Tuesday, March 20, 2012
One of my two trips yesterday was to a local hardware store that has a nursery. It was sprinkling the whole time and COLD! (Turns out some of our recent rain actually put a thin blanket of snow up on Mount Hamilton and that tends to drop our temperature a bit.)
I poked around a bit and picked up two plants that should be happier with shade / indirect sun in my room - a spider plant and a fern. I also hunted around and found something called a "Chocolate Mint". While it says full sun, I'm sincerely hoping I can get it to live happily with afternoon sun through an open window.
Soil and pots to move them into so they have room to grow grow grow!
Of course, I don't particularly think I have a fantastic green thumb. BUT I have successfully kept an ivy alive for years now. How many years I don't even remember, but for comparison:
When I originally bought the ivy, it was in a container the size of the little ones (4"). At one point I had transplanted it to a 6" pot and it branched of into long runners, about 4 of them. I took one clipping and put it in a little jar with water, where it grew roots for a long time, but never expanded past one leaf.
The runners had gotten to about 8' long (the pot was atop a 6' book case and the runners came all the way to the floor and moved along it a little) when I decided I needed to do something different with it. I bought the bigger pot. When I went to move it over, there was very little soil left in the original pot - it was almost entire root mass.
I got it moved over, but I didn't want the long long runners. So I combined two things. One was running them up the trellis and back down into the dirt to encourage roots from along the runner. The other was clipping off about a 3' section from the end of each runner and planting that. Only one of those failed to make it.
The single leaf with a big root system was re-potted in the bigger plant's pot and quite happily sprouted more leaves and started growing. When I moved, that one was actually gifted to one of DDa's friends.
Anyway, I think he's just about the hardiest plant ever because he has survived me forgetting to water him for a couple weeks, survived pots being knocked over, survived two moves, and looks as healthy as he does there.
Soooooo, I hope my new little babies follow suit!
Monday, March 19, 2012
So, for those who asked - the name of the app I got for my phone to track my workouts is JEFit. It can sync to a website by the same name, but that is not mandatory. There is the free version (which I have) which has ads and the paid version which I believe does not. It's the first I've tried and I've only had it a few days now, so I can't say it's the best or the only.
Busy, busy weekend. Whew!
Friday evening was filled with getting to the bank before 6 pm so I could deposit my check and have enough immediately available to pay for the cell phone service. They're really good about getting it turned back on almost immediately - I used the free wifi on our light rail trains to do that on the way to the gym.
Used aforementioned new app at the gym rather than pen and paper and am learning things about it - such as that I could set up the workout in a sequence and have it automatically prompt me for the next weight machine.
Stayed up later than I planned Friday night talking to my bestest friend. (He's actually part of why I won't currently do the sleep challenge. I make myself available whenever he needs to talk.)
My daughter was singing with her choir at a special event Saturday morning and wanted to meet after - so I had to get to the gym early enough to make that work. My alarm went off at 7ish ... and I knew there was no way, not a chance I was getting up then (not exactly a headache, but close). So I fell back asleep until 9:45. Made it to the gym, did my cardio, quick shower, and hurried to meet her carrying my gym stuff.
She wanted to take me to lunch at a new favorite place she went to with her aunt called Pluto's. (Apparently only here in Northern California - fresh food with the focus seeming to be salads, though sandwiches are also available.) She ordered hers first. I could see that a Main Salad was going to be HUGE, so I went for the Side Salad.
It was very interesting to be able to select salad toppings and watch them make it. The biggest minus was having zero control over the amount of dressing, let alone no clue how much of each item (so my Saturday log is pretty much guesswork). We chowed down and talked and played a game with each other. We followed that with watching The Lorax, which we'd missed out on last week. (She thoroughly enjoyed it. I found it amusing enough, but some stuff didn't appeal to me completely.)
Even more fun, though. She'd seen me the previous weekend, but again this time said I look skinnier every time she sees me. Part of it, she admitted, was that the last time she saw me I had gotten jeans that fit and it made a lot of difference. This time I was wearing one of my newer workout shirts, so again - not baggy clothes.
But that wasn't all. I mentioned needing a couple new shirts for that very reason and she suggested checking at Old Navy. I was immediately saying nothing there would fit, but she told me I was skinny enough now. So that's where we headed after the movie walking to a nearby mall. (YEESH, WINDY!) Sure enough, I was able to pick up a couple shirts listing sizes as XL | LG | XG (we didn't know what that meant) and they fit.
Now, in my baby book there are pictures of me all the way up until I graduated. One of those, me at around 12-13 years old, has me looking almost gaunt (I'm in a not very attractive dress for my dad's remarrying, and had not started developing yet). She told me yesterday that suddenly she can understand how I looked so beanpole now that I'm getting skinnier. Because I'm taller (5'8"), even with curves I have a slim torso and ankles and such. Pre-curves I would have been (WAS) long and skinny.
With all her flattery, I think my head has gained another inch to offset one of those inches lost somewhere else.
We wandered the mall for a while, then headed to a concert a couple of her friends were in. (These are friends from the choir, who also are part of a larger choral group.) There were three songs in particular that I really liked. One was called Twa Tanbou telling the story of three drums who argue about which is best until they play together and discover that is how they make the most beautiful music (not one drum was played - this was entirely represented in voice!) Another was called Ritmo and included clapping and stomping of feet, a song very full of life. The last was called Cloudburst, which simulates through voice, bells, drums, and snapping, a progression of gentle rain, thunderstorm and then slowing patters as it fades. Quite a few of us stood to clap for that one - AMAZINGLY done.
She headed on to another friend's birthday party with one of the friends who sang there and I headed home, walking about a mile to the light rail train and not getting home until after 10:30. At which point I was trying to track everything and get as many points as I could and read blogs and get to sleep at a halfway reasonable hour. I was out like a light the moment I turned the lights off.
This morning was the gym again, this time testing myself a bit on the recumbent bike. When I first started working out at the gym, I had tried the Cardio program and it hurt my legs and knees to even try to deal with that much resistance. So I used the Fat Burning program instead. (One targets me for 142 - 80% of my max HR - and the other for 116 - 60% of my max HR.)
Over time, I've tried the Interval program and Hill programs, but each time I'd hit a point of resistance that just made my knees unhappy and made me fight to keep going, usually quitting and starting it over back in an easier program. More recently, I'd moved to using the Manual program and adjusting the resistance manually while paying attention to my heart rate. Level 7 usually holds me right at around the "Fat Burning" point - 116 HR. I try to do Level 8 as much of the time as I can, and this last week I've been pushing to Level 9 for a minute here, a minute there, 5 minutes on Friday. Today I pushed to Level 10 for 5 minutes, my heart rate 142-144 for most of that, and didn't feel any ill effects in my knees or like it was "too hard".
That right there is my biggest motivation with exercise. No matter how little we can do when we start, we can see results if we push ourselves just a little.
I do not push myself the way a personal trainer would, but neither do I take it easy on myself. I'm regularly trying one more rep, one more weight, one more minute, one more level, a new program on the machine. Fitness progress may not take me immediately to doing squats and pushups and situps, but I am regularly pushing for just a bit more and celebrating each and every time I get it done.
Every time I work out, I notice things like how my knees do. I'm slowly getting to the point where sitting down on a low bench isn't a matter of dropping so my knees don't take much pressure and instead is very close to a controlled squat that ends in sitting. That is seriously exciting to me.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Was out almost all day, but I'm catching up now. Thank you to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday!
Saturday, March 17, 2012
So, on Wednesday I hit the end of my notebook pages for recording my weights and reps. I could have moved on to new pages, but carrying that and flipping pages, and some were tearing made me decide I needed a new option.
So, I did a quick little search and found an Android app. Woot!
Of course, being me, I've been trying to log all the back data. Whew, amazing to realize I've been going to the gym daily for two months now. Three days a week have involved weight training. That's a lot of data to fill in. I'm nowhere near done yet.
Even without the historical data, I was able to use it tonight and was pretty happy with it. I carried my phone around with me, picked the exercises as I did them, and entered the weight and reps for each set.
One fun little thing - it tells me what my 1RM is based upon the weight and number of reps. 1RM stand for 1 rep maximum and is the heaviest weight one could possibly handle for that muscle / exercise and do a single proper form repetition.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I seem to have a strong dislike for competition. Not against myself, mind you. I love competing against my personal best and excelling there. It's against others that I never like to compete.
Because the vast majority of competitions have one winner and many losers. If I should win, then a whole bunch of people lose. If I don't fight to win, and cause all those people to lose, someone else will win.
I noticed that this showed up in the Spark Team I co-lead. I've been trying to provide some Team Goals and Team Challenges. This month's challenges are steps (5,000+) and freggies (min. 1 each daily). I set the basic levels low because I want them to be inclusive of as many people as possible. And I didn't set it up to be a "who can get the most?" challenge or a "break into teams and see which one gets the most" challenge. Instead, I'd want to reward EVERY Teammate who accomplishes the goal.
In a similar vein, while I've joined a couple of challenges (10-minute fitness, 5k Your Way, and Team Leader), none of those involved competing against others. Ditto for the Team Goals and Challenges I choose to take part in.
This isn't new, either. I hated competing in school. Thinking back as I write this, I remember a third grade classroom game. We each were given a dictionary. The teacher gave us a word and we had to find it as fast as we could then raise our hand. I'd been reading since I was three, where many of the other students learned basic words in first grade. I won easily, multiple times, then quit trying and pretended to have trouble. It was SO unfair to the rest of my classmates. That's not even something an adult told me. No, the teacher never said "let others have a chance." It was purely my distaste for standing out that way and keeping others from winning.
Maybe that's part of it. Sometimes things seem to come too easily. When I can see others working ten times as hard as me to achieve the same goal, I hate to cross the finish line ahead of them and "negate" all their effort. Instead, I can seem to trip, stagger, sabotage myself and let them cross ahead of me - happy inside with the knowledge that I did well and not needing to be first across the line to know I could have chosen to be. They can wear the blue ribbon and I can be happy I beat (or could have beat) my previous best time.
Hence my title. It's like my motto for this life is a Non-Compete Clause.
For those unfamiliar with the term, that is part of a legal agreement when someone leaves a company that states they will not directly compete against that company for a period of time. An example might be a morning DJ not being allowed to go be a DJ at another local, directly competing radio station. He might be able to go outside the local area or work for one with a completely different audience (go from hard rock to country formats, perhaps).
Where does this lead? I've been having to fight the strangest urge to sabotage myself because my ability to lose weight has been so easy. Thankfully, I've been able to ignore the mental fidgets so far, but it is disconcerting to hear my inner voice arguing for eating more because I don't want it to frustrate others who don't have the same level of progress.
I noticed my ticker today and boggled. Somehow in 6 months I've hit 45 pounds down and halfway to my original goal of 160.
I'm almost back under 200. I remember 199 - 200 for two key points. One was 2 weeks past my due date with my oldest, DDb. I weighed 199 at the doctor's appt. the day before she was born and was amused that even pregnant I didn't exceed my "I never want to be heaver than 200" rule. (She was 8 lb. 15 oz. so I definitely dropped back down right after. =P ) The other was after I'd made my decision to gain weight - I remember my mother reminding me of my 200 rule and me shrugging and saying it didn't matter any more.
Why has it been so easy for me?
1) I've mentioned it before, but I am not an emotional eater. I do have issues with emotions, they're just not food-related.
2) I'm not (nor have I ever been) anorexic, bulimic, or a binge eater. I don't suffer from depression or any chronic ailment that impacts my ability to eat as I please or engage in most activities.
3) I deliberately gained weight. While I was probably mildly overweight from about 19 (first pregnancy started) until a couple years after my divorce, I usually was around 175-180 at the top end. Only from around the late 90's did I start eating more food generally, eating more sugar, eating out more and doubling up what I ate. And even then, I wasn't consistent. I spent a few years bouncing around 195, a few more around 205, several in the 225 range, and a few more at 235. Only in the last couple years did I hit 240-245 and my highest ever of 250.5.
4) I didn't become completely sedentary. I walked to and from work daily - a 0.65 mile route - in about 12 minutes. When it was most stressful, I went walking on my 15 minute breaks and 30 minute lunches to clear my mind. At one point I was going up and down the flights of stairs in the building during my 15 minute break. I walked and bused everywhere, carrying loads of groceries.
5) I didn't yo-yo diet. Amusingly / sadly, I've done Slimfast shakes - not to lose weight but to boost my nutrition and/or be an easy breakfast. (In fact, a big reason I mentally could not buy into any of the weight loss industry was because almost every method had fine print that "combined with a exercise and an otherwise healthy diet". Well, no kidding, Sherlock. What do I need this product for if exercise and a healthy diet would already do the job?) This also means I don't have a long string of trying to lose weight and failing or losing it and regaining that linger as examples of what I'll do again.
6) I have no issues eating rationally around others who eat to excess. The owner of the company I work at is obese, quite possibly morbidly so. Our Christmas dinner's in years we've had them were at Maggiano's and involved a multi-course meal in which she pushed us all to eat as much as we could and ask for more so she could have leftovers boxed for later. I ate bread, one salad, a couple of meat entree's, a veggie dish, and a dessert. Peer pressure is just not a consideration.
7) I now live alone. I shop solely for me, I cook solely for me. My side of the family does not do holidays, nor do we meet up often. So family gatherings don't exist outside of me meeting up with DS and DDa. With them, I may eat more richly for that one meal, but I balance it to the day and week and stay easily in my average ranges.
8) While my "wicked" step-mother and family dinners around my father were the epitome of the clean plate club, obscure and distorted rules, and more, my mother was into Adelle Davis' book "Eat Right to Live Well" and taught me a love of whole grain bread and other such foods. And I naturally love vegetables. So even when "pigging out" and eating lots of sugar, I also ate plenty of protein and was more likely to add a salad to my order of a large burger and a shake than fries.
9) As mentioned before, I'd already spent the last year or two applying similar principles to my finances as I'm apply now to my weight. I strengthened my self-discipline and willpower, practiced my goal-setting, in that realm first.
10) I'm a spreadsheet gal. I track things all the time. In the MMORPG (World of Warcraft) that I play, I have records of levels in professions, levels in gear, levels in reputations, all recorded in spreadsheets so I can figure out which character might be able to use something. I have dozens of characters I track. I've tracked my food, every bite, for six months now without ever thinking it was extra work.
11) I have free time. Copious amounts compared to some people. I get up around 7:20 am, leave by 7:40 am, bus to work and start at 8:30 am. I eat lunch at work and get off at 5:00 pm, riding the bus to the gym. I work out 40+ minutes daily then head home. I clean my room, do my laundry and shopping, and go to the gym on the weekend. The rest of my time is used how I choose. I do fill it, but other than arrangements to meet with DDa or DS, it is purely filled at my whim. ( I ~LOVE~ my empty nest!)
Whew, okay, that went a lot longer than planned.
The key point of all that is this: PLEASE, OH PLEASE, DO NOT COMPARE YOUR PROGRESS TO MINE!
Unless all of those points apply equally to you, you'd be comparing apples to oranges. Or possibly apples to zucchinis - since at least apples and oranges are both fruit.
This has been absurdly easy for me so far. In fact, I keep edging my calories higher to try to keep from losing so fast. (Because SP uses sedentary as the baseline BMR, I think I burn more than they account for during my non-workout time.)
Yes, it could be as easy for others IF ...
... IF all the obstacles that otherwise make it challenging did not exist or were eliminated.
Some of those obstacles can't be eliminated. Depression can't just be turned off until the weight is gone. Fibromyalgia might allow a few easier days, but when a flare hits, there's no magic pill to get rid of it. Whether mental or physical, those things slow one's progress down. As do injuries. As can some medications.
Even things that can, with a great deal of effort, be tackled - are still there to slow progress until they are. Mindless snacking, binges, clean plate habits, lack of portion control, heavy carb cravings, and so on.
DO NOT put down the progress you are making because you see others, like me, cruising along.
I agree completely that it is NOT fair.
Were there any way to take away the obstacles and difficulties that get in your path, you'd already be doing so.
BUT let me end with:
This is not a race in which only one person can win by crossing the finish line first. If it were, NONE of us would have any reason for being here. Because who knows who the first person to have to work to lose weight was. Probably someone in early history, maybe an Egyptian living on a diet of grain.
This is a journey in which every one of us has the ability, so long as we keep redirecting ourselves in the right direction, to someday eventually pass landmarks such as "overweight, not obese", "healthy BMI", "ideal weight", "average or better on fitness tests", "able to touch toes", and so on. Hundreds of thousands may have already passed those landmarks, millions may pass after you, but that won't diminish the excitement and thrill of passing it yourself. You'll get there!
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