Friday, January 29, 2010

The Trouble with Results

I had the blown up ego and even took a picture, but it looked a little 14 year old naive myspace user, so I ditched the idea of posting pictures of my situation.  I also have sore abs due to the fact that I spent over an hour walking around flexing. 

In other news, I want to talk about results today. I've had a few conversations with a friend of mine (who may have convinced me into a three way pact with the devil to do another marathon and my first ironman...hahah, I know, right?) about results.  We'll call them...WB for work buddy.  WB's currently doing something called The Insanity Workout, which actually legitimately makes me tired to think about, but WB's been very patient indulging my fits of whining. 

Bottom line.  K and Chadd have both noticed my weight loss and WB promises me that if we were in the same city, they'd have noticed too.

Basically, the other day, when I hit 11 pounds of weight loss, I went "dammit, why hasn't someone said something?"  K suggested that I'm around her and Chadd most of the time and they noticed.  My coworkers, dude!  We are three to a cube in our client's office!  I see them more than her and Chadd combined!

The other possibility, which is legit, is that since I work in a very conservative environment, my clothes just really aren't showing it (and most of my weight loss has been around my midsection and thighs). 

Regardless.  I just wanted someone to be like "hey, you look like you've really slimmed down!" and I'd be all like "boom, look at my situation!" except not because that might get me fired.  The point is, I have to remind myself that there's a fine line between losing for myself and losing for praise.  Praise is nice, the actual loss is a far better gift since it's healthy/life lengthening.  Self praise should and needs to be a bigger part of my routine.  Every woman out there rips on herself entirely too much.  I'm seriously guilty of it, and despite my dad's never ending quest to get me to kill that inner mean voice (he doesn't like or allow self-deprecating comments, which I've always thought is one of the best dad-things he's done), it's pretty persistent.

My solution is this.  I will start telling myself one positive thing a day and I'm not talking "hey, nice hair."  More like "damn girl, your arms are getting toned!" in my very very white girl ghetto voice.  I will also freely tell people about my success (granted, at appropriate times).  I will also build and maintain a good support group.  Everyone needs outside input, so find the group that is likely to give it to you (honest feedback) and ask for their support.  They'll give it.

So that's part one of the results discussion.  The second part is not about recognition of results, but more about the effect of results.

I am guilty of the yo-yo, as I've discussed before, but the real issue is that at a certain point, we're really happy with what we've done and the next x pounds are part of the goal...but damn, we have a situation!  I can kick back and relax, right?  Yeah, no.  I do that every time.  I feel like counting my calories and working out and generally being fitness minded is great, but it's only around when I want to lose weight.  I know that most of America struggles with this issue.  We feel like we've done without or we've adjusted our schedule--temporarily.  Except that's not how this works.  You go right back up if you treat this is a temporary lifestyle.

I think I was on the dangerous edge of getting there.  Two parties this weekend, each with their share of fatty foods and alcohol.  I'm here, teetering on the edge of being close to the next set of ten pounds and I'm like...I've been so good, I can do a splurge weekend.  Yeah, no.  I can plan for the parties, have a slice of pizza, a drink or two, then call it quits.  Soooo hard to reel ones self back in, isn't it?

I say I WAS on the dangerous edge.  Last night, I went to the gym and had my body fat percentage measured.  Now, not to make excuses here, but the guy said that they only use the scale, which is apparently the least accurate means of measuring body fat.  But still.  The number on that scale was horrifying.  I might have lost 11 pounds, but that didn't mean that my body fat was gone.  It meant that I must have been a lot worse off than I'd thought.  I shudder to think about what would have happened without my Pact buddy. 

I was so upset by the % last night that I couldn't remember my weight. He said I'd lost a pound but I couldn't remember what I told him I was the week before.

So this morning, at a more appropriate time (after cycle, before I'd eaten), I stepped on the scale at my gym and weighed in. You guys, I lost 1.75 pounds since Sunday.  I had gained a half pound in Vegas, which I think is a victory, and then lost 1.75.  Woohoo!  I have moved from the 1X0's to the 1(X-1)0's!  ie, if I were in the 180s, I'd have slipped into the 170s. 

I am officially 9 pounds away from my original goal weight.  13 pounds lost (well, 12.75)!  Sometimes that number seems huge and sometimes, inconsequential.  I told my Pact buddy that I added a new goal to my weight loss--a body fat percentage change of 7%, then I'd reassess. 

Bottom line:
- Surround yourself with a good support group and stay positive yourself.
- Don't be satisfied with results.  Keep going or maintain.  Never slide back!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Realist's Situation

Last night, Chadd came home and woke me up around quarter of 1 to show me the new coat he got that finally came in the mail.

Normally, this would have irritated me, save two things:
1) This coat literally caused a fashion emergency in Vegas.  Only my boyfriend would be as straight as he is (he's basically 1 degree away from being a lumberjack, no offense to gay lumberjacks) and have a fashion emergency.  Long story, we had the coat shipped in from California.

2) I had something to show off too.  (See below)

Slightly related...
Did you watch The Jersey Shore?  If you didn't, that was dumb.  It was an awesome good/bad/so bad it's good MTV trash show.  There is one clown in particular on this show you should be aware of--Mike.  Mike the Situation.

Would you like to know why he is called Mike The Situation?  Of course you would.

Wait for it at 12 seconds.  That's his "Situation."  Literally, people, his abs are a situation and he calls himself Mike The Situation because of his freakish abs.

Back to point 2 of why I didn't mind that Chadd woke me up.

Folks.  The Realist has a situation.  It's not enough of a situation to be capitalized like properly named abs or be called "The" anything...but it's a freaking situation! I HAVE A SITUATION, HERE!

I'm almost at the point where I need a unique nickname for my developing situation.  Like "the business" or something.  Suggestions are welcome.

I went to bed prepared in a sports bra and running shorts.  I wouldn't exactly say that I "hopped" out of bed, but once Chadd managed to get me to open my eyes and get out of bed to see his coat in the gleaming light of the kitchen it suddenly dawned on me why I was freezing to death instead of wearing sweats.

"Look at my situation," I told him.

I was praised adequately and sent back to bed where I fell asleep in less than 1 minute.  If I get a big enough ego, I'm posting pictures.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday Links

Following in the idea of bringing new features to the blog, Tuesdays are now Tuesday Links.  I know that's not very clever, so suggestions for something a little more catchy than Tuesday Links.  For now, I leave you with Tuesday's links!

What is a Calorie?
Fantastic article that tells you exactly what a calorie is (it's an intangible idea) and how it contributes to weight loss.  Demystify the bizarre numbers on a nutrition label!

The Importance of Numbers
This article is a bit more technical, but if the numbers you see at the gym--your weight, BMI, etc. confuse you, this is a good article that breaks it all down for you. 

Have You Ever Seen a Double Banana?
Sorry, this just cracked me up.  Maybe I need more coffee.  Fruit mutation!

Will Power and the "Slacker" Brain
Oh man do I love Robert Krulwich so hard.   But this is actually a great little blip from the radio.  It's about memory and making decisions.  People trying to balance more on their brains often times reach for the more unhealthy choice.   Clear your brain!  It'll give you a bit more balance.  Listen to this, even if only to listen to funny little quipy NPR and Robert Krulwich.  Ahaha just wait for the little voice in the back of your head.  Team emotion versus team reason!

Got some good links of your own?  Share them!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pound for Pound Challenge Repledge!

Update on the Pound for Pound challenge!

Remember that I pledged 10 pounds?  Well, I did it.  Now, time to repledge.  Not going to lie, pledging something I can control to something that I can't ( least not on a large scale) is a motivating feeling.  I'm pledging 5 pounds this time.  If I lose 10 more pounds, I will be at my ideal weight, but 5 is something that my body will let me do.  Then I'll reassess.  I have 1 week to get below the 1something mark and into the 1somethings.  I'm still in the debate mode of whether or not to post my weight and numbers.  I may make myself in one of those virtual selvs and share that.

I'm watching Biggest Loser, Week 2 (this was 2 weeks ago).  This is the episode every season where their doctor comes in and tells everyone what their real age is, what types of diseases they have, and how they should expect to age. 

I encourage you to tune in and watch the Biggest Loser.  I know a lot of people don't like it and blah blah blah, but I'll be damned if this show isn't actually very accurate.  The information they distribute is very true.  And the contestants are a great way to remind yourself that if someone who is literally hundreds of pounds over weight can work out for 8 hours a day, you can give it that extra push.

So go do it.  And I encourage you to pledge a couple pounds to the pound for pound challenge.

Guest Blogger Mondays - The First 5k

Everyone!  I am happy to announce a new series that I am [attempting] to bring to DietsAreCrap--Guest Blogger Mondays!

Every few Mondays I'm going to have a guest blogger share a personal weight loss/fitness/athletic story with you all.  I hope you enjoy and pass the blog on to your friends.

Shameless plug: I'm trying for 300 followers by the end of the year (you can also feel free to follow me on Twitter, that counts!)

Today's Guest Blogger Monday post comes from my mom, the talented artist behind her blog NiftyArtGirl.  May her story inspire you to try something new!  Additionally, please contact me if you're interested in sharing your story and being a part of the Guest Blogger Mondays. 

September 15th my daughter announces she and her brother are going to run the Seniors First 20th Annual Turkey Trot 5k. Not wanting to miss any time with my children I thought I will do this too. I will walk it and meet them at the end. I go on-line, fill out the form, a very simple one, type in my credit card number and bingo! I am in. Fast forward a month to a conversation with aforementioned brother, my son. He is the 19 year old college student in Colorado. He is a fit, lean, strong rock climber, snowboarder, and can breathe at high altitudes, the altitudes that come with very little oxygen. While visiting him in the beautiful foothills of the Rocky Mountains, he says, ”Mom, you can run a mile.” Something very endearing about your teenager giving you confidence with a pronouncement like that.

I came home, and got on the treadmill. It was nice and cool outside so I had the door open in front of me. I put some music on my ipod, MC Hammer’s greatest hits and got started. I was watching the calories and not the distance so didn’t know I had run 1.22 miles. Was I panting? No. Was I hurting? My hip did a little. Was I tired? No. Hmmm? The air is nice outside, remember? I went out and went another mile. I kept asking myself if I was tired. I wasn’t, I wasn’t bored. I was so happy and it felt so good.

Nobody home to exclaim to. I called my children. They shared the happiness I had, they were preparing for said race too. Now Daughter has run a marathon and can easily sprint 3 miles in the evenings. She is a fit, lean exercising machine. And she is an aerobics instructor who really understands the value of encouragement. She did her job, “That’s great Mom. If people realized it was only 15 minutes to do a mile, they would do it.” I must say the thought that in 45 minutes I would be done was pretty enlightening. Those 45 minutes will come and go whether you run or you sit at home in front of the tv eating bonbons. She continued to encourage me through the next month of self training. I called aforementioned children’s dad and my husband and shared the news. If he was out of town I called him to say the distance, if he was home I would walk down the hall to his office to deliver my new information.

A nagging hip pain had me stretching once in a while when I jogged, but I really didn’t want to stop. I was so afraid of losing momentum that I didn’t want to get off the treadmill for a minute. I know myself, I am easily distracted and can convince myself that there are other more pressing things for me to do…laundry, dishwashing, really? Are those things pressing? At the conclusion of each run I would sit in the pool. The water is cold, it will reduce any swelling or pain. It probably would have if I had stretched at the conclusion of every jog.

I was persistent and made myself jog almost every other day. I had a date and a distance to achieve. I would run at least thirty minutes and about 2.5 miles each meeting with my treadmill. One night I pushed and made 3.5 miles. I called the kids to brag, they were constant ears for me. Daughter said, ”Then you can run the 5k easily. It is only 3.1 miles.” What a sense of relief, for some reason I was going with 3.5 miles in my head. Now I knew I could do it, the nerves settled immensely.

One of biggest boosts in this preparation was my friends disbelief that I could do this. One said, “That is farther than I run.” Another said, ”How do you do that?” Smug is the definition of how I felt.

I continued with my “training”. I experimented with music. I sang with Joni Mitchell, was serenaded by John Mayer, and was pumped with MC Hammer. He would accompany me on my 5k.

Two days before the race I took a little jog with Daughter. I found immediately that I have to go it alone. I was trying to pace myself and wanted to run with her at the same time and I couldn’t. While on the treadmill at home I would try to watch my shadow. I learned the rhythm and my own pace that way. I am very visual so could call that up to determine how fast I should go. Daughter sprinted ahead and ran back to meet me. I was able to restart and focus on the memory of my shadow.

The morning of the race we got up early. I had a bowl of protein packed cold cereal and a little to drink. Fearing a lack of bathrooms I stopped with that. We drove to Lake Eola and easily found parking having chosen to arrive early. We locked our wallets away and the car key was hidden in an ipod armband. We walked with other sporty folks, track teams from high schools, and people who obviously had done this before. The crowd was growing trying to sort itself out. There were a few runners with turkey headgear, it was after all Thanksgiving morning. We had a lot to be thankful for. We were healthy and capable of being a part of this.

We girls had on spiffy running gear. Black running capris and hot pink long sleeved tops. Brother was in cool blue shorts and a sushi restaurant t-shirt. We were hot! Well, now we were a little cold. The air was chilly and the skinny runners were there with teeth chattering. One more bathroom stop at the line of port-a potties. We walked a little distance in the park and stretched, my kids were doing real stretching, I had no idea what to do so followed their lead, hoping nobody would get a back view of me in my stretchy capris. We were pretty quiet. Other people in the crowd were chatting and enjoying the camaraderie. The kids went to the front of the group at the starting line. They were racing, themselves and each other. I wanted to be near the slower folks, but not with the walkers.

They were off, the crowd slowly moved forward to the starting line as the first runners could be seen way ahead going up the first little hill. We eased up a step at a time. I started jogging as the group beside me did likewise. Under the clock and gone. I was about 5 minutes after my children had set off on their race. I did not take note of the exact time on the clock as I went under it. I should have because that would have determined my precise finishing time. I felt as if I had a mission. I was not jubilant, I was serious and focused. Clearly I wouldn’t be fun to run with. It takes a lot of my concentration to breathe, I cannot do the in through the nose out with the mouth thing. I am in and out of the mouth. My mouth gets dry I freak, will I choke. I forgot the mouth moistening spray.

I see early that you must navigate around other runners, walkers, strollers (really a bad idea), parked cars, uneven pavement, and bricks. There was a never a time that I was in a group of runners going the same speed as I. Once in a while one would wander up and honestly it was irritating. It was similar to driving 65 on the interstate and realizing you can’t go around or stay behind the person in front of you. The only way to get away is to rev up and floor it and go around. That is what I did. There were a few places where the crowd was thick, people going along together talking. Squeezing between them and other talkers took some maneuvering and passing sideways, “Scuse me, scuse me.”

Ahead I could see tables lined with paper cups manned by kind volunteers. That was a great treat. Slowing to a walk I grabbed a cup, I did drink it, not just swish. Then as the pros on the televised runs I tossed my cup to the street. I had more important things to do then worry about littering.

At one point a man’s voice came out of the blue. I could discern words not just a blur of crowd sounds. The things he said became repetitive, he was right beside me, who is he? Was he some endorphin flooded runner coming to encourage me. No, it was my loving husband. He jogged up beside me and chatted a second, encouraged me to keep going, gave me a kiss, and waved good-bye. I figured he was on his way home to continue the roasting of the turkey.

I could use a little walk. I slowed down for about 10 feet of walking. That really felt good and even that small amount helped me to regroup. It is only 3.1 miles. I missed the mile markers so had no idea if I had gone one mile or two or three. I saw a few people who had completed the race walking down the sidewalk coming from the opposite direction. The end must be near or they were extremely fast. I started looking for my children thinking they might come back and jog with me. We went around a turn and I could see a crowd. It was the finish line, the same place we had started from. When I saw it I knew this was a done deal. I was not going to fall like some of the people I had seen earlier. This was the best part of the race. As we got closer there were people standing on the sidelines cheering us on. The most beautiful sight at that point was my two children. They were leaning from the right side and looking around the crowd watching for me. They came running out to go across the finish line with me. Daughter said, ”Smile, they are taking pictures.” I think I did. One of Brother’s friends called out to him. We crossed together. They ate bananas, I wanted coffee. We meandered through the glowing, sweating, happy people.

We walked to the car, settled in, and started driving home. Luckily Brother was watching the scenery go by and saw his car parked on the street. Needless to say when a 19 year old male sees his car miles from home and he isn’t driving it an alarm goes off. We turned around, parked, and began a search for Dad, the driver of said brother’s said car. We found him. He had been waiting to see us cross the finish line. Somehow without cell phones or earlier made plans we did find each other. We were victorious and could share it with one more person we loved. I called my mother to share the news. We had been up for hours and it was only 9:00.

My children and me. What a shining moment in my life. We shared an accomplishment. Daughter had her personal best time (24:28), Brother beat his sister in his first race ever (23:28), and I my first 5k at the age of 50 (39:45). When my father was alive I had told him I wanted to run a 5k. I had always said, “I wish I could run.” He said, “Then do it.” “Daddy, you aren’t here, but I think you know I did it.”

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Weekend

Alrighty.  Finally Friday afternoon!  I'm sitting here with Chadd at the office, enjoying a few things:

The glow of having gone to cycling this morning kept me going all day, as did the discovery that one of my favorite dresses and old dress shirts are now *gasp* almost too big.   One of my favorite women in the office just informed him that I'd lost 11 pounds.  His response: O_o

My plans for the weekend are close to home.  We're almost in February!  How have I not cleaned out closests, etc? 

I'm going to accomplish that this weekend, take whatever I can to Plato's closet, hopefully come out with some cash and take the rest to Goodwill.

I'm going to go through my bookshelves, put what I think is worth something on amazon or, and then donate the rest.

And then there is the Atari.  As awesome as it is to have it,  it's taking up space and we don't play with it anymore.  I think that'll be an ebay or Craigslist item.

Finally, a bunch of cooking.  We're going to the grocery tonight on the way home from work, so watch for a weekly menu shortly! 

Cooking from home saves money, gives you at least a fighting chance of being more healthy, and you can control what you put into your food, and therefore your mouth.  Planning out meals also makes it harder to pick up the phone and call Papa Johns when you're tired and hungry and have no idea what to make.

Stay motivated!  Use the weekend to recharge and plan your week.  Fallen off the wagon?  No worries, get it back together on Monday when you've gotten yourself together, made a plan, and promised to stick to it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Back from Vegas

I will tell you all about my amazing amazing trip to Vegas in the near future, but for now, I just have to say one thing:

I do not feel less stressed out and more sane post vacation.

Instead, I feel drastically worse.

Seeing J was probably one of the best things for me, but being out of the city, enjoying the wide-open skies, the mountains, and driving through Red Rock Canyon during a flash snow storm did nothing for making it easy to return to the District and my job.

A few things keeping me afloat this morning (aside from my massive Starbucks), is that while in Vegas, J and I did get to her awesome gym (huge! $31 a month! unfair!) where we took a spin class with an instructor now known as "Hot Jason" then a BodyPump class the next morning which resulted in me not really walking correctly for about 2 days.

I feel like I've lost weight, because despite the fact that we ate so-so (and SO delicious), my dress slacks now pool in my lap when I sit down.  We also got spray tans, so while I look smaller through optical illusion, I can see some of my "angles" coming back in.  I have almost-abs!  I also bought a slinky black dress for going out that I actually fit into without looking like a sausage....small victories amounting to a pretty good feeling. 

The hardest thing about coming back is that leaving never changed the fact that I didn't want to be here.  It just made it harder to come back. I think it's also hard that J is my go-to "let's go and do" person.  I remembered immediately why she and I had gotten along so well to begin with and why it sucked majorly when she left.

We went!  We did! We saw! We experienced!  And now I'm here, sitting, answering emails.  Maybe it's a typical reaction after a good, but too short, vacation.  Or maybe, there's a fork on the road.  We'll see. 

For now, power through the day, it's almost Friday.  I've got 3 miles to get through tonight with K.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pizza DOES Have Calories and My Brilliant New Idea

Did you know that a slice of Papa John's Cheese Pizza on regular crust has 400 calories?  Because I sure as hell did not.  I found this out AFTER consuming 4 of them.  Guys, that is quite literally about the total of my caloric intake on a daily basis.  I paired this with a nice prosecco and blam.  So much for that.

But if there's one thing I've learned, it's to never dwell on what you've already consumed or how much you weigh now.  Focus on the future, the next meal, the next few pounds, whatever.  Inevitably, stress makes you keep the weight.

I choked on my light turkey breast sandwhich while totalling yesterday's calories.  Alas.  But tonight, I'm meeting my dear friend (who you may remember from this post: in VEGAS where she teaches for Teach for America.  Words cannot tell you how excited I am to be going to see her.

Right now, I'm sitting in the Denver airport, waiting for my flight, a little baffled that it's only 12:13 while my internal clock is feeling a bit more like 2:13.  By the time I get to Vegas, it'll be somewhere around 5:30 in my brain and only 2:30 there. 

Tonight, we're going to hit up a 6pm spin class that she says is a real ass kicker.  Then I'm hoping we'll find a little place to grab a few drinks and some light food or that we'll whip something up (she was the first person to introduce to me to Volumetrics...and speaking of, check out their bulgar stuffed peppers.  150 calories of filling amazingness.)  I am focusing on eating well, working out, and enjoying my time with her instead of freaking out about my 4 figure dinner consumption last night.

Also.  I have a brilliant plan.  Anyone want to help me?

Let's put gyms with locker facilities in the airport.  $20 for a pass.  With people carrying on suitcases these days and long layovers (with a 30 minute flight delay and a 20 minute early arrival, I have about 3 hours to sit here), it would be no issue.  I'd KILL for a gym right now, hell, even just to pass the time.  Dibs on that idea, btw. 

Side note, I probably won't be posting much while I'm in Vegas.  I return on Wednesday, posting again Thursday, hopefully with a bit less stress and a lot more sanity.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Little (less) About Me

Lately, in talks with a very close blogger to my heart (and my awesome Mom!) (you can read her blog here: I've realized that I need to refocus my blog.  She's in the middle of an effort to build her business through media, and has taken cool courses on how to focus blogging.  Check out her experiences.

I've enjoyed writing what I've been writing, but the blog has kind of trailed off of it's original path (which is fine).  I want to keep in touch about me personally, as well.  This started as a catalogue of my effort to watch what I eat (calorie counting) and my desire to stay fit.

I had ups and downs (just read back to some time around Easter of 2009) and lost and gained.  So, I'm happy to remind you to remind me to stay honest with you all.  That half bottle of prosecco during restaurant with good friend K of, yeah that was ALL me.

Sometime around late October, I stepped on the scale and basically threw up on myself.  I was officially over the point that I told myself I would never go over.  Instead of wig out, I partnered with a good friend of mine in our great secret blog project.

About 2 months later, I have found that this blog has been the biggest help.  On days when I feel like I really really need that cookie, linking up with my co secret blogger, I get through it.  We celebrate together, we commiserate together.  I haven't seen her in a while, but I'm sure she looks dynamite.

And now to tell you all, thanks to the awesome bodybugg, calorie counting, and my secret co blogger, I have successfully lost 11.5 pounds since Thanksgiving.  I am officially further along (and more easily won this time) than the beginning of 2009 when I started down this path.  I am at a BMI of 23.4, which is on the higher end of a health range.

I am about 10.5 pounds away from my ideal ideal goal weight, but only about 7 pounds away from "I will be happy to maintain my weight here" weight.  At the ideal ideal weight, I will be at a BMI of 21.6.

Ladies and gentlemen, it can be done with patience and a whole lotta learning.  I strongly suggest reading food lables, checking out what is in your food, etc.  It makes a big difference when that cookie that doesn't taste THAT good had a caloric value, doesn't it?

If that doesn't help.  Check this business out:

That, my friends, is a pound of fat.  Nothing like some visual imaging to keep you going, right?  Those last 10 pounds are only as hard as you let them be.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Get Over It

I think most people know that I'm a nice person.  And if you're one of my regular followers who doesn't know me in person, I hope that you assume I'm a nice person.  But I have to tell you.  Sometimes, I'm not.

In fact, sometimes I'm humorously sarcastic, a little judgment, and to be frank, I call people on the carpet, a la Jillian Michaels (who I love. a lot.).  Today I don't feel like being nice, I'm going to rip this whole thing to shreds.

This article...blew my mind.

Really folks?  Are we dumb?  Choice quotes:
"[A} new University Medical Center study shows those who most need a fitness regimen have a harder time adhering to it"

....wouldn't that by why they're the people who need it most?  People who don't need it probably don't have a hard time sticking to the maintenance regiment they already have.

"It's not all body image issues. It's issues with being uncomfortable; uncomfortable with exercising in front of people who are more fit; with exercising in front of people of the opposite sex; with the equipment," Miller said."

I think this is a lot of horse crap.  Let me tell you why.  I am the first person to admit that it can be intimidating to walk into a gym for the first time, fit or not, and go work out.  People like to look like they know what they're doing, especially when sweating and panting.  I get that.  Gyms get that.  Which is why there are a billion and one ways to over come it.  I became an instructor for that reason.  People become trainers to teach, not to condescend.  If you've had a condescending trainer, so help me God, I will hunt them down.  Clubs station people everywhere who want to help you if you ask.  And lemme tell ya, that chick on the treadmill who weighs 105 AFTER consuming Chipotle, honey she is too in her own head to notice you beside her.   I PROMISE. 

Also.  If it really matters to you, you'll get over it or you'll find a gym, trainer, fitness DVD, that makes you more comfortable.  But don't ever tell me that your health matters to you then crap out when you are uncomfortable.  I'm uncomfortable doing things.  Snowboarding, for example.  I suck at it more than most people.  I'm also very uncomfortable.  But when a 3 year old zooms by me, I don't quit.  I keep falling my way down the bunny slope.  GET OVER IT or don't whine about the consequences.  Get out of your comfort zone and get healthy.  Huge pet peeve of mine.

"The study showed that those who were overweight or obese often ranked exercise as more important to a healthy lifestyle than others who were already fit."

Because fit people don't need to prioritize it.  Or they already have and it's part of the routine.  Also, that's crap.  That's a verbal study, because if people who are overweight or obese really DO rank exercise as more important, its lip service.

Do me and you a favor.  Be honest with yourself, don't tell me, don't tell your spouse, or your best friend.  Write it down for yourself.  Name your top three priorities for me.  And don't' tell me "Husband, Kids, Job" as in things you do for other people.  I mean things that you do for you.  Name them.  They do not have to be ranked.


1) My health/sanity.  I'm not kidding.  This means my happiness, and what goes into that: eating well, being active, sleeping enough (which I need to make a bigger priority), and staying emotionally healthy and spiritually focused.  If I don't feel good, nothing else can function in my world.
2) Chadd.  He's my partner.  If he doesn't feel good, I don't feel good. 
3) My relationships.  Family, friends, coworkers, my classes, etc.  My relationships are extraordinarily important to me.  I am a people person.

"The research shows that they have issues centering around negative emotions," Miller said about why obese people have a harder time keeping resolutions to go to the gym despite their knowledge of the importance of exercise.

Miller's study also came to the conclusion that college-aged students were less susceptible to the lack of comfort and negative emotions associated with the gym environment."

The one positive thing about this study is that it proves that if fitness is a focus growing up (my generation), it's part of daily life.  Gyms are a relatively new phenomenon.  My generation grew up comfortable with them, and despite record obesity records and childhood obesity records, I hope that it will decrease due to this comfort level.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Training Schedule, Retry

Something was weird with my last entry.  As in, the first half was entirely blank.  So, here is the first part of that entry...

I told my Sunday morning class about some up-coming races and invited them to join me for the Historic Half Marathon on May 16th.  In anticipation of hopefully a few of them joining me (because my class is awesome), here is the training schedule I"m personally following (see last entry)

If you are interested in completing a half marathon in Mid-May, then I suggest looking for an ambitious trainng schedule that starts out a bit slow to build endurance, then does a pretty heavy backload with a recovery week before the event.  I also recommend ignoring my advice and checking out Jeff Galloway's website, which I am afraid to post because I think that's what caused my last entry to be half blank.  I used Jeff Galloway's training program in his marathon book (which is a great read, btw) and had great results (I didn't die!).  He's a wonderful trainer for beginner and advanced runners.  He has a lot of great tips on his website that I suggest going through.  His program is 19 weeks long, so if you're doing the Half, I suggest taking out 2 weeks of your choice (but should not be the longest long run week).

See below for my schedule!

I managed to get my 3 miles in last night....on the treadmill, at race pace.  Suffice to say, I was exhausted at the end.  Treadmill kills me.

Also, don't forget to help me with my new years resolution and spread the blog love!  Goal of 300 by the end of the year.  You can follow me on Twitter, too!

There might be some big news coming in the next few weeks, too.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Realist's Training Plan

I told my Sunday morning class about some up coming races and invited them to join me for the Historic Half Marathon. In anticipation of hopefully a few of them joining me (because my class is the most awesome ever), here is the training schedule that I am personally following.

If you are interested in completing a half marathon in mid-May, then I suggest looking for an ambitious training schedule that starts out a little slow to build up endurance, then does a pretty heavy back end.  I also recommend checking out this website.

I used Jeff Galloway's training program for my marathon and had great results.  He;'s wonderful for beginner runners (as well as advanced) and has a lot of great tips in his book and that website mentioned above.

If you are training for the Historic Half...Since the race is less than 19 weeks away, I would suggest taking out some of the recovery weeks.

But if you're interested in my training program, here is what I've got coming up for me:

This schedule, of course, does not include my cross training and does allow for some fudge room.  I suggest on a rigorous training schedule like this to incorporate foam rolling at least once a week along with at least 1 yoga class (my hips have never felt so good as they did this morning during yoga).  I also encourage, if you're going for a time, to do considerable strength training.  A sample week with this type of added cross training may look like this:

Monday: Strength training (lower body and core)
Tuesday: Scheduled run
Wednesday: Yoga
Thursday: Scheduled run
Friday: Foam rolling, half hour of walking, cycling, elliptical, swimming (anything low impact or no impact) and/or upper body strength training
Saturday: Scheduled long run
Sunday: Recovery

Personally, I'm swapping Sunday with Friday because Fridays are my "clean the apartment" day.

You can find another training schedule, Here at my friend's Running for the Carbs blog.  She's running the half with me, so you can see how our training schedules work out.  I strongly suggest following her blog!

Have a great start to the week.  Let me know if you're training for a race!  I'm currently working on getting some guest bloggers in line to share their "first race" stories.  Would love to hear yours!

Nutrition Myths

It's been a rough day, so I've decided to take a little mental break and read some fitness articles from HFPN (see side bar for link).  I'm hoping that you can all view this link, but if not, I'm going to basically repost it below.

I mentioned briefly in my last post that it's easy to get bogged down in the flood of fitness information, tips, and tricks provided by magazines, the news, coworkers, even books displayed as fitness books, written by MDs....scary stuff. 

How to drill through it to the real stuff?  Go to associations.  Just as you would with anything else, go to the center of the shared and agreed upon knowledge of that industry.  You go to AAA for car things, go to places like HFPN, AFAA, NASM, etc. for articles.  These are written after research is done...not after someone wanted to make a buck and wrote an article for a magazine or had a publisher approach them.

That's not to say that everything you read or hear about elsewhere isn't true, it's just that sometimes it's not explained well.  Case in point, this artcle, Nutrition Myth Buster, by Dominique Adair, RD (look! RD!)

Myth 1: If I eat late, I'll gain wait (or won't lose).
Not true.  "The studies on meal ingestin patterns, and the associated weight or fat gain or loss do not suggest that reducing late eating is an effective weight control mechanism."
My commentary: If you banish late night eating and you feel that you're losing weight, consider what you stopped eating.  Most people who snack at night snack on chips, ice cream--me, I'm a big wine person.  If you tell yourself "nothing after 9pm" then you'll take out the opportunity for you to snack when you don't need to. But timing of your meals doesn't affect your weight.

Myth 2: Carbs make you fat.
"Savvy nutritionists have said for years, "pasta won't make you fat, but too much will."  Like any calorie containing nutrients, if you take in more than your body needs and you are in calorie surplus, your body will convert it and store it as body fat."
My commentary:  Thank you and thank you.  This could not be more true.  I cannot stand exclusion diets--the ones where you don't eat a certain food or food group.  STOP DOING IT ALREADY.  Everything is okay in moderation.  Except trans fats. I'm not really cool with those.

Myth 3: Exercising on an empty stomach improves fat burning.
"Like cars, the human body performs very well when fed properly.  In fact, most athletes have found out the hard way how a missed meal can impact their performance...Picture a well-running factory with many interdependent production stations.  When food slows down or comes to a halt, so does production."
My commentary:  I'd never really heard this myth before, but it's true.  If you're one of those people who feels sick when working out after eating, give yourself some space, but it's always a good idea to be well fed when maintaining an exercise regiment.

Myth 4: Body builders need expotentially more protein than other athletes do.
"The most important consideration when bodybuilding is taking in adequate energy or enough calories....These calories should be distributed proportionally across all three macronutrient categories."
My commentary: I think everyone freaks about protein when doing muscle building because it's low in fat and easy to make taste better.  Think: powder for shakes.  I can't really comment on this since I have no experience in it.  Chalk it all up to good marketing by the supplement people.

Myth 5: High sugar fruits and vegetables will make you gain weight.
"This myth is interesting because in reality the opposite is true.  The carbohydrate found in fruits is called simple carbohydrate.  But, far from making you gain weight, fruits and vegetables are high in water and fiber, which are essentially non-caloric and contribute to a lower calories, higher nutrient intake."
My commentary: Sweet and low cal alternative to dessert and snacking.  Love fruit.  Just remember.  A million calories is a million calories.  Think about the density of the calories for the food--low density = high saiety and vice versa.

Myth 6: Drinking water helps you feel full and eat less.
"Some well-recognized research...indicates that when water is mixed with food...subsequent intake is decreased, but when ingested separately as a glass of water it does not seem to decrease appetite or intake."
My commentary: Studies probably prove this, but when I'm feeling an emotional eating attack come or (or bored eating), a glass of water fends it off.  Regardless. Keep drinking water.  It can only help.

Side note: apologies that this was just now posted.  I do have 4 more myths for you just got a bit crazy and I got a bit exhausted this weekend.  Update with a training schedule to come!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Little Revelations

I desperately want a career (full time, with benefits, and a path forward) in fitness.

I'm sure this surprises none of you.

I just had to bring it up due to two incidents in the past 24 hours.  As you may or may not be aware, the 9th season of The Biggest Loser started last night and you can bet all billion pounds that America itself needs to lose that I was there, cuddled up in bed, computer on lap, ready to live blog.

Instead, I basically cried my eyes out.  I always forget that the first episode of each season is one of the hardest to watch.  My heart breaks for these people in a way that perhaps only someone in the fitness industry can experience. 

I think that many people cry watching the show because you're watching someone who really feels like they're at death's door, have hit rock bottom, are lonely, are scared, etc.  It's easy to identify with someone who openly puts everything about themselves on national TV.  I know there are some criticisms of dealing with issues like that, but I can't knock it.  They made that decision.  No one forced them.  And in some way, I think almost everyone can identify with someone's story.  It becomes a network of support.  And I support that decision that each contestant makes.

But as an aerobics instructor and hopefully soon to be trainer (anyone want to sponsor my NASM certification fee?), my heart breaks because I see the short fall in this country.  I don't know if there is really a place to put the blame, because at my core, I'm a believer of self responsibility.  You have brought yourself to where you are, at least for the most part.  I see the gap in knowledge with the contestants every season.  The information is out there and it's available, but there is so much of it, that I see how confusing it can be.  I know I've talked abut how weight loss is a very very sensitive issue for people, so I can also see how crash and fad diets are so seductive and how we do chase after the next all in one machine, exercise, diet, etc.  In reality, I believe that the Biggest Loser is the epitome of the truth of weight loss.  Calories in  must be less than calories out.  Bingo weight loss. That's the only formula you need.

I sat there last night crying because I wasn't helping.  When two teams were sent home before things even got started, I cried and cried and cried.  I wanted desperately to get on a plane and go to where they were and to help, to teach, to support.  It's that feeling that wells up in your chest when you have found one of your life purposes (this is the second time I have felt this way, the first time is not at all career related).

I know Chadd has sat through many BL episodes of me going "I have to find a way to do this.  This is where I belong, my heart is there."  And every time, he says "then make it happen."  Last night, he didn't even have to say it, while I was typing out that message via gchat, I went "I know what he's going to say." And then it struck me. 

How many times do you see Jillian and Bob get in someone's face and say "if you really wanted this, then you'd be doing something about it?"  ALL THE TIME.  EVERY EPISODE!  Bob and Jillian would say the same thing to me about my goals, about my desires.  So why did it finally click?  I have no idea.  But I went to bed hopeful last night, brimming with possibility. 

That was the first incident, the second was all too much of a coincident to not be a little nudge from God.

I was never meant to have the job that I have right now.  I don't want to knock it because my company treats me well and, bless their hearts, encourages fitness.  But I am at a desk all day, 5 days a week, talking about well...nothing fitness related.

Today I was leading my first meeting with my new client.  After we took care of business, we started talking about something--I think Wii Fit, which lead into talking about the new Biggest Loser Wii game, which lead to me showing off my BodyBugg (see link to the left), which lead to a 20 minute conversation about fitness.  I could feel myself light up.  One of my clients said something that made me feel like I was about to take flight, that happiness welling up in my chest again.  She said, quite simply

"Well it seems like you're in the wrong industry.  You're clearly supposed to be in fitness.  Looks like you found your calling!"

She was genuinely excited for me, which caught me off guard.  The next thing I said was a bold faced lie about how I love my job now and that fitness is a hobby, which I had to say considering my clients pay me an exorbitant fee to have me create useless documents about processes that will never really happen.  But I think everyone there knew the truth.

While normally that would have depressed me, this time it invigorated me.  I have ideas, I have great business ideas.  I'm learning and training to become a good trainer and to be that person who people who need help can come to and will come to when they feel the same way so many of the contestants on Biggest Loser feel.  I can't wait for the day that it all changes...and to get there, it's just one foot in front of the other.

Have you ever had that moment of clarity?  What was it about?   How did you act on it?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Eating Locally - Week 2, Chicken, Hedgehog Mushrooms, Goat Cheese, and Acorn Squash

Alllll right, sorry this came a day late. Chadd got called into the office, moving our movie time back from 3 til 6:50 so we grabbed a quick dinner before the movie and got home in time for me to pass out.

Tonight, I live blog:
French cut chicken breast
Eco Friendly Foods
Moneta, Va (247 miles)

Hedgehog Mushrooms
The Mushroom Stand
Chester County, PA (118 miles)

Acorn Squash
Spring Valley Ranch
Romney, West Virginia (133 miles)

Piedmont Goat Cheese
Everona Dairy
Rapidan, VA (82 miles)

Total: $30.57 Ohhh yeah!

On the menu? Pan cooked chicken breast with shallots, mushrooms, tomatoes and goat cheese. Roasted acorn squash.

I sliced the acorn squash down the vertical, put them face down on a pan in a 375 degree oven and they've been in there for about...30 minutes. We'll see how long it takes, I've seen reports from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours, (update: 45 minutes).

In the meantime, I'm sauteing a large shallot that I had sitting around, about to wash off the mushrooms and chop those to bits. I put a baking sheet over the pan to release the moisture.

Mushrooms and shallots now mixing together with 1 tsp butter. Shaving down some cheese for the sauce....toss in probably 2 tbsp. of white wine, a half a tomato, and boom. Sauce complete, over chicken, add the delicious acorn squash and I basically inhaled that as soon as I put it down.

The chicken...oh man. I see why people by locally grown chicken. Free range bird is amazingly flavorful and tender. Literally, a half a piece of a breast filled me up. The mushrooms were very very flavorful, a little buttery and nutty, which was amazing, especially paired with the shallots. The tomatoes helped tone down the flavor, since it was pretty strong. All in all...I did a MUCH better job this time.

Shout out to the awesome farmers who braved the horrid cold and wind to bring an amazing spread to Dupont. Pictures will be uploaded tomorrow! Must get sleep before yoga in the morning!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Starting on the List

So, I know I said I spent a few days working on my resolutions, and I did, but I seem to have forgotten a few things, specifically, things that are more of a to-do list. In doing so, I learned something interesting about my health insurance coverage: specifically, that it does not include a dietician.

I'm a little surprised, and kind of a bit outraged. I can understand not covering a nurtitionist...but a dietician? Really? (Note: In case, you didn't know, the difference between the two is that a dietician is similar to a registered nurse (RN). in that certification is standardized. See this article for more info).

Regardless, it is on my list of things to do this year, specifically since now that I have a good handle on my caloric intake, it's probably a good idea to check in about my actual nutritional intake/needs.

I just did a very quick search at the American Dietetic Association's website, which can be found here and found 15 RDs who specialize in some of the topics I'm interested in, specifically weight management, sports nutrition, and meal planning.

While I was looking around the website, I found an interesting article on who should visit an R.D.: Basically....everyone.

Myself included. More info to come!

Friday, January 1, 2010


Welcome to 2010 everyone! This year, despite the fact that its the first time that I've been to an actual bar for new years (last year we had a blast at an all ages party in Cocoa Beach), I actually don't feel like it's a new year. Instead, it feels more like a random day where a smattering of stores were closed. But no matter, it seems that I usually crap out on resolutions created out of tradition instead of a real burning desire to make them and accomplish them.

After a few days of thinking and honestly assessing my goals, I decided to make resolutions out of them. So, while you build your new years resolutions, consider the following strategies:

1) Choose a goal that you really WANT to achieve--not something that you feel would be a good idea. By choosing a goal that is important to you, you're more likely to achieve it.

Mine: Finish my weight loss to my ideal (and healthy) weight by the end of February and maintain it.

2) Make 1 big resolution, if any at all. Instead of tackling, say, a 50 pound weight loss, and a kitchen remodel, and learning french, choose 1, that way, you're more likely to focus your efforts on the one instead of getting overwhelmed and quitting. If you can't decide, pick one and then make small steps towards the others.

Mine: See 1, and, get pricing for new counter tops for Ikea (a step towards maybe remodeling our kitchen.)

3) Make 1 fun resolution. Why? Sometimes we need to make ourselves do something fun.

Mine: See my two best friends in their respective cities. I'm on my way to one in a few weeks--Vegas, baby!

4) Make one responsible resolution. Why? There's always one simple, responsible thing that nags us. Stop the nagging! Make yourself do it.

Mine (I admit, I have 2): 1- Continue my savings/investing pattern that I established this year. 2) Make and following a cleaning schedule to avoid stressing myself out.

5) Make a resolution that you can do with someone else. This will boost accountability and strengthen your bond.

Mine: Have 1 date with Chadd a month. Since we live in DC, we have access to a great website called Groupon is active in a ton of cities these days, so check it out to see if your city has groupon! Essentially, for a discounted rate, you can purchase gift certificates to restaurants, attractions, spas, gyms, etc. Example: Chadd and I are trying out Posh downtown. I paid $15 for $35 to Posh. We'll try out new places and spend time together.

6) Learn something new. This could be anything--take golf lessons, take a cooking class, learn how to sew, etc.

Mine: Study for and take my personal training certification exam. Also, stick with the yoga. It's a fun challenge and good for my muscles after a run.

So, there you go! What are your resolutions? How will you achieve them? Look for my plan of action coming up soon