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IDEA Day 39-40: Help me, help you.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Welcome to Monday, all!

This weekend wasn't quite as exercise-riffic as I wanted it to be on Friday. This happened mostly because on Saturday I got sucked into getting things done in my craft room and then ridiculous thunderstorms came through.

At least I can say I must have climbed my stairs about thirty times.

On Sunday I almost didn't go for my ride. I'm working on a rather frustrating costume piece of female body armor at the moment - and let's just say I'm having a hard time not giving whoever wears it a uniboob. Oh the joys of turning an animators art into real-life!

Sunday's ride was awesome. I had wanted to do a full two hours but I found myself really strugging about the hour and a half mark so I high tailed it back. 105 minutes and 13 miles, I'm pretty proud! Of course, my ride did leave me with a few tips I'd like to give my fellow riders. You see, here in Pittsburgh we're in the middle of a bit of a culture war. We have a burgeoning cycling population alongside a motorist culture that (like most) is impatient and resentful of many cyclists.

I can completely sympathize with the motorists and pedestrians, neither of which want cyclists on their roads or sidewalks. Why? Because three-quarters of the cyclists I encountered this weekend were completely rude, law ignoring, and dangerous. Yes. Dangerous. I'm talking passing without warning, not stopping at stop signes, and veering in and out of traffic. Four times I rang my bell to let someone know that they were about to be overcome by a cyclist who flew up past me.

It made me ashamed to be a cyclist.

These are my personal rules of the road, I'm sure most people would agree with some and a few people will agree with all.

Cycling for the Patient and Prudent

1. Just because the law says you can ride on the street does not mean it's safe for you to do so. Can you keep up with the speed and flow of traffic? Is there enough space for you to share the road safely with automobiles who may want to pass you? If not, you may want to choose an alternate route or utilize the sidewalk.

2. The sidewalk is there for pedestrians, if you must ride on it, be courteous - call out that you're there, invest in a bell, or simply walk your bike.

3. Do not assume people can hear or see you. Just because you can hear the click-clack of your wheels as you roll along does not mean that someone else can. Get a bell. Call. Don't just assume that someone psychically knows you're going to pass.

4. "On your left!" Use it. Always. Cyclist, pedestrian, crawling baby. Let people know where you are or where you will be.

5. When people move for you, thank them - it encourages the behavior from the pedestrian for other cyclists.

6. Stop signs. Traffic lights. Cross walks. Lane markers - they all apply to do. Do not ignore them. I have never seen a road sign that says "Except Bikes."

7. Share the road. Sure, it's nice to ride beside someone, but if you see someone coming in the other direction, make some space.

8. For the love of all that is holy do NOT wear headphones. You have a responsibility to be more aware of your surroundings than your average jogger - and taking away your hearing while travelling at 10+ miles-per-hour only puts yourself and others in danger.

Alright, I've ranted enough. I hope everyone is safe out there if they choose to bike!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LADYJ6942 7/30/2012 11:50AM

    Great blog, super reminders. Thanks for sharing

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IDEA Day 38 - Running out of back fat (and other triumphs)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Welcome to Friday, everyone! It's a rainy, humid, and a bit chilly at the moment here. It's alright, I like to run in the rain :)

The great news for today is that my scale again says I'm living in Oh-Burbia. I don't want to stay in Oh-Burbia forever, I'd much rather be in One-der land; but, I'm kind of enjoying the ride. For example, this morning I did my usual check of back fat. Yes, it's a very scientific method where I just feel back and see what's hanging out (literally.) For a while, I could get up toward my second knuckle. Now I'm just barely able to get past the first. My body is liking all this work I'm making it do! Other casualties of portion control and increased exercise are my double chin and the start of a dimple in the side of my thighs. Big butt, this is your official warning, you will be vacated!

Today I'm running C25K week four day three. I crushed my run yesterday and I feel confident that the rain and humidity will do nothing to make me falter today.

What is killing me today is that it's Food Day at work. This is worse than a buffet at a party - because everyone wants you to try THEIR dish. Yes, theirs. You must have egg bake, and fried sausage biscuit thingies and french toast! So far, I haven't suffered too badly. I don't think I'll be eating much for dinner tonight, though.

(I should also note that I did bring everyone cupcakes, because even though I can't eat them I would appreciate others being able to enjoy them!)

There are still eight pounds between me and John Barrowman! Time to step up the training!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RYDERB 7/29/2012 12:16AM

    emoticon emoticon on crushing your run! emoticon
Way to stay strong around all that temptation too! With that kind of willpower nothing is going to stop you from reaching your goal!

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AWESOMEKATY 7/27/2012 2:04PM

    Food Day sounds like a delicious landmine haha! I don't know if I'd be able to enjoy it in moderation but congrats for staying strong around so much temptation!!

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SNEVIL1 7/27/2012 11:55AM

    way to go... you sound like you're on a great track.

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MSMOSTIMPROVED 7/27/2012 10:45AM

    Crushin' your run and disappearing back fat-- Food Day doesn't stand a chance!!!

emoticon emoticon

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GINGERLY4 7/27/2012 10:07AM

    Ugh...Food Day, hope you get through it!

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FLORIDAJOE1 7/27/2012 10:07AM

    I love your attitude and especially how you're not letting the scale be the final judge. Food events (for me, Thanksgiving and Christmas) are the hardest. The food is just there wanting to be eaten..calling me. I try to take small portions of things that need to be tasted and do the best I can with damage control. What really matters is your day-in day-out habits. Stick to your path and continue to enjoy that progress.

Comment edited on: 7/27/2012 10:08:32 AM

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SUPER-MOM_ 7/27/2012 10:04AM

  Keep on track. Hugs, love, support. GL on your run.

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    I think I saw your lost back fat yesterday in Walmart. There was a real,ly hairy guy in a tank top who was proudly displaying his back fat. LOL

Make it a great weekend!

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TRACYMT2NY 7/27/2012 10:00AM

    Great work!

Do your best at the work eating event! Just be cautious and do portion control. I think that you will be fine.

I know how you feel about back fat. I see mine and I can't wait until it's all gone!

Good luck with the C25K. You can do it!

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IDEA Day 37 - Oh-burbia and Apps that make my world go 'round

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Welcome to Wednesday, everyone!

I've been proudly proclaiming my visit to Oh-burbia on my journey to One-der Land lately. It's been quite a few years since I've been here. I can remember the thoughts as my weight got higher. First there was the shock in college of weighing 180. Then there was the denial of 190 with the supplement of, 'Well, at least I'm not 200.' Then my weight hit 200 and eventually 209, and I started to simply accept it with the mantra of, 'well, as long as my clothes still fit.' Eventually as I passed from the teens into the twenties and thirties I started thinking, 'As long as I can still shop at normal stores...'

The journey in reverse has been sort of interesting. When I got down from 230 to 220 it didn't feel like that big a deal, I still didn't feel well. While I hung out in the 'Teens I started thinking about the progress I made - that those pounds took me years to put on and weeks to take off. Now as I hang out in Oh-burbia (with the scale occaisionally threatening to take me back to the land of Ten) I think about how much progress I've made and what I can feel. I can run for five minutes straight. I can fit activity into my lifestyle. I can sleep better and generally feel better. I don't think I felt this good last time I travelled through Oh-burbia, but that was probably because I was headed further and further away from where I should be.

Coming home is always a more fulfilling trip.

I did want to do a brief outline of the Apps I've tried, the Apps I still use, and what I liked and didn't like about them. For today I'll focus on exercise tracking and training apps.


I've talked about doing the C25K program and how much I adore it and I've used two different Apps for it. The first App I tried was actually called "Couch to 5K" in the iTunes App store. I got the free version and I found I didn't like the interface. I also didn't care for the voice prompts (they were to robotic for my liking.) Also, at the time I was using an iPhone 3G - which made it cumbersome to do music and the app at the same time. They may have improved the interface since I initially used it.

I have since graduated to the C25K App called "Get Running" available on iTunes and the Google Play Market. I love this App. LOVE. First of all, the interface is sleek and easy to figure out. It's also kind of cute (if that matters to you) in the navigation field. What I really appreciate is the large, highly visible timer when I'm running. I try not to check it often, but when I do it's fantastic. The voice prompts are more fluid and conversational (and I appreciate the little motivating moments of 'ten more seconds to go!' and progress reports.


As time has gone on and I'm preparing for my first 5K in September I've found that distance does matter to me. I also like the feeling of being able to say "Yes, I jogged two miles!" So, for that I needed yet another App.

I'm currently using Endomondo (FREE, on iTunes and Google Play; available to upgrade to Pro.) I appreciate this App even though I carry a second device around in order to use it. Endomondo maps my run and tracks my pace based on GPS. It also provides graphs over time and distance of my pace, which I love seeing. I use this App also when biking to get a better estimate of how far I've gone in comparison to what my onboard computer says. The interface for this is nice, and there are great voice prompts (though robotic) that tell you your pace, timing, and if you beat your personal best times. What's also cool is that while you're working out people can log onto your feed and cheer you on - those feedback snipits are played in real time as received. Endomondo also logs your stats for really cool statistics.

SparkPeople Map My Run (not an App.) I know a lot of people who probably wonder why I don't use this to track my exercise. Well, I found the interface too cumbersome. It doesn't let you double back easily and takes a lot of effort to be precise.

Now, if I could find an App that maps my distance and gives me C25K voice prompts, I'd be stoked!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GINGERLY4 7/27/2012 10:06AM

    Endomondo sounds pretty cool! When you use it, does your phone have to on the whole time or does it still work in energy saving mode?

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    I have searched hi- and lo for an app that helps with the timing for the intervals. I so busy checking gadgets that my run can get distracted. I even bought a interval timer band but, it maxed out at 120 second rest/ actions. Keep the app reviews coming. This was really helpful.

Good luck with that run in September!!!!


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AWESOMEKATY 7/26/2012 11:13AM

    Wow I never thought about going in reverse before, kind of neat to think like that. Iím so glad that you recognize how much youíve accomplished so far in your journey! Itís a wonderful thing to look back on the past and be happy with where you are now. Then to look forward and see where you can be is another wonder!

Iím also glad youíve found love with your apps, I feel like you can accomplish so much when you have those small little things that get you excited to exercise! I use a pedometer and am always so happy to see all the steps I rack up!

I hope your day is as beautiful as your attitude!

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IDEA - Days 31-36: Riding the rollercoaster

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Well, it's been about a week since my last blog and this one is sorely overdue.

I want to start by thanking everyone for their kind words and support on my last blog regarding sabotage. Believe me when I say your words meant a lot.

I've been up and down and all over the place lately with regard to what I'm eating. During the week I'm fine, I keep to my routine and I tend to stick much closer to my calorie goals. On the weekend when I feel like I'm pressed for time and seem to have more options I don't eat as well. Thankfully the source of many of my poor choices is coming over to the dark side and stopped bringing over chips and candy as snacks and instead is going for lower calorie options.

I've done well sticking to the bike and jogging regimine. This week I upped my C25K from week 3 (which I stayed in until I felt confident I could complete 3 minutes) to week 4. I'm coming to the conclusion that no matter what the duration of the final run is, it's always going to feel absolutely like a million miles. I'm really proud of myself that I completed the entire second five-minute run. I had punked out on the three minute a couple of times in preceding weeks, so it felt good to know I can really do this.

I think I'm going to do a techie-blog sometime soon. I've been using a lot of different apps and aids to try and track my workout and I know I would have loved to have found something similar earlier!

Eight pounds stands between me and a photo with John Barrowman. :D

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALKZWDOGZ 7/30/2012 4:26AM

    emoticon Don't be too hard on yourself; you're making great progress! Glad you're finding tools that work for you!

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GINGERLY4 7/25/2012 1:36PM

    8lbs is nothing!! I'm interested in your techie blog, I'm always looking for good apps. I get excited when the barcode scanner for SP actually finds a!

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TRICIAE2 7/25/2012 12:38PM

    I'm sure those 8 lbs will fly off!

Keep it up! You're doing great!


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IDEA - Day 29 and 30: Self-Sabotage.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Well, for the first time in my journey I gained a pound.

One whole pound.

I never thought such an insignificant number could feel so... devastating.

Maybe because it's I feel devastating feelings brought it on.

I've been terribly emotional the last couple of days (for reasons that only became clear today...) Last night I stood in my kitchen and ate three stupid Fiber One brownies with the distinct thought 'I'm sabatoging myself' - and I did it amyway. Then I washed them down with a handful of walnuts.

Magic Thursday was not so magical.

So, I know that a few poor food choices probably don't lead to a pound gain overnight; but, I can't help but feel that even though my emotions were brought on by hormones, I can't help but remember the feelings.

I felt alone.
I felt like a failure.
I felt like an emotional eater.
I felt out of control.
I felt like I never would be in control.

Even now, I look at these feelings and I know they're ridiculous. I know I'm doing great, disciplined work. I know I'm not usually an emotional eater or saboteur. The feelings of loneliness are hard to shake though. I live alone with my dog in my big old house. I go to work, I come home, I post on spark. That's it.

Makes me depressed just typing it.

I guess the problem is I don't even know what to do about it.

For someone who's good at plans, I'm not feeling like I know even where to start right now.

I'm floundering emotionally as my weight loss progress seems to teeter.

Ugh. I just need these hormones to stop.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GINGERLY4 7/20/2012 12:40PM

    Ugh...I hate the hormone swings too! When they're done, you wake up wondering why you felt that way to begin with. Hunker down and remind yourself that this will pass...this is just your emotions playing tricks on you. Our bodies are such pains in the butts sometimes!

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DIZZYCOCOA 7/19/2012 11:51PM

    I can totally relate. One day you're thinking life is great and PMS hits and suddenly you're friendless and alone (but you're not really). Try to remember - you inspire us on spark with your posts! Also, trust your body. Maybe you needed those 3 bars and some nuts - you may have had a nutrition deficiency of some sort that actually led to a craving. Our bodies are so smart and our brains can be so dumb sometimes. emoticon

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KGWINDER 7/19/2012 10:56PM

    You do just what you are doing. You dust yourself off and keep going. The eating may not be weight gain as much as water gain. You know if you dig in this will be off in two days.

What I hear loud and clear is that loneliness is driving a sense of spinning in nowhere land. This is what I love about Spark. Thinking it is all about food and exercising and then discovering that there is this person that wants to be around people. If you can change your diet, you can change this. Rather than think of this as sabotage think of this as self discovery. Ideas:

1) make a certain night of the week library night, go see what people are looking at, find a book on a subject you normally wouldn't pick for yourself make sure you have a chatty little conversation with someone.

2) Look up dog agility or flyball and join a club. Is doesn't matter if your dog is super great, just that both of you get a chance to socialize.

3) Go play the smile game. Find a public place - shopping mall, park and walk along and see how many people you can get to smile back at you. I feel like a pro if I can get to 50.

4) Be a kid. Find a playground, slide down the slide, swing on the swings, climb up bars, say hello to young moms and tell them what a great job they are doing.

5) Look for local book clubs or science cafes and go once or twice a month. People love to linger and talk.

6) Track down some of your long lost high school semi buddies. Say you're trying to have a summer picnic, set a date and see who comes. I have a group that once a year gets together for poker which is just and excuse to talk.

7) Join a cause. A local crisis clinic hot line, CERT training, political campaign, disaster relief...the people you meet are the best, hearted people.

When you find people you like, write down their names, get their contact information and keep in touch. Also this is a great time to start doing Christmas cards. You have lots of time to update addresses and write nice paragraph notes and you'd be too tired to think about in the dark nights of winter.

Reaching out will get you out of the house more, doing more things and feeling more positive.

Also on a hormone note, you actually can do something super simply to increase to positive hormones in your brain. Smile. This takes more work that you would think. Stand in front of a mirror and set a timer for three minutes and smile at yourself. The feedback in the brain is that you are happy and the body gears up for that. The first time I tried this I felt so silly it was hard to get to three minutes, but then I started belly laughing. Now when I do this it is like happy pixie dust.

You can do this! Please sparkmail me and tell me what yours ending lonely nights at home plan is, I'd love to encourage you! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AWESOMEKATY 7/19/2012 10:44PM

    Don't get yourself down! Just like you said, it's ONE pound. There will be plenty of pounds in your life and one little one doesn't mean the end of the world. As you start to exercise more you gain a lot of muscle, which ways more than fat. You could also be retaining water (like me!) which could contribute to the number. Or depending on what time you weighed yourself your body weight can flux at different times of the day, sometimes up to 3 pounds.

You're making a lot of great progress and one insignificant pound does not negate all the greatness you've accomplished.

Keep your head up and keep on sparking!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LJ32920 7/19/2012 10:37PM

  Hormones happen. As for lonliness, you got one big thing right. You have a pet. If that's not doing it for you, how about helping people? I know, that is scary. Needy people get clingy and want too much from you. Organizations want you to give more time than you feel comfortable with. Either one feels like a commitment you don't want and don't have time for. But there's a way around it. Be a "drop in" helper. No schedule, no commitment, lots of good feelings. Help a local teacher grade papers. Drop in to help at a food bank or mission. It's an election year, drop in to help a candidate. One day you'll drop in on a group of people you really click with and start dropping in more and your lonliness almost goes away. Can't take the place of finding your true companion and soulmate, but I'll tell you a secret: even your soulmate can't totally fill every need. There's always a part of you that has to drive on alone. Soulmate or friends only support and understand, as you do for them. Fact of life: we are just ourselves, only and one.

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