Thursday, December 30, 2010

So this'll be quick

Weighed in today, but still I'm on a foreign scale. Today's weight: 210. Last week I was 216 ... but I'm pretty sure most of that was water and delightful bloat. One more weigh-in at the Country House, and then I'm back on my home scale.

It's rough doing this in a strange place. I'm further away from the gym. When I'm not working, it takes a great deal of effort to get there. My routine is pretty jacked, so maintaining my weight would be fine. Losing a few? Even better. Next week, we're back on track, and next weekend - a week from tomorrow, January 7 - I'm back home.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

How much of this can I gain on water weight?

I got on the scale today. May I once again remind you that I am not weighing in on the home scale. As I'm house sitting in the booming Metropolis of Long Grove, I'm stepping onto a borrowed scale once a week.

This morning, I stepped up and it screamed, "Get the fuck off of me, Orca!"

It was quite a shock, because just three days previous it showed me down a few pounds. Today, it read 216.4.

216? Pount 4? Why do you hate me?

Now, granted, my life over the past week has been little more than a full-on assault of food. Everything tasty has been in my midst. Sometimes I've been able to turn away. I mean, there is a full half-gallon of ice cream in the freezer that remains unopened. I've done so much better than the version of me who ate everything that wasn't nailed down. And still ... I'm heavier.

Some of that is water. Biologically (and I know I'm oversharing but it's my blog, dammit, so away we go) I am heavier one week out of every month, and this is it. Plus, my doctor has me on a medication to help me not retain quite so much water, and I forgot to take it for the last two days. But ... it sure as hell isn't six pounds of water. Good GOD, I'd be sloshing when I walked if that were the case!

So I guess it's time to get a little bit smarter, eat a little bit less and keep up the gym protocol. Because I don't want to keep these six pounds. They piss me off. Little bastards.

Monday, December 20, 2010

'tis the season ...

... to eat the foods.

For breakfast today: Two chocolate chip cookies, a fat-free muffin, and coffee. And so it begins ... the season of eating.

How will I combat it? Well, mostly by not missing workouts - which can also be tough, because I live in Snow Country, but what the heck. I can only do what I can do, right? I'll make it when I can, eat pizza when it presents itself (such as, for lunch today) and do my best to not become a complete pig slacker. But I also won't be the food nazi over the holidays. I will eat when I'm hungry, and it will be delicious. I will acknowledge that I'm probably going to overeat a bit, and then I'll just hustle my butt to the gym. I will enjoy every morsel, with as little amount of guilt as I can possibly muster, and I will return to greater diligence in the new year.

So my goal, then, for the next two weeks, is simply to not gain any weight. And in January, with luck, we'll celebrate continued success along the healthy path.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Perfectly imperfect

I'm a perfectionist. I am loathe to receive edits to my work, because I don't generally turn something in until I believe I've reached as close to perfection as possible. When my gravy doesn't thicken or my pasta is gluey or heaven forbid the crust on a cheesecake sticks to the pan, I feel like an epic failure. But I'm learning. I've begun to accept that sometimes, good enough is good enough, and that striving for perfection sometimes leaves us empty when we should be full.

It certainly holds true with weightloss. When you're starting out, you read a lot. Exercise in the morning. Drink at least eight glasses of water. Do 30 minutes every day. Sleep eight hours each night. Eat this number of calories ... and on and on. All of it is true, but who can do all of it? And more importantly, can you be successful if you simply choose not to?


I am not a morning person. Getting up to exercise at the ass-crack of dawn would destroy my spirit. But in the evening, I attend classes with people I love, taught by other people I love. Or I hop my happy ass onto a treadmill and relish the experience of being surrounded by other athletes. Because we're all athletes at one stage or another of development.

I drink water almost exclusively, but some days I don't drink as much as I should. I love sleeping, but sometimes life gets in the way. Some days I'm just too hungry to stay within my calories. And frankly, I enjoy days like today, when there is no gym bag anywhere near my life and I can take a "night off" from fitness.

And still, it's working. Because my best effort isn't perfect, but it's still my best effort, I am getting stronger. I am having fun. I am letting myself off the hook, because it's not about being perfect, or even trying to be. It's about dancing to the beat of a different drummer; sometimes, several different drummers at the same time. It's about doing what you love, eating foods you love, treating yourself like someone you treasure.

Because you can, and you should.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Weigh in - does it count?

I got on the scale today. It said 210.6. I would technically log it as 211, but ... I'm not sure it counts.

See, until January 7, I'm going to be house-sitting for a friend. I did not bring my own scale. So I weighed myself on hers, which isn't a bad thing ... but I'm afraid this was a false positive. (This feeling is assisted by my intense hunger and apparent need to eat more than my daily caloric allotment; see previous post.)

So, I'm logging it. 211. And if nothing else, we'll see how things go over the next three weeks. I'll at least know if I'm trending one way or the other, and then when I'm home ... well ... oh, hell, I could get a false negative!

At any rate, things are going well. My girlfriend left me several pre-made meals from The Biggest Loser, and they are delicious. Much more satisfying than your usual Lean Cuisine fare, and the variety is amazing. Lots of chicken, of course, but also lots of varieties of same. Cheesy stuffed chicken ... blackened chicken ... chicken Florentine ... every one, yummy as hell, and every meal coming in between 300 and 350 calories. Couldn't have come at a better time! It's been a great help in keeping my calories in check, although there is no way I could afford to do it for myself; that stuff's pretty spendy.

And so we continue with a very festive, very busy season. I'll keep my eye on the prize ... but I must occasionally stop for cookies.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Yeah ... things feel tough these days.

Not in a bad way, mind you. There's just a distinct lack of an Easy button.

Every day for the past week or so, I've been over on my caloric intake. There's been a little stress, so I suppose that's to be expected. Plus, it's the holidays. How is one expected to rein in the eating when there is so much deliciousness all around! So, I'm just doing the best I can in the meanwhile, and hopefully come January, I at least won't have gained weight.

So I keep working at it. I try to push past the stress. I don't let it get to me (much) that I didn't sleep well tonight, and I will go to the gym and run and do yoga and I will feel better afterward. I'm feeling a little guilty, because I didn't go to the gym last night.

And with good reason! See, I'm watching a girlfriend's house for three weeks or so while she visits her husband overseas. So I had to move myself and Benld into a new residence last night, and going earlier - 5 p.m. - instead of later - 9 p.m. - seemed wise. And it was, though that doesn't mean it wasn't an exceedingly difficult night. Benld cried; sometimes, it was that loud, low "howlWOOOOO!" that means he's heartbroken. I'm worried about him.

It's clear that I prefer a simple life, and I am eager for my friend to return home. But until then, I have to manage everything - my weight, my food, my stress, my cat, my heavens! I will not be overwhelmed. It will be okay.

Won't it?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's not easy being lean

There's less of me.

It's hard work.

Also, thank you.

To those of you who notice and encourage, please know, I cannot thank you enough.

Last night at the gym, I honestly lost count of the number of people who commented on my ever-shrinking form. For the record, I am not complaining. It is difficult, however, to accept compliments, because I feel like I have such a long way to go. It is hard work getting here. It is going to get harder.

But back to last night. The girl at the towel desk stopped me to tell me she thinks I'm doing great. My friend Jill, as we were putting up our stuff from Strictly Strength, told me I'm shrinking before her eyes. That sweet pretty blond girl who also did the Hot Chocolate run told me at first that my top looked really good on me, then she said, "No, it's because you're getting so tiny; everything looks good on you!" Then on my way out of class, sweet Gretchen said, "You have lost a lot of weight!" Yes, I have. She wanted to know what I was doing, and it really made me think about it.

I'm eating less. I'm moving more. There is no magic pill. If you want to do this, it isn't going to be easy. But when you start getting results ... and people start to notice ... it is so damn worth it!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I'm wearing pants.

Now, that may not sound like a big deal to most people. But to me? Yeah. Groundbreaking.

I haven't owned a pair of pants that fit in years. Many, many years. When it comes to great-fitting pants, I think I'd have to go back to college. At my heaviest, they never actually "fit", because for some reason clothing manufacturers seem to think that all larger women have an immense gut; therefore, my crotch (or rather, the crotch of my pants) was always hanging down to my knees! Finally, I gave up. I've been wearing skirts and dresses almost exclusively ever since, with the exception of jeans (which can still be hard to find, if I want them to fit and look yummy.)

Anyway, today, I'm wearing pants. This gorgeous pair of black wide-leg trousers that have been in my closet for about five years. They look great. They feel great. Okay, they feel a little snug, but maybe that's because they actually fit.

Also this week, I tried on a dress my then-mother-in-law gave me back in December of 2010. Yes, it finally fits the way it's supposed to. And, soon you'll see me clad in my bib overalls from college. I realize I may look ridiculous. I don't care; I love them, and I've been trying to fit back into them for years.

It feels good. In some ways, I can't believe I've come this far. In other ways, I can't believe how much further I have to go. But in every way, I'm elated. Look what we can do if we just set our minds to it?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Shrinky dink

It's been a tough week, but also a good week. Thanksgiving brings food. I swear, during the holidays, people I've never met offer me vittles. And I did pretty well.

Dined on amazing, delicious foods, but never gorged. And lots of working out, having a blast at the gym. It's been good. And yummy.

This week, in particular, has been a time for trying new things. Last night, I tried hot yoga. I've been trying to fit yoga into the workout regimen all year, and finally, things fell into place. It was amazing. Best part? The last time I yog'd, there was a lot more "me" in the middle. This time, I was a lot more bendy, because there wasn't as much French bread in the way! And the heat makes it so easy to blissfully move further into the poses. Love. Love. Love.

Today at noon (because I'm on mini-vacation) I'll be doing Barbell Strength at the gym. Then on Saturday, I'm doing another 5k ... and there is snow in the forecast. Let's keep trying new things!

But at any rate, today was weigh in day. Last week, I didn't report, because I stayed pretty much the same. So imagine my surprise when the readout said ...


213.6. (I'm just calling it 214.)

That means I get my first reward! I've lost my first 10 percent. 26 pounds, total. That's heavy!

Some weeks are easier than others. Some weeks the losses are big. Some weeks I stay the same. But as long as I maintain my focus, the weight comes off.

My body, and my spirit, are lighter.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Two years ago, I bought a pair of pajams.

Flannel pants and a short matching robe, in an awesome red plaid. I didn't wear them two years ago, however, because the pants didn't fit. My thighs threatened to break free of the fabric at every turn - not the best look, mind you - so I retired them to the "someday" corner of my drawer.

I wore them last week. It felt like a victory.

I got them out, because I finally had to throw away my favorite jammies - the Nick & Nora ones with the lawn flamingoes on 'em, all dressed up for winter. So cute ... so warm ... so too big for me now! When you can fit both of your legs into one leg of your pajamas, it's time to let them go.

But it felt good to be able to reach into the drawer and have something "new". Yeah ... that works.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Weigh to go!

It's Thursday, and that means it's time to weigh in.

I have felt svelte this week. I can see it in my face. There's something about the way losing weight affects my face; my dimples show up. I'm prettier. It's like the real me is actually visible. I like it.

My clothing is starting to feel amazing. Even small. I put on my favorite winter coat today, and it fit perfectly. Last winter, I had to pray before I buttoned around the boobs. Now? Piece of cake. And it looks adorable.

Last night at the gym, I saw the young woman who sold me my membership. I remember telling her that my real goal was to get down under 200 pounds. She's awesome, by the way. So supportive! She now works at a different location, but she was always very inspiring to me. Seeing her at my gym just made my night! I hadn't seen her in about a year, so when she saw me, she gave me a big hug and said, "How much less of you is there?" Lots, I said. Still about 50 pounds total to go, but lots. "Are you sure you should lose that much more?" Wow. Then I broke the news that I am still technically obese, at 220 pounds. When I get below 200, I said, we'll re-evaluate, but for now, I'm going for 50.

It felt so good to be encouraged and recognized like that. I really have worked hard, and I'm glad it's showing.

Met a new trainer last night - Scott. He's funny and sarcastic, just the way I like 'em. It's important to me to know the training staff, because if I have a question or feel the need to die, I'd like to call them by name when I ask for help. So Scott asks me if I have any bone or joint issues. "Was it my sexy knee brace that made you wonder?" I asked, and he said no, he hadn't even noticed. He was asking because - get this - he teaches Boot Camp, and he wanted to invite me for a free session.

Translation: I look like someone who can survive Boot Camp.

I've seen Boot Camp. They work 'em like a mutha. So, while I turned him down because yes, I do have joint issues, and they don't recommend it when that's the case. But holy schnikes, that felt good.

Anyway, did my run, in the company of my girlfriends, Linda and Dee. Half hour on the treadmill, and at one point, I ran 9 minutes and 45 seconds straight, and did the occasional 60-second sprint. Followed the run up with a half hour on the elliptical, and 700 torched calories later, I was done. Felt amazing.

So when I woke up this morning, I almost couldn't wait to get on the scale. And there it was - 217.8. Point 8? What the hell? I'm just calling it 218.

Two pounds away from my initial 10 percent. A pedicure is within reach ... although I may change that reward and treat myself to a massage.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Needs and wants

I need new bras and underwear.

I want a new pair of jeans.

I need black tights.

I want a camel pencil skirt, and some new workout wear.

Of course, shelter and food comes before all of that lovely stuff, and really, there's not much wiggle room in the budget after that, but at some point in the not-t00-distant future, there will at least be a few new bras.

Today, I pitched several that are too big. And a few pairs of pajamas. These I will not replace at Goodwill. But as luck would have it, a dear friend has cleared out her own (very fashionable) closed and bequeathed to me some truly lovely pieces. A few are too small (and will wait in the cedar chest until it's time) but many are perfect. I have beautiful sweaters, a warm winter coat, and handbags to add color to just about every outfit.

I'm a lucky girl, in ill-fitting panties.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Whole Point

I weighed in today. I didn't lose any weight this week.

But I also didn't gain. This might be a miracle, after the heinous amount of Italian food I ate over the past week. This is cause for celebration.

Over the weekend, I didn't log my food. I know, I know - I lose when I track my calories. But there was so much going on, and so much delicious food, I gave myself a pass. And the thing of it is, in the past, this would have been the end. I would have given myself a pass for a weekend, and it would have been a forever thing. This is different. This is new, and this is how much I've changed.

Once Monday rolled around, I was back to tracking, full force.

I was also back on my regular workout regimen. Walking at lunch, at the gym in the evenings, and I even tried going for a run last night. Never again. It's dark out there, and not very much fun. Sidewalk? Is that the sidewalk? Yeah ... unfun. So running will take place at the gym, on a treadmill, unless there's a good weather day on the weekend.

So, what's the whole point? Eating well, most of the time. Everything in moderation. Doing things that feel good. Dancing, running, walking, lifting weights ... eating chocolate, and copious amounts of Italian food.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Running on Full

I honestly can't tell you how it started. Somewhere between the couch potato days of 2006 and today, I became a runner.

Not a good runner. Not a consistent runner. But a runner.

I suppose it began when work-friend Michael challenged me to be his partner in the Muddy Buddy relay. Easy enough; half of it was biking, and the running parts? Well, I could (and did) walk most of those. But then other opportunities arose; opportunities to run. And I did it.

Today was the Hot Chocolate 5k and 15 k in the beautiful city of Chicago. I ran the 5k, along with several amazing friends. My friends Diane and Simone, and my sister Kathie, ran the 15k. We're runners. Did you know that?

We took off from Grant park, and my friend Justin - who was starting with me - quickly became a blur. I was on my own, running through the most beautiful lakefront, surrounded by like-minded awesomeness. I felt completely free, comfortable in my body, and capable. And I thought, well this is new.

See, this never would have happened back when I was married. There would never have been enough money for me to join a gym, much less indulge myself in races that cost $45. My health was not important enough to be a priority - to me, or to the guy to whom I was married. So I got really good at sitting. I was an expert at Remote Handling. But I wasn't a runner.

Now, I have friends who are runners. I budget to buy new running shoes. I think it's fair to say, I am a vastly different person than a was just a few years ago. I've made good changes.

The inimitable Donna Thomas, in almost every Salsa/Funk class (which I try desperately never to miss) says "look what your body let you do today." And mine - along with some great buddies - allowed me to run. I am so grateful to everyone who has supported me in my running endeavors. Today was magical; look what our bodies let us do!

Usually, you find us in the upper-left side of Studio Two, dancing. Today, we ran.
This is me (center) with Linda Clegg and Dee Morel. I love you guys!

In closing, I have nothing more profound to offer, save for these lyrics from "You Run" by The Call:

So you run and you run and you run
and you never stop
and you work and you work
until you drop
you're in over your head and the pressure just don't quit
but you can't escape the reach of love

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Weight of the World ... or just my ass

Weigh-in day. Scared and excited. The result?


That's right, folks - I have lost a total of esaaaaaaaactly 20 pounds in 11 weeks. While I would love to turn out Biggest Loser-esque numbers, I'm losing at a rate that averages 1.8 pounds per week. Pretty damn good, in my opinion.

And I guarantee I've actually lost more fat than that, because I know I've built muscle. I haven't felt this physcially strong in ... well ... ever.

I'm four pounds away from my first 10 percent. When I hit 216, I get a pedicure. Good thing that didn't happen this week, because I can't afford it right now. But in a couple of weeks? Sign me up.

Anyhoo, it hasn't been easy. Taking on this weightloss challenge while also taking up running is probably the single most daring thing I have done in my adult life. Except maybe getting married, and I am pretty sure the weightloss thing is gonna have a better result than the marriage.

I ran last night, with my friend Linda. We completed a neighborhood 5k. It hurt.

Moving 220 pounds through the world is not easy. By mile two, my hips were killing me. My breathing was labored. My brain wanted to shut off. But I kept going. I felt kinda bad, because Linda is capable of running faster and longer than I am, but she's also a generous soul, and she kept my pace, and walked with me when I needed to. It mattered a great deal, and we made it. 3.14 miles in 51 minutes. Yeah, I rock a 17-minute mile.

So that's it for running, until the race on Saturday. Tonight it's salsa/funk with MaryAnn, and tomorrow is a night off, as I'll be heading into the city to stay with Diane prior to race day. I'm nervous and excited. And at the moment, still sore.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Meanwhile, at the gym ...

A great workout last night. Pam is teaching Strictly Strength on Tuesday nights through November, and she's a real butt-kicker. It hurts, in the most delicious way. I may never be able to perform every move with the grace and dexterity she does, but she keeps me trying anyway. And this morning, I'm a little ouchy. No, make that a lot.

Between Strictly Strength and Salsa/Funk, workout friend Jill came up to me and said, "You've lost a lot of weight!" To which I replied, "Yes; 18 and a half pounds to be exact." She went on to say that I'm looking great, and I began to explain how it's really nothing because there is so much more work to be done.

Well, bullshit. Yes, there is more to be done. I have 50 more to go (70, if you take the "recommended weight" for my frame, but I'll be pleased at 50.) But I need to cut myself some slack. 18.5 is an accomplishment. Every day that I don't stray too far from my calorie count, every day I get in a good workout ... it's all an accomplishment. It matters.

So after Salsa/Funk, when Lesley (who hadn't seen me in three weeks) commented on my weight loss, I simply accepted it. Thank you, I said. There is more to be done, and it's hard, work, but I'm pleased to have accomplished what I have.

It matters. Little changes make for a big life.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I'm already nervous

So, the Hot Chocolate 5k is this Saturday. My goal is to run it all. I am not going to be able to do that.

To be fair, I wasn't terribly sure I would be able to from the beginning. But it's good to have a goal, right?

It's a little depressing to be as slow at running as I am. It just ... is. Nothing I can do except keep trying, right?

On Saturday, I completed a treadmill 5k with my friend Linda. Run three minutes, walk two, for 3.1 miles. It was rather exhausting, and it took me almost an hour to complete it. Of course that was with a five-minute warm up and cool down ... but still. I worry that I will be the slowest, fattest runner in the entire race. And I may well be. And that is going to be fine.

I will finish. I will eat chocolate at the end. That is all I need to know.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

For the love of my legs

All my life, I have had a love/hate relationship with my legs. It's hard to grow up with a brother who can't walk and not appreciate your legs' ability to take you from place to place. My legs do things my brother can't even imagine. That has never been lost on me.

However, my legs are not now, nor have they ever been, my favorite feature. I carry a lot of weight (and by weight I mean cellulite, fat, jiggle, cottage cheese) in my thighs. So much so that pants shopping is a chore. (Thank God for Maurice's Orchid Boot Cut Jeans!) My legs are (can I type this out loud?) ugly. My calves are thick (making it difficult to indulge my love of boots) and my knees are literally a pain.

But these legs are mine, and I choose to love them. Sometimes when I'm doing my post-workout stretching, I look down at my knees and I literally say "thank you" to them, for holding me up through the exercises. I think they appreciate it.

The thing is, my legs are strong. They are capable. They do so many amazing things for me, just because I ask them to. They do things I didn't think were possible! They run. They kick. They dance. Soon, they will climb walls. They make it possible for me to get through each day. They are not perfect, but they work perfectly. They allow me to end a day with thoughts of, "I'll be damned, look at what my body did for me today!"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Food, Glorious Food

Today was all about food.

When I woke up, I went to the grocery store. I got all the ingredients I'd need for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the week. Then it was home to prep apricot chicken in the crockpot for dinner, curry chicken salad to go in wraps for lunch, and make pumpkin muffins for breakfast.

There's something really nice about looking into the refrigerator and see a bunch of delicious, healthy food in there. Here's what dinner ended up looking like:
That's apricot chicken, half a cup of couscous with roasted pine nuts, and romaine with fat free French dressing.

As for the workout, today was a day of rest. Which is a good thing, because yesterday's workout was mighty tough. Strength training with Pam, and spin with Nicole. After which I needed a three-hour nap. Oy!

But at any rate, I am prepared to head into work and begin what will absolutely be a better week than last week. (Of course, that won't take much!) If nothing else, there will be good food to go with whatever comes.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Just Do It

"We must do the things we think we cannot do."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

With apologies to the fine people at Nike, "Just Do It" is great advice, and it has served me well in 2010. (Which, by the way, was christened "the year of the Maggie" back in January. Accurate? Perhaps.) This has been a year of doing things I never even considered before. That's an amazing thing.

It all began with the Muddy Buddy race in August. I remember standing there, waiting for our wave to begin, with my friend Mike and his wife Emily. I was petrified. What if I failed? What if I couldn't finish? So many what ifs! But I did it. I completed a course of running (or in my case, walking), biking and obstacles, something I decided to do just because it sounded like fun. Never in my life have I felt the adrenaline of finishing something I wasn't quite sure I could do. And that's what challenge is all about: trying something, being willing to fail, just because you might be able to say, "I did it."

And there have been more challenges. Relay for Life, the Blackhawks 5k, and - coming soon to a city park near you - the Hot Chocolate 5k. My only goal is to finish, and maybe shave a minute or two off my time. But success to me is simply defined by finishing.

Who is this woman who keeps trying new things? What happened to the couch potato? And furthermore ... what's next?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Tale of Two Buttcheeks

I didn't realize how much you use your gluteal muscles when running. Or walking. Or any of the mundane tasks one does throughout one's day-to-day activities. Well, you do. And the day after a run, they talk to you.

So do your quads. And your shoulders. Yes, running works it all, and over the days that follow, your muscles let you know. Sometimes, loudly.

It's been a good week, all things considered. Sure, I almost had a meltdown earlier this week when I shamefully got on the scale on a day other than Thursday. Sure, I had a margarita last weekend. But I didn't fall off the wagon. I didn't even really lose my footing. Wagon and I, securely together.

I weighed in today, and came in at 221.5. This is the lowest number my scale has seen in at least eight years. I am proud. That number represents a total of 18.5 pounds (or 74 "knee pounds") lost since I got back on track on August 24. (My sister and father remind me now and then that every pound lost is four pounds of pressure off my knees, so "knee pounds" ... like "dog years.") This also puts me at 5.5 pounds away from my first reward, because at 216 I will have lost 10 percent of my weight. Rock on!

Just Because You Can Zip Them Doesn't Mean They Fit
I have this gorgeous pair of black pants in my closet. They have been there for three years. Wide-leg trousers, crafted of a fabric that feels very expensive, although the pants really weren't. Anyway, they've been there, waiting for me, for literally years. I put them on this morning, just to gauge my progress.

I pulled them all the way up, and I zipped them.

Now, I looked a little bit like a moose wearing a banana peel, but the point is I got them on. This is cause for celebration, no?

Did She Just Say "Skinny"?
At the gym on Tuesday night, I saw my friend Jennifer. She's awesome. About five-foot-nothin', and totally sweet. She's an athlete and a dancer, and I just love her. She hasn't been at the gym much lately, because she's on a softball team and that takes up a lot of her evening workout time. Well, she walks up behind me prior to class, peers at my face and says, "Oh my God, that is you!" And I'm like, well, duh, and she says, "When did you get so skinny? I didn't even recognize you!"

Shocked, I was. But so totally gratified! I mean, I have a long way to go, but it felt so good to have someone refer to me as "skinny", even if it was just by comparison.

That's What it's All About
No, not the hokey pokey. Variety. I love that I am getting such an awesome variety of activity into my life these days. There's running mixed with walking, there's walking on my lunch hour, there's the elliptical trainer after work, there's salsa/funk, there's weight training ... it's cross-training at its best. I realize that if I focused a little more on running, I would probably be better at it, and maybe I'd be able to run the whole race. But here's the thing: I love the variety. It really does keep me engaged, and happy with the routine. Probably because it's anything but routine.

And there's variety in the diet, too. From other people's leftovers (blissful fajitas!) to homemade soup (I am a good cook!) I'm getting a lot of color in my food, and a lot of really delicious, nutritious food. As long as it keeps working, I'm totally fine with that!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I came. I saw. I ate.

Every month or so, a group of us old theater people from the Riverfront and Aurora University get together for food and visiting. Sometimes we go out, sometimes we descend upon someone's house, and every time we have great food and conversation.

Last night, we went to Kathleen and Shawn's, and we had great guacamole. Or, should I say, I had great guacamole. I'm not sure I left any for the rest to eat.

And I'm pretty sure it's taken up residence on my thigh.

I have had a rough week or so. Biologically, I know this is the week when I am hungry all the time. It didn't help that I went out to eat for both lunch and dinner on Saturday, but I thought I made really good choices. Up until last night, I really was careful. Within my calories, or so I thought. But this morning, I got curious ... and I stepped on the scale ... and I was up a pound and a half.

Well, shit.

What am I gonna do about that? My first thought was, I can't go away this weekend. See, I've been planning to attend Homecoming, back at EIU. Haven't been in years. But come on, staying home would be punishing myself. That's just dumb. I haven't killed anyone. So, I've determined that I need to not drink beer, be very careful of what I eat, and get a run in on both Saturday and Sunday. That's it. That's the plan.

And meanwhile, I'm trying to talk myself down off the ledge. The first few weeks were easy peasy; now, it takes work. Now, I have to let myself feel hungry. I have to stick the hell with it. easier said than done. This is the point at which I usually turn back, revert to old habits, buy chocolate and wear sweats for days on end. That's just not an option now.

So, at lunchtime today, I went for a walk. Tonight, I'll hit the gym. Tomorrow I run, Thursday I'm back at the gym, and on Friday, I head to Charleston. On Friday, I will also have my official weigh-in. Maybe the pound and a half was a fluke, maybe not, but I don't weigh on Tuesdays, so I'm just going to forget that I got on the scale today.

And for the record, I am well within my caloric intake requirements for the day. Let's see how the evening progresses!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Now, before I write this, I need to acknowledge that there are some people who think I am a heavy drinker, and who would tell me that alcohol has no business whatsoever on my eating plan. The truth is, I probably have an average of one drink every two weeks. There are many weeks that go by when no adult beverages cross my lips. There are other weeks when I'll go out with friends and have a few beers. Or, there is the occasional Saturday when a dear friend comes to visit, and we go to my favorite restaurant, order Mexican food, and I drink one of these.

Margarita Azul from Salsa 17 in downtown Arlington Heights.

It was delicious. But oddly enough, I think it created an all-jacked-up weekend for me, because on Sunday, I had the worst run ever. The only thing different was that I had a drinky-drink on Saturday, so I'm assuming that my body did not want to metabolize the alcohol, and it took it out on me. Margarita Azul, you are my sworn enemy.
I took a half hour run/walk. I wanted to cry almost the entire time. I went less than two miles. So I've decided that, until the race on November 6, there will be no drinking. Not a big deal, really. And we'll see if it makes a difference. If it does, great. If not, well, no harm done.
As for my weekend, there was a lot of delicious food. Oddly enough, I have become the Girl Who Eats Half Her Food. My refrigerator is full of leftovers from the weekend! Plus, I made tortilla soup yesterday. Of course, I forgot the tortilla chips, but that's okay. The soup is hearty and beautiful, with just a little bite. I'm having it for lunch, probably every day this week. And it will be fabulous!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Well, that was different

This has been a tough couple of days. In case you didn't notice (but you did; you check every day for updates, don't you?), I didn't log my weigh-in yesterday. Why? I stayed the same.

Where's the shame in that? There really isn't any. But for about 36 hours, I let it totally psych me out. I let it feel like failure. And yet ... I kept pushing forward. I went to the gym last night, and I had the greatest hour I have ever had on an elliptical machine. I hadn't realized that, lately, those workouts have just been me, going through the motions. Last night, instead, I pushed myself. I concentrated on moving those damn pedals around, particularly using the muscles of my left quad, hamstring and glute. Yep, this is the way to support my knee! When I finished, I was a sweaty, wobbly mess. I had proven something to myself: I'm not afraid of my limits. Nope. Not at all.

Then today, I got on the scale again. So hopeful! So foolish. No change still. For those of you playing the at-home version of our game, that puts me at 224 - still a far cry from the 290 I was at which I was tipping the scales when I first joined the gym. Still immense progress. Still 16 pounds less than I was on August 24, the day I got back on the wagon.

Today was a rough day at work, so when I got finished, I really didn't want to take a run. I was tired. I was crabby. I was ... Maggie. But I did it. I got on my gear and I headed out. Just a half hour, I asked of myself. Three minutes at a walk, two at a run, for half an hour, with five of walking tacked on to the end. I can handle that.

And ya know what? I so could handle that! It was as if, all of a sudden, I could run those two minutes without thinking I wasn't going to make it. I am improving. I have a long way to go, but dammit, I am making changes. I am no longer content to sit when I could be in motion. Oh, let me amend that: I am no longer content just to sit. I like to move, to. And I like running! I like being able to do it. I don't like that I'm slow, I don't like that when the two minutes are up I'm breathing like a serial killer, and I don't like that I'm running roughly a 16.5 minute mile, but hey ... that's way faster than I move when I'm sitting still.

As I neared home at the end of tonight's run, I lived a scene that felt like it was right out of a movie. I was approaching a group of young kids - about 12 or 13 years old, I'm guessing. There were seven or eight of them, on bikes and skateboards, hanging out around the sidewalk. I figured they'd either ignore me, or make jokes at my expense as I passed. (Yes, I do always expect the worst.) Anyway, as I was in the midst of their little group, one of them put his hand up and said, "hi-five!" and so I hi-fived him. He looked at me and said, "I love you!" and I responded, "Love you, too!"

Pure. Simple. Validation. He has no idea that his gesture bolstered me the entire way home. A little bit of support from an unlikely source; how sweet is that?

So here goes: virtual hi-five, from me to you. I love you!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Scrapbooks, running and mole de puerco

I had quite a weekend.

With the money my dad gave me for my birthday, I treated myself to a weekend scrapbooking retreat with my friend Diane. Three days of photographs and memories ... blissful! On Friday evening we settled in to our "spots" in a conference room at the Country Inn & Suites in Naperville, and got to work. The group of girls at these events are just awesome. We laugh and joke with each other all weekend long. I got a lot of work done and enjoyed the company even more than the work I got done on my books.

On Saturday morning, I agreed to go for a run with Diane. Now, she is an accomplished runner. I am ... not. But she assured me she would let me establish pace, and we'd go however long I wanted. So I went.

It. Was. Hard.

Over three miles of sidewalks in the area surrounding the hotel, we ran. Well, she ran. I ran and walked and kept reminding myself that all forward motion counts. We went three miles. It took me 50 minutes. Everyone has to start somewhere.

But as difficult as it was, and as much as I hurt the following day, running with Di was so good for me. She talked with me the entire time, reminding me to focus on my breathing, telling me how to place my feet and use my arms to propel myself forward. And she talked about her kids and the family and did her darndest to take my mind off of the fact that my legs were burning, begging me to take a rest. By the time we got back to the hotel, lemme tell ya - breakfast never tasted so good.

Too soon, it was time to leave scrapbooking behind to head out and tend to home and cat. Sunday also brought the best kind of dinner - food from a Mexican hole-in-the-wall with a too-loud Mariachi jukebox. Mole de puerco (pork in mole sauce) just about made my toes curl, and it was a good calorie choice, too! I chose a meal without frying or cheese or creamy sauce, and I was treated to an amazing plate of slow-braised pork in the best mole sauce I've had since Dale, accompanied by a small amount of rice and beans, and real corn tortillas. Halfway through the meal, I was full. Guess what I'm having for dinner tonight?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Weigh-in, October 7


No, I'm not playing golf while simultaneously spelling poorly. I lost four pounds this week. Now, I realize this may set me up for losing not much in the coming week; that's generally how it goes. But for the moment, I'm just gonna revel.

Four pounds.

16 sticks of butter.

One pound less than a five-pound bag of potatoes.

This is significant. We are now at a total of 16 pounds. That's eight pounds away from Reward No. 1 - pedicure! Woo-hoo!

I don't know what's so different about my quest this time. Maybe it's the fact that I'm more gentle with myself than I've ever been. Maybe it's knowing I have friends rooting for me, and going for their own goals at my side. Maybe it's the way I'm feeling like an athlete for the first time in my life (okay, a novice athlete, but still an athlete!) But it doesn't matter why it's different. It just matters that it is.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Training "Run" No. 2

Well, there are lots of good things to report.

First, I have gotten through my second training run for the Big 5K, which I will be running (I will be running!) exactly one month from today. Second, I did it without hurting my knee. These are both important changes. Third - and maybe the most meaningful - is the fact that, when I got home tonight, I really wanted to make dinner, sit down and watch television. Instead, I got dinner prepared, suited up and hit the street.

Two miles was all I made it tonight, doing a series of run/walk intervals I was sure I could handle with no trouble at all. It was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.

Walk seven minutes, run two; repeat three times. Clearly, something is wrong with my watch, because it moves quickly during the seven minutes of walking, and very slowly during the two minutes of running.

I just kept thinking to myself, "good form; follow your breath; you can do anything for two minutes." I may not be getting better at it (yet), but I am getting from point A to point B.

The other interesting factor here is that I have now worked out (albeit only for half an hour) on two days that normally don't get me moving. Usually, Sunday and Wednesday are days of rest. I have fewer of those now; in fact, according to "the plan", Friday is the only absolute day each week of no sweat.

Feels good. Feels like change. Feels like strength.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Training for 5k


Running is hard. Like, seriously hard. I walked for a few blocks to warm up, and then I started to run. Got about a block down the road before my heart threatened to leap forward, directly out of my chest, like an alien baby.

I have never liked running. I think that whole "I'd rather die than gasp for miles on end" thing is probably why.

My heartrate monitor showed that, within the course of two blocks, my lub-dub ticker had gone from a comfortable zone two into the heights of zone four. Meaning, I had zipped right through zone three - the happy one where I burn fat - and into the sugar-burning fiesta known as zone four. Great. This is gonna be a challenge.

Can I run? Yes. In fact, the cool part is, I was able to work some pretty funky intervals. My heart rate recovery is pretty awesome, too, so within a block or two, I was down in zone three, and able to sustain it with no discomfort at all. So we just gotta work on training the old heart to manage the "one foot in front of the other"-ness of running.

Will I get there in time to actually run the 5k on November 6? Heck, I dunno. But this was only Training Day One. There's time to make progress. And it's gonna be fun.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Weigh-in, September 30

I got on the scale this morning. I'm down 2.5 pounds for a total of 12.5. My co-worker today told me I'm like watching "The Biggest Loser". Well, not exactly - I don't get a quarter million dollars at the end - but I am at least being a bit consistent.

That also puts me halfway to my first goal of 216 pounds. In 12 more pounds, I get my first reward - pedicure! I promise to post a picture of my very pretty feet after that!

In other news, my salad at lunch today was delicious. Now, don't judge. Romaine lettuce, roasted butternut squash, chicken and toasted pine nuts in a light ranch dressing. Satisfying and very autumnal!

In still other news, I got my DVD from the Summer Showcase I was in last August, the photos of which were part of the reason I realized I had become fatty-fatty-moo-moo. (A term of endearment, I assure you!) I sound good. I look horrible. Thank GOD I'm working on it!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I've got moves you've never seen

Hell, I've got moves I've never seen. Not for 15 years or so, anyway. I'm shrinking. Not quickly, but enough so that my body behaves differently.

At salsa/funk class last night, I actually watched myself dance a little. A few body rolls every now and then looked ... well, like they're supposed to look. Not like a body with rolls, but a body, rolling. It was nice. It was also nice that people notice. My friend Nicole told me yesterday that she could tell I've lost weight. Actually, she said she liked my outfit, and that on some people, it would make them look heavy, but on me, it showed my weightloss. Heck yeah!

Tomorrow is weigh-in day. I almost got on the scale today, because I've been feeling so good this week, I'm very hopeful that I have a good loss! Fair warning: I'm going to over-share now. Biologically, I have a week every month when I am just ravenous. It's not the week one would think; it's the week before you'd think I could eat anything that isn't nailed down. Last week was that week. This week, my appetite has been much more like that of a normal human rather than a pregnant buffalo. Whew!

I discovered the sheer, unadulterated joy that is Kashi Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Soft-Baked Cookies. Nirvana, and 130 calories. I need something after a meal to tell my brain, "hey, you're done eating." This does it beautifully.

I also let myself off the hook a little bit this week. When I'm at the gym, it gets difficult to eat a good dinner, because by the time I'm home and ready to cook, I'm exhausted and starving. So, on nights when I go to the gym, I'm allowing myself a meal replacement shake. It's delicious. Sadly, it's not cheap, but it does seem to make more sense than going home and eating a full meal. And the best part is, for the last two nights I've felt happy and satisfied when I got home, and didn't go looking for snacks. BONUS.

So things are coming together a little bit. I've let go of last week's letdown and moved on toward more positive thoughts, and I continue to thoroughly enjoy exercise. I have always had a good time letting my body move. It's hard to believe I denied that for so long.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Holding pattern

I did not lose a single pound this week.

That being said, I didn't gain, either.

Where did I go wrong? Well, biologically, this week I am hungry. Like ravenous. Like, please hand me the loaf of bread hungry. So I've eaten right up to (and at least one day, over) my calorie limit. And I haven't been working out at the gym as much. So, what's a girl to expect, right? I stayed the same. 230.5.

It ain't pretty, but it's me.

What is pretty is the thought of all the people who - whether they knew it or not - encouraged me this week. Each day, I've gotten outside for a walk at lunchtime. Although today it's raining, so probably not, but four days out of five? Yeah, that's pretty good. With the exception of Monday, Lisa and I have taken that walk together. It's nice to have someone to talk to as we make our way through the booming Metropolis that is Wood Dale.

At the gym, I encountered amazing and wonderful people, from Jeff the sales dude (who bought me a protein shake after Thursday's workout) to Amanda the massage therapist (with whom I traded tattoo horror stories) to the incredible Donna and always charming Chuck. Somehow, every time I go to the gym, the people there make me glad I made the effort.

Last night I did a full hour on the elliptical trainer, and I really think this is a good option for me. It's constant forward motion - no crazy lateral moves - and it works the legs like crazy. Same with spinning; I am going to kick up my participation in these two activities, and reserve dancing for Tuesday nights.

So, I'm a little down over not losing any weight this week, but that doesn't mean I've lost momentum. In truth, I think it's given me a little more ... the courage to press on, right?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

But ... it was delicious!

I went out to dinner last night.

I met my Tony at Olive Garden, where I know what to order. Venetian Apricot Chicken comes in at 380 calories for the entire plate. Chicken breast in an apricot sauce, with broccoli, asparagus and diced tomatoes on the side. It really is delicious. Plus, a bread stick (just one) at 150 calories, and a bowl of minestrone for 100. Not a bad dinner.

Except Tony ordered Bruschetta. I love bruschetta. I had to slices of bread mounded with delicious tomatoey goodness. 155 calories; not a complete disaster by any means, although I didn't really have the calories left to have it. But it was awesome.

Dinner was, of course, delicious. Tony ordered beautiful Capellini Pomodoro, and chowed down on the breadsticks I wasn't eating. The conversation flowed, eventually we finished our meals, and were presented with ...

(cue the spooky music)

The Dessert Menu

Thankfully, Olive Garden has taken to serving these adorable "Dolcini" - little baby desserts. With no guilt whatsoever (okay, just a tiny bit) I ordered the dark chocolate/caramel version of it. You would, too. Best 270 calories I have ever over-eaten, accompanied by a luscious cup of decaf.

So, all told, for the day yesterday, I was over my calories by 327. So I made sure I got outside and walked today at lunch, and I'll be at the gym tonight. Because it really is all about balance, and how can a life without dessert ever be considered "balanced"?

Exactly. Cheers!

Monday, September 20, 2010

You Just Never Know

I survived my first 5k.

For the most part, I walked it. Ran a little, in the middle, until I realized that my running pace is not much faster than my walking pace. Time to pick that up a bit, I think. But it's progress.

See, just a few years ago, I never would have even considered taking part in an athletic event. This year, I took on two of 'em. Three, if you count Relay for Life. I looked fear in the face and I said, no ... not me ... no today.

And I didn't get hurt! My knee was tender Saturday night and Sunday, but it wasn't painful. And today? Yeah, today I feel as good as I have in years. Not perfect, but still pretty damn good. My knee is unstable, but not injured. I'll take it.

This week's goals:
  • Continue to eat within my calorie range.
  • Go to the gym Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. And, ya know, work out. Going to the gym to just hang out doesn't count.
  • Walk during lunch when the weather permits.

Let's see how it goes!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I got on the scale this morning. After having two bottles of Miller Light last night (delicious cold refreshment while sitting on a patio and listening to fantastic live music) I am down exactly one pound.

The first time I hopped on the scale, it showed no change. I got on again and it was down a pound. I said - out loud, to my empty bedroom - "two out of three". So I got on again, and it was down a pound. So here's where we stand (other than nekkid in a corner of my bedroom):
  • 230.5 pounds
  • Down 9.5 pounds since starting to count the calories on Monday, August 23. That's less than a month. I'll take it.

I was a little discouraged with such a little loss, but then I looked at the Big Picture. Almost 10 pounds. That is nothing to sneeze at. That's an accomplishment. And a pound is a pound. If I'd spent every week when I was eating whatever I wanted losing a pound instead, well ... I'd be at my goal already. And every week can't bring huge losses; it's just not possible. So I'm going to celebrate this pound. It matters.

Thank you, little pound, for leaving my thighs. We appreciate it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Why is it that each week as weigh-in approaches, I panic?

Tonight, I'm meeting some friends to listen to some music, and have a few (light) beers. Tomorrow or Friday, I get on the scale. And I'm filled with trepidation.

Part of me is excited, because I love that feeling when the scale says "good job". Part of me is scared as hell, though, because ... what if it says "get off, you're hurting me" instead?

I know, I know - just do it, right? And I will. But it's a little scary.

Now that I've got that off my chest, let's move on to the good stuff. Classes at LifeTime Fitness Schaumburg! I love 'em, and Tuesday nights are the best. I get an hour of weight training with MaryAnn (which occasionally hurts me and causes me to curse my hidden muscles) and an hour of dancing with Donna (which is the fastes hour of every week). I always leave these classes feeling inspired - sometimes by the instructors, but most of the time by my fellow students. We support and encourage each other, and it's really quite beautiful to see.

After class last night, my knee was pretty damn sore, but that seems to have subsided quite a bit. I am almost back to the comfort level I had before the physical therapy, so it's likely time to kick my "homework" into high gear again and begin to re-strengthen the muscles of my left leg, in order to support the knee. And, let's remember - with every pound I lose, my knee sends up a little prayer of thanksgiving.

OH! I'm noticing some little changes with this health quest. First, I'm not taking Tums at night. I used to have horrible heartburn; isn't it crazy that eight pounds can make such a difference? It can. Trust me. And, my friend John told me last night that my belly - or, as my friend Eric puts it, my "front butt" - is smaller. This is great news, because frankly, that is my least favorite body part. Phew ... it's leaving!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Still working at it

I haven't gone over my calories.

I'm still doing that disgusting seven-day cleanse; thank God it's over tomorrow. I would be done today, but I missed a day. Tragic!

All things considered, I'm feeling pretty good. There are moments when I miss mindless eating - being able to go get a pack of M&M's just because I want them, and not worry about the calories. But that's just not my life any more, is it?

Nope. My body is a temple.

Stop laughing!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A smaller loaf

I got dressed this morning. I know, I know - what an accomplishment! But the really exciting part was that it was easier.

My clothes are sliding on with little or no effort.

I realize I'm only down 8.5 pounds. Miles to go before I sleep, ya know? But that 8.5 has made a huge difference. My jeans look fabulous right out of the dryer, instead of two hours after I put them on (and painfully wait for them to stretch out.) And my t-shirt; today, I noticed a huge t-shirt change.

I'm wearing this super-soft 3/4 sleeve heather gray t-shirt from Old Navy. I don't wear it very often, and I usually only wear it under a jacket, because that loaf of French bread that sits atop my waist band makes it look horrible. This jiggly mass of Maggie is not what I want to show the world! And yet, today ... I sure as hell notice less of it. 8.5 pounds makes a HUGE difference.

Which shouldn't come as a big surprise. After all, 8.5 pounds of fat is 36 sticks of butter. That takes up some serious real estate! And now ... it's just freakin' GONE.

The loaf is still there, but it's a much more manageable size. More like demi-baguette.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Weekly weigh-in

So I changed my weigh-in day to Thursday instead of Friday. Last week I weighed on Thursday, because "vacation" started on Friday, and this morning I couldn't resist. I'd waited a week ... isn't that enough?

I expected to maybe go up a pound. I hoped I would stay the same. After all, on my birthday, I didn't track a single calorie, and I only went to the gym twice last week.

Turns out, I didn't need to worry. I lost three pounds.

For those of you keeping track (which is pretty much just me, although I have this illusion that I have tons and tons of readers) that means I am down 8.5 pounds in the last three weeks.

Through all of that, I have celebrated a birthday, gotten injured and had to pull back on the gym schedule, and been tempted by all sorts of delicious food. I will not be deterred. I am keeping my eyes on the goal: Overall good health (and a toned bod.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I will run again

Unlike Chicago's Mayor Daley, I will run again.

No, not for mayor, nor for any public post. However, I will physically put one foot in front of the other and hot-foot it to my destination. I will actually run.

You see, over the weekend, I injured my knee. Again. I'm relatively certain it's a ligament sprain, and I'm not going to the doctor. I've seen enough doctors this year, thank you very much, and I know what he'd tell me. Rest; Ice; Compress; Elevate. So, I'll just do that and eliminate the middle man.

Except I still have to go to the gym, which I did last night and encountered only a minimum of pain. And it was totally worth it; Donna invited me on to the stage during the cool-down, which was to Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours", a song I requested in the summer of 2009. The song is perfect for Salsa/Funk, because they lyrics just work - "Listen to the music of the moment people dance and sing, we're just one big family ... " Yeah, that's us. Love it.

So after class I'm limping my way toward the stairs and I tell Linda I'm frustrated, because I'm not sure I'll ever run again. And she tells me to basically knock it off. "When that thought creeps in," she said, " tell yourself you will run again." So I'm working on that.

I'm also working on not kicking that weird half-shirt-wearing guy in the nards. He creeps me out.

Anyway, I will run again. Just thought you should know.

In other news, I am doing the "Cleanse Away 7-Day Renewal" cleanse from Rainbow Light, in an attempt to get the toxins moving and clean out my innards. So far, it's just a little disgusting, but I'm on Day One. I keep assuring myself that it will be worth it when I get to the end of the week; I promise to let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Post-birthday post

I did not count my calories on my birthday.

However, I did count them the rest of the weekend. I went over a little one day, but other than that, we're on target.

I'm a little worried about my workout regimen, because I have tweaked yet another part of my knee and will not be able to do my "normal" stuff, but I'm determined to do what I can and continue burning the calories. I allowed myself to take a pass on a lot of workout opportunities in the weeks leading up to the birthday, knowing that once it passed I'd have a lot fewer scheduled events and a lot less temptation. So, I can't just take time off.

All things considered, I made pretty good choices with my food over the weekend. Homemade crab quiche, only one piece. Lots of raw veggies. Yogurt. Organic roasted vegetables with my eggs. Turkey breast. Multi-grain bread. Yeah, not bad.

Looking forward, with some trepidation, to weighing in on Friday. I'm a little nervous, and every now and then I get this intense desire to jump on the scale and see where I am ... but no. Once a week is enough.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Weigh in, one day early

Got on the scale this morning. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, seeing as last week's loss of four big ones was so dramatic. Maybe I wouldn't be down at all, what with the water retention and all (thank you, hormones) ... but TADA! Down 1.5 ... for those of you playing the at-home version of our game, that's six sticks of butter.

A major accomplishment, in my opinion.

So, what am I doing differently? Here's the major change, in my opinion: I'm focused on it, but I'm not stressed about it. I'll only make it to the gym twice this week, and I only walked three times, but that's okay. Some weeks are easier than others. I'm watching everything I eat, and I'm making sure I enjoy my food.

Now for the hard part: I'm giving myself a bit of a weekend vacation, and I'm a little scared about it. I'll be offline, so I won't have access to my online food diary. And I will be surrounded by delicious food. And beer. So I'm making this commitment right now: I will take a walk or a bike ride both Saturday and Sunday. I will be careful with what I eat, but I will not be psycho about it. I will drink plenty of water. In short, I will be good to myself.

And when I get back, I'll letcha know how it goes.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Birthday Celebrations Begin

Our Salsa/Funk instructor, Donna, has this tradition where she invites people who are having a birthday in the coming week to join her on stage during the teaching of one of the dances. So technically, last night I started celebrating my birthday with Donna, Shakira and a room packed with dear friends.

Donna always makes me feel capable and strong. It's a wonderful feeling, approaching age 45, to just dance and let your troubles (and, hopefully, your dimpled ass) melt away.

Needless to say, last night was wonderful. It didn't start out that way. The meds I'm on (thank you, dentist from hell) make me a little blechy in the belly and I was cranky, but things quickly turned around. That happens when you're around friends.

I powered through Strictly Strength (and tried not to laugh at poor Linda, who was feeling the effects of the previous day's personal training session) and was ready to dance by the time 6:45 rolled around. And did we ever dance! Even with a narcissistic Clydesdale dancing next to me, we had a blast. So when Shakira's "This Time for Africa" came on, I jumped onto the stage for my birthday dance with Donna, and boogied to my goofy heart's content.

Later that night, workout friend Nicole told me that, during the song, she was thinking how the lyrics were perfect for me that night:

Today's your day
I feel it
You paved the way
Believe it
If you get down get up, oh oh
When you get down get up, eh eh ...

And yeah, I think she's right. Salsa/Funk is my way of getting up when I'm down. And it works, damn near every time.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Food, glorious food

So I had an unexpected invitation to dinner yesterday. And I showed up. Seriously, when dear friends say the words "homemade pizza", there has to be something seriously wrong with you if you decline.

Completely delicious. And the best part? I ate three pieces, and still managed to stay within my calories.

I've realized something here: if I am diligent during the week, staying near the low range of my calories, then on the weekend I can cut loose a little bit.

I do have a small confession to make, though: I'm worried about this weekend. I'll be going to Lake Geneva, and there is a lot of great food to be had while on "vacation". Friday night we'll be going to a fish fry, but there is also lobster boil, so I should do okay. On Sunday my friend Amber is making lunch for me - crab legs. It's a very seafood weekend. No matter what, I need to be smart, but I also need to be aware of what I'm eating. Not like crazy or anything, but aware.

Then on Tuesday, when I'm back home and life returns to normal, I can get the nose back to the grindstone. And let's face it: It's my birthday weekend. If there ever were a reason to go a little crazy, this is it.

But only just a little.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Okay, first things first: People are noticing that I'm working on this body of mine.

At the gym yesterday, three people - Sue, the yoga powerhouse, Pam, my strength training instructor, and Corina the ballerina all asked if I had lost weight. Why, yes ... yes, I have. Sometimes it's nice to see people you don't see every week, because they notice subtle changes. That felt amazing.

And so did my workout. Strictly Strength was amazing - I used the blue resistance tubes to work triceps, which hurt and felt great. This whole toning muscle thing is pretty awesome. And spin class was amazing; there's something about pushing myself on the bike for an hour that makes me feel like an athlete. A sweaty, disgusting athlete, but an athlete nonetheless.

Saturday afternoon, it was time to go to Ella's birthday party, and it was wonderful. I brought relishes and fat-free dip (homemade; delish!) and so I was able to eat and feel full. However, I did go over on my calorie intake for the day. Birthday cake and pomegranate martinis will do that, right? But I didn't go way over, just a little. Not a derailment by any stretch of the imagination. This is working!

Today I went to the grocery store and got lunch and dinner food for the week. I completely forgot breakfast, so I'll have to get by with the oatmeal that's in my desk drawer. That's not the worst thing in the world. I did, however, pick up some fresh Pink Lady apples at the farmer's market yesterday, and I'll be enjoying those with lunch, too. Fresh food is sneaking it's way into my daily life. Who knew?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Caring for Someone I Love

That's pretty much been the theme of this week - caring for someone I love. In this case, however, the "someone" is me.

On Monday, I began tracking my food and exercise again, after a long hiatus. On Tuesday, I had a great workout. On Wednesday, I saw the dentist and on Thursday, it was time to check in with the orthopedic doc about the old knee. Each day, I walked a mile and a half at lunchtime. Plus, I took time out to spend with friends, and I had some time to myself, too. I got enough sleep almost every night, and I ate delicious food that was good for me.

Balance, in all things.

Tonight, I'll be making myself a lovely light dinner (maybe a salad with chicken, greens and feta?) and doing my laundry, and tomorrow morning will find me at the gym, working my muscles until they talk back.

I'm not out of the woods yet. Hell, it's just been a week - no even, I have to survive the weekend! But I'm getting there. I can do this. I'm already doing this - have I mentioned that I weighed in this morning? 236. That's down four pounds from last Friday's weigh-in of 240. That's a mere 37 pounds away from being under 200 pounds. Going out on a limb here and make it my goal to get there by the end of the year.

Stay tuned: honest progress reports will keep coming!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I went to the dentist yesterday. I needed a check up and a cleaning, but I also needed him to look at a little pimply-type object (I know, you're riveted when I share Too Much Information) along my gumline.

I was convinced I was going to die of some dreaded disease. Turns out, it's an infection. Mike Rice has named the infection "Reginald". How he (Reginald, not Mike) got there, I don't know, but the doc put me on antibiotics. And here is where things get a little more interesting:

They make me sick to my stomach unless I take them with food, and I have to take them at four times, spaced throughout the day. This means I have to eat something as soon as I get up in the morning, which is not my usual practice. So, we're newly back to the counting of calories, and I already have another challenge: fitting in Breakfast A. So this morning, I had half of a serving of Frosted Mini Wheats with a quarter cup of skim milk. It kept my tummy happy for about 150 calories; I can do this.

Of course at 10 a.m. my body was ready for Breakfast B, so I had my oatmeal bar. Now I just have the rest of the day to get through and stay within my calories. Might be a wee bit difficult, as I'm going to a friend's house for dinner. I'm determined not to derail myself! Maybe I'll pick up a salad along the way, to share ... and protect my waistline!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Well, that's progress

Yesterday - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - was a good day. In lots of ways.

I took a little time out to do my therapy exercises in my cubicle. I took a walk during lunch, and ate within my calorie range all day. I even enjoyed exactly a half-cup of light ice cream. Really - I measured it out, and then ate it out of the measuring cup!

I also had a great workout. An hour of strength training with a new instructor (who felt the need to totally kick my ass) and then an hour of cardio. Salsa Funk with Donna is just the best way to burn an easy 500 calories EVER.

Donna is amazing. She continually reminds class members that they are doing something good for themselves, that it's not about being perfect ... it's just about moving the way your body lets you move today. If that isn't a message to take to heart, I don't know what is.

And so we move on to Wednesday. This morning, as I got dressed, I was annoyed at the coffee cake that has taken up residence along my middle. Some people have a roll, others a mufin top ... I have an entire coffee cake. I don't like it. But that's why I'm here. I don't want to call this a war against my body, because my body - while imperfect - is pretty amazing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Me, today

This is not how I see myself. Completing the Muddy Buddy Race August 1, 2010.

Neither is this. Performing in Liberty Town Productions' "Summer Showcase", August 7, 2010.
Despite how proud I am of both these accomplishments, this is not what I see when I picture myself in my head.

It makes me crazy that when I look at the race picture, I look beyond the joyous smile and focus solely on the lumps. Yes, I have rolls. But why do I have so much trouble remembering that those rolls just completed a grueling race?

And the show picture. I just see this wide, sad girl. The smile all but escapes me.

Clearly, my focus is off. It is time to focus on what I can do instead of what it looks like. Because, let's face it ... it really doesn't look that bad, unless I'm fixated on perfection.

Hello, again ... hello.

I'm back.

Started journaling my food as of yesterday. Did really well right up until after dinner, when the ice cream got the best of me.

All things considered, I feel pretty good about where I'm at. I'm sad, because it's been years of working at this and I am still fat.

This is an indication that I have not been working at it hard enough. So, it's a new day. Time for renewal.

My goals?
  • Lose a total of 70 additional pounds. This will take a lot of pressure off my knees, which will give me ...
  • Increased comfort in my knees. Physical therapy can only do so much.
  • Be able to run - actually run - a 5k in spring of 2011.
  • Complete the Muddy Buddy in 2011 in less time than I did in 2010.
That's it. I'm going at it in 10% increments with rewards. Here's the plan:

Current weight - 240
Weight-loss goal #1 (10% of 240) - 24 pounds
Reward at 216 pounds: pedicure.

Weight-loss goal #2 (10% of 216) - 22 pounds
Reward at 194 pounds: shout from the rooftops because I'm under 200, and a massage.

Weight-loss goal #3 (10% of 194) - 20 pounds
Reward at 174 pounds: full drawer of new underwear.

Final weight-loss goal - 4 to 10 pounds
Reward at 170 - 164 pounds: spa day.

That's it. Just four increments. I can so totally get there, bit by little bit. How long 'til I reach my first goal?