Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Fact Is(I Need You)

            Last week I expressed feeling a little down. We all get the blues. I have to allow that from time to time. In addition to my mother being in the hospital, I had a lot of work events going on as well. Put all these things in a pot and you have one tired Carin. I was in denial because I am the bionic mom, right? Wrong. I am human after all. I had to stop and smell the roses ( pink roses of course). I took things a little easy or in other words, I did not work out. Please do not clutch your pearls here. I actually clutched my pearls tightly at the idea of taking a break, especially with a 5 K coming up this weekend. It took a bit to wind down. It started with not doing the stairs after a work from home day. I made dinner, watched a little television with my family, read a book and went to bed.
         On Thursday, I went to a work dinner event. We went to the historical restaurant in Harlem called The Red Rooster. Since we rarely go out for dinner, I usually eat what I want. But I took the time to find out what they were serving and I ate what I wanted anyway. For starters, I ate hors d'oeuvres. I had one of each sample ( there were 5). Then there was a salad. The usual weeds, nothing spectacular.Then for the main course I ordered oxtails. They were served with 1/2 of a plantain, on sweet potato puree.  I also had dessert; apple pie. It's a fruit you know :) I washed all this down with two glasses of red wine. This sounds like a lot but it really was not. There were two braised oxtail bones, maybe one sweet potato pureed to the consistancy of baby food and literally a half of one plantain sliced in half.  I was so busy networking and having a great time that I barely ate. At home, this meal may have lasted ten minutes. I actually left food on the plate. I only had a few bites of pie. Being out to dinner with friends and collegues keeps me in check. I spent more time talking than eating or drinking. It was nice. I did not take the shuttle bus back to the office. I walked the eight blocks to my bus stop. I felt good about it. I was not stuffed. And when I took off my pedometer, I had 10,033 steps. Here are some pictures. No food porn because we ate in a private dining room and it was dark.

                                    The next day we had an all day seminar (breakfast, lunch and snacks). I played it safe with my old reliable breakfast from my favorite deli guy who smiles at me and says "the usual".  I also picked up some grapes from the fruit guy , cleaned them up and brought them with me to the meeting. When I joined the seminar they were finished eating. For lunch they served salmon, tomato and mozarella salad, couscous and green beans and carrots. I looked forward to this because it was all good food. In the middle of lunch we had a guest speaker. I soon realized that I was the only one eating ( insert fork clinking sound here). I was embarrassed to be eating while everyone else had stopped. So I stopped too. I never got to finish. I had to make do with a banana.
        On Saturday, Jake and I went to his school's fundraiser where they had movie afternoon. For five dollars you get to see "Despicable Me", a small bag of popcorn and a juice. We arrived a little late and they were out of popcorn. I came prepared. I popped fat free kettle korn for us from home, red seedless grapes, bananas and bottled water. I gave Jake monies to purchase candy. When the lights came on, there was a little boy that came to get candy money from his mom who was sitting next to us. He started staring at our grapevines with one or two grapes left. I heard his mom say "his mom was smart she brought grapes".  After the movie I let Jake play in the park for a few minutes before we went home.

       My family was kind enough to hold me hostage this weekend and talk me down from guilt of not working out. I cannot believe how exhausted I really was. But the truth was out there. I had dark circles under my eyes from sleeping about four hours a night and my ankles were swollen everyday.
This Week's Activity- Not much
Tues. all day = 4pts
Wed. all day =  1pt
Thurs. all day = 7 pts
Fri. all day= 5pts
Sat. all day = 1pt
Sun. all day = 0pt
 Mon. all day = 4pts
Total = 22 activity pts
      I gained .08lbs this week. Not bad for someone who did not work out so I am not angry. This week's topic is about the buddy system. Last week my WW homies and I were having a Facebook discussion and I had to remind them that I really need them. All of them. They have seen me through some hard times in this journey and they are very important to me. I also stated that it takes a village to fix me. I am not a solo project folks. I can't do this by myself. As a matter of fact, by myself is probably how I wound up in this condition by thinking I could do things myself. In addition to my WW homies there have been many wonderful people who encourage to keep it going. Who compliment me at just the moment as though they knew I was feeling defeated. A passerby who gave me a thumbs up when I was about to give up jogging. The meeting attendees with so many super ideas.My family who eat brown pasta , rice and bread and never complain. My hubby who watches me turn into an American Werewolf in the Bronx on a not so great weigh-in day.
      This afternoon, after my work from home day, I grabbed my hubby( who was home early for a change), my sons and Jake's buddy Vanessa and I told them that we are going to take a long walk around our neighborhood ( not the track). At first everyone had that here we go again look, especially my hubby who probably thought it would be just us two. Before long we saw signs of Spring; a tree budding, a robin red breast on the ground. The kids and I started playing "that's my car". The kids were running, skipping and jumping.They would have been on the couch playing video games.  They started playing tag and kept tagging me and my hubby ( we promptly tagged each other). When we got to the finish line from where we started , we completed 2.69 miles. Everyone went to the back to help Jake work on his catching skills and I decided to head over to the track to do one more lap to bring it up to 5k mode. In the end I walked a little over four miles. Not bad for someone trying to get back on track after last week. All week long, I did not overindulge or binge. I went outside my comfort zone to a restaurant and ate catered lunch the next day.And I rested.
Signs that Spring is coming

Jake, Vanessa and me

Jake, Vanessa and Josh

At the finish line

    Next week I hope to get my exercise groove back and this Saturday is the 5K event with Tamra and Cindy. Hopefully I will jog for most of it. Most of all I'm glad to have friends to do it with.

Last week 2822.72miles left - 16.08 miles all week = 2806.64 miles to go

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Sound of Silence

     I'm sorry that I skipped last week's blog. There was a lot going on. I was thinking about my journey with Weight Watchers one day last week.  I was doing a lot of complaining in the last fews weeks to my hubby( this man truly deserves cheese with my whine). Ironically I diagnosed myself right before his eyes while writing in the handy dandy Ultimate 3 Month Tracker. My diagnosis was right in front of me;
TIP # 13
Compare and Despair. Judging your rate of weight loss against another's can lead to feelings of despair. Simply focus on your own journey.
       Most of the time I have no problem with this, but recently the green-eyed monster has taken up residence in my brain. I saw a friend who started her journey after me drop 50lbs in 3 months. During my meetings I watch my fellow travelers reach their goal. And I am genuinely happy for them. I know how hard it was for them. But my journey is a slow one. And sometimes when I look in the mirror I see the same person I was at 277lbs. I know this sounds ridiculous but it's true in my head. The only time I think I had progress is when people who have not seen me in a while say 'did you lose weight. I can see it in your face'. I have to learn how to take those compliments and thank these people for validating my struggle while the mirror in my head does not. So coming out of Compare and Despair takes a lot of hard work. Most of it comes in the form of reassurance from my hubby that there has definitely been a change.  But it must come from inside of me.

 I feel compelled to let the geek out. I was thinking how to compare WW when it hit me. It is like a metaphor for The Matrix. To quote Morpheus, I am offering you the truth, nothing more. WW is Morpheus,  responsible for helping dreamers to wake up and see the forms of reality. I cannot believe how many years I slept through gaining weight. I mean literally slept through. I can choose to take the PINK pill or the BLACK pill.

 BLACK pill = I can just keep eating everything that I want, never exercise and gain weight until my heart explodes and believe what I want to believe. Or I can go on a crash diet and lose tons of weight and when I stop the weight will stay off.

PINK pill = I can stay on the program and see just how deep this journey goes. "How can you free your mind from a lifetime of conditioning? By refusing to fear, refusing to be beguiled, refusing to be taken in. Strip away the illusions and realize your own potential.


Jake drives remote control car while I jog.

wearing hat I knitted
Last week's activity
Tues. all day = 5pts
Wed. WALKING 5K = 8pts + all day = 2pts (17,035 steps in one day)
Thurs. all day = 5pts
Fri. all day = climbed 50 flights of stairs all and all day = 3pts + 30 mins walk dvd w/ 3lb weights = 3pts
Sat. Jog 3.35 miles = 7pts
Sun. rest day
Mon. walk 46 blocks = 5pts + all day =4pts
Total pts. =  37pts

    The results from all of the extra walking was 2lbs. Which brought me to 229lbs / 48.6lbs lost so far. I savored that moment in disbelief because I finally cracked the 230lbs ceiling. I floated through the rest of that evening with the joy of accomplishment. I was childishly giddy. I was sweet to my hubby.
And then the phone rang. And my mom went back into the hospital. Between trips to the hospital and the grind of my alter egos (Mom -exec. asst.), I fear that I did not exercise as much this week.  I tracked as best as I could. I fear that I have let myself down after last week's loss but I have to accept that things happen and you have to keep moving forward when those things happen. If I do not keep my journey in my head at all times, I will lose myself. I know this sounds selfish while my mom is in the hospital but what you all do not know about me is that I spent my childhood, teen years and young adult years taking care of my mother. It was not always bad or good, but it was different. I learned to cope with things in ways no girl ever should. And when I was in pain I sexed, drank, drugged and ate my way through the pain. Eventually the mantle of mom cured me of the other devices but that last legal drug, FOOD, has been the death of me. I was numbing myself so that I did not have to feel the things I did not want to feel.
          Since I needed to fit the hospital visits into my regiment, I started walking 46 blocks a couple of mornings. I happen to like walking in the morning . I have to tell you that walking through Manhattan in the dark is a bit scary. The occasional jogger and dog walker goes past you but you are all alone.  Being alone is something I am not terribly used to. My friend Tam recently found the pleasures of meditating. I used to meditate before I had Jake. Now the noise never stops. There is always someone asking for something, doing something or thinking about doing something. I find that my mind wanders when I try to meditate. I have to keep pulling it back. When I was at the hospital the other day by myself, it was so quiet that it took me a awhile to realize it. But when I did realize it, I started to meditate. I heard my own breathing. I felt my own breath go in and out of my body. It was one of the most peaceful feelings I've had in a while.
This week's activity
Tues. Workout with Total Gym in chiropractor's office= 2pts
Wed. all day = 2pts ( I was still sore from Total Gym workout)
Thurs. Walked 46 blocks to work = 5pts + all day = 3pts ( 13,150 steps)
Fri. Walked 46 blocks to work = 5pts + all day 3pts (11, 568 steps)
Sat. running errands = 4pts
Sun. jogged 2.46miles & walked .82 miles= 5pts + erands= 2pts
Mon. rest day sort of = 1pt
Total activity points= 32 pts
            The jogging on Sunday was a little rough. My mind told me I could go, go,go but my legs said 'we'll see what we can do'. In the end I jogged 2 1/2 laps, walked for one and jogged the other 1/2 lap. I did not get to to my dvd's a night for obvious reasons. This week I gained 2lbs. I am back in the 230's. My weight is 231lbs. I am a little pissed off about it. Don't worry. I always get pissed at first and then I get even. This week's meeting topic is about setbacks. Each one teaches me a lesson. First of all, a weight gain can be anything. For me it was a drastic change in my life. Stress, little sleep, and less exercise. Thank goodness that I have the plan because there coulld have been tons of fast food and emotional eating. Even though I was tired, I tracked what I ate. Even though our dinners were late, I cooked them and controlled them. How do you cope with them? What do you do when they happen?

In my last blog, I started my walk to Seattle challenge ( an idea from Bob). When we left off I was down to 2856.03 miles.
Last week: 2856.03 - 13.67( I forgot to record a lot of mileage) = 2842.36 miles left
This week: 2842.36 - 19.64 = 2822.72 miles left to Seattle
     I'm getting there.....



Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Magic Number

          This week's meeting topic was about Non-Scale Victories; also known as NSV. These are EXTREMELY important in a Weight Watchers journey. The reason is when you're on a diet you count on the scale to tell you if you are doing all right. But when you are making a lifestyle change, the scale does not always provide the type momentum you need to encourage you. Sure the scale is an important factor. But, you should look to other things for encouragement. I am guilty of letting the scale get me down from time to time, especially after a week full of activity. I think that the scale means the most. I drive my hubby crazy when I have a gain or a low loss. But he is kind enough to talk me of the ledge and remind me of all the things that I have done. He is not the only one. I have a wonderful support system with my WW homies. I need to get my fix from the non-scale victories of my journey.
-I can walk for miles without collapsing.
-My clothes are loose.
-I can ride my bike, Pinky Tuscadero for miles.
-I can climb multiple flights of stairs.
-My co-workers notice and compliment my change.
-I am aware and make better food choices (most of the time).
         These are all great NSV's. Whenever you're feeling down about the amount of the scale, take a little time to write down and then say out loud all of your non-scale victories. And then pat yourself on the back.
           I have been trying to up the ante of my exercise these days.  One of the first challenges I gave myself was to extend the length of my morning walk to work. While getting ready for my first walking 5K last Spring, I started getting off the bus one stop further. When I first started WW, I used walk 20 blocks to the office. So I added to this amount and started to walk for 33 blocks. This week I kicked it up a notch and walked 46 blocks. It felt great. I was a little apprehensive when it was time to jumped off the bus but 46 blocks went by pretty quickly. When the weather cooperates I will turn this into a regular routine a few mornings a week. I like the idea of knowing that a big workout has been completed before my work day plus the adrenaline rush puts you in a good mood.
          On my "work from home" day, my son Jake and I went for a quick bike ride before dark. I missed riding my bike and it had been a few months. It was an extremely windy afternoon. The gusts of wind were so powerful the we were being blown off the track, but I kept on peddling. When the wind was against me, it made peddling a struggle. I kept right on peddling. It took 45 minutes but I was able to do six laps. When we got home, I told Jake we were not finished yet. It was stair climbing day. We climbed up and down 50 flights of stairs. My knees cracked the whole way. This was a challenge because I did not believe I would be able to climb stairs, but I did it.

         Saturday was the real challenge. I am getting nervous because I have not been training for the running 5K on April 2nd. The best access to the track for me are on the weekends. After breakfast, I pulled out all of the Fitness Magazines and read them to encourage me to get my running clothes on and get out to the track. Seriously it took those magazines to get me outside. Once outside I had to keep pushing myself the whole way around the track. My track measures .82 mile. It would take four laps to complete a 5K. The first lap was great but somewhere in the middle of the second lap I started to feel burnout. I had to pull out my Tools For Living; Positive Self Talking. First I thought I have run this plenty of times before. During a heatwave with ten or more pounds still attached to me. I had to remind myself that my friends Cindy and Tamra would be disappointed because we plan to run the 5K together. Surely I could not let them down. I heard Sheryl and Melanie's voices and told myself "the only thing stopping me is me". All of this self talk went through my entire run, even while listening to music. But that's what it took to complete four laps totaling 3.35 miles. Jake ran one lap with me. After the one lap he informed me that he had enough and now that he has his own house key, he was going home. I thanked him and asked him to take a couple of pictures of me before he left.
This week's activity
Tues.-  Walk 33 blocks to office =4pts + all day = 4pts
Wed. -ride bike for 45 mins= 5pts + climb stairs= 2pts
Thurs. - all day = 2pts + 30mins WW walk dvd w/ 3lbs weights= 3pts
Fri. - Walk 46 blocks to office= 5pts
Sat. - Jogged 3.35 miles = 6pts
Sun- rest day
Mon. - all day= 2pts + 30 mins WW walk dvd w/3lbs weights= 3pts
Total Activity Points for Week = 36 pts


  Although it does not count as this week's activity, today was our first WW monthly walking 5K. My WW homies did a walking 5K every month until the New York winter kicked in. It was freezing cold today but we struggled through anyway.In addition to getting in more exercise, this is also a way to network with one another about our journey with WW and get tips and advice on dealing with different situations. I was talking to our friend Bob whose favorite exercise is walking. He has created a challenge for himself that not only is he tracking his daily mileage for activity purposes, but he is adding his mileage together as though he is walking from New York to San Fransisco. I was so excited by Bob's idea that I let him know there and then that I am going to borrow his challenge for myself. But Bob, I've decided to walk to Seattle instead.  I looked up the mileage from Bronx, New York to Seattle and came up with 2,863 miles. I should reach Seattle by retirement. But until then, today's mileage on my pedometer was 6.97 miles (3.58 miles belongs to the map stylings of Tamra who mapped out our course for this eveing. I did not take many pictures (I think my hands were cold,but  here is tonight's group Tam, Cindy, me, Amanda, Steve, Elise and Bob.

In the beginning

The finish line
       This week's scale victory was a 1.6lbs loss. My total loss is 46.6 pounds. I now weigh 231lbs. Almost out of the 230's. Let's cross our fingers. This week I am going to pay close attention to my intake( there is a possibility that I am not taking in enough points), train for the running 5K and keep walking to Seattle. I hope you all have a good week.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


            This week's WW meeting topic about combating boredom while on your journey. This is extremely important. I sometimes feel as though I have ADHD. But I was not always like this. I have become quite the multi-tasker. Sit and watch television? Not me. Most likely I am knitting something or readng a magazine and or even working out. When did I become this person? I have no idea. I often think it's all the stimulation we human beings have all of the time all around us. Cell phones, blackberrys, laptops, Playstation, Wii and DVRs. We do not allow time for our brains to clear out. I suppose this is why I have to read the Idiots Guide to Zen Living. Sometimes I have to read something like three or fours times. Be in the moment . Be in the moment. A collegue at work said we should have a meditation group. I was so happy that she said that because once upon a time, I used to meditate. Even while I was pregnant with Jake I meditated. And then it was gone. So we invited  all of the executive assistants in our office. Two people joined us. We said we would meditate for ten minutes every morning at 11am. One week later it was just my collegue and me. No one else could pull themselves away from the fray long enough to meditate ten minutes each morning.  I struggled really hard with concentrating on my breathing. But other things crept in. The slightest noise took my concentration. Eventually the business of work took us both away from our meditation every morning.
          But folks, this is what life is like for most of us everyday.We are constantly moving on to the next thing. I am knitting and watching televsion and having a conversation. So it's no wonder that I could find boredom creeping into my weight loss journey. I remember years ago having a co-worker who had a can of tuna and cucumbers for lunch ( or a bag of carrots) everyday. I tried doing it for a while too. And I like tuna and love cucumbers. But everyday. Eeh! Don't get me wrong. I like my steady go to's like on work days the gentleman at the deli counter in my office building says "the usual" when he sees me( the usual is two egg whites on and english muffin- no butter, no cheese). I happen to love that quick breakfast with two oranges. It keeps hunger at bay until lunch. But on the weekends I want something different like whole wheat blueberry pancakes or a veggie omelet with turkey bacon.  You have to change it up .
          If you have been reading my blog, you know that the snow this winter got me down. I became so used to taking longs walks, jogging and riding my bike that I was almost bereft when my beloved neighborhood track disappeared into a puff of white. I was using a couple of WW dvd's that I loved but looking out the window at all the ice and snow started to make me feel down. That's when I spruced things up by pulling out ancient exercise vhs tapes. I had forgotten how much I used to love these things. Sometimes I get stuck on one for a whole week. But just the fact that at any given workout, I can do something different gives me comfort.
         Another source of beating the exercise blues are magazines. I remember avoiding magazines like Shape, Fitness and Women's Health because they always have a skinny women on the cover. I felt like they were saying to me that I did not deserve to read these magazines because I was not going to be that skinny women. But last summer I purchased one. And lo and behold there were tips from women who had lost large amounts of weight like I am trying to do right now. There were tips on how to start running. I swore I would not be able to run until I was thin but reading an article on how to get started said "if you can walk for miles, you can run". That was the very words that inspred me to try. And I did it the very next time I went to the track.
       I also find that the way to break out of the rut is a challenge. Of course I am not ready for the NY Marathon but there were things I could try. My wonderful WW friend the awesome Ms.Bitchcakes climbs the stairs every week. I would hear her say that in a meeting and think wow, how does anyone do that. Then one day after sitting at my work from home desk waiting for the five o'clock whistle to blow me outside to the track, it started to rain. And I thought about Sheryl and her weekly climb and decided to give it a try. I actually did it. I used the stairs in my building ( no audience there) and ran down twenty-one flights and crawled up twenty-one flights. I felt accomplished at the challenge I gave myself. Until then, I thought the stairs in my building were a form of torture when the elevator was broken.  Months later, listening to Sheryl talk about prepping for her Empire State Building climb, I thought "why did I stop using the stairs for an exercise?" So I started doing it once a week and the end of my work from home day. If it was not for Sheryl and the other wonderful people in my meeting, that idea probably would not come to mind. Look for inspiration in your meetings , co-workers and friends. Something you thought you could not do EVER just might be possible.
        I love when my leader Melanie uses that term. I happen to love watching the Food Network.  Especially Diners,Drive-Ins & Dives. I swear I drooled one evening watching that show. Yeah it's food porn with dynamic personalities peddling it but there is nothing wrong with desiring good food. The trick is to find a way to cook some of the things you desire in a way that you can control what it contains. This is also a way to have a diverse food ideas for meals. I pick up those ideas in WW meetings and the WW ETools website.
One of the challenges I made for myself this week regarding portion control was to eat from small plates. It lasted two days. Some foods do no fit on a small plates. I'm just saying.
         This week I gained .6lbs. It's not much but I will say it hurts my pride when I enter it into WW ETools and the reply is you gained a bit this week. It might as well say you cow! I was talking to my friend Cindy in our meeting after the meeting. I told her how I get annoyed when I gain weight. But then I have to positive talk myself into realizing that I lost 45lbs. .6lbs is really not that much.
This Week's Activity
Tues- all day= 5pts
Wed. - climb 60 flights of stairs and did the 53 mins Richard Simmons workout = 5pts
Thurs. - all day = 4pts + 30 mins walk dvd using 3lb weights = 3pts
Fri. - all day = 2pts + 30 mins walk dvd w/ 3lb wieghts= 3pts
Sat. -five walking laps around the track = 8pts
Sun. - rest day (sort of)
Mon. - all day - 6pts + 30 mins walk dvd w/ 3lb weights = 3pts
Total for the week = 39pts
               This week I will take it a day at a time. There are signs that Spring is coming and I will take every opportunity to take advantage of it. On Saturday it was fairly warm but still winter like but after some warm days and rain my track was visible to the human eye. I saddled up my sneakers and my MP3 and walked around the track until my legs started to shake. Sure I was walking through all the mud and dirty that was caked under all the snow but to be able to use my legs the way they were meant to be used felt so heart warming. I almost teared up. I've never been so happy to see pavement in all my life. I was wearing a winter jacket. That was the only thing that kept me from trying a jog. There is always next weekend.