Saturday, May 31, 2008


My new Pilates DVD kind of kicks my butt. I got 10 Minute Solutions: Rapid Results Pilates. First of all, the whole format of the DVD is pretty cool. There are 5 10-minute workouts and before you start you can go through and customize which ones you want to do and when you hit Play, they only play the workouts you selected. Pretty nifty.*

I read some of the Amazon reviews and some of the reviewers said the workouts are really more of a combination of pilates, yoga and calisthenics. Whatever works, I say. I have nothing against combining workout forces. All I know is, it works my muscles hard. The instructor is some sort of crazy robot lady who can do all of these moves while talking and smiling. I like her instructions, though, even if I'm jealous of her.

Tiny liked the pilates DVD too
I think he just thinks it's pretty awesome when I get down on the floor with him. He spends my whole workout weaving in and out of my legs, head butting me and, as you can see, flopping down on the mat right next to me. So helpful.

I think my shoulder is finally really on the mend. Last Saturday I only did 80 laps and had to do almost half of that kicking. I planned on doing 100 laps, but I get bored with the kicking. Today I did 100 laps, only 16 of that kicking. I stretched my shoulder out a couple of times during the workout, but it didn't hurt at all while I swam. I'm still not going to be swimming every day for a bit, but I think next week I could manage 2 or 3 times.

* In fact, it looks like the whole 10 Minute Solutions series has that same format. I'm kind of eying the kickboxing DVD.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


The other night we played with some friends on their Wii Fit. I know there has been much controversy surrounding the Wii Fit, but I really enjoyed it. Partly because I rocked the yoga.

I will put it out there that I added 3 inches to my height because I didn't want to be labeled "Obese". I stand by my previous statements that BMI is generally a crock, but I still didn't want the label, especially in front of everyone. I had also just eaten a bunch of sushi and I had to pee. As it was, I was "Overweight" and the Wii gave a distinct roundness to my avatar, which was kind of depressing. You should be able to categorize yourself as "pear" or "apple", with the fat stores distributed accordingly. The only one of all of us who wasn't round was Jason's teeny tiny little sister*.

I was skeptical of how good a workout the Wii Fit could actually give, but after watching one of our friends do 6 sets of push ups that then went straight into side planks, I don't really doubt it anymore. There's a pretty good variety of activities (I want to try Boxing) and it works your muscles and can get your heart pumping.

I am the yoga master. My first time in, wearing jeans, I got the "Yoga Trainer" rating. Apparently all those yoga moves I did with Denise Austin last year and all of my pilates has really improved my balance and my ability to center myself properly while leaning to the side or standing on one leg. One thing I liked about the Wii is that it can sense how you distribute your weight and help you adjust so that you are doing it properly. So when I did Warrior I discovered that I usually rely too much on the front leg and the Wii told me to put more weight on the back leg. I could definitely feel my hips stretching out more after I corrected my balance.

People are all upset because of the labels that the Wii gives the players, especially when kids get on it looking to have fun and are told they are Overweight or Obese. I think the Wii Fit is actually a good way to make fitness fun, although when I was little we did this crazy thing called "going outside". I just think everyone needs to keep some perspective on the limitations of a machine. Kids are growing and may need more body fat than an adult of the same height. Many kids and adults are active already and have more muscle mass, triggering a high BMI that inaccurately measures the content of the weight (my problem with BMI in the first place*).

If kids are going to use the Wii Fit, their parents should be able to help them analyze what the machine is telling them, and how it may not be that big a deal. The problem is, many parents aren't informed about this stuff themselves. So the kids and the parents take to heart the BMI labels, which are guidelines at best, and freak out and blame Nintendo for their poor self-esteem. Everyone is so reactionary.

*I want to get down to 160 pounds and at 5' 6" that definitely puts me in the overweight category of BMI. I have been in the Normal range once in my life after having jaw surgery and eating a liquid diet for more than a month. I looked sickly. Personally, I would rather be strong and fit and healthy and weigh a bit more than the BMI says I should.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I Scream

I ate some ice cream for a snack yesterday instead of my carrots and dill dip and apple and popcorn I had brought to work. How crazy is it that ALL that good stuff can equal one dish of ice cream, calorie-wise?

Once a month they get these amazing ice cream cakes to celebrate everyone who is having a birthday that month and yesterday was the day for May. I can take or leave cake, but I am the biggest fan ice cream has ever seen. Someone requested a chocolate raspberry cake so I had a slab of black raspberry ice cream (and threw away the cake). So yummy!

However, a couple hours later I was heading to Target and I was totally dragging. Yawning every couple minutes, eyes barely staying open.

Oh right. That's what a sugar crash feels like.

I've been eating sugar here and there, but in relatively small amounts. After eating healthy all morning, I slammed my body with a bunch of ice cream and I totally felt the crash not that long afterwards.

It made me think, is this really worth it? I mean, the ice cream tasted awesome, but is it worth feeling like crap long after the ice cream euphoria has worn off? I'm starting to think maybe not, especially when the food I've been eating has been making me feel so great, with no ups and downs and late afternoon crashes.

Work also got Dunkin Donuts bagels and pastries yesterday (they bring in pastries every Friday) and I abstained. Now that I'm in the groove it's not so hard to not grab a bagel anymore. I have a couple of friends at work who are also focused on being healthy and we all wonder why they can't just get one little fruit plate in with all those 600-calorie, refined carb and fat bagels? Especially since they order from Panera every other week, a place that I know has produce available if you look for it.

It doesn't make much sense, but it does just highlight what I'm coming to believe more and more: the easy availability of crappy foods makes it really hard not to be fat these days.

Friday, May 23, 2008


On my way to the gym, but I just had to share. I just weighed in for the last day of the SparkPeople challenge and I managed to lose 2.8 pounds this month, which gets me below the plateau range I've been skirting around for months. So that's good news.

I also lost 4.5 inches total all over my body! I'm thrilled about that because it means I gained muscle, lost fat, and really lost more than just the 2.8 pounds of fat, since the denser muscle weighs more. Yay!

They're not kidding when they say the last 20 pounds are the hardest. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

PS I did go on the walk Wednesday by myself and it was lovely.

PPS It's a few hours later and I'm currently wearing the smallest jeans I own.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


-.5" on my hips. That happened pretty recently. The challenge I'm doing on SparkPeople has me weighing in officially only once a month, but I keep sporadically pulling out the scale and measuring tape to see if there's any progress.

My weight is still bouncing around the same 3-4 pounds, which is just getting irritating. It's been doing that for about 3 months now. I went down during the detox, but then popped back up to the same old range.

Except for the fatty foods on Sunday, my eating has been pretty good. I've been diligent about logging and cycling my calories. I only hope that the decrease in my hips means I'm gaining the lean muscle that will help me burn fat more efficiently and eventually bust through this plateau. I've done almost everything trying to eat healthy and am wondering if I should try some official eating plan wherein I buy a book and pledge my allegiance to some author. I've been eyeing the South Beach Diet lately and its "8-12 pound weight loss in the first two weeks!" claims.

I swam today for the first time since I hurt my shoulder about a month ago. I did 80 laps and did about 1/3 kicking, 2/3 swimming, which is pretty heavy on the kicking for me. I wanted to give my shoulder a nice intro back into swimming and I think I succeeded. I stretched before and after and my shoulder isn't sore at all.

In other good news, they cleaned the pool! Yeah, I know, yuck. The water has been kind of murky for the past few months. I take a shower RIGHT after I swim, so I wasn't too concerned, and I figure the piles of chlorine they dump in there will kill anything. I think they cleaned it while my shoulder was healing and now the water is crystal clear. Much more pleasant.

I did HIIT elliptical on both Monday and yesterday and I honestly don't know if I can do it on consecutive days. During my last interval yesterday I swear the muscles in one of my legs started to fail. I have never felt that while doing cardio, only weight lifting. I guess that's a good sign that I'm working my muscles hard, and so far through stretching and Pilates I haven't hurt my calf again, so that's good. I think I'm doing it right.

I was supposed to go walking on my lunch hour with a friend, but she had to bow out because she's working straight through. I may just go without her, although I forgot my ipod clip, which is kind of a bummer since I also like to do hammer curls while I walk, but I want to listen to my ipod. Too many accessories!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fatty Fat Fat

I'm just going to chalk up yesterday as a lost cause and move on. We went up to Boston so Jason could sing at his choir's last service of the season. The church had a big picnic afterward so we stayed for that. I thought for sure there would be some fruits or vegetables in the spread, but there were none to be seen. Just fried chicken*, pasta salads, chips and desserts.

Then we went to a friend's Evensong and they had a reception after the service. Pate, fancy cheeses, smoked fish. They did have some cherries, but I'm not really a cherry fan**.

So basically I ate a big bunch of fatty fat fat foods yesterday. Really yummy fatty fat fat foods, but not healthy at all. I'm doing a challenge over at SparkPeople where we get points for fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fiber that we eat, as well as the cardio and strength training we do. I logged 9 points for Sunday. To give you some perspective, on Saturday I logged 48 points. One day last week I had 60. Yesterday was just bad. This has taught me to always have an apple in my purse.

Today I am back in the game. I did HIIT elliptical this morning with 6 intervals. I had planned on doing 5 intervals, but the song I was listening to hit a fast part just as I got to the next interval time. It inspired me to push it. I did 5 to 5 1/2 mph for my 3-minute regular pace segments, and then I got up to 10-12 mph during the 1-minute sprints. I like that the elliptical has a heart monitor because I see my pulse speed up during the sprints and then slow back down.

Then I missed my bus. I hate it when it comes early. So I figured I could either wait 22 minutes for the next one, or walk the 30 minutes to work. I walked. It's an amazingly beautiful day so I'm glad I did. Also, I think walking afterwards is proving to be a good way to stretch out my calf a bit more and make sure I don't injure it again. I stretch after I work out, but not for an extended period of time.

Tonight I'm going to go home and do a new Pilates DVD. Actually, it's an old DVD that I thought had disappeared in a move, but it turns out I still have it. I'm interested to see how I do because the last time I did it was when I bought it, about 4 years and 30 pounds ago. I really struggled to get through the routine and couldn't do everything. I have a feeling I'll do a teensy bit better this time around.

* I haven't had fried chicken in ages. So. Good.
** I know, I know. I'm un-American or something for not liking cherries. I mean, they're okay, but there are about 75 other fruits I would rather eat, whereas it seems like most people I know (including Jason) have little happy dancing fits when cherries go on sale this time of year.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Plugging Along

I didn't make it to the elliptical yesterday. I woke up and everything hurt so I just fell back asleep. I had kind of a long day yesterday so I'm glad I took a rest day.

Today I did the entire 40 minute pilates DVD - although it wound up being more like 50 minutes. I think they say each segment is 10 minutes because it's catchy, but in reality they're a bit longer. I may get another pilates DVD because even though the moves are still challenging in parts, I can see myself getting bored with the routine quickly. I really like pilates in general. When I'm doing the routines I don't really feel like I'm doing that much, but the next day and the day after that I feel it all over my body.

Today at lunch my friend at work and I walked around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and I did hammer curls with my 3 pound dumbbells.

I think that my body has finally healed and I'm going to get back into the cardio again. Tomorrow is HIIT elliptical and Monday I'm back in the pool. It's been really frustrating to feel so constrained by pulls and aches and pains. I've felt antsy and like I need to be doing MORE! Right now! That's why I've been taking every opportunity to walk to and from work or do pilates or whatever to just keep moving and try not to lose the momentum I had going.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mmmmm, Sushi...

It's amazing how getting home at 9:30 PM can completely screw up your evening eating plans. I had everything all planned out. I was going to make some fish and a sweet potato for dinner and have some popcorn for a snack.

I worked in Massachusetts today and had a long drive home after a 2-mile walk with a friend and a stop at Trader Joe's (there are no Trader Joe's in Rhode Island so I have to take the opportunity to go there when I can). By the time I rolled off the highway, I was exhausted and hungry. So I stopped at the store and bought a big pile of sushi. Jason and I just polished it off. Not nearly as good as sushi from a real sushi place, but it works in a pinch.

I blew my 2300 mg of sodium limit out of the water, but my calories are still in a good place. I figure as far as "take out" goes, sushi is better than, say, the 10-piece Chicken McNugget value meal, which also sounds pretty appealing when it's late and I'm tired and hungry.

A half hour of pilates this morning, and it turns out that the abs and bum workout was pretty darn effective. I am sore. After work, a friend and I walked and I did hammer curls as we walked.

Tomorrow, if I can wake up in time, I'm doing HIIT on the elliptical.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Apparently I Never Use My Thighs

My calf is feeling better. I am really happy that being on it more actually makes the pain lessen. That was my impetus to get a bunch of chores done on Sunday and to walk to and from work yesterday and to work today. I'm going to the movies tonight, so I won't be walking home.

This morning I tried my new Pilates DVD, which I liked. It focuses on abs, bum and thighs specifically. The workouts are segmented so you can do anywhere from 10-40 minutes of Pilates, depending on what you want to focus on, or how much time you have. I was fine with the abs and the bum exercises, but the thigh exercises were hard. I always thought of my legs as really strong, but I guess my thighs have been mooching of my bum strength all this time, or something. I can really feel it now as I sit at my desk.

Maybe I'll be hurting tomorrow, but I may have to kick it up a notch somehow with the abs and bum exercises. They didn't seem to do a whole lot. Although, like I said, we'll see how I feel tomorrow.

On tap for tomorrow is more Pilates and a walk around the Reservoir near work with a friend on our lunch hour. It's about 1.5 miles around, and I think if we speed up, we can get around twice. Plus, I do hammer curls with my 3 pound weights while we walk. I am an exercising multitasker.

Awesome Salad I Had for Lunch Today
2 C. spinach
3/4 C. pineapple chunks (Dole, canned in pineapple juice)
1 T. Annie's Naturals Low Fat Gingerly Vinaigrette
(also I think some slivered almonds would have been great, but I didn't think of that until I was already at work without access to the slivered almonds in my kitchen cabinet).

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My Body Hates Me

Jason thinks I'm losing my perspective, but I was seriously so frustrated this morning that there were tears.

Thursday I did the HIIT on the elliptical, right? I stretched and everything like a good girl and Thursday my calves were a bit sore. By Friday, my left calf was really hurting, to the extent that if I sat for more than a few minutes, I would have to limp my first few steps before I could walk normally.

This morning I was completely hobbling around. The pain is in a very concentrated spot in the muscle on the underside of my calf. Add this to my shoulder issue and now I'm out of luck with both my upper and lower body.

I don't really know why this has happened. I spent all last week walking and exercycling and then I did the elliptical. I've done the elliptical a million times before and have had muscle soreness, but nothing like this.

The interesting thing is, it only really hurts when I'm stationary for more than a few minutes. I spent most of today on my feet cleaning the kitchen and cooking and after a little while, still had a twinge every now and then, but was generally okay. Then I came and sat on the couch to fold some laundry and when I stood up, it hurt all over again. So it's a sore muscle, but it likes to be active. Go figure.

I'm just really frustrated. Today was supposed to be my high exercise, high calorie day. I was going to do another HIIT elliptical session and then try out my new pilates DVD. Instead I've felt useless. And have wanted to eat a lot of chocolate.

I feel old. Sigh.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Today I did High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on the elliptical. Kicked. My. Butt.

It seems like everyone's been buzzing about HIIT lately and I've been wanting to give it a try. Basically you alternate sprints and rest periods for part or all of your workout. Here's what it looked like:

Minutes Activity
1-3 Warm Up
3-6 Regular pace
6-7 Sprint
7-10 Regular pace
10-11 Sprint
11-14 Regular pace
14-15 Sprint
15-18 Regular pace
18-19 Sprint
19-22 Regular pace
22-23 Sprint
23-26 Regular pace
26-27 Sprint
27-30 Regular pace
30-35 Cool down

I was originally planning on putting in a 7th sprint at minutes 30-31, but I just couldn't do it. I finished today completely wiped out. My regular pace was about 5 1/2 mph, while my sprints varied from 8 1/2 to 10 mph. I hit 10 on my last sprint.

My face was bright purple*, and I felt like I really accomplished something.

* My face is always a bright red to purple when I work out. Even if I just work out a little bit. Sometimes I feel like I should explain that really, I'm not dying, it's just what happens.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Product Endorsements

In the hopes that companies will start sending me free stuff:

No Pudge Brownies
Yummy yummy! Two thumbs up! Four, if you count Jason's thumbs. I made the original ones last night and they are gooey and fudgey and so good. You just add yogurt to the mix and pop it in the oven. Very simple. I really want to try the Mint now.

Amy's Mexican Casserole Bowl
I ate the lower sodium version. Very tasty. The spices in the enchilada sauce are a good mix and for 370 pretty filling calories, I got some Mexican food. Probably far fewer calories than the carne asada burro from Los Betos back in Tucson.

Today is my high calorie day. This morning I exercycled for 45 minutes (the bike told me I rode 10 1/2 miles, which is more reasonable than that 21 mile nonsense it was spouting the other day) and then I walked the 1.8 miles to work, which entails walking up one side of a hill and down the other side. The trip to work isn't as bad as the trip home. The side facing downtown is very steep and I feel like an asthmatic weakling by the time I reach the top, like yesterday evening, for instance. I will conquer the hill! Later, I'll be walking to the movie theater to meet Jason and our friend Dr. K.

Anyway, the point is, I've worked out and I have a lot of calories to eat today. I've already entered all the food I planned into SparkPeople and I'm still 600 calories short. I was thinking about indulging and getting a soft pretzel at the mall, but I think the whole idea of calorie cycling is to eat a lot of healthy calories.


That sure would be an easy way to kill 300 calories, though. I'm mulling it over.

Monday, May 05, 2008

This Has Already Been One of Those Days and It's Only Half Over

I woke up with my alarm and then promptly rolled over and fell back to sleep. It didn't help that after some feeble attempts at meowing at me to feed him, the cat gave up and curled up under the covers next to me in a warm, purry ball.

So no gym this morning.

Then the whole time I was getting ready I felt like I was making good time, when in reality it was always later than I thought.

I walked out my back door at 8:22 to see the 8:25 bus go flying by. OK, then, I'll walk to work. Oh wait, I'm going to court with one of the other attorneys today and I'm in my suit and I really don't want to sweat off all my make-up.

Guess when the 8:43 bus showed up? 8:53. I barely made it to work in time to meet the attorney and head out to the courthouse.

Since I was running late, I didn't really prepare a lunch, but grabbed a couple of snacks and figured I would get take out. I need to remember that downtown Providence is not so much about the health food. I eventually got a salad at a Greek place, but before I could stop the guy he dumped a ton of dressing on it. I didn't want to ask him to make me another salad, so I came back to work and picked off the top layer of veggies. I still got WAY more dressing that I would have liked, and feel kind of greasy now

I am planning on walking home from work today so that will be some exercise. Even though I didn't really feel it on the exercise bike on Saturday, my bum and thighs started aching a bit yesterday and today they are full on sore. So I guess the bike is getting it done after all.

Let's hope the rest of the day is a little more relaxed.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


I rode the exercise bike for an hour this morning. Then I came home and did some leg-focused strength exercises. If this shoulder thing keeps up, my legs are going to be awesomely toned, while my arms are going to lose any definition they might have had.

When I was in college I used to ride the exercise bike periodically and I liked it because I could do homework at the same time. The elliptical bounces around too much for me to read while doing it, and of course I can't read in the pool. This could be a good way to get in some sorely-needed reading time. I hardly read anymore, and I miss it.

According to the bike, I rode 21.23 miles. Apparently I'm a biking superstar and didn't even know it. Or the bike is REALLY overestimating the distance thing. I'm going with the latter.

One question: is there any way to keep your bum from going numb?

Friday, May 02, 2008

I Heart Endorphins

Yesterday I walked 1.8 miles to work and 1.8 miles home from work to try to get SOME sort of exercise in. Surprisingly, my calves are sore today. I guess that's the whole point of cross-training: you use different muscles with the different activities.

I think I should get some bonus points for my walk because Providence has a couple of big hills and I work at the bottom of one of them and live at the very top. Why can I swim 110 laps and elliptical for 45 minutes, but a stupid hill knocks the wind right out of me? I'm going to start at least walking home from work* on the days I work in Providence so maybe by the end of the summer I will have conquered the hill.

I took my backpack to work yesterday thinking that would be the best way to carry my stuff on my walks without putting too much weight on one shoulder. Apparently it was still too much for my sore shoulder. I had hoped to get back in the pool today, but instead last night and today my shoulder is hurting all over again. Grrr.

Last night I had a flash of brilliance as I realized that I could work out on the exercise bike and not wrench my arm in any way, unlike the elliptical with its swinging arm things. So I may be exercycling all next week, waiting for my shoulder to heal.

This whole no activity thing is driving me nuts - thus the walk to work yesterday. Today I worked in Massachusetts so I had to drive. The lack of endorphins is making me depressed and moody. After only 3 days without a big surge of morning exercise happiness, I'm completely dragging. And I want to eat EVERYthing. I really want a big cookie. Maybe one with peanut butter or toffee chips. Instead, I'm having an apple, which, you know, is good, but it's no giant cookie.

* It's never good to arrive at work sweaty and disshelveled.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


I'm starting to pull together things to hang on the wall of my office, including my diplomas, which I have never had framed. My boss and secretary have been getting on my case about the lack of decoration and saying things like I must not be planning to stay long. So I'm trying to establish myself here as a fixture to say, yes, I do want you to hire me full-time. See how cool I am with my higher education and neat-o pictures and plants?

A couple of days ago I dug out my diplomas to put them in my work bag. I opened up the box holding my Masters diploma and out fell a print out of a picture my dad took of me when I received the diploma in the mail (I didn't walk at graduation).

Oh. My. Gosh.

I showed it to Jason and he said, "That doesn't even look like you."

I think I weighed about 40 pounds more than I do now and my face in the picture is just as round as can be. I had forgotten completely about that picture and it was kind of a shock.

Even when I weighed a lot more, I don't think I really felt like I weighed that much. I knew I needed to lose weight and that I wasn't really happy with my body, but I don't think I realized how large I really was. When I went to the doctor for migraines and he told me how much I weighed and expressed concern, I was shocked. Well, I was wearing a size 20, so I was kind of large.

It's weird how my mind seemed to trick me into thinking I really hadn't gained THAT much weight. In the 3 years I lived in Chicago, I put on 35-45 pounds, but I really didn't feel that much bigger than when I graduated from college. One day I noticed this giant pink stretch mark across my lower stomach. Now, my bum and thighs had always been large, but I generally had a pretty flat stomach. Seeing that stretch mark was kind of a shock, but still I didn't really think I was THAT heavy.

I had sort of a reverse negative body image. I didn't feel good about myself, but all in all I didn't think I was doing too bad. Turns out, as that visit to the doctor's office showed me, the weight was getting out of control.


I've been wanting to try Almond Breeze for awhile because it just sounded yummy to me. It's a fairly low-calorie milk substitute made of almonds. I'm a big almond fan, but I was a little concerned that it might have the same texture as soy milk, which feels like Maalox to me and makes me gag a little.

I bought some Almond Breeze yesterday and yum! I had it on some cereal and loved it. Sweet and nutty. I just bought the plain original, but I want to try the vanilla and chocolate now. I bet the chocolate would go great in a chocolate shake. Or a mocha shake with some coffee ice cream/frozen yogurt. Mmmm, I'm getting hungry...