Wednesday, March 21, 2007


80 laps tonight, 32 in 13:15. She's back!

Actually, I think my good time is due more to my new swimsuit than to some vastly improved swimming technique. I had a new sassy red TYR suit that reminded me how awesome it is to be streamlined. My one complaint about the suit is that there is no give AT ALL in the straps. I kind of feel like it's trying to fold me in half the way the straps pull down on my shoulders. I haven't had a real competition suit in awhile so I'm going to hope that's how they all start out and that the fabric will eventually start to ease up a little as the chemicals react on it.

But, boy, did I feel fast tonight.

If you swim laps, I urge you to stay away from the Club Swim brand. I bought the black one with the red piping. Cute, right? Yeah, it was cute, but the elastic around the bum wasn't that great from day one and the suit was constantly riding up. I admit to having a long torso, but this was kind of ridiculous.

Additionally, the chlorine ate through the elastic in a very short amount of time. I think I just got the suit a month or so ago and I had to throw it out on Monday night. Thank goodness for lining, because otherwise I would have been showing the entire pool all my bits and pieces when I got out of the water on Monday night. The suit had felt kind of loose while I swam, but it wasn't until I got out that I realized the elastic had fallen apart all over the entire suit. So much for Club Swim.

In other news, my arm didn't hurt at all tonight and only popped a tiny bit at the beginning of my workout. I iced it afterwards anyway. Better safe than sorry.

Food: +1410 calories
Exercise: -992 calories

I'm trying to do this calorie cycling thing where I eat at the top range of my calories for a few days and then do one day at the low range and repeat. It's supposed to get your metabolism used to running on the high range so when you eat in the low range you actually lose weight. My range is 1360-1710.

I really honestly tried today to get up near 1700 calories, but 1410 was the best I could do. A) I wasn't very hungry today in general, and B) I don't know if you know, but 1700 calories is a lot of food, especially since I don't want to just eat a lot of crap solely to get my calories up. That seems like the wrong way to do it somehow.

Monday, March 19, 2007


I was able to go swimming tonight. Hooray! After a week of taking anti-inflammatories regularly (ie, when I remembered), I swam without really hurting my arm. There was some popping going on, and after I was done, my arm felt stiff. However, I'm icing it now, and I think I should be A-OK.

I'm so relieved. This looks like a relatively minor problem after all. I had these scary visions last week of never really being able to swim again. Because I can be a little fatalistic like that.

My times were way off, but I was trying to take it easy.

Calories today:
Food: +1388
Exercise: -1055

Friday, March 16, 2007

Get It Done

It feels different this time, this whole losing weight thing. The last time I got healthy, I had a very specific goal: get through the Bar exam. I swam so that I wouldn't feel completely overwhelmed by the stress. And it showed. The closer the Bar got, the faster I got. I liked keeping track of what I was eating and feeling good about the food I put into my body because it gave me a sense of control at a time when I really had no control over my future. All I could do was study, study study. Would it be enough? It never felt like it would be enough.

After the Bar, all bets were off. I went to California for 2 weeks to visit friends, determined to get back in gear once I got back. But it was too easy to not do anything about staying healthy. I started a long-distance relationship and spent time shuttling between DC and Boston. I was depressed because I couldn't find work. The weight kept coming off for another few weeks because my metabolism was still flying, so I thought I would be ok.

Then it started coming back on. I gained it all back and then some, which is what usually happens.

I didn't really think it would take me 1 year and 5 months to get back on the ball. Now that I am, I feel really good about myself and confident that this time, finally, I will get back to a normal weight. The weight where my a** isn't so huge that the only place I can buy pants without them tugging into those oh-so-attractive whiskers at my upper thigh is Lane Bryant.

This time my goal isn't to make it to an event with a distinct date. My goal is to lose 37 pounds (35.8 now) and live more healthy in general. I've set my next birthday in October as a date to shoot for, but, you know, if the weight was gone before then, I wouldn't complain.

Already I feel better about myself in general. The weight is coming off slowly (which I realize is healthy), but just knowing I'm doing this right, and feeling so energized gives me a more positive outlook. I can do this.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Weighed and measured tonight: down 1.2 pounds and 1.2 inches.

No exercise for today except for cleaning. The apartment really needed to be cleaned and my roommate and I did it. Now I just need to work on my bedroom...

1315 calories today.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pressing Forward

After talking with a few people yesterday, it's really starting to sound like the problem with my arm is tendonitis. I'm taking an anti-inflammatory and I'm going to ice it when I get home from work tonight. I just find this really annoying and I feel OLD. I turn 30 and my body starts falling apart.

On the positive side, I did walk home yesterday and I'm going to walk home again today. According to SparkPeople my walking has me burning 489 calories a day. It's no 880 calories like I was getting from my swimming, but it will do while I'm resting my arm. The scale this morning told me I'm still going down, so if I can just exercise and control the calories, I'll be fine. I'm staying within my SparkPeople calories and working out way more than they're telling me to. I only need to burn 1400 calories per week to meet my goal and, including today's walk home, I already have 1858 calories burned in the first three days of the week.

I feel very lucky that the walking is even an option. When I lived in DC, I could never have just decided to walk home from work if for some reason I couldn't get to the gym, but here in Boston it works. And yesterday early evening was beautiful! I hated Daylight Savings Time on Sunday morning, but walking home in the fading sunlight is much better than darkness.

Anyway, I'm not going to list out everything I eat anymore, I'll just note my exercise and the calories I consume.

Exercise: Walked about 4 miles, -489 calories
Food Calories: +1500 (I was under my calorie count for the day and then I had a glass of juice and that shot me right up. It's amazing how many calories are in a teeny glass of juice)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I Have No Idea What's Wrong With My Arm

My arm is still hurting today. I think I pushed it too hard last night by doing the 90 laps. I was going to go swimming tonight, but now I'm thinking I should just walk home from work for exercise.

I've been doing research online this morning, and I can't figure out what's wrong. There are two distinct arm injuries common to swimmers, and I don't seem to have either of them. Swimmers Shoulder is caused by overuse and poor technique. Also by breathing on one side exclusively. The pain is in the shoulder and radiates to the clavicle. While I do breathe exclusively on my right side (I need to work on that), the pain isn't in my shoulder. I've also been told I have good technique so I don't think my technique is straining my arm.

The other possibility is Swimmers Elbow (like tennis elbow), which is caused by overuse. However, from what I can tell on the sites, the pain of that is mostly in the lower arm and affects the ability to grip things. That isn't my problem either.

The pain I'm having is in the exterior muscle of the upper arm, down near my elbow. It only hurts when I swim, although it's sore today because of my workout last night.

I've never had this issue before and I've been swimming for years. When I started back several weeks ago, I progressed slowly through 40, then 50, 60, 70, 80 and now 90 laps per workout session. I used to swim 120 laps at times and was hoping to get back up to that. This is just really frustrating.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Pushing Through the Pain

I'm hardcore, yo.

I went swimming tonight and 2 laps in my arm started hurting again like last Wednesday. It was a tiny bit sore on Thursday, but didn't hurt at all on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or today. There is something about a freestyle stroke that the muscle just isn't liking.

But I still did 90 laps. The further along I got, either it started hurting less, or the endorphins dulled the pain. I'm inclined to think it was all endorphins because when I got out and went into the locker room and wound down a little, suddenly it hurt to lift things with that arm. I'm not trying to hurt myself worse, but I'm in a swimming groove, and I can't lose it. After my shower I put some Tiger Balm* on the muscle, and that seems to be helping. Of course, now I smell like a medicine cabinet. Good thing my neighbor at work is on vacation this week.

So 90 laps, 32 in 14:10 (boo! I'm blaming my sore arm)

* The tiger growls on the website. Just a warning.

The Plan

I have a new plan that I really think I can live with. It's called "Weekends Off." Actually the last plan I was on at ediets let me take one day off a week, so it's a similar idea, just with another day. Basically I eat well all week long and then don't kill myself about it over the weekend. I mean, I'm not going to actively seek out the bad stuff and I'm going to be reasonable about it. For instance, at the bridal shower on Saturday I had a sliver of cheesecake and a small brownie, instead of the full size cheesecake slab that was my former inclination.

Sunday was not as great. The actual food I ate was healthy, mostly some rotisserie chicken I pulled the skin off of and tabbouleh with whole wheat flatbread, but I had a few little treats, prompted partly by commiserating with one of my roommates who was sad. However, I only had maybe 6 of the dark chocolate Cadbury mini eggs I bought, savoring them in a way that I haven't really done with treats in the past. I've been really good at the whole plunking down on the sofa with a bag of something fatty or sweet and nibbling away without really noticing. Parceling out 6 little eggs and putting the rest of the bag away makes me treasure those 6 eggs.

I weighed myself this morning and I'm fine. So I think this may work. Today I'm eating healthy and tonight I'll be swimming my bum off.

I'm going to make a salad for dinner tonight based on what's left of my vegetable stash in the fridge, plus a couple of Costco purchases, that I think sounds divine: Spinach, broccoli sprouts, celery, salmon and tabbouleh. I would like to add some beans - black or garbanzo - but I don't have any in my cupboards and will make do with what I have.

B: Peanut butter Kashi Go Lean bar, 290 cal. I was running errands and just grabbed it on my way out the door. Very handy.
L: Wendy's Mandarin Chicken Salad. Here is why SparkPeople is my new favorite site. Not only do they have the salad listed, but they have the salad and the extra almonds, crispy rice noodles and dressing each listed separately. Brilliant! That little packet of almonds is really 190 calories? Yikes! So with my rationing of almonds and dressing, my salad was 390 cal. After doing the detox diet, I find that I need very little salad dressing anymore. The veggies, fruit and chicken taste good enough by themselves.
S: 1 1/2 slices of my roommate's oatmeal bread, about 105 cal.; medium pear, 98 cal; 15 baby carrots, 57 cal.
D: Spinach/salmon/tabbouleh salad, about 259 cal.

As of right now, my calories are on the low side. For my goal of having lost 37 more pounds by my birthday in October, I should be eating 1370-1720 calories a day and I'm at 1198. Maybe I'll have some popcorn for a snack later.

SparkPeople also says I only need to burn 1400 calories a week via exercise, but last week I burned 3384. If I keep it up, hopefully I'll make my goal before my birthday.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


I got Chinese food last night and got hot and sour soup and an entree of steamed chicken with ginger and scallions. That's right, I ordered from the steamed menu, even though the beef with broccoli sounded so, so good. But I have no control over the sauces and I'm trying to stay on this losing trend. After walking the 3.2 miles home last night in cold, COLD weather, I was going to get a salad at the little place on the corner near my house, but it's closed due to a fire. That's a shame for them - and for me. I really wanted that salad...

I had planned on the salad so I had nothing thawed for dinner and was pooped anyway from battling the elements so I turned to the Chinese menu. The steamed stuff was okay. I added some salt to it, actually. I could make something better at home, and have control over what exactly goes into it, which is probably the smartest thing to do.

I discovered the coolest website today thanks to Nicole: Sparkpeople. It's a free site where you can keep track of your exercising and your diet for each day and they have a pretty extensive database to help you figure out calories burned and calories in your food and everything else. I spent, um, a lot of time on it this afternoon. It's just so fun and they have some interesting articles.

When I'm in this exercising/eating right/losing weight mode, I become extremely interested in all things weight loss related and pour over other people's before and after shots. I think it's all fascinating right now.

B: Salt Bagel 320 cal.; lite cream cheese about 80 cal.
L: Hot and sour soup. I really have no idea on the calorie count. At Calorie King they only list specific brands. P.F. Changs is 650 calories for a bowl, while Panda Express is 110 calories for 12 oz, which is about how much I have. I'm flying blind with that one.
S: Banana about 90 cal.
D: Cheesecake Factory with friends! After scoping out the menu beforehand, I decided to get the Santa Fe Salad, consisting of Lime-Marinated Chicken, Fresh Corn, Black Beans, Cheese, Tortilla Strips, Tomato and Mixed Lettuces, without the tortilla strips and plus avocado. Dressing on the side. I'm starting to feel like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally with all my substitutions and on the sides. It was awesome. Seriously, with all that yummy stuff on the salad, I hardly put any dressing on at all. I used Sparkpeople (see above) to get a basic idea on the calorie count of all the salad ingredients and I think it wound up being about 511 cal. Actually, I think I credited too many calories for the chicken, so maybe 60 calories less than that. Not too shabby for dinner out.

Friday, March 09, 2007


OK, so last night was weighing and measuring night. This past week I lost 2 pounds AND 2.5 inches! This brings my 5 week total to minus 5.2 pounds, BUT minus 5.8 inches! In 5 weeks! Crazy. My body really likes the swimming.

I was a little elated when I figured that out. This morning just for kicks I tried on my 2 pairs of too tight jeans and not only could I get them both buttoned and zippered, but there was a minimal amount of muffin top. They're still a little too bum-clinging to wear, but it's only a matter of time. I'm just really excited! My boyfriend told me that he was really proud of me and proud of all the hard work I've been doing, which was very sweet.

The one sad part: the loss of my ample chest. Sigh. I figured that would probably happen, but I was hoping they wouldn't decrease THAT much. I think of those 5.8 inches, probably 3 of them were in my bust. Oh well. I am still bootylicious, and always will be.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Real Food = A Little Scary

Today is the first day off of the Detox Diet, which means A) I can eat grains and dairy, and B) I need to start keeping actual track of my food again. I made a little spreadsheet for the detox so that I could make sure I got something from all of the categories each day because there are many categories and I can't keep that all in my head. However, I didn't write down everything that went into my mouth because my main goal of the last week and a half was to stay on the diet and yet somehow not keel over from the hunger pangs. Quite a feat.

My inaugural grain this morning was a Kashi blueberry waffle. Yum! Although I plan to give myself the treat of a bagel sometime in the next week or so, I'm determined to keep losing weight and keep eating well. Seeing the pounds go down feels WAY too good to give up. I've said it so many times before: I know how to do this, it's just sticking to it in the face of eating out with the boyfriend and little treats at friends' houses and on and on and on. As much as I may want to rage against the genetics that gave me my crappy metabolism, I need to just suck it up and realize I do have to be strict with my diet and I do have to exercise as much as I possibly can.

But really, I feel so powerful both physically and mentally when I'm eating healthy and exercising. It's a good feeling.

So I'm going to be honest. As of a month and a half ago, I had packed on a few more pounds than I let on. My official weigh-in is tonight, but last night I stepped on the scale just to see, and the real story is that from my top weight back in January, I have now lost 11.2 pounds. I just didn't want to admit to myself (or anyone else for that matter), how much I had actually put back on due to sheer laziness and not caring what went in my mouth. But 11.2 is actually a pretty good number, so I'm going to own up to my foibles and my triumphs.

B: Kashi blueberry waffle 85 cal.; Stonyfield Farms FF raspberry yogurt 130 cal.
S: Pear 96 cal.
L: Yummy chicken and veg medley I made last night. Um, maybe about 180 cal. for the chicken. The vegetables don't really have a lot of calories. I'll say 150-200 cal. to be safe, but based on the calorie look ups I just did for the individual veggies, I doubt it's that much.
S: Banana 100 cal.; Large Orange 86 cal.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I'm So Mad At My Left Arm Right Now

90 laps last night; 32 in 13:20.

60 laps tonight.



About 2 1/2 laps into my workout, my left upper arm started hurting. It was sort of this stabby pain right in the middle of my tricep. I kept going, thinking it was a muscle cramp and I could work it out. I stopped after 4 laps, the stabby pain having gone to sort of this all around awful feeling in the upper arm, with the muscle feeling a little bit like it was tying itself into knots. So I tried kicking for 10 laps and then went back to swimming. 3 laps later I was at the wrong end of the pool from my kickboard and water bottle, clutching my arm and grimacing.

Over the course of the next forty-five minutes or so I managed to get 3 more laps in, bringing my grand total of swimming tonight to 10. The other 50 laps were kicking, so at least my legs got a heck of a workout.

My left arm has always been a little wonky at the beginning of my workouts. When I pull the stroke through, something clicks and it kind of twinges a little, but it stops after the first 5 or 6 laps. Today the clicking was there, but the pain was so much worse than the previous twinges and it wouldn't go away.

It didn't hurt last night after my workout, it didn't hurt today. I don't know what's going on, but I hope my body shapes up fast. I'm totally in my swimming groove and I don't want to lose it all. I'm going to walk the 3.2 miles home from work tomorrow and try again with the swimming either Friday or Saturday. Hopefully this is just a temporary setback.

UPDATE: My roommate who knows a little bit about physiology checked out my arm and diagnosed a big muscle knot. She said since the pain was localized, it was muscle-related, whereas if the pain radiated, it would be something more serious. She found the knot and worked on it a little bit, but I think I'll just hold off on swimming for a few days because it's still a little sore and I would rather baby the muscle for a little bit, than just make it worse and not be able to swim for a week or something. Sigh.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Maybe I'm Detoxed, Maybe I'm Just Hungry

I am sort of dubious as to the detox value of this diet. I don't feel particularly detoxed. Maybe the physical rollercoaster I was on last week was my body detoxifying, but it may have also just been hunger. One day I would be up and energetic and the next day I would feel vaguely like passing out all day. Then Friday I got a migraine that sent me home from work early. I broke the rules of the diet and took some Excedrin because I had plans and I wasn't going to just sit there feeling like I was going to throw up and not do anything about it. My stomach was so queasy that I just lay on the couch with an ice pack on my head, sipping some juice, willing the Excedrin to kick in.

If that was a side effect of the diet, I'm not a fan.

Also, there are testimonials galore concerning the weight loss on the actual day of the fast, but I didn't lose any weight. In fact, I've gained back a couple of pounds that came off last week. I guess my body is now adjusted to the fruits, veggies and protein and is back into packing it on mode, which seems to be its natural state. I have a feeling once I start eating carbs again, I'm going to gain back any weight I lost last week.

So, Fast Track Detox Diet by Ann Louise Gittleman: Meh.

I will give her credit for reminding me about being hyper aware of nutrition labels. Also, the limited diet has made me super creative because if I had to eat the exact same thing every day I would get really bored. For instance, last night I made a dish that I think I'll call "...and the Kitchen Sink Too." I basically pulled out all the containers of veggies that I prepped last week and threw it all in a pan with some chicken. Onions, garlic, canned plum tomatoes (organic, of course, from Trader Joe's), celery, yellow squash, zucchini, baby bella mushrooms, bean sprouts and daikon. I planned to put in broccoli too, but I forgot. It turned out really well and I have some for my lunch today.

80 laps yesterday; 32 in 13:25. Tt first I thought it was 14:25 because it's really hard to read that little clock and I figured that the 13:15 last week was just a crazy one off, but I kept checking the clock as I did my next set of kicking and sure enough, it was 13:25. Woo hoo! Especially considering last night was one of those nights when I felt like I was swimming through pea soup. I think the water in the pool was a little too warm and a little too high for the lane lines to absorb all the wake. I was definitely absorbing some wake from the guy in the next lane.

Oh, and just a little consumer warning for anyone else who swims laps. My favorite place to buy equipment and suits is Swim Outlet because their prices are super cheap. I mean, comparatively. In a world where your standard TYR suit is $69, cheap is relative. Anyway, they sell a line of products called Club Swim, which I've never heard of, but they have suits that looks just like TYR and Speedo for only $20 or so. I figured I would give it a shot. Well, the suit looks great and is lined and is actually big enough for my bum (which is amazing for a competition suit).

However, last night I realized why the suit was only $20. When I was rinsing it out, I noticed that there are already several spots where the chlorine has eaten through the elastic, which, if you don't know, renders those spots completely see through. I'm getting more comfortable with prancing around on the deck of the community pool on my way in and out of the water, but I'm not THAT comfortable. I've only had the suit for a little more than a month or so. I would complain to the company, but, really, it's a $20 suit.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Let's Hear It for Friday

I've decided I like this home body fat test, mostly because it tells me that based on my measurements my body fat is actually much less than the BMI people would have me believe. That's what I've been trying to tell everyone!

As of last night I'm down another couple of pounds and .8 inches. Yay. Actually last night I was very enthusiastic about it, but I'm having another spacey day today on the Detox Diet and can't seem to muster up another exclamation point.

I will tell you some good things I've noticed:

1) I didn't look half bad in some of the suits I tried on yesterday, although I'm still teetering precariously on that ledge between misses and women's sizes. I wound up with a skirt with a W after it and a jacket from misses.

2) My used to be loose, but have been tight for quite some time jeans are finally getting loose-ish again.

3) I think I can feel myself getting smaller, bit by bit.

4) The tops of my hands, where the fingers join the palms, have gone from being dimpled to flat and ligamenty. I realize this isn't a scientific observation, but it's a way I gauge my progress.