Thursday, July 26, 2012
Okay, I realized this morning looking back at my blog that there is a difference between the quitting I was thinking of and quitting with respect to bad habits (such as smoking or drinking).
Okay, wait ... what does someone trying to quit smoking say when they throw in the towel? They can't exactly say "I quit" ... since what they're quitting is quitting.
The quitting I was referring to is giving up on something that moves us forward. Building a financially secure future, building a physically fit / capable body, building a relationship (whether friend, family, or spiritual) - these are all things that create more for us in the future.
Why do we do any of them? Might as well ask what our purpose in life is. Generally it comes down to some variation on we want tomorrow to be better than today in some way. As a child, we might lay down to sleep imagining the games we can play tomorrow, of growing up and no one being the boss of us, of a variety of careers. Whether our vision of that future is clear or blurred or seemingly non-existent, we still want to survive, we still want another chance the next day.
Suicide is the ultimate version of that particular "I QUIT" refrain. Life is vitally necessary to have in order to have something in the future. Death completely and irrevocably ends any possibility of a better tomorrow by trading life for nothing.
That kind of "I QUIT" refrain isn't sung after careful and deep consideration of the challenges. It isn't lauded as an answer or solution to the challenges that lets us proceed forward. It's an emotional knee-jerk reaction to our nearer tomorrows not being as much better as we wanted or expected them to be.
But as I tried to draw a line and say - this is when "I QUIT" is smart and this is when "I QUIT" shouldn't be considered, I realized it isn't that simple.
When we decide to change our life for the better, part of what we do is quit certain things.
I quit eating foot-long sandwiches with chips, sometimes soup, and three cookies almost daily from Subway. I have the 6-inch sandwh on the (not often) occasions I choose to eat there with one cookie if I can fit it into my nutrition needs for the day.
I quit playing video games from the time I got home at 5:30 pm until the time I crashed for the night around 1:00 - 2:00 am. I play an hour or two on the nights I decide I have the time and desire.
I quit chugging 32-64 oz of chocolate milk daily. I sometimes have a chocolate (or strawberry) milk as my post-workout snack, but even that is rare. I have milk on my cereal and a rare glass when it fits into my day - need calcium, have calorie and fat room.
I quit a fair variety of things that were routine before.
Of course ... I never made a drama production of saying "I QUIT". I just decided those things weren't workable for the future I wanted, so I let them slide into the past. I wrote those sentences with "quit", but that's not really how I ever thought of it.
Which made me wonder about the definition of quit. Is it as simple as "stop doing" or "give up"?
Looked it up and here's what is interesting. There's multiple definitions. "To cease doing something", "to give up", "to admit defeat", "to end or be freed from", "to leave or vacate". In the Merriam-Webster synonym discussion, it mentions this while comparing it to stop:
** QUIT may stress either finality or abruptness in stopping or ceasing **
(More appropriate for my sentences above might be that I discontinued those practices, rather than saying I quit them.)
I'm meandering now.
Sorry, I'll quit.
I QUIT CONSIDERING "QUITTING" AN OPTION
Hmmmmm, guess that's a little too broad - and almost as knee-jerk as saying "I QUIT".
Oh, wait ...
If I quit QUITting, then how can I QUIT quitting?
When I quit trying to deal with my creditors, the results were far more destructive than when I was struggling along paying them small amounts.
When I quit one job, the results were losing a 401(k) program, vacation time, annual bonuses and raises, health and dental insurance - much more destructive than staying and trying to pretend I didn't despise my coworker.
When I quit fattening myself up with the odd goal of becoming invisible and avoiding male interest, on the other hand, the results have been better eating habits, more energy, more strength, clothes I'm happier with, more upbeat mood regularly. There was very little destruction when I quit believing that more weight was a solution.
Some quitting worked, some quitting didn't.
When I'm looking at my options, I want to find the choice that is most beneficial across the board. Quitting actually COULD be an option in some cases - if it allowed me to build a better future.
I will eventually have to quit my job. It pays my way now, but I have no insurance (unless I pay it all myself), no vacation time (we get five paid holidays a year), no career future here or elsewhere, no investment option, and no standard routine for performance reviews and raises. Right now is not the right time to quit - but quitting is the eventual option that will have to be taken.
IF I want to consider quitting, I have to consider what exactly I want to quit, what I want to keep doing, and what the consequences of quitting are. I have to consider what I will continue doing to build tomorrow.
Let's say, for example, my weight stalled in this 182 - 184 range for longer than a couple of week (during which I know I had too much to eat).
If I got frustrated and said "I QUIT", what exactly would I be quitting?
Would it mean I would QUIT eating single portions and go back to eating 3-4? Would I start eating Ultimate Cheeseburgers and Oreo Cookie Shakes on a regular basis? Would I return to eating foot-long subs, three cookies, chips, and a soup? Would I QUIT going to the gym after work? Would I QUIT walking if I could avoid it and QUIT taking the stairs if an elevator was available?
How exactly would that solve my problem (being stalled between 182-184)?!
True, I wouldn't be stalled in that range for long. I'm pretty sure I'd GUARANTEE a climb back to 200+ in short order.
Quitting is only an option when I can clearly define what I'm quitting and how that will help solve the problem.
I think of a fellow Sparker who turned in 2-week notice at a job. The amount of job stress leading up to this has been immense. She's measured things such as how much she could set aside before the last paycheck. She didn't just say "I QUIT" - she weighed the pros and cons and found a point at which it was more self-destructive to stay than to quit. Sure, being unemployed and job-hunting in this market is a whole new stress ... but, in her case, it is a better stress. It is building to a better future.
So any time I feel the urge to say "I QUIT", I want to expand it. I want to say what I'm quitting and why. I want to think forward to the future beyond it and see if QUITTING makes it better. I want to think beyond quitting to what I will be doing.
I want to know that when I do say "I QUIT", I wasn't just trying to take the easy way out or stick my head in the sand ostrich-style.
Oy, I'm long-winded.
I QUIT. [FIN]
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Even I'm guilty of this - not in the area of weight loss, but in other aspects of my life. I've pushed and fought and struggled only to come to a point where I wanted to scream "I QUIT!" and walk away.
What is it that makes us think Quitting is a solution?
One of those aspects where I "quit" was finances. When my EX and I divorced, I found myself carrying a load of debt. I followed that with a couple of very poor decisions and involvement with an organization that can suck people financially dry "in a good cause". I would struggle to meet all my necessary expenses, provide for my kids, and hope I could get a little bit toward one or another creditor.
It was so bad at one point that I went to a Credit Counseling Center (something free offered in the community) ... only to have the counselor review all the data I provided and say "We can't help you. You don't even make enough to meet basic expenses, let alone set up payment arrangements."
I gave up. I quit trying to even make the bare minimums where I could.
Did it solve anything?
NOT a chance.
Not paying the IRS ultimately led to my entire checking account being wiped out by a lien ... 2 days before rent was due. They didn't give a hoot if I'd end up homeless and without food. I owed money and they'd get as much of their money no matter who it hurts.
In fact, in looking at what I did, I went beyond saying "I QUIT!" I actively sabotaged myself. Of all things I chose to treat like a non-necessity, I chose the two that had the legal power to destroy me (taxes and student loans are the WORST debts, in my opinion). I wasn't doing better because I was blowing money on things I didn't need because dang it, I earned it, I deserved to spend some how I wanted.
Plus ... quitting did not make all those challenges go away. My employer went through a very bad financial period. I think at the very worst time, I had not received a paycheck for 5 or 6 weeks. And when I finally got a paycheck, I only got one. Twice I had paychecks bounce ... and learned to walk into the branch to cash them rather than deposit them in the ATM. I wanted to quit the job, but this coincided with the worst imaginable job market. (Classifeds for jobs were a single side of one page in the newspaper. I'd never seen so few.)
That was almost three years ago now. I became more aggressive about following up on my paychecks and not accepting fluff answers, the finance person got replaced, more customers were found, paychecks got slowly caught up, and I trimmed my expenses way way down. (Admittedly, though, I was limited in that trimming when DDa and DS lived with me - I "had" to pay for a 2-bedroom apt which was 2/3rds of my net income. Now I rent a room that is around 1/4 - such a difference.) I've paid off all tax and student loan debts. All my other debts are past the statute of limitations.
Quitting nearly destroyed me in a way no other challenges had before. I had NEVER feared that I would end up homeless. I believed that I could ALWAYS find a way to land on my feet without having to depend on others. Quitting, the self-sabotage, and the ongoing external challenges, had me doubting myself and my ability to rebound.
See, that's the other really negative thing about quitting. It doesn't matter that it was our choice. When we quit, we internally know ourselves as a quitter. We know we didn't have what it takes to keep fighting for ourselves. We know we valued ourselves and our future less than ... well, after we quit, we find out it gained us nothing, so we value ourselves below nothing.
So if quitting solves nothing, what solution is there when we feel impossibly stressed and overburdened, when nothing seems to be going our way?
Taking one small step forward. Then taking the next small step forward.
It might take years, but if we keep taking one tiny step after another, we will be better off. Even when it didn't feel like I'd ever make it through, getting up the next morning and going about my routine moved me toward this day.
I QUIT CONSIDERING "QUITTING" AN OPTION.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Every once in a rare while, it's nice to eat purely for the appreciation of flavor, even knowing it'll make the day's calorie count insane. That day was today.
My oldest - DDb - had her birthday in mid-June, but this was the soonest we could all coordinate meeting up between their college classes with finals, jobs, choir practice (DDa only), and my finances with the dental work.
We started off with eating Italian at Buca di Beppo. Bread with that mix of olive oil and vinegar as we waited, then sharing Baked Ziti and Ravioli Pomodoro. I had to pretty much guesstimate for the nutrition tracker - so not a clue if it was more or less than listed. I tried to estimate higher than I thought I ate just so it is realistically over the top. Delicious and we spent the entire time talking. The waitress just had to laugh because she'd ask if we were ready to order and we'd all go "oops, we got talking again - give us a few more minutes".
Now, in order to make it there on time after leaving the gym, I hadn't changed clothes. When I got there, I changed in the restroom and discovered I'd forgotten to include a shirt. Soooo ... being a restaurant on the perimeter of a mall, into the mall we went with DDb and DDa on a mission to help me buy a shirt. Picked up a cute striped gray shirt (in a Large ... from a completely normal store - woot), but DDa was complaining about me being all gray (shoes, jeans, and shirt, not to mention in my hair) and I still hadn't bought new pants yet, so onward to another store for jeans.
With the help of a sales associate, we found a pair that was really cute, but the largest size the store had was a 10. In fact, the largest they had of anything was 12 so I figured I was out of luck there, but DDb and DDa convinced me to at least try them on. So we got two other styles in 12 and the one pair in 10 and off to the dressing room.
The first 12s were definitely hip-huggers. That is not a style I wear easily or that looks right on me. But they did fit otherwise. So after showing those off and mentioning the hip issue, I tried on the other 12s. They fit great.
As I was showing them, DDa spouts a few things rather spontaneously. One was that she thinks my legs look great. Then I turned around to go into the dressing room and she says something like "Dang, even your butt looks good." LOL, those glute exercises must be paying off. =P
The 10s were laughable. Not a hope of zipping them up. But, allowing for the fact they were skin-tight, the fact I could even get them all the way on to be AT the position to try to zip them up was pretty shocking.
I understand size numbers have shifted over the years. But I think this is the first time I've really picked up on what that means. I could swear I was a 14 back in my 165 days, a 12 in my 150 days. And now with a 40-year-old's body and 182 pounds, I'm fitting in a 12? Freaky.
But, the 10s were in the color I really wanted (a darker green). The salesperson called another branch of the store at a mall closer to my home and they had 12s, so we had those put on hold. We picked those up later.
I got permission and was all changed into those clothes. While I had been paying, DDb and DDa headed out to another store. Coming back, DDa didn't even recognize me until she realized it was her brother next to me.
Haha, I looked "too young". Then again, later on in the day I got my first look at myself in a full-length mirror. For whatever reason, I didn't really look too close in the dressing room and their mirror was more above the knee. The later one was at a shoe store and with no head and just the body it was kind of disorienting. I really look different than I think. Partly the size, but also partly the clothing style.
Off to Cold Stone we went for a snack and then to the theater to watch the latest Dark Knight movie. My DDa wanted to go soooooo bad, so we obliged - but I'm not complaining in the slightest since Action/Adventure is my favorite genre.
Post-movie was off to the other mall for the pants, shoes for DDa, and then to a sports store to look at running shoes for her. She's been getting up at 6 am to go running for several weeks now, but does it in her normal shoes (Vans? not at all running shoes). First I picked up some weight gloves. I've been noticing calluses developing at the base of each finger, so hopefully these will help.
This place doesn't do any of the fitting that a running store does, though, so I'll be taking her to a "real" running store another time. I think it may be important because one thing she mentions is that her feet roll out (supination, I believe) through most of the stride. We all have high arches, but even standing "neutral", her feet don't press down as much on the inner edge of the ball. Getting her some that fit and support better could make a big difference for her.
By this time it had been 7 hours since we'd had lunch, so we headed to a burger place called The Counter. To order we had to pick from a variety of selections. Meat, for example, could be beef, chicken, turkey, veggie, or something locally obtained (O_o halibut?! I guess we are an hour or less from the ocean), could be a third, two-third, or full pound, and either on a bun or in a bowl with salad greens. And so on. So while it was a "burger", it could be made into pretty much a veggie salad if we so chose.
I didn't so chose.
Let me just say English Muffin works surprisingly well with a burger, as do grilled pineapple and roasted red peppers with a small dab of honey mustard.
I am stuffed. I may have delayed myself in this 182-184 range for another week or two (hit a "new low" of 181.5 this morning, but I'm being realistic). But it was so so worth it.
Oh, and I went all-out with a strawberry shake. In part because it was real berries blended up - not pink color and flavoring.
To me the key to having a day like this is:
1) It's a very rare and very special treat.
2) We had a lot of walking and stair climbing throughout the day other than when we were watching the movie. Even the time waiting on food in the evening we spent wandering the nearby area.
3) I didn't get extreme portions. I had a few small slices of the bread before - not a whole "loaf" to myself. I scooped reasonable amounts of the pastas. I picked the 1/3rd pound beef (had to lift an eyebrow at the idea of trying to manage a 1 pound burger) and had enough veggies (4 separate items, a portion each) to balance it well.
4) I don't stress over the fact I may stall this week or even gain slightly. What's one or two weeks extra, especially given point 1 - this is rare. I have no clue how many calories it actually was, but if my guesstimates are at all accurate, I'm 3500 calories over for the day. Since my SP goal is 1 pound a week, all that does is put me at "maintenance" calories on average for the week - including my higher calories on Thursday as well.
I'm still working out regularly. I'm still getting my water daily. I'm not thinking the way I ate today should be "normal" - tomorrow will be right back to appropriate ranges on all my nutrients.
This is life.
A happy, well-satisfied, healthy life.
Good night Sparklers!
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Credit for me seeing this goes to HOPEFULHIPPO.
Usually I read through bunches of these just for the amusement of how different people respond more than with any intention to answer, but what the heck ... I have work stuff I don't want to do right now.
1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
A song ... as were about 600,000 other girls in the year or two around when I was born.
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
Welllllll, I have ended up with some tears on my face while reading a book semi-recently, but all out crying would go back to when Princess Di was in the accident. Wasn't really crying about her, though. I hadn't mourned my marriage / divorce at all, and her death was sort of permission to break down briefly.
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
It's clean, neat and legible, but nothing special.
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
I'm boring and prefer turkey breast or honey-roasted ham.
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
Three total. DDb was raised by adoptive parents, DS and DDa by me and the EX.
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Probably the kind of best friends who don't need to stay in contact regularly - they just get each other so well. (We also would be completely baffling to most people as our conversational leaps would skip so much.)
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
I don't think so.
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Indeed. I have all my original parts with the exception of baby teeth and wisdom teeth.
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
Not a chance. I would, however, sky dive.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Bounces between Frosted Mini Wheats, Honey Bunches of Oats, Kellogg's Raisin Bran, and a dark chocolate hazelnut granola (mostly eat the last right now - YUMMMMY!)
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Always - it's habit.
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
In a relative sense, I've always had a certain reserve amount of physical strength that surprised people. (My DDa weighed around 90-95 pounds, was sleeping in the car, and I carried her into the house for example. I didn't think about it as strength - just something that needed to be done.) On the flip side, I'm barely getting to the point where I can do a few girly pushups ... which makes me feel not so strong and determined to get stronger. (Emotionally would be a whole different answer.)
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Mint chocolate chip. (Even was when I was little and walked to Thrifty's!)
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Smiles (or lack of) and whether they're genuine.
15. RED OR PINK?
Red, though pink apparently looks better on me.
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
Hair on the body (not the head). I feel like I get 5 o'clock shadow on my legs. (Course my DS appreciated the genes when he could grow a full mustache in 9th grade.)
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
Uh ......... no idea. I don't usually miss people. I could say my best friend, but as soon as I adjusted to less contact, I don't miss it.
18. WOULD YOU CONSIDER BEING HYPNOTIZED FOR ANY REASON?
Nope. Not interested in the slightest.
(Yep, I came back and edited this. I'm not even interested in remotely advertising for some individual I've never heard of, slipped in sneakily.)
19. ANY TATTOOS?
Not yet for several reasons. If I do, I want it to be very artistic (not a slap job), colorful (hate the plain black stuff), and somewhere that won't grow icky looking with age and weight changes. May not happen.
19. WHAT COLOR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Black. It's my work neutral to go with pants that are usually dark.
20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
Spoonfuls of peanut butter - ugh.
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
The tinnitis in my ears and my keyboard and my coworker's clacking as we type. Otherwise it is very very quiet in my office.
22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Forest green. Or really any green that isn't bright and brassy.
23. FAVORITE SMELLS?
Cinnamon and vanilla. The latter is my favorite in soaps, shampoos, and candles when it is natural.
24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
My boss today. A friend last night.
25. MOUNTAIN HIDEAWAY OR BEACH HOUSE?
Mountain hideaway without a doubt.
26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
Hockey, especially if I have front-row seats!
27. HAIR COLOR?
Depends on which strand you look at. Everything from light blonde to dark brown to white.
28. EYE COLOR?
Green hazel. I honestly think they come closest to matching an olive shade, but being hazel it depends on mood and what I'm wearing.
29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
Can't anymore. I have corneal implants.
30. FAVORITE FOOD?
Fudge - the real stuff, perfectly made candy fudge. (I've tried making it. Each batch was okay, but not perfect.)
31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Action/Adventure, actually. Endings can be happy, shocking, or sad - so long as there was a lot of action. REALLY do not like scary movies. They're either corny or gory most of the time, neither of which has any appeal.
32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
Iron Man 2 on my laptop. Totally loved Ms. Potts in Avengers and went back to watch both Iron Man movies. Was, sadly, less than impressed.
33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
Green - an olive shade.
34. SUMMER OR WINTER?
Love summer more, but that's partly because it never gets unbearably hot here.
35. HUGS OR KISSES?
Neither, but hugs if I can't avoid them. (I'll e-hug people all day long ... and cringe away from real hugs unless they're from my kids.)
36. FAVORITE DESSERT?
Well, fudge as my favorite food, but I love sweet desserts. This questions reminded me of a fab dessert from Macaroni Grill. It was a fun-size Snickers bar inside a pastry shell, fried in oil. OMG GOOD! (very very rare treat, obviously, if they even make it still)
37. STRENGTH TRAINING OR CARDIO?
Love both, but Strength Training involves more variety and s easier to see improvement.
38. COMPUTER OR TELEVISION?
What's a television? Seriously, I owned one for 15 years that was only used for playing console games by my kids in the later years.
39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
Book? Try bookS. I am reading a number of books and swap around based on what I'm in the mood for. Scifi/Fantasy? Romance? Mystery? Thriller? Non-fiction? Self-help? I'm reading them all.
40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
My elbow. No, I'm serious. It's black and has an ergonomic thing for the wrist. But it's more comfortable to put that under my elbow and move the mouse on the desk.
42. FAVORITE SOUND?
Soft chiming bells. The "silence" of nature. Waves on the shore.
43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
*sings (poorly)* Nowhere Man, oh Nowhere Man.
(I actually have no idea what songs the Rolling Stones did. I know WHO they are, but that's it.)
44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
New York City. Worked in Manhattan (49th floor of one of the Twin Towers, in fact) and lived in Brooklyn - for a whopping 3.5 months before getting the heck out of there and coming back to California.
45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
Depends on how we define "special". I can lift both eyebrows Spock-style (independently). I am pretty good making software crash, though thankfully I'm also good at figuring out what I did to cause the crashes so I don't repeat them - and so I can report it for fixing.
46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
At home in the bathtub. My father cut a hole in the seat of a chair (it was planned for home) and caught me. I was the first of 5 all born at home.
47. WHERE ARE YOU LIVING NOW?
Same city as I was born in, actually.
48. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR HOUSE?
The house I rent a room in is boring white.
49. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR CAR?
I don't have a car. My last car was called blue, though it was really more green looking - a teal color. I once had a red car ... and learned that speeding and red cars are TRULY a magnet for cops.
50. DO YOU LIKE ANSWERING 50 QUESTIONS?
Sometimes. Depends on the questions. Depends on what work I'm trying to avoid doing. Depends on whether I can avoid absolute answers. Better than 100 QUESTIONS!
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
16 September 2011 to 17 July 2012 - 10 months of progress
Starting Weight = 250.5 pounds
Current Weight = 183.0 pounds
Definitely slowed up the loss of pounds this past 31 days, but that's fine because I also upped most of my strength training weights and was eating at the very top of my range when I was hungry. I'd far rather have a slower month in which my lean body mass is being challenged than a faster month.
New pic is up on the main page, but here's my usual front and side:
I know a few people have mentioned it is probably time for a new swimsuit - and they're absolutely right. I took a look inside and this one is a 22W. I'm fitting into a 14 in pants and XL shirts are actually getting mostly too loose in spots, so no surprise the suit is getting "big". (It's not as noticeable in the pictures, but this suit was designed to help smooth the shape. It's to the size now where it is loose all around - those "form-fitting" areas fit a form larger than me. Which is a nice feeling.)
I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do about it, though. I have no need for a swimsuit at the moment, so buying a new one just for pictures and growing out of it seems wasteful. But I cringe at the thought of one from a thrift store for whatever reason. For now, even as it gets loose on me, it still has enough fit to see the changes.
Now, just for amusement's sake - when I order a SparkPeople T-shirt in Large, I completely expected it to be quite snug around the top, but soon to be (un)grown into. Instead, as I've mentioned, it fit - even loosely. Well I took a measuring tape to it out of curiosity.
Laid completely flat it is 22" across - or 44" in diameter - and it has a typical amount of material give / stretch. Given a bust measurement of 45", a chest (above) measurement of 39", a band measurement of 36", and a waist at navel measurement of 39", it's no wonder it fits fine in one single spot ... and is too big in the rest.
The XL shirt from the Packard Summer Scamper looked exactly the same size when laid flat. I say "was" because I donated that along with a variety of other things. (While it was iffy okay for size, it was thin and white. Other than wearing it over other things, which is too warm, I wouldn't ever use it - so better someone else got some benefit.)
I was curious how long my hair has gotten and what it looks like from behind (aka whether I should get it trimmed again soon). The coloration is totally natural and something I've put up with since it went from blonde to dirty blonde to brown.
In pictures of me between 3 and 6, I'm blonde. Over the years it has slowly darkened until it's the darker brown in my profile - though the amount of kinky white in it keeps increasing giving it an even more mixed coloration than what that picture can show.
For an idea of how much lighter it was - this is my senior picture. My hair was not colored at all. Permed, sadly yes.
Anyway, enough pictures. =P (Stop me before I go pull my baby book out of storage! LOL)
I mentioned that I ramped up my strength training. I get so excited every time I add another few pounds on any particular machine, but it's harder to keep track of all the improvements. One of the troubles is that I didn't translate all my hand-written pages from the first few months into the app I use now. Another trouble is that some of the exercises / machines I've changed over time - and even when they seem the same, 80 pounds on one might be easy and on another be a real effort. I haven't yet done benchmarks stuff or free weights (more on that after).
Finally, I know when I started out I was easier on myself. I babied my knees, so even if the muscles were strong enough, the joint and tendons and such weren't ready for much
For example, Quadriceps are the large muscle in the front of the thigh. Mid-January when I joined the gym, I did Leg Extensions (Quadriceps) - 20 pounds, 2 sets of 12. Early February I was doing 30 pounds, 3 sets of 12. Then I read up strengthening knees and swapped to the Seated Leg Press for a more natural motion - like a squat. I did 75 pounds, 3 sets of 12. I'm still doing the seated leg press, but I'm up to 175 pounds, 3 sets of 12.
I wouldn't really say I've built from 20 to 175. But who knows what I'd have done in mid-January had I started on the Seated Leg Press.
Seated Bench Press is one that I don't have the first couple months logged electronically and would have to dig out paper - but I did go from 30 pounds, 3 sets of 12 in mid-March to 60 pounds, 2 sets of 12 and one set of 8 yesterday. That's one that I can see the results in my ability to do another pushup and not feel like collapsing.
Preacher Curl / Biceps / Arm Curl is one that I've bounced around different machines on. The first one I used now has a ripped pad, the second one didn't have a pad at all - more a free sweeping motion but I didn't trust my form, and the third is okay but I'm concerned I'm somehow pulling with more than my biceps so I'm looking at more alternatives. With all that hopping around, my biceps are stronger but the numbers don't directly correlate which is frustrating.
Benchmarks. So the app I use to track my strength training and cardio (not on SP - I dupe my records here) was originally designed for and/or by bodybuilders and keeps a certain flavor from that. One of those things is that they expect profiles to include six benchmark exercises - all barbell work. I'm getting to the point now (6 months of consistent weights) where I'm starting to be tempted to dip my toe in the free weights.
The main concern I have is I really do prefer my gym time being total me time. I don't have to wait on someone, make conversation, explain why I changed my mind on a particular exercise. For some of these benchmarks - most notably bench press - a spotter is preferred. I so do not want to have to ask around and interrupt other's workouts to get someone to spot for me.
What is under consideration for now is paying for a single Personal Trainer session explicitly for the purpose of being trained on and doing the 6 benchmark exercises, perhaps being trained the form on some other exercises so I can practice them (I'd like a bicep exercise that doesn't involve mashing my triceps into a pad ... my left arm doesn't like that much).
Whew did I ramble. But there it is - 10 months worth of SparkPeople. Ten months of eating normally, but tracking and making sure a vast majority of days are within my calorie range as well as meeting my macro-nutrient ranges. Ten months of daily activity (only one day missed due to my foot). Ten months of logging on and getting my SparkPoints (my streak is something like 306 days).
The first ten months of the rest of my life.
Yeesh, finally got it posted right ... I think. Annoying when uploads go wonky.
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