Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I got a swimsuit for Hawaii! Land's End won't let me copy their picture, so I'll give you the link. I wound up getting this one not so much for its slenderizing properties, but because I thought the criss-cross back was cute and I liked the way the rouching in the front looked. Plus I love the color: teal blue.

The suit arrived last week and I tried it on Saturday, assessing myself from every angle in the full-length mirror. First off, Land's End is NOT KIDDING about the whole "control" thing. I wrestled the suit up and over my thighs. It was a bit of a struggle. But once it was on, it fit great. Actually, they have the same suit modeled at another place on their site by a super skinny model type with no discernible hips and, frankly, I think it looks better on me (you know, if you ignore the cellulite on my thighs). The suit really works for someone curvy, in my opinion.

I also like that the front isn't too low and it stays in place. Thus, I feel like I'll be able to snorkle in Hawaii without giving everyone a peep show.

I also ordered a tankini at the same time and learned that tankinis don't really work when your hips are a good 12 inches bigger than your waist. The pieces fit right up until the top hit the shelf that is my bum. Then it folded and bunched and looked horrible. Oh well. That one will be going back.

Tried To Run...

Well, after a little more than a week since the last time I tried running, I thought I would give it a try this morning. I managed to do 1 jogging interval and that was it. My knees were killing me.


So I stopped the treadmill and got on the elliptical instead. I forgot how easy the elliptical is on the knees. Compared to the treadmill, I felt so light and airy.

I did a HIIT session on the elliptical with 6 1-minute intense intervals followed by 1 1/2 minute recovery periods. I was a sweaty beast by the end of it, so I think it went pretty well. As I was leaving the gym, though, my knees were aching.

This past weekend we went hiking with some friends who are runners and I asked their opinion about the knee thing. They speculated it might be the IT band and showed me a couple of good stretches, which I did when I got home today. I'll try jogging again in a week and see what happens.

Oh, I also did 20 minutes of strength training this morning. I know no one else can see it, but I am totally seeing some new definition in my upper arms.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Pill

I emailed Rachel, my nutrition and healthy living guru*, about this and thought I would post and see if anyone has any thoughts. Is it possible I'm not losing weight because I'm on The Pill?

*Everyone needs one of these in their lives. I'm just lucky she's my friend and not, like, someone I have to pay.

I did a little googling this morning on my brand and it turns out there are LOTS of women who have posted about having problems with gaining weight and/or not being able to lose weight. For some people, it was immediate, for some people it took awhile for these side effects to show up.

I've been on the same Pill since January 2008. In 2008 I managed to lose some weight with healthy eating and exercise. Then I gained it back over the holidays because I ate what I wanted and stopped working out for 4 months. Understandable.

In 2009 I rededicated myself to the healthy living and I ate well and exercised and didn't lose any weight. Frustration abounded. Then I got sick over and over and over again throughout the Fall and beginning of Winter. Only this time, I tried to be a bit more careful and over those sicko months, I didn't gain any weight.

As you all know, I got back on the exercise horse a couple months ago. I have swum, ellipticaled, jogged, walked and lifted weights. No change in weight.

I have recorded the food that goes into my mouth diligently and, with the exception of one or two days, I have stayed within a reasonable calorie range. Even on my unreasonable days, I was maybe 200 calories above where I wanted to be. No change in weight.

I have restarted low carb. No change in weight.

I bounce around 187-191 and that's where I stay no matter what I do.

I know some people have mentioned the Pill made them gain weight or prevented them from losing weight and I wonder if that could be what's going on. I know how to lose weight. I've lost almost 40 pounds and kept it off for 7 years.

I figure maybe it's the pill, or maybe I really do have the most picky metabolism known to man and a brownie at the end of the week has the ability to completely derail 3-5 workouts and eating healthy and within a good calorie range ALL WEEK LONG. I prefer to think it's the pills.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I want to win the KettleWorx Ultra set, which is why I'm giving a plug to this contest on Endurance Isn't Only Physical.

Seriously, my arms are weak.

Swim-A-Thon Results

Goal: 60 laps

Completed: 64 laps!

Or, in other words, 3200 yards.

My legs are tired.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Of Bums and Swimming

No swim this morning after all. I was up lateish and I know this weekend I'll be extremely active. First the swim-a-thon, then we're going hiking with our friend who does crazy things like trail races in the Alps. Though to be fair to him, he totally waited back with me when I thought I was going to die hiking in September because my lungs weren't fully healed from bronchitis. I told everyone to go ahead, but they wouldn't. Nice people.

My knees are still hurting some when I walk, so I'm just going to swim and maybe throw in some elliptical along with strength training for the next week. My friend Rachel mentioned a 5K that she wants Jason and I to run in June (I think. June, right? Rachel?). Jason will be able to do it, no problem (he's doing so great!) and I would love to, but I don't know if my body is going to cooperate.

As I was hobbling around last night, I could see the worry in Jason's eyes and I know he's wondering if I'm going to end up with severe arthritis like my mom. The thing is, my mom started having problems when she was much younger than me. Plus, even though I look exactly like her, I'm built like my dad's side of the family. Like my Nana, actually, with what she always called "The Puckett Butt". The Puckett Butt is defined by an arched back and a bum that sticks out for all the world to see. (Puckett was her maiden name) Sadly, I didn't get her height. She was 5' 10". I always thought 5'9" would be nice...

Anyway, here's hoping that this is just a minor setback and not an indication of something more serious.

In other news, Jason broke into the 100's yesterday morning! Down from a high of about 216, he's now 199.

I'm looking forward to the swim-a-thon tomorrow and psyching myself up to jump in, keep a steady pace, and finish all 60 laps in an hour.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Water Baby

Last night after work I went for a swim and managed to do 60 lengths of the pool in 30 minutes. Exactly the pace I'm shooting for on Saturday at the swim-a-thon. I started out slowly, so I think if I start out at a medium pace, I can definitely get it done.

I can't begin to express how natural I feel in the water. I've always felt that way. When I'm done with a swim, I feel peaceful and confident. Last night, I ached a little, but I loved that familiar aching of the muscles I use to pull myself through the water.

I'm really looking forward to our trip to Hawaii and getting back into the ocean. I used to go to Florida every year to visit family, but haven't been there in a few years now. My favorite thing is to dive down below the waves and stay under as long as I can, swimming out as far as I can.

I took this morning off from the gym, but walked to work. My knees are still sore. By the end of the walk, they were really hurting. I'm going to take a week off from running and then start C25K over. I told Jason, this will be my third try. If I get sidelined a 3rd time, I may have to admit that running just isn't for me.

Tomorrow I'll do one more prep swim and then Saturday is the swim-a-thon.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chubby Babies

Babies are adorable. Chubby babies even moreso.

That's why articles like this one, stating that maybe the chub on your baby could indicate an early slide into obesity, make me so mad! It's not the only article of its kind.

They're babies! Please, let's let the babies be chubby if that's the way their bodies want it.

I only have my own empirical evidence here, but I'm going to go out on a limb and state that baby chubbiness has little to nothing to do with your weight later in life. For instance, I was a skinny baby and a skinny little girl. Then I hit puberty, sprouted hips and boobs, and gained an extra layer of fat (or two) that I've been fighting ever since.

My mom used to watch babies in our home. We had this one baby who was HUGE. She made us giggle with her roli-poliness. We fed her exactly what the other babies got, she just carried it in big, squeezable rolls. I saw her a few years later when she was probably 6 or so and she had leaned out completely. Not even the little six year-old belly remained. I don't think there's much rhyme or reason because babies and kids develop in completely different ways. Maybe Kate Moss was a chubby baby. There's no way to tell.

Our obsession with obesity is out of control! I have seen kids who are severely overweight and who are probably not eating good food and not getting outside and playing much. However, I think by and large some kids are skinny, some kids are chubby, and that's just how it is.

All these scary articles about the obesity epidemic are using that word as defined by the BMI, which I've mentioned before I think is a big load of hooey. I personally want to lose weight, but I know I'll never get out of the the "overweight" category according to the BMI. And, frankly, I'm fine with that because I've been "normal" weight before and I looked unhealthy.

I do realize that many people eat unhealthily and that we are constantly inundated with the extreme side of obesity in shows like The Biggest Loser. However, as Tom Naughton pointed out in his awesome movie Fat Head, in reality our average national weight has only gone up around 10 pounds. AND the key point is, our average national age has gone up by 10 years, from 25-35. The slowing of the metabolism as we get older can easily account for those extra 10 pounds.

Telling us our babies' chubbiness is just the slippery slope to obesity leads to babies being denied health insurance and parents starving their children because they don't want them to be fat. When I start a family, my plan is to feed my children healthy foods and if they are chubby, fabulous. I refuse to give my infant body image issues.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Apparently now my knees are rebelling. The rebelliousness is just moving up my legs, I guess. The next couple times I run, I expect my hips will hurt.

Last night after work I went to the gym, planning to do some strength training and to get going with Week 2 of Couch to 5K.

Of note: my arms are getting stronger. First, I upped the weight on the bicep curls machine and did 3 sets of 10. Which means I actually get to use the pin now! 20 pounds is the default setting, but now I'm up to 35 pounds! (I did mention my arms are weak and piddly, yes?) Second, when I took the big baking sheet with the roasted broccoli and asparagus on it out of the oven and used my left arm to tip the sheet over a mixing bowl to dump the veggies in, there was no struggle. Sometimes I can't hold the sheet up for quite as long as I need to. Last night, no problem.

So I did some arm and leg weights for about 20 minutes and headed over to the treadmill. My legs felt a little sore from our hike/walk in the woods on Saturday, but it wasn't so bad during my 5-minute warm-up walk. The second I started the jogging interval, my knees felt like they were going to fall off. I did 60 seconds of jogging instead of 90 seconds, walked for 90 seconds, and tried another jogging interval. Same thing. I managed to eke out 4 jogging intervals, but finally stopped after 15 minutes.

I was sore all night and the few times I woke up during the night and tried to roll over, it was a struggle because my knees hurt so bad. So no swim this morning. Heck, I couldn't really walk very well. Having to run to catch my bus didn't help things. After walking from the bus to the office (all of like 200 feet) I felt a little nauseated.

They seem to be feeling better now, but I think I'm going to take Jason's advice and stick to swimming for the rest of the week. It's just bizarre.

After the gym, I made a great dinner: Broiled Lemon Caper Mahi Mahi and Roasted Broccoli and Asparagus. Fabulous!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Active Weekend & Low-Carb Pasta

My first bit of news is I did not get up and go to the gym Saturday morning. I was inadvertently* up until 1:30 on Friday night and had to be somewhere at 10 AM on Saturday morning, so a run in between waking up and picking up some people at 9:30 AM was not happening. However, Saturday was GORGEOUS and Jason and I went for a long walk in the woods near Foxboro, Massachusetts. It was lovely. We used a coupon and went out for dinner Saturday night, where I had a steak and veggies and a salad, with two small pieces of bread.

*Seriously lost track of time while watching TV with Jason and knitting a baby sweater.

Yesterday, I went for a swim before church. Generally I don't exercise on Sundays, but I need to get in a bit more time in the pool before the swim-a-thon on Saturday. Besides, swimming for me is relaxing. It's a nice way for me to decompress a bit.

So food and exercise was good this weekend, until the brownies last night. We have a friend who has an MA in Art History and who is also a fabulous cook. She gave a presentation last night on art at our church AND she made brownies for it. I grabbed a small square and took a bite. And my eyes rolled back in my head. And my knees went weak. Seriously, I usually don't get these kinds of reactions from food, but these brownies were probably the most divine things I've tasted.

Dangerous, yes?

I had 3. Well, 2 1/2 since Jason ate a big bite out of my third. Thankfully, she had cut them into smallish squares so it wasn't as bad as it could have been. But not ideal. The thing is, looking back, I'm ok with it. Despite my desire to eat healthy, I really don't want to have missed out on the most divine brownies ever.

I'm going to ask her for the recipe and then only cook them once a year when I know that I'll be giving them away to other people, but I can have one after they're done cooking.

Oh, also last night, Jason and I tried Dreamfields low-carb pasta. We were tired and bleh and didn't want to cook so I suggested spaghetti since I knew I had just gotten the Dreamfields. It tasted great! I don't know how they do it, but somehow they have formulated the pasta so only 5 grams of the 41 grams of carbs per serving actually get digested. Maybe it's all smoke and mirrors and not true at all, but I'm going to believe them for now. Jason and I both noticed it was less starchy than regular pasta.

Jason and I also both noticed that neither of us can handle two servings of pasta. My second bowl was actually half a bowl, and I only ate half of that, but even so, we were both uncomfortably stuffed afterward. I definitely should have stopped at one bowl. I'm actually pretty excited that Jason is noticing these things about himself and not liking how he feels when he stuffs himself. He's lost about 10 pounds and is just about to flip from 200 to the 190s. Pretty exciting!

Of course, if he keeps losing this fast and I keep NOT losing, I'm going to be very miffed when he's officially lighter than me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Buddy System

Last night I had the thought while I was reading other peoples' health and fitness blogs for inspiration that it would be awesome to have a gym buddy. I really do appreciate all the motivation I get from everyone on here and through reading other blogs, but to know that someone will be waiting for me to show up at the gym at 6 AM is some great motivation because I am very susceptible to guilt.

My last year of college, my friend Nikki and I would meet up at the gym and go together. I knew she would be there so I had better show up. And she knew I would be there. It was such a good way to be accountable.

While I was mulling this over, I remembered my gym had posted signs all over the place a few months ago about gym buddies. You could post your info on a bulletin board to get connected with potential gym buddies. So this morning I checked out the buddy board. There wasn't a single posting on it. So much for that idea. (I kind of hope that this just means that everyone got all matched up with their buddies a couple months ago, not that the Y's buddy plan was a sad failure that just faded away).

Well, until Jason magically stops being nocturnal, I'll just keep posting my gym trips on here and being accountable to you. At least Jason and I go to the gym together on Saturday. Also, he's actually an awesome cheerleader when I tell him what I did to work out on any given day.

Gym Report 3/19 - Swim

40 minute swim. I did 70 lengths, which is ok, but not as fast as I want to be. Next weekend at the swim-a-thon I want to do 120 lengths in 60 minutes. I don't know if I'll be able to, but that's my goal.

Last night I was griping to some friends about how I didn't really feel like swimming. Now that I'm doing the Couch to 5K, I have this concrete goal that I'm working toward and I want to work on that. I know I can't run every day, though, and I do need to get in at least a little preparation for the swim-a-thon.

Then I hit the water and remembered, oh right, I LOVE swimming.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gym Report 3/18

I did it! I got up and went to the gym! It was hard because, I don't know if you noticed, but since Sunday it's dark in the early morning again. I can't wait until the sun is up when I am.

I did workout 1 for week 2 of the Couch to 5K. Actually, to be honest I'm going to say I did workout .8 for week 2. Workout 1 is a 5 minute warm up, then 6 intervals of 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking. During the 5th interval I got a stitch in my side. I tried to jog through it, but finally stopped running at 75 seconds. I intended to make the 6th interval 105 seconds, but the stitch came back and that one was only 75 seconds as well. So I'm not counting the workout toward the Couch to 5K progress. I still have 3 workouts for week 2 to do. I'm not on any sort of deadline and I'm fine with easing into this and making sure I'm really ready to move forward.

The fabulous news is, my ankles didn't hurt! They were a little sore afterward, but I stretched and hopefully they'll be ready for more running by Saturday morning, when I'm totally going to own workout 1 for real.

I also did a 20 minute weight machine circuit. Does anyone else have aimless gym people you have to navigate around? There was this guy there this morning who was just kind of wandering from weight machine to weight machine. He would sit at one, put the weight really high, then do one really fast set of 10 or so reps, looking like he was going to die the entire time. Then he would get up and aimlessly wander to another machine.

When I do weights I like to bounce between two different machines between sets so that I'm never just sitting there doing nothing. Since there were 3 people in the weight area this morning, I thought there wouldn't be an issue. Only, the aimless wanderer cut me off 3 times. It was no big deal, I just went to a different machine and then came back to the one he used, but the other guy in the weight area saw this happen each time and after the 3rd time, we made eye contact and he smiled and rolled his eyes at the wanderer. I love gym solidarity.

In addition to the gym time, this morning I walked to work. I felt energetic and it's an amazingly beautiful day here. Perfect for a 2 mile walk!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Seriously, I Have Issues

Today I'm wondering what is wrong with me?

Get this. I woke up ON MY OWN at 5:30 this morning. I figured I would lay in bed until 6 or so and then get up and go for a swim. Only, that didn't happen. I cuddled with the kitty (who has determined that the best way to get fed in the morning is to be snuggly and purry. MUCH more effective than standing on the headboard screaming at us, which was his previous m.o.) and kept checking my clock. Then I fell back asleep and woke up at 6:25. Still time to get up and go, right? Yes.

But then I fell back asleep and finally got up too late to go to the gym or to walk to work.

I'm having a major mental block involving rolling out of bed in the mornings. Once I am OUT of the bed, putting in my contacts and getting ready to go, I'm fine. I'm even better than fine because then I go work out and I have endorphins and I feel proud of myself for working out.

This is my pledge to you: THURSDAY! FRIDAY! SATURDAY! I will be out of bed and at the gym in the morning. In fact the first thing I will do when I log on my computer in the morning is come on here and check in and let you know what I did.

Hmmm, that's not a bad idea. Maybe I should do that every day. If I have to actually tell someone about it (other than Jason and the cat) then that should motivate me to not slack off. Keep me accountable, my friends!

On the up side, eating has been stellar this week. Many people say it's 80% about the food, so at least I'm 80% on target. And that's not bad.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Was Run-ning

So I kind of like this running thing so far.

I know, I'm shocked too.

Of course, in the first week of Couch to 5K I only run a grand total of 8 minutes per workout, but for those 8 minutes I like it. The only problem is, my ankles are KILLING me. I don't know if it's a joint thing or if it's because I have weak ankles or what. I'm hoping someone else knows what I'm talking about because Jason seems befuddled by my ankle pain. He said when he started running, the muscles attached to his ankles were sore, and mine are too, but this is something different.

I ran Saturday morning and again last night, officially completing week 1 of C25K. I almost quit mid-workout last night. I would feel ok while I was actually running, but when I slowed down for the 90 seconds of walking, my ankles hurt SO. BAD. I had to slow down my walk pace from 3.5 mph to 3.0 mph for about 30 seconds and hold onto the arms of the treadmill for a bit to take some of my weight off my ankles. By about the 4th running interval I was seriously considering stopping, but I talked myself into stopping after the 6th and then at that point I figured I was so close to doing all 8 intervals, I might as well finish.

My theory is that I have insanely weak ankles and until they get stronger, I'll have ankle pain when I run. Thoughts?

In case you're thinking it's my shoes, I actually have been fitted by a running pro who owns a running store for the correct shoes (my sister-in-law's dad. And he gave me a fat discount!). Last year I tried to run in my regular sneakers without seeing a pro and I definitely suffered for it. In a different way than this ankle thing, though.

The bummer part is, I am enjoying this, which is not something I ever thought I would say about a running program. I kind of want to do workout 1 of week 2 tonight after work. Don't worry, I won't. I'll let my sore bones rest. It's just annoying.

Friday, March 12, 2010

What Have I Done Today?

The Biggest Loser theme song sings, "What have I done today to make me feel proud?" The Television Without Pity recapper for The Biggest Loser* always starts her recaps with what she has done that day to make her feel proud, with a healthy dose of snark thrown in for good measure.

*Who also lives in Providence and since everyone here knows everyone else, I'm sure I've met or at least seen her at some point over the past 2 1/2 years and I wish I knew who she was so the next time I see her I could tell her how much I love her recaps. I always think the same thing as her when TBL toys with us. Like this past week with the long drawn-out drama of how Sam forgot his lunch which wound up being a long lead-in to a Subway product placement. Her response: "Those f***ers." Not exactly my words, as the asterisks will tell you, but my sentiment exactly!

So what have I done to make me feel proud?

Wednesday night I drove ALL THE WAY to southeast Rhode Island for a meeting that wound up being canceled. So then I drove ALL THE WAY back and needed to stop at 2 stores before I could go home. I had planned to bake some chicken for dinner, but when Jason and I both got home at about 7:30 I announced that I didn't want to wait an hour and a half for dinner so we were getting take out. Jason suggested we use our 2 for $20 Bugaboo Creek coupon, which got us an appetizer sampler and two entrees for $20.

At the end of the meal, Jason commented on the detritus of carbohydrates left on my plates. First, we had bread, and I LOVE their bread. So I had 2 small pieces, but by no means half of the mini loaf they gave us. Then came the appetizer sampler: buffalo wings, chicken strips and mozzarella sticks. I had one wing and then peeled the breading off one chicken strip and one mozzarella stick and ate those. I ordered an extra side salad for myself and the croutons joined the pile of breading on my plate. I got the rib eye steak with steamed vegetables, which unbeknownst to me came on a bed of fried onions. Ate the steak and veggies, left the onions.

Ta-dah! Next morning, down another pound, so apparently I managed to stay on course.

Last night I went out for Mexican food with a friend (Hi, Annie!) and indulged in tortilla chips, a tamale and half of some enchiladas verdes. I knew we were going out so I had been watching my carbs during the day. I know I went over 100 g, but it wasn't major.

FYI, if you like Mexican food and fear there is none to be had in New England, I recommend El Rancho Grande. Their salsa is actually spicy! Un milagro! Ay dios mio!

This morning, I had a meeting up in Boston then took the train back to Providence. You know what they have at South Station in Boston? An Auntie Anne's. I LOVE Auntie Anne's pretzels! Did I get one today? No, I did not. We're going out to dinner with some friends tonight for Portuguese food and while I know I can order smart, I'm also not quite sure what my options will be. I'd rather indulge in a new Portuguese carby delight than abstain because I already had the pretzel.

So I think I'm doing well. Also, I've determined that living this low-carb lifestyle is totally doable.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Eat On Less Than $35!

This morning I read an article titled "How To Eat On Less Than $35 A Week". I really don't know why I still bother with these articles. I'm hoping, I guess, that there will be some actual, useful tips, but there never are. Like the article about maximizing coupons, which consisted of telling us that if we just used coupons to buy our processed crap, all our money woes would be over. Well, duh. I use coupons. The only problem is, I don't buy a lot of stuff that you can use coupons for. Instead I buy produce and unprepared meat.

These types of articles are always geared toward highly-processed foods. This article is no exception. What it should really be called is "How To Eat On Less Than $35 A Week So Long As You Don't Mind Eating Processed, Non-Nutritional Crap". The shopping list consists of hot dogs, buns, bologna (gag!), chopped ham (gag!), ground beef, egg noodles, ketchup, condensed soup, cereal, spaghetti, etc. The one nod to health is 2 1-lb bags of frozen vegetables. They also suggest, as an afterthought, that you might try substituting a bag of apples for some of those noodles, you know, "if you have a lighter appetite or are health conscious."

Wait, shouldn't we be encouraging everyone to be health conscious? Not just as an afterthought?

Let's look at the menus the author sets forth:

Day One
Breakfast: 2 bowls of milk and cereal
Lunch: 1/2 pound buttered noodles and 2 sandwiches (your choice)
Dinner: 2 hot dogs, 2 potatoes 4 ounces vegetables
Snack: popcorn

Day Two
Breakfast: 2 bowls of milk and cereal
Lunch: 2 sandwiches and soup
Dinner: spaghetti
Snack: popcorn

Day Three
Breakfast: 2 bowls milk and cereal
Lunch: 1/2 pound buttered noodles, 2 sandwiches
Dinner: 2 quarter-pound burgers, potatoes and 4 ounces vegetables
Snack: popcorn

Yummmmm! Carby carb carb! Not to mention all that sodium in your bologna and chopped ham (again, gag!). Plus, the possible carcinogens in your bags of microwave popcorn. It is so cheap and easy to pop some real popcorn in a pan on the stove or a paper bag in the microwave without all the additives. Plus it tastes better. If we're going to have popcorn, let's cook it the good way.

The article is geared toward college kids living on a budget, which I can get behind. However, I think it would be much more useful to teach college kids how to eat healthy on a budget. I know I ate marginally healthy in college, with apples and bananas for snack, and multiple experimentations with ways to cook vegetables. I also ate my fair share of ramen and mac and cheese. Whatever, it was college. It happens.

After reading this article, I feel inspired to write a book to teach college kids how to eat healthy on a budget.


It's amazing how jogging can make you keenly aware of your ankles. This morning I got out of bed and my ankles screamed at me to get off them already and who do I think I am?

I had a swim scheduled, but as I hobbled the 5 feet from my bed to the bathroom I made an executive decision to rest my weary bones and muscles. And tendons and ligaments.

Eventually I will be able to work out 4-5 times a week, but I'm trying to listen to my body and ease into it so I don't get injured this time around.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Everyone Else is Doing It...

Peer pressure is making me do the Couch to 5K.

OK, so no one's really pressuring me, it just seems like a lot of people are starting up. The weather has been awesome here the past couple of days so I went for a little walk/jog this morning. I can already tell my legs are going to be SORE. Jason and I have already agreed that if we get to the 5K point, we'll enter an actual 5K race.

Doing the C25K allows me to use my heart rate monitor and foot pod that I got last year and then only used twice before entering the Fall and Winter of Sickness. I realized a couple of weeks ago that it doesn't really work with the elliptical as far as telling me anything about distance or steps, which is kind of a drag. (Though I did discover that the elliptical's heart rate monitor on the machine itself is very accurate. Good to know.) So running/walking is the best way to use my new toy.

Today the first few intervals were fine, but by numbers 7 and 8 I was DONE. I can't imagine running a 5K straight, but I know if I keep on, I'll get there. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

On a good note, I felt fantastic afterward. I am discovering my body adores intervals (and, I'm assuming, the endorphins that come with them). I don't really adore the during part so much, but I always feel great when it's done and really pumped up for the day.

2 other good things:

1) As of this morning I'm 4 pounds lighter. Meaning the 4 pounds I was crying about on Saturday went away. We'll see what this Saturday brings, but I feel better.

2) Awesome smoothie today:

6 frozen unsweetened strawberries
1/2 banana
1 serving chocolate Amazing Grass
1/2 scoop unflavored protein powder
1/4 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
1 cup unsweetened plain Almond Breeze
1/4 packet Stevia


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Shopping Bag Giveaway

Does anyone find it annoying when people blog about giveaways? I realize it's a plug for the company and all, but I happen to like this company, so here we are.

Mambo Sprouts is pretty cool because they have coupons for organic and other natural foods. I don't use many of their coupons because even though it's healthy food, it's still mainly processed food, and I generally don't use processed foods when I cook. But I support the idea and I diligently go through my Mambo Sprouts mailer to see if there's anything I can use.

(This is the problem with coupons in general. What we need are "Buy 1 apple, get 1 apple free" and similar coupons.)

Anyway, Mambo Sprouts is giving away some cute shopping bags if you pledge to give up plastic shopping bags. I already have a few reusable shopping bags and am trying to obtain a critical mass so that when I go shopping I actually have some of the bags in the car with me. When I bring them into the apartment, they never seem to leave. But there must be a magic number where they start migrating back to the car.

So go enter! Save the planet! Etc!

Monday, March 08, 2010


I'm trying to stay positive and not let the scale emotionally abuse me. So we'll talk about the good stuff.

This weekend was crazy! Saturday we had a birthday party, dinner with some friends, and a concert up in Somerville, Mass. Sunday we had church and Jason's choral Evensong service up in Cambridge. I meant to cook something in the crock pot, but was running late all morning. So we used the chicken to make a stir fry. Yum!

Overall, I have to say, my eating was pretty good. On Saturday, I did have some ice cream at the birthday party, but that was in lieu of ice cream and cake. (I suppose you could argue that the ice cream was in lieu of nothing, but it was better than it could have been).

Sunday, I made the coconutty pancakes for breakfast. They were okay. I can see the potential and am going to tweak the recipe a bit because it lets me have low-carb pancakes and, truth be told, I love pancakes. Maybe some cinnamon...

I drove up to Cambridge with my friend Rachel, who also sings in the choir, and she had brought lovely peanut butter sandwiches and apples for us to eat on the way. I had brought a peanut butter cookie Larabar and had meant to bring an apple, but forgot, so she wins the being prepared award.

After Evensong they always have a reception with great food, including these fudgey brownie bites that are divine. I skipped the brownie bites. And the cookies. And the pastries. So proud of me.

We had stir fry and salad for dinner, and I ate about 2/3 cup of rice with the chicken and veggies. I am okay with that.

I slept in a bit this morning thinking I would walk to and from work. Then, too late, I remembered I have a meeting later that I need my car for. So I drove in. BUT it is an amazingly gorgeous day so I went for a lunchtime walk next to the river, looping the path and the basin over by the mall twice. Not really a workout, per se, but definitely nice.

Tonight I'll get home a bit late from the meeting, but then it's straight to bed so I can get to the gym tomorrow.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Update from the Drama Queen

So I'm feeling a little better.

Still frustrated.

But I got up off the couch and went to the gym and did a half hour of weights and HIIT elliptical (I got there too late to swim laps. The pool has very specific hours for lap swimming.) Anyway, a good load of endorphins has improved my mood a lot.

I'm off to a day of parties and fun and I will stick to my food goals.


I am feeling utterly defeated.

I spend a lot of my spare time learning about health and nutrition. I find it fascinating. I think it is so interesting to learn the science and apply it to my life and my way of eating and exercising and living. I look for different and interesting ways to cook vegetables so that we don't get bored with the same old thing and so that I can cook healthy for us. I meticulously watch my carbs and try to eat healthy. I log my food and try to be smart about what I put in my body. I pack in a bag of meals and snacks to work every day. I lift weights and do HIIT.

I have gained 4 pounds in the last 2 weeks.

I've documented my lapses here. Last Sunday with the poor planning and the breakfast and lunch of pumpkin bread. Thursday with the high calories (though, like I said, in low carb calories aren't supposed to matter quite so much. You CAN overeat, of course, but 2100 calories isn't egregious, especially since by BMR is 1600 calories anyway).

Oh, and lest you say, well it's not really the scale that counts, I'm doing all over measurements as well. In the last 2 weeks I have lost half an inch off my bust. That's the only loss, and frankly, I'm none too pleased about it. Everything else is the same.

I had a long discussion with Jason last night, just venting my frustrations. I weighed myself yesterday morning and had a good idea what the news would be for my official weigh-in this morning. I talked about how frustrated I get when I read articles about people who lost weight who say things like, "Well, I realized I needed to stop eating that pint of Ben and Jerry's every night" or "I quit eating a dozen donuts every Saturday".

I find those types of comments so incredibly unhelpful because I DON'T eat like that. Jason even said last night, "No, you eat salmon and broccoli every night." That's an exaggeration, but his point is, I eat some protein and a big pile of vegetables every night. Then I might have a glass of milk or a tablespoon of peanut butter or a small smoothie for a snack. Maybe. Often it's just dinner and then I'm done.

I have 30 pounds to lose and I wonder if people look at me and think, "Pssh, just stop eating that ice cream every night!" People make comments like that on article and blogs about obesity. I can guarantee I'm not the only person with weight to lose who doesn't eat piles of candy and pastries every day.

Jason, however, has lost 10 pounds in the last couple of weeks. I am so pleased for him, of course, and so proud that he is making an effort.

His secret? When he goes to lab functions, he only eats 1 cookie instead of 10. He still eats his footlong from Subway every day. He eats whatever I cook for dinner (some sort of protein and vegetables generally). He went jogging a couple times this week.

In the past, low-carb has been my magic bullet. I lost 5 pounds in one week. This time...

I am at a loss and I am sad and I may have cried a little.

I feel like giving up. I'm supposed to go to the gym this morning and do weights and swim. I don't want to. I want to sit here and be depressed and just think about how futile it all is.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


I have two new blogs I've been enjoying: Pimp My Protein Shake and Smoothie Girl Eats Too. They have lots of protein smoothie recipes and other creative ideas for high-protein foods (Totally trying the coconutty pancakes soon). They have opened my eyes to the wonders of guar gum and/or xantham gum, which are natural products that make your smoothies creamy. In the summer, I usually make a protein smoothie at home and bring it to work for breakfast. One of my biggest complaints is how it separates by the time I get to work. Lo and behold, a little sprinkle of one of those gums equals no separation.

Last night I got home from work and immediately erupted into a cleaning frenzy because I hosted craft night and I haven't had people over for 2 weeks and we have a magical ability to destroy our home in that amount of time.

(And for those of you who were there last night and might read this and are thinking, "Wait, that was AFTER she cleaned...?", I KNOW. It's an effort just to keep the chaos at bay.)

So instead of cooking something time consuming for dinner, I made a protein smoothie (and also a bunless hamburger with muenster cheese). Inspired by my new smoothie friends, I made the following:

Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie

1 1/2 cups plain, unsweetened Almond Breeze
1/4 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
10 frozen strawberries
1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 scoop chocolate Amazing Grass Green SuperFood (I found a single serving packet at Whole Foods and decided to give it a try because I've been hearing a lot of buzz about it)
8 ice cubes
1/8 teaspoon xantham gum


I just figured out my calories in SparkPeople yesterday and I ate a lot, calorie-wise. About 2100 if I'm going to be honest. I was honestly hungry. According to the low-carb people, calories don't matter so much. I guess I'll see. It's hard to feel okay about bucking the Conventional Wisdom I've learned for so long.


Well, I didn't get to the gym this morning, nor did I walk to work. I woke up this morning feeling a bit like I had been run over by a truck (or so I imagine). Stupid TOM. The first day always knocks me for a loop. My legs cramp up so the idea of hobbling over to the gym to do the elliptical sounded horrible. All I wanted was more sleep. I'm pretty sure I can get in a half hour of either weights or elliptical tomorrow morning, even though my work meeting is kind of early.

I did get the sit-ups and squats done last night while watching TV with Jason. I told him he should come do some squats too, but he said no, so I squatted away with the neighbors probably laughing at me (we have no curtains or blinds in the living room and you can see RIGHT inside. We also have a million windows so spending all the money for window treatments in a rented apartment has been hard to justify).

I'm feeling a little annoyed right now by what the scale is telling me. I'm trying to be philosophical about it due to TOM, as previously mentioned in all its TMI glory, and the fact that I'm really getting going with the working out and sometimes I gain for a bit. However, my eating has been awesome the past few days and generally when I'm sticking to low-carb like a champ, I start losing immediately.

I guess I'll just have to wait and see what next week brings.


Andrea at Andrea's Wellness Notes is giving away a box of Amazing Grass protein bars! If I let you all know and then let her know I let you know, I get an additional entry into the contest.

However, but letting you all know, when you go enter, I'll just be canceling out my entries. Hmmm...

Maybe by letting you know, the good karma I am collecting will help me win.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Feeling Fit

Fitness Check-In: swam for 30 minutes this morning. 50 lengths. Out of swimming shape, but still got it done. Will do Day 2 of the sit-up, push-up and squat challenges tonight.

Also, I checked my heart rate earlier today while I was sitting at my desk and after only a couple of weeks of regular work outs, my resting heart rate is down to 54 bpm. It will probably be slower if I check it right when I wake up. Jason said, "I'm surprised you're able to stay alive."

At the beginning of my 8th grade year we had a physical check-up in PE. They weighed and measured us, did some other fitness gauges and finally had us sit still and take our resting heart rates. Mine was very low compared to everyone else - around 60, I think - and my teacher made me take it again. Since I had just weighed in as one of the heavier girls in class (in front of everyone, of course, which was mortifying), I'm sure he thought there was no way my heart rate could be so low. But I had just come off a summer of swim team so the joke was on him. The 2nd time around, it was exactly the same and he had to write it down on his little chart.

While swimming since I was 6 years old has resulted in huge quads that will never go away, it has also given me a very fit heart, which I love. It makes getting back into a workout routine that much easier.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Scheduling Exercise

I forgot to include another goal in my post yesterday. I'm going to schedule my workouts AND follow through, rather than just going back and deleting the scheduled workouts after I don't do them.

Here's what's on tap for this week:
Monday: Walk 4 miles to and from work, Day 1 of sit-ups/push-ups/squats challenges. Done and done. My abs were screaming by the end of the sit-ups. I did the right hand column of Day 1 of Week 3
Day 1
rest 60 seconds between each SET (longer if required)
21 - 30 sit-ups 31 - 40 sit-ups > 40 sit-ups
set 1 15 18 21
set 2 18 25 27
set 3 11 19 21
set 4 11 19 21
set 5 max (at least 14) max (at least 25) max (at least 30)

Today: 25 minutes HIIT elliptical and 20 minutes strength training (arms). Done AND I did 30 minutes on the elliptical. Ha!

Wednesday: 30 minutes swimming, Day 2 of sit-ups/push-ups/squats challenges. I will probably wind up swimming 40 minutes, but since I'm just getting back into it again, I'm scheduling 30 minutes so that I have an out if I need it.

Thursday: 25 minutes HIIT elliptical and 20 minutes strength training (legs).

Friday: Cardio rest because of AM work meeting, Day 3 of sit-ups/push-ups/squats challenges.

Saturday: 30 minutes swimming, 30 minutes strength training (arms and legs).

All of these workouts are entered into SparkPeople already. I'll let you all know how it goes.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Happy March!

I'm kicking off March with a bang. First, rededicating myself to low carb EVEN on weekends. Let's just say Saturday was fine, but Sunday... On Sunday my diet consisted mainly of pumpkin bread because we had a busy day with a lot of driving. I made pumpkin bread to take to our friends' house who had us over for dinner and ate several pieces beforehand since I didn't really get breakfast or lunch yesterday. Poor planning.

In a silver lining vein, I cut the sugar down by a third and the bread still tasted great. I think I could probably halve the remaining amount and it would still be good. It just makes the pumpkin and spice flavors shine through more. I also used half whole wheat flour.

So far today has been stellar. I have planned my meals on SparkPeople today and if I stick to that, I will have less than 50 net carbs today.

My second March goal is to get my regular gym routine back into gear already. Jason and I went Saturday morning. I didn't wake up in time this morning so I instituted a spur of the moment penalty for not getting to the gym: every day I don't get to the gym in the morning, I have to walk to and from work. Usually I really like my walks to work. But this morning the sky was dark and the wind was blowing hard and the whole way I was pelted with freezing rain. Yeah, dashing over to the warm dry gym an hour earlier would have been a much better option. The rain has now stopped and I'm hoping it stays that way through my walk home this evening.

Tonight after my walk home, I'm going to do day 1 of the squat/sit-up/push-up challenges. I get to start on week 3 of the squats and sit-ups, but I am at square 1 with the push-ups.

On a completely unrelated note, my sister-in-law is in the hospital right now in some stage of giving birth to my first niece! The parents are Jason's brother and his wife and she will be the first grandchild in Jason's family. As an only child, I am thrilled to be an almost aunt!