Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Little Bit Down, but NOT Out

Well, today we were supposed to go on our second hike and I was really excited!

But we decided last night not to go. I have been suffering some pain all week since the art fair — not sure what I did to myself as there was no "event" where I tripped, turned my ankle, nothing like that. Just since Monday, my right leg and foot have been hurting quite a lot and sometimes spreading up and down that side of body. I'm guessing it's a pinched nerve and/or sore ligaments around my knee. It's so strange, I've never experienced anything quite like it before. It's very discouraging.

It's actually fine to just walk on, but stairs have been especially hard. I thought it was feeling better yesterday, but when I had to go down the stairs to use the bathroom (I was at work and for some stupid reason there is no bathroom on the main floor), my knee almost gave out at one point! I have to be very gentle and careful when I'm on the stairs. So I don't see how hiking would be a good idea while it's still not quite right.

As for my partner, he has back trouble and it's been acting up the past couple days. We're quite a pair, aren't we? I guess it's called Life After 40. Har har.

As for the rest of things... it has been a little challenging recovering from that really taxing weekend. (Note to self: Either don't do that again, or hire some damned help!) As I mentioned previously, I had some sort of stomach bug and so ended up not eating much. My weight plummeted all the way down to 330 pounds. Since then, it's leveled off and I've been at 334 now for a couple days. That, too, is a little discouraging, but not bad. I need to be kind to myself.

I skipped the gym this past week both to give my body a break and also because of my stupid leg, but I did get two walks in. In lieu of the hike, I will be plain walking today, and then on Tuesday I have an appointment with my trainer again that I will keep no matter what. I'm sure we can work around my leg if it's still giving me trouble.

My eating has been OK. My sweet tooth has been in full force and I'll have a few mini chocolates on any given day, or a serving of ice cream. What I have been learning is balance, though, so it's not really an issue. It's definitely not the end of the world and I am certainly not "cheating" by eating these things. I track every bite on MyFitnessPal, which is a great reality check. I don't always have "on" days but overall I do see a big shift in the kinds of things I put in my mouth. Sorry, kids, chocolate and ice cream will never, ever be off that list.

Almost every day I have to remind myself that I am not in a race. This is one of the ways I am making room for all the food I like to eat into my regular menu. Could I lose weight faster? Most certainly, but then I am not creating habits for myself that will be sustainable for all time, and that is really what my main goal is. Yes, I am trying to lose weight, but no, I don't have a deadline. I don't have a timeframe.

That said, I'm not a Vulcan. I do look at the end of 2014 and think, hey, I could probably get down to 300 pounds by the new year! I do have these thoughts. But how important is it really to do that by a certain date rather than just assuring that it's definitely going to happen, period? You know what I mean? This is the conversation I have with myself every day.

As always, ONWARD.

UPDATE! Shortly after I wrote this post, I got on the scale not expecting much. Turns out that I am back down to 331. Super! Go figure.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A New Sport!

So you guys, one of the most exciting things that happened between the last time I posted and the time before that was legion. The Friday of Labor Day weekend, my partner wanted to get out of the house and suggested that we go for, of all things, a hike.

Well, I had a ton of things to do, but two thoughts popped into my head: One, that I should take any opportunity to go out and do something with said partner, who tends to be a homebody and not very interested in exercise; two, that this would be a good chance for ME to get some exercise in, and a little adventure while I was at it.

I am not an outdoorsy type at all. Never have been. So I was probably more surprised than anyone that I actually really LOVED going hiking. Granted, even without the best shoes or gear, and even though we probably bit off a bit more than we could chew, we did great and we really enjoyed ourselves. Of course the scenery was amazing, and I enjoyed challenging myself physically.

Here I am at the head of our first trail, Silent Wood (moderate level, yikes!), in East Concord, NY. The trail is 1.75 miles long and it took about an hour and a half for us to complete it.

Indie rockin' hiker.

Now both of us are really excited to try a new one every weekend until the weather doesn't allow us to... and yes, I know that people do hike in winter, but I don't know if we'll be doing that. We do want to try snowshoeing, so maybe...

This is truly an unexpected boon to my fitness efforts and to my relationship — something fun that we can do together. My guy is having fun doing all the research about the different places we can go. We are fortunate to live in a region of the country that has a lot to offer as far as hiking goes. 

I will be sure to report on our future adventures.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Prattling On

Me at the art fair! You can't tell, but I am actually wearing a dress here. Photo by Alice O'Malley

My goodness, it's been a time!

Since I last wrote, I hit a 10% body weight loss, and shortly after the 40 pound mark. It was wonderful.

I've been planking almost every day AND I FREAKING LOVE IT.

Last weekend, I had a booth at an art fair. I (wo)manned it by myself except for about an hour on Saturday when a friend dropped by and watched it for me while I had a quick lunch (and then lost the lunch). It was two eight-hour days of almost constant socializing, plus three hours at the VIP viewing for one evening. Plus booth set-up (for which I had awesome help), and take down (for which I did not).

But wait! There's more!

On top of all that, it was (and still is, ugh) that time of the month, AND I woke up Friday morning (the first of three fair days) with some sort of stomach ailment that left me completely empty and mostly unable to eat during the weekend. Oh my god, it was a Herculean effort to get through it, but I did.

Well, I ended up getting down to 330 pounds — I basically lost almost ten pounds over the course of a week. It was crazy. I won't lie, either. It felt pretty good even though I was feeling crappy.

Fast forward to today. Something's going on with my poor legs, especially my right one, that still is not resolved. It really hurts, though I have taken a couple walks and I'm still able to do planks OK. The main problem seems to be when I stand up from sitting for a while, like at work. I am also still really, really tired. I also started eating normally again, and as predicted the pounds bounced back on. I'm not upset about it; I expected it.

I mentioned that I'm on my period at the moment and it's making me a little sweets-crazy. I didn't eat the best yesterday (in fact I ate way over my usual daily intake), and so far I haven't been super great today. But, I am tracking my food, as always — I think this is important — and while I am not feeling optimum emotionally or physically, I'm nowhere near giving up or anything. That's not what this is about. We have hard days, we have hard weeks, sometimes more. But we have to cling to what is important and what the big picture is about. That is what I am trying to focus on. What are the positives? How far have I come already?

I do post little bits here and there about what I have been doing and how I have been doing on my Facebook page... and people seem to enjoy it for the most part. I can't tell you how many people came up to me at the art fair to say how great I look or well I am doing and how I've been inspiring them. I love that. I've also been kind of listening to what I say to people and how I am talking about what I am doing. The last thing I want to do is prosthelytize, but I feel like I have to stop myself midway talking to avoid it. Like about the part where, dude, I am NOT dieting! This is my life. Blah blah blah.

And realizing how much I freaking HATE diets and the diet industry and anything associated with it? How much I hate low-fat this and no-carb that and "I was bad" this and cheating that. I'm not interested in demonizing food or making it a savior. I'm interested in eating food that is real and food that doesn't have a lot of unnatural crap added to it. Do I always eat this kind of food? No. But I try.

I am not perfect and I will never be perfect.

This is not a race.

One day at a time. One hour at a time. One minute at a time.

Be kind to yourself. Always. Honor your body.

Blah blah blah.

(This has turned out to be a much-needed pep talk for myself. I just feel crappy this week, but this, too, shall pass.)

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Conscious Bender

No, this was NOT the hotdog I ate yesterday.  (Wiki)

Yesterday, I took what I am calling a Conscious Bender.

This involved relaxing, having fun, drinking some drinks and eating some eats. I let loose a little bit.

I had planned to make it a work day in my studio, getting ready for a big showing of my paintings in a couple weeks. But I was stressed out and cranky and snipping at my partner, so I let myself just have a day to do whatever. It felt good, I am not going to lie. It was much needed, I realized by the end of the evening.

My partner wanted to try out a couple drink recipes that involved fresh fruit juice and bourbon. One had lime juice, one had grapefruit. Both were delicious. I think he found the recipes on this blog if you are curious. There are many yummy recipes there if you indulge in that sort of thing. Anyway, I had three of those delicious drinks over the course of the late afternoon and evening, which on its own would have been OK, except that generally when I imbibe I tend to want to snack as well.

We'd had a late lunch that was very satisfying — a quintessential summer meal of hotdogs with coleslaw and a little bit of chili and mustard. He had potato salad, but I cut up a fresh cuke for myself and had a couple super hot pickles as well! (I LOVE spicy things, but these were a bit much for even me, though a thin slice of one on my dog was excellent!) Later on, though, I raided the leftover pizza I had in the fridge and finished that off... and also had a small dish of that new Breyer's gelato, which may well give Talenti a run for its money. OK, wel, not really — they are totally different and both delicious. Oh, and yes, I had the raspberry cheesecake flavor. Of course.

It wasn't a disaster of a day, though. I did get a nice, sweaty 30ish-minute walk around the neighborhood in after my first drink (I know, weird, right?) and I planked for 45 seconds after that. Along with the other little bit of physical activity I got in, it almost completely balanced out. And that's really what I am after. Balance, baby. Still, I went a little over in the calorie department and showed a couple extra pounds this morning.

Oh well. It'll be gone again before I know it. And I did enjoy myself.

Today I am back in the zone, both with this stuff and with my work. Once I get home from my 9 to 5 and have a little dinner, it's back to the studio for me. A little structure never did anyone any harm, now, does it? But then, neither does a little bit of chaos.

Enjoy the week!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A __________ A Day

Me, last Thanksgiving season looking at a book about
human anomalies at University at Buffalo's medical library.

Hi. I am big. (see above photo reference)

Which, of course, is fine. It's no judgement, it's merely a fact.

I have now lost 30+ pounds, which is also fine. I've been feeling much better in general, able to do many things more easily, and presumably might be more healthy than I was last Thanksgiving, though that may or may not be because of the weight loss, but certainly because of eating better in general, exercising regularly, and changing some habits.

I'm going to keep doing these things, even if I end up losing all the weight I think I might want to lose. How much? Not really sure. Don't really care. Though there are two things I want to be able to do easily: Ride on an airplane comfortably, and shop in "regular" clothing stores. So when I get there, I'll figure out how to proceed. Oh, that's right, I won't have to – because what I am doing now I need and want to do for life!

Anyway, I've been thinking about good habits a lot lately because I recently added another one to my list that I've been having good success with: Flossing my teeth. :)

I've made many positive changes in my life since I joined the gym last December. It's been quite gradual – for instance, I don't really consider my journey to have really, truly started in my heart of hearts until I started training with current trainer, Rick, back in early May. So, there's one, a big one — regular exercise. Once I got paired up with Rick, I've been doing 2-4 days each week of either gym time or neighborhood walks. Exercise is still a little bit of a chore for me, but not really. It's a chore in the same way that painting in my studio is a chore. It's something I love doing, and that once I get myself to that place to do it, I'm so happy, but... for some reason, I guess pure laziness, it's hard for me to get there. Isn't so much easier after a long day at work to just sit in the recliner and watch TV all evening? Why yes. Yes, it is. Anything that takes an effort once I get home from the 9 to 5 is an additional chore, whether I love it or not. Sad, but true. It just is what it is. I'm hoping that by the end of this year, exercise will be something I look forward to in a genuine sense. 

So, the gym. Then the eating. Eating more whole foods. Eating fewer simple carbs but more complex ones. Trying to eat more protein (that's a hard one for me!).

Then, things like taking vitamins every day. B12, B-Complex, Calcium, a multi, fish oil, D, and C.

Drinking at least eight 8 ounce glasses of water every day. I usually get twelve in.

Moisturizing my face. I'm hit or miss with this one. 

Flossing is the newest one. I need to take better care of my teeth. I also want to start bringing a toothbrush to work so that I can brush after lunch, too. 

I can't really think of others I want to add right now, though having done a couple planks in the past week, I kind of want to make them an everyday thing – even just one, for however long I can hold it, every single day. Can you imagine? The first real plank I did recently was held at 15 seconds. 

What kinds of good habits do you perform? Which ones do you want to add?


Thursday, August 14, 2014

90 Days

On MyFitnessPal, I've logged 90 days' worth. Three months! I feel like a lot has changed in such a short time. Now I am halfway to that nefarious six month mark, where in the past things have always crumbled. Not this time!


Last night I saw a friend whom I haven't had the pleasure of hanging out with in a while. She mentioned to me that she could really tell that I've been working out, that I look good, and the best part: when she gave me a hug, she could feel some muscles! Wow!

That made me feel good, especially since I'm not even the one that brought it up.

I mean, I haven't been super hard core about anything I'm doing, but I am being consistent and diligent enough that it is making a difference, bit by bit. I have to keep reminding myself that this isn't a race and that I am in this forever.

There are so many things that are so much easier now. Just with not even 30 pounds off yet! Imagine how I will feel in another three months!

Anyway, just wanted to check in and say hello, and say that I am still on it. I'm still HERE.

Like Joaquin, I am still here.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Times Flies!

Sheesh, another week has passed already? This summer has been flying by.

Things are still fine over here. I went back to the gym last week after a two week hiatus, and it felt great – I really enjoy working with my trainer and challenging myself physically. I still need to figure out how to make exercise a more natural, go-to activity for me. It's always easy to find reasons NOT to go, I'll be honest. The nice thing is that I am enjoying walks around the neighborhood again, and that's an easy go-to thing I can do; I've also learned many exercises that can be done without special equipment at home. I guess what I'd ultimately like to do is get something set up at home so that I can exercise easily on a whim. This would be a good project to embark on now, which will give me plenty of time to prepare for when I don't have training sessions anymore and for when I maybe don't go to the gym anymore — this is something I have been considering canceling once my membership is up at the end of the year.

Anyway. I will enjoy it for now, and learn as much as I can for when that time comes. I will try to put a plan in place. Hey, if nothing else, incorporating housework into my schedule more regularly could solve two problems!

Eating has been good, even in the past few days when I want to eat ALL THE FOOD because it is that time during my cycle. I have been indulging in sweets more, mostly mini candy bars and birthday cupcakes (it was my partner's birthday yesterday!), but still staying within my limits pretty well. Not perfect, mind you, but not bad.

At one point, I had decided to stop weighing every day, but I then decided not to do that. So, I'm weighing most every day. A revelation I had this morning related to this was pretty awesome: What the scale says no longer makes or breaks my day. Today's weight had me up THREE pounds from yesterday, and while I was slightly pissed, at the same time, I also knew what I would say to someone else who experienced the same thing: "Well, it's that time of the month, and you had some Chinese food and canned black beans yesterday, and you feel bloated? Yeah, don't worry... it'll come right back off again once you get through that point in your cycle." Not to mention this other, more important fact: That I am doing all the things I need to do to be healthy, and that is the main impetus here. It doesn't matter what the scale says. I'm going to keep on keeping on, either way.

This is a huge sea change from how I used to react to my scale readings, so I am chalking this up to a BIG WIN today!