ASTALANYA   17,793
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The Resistance

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

At work, conferences or "lunch and learns" happened the last five days straight. One is scheduled for tomorrow. The scent of fresh pizza wafts up over the dividing wall between the conference room staging area right into my cubicle. Do you know how tough it is to resist the tomato sauce and the siren song of crust? I don't care much for pizza proper but throw a warm bread product in front of my trail and I may consider bending down to pick it up.

I've been good in resisting most of the offerings. The salads get eyed up and today, when I left my bagged salad at home, I helped myself to the iceberg lettuce. No dressing needed and I avoided too many olives or cheese for fat. Out for my 45 minute walk over lunch, I was all good.

Then I came back. One last piece of veggie was being carried away and I pounced on it. Such a bad, bad girl.

Still under calories for the day, though!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RHEYNKLW 4/26/2012 2:31PM

    Bragg's is often used as an alternative to soy sauce or tamari, but it's great on just about anything. The smaller size is a little spray bottle, which is perfect for spraying on salads or whatever. (Think: non-disgusting Salad Spritzer dressing.)

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GIRLINMOTION 4/25/2012 9:38PM

    Wat to go!

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ASTALANYA 4/25/2012 2:20PM

    No, I've never tried Bragg's. The only salad dressings I regularly use are Trader Joe's balsamic or soy ginger vinagrettes.

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RHEYNKLW 4/25/2012 2:13PM

    I usually skip dressing unless I make it myself, and then it's mostly vinegar and herbs and very rarely contains any pure oil. (I do like tahini, though, which goes a long way, flavor-wise, and as a thickener.) Do you ever use Bragg's aminos?

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Rewarding Yourself

Monday, April 23, 2012

My reward for pushing through plentiful exercise minutes (if not losing any weight...) are a pair of fancy yoga pants. I finally bought into the Lululemon hype, probably ten years at least since I first heard of them while living in Vancouver. Back then, they were a tiny little shop which sold expensive yoga clothes to the many yogis in the city. I lived near the Lululemon Outlet store and drove past another on my jaunts to Seattle. Never mind I might have bought some pants when prices were cheaper...

I finally jumped on board after having no success locating the Old Navy compression yoga pants in a tall. A cursory perusal of Google maps sent me off to the only Lululemon store in the city at a pretentious mall called "The Collection," home to the likes of Salvatore Ferragamo and most of Chicago's Magnificent Mile in a magnificently (expensive) mall. Cue a visit, trying on a few pairs, and questioning whether they really made my butt look that much better.

Piling and shrinkage are two classic problems with me and yoga pants of any kind. I avoided them for years because the inner thigh area should not resemble a beaten up berber carpet, and I don't have svelte upper legs the way I wish I did. I couldn't justify spending $98 new on a pair of yoga pants when I barely fork out that much for my favourite designer jeans at Nordstrom Rack. Speaking of, my second favourite pair developed a rip on the inner thigh in that same problem area, and I'm grumpy as there's no way to fix that sort of wear. I also don't consider Lululemon's "sale" price of $89 to be very exciting.

Cue eBay and a winning bid on a pair of black and white Groove pants in tall. Yay! $50 is still higher than what I cared for, but Old Navy was $35 + $7.99 shipping, so it works out to be roughly parallel. That's what I'm telling myself.

Now just to wait until this hot package shows up in the mail and I can finally avoid dreaded ankle showing at fitness class.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ASTALANYA 4/23/2012 1:43PM

    The price really is too high, I admit, even at $50. I don't plunk down change like that on workout clothes! I've spent my athletic life living out of the $11 Danskin yoga pants from Walmart, which are a great deal if you're an average height. I am, unfortunately, long in the leg and end up with that sexy ankle-bearing look. If this were the era of Downton Abbey, I'd be scandalous!

Rheynklaw, Lululemon actively targets yoga studios and yoga instructors to give them product at reduced prices to free. That's how they build word of mouth marketing. They've been doing it for years. Their local reps scour websites, review sites, and drive-bys looking for new places, so it's no surprise they build up a following. Their products are good but not for the likes of us mortals with a budget.

C9 and Danskin both do the shrinky thing on me, and I have a pair of capris that keep getting closer to shorts with every other wash. Unfortunate because they're pretty darned stylish and comfy. :D I'll see the regular Old Navy pants. Last time I popped into the store, they were being overrun at the 40% off sale, and /nothing/ was in tall. It was all short/petite or regular, which doesn't work for me unless I want to seem like I'm in a movie for Honey, I Grew The Kids.

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TEGOCHU 4/23/2012 1:25PM

    Ugh, tell me about it, Lulu prices can be a bit ridiculous! I've yet to buy a pair of pants, but I'll admit I have a few workout tops and hoodies. :P

Gotta love eBay! Who doesn't love getting things for half price? lol Hope they fit well and make your butt look great!

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RHEYNKLW 4/23/2012 11:29AM

    I know lulu is good stuff, but I just can't shell out like that. When I was doing my pilates instructor training in West Bloomfield, the studio was (still is) a lulu distributor and all the other women there wore pretty much nothing but. For numerous reasons I don't (won't) go back there, but The Collection (what a joke -- I was shopping there when we still called it Somerset Mall) is only marginally more appealing.

Have you tried just the regular Old Navy yoga pants? I have the opposite sizing problem you do: finding petite lengths. I used to like the C9 ones at Target, but they shrink up dorky-short. I just stocked up because if you have an ON, GAP, or BR card, you can get 30% off until the end of the month, and shipping is always free over $50. They aren't compression, but there's a seam that goes up the side-ish/back-ish that makes butts look great.

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GIRLINMOTION 4/23/2012 10:45AM

    Ouch on the pricing.

What a better way of wearing an award on your thighs than a doughnut (lol).

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Guilt-Free High Dining

Monday, April 23, 2012

This weekend, the beau and I slipped through the doors of a swanky four-star restaurant for the city's restaurant week. We already knew the three course menu options in advance, partially because I set myself up to choose the healthier alternatives except that creme brulee. None of these meals would count, I told myself.

It's funny, but allowing myself the "time off" goes against the healthy eating article posted the other day. Call it willful ignorance, but as I tucked into that tail of Maine lobster, I decided not to concern myself about the calorie portions. I had a walk and lots of exercise opportunities to work off that bit.

I realize this morning accountability in all senses is important for all of us on our journeys. I knew what I was consuming and chose to finish the meal and my wine anyways. I didn't leave half the plate filled, though the restaurant actually made that easier because their portions were appropriate. Case in point: my beau got a filet of steak which amounted to about 3 ounces. The fat asparagus spears, the small mound of mashed potatoes, and the cluster of green beans all weighed in at exactly what I would aim for making my own dinner. Likewise, I wasn't eating a half pound of lobster. All said and done, the portion was probably about 3 ounces when clawed, torn, and forked out from its shell. The angelhair pasta underneath was similarly a modest swirl, and the gorgeously presented Mediterranean farro salad never exceeded what I'd consider to be an acceptable portion.

A luxury? Yes, this is never how I would dine at a restaurant on a regular basis: a) because it's expensive, b) I'm cutting back on restaurant dining, and c) lobster is a special treat, not an everyday food, as Cookie Monster might say.

The splurge factors in to how I eat this week. I set up my menu in advance to know what I wanted to make. With my beau being out so many nights rehearsing for an upcoming show, my eating habits nosedived. I get home, peer into the fridge as though a freshly made meal is ready to pounce me, and proceed to eat either very little or a hodgepodge late at night. Not healthy, trust me. My personal trainer suggested never eating after 7:00 PM if possible, and limiting any sort of caffeine. I am trying to abide by that, coming up with options we can have on the go, reheat well, and taking the guesswork out.

Many options in the fridge make for a healthy meal: salads, veggies, fish that's prepped and ready to go. I'm making Coach Nicole's frittatas tonight for breakfasts through the week and tasty snacks. My late breakfasts of a Fibre One bar have to stop, especially when I have the power to wake up a little earlier or throw together something good.

Hurrah for a delicious meal and another on Thursday (our date night/celebration of many things) for Restaurant Week. However, I intend to keep my portions small, my choices sensible, and the fitness classes on the go.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GIRLINMOTION 4/23/2012 10:41AM

    Sounds like you have everything under control.

It is nice to get out and enjoy yourself and leave the guilt at the door.

My breakfast is cape seed toast and peanut butter. may be higher than a fibre one but more healthier and higher in protein as a breakfast should be (I read that somewhere and may be wrong).

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Where's My Progress?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Why did I have to see that graph? Iím not much on target for weight loss by the date Iíd prefer. In fact, Iím not sure I am losing much or reasonably fast at all.

I know the weight takes time to come off, more than it did to get on. I step on the scale once a week or so rather than living next to it, and I try to do the same times: when I get into the gym, before a workout, as something to motivate me. Well, itís motivated me to feel crummy and vaguely guilty for a lack of progress.

Itís worse because a very windy day in a skyscraper left me feeling unsettled and queasy until late last night, so no moonlight flow yoga or zumba for me. I didnít make it into the gym and the little voice in the back of my head is quietly disappointed in my inactivity. I want to see results in my own time, but done healthily.

The fitness schedule needs to be increased in magnitude and I need to put more effort into going to the cardiofit classes (cardio = melting pounds, I know it) and working on my strength training. Getting out and walking the dog more. Jogging, anything. Not seeing any effects causes me to get frustrated with myself. Self-doubt is sneaking in through the open back door while I ruminate, with a touch of gloom, on what I ought to do better.

Being hungry for days on end doesnít help either. Stomach shrinking or water intake arenít killing the cravings. So I soldier on, feeling frustrated, feeling like itís one step forward and two steps back.

Time to sweat.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RHEYNKLW 4/17/2012 11:32PM

    It's sometimes the case that it takes a few weeks for your outside to catch up to the inside, so if you're eating healthfully and exercising a /reasonable/ amount (i.e. no need to beat yourself up about missing one day, especially if you pass because you feel crappy), it will happen. Just don't give up -- and I know you won't do that!

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TEGOCHU 4/17/2012 2:25PM

    Weightloss definitely isn't a walk in the park.. I've felt frustrated manyyyyy times throughout this whole process, so I totally know where you're coming from. I know everyone tells you to just keep your head up and try your best and things will come, and I know I always find that hard to believe when I'm feeling down, but it's true! Just keep pushing. :)

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ASTALANYA 4/17/2012 1:28PM

    I'm not going to stop, that's for sure. I need to keep healthy, especially if I ever want to be able to roam at will around Europe and keep up with hiking in natural places or wonderful cities. ;)

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SHIMMYSHAKER 4/17/2012 1:22PM

    I do understand! I don't think I'll hit my goal in the timeframe the was specified, either, but do keep going! I was seriously doubting myself until I took my measurements the other day. I'm taking solace int he fact that I've still come quite a long way, no matter what the scale says.

You can do this! Even if you're doing the smallest thing, being persistant can turn it into a big thing...and even if you can't see the changes, your body knows they're happening!


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GIRLINMOTION 4/17/2012 9:44AM

    I know sometimes it feels frustrating. But, I can tell you this, the slower you take it off the easier it will be to maintain.

Remember this is a lifestyle change journey, not a weight loss journey. We are learning to slowly change how we think of food and exercise.

Yes there can be detours from our destination, but if you take one step, one day, one week at a time you will get there.

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Falling Short of the Mark

Friday, April 13, 2012

I wanted to do better than I did yesterday.

The Crossfit class at my local YMCA sounds like a perfect mix for my rather diminished stamina and physical strength. It mixes cardio and strength training over an hour with the use of hand weights, stability bands, and music. From the official description:

"Cardio segments alternated with weights, medicine and stability balls, bands and more."

If only the reality matched that. The class leader announced to me, "Some of the trainers are more strength training oriented, but I am more cardio oriented."

I thought two months of steady walking at lunch hour and a year and a half of personal training (plus 6 months off...) would at least keep me relatively fit. Ha.

20 minutes in, I was pretty much dying -- partially because a wisp of asthma flared up just enough that it felt like I was drawing breath from a shallow pond of air. The other half was not knowing the routine, which meant being out of sync and fighting to catch up or not be going opposite to what the teacher was doing.

If I'm honest with myself, the asynchronized routine shook up my already fractured self-confidence and magnified the breathing issues. A trio of 8-12 year old girls peered in at us for a good 10 minutes; their presence was the straw that broke the camel's back. Bad enough I was already out of step, now I had them behind me giggling and whispering? In retrospect I'm sure their behaviour was fine, but unease has a funny way of magnifying paranoia into something else and feeding on nerves. The discomfort turns everything into a personal fear. They might be judging me. I'm already self-conscious, this makes it worse! Silly!

I should note - this whole mild asthma thing is new to me, a limitation I utterly hate, and I try to work around. Well, when it's stopping me from bouncing through a cardio class, maybe getting around it isn't an option. I never used to have these limitations for air capacity in my lungs until the atmospheric pollution of Chicago finally did me in.

I'm not happy with how the class turned out. I feel awkward and disappointed in myself, but that won't stop me from trying again tonight after being sure I've got an inhaler on hand (bleh...) and a place far away from the door.

Today's lessons: don't let your worry about others cloud you from your goal. And take health issues seriously.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIFEASMRSA 4/16/2012 12:18AM

    I'm so happy that you're not letting others cloud your judgement for your RIGHT to be healthy! To be honest...I'm not a big fan of classes either because I find I am forever trying to learn the routine no matter how many times I've been there.... I prefer to work out on my own at the gym or doing a physical activity or even doing workout dvds! Jillian Michael's is pretty good cause she's got a good pace and doesn't rush too much. She does strength, but they're so much strength it works on your endurance too! :) I'm just starting TurboFire right now.. I'm still trying to make it through the 30 min cardio DVD! LOL It's been a couple of weeks.. I can ALMOST make it! haha Everything takes time. We just need to learn patience and persistence for ourselves! :)

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TEGOCHU 4/13/2012 1:04PM

    Ugh, I have breathing issues too and they just suck! I hate that it seems like no matter how much cardio I do my endurance never gets better. x_x

I think a lot of people have the anxiety that other people are watching them, talking about them, insulting them, etc.. I know I do at least. Chances are that they were just interested in what was going on in the class though! Really glad that you're not gonna let that hold you back! And those kinds of classes are just like anything else, the more you practice the easier they'll get. :)

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RHEYNKLW 4/13/2012 11:21AM

    OK, funny: when I first read "The sizes have been fairly small (4-8 people)," I interpreted it as meaning that only people who wear sizes 4, 6, and 8 have been going to the classes you went to. ...But that would make no sense, so, YES, I did figure out what you actually meant.

Is MuscleFlex like BodyPump and PowerFlex? I love how everyone's spacebar is apparently broken.

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ASTALANYA 4/13/2012 11:06AM

    Yup, I go to the one on 11 Mile and Woodward. I find the facilities to be split personality; the cardio center is great, with plenty of cardio machines and rarely a major wait. The cramped area up front with mirrors makes it difficult to do a good fitness routine with weights on a mat, but I squeeze myself in along the side by the coat rack fine. There's a good breadth of fixed weight machines as well.

Personally I don't care for the downstairs fitness rooms. They feel old, lightless, and a transformed basement. I think I was a mite spoiled by having a newer Y facility in Naperville (western Chicago) before, especially as we got natural light or the rooms were brighter and wider. A bit more like dance studios, not quite so claustrophobic.

I've only taken two classes so far, and I really liked the first. The second kicked my butt, though it was definitely within my abilities if I weren't so self-conscious. :) Grapevining is not my idea of fun! The sizes have been fairly small (4-8 people) but you couldn't fit a bunch in there easily anyways. I wish they had more strength training classes; again, spoiled by Naper-Y for options. One or two of my favourites, like MuscleFlex, aren't available here. Or they're only at 10:30 AM on a weekday which is about as convenient as trying to paraglide downtown. ;)

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RHEYNKLW 4/13/2012 11:01AM

    I would have been mortified and probably made up some excuse to leave, so good for you for sticking it out. As a general rule, I stay away from group fitness for the embarrassment factor -- bear in mind this is coming from a former /group fitness/ instructor!

Which Y do you go to? The big one on 11? I used to dance, swim, do gymnastics, etc. there when I was a kid. How do you like the classes?

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ASTALANYA 4/13/2012 10:00AM

    I tend to learn quickly but when it's physically oriented, I'm a centipede with 100 left feet and none of them knowing which way they went. I rarely dance in public because I feel so self-conscious and awkward about it.

Working out in public when it involves coordinated moves is something that makes me a tad nervous. I've thought about digging around/pulling out my Jillian Michaels' DVDs or ordering the Spark workout DVDs to use at work (we have a DVD player/TV in our tiny gym) or home, if I can figure out how on earth to use the overly complicated TV setup. :)

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GIRLINMOTION 4/13/2012 9:55AM

    Glad to hear you are not letting some 12 year olds hold you back.

Each day you will get more comfortable that who knows, you may be teaching the class.

You can do it!

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CURLSUSIEQ 4/13/2012 9:53AM

    Me too. I hired a personal trainer thinking I was ready...NOT! In 30 minutes she knocked me flat in the bed aching for 5 days and I did not recover my self esteem for 3 weeks or more. She was young, I got a refund.
Still, I am doing now more effective exercising than ever and I am comfortable with it. I'm getting compliments and buying a smaller size clothes. Woo-hoo! Spark helps a lot. emoticon

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