Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I have a coworker who is a secretary of one of our in-house administrative law judges. She's a sweet lady, and a bit eccentric. When Administrative Professionals' Day (we used to just call this Secretary's Day but we've gotten so PC nowadays) came along she received a nice card and a balloon. It was one of those mylar helium dealies - you know the type. She was thrilled by the gesture and she deserved it for some of the crap she deals with on a daily basis, and always with a smile. For weeks she kept that balloon in her office. It held up quite nicely, actually. But one day we came to work and noticed it had started to droop. Instead of tossing the thing, she left it there in all it's droopy glory, and each day I watched it fall more and more, looking more sad, nearly to the floor. (Who knows, it may still be in there on the floor somewhere...I stopped looking.)
Today I'm feeling a bit like that deflated balloon.
I had a great, exciting blog for all of you. It was a gym blog, and the story is a good one so I'm going to attempt to tell it...but I doubt I'll do the feeling I had in that moment any justice considering the moments that followed.
Yesterday I arrive at the gym tired. I had a really healthy lunch - a grilled chicken salad that was amazing! Problem? No real carb-load to speak of. I try to balance my meals and I'm not sure why I didn't think of this before, but that salad was not going to hold me over through my workout 6+ hours later. I tried to rectify by eating a Luna Bar, but I felt ravishingly hungry still most of the afternoon. But I went to the gym anyhow. Sure I could make it through with that protein bar -- because I've done it before with just a protein bar an hour or so before, many times I've done this.
I hurry onto my favorite treadmill (after a few stretches of course) and start my 2 mile training walk. It's hard. I'm at a 2.6 speed to start when I usually jump right up to 3.0...but I felt I needed the warm-up. After 5 minutes I increase to 3.3, a speed I had perfected (so I thought) last week. It was even harder! I promised myself I could do 5 minutes, so I did. And the rest of my 40 minutes went along with 5 minute intervals of 3.3 and 2.6. All the while I'm looking around...people watching. I had brought a book but I just didn't feel like reading. I was missing my tunes like crazy and the mix of music from three different areas in the gym made it difficult for me to focus. Still, I promised myself those 2 miles and I was going to do it no matter what...even if I had to do the entire thing at a 2.0 pace I was going to do it.
I look down upon the lower gym area and spy a woman who seems to be the gym trainer. Not sure I've ever seen her before, let alone met her. I've wanted a training session badly but I'm still waiting for my insurance company to improve my application for the Weight Management Program to have some "free" sessions. Anyhow, I see that she's with a client. She's working through the proper way to do crunches (don't come up too far!) and then takes her around the weight machines to test her lifting levels. It was fun to watch, and I had nothing else to do -- who knows, I might overhear or see something and learn from it for free!
Next she brings the girl upstairs. Nice lady, probably mid-30s. Overweight, yes, but a smile on her face - ready for the challenge! I like that! She seemed like the kind of person I could get along with. She was much nicer than watching the woman in the aerobics class who stated very clearly that she just "CAN'T" do that, "I just know I can't" (and she wouldn't even try). Next thing I notice the trainer is taking a pulse and BP reading and then asks the girl to walk around the indoor track a few times. After she makes about 5 laps, she takes the pulse and BP again. And then she takes her around and starts showing her the different machines.
They attempt an elliptical first, but one 20ish year old is standing over/near the machine and blocking their path. Oh, she's not working out...she has no intention to. I already watched her give up on the bike after about 5 minutes and head into the boxing room for some "peace and quiet" (read: so she could talk on her cell phone, which she did the ENTIRE TIME she was there). So the trainer abandons the idea and takes her over to the treadmill next to me. I hear them behind me and then I hear, "Hang on a minute, I want to tell her something."
Oh crap! I'm doing something wrong and she just HAS to correct me. GRRR! I hate messing up!
The trainer walks over and says, "Hey! I just wanted to say that your form on that thing is excellent!" She smiles and I can't tell if she's just trying to placate the fat girl or what. "Oh really? This is right?" I ask, stupidly. (WTF is my problem?) "Yes!" she replies. And then she turns to her client and says "See how she's got her arms like that? That's the way to work the machine. You'll get a lot more out of it if you aren't constantly holding on." (Phew! Glad she didn't see me during my last 'recovery' interval where I was hanging on for dear life so I could get a drink of water! (Later she tells the girl that it's alright to hang on now and again to get your balance or when you're starting out, but that it's best if you put your arms in the 90 degree position -- I always tell myself "assume the position!" *lol*)
So the trainer hops her girl onto the machine (I didn't know there were people who had never used a treadmill before...another misconception!) and starts explaining the buttons. And then she starts telling her to take long strides, and if you can believe it she turns around to me, points and says, "Like she's doing!" The girl was on the machine a total of about 2 minutes (and she seemed deathly afraid of it, too) but for those 2 minutes I was the example. I felt like that girl in the workout DVD that is the example of the "advanced" version of the exercise. It made me smile. She also complimented me about my time (I was nearing the end and was almost at 40 minutes) and I confessed I was training for a 10k and she seemed genuinely impressed (they both did actually).
So those were my 2 minutes of fame. These two minutes were followed by confusion and, finally -- hell!
After my two miles and my 5 minute cool down I went to this little corner next to the aerobics room. I grabbed a mat and a 6-lb medicine ball and settled in to do my crunches. But before I started I figured I'd try my plank again, now that I know I can do them. It wasn't my 30-second plank from the other day. This was a 15-second plank...so I waited a bit and followed it with a second 15-second plank. I felt good about that. It was super hard, but I had done it. I settle in for my crunches, taking a slight breather before I start (when some random dude walking the track says, "You can do it girl! You're doing great!" and I swear I heard some of my Spark Friends speaking through him).
I think it was around crunch 60 or 80 or so that my head starts hurting a bit. I'm getting a headache and I'm confused as to why. I check my posture - spot on. My breathing is good. I've already downed about 80 ounces of water, so it can't be dehydration. I have no clue what it is...maybe it's the way my bun is laying on the floor or something stupid. Whatever. I push through the last 20 without much trouble and the headache has subsided. And then I head down for the weight machines to continue my ST workout. The headache comes and goes on certain machines, but I mostly feel pretty strong. I'm joking with the receptionist and trying to have fun as I finish what I came to do. By the time I leave there is no headache.
The rest of the night was fine...that is until about 3am this morning when I woke up cold and sore all through my head, neck and back. I swear I must've pulled something. I have no clue how I did it but I'm blaming those planks...it's the only new thing I've added and I've NEVER felt like this before. In fact, last night was pretty mellow compared to regular workouts. I was in such extreme pain that even a long massage from the Hubs did nothing to make me feel like I could sleep. I was in agony and my attempt at getting a good night's rest was ruined. (Doesn't help I didn't get to bed until like 11:30pm because we were watching a movie.)
So I've been up since 3am. My back and neck still hurt, though not quite as bad as what I woke up with this morning. Stretching isn't helping much, but I'll keep trying. The hot shower Hubs suggested did nothing. I'm sore and cranky and somehow gained 2 pounds since Sunday (go figure! I HATE THAT NUMBER 366...HATE HATE HATE, WANT TO KILL!). Right now I'm trying to survive the day. I doubt I'll get a full work day in. I need rest badly! (Nearly crashed a few times on the way in this morning...I shouldn't have been driving and I would've stayed home if this one project didn't have to be finished TODAY. GRRRR!)
I'm that little deflated balloon. I'm hoping my helium can last through at least a few hours so I can take as little time off as possible, but I need a nap like WOAH! I also need a masseuse, a chiropractor, and a team of doctors...but I don't have the resources for any of that right now. The headache was most likely an exertion headache, if I can believe the medical stuff from John's Hopkins' website (and other sources) and I don't know when I'll ever attempt a plank again! If it happens again without the plank, I'll know it's something else.
There it is. The really good, the bad, and the super duper wake me up out of a dead sleep and interesting dream ugly!
Monday, August 23, 2010
Alright y'all. I've focused too much on what I haven't done and what isn't happening. This week it's about the stuff below and about focusing on the amazing crap I've accomplished all summer - spurred on by my TIKI-mates, spurred on by my amazing SparkFriends old and new, spurred on by my own pure will and determination. I'm going to remember how much of an animal I am this week, how much I've done, and how the sky is totally the limit here! I've got more in me so I'm reaching in to grab it, and being nice to myself along the way!
Today I went for a walk at lunch. I didn't worry about distance or speed really. I just walked. And by the time I was almost back to the office I had this thought, "I *LOVE* my legs right now!" I can feel the strength and power within them, which is without a doubt from this training I've put myself through. I walked a mile today at lunch. I had a blast. I loved myself. I loved the wonderful cool breeze. I loved the old buildings I walked past. I loved that I wasn't sweating and breathing uncontrollably! It's amazing when you stop to realize - Wow! I'm doing great! And I've still got so much more I can do! I can't WAIT to see what I accomplish next, what happens to improve my life because I took the effort to make it happen! I totally rock!
~*~ TIKI Challenge BLAST-WEEK 8/23-8/29 ~*~
Since my last TIKI check in, I am proud to announce that I WALKED 5 MILES JUST UNDER A 20 MIN/MILE PACE!!
I promised that I would BALANCE FAMILY AND MY GOALS THIS WEEK and I ended up doing A LITTLE OF THAT, BUT I WAS PISSY FROM MY BODY NOT BEING 100% AND HAVING TO MISS MY 6-MILER.
For cardio, I kicked butt by REINCORPORATING MY LUNCH WALKS INSTEAD OF JUST SITTING HERE, AND PUSHING TO DO MY 5-MILER AND MAKE UP WHATEVER I HAD TO MISS FOR IT WITHOUT PUSHING TOO HARD.
For strength training, I MISSED 2 ST SESSIONS THIS WEEK BUT KICKED MAJOR BUTT ON FRIDAY, EVEN ACCOMPLISHING MY FIRST EVER PLANK (30 SECONDS) AND REALLY HITTING THE CRUNCHES, AS WELL AS ENGAGING MY CORE DURING MY SPEEDBAG TRAINING.
For flexibility and rest, I HAVE BEEN STRETCHING A LOT AND RESTING THE KNEE. I KNOW THE 5-MILER PUSHED IT BECAUSE I WAS TRYING TO GET IT DONE QUICKLY, SO I PAID FOR IT THIS WEEKEND.
My promise to myself for the last week of summer is that I will NOT GET SO HUNG UP ON WHAT I HAVEN'T DONE THAT I REFUSE TO DO WHAT I SHOULD DO! I CAN ROCK THE HELL OUT OF THIS SUMMER, I ALREADY HAVE!, TIME TO FINISH WITH A BIG BANG!
The three excuses that I will BANISH from my life for this week are:
1. It's too hard.
2. There's no time.
3. I've done enough.
My plan this week is:
Cardio: Gym 5/7 days at least, 2-5-6 miles training without excuses, elliptical, Zumba, boxing and rowing - all while engaging my core!
Strength Training: ST 3 times this week, even if I have to do it on my own at lunch time. Try to beat my 30 second plank time and see how close I can get to a minute! Start testing myself with push-ups. Up the crunches to 100 per day...easily doable.
Flexibility: Continue to use my Yoga moves to work in my stretching routine, and try a few more/new moves. Stretch at least 15 minutes following a full workout and take 5 minute stretch breaks in between machines for a cardio flexibility boost.
Rest and Love: I will reconnect with nature again because I can feel, smell and taste my favorite season approaching. I will get a photo shoot in sometime this weekend with my boys in the great outdoors!
Nutrition: I will use the plan I made this weekend and eat my prepackaged homemade meals for lunches and some dinners. And when the supply ends, I will go back to my list and remind myself what else we have. The goal is to really use the food we bought and not buy more or end up going out every night!
I have been working hard all summer, but I refuse to go out with anything less than a BANG! -- Hells to the YEAH!
My BANG! will be A 6-MILE WALK, TAKING IT SOMEWHAT EASY, OUTSIDE ON THE PAVEMENT IN PREP FOR MY RACE ON SEPTEMBER 4TH!
My crowning achievement of this week will be when I ACTUALLY GET TO SEE A FRIGGIN' LOSS ON THE SCALE AGAIN, AND KNOWING THAT EVEN IF I DON'T I HAVE DONE EVERYTHING IN MY POWER TO BRING IT ABOUT.
I am AN ANIMAL, hear me ROAR!
Monday, August 23, 2010
Today I woke up and had my very own version of the "sexy" breakfast that YOOVIE always talks about. I don't normally call it a "sexy" breakfast more than I call it a "calm, destressing breakfast" that prepares me for my day more than my former routine (wake up late, shower, dress, grab McD's and eat in the car on the way to work).
I set my alarm for 5am, yes. But I needed more sleep than that, so I took an hour nap (*lol*) before being woken up by pancakes in my face. (*love* me some Hubs!) As he asked if I was getting out of bed soon (as he wanted to get in...he worked all night) I said, "No! I'm eating right here in bed." Two bites later I realized I was missing my morning routine. I grabbed my pancakes and went out to watch my Angel reruns and sip some coffee (and add some bananas to my pancakes, because I just can't have pancakes without some sort of fruit). Halfway into the pancakes I was full (*shhh* ...he made too much ...he made an 'old Esther' serving of pancakes) and set the rest aside to enjoy my show and my coffee for a few minutes. I thought about waking the kids, but they have little to get ready in the morning and I thought I would wait until I went back for my shower at 6:30am.
I spent the next 15 minutes or so with myself. I logged on to check my SparkPage once, but then I closed up the laptop and just sat back and enjoyed the silence that is the morning.
I actually started having "one of those" mornings after the boys woke up. I couldn't find my belt. The only shirt I could find was the one that's too big and I don't much care for. I spilled almost my entire water bottle in my work bag. I spilled my coffee right on the boob of my shirt. (EDIT: I also forgot my cell phone at home, which is also my iPod for the gym, as well as a paper I needed for today at work.) I just shook my head, considered going back to bed for like a second, packed up my healthy lunch and snacks, and headed off to work - kissing my boys goodbye first and telling them to have a good day.
It wasn't until about 15 minutes ago (it's almost 10am now) that I realized that every misstep this morning that could've (and, in the past, would've) thrown me off just...didn't. And why? Because this whole "lifestyle change" nonsense? It's not really nonsense after all. This whole "exercise makes you happy" crap? Yea, it's not really crap either. And that "sexy" and/or "calm, destressing breakfast" really does help start my morning right. I got through several things that could've ruined my day because I'm better adapted to handling the stress. I can roll with the punches better than I ever did before.
And as I ate my snack of greek yogurt with strawberry freezer jam (homemade) and granola I thought about how much my life has changed in just four short months...
This "lifestyle change" they talk about doesn't take you from overeating, couch potato, TV-loving slob one day to overly active, never home, hiking mountains, granola vegan-eating, race winning, no TVs in the house health nut the next. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. It's a gradual change from the person you've settled into being to the person you always wanted to be.
It starts really small. For me it started with stopping my morning McDonald's addiction. It started with getting up a little earlier (like 2-5 minutes earlier) each day until I found the right time to get in my rest time before I had to start my day. It started with a cheese omelet and a slice of wheat bread. Every morning I had the same breakfast because I wasn't sure of my abilities and I was sure of my one choice - my egg and cheese omelet measured out (1/2 cup of egg beaters, 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar). (Lately I've added wheat bagels and cream cheese or peanut butter -- or Fiber One Pancakes if I can swing it have a little extra time (or Hubs surprises me).)
As time has progressed I've gotten used to my morning routine...so much so that even though I tried to resist it this morning and eat in bed, I just couldn't. I needed my routine! And while I'm not saying that eating pancakes in front of the TV while drinking creamer-laden coffee is "healthy" per se...it's better than what I was doing three months ago. And this small change, this morning routine, even though it doesn't include a morning run like I'd love for it to, even though it's just about silence and centering before the chaos of the day commences, helped me get through the crazy that followed.
I'm looking forward to more changes as they come, but for now I've got down a much better morning routine, I have a gym routine following a long work day that's seemingly solid most days, my daily eating works like clockwork and my mind feels calm a lot more these days. For me, that's a huge lifestyle change from the stressed out, overworked, underpaid, unappreciated, suffering, surviving, barely breathing, pulling her hair out woman that stumbled upon Spark 4 months ago.
My lifestyle may not be the poster child for healthy living yet, but it sure has changed! Has yours??
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Okay, so I'm feigning excitement right now because while I want it to be fantastic, I'm just trying to remember everything I need to do in order to be successful this week. Yes, I'm going through the motions, because that's what I have to do. Fake it til you make it.
Starting Weight: 466.6
SP SW: 416.2
Last Week: 362.8
This Week: 364.0
SP Total Loss: 52.2
Total Loss: 102.6
Hence the stress and the faking it. Could be because my eating was off a few days this week. Could be because I ate out more than usual = high salt intake. Could be because I worked out hard and I never lose much when I push it like that until the next week. Could be a ton of things, but I'm trying to not worry about the why and just move on.
So for today the plan is simple. Clean and Cook. I've got a list of 4-5 meals I'm going to try to prep for this week. They include:
Chicken Fried Rice
Chicken Fingers with Baked Fries
Lentil Rice Casserole
Tator Tot Casserole (likely eaten today b/c the kids love it)
Slow Cooker Chicken Dinner
I've got the Chocolate Zucchini Bread in the fridge and everyone loves it, so it will make a nice sweet snack today.
I may have to head over to Wal-Mart to pick up a few more take out dishes so I can pack all this stuff up for the week.
All of these are either recipes I know work, or recipes I've found on SparkRecipes.
I'm trying to find stuff that's easy to make, easy to store, easy to reheat, etc. I also have on the list burgers and grilled corn, which can't be reheated and will just have to be made whatever night we choose.
Grocery shopping went well this week. We didn't have a list prepared so I stuck mostly to the outside of the store. I did pick up a bag of frozen chicken breasts because it's an easy fall back. Also picked up some lettuce for a big salad sometime this week. I got some frozen veggies and frozen fruits as other fall backs for smoothies and sides. With coupons and discounts we spent about 100 bucks. My goal is to not spend more than 30 bucks this week on extras. That include meals out and anything I have to go back to the grocery store for (we're out of deli meat, which is important for our football game and practice days).
Exercise for the week planned:
Today - I'd like to take a break between cooking and cleaning to go for a walk or head to the park with the dog and the boys.
Monday - 2-3 miles, 15 minutes rowing, ST
Tuesday - Zumba
Wednesday - 5 miles, ST? (I have to figure out how to fit this in...maybe I'll have to go back to ST on my own midday)
Thursday - Zumba, 20 minutes boxing
Friday - elliptical (45 minutes?), ST, cleaning
Saturday - 6 miles
I did clean out some of my old (too big) clothes last night from my room. Some of these remained from my 466 days and it was time to really let them go. I've got them in a bag to head to Goodwill later today.
Pic of the day:
So I guess someone's happy about the shorts I can no longer get away with wearing because they're just too big. Mad Max thinks it's a great carrying pouch....
Saturday, August 21, 2010
So I was wondering today how on task I was with my August goals...I went back and checked and this is what I said on the first of this month:
So the plan for August? Keep at it. Work the nutrition goals you set for yourself in the beginning and get back on track with eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. Play time is over...time to work! (Though I can have fun doing it and then it feels a lot like play time.)
8/8 - 367
8/15 - 365
8/22 - 363
8/29 - 361
I'm so ready to see those 350s!
I, Esther, vow that today I am recommitting myself to the program I have set for myself. I will eat more healthy foods. I will cook at home instead of going out to eat. I will pick some fresh vegetables from my garden and enjoy the bounty the earth gives me. I will not let myself punish myself for missteps. I will learn and grow from the challenges I face in order to become a better, happier, healthier new me. I will stop focusing on the future of "the end" and start focusing on today and the here and now. I will ensure that my workouts benefit my heart and my soul. I will learn something new this month to add to my list of healthy activities. I will challenge myself to do better and allow myself the time to rest now and again. I will realize that I am not perfect and I could never try to be. Sometimes I will fall, but I will get back up again. I will not let the scale control my actions today or any day. I will remember that in life there is no scale following me around announcing my weight to those I meet. I am my own ambassador. A smile on my face and confidence in my step will show them that I am a strong, powerful woman who takes care of herself body, mind, and spirit. I will remember that by taking care of myself I am teaching my children healthy habits. And I will enjoy having my kids with me on active outings once again. I am recommitting myself to this process because it makes me feel like I can conquer the world. It makes me feel strong and wise and gives my heart the fullness it needs. I promise this to myself.
Now, let's see...this is what I've done so far as far as weight:
8/8 - 365.2
8/15 - 362.8
So it seems I've been under my goals so far. I have no clue what the scale will say tomorrow...all week it's been up and down (mostly up).
So what if I gain tomorrow?
No, really...what if? My eating has been a little erratic this week, and my exercise has been insane this week. I missed 2 ST sessions this week due to intense cardio session and/or the need to be at home with my boys. My body is sore. My knee went out in bed on Thursday, but it went right back in and I was good again. Today it's sore so even though I'm supposed to walk 6 miles, I know it's best to just rest it today and let it heal correctly. I'll focus on my son's game today. If I feel good I'll walk around the field when my son isn't playing. So IF I gain or maintain tomorrow, I'll just keep going anyways. Crap happens, and I have plenty of accomplishments to be proud of this week.
As far today is concerned, I'm in the middle of cooking a batch of Chocolate Zucchini Bread. I'll let you know how it goes. Sounds yum, though! (Just waiting on Hubs to get back from borrowing vanilla from the MIL.) In a couple hours we'll be headed to Parkersburg for Ethan's first game. They keep moving him around and there's talk that he'll be on both first string and second string offense...one as a guard, the other as center. He's excited and so am I!
So, one more full week of August. Time to show myself the discipline in eating I've learned over the past four months and send the summer out in high-style! I seriously can't wait to see (and then beat) the 350s.
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