Monday, April 22, 2013

I'm at a Loss (and not just for words)...

I should have been anticipating this.  "What?" you ask.  I should have anticipated a loss.  I honestly had no idea and did not feel like any weight was lost in the past week.  Why?  I have been struggling a little with losses.  There has been a lot of up and down in the past 4-5 weeks and I wasn't really in that frame of mind.


What you probably already know about me is that I'm not really good at focusing on more than one thing.  So, when I finally joined a gym a few weeks ago, that became my focus.  So much so, that I have obsessed about it every day.  I'm staying on track with when I go and I am still making sure that I add a little walking each day, at least 10 minutes.


I was even sort of beating myself up this weekend when I was feeling a little under the weather.  Speaking of weather, it was still kind of sucky out in that the temps didn't feel like going above the mid-50's.  I ended up lounging most of the day Saturday until I pushed myself to go do some shopping and while I only ventured out for 10 minutes Sunday, I came right home, made us a healthy breakfast and broke out the vacuum and mop.  I even moved some furniture.  The only being not pleased with my mini-redecorating was the cat.  Too bad, so sad buddy.  It took him only about 20 minutes to realize we moved his food and litter box to different places.  He'll survive. 


It actually took me an hour or so to get into all of our nooks and crannies with the dirt sucker and the mop (or grime pusher as the hubs likes to call it).  What pleased me was that I was really sweating when I was done.  I probably should have blasted some Bruno Mars (both CDs) and gone to town.  But, I worry that I would have gotten bored.  What will I do Wednesday night when TV blows and it's not a gym night?  This way, I can do some more cleaning and the weekend will hopefully have some nice weather in which I can walk.


It may seem like I don't have a point here (that goes to my wacky focusing problem), but I do, I promise.  I now know that if I can't go to the gym, I can still find ways to incorporate moving into my routine.  Perhaps I can start dancing when I'm cooking dinner.  Maybe I can watch my favorite show while walking back and forth.  I don't know.  I just want to make sure that I am putting a focus on exercise and that I am still eating right.  At some point I will see losses every week, and if they are as good or even not so good as this week's (3.4 lbs, people!), I'll be able to move on.


What kinds of things are you doing to stay creative in your journey?  Do you have a crazy way of moving that no one else you know is doing?  Hit the comments and let me know.  Here's to moving and losing for good. 




Monday, April 15, 2013

Let's Groove Tonight (Or Any Time of Day You Wish To) - Earth, Wind & Fire Won't Mind

I have a very strange relationship with exercise.  As a child, my first exposure was to ballet; when my feet were found to be pigeon-toed, I ended up in braces and they decided dance would help me.  I loved it and wanted to go on, but it was cost-prohibitive after a while.  In elementary school I did the standard go to gym class every other day stuff.  In the early years, they mostly taught us the do-si-do and some other crazy country dance.  We played dodgeball (called kickball in our school, as the boys loved to kick the ball at the girls to rid them of cooties) A LOT, where not only our bodies, but our self-esteem was hurt badly.  You remember not being picked for the team, right?  Yeah, me, too.

As I grew older and my body settled into its right places and size, I didn't need as much to think about exercise, but you can bet that I was striving to be the best at the President's Fitness Test every year.  Sadly, while I passed the test every year, it wasn't with flying colors.  Why???  Because I could not and probably still cannot climb the stupid rope.  First of all, they were making you do this inane task with no gloves on a very worn rope and only your sneakers to propel you upwards.  What the what were they thinking?  You probably noticed, as did I, that the gym teachers never demonstrated their ability to climb the rope.  Had they, we might have had a baseline or even a technique to copy.  Of course, there were always those few annoying sporty chicks that could do it without any issues.  I hated them.

Fast forward to now.  During my last WW journey, I slowly added walking back into my routine, and my weight dropped fairly quickly.  I was pretty stoked about that because, hey, you have to walk every day anyway (at least somewhere) and I love walking.  Using that logic this time around, I began to amp up my walking schedule, especially on really nice days.  If you are familiar with New York City's weather this winter and spring, you know the groundhog lied and we're stuck in a purgatory between the seasons.  In any case, since I do work in the midtown area and a lot of the space around is underground, I started adding tunnel walking to my routine.  

While this all was working for me at the beginning of my latest attempt at weight loss, I found that just walking wasn't cutting it as the time went on.  At least every month, the gyms in NYC are running specials and I never ever take advantage of any of them.  This time, I was determined to find something for me and make it work.  I'm tired of being the size I am, especially since I was doing great 4 years ago and keeping it off until my illness kicked in.  After that, I was sad all the time and had zero energy to put towards a weight loss program, let alone exercise.  

Good news:  I've found something I really like and even though it's been only a week, I am really feeling good about this choice.  I've tried most of the machines and have found two that I know are really good for me at this stage.  Each time I go, I am finding that I can push myself just a little bit more.  I'm more aware of what my body can handle and having so many friends who are already fit and have the knowledge to guide me, I am on the right track.

What are your feelings about exercise?  Do you love it, love to hate it or just can't stand it altogether?  What works for you?  What doesn't?  What tips to you have a for a beginner.  I'd love to hear it all, so hit the comments and let me know.  Oh, and become a follower while you're here.  I love you for it as much as I now love exercise.  

Monday, April 8, 2013

Call me... Redundant (Maybe?)

If you're reading this blog, you know that a few months back, I'd purchased the activity monitor that Weight Watchers promotes, ActiveLink (AL).  I made it through nearly five weeks of having and using it when I sadly lost it in the snow.

Since there is a cost involved in owning the thing, I made a decision at that time to cancel my account and wait to buy another (if I was ever going to buy another).  I thought, I can do the same thing with a free activity monitor.  I particularly thought this when, with the purchase of two mugs from The Breast Cancer Site, I was afforded a free pedometer.  What could go wrong?  Well, lots.

I'm beginning to believe that when something has the label FREE attached to it, it automatically makes you not accountable for how much you move.  I did move, mind you, and I moved a lot.  It did motivate me to make sure I'm walking a lot, but not as much as my friend AL.  It was great to see that I'm averaging nearly 9,000 steps in a day, which depending on the day, is about 3 miles walked and 500 calories burnt.  All great.  

What's even better about AL is that you have to link it to your computer to find out what your daily results are.  It won't tell you things through osmosis.  You have to be proactive and I have found that I need tools that put me in that mode.  It was nice having the pedometer to look at and see if I reached any goals, but the point here is that I didn't really set any goals with it.  With AL, you're forced to have goals, which it sets for you after an assessment phase, which lasts about 8 days.  

To end the suspense, after today's WW meeting, where our leader dressed in her skimpiest workout clothes (I'm not judging) to bring home the point that now that we are comfortable with changing our spaces, creating routines and doing them daily, we can do this with exercise, as well.   When I had listened to her and analyzed what she was saying, I decided that I needed to bring a motivational tool back into my plan.  I had choices; they sell a pedometer that also calculates activity points, but that itself is $24 and while AL is a little cost prohibitive ($40 upfront and $5/month), which is why I didn't get one after I lost the first, I realized that my budget could actually handle it.    I also knew that I had done much better in the weeks I was wearing AL the 1st.  I immediately went to the clerk in the front and grabbed AL the 2nd.  I know how I lost it.  I hooked it to my pants pocket and checked it a million times a day.  I know that all this extra activity that would not even be recorded was fruitless.   I've learned my lesson; I know now that I can wear it on a necklace chain around my neck.  It could get annoying bouncing around, but I can get used to it.

So, what tools do you use to motivate you?  What helps you get through each week in your plan.  Head to the comments and let me know.  Next week, I'll know what my challenge is and be able to set real goals.  For now, it's off to the planet of the exercisers. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

As Jermaine Jackson Might Say

Why do we do what we doThis was the theme of our WW meeting today.  I don't know why, but it instantly made me think of the mild hit Jermaine Jackson had with "Why Don't You Do What You Do When You Did What You Did To Me?"  Long title he had there.  

Why do we?  I honestly have no idea, but from what I could gather from the meeting (I arrived late because one elevator was out in the building), we automatically make bad choices.  Of course, this cannot be true of every living being because the world would be filled with obese, dumb people.  In any case, WW wants us to stop making bad choices, one of which is giving into hedonic hunger, or eating for pleasure.  I get the whole "eating to live" thing but not being ever able to eat for pleasure is a slight problem for me.  It kind of makes no perfect sense.  I think what they really want is for us to change our mentality when it comes to eating.  

I feel I have already done that and my environment is proof.  I have changed my spaces at home and at work.  What that means is that I've gotten rid of everything that could tempt me in the wrong way and only snack on things that are good for me.  I cannot say that I am 100% eating just to live.  I mean, even with spaces changed, there are some seriously good tasting things that are still good for you.  Both WW and Skinny Cow have come up with new recipes and flavors that help me, at least, stay on track.  Now, if only I could find a store in my area that sells the new Skinny Cow candies, I would be really happy.  

So, as for changing my mentality, I am glad WW has provided us with a self-checking device to see how we can not just do what we do and automatically make better choices.  There's a series of questions we can ask ourselves every day:   
  • Have I met my Good Health Guidelines for fruits and vegetables?  
  • Do I have an activity plan for the coming week?  
  • Do you wave off a craving if it is sitting right in front of you?  
  • Are you eating any of your Points Plus values each week?  
  • What happens when you have a slip-up?  
  • Do you check restaurant menus when you are going out to eat?          
I feel that I already do most of these things.  Do I always have fruits and vegetables on my menu for the day?  Of course; I was doing that before I joined WW again.  Do I have an activity plan.  Yes, I am committed to walking every day, even if I can only get ten minutes in.  As for cravings, if it is sitting right in front of me, I cannot always wave it off.  I just don't let it bother me.  For instance, last week, during Passover, a friend posted a recipe for Matzoh Crack (matzoh drizzled with a melted brown sugar-butter mixture, baked and then spread with chocolate chips - like icing).  I had it in my mind to go home and make it since I had everything the recipe needed in my pantry.  Oops, I guess my spaces aren't that perfect.  But, I do have a living, breathing husband in the house, and I know he needs certain snacks to keep him going.  Hence, the chocolate chips.  I ended up not making it, but the very next night, guess what was sitting right in front of me?  Matzoh Crack.  My lovely cousin had made some to bring to my mother's seder and I could not pass it up.  First, I'd never even had this before and second, I just had to try it.  It was a slight mistake, but I rebounded from it by not eating any other dessert-y things for the rest of the week.  When I say dessert-y, I mean not on the plan.  Don't go thinking I'm going without something sweet.  That's just not natural.

Okay, so where were we?  Why do we do what we do?  I'm not sure we'll ever figure that out, but as long as we recognize that we can come back from anything, we will be fine.  I know I will be fine.  I continue to lose each week, even if it is only a little bit.  So I'm staying the course.  Will you?  Let me know in the comments.  Good luck!!