Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mixing It Up

After unintentionally taking a week off from working out, I pulled my lazy bones out of bed this morning and headed for the gym. I did about 15 minutes of the weight machines and 20 minutes on the elliptical. Tomorrow, I will swim. Thursday I will do weights and elliptical, and so forth.

I'm going to increase my time and number of sets on the weight machines, but today I was just getting the feel of everything and figuring out where I am with each muscle group.

Newsflash: My legs are freakishly strong.

One thing about the elliptical is after about 10 minutes I am a gross, sweaty mess. I forgot to bring a towel with me today and felt pretty nasty when that 20 minutes was done. One perk of swimming is, I know I'm sweating, but I'm sweating in the water and no one else can see and I don't feel disgusting when I'm done.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Joints and a New Plan

I think everyone is right that I need to mix up my routine, which I suppose I've known all along, but since swimming is the only thing that doesn't bore me, I've been in denial. So my new plan is to alternate activities. I'll go to the Y and do a half hour of weights and maybe 20 minutes on the elliptical, then the next day I'll have a swim. My goal is to exercise 5 days a week.

Aaaand all that was SUPPOSED to start this morning, but another gray, rainy morning just sapped all willingness to get out of bed out of me. The thing is, I know if I just GET UP and go put my contacts in, I'll be awake and fine and ready to go. It's that initial swinging my legs out of bed that is proving to be difficult.

This past weekend I think I definitely proved that I'm wearing the wrong shoes. I'm fine if I walk 2 miles to work, sit for 8-10 hours, and then walk 2 miles home. But then that 5 minutes of jogging crippled me for days. Then Saturday we had sun (Yay!) and I walked down to a path near my house and just walked for an hour and a half. I probably walked about 5 miles, and I felt great. Then Saturday night, the place where my left leg connects to my hip started aching. Yesterday afternoon I was basically limping around the apartment and it's still a bit achy today.

I've always said that the elliptical is my aerobic machine of choice because it doesn't put stress on my joints. I've ellipticaled many times in these same sneakers and had no problem. And I can walk short distances apparently. But any additional stress and my joints get all messed up. Add to that a history of bad joints on both sides of my family and I'm a little paranoid about rattling my joints too much. So I'm looking forward to hopefully getting some new shoes soon.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Farm Share Week 4

So, I forgot to take a picture this week. As the season progresses, the bounty increases and there's already a lot to choose from. This week I got 20 stems of kale, mesclun mix, a braising mix of heartier greens, a bunch of new onions, broccoli and garlic scapes.

Today for part of my lunch, I had a mesclun salad with feta and Craisins. Tonight I'm making my favorite crockpot rotisserie style chicken (with new onions and garlic scapes) and I'm going to try making kale chips.

Last week when I made roasted broccoli with the fresh broccoli, Jason commented on how the fresh tastes much better than frozen. Go figure.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


This morning I got out of bed at 5:45 to feed the cat. Then I went back to bed with vague thoughts of swimming, then, oops too late for swimming, I'll shred. Then, oops, too late for anything except getting ready for work.

What I also thought while debating whether or not to just put on my swimsuit already is, what's the point? OK, yes, I do like the way I feel when I'm working out. I generally have more energy, I feel stronger and better about myself. However, ultimately, I have about 30 pounds I want to lose and this year, when I've dedicated myself to not being a scrub in the fall and winter and falling off the healthy living horse is the first year in the last couple when I haven't been able to drop 15 pounds by this point. This point meaning about 3-4 months into the healthy living thing.

I had a discussion with Rachel, my personal nutrition guru, about it on Sunday and we determined that with my BMR, I'm still not eating enough. Probably. I mean that might be the problem. At this point I feel like it's a big huge mystery and somehow this time I just don't have the keys to figure out how to make my body lose weight anymore.

My average weight for the past, oh, 3 months, is 190. This is despite swimming regularly, walking to work regularly, and occasionally throwing in some Pilates and shredding. I've been eating relatively well, and even when I have a treat, I factor it into my daily calories religiously. All of these things have worked before, but not this time.

A couple of weeks ago, I seriously almost started crying while I was swimming laps because I felt so frustrated. Now my frustration is compounded by the fact that we haven't seen the freakin' sun for the entire month of June and I'm into full-fledged discouragement. Also, my plants are dying because of the no sun. I'm a failure at everything!

Well, except work. Work is going pretty well so far. (Knock on wood)

So I'm trying to pull together the motivation to make my way to the pool tomorrow and Saturday and at least get in a couple of days of exercise. I'm still eating well (today so far I've had Greek yogurt with pineapple and a touch of honey, whole wheat bread with a bit of butter and a Greek salad (apparently I'm feeling Greek today)) Tonight I'll go home and fix some sort of healthy meal for Jason and me to eat. To give you an idea of our dinners, last night Jason commented that we sure do eat a LOT of vegetables.

I just feel beaten, somehow, and am not really sure how to get out of it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bum Week

At the beginning of this week I dutifully plugged all my workout information into SparkPeople. I find that if I've already logged it, I feel motivated to go and do it, rather than go back and delete it all. My plan for this week was swim Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and shred Tuesday, Thursday and maybe Saturday. Oh I also shredded Sunday morning*.

Well, Monday morning I woke up late and decided since I couldn't get in my swim, at least I could shred. So I did. Monday is also the day Jason came home after being gone for a week and a half. And thus Tuesday and Wednesday mornings found me laying in bed, convincing myself that I had 4 and then 3 whole days of the week left to get in my swims. Because, frankly, I would much rather loll about, half awake, cuddling with my husband and the cat, than pull myself away to go work out.

I can definitely feel that I haven't gotten in my allotted workouts this week. This afternoon I'm feeling more sluggish and I know tomorrow I really need to swim. And also Friday. Aaaaand Saturday.

The husband and the cat are quite hard to pass up, though.

*Although some members of my particular religion might say that breaks the Sabbath, for me, exercising is ultimately relaxing. Anywho...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Farm Share Week 3

This week I got 2 heads of lettuce, a pound of broccoli, spinach, mesclun mix and as many garlic scapes as I wanted (the scapes were free). I've used them a few times already in the place of garlic and they add a nice flavor.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Plugging Along

This morning I sat down on our hardwood floor to put my shoes on and said "Ow!" My bum is still sore. Go 30-Day Shred! This morning I swam, walked to work, and I'm planning on shredding when I get home*. Actually, I would like to walk home too, but I don't know if the rain will let up enough.**

So my swimming keeps improving and I'm trying to come up with ways to keep challenging my body in the hour I have to swim in the mornings. Instead of doing 8 50's on the minute, I now do 10, and I'm thinking about going to 10 50's on 55 seconds because I'm routinely finishing at about the 47 second mark and I think 13 seconds of rest is letting my heart rate slow down too much. Same goes with the 100's I do on 2:00. I finish at about 1:37 and am twiddling my thumbs. Well, not really. The rests are very nice. But I realize it means I'm not getting the best workout.

If I wasn't so intimidated by the local Masters team, I would join because I think I need a coach structuring my workouts. However, they're posting race times like :23 for a 50 free and that just freaks me right the heck out.

* I really like saying I'm "shredding". It sounds so violent - like I'm really beating up my body. You know, for its own good.
** Seriously, getting amazingly sick of the rain. When I lived in Tucson, rain was an occasional treat. It's been raining and gray for almost 3 weeks straight here and I've had quite enough.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I've been meaning to get Jillian Michaels 30-day Shred for a few weeks now since I've heard good things about it, but because my neighborhood Wal-Mart is the ghettoist of all ghetto Wal-Marts, they didn't have it. In fact, they didn't even have an exercise DVD section. Just a lone workout DVD stuck on an endcap that was probably mixed up in a delivery by mistake.

But this past weekend I got to go visit Target, which every woman will tell you is the best store in the world. Sadly, Wal-Mart is 2 minutes away, while the nearest Target is at least 20 minutes. When you need something fast after a long day at work, well, Wal-Mart is 2 minutes away.

Anyway, Target, of course, had the Shred.

This morning I shredded. And it was tough! I could do everything*, but my heart was really beating and I was dripping (that may have also been due to the 95% humidity this morning, but whatever). Also, do you know how long it's been since I did a jumping jack? Apparently too long.

So the workout is 20 minutes and goes:
3 sets of:
-3 minutes strength
-2 minutes cardio
-1 minute abs
Cool down/stretching

Let me tell you, it does not stop. You are going going going the whole time. I liked it! I like having a voice saying keep going, you can do it, two more, etc. I work well with someone rooting me on.

There are 3 levels of workouts and you're supposed to do 10 days of each of Levels 1, 2 and 3. I don't know if it's enough for me, frankly, so I'm going to supplement with my own cardio. I'll move up to Level 2 after 10 days, it will just take me a few weeks to finish 10 days.

* Well, except the push-ups. Girly style was offered as an option so that's what I did. I'm determined to be doing the real thing by day 10.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Farm Share Week 2

This week's bounty:
This week we got $10 to "spend" and a head of lettuce. I got a pound of radishes, collard greens and a half pound of spinach (which is actually a big pile of spinach). I haven't determined yet if it's actually worth the money since I'm still supplementing with other veggies that I buy. However, it's fun to go to this church in the Italian neighborhood to pick up who knows what. I'm excited to see what he'll have next week.

As an aside, I think collards are an acquired taste and I didn't grow up eating them. But I'm giving them the old college try. I found a recipe for Lemon Sesame Glazed Greens from Alton Brown that's good at taking away some of that bitter flavor.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Calories Calories

Yesterday was supposed to be my super high calorie day in the calorie cycle. 2233 calories. Um, that's a lot of food. I missed it by 650 calories. I had some friends over and just never got around to eating any sort of evening snack. Not that I could have covered that much ground in a snack, but I might have gotten a bit closer. So I bumped the high day to Friday, called yesterday a lower day (despite my 2 mile swim in the morning) and am moving forward.

Jason is sure that he has identified my problem with reaching my high calories: I eat too much healthy stuff. Last night he told me I'm never going to get to 2200 calories if I keep eating food like skinless chicken and broccoli. He offered to drive me to Wendy's right that minute so I could get a Frosty. (Tempting!) I tried to explain it's not just quantity, but quality I'm going after.

No swim this morning. The Friday work meeting got canceled so I can swim tomorrow now and I decided to give my body a rest. I did do a half hour of strength exercises this morning. I've decided that the best way to get better at push-ups is to build up my arm strength. So I did 20 modified push-ups first (on my knees, or, if you prefer, "Girl"-style, though my feminist sensibilities say, Do not like.) Then I did 2 sets of 6 real life push-ups. I need to get better at doing these more regularly so I can actually, you know, improve.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


To preface this morning's story, I have to note that I haven't been drinking soda lately. Maybe once a week. And I only have caffeinated sodas maybe once every 2 weeks or so.

This morning I woke up at 4:30 with a headache. So I took some Excedrin. On an empty stomach. I know that's not good, but I didn't really want to eat anything. While you might think the acetaminophen would give me an upset stomach, the real issue wound up being the caffeine (see the no soda note above). I'm still feeling a little loopy and my head is buzzing. Bzzzz.

On the upside, I was in the pool by 6:05, swam until 7:17 and did 3550 yards. That's 2 miles. Also, I did an 800 in 13:50, which is my best time in awhile. Also, I did 10 50's on the minute, but finished every single one at around :46. Then I did 6 100's on 2:00 and finished them all at about 1:37. The point is, I had looong rests because I was moving so fast this morning.

Is caffeine allowed in sports because wow, what a boost when your body isn't used to it?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Today's Swim

2400 yards this morning. I swam a 1500 in 26:20. Also, the only person in the pool lapping me was this very fast guy who I have named Splashy McSplasherson due to the GIANT splashes he makes whenever he flipturns.

Also, in wow-it's-a-small-world news, today I discovered that a man who I always see swimming used to work at the Department of Health and knows my boss. He recognized me from a public hearing I attended last week. I thought he looked familiar, but at the pool he was out of context, and, you know, in a Speedo.

I discovered today that I may not be able to swim on Saturday. Jason is going out of town and I have to drive him to the airport right in the middle of the 2 hours set aside in the early morning for lap swimming. Then I just called to schedule a massage (which I have been wanting to do since probably February) and the only appointment they had left was 15 minutes after the other Saturday lap swim ends. I think I can squeeze in a short swim, though. Hopefully. Note to the Y: always have 1 lane open for lap swimming.

By the way, according to Jillian Michaels on her radio show, she gets a massage every week. Ni-ice. I might start shooting for once a quarter. My office is very ergonomically unsound and my right shoulder is ALWAYS sore and stiff.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Monday, Monday

I am an introvert. Saturday I co-hosted a baby shower. Saturday night we went to a black-tie affair and sat at a table where we didn't know anyone (thank goodness the other people at the table were pretty awesome and we wound up talking all night). Sunday morning we went up to Cambridge and then stayed for a church picnic. Thus, this weekend was really fun, but completely exhausting, and this morning I could not wake up.

We have a department meeting in Boston on Friday, which means I'll be catching the 7:12 AM train. So Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I'm coming for you! Get ready for some swimming!

Saturday, I swam 2 miles in 75 minutes. I definitely think I'm getting faster.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Farm Share Week 1

*Sorry for the cross-posting at my other blog, but I know not everyone reads both*

I signed us up for half a farm share from a local farm. Yesterday afternoon I went and picked up our first week's bounty. The farmer* has a neat set-up. Instead of giving us a box of stuff, we get a certain amount to "spend" in his makeshift veggie store. So yesterday I got a plant and $10 to spend.

Behold:He had all sorts of herb plants and one kind of green pepper and 3 kinds of tomatoes. Since we currently have 10 or so different herbs growing in our house, I opted for a tomato plant, which I will be guerrila gardening at the side of our parking lot. I grew one tomato plant outside last year too since I couldn't find anyone to take it and I didn't want to kill it. It did pretty well and the landlady didn't seem to mind.

I also got a pound of radishes, 2 bags of collard greens and a bag of kale. Collard greens were on last night's menu. This recipe, actually. I had never cooked them before so already I'm branching out.

I'm realizing I will need to supplement a bit from the store. Like, I planned to bake a chicken today and I needed onions for that. So I'll still buy some staples unless Hippie Farmer Man starts bringing the staples to his shop.

* Read, hippie.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

What To Do?

I'm officially tired of this. In the past week and a half I've been 187, 193, 191, 190, and today 193 again. Why am I so all over the place and why is the weight not going down? I'm eating well (well, except for the Auntie Anne's night. Although, I did lose a pound the next day so make of that what you will). I'm drinking water. I'm working out.

I decided to review my SparkPeople records. Here's the nice thing about anally logging all my calories and fitness: I have records! Records of what I was doing when I was losing weight.

I've just been looking at my workout and food logs for last May, June and July. My workouts were very similar, although I was doing a LOT more Pilates. Need to get back into that. I was also doing HIIT elliptical, which may have something to do with it. But mostly I was swimming like I am now and overall, the calories I burned over the course of a week were about the same as they are now. What is the big difference between then and now? Last year I was eating a LOT more food.

I'm always talking about how you need to fuel your body when you're working out, but I have to admit I've been slacking on that myself. I honestly just haven't been as hungry. Last year I was calorie cycling and I felt like I was eating ALL. THE. TIME. On my high calorie days (2200 calories), I would often make myself a big chocolate protein shake in the evening just to meet my calories. And in June I got down to 178 - the lowest I had been in many, many years and a heck of a lot closer to my goal than I am now.

Ostensibly, I have given myself a 1450-2000 calorie range, but I can't tell you the last time I ate near 2000 calories. Even on the days when I've had treats like cake or ice cream, my daily calories have still been hovering between 1300 and 1600. I know I've written about needing to eat more before and have had it confirmed by my resident experts (Hi, Rachel!) so I just need to do it already. I'll shoot for around 1800 calories a day and see where that gets me.

Um, so, right now I need to eat some more food! I've only had 500 calories today so far and it's 1 PM.


Today I'm up 3 pounds. Anyone else think my scale is full of crap?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Latest

Last night we went to the movies and I couldn't get home for some dinner and ate at the mall. Dinner was Auntie Anne's pretzel sticks and an apple that I was going to eat earlier in the day, but saved. I know, dinner of champions. I also drank 2 cups of milk when we got home because I was hungry, but it was also close to bedtime.

Scale says I lost a pound this morning.

To the scale I say, what-EVER.

110 lengths this morning.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

More Weight

I know I should just stop, but I have a morbid curiosity. Today I'm back down 2 pounds.

In other news, I actually did some strength training this morning in lieu of swimming. I had to drive to work today (and will again tomorrow), so no walking, but I'm glad I got up and did some weights, crunches and push ups. Granted I could only do 6 piddly push-ups at a time, but it's a start.

Monday, June 01, 2009


As of this morning, I'm up 6 pounds in one week. I now weigh 1 pound more than I did at the beginning of January. Something is going on, and I don't know what it is...

Regardless, I am pressing on. Today I swam 2400 yards and am walking to and from work. I am also rededicating myself to the monthly splurge day idea. Hopefully I can do it for real this month. Jason will be gone for about 10 days this month so I won't have anyone telling me about all the ice cream on sale and will just avoid that aisle at the store altogether. Also, I signed us up for a Farm Share and am really excited to pick up our first box of vegetables this week. I'm looking forward to learning about new veggies and cooking with them.

Hopefully the weight will go down someday. I was moaning about this to Jason last night. Last Spring and Summer I lost weight, the Spring and Summer before I lost weight. This year is a wash so far.

Even if the weight isn't going down, at least I feel more fit. I swam for 50 minutes this morning and did 96 lengths. The sets I did totally kicked my butt, so I felt good about the workout overall. And on beautiful days like today, I love, love, LOVE being able to walk to work!