Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ride Like The Wind

            Now that Fall has arrived and the sun sets way too early, I don't get to ride my bike as much as I did this Summer. I worked from home today and at five o'clock I hopped on my bike to go for a ride. I was so excited heading for the bike path and before I knew it, there were bugs everywhere. Tiny little flies or gnats, I don't know which but  they were all over. How could this be? Riding my bike is my pleasure. It's my sanctuary. It's my exercise ( and my doctor's favorite form of exercise for me). I kept on peddling because surely it could not get worse. It did. They were all over. My neighbors were walking and swatting them away. Before I could finish one whole lap, I stopped to put on my glasses to shield my eyes(didn't work). I thought for about quitting. It was too hard. It was the end of the world? No. It was annoying and a little icky.The  truth was I really wanted to ride my bike before I picked up my son at his nearby afterschool program and burn calories. The bugs kept coming at me and I kept on coming at them. I set out to do ten laps and ended up doing twelve. I rode my bike for a little over an hour and 9.84 miles. Sure, my clothes were plastered with bug roadkill but I set out to accomplish what I wanted to do. It's just like trying to lose weight. It can be hard. And sometimes you want to quit. But sometimes you have to push yourself past your comfort zone to get to what you really want. In my case it was a simple bike ride.
            This week's meeting topic is about grocery shopping. I pretty much spent my entire life grocery shopping with my mother and then grocery shopping for my family. I have many tips about grocery shopping and I also have a different view. I have to be a frugal shopper. I am shopping for a family of four (three men and me-who eats like a man). Here are some of the things I do;
-I read the advertisements for all my local supermarkets to see which one has the most sales.
- I also try to build my week's menu on some of the items on sale.
-I make a list from this information using what I consider to be our standard menu. For example, chicken is going to be on point for five or possibly six meals this week. What's on sale, whole chickens that I can cut into pieces or chicken parts or chicken cutlets?
-I try to get at least one form of seafood a week. Three out of four weeks I'm lucky.
-Ground turkey for the pasta dish of the week. I buy the 99% fat free one that turns white when you cook it. It's a little shocking at first but you get used to it.
-Whole wheat pasta and brown rice. Keep checking your advertisements for whole wheat pasta sales. Sometimes it's only a dollar a box.
-Produce. Get enough salad fixings (lettuce, tomato, cucumber ), sweet/white potatoes, broccoli, carrots and cabbage. Also purchase a bag of onions. They flavor soups, change up salads and make a sauteed garnish for your meats. I purchase very little fruit in the market because I like to buy fruit from the local street vendor and the farmers market. My rule for produce is to buy foods that look appettizing to you raw. Do not purchase a beat up looking piece of produce.
-Frozen foods are good. When I was paying attention to my nutrition when I was pregnant, I found out that frozen fruits and veggies are just as good as the fresh ones. They have the same nutrients and are conveniently chopped. They also sell them in steamfresh bags and you can just pour them onto the plate. No pots to wash.
-Dairy fat free and lactose free. 
-Buy snacks and use them sparingly.Everyone in my house has different snacks and we respect each other's property. Occasionally I bake for the guys.
-Never go shopping hungry. Everything looks good when you're hungry.
-I still use packaged flavored rice at least once a week. One of the reasons I do Weight Watchers is because you can eat anything. I cannot afford to eat organic everyday. I read the sides of the packages to tell me how many points a serving will cost me. If I think it's not worth it I won't eat it but at least I know I can.


                  This week  I lost .4 lbs. My current weight is 238.6lbs. I am happy with this result because I did not think I would lose this week. You see, I started my commitment to three strength training workouts per week.Sometimes when you start a new routine, you retain water for healing muscles.  I pulled out two items that were covered with a layer of dust; my free weights and dvds. Weight Watchers have really good dvds. The one I used this week is called Next Move. The workouts are in twenty minute increments. I like to do a combination of one cardio and one lower body workout. The lower body workout combined lunges,  squats and weight lifting. On Monday I added a second cardio workout and was literally pouring sweat.
                   On Saturday I did my "weekend warrior workout". I jogged. Very slowly. People were passing me. But sometimes I passed people. I like my Saturday workouts because there's no set schedule. I can take my time and burn as much as I want. This weekend I jogged for 4.1 miles. Me. I couldn't believe it. And then again I could believe it. I mean, I've been working out all along and building up my endurance. So it's not so shocking to me after all. I earned it. On Monday, I ran to catch my express bus carrying two bags. The bus driver looked at me and said "slow down, you don't have to kill yourself". I wasn't huffing or puffing or even looking faint. I looked the bus driver in the eye, smiled and said "thank you but you have no idea what I can do".

Friday, September 24, 2010


      I have a bone to pick with myself. I have not been engaging in strength training. It all started with the Weight Watchers 5K Challenge. Before the challenge, I would workout with  my DVD's which combined aerobics and strength training. I have had my free weights for years of off and on exercising gathering dust in my closet. When I chose to work harder on improving myself in January 2009 after watching Beyonce telling me to put a ring on it, I pulled out the weights and a exercise tape and told myself I was committed to working out a couple of times a week. I started with Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Saturday and Sunday I walked around the track in my neighborhood. Eventually I found my self adding Thursday ( not Tuesdays because it's meeting night- I do extra walking ahead of the meeting. After a while I stopped feeling like I was going to die and I started to love it.
         Then came the 5K challenge. I decided that I would get a longer walk done in the morning . Because I am addicted to my pedometer, I found longer distances most days and the next thing I knew, I no longer did the workout tapes. The walking and eventually the jogging were great for me. I also added bike riding to the mix. Busting out a new regime made the weight start peeling off. Now that I have completed five 5K's with my Weight Watchers buddies and walk every day that I commute, I no longer toned my muscles. Well that wait is over . Incorporating strength training is back on. Last night I did the 20 minute Weight Watchers lower body workout. Those lunges were killer. I deliberately used my bigger weights ( 6lbs) so that I would burn. I sweated a lot during those 20 minutes. So I now vow to try to do some type of strength training 3 days a week.
          On another note, I read an article on WebMD about why some people lose weight faster than others. I am one of those people who go on a diet with somone and they lose a ton of weight and I do not. It's good to know that it is not just my imagination that this happens. So now I need to figure out how to work with it. Here is the article, check it out.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

With A Little Help From My Friends

        This week's meeting topic is about asking for help. I am becoming pretty good at this. But before, I was "independant woman". I don't want you to think I am rich; cause I'm not. I did not want to ask for help. I wanted to figure out how to do most things myself. There's nothing wrong with that but in my case, it was becoming an issue. One of the main issues was trying to lose weight. I would buy some diet book or try some crazy fast diet. I would do it "secretly". As if I could suddenly walk into a room a hundred pounds lighter and the struggle would be over. Joining Weight Watchers was one of the hardest things I ever did for myself. The program forces you to be honest with yourself and accountable to your behaviors. There is one instructional booklet in particular that help you figure out what type of person you are and how it has been affecting you regarding gaining and losing weight. I found out that although I already kinda knew I was a doormat; I really hated asking for help. That's what Weight Watchers is; HELP! No one is there to judge you. Everyone is there to help you. Your leader guides you in the practices of the program. Your fellow meeting attendees offer all types of advice. Sometimes it seems like too much advice and you almost feel overwhelmed. You start thinking to yourself "why do these people think they know what I need and what I should do?"  The truth is they don't know everything. They offer multiple solutions to many of the problems you are faced with in your strugle to lose weight. And more often than not, one of their suggestions sounds good to you. A Weight Watchers meeting is full of helpful friends because they REALLY REALLY REALLY want to help you. I stumbled into the right meeting for the right time in my life. I was a raw wound of weight loss frustration. My mind was wide open. I heard things and I watched people. I took tips and ideas and fit them into my own life. These things fit into my life in a way that I had forgotten they could fit. I had lost so many things about ME and covered them up with weight like clutter in a messy house.
          Now I was open to receiving help and as luck would have it; there were a lot of people willing to give it.
-Like my old department where we would get a lot of leftover food from meetings. I was always on the list to get free food. Once I started the program, I let them know that their spare food did not fit into my plans for my intake. At first, they kept on calling me but eventually they just say " I'm not even going to ask you because I know whay you're up to and I think it's great".
-The office mates with desserts that now walk pass my desk smiling and saying "I'm not even going to ask".
-My bosses that listen to my latest exercise exploits as though it's interesting.
-The partner who told me some cool places to go bike riding ( I haven't done this as I have not ventured forth onto the road with my sweet pink bike).
-The friends and family that have parties with salads and fruits as well as the rich comfort food I am trying to limit.

Sheryl's bike
 -Sheryl a.k.a Ms Bitchcakes, whose biking adaventures reminded me that I really used to love riding my bike and mentioned me in her blog so that someones reads it besides me.

my bike Pinky Tuscadero
-Tamra who knew we would really like to do the 5K as a group and mapped out a route, made flyers and encouraged people to go.

-Cindy who keeps coming up with information about different ways to cook things and articles on why we shouldn't get frustrated about gaining and losing.
-Melanie with her absolute sunny attitude, bundle of energy, making each achievement in our meeting a celebration and shower of bravos like confetti in a parade.
-My sons Josh and Jake who make it easy for me to disappear for a few hours on Tuesday for my weekly meeting, eat dinner at eight and nine o'clock at night so that I can do my workout or ride my bike, and who have participated in four 5K with me and my WW homies.

-My hubby who tried to fix my old bike and keeps my new bike working because he knows it's important to me, has to listen to me moan about the pain I am in when I get into bed and rubs my aching joints and who has talked me down from several ledges when I have a weight gain and never asked for cheese to go with that whine.
   I would really be lost without all that help. Sing it with me....Oh I get by with a little help from my friends.

           This week I regrouped and tried to get back on track. I journaled at least some of the time. I paid a lot of attention to my portions took my self less seriously about my workout routine. I did workout six days last week. My doctor reminded me that if I get 30 minutes of exercise a day, it's actually a good thing, not a disappointment. I got a little more sleep . I think I was having a summer attitude about bedtime and it was really effecting me. I was exhausted. I also did something I have not done in a while. I took leftovers to lunch instead of my "happy salads". It was an experiment in control because I know that I tend to eat the most at dinner . But I think that it worked out because I made correct portion sizes for lunch and was not starving by the time I finished cooking dinner. ( I need to thank Malaika for her blog because she made eating all kinds of lunches look SAFE and appetizing). I found myself eating food in a different balance and not stressing so much.  I lost 2.4lbs this week ( even after a satifying lunch). I like to think that I am heading in the right direction again. I feel good about it. And if next week brings a gain ( please please don't), I will take it in stride.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Long and Winding Road

    It has been two weeks since my last entry. I can blame it on being busy but also I have been losing my way. What way, you say? For starters, I have been doing the yo-yo dance up and down the scale. I have had sweet losses ( that scared even me) and gains that left me feeling ambivalent. Over the last few weeks it went like this;
Aug 3: +4.8lbs
Aug. 10: -6.4lbs
Aug 17: -1.6lbs
Aug. 24: +4.2lbs
Aug. 31: -5.2lbs
Sept. 7: +3.6
Sept. 14: +1.4lbs
     In Weight Watchers we are taught that weight loss is like that. It can go up and down for many reasons. A year ago this would have driven me crazy. But now it has me scratching my head. This is because I need to figure out what is going on with me and get back on track.This is what we do. We go back through our journal and see what did I do wrong? What did I eat wrong? Did I exercise enough? So I pulled out my handy dandy 3 Month Journal (<-- Moms, please note Blues Clues reference).

1) Weeks ago I exercised everyday.4,5,6,9,activity points. Wonderful thing to do. But I started to compete with myself. Go further each day. Go hard or go home. Even though my massage therapist and my hubby both tsk tsk me. They both said "it's great that you're getting all this activity but don't you think you should cut yourself some slack". I was insulted by this. How dare they hoist their opinions on me? I'm invincible. But folks, I'm really not invincible. I am a 44 year old mom who has spent the last 13 years not being active. I will not lie to you. Every single night I crawl into my bed in the worst pain. I get up the next day and do it all over again, afraid that if I don't I'll blow up. Lucky for me, I go to a chiropractor and a massage therapist who work with me. They also remind me that I have to allow myself healing time. Have a downtime day once and a while (this is actually mythical when you have kids). Before you go thinking that I have become an exercise junkie......I'm not.
2) When I had my weight gain on Sept 7, I did not log it into the computer. Don't know why. No real excuse there. But I also, did not journal the entire last week. Not even my exercise exploits. I went through the motions of knowing what to eat or what not to eat like a zombie. I did not log a darn thing.
     Please do not clutch your pearls. I am not giving up. I am in this for the long haul.The last two meetings we received Tools for Living forms. Today I actually took the time to fill them out.So here goes;
It's going to take me forever>No it's not but it's not going to happen over night either. If the gain had happened over night I would have been hospitalized as some extreme medical condition. But it happened a little at a time. And I bought bigger clothes to hide it. I have to think of it as the education of me about me.
Maybe I'm not supposed to lose weight> Yes I am. I am worth having a better body. I am worth being healthier.
Everyone is looking at me> You are not a reality TV star. You're a human being trying to become a better you by no one else's standards but your own!
My winning outcome ...Drum roll please... TO WEIGH LESS THAN 200LBS!!!!!!
What do I need to do?
1-Attending my meetings.
4-Get some rest
5-Lose some weight, a little at a time.
         I keep on going through this incredible journey a pound at a time. I know where I will end up but it's going to take a while to get there. The road keeps growing in front of me.There are detours. I started this blog because I like to talk and write. I also wanted people like myself who have a long journey ahead of them that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! THERE ARE OTHERS LIKE YOU WITH GREAT AMOUNTS OF WEIGHT TO LOSE, A BODY TO SCULPT, HEALTH TO REPAIR , PEOPLE TO TAKE CARE OF, A JOB TO DO , AND THE NEED TO NOT BE ON DISPLAY FOR OTHERS TO JUDGE AND CRITICIZE. In the long run, someone obese wants to dance, run, wear pretty clothes, laugh, dream and be worthy of love. They just came to the fork in the road and made the wrong choice.