Weighty Matters

Just another WordPress.com site


My second week of 21Dayfix.com resulted in a three pound loss, making my total 12 pounds in two weeks.  I’ve knocked off the weight that I let myself gain between my funk and my previous vacation.  I continue to do the workouts and follow the food plan.  It’s going well.

I’m modifying my effort this week — not skipping it.  I don’t know if that makes it more of a 14 day fix, but as I touched on in the previous post, I have a good reason.  I’m on Staycation this week!  A dear friend of mine is visiting from New Jersey.  Janet and I have been travel buddies in the past, going to Alaska and Hawaii.  She’s spending a few days with me in the Keys and then we’re visiting Universal Studios for a couple of days.

While I have a lap top computer, the DVD player in it doesn’t work, so I can’t travel with the workout DVDs and do the routine in the morning.  I am not overly concerned.  We’re doing theme parks which means we will be walking our legs off!  I am convinced that I can get in enough physical exercise, even if it won’t be the intensely concentrated 30 minute routines.

Overall, my goal for staycation week is to maintain the weight loss I’ve achieved and have fun.  Having fun does not, and should not, center around eating.  However, I don’t want to obsess about it either.  I know that in the real world, or the real fabricated world of Harry Potter, I can eat sensibly and even treat myself without plunging myself into relapse and weight gain.

Yesterday, we had a full day of activity.  I started out with a protein shake before Tai Chi class.  After class, we went out on a boat ride.  On our way to Key West, we went out to lunch.  I picked out the meat from a sandwich and ate some onion straws.  We got to Key West and walked everywhere for a few hours.  I even climbed to the top of the 65 foot tower at the Wrecker’s Museum.  About 6 pm, before we walked back down Duval to Mallory Square for the street performances, I had a snack pack of walnuts and almonds (100 calories, volume equivalent to the amount I can have with the fix program).

An hour later, we decided that instead of going somewhere for dinner, we both wanted to try the wonderful dessert-only restaurant called Better Than Sex.  My friends, it was so worth it.  I ordered something called Twist and Stout which was a chocolate cake made with three kinds of chocolate and some chocolate stout.  It had a small side accompaniment of Irish Cream Liqueur ice cream.  I savored every bite and ate less than half of it.  So, I definitely did not overeat on it and am confident that I’d done enough physical exertion throughout the day to balance out.

This is how so called  “normal people” achieve balance in their eating habits.   At least, I think that’s how they do it.  Not finishing decadent desserts at one sitting, if one meal has been more substantial, they eat less at the next.  They take into account their physical activity.  All sensible, non-disease-thinking, approaches.

Today we went for a late breakfast that, timing wise, was more of a brunch.  My plate had a selection of items on it.  I ate about half of the plate.  Skipped the home fries and toast and brought home at least half of the eggs as a treat for Nat and Pyxi.  Even so, I was satisfied.   It’s now mid-afternoon and I’m still not hungry.  If I need something before we go to dinner later, I have fruit or chicken in the house.  I can snack without going crazy.  Same thing at dinner tonight.  I can enjoy a delicious meal, bring home leftovers, and not go crazy over food.  This will be doubly satisfying.  Physically satisfying in that I’ll meet my nutritional needs in a yummy way.  Emotionally satisfying because I’ll be happy that I exhibited a strong, sensible approach and planned for success.

1 Comment »

Routine Change

I’m four days into the new program. So far it’s going pretty well. I’ve dropped some of the weight I gained. I’m doing the exercise routines. No lie, some of the exercises challenge me. In each routine, there is a woman doing the modified version of each exercise so that you can still benefit even if you aren’t quite up to the peppy, totally toned, I’m-an-absolute-fitness-beast level. Today, my body really felt the effort, particularly in my abs. Since I had to stop Zumba to protect my knee, I haven’t been crunching those abs and they made their discomfort known.

I do the full version of each exercise that I can handle. There are some, like jumping jacks or frog jacks, that I can’t do right now. So I do the modified version with good results. In today’s routine, I finally hit an exercise that I can’t do at all, even when modified. Called a Surrender, it requires quickly kneeling and getting up. I just can’t manage that motion smoothly enough to derive any benefit, even if I force myself to struggle through and do a quarter of the reps. It really bummed me out but I tried to put it out of my mind and substituted squats instead. Squats probably work a different set of muscles but at least they kept me moving.

On the set of the workout routine hangs a chalkboard sign that reminds us every effort is one day at a time, one pound at a time. Love it in all its 12 Stepness. Back at the beginning of the journey, thinking of having to lose more than 200 pounds overwhelmed me. Breaking it down to one pound at a time really helped.

The leader of the program said something today that also resonated. As we sweat together through the different exercises (I might not do them all great but I give them my all, moving up my heart rate and working up a real sweat.), she reminded us that the exercise is just part of the program. We have to follow the good, nutritional eating plan. In a nutshell, the message was to not put in all the hard, physical work and then blow it in the kitchen.

That thought stayed with me throughout the day. A short time ago, I had a thought on how I can offer the best protection to my own efforts and set myself up for the greatest success. I’m going to try changing my routine.

Right now, the most challenging time for me food-wise is at night. I eat a healthy dinner, drink a cup of tea and should be done for a couple of hours until it’s time for my final fruit as a snack. Should be done, but instead I’m frequently beset by the compulsive desire to eat something else or something more. I’m not hungry. I don’t need more to eat. These are false needs fueled by the eating disorder. Yet, I frequently fall into the trap. Maybe it’s only a few pistachios or a tablespoon of peanut butter, but the quantities don’t matter as much as giving into the behavior.

I do my workouts in the morning. After 30 minutes of pushing my body to go harder, stronger and faster, followed by a 15 minute or so dog walk, all I want to do is drink my protein drink and get ready for work. I have no desire to pick up anything else.

So, I wonder if working out at night will make a difference to my eating desires. If I spend 30 minutes working my muscles and elevating my heart rate so that sweat pours down my face and soaks through my clothes, will the energy and great feeling of accomplish counteract the compulsion to eat off of my food plan? Will it be easier to battle the urges?

I don’t know, but I’m prepared to find out, starting tomorrow. I’ll let you know if changing my routine helps.

1 Comment »

In Training!

I am officially declaring myself in training. Today I signed up for a FoamGlow 5K event in the Miami area. It takes place at night and participants dress all in white, or in as much white as they want and take to the track. At intervals around the track, they run/walk through Foam Zones where they will be sprayed with brightly colored foam that will show up under the black lights stationed around the track. Glow in the dark fitness experience!

Honestly, it sounds like a big old pile of messy, colorful fun with a dance party after. I can’t wait! Already a group of friends have registered too so we’re participating as a team. I’m sure we’ll come up with a great team name.

This isn’t a big time race. In fact, I don’t think competitors are even timed. That doesn’t matter. I saw another friend post that she was doing this event and it immediately caught my interest. I’m setting a goal for myself to not only participate, but to also do the 5K in a faster time than I did the first one I did last January. (Or was it February?) I wanted to commit to an event and put myself into training for it. I think the motivation will do me good. In fact, this morning when the alarm went off at 6 a.m. and I was tempted to hit the snooze button and sleep a little longer, I sat up and said to myself, “Nope. You’re in training. Get going.”

I rolled out of bed, dressed, leashed Nat and Pyxi and headed out for a good 45 minute walk. We probably did close to two miles. For that distance, 45 minutes is not at all impressive. In my defense, the dogs need to stop, sniff, do their business, stop and sniff some more. It’s not like they’re power-walking with me, you know? They tend to take their time about things unless I regularly urge them along. Still, a brisk almost-two-miles on a warm, humid morning wasn’t bad.

It might sound strange, but the “in training” mindset helps. In taking inventory of my recent efforts, I’ve slacked off a little on my exercise regime. I’m getting myself back on track – by committing to actually get on to a track and walk, jog, dance through blasts of day glo foam. Hey, if it keeps me moving in the next few months when the heat will make it easy for me to be lazy, it’s a win. I think it will also help me if I’m tempted to veer off of my food plan, too. The more weight I lose, the better I’ll feel and the better I’ll be able to move.

That’s the plan anyway. In the meantime, just thinking about doing the event makes me smile. I’m sure it will be epic!


One by One and a New Workout

I needed to visit the supermarket after work for canned dog food and dog treats. I walked out with canned dog food, dog treats, toilet paper, coconut water, fresh pineapple, yogurt, baby carrots, kale-carrot-spinach chips and a pack of chocolate M&Ms.

Yes, I was having a huge chocolate craving. It didn’t register until I got home that I bought the double serving “Sharing” pack of the M&Ms. Right. Like sharing a pack of M&Ms has ever been a serious possibility. This purchase was a clear example of craving and compulsion trumping common sense and recovery.

I came home and took out the pups for a mile plus walk. I then heated up some of my home made kale-quinoa-chorizo soup for dinner. The whole time I pondered how I was going to handle the M&Ms. I knew from MyFitnessPal that I was well under my daily calorie intake, even without factoring in the amount of calories I’d already burned today with my early morning bike ride, two dog walks and other activity. So, having a reasonable portion of M&Ms was not going to throw off my program.

Two servings? Not a good idea. Since I’d already accepted that I was going to eat some of the candies, I needed to figure out how to be smart about it and not eat the entire bag. This is not a challenge for most people but it really was something that required strategy on my part for portion control. I opened up my cabinet and took out one of my small ramekins. I then carefully measured out a serving of M&Ms. I took them over to my chair and proceeded to eat them one by one and, on some, half of one by half of one. I’ve never eaten M&Ms so mindfully. Previously one by one meant a handful at a time, not a single candy. I did it and was completely satisfied. I also twisted the bag shut and stuffed the remaining portion in my fridge. As I write this, three and a half hours have passed and I have not returned to the refrigerator to retrieve the second portion, nor will I tonight. For a compulsive eater, believe it or not, this is a victory. I prevailed.

Late last week, while browsing Amazon, I ran across a new workout production by Leslie Sansone. I’ve spoken of her Walk Away the Pounds Express in-home walking DVDs before. It sounds so simple, but whether one, two, three, or four or more miles, the combination of simple steps and brisk pace really does provide a calorie burning workout. When it’s too windy to ride the bike in the morning, the DVDs let me get in some early exercise.

This new DVD is called Walk it Off in 30 Days. I admit, the name caught my attention and as I read on, I decided I needed to check this out. That it was less than 10 bucks with free shipping sealed the deal. The program alternates two 30 minute programs. Three days a week, you do half an hour of power fitness walking. The other three days, you do a firming session of strength training using dumbbells.

I did the firming session tonight and was very happy to realize just how much my body has improved in the last year. I could keep up with the exercises and did better with things like abdominal curls than I expected. My right knee hampers me a little with lunges, but not at all with squats, so that’s good. I feel like I still got a workout in the 30 minutes. This makes me very happy. I’ve felt the need to add some sort of strength training to my fitness efforts but, honestly, I hate the idea of joining a gym. This program will fill the need for a while. Right now I’m only using three-pound dumbbells because that’s what I have in the house. I’m sure that as I continue to do this program, I’ll be able to step up to at least five pounds and continue to challenge myself.

One of the appeals of these programs to me is the 30 minute duration. Whether I do it in the morning or sometime in the evening, I can always find 30 minutes in a day! I’m even going to take the DVD with me on my holiday vacation so that I can keep up with the plan.

So, that’s how my day was today. Active, balanced, energized. What are all of you doing?


A “Hey Baby” Look

Friday night was the annual fundraising performance at our local community theater. I made plans to meet a friend for appetizers and a drink beforehand. I ran home from work to shower, do my hair and dress up for the evening. Dressing up is a relative phrase in the Keys. On that evening it meant a cute, casual dress, kitten heels instead of flip flops, more makeup than I usually wear, etc.

I parked the car and walked toward the restaurant. I passed by a couple of stores that were still open A couple of men stood at the curb. As I approached, one said hello and gave me a definite, “Hey, baby, how you doing?” look and said hello.

It’s been years since I got a look like that from a man, but a woman doesn’t forget. I have to tell you, it put a little extra pep in my step. I smiled, said hello back, and kept walking, pretty sure that he was checking me out even though I could no longer see him.

I don’t know if I’m ready to start following up on expressions of interest. I still have some issues about my body, particularly how it looks now with sagging skin. At the same time, I really can appreciate that I’m gaining a nice figure, with, dare I say it, sexy curves. That there are men who might, from time to time, give me that appreciative, interested look and throw out a little flirtation feels great. Booyah!

In other stuff, I haven’t quite hit 10,000 steps yet on any given day, but I know that I did the equivalent and more so yesterday. At the end of the day, my FitBit step count was at 8876 but I also did an 8 mile bike ride! Definitely a good fitness day. Today the wind is blowing more than 20 mph with gusts to 23. This pretty much kills any long bike rides. I can muscle through with winds up to 15, but it’s hard to do that for more than a couple of miles. I’m trying to compensate and took the dogs for a longer walk this morning. I have several things to do around the house today, and plan to work in some additional fitness somehow — even if it’s the two mile in-home walking DVD along with practicing Tai Chi. I’ll plan on another long walk with the dogs this evening. (They don’t do as well in the bright sunshine on their furry bodies.)

This week I really need to prep my mind to stay on track. In a fit of terminal helpfulness, I volunteered to bake six dozen cupcakes this week for a fundraising event next weekend. I honestly don’t know why I put myself in this position. Although I have baked my brownies for different things, I usually can get through that without too much damage to myself. Baking over a couple of nights is going to challenge my willpower. I’ll make sure to not do it until right after I’ve eaten dinner so that my stomach capacity is full. At least I’m not making the frosting. That would definitely trip me up. It’s much more tempting than raw cupcake batter. I won’t eat the baked cupcakes themselves since they’re intended for a specific purpose. Once more into the breach!


Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

Thanks to Susanne for telling me about FitBit. Yes, I know I’m becoming a little bit of a fitness-tech geek with my apps and stuff. In my defense, not only do I find them helpful, but they’re fun! The FitBit should arrive tomorrow, thank you Amazon Prime, and I’m looking forward to finding out just how many steps I walk on an average day.

I was thinking about something on my bike ride tonight. (Seven miles after a full day at work and another MLD treatment.) A long time ago, probably 1980 or 1981, my family attempted a little intervention with me about my obesity. My brother, who stopped eating meat and started eating healthier when he went away to college in the early 70s, told me I was sedentary. I hotly protested! I mean, after all, I worked a full time job and was usually out with my friends dancing at the rock clubs four nights a week. I was a busy, busy girl!

Now I’ve grown to realize that busy does not mean active. Dancing in the clubs doesn’t come close to, say, an hour of Zumba which is full out fitness exercise in the form of dancing. Working a 40-50 hour a week job and adding on other responsibilities, memberships in organizations, and so on, all makes for a very busy life, but that doesn’t mean a fitness-based lifestyle.

I really wish I’d gotten this when I was younger. There’s an old proverb, one that’s been picked up for book titles and other things now, that says, “We grow too soon old and too late smart”. That about sums it up. I’m filled with gratitude that I smartened up.

It doesn’t mean that I’m immune to doing dumb things or making stupid choices, but I hit the mark more often than not. Figuring out that I can make flavorful food that isn’t loaded with fat, salt, and calories is another advancement. Did I talk over the weekend about roasting a chicken? Picking up a cooked rotisserie chicken from the supermarket is a great convenience, but there’s something to be said about roasting your own when you have time. After the bird was done, I picked off the meat and then plunked the carcass and drippings in water with veggies and herbs to make a yummy stock.

One thing I’ve discovered is that I enjoy inventing soups. Sometimes I just muse about different ingredients, adding and discarding choices in my head, then I think about how to add flavor in healthy ways. Tonight I attempted another soup experiment. To that homemade stock I added sautéed garlic, onions and carrots, then mixed in a small can of Ro-Tel tomatoes and chilis. Red lentils and sautéed kale went in next. Finally, for a bit more flavor without contributing too much fat, I stirred in some chorizo sausage. The results are delicious! Other than whatever sodium was in the tomatoes and chilis, I didn’t add any salt. The soup doesn’t need it. There are layers of flavor, with a small kick of heat from the chilis. It’s seriously yum. I have a decent sized container for myself at home, which I’ll probably divvy up into smaller portions to freeze. Even then, I had enough to fill another container to share with friends at work.

Active, healthier lifestyle. We might grow older but it’s never too late to grow smarter.


First World Problems

For the last couple of Novembers, I’ve joined in on an effort on Facebook to do 30 days of gratitude. I posted about it here on November 2nd last year. A couple of days ago, two young women with whom I’m friends (Yes, Hope, your twin sisters.) dedicated October to posting about first world problems. I was a little slow on the uptake at first, but then I got it. Lots of things that we react to as problems, living here in America, are really not a big deal when you compare us to people who live in third world countries deal with or don’t have. While I’m not by nature a big complainer, sometimes I do start to feel a little “set upon”, cranky, or put out. If I’m going to be completely honest, some of the things that put me in those moods are pretty darned insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

Attitudinally, I can do better than let myself mire in the muck of dissatisfaction. I honestly try to cultivate gratitude as much as possible. I think it’s a graceful state of being, not just in November, but year round.

Going back to the first world problem thing, have you ever looked at a full closet or in a drawer and had trouble choosing something to put on fo the day? That was me this morning. So, my first world problem for the day could be, “So many clothes I can’t decide which to wear.” That’s only a problem in first world countries. In third world countries, many people have only rags to clothe themselves.

Relating to me and my eating disorder struggles: “Food is all around me! It’s so hard to stay on track.” When millions of people are starving in the world, I have a lot of nerve wigging out because I have too many choices. Seriously, Mary. Suck it up. The problem isn’t too many choices. The problem is choosing to eat too many times.

Complaining again about eating right and exercising but the weight not dropping off? For today, I’m even going to think about that being a first world problem. There are countries where the path to good health is not accessible to everyone. At least I always have the ability to eat good, nutritious food and work on my physical fitness to improve my health and well-being. In third world countries, there are many people for whom every minute of the day is a struggle simply to stay alive.

I don’t know if I’m going to join Christina and Allison in posting daily, but I’m grateful they started the exercise and post it on their pages. They’ve made me think.


Wow, What a Week!

It’s Friday night and I haven’t posted in a couple of days. My apologies, but I will freely admit that by the time I finished work and other obligations every evening, I was physically fatigued and mentally wiped out. The fact that I was only physically fatigued is actually a very positive, huge NSV. Here’s why.

One of the things that I do in my job is coordinate media shoots. Production companies approach us, or I pitch them, about including our center in a television show, documentary, special series, etc. A lot goes into arranging details and scheduling the filming before the day of the shoot. (What they want/need to see has to be done within our normal daily activities.) When the day arrives, I’m out there with the crew all day long, keeping an eye on the schedule, supporting my co-workers who are working with the animals and being interviewed, dealing with potential glitches and many other details. Thank God that I now have an assistant because there’s more than enough for the two of us. Tuesday, we had an all day shoot. (Sorry, but I can’t tell you for what show or network until it’s actually scheduled to air which will be at least a year from now.) I got to work at 8 a.m. to check email. The production crew arrived at 8:30 a.m. We were on the job with very little down time for the rest of the day until we saved goodbye to them in our parking lot at 5 p.m.

Prior to my weight loss, it took everything I had to physically last through days like I just described. Then, when those days were over, I dragged myself home, gulped down 800 mgs of ibuprofen, broke out an ice pack for my knee and collapsed in my recliner whimpering in pain. My ankle and knee joints would throb for hours and my back and shoulders felt stiff as boards. It was hellish.

It was so, so different this past Tuesday. Sure, I was tired and, maybe, a little achy, but I wasn’t in pain. I didn’t come home and collapse in a chair with throbbing joints and tears in my eyes while I whined. In fact, I walked the dogs, ate dinner, watched some television and then soaked in a hot bath and went to bed. The next day, instead of stiff muscles and joints, I bounced into the day with no ill effects.

Yesterday, we had another shoot to do. This one “only” went from 8:30 in the morning to around 12:30. It’s rare for us to have two shoots in a week. I normally spend a lot of time in my office working on multiple projects. I always have multiple projects underway. This is brain intensive but not physically demanding. It can be stressful, depending on how many of those projects have strict deadlines and how many other, unexpected things pop up in any given week. (It happens all of the time.)

When today finally arrived, I was so happy. I knew that I could have a good productive day, including reaching completion on some of those projects I’d juggled. Originally, I had plans to go out to dinner but those plans changed. Honestly, this made me even happier. I wanted a free evening where I wasn’t physically and mentally tired and didn’t have to rush off anywhere.

I got home on time, fed the dogs, changed my clothes and set off for a good bike ride. Even though I’d kept up with my Tai Chi and dog walks, I didn’t make it to Zumba and had not been able to squeeze in a ride since Monday. Tonight, I rode up town and then down a long road to the beach before turning around and heading home. By my estimate, this ride measured between eight and nine miles and took me around 45 minutes. Just to round things off, and provide Nat and Pyxi with what they need, when I got home I took them out for a 20 minute walk.

Having the bike has really added a new dimension to my daily life. Looking ahead to tomorrow, I’m already planning to ride to Tai Chi class in the morning instead of driving my car. After Tai Chi, I’ll proceed up the road to the health food store for a protein smoothie for lunch. Then, I’m setting off for a few more miles to visit the animal shelter. After that trip, I’ll pedal all of the way back home. This will probably be a total round trip of nine or ten miles. I’m confident in my endurance. The rides I’ve taken in the last week have demonstrated to me that I’m strong and fit enough to challenge myself with several miles at a time.

So, it was definitely a very busy, wowza of a week, but it has now wound up on a great note. I’m happy, content with my work accomplishments and my attention to my physical exercise. I’m not in misery. Instead, I feel marvelous.

What kind of week did you have?


Like Riding a Bike

You know that old saying when you try to do something you haven’t done in a while? “It’s like riding a bike,” they say, meaning that once you know how, you don’t really forget.

I put that theory to the test today. Literally. I just bought myself a brand new bicycle! It has been at least 15 years since I rode a bike. I know that because I haven’t ridden once since my mother passed away and that’s coming up on 15 years. It might be closer to 20 years, but who’s counting. Clearly it’s a lonnngggg time.

As you know, my doctor and I want to incorporate even more vigorous exercise into my activity. The challenge is how to do more in my already busy days. I already know I hate the idea of going to a gym. There aren’t additional Zumba classes held at times when I’m not working. I can do more at home, but it just seems to lack a little of the oomph I need. So, I’ve been thinking of bike riding which would be good with my weaker knee, fun, and it’s also something that I can incorporate into other activities by just allowing for slightly more time. For example, if I give myself an extra 15 minutes, at least that’s what I’m estimating, I can ride my bike back and forth for Tai Chi classes. On a night after work when I’m not committed to something else, I can take a bike ride. I can even do so and still also take the dogs for a separate walk. We’ve already established that Nat and Pyxi do not like to keep up quite the pace that I need for cardio.

We have a good bike shop in town, so I stopped in today to check things out. I was honest about my long hiatus from bike riding and what I wanted it for. The guy was great and showed me different models that he thought would suit. “Want to take one out for a ride?” he asked. “Sure,” I answered and wheeled out the door. “If crash, my health insurance card is in my wallet.”

Honestly, it really was like I’d just done it yesterday. I immediately found my balance and tooled around the parking lot, confidence growing with every spin of the tires. We adjusted the seat height (Boy is that a lot easier to do than it was when I was a kid.) and I took another test. That quickly, I was sold.

The new bike is beautiful! Sturdy, simple, well-designed. Bonus — I got it in light purple! The bike shop owner was attaching my accessories (lights, bell, water bottle holder, rack for removeable basket) a little while ago and now I’m going to pick it up and ride home. Planning to be smart about this endeavor, I bought a helmet too.

The next phase of fitness has begun and, in this case, spinning my wheels is a good thing!

So I took my bike out for a spin this evening. I need a little practice because my balance is fine but my steering is a little wobbly. I wasn’t confident when passing someone on the bike path. I sort of overcompensated. I might have crashed, um, closely investigated a hedge. No fall. No harm done. 😜