ASTALANYA's SparkPeople Blog ASTALANYA's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Caught in the Doldrums This happens every so often, usually when I skip a week of working out for something else. In this case, I spent weeknights working feverishly on a creative pursuit that came together with a brilliant bit of speed. I spent more time in front of the computer typing than I did in the Y biking, though it was an off week for classes. Neither did going dancing at our 20 minute intro class (free) seem at all appealing and I pulled out of the appointment. Meh. <BR> <BR> The old war of loathing and ... Mon, 10 Sep 2012 15:19:48 EST Four Month Anniversary <img src="" align="left" height="40%"> It's my four month anniversary for aquatic aerobics. Who thought I was going to keep it up this long? Even a silly duck like me can accomplish anything with the right motivation. <BR> <BR> YOU can do whatever you set your minds to, Sparkers. Every day you try, every ounce of energy you put in, will pay off. <BR> <BR> <em>211</em> Most of the basic moves are now familiar. <BR> <em>41</em> I a... Mon, 27 Aug 2012 12:06:10 EST Grab Those Dancin' Shoes <img src="" align="center"> <BR> A Viennese ball is the centerpiece of my boyfriend's and my forthcoming trip to Austria in February. Imagine a night full of the bespoke couples whirling to the strains of great Austrian and German composers -- the Strauss family, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and Mahler played by a live orchestra in a glorious Rococo building. Think of swishing ballgowns and tuxedos, livelier American pop played in another r... Mon, 27 Aug 2012 11:50:35 EST Talking 'Bout My Motivation... Where has July gone? It's fading into the horizon as I close in on my birthday -- one of the big milestones -- and I look forward to trying to make the most of August and September with the hot weather. Time to pull out the bike and get back on the road, take a basic maintenance class so I feel confident in case I get a flat, and enjoy the spectacular freedom that comes with fresh air and no destination in mind. My secret hope is to do one of the Ann Arbor roads swirling with golden maple lea... Mon, 13 Aug 2012 10:03:27 EST Ball Gowns Ahoy! <img src="" align="left"> Some women have wedding dresses as their incentive, others their grad gowns or a bathing suit. True to a child who idolized Princess Diana (and met her joyously on the streets of Victoria as a girl), my motivator happens to involve plush fabrics, a corset bodice, and a seven meter train designed by the likes of Alexander McQueen or my latest crush, Christian Dior. <BR> <BR> You don't want to see my Vienna Pinter... Thu, 19 Jul 2012 15:27:36 EST Hello Again, 172... Despite having an Olga's orange cream drink that contains more calories than I should care to count, being sick and/or being healthy granted a little reprieve today. I dropped from 178 before I was sick to 172 lbs. <BR> <BR> It's not the 155 I want, but that is closer than before. Now to keep up the momentum and make a few changes that may hopefully plunge that number into the low end of the 160s. I'll really start dancing when size 8 is comfortable rather than a pipe dream stretch wish, wh... Tue, 17 Jul 2012 21:46:29 EST Dog Days of Summer The dog days of summer have descended in all their stifling heat and murderous humidity. I've come to miss the ocean breeze and cooling shade, and long for a proper lake or beach nearby I can avail myself of. <BR> <BR> I discovered something worse than 102'F temperatures, a malfunctioning A/C unit, and weight gain: bronchitis in July. No one enjoys being sick, but suffering a nasty cough and rattling breaths through the sunniest weather in months makes illness that one bit more miserable. In... Tue, 17 Jul 2012 11:43:28 EST %)(@!&!@% "Wonderful" surprise this morning. My loosest jeans are tight... again. <BR> <BR> I set out in March to try to lose fifteen pounds by September. Easy, right? Yeah, as if. I threw in regular biking at the gym, reintroduced strength exercises, went to the aqua-fit aerobic classes. <BR> <BR> Nothing changed except being hungry. I drank more water, ate more fruit and vegetables, tried to cut down on snacking or mindlessly grazing in the evening. I have a bad habit of that if unchecked. The bea... Tue, 26 Jun 2012 09:12:13 EST Up Down, Up Down Swimming and trying to get outdoors, where my mind beckons, will hopefully keep me in check for fitness. I need to improve eating more fruits and veggies more this coming week, as it's been rather rough in the 32'C+ heat to tolerate standing in front of the stove. <BR> <BR> Still no weight loss. Terribly frustrating to me. Thu, 21 Jun 2012 12:43:43 EST The City of Sacher Torte and Snowy Times <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Vienna, Wien, that Old Dame of Europe. <BR> <BR> I'm going in February 2013. EEEEEEEEE!! Thu, 14 Jun 2012 13:23:52 EST Everyday I'm Shuffling... My beau's sisters came in from Denver yesterday, so I expect a busy weekend. Their lack of a car and home right downtown allow them to be much more active naturally than I feel I can be in my corner of Michigan. Driving to work is a necessity due to the absence of public traffic and safe bike paths, and I don't think my beloved road bike (which is gathering dust so far, eep) is up to dealing with some of the potholed, traffic-demon infested roads around here. <BR> <BR> The older of his two y... Wed, 13 Jun 2012 10:58:16 EST Walk the Walk One of the Michigan Sparkers put together a diabetes team walk. I've long admired fundraising for a good cause and particularly charitable walks/runs. Assistance for the Kidney Cancer Foundation certainly aided my father and the next generation of cancer patients after him, so obligation and participation rather run in the blood. <BR> <BR> I haven't done a walk in my adult years despite ample opportunity. Vancouver in particular hosts at least fifty over the summer. I considered opting in t... Wed, 6 Jun 2012 10:56:37 EST Still Lazy Aside from conscious decisions to eat somewhat healthy and evening walks, I've bombed out this week on being healthy. My motivation for going to the gym is at an all-time low. Maybe because I cannot find my bathing suit? <BR> <BR> I should really just wander in and jump on the bike while reading my Kindle. It's certainly lazy. How about lifting a few weights? See, this is all so easy and yet I feel it's an insurmountable molehill even though six weeks straight of working out was/is under my... Tue, 5 Jun 2012 09:00:46 EST Unmotivated I have a confession: I haven't been to the YMCA all week. <BR> <BR> My exercise totals have included bopping around a pool (not included in the totals), lifting a few weights, walking at lunch and in the evening. At least I'm doing something. But I feel rather guilty about not getting to the pool and not in the least guilty about skipping out on an exercise class or four. <BR> <BR> I'm apparently still on Memorial Day vacation! At least I'm eating mostly fruit and veggies today. Thu, 31 May 2012 10:14:49 EST Achilles Heel: Strawberry Vanilla Wafers I should have known better. <BR> <BR> Playing Diablo III all weekend with my beau and our friends does not exactly lend itself well to excellent eating habits. The fridge and the cabinets are barren of fruits and vegetables. I, however, managed to sneak in a trip to Windsor to raid Costco and Real Canadian Superstore for the most coveted of all junk food -- ketchup chips. Along the way I stopped in the cookie aisle, snatching a few sweet treats they do not sell in the US. <BR> <BR> When i... Mon, 21 May 2012 10:25:12 EST Shark! Hydrofit class proved a smashing success except for one instance of treading in the deep end, throwing a ball to my partners, and keeping my elbows above the water. I suppose I need to tread much faster in order to keep myself up out of the air, but putting my arms straight over my head tends to sink me. Otherwise I had a blast, including swimming like I was being chased by a shark -- Eddie Izzard's "sharky sharky" swim for certain! -- to the end of the pool, much to the amusement of my instr... Fri, 18 May 2012 14:27:54 EST Aquatic Invitations The aquatic aerobics instructor invited me to her more challenging "hydrofit" classes. I considered signing up for the 6-week course; for $21, it seems a fair price for splashing around in a pool and getting more of a workout. While I still struggle with some of the basic moves, especially anything requiring opposite sides doing complicated actions (scissor, cross-country ski, arms stretching out, arms flexing perpendicular...), I'm going to give the class sampler a go. <BR> <BR> The only p... Thu, 17 May 2012 10:52:17 EST Fun in the Sun Beautiful springtime weather finally found its way to me! Hazy blue skies, warm evenings, and refreshing breezes beg me to go outside. I missed Performance Bike's free tune-ups, so I may have to trot mine down to the local bike store for love. It's sitting in the kitchen waiting for some attention, mostly me to get on the back and ride. <BR> <BR> I love the light and the warmth of late spring. My motivation is rising again and I am cherishing all this good weather to get myself in motion. Y... Wed, 16 May 2012 16:08:58 EST Bad Me I haven't started the spring into shape cardio bootcamp, even though I keep meaning to do so. I get home from my workout and want nothing more than to veg out, thinking about nothing and doing nothing. A clear sign I have to change up something in my routine! <BR> <BR> Meanwhile, I'm angsting over how little calorie burning my water aerobics seems to be doing, that my weight is going no where, and I fear I'm one of those people who can work out oodles and lose nada / desire to eat more. Sick... Tue, 15 May 2012 10:54:39 EST Warm Fuzzies I realize why I love the Spark People community so much. <BR> <BR> 1 blog post + multiple comments = destroyed a bad day. <BR> <BR> Hearing such positive thoughts and receiving support from people, many of whom are new friends or those I haven't written to or spoken to much, humbles me. Talk about being all misty-eyed. Sparkers, you are indeed one of the most wonderful resources I've ever found on this journey through life and I hope I can give back what you have given me when I needed it. ... Wed, 9 May 2012 11:30:49 EST Tired and Bedeviled By the tone of my thoughts, I definitely feel the effects of stress from work. Yesterday and today were resoundingly thankless due to a string of miserable tasks, unappreciative coworkers, and most importantly, verbal confirmation I was only hired to "fill in 1s and 0s." Great reaffirmation I have any occupational worth or growth here, thanks guys. Earlier in the week, another coworker joked that I must feel highly underutilized and I agreed, unable to quite disguise the bitter note in my voi... Wed, 9 May 2012 11:13:32 EST May Goals My May Goals: <BR> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ <BR> 1. Drink 10 cups of water a day consistently. <BR> 2. Plan 4 days of meals (3 meals, 2 snacks) a week. <BR> 3. Track dinner 7 days a week. <BR> 4. Cook breakfast every morning. <BR> 5. Burn 4,000 to 5,000 calories a week. <BR> 6. Do one cross-training class and one HydroFit class a week. <BR> 7. Ditch pop. Again. <BR> 8. Do 10 minutes of strength training with cardio. <BR> 9. Use my Jillian Michaels DVD! <BR> 10. Tell myself I look great once a day. <BR>... Fri, 4 May 2012 14:24:33 EST Day 10: Off My Butt Today marks just two weeks (!) of attending regular group exercise classes (water aerobics and cross-training) at the Y. Three to four weeks for biking and elliptical after work every day. Not even 10 days ago, I put procrastination aside to turn in my Group On voucher at the local yoga studio, saw an enormous snaking line, and decided to wait a few weeks for the crowds to calm down. I found something else to fill that time. Boy, did I ever. <BR> <BR> Now I have a swim cap, my flops, two bat... Thu, 3 May 2012 11:57:17 EST Try, Try Again There is no failure. Only feedback. ~Robert Allen <BR> <BR> Another bout of working out begins this week and I am looking forward to getting into the YMCA for the group exercise classes. I need it! <BR> <BR> Rainy weather has not promoted my usual lunch time walks, and I need a substitution for getting out into the fresh air for my usual 2.5 miles. A private gym downstairs for another company in the building tempts me every time I walk past: they have bosu balls, spinning bikes, gleaming... Tue, 1 May 2012 11:28:51 EST DVD Challenge Rheynklaw inspired me to take up her DVD reviews, or at least try doing some self-guided attempts at fitness at home. (And maybe even at work!) I picked up a few choices from the library for free, and I will try them over this week to see how they suit me. <BR> <BR> 1] Jillian Michael's "No More Trouble Zones" -- a very popular DVD of cardio exercises targeting upper and lower body sculpting. A 40 minute circuit. Small weights suggested. <BR> <BR> 2] Jillian Michael's "Ripped in 30" -- anot... Tue, 1 May 2012 11:15:55 EST The Resistance At work, conferences or "lunch and learns" happened the last five days straight. One is scheduled for tomorrow. The scent of fresh pizza wafts up over the dividing wall between the conference room staging area right into my cubicle. Do you know how tough it is to resist the tomato sauce and the siren song of crust? I don't care much for pizza proper but throw a warm bread product in front of my trail and I may consider bending down to pick it up. <BR> <BR> I've been good in resisting most o... Wed, 25 Apr 2012 13:55:18 EST Rewarding Yourself <img src="" align="left"> My reward for pushing through plentiful exercise minutes (if not losing any weight...) are a pair of fancy yoga pants. I finally bought into the Lululemon hype, probably ten years at least since I first heard of them while living in Vancouver. Back then, they were a tiny little shop which sold expensive yoga clothes to the many yogis in the city. I lived near the Lululemon Outlet store and drove past another on m... Mon, 23 Apr 2012 10:41:11 EST Guilt-Free High Dining This weekend, the beau and I slipped through the doors of a swanky four-star restaurant for the city's restaurant week. We already knew the three course menu options in advance, partially because I set myself up to choose the healthier alternatives except that creme brulee. None of these meals would count, I told myself. <BR> <BR> It's funny, but allowing myself the "time off" goes against the healthy eating article posted the other day. Call it willful ignorance, but as I tucked into that t... Mon, 23 Apr 2012 10:28:39 EST Where's My Progress? Why did I have to see that graph? I’m not much on target for weight loss by the date I’d prefer. In fact, I’m not sure I am losing much or reasonably fast at all. <BR> <BR> I know the weight takes time to come off, more than it did to get on. I step on the scale once a week or so rather than living next to it, and I try to do the same times: when I get into the gym, before a workout, as something to motivate me. Well, it’s motivated me to feel crummy and vaguely guilty for a lack of progres... Tue, 17 Apr 2012 09:24:26 EST Falling Short of the Mark I wanted to do better than I did yesterday. <BR> <BR> The Crossfit class at my local YMCA sounds like a perfect mix for my rather diminished stamina and physical strength. It mixes cardio and strength training over an hour with the use of hand weights, stability bands, and music. From the official description: <BR> <BR> "Cardio segments alternated with weights, medicine and stability balls, bands and more." <BR> <BR> If only the reality matched that. The class leader announced to me, "So... Fri, 13 Apr 2012 09:49:27 EST Lyrical Shakedown At work, I'm limited in access to music. I've started to use Evernote to keep a list of the songs that spring to mind which move me, and get me going. My current list is fairly eclectic, and I can always use new suggestions for up-tempo songs that utterly shake, shimmy, and shiver me through a routine. <BR> <BR> Fast Tempo: <BR> David Guetta feat. Sia - Titanium <BR> Florence + the Machine - No Light, No Light <BR> Karen O - Immigrant Song <BR> Madonna - Ray of Light <BR> Sophie Ellis Bexto... Wed, 11 Apr 2012 15:55:27 EST One Small Step for Me... I am celebrating the small victories today. <BR> <BR> After months of limited exercise, I received a pleasant surprise yesterday on the elliptical trainer. I did ten minutes of hard climbing and falling at level 2-10 on intervals, and I didn’t completely die. My legs felt comfortable, a bit sore, but good. <BR> <BR> The elliptical was my go-to cardio in the days of personal training. Five minutes of grueling, agonizing charging up and down hills at level 13-17 got my heart rate up and mad... Tue, 10 Apr 2012 11:06:40 EST Carpe Diem! Choices: life is full of them. <BR> <BR> Each day begins the cycle afresh, pressing the reset button for all that came before. What you ate for dinner yesterday, how much you worked out last week, the weight you gained or lost or kept the same is all history as soon as the sun rises. <BR> <BR> Maybe it's cliche, but I find the notion of a fresh beginning incredibly empowering. All the decisions I made in the previous day are untouchable. Gone, just like that! Something I needn't worry abo... Fri, 6 Apr 2012 16:56:05 EST Project: Astalanya I need to see my own words to sometimes act upon the thoughts. Nothing is more powerful a statement than "I did" rather than "I want to" or "I should" or "I tried." <BR> <BR> Here's the plan. <BR> <BR> At lunch hour: <BR> (1) Add 5 minutes of hard cardio (biking or stair-stepping or jumping jacks). <BR> (2) Add 5-10 minutes of strength training. <BR> (~) Use Week One/Two of Globe and Mail bootcamp exercises. <BR> (3) Walk 1.5 - 2 miles a day. <BR> (4) Stretch <BR> (5) Drink 2 VitaRain b... Thu, 5 Apr 2012 16:44:06 EST Full Circle The last half of 2011 brought serious changes to my life. In a way, I leaped up the stairs of experience two at a time towards a healthier, happier lifestyle as far as psychological and spiritual well-being were concerned. I reached higher peaks after making some very positive changes in the aftermath of unexpected upheavals I could not have anticipated in 2010. <BR> <BR> Those same positive changes derailed the gains brought by a personal trainer, healthy eating, and improved activity. I c... Thu, 5 Apr 2012 16:33:42 EST I Want It Over and over, The Spark recommends visualizing a goal and leaving reminders wherever you will see them: in the office, at my desk, on the wall. This is another of those reminders for myself of how I can succeed if I put my mind to it, and stating outright what I want. <BR> <BR> I want a healthy lifestyle and a more manageable weight, better fitting clothes and higher energy rates throughout the day. I want the discipline and confidence I envy in people who commit to their goals and see the... Tue, 26 Apr 2011 14:45:32 EST Art Imitates Life So I was having a conversation online with a friend this morning about (crazy maps on Neatorama that featured sea monsters, but it got to the topic of) ivory, and the discussion slanted to narwhals being hunted/prized for their great big ivory tooth. Definitely check out the maps, they're hilarious and totally cool to a geography buff like me. <BR> <BR> Flash forward half an hour to when I'm driving to work and listening to NPR. <BR> <BR> Subject? Researcher studies narwhals in northern Gre... Wed, 19 Aug 2009 09:21:54 EST August Rolls Around Again August is the month of my birthday and the time when I tend to ramp up for my goals in the remainder of the year, something of an end-of-summer drive. People have spring cleaning. I have August. <BR> <BR> This summer wasn't necessarily a shining moment for my search for losing weight and today, I updated my timeline to reach my goal weight by 12/31/09 rather than 09/31/09, realizing there is no feasible way to drop 40 lbs healthily in a short span of time. Two months isn't going to happen! A... Wed, 12 Aug 2009 10:55:45 EST Finding Motivation I feel like I have no motivation today. I know I should go to the MuscleFlex class tonight at the Y, but I can find a million reasons not to do it, foremost that I wish the class were earlier than 6:30! Why can't I seem to get ahead when I want the benefits -- weight loss, energy boost, positive mood -- so badly? It's altogether too easy to shove off the workout til tomorrow, even if I know that I can do the class and probably should. Thu, 16 Jul 2009 15:40:35 EST Inspiration: My "Lazy" Brother I took my seventeen-year-old brother to the YMCA on a guest pass earlier this week, sick that he was slinking around the house lazily while on vacation. While I may have stomped his butt bike-riding -- apparently I'm a bit quick when I sprint uphill! -- he proved that for being out of shape, he can still kick butt too. <BR> <BR> I spent 35 minutes pedalling away on a stationary bike, my "cheat" in the gym since I hate running and tire out too quickly. He jumped on the treadmill with the tel... Thu, 9 Jul 2009 10:41:06 EST It's Not You, It's Me A recent messageboard topic on tips for first-time gym-goers stirred my thoughts this morning while I savoured my regular routine of a cup of tea. I reflected upon the hurdles faced when we begin this path, and few appear more daunting than the gym -- though I put calorie counting right up there, and the new, rather daunting awareness which comes with just how many calories are in a slice of Giordano's pizza. <BR> <BR> Facing the coordinated regulars in a group class can be enough to send me... Thu, 9 Jul 2009 10:38:14 EST Getting Back into the Swing When I realized my last blog entry was dated for nearly two months ago, it saddened me considerably, especially since I haven't been consistent through the later half of June with working out. I can blame a 10 day vacation in Canada for that, but in the end, it's time to look forward rather than staring back at a heap of "meant to do" and "could have beens." <BR> <BR> Today my brother and I will go to the gym, and I intend to put in my hour-long workout to meet my goals for the day. Maybe we... Mon, 6 Jul 2009 12:01:43 EST Finding the Balance Point My challenge this week is pushing myself to do better than I have last week. Small steps get us to our goals better than mighty leaps, but I am one of those people who finds herself mid-stride expecting to clear a great chasm instead of taking another route. It's probably the product of high expectations and the "instant results" generation I belong to. <BR> <BR> Take, for example, my fitness circuit. Today I pounded out 35 minutes or so on the stationary bike at the Y, but came away feeling... Wed, 13 May 2009 23:51:00 EST Audere est Facere "To dare is to do." It's a good quote to live by. <BR> <BR> Today I think it summarizes very well. It urges me to go farther than I have, to stop thinking about all the reasons why I cannot and just do it. Nike knew what they were about choosing that as their slogan. A trainer I met with at the YMCA on Friday led me to a valuable point during our conversation. I could be done my goal in the time I spend coming up with limiting reasons or growing wishy-washy on a decision. <BR> <BR> Today's... Sat, 9 May 2009 18:58:56 EST On a Limb Sometimes positive motivation works when I have a clear goal in mind. I like to say, too often, that I lack any sort of willpower. And yet, when it comes down to it, I got myself through an international move in three weeks (from time of resume submission on a lark to physically crossing the border), figuring out immigration on my own without relying upon a lawyer, and renewed my passport. This draws me to the conclusion I may not be totally as undriven as I like to make myself out to be. <BR... Fri, 8 May 2009 15:42:55 EST