Saturday, December 29, 2012


I've been thinking a lot about my New Years resolutions.  I want to be healthier, but I also have a goal with a defined date to shoot for, which is always more useful for me than just vague notions of "being healthy". I have a swim coming up!

American Airlines oversold our flight for Christmas in Chicago and asked for volunteers to give up their seats.  In exchange they offered a $500 travel voucher, seats on a flight the next morning, meal vouchers and a night at a hotel with cab fare if we weren't local.  As Jason proclaimed as he dashed over to the gate counter, "That's our next trip to St. John!"


So we now have $1,000 in travel vouchers on American, one of the airlines with direct Boston to St. Thomas flights.  And here's where my goals come into play.

See, several months ago I discovered that there's an open-water swim in St. John on Memorial Day weekend to raise money for the National Park.  I thought to myself, "Wouldn't that be cool to do?"  Then I started talking with my swimming buddy about it.  One of the things Jason and I bonded with her and her husband over was our mutual love of St. John.  Turns out they had traveled there a couple of months after Jason and I went in 2011.  Also, both she and her husband swam in high school.

You can see where this is going, right?

Since Jason and I now have unexpected travel money, I mentioned the swim to our friends again as something that might actually happen and they both enthusiastically said they want to go and have been talking about it amongst themselves ever since I told them about it.  So barring some unforeseen problem, the 3 of us are doing the swim in May!  Jason will be our cheerleader/towel holder.

(I spent last night looking at villas for 4 in St. John.  It's amazing what you can rent for a week when you have 4 people to share the expense!)  

The thing is, I have gotten even more soft and squishy and haven't been swimming regularly for a couple of months now.  In the St. John swim, the swimmers can swim 1, 2 or 3 miles.  Of course, I would like to be hardcore and do the 3-mile swim, but I'm not sure if I can.  I'm a sprinter and I'm ok with that.  But I would like to try to get ready for a 3-mile swim.  Which means I need a training plan! 

So here are my official Resolutions.

First, diet:
1) Starting January 1, I am doing Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.  This means I'll be basically eating protein, fat and vegetables.  No fruit and definitely no grains and sugar.  And NO Diet Coke!  I've done this a few times before and it's a good way for me to go cold turkey on the carbs (and caffeine) and lose the cravings.

2) After that, I'll probably add in some fruits and sweet potatoes, and stick to a more Paleo/Primal food plan.

3) I'll see how I feel, but I plan to be strict for 30 days and then possibly give myself a splurge day.  A monthly splurge day has worked well for me in the past.  It's a crutch, I know, but it's easier for me to turn down a treat if I think, "That's ok, on my splurge day I can have something sugary."  In reality, the longer I stay away from sugar and carbs, the less I want on my splurge day anyway.

Second, exercise:
1) Two strength training classes per week, most likely Monday and Friday mornings.

2) At least two 30-60 minute cardio workouts per week.  Obviously I need to swim, but, oh my gosh, it is HARD to convince myself to put on a swimsuit in January in Rhode Island.  Swimming might need to wait a month or so.  I'll elliptical to start.  Right now I'm so out of shape again, that I'll just do a basic elliptical workout, but by the 3rd week, I plan to throw in a HIIT workout at least once a week.

3) Separate from #2, I'll walk home from work when I can.  Sometimes it's too icy on the streets in the winter for this to be feasible, but when I can, I'll shoot for 2 walks home per week.

This is the plan for now.  As I move into February and March, I'll modify as I begin to increase my swimming and work on endurance.

It all starts Tuesday!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Helping Out A Little

I wrote about our experience in Queens on my other blog.


We had the opportunity yesterday to go to Queens and help families clean up after Hurricane Sandy.  Yes, it's been over a month since the hurricane swept through New York City, but there are still people with disaster areas for homes as Winter approaches.  There were lot of groups there helping, which was great to see, but there's a lot to do.

I'm going to write something a little later today about the actual experience, but I'm going to be navel-gazely here and talk about food and me because I need to remember this.

So this past week I've been very mindful about my eating.  I've had a cookie here or there (ONE cookie), but generally I haven't eaten wheat at all (except for the little bit in a cookie) and instead have been eating meat and fat and fruits and vegetables. I made most of my meals this week at home.

Yesterday morning I made us sandwiches to take to New York.  I also bought crackers and Mint Oreos and apples and carrots to take and share with out group.  One of my Young Women from church came with me and Jason so I had to feed her too.  We left the house at 5:30 AM and stopped at McDonald's for breakfast at around 7:30 because highway food offerings are limited.  I had a Sausage biscuit.  Sausage, good.  Biscuit, bad (but so, SO good too, even if it is McDonald's.  I have deep Southern roots and love a buttery biscuit).

Lunch came and I ate my sandwich (on whole wheat bread everyone!  No problem, right?)  I also had a couple of corn chips someone brought and a couple of Mint Oreos.

After we were done, we went to a diner for dinner, and I ate most of a hamburger (with bun), plus a couple of bites of cake (Jason got a meal that included dessert).

We drove home and 4 hours later watched a TV show and I had a couple more Mint Oreos.  Because, Mint Oreos!

I thought, I'm doing manual labor, my body can handle some wheat and other carbs.

Last night, at about 12:30 AM, I almost threw up.  I went to bed with a stomach ache, and at 12:30, woke up wide awake, trying not to lose those Oreos.

This morning I'm trying to keep my head from exploding into a full-on migraine and my stomach isn't so hot.  I'm popping Excedrin and I just ate some eggs in a bunch of butter and I feel a little better.  Aren't you supposed to eat greasy foods for hangovers?  For me, I think I'm being literal when I say I have a carb hangover.

I have a ton of stuff to do today (go to church, teach a lesson, Evensong rehearsal and service) so I just can't be sick.

Can someone please sit on my shoulder and be that little angel who reminds me how I feel when I eat grains all day long?  Geez!  You'd think I would have learned by now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I'm not even going to make excuses for why I haven't been posting.  Just not feeling it, I guess.  Partly because I haven't really been working out.  It's getting cold and the mornings are dark, and this is the hardest time of the year for me to pry myself out of bed and go to the gym.  I didn't even sign up for the current Masters swim session.

(Though I'm still on the coach's email list and now have a pile of new workouts in my inbox, so that's cool.)

After succumbing to the Thanksgiving bacchanalia, I pledged that starting yesterday morning I would eat better in the coming weeks.  I'm not saying I'm being perfect, but my goal is to eat healthy at work, make healthy dinners, and generally not eat 2-4 pieces of pie per day, which is kind of what was happening during and post-Thanksgiving.  Jason went to Trader Joe's last night (aka, land of amazing Christmas treats) and bought us a box of Pfeffernusse, which are so, so good.  I had one last night after dinner and that was just perfect.

(I kind of hoped he had gotten some Peppermint Joe Joe's too, but he said, "I didn't really think we needed those."  I guess we needed the Pfeffernusse, though...?)

I haven't been doing the gym thing, but I have been walking a lot lately.  I have a new walking buddy, and have discovered that dashing off 3-4 miles of walking is a piece of cake when you're gabbing the whole time.  This is the same person who was my swimming buddy, but we've both been pretty ambivalent about the idea of waking up in the cold and jumping into a pool at 6:30 in the morning.

The good news is, I know me, and I know that I'm pretty good with diving into New Years resolutions.  So while I work on my many projects at work, have extra choir practices and services for the holidays, bake and cook, and try madly to finish my holiday knitting, I know that waiting for me at the end of it all is a bright shiny New Year and resolutions to be made and conquered!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


For years I have lusted after boots to wear in the winter.  Pants fit me weird (15 inch difference between my hips and my waist), so I wear skirts and dresses, even in the coldest days of winter. 

Well, when it's really cold, I wear sweatpants into work and then change.  But the point is, my legs are cold.

I was assured that Lane Bryant had boots that would fit the most substantial of calves.  I happily ordered 3 pairs (since I can just return them to the store) and tried them on this morning.

No good.  Not even the fat lady boots fit my giant calves.  Siiiiiigghhhhh.

Actually, I did get one pair zipped up, but it was a little squished and when I took a step the entire boot, and its synthetic material, made this awful squeaking sound.  The other 2 pairs weren't even close to zipping up. 

I was so excited to have boots this winter, and now I'm just sad that I'm so fat.  Bleh.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Ireland, October 19-20, 2012

Click for the travelogue of our first day in Ireland.

Sugar Is Some Crazy Stuff

It's the morning after Halloween and I started my day feeling completely spaced out and with a stomach ache.  The culprit? Too much sampling from the treat bowl.  For the first year, we actually bought enough candy for the masses of trick or treaters that descend on our neighborhood.  Which meant I sat down to watch a scary movie* with Jason with a few mini Butterfingers to keep me company.  This is in addition to the few I had eaten while handing out candy.

Then I woke up feeling awful.  This is why I don't eat candy that often.

*Paranormal Activity 3.  Not as good as 1 or 2, in my opinion, but still plenty creepy.

Speaking of candy, I made an interesting observation while we were in Ireland last week.  (Yes, we went to Ireland!  It was fantastic and I'll be writing travelogues shortly.)  Every time we made a pit stop I would grab a new English candy bar for us to try.  Jason and I each had our favorites, but I observed that I was infinitely more satiated by the good quality chocolate.  Everyone talks about how dark chocolate is more satisfying generally, which I've found to be true, but even the milk chocolate was better.  I could eat half a candy bar and think, "That's plenty for now. I'll just put the rest away for later."  Right this moment I have half a Wispa Gold still sitting in my carry-on bag. 

It's not that it's not tasty, because it is, and downing all of that American chocolate last night just reminded me how much better the non-waxy English stuff tastes.  But just a few bites of some high quality chocolate, and I'm good for awhile.  It's similar to eating empty, processed foods and being hungry a half hour later, versus eating good whole foods and being satiated for a long time.

You know what else is satiating?  Irish breakfasts.  Bacon, sausage, eggs, mushrooms, beans, toast, fruit, puddings.  I didn't care for the beans (pinto beans in tomato-y sauce, meh) and would just have a little toast and fruit.  Usually my breakfasts consisted of bacon, mushrooms and a small slice of brown soda bread with butter.  All of that protein and fat kept me full all day long as we tramped around Ireland.  We would have breakfast at 7 or 8 AM, half a candy bar and a cookie around 1 or 2 PM, then eat a nice dinner around 7 or 8 PM.  In the meantime we hiked up hills and wandered around ruins and averaged about 20,000 steps per day.  And I was full all day long.  Fantastic!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Status Update

Despite my boss's worries that we need to be marketing more and get out there in the community, I am swamped with work again.  I've been coming in early and leaving later than usual and I'm blowing deadlines all over the place, which is stressing me out.

I'm also not sleeping so well this week because Jason is out of town.   Despite 31 years on my own, apparently now I need a husband to sleep.  Lame.  I actually blame my imagination more than anything. I am very good at spooking myself and recalling scary movie moments while I'm lying there in the dark alone, trying to fall asleep. 

Then last night I saw the first house centipede in our home.  Not even the fairy-tale house is immune to the scourge of house centipedes!  So I spent a little time chasing it around (those things are fast!) and my pumping adrenaline kept me up way past when I was tired.

The point is, this week has been kind of a bust, exercise-wise.  I swam on Monday, but that's been it.  I plan to swim tomorrow, but I've missed all of my other swims this week because I was beat and/or needed to come into work early.  Also, it's been raining all week so it's not like I could take a long walk as a make-up.

Oh well.  I'll just have to get back in the game next week.  To misquote Scarlett O'Hara, after all, next week is another week!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ow My Head

Yesterday I got this huge grody mole on the back of my head removed.  There was nothing wrong with it, no cancer suspicions or anything, it was just huge and grody and needed to be off of my head.

This morning I woke up with the worst migraine I've had in a long time.  I was really close to tears, actually.  I took the Tylenol that the dermatologist said I could take for any pain because it's not a blood thinner and they don't want my head wound to bleed, since the head is so vascular.

Then a couple of hours later, after trying to will the headache away with an icepack on my head and the covers pulled up to block out all light, I decided I didn't care about the blood thinning issue and I took 3 Excedrin.  A little while later, I spent 15 minutes going through all my bags and drawers, hoping to find a stray prescription migraine pill that actually works.  No luck.

Finally the Excedrin started to kind of work, so I got up and drank a Diet Coke (another migraine helper, believe it or not) and ate 2 eggs.  Managed to keep all of that down, which was a feat considering how my stomach felt.

So anyway, here I sit at home, with piles of things to do at work, and only marginally able to concentrate enough to do a little bit of that work.  My head still hurts, but not quite as badly.  I keep popping Excedrin, hoping instead of just keeping the worst pain at bay, they will eventually make the headache go away entirely.

Jason speculates that this may due to my head surgery yesterday.  It seems like a bit of an extreme reaction to getting a mole removed.  I'm going to say it's a side effect from suffering head trauma.  That sounds better.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Peppers Galore

Jason grew a lot of peppers this year.  Truth be told, I'm not a huge pepper fan, particularly of the bell pepper variety.  I have tried many, many times to like bell peppers and I just can't do it.

Nevertheless, we have a lot of peppers to get through in the next couple of weeks.  I most wanted to make Jason something with the caballero peppers that he grew and which he loves but that I do not like at all.  They're a good size for stuffing and I figured I could knock some of those out of our supply with a good dinner recipe using lots of peppers.  After asking my Facebook friends (particularly those from Tucson) for a chile relleno recipe, I realized that, wow, chile rellenos are complicated and time-consuming!

So I came up with my own spicy stuffed peppers recipe with meatballs and more peppers!  In the crock pot!

  • 6-7 caballero peppers (can also use bell pepper or any other pepper that is stuffable.  The caballero peppers are kind of small (3 inches long by 2 inches wide) so if you're using big bell peppers, 1-3 should suffice for this recipe)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 C bread crumbs
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped small
  • 5-6 banana peppers and/or parker peppers, seeds removed and chopped small
  • 2 T cumin
  • 4 T chili powder
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 15 oz can no salt added diced tomatoes (can also use fresh tomatoes, but I'm saving ours for caprese salad and homemade tomato sauce)
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce

Cut off the tops and bottoms of the caballero peppers and remove all seeds.  The bottoms are cut off so that the peppers can stand up in the crock pot.

Mix together ground beef, bread crumbs, onion, about 2/3 of your chopped peppers, 1 1/2 T cumin, 2 T chili powder, 1 t salt, and eggs.  Probably easiest to mix with your hands.

Stuff the caballero peppers with beef mixture.  Roll the rest of the beef mixture into meatballs, about 2 inches in diameter.

In a separate bowl mix together diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, rest of the chopped peppers, 1/2 T cumin, 2 T chili powder and 1 t salt.  Taste and/or smell to make sure that the strongest flavors are the cumin and chili powder, not the tomatoes, otherwise you're just making slightly Mexican spaghetti sauce.  Add more cumin and chili powder as needed. 

Pour tomato mixture into the crock pot and spread evenly.  Place the stuffed peppers on end in the crock pot, then fill in the rest of the space with a layer of meatballs.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

We ate this for dinner last night and I ate leftover meatballs for lunch today.  Jason got his stuffed peppers, and I got some yummy meatballs.  Win win.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I've been paying really close attention to how I feel both physically and emotionally over the past couple of days based on what I eat, by delicately tweaking my diet and reflecting on the slight cues from my body.  Last night I decided to toss this whole delicate nonsense because being delicate is for losers, I guess...?

I volunteer with the teenage girls at my church and last night was our activity night.  I got home from work and fixed myself a big salad, figuring I might have something else small after the activity when we met up with some friends for bar trivia.  It turned out that trivia didn't work out, but Jason and a couple of friends went to the Texas Roadhouse for their Wednesday night steak special.

After my activity ended, I met them at the Roadhouse.  I wasn't hungry enough for a whole dinner so I got a buffalo chicken wings appetizer.  First mistake.  Turn out The Roadhouse's buffalo chicken is really buffalo sauce-coated breaded chicken.  Breaded.  Oh well.  So much for the high-protein appetizer I expected.  I ate all the celery and most of the chicken, though, because I was hungry.

Second mistake.  Downing a couple of the decadent Roadhouse rolls before I really thought about it.  I can't be sure if it was the rolls or the breading (though I'm leaning toward the rolls), but by the time I got home, I already felt bloated and Jason can attest to my irritability.

This morning I had a total carb hangover.  I felt tired and sluggish.  For the last few days I've been waking up a little bit before my alarm.  It's not that I didn't want to stay in bed on those mornings, but I felt awake and ready to get up.  This morning I just could not get out of bed.  I finally got up at 8:15 and sped through my morning routine to finally get to work by 9:15.  Lame. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Enough With the IMs, Coach!

Our Masters coach is absolutely obsessed with IMs!  For those of you who didn't catch this during the recent Olympics, IMs are Individual Medleys - Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Freestyle.

The last few weeks, both the Tuesday morning workouts and the extra workout she sends us later in the week, have been all about the IMs.  I actually appreciate getting some variety from our new coach, because our old coach was all about freestyle.  Which, I love freestyle, but I also like the chance to practice the other strokes.

Howver, every practice recently I feel like I'm dying by the end of it.  And I don't even have high yardage to show for it!  Butterfly and especially Breaststroke slow me waaaay down, so it really impacts the distance I can swim in an hour.

Here was our workout this morning (which I'm sure will only be interesting to other swimmers, so feel free to skip.  I'm including it to emphasize the IM insanity):

200 warm up

16 100's:
1. Fly - 50 kick, 50 drill
2. Back - 50 kick, 50 drill
3. Breast - 50 kick, 50 drill
4. Free - 50 kick, 50 drill
5. Fly - 50 drill, 50 swim
6. Back - 50 drill, 50 swim
7. Breast - 50 drill, 50 swim
8. Free  - 50 drill, 50 swim
9-16 - odds 100 IM, evens 100 free

10 50s with :10 rest
Odds: 50 IM (12.5 Fly, 12.5 Back, 12.5 Breast, 12.5 Free)
Evens: 50 Free

At that point I had to get out of the pool a little early to get to a work meeting, but you get the idea.  It's been like this with the IMs for about 3 weeks now.

FYI, Butterfly is hard, everyone.  HARD.  I am in awe of the Olympics swimmers who race Butterfly.  So after a 25 or 50 of that, I am beat.  THEN I'm expected to swim Breast, which I am SO SLOW at.  I'm not really sure why.  I focus on my technique and try really hard, but I am just achingly, frustratingly slow.

Confession: when the extra weekly practice includes Breaststroke, I usually substitute Fly or Back.  I can only handle being extremely frustrated once a week.

Tomorrow morning I will hit the pool with one of my old coach's workouts and I will revel in the Freestyle!

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Day in Rhode Island

Jason and I bought too many Groupons this summer!  We got excited when all of the Groupons for the summer activities started coming out in May, and we snapped up a bunch.  Now we're struggling to use them all before they expire.

(For instance, since there was cruddy weather last weekend, I don't think we're going to get to use the stand-up paddleboarding Groupon before it expires. At least we can use the face value for a credit.)

On Saturday, we kayaked all day.  We bought Groupons from Narrow River Kayaks, thinking we would go twice for 4 hours.  Instead, we used both of them and kayaked all day.  Well, we didn't kayak ALL day, but for a long stretch.  Let's just say, today I am still feeling my lats.

My boss recommended this spot to us a few years ago and ever since we've tried to go back at least once a summer.  When you put in, you can either kayak up the river, past the lovely rich peoples' homes and boats, or head down the river to where it flows into the ocean, beach your kayak and play at the beach for awhile.  Since we had tons of time, we headed up the river first.

The thing you should know is that the tide was going out the whole time we paddled upriver.  If we paused for too long, we started going backwards.  We paddled further than we had in the past, and Jason figured we paddled upriver, against the tide and a strongish breeze, for about 2 1/2 miles.  In case you were wondering, that means Jason and I are awesome.

Then we turned around and went to the beach for a couple of hours.  All told, Jason thinks we paddled for 6 1/2 miles.

After we returned the kayaks, we drove to the beach at  Quonochontaug.  We checked out Quonochontaug last Fall, when Jason's brother was visiting, mainly because in the X-Files, it's the place where Mulder's family has a summer home.  And, yes, we are big nerds.

(Dear X-Files writers,  After living in New England for awhile now, I have to question your sense of geography.  Supposedly Mulder grew up on Martha's Vineyard (an ISLAND) and his family summered on the mainland in Rhode Island.  This makes no sense.  What also makes no sense is how Mulder was able to get from DC to Martha's Vineyard (an ISLAND) is just a few hours, no problem, with no thought of things like ferry schedules and such.)

We went for the nerd cachet, but discovered that Quonochontaug is this absolutely beautiful private community.  We also discovered on Saturday that in September, we could just wander around the restricted community beach.

This is a little-known fact about Rhode Island: the beaches are amazingly beautiful, the water is still warm in September, and after Labor Day, no one is around to make you pay for parking, or to keep you off of restricted beaches.

We rounded out the evening with dinner at Aunt Carrie's (which I keep wanting to call Sister Carrie's)  It is apparently a Rhode Island institution, and Jason took his parents there the last time they visited while I was working like a chump.  So good.  SO good!  Scallops of perfection!

Such a perfect Rhode Island day.  Sometimes this state drives me insane, with its corrupt politics and cronyism and bankruptcy, but it really is a lovely place.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Challenge: In Progress

One of my swim friends on Spark People created a new challenge to run from September 10 to October 10. She said to look at the principles that guide Diana Nyad from this article and focus on one or more of the principles for a month.

Here's what I'm doing:

First, #4 Nyad is a learning machine and #8 Nyad is coachable. I already try to internalize what my coach tells me to do to get better, but I'm going to really focus on that this month. Maybe I'll improve enough to not hate breaststroke!

Second, #2 Nyad embraces obstacles to growth. This past week has reminded me how fantastic I feel when I swim consistently. For the next month, I'll schedule in 3 swims and 1 strength training class per week.

Finally, #10 Nyad is a big thinker. I want to work on my sprint times. In the next month, I'm going to try to get down to either under 1:30 for a 100 free or under :40 for a 50 free, or both. I'm not sure if I can get there in a month, but I'm going to try!

So far this week is good.  Not only did I listen to and incoporate my coach's breaststroke advice  at Masters (and maybe got a little faster), but I swam Monday and Tuesday and I went to strength training class yesterday.  I'm feeling energized all day long (well, until around 9 PM because early morning workouts make me an old lady).  I haven't started the sprint work yet, but I'll get there.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

More Than Just Calories

I've written a lot about my frustration with the failure of the calories in/calories out equation in my life.  I think at this point I've gained back almost all the weight I lost 8 years ago, a big chunk of that over the past 2 years, but I haven't really changed that much in my life.  I have periods of eating healthy, and periods of not eating so healthy.  I have periods of working out regularly, and then working out irregularly.  After years of tracking my calories, I have a pretty good idea of my average calories per day, and yet I don't lose weight, despite all of the various equations telling me that I should be dropping weight, no problem.

Today I read Tom Naughton's latest post and was struck again by the ridiculousness of our standard nutritional guidelines and the expectation that every person should fit into a tidy little height/weight box.  Basically, Tom writes about his 2 dogs, who have been raised together, eating the same food, yet one is 18 pounds heavier, and much more muscular than the other.  In reality, it's not just calories in/calories out.  Weight and body shape is created by a complicated cocktail of calories, exercise, genetics and hormones.  The things we eat do impact how we look and what we weigh, but not in the simplistic manner that we've been taught.

Personally, I feel best when I exercise regularly and when I eat a lower carb diet, particularly excluding wheat.  I'm trying to make peace with the fact that despite all that I do, while I feel good, have low blood pressure and a low resting heart rate, I will most likely never be thin. 

(By the way, if you haven't seen Tom's movie Fat Head, I cannot recommend it enough.  Jason the Scientist confirms that the science is right on.)

Friday, September 07, 2012

Challenge Complete!

I finished my Olympics Challenge this morning!  16,025 yards in 16 days. 

This has actually been an awesome swimming week for me.  A friend of mine who swam in high school decided to join the Y and we met up 4 times this week to swim.  I've known since college that having a workout buddy is really key for me.  If I know someone is waiting for me, there is no way I'm going to stand her up.

We swam Monday morning, and then the last 3 mornings.  I completed the challenge with 0 days and 25 yards (ie, 1 lap) to spare!  Nothing like cutting it close.

My friend and I are already planning to swim next Monday, I have Masters swimming on Tuesday, and then she's going to join me for strength training class on Wednesday.  I'm sucking her into the world of swimming at the Y, and at the same time getting myself into a great routine.

I've also been doing really well with eating all week and I can feel it.  The good, clean eating plus 4 swims means I have a major endorphin buzz right now. 

I wish I could bottle this feeeling somehow, so that I could remind myself how awesome it feels to BE HEALTHY.  Why is it so hard to remember that?

Friday, August 24, 2012


Forgot to set my alarm last night.  No swim this morning, which means I'm behind in my Olympics challenge.  Guess I'll be doing some crazy amounts of swimming next week.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Coming Out of a Carb Coma

Yesterday morning we had a staff meeting at work.  Meaning the 4 people who work in my office sat in our teeny conference room talking about projects.  Our assistant insisted on getting breakfast for us, and boy did she ever.  She turned up with a HUGE box of pastries.  HUGE.  When I commented on the hugeness, she said, "Well, but they're so cheap!"

Never mind that we're only 4 people and there's no way in the world we would ever eat all of that.  I think 4 people = 4 pastries.  Right?  There were probably 12 pastries in that box.

Not only was the box huge, but the pastries themselves were huge.  I carved the corners off of a few of them and nibbled on them for breakfast.  I swam yesterday morning so I was starving.  I ate a big salad for lunch, but the damage was done.  The rest of the day consisted of insulin spikes and crashes.  When I crashed, I would wander into the conference room and grab another pastry corner to get through another hour or so of my afternoon.

Then we went out for dinner with friends.  Mexican food.  It was so good!  Usually corn tortilla chips don't bug me too much, but after yesterday's carb-stravaganza, it was just adding insult to injury.

This morning I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a truck.  No swimming, only sleep, is what my body cried.  So I slept until almost 8 AM.

I'm all puffy too.  The jacket I wore just last week, noting that it was fitting a little looser, is today completely constricting my upper arms.

In addition, I had a bout of angry sleep talking last night.  Sometimes I have whole conversations with Jason in the middle of the night, while he's sitting up in bed, typing away on his computer, that I don't remember the next day.  Sometimes they're benign and sometimes I'm just so irritated with him I could scream.  Sometimes I wake up in the middle of these ramblings. 

Last night was an angry night and I woke up in the middle of it and snapped at him, "How much longer are you going to be on your computer?!"

To be fair, it was 1:12 AM.  I don't think my question was completely unreasonable.  However, my delivery could have been a little nicer.  I wonder, though, if those angry nights have anything to do with what I've eaten the day before.  That's something to make note of in the future.

So here I am, disappointed because I didn't get in my swim this morning, feeling bloated and yucky, with a slightly resentful husband.  Pastries are no good for me!

We have suggested to our assistant that next time she might also want to get some fruit for our staff meeting breakfast.  I'd like to put in a plug for bacon too, but I think that might be asking too much.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Michelle Obama is Sort of a Low-Carber

I just read this article about Michelle Obama's diet and fitness tips.  While she does mention eating veggie pizza on whole wheat crust (per the Daily Plate guidelines she's pushing), I thought Tip #5 was very interesting:

5. She Eats Five Meals a Day, When She’s ‘Doing What I’m Supposed to Do’

“I try to eat—when I’m being good—five meals, a breakfast, which can be like stir-fried vegetables, tofu, or oatmeal,” she said while promoting her book, American Grown: The Story of The White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America. “And then I’ll have a snack, something like this [pointing to a tray of sliced apples and honey from the White House beehive] or a vegetable tray or sometimes a protein shake ... then lunch. This last year I’ve tried to change it so my lunch is my biggest meal ... like today, I had fish and vegetables, stir-fried vegetables. And if I’m going to have a carb, like a brown rice or a potato or something, I’ll have it at lunch.”
It sounds like the majority of her meals are protein, fruits and vegetables, with a carb (meaning brown rice or potato) possibly thrown in at lunch, with some oatmeal or honey here or there.  If only she could push that more in her official recommendations without the USDA and their grain subsidies jumping down her throat.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Weekend in New Hampshire

Jason and I spent this past weekend in New Hampshire because it was a 3-day weekend in Rhode Island.  We spent 2 nights at a lovely inn that I can't recommend enough.  Jason asked if we could live there, that's how much he liked it. 


The 3rd night, we hiked into the Zealand Falls Hut, maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club, stayed overnight, and hiked out the next morning.  So this weekend I got 2 nights of really luxurious sleep, which almost made up for getting almost no sleep on the 3rd night.  Suffice it to say, I do not do well with snoring, and when you're sharing a sleeping room with 17 other people, there will be snoring. 

I say we hiked in, but what I really mean is, we "hiked" in to the hut.  I think we walked the easiest trail in the White Mountains.  It was 2 1/2 miles of a slight incline through the woods, then maybe 1/4 mile straight up through granite boulders to the hut, on the kind of trail I've come to expect from the White Mountains.  Once we got to the hut, we dumped our bags and claimed our bunks, then walked out to the Falls.

You can boulder hop on the falls and sit on dry rock, with the water rushing around on either side of you.  After we sat there for a few minutes, Jason asked if I wanted to hike back down and over, on another flat trail to another set of falls.  I'm just going to put it out there and say I am the wimpiest hiker ever.  I really wish I could be that awesome, kick-a** hiker girl for Jason, but I'm just not.  I opted to stay at the top of the hill and read my book.  He wound up hiking another 4 miles on his own.  I felt bad, but not bad enough to go with him.

Here's my problem.  Whenever I hike, I get really overheated and wind up with a migraine.   Doesn't matter how much water and/or Gatorade I drink, it happens every time.  This was a very easy hike, but then I also weigh more than I did the last time we hiked, so it didn't take much.  It was also hot and muggy on Sunday.  The headache started Sunday afternoon and continued through Monday morning, finally waning a bit around 1 PM.  Then it came back last night and when I woke up this morning, it was there, stabbing me in the right eyebrow.  I popped 3 Excedrin and managed to pull it together enough to go to Masters swimming.  Right now it's still a little achey, but not bad.  My fingers are crossed that as the day continues, it will get better and not worse.

So, yeah.  That's enough to put me right off of hiking.  I'm going to do a little research and see if I can figure out why this happens, but for now, Jason will just have to be content with the non-kick-a**, non-hiker girl that I am.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Olympics...

...are killing my workout goals.

Every night I watch the Olympics and feel motivated to be strong and tough and to work out and lose weight and get back into shape and RAWR!

Then I stay up until 12:30 and can't get up the next morning to work out.  I know sleep is important so I'm trying not to beat myself up too much.  I think what I need to do after the Olympics are over is rewatch some of the best swimming races every night at 9:30 or 10 PM, and then go to bed motivated to get up the next morning and hit the pool or the weights.  Because so far during the Olympics, the workouts are not happening.

Jason and I will be doing some hiking this weekend, so at least I'll get some sort of activity this week.  I know I still have a few mornings  left in the week, but I'm not holding my breath that I'll get to bed before 12:30 on any of the preceding nights.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Go Ahead, Stroke My Ego

Last night I watched Missy Franklin win the gold medal in the 100 backstroke.  This morning we swam a very backstroke-heavy Masters workout.  I asked the coach if she was inspired by Missy Franklin and she said that it was purely by chance.

Today was totally my day to shine.  Not only did we do backstroke (which I used to race back in the day, almost as fast as my freestyle), but we did kicking-intensive backstroke drills.  Which meant I got to go first in my lane for most of the workout and feel all cool and fast.  I think I can safely say I'm the strongest kicker in my Masters group.  Sometimes it's a bad thing, and I overkick my stroke and mess up my form, but I think I'm getting better at not doing that.

At least these giant thighs and calves are good for something. 
In the middle of practice, the coach called me over to the lane full of people who are really still learning how to do all of the strokes.  She had them all get out of the pool and watch me do a 50 of backstroke to demonstrate the stroke.  Most non-swimmers think you just rotate your arms around like a propeller.  But actually, you're supposed to enter the water pinky-first, then curve your arm underwater, kind of like a S, and push toward your legs and down to propel yourself.  It's really hard to explain, which is why she wanted to show them.

Here, let my boyfriend Ryan show you how it's done:
It's moments like today that make me want to get rid of all of this excess weight already so that I can really see what I'm capable of in the pool. I'm working on it. Strength training yesterday, swimming today, eating clean.

I'm working on it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Waking Up and Getting Up Has Never Been Easy*

So hard to wake up in the mornings.  I'm in this vicious cycle of not being able to sleep really well (woke up at 1:30 this morning; finally went back to sleep at 2:30), and thus not being able to wake up to get to the gym when I need to.  That extra hour and a half of sleep is too sweet.

I know that I would sleep like a rock if I worked out.  I know overall during the day I would have more energy if I worked out.  But I'm having a hard time despite all of the things I logically know.  At least several days this week I've managed to fit in long walks, including walking the 3 1/2 miles home from work yesterday.

Tomorrow I WILL swim.  I can wake up at 6:45 instead of 5:45 and swim.  Hopefully that hour more of sleep before working out will be enough to get me out of bed.  Even so, how much do I wish the Y would extend their lap swimming hours?  Lap swimmers always get the shaft in lieu of paid swimming lessons, water aerobics classes and family free swim.

In other news, I've discovered that I can eat meat and protein and still have a little treat at the end of a day (say, Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips) and manage to keep my carbs well under 100 g.   I know that's not really the point, but it helps me stay on task during the rest of the day.  Nice!

*Elastica!  Anyone else remember 1995?  I used to exercycle early in the morning to the Elastica album.  ...And now I'm kind of depressed that I've been working out for at least 17 years.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I woke up at 7:15 this morning and realized that I was 45 minutes late to Masters swimming.  Darn it!  Yesterday afternoon I drank something caffeinated to get me through a boring work meeting last night, and then was up until 2 AM.  Still, I told myself, I'm not going to miss Masters.  I will get up when my alarm goes off. 

My tricky brain had other ideas and decided to turn off my alarm in my sleep.

It's slow at work and I kind of wish I could just take off and go to the gym.  That would be awesome.  Alas, facetime, while not quite as valuable as billable hours, is still pretty important.

It is beautiful outside, so I will be going for a lunch walk.

I have to say a few words about metabolism.  It's amazing to me how different they are.  First, we have mine.  Jason the Scientist has moments of wondering what the heck is wrong with me and trying to suss it out in his mind.  I have a low normal body temperature (around 96-97 degrees), but when I sleep I heat up to (he guesses) over 100 degrees and burn hot all night long.   I am constantly fidgety to the point of driving him nuts when we sit next to each other for long periods of time.  One of these days it would be interesting to get my metabolism tested and find out what my real BMR is.  I have a feeling I should only be eating 800 calories per day or something.  I am a miracle of evolution.

Then we have Doctor Teeny.  Every month I have a dinner meeting with a group of doctors.  One of the doctors is this little tiny woman who eats like a lumberjack.  At every meeting we get a salad, an entree, and a dessert, and she cleans her plate every time.  Last night she asked for an extra bowl of ice cream to eat with her pie.  One time we had a meeting at a nice restaurant where we got to order off the menu instead of just getting the standard group dinner.  She ordered 2 entrees, plus an appetizer and dessert, and ate it all.  My boss even noticed that time.  I am just amazed at how she can pack it away and she's so tiny.  You can't tell me that's all about calories in/calories out.

I'm trying to be more observant of these types of things, to be more understanding of myself and others who struggle with weight.  I've talked with several other women who work out a lot more than I do, but who also struggle like I do to lose ANY weight, or to even just maintain.  It's hard to understand until you've been there.  I know some people honestly have issues with overeating, but I also know that there are a lot of people who do the best they can to take care of themselves and be healthy, but constantly struggle against weight gain. 

That's why I try to be such a cheerleader for people who are trying.  Sometimes on the path near my house I see a very large woman slowly making her way down the path.  I can tell it's a struggle for her and her joints are aching.  I just want to give her a hug and tell her she's awesome.

Monday, July 09, 2012

A Little Run

I jogged a little on Saturday morning.  Not exactly sure why.  I woke up too late for lap swimming, so I decided to go for a walk on the path near my house.  About 20 minutes in, I thought, "Maybe I should run a little."  These crazy thoughts seize me occasionally.

So I wound up doing Day 1 of Couch to 5K for the millionth time. I was breathing hard and sweating like crazy (Saturday was hot and muggy!), but I did it.
When I got home, I sat in our bedroom for awhile, praising the former owner who installed the central air. For the last couple of days my ankles have been killing me. We went to a folk music festival this weekend, so I thought it might be from balancing in the cobblestoned streets of New Bedford, Mass, but then I remembered that I ran on Saturday. Running + me = pain.

I don't want to try Couch to 5K again since I injure myself every time. I'm not a runner, but every so often I like to run.

Friday, July 06, 2012


I was just writing an email to a friend on SparkPeople about carb ranges and calorie ranges, and I had an epiphany.  It's been so hard lately for me to set a challenge for myself and to stick to it.  I used to be the queen of sticking to it. 

I used to do things like not eat sugar except for a once-a-month splurge day.  I did this for months on end and was really successful with sticking to it.  Something about knowing that even though I couldn't have something now, I could have it on X day worked really well for me.

Last year I challenged myself to swim 4 times per week for 12 weeks to train for my open-water swim, and I was almost perfect in meeting that challenge.

I've done Phase 1 of South Beach a few times and abstained from grains, sugar and fruit for 2 weeks to get my body primed for losing weight.

But lately, I just can't make the motivation stick.  I eat generally well, I work out a couple of times a week, but I can't seem to stick to a real plan that I set for myself.

Today I think I figured out why.  How do I stay motivated when it's Just.  Not.  Working?

This last year I've gained a bunch of weight and it's so depressing.  Before that I was in a multi-year plateau.  I would try to mix it up with the food and the exercise.  I swam 4 times per week and went on lunch walks.  And I was stuck.

(Of course, now I would be thrilled to weigh what I did a couple of years ago, but at that point I was still trying to losing another 15-20 pounds.)

One time, 10 or so years ago, I went to the doctor and I weighed 235, which horrified me.  I lost 50 pounds over the next few years by exercising (mainly swimming, but also some elliptical and weights) and by cutting out sugar.  Eventually my weight loss stalled, so I started doing some research and discovered low carb.  I started losing weight again.  Then that stopped working too. 

Now I feel stuck and I can't stay focused on a plan to be healthy.  I think the moral of the story is, I need to shift my focus from losing weight to just feeling the best I can.  I've been self-reflexive enough in this whole process to know what makes me feel good and what makes me feel bad.  Sugar and grains (especially wheat, less so rice and corn) make me feel bad.  Exercising 3-5 times per week and eating protein, fat and vegetables makes me feel good.  Swimming makes me happy and strength training makes me feel strong.

These are the motivators I need to focus on.  The weight isn't enough anymore.

Right now I feel pretty good.  But I know I can feel better.  A good shot of endorphins in the morning will make me happier.

I don't know if this is enough to keep me focused, but the endless frustration of not losing weight (plus gaining weight) makes doing the things that make me feel good seem like an exercise in futility.  I have to focus on things other than the scale.  Hopefully making myself happier and healthier will be enough.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


I am a big fan of workout gadgets.  I love having data and numbers with which to rank myself.  This is also why I like repeating sets of 100s or 50s in my workouts every time so I can have definitive proof that I'm getting faster in the form of improved times.

I had a Garmin heart rate monitor, which I really liked using until the battery went dead in the watch part.  I could replace the battery, I know, but have been lazy about it since the watch didn't really fit me that well.  It's a unisex watch, which means the watch face is huge on my wrist and I have to use the very last hole on the strap.  Maybe I should get a girly one at some point, but I haven't gotten around to it.  Also, since I swim more than anything, and the heart rate monitor isn't waterproof, it has limited utility. 

I also have a Fitbit, which I love.  I wear it every day, and totally berate myself when I forget to clip it on.  Jason has one too and at the end of every day, we compare steps.  He always beats me.  The advantages of working in a lab versus a desk job.  It also has an interactive website where you can review your stats (that automatically upload every time you walk by the little USB base), and also enter in other things you do that aren't picked up by the Fitbit (like swimming).

It's a really fun little gadget.  Not only is it tiny and convenient and accurate, but the customer service is great.  I clip mine to the center of my bra, which is one of the recommended positions for women since we don't always have pockets to slide the Fitbit into.  The only problem is, the repeated stress on the plastic hinge causes the plastic to weaken and eventually fall apart.  No worries, says Fitbit customer service.  I got my original Fitbit in November 2010, and since then have gotten 2 replacements by simply emailing customer service with a picture of my broken Fitbit, and they've shipped me a new one.  I'm not sure if they'll send me a 3rd replacement when my current one wears out, but at this point I will willingly shell out $99 for a new one. 

My latest gadget is a swimp3, which I lusted over for a few years until Jason got me one this past Christmas.  The only problem is, it's 6 months later and I still haven't used it yet.  I've charged it and loaded it with what I think might be good swimming songs.  (I have no idea what type of bpm is good for swimming, so I have a range of options.)  But my swims lately have been either Masters swims, or swims with friends from Masters, both of which involve talking and interaction and aren't so conducive to being in my own little music world.

I know Jason feels bad that I haven't used it yet and I try to assure him that I love it.  I do.  I was so amazed that he got it for me.  I just need to find the right time to use it.  It will get used!  Eventually!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Just Sayin'

Yesterday I had to spend part of my morning at the DMV and didn't plan my food well.  I wound up grabbing a breakfast sandwich on my way into work because my breakfast options are limited downtown.  The better choice would probably have been the Greek yogurt with honey, but I was starving and egg and sausage sounded good.  I should have taken them off the whole wheat English muffin they came on. In the middle of the afternoon I was hungry (and lazy) and ate a granola bar from the office kitchenette instead of the raw nuts I keep in my desk drawer.

Guess who had a headache last night? 

It's kind of uncanny.  I don't eat wheat for a bit and as soon as I eat some I get my first headache in weeks.

The workouts are still on hold.  It still hurts my face to bend over - sinus pressure be gone!  But I have been walking most days and we've had company so there have been massive cleanings in the evenings, which in hot and muggy weather means I'm sweating, at least.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Getting Better

I'm still coughing a little and I'm still a bit stuffed up and I still feel a lot of pressure on the front of my face when I bend over, but I feel worlds better than I did last week.  Last Thursday I felt like death, so I stayed home from work.  And I didn't even work, like I usually do when I stay home.  I just lay in bed upstairs in the air conditioning (last Thursday was really hot and we have AC on the 2nd floor) and watched old episodes of Medium.

Friday I went back to work, Saturday was busy, Sunday was busy, but I felt so much better on those days than I did on Thursday that a runny nose and a bit of a cough wasn't going to stop me.  I haven't worked out yet this week, but I'm getting really antsy to do something.  Fingers crossed that I'll feel up to swimming tomorrow.  I'm going to go on a walk today at lunch, I know that much.

Work has been really slow this week, which feels bizarre after the last year of go go go!  It's been almost exactly a year since we started the huge project that has been consuming my life.  My part of the project is basically over, except for a few odds and ends to tie up before closing next month.  I've been trying to get all my ducks in a row so that when it's time to finish, I'll be ready to go. 

I've been getting home early (like around 5:45 or 6) and have been able to putter around the house a bit, do laundry, cook.  It all feels so decadent after the last year.  I know the work will pick up again, so I'm just enjoying this Summer lull for the moment.

My eating has been stellar this week.  I started Monday, feeling dedicated to just eat the way that makes me feel the best, darn it. So far, so good.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I Swam (Again)

Yesterday I got back in the pool for the first time in a few weeks.  We have a new Masters coach so I signed up and went yesterday morning.  It's amazing how paying for those extra sessions is really good motivation to get out of bed early.

The new coach is tough.  Where the old coach focused a lot on drills and technique during our Tuesday morning sessions, the new coach actually wants us to swim.  A lot.  After just a few weeks out of the pool, I feel like a super slow slug, and I was having kind of a rough time yesterday.

But I know I'll get my endurance and speed back. 

Despite my poor performance yesterday, the coach sent out lane assignments and she put me in a lane with 3 of the super fast people.  Um, what?  I think she must have me confused with someone else...  Well, we'll see how long that lasts.  I hate getting lapped, but I have a feeling that's what I have to look forward to in the next few Tuesdays.

I planned to go to strength training this morning, but last night my throat started hurting and one nostril got clogged.  Darn it!  Jason came back from vacation with his family a few weeks ago with a wicked cold that had made it's way through the entire family.  I thought I had survived the incubation period, but maybe not.  Or maybe this is something completely different. 

Either way, I feel yucky, but a conference call later today means I'm in the office.  Also, it's freaking hot outside and my office has AC.  If only I could have come to work in my pajamas...

I'm hoping this cold dabbles with me and moves on and I can work out again in a couple of days.  It stinks that just as my motivation comes back, I get sidetracked.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Feeling Tired of My Excuses

I honestly can't tell you where my motivation has gone.  Maybe it's just that I've been busy at work and I don't having the energy and concentration for anything else.  Well, work has slowed down a little so really, if I'm honest, I DO have the energy and the concentration to focus on being healthy.  But I can't get motivated.  I'm not really sure why, but in addition to not working out for the 2nd week in a row, the Whole30 has gone by the wayside.

I'm trying to figure out what's going on with me mentally because I swear I USED to be able to challenge myself and actually follow through.  Remember last Summer and last Fall when I set challenges for myself and actually completed them?  Yeah, those were good times.

You know what's good for motivation, though?  Going shopping for formal wear.  I'm really, really good with finding super cute knit and rayon dresses at Ann Taylor and Kohl's and Dress Barn that are flattering and comfy and suitable for my business casual office.

However, it seems like the size inflation that is rampant in all other clothing* hasn't hit the formal wear section at Macy's yet.  I have to go to fancy events sometimes for work (including one tomorrow night) and I've worn my current cocktail dresses into the ground.  So today on my lunch hour I went looking for something new.

I found a dress, but it's pretty frumpy and I don't love it.  I did love 2 other dresses I tried on that right now are too small, but that would have fit me a couple of years ago.  I didn't buy them because I already have enough aspirational clothing in my closet (aka, those clothes I could wear a couple of years ago). 


The moral of the story is, Stop making excuses!!!  Get up and go work out in the mornings!  No more fudging the Whole30!  Because if you fudge enough, then, guess what, it's not a Whole30 anymore.

Tomorrow, Day 1 (again): swimming in the morning and eating right for the rest of the day.

*Because I am a realist, and I know I am NOT a Medium anymore.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Exercise Fail

I'm not exactly sure what's wrong with me, but I just cannot seem to get up to exercise.  On Monday I really had no excuse, since I woke up before my alarm went off, but then managed to talk myself out of going to strength training.

I went to bed on Monday night bound and determined to wake up on Tuesday and go swimming.  I even said as much to the friends we had over for dinner.  Well, when my alarm went off yesterday morning, I was about as far away from awake as possible.  I felt immensely tired so I just flipped off the alarm and slept for another hour and a half.

Today, though.  Today was the day.  I would get up and go to strength training!  My alarm went off and I hit snooze a couple of times (as you do), all the while thinking, yay, I'm getting up soon to go to class!  Just a few more minutes.

But apparently I fell back asleep after the last snooze.  I woke up 10 minutes after class started. 

On the upside, I've managed to get in long walks both Monday and Tuesday, but I really want to get back into the strength training.  I guess my body is more interested in sleep.  Yeah, that's nice and all, but at some point, I need to work out.

I've been waking up naturally at around 6:30 or 7.  I wish I didn't have to work normal office hours, because if I could go to the gym at 7:30, I have a feeling it would happen a lot more often than when I have to go at 6:30.  Or maybe I would just go to bed an hour later.

Maybe the moral of this story is that I need to go to bed an hour earlier.  Because I'm an old lady.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Whole30 Day 4

Starting a Whole30 on day 1 of a 30-day month is really handy when it comes to keeping track of what day I'm on.

The weekend went pretty well, except for lunch yesterday.  We had a fundraiser at church to pay for the Young Women (teenage girls) to go to a week-long camp in a couple of months.  It was Fast Sunday (we all fast the first Sunday of every month), so I hadn't eaten anything that morning.  Plus, I had picked Jason up at the Boston airport very late the night before and was exhausted.  After running around for an hour, getting everything coordinated and set up, we were all really hungry.* 

So I ate what was there.  A couple brownies, a couple bites of lasagna, some enchiladas, and something one of my Counselors made called "frog eye salad", which is apparently very big in Utah and I think was just Cool Whip, canned oranges and pineapple tidbits, and tapioca pearls.

Nothing was Whole30 approved, really.  But I got back on the ball when I made our dinner several hours later, and I intend to stick to the plan this week.  For instance, I have a work meeting tonight, where we'll be getting dinner.  I already know I won't be eating the rolls or the dessert.

Rather than proclaim "I FAILED!" and go have a donut, I prefer to be more philosophical and make a note that I should be more prepared in future situations like yesterday, but not beat myself up about it.

*As a side note, sometimes it's kind of a drag being in charge.  I'm the YW President, so the other leaders and the girls ultimately look to me for tasks when we're setting up this sort of party.  When I was younger, I was a total bossypants and was perfectly happy to tell everyone what to do.  Now, while I still like to organize things, there are times when I just don't want to be the lead person anymore.  I like to think that as I'm getting older and maturing, I'm becoming less Type A and more laid-back.  That sounds better than lazy.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Whole30 Day 1! Migraine!

So, my head hurts.  Actually, I'm sitting in my darkened office with my AC turned down really low, and it's finally feeling a little better.  It's not like I even have a withdrawal headache.  Nope, this headache is a direct result of eating too much crap the last couple of days, plain and simple.  So I may still have a withdrawal headache to go through in a few days.

I'll tell you what, though.  This is awesome motivation for not eating grains and refined sugar in mass quantities any time soon.

Basically, I had a last hurrah last night and got some Ben and Jerry's.  This was after I had a Starbuck's scone for breakfast AND some pasta salad from the cafe next door for lunch.

(Side note: the pasta salad next door is AMAZING!  Pasta shells, olive oil, minced garlic, sundried tomatoes and fresh spinach.  So.  Good.  Really, the pasta is my least favorite part.  I should just get the rest of the ingredients and make my own sans pasta.)

Remember when I mentioned that I think wheat might be a migraine trigger for me?  I think that's been confirmed.

Basically, I kind of feel like an idiot.  Why do I do these things to myself?  I think I'm going to leave work a bit early after posting this and walk home.  It's a lovely day outside and I think the fresh air will help.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Let's Do This!

Alright, I'm sick of half-a**ing this.  I'm biting the bullet and doing a Paleo Whole30, starting tomorrow.  (See, 'cause there are 30 days in June).

I just got back from a short, relaxing trip to Florida to visit family.  And to eat mango key lime pie, apparently. (Never had mango key lime pie before this trip, but it was AWESOME.)  I got in late Tuesday night, and despite being tired all day yesterday, I had a hard time falling asleep last night.  This morning I felt all hungover from carbs, since I ate a bunch of them yesterday.

I went shopping at the outlets while I was in Florida and got a bunch of cute clothes, but I also got a couple of nice work dresses that don't quite fit.  The store didn't have the next size up, but my aunt encouraged me to get the dresses anyway, assuring me they look really cute.  Well, maybe they do, but they're a little tight for my comfort. 

I know I've said this many times, but I'm tired of being this size and I'm tired of feeling so lethargic.  I want to look like the swimmer I am.  I don't want anyone to discount what I can do because of my size.  I also don't want to be held back anymore because of my size.  I've reached that point where I don't want pictures taken of me, and I feel self-conscious all the time.  I hate this.

For some reason, it's been a lot harder to stick to my more extreme diet challenges in the 4 1/2 years since I got married.  Before I got married, I used to cut out sugar and soda pretty regularly.  I used to eat no unhealthy foods except for one splurge day per month. 

Somehow, it's a lot harder to stick to when I'm cooking for more than myself, and when Jason's over there downing the Diet Cokes with lime.  I'm not in any way blaming him!  Don't think that.  I know I have the will power to get over the cravings hump, and I know how much better I feel when I do.  But it's easier to justify eating the crap when someone else isn't trying not to eat it.

What it comes down to is that I'm basically sick of feeling like I do right now.  Kind of tired.  Kind of headachey.  Kind of lame for not getting up to swim this morning. 

Tomorrow is a new month AND it's a 30-day month.  Perfect!  June will be my time to shine.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Choosing Sleep

This week I have been choosing sleep over working out.  All this really means is I need to get to bed earlier.  Which means in bed by 10, asleep by 10:30.  It doesn't help that Jason is a night owl and I kind of feel lame going to bed so early.  But I have to if I'm going to work out regularly.

I didn't go to strength training yesterday and I didn't swim this morning.  However, today is the first day in a long time that I haven't felt like I could lay my head down on my desk and fall right to sleep.  So maybe I've finally caught up with my sleep deprivation.  Tomorrow I can go to strength training and get back on a good schedule for me and my exercising.

I know I need to get enough sleep.  Just yesterday, I was listening to another report about how lack of sleep raises cortisol levels.  Cortisol is the stress hormone that in primitive times was a signal to our bodies about external stressors.  For example, famine.  Or saber-toothed tigers.

Too much cortisol prevents weight loss and will even cause you to gain weight, as your body tries to prepare for whatever stressful situation it might face, since obviously something's wrong, or you wouldn't be producing so much cortisol. 

What this tells me is I can eat well and wake up early to get to the gym, but if I'm not going to sleep early enough, I'm fighting a losing battle.  Sigh.  It's so hard to get everyone right.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fashion Motivation

Seriously, I need to lose weight.  Just look at this coat!  It is beautiful and I need a new wool coat for work in the worst way.  The one I've used for the last several winters is literally falling apart.  In fact, I planned to get a new one before the most recent winter, but decided my coat could make it through one more year.

Because of the styling of this lovely coat, it might fit me if I bought it in an XL.  But the largest size is an L.  If I was, say, 30 pounds lighter (or several inches narrower), I'm sure an L would be fine.

Sigh.  I want to be able to wear the pretty clothes...

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Motivational Poster

A couple of ladies who read my blog over on SparkPeople said they really liked my comment "It's always better to show up at the pool."  One of them suggested we put it into a cross stitch sampler.  So of course in between projects today, I Googled cross stitch sampler design sites. 

Well, I didn't find one, but I did find a motivational poster design site.  Then I found a picture of a lap pool.  I specifically looked for a picture from the viewpoint of when you're about to dive in and start swimming. 

Then I made this:

Usually I don't like those motivational posters, but this is one I can get behind.

Learning Lessons

This morning my alarm went off and I was well aware that I had only had about 6 1/2 hours of fitful sleep.  I drank some Diet Coke in the evening to get me through a late work meeting, but I think it made my sleep too light.

I argued with myself for awhile about why it would be better to sleep than to get up for Masters swimming.  Plus, I wouldn't have to deal with Weird Guy if I didn't swim.  Ultimately, I talked myself into getting up.  I reminded myself that usually I feel better as soon as I get up.  Plus, there are only a few more Masters sessions left before our coach moves away, and I want to get in as many coached sessions as I can.

So I dragged myself out of bed, and even though I wasn't feeling any more awake by the time I walked from the locker room to the pool, I was there, and that's what counts.  I figured if I was slow today, I could always go last, right?

As soon as I got in the water and started my warm up, I felt a million times better.  Plus, Weird Guy didn't show today!  I wound up swimming with the two women who my pace is closest to and we all had a great workout.  We're very good at pushing one another.

Today I was able to remind myself that it's ALWAYS better to show up at the pool.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

In the Trash With You!

Stupidest reason ever to cut a lunch walk short: my tights gradually sliding over my bum and down my legs.

That's it, these are going in the trash as soon as I get home.  This is the 3rd time I've worn them, and the 3rd time I've almost had a wardrobe malfunction.

I planned to walk for an hour, but halfway in, I realized that the tights would soon be around my knees and I should probably head back to the office.  There is no casual way to yank up tights in public.  If I could remember where I bought this particular pair, I would never buy them again.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Recent Treats

I've been on a quest for yummy treats with a Paleo angle and have found a couple I thought I would share.

Spiced Carrot Cake: This is so good!  I don't know if Jason liked it as much, but I thought it was just sweet enough without being too cloying.  I'm not even a big carrot cake fan, but I liked this recipe a lot.  I tried making the coconut cream too, but it didn't work for some reason.  It didn't come together nicely like in the recipe.

Also, I learned the hard way that a really good way to clog the kitchen sink is to pour the failed coconut cream down the drain.  Coconut oil clogs pipes.  And good.  Oops.

Anyway, I made a little glaze out of powdered sugar and water.  Not paleo with the powdered sugar, but it was a light glaze.  Maybe I could experiment next time with maple syrup-sweetened whipped cream...

Apple Crisp:  We got a bunch of apples in our winter farm share, but they were obviously from last fall's harvest because they were a little mealy.  Good for baking, though!  This was great AND it even had a nice crunchy crust.  I used maple syrup instead of the agave nectar, but I think honey might have been even better for getting a crunchy crust.

And in a not-so-sweet vein, last night I made a crock pot turkey breast for dinner.  This is the third time I've made it, and it's fabulous!  I don't remove the skin and after it's done cooking, I bake it in the oven at 350 for 20-30 minutes, or until the skin browns.  So.  Good.

Monday, April 30, 2012

New Week, New Momentum

Well, last week wound up being kind of a wash.  I just couldn't seem to get up and at 'em at all.  Instead, I slept in every day.  Well, I say "slept in".  Really, I just slept for an extra half hour, then got to work a little early.  So I swam on Tuesday, I walked another day, and that was about it for the week.

Yesterday, though, I finally started feeling some motivation to get moving again.  It was a gorgeous day!  I had church and then came home at 1, made a late lunch for me and Jason, and then went to another meeting for my church responsibilities.  I got home at about 6:00 and decided to go for a walk.  Jason was out, so I took off on my own down the pretty Boulevard path, listening to funny podcasts. 

I texted Jason to let him know I was heading out and he came to find me on his way home, pulling over to the side of the road, asking in a creepy voice, "Want some candy, little girl?"  I didn't really want to stop walking, since it was so nice, but he seemed bummed when I said he could go on home without me, so I got in the car.  Then he and I went for another walk around our neighborhood.  There are so many gorgeous flowers in bloom still, and the air is so fragrant with their scent.

We also wanted to scope out the other houses in the neighborhood that are for sale to size up the competition.

By the way, we close on our house tomorrow!

I've been feeling pretty blase about it up until now, but it's starting to feel real.

I think yesterday's walk helped spark something inside of me to get me back into gear after last week's slothfulness.  I didn't get to sleep until close to midnight last night, but I was still raring to go this morning for my strength training class.  Now I'm sore, but happy.  Tomorrow is Masters swimming!

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Doctor's Visit

I went to my new doctor yesterday, mainly just so I could get my drug hook-up (see previous migraine post).  I also got a physical, prescription for a lab work up, and a vaccination.  Woo hoo.

My doctor was really nice.  I'm to the age where the newer doctors are my peers and I could see going out to lunch with this one sometime.  But of course, the weight topic came up.  She was very nice about it, but I know that my current weight (and BMI, if you're into that sort of thing) sets off all sorts of alarms in the medical professional's mind.

I told her briefly about losing a bunch of weight several years ago and how most of it has crept back on.  I told her about my experience last year seeing the dietician who essentially called me a liar (or delusional).  I told her about my current workout regimen and how I haven't lost any weight, but I have lost 9 inches in the last month and a half.

She had a couple of thoughts, including me joining a research study at a local hospital involving tracking.  Which made me laugh as I told her that I've tracked my food off and on for YEARS.  In the end, we discussed it, and determined that for now, I would continue what I'm doing, since at least in terms of body composition, I am seeing some results.  If I'm concerned about it in a couple of months, she and I can discuss options.

She was very nice, but this is just one of those awkward conversations that I've had before and will probably have again.  No one seems to understand how I could be doing all the right things and still be obese.  Well, it's very, very possible.  Trust me.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Lost Week - or, At Least A Couple of Days

I feel useless this week.  It started Tuesday when I was nauseous at Masters swimming.  I had a little tiny headache too, but I was mainly feeling completely ill, especially after every flipturn.  By Tuesday afternoon, I definitely had a migraine.  This is the first time that nausea has preceded a migraine.  Usually they show up together, nicely complementing one another.

I took one migraine pill and it dulled the pain for a little bit, but it came roaring back a bit later.  And I was out of migraine pills.  I'm in between doctors and didn't have anyone to call for a prescription.

I couldn't go home because we had a big meeting on Tuesday.  Which didn't go well.  Which didn't help my headache.  But I popped some Excedrin and soldiered through.  I finally left the office around 6:15, and went home to put an icepack on my head and take some more Excedrin.

Yesterday morning was supposed to be strength training, but I woke up and the headache seemed to have abated, but within 10 minutes of waking up, it was back.  I managed to keep it at a distance through most of yesterday with lots of Excedrin.  LOTS of Excedrin.

This morning I had swimming on my calendar, but when I woke up and realized my head didn't hurt anymore, but I was still exhausted, I decided to sleep.  Right this second, I can feel a slight achiness tapping on the back of my right eyebrow (that's where the pain parks itself when it shows up), but I'm drinking lots of water and hoping I can keep it at bay.  I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon where I'll be getting a shiny new prescription for my magic headache pills.

I've identified certain migraine triggers, but sometimes they show up without any root cause - other than my normal everyday stressors.  It always shocks me how debilitating they are.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

This is SuperFun.

Today's WG moment:

At a pause in the set, Coach says to WG, "Straight and narrow!  Straight and narrow!  Stay between the lane line and the black marker down the center.  THAT's your space!"  In a nice way, but emphatically, because she sees him swimming down the middle-ish of the lane.

WG says, kind of to himself, and I don't think the coach heard, "I'm fiiiiine."  As in, there's NOTHING I need to change.

This is after the coach told him to change something.

I don't think he understands the concept behind Masters swimming.  With a coach.  To help you swim better.

I wound up leaving early because I'm feeling kind of yucky today.  As I was leaving, Coach asked me if the lane dynamics were the reason.  I said no (since that wasn't it), but now I'm wondering if I should have said, "Yes, please. Take him aside and talk to him."

Saturday, April 21, 2012

2.25 Again

Well, I'm glad that I'm taking measurements as well as weighing myself, because if I went solely by the scale I would be really, really depressed by now. I still haven't lost any weight. I'm still hovering around those same 2-3 pounds in a range that I don't want to be in AT ALL. However, I'm down another 2.25 inches in the past 2 weeks, including 3/4 of an inch off of my hips. Now THAT's cause to celebrate.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More of the Mean Girls

We weren't really mean yesterday, more catty after the fact. But seriously, you know there's a problem when even the coach comments on it.

So yesterday the Weird Guy (WG) was in my lane again and he was still weird. He continued to swim down the middle of the lane, and continued to not really seem to understand the workouts and to do his own thing part of the time.

The most obnoxious thing, though, was his sprinting through everything so that he was right on top of whoever happened to be in front of him. Yesterday, the swimmers in my lane were me, B, WG and another guy. Other guy went first, B went 2nd, I went 3rd and WG went 4th. Yes, we arranged the order without consulting him and just started the set.

Well, at the end of the first length, I did a flipturn and when I turned around, WG was RIGHT ON TOP OF ME. Ack!

I seriously thought he was going to punch me in the face. Accidentally, of course. It's common courtesy to give the person in front of you a little space, unless you're sure you can pass them. He was swimming as hard as he could, and couldn't pass me outright, but he was bound and determined to swim as close to my feet as possible.

The third time this happened, I stopped and basically asked him to back off. He said he would, but he didn't, so I just let him pass me after the next length, and I swam last.

Then he started doing the same thing to B.

During the next set, I had to stop at one point and wait for him to get ahead because I kept catching up to his feet. While I was stopped, our coach noticed me and asked, "Why don't you just pass him?" I laughed and told her I tried that, but then he would sprint and get right on top of me. She looked out to where he was swimming and observed, "Oh yeah...Now he's doing it to B too..."

See! It's not just us!

She said, "Well, there's always one in every group. I suggest you wait 10-15 seconds after he goes before you start."

I mean, there's only so much she can do when she's coaching adults, right?

In the locker room afterward, B and I were rehashing the workout and she told me that he kept hitting her feet the entire time she was swimming in front of him. The funny thing is, he sprints through the entire workout, which doesn't seem healthy to me. At the end of each set, we would stop and the other 3 of us would be breathing normally pretty quickly, but WG was panting all the time. I don't know if he has something to prove to himself, but for whatever reason he is bound and determined to keep up and to win, even if it means swimming way outside of his comfort zone.

It's so strange. I've never run into this behavior before.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Good Start

This morning I made it to strength training, starting my week off right. I am still kind of amazed at how weak my legs are. We do this series of moves where we're on all fours and we stick one leg out straight and do this long series of lifts and circles and curls. I can never finish them. Though, I suppose each of my legs must weigh at least 50 pounds, so I guess it's not too shameful that I can't hold one up and do lots of moves with it for 5 minutes straight. My short-term goal is to be able to finish those particular exercises.

On the other hand, my abs still rock. I can do all the ab exercises no problem. I'm a little sore the next day, but overall, my core is pretty strong. Yay, swimming!

Today is a little quiet at work because the client I do the most work for is in Boston, and they have a holiday today. I'm playing catch up with a bunch of my other work. I'm also going to take the luxury of going for a lunch walk in a little bit.

This week, I'm rededicating myself to being healthy. I keep letting myself have little Easter candy treats and I don't know why, because I just feel awful after I eat them. On Saturday we went down to Newport with a group of friends for a seal-watching tour and excursion around the various beaches and parks. I got up early and went for a swim. Good start.

After the tour we went to Flo's Clam Shack for lunch and ate a LOT of deep fried seafood. It tasted good at first, but then I started feeling a little ill, and I passed off about a third of my fried clams to Jason. We went for a walk on the beach afterward and I started feeling better, and felt even better later as we explored some more beaches out past the mansions. Then we got some soft serve ice cream for dessert.

Then I got a migraine.

Seriously, I never learn. Too much crappy food = migraine. Thankfully on Saturday, it only took one prescription pill to get rid of the headache, but that should be a lesson to me.

It should be, but that particular lesson never seems to stick.

Even though it was chilly on Saturday, it was a good reminder that beach season is coming up and I want my body composition to be different than it is right now. I'm rededicating myself to eating Paleo/Primal (no sugar, no grains, limited dairy) and getting in 2 swims and 2 strength training classes per week. In fact, I'm going make it a 30-day challenge, since usually that works pretty well. We'll see where I am in 30 days.

Friday, April 13, 2012


As work gets (or continues to be) crazy, my workouts are sliding again. I suppose I shouldn't beat myself up too much, since today is really the only day that I've missed because of work.

I'm really good at getting down on myself when I mess up any little thing. Anyone else have that disease?

I swam Tuesday, did the Chisel! class on Wednesday, then didn't do anything yesterday because Chisel! beat me up. Actually, I'm pretty sure that if I had dragged my sore muscles to the pool yesterday morning, it would have helped, but I couldn't convince myself of that at 6 AM.

Today I was either going to do the Friday strength training class or swim, but in the end I decided I needed to get to work early. I'll be in meetings all day and at the same time I'm supposed to get some regulatory stuff out of the office by 4 PM. I love when I need to be two places at once.

Tomorrow, I'll get in a swim at least. But my plans for working out 5 times this week have instead resulted in working out 3 times. Not so bad, but not where I wanted to be either.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mean Girl(s)?

This morning I was reminded how I used to call one woman in my lane "Mean Girl". We're actually very chummy now and I barely remember how she seemed kind of resentful when I got moved into her lane. But today we had a run-in with a new guy.

So, new guy. He came into our lane from the one below ours because they had too many people. So it was him and 3 women. He breached several items of swimming etiquette that gradually annoyed the 3 of us more and more until finally B (the former mean girl) couldn't stand it any longer. Here's what happened:

1) He took off first almost every. single. time. That's not how it works. Usually we decide as a lane what order we go in based on how everyone is feeling and who is usually faster. Since he came from a slower lane, I assumed he would go last. Instead he took off first almost every time and we would wind up waiting until he had completed almost a whole length before we started so that we wouldn't be swimming on top of him by the end of the set.

2) He swam down the middle of the lane. There were 4 of us in the lane, which means we were circle swimming, and there's plenty of room to swim on either side of the lane. New guy swam sort of to the side, but really more down the middle. He's a big guy - probably 6' 2" or so, and not skinny. We were dodging him every time we passed him. Then at one of his starts, he sped out right down the middle and almost completely took out K, who was just finishing her last set.

3) He clobbered me over the head with one of his giant arms. We did a 50 of backstroke and as soon as I finished I scooted over to the middle of the lane, leaving plenty of room on the right for the next person to finish. Apparently he wasn't paying attention and came barreling into me (because, as I discussed in 2, he was in the center of the lane), whacking me on the head with his arm. He apologized, but geez. You have to be a little bit self aware when you're swimming with a bunch of people.

4) He took off first (see 1) AND he messed up the workout. We were supposed to do a 50 backstroke, followed by a 100 (50 back, 50 free), followed by a 150 (50 back, 100 free), etc. He did the 50 as 25 back, 25 free. Then he did a 50 and stopped. So we just kept on going and finished the 100. When I breathed before my flipturn and he realized I would be the second person to pass him, I heard him say, "Hey, wait a minute...", but that's all I heard because I kept going. Then I don't know what he did, but he messed up the 150 somehow. So at the next rest, B called our coach over and asked her to explain to him how to read the workout. Especially since he was insisting on going first and all. Rather than just say, "oh, ok, I see," he made his worst mistake:

5) He claimed that he didn't mess up, but he passed us somehow and was actually a 50 ahead of us. Um, no. That's when I got involved and B and I were both saying to him "No. You are NOT a 50 ahead of us." It was so ridiculous. At no point did he lap us. But rather than accept that maybe he didn't get the workout right, he kept insisting, "No, I passed you." Grrr.

So then B was REALLY irritated and she stopped waiting for him to finish a length before she left the wall, and she wound up on his toes the ENTIRE rest of the workout. And me and the other lady were right behind her. He wound up gasping for air at the end of it because, hey, it turns out he's not faster than us after all.

So maybe I was a little bit of a Mean Girl today too. But my head was still aching from getting whacked.

Saturday, April 07, 2012


Two weeks since my last weigh-in, and the weight is still in the same range, but I've lost another 2.25 inches. That means after a month of really keeping track of weight and measurements again, my weight is still basically the same, but I'm down 6.75 inches. I call that a positive.

Actually, this has been my trend in the past. I see changes in my measurements (and in how my clothes fit me and how my body feels as I go throughout the day) long before I see any movement on the scale. It's staying patient and waiting for that number to go down that is hard. I know that it's not all about the scale, and that the number doesn't mean a lot, but right now it's about 30 pounds higher than the last time I saw a picture of myself that I actually liked. A picture where I looked like just one of the gang, and not the fat girl.

Yes, I know, a lot (if not all) of this is in my head. But I'm trying to stay positive and realize that I'm really busy at work and right now what I can do is an hour workout in the morning. Then I can try to make healthy food choices throughout the day. That's all I can do, and I'm doing fairly well.

I swam 3000 yards in an hour this morning, which is a really good pace for me, considering it's not just a straight swim, but a workout with intervals and built in rests. I may still be heavy, but I'm getting faster!