around the tile flooring of my bathroom and got many different readings around 1 to 2 lbs difference.  I am thinking it is time for a new scale because I actually changed the battery 2 months ago.  I do weigh in everyday, but Saturday is supposed to be my "official weigh in" day (there are varying opinions on this practice).  I was a bit disappointed.  I woke up and felt so much slimmer and stronger.  I put in great efforts this week to workout 5 times; my goal is actually everyday, but I accept and commend 5 days.  I had really well balanced and low cal meals and portions.  And nada!  *sigh*

I am not going to let myself feel down about the fact that I may not have lost a pound. I will check out the scales at my local Target--I have one in mind that I read about at Jewelia Goulia.  I also need some slacks for work.  You know it is time for a new pair of slacks when you can pull down your fully buttoned, non elastic trousers over your hips to go to the bathroom.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

No Race for February?

Madison, Sunny Day

Because of my back pain last weekend, I didn't do my scheduled 5K.  I thought I would do a 5K on Feb 20, which starts at the State Capital.  But with hubby traveling, I am not certain that I want to sacrifice the kid's activities on Saturday.  I usually take my son to Karate in the morning, followed by my daughter's Broadway Musical Theater program.  Both of those programs are so important for them that I don't want to have them miss it by hiring a babysitter. 

I feel like I am making excuses, but Karate is a type of therapy that I am utilizing for my son.  And the Broadway musical is once a week and for as much as this girl sings around the house, how can I take that away from her?

I feel guilt.  Tons of guilt, but not doing this race on Saturday will not stop me from racing in March, and beyond.  I also have plans on doing an 8K. But fear not.  I am waking up Saturday at 5 a.m. and doing a T5K.  What's that?  Its a Treadmill 5K.  I run 3.1 miles on the treadmill with inclines and such to simulate a race, but with no wind, cold, snow, rain, etc.  Hey, I can even stay in just my sports bra and short shorts.

I may just bite the bullet and drive a ways for another 5K next weekend.  We shall see.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dairy-free "ice cream"

non dairy chocolate ice cream

I went dairy free when I connected my stomach issues with my drinking milk or eating any type of dairy. I have asthma and am on 2 medications to keep me symptom free, but I would start wheezing when I ate milk chocolate. My doctor diagnosed me with IBS after doing a series of blood tests for celiac and thyroid.  These tests came back negative, but a Lactose test was never done.  Once I gave up dairy, I no longer seek out bathrooms within a 1 yard radius and I no longer have the painful gas.

I switched to almond milk or rice milk, whichever is on sale. It is so much better for me. I went a little overboard with the Soy Lattes with 7 sugars, but I've successfully rehabbed myself from drinking them.  I quit cold turkey when I noticed a bit of weight gain

And while I don't miss dairy as part of my daily diet, I would like to have a treat every now and then . . . like ice cream.

I love smoothies too. So I figured I could make "ice cream" in my old, powerful blender that I've owned since I was 13 (about 22 years). No need for a Vita Mix at this point.  However, I want one.  I really . . . really . . . REALLY want one.

What I mixed:
  • 1 frozen ripe banana (the ones you don't want to throw away but look too yucky to eat).
  • 2/3 c. (cold) almond milk
  • 2 tbsp almond butter (cold); I keep mine in the fridge.
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
Mix until smooth. This will be a thick mixture that I put in a small storage container and put in the freezer. In a couple of hours, by dinner time, it is ready to scoop for dessert.

Yum, chocolatey!  And then I discovered Purely Decadent and haven't made this since. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sick Day . . .

ruby red grapefruit

I had to leave work early yesterday because my older two kids got sick at school.  Once the nurse calls to pick up, you can't bring them back for 24 hours until their symptoms have stopped.  I stayed home with all three today because we are not leaving this house.  And while it is a day off from my out-of-the-house job, there is no day off from cleaning, laundry, and cooking. 

I hadn't gone to the supermarket to shop.  I have food for dinner, but not snacks, treats, or even breakfast meals.  But I'd purchased a ruby red grapefruit for my snack yesterday.  I had it today with my english muffin with almond butter and fruit preserves for breakfast.  However, the baby saw me eating the grapefruit and "demanded" that I share.  She wouldn't stop grunting and pointing until I did.  And she ate half.  Imagine a 15 month old eating ruby red grapefruit.  I am so thankful that my girls (not my boy) are gastronomically adventurous. 

Lunch today will be left over squash that I'd cut into rectangular pieces, roasted with a bit of olive oil, apple syrup, cinnamon, and a touch of brown sugar; a piece of short rib; and spinach.

I haven't considered the entire dinner, but it will be caramelized garlic chicken.  Maybe with roasted sweet potatoes, and green beans.  So many options; and I am trying to make them healthy.

Monday, February 15, 2010


October 20

I know I've said it before: I am going to do better with exercise, and I will eat better.  However, this time I am serious.  

I woke up at 4:47 a.m. to go to the bathroom, and realized that my alarm would ring at 4:50 a.m. so it made sense to turn off the alarm, go to the bathroom with my workout clothes already picked out and waiting.  I got dressed.  Went downstairs and popped in the DVD, and proceeded to do No More Trouble Zones with 3 lb weights.  That was 55 minutes of pure *heck*.  But I did it.  I finished it, and I am on my way to exercising everyday.  

My original goal in this journey to good health was to be active everyday.  Somewhere along the journey, I took a detour and had to find my way back.  I know that I am strong and fit.  I can do this.  I also have to keep fit for the Races that I plan to do this year.  I hadn't been training on or off of the treadmill, as I should.  I am hoping that when the weather is warmer and we've thawed that I can go outside to run in the early mornings.  I am looking into getting a GPS watch so I can track my training. 

I also packed my snacks and lunch for today.  I have my energy bars stashed at work for when I can't get to my meals in time, like today when I will have back to back meetings and court.  Crazy day.  

Tonight, I will rejoice in the fact that I can just go to bed after the kids do, and do this all over again in the morning.  Yay, me!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Friday Workout . . .


It isn't easy taking a picture of myself every week to see progress; any progress.  And I noticed that this is my go-to workout wear.  Turquoise soccer shorts rolled to be less big and navy sports bra.  But that back shot isn't so flattering.  It is what it is. 

My workout plan for the week is set.  I start today with being consistent.  As far as the eating . . . I am thinking I should join weight watchers.  I like the community support.  I enjoy meetings.  But time is a problem.  Having 3 children to take to meetings at times is a problem.  One bright spot, I get reimbursed by my health insurance.  If that isn't a good enough reason, then I don't know what is.  I will have to wait till March's pay period to do so.  In the meantime, I plan on making changes to the diet. 

However, I plan on making short ribs with polenta (no butter) tonight.  So any changes will have to wait until tomorrow.  Yum!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Deprived . . .


I must admit that there are days when I feel so deprived and I curse the Fat Gods with making me struggle with obesity and intolerances for all my life.  I want to eat.  I want to eat everything.  I don't want to gorge . . . but I don't want to have to count every single thing that I put in my mouth.  I don't want to decline the offer of a well intentioned co-worker or student that "I can't have that piece of chocolate cookie that you lovingly baked because my fat rear needs to lose weight so I can get into size 10 jeans and feel happy and fulfilled, meanwhile I am miserable and deflated because 'life is short' and I should enjoy that damn cookie."

While I don't really miss that pizza up there because I am lactose intolerant, I do wish I could have authentic pesto with parmesian on some nice linguini with shrimp.  And "no" the linguini with shrimp wouldn't be the same without the parmesian-pesto--and on occasion, a lobster ravioli with extra cream sauce. 

And finally, I want to have white rice.  A boat load of white rice.  But that darn Dr. Oz and Oprah freaked me out about the effects of eating too much "white" stuff because of its connection to Diabetes.  Let me just say that white rice has been the staple of billions of inhabitants on this planet who've not suffered from Diabetes.  I love that little grain, and its deliciousness has been forever sullied. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Eyes are Watching . . .

Lake Mendota, Madison WI

Ever since I started this blog, I've been under the awareness that what I write is set in stone.  I am starting to feel like I am writing all of my feelings, making all these claims, but not living up to what I set out to do way-back-when.

I used to get up at 5 a.m. and put in a rigorous exercise routine about 5-6 times a week.  Over the last few months, those days have been getting smaller.  To the point where I've only exercised once a week.  When I wanted to get back to my normal routine, this "phantom" pain set in.  After a full day yesterday, the pain is gone.  A good night's rest last night, and I woke up at 5 a.m. and got onto the treadmill for a 45 minute walk.  I feel invigorated.  I feel renewed and recommitted.  However, I am also aware that I am writing off the endorphin high that came along with that workout.

From today on, I will be getting up at 5 a.m. everyday to do an exercise routine to start my day.  And I am even talking about Saturday and Sunday.  Crazy pants?  Yes, I agree.  But I am no where nearing my goal of losing 5 lbs this month.  I've actually gained.  So crazy pants ideas will have to do.  And I know that you will be watching me and rooting for my progress. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Feeling better . . .

Zoo Flower

I have taken a few days off to recoup from the awful pain in my back.  I went to Urgent Care on Monday.  I couldn't take it anymore.  They sent me for a CT scan to see if it was a kidney stone.  Nope!  So they deduced that it could have been a muscle tear or something muscular/skeletal.  I don't recall hurting myself during my workouts. They also stated that I had indications of diverticulitis, but the pain being in my back didn't fit their readings of the scan.  But anything is possible in the moment.  So I've taken it very easy.  I hope to walk on the treadmill tonight.  No jumping and lifting, or running for me for a bit.

I am a bit concerned about the 5K this Saturday.  There isn't any other race around these parts in February.  We got some fresh snow in the past couple of days that have made things outside really gross.  So, I am hoping that I don't fail my 2010 challenge of one race per month.  I am not going to beat myself up over it.  My long term health is at stake.  I can go back to the routine of running in March when I am at 100%. 

Speaking of work outs.  I am interested in buying another DVD.  This time it is the Personal Training with Jackie. I love tough workouts.  I've heard that this is a really good program.  I love Jillian Michaels, but I need variety; although, they were business partners and ran the gym that Jackie's show highlights.  It costs $14.99 at my local Target, so this will be a quick pick up.  I will wait a while before I actually do the routine, which I will then review on the blog.

So the eating.  Well, that is another story.  I am just really emotional about everything and so I haven't been as careful as I should.  But now that my work out routine has to be cut back.  I am going to be a little more strict with my portions; that is not easy for me, and I know that I am not alone.  I may just have to do WW so I can get to my first personal goal of 175 lbs.  Then I will go it alone until I hit my final goal of 150. 

Edited to Add:  Just found another race for Feb 20.  I may not miss this month at all.  I will take it as easy as I can and hope to race then.  Yay!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Only hurting myself . . .

February 26

No little boys were hurt in the remaking of a Hitchcock classic.  
My weigh-in on Saturday revealed that my weight didn't move.  Even with eliminating the sugars from my diet, I am still at 205.  And it became a bit of a lonesome day.  I had so many activities that had me running around with all 3 kids on Saturday.  Hubby was busy with work.  I scheduled a babysitter for the evening so I could go out to the hockey game.  At the game, I stuffed my face.  In part because "it was there" and free, and in part because I felt a bit of a need to get "high" on sugary cookies and soda, sandwich, brat, and wings.  And I kept getting "high on sugar" all weekend.  The dam broke and the flood was filling me up.  

The result was a very bad belly ache last night.  I am not even hungry this morning.  I am forcing myself to eat my oatmeal with almond butter, cranberries, walnuts, and banana.  

I know I should have exercised more last week.  But I am looking forward, and not feeling guilt about last week.  I did go to the gym yesterday.  I paid a day pass and drop in care so that I could have the older two run around in the kid's club while I tried to run on the treadmill.  Well, I've been having flank pain since last Tuesday.  I went and got a urine test, but it has come back negative for any UTI.  The flank pain didn't let me run for long stretches at all.  It was so terrible.  I walked for 45 minutes.  Did a bit of a Yoga cool down and stretched.  I love Yoga.  It is such a great stress reliever.  The flank pain remained the rest of the day and evening.  I took a pain reliever (which I never do) at bedtime.  Then the belly ache woke me up from sleep.

I didn't exercise this morning, but I plan to do a level of 30 Day Shred tonight and Yoga for stretching.  I am hoping that my back doesn't quit on me so I can run the Valentine's 5K on Saturday.  I will run tomorrow to see how I feel.  I may just run/walk the entire race.  The goal is to finish, not place. 

Friday, February 5, 2010


February 3

Cranky Fitness published a great article with discussion over Michelle Obama's recent public revelation over their minor children's BMI being a concern. It discusses more the concern over making that information public.

BMI in my children was a huge concern of mine.  Well, it still is, but I had to wait a few years to get over that concern.  You see, I was an obese child, and I am not raising obese children.  I had a single mother who worked many long hours and I was kept in the care of an obese babysitter that never went outdoors for any activity.  I wasn't allowed to play outdoors, run in the halls, or have any structured team participation.  When my mother wasn't working and had time to allow me to participate in anything, she had an overwhelming fear that I would be hurt.  And I was, especially when I went to camp and tripped over a tree root and broke my arm at the elbow.  But hey, if I wasn't 25 lbs overweight at the time, maybe I wouldn't have been hurt so badly.  But I digress.

My oldest daughter is average size.  Sure she has a little gut and a little rear, but I never consider her too be overweight, and her pediatrician who I adore, has never alerted me to watching my daughter's weight.  I also don't consider her to eat too much junk.  I don't buy it with frequency, and I don't encourage it.  When she is hungry, she reaches for an apple or a banana.  She does sneak one too many dips into the refrigerator for grapes and strawberries, which never get tasted by anybody else.  And for a girl that doesn't drink much milk, an occasional string cheese won't break the scale.  

I have all my children in sports, and I know they are getting activities at school; even in the Wisconsin winters they get fresh air and run around. I am constantly trying to introduce a physical activity or sport into their lives.  Even if it doesn't stick or it is too expensive and time consuming, I feel it is my duty to let them choose by participating and deciding what they enjoy.  

The single most important thing I feel that I must do as a parent is to "role model behavior".  I may be obese under the BMI standards, but I walk the walk.  I eat well, make healthy meals for the children, and I make healthy options available.  I also exercise.  They see me buy the DVDs and the weights; and while they don't always see me do the exercise, they see me when I wake them dressed in my work out gear, sweaty and red, and getting ready to hop in the shower.  

I also don't allow my daughters to hear me call myself fat or say that I am on a diet.  I don't want my girls to become self conscious about their weight.  I don't ever want to encourage self destructive eating habits.  I'm not trying to keep them in a "life is beautiful" bubble, but I also don't want them to be aware that looks and size are important for aesthetic reasons more than health reasons.  

While I do think that Mrs. Obama's new platform on children's BMI is a problem that needs tackling, we can't lose site of the fact that parent's must also take an active role in moderating their own BMIs.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fears . . .

Heartland 6

I show you this picture not for the shawl that I knit out of yarn that I spun over a year ago.  I am hoping you can see my arms and those bat wings that are dangling.  That is my greatest fear.  I've never had small arms.  Not even when I lost 75 lbs the first time in 1995.  I always felt like my arms were sausages and I would stuff them into button down shirts with tight sleeves.  

Watching Ruby on Oprah (DVRed) made me realize the impact of my weight gain on my body.  For years I've been struggling with how I can lose weight without the excess skin that could be left behind.  Ruby stated that the excess skin on her body, specifically referencing her arms, is a punishment for letting her body carry over 700 pounds.  And Oprah pointed out that no amount of weight lifting or dieting could get that skin to snap back.  That was a frightening awakening because for so long I've been resisting the need to lose weight because I fear seeing the results of my self abuse.  I can sort of justify my stomach to be flabby and loose because I've been pregnant with 3 children.  But I've also been obese in between those children, and that is my fault and burden.  But my arms . . . 

I've admired strong armed women, like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2: Salvation, Jessica Biel, Evangeline Lilly, and Michelle Obama.  Michelle Obama was the one that prompted me to work on my fitness.  Reading all the accounts of her getting out of the house by 4:30 a.m. to exercise while married with 2 children and working as a full time attorney made me realize June 2009 when I returned to full time work that I had absolutely no excuse.  She was living my reality and she made it work.  And look at her arms.  She works hard for them. And I try to work hard for them.  Like this morning at 5 a.m. when I got up and did a Biggest Loser Weight Loss Yoga, holding my body up by those arms without having to modify the plank.  I tried so hard to hold myself up.  And I am getting so strong with every workout. 

My greatest hope in this journey is to work hard to achieve those buff arms.  I may not achieve them.  And if I don't, I will be sad; but I know that, in the grand scheme of things, I will be healthier and more satisfied having taken care of my entire body, and not worrying about bits and pieces. Because those bits and pieces that aren't perfect will be the constant reminder to never allow myself to repeat that vicious cycle.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February Workout Calendar

When I embarked on my fitness and healthy living journey in June of 2009, I had to make a plan to organize my 5K training and 30 Day Shred, and Yoga and Pilates.  But I kept that plan filed away in my brain.  for the most part it worked well for months.  But with working and 3 kids, I've had trouble trying to manage it all.  So I started using my email calendar to just plug in what I "aspire" to do on a daily basis.  Now, while this may be a daunting plan.  It works for me to know what I can do on a daily basis.  I want to get to the point again where I should do these activities.  This morning, I didn't wake up at 5 a.m. to do No More Trouble Zones.  And that does cause a bit of guilt and anxiety because I'd rather not miss a workout.  However, tomorrow is another day and I can't beat myself up.

What I do plan to do is wake up in the early morning and run on the treadmill.  I will try to do Yoga in the evening if I can't get to it soon after running.  But I must be honest, I do have a bit of fear of doing the Jillian Michaels DVDs. 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Elimination . . .


Most of us "healthy living" people have had to go to extra lengths of eliminating types of foods or food groups from our diet.  I am no exception.  I made the decision to give up dairy over 6 months ago.  The reason: gas and painful, unpredictable bowel movements.  Yep, I said it!  I went there. 


I'd been struggling with IBS since college.  I was under the impression that my symptoms were from dorm food.  College introduced foods that wasn't in my Latina culture.  At home with Mom, I ate mostly rice, meat, beans, plantains, and salads with oil and vinegar; all were heavily spiced and seasoned.  At college, I ate sandwiches on white bread, pasta, pizzas, fried stuff.  Mind you, they did have healthy selections, but at 18-20, I had no clue what was best because I ate what my Mom made for me. 

Fast forward 15 years and three children later, my body has undergone many physical changes, and intolerances have been the latest.  I noticed after having Baby #3 that I had this huge gut that was so bloated and painful from gas.  I was eating a lot of cereal with milk at the hospital.  Cereal with milk was my number one comfort food. Of course, I didn't connect this to a milk intolerance until after a visit with the Doctor when I decided to train for a 5K.

I went to the doctor because I had a very bad episode when I couldn't make it to the bathroom while driving my 3 children home . . . I hope that is enough said.  My children were distraught and worried for me.  My doctor did a bunch of tests: celiac and thyroid.  Not for lactose, though!  All results were negative.  She told me to increase my fiber by taking supplements, more water, walk and exercise.  I'd already been doing the exercise.  The fiber pills did help, with the exception of another episode.  And that episode was enough to conclude it was milk.

So I cut dairy out of my diet.  No milk. No cheese. No yogurt. No ice cream. And no butter.  I switched to almond milk or rice milk.  I no longer partake in eating pizza, lasagna, or any Mexican foods laden with creams and cheeses.  And while I don't miss it.  I do miss the convenience of making lasagna or eggplant parmesian and freezing for future use by the family.

I've had to get creative.  I've made my own "ice cream", an example is on my header.  I will post a quick recipe another time.  I know there are soy cheeses and cream cheeses, but those are in the specialty stores, making it that much harder to quickly grab at the local market.  Initially, it took a ton of conscious effort to remove dairy from my everyday food. 

It has become simpler over time.  And as much as I miss creamy soups or a milk shake, I know that the benefits are tremendous.  I attribute a lot of my weight loss to going dairy-free.  I am not uncomfortable with bloat or gas pain.  It is all good. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Now, if only I could make sugar free, dairy free, chocolate chip cookies that tasted like the real thing, I would be a happy woman.