Monday, December 06, 2010
I have never looked forward to solstice so much as I do this year. It's probably because I've spent so much time outside having fun in my boat.
Seriously, though. I have a drysuit.
I have gloves, and pogies, and fleece base layers, and a warm helmet liner, etc. The cold isn't fabulous but it isn't the end of the world, either.
Sometimes it's even kind of neat.
I can paddle in the cold.
Yes, those are icicles hanging from my helmet.
What I cannot do is paddle in the dark.
So, yeah. I just can't wait for solstice!
Friday, November 12, 2010
Vote for UMass among the four finalists, here:
My request here is very much in the spirit of the SPARKPeople site, in that your vote will enable people to go out and participate in active outdoor adventures that they would otherwise not be able to do.
All you have to do is go to the link above, watch the inspiring UMass video of how they would use special equipment to get disabled people outdoors doing the kinds of things we all love, and click the "vote" button.
This is happening on Facebook from November 9th to November 30th. You can vote once per day, anyone can vote and you do not need to be a UMass student or an outing club member.
This whole kayaking season has been a wonderful adventure in expanding my boundaries, trying new things, going to beautiful wild places, and meeting really amazing people.
One group I've enjoyed paddling with this summer and fall is the University of Massachusetts Outing Club. They're great people and solid boaters. I always learn something new when I paddle with them and have a good time, too!
These guys are finalists in a contest sponsored by Polartec to donate $10,000 toward a university outing club.
If they win, they will use the money to start an adaptive recreation program in their club. This will allow people with disabilities to participate in sports, by providing expensive accessible equipment such as mountain wheelchairs, sit-skis, kick-sleds, adaptive climbing equipment, river portaging gurneys and more. They do not currently have enough funds to purchase such equipment, which is why they are participating in this contest, and why I'm mentioning it here.
I have complete confidence in the folks behind this project (I've paddled with some of them) and I have to say that if I needed special equipment to get myself to a river, I would definitely want these guys to win! (And then I'd have to move to Massachusetts. LOL)
Please vote and spread the word (click the "like" button on this blog post if you think others might want to know about it).
Thursday, November 04, 2010
My personal trainer asked me to read this article from Oprahís magazine about Vision Boards (what Spark People calls Vision Collages)
What struck me about the article is that the author is talking about using her mind to cause changes in the material world. And mind over matter is exactly what is going on here. I use my mind to control my size (which is most definitely a form of matter, LOL). Itís what all of us are doing.
In my case I went through four magazines and I found exactly one image that caught me, of some fruit next to a shampoo being advertized. I donít think printed images do it for me. But graphs, charts, numbers, they do. For the record, I do have an electronic vision collage I created for this site about a year ago and update periodically: tinyurl.com/vision-collage
Visualizing a line on a graph going down is one of the most powerful internal motivators Iíve ever found. Lots of people (not just my personal trainer) have lately been telling me that I focus too much on the numbers, that I need to use other types of measures to assess my progress. I can see their point, but my experience tells me that I should stick with what I know in order to get where I want to go. Once I get there I need to try something different for STAYING there, but to get there Ė that I know how to do, and I think Iím probably better off doing it the most effective way I know how.
I have been struggling a lot since Labor Day. There is a depression that lurks around every bend lately, and whenever I hit a setback it starts up again with threatening to eat me from the inside.
I think part of the problem is that Iíve been gradually losing the support network and activity that I enjoyed most of the season. My best boating buddy got a job and moved to Illinois, so Iíve had to work at finding people to paddle with, and to get used to traveling and kayaking with them. Temperatures are dropping and this necessitates more gear, to stay warm and safe. The fact is, for most people the season is ending and theyíre looking forward to their favorite winter sport(s), which generally involve snow.
I have an arthritic knee from an injury when I was 17 and downhill skiing has always been a bit problematic for me. I do like Nordic skiing and bought a pair of skis last year from a friend. There was so little snow I only used them twice, I think.
What most of my whitewater friends do in the winter is downhill skiing, and while I enjoyed it briefly while younger, Iím pretty sure my knee canít handle it now. Some people have said that I might be able to do snowboarding, and Iím willing to give it a shot, if it provides the rush I get from kayaking. Iím going to miss that rush, the speed, the feeling of freedom and moving with the water, the challenge of hitting my lines not just with skill but panache.
The depression that threatens is worse than I recall in recent years. Iíve been having a hard time mustering enthusiasm for anything except kayaking, and itís starting to affect most aspects of my life in a negative way. Last fall I was at the tail end of losing the weight and buoyed up by the novelty and thrill of getting to a size where I actually started not only accepting, but actually *liking* what I saw in the mirror. The year before that I had just started really losing the weight. The 15 winters before that I soothed myself with food. Lots and lots of salty, greasy carbs. Because thatís comfort food for me.
Itís a good thing I have my annual checkup with my shrink today, because I think I might need something stronger than a daily 20mg of fluoxetine. Controlling depression is one of the key factors identified by the NWCR in managing weight. At the moment Iím about 20 lbs up from goal (which I hit in February and March), and Iím not happy about it.
Night eating is what has been happening, and I think depression has been contributing to this. I just want to crawl into a hole and hide until spring comes and kayaking season starts up again. When Iím home alone at night I tend to fall back into old patterns such as watching TV (on Hulu these days) and that triggers me to eat Ė out of boredom and loneliness.
I have an urge to indulge myself with food Ė to eat for other reasons than just fuel or hunger. Iíve had to purge the house of: popcorn, dried fruit, grapes, cheese, meat, pasta, nuts, sugar, honey, and any snacks or desserts. I never did buy any candy for Halloween Ė I know better from past experience. I may have to remove the rice and whole grains but so far the cooking time has deterred me from binging on them too.
Crawling into a hole and hiding until spring just isnít an option for me. Well, it IS an option, but I know where that leads. It leads to super morbid obesity. Iíve been here before, and I donít like the results.
Over the past several months Iíve tried lots of ways of motivating myself and keeping myself on track. I got a tattoo on my forearm to remind me of why I want to stay in shape.
I joined Weight Watcherís for the weekly face-to-face pep talk. I went back to my previous regime of spinning class twice a week alternating with body pump.
A couple of weeks ago I realized that Iím almost the same weight I was last year at this time. Competition does motivate me, so I started a contest with myself of last year to see if I can get back down to goal weight before she does. I have the records of exactly what I ate and how I exercised back then, so if I do the same things I should get similar results.
Iíve got more muscle and less body fat than she did, so I should have an advantage.
So Iím going to visualize those blue dots dropping down at least as fast as the red ones from last year and use that image to keep myself on track with controlling the depression, logging my food and controlling the amounts, avoiding Hulu at night, and exercising even when I might not feel like it.
Friday, October 29, 2010
I got a chill last weekend while kayaking and it turned into a sore throat and eventually into a chest cold. I haven't worked out all week, took two days off work to stay in bed, and have spent most of my time horizontal, feeling like I'd been run over by a truck.
I'm hoping to feel better enough to go lake kayaking with a friend tomorrow and from there to a Halloween party at another friend's house. My reaction to having to find a costume surprised me. This is the first Halloween in 15+ years when I've actually been in halfway reasonable shape, and a year ago if you'd asked me how I'd feel about it, I would have expected the answer to be "thrilled" because finally I might be able to costume myself halfway attractively.
Instead I felt a bit of dread. It just seemed like it might be a whole lot of work. Went to a few thrift stores and tried on their cheap formal gowns. Found one in black tulle that was kind of cute, but unfortunately my chest and abs are too large (guess it's all that kayaking - the waist and hips were fine, just the part above it was a problem! *sigh*)
Ended up going to see what they had at Wal-mart and got a "fallen angel" thing. I'll use the black halo, wings, and fishnet gloves but the dress is not at all flattering. So I'll wear a clingy sleeveless black knit dress and a pair of boots and fishnet stockings and call it good. I have a black jacket with leopard cuffs and collar to wear if I get cold.
Here is a picture, with one of my critics offering comments.
I think I'll also wear my garage door opener around my neck on a lanyard and say I'm "a fallen angel who can't get up!"
Some of you might be old enough to remember the commercial I would be referencing:
The trick-or-treating plan for Sunday is to be the Neighborhood Grinch again and hand out toys and pencils and stuff like last year.
In fact, I still have a box of stuff from last year, so it's coming out again. And if they don't like it, too bad. If that sugary stuff isn't good for ME to eat, then why on Earth would I give it to children?
On other fronts, I've come to the conclusion that while I love my cats, some human companionship would be agreeable. I lost all this weight and turned myself into an athlete, and maybe it would be nice to share this body with someone else. To that end I'm becoming more assertive about following up on flirting and innuendo from members of the opposite sex. Sometimes this leads to disappointment when it turns out they didn't mean it, but hey, if I don't put myself out there, then I risk being a Cat Sandwich for the rest of my life.
OK, we now have a thread on this last topic over at the HIT squad:
Monday, October 18, 2010
Whew. Where do I even start?
I've been kayaking every weekend since my last blog. It's been getting colder so I ordered a drysuit that should arrive on Thursday. Paddled some of the hardest rapids I've ever done this past weekend in the Adirondacks. Some more successfully than others, but I learned a lot, which is always a good thing.
Thursday night I met WOLFKITTY (Jocelyn) and MAXXMANN123 at a Zumba class near Syracuse.
As Jocelyn mentioned in her blog we had a good chat over dinner (at Wegmans, LOL). It is always so much easier discussing weight loss and maintenance with someone who has also been there and GETS IT. Especially when they too started at super morbidly obese and have lost over 100 lbs. The conversation helped clear away some of my mental cobwebs and prime me for attacking the problem head-on.
I've been displeased with my weight gain since March. I used my triathlon training and kayaking as an excuse to fall off my regime of spinning 2x/week alternating with strength training or body pump. I've started binging at night again. Things are not so good in the discipline department.
So I've started spinning again. I'll probably restart the body pump this coming Wednesday evening. I've contacted my weight trainer at the Y so we can hopefully start up our weekly sessions again.
I'll still be kayaking on the weekends, but I'll feel better if my week days are scheduled again. The exercise helps a lot with controlling my appetite, specifically the night eating.
I'm going to take all the shows except Biggest Loser off my queue at Hulu. TV just encourages me to eat, which is not helpful.
I've bought a couple of enormous Hubbard squashes that I'll bake and freeze in containers. That will ensure that I have yummy healthy vegetables available all winter for quick lunches, etc. And besides. Honestly, I'm not sure there IS a cheaper tasty winter squash. They had them at Walmart yesterday for less than $3 per squash, and you know how enormous those things are!
For the record, in case you decide to try this at home, the easiest way to break open one of those suckers is to sweep your sidewalk or driveway well, and then take the squash out there and drop it from chest height. It will break into several chunks that can be whacked into smaller ones with a mallet and cleaver, or baked as is. Just preheat the oven to 350, take the seeds and stringy stuff out, line some cookie sheets with foil, and bake cut-side-up until you can stick a fork in 'em easily. Then let the pieces cool until you can handle 'em and scrape the flesh into tupperwares that will go into the freezer. You can use this stuff just as is reheated in the microwave, as a base for squash soup or pumpkin pie, mash it, bake it in pumpkin bread, etc. etc. etc.
I've started attending weight watcher meetings for added accountability and some face-to-face motivation. I've also started up our little informal Monday weigh-in group at work to help me stay focused over the weekends.
And the latest thing I'm doing is having a race with my 2009 self to see who can get down to 150 first. As of October 18 she weighed 184.6. This morning I weighed 175.8 - so I currently have a head start, but I know how determined she was. She was like a freakin' unstoppable freight train. And that's the kind of competition I need right now. And if she could do it, so can I, because at one time I WAS her. But the me now has even more experience, so if anything I should have an additional advantage.
Here's a graph of my progress so far. As the days go by this image will automatically update. The first dot on the left is the minimum weight achieved in either year over the time frame shown.
Get An Email Alert Each Time 4A-HEALTHY-BMI Posts