Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I'm SO EXCITED, guys. Starting next week, I am going to be taking FORZA CLASSES with my friend Corin!!!!
Forza is a fitness class based on Samurai sword fighting techniques. In class, you wield a 5lb wooden dowel instead of a sword, and swing, chop, and stab your way through a series of lunging, squatting, and turning movements. It's a really intense, all-over strength and cardio workout -- and I CAN'T WAIT!!!
I absolutely love fitness activities that make me feel TOUGH. I want to feel strong, in-control, and badass when I exercise. That's why I love riding my bike, because it feels strong and intense to commute to work or finish a 25-mile ride. I always wanted to kickbox, but the only available classes were at expensive gyms.
I read about Forza in the local weekly paper, and knew I wanted to try it. It's ALL ABOUT strength, about determination and pushing your limits. And the instructor sounds like an amazing lady -- she's a single mom who works with children with disabilities, she's covered with tattoos, and her back, shoulders and arms are the hottest things outside of hell. When Corin asked if I wanted to join her in Forza, of COURSE I said yes!!
It's going to be SO hard. And that's good. I want hard. I want to feel like a ninja. Like I could take on the world.
I want to embody FORZA -- it's Italian for Strength.
Maybe that will be my new Om.
Corin sent me this message on facebook, about her first class yesterday:
"Oh, honey... I learned this am... It is most definately a full body work out! I woke up this am and my entire body was sore as hell, which felt really good actually. I did a lot this weekend, started jump roping, went hiking & dancing, and then did the Forza class. I'm starting my hula hooping routine on sat, a great core workout. I'm most excited about all of this stuff because it is insanely fun to do! Oh yeah, & I'm taking a "body awareness" class starting next wk at CCV, that'll include yoga, dance, meditation, nutrition, massage, A&P, and general kinesthetics. SIGH... My body is severely pleased with all of these changes, and so is my brain for that matter ;-) thanks for joining me on the journey!"
I'm so thrilled to have another partner in fitness!
And if anyone in Burlington is interested in some sword-wielding and has 10 bucks to spare, Corin and I will be Forza-ing every Monday night at the North End Studio -- meet us there!!!
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Last night was a BLAST with Miles' parents. We got a drink at the 1/2 Lounge (had ginger-infused vodka with "honey syrup" [which was just watered-down honey] and lemon, instead of a super-sugary Vixen), then dinner at Leunig's Bistro. I did well there, choosing the Mahi Mahi over the various cuts of red meat, having a salad without the blue cheese, and I had the angel food cake for dessert (fat free!!)!
That said, it was a lot of everything, and I'm starting my period tomorrow -- I don't want to know what my weight would be today!!! So I made Miles hide the scale. Even though I keep saying to myself that I'm focusing on behaviors, not numbers, and I want to maintain for a while before going back to major calorie cutting....... My mindset is NOT catching up, eating 1800 calories/day makes me super nervous, and I didn't trust myself to not freak out at whatever numbers pop up.
Luckily, the mindset of "maintenance" is helping me choose really nutritious, delicious foods. I'm not worrying so much about calories when I decide as I am about what I'll be getting out of each meal. For example, I chose the fish last night because it came with Pumpkin Gnocchi and LOADS of veggies, and new that I needed more vegetables and love winter squash. Tonight, we're going to Michael's on the Hill for Miles' birthday, and I've pre-planned the Rabbit. It's not the lowest calorie thing on the menu -- but it comes with wilted greens instead of potatoes, and I want veggies! It also is loaded with iron, and since I'm anemic and have been really tired and bruising lately, I think I need to get more iron stat.
Point is, I'm thinking about nutrients, about foods, and not just calorie and fat content. I know it's still obsessive, but..... to me it feels better to worry about getting a good balance of veggies and protein than it does to fret over 3 grams of fat or 200 calories.
All that aside.
My main goal right now is to get my body used to more intense, endurance-style exercise. I tried high-intensity interval training Thursday, which felt amazing and I could feel the effects all day (going up stairs was taxing because I had worked my legs so hard!). I snowshoed for over 2 hours yesterday, covering 4.25 miles, the longest single stretch I'd done! I'm jogging longer stretches, using higher resistance levels on the elliptical, and I only use Walk Away The Pounds on a recovery day -- I want my body to be BUFF and STRONG!!
So on that note... time to put on my gym clothes. Saturdays are my SuperIntenseWorkout days and the elliptical is calling my name!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I can tell now that I am absolutely back on track with my awareness and making deliberate choices when I eat!
I'm not sure how many of you know this, but I actually track my day's meals and snacks the night before. It helps me see patterns better, leave room for any unplanned foods, and, of course, means there won't be any surprises (what do you mean I've already had 1100 calories today???) right before dinner.
Today, my total calories (pre-gym banana, breakfast, lunch, post-work snack, dinner) totaled to a whopping 1200 calories, almost 200 away from my minimum. So, at school, I thought about treating myself a little. I went to the school store (which is run by the intensive need's Special Ed team and sells treats at lunches), and started to reach for the brownies -- YUMMY, and totally within my range.
BUT.... then I thought about how I have a batch of Hungry Girl peanut butter brownies at home. So I put the brownie down, and had a cup of "naked" popcorn instead.
It's a good thing I did, because the kids drove me CRAZY today, so I'm going to be kicking back with a cosmopolitan tonight, hahaha!
(I seriously had to keep the entire seventh grade in the cafeteria today because one student refused to take his seat and clean up his mess. I have this battle with him every day, so I decided to rally the whole class behind me! He was still very rude and sexist towards me, so I sent him to the office. Then I played Mommy to a group of co-dependent 13 year olds who follow directions SO BADLY that I actually missed teaching arts and crafts to 6-year-olds)
Point is. I was able to resist a lot today -- I skipped the free bagels at the gym, the brownie after lunch, and the cafe after work.
I have my willpower back!!!!! WOOHOOO!!!!!!!!!!!
....Now, if only it made a difference in my weight. Still at 161.8. Have been for 3 weeks. But I'm okay with that, especially after seeing how great I look in recent pictures.
What I've been thinking about though is my physical performance. When I was at the gym last week, I found myself feeling SO TIRED after just 10 minutes on the elliptical. But I wasn't out of breath, and my heart rate was barely over 120 (150-165 is my ideal range). My MUSCLES were just so tired, despite plenty of rest, stretching, and a week off from major strength moves like lunges. My muscles were burned out before I had even broken a sweat!!!
The nice part of this is, I've clearly improved my cardiovascular fitness. Today, my heart rate only got to 155 after 10 minutes of jogging at 5.3mph -- in October, I could hit 160 just by walking at a 3% incline. My heart rate returns to its normal near-resting rate much quicker now than it did two months ago. My resting heart rate itself is lower than the national average!
But my muscles are just... not performing how they should. I'm thinking that after losing so much weight and running on a calorie deficit for so long, I'm just not rebuilding my muscles properly, and I'm certainly not adding any muscle! I want to do more research on this. I'm considering trying to maintain for, say, a month, while I focus on strength training and increasing my endurance during workouts. Then, when my body is a little stronger and no longer thinking it's underfed, I can go back to eating at a calorie deficit, and lose the last 5 pounds!
Like I said, more research is needed, but I no longer have a "weight by a certain date" goal like I did pre-wedding gown. All of my goals are about fitness: running at an incline, running for longer chunks of time, doing a 5k, riding 50 miles in one day. I know that these require stronger muscles, and if you can't gain muscle while losing weight, then how will I get better at those activities?? I have to have my priorities straight.
So for now, until I've read more, the goal is to eat near my maximum calories each day -- which is actually REALLY REALLY HARD. I have to really work at including more healthy calorie-dense foods in my life....
But that doesn't mean eating a bunch of brownies. I know that much now.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
It is fate that brought me to Fiori Bridal in Essex Junction, because I found the perfect gown, an amazingly helpful staff, and a wonderful shopping experience. I didn't end up in a size 10 gown like I had hoped back in September (I ordered a 14 because I was between 12 and 14), but I'm happy anyway! I was told that you usually go up 1-2 sizes for a gown. I fit into a size 12 (I'm in a 12 in the photos), so I feel really wonderful about that. I worked so hard to get to this point -- 45 pounds since my heaviest, 23 pounds since July, and it really is summed up for me in this gown.
I tried on five different gowns at Fiori, and I was dubious of the one I chose when I saw it on the hanger. It didn't have straps, it had a lot of beading, and the train is very long.
But I tried it on, braced myself into the corset (it was actually quite comfortable, even when I sat down!), and looked at myself in the mirror and instantly felt SO. BEAUTIFUL. I tried it with the optional halter strap, which looks FABULOUS on me and really sets off my shoulders (a favorite part on me).
I felt like royalty. Like a goddess. I GLOW in this gown! I really can't help but look at the pictures of me trying it on and think, "Wow, I'm beautiful!"
What really got me was thinking about how Miles will react when he sees me in this dress -- that's how I knew this is THE ONE.
So this is it!
Friday, January 08, 2010
I should be excited. Relieved. Quivering with anticipation!
Instead, I'm just freaking out inside my head, no matter how much I know I shouldn't be. No matter how much I know I should be so proud of myself, so thrilled by the thought of what's to come. But..... I'm just so nervous!!!!!
Today, I delivered my Teaching Certification Portfolio to the state Department of Education. I have been working on this process for an entire year (give or take a couple of days), and now it's at a major crossroads.
See, I'm going through a process called Peer Review, in which a qualified individual who has completed a student teaching experience, but does not have a Title 1 teaching certificate, creates a new portfolio that provides evidence that ze is a Highly Qualified Educator. For the past year, I have been creating lessons for my current students, revising past unit plans from my college days, compiling and analyzing student work, filming myself teaching and reading aloud, and writing descriptions and reflections on all of those evidences. Fifty-five evidences in all, spanning 7 years of work and educational experience, plus my resume, letters of recommendation, transcripts and test scores -- equaling 643 pages of WORK.
What's next is allowing a panel of four certified English teachers read and criticize those 643 pages, interview me, and determine my fate as a potential teacher. Four people to decide if I'm as qualified as a new college graduate.
I'm literally praying to God that I pass the first round. I've failed at this process once before (when I was a new college graduate), and I am so. terrified. that I will not fare any better this time.
But I am hopeful. I've gained so much knowledge and experience since my graduation in 2006. I've forged positive, professional relationships with all of my coworkers, dedicated myself to my career and my students in ways I never could when I was 21. I'VE COME A LONG WAY.
And I hope, pray, believe, that the panel will see this.
In addition to that huge leap of faith, tomorrow I am BUYING A WEDDING DRESS.
Which is why, as much as I'd love to celebrate my huge accomplishments (dude, 640 pages is SO MANY PAGES) with a drink out or elegant dessert, I know I have to find a new way. I will NOT risk being bloated for a fitting tomorrow, hahaha.
There's another place where I've come a long way. Sure, I still have 5 pounds to go, and I didn't reach my Wedding Dress Weight Goal, but I have lost 23 pounds since July 2009. I am 45 pounds lighter now than I was at my heaviest in April 2007. I have improved myself.
If there's one thing that these two concurrent experiences have taught me, it is this: I AM NOT A QUITTER ANY MORE. I DO NOT NEED TO GIVE UP. Sure, 640 pages sounds impossible. 50 Pounds sounds impossible. But one paragraph at a time, one workout at a time, THAT is a reality I can rise up to. And when I do that enough times, I can reach ANY goal.
I will persevere. I will rise to the occasion. I WILL BE A SUCCESS.
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