Monday, December 29, 2014

2015 Add-ons

This is quite possibly my favorite time of the year – everyone gets a chance to hit "reset". Or simply, "renew" if you're in a good place. I feel the later about where I stand, but I also always know that I can be even better at what I do. With that in mind, here are a few new things I'd like to add on to my repertoire in the new year.

Glug, glug... a gallon jug.


Up my water intake to a gallon a day (16 – 8oz. glasses)
I already drink 10-12 glasses of water each day, so this shouldn't be too difficult. It was a suggestion made my trainer and it sounds good to me. Water's awesome.

Fit in a full hour of intentional activity at least five days a week
This will be the biggest challenge, but probably won't be hard once I figure out my schedule. Currently I've got the five days part down, averaging 30-40 minutes each session. I hope to continue walking on my lunch breaks at work (hopefully the weather will stay relatively mild!), and I can squeeze in walks or trips to the gym before and/or after work as needed. Weekends are never a problem – one hour a day on Saturday and Sunday is generally a given, so all I really need to worry about are three workdays, and usually one of those includes an evening gym workout anyway.

And by the way, cleaning house counts. Absolutely. So do outdoor household chores.

Edited to add: My trainer also suggested taking a quick, 20-minute walk in the morning before breakfast, and then power up with some nice protein. I want to try to make this a habit, too. Not being a very good morning person, it will be my biggest challenge. But it would also be a good way to get closer to my hour each day.

Add on the following activities: swimming, yoga, cycling outdoors
Point one: I need to try on my suits and see if one fits yet, and maybe shave my legs (though I am loath to). Point two: I need to get my bike serviced, which is just a matter of taking it in, and then awaiting suitable weather. Point three: Yoga just requires me to get my butt to a class at my gym. Easy.

This is not to say that I will be perfect. Like everything else I have done to get me where I am so far, it will be a process. But these are the things I'd like to get down pat sooner than later, and they can all sort of dovetail: More varied activities = more activity time = being more thirsty! Neat!

What modifications or additions are you making to your routine in 2015?

Friday, December 26, 2014

End-of-Year Reflection

Me: 2013 vs. 2014. Photos taken almost to the exact day, one year apart. Wow!


It's that time of year when I love to think back on what I did in the past 12 months and also what I'd like to do in the next 12 months. I'm happy that the hustle and bustle and stress of Christmas is over;  much prefer New Year's, though I don't usually do much. We tend to be homebodies and celebrate fairly quietly by ourselves (me, my partner, and our four cats), though sometimes we'll spend the time with a close friend or two, like we did last year and will do this year.

It was tomorrow last year that I went to my first session at the gym with a trainer. It took a while for me to make some solid changes in my life toward health and fitness, but that was the start. I went pretty faithfully to the gym until February, when I got sidetracked by a big exhibition I was preparing for, but found the strength and courage to go back in mid-May. It was then that I met my current trainer and I got really serious about my efforts. These steps were the most important I've taken for myself in a really long time, and I have zero regrets.

I have now built up a workout schedule that includes some meaningful activity (i.e. at least 30 minutes) five times a week, and sometimes more! I can hardly believe it myself. (Of course, this Christmas week was an exception – looks like it will be four times instead of five, but that's OK. That's still great, in fact!)

I've lost over 60 pounds since May.

Now's a good time to announce my intentions for 2015, to keep the momentum going.

• Keep losing weight and keep building strength and ability. I am not setting a number I want to see on the scale by a certain date. I'm simply going to keep doing what I have been doing.

I'm getting even more help with my efforts to assure that I stay on track!

• The local Fleet Feet store has a 5K training program that I'm going to join in mid-February. By then I'll just have completed the C25K program on my own, but I will be excited to get additional training, advice, and camaraderie. Working with others should help me push myself (safely) to the next level. It will include two training sessions a week for 11 weeks!

• The same store is also hosting a weight loss challenge beginning in late January! It, too, runs for 11 weeks and I like the idea of earning prizes and a little old-fashioned competition – just the thing to get me through that kind of down time of year when it's grey and cold and often depressing.

I can't do this alone. I'm taking very active steps to get the help I need to reach my goals – not only from my wonderful friends and family, but from some experts, too. It's something that I have not done in the past, unless you count going to Weight Watchers meetings in the old days (which I don't, really). I'm really only making this realization now, on this very day. It's OK to ask to help. 

So there you have it. As I go along and come across other opportunities, I will add them to my arsenal, but I'd say that I am pretty well prepared to take on the first half of 2015, wouldn't you?

What's in your plan for the new year? What do you want to do, and how will you make that happen?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Restless

Hi. I'm working on it.

Ergh, I've been feeling restless. When you have all these physical changes going on, I suppose it's only natural that some other stuff starts bubbling up, too. Lately I have been feeling a little bit of... discontent? Maybe? Not in a bad way, but just in a I feel like I should be doing something else kind of way. The stupid thing is, I am not even sure what that means. I am genuinely happy and grateful for everything I have that makes up the whole of my life: My relationship, my family, my job(s), my studio... yet somehow it seems like something is missing, or that I could make something better somehow.

Part of it is coveting and envy, like just having read this delightful post over at Design*Sponge about a newly-purchased home in upstate New York. It was so fun to look at and sense the pure joy experienced by the writer and her wife. It's the exact kind of house I would like to live in one day. It sort of gave me pangs to read it.

At the same time, I started thinking about my own pretty little house and what things could be done to make it even more dreamy. Since we moved in seven years ago, we haven't done a whole lot of improving or changing. It kind of makes me sad that's the case. So maybe reading the blog post was what I needed to kick start some sort of meaningful project for the house. Maybe even just a new coat of paint in one of the rooms to start. Maybe it's finally doing something cool with the upstairs or the basement. I don't know.

Another part of my discontent is with my art practice, or lack thereof. Maybe that is the problem – that I haven't been making time for the studio in favor of my focus on my body and my health, which is a major project unto itself. Maybe I ought to prioritize some time to paint or draw. (After all, I am an artist!)

I suppose the last layer of this perceived discontent is just with my body, period. Of course I am thrilled with the progress I have made in the past year, but I JUST CAN'T WAIT until I get to where I am going. I am super psyched about it.

BUT I have to be patient and I have to enjoy the ride there. Some days it's hard to be patient and I just get frustrated with myself, even if there is no logical reason to be frustrated.

When will I get there?

I don't know, but I will get there.

Friday, December 12, 2014

60 Down.

It's been a while since my last post, but that doesn't mean that things are bad. Actually, things have been pretty good overall, and I do think about things I want to write here but never seem to get around to it.

I did want to share with you the good news of another milestone: 60 pounds lost so far. I'm tantalizingly close to being under 300 pounds. I can taste it!

The clothes I've been wearing are feeling looser, little by little. I'm just about totally out of size 26 now and the majority of my pants have been 24. (One odd man out, though – a 26 who feels more like a 24, just love consistency of clothes sizes, don't you?) I'm suspecting I'll be into 22 in another couple months. I have some in my closet waiting!

I am also getting noticeably stronger, faster, and have more endurance. That feels amazing. I've had a couple sub-18 minute walk/runs recently that totally dazzle me. Next time out I will be heading into week 2 of C25K – you know, that thing I was going to wait until spring to begin again? I just couldn't wait, and I felt ready.

I decided to continue with my gym membership after all! The last few sessions there I realized how much I would miss having the option to go when I wanted to. Plus, I am still determined to get into the pool! The treadmill will be a nice alternative when the streets and sidewalks are too slushy to navigate.


Things I am thinking about:

Tough Mudders

Jay-Z

Homemade pizza

HIIT (This is a very cool site with lots of free resources, including a video exercise library!)


Friday, November 28, 2014

Post-Thanksgiving Report

Checking in the day after.

It went fine!

I'm a daily weigher and the damage wasn't bad. I was hoping to stay at or under 315 (I was 314 yesterday, my lowest weight so far), and I did – scale showed 315. Works for me!

I worked hard for it yesterday, let me tell you. I was up at 6am and on my feet cooking for hours. At least four or five total. I mean, that's Thanksgiving, right? I made the whole meal solo. We had some yummy food and I had some of everything. Basically, I had a one plate full, one glass of wine, and one dessert. And it was more than enough.

Then, because I pledged to do it with my FUDiet Facebook group, I set out on a personal 5K after dinner – and I'm determined to make it a new tradition. All hail the 1st Annual Turkey Stroll, where it's the distance that counts, NOT the time.

We haven't had much snow in my neighborhood, so when I started my walk all was clear and it was really kind of perfect cold weather conditions. Still, I was really tired and wasn't sure if I was going to be able to complete the whole 5K distance. I thought, "Well, I'll get started and let's see how it goes." You always just have to get yourself out the door. Anyway, I found myself about halfway through when I practically turn a corner and BAM! The weather drastically shifted to snowstorm. By that time, though, I was in a groove (listening to music really helps!) and I was determined to finish. When I made it home a half hour later, about an inch of snow had fallen and I could barely see out of my glasses.

Always an adventure. I ended up doing 3.34 miles in 1 hour, 8 minutes. Not bad for a stroll, and for struggling against less than optimum conditions.

Today I was exhausted. You can imagine.

Still, I needed to get in my 30 minutes of activity for Roni's Thanksgiving week challenge. Well, there was snow, so what does one do? Shovel! It wasn't too bad and I ended up supplementing it with some walking, but I got it done. It felt good, even though I really wasn't up for anything, quite frankly. Yet once I finished that, I came inside and did a Seven Minute workout app thingy. Energy begets energy!

So there you have it. I lived through Thanksgiving. Go figure!

Oh, and what I am thankful for today? Warm blankets and fuzzy kitties to snuggle with on lazy, wintry days.

What turkey stories do you have to share?



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Challenge Day 3

Keeping up with Roni's Thanksgiving Challenge, today I went for a 30-minute walk on my lunch break as I so often do these days. I tell you what, though, if it wasn't for the challenge, I'd likely have stayed in! It's about 40 degrees and very, very, very windy. (Yes, it's that windy!) Not exactly the best walking weather.

Except that it kind of was. I ended up having an energetic and very pleasant outing! I'm starting to realize that being out in colder weather for walking and running doesn't bother me much – in fact, I think I kind of like it. I just have to remember that for the future, is all. It's easy to forget.

Today I am thankful to have a job with pretty OK benefits including vacation and personal time. This allows me to take off tomorrow ahead of the holiday, and I'll have off on Thursday and Friday as a gimme as well. Who doesn't love a five-day weekend? I know that not everyone has the luxury, and I am grateful.

Last night I also did my second round of the Seven Minute Workout thingy. I plan to squeeze it in every day – boy, it is challenging and makes you sweat in that seven minutes! Love it.

See you tomorrow with the next challenge update!

What are your plans for Thanksgiving, all you American folks?




Monday, November 24, 2014

Small and small

Small plates are rad.
Photo from http://www.laimisenergy.com/

While I am not too worried about how I'm going to do on Thanksgiving with my eating and stuff, I really liked the ideas this article suggests. And yes, the small plate tactic really works! The other day for dinner I just wanted a little bit of what we were having, so I thought, "Why don't I just use a smaller plate – I don't need all that space," and lo! I had a smaller portion and it was just enough. I like the coziness of a small plate.

I like using small forks, too. (I guess those are dessert forks?) I don't know. My boyfriend thinks it's weird, and I suppose it is. But the plate thing makes sense. In fact, I'm having a revelation – why not use the small plate ALL the time? Hmmm...

I actually think I will.

Oh my gosh – there is an actual movement for this kind of thing. Small Plate Movement. What do you know.

In other news, my 32-minute walk for the Thanksgiving Challenge was indeed a challenge. Some days are like that, I guess. Today, I am thankful that I indeed have the ability to go walking around without too much trouble. I am thankful for having beautiful neighborhoods to walk in, both at home and at work. Amen.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving Challenge!

I have really enjoyed Roni's blog over the years. For this coming Thanksgiving week, she's hosting a challenge and there are prizes! (Not least of which are the physical and mental benefits.)

Anyway, here's the info if you're so inclined. I got my 35-minute combo walk/C25K training in this afternoon, PLUS one of those treacherous seven-minute workout apps – made me sweat like nothing else, wow!

Today, I feel thankful for all my kind family and friends who look out for each other. This past week's weather had a lot of people in need of help and a lot of people who were able to help them. It sort of restores your faith in humanity, maybe just a little.

http://ronisweigh.com/2014/11/introducing-the-happy-thanks-i-can-move-giving-challenge.html

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Progress, ever and always

I can't tell you how many times thoughts have crossed my mind that I want to share here in the past week +, but it just doesn't seem to happen. Laziness, I guess, and partially writer's block.

I've had a stay-at-home week since Tuesday, too! I didn't get snowed in my neighborhood, but much of the rest of the region did in a big way and so lots of things just shut down, including my office. Instead of feeling productive, though, I ended up doing a lot of lazing around contrasted with a good deal of physical activity – nothing creative like I really should have. (Here goes my feeling like a failure as an artist thing...) BUT I have been feeling this unexplainable sense of unbridled energy, or not being able to stay still for too long. I think exercise begets exercise, in whatever form, and I've been doing more than ever. Five days a weeks two weeks in a row now!

Big news is that I walked a 4.1 miler last weekend. I'd set out to do another 5K distance just around the neighborhood (I decided to do this on most weekends from here on out), and ended up detouring to Devil's Hole State Park and walking the easier part of trail there – it was a chilly morning with a dusting of snow on the ground and the river at my side. I ended up walking all the way to Whirlpool State Park because I was feeling good. It's amazing how you can surprise yourself when you go outside your comfort zone just a little.

I also started training to run for 30 minutes with a Runtastic app. I just finished the third and last session of week 1 today. It runs for 6 weeks. It's a little bit more challenging than the C25K program and so I may end up just jumping over to that instead, but we'll see. Either way it feels great to be back into running, however slow I do it. (Pretty damn slow!)

Eating has been just fine. I guess one of the reasons why I like exercising so much is that it lets me eat more, quite honestly. It affords me the ability to eat, say, something decadently sweet almost every day. On the other hand, I am careful to balance out what I eat with many healthy choices, too – lots of fruits and veggies for sure. That balance is what it is all about and is what will make this life choice sustainable forever. I don't even feel silly saying that, because it's really, really, really real this time.

I finally got it right. I'm eating great, I'm feeling great. I'm feeling powerful and strong from the workouts I do – a combination of easier walks (30+ minutes), longer treks, running sprinkled in, plus intense strength training sessions. You guys, weight work is SO important. Soon I will be on my own with it as I finish up my "subscription" with my trainer, but I have learned a lot since May and feel confident that I can continue doing what I need to do on my own – though I will bump into my trainer at the gym once in a while, I am sure! He's the best!

My weight is down to 315, something I was hoping for in time for Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving. If you're reading this, maybe you're wondering whether I am freaking out over it. I think a lot of folks who are trying to lose weight are, or at the very least trying to figure out how to healthify the holiday.

No, not me. To my mind, Thanksgiving (or any other special event) is but one day to deal with. It only comes once a year and I do all the cooking for it. I love it. I am NOT interested in healthifying it whatsoever, either. I will eat what I want to, and I will super enjoy it. Chances are, I won't eat as much as I did in the past simply because my appetite is smaller (though I did eat a huge bowl of home-popped popcorn by myself today), but I'm not going to worry about it too much. I will log my food at MyFitnessPal as usual but not freak out over going over calories.

At the same time, I'd like to start a new tradition for myself – do a person Turkey Trot and run/walk a 5K later in the day. I'm really enjoying being active and think that getting an hour's worth of fresh air on Turkey day will be really nice.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

180 Days

Well, today's the day: 180 days, six months, whatever you want to call it. That's how long I've been logging my meals and MyFitnessPal and it was then that I really started this thing for real.

I just couldn't wait for this day to come! And now it has and all I can do is really think about the next six months and where I might find myself then. It's exciting! While I don't see this as a race or anything, I want to speculate a little bit on what I might be doing on May 12, 2105 or thereabouts.

• I will be a month away from turning 45.

• I would love to see another 50 pounds off my body, which would bring me down to 268. The last time I weighed that was over ten years ago!

• I expect to be able to totally run a 5K distance, maybe under an 18:00 pace? (Wow, to think it!)

• I can't even speculate what else. Wow. Another 50 pounds.

I can do it. Whether I do it in six months or not, I can do it.

I WILL DO IT.

(and then on to the next 50 after that.)


Monday, November 10, 2014

At 320

I finally decided to take some real progress shots. The bathroom at work provides a fairly decent place in which to do that. Here I am, front and side, at 320 pounds – over 50 pounds lost so far. (I'm 5' 8", by the way.)




My face these days...



Oh! And here is a photo of me at or near my heaviest, for comparison.


And this one really shows the weight in my face. (That's my lovely cousin Margaret with me.)


Looking forward to the next set!


Edit to add: And here is a nice side-by-side, showing me at my desk in September 2013, before I started doing anything, and just today (November 12, 2014). Wow, I didn't quite realize what a difference there is in my face! Awesome.




5K redux

Today after work (and probably after dinner), I'll be headed out the door to walk (sprinkled with a little running) my second virtual 5K. I was going to do it yesterday and plain ran out of time. It's nice to have a rest day anyway, right?

Saturday I had an hour-long appointment with my trainer, among my last ones. I've been doubling up so that I fit them all in before my gym membership runs out on November 22nd. A double on Thursday and Saturday, too, and then Tuesday and Thursday the next and final week.

And then what?

More outdoor activities – neighborhood walks, hiking for sure. But I'm also going to carve out an area in my basement to do some at-home training. I've learned many good bodyweight exercises from my trainer and from various sources online – that will be my focus. I also want to start doing pilates again, and finally try yoga. I don't think I will have any shortage of physical activities I can do on my own, and I will certainly enjoy the convenience of simply walking down a short flight of stairs to work out, anytime I like.

Originally I had considered investing in a piece of equipment – namely, a rowing machine, but ultimately thought that I would be able to work out and strength train without spending the money. I'll likely get a good yoga mat at some point, maybe some more weights, but otherwise... I'll keep it simple.

I would love to hear what kinds of things you do at home to keep in shape! Do you have a favorite workout to share?


Sunday, November 2, 2014

5Ks

On my first hike back in late August, and on my latest hike this past weekend. Same jeans and hoodie.


So... just so that I don't forget, I wanted share some fun news.

Yesterday I walked my first 5K (just over it, actually!) in a long, long time. It was fantastic. I felt great the whole time and even ran for two short segments. It took just a minute or two over an hour.

Today I didn't expect to replicate the feat, but while on a hike with my partner today, we ended up walking about 3.6 miles! We were very slow – he was taking photos, so we stopped a lot – but we still covered the distance. Above is a photo I had him take of me to document the adventure. I weighed in at 318 pounds this morning, 54 pounds lost.

My sense of achievement in so many ways, pretty much through the roof. I know I have so far to go, but I have also come a long way. I am really making this happen. I will achieve my goals. 

There is no question.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Whooosh! Effect and Some Observations

Maybe you're wondering, "Amy, what the heck is the Whoooosh Effect?"

I first heard about it a couple months ago when someone posted a link to this site in the MyFitnessPal forums. As soon as I finished reading the article, I realized that the way my body seems to lose weight is not so unusual – it's an actual thing, even!

I tend to drop a big chunk of weight, and then hold for what often amounts to weeks, almost a month like what happened most recently. This was the longest time I'd waited – usually it's two, maybe three weeks. I was definitely getting discouraged. But sure enough, the past two days I saw major losses amounting to an 8 pound loss since my last official weigh-in last Friday. It still astounds me even though it has happened so many times.

There seem to be some correlating actual physical things that happen just before a whoooosh. I especially noticed it this time. For the past two days, I have been peeing like crazy, even though I've only been drinking my usual amount of water, 8 to 12+ cups. I mean, like semi-frequently and heavily. It's wild. Then, this morning before hopping in the bath, I noticed that my arms looked different in the mirror. They're big, and they're floppy and they have cellulite still, yes, but it almost looked like the composition shifted somehow, in a really dramatic way. In a positive way.

And then I stepped on the scale. I had shown a three pound loss yesterday and was thrilled with that, but I wasn't expecting much, if any, more. That's what I got, though! I was absolutely shocked to see the number 319 on the readout. And just the other day I was whining about how I should be below 320 by now. Har!

I am super excited that this happened again, finally. It's great on it own, but it's also great as an acute reminder of how we sometimes need to be patient when we're making big changes in our lives. There's no accounting for how our body works deep down – I know I'll never figure it out. But at least I can do what I can to gain an awareness of how it functions and just keep doing what I'm doing, keep the positive changes en force and feel happy about being healthier, if nothing else. That's really what it comes down to.

Happy halloween, by the way! We don't hand out treats; we're one of those Scrooge houses who turn off all the lights and hide. We'll be watching a couple scary flicks: John Carpenter's The Thing and hopefully, Alien. Yes, I am making some hot buttered popcorn on the stove, and I can't wait.





Thursday, October 30, 2014

Time to Reboot

Elliptical.


(Written yesterday)

Ugh.

I'm feeling right discouraged this morning.

The scale is just not budging. Now, I know that the scale is not the only measure of what's going on in my body these days

(and just ends there with no resolution)

Today, however, is a whole 'nother story. Rather than letting my feelings get the better of me and do something silly like throw in the towel, or say "F--- it" and eat whatever, I decided to buckle down and get serious again, just for one day. It was all I felt I could commit to.

Sometimes you have to take very small steps. It's infinitely better than staying in the same place, isn't it?

No, I didn't starve myself. I didn't do anything much out of the ordinary except really focus on my goals and focus on the means to achieve them. I feel that in the past month, which has been my toughest one so far out of the five, I was losing that. Things were getting wobbly.

Yes, I have been logging my food diligently. The problem was that I was often eating my exercise calories and beyond a little too often. And that I wasn't eating so "clean" anymore, either. Sure, I eat plenty of fruits and veggies, but I was really eating way too many little snacks and sweets, and getting take-out more often that I'd have liked. I tried to make it all fit in, but you can only do so much when your eating habits are reverting slightly to what they used to be. It was not the direction I wanted to be heading in.

Anyway... yesterday was like an oasis. No take-out. All stuff whose content with which I knew exactly what I was dealing. Lots of fruit and veg. Some little activities (a stroll in the cemetery, cooking dinner and cleaning the kitchen), plus a good hour-long gym workout to cap off the day. It felt fantastic and it was reflected on the scale in a positive way.

Today, I am committing to another day like that.

Yesterday morning I was bitching to myself about how I should have been well below 320 by now. The reality is that I have lost just about 50 pounds in less than five months, which is pretty phenomenal, if you ask me. I wasn't even racing! I wasn't trying to lose it super fast. So to have a month where things stalled a little bit doesn't seem too unreasonable, as long as it's not signaling a lapse into my old lifestyle. Since that is definitely not happening, I'm not too worried. That is what I am clinging to.

Hikes are in my future. Kayaking is in my future. Running is in my future. This is really just the beginning, isn't it?

Speaking of running, I am signed up for two (yes, TWO!) virtual 5Ks. The first one is happening this weekend as an alternative to Halloween and all its associated treats – a way to combat it, I guess? One of the members of the Facebook group I belong to for the FUDiet suggested it, and I am totally into it. For both of these 5Ks, I will definitely be walking most of the distance, but will make an effort to sprinkle as much running in there as I can comfortably can.

The other one is more "official" in that I paid to participate and will even get a medal mailed to me! It's the Flat and Fabulous 5K. The organization behind it is a much-needed resource for women who have decided not to have reconstructive surgery after mastectomy.

I think that by taking these small steps, I will soon be on my way to building up my running practice again, which I fully intend to engage come spring – March, April?. By then I should be down enough on the scale and more fit that running will be much easier. Next summer: Kayaking for sure!

I'd like to leave you with an easy, delicious recipe for a more healthy cookie. I don't know where the original came from – I saw it on a Facebook post and have also seen many variations elsewhere online. But after having made it a few times now, here is how I like mine. These don't get too firm, but when they cool they're fine to handle.

In a bowl, mix together:

3 mashed ripe bananas
1/3 c. applesauce
2 c. oats (I used Irish rolled, but you can probably use any type)
3/4 c. – 1 c. chocolate chips or chunks (as high quality as you can find them!)
1/4 c. – 1/2 c. raisins
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon

You can either spread out the mixture onto a cookie sheet, about 1/2" thick, or scoop out spoonfuls. I have had them as dome-like shapes and tried them flattened slightly. These do not spread at all when cooking, so keep that in mind. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Yum! Maybe not super healthy, but hearty, satisfying... and you're in total control of the ingredients. You could use less chocolate, add nuts, maybe use white chocolate? I've added some peanut butter in there, too, and that was good. There are many possibilities!

For this recipe as is, about 20 cookies at 93 calories each.




Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Potent Reminder

I went to a restaurant for some take out last evening, and one of the patrons who walked in was a lady about my mom's age, early 70s, who was very big. Based on what my size was, I am guessing she was at least 450 pounds, if not more. Walking was not easy for her (though I don't think she had a cane or anything), and it just looked uncomfortable. I'm not judging her – I have no idea what her circumstances are, etc. BUT I easily saw myself in 30 years, if I don't continue what I am doing now for the rest of my life. 

What that woman was enduring, my friends, is NOT how I want to end up. I want to be climbing mountains, running races, and surfing when I am 70. 

Watch me.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sitting Still

Well, my weight has still not budged. Ugh. But you know what?

Yesterday, I was doing some fall cleanup in the backyard, and while I don't think I thought it right then and there, looking back I kind of marvel at what I can do and with the relative ease I can do it now.

A very real sensation hit me later at the grocery store, though. Walking through the parking lot, and making my way through the Sunday crowds, I just about felt like I was floating, I felt so good.

It was really nice and really validating.

Sometimes, just f--- the scale, seriously. It's not what this is all about.

It's about so much more.



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Admit It...

I admit it, I am kind of having a hard time this past week or two.

(Wow, two blog posts in one day! This is how I cope.)

More than what I have been letting on, I think.

So I spent some time this evening browsing through my old blog, The Forty Project. Yeah. That was back when I figured I could get my s--- together by the time I was 40. I'm 44 now; you do the math. I mean, seriously. I've been trying to do this my whole life, but the past five, six years, I've really tried, on and off. I read through many entries, ones when I was feeling good and doing well, ones when I was truly struggling and knew things were on the downturn. Those latter ones especially really hit home. How many more f---ing times do I have to do this yo-yo crap? It has to end NOW. I have the ability to end the cycle.

It doesn't matter how stuck I get. I can't quit. I can't ever, quite frankly. I mean, dude, if I had just worked through the rough patches back when I first started blogging, I wouldn't have had to start up again, over and over and over. I could have been at or near goal a long time ago.

But this isn't about regrets. It's about opportunities. That now, I have full control of my destiny with this stuff. It doesn't matter what happened before. What matters is what happens now and what will happen and how I will deal with it. I have all the knowledge and tools I need to make it happen; I just need to stay on the damn ride.

A 50-pound loss really seems to be some sort of weird place for me. In the past, I hit the 50 pound mark and then things start to fall apart. I'm not sure why that is, but it is not going to happen this time. 50 pounds lost will be the launching pad for more great stuff. 50 pounds will not be the sad end. Not anymore.

Excelsior!


My Obsession

I know, it's crazy, yet another pair of glasses. I am using up my FSA funds and have discovered the awesomeness that is BonLook, and well... you do the math.

While I was trying to get a good selfie last night, I realized that every angle I was working my double chin wasn't showing up in the photos! I am not sure what this phenomenon is called, but trust me, I do still have a bit of an extra chin in effect. It's definitely gone down since I started losing weight, but I can see it when I'm taking the photos! And then it just doesn't show up.

So weird.

Here I am, again, with another fun pair of glasses. And no extra chin.



That said, I had another frustrating date with my scale this morning.

Dudes, I am not letting it get me down! I took another walk on my lunch break today! Zoooom!

I got this.

What frustrations have you been dealing with lately? What victories or joys? I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Stuck, but it's OK

I have been stuck at 324 for what seems like an eternity now. Sure, I've dipped to 323 here and gone up to 326 there, but my weight just doesn't want to seem to budge for any meaningful period of time from 324. Grr.

I mean, this happens every ten pounds or so, so one of these days soon, I'll find myself below 320 and being amazed at how quickly the weight fell off. Ha ha. No, but really, that's what happens, and I forget all about the little plateau until the next time it happens.

But let me tell you! This morning I woke up feeling pretty darned good about myself. My BODY felt good. I was just about certain I'd dropped a pound or two. Of course, I didn't, but it didn't really even matter. I pulled a pair of jeans out from the dryer that used to make me feel like a sausage and they just glided on. I am wearing a tank top that I haven't been able to wear in a long time. I just felt plain good, dynamite even.

Not all victories are on the scale, as I hope we all know by now.

Another one happened today when I didn't really feel like taking a walk on my lunch break, but I did anyway, and it felt good.

And another one happened on Friday when I decided on a whim to start Couch to 5K again. (It was awesome!)

And more happened when my partner and I went on hikes on both Saturday and Sunday. At the crack of dawn, even.

So yeah, the weight loss is one thing, but it far from the only thing. It might even be just an intended consequence, that's all.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Woman Trouble

"Blood moon" – yeah, no kidding!  (Photo by New York Daily News)


Ugh. So last I reported I was down 50 pounds and just got my period. No doubt thanks to that, I've been sitting at 48 pounds lost ever since. And it's the period from hell — I'll spare you the details. That said, my eating has been on target still, and I've been fairly active. We ended up going on a much longer trek the next day (Sunday) to a wildlife refuge and it was fantastic. This morning I was up at 5:30am to watch the lunar eclipse and tomorrow I have a gym appointment.

So while I kind of feel disappointed, I also know that it's just the normal cycle of things. I don't discount my great achievement or anything. It happened, and I am basically there. Soon enough, the 50 pound mark will be a but a memory in the most positive sense.

This morning I wanted to dress up a little more for work as I was filling in for my boss to help conduct interviews. I had planned to wear the one blazer I have — the one I wore to my interview for this job last June — but wouldn't you know it, I had a problem! It was too big to wear! It looked silly! On the plus side, I discovered that I was finally able to wear a pair of dress pants I've kept tucked away for the first time in at least three years. So it all worked out. :)

Another nice thing to report is that I had a follow-up appointment with my GP on Monday, and I am out of the woods for diabetes! Yay! My blood pressure is still up a bit, but I need to get more diligent taking my pill each night... not to mention just keep doing what I'm doing so that I won't even need the pill anymore. I'm getting addicted to these positive reinforcements, I tell you! Despite my temporary hormonal setback, I'm pleased with my progress and happy that I found my magic bullet.

Onward!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

50 POUNDS. BAM.

Last night I went to my talented friend Jan's art exhibition, and I found myself. 

I wanted to share some happy news with you, my faithful blog readers! As of today, I am down 50 pounds. I still have a long way to go (I'd like to lose another 150), but it's a great start and I have been feeling strong and healthy. I'm actually looking forward to my doctor's appointment on Monday! Thanks for your camaraderie and support.

This morning my partner surprised me with an pre-dawn wake up call to go birdwatching. Rain was in the forecast today (and many days ahead), so it was thought that perhaps we could beat the weather early and try out our new binoculars. 

It was pouring on the drive to Buckhorn Island State Park on Grand Island, but shortly after we arrived the sun just started to come up, and the rain stopped. It was a little chilly and windy, but made for a lovely seasonal walk. I didn't time it, but I figure we logged an hour to an hour and a half of walking on the very unexpectedly gorgeous trail that took us right along the Niagara River, so close that we could see and hear the water lapping against the shore. We also heard lots of birds, but only could identify a few: Blue jay, gulls, a coot, and some Mallard ducks. It was still really nice and we're planning to go back and explore more — both of us were feeling a bit tired by the time we decided to head back. (I got maybe four hours of sleep after a very long day yesterday PLUS my period hit with a vengeance, so I was dealing with those associated feelings.)

We got home and I hit the sack for a few hours... then woke up for a bath with one of those amazing LUSH bubble bars, and the rest of today is Relaxation City. It's a rainy fall day, the kind that is perfect for staying in and cuddling with kitties, watching some movies, etc. etc.

Here's to the next 50 pounds! I'm coming for you! :)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ugh, sometimes.

I went to the mall last night after work with a friend to indulge in a little Sephora and Lush shopping and for a movie afterward. The good news is that I did get some lovely things, including some Kat Von D lipstick, some lovely fall and winter-inspired scented candles from a side trip to Bath & Body Works, and a nice selection of bath bombs and pretty-smelling things at my absolute fave, LUSH. More good news is that I fit into the movie theatre seats snugly but fine, and tickets were just $2 each! (We saw the wonderful The Hundred-Foot Journey)

On the other hand, there is a reason why I avoid malls at almost all costs most of the time. The mall has this way of making all my insecurities come out in their most raw form. There is nothing I despise more than the proverbial makeup counter with its horrible lighting and people swarming all around and feeling like a bull in a china shop. At the same time, I love being surrounded by so many pretty things – if I was a billionaire, I would have stores open after hours so I could browse totally solo, I tell you what.

I just can't help but feel like I stick out like a sore thumb everywhere at the mall. There are lots of mirrors and reflective surfaces, too, so I'm always catching unexpected glimpses of myself, and it's disheartening. See, I guess I don't look in the mirror much except for my bathroom mirror and my iPhone camera to check my lipstick, so I see myself from one angle and generally from the chest or neck up.

So I've lost almost 50 pounds and feel great, and I know that I have gotten smaller, but seeing myself in other contexts, I'm so disappointed to see how fat I still am, even though I know intellectually that I at 320-some pounds that yes, I am VERY fat. Still. And I will be for a while.

None of this means that I am on the brink of giving up. NO. If anything it is propelling me even more toward my goal. I AM SICK OF BEING FAT. I'm done. And as my loving partner reminded me last night, this time next year, I won't be fat anymore. How can I be so sure? Because I am going to keep doing what I am doing and my actions are going to get me there. That's how.

In the meantime I just need to deal with it, continue trying to love my body in all its incarnations, and KEEP GOING.

And I will. Promise.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Data

NOTE: Weight on or around the last day of each month, except for May 2014.

2014

Starting weight: 372

May: lost 6 pounds (started mid-way), 366
June: lost 13 pounds, 353
July: lost 8 pounds, 345
August: lost 6 pounds, 339
September: lost 13 pounds, 326
October: lost 7 pounds, 319
November: lost 4 pounds, 315
December: lost 7 pounds, 308

Total lost in 2014: 64 pounds


2015

Starting weight: 308

January: lost 10 pounds, 298
February: lost 1 pound, 297
March: lost 3 pounds, 294
April: lost 5 pounds, 289
May: lost 2 pounds, 287
June: lost 7 pounds, 280
July: lost 8 pounds, 272
August: gained 4 pounds, 276
September: lost 3 pounds, 273
October: lost 5 pounds, 268
November: gained 4 pounds, 272*
December: gained 4 pounds, 276

* I did get down to 264 the day before Thanksgiving, but alas...

Total lost in 2015: 32 pounds


2016

Starting weight: 276

January: lost 6 pounds, 270
February: gained 11 pounds, 281 (dammit!)
March: gained 4 pounds, 285
April: lost 5 pounds, 280
May: gained 3 pounds, 283
June: lost 4 pounds, 279
July: gained 8 pounds, 287
August: gained 9 pounds, 296
September: gained 3 pounds, 299
October: lost 10 pounds, 289
November: gained 11 pounds, 300 (ARGH!!!)
December: gained 1 pound, 301

Total lost gained in 2016: 25 pounds

2017

Starting weight: 301 

January: gained 7 pounds, 308 
February: lost 7 pounds, 301
March: lost 4 pounds, 297 (lowest weight in March: 294)
April: lost 4 pounds, 293 (lowest weight in April: 290)
May: lost 2 pounds, 291 (lowest weight in May: 285)
June:
July:
August:
September:
October:
November:
December:


Total lost in 2017: 

OVERALL TOTAL:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hi hi!



My first pair of rad prescription sunglasses — love.
Hi hi,

Yes, my goodness, I am still cranking it out. Weight loss has been slllloooowww since the art fair the first week of September, but that's OK. Today I'm 328 – just six more pounds for an even 50, woo!

Things have been good. I mean, I feel like things are normal, you know? NORMAL. As in, this is all becoming normal for me. That is probably my very main goal in all this: Normalize my relationship with food and eating, normalize regular exercise, normalize balanced nutrition, etc. I definitely feel like that is happening.

I'm starting to be able to wear the size 24 pants and jeans I've had tucked away. Some fit, some are snug but wearable, some not doable just yet, you know how it goes. Nevertheless I have more clothing options from my own closet, which is great.

I've been feeling really good in my skin. Confident. Sexy, even. My hair has been growing out and it looks pretty nice. I have been buying several pairs of cool glasses to wear and switch out on a whim. I am more active, more capable. (Though quite frankly I am still achey a lot.)

We still haven't gone hiking again — unfortunately my partner's back often gives him trouble and so we've been waiting for it to feel better. In the meantime, he's all geared up with good shoes and other fun stuff. He's also decided that he wants to do some star-gazing and bird-watching, which sounds great to me! If not this year then next we have plans to incorporate all these things together, plus a little camping (which I never thought I'd hear myself say!)... these are things I am really looking forward to, and he is, too. Baby steps, though. Here's hoping we can get out this coming weekend for at least a little hike. We sort of wimped out this past weekend because my schedule has been so busy all month, and Sunday was the first day in a while that I had free. We opted for relaxation, though I also managed to do some laundry and cleaned our main living areas, which was much needed — good exercise, too!

Anyway, I've just been living life. Enjoying it. And keeping on keeping on.

How about you?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Making Different Decisions

One thing I have been noticing lately is that I have been making different choices about eating and having it feel very natural.

As you know, I did not and will not stop eating any food I love. If you've been reading along you know that I love chocolate and ice cream and keep them in rotation on an almost daily basis. (Yes, it's true — and I'm still losing weight, *gasp*!)

Well, something has been happening, especially in the past couple weeks it seems. There has been many a day when my eating has been less than optimum, whether it is eating too much or not eating enough veggies and the like. Like today, especially this morning. I won't go into detail with what it involved, but it definitely leaned more toward simple carbs and sugar than complex carbs, say, and protein. Then, I'm sitting there as lunchtime approaches thinking about how easy it would be to just go and have an old standby, my inexplicable fast food fave, McDonald's. If you can be addicted to the stuff, then yes, I probably was. So every once in a while I still think about getting it. Sometimes, I do, but seriously maybe once a month, which is a vast improvement over several times a week like I did not so long ago.

Anyway, so McDonald's was kind of floating through my head. Then I was thinking. Don't be a dope. I didn't want to be a dope. I also wanted something along those lines. This is what happens when you don't bring your lunch and you don't want to go to the awesome salad place a couple blocks away again.

I ended up going to Wendy's. I know it's still not great, but you can make a fairly decent meal of the Ultimate Grill chicken sandwich and a large chili and it's not that bad in the big scheme of things. In doing so, I avoided a lot of grease, salty french fries, and a diet soda that I would have inevitably ended up with from McD's.

For dinner we opted for Chinese take-out again (I swear that I do cook! We make awesome home-cooked meals much of the time) (NOTE: We've been trying out various Chinese take-out places lately and have found some gems, and I know how to eat Chinese take-out right.)

This particular place has a traditional menu available, so the selections are a bit off the beaten path and totally awesome. I wanted to keep it veggie and light to make up for the rest of the day, so I tried dry tofu with leeks and some egg drop soup with seaweed (!!!).

Well, sometimes it pays to be culinarily adventurous and sometimes it doesn't. I would say in this case it's half and half. The good news was that I ate about half of what I normally would have, and it was all quite nutritious and low-cal. And now I have leftovers for tomorrow's lunch, for better or worse. Nothing tasted bad, but it just didn't blow me away. And that's fine.

The final chapter of this little story is what happened after dinner. I ended up going for a walk in the dark, which was really nice — we live in a great neighborhood for something like that — and got a nice little workout, and then came home and spent about an hour doing some serious tidying in the laundry area of our basement. When I was finished, I thought to myself, Hey! I burned some calories enough to have a serving of ice cream!

And then, I thought... didn't I have enough sweets for the day? I can wait until tomorrow instead.

What?!?

What is happening to me? Stuff just like this is happening again and again lately. And it's not painful or horrible. I am not depriving myself of anything, however I am obviously learning balance and how to make better choices for myself. That feels pretty incredible.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Little Bit Down, but NOT Out

Well, today we were supposed to go on our second hike and I was really excited!

But we decided last night not to go. I have been suffering some pain all week since the art fair — not sure what I did to myself as there was no "event" where I tripped, turned my ankle, nothing like that. Just since Monday, my right leg and foot have been hurting quite a lot and sometimes spreading up and down that side of body. I'm guessing it's a pinched nerve and/or sore ligaments around my knee. It's so strange, I've never experienced anything quite like it before. It's very discouraging.

It's actually fine to just walk on, but stairs have been especially hard. I thought it was feeling better yesterday, but when I had to go down the stairs to use the bathroom (I was at work and for some stupid reason there is no bathroom on the main floor), my knee almost gave out at one point! I have to be very gentle and careful when I'm on the stairs. So I don't see how hiking would be a good idea while it's still not quite right.

As for my partner, he has back trouble and it's been acting up the past couple days. We're quite a pair, aren't we? I guess it's called Life After 40. Har har.

As for the rest of things... it has been a little challenging recovering from that really taxing weekend. (Note to self: Either don't do that again, or hire some damned help!) As I mentioned previously, I had some sort of stomach bug and so ended up not eating much. My weight plummeted all the way down to 330 pounds. Since then, it's leveled off and I've been at 334 now for a couple days. That, too, is a little discouraging, but not bad. I need to be kind to myself.

I skipped the gym this past week both to give my body a break and also because of my stupid leg, but I did get two walks in. In lieu of the hike, I will be plain walking today, and then on Tuesday I have an appointment with my trainer again that I will keep no matter what. I'm sure we can work around my leg if it's still giving me trouble.

My eating has been OK. My sweet tooth has been in full force and I'll have a few mini chocolates on any given day, or a serving of ice cream. What I have been learning is balance, though, so it's not really an issue. It's definitely not the end of the world and I am certainly not "cheating" by eating these things. I track every bite on MyFitnessPal, which is a great reality check. I don't always have "on" days but overall I do see a big shift in the kinds of things I put in my mouth. Sorry, kids, chocolate and ice cream will never, ever be off that list.

Almost every day I have to remind myself that I am not in a race. This is one of the ways I am making room for all the food I like to eat into my regular menu. Could I lose weight faster? Most certainly, but then I am not creating habits for myself that will be sustainable for all time, and that is really what my main goal is. Yes, I am trying to lose weight, but no, I don't have a deadline. I don't have a timeframe.

That said, I'm not a Vulcan. I do look at the end of 2014 and think, hey, I could probably get down to 300 pounds by the new year! I do have these thoughts. But how important is it really to do that by a certain date rather than just assuring that it's definitely going to happen, period? You know what I mean? This is the conversation I have with myself every day.

As always, ONWARD.

UPDATE! Shortly after I wrote this post, I got on the scale not expecting much. Turns out that I am back down to 331. Super! Go figure.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A New Sport!

So you guys, one of the most exciting things that happened between the last time I posted and the time before that was legion. The Friday of Labor Day weekend, my partner wanted to get out of the house and suggested that we go for, of all things, a hike.

Well, I had a ton of things to do, but two thoughts popped into my head: One, that I should take any opportunity to go out and do something with said partner, who tends to be a homebody and not very interested in exercise; two, that this would be a good chance for ME to get some exercise in, and a little adventure while I was at it.

I am not an outdoorsy type at all. Never have been. So I was probably more surprised than anyone that I actually really LOVED going hiking. Granted, even without the best shoes or gear, and even though we probably bit off a bit more than we could chew, we did great and we really enjoyed ourselves. Of course the scenery was amazing, and I enjoyed challenging myself physically.

Here I am at the head of our first trail, Silent Wood (moderate level, yikes!), in East Concord, NY. The trail is 1.75 miles long and it took about an hour and a half for us to complete it.

Indie rockin' hiker.

Now both of us are really excited to try a new one every weekend until the weather doesn't allow us to... and yes, I know that people do hike in winter, but I don't know if we'll be doing that. We do want to try snowshoeing, so maybe...

This is truly an unexpected boon to my fitness efforts and to my relationship — something fun that we can do together. My guy is having fun doing all the research about the different places we can go. We are fortunate to live in a region of the country that has a lot to offer as far as hiking goes. 

I will be sure to report on our future adventures.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Prattling On

Me at the art fair! You can't tell, but I am actually wearing a dress here. Photo by Alice O'Malley

My goodness, it's been a time!

Since I last wrote, I hit a 10% body weight loss, and shortly after the 40 pound mark. It was wonderful.

I've been planking almost every day AND I FREAKING LOVE IT.

Last weekend, I had a booth at an art fair. I (wo)manned it by myself except for about an hour on Saturday when a friend dropped by and watched it for me while I had a quick lunch (and then lost the lunch). It was two eight-hour days of almost constant socializing, plus three hours at the VIP viewing for one evening. Plus booth set-up (for which I had awesome help), and take down (for which I did not).

But wait! There's more!

On top of all that, it was (and still is, ugh) that time of the month, AND I woke up Friday morning (the first of three fair days) with some sort of stomach ailment that left me completely empty and mostly unable to eat during the weekend. Oh my god, it was a Herculean effort to get through it, but I did.

Well, I ended up getting down to 330 pounds — I basically lost almost ten pounds over the course of a week. It was crazy. I won't lie, either. It felt pretty good even though I was feeling crappy.

Fast forward to today. Something's going on with my poor legs, especially my right one, that still is not resolved. It really hurts, though I have taken a couple walks and I'm still able to do planks OK. The main problem seems to be when I stand up from sitting for a while, like at work. I am also still really, really tired. I also started eating normally again, and as predicted the pounds bounced back on. I'm not upset about it; I expected it.

I mentioned that I'm on my period at the moment and it's making me a little sweets-crazy. I didn't eat the best yesterday (in fact I ate way over my usual daily intake), and so far I haven't been super great today. But, I am tracking my food, as always — I think this is important — and while I am not feeling optimum emotionally or physically, I'm nowhere near giving up or anything. That's not what this is about. We have hard days, we have hard weeks, sometimes more. But we have to cling to what is important and what the big picture is about. That is what I am trying to focus on. What are the positives? How far have I come already?

I do post little bits here and there about what I have been doing and how I have been doing on my Facebook page... and people seem to enjoy it for the most part. I can't tell you how many people came up to me at the art fair to say how great I look or well I am doing and how I've been inspiring them. I love that. I've also been kind of listening to what I say to people and how I am talking about what I am doing. The last thing I want to do is prosthelytize, but I feel like I have to stop myself midway talking to avoid it. Like about the part where, dude, I am NOT dieting! This is my life. Blah blah blah.

And realizing how much I freaking HATE diets and the diet industry and anything associated with it? How much I hate low-fat this and no-carb that and "I was bad" this and cheating that. I'm not interested in demonizing food or making it a savior. I'm interested in eating food that is real and food that doesn't have a lot of unnatural crap added to it. Do I always eat this kind of food? No. But I try.

I am not perfect and I will never be perfect.

This is not a race.

One day at a time. One hour at a time. One minute at a time.

Be kind to yourself. Always. Honor your body.

Blah blah blah.

(This has turned out to be a much-needed pep talk for myself. I just feel crappy this week, but this, too, shall pass.)

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Conscious Bender


No, this was NOT the hotdog I ate yesterday.  (Wiki)


Yesterday, I took what I am calling a Conscious Bender.

This involved relaxing, having fun, drinking some drinks and eating some eats. I let loose a little bit.

I had planned to make it a work day in my studio, getting ready for a big showing of my paintings in a couple weeks. But I was stressed out and cranky and snipping at my partner, so I let myself just have a day to do whatever. It felt good, I am not going to lie. It was much needed, I realized by the end of the evening.

My partner wanted to try out a couple drink recipes that involved fresh fruit juice and bourbon. One had lime juice, one had grapefruit. Both were delicious. I think he found the recipes on this blog if you are curious. There are many yummy recipes there if you indulge in that sort of thing. Anyway, I had three of those delicious drinks over the course of the late afternoon and evening, which on its own would have been OK, except that generally when I imbibe I tend to want to snack as well.

We'd had a late lunch that was very satisfying — a quintessential summer meal of hotdogs with coleslaw and a little bit of chili and mustard. He had potato salad, but I cut up a fresh cuke for myself and had a couple super hot pickles as well! (I LOVE spicy things, but these were a bit much for even me, though a thin slice of one on my dog was excellent!) Later on, though, I raided the leftover pizza I had in the fridge and finished that off... and also had a small dish of that new Breyer's gelato, which may well give Talenti a run for its money. OK, wel, not really — they are totally different and both delicious. Oh, and yes, I had the raspberry cheesecake flavor. Of course.

It wasn't a disaster of a day, though. I did get a nice, sweaty 30ish-minute walk around the neighborhood in after my first drink (I know, weird, right?) and I planked for 45 seconds after that. Along with the other little bit of physical activity I got in, it almost completely balanced out. And that's really what I am after. Balance, baby. Still, I went a little over in the calorie department and showed a couple extra pounds this morning.

Oh well. It'll be gone again before I know it. And I did enjoy myself.

Today I am back in the zone, both with this stuff and with my work. Once I get home from my 9 to 5 and have a little dinner, it's back to the studio for me. A little structure never did anyone any harm, now, does it? But then, neither does a little bit of chaos.

Enjoy the week!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A __________ A Day

Me, last Thanksgiving season looking at a book about
human anomalies at University at Buffalo's medical library.

Hi. I am big. (see above photo reference)

Which, of course, is fine. It's no judgement, it's merely a fact.

I have now lost 30+ pounds, which is also fine. I've been feeling much better in general, able to do many things more easily, and presumably might be more healthy than I was last Thanksgiving, though that may or may not be because of the weight loss, but certainly because of eating better in general, exercising regularly, and changing some habits.

I'm going to keep doing these things, even if I end up losing all the weight I think I might want to lose. How much? Not really sure. Don't really care. Though there are two things I want to be able to do easily: Ride on an airplane comfortably, and shop in "regular" clothing stores. So when I get there, I'll figure out how to proceed. Oh, that's right, I won't have to – because what I am doing now I need and want to do for life!

Anyway, I've been thinking about good habits a lot lately because I recently added another one to my list that I've been having good success with: Flossing my teeth. :)

I've made many positive changes in my life since I joined the gym last December. It's been quite gradual – for instance, I don't really consider my journey to have really, truly started in my heart of hearts until I started training with current trainer, Rick, back in early May. So, there's one, a big one — regular exercise. Once I got paired up with Rick, I've been doing 2-4 days each week of either gym time or neighborhood walks. Exercise is still a little bit of a chore for me, but not really. It's a chore in the same way that painting in my studio is a chore. It's something I love doing, and that once I get myself to that place to do it, I'm so happy, but... for some reason, I guess pure laziness, it's hard for me to get there. Isn't so much easier after a long day at work to just sit in the recliner and watch TV all evening? Why yes. Yes, it is. Anything that takes an effort once I get home from the 9 to 5 is an additional chore, whether I love it or not. Sad, but true. It just is what it is. I'm hoping that by the end of this year, exercise will be something I look forward to in a genuine sense. 

So, the gym. Then the eating. Eating more whole foods. Eating fewer simple carbs but more complex ones. Trying to eat more protein (that's a hard one for me!).

Then, things like taking vitamins every day. B12, B-Complex, Calcium, a multi, fish oil, D, and C.

Drinking at least eight 8 ounce glasses of water every day. I usually get twelve in.

Moisturizing my face. I'm hit or miss with this one. 

Flossing is the newest one. I need to take better care of my teeth. I also want to start bringing a toothbrush to work so that I can brush after lunch, too. 

I can't really think of others I want to add right now, though having done a couple planks in the past week, I kind of want to make them an everyday thing – even just one, for however long I can hold it, every single day. Can you imagine? The first real plank I did recently was held at 15 seconds. 

What kinds of good habits do you perform? Which ones do you want to add?




 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

90 Days

On MyFitnessPal, I've logged 90 days' worth. Three months! I feel like a lot has changed in such a short time. Now I am halfway to that nefarious six month mark, where in the past things have always crumbled. Not this time!

Nope!

Last night I saw a friend whom I haven't had the pleasure of hanging out with in a while. She mentioned to me that she could really tell that I've been working out, that I look good, and the best part: when she gave me a hug, she could feel some muscles! Wow!

That made me feel good, especially since I'm not even the one that brought it up.

I mean, I haven't been super hard core about anything I'm doing, but I am being consistent and diligent enough that it is making a difference, bit by bit. I have to keep reminding myself that this isn't a race and that I am in this forever.

There are so many things that are so much easier now. Just with not even 30 pounds off yet! Imagine how I will feel in another three months!

Anyway, just wanted to check in and say hello, and say that I am still on it. I'm still HERE.

Like Joaquin, I am still here.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Times Flies!

Sheesh, another week has passed already? This summer has been flying by.

Things are still fine over here. I went back to the gym last week after a two week hiatus, and it felt great – I really enjoy working with my trainer and challenging myself physically. I still need to figure out how to make exercise a more natural, go-to activity for me. It's always easy to find reasons NOT to go, I'll be honest. The nice thing is that I am enjoying walks around the neighborhood again, and that's an easy go-to thing I can do; I've also learned many exercises that can be done without special equipment at home. I guess what I'd ultimately like to do is get something set up at home so that I can exercise easily on a whim. This would be a good project to embark on now, which will give me plenty of time to prepare for when I don't have training sessions anymore and for when I maybe don't go to the gym anymore — this is something I have been considering canceling once my membership is up at the end of the year.

Anyway. I will enjoy it for now, and learn as much as I can for when that time comes. I will try to put a plan in place. Hey, if nothing else, incorporating housework into my schedule more regularly could solve two problems!

Eating has been good, even in the past few days when I want to eat ALL THE FOOD because it is that time during my cycle. I have been indulging in sweets more, mostly mini candy bars and birthday cupcakes (it was my partner's birthday yesterday!), but still staying within my limits pretty well. Not perfect, mind you, but not bad.

At one point, I had decided to stop weighing every day, but I then decided not to do that. So, I'm weighing most every day. A revelation I had this morning related to this was pretty awesome: What the scale says no longer makes or breaks my day. Today's weight had me up THREE pounds from yesterday, and while I was slightly pissed, at the same time, I also knew what I would say to someone else who experienced the same thing: "Well, it's that time of the month, and you had some Chinese food and canned black beans yesterday, and you feel bloated? Yeah, don't worry... it'll come right back off again once you get through that point in your cycle." Not to mention this other, more important fact: That I am doing all the things I need to do to be healthy, and that is the main impetus here. It doesn't matter what the scale says. I'm going to keep on keeping on, either way.

This is a huge sea change from how I used to react to my scale readings, so I am chalking this up to a BIG WIN today!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Little Things

Kurt C. in his Chuck T.s. Photo source not known. 


My Chuck Taylors, which I haven't worn in a couple months, seemed to fit better when I put them on today.

When I took a bath this morning, I noticed that I fit more comfortably in the tub!

I can wear a 2X band t-shirt again.

Food just tastes better. I feel like every time I eat something, it is SO GOOD!

Food is more satisfying. I eat regular meals, and they are enough.

My taste buds and my cravings seem to be shifting. (For the better, of course.)

I still must eat chocolate every day.

I will always have the freezer stocked with Talenti Roman Raspberry gelato.

I'm starting to find more pleasure in cooking again.

I definitely have more of a spring to my step.





Sunday, July 27, 2014

Thinking about Goals Again

Logging into MyFitnessPal this morning, I noticed that today is my 72nd day in a row having done so! Wow! And then I thought, well, that's not quite two and a half months—hey, not bad! And then I thought, yes, but it'll be really something once I hit the six month mark and then sail beyond it. And that is definitely my intention.

In the past attempts to lose weight/get healthier, six months has been a crucial landmark in that it's when I tend to stop what I have been doing for whatever reason. Or sometimes even no reason at all. So this time around, the time, I'm going to especially take care that the same thing doesn't happen. After all, I am in this for life, right?

ABSOLUTELY. I don't know how much more emphatic I need to be. Maybe that is just it—I need to keep it turned up to volume 11 at all times for myself in order to keep the momentum. There is little more that is important as this because it is my body and it is my health. Period.

I want to write down some goals here today, to help keep that momentum, that excitement (because everything should be done with energy!), that belief that I am worthy of living a comfortable, active, colorful life. (Just in case you're keeping score, note that I don't think I can't do those things as a fat person, only that my body as it was when I started back in May was making those things more difficult, OK? OK.)

MyFitnessPal tracking

Though I am not a huge fan counting anything that I eat, this tool has been helping me see patterns in how I eat, what the macronutrient ratios are, and just have an overall sense of how much food is a reasonable amount (something I have had trouble with for most of my life). I can see myself doing this for a very long time—it is easy to do and acts as a reminder every day of the positive things I am doing for myself.

Goal 1: 100 days on MyFitnessPal (August 23)
Goal 2: 180 days/six months (November 12)
Goal 3: 270 days/nine months (February 10, 2015)
Goal 4: 365 days/one year! (May 16, 2015)
Goal 5: 450 days (August 9, 2015)
Goal 6: 575 days (December 12, 2015)
Goal 7: 730 days/two years! (mid-May 2016)

6/13/16: As of a couple months ago, I stopped logging at MFP regularly. I have been aiming to log my food and exercise most days again in the past couple weeks, but I am no longer as obsessed with keeping my streak as I once was. I still find it to be a very useful tool!

6/5/17: I have been back to using MFP every day since the beginning of the year, and... guess what? It helps. Last year after I wrote the previous update I ended up gaining gaining gaining. Logging food every day is kind of a drag, but... not really. I'm pretty much used to it and it really helps keep me on track.

Weight loss

My focus is definitely less on losing weight, but there is no doubt that it is a big piece of the puzzle and one the expected results of my efforts. In the past I have pushed myself to lose fast but now I see how problematic that can be. I'm chugging along, and here are some milestones I can shoot for, but I am NOT attaching due dates to them.

Goal 1: 350 pounds Met 7/26/14, 22 pounds lost
Goal 2: 335 pounds/10% of starting weight  Met 9/4/14
Goal 3: 322 pounds/50 pounds lost  Met 10/3/14 (but didn't see it again until the end of October)
Goal 3a: 315 pounds  Met 11/21/14
Goal 4: 304 pounds/10% of Goal 2  Met 1/10/15
Goal 5: 297 pounds/75 pounds lost  Met 2/1/15 (again on 3/11/17)
Goal 6: 272 pounds/10% of Goal 4/100 pounds lost Met 7/29/15
Goal 6a: 260 pounds
Goal 7: 245 pounds/10% of Goal 6
Goal 8: 220 pounds/152 pounds lost/10% of Goal 7
Goal 9: 198 pounds/10% of Goal 8
Goal 10: 179 pounds/10% of Goal 9
Goal 11: 172 pounds/200 pounds lost
------------------------------------------------
Goal 12: 155 pounds/10% of Goal 11/217 pounds lost
Goal 13: 150 pounds/whatever feels good

(I will see how I look and feel in the 170's. I may or may not continue to Goals 12 and 13. Or maybe continue further. I have no idea!)

Clothing

I have a lot of clothes that I can't wear, but should be able to once I hit the next couple weight loss goals. I generally wear 26/28 or 3X/4X sizes now. I will certainly report on newly fitting clothes as I go along.

10/30/14: I've been fitting into more and more of the size 24 pants I've had in reserve. I still have one pair to conquer (wacky sizing!). Once that happens, I'm going to donate all the 26 pants to charity.

1/1/2015: I am solidly into size 24 pants, though a pair of jeans I just rediscovered are 26 and fit like all the 24s I've been wearing. (I love them, though!) At the same time, the size 22 pants I have in reserve seem to be about 20 pounds away from wearability – I can get them on, but there is no way I could zip them up, not even close. I have some 2X shirts now that I can wear, and even have a size XL hoodie that is comfy. An XXL shirt from the Gap is wearable. A 1X sweater from J. Jill fits but is too snug for me to wear in public. A pair of men's size 44 cords from the Gap are also about 20 pounds away, I'd guess (and they are beautiful). I'm getting there!

2/1/2015: I have been wearing some old leggings that I tried on kind of by accident, never thinking I'd get into them. One is size 20/22, and the other 1X. I am also wearing a pair of boots that I haven't been able to fit into for a long time – they are my favorites bought in 1993 that I have never been able to part with, even though they're quite worn in. Now I wear them again quite frequently in the snow – perfection. My size 11 underwear is beginning to feel a little roomy, though I had a pack of Fruit of the Loom brand size 11 that never fit – until recently.

3/9/15: I tried on two pairs of size 22 dress pants that I've had for over 10 years in reserve that I was able to get on and fasten! They fit, though a tiny bit snugly. Wearable! (These are the same pants I was referring to in the 1/1 entry above, so I guess I'm making good progress after all.)

3/23/15: I finally fit into a pair of jeans that are size 24 but are smaller than all the others I've been wearing. The last time I could wear these was back in fall of 2008 – and I actually weighed about 10 pounds more then than I do now, go figure. Anyway, it was a thrill to be able to wear these comfortably to work today. There is another pair in the drawer that I didn't have time to try on this morning, but pretty sure they will fit again, too. Awesome! ETA: Yes, the other pair fit, too – in fact, they are a little loose and I don't see myself wearing them for much beyond the summer, if that.

6/11/15: Steadily wearing 2X exercise gear. Fit into bras that I haven't been able to wear in probably a good 10 years (size 44C, if you're curious). Wearing a size 18/20 cardigan – another one from years ago – just fine.  Have worn the size 22 dress pants out in the world quite comfortably.

7/6/15: I tried on and successfully fit into a pair of size 20 jeans I've had in reserve for years now, never worn.

7/28/15: FINALLY fit into the last of three pretty bras I had kept in hopes of wearing them again one day. Even though it was the same size as all the others, this one was smaller and I just couldn't quite get into it – until I grabbed it by accident this morning and I'm wearing it quite comfortably today! I've also realized that when I wear a bra that really fits me, the straps don't always fall down. Wow!

Also, last night, I grabbed a pair of stretch capris out of the pile of comfy clothes I have in the laundry area – these 1X now fit perfectly, much to my surprise!

Running

Goal 1: Walk 5K comfortably Achieved 11/2/14

Goal 2: Run a mile comfortably Achieved 2/17/15
(Note: I don't have official stats here, but I completed C25K W5D3 on this day, which involved running for 20 minutes straight. I think it is safe to say that I covered at least a mile then. :)

Goal 3: Run 5K distance Achieved 4/21/15 

Goal 4: Run a 5K race Achieved 5/3/15

Goal 5: Run 4 miles Achieved 7/25/15

Goal 6: Run 5 miles Achieved 8/9/15
(6a: Ran a 5 mile race on 3/12/16)

Goal 7: Run 10K distance Achieved 3/26/16

Goal 8: Run a 10K race Achieved 5/7/16

Goal 9: Run 10 miles (scheduled for August 2016)

Goal 10: Run a half marathon (scheduled for October 2016)

Goal 11: Run a marathon (2018?)