Friday, April 20, 2012
Hola, SparkAmigas! Arenít you glad itís FRIDAY?!? FINALLY?!? Sheesh, this was a long week. Hence, a long blog. I know, you're shocked!
Letís just start, right off the bat, with this weekís weigh-in: 139! Woo hoo! Another half a pound! I feel like Iím solidly in the 130s now, even though there isnít much wiggle room. But two weeks in a row is officially a trend, so Iíll take it!
Measurements: Hmm. Well I forgot to do them until last night, and I was in a hurry. I didnít actually even record them, because I thought they were pretty much exactly the same as before. Now that Iíve reviewed my previous measurements though, I think I was wrong about that, and that I may have lost another half inch here and there. So I will take them again this weekend to be sure.
I have to say that, at this stage in the game, measurements are tricky. Iím never 100% certain that Iím measuring at exactly the same points as I did last month, and the changes are so slight that itís hard to be sure Iím measuring accurately. Sigh. Oh well. Iím trying not to focus on the scale and would like to focus on measurements, but that doesnít seem to be working out so well. I just have to assume progress is continuing at a forward march . . .
I promised to give you a post-game analysis after I went shopping, so here it is. Results: mixed. I started at Marshallís and T.J. Maxx, and I have to tell you, they let me down BIG TIME. I think both of these stores in my area are moving, or merging, or closing, or SOMETHING because the selection was pretty much CRAP, to put it lightly. I donít know why they even bothered turning on the lights and unlocking the doors. The only brand of work-type pants I could find that didnít look like something my grandmother would wear were The Limited. Now, I must note, that many of the pants I wear to work are from The Limited, and most of them are 10s. However, the fit varies wildly, so some of them are completely falling off, and others are loose, but still wearable.
I tried on some that were size 6, and invariably they fit pretty okay in the waist but were a little, er, snug, across the derriere and downright awful around the thigh. Iím not sure what shape of a person theyíre making these pants for, but it certainly isnít mine. Too small in the thigh I can understand. Too small in the butt is just FUNNY to me, because proportionately, my butt is tragically unbootylicious. But, whatever, maybe The Limited just doesnít suit my now-evolved shape. The 8s were not flattering either as they were too big and gappy around the waist, so I gave up and left in a tremendous huff. I did get shoes though . . . to add to my already ridiculously large collection. Did I need shoes? No, I did not. But they were adorable (and hot) and wanted to come home with me. How could I say no? Metallic brown wedges with a zipper up the back and 5Ē platform heel? Have mercy. I do loves me a good wedge.
Anyway, at this point I was already tired and frustrated and just wanted to go home. I was feeling extremely disheartened because I was SO certain that I was finally going to achieve the hallowed size 6. So I went to Gap. It was PACKED in there. Nothing called to me. Everything was way more expensive than I am willing to pay for pants that may or may not be too big in a matter of months. So out of curiosity I tried on a pair of size 6 skinny jeans. Allow me to elaborate . . .
I currently have a pair of size 10 skinny jeans from Gap. At the time I bought them, I was more accurately a size 8, but I figured skinny jeans are a different animal than regular jeans, so I erred on the side of caution. I loved, loved, loved them while they fit well, but theyíve always been a little big in the waist, and now when I wear them for more than an hour, I just look like a plumber wearing an invisible tool belt. They. Look. Ridiculous. It makes me SO sad, because theyíre still in great shape, but I know . . . *sigh* . . . I have to let go. Anyone need some size 10 skinny jeans?
Back to the size 6 skinny jeans. MASSIVE FAIL. Why, oh, why did I not just try on an 8? I KNOW these suckers run small, but still, vanity got the best of me. So at that point, I thought BUMP THIS, and BUMP GAP, and BUMP THE WORLD, I am OUTTA here. Get me out of this suburban death maze before I go completely apesh!t! I may or may not have been just a wee bit irrational by this point (remember, hormones were still wreaking havoc on my emotions).
(Did I mention I really, really, REALLY donít like the mall? Truth be told, I donít really like to shop at all, but the mall makes my skin crawl and my blood pressure rise immediately upon entering it.)
Home I drove, at lightning speed, cursing the Pants Gods from here to Michigan and back again. I had no sooner walked in the door when The Boy called. I nearly had a breakdown on the phone with him and couldnít even tell him why I was upset. Later on, I did try to explain how frustrated I was, yadda yadda, and he didnít really get it. He just kind of looked at me wide-eyed (hoping against hope that I wouldnít start crying, most likely) and said ďWow . . . it must be really tough to be a chick.Ē
Yes. Yes, it is.
So, fast forward to Wednesday. I had a coupon for 40% at Old Navy, and damned if I was letting that opportunity go to waste! Iím not a lover of Old Navy, most of the time their clothes seem to be cut to fit your average cardboard box, they never have the item I want in my size, they donít hold up very well (if I love something I will wear it from now until Iím 80), etc, etc. However, I was determined. I stopped in after work, and immediately started piling up the clothes to try on. Four trips to the dressing room later, I was in possession of two pairs of pants for work, one pair of jeans, and a denim skirt . . . all in size 6. Thank the HEAVENS, hallelujah, praise be to Old Navy!
Thus concludes the saga of the size 6 pants.
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As for the rest of my week . . . it was strange. I didnít work out at ALL for almost a solid week. I didnít work out last Friday, as itís ordinarily my rest day. I didnít work out Saturday, because I went shopping (wish I would have worked out instead). I didnít work out Sunday because I was busy doing laundry and, um, painting my toenails. Also, I felt lazy and grumpy and indignant about the previous dayís unhappy shopping trip.
Monday . . . ummmm . . . well letís just say, Iím one of those people who typically waits until the last minute and then scrambles to file their taxes, leaving a trail of chaos and destruction in the process. This year I SWORE I would have them done by March 31. Ha! Silly me.
Tuesday, I did go to yoga class, so I guess that sorta counts, but barely.
Wednesday, I woke up feeling sick (cough, sore throat, MAJOR headache and body aches, etc). I probably wouldnít have worked out anyway, but I conquered Old Navy and figured that was enough of a workout, and time well spent!
Thursday, woke up feeling sort of better, but mysteriously in a GREAT mood. I just wanted to hug Thursday. When I got home from work, I kicked that stationary bikeís butt until it was ready to fall apart. Seriously . . . I think itís going to fall apart on me someday soon. Itís been a long time since it was ridden hard and put away wet on a regular basis (and yes, that WAS intentionally sort of dirty Ė I have a sadomasochistic relationship with that bike). It sounds like itís about to collapse from exhaustion sometimes, but I have no pity for it. Aww. Poor thing (*cracks shiny black leather whip*).
Food-wise, Iíve been . . . eehhhhhh . . . kind of at the top of my range or even slightly above it all week. I would like to still have a couple of days on the low-end each week, especially if Iím not working out as much as usual, but itís going to take some practice to moderate the calories as I work some new regulars into my usual diet. I realized that I am BORED, BORED, BORED with eating the same things every day, so Iíve been trying out some new concoctions.
I needed to add some whole grains back into my diet, and that tends to ramp up the calorie count right quick, but since I already let go of my OCD about staying in my calorie range . . . I just think ďmeh.Ē Most of my carbs typically come from fruits, veggies, and dairy, but that often leaves me short on protein and other nutrients that are abundant in grains. I canít say I particularly missed the bread-y foods all that much, surprisingly, but I think I feel better in general when I donít skip them entirely. So, another experiment begins. Luckily, it goes quite nicely with my higher-calorie experiment.
The (unintentional) not-working-out experiment, however, has officially been scrapped. It sucked. I felt SO GOOD after I worked out yesterday, and I realized how much I genuinely missed it. Longed and yearned for it. I felt like an addict looking for a fix. So although circumstances and lack of good time management got in the way of working out this week, I will consider this a lesson learned. Donít do that again! I never thought Iíd feel that way about exercise . . . but, here we are, and there it is. Boom!
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And now itís time for the Gloaty-Pants Report. Frankly, I think this entire blog sounds kind of gloaty-pants, but that might just be Old Jen talking. She never wanted to call attention to anything she ever did, good or bad.
Sheís dead now. I donít mourn her loss, but she haunts me often.
Anyway, at the risk of exhausting you with my tireless ego-stroking, here it is, in all itís gloatiness:
- My mother walked through the basement as I was biking it up last night in my workout shorts and said ďLook how skinny your legs are!!! I am JEALOUS! But you are working hard for it!Ē Aww, thanks Mom! *suspiciously tries to find the criticism cloaked in that compliment but canít seem to find it so . . . * Aww, thanks Mom!
- The Boy . . . . oh, The Boy. Well, last night he went to grab my knee or my thigh or something, and said ďyou are getting SCRAWNY on me!Ē Ah . . . thaaaanks, babe. Thatís what every girl wants to hear. Scrawny.
Oh, it gets worse.
He then proceeded to ask me if I was secretly puking in a bucket or something. At which point I almost wanted to punch him . . . .ehhhh, so close . . . but he had been drinking and was not exactly at full-wit capacity, and so I simply assured him that I have never in my life forced myself to throw up. Thanks for your concern.
You may wonder why this is in the Gloaty-Pants Report. And frankly, Iím not sure it belongs here. All I can say is, I know this man well (maybe a little too well), and he wasnít trying to insult me. It was merely an acknowledgement that Iíve gotten thinner, and checking to make sure he shouldnít be worried about me. For a man that doesnít express his emotions very eloquently (which is to say, almost all of them, no?), this is only slightly more awkward than average. Basically, I include this here only as a recognition of progress, even if itís apparently a little baffling to my significant other. Iím not sure heís entirely happy about it, but thatís just too bad for him. Iím happy about it. So there.
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Conclusions for the week: Iíve officially lost 15 pounds since January! YAY! And I think this week does prove, that one ďoffĒ week is not a complete tragedy. I didnít work out, I ate a bit more than usual, and I still lost half a pound (which at this point is about as much as I dare hope for, although obviously . . . a whole pound would be nice from time to time). I feel more confident than ever that maintenance is totally doable. I can roll with the punches, be less strict from time to time, and not immediately gain ten pounds as a result. This is good. Also, I really need to blog more often instead of writing novels all the time.
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One last astonishing revelation: I have decided . . . I am buying a bikini. Sweet mother of mercy, WHAT? Well you see, last night I was invited to a pool party. And it was made clear that I would be scrutinized, and the lack of a bikini would be disappointing to one and all. So, fine. I will give it a shot. Iím not making any guarantees. I might just admire it instead of wear it (most likely scenario).
Update: I just bought two bikinis online. Fingers crossed! I kind of feel like screaming out loud in a combination of anxiety, fear, and excitement. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!
Have a great weekend, my dears! DEBJAEís competing in a Warrior Dash this Saturday! She is the SHIZZLE! (Once again, not being able to swear on SP is really annoying sometimes, so I resort to nonsensical terms such as ďshizzle.Ē Oh, the shame.)
Alrighty! Epic novel . . . OUT.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Happy Friday, my Sparky Darlings!
How much do I love you all? I canít even tell you. The first sign of ďJenís having a rough dayĒ and in you all ride with your support and advice and laughs and wonderfulness, like the Spark Cavalry. You never fail to cheer me up and make me remember REALITY, as opposed to hormone-fueled MADNESS.
Itís rather a shame that we all live in separate corners of the country and/or world, isnít it? Wouldnít you like to just meet for lunch or something? Oh well. I can dream. One day Iíll have a private jet, and weíll all end up on Beckyís doorstep on spaghetti night. :)
On to the weekly wrap-up! This might get a little ďwah-wah, boo-hooĒ for awhile, but I promise, itíll be back to ďRAH, RAH, SISBOOMBAH!Ē by the end. Find your pom-poms, ladies. Get ready. :)
Sunday, The Boy and I went on a long, tough hike, and it was awesome. SparkPeople tells me I burned over a thousand calories. Now, I know, some may debate the accuracy of the fitness tracking on Spark, but no oneís going to rain on my parade Ė it was over a THOUSAND CALORIES in one shot, darn it!
Monday was . . . Monday. I skipped cardio that day because of hiking on Sunday, but got a good strength training session in. My thighs were feeling the burn. Ohhhhhh yeaaaaaahhhh baby (in case you couldnít tell, that was my best Barry White impression).
Tuesday, I felt fantabulous. I actually wrote a Tuesday blog this week. That hasnít happened for awhile! Plus, yoga class, and I went to bed at a reasonable time. Yay Tuesday!
Wednesday, I rocked my cardio and upper body strength training. Fantabulousness continued.
Thursday . . . T.R.A.I.N. W.R.E.C.K. The PMS Express train collided with the Unexpected-Change-of-Lunch-Plans train. Letís pause here and examine the facts . . .
Yesterday morning, I arrived at work, salad for lunch in hand, ready to kick some Thursday butt. Not five minutes later, a well-intentioned coworker suggested our entire team of 15 people go out to lunch, as one will be leaving to work on another project, and two others will be out of the country for a month, etc, etc. Thereís always an excuse to celebrate with food when you work in a cubicle zoo.
The decision was made (albeit not by me) to go to Bertucciís. I donít know if this is a national chain, but if you have never heard of Bertucciís, itís an Italian restaurant - similar to Olive Garden, I suppose. They use the age-old trick of perpetually baking fresh bread in-house, all day, every day, in order to torture those patrons daring enough to try and refuse the bready goodness. It was one of my favorite places when I was in college, and weighed . . . well, more than enough, letís put it that way.
Being a faithful and devoted SparkPerson and Master Tracker of Nutrition (Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, no substitutions, exchanges, or refunds) I did what I do best. I went to their website and started constructing my order hours in advance. I was immediately disheartened. I found myself in a wasteland of calorie land mines and sodium bombs. Holy. Moly.
It was a pick-your-poison situation, and I chose . . . neither. I had to get a little creative, but I managed to figure out a best-of-both worlds scenario by ordering a side salad with grilled chicken on top, and a ďsmall plateĒ (which is apparently appetizer-sized, but not an appetizer) of roasted vegetables. Was it what I would have ordered if I hadnít looked at the sodium content? No. But it was a compromise. I would get protein, I would get yummy roasted veggies, and I would get to walk away without risking going into a pasta-coma or having a stroke from a massive influx of sodium rushing all at once into my bloodstream. And I pre-gamed a little with some almonds and carrot sticks and lots and lots of water, so I would not succumb to the basket of warm, scrumptious breadiness.
So to the restaurant, we go. All 15 of us. Cue series of small annoyances . . . .nnnnnnNOW.
First, the waitress ARGUES with me about what I order. I get it, sheís trying to push a certain specialty item on the menu, I understand Ė itís her job. But thereís a tactful way to do that, and her way was NOT the tactful way. FYI, if you go to Bertucciís, prepare to have to fight to NOT order the Watermelon, Arugula, and Feta salad. Frankly, I almost DID order it. I considered it. It made the short list, when I was doing my extensive research and devising complicated equations of calorie/sodium cost vs. yumminess-benefit ratios. But this girl needs some protein in her life, and I found it impossible to find another menu item that met my calorie/sodium requirements and had a decent amount of protein. So I had to take another route. Sorry, waitress.
After approximately a year of sitting at the table, waiting for food to arrive, and four rounds of ďwould you like a refill of [your beverage of choice]?Ē I was STARVING. So starving that I rationalized my way into the pants of that damn bread basket. I figured . . . hey. I ordered all veggies plus chicken. I just downed at least four cups of water while sitting here. I think a roll would be okay. So I ate a roll. Very slowly. I made it last the whole meal. And I felt okay about that. Come to think of it, I still feel okay about that. It was tasty and worth the calories.
Next came the salad course. I had ordered my side salad with chicken as an entrťe, and so I wasnít too interested in the unlimited salad that comes with the usual entrees, especially since it came with dressing already (generously) applied. Yep. Not interested. Until the server announces she CANCELLED my order for the side salad with grilled chicken (which is ON the MENU I might add, itís not like it was that weird!) because THIS salad is complimentary, free of charge, on the house. So sheís really doing me a big favor, because then I wonít get charged for a salad. Too kind, this one. Too kind (*grits teeth*).
I attempt to wipe the look of utter disdain and annoyance off my face, and politely inquire, as to the status of the chicken. She stares at me blankly.
Me: Again, ďMay I still have the chicken that I ordered on the side salad?Ē Must I beg?
Waitress: *Blank stare. Blink, blink.* ďLike . . . you just want a side . . . of chicken?Ē *Looks at me like I have three eyes.*
Me: Thinking, well actually, I wanted a SALAD with CHICKEN ON TOP, but since youíve made an executive decision that I canít have that . . . ďUm . . . yep. I ordered chicken. I would still like chicken. Thaaa-aaaanks (bitch)!Ē I didnít swear at her. But I was tempted.
So the chicken arrives. Everyone else? Still waiting. And waiting. And waiting. By the time I finally say ďto hell with itĒ and decide to be impolite and just eat my salad/chicken combo, which was supposed to be brought with the entrees but wasnít, the chicken is cold. But whatever. At this point Iím starving, and I donít give a crap. I start eating, gradually, since everyone else is still waiting and waiting and waiting.
Finally, everything else arrives, roasted veggies included. Iím so NOT impressed with anything at this point, I couldnít even give you a fair assessment of whether they were good. They were, I guess, I donít know. Yadda yadda, we sat there forever, it took half an hour to get change for a $20 bill, and all in all it took almost 2 and a half hours to get through lunch. TWO AND A HALF HOURS!!!
Anyhoo . . . got back to the office, and I am now in a very grumpy mood. Entered the damage on the nutrition tracker . . . not so bad. But then I realized . . . Iím still flipping hungry. I ate lunch over a period of two hours, nibble by nibble. I literally ate so slowly that I made myself hungry again. Fan. Tastic.
No worries, right? I came prepared for a normal day, still have all my healthy snacks, and into said snacks I dive. But NOTHING is doing the trick. Iím just flipping hungry, all afternoon. PMS City. Iím one of those women that become a bottomless pit. Itís not so much the cravings, although they get bad too, I just get STARVING. So, I ate the following: more carrots, an orange, a single square of dark chocolate, an apple, a Babybel light cheese, and a piece of chocolate cake that a coworker delivered to my desk (and I just didnít have the will to refuse it). I ate these things between the hours of 2:00 to 4:30. All of them. Yep, I sure did.
But I get home an hour later, and what do I find? Stomach still growling. I have no idea how this is even possible, but at this point Iím just PISSED OFF. So I get a little rebellious and . . . well, a few spoonfuls of ice cream, five multigrain pretzel sticks, and 20 cashews later . . . Iím finally like ďwow, Iím not hungry!!!Ē It occurs to me while Iím on my mini-binge that, even while feeling completely out of control, I am STILL conscious of my portions sizes, and reminding myself to plug the horror into the nutrition tracker later. Ha ha. SparkZombie on, my friends. SparkZombie on.
Now, I have a workout decision to make. Iíve not yet taken a rest day this week. This isn't unusual, but it did float by as a potential excuse to bag the workout altogether. Double strength training day scheduled . . . my tougher lower body routine plus abs. Did I feel like doing that? No, I surely did not. So, trusting the advice of my Sparkies (thanks, Katie!) I opted to do cardio on the godforsaken stationary bike. Yeah, I rocked it out (take that, stupid waitress/guy who cut me off in traffic/universe conspiring against me/coworker bearing cake!!! Rawwwwrrr!!) Added a little arm action (thanks, Billy Blanks!) Got a little sweaty. Felt a million times better, and felt like my voracious-appetite-monster finally tucked its tail between its legs and went back to its cave to hide.
I still ate my light-and-nutritious dinner: baked (ahem, microwaved . . . laaaa-zyyyyy) sweet potato with 4 oz. of plain nonfat greek yogurt, and lots of cinnamon. Yuuuuum! And the rest of the night, peace and tranquility reigned throughout Stomachland. Until The Boy texted me to meet him at the bar, and I topped off the day with a light beer. But just one! And I tracked that too!
As mentioned, even when I was spiraling into the vortex of hormones and ice cream and saltycrunchies, I was still cognizant of the amount I was eating. I was still counting and portioning in the rational side of my brain. If youíre a new Sparker, that might sound funny-strange. But this is your future. You will not have to think about it so hard forever, it becomes second nature. Really. No fooliní!
Working out, especially cardio and ESPECIALLY when you really kick it up a notch (BAM!), is magic. It does make you hungrier overall during the day, that is true, but at the same time, it snaps your body back into ďnormalĒ mode when it is hell-bent on destruction. Itís like pulling the emergency cord on the bus, or deploying the parachute, or yanking the E-brake. I donít know why it works, but it does.
I ended up eating about 2300 calories yesterday. That number alarms me a little. However, this week Iíve burned way more than Spark tells me I should, and Iíve been well within my range all week (actually a little lower than Iíd prefer to be, after my revelation last week), so I neither feel guilty nor afraid that Iíve seriously sabotaged myself. As my wise friend Tracy said, to pull me back from the edge of the cliff, itís ONE DAY. (Thanks, Tracy!)
There are six other days in the week in which to be awesome. These things happen. Moving on.
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The Nitty Gritty:
I did not measure myself this week, but itís actually NOT because I chickened out. Realistically, I donít find it IDEAL to measure whilst bloated from both PMS and, in all likelihood, a higher-than-usual sodium intake, but in truth, I just plum forgot. I got so busy devouring everything in sight, working out, and prepping myself for the next work day, that I forgot to do my measurements last night. And there was certainly no time this morning. So, itíll be delayed for a few days. Meh.
I DID muster the courage to step on the scale this morning. 139.5. Thatís half a pound lost, and damn it, Iím proud of my half a pound. If you havenít already experienced the joy of the last ten pounds, you will one day come to know it well. I am embracing the notion that I am now in maintenance-training-mode. A dress rehearsal, as one wise Sparker brilliantly phrased it. Iím a little behind on my goal-timeline for the upper-limit of my goal range of losing 19-24 pounds in 20 weeks. But only by a week. And that is why I set a goal ďrangeĒ rather than a goal ďweight.Ē If I donít weigh 130 pounds by May 31, the world is not going to end. The world isnít going to explode until December 21, and thatís got nothing to do with me or how much I weigh. :)
Today is a new day, and I am still in control. Next week is a new week, and the hormone train will have left the station and moved on down the line. And Iíve learned that even when Iím out of control . . . Iím still pretty much in control. I havenít felt out of control in awhile, so this is the first Iíve really had the happy opportunity to be tested in such a way. Itís kind of a gift, actually.
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I hope you woke up FULL OF AWESOME today. You really are ALL tremendously awesome! We have all really been put through the paces lately, havenít we? Tried and tested. Injured, sick, disheartened, frustrated. It doesnít matter, though. We bounce back better than ever. We hit another setback. We bounce back twice as hard and twice as better-than-ever. And so on and so forth. We all pull each other along through the hard slogs and give each other a boost with our shared successes. I love that feeling! No Sparker left behind! :)
Have a fantastic weekend, everyone! Especially you, Tracy Ė ROCK OUT THAT MARCH FOR BABIES!!!
Who am I kidding? We all know you will. :)
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Itís not Friday. And yet . . . I blog. Iím having a super positive day, and I just have to share it, because those days have been too rare lately!
Today I weighed myself. As I do every day (Hi, my name is Jen, and I am a scale-a-holic). And nothing has changed since last Friday, but thatís okay. I think this Fridayís weigh-in will be a good one. I always retain water for a couple of days after a salty, boozy weekend. As long as it doesnít stick around, Iím okay with it. Right, I know, inconsistent, bad Jen, whatever. Itís my liver and Iíll do what I want with it. :)
I realized this morning that this week is my measurement week. And Iím excited. Last time, I was filled with dread. This time, Iím psyched. Even if it doesnít change from last month (more on that in a moment).
I realized this morning that . . . well . . . I. Like. My tummy. Ha ha . . . tummy. That word reminds me of Elmo or something, but I canít think of a better word. I canít really call them ďabsĒ because that implies a rippling six-pack that I CLEARLY do not possess. I canít really call it a ďbellyĒ because . . . itís not really a belly any more (WOO HOO!). So weíll go with tummy, because itís cute. Abdomen is probably the technical term, but what is this, anatomy class?
So anyway, my general middle section is . . . actually acceptable. Maybe not something Iím going to go around flashing at people, but itís really, solidly . . . pleasing to me. Iím a little in shock right now. I just had this realization . . . I think at some point or another, everyone has done that little trick where they . . . ahem . . . hoist their gut up a bit with their hands, just to see how theyíd look if they were thinner or more toned or whatever? Oh yeah, I think I did that just about every day for years and years. Well, I am here to say: I am preeeetty much at the point where I can say: visualization realized. Almost. Maybe not quite. But almost.
I am really happy with my arms lately. Their fluffy layer is melting bit by bit. And when I wave goodbye to that fluffy layer, I donít keep waving after my arm stops moving. Yíknow . . . MUCH anyway. Maybe just slightly.
I am making peace with my thighs. Weíre getting there. A few more months of self-administered thigh psychotherapy, and hopefully weíll have a good working relationship. Weíll probably remain suspicious of one another for a long time. Iíll constantly be watching them, distrustfully, waiting for them to betray me again. Theyíll constantly be waiting for me to verbally and emotionally abuse them again. But eventually, maybe we can still be friends.
My butt . . . ah, the last battle ground. Working on it. :) Peace talks have attempted, but so far no one is bringing much to the table, and progress is slow. I am Israel, my butt is Palestine. Or the other way around, depending on how you look at it . . . . sheesh, Iím not going to overthink THAT question, itís way too complicated.
So, back to those measurements. I really, really, REALLY need to go buy new pants and jeans. Itís reaching the critical stage. Iíd say DEFCON 4: the point at which belts no longer act as an accessory, and in fact donít look very good, but have become a necessity to counteract the effects of gravity. However, Iíd also reeeaaally like to wait until I reach my goal. So Iím torn. Iím SO.CLOSE. Yet so very far. Sigh.
Out of curiosity, since I truly donít know what size I am right now, and have been only guessing that Iím somewhere between a small 8 and a large 6, I decided to look up some size charts. Since my wardrobe is largely comprised of random brands found at Marshalls, a sizeable Gap collection, and the occasional J. Crew item that happened to be on clearance, I checked out Gap and J. Crew. And yeah, I will admit . . . Iím sort of preppy. The Boy says Iím prissy. But I digress . . .
According to their size charts, and my waist/hip/thigh measurements, I am solidly a 6, bordering on a . . . 4??!?!??! Get the Eff outta here! That canít even be possible. It just canít. Not possible. But you can be damn sure Iím headed to the mall this weekend to find out for sure.
Now . . . okay, small caveat. I KNOW that, as responsible Spark citizens, focusing on healthy minds, healthy bodies, healthy goals, and so on, and so forth, that we are not supposed to worry about the size of the pants, or the number on the scale, and we should just take small steps towards living a healthy lifestyle every day, blahblahblahblah. I get that. And realistically, I own that. I learned it, Iím living it, Iím loving it. Mostly. At least 65%. A legal majority of the time.
But hereís my rebuttal: Some of us need empirical evidence to get past our mental hang-ups and the lingering image of our fatself that seems to live on (and on . . . and on . . . and on) in our head. I would go so far as to say that a solid 85% of us (and probably closer to 100% but Iím being conservative) struggle with seeing reality. Weíre a delusional bunch, sorry to say. Not one of us realizes how fabulous we truly are or how far weíve really come (well, maybe one of us, but Iíve yet to meet that person). So, until someone installs a reset button on our eyeballs, Iím going with what Iíve got. Numbers.
So, speaking of delusions, psychotherapy, and the like, Iíd just like to share a resource I stumbled upon yesterday while following a link posted by a SparkFriend. Iíve really been struggling with body image, and self acceptance, and comparing myself to others, and all sorts of nastiness taking up residence in my brain lately, and I decided (yet again) that it needs to stop. I came across a blog entitled ďWeightless,Ē written by a really lovely young woman named Margarita Tartakovsky, who has a Masters of Science in clinical psychology. I figure she probably has some idea what sheís talking about, but even if she doesnít, thereís still a lot of helpful articles available on her blog. I probably need to read a selection from it a few times a day, just to keep my head on straight.
Letís see if I can manage to post the link . . .
And now, to try and hang on to this feeling of . . . what is this exactly? Positivity? Optimism? Confidence? Well, whatever it is, I like it. Itís good. And I hope you have it too, today and every day.
P.S. Thanks to all of you who commented on my ridiculous Mini-Skirt blog. I may or may not regret admitting that ďgoalĒ to the world, ha ha. I just donít know that I have the . . . well, letís say courage, to go through with it. Iím actually a really modest person and I donít usually show much skin. And that . . . . well, that would be a LOT of skin. It sounds like a good idea, but in practice, Iím thinking I will be SOOOO uncomfortable. However, who knows? I will keep you posted!
Friday, April 06, 2012
Ah, the Friday blog. You know, itís kind of been awhile since I went into this with a clear idea of a ďtopicĒ or a ďpointĒ or a ďmessageĒ or whatnot. However, when it happens, it happens. Until then you shall be pitilessly subjected to my ramblings. If you choose to be, of course. If not, have a nice day. :)
Earlier this week, I found myself to be RIDICULOUSLY hungry, and basically unable to function normally. I nearly fell ASLEEP at work . . . and by nearly, I mean . . . I kind of fell ASLEEP at work. Just for a second!!! But it happened! When I worked out on Monday evening, something was just NOT right. I felt drained. I couldnít keep my speed up on my frenemy, the stationary bike. My muscles were cramping all over the dang place (and yeah, I can guarantee you I wasnít dehydrated).
Truth be told, Iíve been in a brain-foggy, exhausted, constantly-anxious sort of state for a couple of weeks. I always have days like that, as Iím sure we all do. They rarely turn in to entire weeks. Usually, I can at least feel a little vim and vigor coursing through my veins on Friday. Last Friday? No vim. No vigor. The Boy and I went out to see our friendís band play at a bar. I drove. On the way there, I was so tired I felt drunk Ė and no, I was not drunk, although if you know me at all I can forgive you for making that assumption. All night I just felt miserable. I not only had to force myself not to break into completely irrational and unprovoked tears all night, but I wanted nothing more than to just go out and sleep in the car until it was time to go. Needless to say, it wasnít a fun night.
Add to the general unwell feeling as of late (and even dizziness, which was what really started to scare me), the fact that I FEEL like Iíve really been struggling to keep that scale from moving in the wrong direction. Looking back, it really hasnít been as bad as it seems in my head. I tend to go down . . . slightly up . . . down . . . slightly up . . . etc. I know this is normal. I know it isnít a lack of progress. But itís also more than that. I feel like Iím struggling to see the results I want in my strength and fitness levels as well. I just donít seem to be getting anywhere. The ten pound weights? Still a serious challenge for me. Iíve had to decrease my reps a bit on a lot of strength exercises. Things I once found easy with the ten-pounders, like dead lifts and bicep curls, suddenly feel reaaaalllyfreeaakinghaaaard.
Anyhoo, back to this week . . .
Tuesday, after a very adequate night of sleep, I woke up again, feeling like utter crap. All day. Craptacular. And RAVENOUS. I ate my usual breakfast and my usual morning snack at their usual times. By my usual lunch time, I was ready to stumble, snarling, into the kitchen and devour the first food or human I laid eyes on. Luckily, I managed to eat my salad before anyone was hurt or I became a cannibal.
After lunch? Still starving. Tea didnít help. Water didnít help. Carrots didnít help. And with 4 hours left to go at work, and only an apple and a piece of light cheese to sustain me, and NO EMERGENCY SNACKS in my desk (stupid, stupid, stupid!!!) I knew I needed to act fast. It would have to be . . . . the vending machine (dum dum DUMMMMM!).
So I slithered into the break room unobserved to check out my options, and then slithered back to my desk to do some Google research. The only (and I mean ONLY) snack in the vending machine with ANY nutritional value, fiber, or protein was some unsalted trail mix. Only peanuts, raisins, almonds, and sunflower seeds. Yes, a 2 oz. bag is 270 calories, and that is nearly a meal for me. However, for 9 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, and zero sodium? SOLD. Screw my calorie range.
It was the best idea I ever had. Not the trail mix itself, per se, but the extra calories and protein and healthy fats? BOOYAH. No longer famished. Hit the yoga mat hard in yoga class later that evening.
Wednesday and Thursday: New hypothesis was tested. I ate more calories, and more protein, and I felt BETTER. Hooray! I was able to work out and actually feel like it wasnít torture! HOORAY!!!
I came to the conclusion that my body is smarter than I think I am. Body needs something it isnít getting. HEY, BRAIN! WAKE UP! CHANGE SOMETHING!
So I decided that I am through with aiming for 1300-1400 calories a day for now. SparkPeople gives me 1550 a day, and Iím gonna use Ďem. I might even go over my range on occasion. Obviously, sticking with the low-to-middle of my range isnít gaining me any major progress, so BUMP THAT. At least temporarily. If I happen to just naturally fall in the 1300-1400 range and I feel satisfied with that, fine. Great. But it canít be every day, because that is Bad News Bears. (And yeah, I really mean bears, not beers.) Iím increasing my calories by increasing my protein, primarily. Iím not adding junk. Iím not even adding fruit. Iím instead trying to incorporate two sources of protein for lunch instead of one (i.e. cottage cheese AND tuna instead of one or the other).
I also seem to really skimp in the ďwhole grainsĒ area. At best I might eat one serving a day on average. Realistically, I probably average half a serving a day. Iíve largely nixed them since they tend to be so high in calories. However, I decided to eat a Kashi bar most weekday mornings before I leave for work (mmmm double breakfast). Itís not much, but itís something, and they have a lot of protein and fiber. Yay for whole grains.
Iím not really a big granola bar eater . . . thereís really only one kind of bar I love, and it doesnít come in a wrapper, nor is it edible. Most bars (granola, protein, whathaveyou) are too high in calories, sugar and wacko sugar substitutes, and weird unpronounceable ingredients. They taste good, but really, I donít find them critical to my continued existence. But for now, itíll do. I welcome any and all suggestions on a good substitution for the granola bar. The only condition is that it has to be pretty much zero-effort and portable, so I can eat it while scrambling around the kitchen trying to pour myself a cup of coffee and get out the door.
Okay, enough stalling. Letís get down to brass tacks.
Weigh-in day. 140 pounds. Thanks to all of you who ďlikedĒ this on my activity feed and such. I canít say Iím overwhelmed with excitement, but I appreciate your enthusiasm. Now if those 2 pounds (which were really 1.5, but apparently SP rounds up . . . thanks SP!) would just STAY OFF for GOOD, I would be Super.Duper.Excited.
Gloaty-Pants Report. Hmm . . . well, not much to report this week. Although, in VERY encouraging news, Iím noticing some much-welcomed improvement in my thigh muscles. As in, they seem to be taking on a curious new shape. Size . . . remains the same, as far as I can tell. But thereís this curve that seems to be developing in or around the hamstring area. And I LIKE it! I suspect my hamstrings are suddenly devouring all the calories I consume, or something, because despite not seeing much progress elsewhere, theyíre clearly getting their groove on back there. Iíve always had pretty muscular legs but, apparently, the hamstrings never got an invitation to that party, and I never realized the oversight. Well, come on in and get comfortable, hamstrings!!! Have a drink!
In celebration of my newly discovered hamstrings, I am searching for ďmotivation picturesĒ to represent two goals . . . well, not so much goals, letís call them dreams . . . that Iíve never openly admitted to having . . . for reasons of pride and not sounding like a shallow, self-absorbed teenager. But, screw it, here they are: the short shorts, and the mini-skirt. I want to wear them. Letís discuss.
Short shorts: All of my presently-owned shorts fall somewhere between 1 inch above and 2 inches below my knee, and theyíre all baggy. All I need is a skateboard and a backwards baseball cap, and Iíll officially be a teenage boy.
Mini-Skirt: Yeah . . . I mean - Hell yeah!!! Iím freaking THIRTY. If itís going to happen, itís got to happen soon. Am I confident about this? Absolutely not. Not even a little bit. At least not yet. But I hope to be, sometime between now and the time it gets too cold to wear one again next fall. And no, I'm not going for a dang micro-mini or anything. It won't be OBSCENE. Just enough to make The Boy do a double take, perhaps. :)
Now . . . if anyone has some tips on how to wear a mini-skirt and sit down without flashing your undies at passersby, please feel free to share. This might be one of those things that only get worn for The Boy, and only when weíre staying home . . .
Thus concludes my weekly musings . . . have a great weekend!
Friday, March 30, 2012
Iím not really feeling the blog-monster within me poking itís chatty little head out today, but since it is weigh-in day . . . and I havenít blogged all week . . . and thereís lots of stuff swirling around my head . . . I guess I might as well blog it up.
Buckle your seatbelts, kids. I suspect itís going to be a long and confusing ride!
First things first. Weigh-in: 141.5. BLAST! I gained 1.5 pounds somehow. I truly canít identify the cause this week, so Iím chalking it up to my body being stubborn, and not worrying about it. I know Iíve been very well behaved. Even over the weekend! I did make Chicken Parmesan for Skinny Boyfriend (his favorite), but I only ate a portion the size of a large chicken finger, plus a small portion of pasta, and then sent the leftovers home with him. And the rest of what I ate over the course of the weekend was very reasonable. I even DRANK reasonably. All in all, it was fairly astounding, so I know I didnít totally sabotage myself. I have applied my usual dietary discipline and rigor to each weekday thereafter (which is only sustainable BECAUSE there is such a thing as a weekend, but thatís neither here nor there).
I burned my requisite number of calories AND did my requisite number of strength training sessions for the week - by Wednesday! The only day I did not do cardio was Tuesday (yoga class Ė it sorta counts as cardio) and Thursday, and that is because I did my more challenging lower body strength training, and I canít do the bike after Iíve lunged, squatted, dead-lifted, and leg-lifted until my glutes and thighs feel like theyíve been beaten with a pillowcase full of doorknobs. I tried that once, and I wound up so sore that I vowed never to do it again. Never. Again.
Also, I did a new core/abs workout on Thursday. It was a bit nontraditional (no crunches, yay!), but it was fun. So I doubled up on strength training. Yay me! Boo 1.5 pounds! Iíll get you next week, and then some! Maybe. If not, thatís okay, because revenge is a dish best served cold.
In other news, Iím stressed. So stressed, in fact, that I joined the Stress-Busting Challenge. Which will probably stress me out even more.
Why am I stressed, you ask? For no good reason, mostly. Work is stressful, and thatís a perfectly valid reason. But itís not just work. Itís also . . . you know . . . everything in the whole wide world. I donít feel discouraged or jaded about working out, or eating well. That doesnít actually stress me out that much, although on Wednesday when I had to skip my upper body strength training in favor of other chores/errands, I was pretty miffed. Upset. Okay, unreasonably upset. Like, almost had myself a little mental breakdown.
Like magic, The Boy called at that very moment, and let me unload all my frustration on him, and he effectively gave me permission to not be perfect. That bears repeating: PERMISSION TO NOT BE PERFECT. Letís hear it for The Boy! (Is that Katrina and the Waves? I donít remember.)
I had a couple of revelations after that incident.
. . . . . .
One, I am feeling Spark stress. Ridiculousness.
In the first couple of months since I started Sparking again, work wasnít that busy, and I could putz around, racking up the points, keeping up with every one of my Sparky darlings (this means you), and all was right with the world. I got a little too used to that luxury of time. Now, weíre going through one of those periods when, short of figuring out how to bend the space-time continuum in my favor, I have much more work than can fit in the number of hours in a work day.
Iím having a hard time shifting my priorities. I tried to keep up my usual level of Sparkiness, and it started to make me unravel. I realized I have severe Spark OCD, and Spark anxiety, and it needs to stop. SO. If I am slightly less active or available in the next few weeks, please donít take it personally. Iím just doing what I need to do to keep my sanity intact. For example, once I post this, Iím done for the day.
. . . . where were we? Oh, yeah . . .
Two, letís revisit this perfection thing. Itís funny, because I have no problem telling other people they donít have to be perfect (Hi Tracy!), and when Iím telling someone that, I believe it with my whole heart. I know it to be true. However, I have a difficult time applying this principle to myself. Why?
Because I am much less kind to myself than I am to others. Can you relate? I bet you can. I know you can. We ALL do this.
My constant, and often unconscious, desire to be perfect - to fit in every workout so as to not lose my hard-earned strength and fitness level, to keep up with all possible Spark activities in order to show my commitment and dedication and support for others, to devote adequate time to The Boy so as to make him feel loved and appreciated and as awesome as he truly is, to be the epitome of professionalism in my appearance during the workday (as if anyone gives a rip), and to appear the epitome of pulled-together-amazing-hot-girlfriendness in the evening, to eat like a nutritional super-star at least five days a week (which is a lot of work as you all well know), etc, etc, etc, etc, the list goes on Ė is causing me more angst and anxiety than I can reasonably expect to manage. So itís time to put the brakes on.
In yoga class last week, the instructor suggested we devote each yoga practice to an intention. Each time you are focusing on your breathing (which in yoga is preeeeetty much all the time) you also refocus on your intention. With each breath, you direct your energy to your intention. My intention for that weekís practice was . . . something or other. I donít really remember . . . But THIS week I came up with a good one!
With each breath, my intention is to be as kind to myself as I am to others.
(Repeat 900 times, or approximately the number of breaths I estimate I take during an hour and 15 minutes of yoga.)
. . . . . .
This is going to take a lot of repetition. Iím going to need a lot of chutzpah to break my perfection-addiction. But I am going to do it. I will be as kind to myself as I am to others.
1) I will not obsess over my nutrition tracker, fitness tracker, or anything Spark related. It will remain high on my priority list as a tool to be used and not abused (thank you very much, Miss Tracy) in the pursuit of a better version of myself. I will NOT be a SparkZombie (well . . . maybe just a Junior SparkZombie).
2) I will stick to my workout plan as well as I can, but if I miss a workout I will NOT PANIC. I will NOT try to tack the missed workout on to another day, because that leads to disaster. I WILL TAKE REST DAYS. Even if I think I donít deserve them, I DO. Friday, and either Saturday or Sunday, depending on the weekís schedule of events. Rest days. Learn it, live it, love it.
3) I will continue my now WELL-ingrained habits of eating. Weekdays = strict. Weekends = relaxed. Some say this is wrong Ė but how can it be wrong when it feels so right, baby?!? It works for me, and I will not apologize for it or beat myself up about it. This part is easy because itís already incorporated into my . . . state of being. Or whatever.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: I am issuing myself an official injunction against useless guilt. I will hereby cease and desist feeling guilty when I know I have done my best, forthwith. I expect this mental conversation will go something like this:
Me: Ugh, I didnít do this, that, the other thing, and/or the OTHER other thing. All hope is lost, Iím a terrible person, an abominable failure of a human being, and a complete, unforgiveable waste of anyoneís time.
Also Me: Get a grip, Debbie Downer. Did you do your best?
Also me: Then shut your pie-hole. Donít make me get the hose.
Me: Yes, Maíam.
. . . . . .
Letís see . . . In other weekly news, and in an effort to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive and e-lim-i-nate the negative (and latch on to the affirmative, and donít mess with Mr. In-Between Ė whoa, sorry! Johnny Mercer haunts me):
I ran into another girl I knew in high school this week. She asked me ďHow do you stay so skinny, Jen?Ē
Aaahh ha ha ha ha ha! Oh, thatís too much. Arenít you just PRECIOUS?
ďStay.Ē As though Iíve ever been even remotely thin before.
I told her itís a daily struggle. Which is the honest-to-goodness truth. Can I get an Amen?!?!
Anyway, you may have noticed this has been a continuing theme in my blogs the past few weeks. I mention these things, not to be a gloaty-pants jerk-face, but because in my renewed attempt at this thing called . . .*cough* . . . ďself-esteem,Ē I feel it is important to hold on to anything that can be considered a compliment, thus replacing my previous habit of only holding on to anything that could be considered a criticism (and persisting in rolling the perceived slight around and around in my brain, ruminating on it, relishing itís bitter flavor, allowing it to give sustenance to the nasty little voice in my head).
So I shall document such moments here. Weíll call it . . . hmm . . . the Gloaty-Pants Report.
. . . . .
Well, it looks like my inner blog-monster sneaked out again when I wasn't paying attention. But enough about me. Itís Friday, and thereís weekending to be done! Hope yours is wonderful!
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