Weekly Results and a New Thing: Crossover Drills

I went to three parties this weekend – two barbecues and a pool party, so naturally I didn’t expect to lose anything this week. I did, however, follow the plan I laid out on Friday, sticking to fruits and veggies and lean protein, eating before, avoiding alcohol, and exercising each morning.

I wish I could say that I avoid alcohol in an effort to maintain my weight, because if that were the case then I could occasionally plan to indulge. No, after years of experimentation and trial, it’s become clear that one of the fastest, most pervasive migraine triggers for me is alcohol of any kind. I can perform a complicated pharmaceutical regimen occasionally if I feel an event is worth it, which allows me to drink without an immediate migraine, however I can’t use it too often, and it doesn’t always work. So it’s mostly not worth it.

I’ve been thinking, lately, about how to engage more of my leg muscles when I run. Mostly running uses the muscles on the front and back of your thighs. But there are also muscles along the inside and outside of your thighs, and those don’t get nearly as much work duringĀ  a run (they get some, I know because if I stop for a while then restart they are sore). So I started experimenting with crossover drills. Basically, I pick a block with evenly spaced trees, and I go from one tree to the next leading with my right side, then at the next tree I switch over and lead with my left side, so I’m moving facing sideways instead of facing forward.

I can do about 3 sets of those per run, because man they are hard! They really take it out of me – both the physical movement, which is new, and the mental effort required to do it without tripping myself! Also it’s fun and I think I look like a Srs Bzns Athlete when I do it. Even though I’m just doing it going down the sidewalk and the only ones who see me are oblivious cars passing on the road.

Oh, this week I was down .4, almost a half pound (missed it by a tenth). I didn’t expect to be down at all, what with all the socializing and festive eating (which I mostly didn’t partake of) over the long weekend, and my home scale hovering in the same general region all week as if I’d plateaued. Four-tenths of a pound is well within the margin of error, but I suppose if the margin keeps moving slowly downward that’s good for me. Total loss since March 25th is 13.6. I don’t want to do any of the things that might move the needle down any faster, because I’m right at the threshold now of where I might start to enjoy my life less were I to do those things, and I’m not willing to decrease my happiness for faster weight loss. This has to be sustainable.


On Reaching Goals and Rewarding Myself

When I set a goal last summer of losing the weight I needed to lose for this reset effort, I told myself that when I attained my goal (not if, when) I would reward myself with a new tattoo. It has been over 12 years since my first one was completed, and it has taken me that long to decide where to put the next one. These things don’t happen fast for me – I didn’t get the first one until I was 27! So now I’m ready for a second one, and I’ve done the work I felt that I needed to do to “deserve” such an indulgence.

My first tattoo. Completed in 2001.

My first tattoo. Completed in 2001.

I’ve decided to put it on my left thigh, down the front and side. Problem is, I’m not sure what I want. I had been kicking around a tiger motif, because I like them and I was born in the Chinese zodiac “year of the tiger.” But, really…that’s not totally me. Then I thought, maybe a giraffe – ha! that would fit the space perfectly! Long and narrow! But…considering what the flesh of my thigh looks like, it might look weird. I have a lot of excess flesh there, which has fallen into looking like what you might envision if I told you I had a lot of cellulite. It’s lumpy and wrinkly.

So then I thought, it would be nice if I could find something that worked with the natural terrain. But…well, there’s the obvious – get an elephant. But having grown up as a “fat kid” it’s not a word that has a positive association for me, having had it hurled at me as an epithet in my youth. So..now I’m not sure what! Which is fine, I have time – I still have to find an artist. I welcome your ideas and suggestions. However, if you have an objection to tattoos on moral (or any other) grounds please keep your opinions to yourself. Not the place for it.

Yesterday’s weight: 186.5. Today’s weight: 186.5.

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Treats for Dieters

I rode my bike to work today, as promised. And I stood a few times during my webex meetings, however it was hard to remember to do this so maybe I’ll set a reminder on my calendar for myself.

I had planned to go for a run when I got home from work today, but I got home too late and it was dark already. I don’t like running in the dark, for a variety of reasons, so I had to find something else.

We decided to go to the mall and walk laps there. Walking is better than nothing, so off we went. Now, I suppose, for some the mall might offer temptations that would be counter-productive, but in general I don’t find that to be a problem. I knew that I wouldn’t be tempted by any of the clothing shops because I’m currently on a clothes-buying moratorium until my size stabilizes (however I am pleased to see that jewel tones are big this winter). I knew that the food court wouldn’t be a problem because mall food is barely even food, in my book. Jewelry shops – ha! I’m feeling broke this autumn already so no worries there. And yet…and yet…we were still drawn into Lush.

First let me tell you about my thoughts on enticing smells while I’m on a program like Optifast. They don’t bother me, I actually enjoy them. Even tantalizing food scents. I realize that right now and for the near future I won’t be consuming the food from which they emanate, and so I can extract from the other type of enjoyment they carry – that of olfactory bliss. The internet tells me that 90% of taste is smell – that’s 90% of the enjoyment that I can enjoy! Even if I can’t eat the sizzling steak on the grill, I can still deeply inhale the delicious scent and enjoy that. It doesn’t lure me to try to eat it, either, because I am firmly committed to my goal, but there’s nothing stopping me from gaining what enjoyment I can out of the situation. And this goes for all nice scents. I enjoy them a lot more when I’m not eating because it’s one of the pleasures that doesn’t cost me anything to enjoy. Ok, back to Lush…

Lush is a cosmetics store, according to their sign, but really I think they mostly sell handmade soap and bath products, like bath bombs. I have a weakness for bath bombs…or rather, my husband does. We met when I lived in California and he lived in Indiana, and for our third date I flew out to visit him. Before I arrived he’d stocked up on bath bombs, and one evening during my visit he drew me a bath, threw in a fizzy bath bomb and brought me a glass of wine. He’s always on the lookout for little things he can use to draw me a relaxing bath, like bubble bath, bath salts, fizzy bombs, pretty soap, etc. And we’ve been out of any of those things for a couple of months, so when we saw the Lush shop on our final mall lap he bee-lined right for it.

We spent a few minutes sniffing every bath product, soap, gel, and lotion in the shop, then settled on 6 delicious fizzy bombs to purchase. As we made our way to the mall exit we passed one of those candy shops where you take a bucket and pick a few pieces from different barrels and plastic dispensers. And right then I realized that Lush (and similar shops, like Bath and Body Works, the Body Shop, etc) are candy stores for people on diets! You can sniff all the delicious, amazing scents, working your way through the entire shop and not consume a single calorie! It’s perfect!

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Finished the Dirty Girl

That was my first OCR (Obstacle Course Run – I learned that today) and I had fun! I tend to shy away from group sports because I hate feeling like the slowest one, but it was a great group of women and we had a fun time staying together as a team.

The one obstacle I was most worried about was a breeze. For some reason I was really worried about the rope net ladder thingie, but it wasn’t nearly as fearsome as I’d thought. Look at us go! dirtygirlnetropetop

My sweet husband managed to get underneath the obstacle to take pictures as we went up. This is my new favorite picture of me – conquering my fears!











And here we are on the first mud-obstacle – under a net so you have no choice but to get good and grubby!









And here’s the team after first mud. I had so much fun with them today! The t-shirts all say “Muddy Valkyries” in runic script and there’s a winged helmet or something (it’s hard to see with all the mud!).









I’d definitely do one of these again, but I’m not sure I’d do a timed mud run like a Tough Mudder, for example. I liked that this was all for fun and not about competition. I don’t have a competitive nature (especially where athletics are involved) so this format was perfect for me. I am looking forward to being in better shape though, and seeing these pictures makes me doubly glad I’ve been working on losing weight and getting fitter. All my hard work is finally starting to pay off and that makes me even more motivated to keep it up!

Greetings from Iceland!

Tonight I’m in a little village in the East Iceland fjords. I’ve seen a lot of amazing stuff so far, some of them the fulfillment of lifelong dreams, so I’d say I’m having a perfect vacation.

Couple of things I’ve had to adjust on managing my weight:

1. My normal travel strategy is to hit a fruit and vegetable market for snacks as I’m traveling. Well, in a country where most of the fruits and vegetables are shipped in, or grown in greenhouses, the fruit and veggies for sale are either sad and old or prohibitively expensive. (actually, I’ve only seen the former kind, haven’t even seen any locally-grown produce yet, greenhouse or otherwise). Time to be flexible! For breakfast I usually have some muesli with skyr, which is an Icelandic milk product similar to yogurt but non-fat and very low in calories – utterly delicious! For lunch I try to eat at a cafe that has a soup option, a bowl of soup and a roll is usually all I need to keep going. And for dinner – when on an island, eat the fish! The seafood here is amazing! I’ve had lobster, cod, blue ling (I dunno anymore about it than that, it was the special so I ordered it), Atlantic char, and um, a few others. Can’t go wrong getting the fish in Iceland.

2. There’s no artificial sweetener to be found anywhere. It’s sugar or nothing. So I’m drinking my coffee a lot less sweet these days.

3. I keep moving a lot more on vacation than at home, so I hardly even notice the time pass, which means I’m looking around to graze a lot less often. This has spurred me to try to pay more attention when I’m back at home and at work to see if I’m eating out of boredom or true hunger.

Lots of walking every day, hiking up and down seeing glaciers, geysers, volcanoes and puffins! Oh, and here’s a picture I took yesterday in a grocery store – I call it “accurately labelled junk food.” —->

And speaking of sweetened beverages, several people I know have posted this article about high-fructose corn syrup, and how it prompts more weight gain than regular sugar as a sweetener. This is certainly something to bear in mind, when making food choices – corn syrup is in everything. Everything processed, that is. If you make your food yourself, you don’t have to worry about it, because who would purposely add that junk to their food? Eat food – not “food products”.

Oh, and that article was originally written in 2010, so it’s not exactly news, but it’s a good thing to know.

All right, back to vacation with me. This time I’m trying to take a vacation from my constant anxiety that I’m gaining weight when on vacation. Oy, it’s a constant battle in my head some days.

Fake It Til You Make It

My friend Denise decided a couple years back that she was fed up with carrying around excess weight and did something about it. She lost (I’m not sure about the exact number, but something close to) 50 pounds and became the fittest, most enthusiastic exerciser I know. She works with a trainer on a regular basis, she’s completed multiple high-endurance races – triathlons, bike races, foot races, etc. She lifts weights and squats heavy enough to put most men I know to shame. To be honest I am somewhat intimidated by her level of fitness so of course I wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to run with her! If only to push my own limits. Plus she’s a lot of fun.

We were both on vacation this weekend at a house on the coast. Sunday morning she announced she was going for a run and I announced I was going too, and she graciously agreed to me tagging along. I know I’m slower than her and I told her so, but we seemed to work it out – I think she slowed her pace a little and I sped up a little and we did a 35-40 minute run. I didn’t know the route but she’d run it before. I found it was very hilly, and I don’t have any hills on my usual running routes.

I was dying, there were several points as we chugged up a hill that I thought, “Boy, if I were alone I would totally stop and walk for a bit to the top here” but there was NO WAY I was going to stop and walk. I aspire to be as committed and focused as Denise, and I believe that the only way to GET focused and committed to is to ACT focused and committed. I am a big believer in “fake it till you make it” – the actions that you take become your behaviors and mindset, regardless of whether you feel it in the beginning or not. You can test this out by putting a smile on your face when you don’t feel happy. Eventually that smile will work its way inside.

So I powered on and finished the run with my friend. As we walk back up the driveway I thought, “Wow, I’m wiped out and she looks delightfully refreshed. I need to work more hills into my regular runs – that’s how I get there.”

It was a fun, challenging run filled with laughter and conversation (her mostly, me when we were going downhill), and a great reminder to me – I need to do the behaviors I want to see more of in me. If I want to be more fit, I need to do “more fit” things until I am. And maybe workout with a friend more often so I can find some inspiration from the things that people I know are doing so very, very right. We are all surrounded by people who are walking their weight management path in a different way, and I find that sometimes the best way to pick up new tools is to tag along with someone who inspires you and see what they are doing right.

Also, my legs are pleasantly sore today.