Thursday, May 3, 2012

Love Your Legs Week 2

Lets start with the stats.  I need to rip those babies off like a sticky band aid on a hairy arm.

Bust: 39.5" (minus 1.5 inches)
Waist:  34" (same)
Hips:  44" (minus 1 inch)
Left Leg:  25.75" (minus 3/4 inch)
Right Leg:  25.5" (minus 1 inch)

So I seem to have lost most of me in the boobs.  That figures.  But the legs and hips are also whittling away, so I suppose I should just be content.  I guess I can always stuff with tube socks, right?

Now for the other stat, and I should warn you that I do not believe the result.  It is just too incredible.  The Wii official, for the first time ever, played fireworks and threw little flowers across the screen, because I had reached my goal weight.

Weight:  174.8 lb (minus 7.7 lb)

This is not likely to be right, because I have not been starving my self, nor did I have a stomach flu.  (Last time I tracked weight loss, I got a bug and threw up for a day.  This was followed by a day of not eating, and I lost 3.5 lb.)  I would be lying if I said I prefer months of planning and conscientious calorie counting over one day of misery once in a while...

Anyway, I think my last weigh-in was with shoes.  So I went and got my shoes and tried to go again, but the Wii only weighs you once a day.  Luckily, I also weighed our little kitty, Flower, last week.  The vet tells me she already shows signs of obesity, though she is still a kitten.  Poor thing, I know how she feels.

So I tainted her stats with my shoe weight of 1.7 lb.  I am pretty sure she will get fireworks and flowers for her next weigh in.

So, somehow, miraculously, I lost 6.0 lb.

I still think something is wrong with the Wii.  So I will wait for week 3 results before attempting a cartwheel in my tiny living room.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

How Low Can I Go?

I have never counted carbs before, choosing instead to subscribe to more all inclusive, but reduced calorie diets.  So I am surprised to learn what Ye Atkins Folk already knew: 40 grams of carbs in a day is, like, nothing.  I later noted through some astute research that the FDA 2000 calorie diet on most nutrition labels is providing carb percentages based on 300 grams.

Day #1 of Low Carb Intake was supposed to be Sunday.  It was short lived because I forgot and decided to get a Lite Mocha Latte on the way out of the grocery store, which I enjoyed with a chocolate chip cookie. 


My re-attempt was Wednesday.  It turned out to be successful, but I almost missed the mark with four cherry tomatoes.  These little gems, tossed innocently over my lunch salad, accounted for almost half my allowance.  When I got home, I checked over my meals to see if maybe, just maybe, I could have a beer?  The answer was a no, just by a few carbs. 

Breakfast and lunch are relatively easy.  Eggs for breakfast, no toast, but cheese is a-ok.  I had a lovely little recipe from the internet for lunch - tuna walnut salad over greens (with tomatoes...).  This was made with mayo and a little bit of cinnamon, plus some celery.  I brought just the ingredients, and mixed them all up at work.

Dinner takes some planning, and this is exactly what I hoped to avoid.  The main dish is easy - meat.  But side dishes are tough.  I knew potatoes and rice were out, and I was sadly out of salad and cottage cheese thanks to earlier meals.  I pulled a bag of mixed veggies from the freezer - peas, corn, carrots, and green beans.  I wasn't able to squeeze a full serving in, but I figured they would have to do.

Now for the hard part.  Thursday I had a meeting that would include free pizza, so I was going to have to do Friday for Day #2.  And dang it, I did everything I could to make sure that beer at the end of the day would be in my grasp!

Again, breakfast was no problem.  I had eggs with feta cheese, no toast.  Lunch, I was out of tuna and walnuts and celery, but had chicken and almonds, so I mixed up the mayo with cinnamon again, and plopped it into my bag.  I went to a meeting first thing, about an hour from the office, and returned just in time for lunch.  I wasn't really feeling the chicken salad, so I decided to get a salad at Wegmans and sit at a picnic table on a beautiful day.  I reached for my purse with the exact salad in mind - they call it a protein salad and it has tofu, almonds, and I think edamame on it.  I wouldn't know because I never got that salad.  Instead, I realized that my purse was still at the architect's office - just over an hour away.

In a direction exactly opposite of any direction I would normally head.

On a Friday.


I had to eat the chicken salad, and forgo the picnic table idea, since I would need to leave the office early.  I would have to work through lunch.


As I drove north I passed the exit for a friend's house.  If only it weren't during work hours, I could at least stop in and make this trip semi worthwhile....

I picked up the purse, sheepishly.  It is hard to look professional when you are me, I must say.  Ah well.  I got to the car and remembered my friend's office is closed on Friday afternoons.  They do 4 nine hour days, plus only 4 hours on Fridays.  So it wasn't a total waste.  I went to her place, had a few beers, blew the carb thing.

But I felt a lot better.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Love Hate Relationship

I may Love My Legs, but My Legs Hate Me.  Day #1 (Sunday) of the Love Your Legs workout (click here) began a bit later than normal.  Typically, I attend two classes at the gym on Sundays:  Body Pump (a weight lifting class) and Body Flow (a combo of Thai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates).  I decided to do the leg workout instead of weight lifting, and I figured I could sleep a few extra minutes and still have time to shower before going to Body Flow.  Unfortunately, a few minutes turned into a few more.

The workout would take only about 20 minutes by my estimation, but it turns out reading about working out is a lot different than actually working out.  (Yes, I have subscribed to Fitness for years, but I have only ever done the treadmill workouts, which are timed.)  So, the workout takes more like 45 minutes to an hour when you add in the time spent resting.  I have to say Constant Readers, you are already motivating me.  After 30 seconds of the first move, I was ready to quit.

But I didn't.

I continued on.  And even when my brain tried to weasel out by insisting that I should have brought my little hand weights home, I mustered up the inner strength to scan the room for an acceptable substitute.  After all, this has never stopped me before - I am constantly subbing ingredients in recipes with statistically favorable results.  I spotted a few Yankee candles, and picked them up.  They weighed about right and were easily grasped.  Problem solved.  I should note, however, that the smells of Tropical Fruit and Mango Peach Salsa, inches from your heavily breathing and sweaty face, are a bit nauseating when you are exerting yourself.

The first move, which looks super easy judging from the picture, is really not.  It immediately engages the quadriceps, which are the large rump roasts themselves, front and center.  While the move merely raised my heart rate and brought teeny beads of sweat to my brow at the time, it was painfully apparent on Monday that the muscle fibers were worked a bit beyond their comfort zone.  And Tuesday, when sitting gracefully into an office chair became more of a flop as my legs gave out, I knew the workout was going to be effective.

This is not to say that I have high hopes.  I read the true testimonies of the women who tried this plan before me.  The before pictures are pretty much the same as the afters.  However, if the quotes are to be believed - and I am not sure that is the case - the testers were pleased with the results. 

Perhaps, it just goes to show how it is not so much the vision you project to others, but the vision you project to yourself that is important.  Or this is a waste of time.  Whatever.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Love Your Legs Week 1

For the next four weeks, I'll be trying the "Love Your Legs" plan from Fitness magazine.  I chose this as my first Project because my bottom half has long been the bane of my existence.  There have been many victims of my backside.  From knick knacks perched on shelves, to random children on the beach, to the many many items I have accidentally sat upon, the carnage is vast and varied.  According to the Fitness article, it is possible to tone the legs and rump to make them smaller, which is quite contrary to the evidence displayed by body builders everywhere.  No, this is not to make the muscle bigger, but to make the fat smaller. 

They have some very convincing evidence, but the real motivator is the MRI comparison of two thighs, size 12.  The 21-year old thigh slice looks like a marbled steak, just a thin line of fat around the edges.  The 71-year old thigh is almost all white fat, with a bit of meat in the middle.  (I tried to find this picture to post online, but I didn't find it.)  I have a feeling I am closer to a rump roast than a sirloin.

Along with the exercises, which are focused on the legs and intended to be practiced three times a week on non-consecutive days, there is a 1500 calorie a day diet plan.  I went online to find the plan, supposedly here.  I signed up for some newsletter that is supposed to come by email, but it just wasn't what I thought.  I wanted a calendar or something I could just print out and post on the fridge, not 17 articles about nutrition with more advertisements than information.  Also, 1500 calories a day requires planning and very little fun.  There are times when I am motivated for such endeavors, but lately, I just want to eat what I want, when I want, and lose weight anyway.  Is that too much to ask?

Well, anyone who has embarked on a weight loss journey knows, it is.  I found a possible middle ground, however.  A recent study showed that women who ate low carbs twice a week, and normally the rest of the time, lost more than those eating 1500 calories a day.  This seems totally doable to me.

So here's the plan:  I'll do the "Love Your Legs" workout three times a week, and twice a week, my carb intake will be limited to 40 grams or less.

The hard part about this new blog plan is the statistics.  I kinda don't want to share the "before" info.  But the thing I really like about the Fitness workouts and articles is their focus on real people.  They often feature people who are 5'-6" and weigh 172 lb, who lose 10-15 lb over a period of weeks.  I personally find these stories more motivating than the 300 lb Losers who drop 150 lbs.  It is awesome, of course, but most of us do not have 36 hours a week to focus on weight loss, forgoing all other aspects of our lives such as Happy Hours, work, family gatherings, errands, and Happy Hours.

So, in the interest of science, my statistics, as typically reported by Fitness:

Height: 5'-8"
Weight: (gulp) 182.5 lb.  Stupid Wii...
Bust:  41"
Waist: 34"
Bum:  45"

And, since we're interested, Left and Right Thigh are both 26.5".


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dear Daisy

Dear Daisy,
You were the best cat I have ever known.  I have loved many cats before you, and I may love many more, for it is a sad fact of life that humans live longer than felines.  But you will always have a very special place in my heart.  I first heard about you over the phone, from a friend.  She found you sitting on her doorstep each day, looking for a home.  She tried to tell you that she already had a loving pet, and did not need another, but you were so persistent.  Eventually, she knew she would need to find someone who needed you as much as you needed them.

I was lonely in my new apartment, but I worried about getting a kitten.  Kittens are stinky and destructive, despite their sweet exteriors.  I did not want a house that smelled like pee with a clawed up couch.  But I wanted a friend to come home to every day, and so I decided to take you in.  I picked you up just after you had surgery, ensuring you would never be a mother.  You were so groggy that you slid around in the cat carrier as I careened down the highway, and I worried that you would not make it.  But you did.

You entered my life, and remained loyal and loving, even though I sometimes came home from work too exhausted to play with you.  You never scratched up the furniture and the only time you were stinky was when I forgot to clean your litter box.  I remember one such occasion, when you dragged an old rag on top of your litter and pooped on that, rather than find a clean floor or plant.  At night, you curled up on my pillow and kneaded my hair, which was cute at first, but quite annoying at 5am.  You brought toys into my bed, and I bought you your own area to sleep, hoping for some peace.  But you did not like that, and preferred to sleep with me.

I had to leave you once, when I went on vacation without you.  Your Aunt Tiff came to watch you and when the answering machine dutifully played my voice on a recorded message, you went happily in the room.  You meowed, something you did not do very often, when you did not find me.  I felt so bad for leaving you, my sweet Puss.

Eventually, you stopped waking me up at night, and you were delighted when your favorite toy, Adam, came to live with us for good.  Up to that time, he only visited on weekends, and he was never too sleepy to play with you.  We moved to a new apartment, and I thought you would be scared, but you settled in just fine and you seemed not to notice that the walls and floors supporting your things were different.  We had a balcony there, and you loved going in and out and back in again.  Once, when large cicadas hatched in the summer, you caught one, and you gobbled it up like candy.  I guess those big nasty bugs are yummy.

You got sick one time, and you could not pee.  You tried changing your location to my closet, and I knew that my sweet kitty must be in pain and a bit confused about how peeing works.  I took you to the vet, and they fixed you.  I think you knew that I had helped you, and you were glad to see me when I picked you up.  Unfortunately, they fixed you a little too well, and you could not hold it until you got home.  You peed in the cat carrier, and flicked the wetness off your paws and into my face as I raced to get you home.  That was when you got your first bath, and you did not like it.  I did not blame you for the pee in my face or in my hiking shoes, sweet Daisy.  I knew that you could not help it.  I hope that you did not blame me for that bath.

You had to take pills after this, and I had to leave you once again.  Your Aunt Tiff came because you needed the medicine, and I told her how you would eat it wrapped up in turkey.  Easy.  I guess you were no fool.  You ate the turkey she gave you, but not the yucky pill.  She tried to make you take it, and you spit it out, over and over.  You were very persistent, once again.  Finally, she got that slimy pink pill down your throat, and she petted you as you hocked it up and spit it out so hard that it stuck to the wall.  Luckily, you eventually got enough pills to make your infection go away.

When you were little, you used to crawl into the refrigerator whenever I opened the door.  Like the kneading, this was cute at first, but it got annoying.  One time, I closed the door in hopes that it would teach you a lesson.  I opened it quickly, thinking by the ruckus you made that I had accidentally killed you.  In a mere second, you managed a yowl that made my blood curl, and you never crawled in the fridge again.

Everyone loved you, little Daisy.  You were not like other cats, because you did not rub up against legs to trip humans, and you never whined or cried.  Nor did you hide away or shy from strangers.  You calmly met our friends and family members, and you sat peaceably nearby at all times, just enjoying the company of others.  You even allowed a seven year old to carry you around like a baby, though I am pretty sure you learned to avoid second graders like refrigerators.  Over and over, folks would tell me what a nice cat I had, and how I was so lucky to have you.  But I already knew that.

We moved to a new apartment once again, and you did not like it right away.  You slinked around for two weeks, sniffing at the furniture as if you were unsure that this was truly your new home.  But luckily Adam and I were still there, and you adjusted.  Adam tried daily to teach you a trick.  He wanted you to jump through an old tennis racket with the strings removed, and each day, he held a treat on the other side of the hoop.  It made us both smile to see you go around that hoop so many many times, completely ignoring it.  Sometimes, you actually would go through it, but only if the turkey was just in the right spot.  I wondered who was training who.

You were so docile and trusting of your toy Adam that he could hold you in the palm of one hand and lift you up to the ceiling.  You just sat there, looking around at the new view.

When Adam and I bought you a new home, I was so worried that you would not like it.  You had such a hard time with the previous move.  And when we finally took you there, in the middle of an unpredicted snow storm in late January, you hid yourself away.  We could not find you for hours, and I feared that you were outside in the cold.  But luckily, you were just in a closet, and when I embraced you, you came out of hiding and resumed your normal routine of peaceably sharing in the company of others.  You had no problem at all with your new home.  You seemed happy.

When spring came, you missed your balcony.  I was afraid to let you outside by yourself because foxes and other animals lived in our new yard, and you had no "street sense".  You could not even climb a tree, my poor little Daisy.  But I wanted you to be happy, and so I let you out, always supervised.  I taught you the limits of the yard, but you did not care to stay within the lines.  You would wait until I was not looking, and you would bound away for the neighbor's garage.  One day, I could not find you for hours, and I worried the entire time.  Apparently, something spooked you, because you came running toward the house in a panic.  I was so relieved that at least you had the sense to know where you would be safe.

I tried to contain you with a leash and collar, but it was a pitiful waste of money.  You learned to get the collar off within minutes.  I tried a harness, and you managed to wiggle it off in half an hour.  You wanted freedom, but I was too afraid to let you have it.  I needed you too much, and I could not bear the thought that something would happen to you.  I hope you understood.

In your older age, you began kneading again.  You would curl up in my lap on your favorite blanket, and knead away.  You purred so loudly, and I loved sitting with you, even though you usually tried to sit on my reading materials.  I look over at that blanket now, and I am so sad to see it missing a kitty.

Your last hours were spent in peace, I hope.  I know you were in pain, but you purred when I entered the room, even louder a few minutes later when Adam came in.  We will miss you so much, Little One.

 Luckily, you will live on in my memories:

Love Always,

Friday, March 30, 2012

Oh Dear

Oh Dear, my new plan may not work out very well.  Here I am, Day No 2 or so, and I am on a business trip with no control over my meals and I am subjected to open bar receptions.  This is fine for my professional development and I am making great contacts nationwide - even internationally, as I had a semi lengthy conversation with an Italian engineering professor who lives in New Zealand.  I am learning a lot.

I am not, however, losing weight.  In fact, I am so full at the moment that I am a tad disgusted, and I feel bloated, sleepy, and altogether blah.  I had lofty goals to show all you Constant Readers how it can be done.  How you can make healthy choices, and come out on top, even on business trips.  How you can go to the hotel gym.  I am told it is on the 27th floor.  I am not able to verify that firsthand. 

I do not understand why this was such a failure.  After all, I did no research, no planning, and was only half committed in the first place.  What could go wrong?

Initially, I thought I would take a picture of my meals, and diligently log them into an online food journal when I got back.  I began with a large, but healthy breakfast, in hopes that I would not partake of any mid-morning snacks, and I aimed for about 400 calories.  This is more than the typical breakfast, which is 300 calories for me, but I figured it was taking the place of a snack.  And this did work out.  I did not eat again until lunch, when we were served a lovely salad and a chicken breast over beans.  Unfortunately, I was still hungry after the healthy stuff, and ate a semi-delicious dessert that had been set out at my place prior to my arrival.  The dessert was too sweet, and not to my taste, but I ate it anyway, because it would be wasted if it did not enter my digestive tract.

Dinner was a bit of a disaster, because after two drinks at the open bar, I no longer remembered or cared about my intentions.  And after the, uuhhh, fourth drink, I had lost count of the little quiches and Mexican spring roll thingies.

Today was worse.  Here is what I remember eating today:  egg with bacon quiche, two muffins, a small pastry, a chicken wrap, some pasta salad, beans, a lemon bar, a small bag of cheddar and caramel popcorn (in the same bag for some reason), a second lemon bar, a mint-chocolate truffle, a brownie, a few sprigs of asparagus, a piece of celery and a piece of zucchini, a hamburger slider, a chicken bite, a fried spring roll, a piece of brie with pastry and fruit, some adorable little appetizers of unknown, bite size chemistry, a plate of risotto and three Samuel Adams Original Lagers.

And that's just what I remember.

I am hoping this little list might help me out tomorrow.  And maybe, just maybe, I might check out the 27th floor before I head to get deep dish pizza and tours of the Hancock and Willis Buildings.  Did you know that's what they call the Sear Tower now?

Whachu talkin' bout Willis?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Direction

I'm going back to my roots, Constant Readers.  This blog began as a means to discuss my awesomeness and occasional struggles with weight loss.  It slowly moved away from that as I lost interest in writing about losing weight.  Incidentally, I also lost interest in losing weight.  Let's face it, folks.  It ain't fun.  It ain't easy.  And it is a tad discouraging.  I had weeks of extreme planning, for every little morsel that entered my mouth, and for every expended sweaty calorie.  At the ends of those weeks, I managed weight loss - even up to a pound or three.  And the next week, I'd try to do it all again.  That second week might have a slip or two - maybe a glass of wine or a chocolate chip cookie.  Perhaps I would miss a workout.  And the result?  Not only a significant decrease in my losses, but sometimes a freaking gain!

What is the point?  If I have to be that rigorous every week for weeks and weeks and weeks, it simply isn't worth it.  It's not like my self esteem revolves around my waistline, after all.  I'm perfectly happy sipping suds poolside in my non-two piece suit.  I'm not looking for a modeling deal or a movie star boyfriend.  I don't need to replace my wardrobe with items itsy bisty or teeny weeny.

On the other hand...
I want to be healthy.  I want to be able to take the stairs, if I so desire.  I remember how good it felt to eat well and to get the most from this less than perfect body.  It was nice to fit into smaller clothes, and to know that the image in the mirror was the best me I could be.  I never felt bloated or crampy or just plain "blah" when I was watching what I ate.  I felt good.

But how to perform this juggling act?  To maintain some interest in the plan, indeed, to have fun with the plan?  Well, here's the plan:  I'm going to try some healthy diet and exercise plans for one month at a time, and report to you, Constant Readers, on my successes and frustrations.

But where oh when will I relate my zany exploits?  I am thinking they may slide through now and again, much to the chagrin of those among us with attention spans longer than a gnat's.  I just can't help it.  Case in point?  When exiting the gym today I noticed a yoga mat that appeared to be left by its owner, and I stopped at the front desk to tell someone.  There were free fruit snacks at the desk - real dried fruit covered in yogurt - and I began searching through the flavors, and forgot to tell them about the mat.

So if you are missing your yoga mat, it is in locker #53.