Saturday, September 14, 2013

Weigh-in


Image courtesy of Ampersand Seven

I have returned!

After a few months of going up, down, up, down, up, up, up, I've finally kicked my own ass and put it into high-gear. No more screwing around. No more denying how many carbs are in things. No more laziness. No more whatever it is I've been doing wrong for the past several months.

I kept getting back up to 307, and then I'd manage to get down to 302, hang out there for a couple weeks, and then right back up. Ugh.

I finally kicked that cycle, got myself back down to 302, then 301, then 300, and then whoosh - here I am at 297 this morning, right back where I was before our trip to San Francisco, right where I should be.

Now that I'm focused, disciplined, worshipping my Fitbit, working out more, and keeping my carbs to a very strict 40-80 every day, I plan to see that number go down instead of back up over 300 again. It is way too easy for me to gain a couple of pounds just from one bowl of cereal, so I really, really need to stay focused on low-carb, low/zero-sugar eating. I'm not messing around anymore. I don't want to be pre-diabetic. Having insulin resistance is irritating and a pain in the ass as it is. I hate giving up my yummy protein cereal, but I've developed a new love for the breakfast sandwiches I've been making in the morning. It's a low-carb flatbread with egg white, ham, spinach, and cheese. Yummmmmy! And it fills me up for 2-3 hours, right about the time I have my morning snack. :)

Anyway, the lowest I've been (and it was for, like, two days) is 296, so I'm not going to full-on celebrate until I drop two more pounds, but STILL. I'm very optimistic. I lost four pounds during the past 7-8 days, and that's very good a sign that I'm doing exactly what I need to. Yay, me.

I've neglected this blog for a long time because I was so depressed about the up/down, not to mention very busy with school and trips and my promotion at work and so on. I'll get some new pictures up and maybe summarize some of our recent trips at some point. I also have some recipes to post. :)



Sunday, August 11, 2013

Random Update & Moving Decision

I am so far behind on updating this thing that I keep putting it off. Sorry!

My weight hasn't budged in several weeks, so I bought a Fitbit to help out. I love this thing! It motivates me to move more, and I find myself going up and down our stairs while waiting for the microwave, parking farther away, etc. Psychology = awesome. ;)

It syncs with MyFitnessPal so I know how much I can eat. It turns out I was eating WAY too much, which would account for why I haven't seen any scale movement since April. I was eating pretty close to maintenance. Whoops!

I've been eating a lot better lately, but school has reached the "crunch time" point, so I haven't been able to exercise much over the past two weeks. I know - excuses, excuses - but I've been averaging four hours of sleep per night with just work, school, and homework, so I really did not want to give up another hour of sleep for working out. I adjusted my diet instead, and that seems to be doing okay (I lost another couple pounds last week, but I'm still not back to my all-time low).

Once this semester is over (end of this week), I can start swimming again. I've been trying to walk more - because I love it, it adds steps to my Fitbit, and I can beat my friends - but my body is used to walking. I'm sure it still benefits me health-wise, but as for weight loss, it's not enough of a challenge. I need a hilly course, something like that. I started swimming because it's a huge challenge and works my entire body, but again - I simply haven't had time. Swimming takes a lot longer than walking because I have to go to the pool, change, swim, then shower, dry off, change, and come home. Instead of 45-60 minutes, it's more like 90-120 minutes.

-=-

I suppose the biggest news is that we've finally, FINALLY made a decision on where to move next year.



It turned out we knew it in our hearts all along. I was excited about moving to California, but I was also very scared. There were so many logistics. Plus, the SF Bay area is so spread out, and I really wasn't looking forward to driving an hour any time I wanted to do anything. Yes, they have public transit, but it's not nearly as extensive as Chicago. Plus, we can afford to live in the city of Chicago, whereas we would have had to live an hour away from the city of San Francisco.

I hadn't said anything to Brent because he seemed so geeked about getting a job in Silicon Valley. It really would be super easy. As I said, he got three job offers just by touring some places there. I'm sure I would have been happy, and I really was excited for a lot of reasons, but I knew I'd miss Chicago.

It turns out he felt the same way, but he didn't say anything because he thought I was super excited about moving there, and he didn't want to burst that bubble. I felt bad. I'm glad he said something because if we'd moved there and I'd found out about that once we were there, I would have been really sad. I'm so, so happy he spoke up, because as soon as he did, my gut said, "YES," along with my heart. I never ignore my intuition. I know this really is the right decision. :)

I wrote some pros and cons about both areas a little over a year ago, and now that I've been to SF and know the answers to a lot of my questions, Chicago is the clear winner. The job market is better than I thought it was, and we'll be able to afford an apartment in the neighborhoods we like instead of compromising like we'd have to in the Bay area. Also, Chicago is a walking city, which means more weight loss and easy maintenance.

I'm ready to move NOW. I can't believe I have to wait until next summer. Bah! At least that gives us time to keep checking out the job market and save money. My recent promotion will help with that, and I'm thinking about selling my car since I won't need it in the city. (We'll still have Brent's little truck if we want to get a bunch of groceries or whatever.) So, I'm just finishing my classes and whittling away the time until we can start interviewing and packing. :)



Monday, July 22, 2013

Fat Loss Monitor

Well over a year ago, I wrote about my new fat loss monitor. I wasn't aware that it would error out if your body fat is over 50%, but I figured I'd hang onto it and use it once I lost more weight.

When I did the measurement/caliper test back then, my body fat percentage was around 60-62%, depending on the calculator I used.

A couple of days ago, I decided to update my settings in my fat monitor and give it another try, just for the heck of it.

Here are the results:


While this is still nowhere near acceptable, at least I have a reading now. :)

I'm still not sure about the accuracy of these things. I've read a lot of conflicting reports about body fat scales, but this isn't a scale. I'm going to do a little more digging.

I took another reading today (about one week later), and it's down 0.2%. I lost close to a pound during the week too. I have a feeling all of this swimming is helping me maintain lean body mass and that's why the scale has been pretty steady around my most recent plateau weight. Anyway, I'll have to see if I have a steady downward slope or if the readings are all over the place over the next few weeks. That said, I'm not going to rely on the fat monitor any more than I rely on my scale. The only reliable thing is the tape measure.

Regardless, I'm pleased. It's nice to know there's one more thing I'm not too heavy for anymore.



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Swimming!


My schedule this summer has been kah-razy. No lie. Right after we got home from San Francisco, my work schedule changed to allow for my summer class, a 500-level Literature class. Holy cow. I haven't been in school in eight years, and boyyyy do I feel rusty.

Anyway, being a student at WMU means I have free access to the pool! Yay! I LOVE swimming, and it is THE best exercise since it doesn't hurt my joints, I don't get all hot and sweaty, and it works all of my muscles while boosting my cardio.

So, my schedule on Tuesday and Thursday has been: work from 7:00 - 3:00, class from 4:00 - 6:30, and then swimming from 7:00 - 8:00. I also swim on Friday evenings since I get out of work at 6:00. I would love to swim on Monday and Wednesday and make it a full five days, but my work schedule simply doesn't work with the lap swim schedule. Boo. :(


WMU's pool is set up kind of cool. They put that bulkhead about 2/3 of the way down the pool and set up the longer side with lap lanes and leave the shorter side open. The lap side varies day to day. Sometimes you swim laps in the shallow-ish end (the bulkhead is just past the drop to the deep end), and sometimes you swim laps in the deep end. I've noticed laps in the deep end are harder, most likely because more water = more resistance.

Sometimes, if the lap lanes are full and I'm too chicken to share, I swim in the shorter, open end. A lot of people use that area to water jog, use kickboards, and swim more leisurely. It's less crowded, and I don't feel as slow since it's not meant for timed laps. The lap swimmers are serious business, and while no one has given me a second glance, I still feel pretty silly sharing a lane with someone who's passing me like crazy (luckily, the lanes are wide enough that you can swim up and down without having to circle - you just have to be careful not to splash or hit the other person as you pass).

I'm really digging it so far. Swimming three times per week will help a lot when it comes to maintaining lean muscle mass.

Also, I might start going to Planet Fitness again on Monday and Wednesday, just to walk and/or use the elliptical. As much as I'd love to swim on Monday and Wednesday, they really do have to be pure cardio days since Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday are sort of like weight days, given how much I'm working in that water. It takes a LOT to move this body through water. My arms are red and sore by the time I get out of the pool. It feels like I've been lifting weights for an hour.

I've thought about canceling my membership with Planet Fitness since I can use the student rec center for free, but it's only $10/month, and I'm a bit intimidated about working out around a bunch of students. I've always felt really comfortable at Planet Fitness, but the student rec center always feels like junior high all over again. I suck it up for swimming since I REFUSE to avoid the pool, but if I could pay $10 to use another pool (like the one at the Y), I totally would. I can only handle so much social anxiety in one week. ;) The pool at the Y was always empty, except for maybe one or two other swimmers, and the locker room had much more privacy. The Y is $40/month, though, so screw that.

-=-

I've been kind of "stuck" around the same weight for a few months now, so I hope this will help kick-start me toward 290 (I've been hovering between 296 and 301 - I HATE seeing that "3" on the scale again!) When I think back to my successful, "easy" weight losses in the past, one thing is always true - I exercised at least five days per week, sometimes six, without fail. I have been way, way, WAY too lazy, and it's so stupid. I love exercising! That's why I'm so grateful I have pool access. I love swimming so much - it's one of my favorite things - that I actually get cranky on my non-swimming days. ;) I feel great having a workout plan and schedule again. It's only been a couple weeks, but I can already feel so many changes in my body.

-=-

Because my schedule is kind of up/down/crazy, I've been making a lot of things in the crock pot. It's amazing. I can't believe I haven't been doing this forever. I've made a lot of meals with chicken (we bought a couple family packs of thighs on sale) and one meal with thin-cut pork loin. Everything uses "cream of" soup, and I've found that Campbell's Healthy Request is still WAY too salty. I hate salt, so I taste even just the tiniest bit of it. Brent didn't notice it at all, but I was practically gagging. I'm going to see if Healthy Choice has the soup I need since they have a lot of no-sodium soups. /crosses fingers

I'll post recipes a bit later, as I want to make those separate entries. :)



Monday, July 15, 2013

"Junk in the Trunk Airlines"


Image courtesy of The Points Guy


I know I haven't updated in for-ev-er, and I promise to write a blog about our amazing trip to San Francisco at some point, but I wanted to get this out there for web searches and such.

A while back, I jokingly referred to Virgin America as "Junk in the Trunk Airlines" because they claimed their coach seats were 19.7" wide. I couldn't believe that. Usually, 20" seats are business class or first class. So, I was super excited, as I fit into 19.7" seats no problem (my office chair is the exact same measurement).

When we got on the plane, however, I realized they must have measured from the middle of the arm rests. I'd carried a small measuring tape just in case, and boy am I glad. When I measured my actual seat cushion, i.e. the distance between the inner edge of the arm rests, it was just a fraction over 18", totally normal for an airplane. 18" is better than 17", but ack!

Luckily, the arm rests went down. I was kind of smashed in, but they went down, and I had the window on my right and my boyfriend on my left. I wasn't comfortable, but it was nothing like that nightmarish trip on American. Also, since I had my boyfriend next to me, I was able to lift the arm rest once we reached cruising altitude. Even then, however, we were both wiggling a bit. Some of that may have been due to the curve of the airplane near the window, but my top is a lot smaller than my bottom, so I blame it on weight plus the fact airplane seats suck in general. Anyway, it probably would have been better if I'd been even 20 pounds lighter, and if I could go back in time, I would have bought a second seat.

The seat belt was okay, thankfully. I had a moment of panic when I thought it was a full 12" shy of clasping, but then Brent noticed it was tangled under the arm rest by the window. Once we got it free, it was fine. I couldn't tighten it, but it clasped and didn't feel too tight. If my waist had been just a couple inches larger, though, I would have needed an extender.

For reference, when we went on this trip, my waist measured 44", and my hips measured 57". I carry most of my weight in my hips and thighs, so that's where most of the "spread" is when I sit down.

One really great thing - the bathrooms didn't feel tiny! I couldn't get over that. You can't do cartwheels in them or anything, but I had plenty of room to move around and open/close the door. I was shocked. I've never been in an airplane bathroom with that much room.

All of that said, it is an AMAZING airline. I plan to use them as often as possible because they are just that good. They're funky, modern, and fresh, and they have a great approach to flying. Despite the seats not feeling awesome, I was still relatively comfortable, and their in-flight entertainment and drink system is phenomenal. If I'd been a size 16 for that trip instead of a size 22, I wouldn't even have noticed I was on a plane. I even had a ton of leg room!

So, don't take this as a slam on Virgin. I really want to emphasize that part. This is for fellow fat people who want to know how comfortable they'll be.



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Couch to 5K: Week One, Day One


I felt so weird typing that title with full words. Everyone on MFP, SparkPeople, etc. use common abbreviations for the program. From here on out, you'll see me use abbreviations as well. Here's a handy guide:

C25K = Couch to 5K
W1D1 = Week One, Day One
W1D2 = Week One, Day Two

And so on.

Anyway, I completed W1D1 last night. I was really pleased with my results! I have no idea what my "splits" were or anything like that because I'm not timing myself yet. I'm just jogging when it tells me to and then walking when it tells me to.

Week One is a five-minute warm-up walk, then 60 seconds of jogging alternating with 90 seconds of walking (8 reps of this cycle), and then a five-minute cool-down walk. I actually did more of a 10-minute warm-up and cool-down since I walked to/from the little track I used.

The track is near an intermediate school and goes around a baseball diamond. It's very small and nothing fancy. I figured it would just be a nice, semi-secluded place to jog since I didn't want to go to the university track with the marathoners and hard-bodies.

When I got there, I saw a few families on the playground, some maintenance men working on scaffolding, and a couple people playing Frisbee with their dogs on the grassy area inside the track.

Mrrrrrrppphhhhh.

But, I shrugged, said, "Eff it," and continued my merry way to the track. When the "jog!" cue came on, I started jogging.

And it was hard.

And I was breathing heavy.

And I have NEVER EVER felt so heavy.

But it was FUN! I was able to jog all of the jogging portions, something I worried about before starting. It got harder and harder every time I did it, but I didn't stop to walk. I stuck it out for the full sixty seconds and then thought, "OH THANK GOD," when it told me to walk.

I'm not sure if it's because it was something new, different, and/or challenging, but I rocked it. Oh, I felt like death. Don't get me wrong. I should have brought water (that was an idiot move on my part), and I prayed for a breeze, but it wasn't so bad overall. My left foot kind of hurt and was numb near the end of the walk home, but a few real experienced runners said I probably had my shoes laced too tightly. I didn't realize your feet swelled when you jogged, so lesson learned. I'll keep the left foot a bit looser next time and maybe add a gel pad. My shoes have AH-MAZING support and feel AWESOME when I walk, so I don't think it's the shoes. If the pain doesn't go away, I promise to get it checked out at a shoe store. ;) I can always keep these for walking and use a different shoe for running.

It could also be that I'm not used to using those muscles for impact (walking isn't as impact-y as running), and I did some pretty bogus, half-assed stretches beforehand, so yeah. First time fail. But! It's all part of learning, right? :)

When I got home and took my shoes off, my feet felt fine. I'm really feeling it in my legs today, though, so that's good. It makes me feel like I really did work those muscles last night. C25K has a rest day every other day, and now I see why. The idea is to ease you into running without pain or injury and to give your muscles time to repair so you don't keel over the next time you go out. I'm pleased. We'll see how I do on Day 2. I'm so excited to get out there again. I felt like a rock star when I got home, even though I only jogged for eight minutes alternating with walking.

Okay. I need to stop saying "only". I jogged for eight, one-minute intervals. There. No more qualifiers.

-=-

I had every intention of working out my upper body tonight, but then Brent and I got into it about (what else?) money, like we always do when we have a trip coming up. I've been in charge of this trip forever, since I'm in charge of all things that involve planning, and I've told him a THOUSAND TIMES that we have the least expensive hotels; a super huge discount on the rental car thanks to my employee discount; discounts at every attraction between my employee discounts, Mikey's employee discounts, and Groupons; and oh-em-geeeeee just drop it. When I come home from work, the last thing I want to do is listen to someone worry and fret over something I've explained a bazillion gajillion times, and I don't want to solve problems. I need an hour to detox from helping approximately forty people every day. All I do all day is answer questions and fix things, so when I get home, I just want happiness and smiles and some food and my workout before I have to answer a question.

I'm also pissed because I feel like he doesn't trust me, and nothing pisses me off more than second-guessing my intelligence and planning skills.

Gah.

I felt bad because I got upset, went to my room, and slammed the door shut. (I know. Mature, right?) Then I tried to work out, and I just could not get into it. I was so upset that I hated everything, and I can usually power through, but I was ready to throw the weight at the stupid instructor's head. So I grabbed some water and decided tonight was a bust, which makes me even more pissed off. I can hear him creeping around, so I know he knows I'm still mad. :-P

-=-

I bought some hair dye since I'm going grey and not in a flattering way. The hair dye is a foam kind instead of the usual liquid. I really like it. It still smells a bit, but it has this hilariously overwhelming beer and chocolate smell to it in addition to the whatever-it-is-that-makes-it-burn-your-nose. With the windows open and the exhaust fan in the bathroom going, my nose didn't burn as much as usual, and the beer and chocolate smell kind of amused me.

It's just a dark-brown-almost-black color, the same as my hair. My hair tends to get lighter in the summer, so I dye it since my eyebrows are black and don't change. I end up looking really weird if I don't dye it. And now that the grey is showing up more frequently, I suppose I'll have to start having my stylist color it whenever I go in for a cut.

When did I get old? This is so weird.



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Couch to 5K

Since I read so many blogs from runners, it makes sense that I have the bug too. I haven't run since high school, when I ran a mile in gym class every Friday and got my time down to around 11:30 from 14:50. ;) I had NO idea what I was doing, and now that I have tons of information - almost too much information - I think I have a grasp of how to start, what to do, what not to do, and how to get better.

I have to take the first step, though.

I found an awesome app called JogFM (they also have a website). You can put in your desired running pace, and they'll give you hundreds of songs that fit that pace. For example, I chose a 12:00 mile to start, and they gave me over 200 songs at 130 bpm! I'm going to queue the songs up on my iPhone along with my Map My Walk app and my Couch to 5K app. (Reminder: charge my battery before I head out.)

The Couch to 5K app gives you verbal cues to walk and run, depending on the week and day you're on. Today is Week One Day One, so I start with a five-minute warm-up walk, and then I alternate 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. That doesn't seem so bad. We'll see how I feel later. ;)

The Map My Walk app is to see how far I've actually walked/run. The songs are designed for a 12-minute mile, but they have no idea what kind of stride I'm using. I'm going to jog very slowly and carefully, as opposed to someone who might be running with more confidence (and less weight), not to mention someone with longer legs. The song is simply for pacing, to ensure I don't run too quickly or slowly. I'm interested to see my exact mile pace at the end.

In honor of my new endeavor, I purchased real running shoes:


These are Asics Gel-Fortes. I got them on sale for $85 on eBay. I LOVE THEM. They are so, so much better than the Brooks Ariels I had. I sold those on eBay because they were clunky, and the arch hurt my feet so badly I couldn't even walk a half-mile without limping and wincing. These have a slightly lower arch, with a lot of support right where I need it (on the inner part of the arch). They feel like they were molded to my foot. :)

Note: If you're going to try these, go a half-size up. I normally wear an 8.5 in athletic shoes, but I had to buy a size 9. The toebox fits perfectly, but the heel slides a little bit. I'm interested to see if they pull my socks down like the Brooks did. I tried them on during lunch, but I'm wearing flip-flops today and had to test them out barefoot. /crosses fingers for no sock pulling

Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to keep up with C25K after Friday because we're leaving for

ZOMG SAN FRANCISCO!!!

I can't believe it's here already. :) We're heading to Chicago after Brent gets out of work Friday night, and we're spending the night near the airport. We got a sweet deal on a room with a Park & Fly package. $75 for the room and parking, which is cheaper than parking at the airport. Score. I figure this will give us time to deal with a car breakdown or forgetting something or whatever, rather than rushing around and possible missing our flight on Saturday. Plus, we can sleep later on Saturday since we just have to take the shuttle to the airport instead of getting up early to drive to Chicago.

I thought about starting C25K after we get back, but I'm too impatient. I figure I can restart Week One when we get back. That, or I can do it there. Whenever I go to the west coast, I end up completely borked on sleep. I wake up at 6:00 AM and pass out around 10:00 PM because my body is still on Eastern time. So I've been planning, for a while, to get up, work out for a bit, eat some breakfast, and shower before Brent rolls out of bed. Even though he'll be on Eastern time too, his sleep schedule is way different from mine. I figure I'll have three hours before he wakes up, which is plenty of time to jog/walk/swim if I want to. Yay, vacation. :)

I cannot believe I just came up with a fitness plan for our vacation and that I'm actually excited about getting up early to exercise! If you'd told me I'd say this a year ago, I would have looked at you like you had lobsters crawling out of your ears. Hooray for healthy habits, weight loss, and synthetic hormones. ;) I'd say this is a pretty good NSV!



Monday, May 20, 2013

Friend Makin' Monday

It's time for Friend Makin' Monday, "sponsored" by All the Weigh!

If you decide to participate, put a link to your blog in her comments. Then, her other readers can read your answers and add your blog to their reading list. :)



1. Have you ever been skinny dipping? Yes, and it was as awesome and romantic as you think it is. Having a full moon and a nice, warm lake really helped.

2. If you could choose an exotic vacation destination today, where would you go? Hawaii. I want to see where they filmed "Lost".

3. Do you prefer to live in the city or the suburbs? City city city city city city city city! I need the night life, I need to boogie, I need sirens and honking and police whistles at every intersection, I need public transit, and I need to see that gorgeous skyline at night.

4. If you could paint, draw or illustrate any masterpiece in the world, what would it be? Johnny. Depp. I would sculpt the hell out of him.

5. What is your favorite dish to cook when you’re cooking for one? A chicken breast with pasta. It's so easy to control the portion.

6. Who has recently influenced you in a spectacular way? My friend, Liz. She is completely awesome. I wish I'd been half as wise and down-to-earth as her when I was her age (she'll be 22 pretty soon).

7. Have you ever considered dating a person who’s younger than you? If so, how young would you go? Yes, but not much younger than five years. That was tricky when I dated Oz (he was five years younger). We had such different memories of childhood and high school. He was into Pokemon and the Power Rangers and all that stuff that was big when I was in college and way beyond it.

8. What do you typically wear when you’re at home with no plans to go out? Pajama pants with a comfy t-shirt. I change the second I get home from work. My boyfriend and I refuse to wear "real clothes" when we're chilling at home. We actually check with each other first to see if the other wants to go out because once the real clothes are off, we aren't putting them back on.

9. Do you prefer a shower or a bath? Shower. I know a lot of people love to relax in the tub, but I get bored pretty quickly. I do like sitting in hot tubs, but only if I have people to talk to. Also, I've been excited about staying at hotels lately because they have such good water pressure. We've lived in historic homes for the past four years, and the water pressure sucks. When you have long, thick, wavy hair, good pressure is a must. "A quick shower" is impossible these days. I keep saying our next apartment is going to be newer, as in post-1980. We're tired of low water pressure and not having enough outlets.

10. When you meet strangers are you outgoing or more introverted? I am soooooo shy. I'm pretty anxious around strangers. I talk, because that's what's expected of me, but I'm freaking out and dying on the inside the entire time, and I have to fight the urge to run and hide. Once I finally get away, I analyze everything I said and always have a sinking feeling I sounded like a moron. Hopefully, losing weight will help with this. I was always pretty confident and outgoing when I weighed 165 pounds. Of course, I was young and dumb too, so who knows...



Monday, May 13, 2013

Friend Makin' Mondays




Kenlie over at All the Weigh, the very first weight loss blog I ever started reading, has a fun activity called "Friend Makin' Mondays".

The idea is that you write the answers to the questions on your own blog and then put the link to your blog entry in her comments section. That way, her readers can go through all of the comments and find new blogs to read. I love this!

So, here are my answers to this week's questions.

1. Do you use coupons? Sometimes, but not as often as I should. I mostly use them for clothes, since I get a lot of coupons from Lane Bryant and Catherine's. Their clothes are WAY overpriced, and I refuse to buy anything full-price there. I need to start signing up for other stores, now that I'm closer to the sizes at Old Navy, etc.

Brent is in charge of grocery shopping and doesn't take the time to cut them out or shop sales. Since our bank accounts are separate, I really don't care how much he spends on groceries, so if he doesn't want to use coupons, that's his decision.

2. How often do you weigh yourself? Every day, but only to keep on top of fluctuations before things get out of control. I record my weight on SparkPeople once per week since I'm part of a team. My official blog weigh-ins are every month. Confused yet? ;)

3. What was your favorite TV show as a kid? "The Cosby Show". I watched it every Thursday night.

4. How often do you drink alcohol? Once or twice per month. I'm not supposed to drink while taking Metformin, so I limit it to social occasions and only have one "light" drink, like a glass of wine or a beer. If I have more than that, I get pretty buzzed or drunk (the medicine exacerbates the effects of alcohol). Even just one Cosmo can do me in and make me loopy.

5. Have you ever met a celebrity or public figure that you really admire? Nope.

6. If you had to choose between only your cell phone or only your laptop all week which would you choose? My cell phone. It can do everything my laptop can, and it's smaller. ;) I only use my laptop when I need something easier to type on (or when a website doesn't have a mobile version and is super annoying to use).

7. What is your favorite brand of detergent? Purex. They don't test on animals.

8. If there was a movie about your life, who would play the role? Janeane Garofalo

9. What book are you currently reading? Nothing right now, which is strange. Summer classes start soon, though, so I don't want to start something I'd have to put down.

10. If you could spend one day on vacation anywhere in the world, which place would you choose? I’d go to London. As an English major, it's practically criminal that I haven't been there yet. ;)



Sunday, May 12, 2013

Weigh-in


Image courtesy of Ampersand Seven


296 on the nose!

I know I haven't done this in a while. I switched to monthly weigh-ins for the blog because I've incorporated strength training into my routine, and that's causing a big shift in clothes and measurements (yay!) but not on the scale (sorta-boo).

I say "sorta boo" because the number on the scale is so fickle. A lot of people who are new to weight loss get so wrapped up in that number, not knowing what it represents. As most of you know, a woman's weight can vary quite a bit due to hormones and water retention. Then you toss in things like too much sodium, not enough water, holding food in your system (i.e. not pooping for a couple days), water retention in your muscles after a good workout, NSAIDs (which can cause water retention), and on and on and on.

So, while my clothes are fitting awesomely and I've been able to get into more and more of my 2X shirts, along with the size 20/22 jeans in my closet, my weight has been dancing around 298 for a few weeks, even going up to 300 or 301 a couple times. Gack.

This week, however, I finally saw a real loss. I knew my body would whoosh at some point. :) This puts me down four-ish pounds from my last blog weigh-in, which means an average loss of close to a pound per week. That is dead on to the recommendation of 1-2 pounds per week, with an allowance for insulin resistance and eating WAY too much crap this past month. I'm actually pretty surprised I lost anything, considering I ate at maintenance and didn't exercise during the entire week I was mourning Oz, and then I ate way too many carbs in Chicago and couldn't exercise all this week because the Chicago trip exacerbate the pain in my left foot. I tried to push it on Tuesday and made it even worse. :-P

So there we have it. I'm going to continue to weigh-in every day at home, since it helps me keep my sodium and water in check, but the blog will get monthly weigh-ins for the purpose of the big picture.

I'll also try to upload more pictures in general. I have a post about Chicago ready to go, and I have several pictures in 2X shirts, new jeans, and jeans I thought I could finally wear again (but they're actually too BIG now!)



Monday, May 6, 2013

Major League NSV

I fit!

For years now, I've been so upset that I couldn't fit in the seats at Wrigley Field. The first time Brent came to visit, May 2010, I could scoot back a little but couldn't actually sit. Then, I gained 40-ish pounds, so in September 2011, I couldn't fit AT ALL. I spent the entire game on the very edge of the seat with my knees mashed against the seat in front of me. We ended up standing at the back of the section, which hurt my feet, so I spent the entire game in pain no matter what we did. I was absolutely miserable and kept crying because I felt like I was ruining our day.

Then, we went back in July 2012 when we took my dad, and I'd lost 10 pounds, but of course I didn't fit since I was heavier than the first time we went. We sat at the front of the section so I could scoot forward without any knee pain. We also wanted to make sure my dad had a ton of leg room, and that was the official reason, but the secondary reason was because I was too fat.

As you can see, I've been obsessed about these seats for quite some time. ;)

So, this time, I was about 15 pounds smaller than the first time we went. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to fit yet, but I did! Not only did I fit, I was comfortable. :) I could sit all casual and laid-back like Brent did and didn't feel stuffed in. I even wrapped a thick blanket around myself at one point (it was freeeeezing) and still fit just fine. I felt like a "normal" person, someone who can just go and see a ball game and not worry about something as silly as the seats. This is one of those things that so many people take for granted before they're obese. If you've never wondered if you'll fit in a chair, consider yourself lucky and make sure you lose weight before you get to that point, because it's hell to live that way.

I was going to have Brent take a picture of me sitting in the seat, but the angles were weird and we were in a high-traffic area, so he couldn't get a good shot. I do have a picture of the seats, though. They're those really old-fashioned seats designed for butts from the 1930s. See?


We also got a picture of us, after I'd wrapped myself up in a blanket.


Fitting in the seats at Wrigley Field was an item on my 101/1001 List, and it felt SO GOOD to hit that one out of the park. :)



Saturday, May 4, 2013

Wrigley Field

Quick post with my **2X** Cubs t-shirt. The last time we saw a game (last summer), I wore a 5X in this brand. I made sure to buy the same brand so I could compare legitimately. I'm so scientific. ;)



That's our hotel room, and that's why the bed isn't made. ;)

More later. I'm off to see if I can finally fit in those seats!



Friday, May 3, 2013

Ha!

As I was modeling some new clothes in the mirror the other day, proud of my progress and finally excited about shopping for new clothes, I remembered this blog post.

When I read it, I was amused that I'd written it exactly one year beforehand.

Now, I didn't hit my goal of 265 by Thanksgiving, like it mentions, but that's okay. That's before I started struggling, only to find out I have insulin resistance and had to change my entire lifestyle. It also causes very, very, very slow weight loss. So, while I didn't make that goal, it's not a big deal. "Normal" people can lose 8-10 pounds per month, but I am not normal and lose approximately 3-6 pounds per month, sometimes 1-2.

But that doesn't matter.

What IS a big deal and what REALLY matters is that I don't feel like I did during that blog entry!

In that blog entry, I was really upset that I had to lose another 50 pounds to still feel horrible, and that made me very sad. I mentioned that I'd still feel and look disgustingly fat at 290, so those 50 pounds wouldn't even matter.

This is not true! I think I look nice, maybe even borderline cute some days, and that's because I dress to fit my body. I still have to cover my upper arms because they look like the Michelin Man, but I play up my waist-to-hip ratio (which is just nuts) and wear lots of fun jewelry with colors and clothes that complement me.

The reason I looked so "disgustingly fat" at 290 was because that was my heaviest at the time, and I was severely depressed. I wore a lot of black, shapeless clothes and didn't wear makeup or jewelry. In the two pictures where I made an effort, I looked much better, even though I was the same weight.

Now that I'm happy about my weight loss and dress accordingly, I look much thinner at 295 now than I did when I weighed 295 then. Much, much thinner.



Another reason I was happy to remember and read that post is that it proves that you cannot give up and cannot give in. A year will go by SO quickly, and hey - there's 60-100 pounds gone, just like that! If I had given up when I'd written that blog post, I'd still be 340-ish pounds, maybe even more. I'd still be huge. I'd still be depressed. I couldn't have done a lot of the things I've done during the past year.

Instead, I weigh 295 pounds, and I'm extremely proud of myself. :) I can do more and do it for longer periods of time. Thanks to buckling down during "Ass-Kicking April", I feel strong and awesome, even though I'm still morbidly obese. I look forward to exercising and use it to deal with stress instead of turning to food.

When I watch TV at night, I get bored because I'm not eating and don't know what to do with my hands, so I haven't watched as much TV. I've been shopping around for an elliptical so I can exercise while catching up with the DVR. I would have told you you were on crack if you'd told me I'd say this a year ago.

Also, I hate sitting still! I never thought I'd say that. I couldn't even get out of my recliner without severe pain when I wrote that blog post, and now I can walk three miles at a 3.5 mph pace without losing my breath or feeling tired. As soon as I can get that up to 4 mph, I'm going to start "Couch to 5K".

Please don't give up. Don't let your brain win this fight. Keep going, keep going, keep going. You will have bad days. You will have bad weeks. Do. Not. Give. Up. It doesn't matter how long it takes to come off, as long as it comes off. Every pound, every inch, every binge-free day, every minute of exercise - those are victories. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, and if your brain tries to whisper those thoughts late at night, tell it to STFU.



Monday, April 29, 2013

Goodbye, Oz




I never thought I'd be writing this journal entry. Not for many years, anyway.

It's been a long five days of mourning a friend's passing. He was only 30 years old. Most kept vigil at the hospital while he was in a coma, waiting to see if the brain swelling went down; I kept a brave face at work because my schedule meant I couldn't drive over to spend time there (and, I'm ashamed to admit, I didn't want to see him like that - please don't judge me). His family decided it would be best to let him go, as his conditioned worsened and any kind of "recovery" would have meant a persistent vegetative state. Everyone knew he wouldn't want that.

He passed away around 11:05 Saturday night, a whopping 23 hours after the breathing tube was removed (stubborn to the end - that's Oz). I cried on and off Thursday and Friday while waiting for news, and I thought I'd made my peace, but Saturday night, when it was really, truly over, the floodgates opened. Thankfully, several of us had gathered at Beth and Tony's, and we were able to drink in his honor and comfort each other before everyone finally went to sleep. It ended with brunch Sunday morning. They were so kind to open their home to everyone and provide us with alcohol, board games, space to sleep, and brunch. Nobody really wanted to leave each other's company. It made the emptiness of his passing feel a little less raw.

He fell down his basement stairs. He was probably playing computer games and decided to go upstairs to get a drink, or use the bathroom, or get a snack - things people do every single night and take for granted. I've already gone over all of the "what if"s. What if he hadn't needed a drink? What if he hadn't been hungry? What if he'd been out with friends or on the phone instead? What if he'd had to work that night?

I finally decided to stop torturing myself and let it rest.

Freak accidents like this remind us that we should never, ever let anger persist. My last words to him weren't out of love, but out of anger, and I will never have a chance to apologize and tell him how much I really do love him. My pride got in the way, and I will never get that chance again. I always tell my family I love them when I hang up or when I leave their house; I need to do this with friends as well. It is so scary, these reminders that life can be cut short, too short, sometimes.

Ozzie was a huge part of my life for several years. We had our ups and downs, the normal "former couple trying to be friends" stuff, but ultimately, he was a kind soul and meant so much to me. Even though we were both SO temperamental around each other at times, I now realize it was out of love, not hatred. He loved his friends so fully and completely and had such passion. I still cannot believe he's gone. I don't know if I'll ever really accept it, and I don't know if I can ever forgive myself for the last words I ever spoke to him. I needed some distance, but I didn't mean forever.

I've been talking to him in spirit; I hope he can hear me.




Saturday, April 27, 2013

Weigh-ins, Workouts, & Measurements


Wow, it's been two weeks.

I've been experimenting with the idea of a monthly weigh-in, given my insulin resistance and tendency to pack it on during TOM. So, I haven't been around for a while, but I've also forgotten to update.

I've been doing really great on the exercise front. I used to get lazy about it in the past because it was so hard for me, but now I look forward to it! It's kind of crazy, but I've become one of those people. I've been incorporating a weight routine every other day and walking and/or dancing on the "off" days (to give my muscles a chance to recover), and it's paying off BIG time. :) I feel stronger, healthier, and more energetic.

I took new measurements the other day, and I've lost an inch off my chest and an inch off my waist in the past 2-3 weeks. My pants are falling off, and my shirts are pretty blousy. I can't quite wear a 2X shirt yet, thanks to my amazingly huge booty, but I have some that are almost okay. I can put them on, but they're obviously too tight. I did, however, wear a 2X t-shirt to work yesterday. I was happy that it finally fit, but I refuse to say I'm officially a 2X since not a single 2X in my closet fits yet.

I'll have my next weigh-in in two weeks, on May 10. We shall see what that week brings. :) My weight has been dropping slowly and staying kind of static, but I know that's just because my muscles are retaining water to repair. Additionally, when people lose weight and don't exercise, they often lose lean body mass along with fat. By working my muscles and maintaining them, my weight is staying about the same, due to the glycogen and water retention, but my measurements are changing. So, it's not that I'm building muscle (which you can't do in a calorie deficit); I'm simply maintaining it. And, as we all know, muscle is more dense than fat and can screw up the scale. That's why it's so incredibly important to take measurements every month along with your weigh-ins. Do not rely on the scale alone.

My workout schedule:

Monday - "The Firm" (aerobic workout with weights)
Tuesday - walk
Wednesday - "The Firm"
Thursday - "Just Dance" (Wii game)
Friday - rest day
Saturday - "The Firm"
Sunday - walk and/or "Just Dance"

"The Firm" has multiple volumes, but I tend to do the same two (the ones that are the hardest). I told you I've been crazy lately. ;)

In addition to that, I've been walking during my lunch break at work again. The weather is finally nice enough to do this almost every day. I get 45 minutes for lunch, so I walk for 30 and use the other 15 to cool down, get a drink, and check Facebook, etc. I don't walk very fast, since I don't want to get all sweaty, but I burn about 200 calories, and it relieves some stress in the middle of the day. It's great. :) Also, since I use MapMyWalk, I can see that my walk speed has increased quite a bit. Last fall, my "fast" walk was about 2.6 mph. Now, my "fast" walk is closer to 3.8 mph. Incredible!



Friday, April 12, 2013

Weigh-in

Down a pound to 299 but still not back to my low of 297. I have to lose about a pound and a half to get back there.

Considering I was out of town for work all week, I'll take it. I ate like a pig a couple nights because I was stressed and never really know what to do when I'm alone and missing Brent and the kitties, but I was on my feet all day and used the fitness room at night, so that more than likely made up for it. I didn't increase my calories to make up for being on my feet all day (teachers burn more calories than someone with a desk job), and when I look back at my logs, I didn't eat nearly as much as I thought I had. Plus, it was a lot of fruit and meat, so yay me.

Now that I'm home, I'm back into the swing of things. Luckily, I have today off since I left for Indianapolis on Sunday. They let me take today off to make up for it instead of counting it as overtime. So, three-day weekend equals getting back into the groove, running errands, and hoping this weather improves so I can go for more walks. We're supposed to get a rain/snow mix tonight and freezing rain tomorrow. Yuck. I'd been meaning to incorporate my weight training videos into my routine, though, so I guess being stuck inside gives me a good excuse.

It was 80 and stormy in Indy all week, but it was 40 and rainy up here. The 40-degree difference was kind of strange, considering I was only three hours south, but that was a weird storm that brought all kinds of weather to the Midwest. Indy got a ton of golf ball-sized hail; luckily, our car wasn't hit. The worst part of the storm missed us. But it was weird seeing leaf buds on all of the trees and flowers springing up everywhere, and then I came home and everything is still "asleep". The crocuses are up, though, and the dots of blue/purple in our flower beds and lawn are pretty.

The kitties are so happy to have me home that I feel kind of guilty for running errands. I'm such a sucker for a furry face. :)

We are busy busy busy planning our trip to San Francisco. It's just under two months away, and we've been discussing activities/schedules with our friends out there. M is taking the whole week off so he can hang out with us, but his girlfriend, L, has classes Mon - Thurs. Her schedule is completely insane; she has 21 credit hours. So we're trying to plan stuff that she doesn't really care about during her class periods and saving stuff she loves, like the Winchester House, for Sunday.

They live south of the city, closer to Santa Cruz, so we're going to do a bunch of stuff in San Jose and head to the beach and so on. I know the boys really want to see the Computer History Museum. She's going to take Thursday off, though, so we can head up Wednesday night and spend Thursday and Friday in the city before leaving on Saturday. The "city" plans include Monterey Bay Aquarium, Alcatraz, visiting the Haight & Ashbury area, and heading to Napa to drink wine.

I keep finding all of these different things I want to see and do, and I just have to remember that whatever we don't see/do while there, we can always see/do once we live there. :)



Friday, April 5, 2013

Watery Weigh-in


Oh. My. Word.

Well, I'm not 302 anymore, but I'm still up this morning. 300.2, to be exact.

As I said in my last entry, this isn't surprising, but it's definitely irritating. My boots were suuuuuuper tight when I zipped them up this morning, and my belly is poofy like when I bloat during PMS, so I need to keep drowning myself in water and green tea and pray I get back to 297 at some point. Seeing that "3" on the scale again is so annoying, especially since I thought I'd be close to 290 by now.

Oh well. It's not like I could help being sick, but I should know better than to eat Chinese food the night before weigh-in. :-P

On the other hand, whenever I post weigh-ins, the "suggested posts" at the bottom of my entry tend to show previous weigh-ins. Even if I'm a little depressed about the current one, it always makes me feel better to see the little number icons that say "312" or "335" at the bottom. Instead of feeling sort of down, I perk up right away because I think, "At least I'm not there anymore." It also shows me how far I've come. :)

-=-

Thank you for all of your good health wishes. I do feel much better now, so I'm glad I rode it out instead of paying to see the doctor. It cleared up yesterday, and I feel 100% back to normal today.

I totally had a dance party in my room last night. Brent went to see the new Evil Dead movie, so I turned on my blue light bulb and cranked up the dance music. Brent is hardly ever gone in the evening, like almost never, so I always get pretty excited when he leaves and I can act like a crack monkey. I danced around for about an hour, so I'm counting that as my workout.

I'm working the 7:00 shift today. I wanted to kill someone when my alarm went off at 5:30, but this is actually pretty nice (now that I'm caffeinated). I like being here before 95% of the office arrives, and it will be awesome to leave at 3:30 when the others are still stuck here. ;)



Thursday, April 4, 2013

Oh, Hell

I couldn't figure out why my scale has been up a few pounds all week. It's been hovering between 300 and 302. Unacceptable.

Since I've been sick all week, I did a little research. Apparently, infections can cause water retention, as your body uses the water to help white blood cells move to the area faster. Additionally, NSAIDs (like ibuprofen) also cause water retention. I won't get into the explanation for that because it's a lot of scientific gobbledy-gook that people probably don't care about.

Regardless, I have been battling a sinus infection since Saturday, and I've been taking NyQuil, Advil Congestion, and Mucinex Sinus in varying doses (sometimes combined) since then. All three of those have NSAIDs in them. Oh, and let's not forget all that extra mucous. I'm sure it only accounted for, like, 1/16 of a pound, but it felt like eight pounds. ;)

Given the cocktail of medicine + infection, I'm surprised I didn't gain MORE weight this week.

Anyway, I'm feeling much better today, so I didn't take anything this morning. I drank some green tea and water, and I'm having more water tonight. Hopefully, I can flush out the extra water during the next couple of days. (She says, as she eats Chinese food...wtf?) Tomorrow's weigh-in is going to suuuuuuuuuuuck, but at least I know why. Phew!

I'm still exercising every night, so I hope next week's weigh-in is much better. I leave for Indianapolis on Sunday, and I'm training people at the Indianapolis office Monday through Thursday. Luckily, my hotel room has a fridge, stove, and microwave, so I don't have to worry about eating out all week. Additionally, they have a fitness room and pool. My swimsuit is WAY too big, so I'm going to have to get a new one this weekend. I'm not thrilled about paying for a new swimsuit at the very beginning of swimming season ($$$$), but that's what I get for forgetting to order one online. :-P At least, this way, I can try them on. Plus-size swimsuits tend to be WAY too big in the bust. (What is up with plus size clothing manufacturers assuming I have 46G breasts?)

In other news, I've been thinking about getting a BodyBugg because I've had it with all the guess work. I've heard really good things about them from other people on MFP.



Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Keeping At It

I felt even worse when I got home last night, but I still managed to workout for 40 minutes. My sinuses were on fire, and they were super-drippy (sorry), but I kept plugging away and grabbed a tissue whenever I needed one. I felt horrible the entire time, but I made a promise to myself, and I intend to keep it.

I leave for Indianapolis on Sunday and have to train people all next week, so I HAVE to be better by Sunday. I feel much better today than I did yesterday, so maybe it's going away. /crosses fingers I hope this is the last of the winter crud. Brent got me sick with the worst case of bronchitis I've ever had in mid-February, then he caught it back from me as I got over it, and now he's sick and getting me sick again. Three times for him and twice for me, all in the span of six weeks. Screw that. It needs to be spring RIGHT NOW.

Of course, spring means more allergies and the resulting upper respiratory infection that I get every April or May, so maybe I just need to go live in a bubble until they figure out a miracle cure for allergies. ;) This sucks.







Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ass-Kicking April

I'm borrowing a term from Alizey. This will be "Ass-Kicking April". I have become way too lax in my exercise and eating habits, and I have to get back on-track. No excuses. None.

I will:

-Exercise every day, unless I am sick with a fever, bronchitis, and/or the flu
-Watch my sodium intake (under 2000)
-Make sure I drink 8-10 glasses of water every day. If my sodium is too high, I will drink 11-12.
-Watch my carbs. I have been so lazy here. It's no wonder I'm not losing right now. It is imperative I eat like a diabetic so I don't end up there. Insulin resistance can turn into Type 2 Diabetes, and I will be so mad if I lose all this weight only to end up diabetic anyway.
-Incorporate strength training to assist with metabolism and overall awesomeness

I started last night and was very proud of myself. Even though I'm sick with some kind of sinus/allergy thing, it's not in my chest, so I'm in no danger of making myself worse. Oh, it sucked hardcore - don't get me wrong - but I did it. Breathing, even through my mouth, felt like I was breathing fire, but I still did it. I wish I could shove an ice pack into my nasal cavity and throat because they still feel fiery today. If I could snort ice cream, I would, just for a few seconds of relief. I hope this goes away soon.

Anyway, in the past, I would have skipped my workout because of the sinus pain, but I figured I could either lay in bed and be in pain or workout and be in pain. I chose to workout since I knew I'd be in pain no matter what. I played "Just Dance 3" and experimented with some new songs after dancing to my usual favorites. I forgot to wear my HRM, but the clock showed I'd been working out for around 40-50 minutes, so I figured I burned around 500 calories. I hate not wearing my HRM because I like to know exactly how long I've been working out and exactly how hard I'm working, so I made a mental note to put it on top of my Wii so I don't forget tonight.

Now that my knee pain is gone, it's been easier to get down on the floor and back up. I can do squats too. I feel so free. I'm not moving as easily as I did when I was younger and thinner, but it is so nice to be able to do things "normal" people do, like scrub the floor really well instead of using a mop (which misses the corners) or put together a TV stand like I did last weekend. I can also bend all the way over when I need to reach something near the floor or tie my shoes, whereas that would have left me breathless before (and I couldn't squat down on one knee because my knee pain prevented me from getting back up).

Anyway, now that my knees are so much better, I can do the full "Firm" workout again. These tapes (yes, tapes) are from the 80s. I know I've talked about them before. They incorporate aerobics with weights, and they are a great workout, despite their age. They kept me in shape during high school and helped me lose the 40 pounds I gained during my second year of college. I'm excited to put them into the rotation because I feel this will be the turning point in my weight loss. It will also ensure that as the fat melts away, I'll have a beautiful shape underneath.

So, here's to ass-kicking!



Friday, March 29, 2013

Weigh-in


Up a pound.

I am definitely not shocked, so I'm trying not to grumble about it. I'm just pleased it's not more. When we returned from Chicago, I was up three pounds from sodium, lack of water, and some pretty bad swelling and pain in my left foot. My goal for this week was to maintain, not lose, so dropping two of those three pounds is pretty phenomenal considering I was WAY over on sodium again and barely drank any water. Bad Sarah! ;) I didn't actively try to get rid of that weight, so I really can't grumble too much. I only have myself to blame.

My rings and shoes are still sort of tight, but my pants are loose, so I know it's water, and I know what I need to do. I'm going to drown myself in water all weekend and try to sweat some of it out. Perhaps I'll see a "loss" over the next couple of days. (I'm aiming to get back to 297 by Monday, not an actual loss, hence the quotation marks.)

Honestly, though, I'd like to get past 297, because I can feel my weight loss slowing again, and I'd really like to get out of the 290s before that happens. I still feel perilously close to 300 pounds, and that's super uncomfortable. I honestly will not be able to relax until I see 289 on the scale. It simply won't happen. That "3" is still burned into my brain and still makes me panicky, so it's imperative I get down to 289 or 290. Being this close to 300 means one weekend of horrible eating could put me right back up to a "3", and I will not have that.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Just Dance



I have an awesome new workout!

I bought "Just Dance 3" for the Wii because I was SICK to DEATH of "Turbo Jam" and "The Firm". It's been too crappy to walk outside for, oh, five months now (*grumble*), so I was seriously lacking in the exercise department. Planet Fitness was lots of fun until they extended their $10/month special. It's so unbelievably crowded now that I can't stand it. It really screws up my cardio burn and wastes my time when I have to wait for an elliptical, bike, or treadmill.

Anyway.

I've been playing this game for a few days, and it's super awesome. I LOVE dancing. Like, I cannot stress that enough. I. LOVE. DANCING. I was really into sport dancing during high school and college, and then I started dancing with the SCA and at clubs every weekend. Then, I moved here, and I have no SCA... no clubs... no dancing. Booooo.

This volume has some really great songs, including one by The Chemical Brothers called "Hey Boy, Hey Girl". I usually do that one a few times throughout my workout. I keep going back to it because I love the song and the trippy tribal dance done to it. (It's the one pictured at the top of the page.) Tonight, I played for about 45 minutes and burned close to 400 calories. Not bad. When I think about how often I danced back in the day, it's no wonder I lost 80 pounds in 2000-2001 without even trying.

I can probably increase that burn once I get my legs more involved. Right now, I'm concentrating on getting the arm movements precise since that's how the game scores you. I've noticed that once I get a song down-pat, I move my legs quite a bit more. On some songs, my heart rate goes up to 151-156, but on the songs I'm unfamiliar with, I hover closer to 130. Regardless, I'm moving, and that's all that's important. :)

The other nice thing about it is that you can either flip through the songs and pick ones you like (like I did), or you can set it to "Sweat Mode", and it'll cycle through songs for you. "Sweat Mode" is nice because there's only one brief pause between songs where it asks you to click "A" to move on. So you can just click it and keep going, or you can use that time to drink some water. With the regular mode, you have to click through the menu and select a song, so there's a bit more down time. I like it because I'm picky about music. ;) ("Sweat Mode" does give you the option of picking a different song, but it only gives you 2-3 to choose from, not the entire menu, probably because it only wants to use songs with bpms that match the one you just played.)

It's so much fun that I'm sitting here excited to play it again. I'm tired, but I really want to play a couple songs a few more times, even though I know I'll probably die if I do another 15-20 minutes. Now I know how runners feel when they get that high! :) Plus, Brent is home, and I'm always embarrassed to work out in front of him. Haha.

Have you done any new workouts lately? What is your favorite workout right now?



Friday, March 22, 2013

Weigh-in


Woot!


Image courtesy of Ampersand Seven


Down 2.2 pounds to 297.2. That puts me juuuuuust shy of 60 pounds lost, as in 59.freaking8, so I'm going to count it. :)

I have today off since I worked last Saturday, and Brent was able to finish up a project and get today off too. We're going to Chicago this weekend, and Brent being able to get today off gives us some extra time. I wasn't thrilled about heading there during rush hour, so I was pretty happy when he came home and gave me the news last night. We slept SUPER late, though, so we might end up getting there around 5:00 anyway. Good thing we gain an hour on the way there. ;)

It was hard to get out of bed. I haven't been sleeping well all week, so I crashed around 11:00 last night. I woke up at 7:00 out of habit and then went back to sleep until close to 11:00! Brent's snoring and the kitty antics didn't wake me up a million times like they usually do, so I must have been really tired. I woke up with Brent on my left, Winter by my feet, and Sherlock snuggled up on my right. Once he realized I was awake, Sherlock came up and laid on my pillow above my head, purring his kitty head off. He has a loud, rumbly purr, so there was no way I was going to leave that nest of comfort. Brent woke up around 11:30 and made us some coffee. I still feel sleepy. Geez.

Anyway, I'm pretty excited about Chicago and my weigh-in. I had a goal to get under 300 pounds by this trip, and I nailed it. /pats self on back

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Home, but Not Quite

I love the Home t-shirt Mary is rocking in her blog today, so I wandered on over to their website to grab one for myself.

Unfortunately, the creators didn't consult a map of Michigan.



If you don't live here, you probably wouldn't notice it, but anyone who lives in or near Michigan will see that they completely cut off the Keweenaw Peninsula. To those who aren't familiar with Michigan, the Keweenaw Peninsula forms the "rabbit ears" at the top of the Upper Peninsula.

This is what Michigan actually looks like:



I could forgive them if they left off Isle Royale, since it's uninhabited and not used as part of the icon 90% of the time, but it's pretty stupid to leave off a portion of the state where people actually live. Copper Harbor is a tourist destination, and Houghton/Hancock is home to Michigan Technological University.

Anyway, I sent a review to the company, but they haven't posted it yet. Hopefully, they'll pass it onto the design team so they can reconfigure their silkscreen. I really, really want to purchase a shirt from them, especially since they fund MS research, but I just can't do it when my state isn't correct.



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New Picture

So I'm not QUITE to 60 pounds lost yet, just a pound away, but I wanted to take a new picture since I feel like it's been a long time.


I'm pretty happy with the way I look in clothes now. While I'm still quite heavy and not happy with the way most things fit, I don't cringe or cry when I look in the mirror anymore. I walk around with more confidence, and I still do an occasional double-take when I see myself in the mirror. I've even done a few happy dances in dressing rooms. :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Junk in the Trunk Airlines

Ever since flying to Albuquerque to meet Brent for the first time, I've been pretty terrified of flying.

Don't get me wrong; I LOVE flying. I'm terrified because that last trip left me a little gun-shy.

Shortly before I left, Kevin Smith flipped out on Southwest because of their "Customers of Size" policy. This opened everyone's eyes to a policy that, until then, had been fairly mum. Suddenly, other airlines were scrutinized, and lots and lots of forum posters added their own opinions.

Before this, I had never thought it would be an issue. Before that trip to Albuquerque, the last time I'd flown was 2007, when I weighed around 275 pounds. I flew on WestJet, a Canadian airline, from London, ON to Victoria, BC. The seats on those jets are 18", and I didn't feel squeezed-in. The seats were tight, but not uncomfortable, and I didn't feel like I was inching toward my seatmate.

When I reserved my tickets for Albuquerque, however, I started to panic after that news hit the internet. It was one week before my trip, so I had no time to lose weight. I weighed 310 pounds at the doctor's office that week. I was flying on a commuter jet through American Airlines, and I knew the seats were 17". I could barely sleep with all those horrible posts from the forums in my head. Would the seats be okay? I didn't have any seats to measure and compare.

Sure enough, when I boarded my flight, I sat down, and I could barely put the armrest down. I tried to buckle the seat belt, and it was a mere half-inch away from buckling. The guy next to me gave me a disgusted look through the entire process, and I tried really hard to hold back tears. He kept shifting in his seat, making it obvious he didn't want a single fraction of an inch of my thigh touching him. (It was about a half-inch into his seat.) I twisted my hips so I wouldn't touch him and vowed to fly that way for 3.5 hours, uncomfortable as it was. There was no way I could afford a second seat.

Shortly thereafter, the flight attendants came on, gave their spiel, and told everyone to make sure they were in their assigned seat. The guy looked at his ticket, said, "Oh, I'm in the wrong seat," and moved to the row ahead of me. This meant I had two seats to myself (yay!) and didn't have to feel embarrassed. The guy sitting in front of me reeked of body odor, and it kind of amused me that he'd rather sit next to someone who stank instead of a fat girl who was barely in his space. My upper body is very small, and it peeves me off that airlines charge if your lower body encroaches on the other person, but having a large upper body is okay (even though I've had to lean over on some flights to make room for a football player's shoulders).

Anyway, I asked the FA for a seat belt extender and tried not to cry. I knew I was big, but I didn't think I was THAT big, and having to ask for an extender when I was only a half-inch away from buckling it made me feel even worse.

I was miserable all the way to Albuquerque and worried about my flight home all week.

Luckily, the flight home was much better. I ended up next to a guy who was really chatty and liked to talk about traveling. After we put the arm rests down, I said, "I'm sorry if I'm touching you. I haven't flown in a while and didn't know I'd be too big." He sort of waved me off and said, "Hon, NOBODY is comfortable in these tiny seats. Don't worry about it." That made me feel so much better! :) Then I asked the FA for an extender, and he gave me a dirty look. I started to hold back tears again, and the guy next to me said, "Just ignore him. He looks like he's angry at the world. I doubt it's you." Awww. :)

It still sucked, though, because we were both fidgeting to get more comfortable, and I had to keep my legs pressed together as tightly as possible all the way home, which really hurts after a while. He got up a couple of times, and it felt so good to relax and stretch a bit before he came back, but I was miserable before we were even halfway to Chicago.

Since then, I haven't flown. I am perfectly okay with buying two seats since it means I'll be more comfortable and I won't have to worry about touching a stranger (not only do they not like it, but I don't like it either). I have no issue with the policy at all. I simply couldn't afford to buy two tickets when I wanted to visit Brent, so I took Amtrak. Brent is terrified of flying, so he started using Amtrak too, and we've been using it for every trip to Albuquerque since then.

Enter our trip to San Francisco this June. I started to plan it on Amtrak and realized 1) it was almost sold-out, 2) we'd require an extra five vacation days for travel time alone, and 3) the price was insane since the rooms were almost sold-out (there is no way in hell I'm going to sleep in a reclined seat near babies and kids for 2.5 days each way). We started discussing it, and he mentioned he'd be willing to face his fear of flying if I could find a decent price.

My stomach started gnawing at me because I'm only ten pounds lighter than I was the last time I flew. He pointed out that I could be close to 275 by the time we leave; plus, I'd be sitting next to him, and he doesn't care if my thigh is touching his. He said if I could get the arm rest down at 310, that means I can definitely have it down and comfortable by June. All good points.

So, I started looking at flights from Chicago since getting him onto one flight per day will be much less stressful than having to get him on two planes in one day. ;) The cheapest flight was through Virgin Airlines, which I had never heard of until now. I was really impressed with their design, branding, in-flight amenities, and the overall "feel" of the airline.



The best part? A quick check on SeatGuru showed that their coach seats are 19.7" wide.

19.7"



On most airlines, that's business class or even first class. I couldn't believe it. I double-triple-checked that on every site imaginable, and even Virgin's website confirmed it. Somebody at Virgin sympathizes with women who have wide hips (or at least acknowledges that even skinny people feel crammed in like sardines). Hooray for Virgin! I've nicknamed them "Junk in the Trunk Airlines".

Anyway, I measured the chair in my office at home, and it was 20" between the armrests, which are low like the ones on an airplane. I fit just fine, even in sweats, which don't have a corset effect on my thighs like jeans do.

Since it was a little big, I brought the tape measure to work, where I measured the seat on my office chair. It is 19.7" EXACTLY. I sit in this chair every day, and it is perfectly comfortable. I don't even have to squeeze my legs together.

I did a little dance of joy because now I don't have to worry about our flight at all. Even if I don't lose any weight between now and June 8, I'll still be able to fly without worrying about judgement. I'll also have Brent with me, which means no worrying about some stranger giving me a nasty look, even if I'm not encroaching on their space. I'll probably get a window seat, and Brent will be in the middle seat since he's skinny. ;) Plus, with his fear, he has absolutely no interest in looking out the window.

I do have it as a mini-goal to fly on a plane with 17" seats and be reasonably comfortable. (I say "reasonably" because nobody over 4'8" is truly comfortable in airplane seats.) At some point, I'm going to have to take a test flight somewhere. I'm hoping I can talk Brent into flying to Albuquerque for Christmas, so that may be my test flight. Virgin doesn't have flights to Albuquerque. There are direct flights on Southwest, however, so we'll probably use them. I shouldn't need two seats by then, but I'm going to purchase one anyway since they've relaxed their policy and will refund the second seat once your flight is complete regardless if the flight is full or not. I think that's very nice of them, and it makes me happy since they're one of the cheapest, best airlines out there. Hopefully, I'll board and find out the second seat wasn't really necessary, and having the third seat will just be a bonus. I've been on flights where the middle seat isn't taken, and it's so nice to put that arm rest up and share the space with the other traveler.

Big Changes

I've been at 298.4 the past two days. I'm pleased. If I can stay here and not screw around like I did last week, my daily fluctuations should keep me under 300 from now on. I'll be happy if I can stay at 298 or even see 297 at Friday's weigh-in.

So, onto the big changes/decisions.

I've re-enrolled at WMU to finish the last six classes for my BA. I was unable to finish it in 2005 because I got laid-off and had to move to take a new job before my last semester. I haven't had the money to go back since then. Now, finally, I can finish. I'm so relieved and happy. This will open up SO many job opportunities; plus, I can apply to grad school (library science). I may wait a year or two for grad school, though, depending how things go in...



San Francisco!

Brent and I are 99% sure we're going to move there next summer. We were going to go this summer, but I really, really need to finish school. I didn't want to leave with so few classes left because transferring would put me way behind (I'd lose a ton of credits), and I'd have to pay out-of-state tuition, which is unbelievably expensive. No thanks. It just makes more sense to stay here another year, finish school, and save up for moving. There's a strong possibility I won't be able to find a job before we move, so I'll need a cushion in my savings account. Hopefully, I can fly out for some interviews, but I'm planning for the worst case scenario. Luckily, San Francisco's unemployment rate is super-low compared to most other areas of the U.S.

I say "99% sure" because Chicago is still on the table, mostly because we both like it and Brent is a huge Cubs/Bears fan. On the other hand, I am sick to death of the Midwest climate of bitter cold and sticky humidity, and I really want to live somewhere completely new and different. Also, Brent and I have a much, much better chance of finding jobs in our degree field in the San Francisco Bay area. Chicago's unemployment rate is higher than I'm comfortable with. So, as far as I'm concerned, we're moving to San Francisco, and I haven't heard any arguments against it so far (other than "earthquakes", but then I counter with "tornadoes"). Still, Chicago's on there because Brent likes to have options.

I'm pretty sure he'll pick San Francisco, especially after our trip there in June. I've never been there before, so I'm really excited to see the area. Plus, his best friend lives there, and he really misses him, so that's another push for San Francisco.

Regardless, we're moving somewhere next summer. Brent and I are completely fed up with our jobs, and we hate Kalamazoo. I didn't even want to move here in the first place; I ended up here thanks to an ex whining and pleading for me to move, only to break up with me the second I quit my job and started packing. I've been stuck here for five, horrible years, eager for the day I can finally leave and never, ever, EVER come back. Brent likes to point out that, were it not for that ex, we wouldn't have met, and we wouldn't be where we are financially, but I still snarl internally because I refuse to give that cheating alcoholic any credit for my present condition and happiness.

Anyway.

I am unbelievably excited to get a fresh start, with the man I love, in a city I love, at a job I (hopefully) like/love. I'll feel much better about myself with a degree on my resume, not to mention I'll be approximately 100 pounds lighter when we move, making me less nervous about job interviews.

As for the trip in June, I'll talk about that in another post. This one is long enough already. ;)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Weigh-in

Wow. I didn't update at all last week or this week. Oops.

Anyway, I'm still holding steady at 299. I figured this would happen since I had three huge whooshes within just a few days of each other about a week and a half ago. I tend to lose in big whooshes and then maintain for a couple weeks before another whoosh.

Hopefully, that whoosh comes this week. :) I'd like to get down to 298 or 297 so I feel firmly in the 200s. Right now, my daily fluctuations are still putting a "3" on that scale on occasion since I'm right on that line of 299/300. Grrrr! I'm excited for it to be a steady "2".

Today I calculated that losing 58 pounds means I've lost 16% of my body weight so far. Now that I'm down to 299, if I lose another 58 pounds, that will be 32% of my body weight, and I'll be at a weight where most things are comfortable again but some things are still limited. Another 58 pounds after that will be 49% of my body weight, and I'll be at 183, a weight where I wasn't prohibited from anything (except bikinis and super short skirts, but I have no interest in those things).

It's kind of nice to think I just have to do this two more times and I'll be back to riding roller coasters and not having a care in the world. While I'd love to be 157 eventually, my main goal is really to get under 200 and be "acceptably" fat. I was always really happy between 160 and 190 and never felt shunned, insulted, ostracized, or prohibited from doing the things I love. I did wear plus sizes, but finding attractive clothes and looking good in them is much easier when you're a size 14 or 16 as opposed to a size 24 or 26.

Anyway, I obviously plan to keep losing once I get under 200; I just won't feel as much pressure.

If I can get to 157, my goal weight, I'll have lost 56% of my body weight. Holy cow. I'll have lost half of me and then some. I'll take up half as much space as I used to. That's a very strange concept to me.

I weighed that much in high school, but it was so long ago that I can't remember what it felt like to weigh that much. I thought I was really fat back then (because I was a stupid teenager who thought curves = fat, even though I had muscle and could run two miles), so I don't have any memories of not being fat. My relatives always got on my case about my weight and eating habits, so even though I wasn't fat, I've always felt fat. That is really, really sad. I can't wait to get back to that weight, knowing what I know now, and feel incredibly awesome about it. I hope I don't get that "Fat Girl Curse", where I still feel like I weigh 300+ pounds even though I'm half that size.

Monday, March 4, 2013

OMG OMG OMG YAY!



Image courtesy of Ampersand Seven


Down 1.2 pounds to 299.4! I'm finally under 300 pounds! Yaaaaayyyyyy! /happy dance

Part of me can't believe it. I haven't seen a 2 on the scale since 2008, and even that was fairly short-lived. I got down to 265 that summer and went right back up to 300 the following January. The last time I was under 300 pounds for any length of time was 2003. It's been a long ten years, and I hope I never, ever see 300 on the scale again. Good riddance.



Saturday, March 2, 2013

Eek!



Image courtesy of Ampersand Seven


See?!? This is what I'm talking about when I say I really, really need to change my weigh-in day to Friday or Saturday. I always have a whoosh on Friday after being pretty static on Wednesday. I've lost another couple pounds since Wednesday, putting me at 300.6 today.

300.6

I am that close to getting under 300. Hopefully, the next time I step on the scale, I'll see a "2" instead of a "3". I'm only 0.7 pounds away, so I'm kind of tempted to sweat it out in the gym tonight. I won't, though, since I'd know it was just water weight and then feel silly when the scale went back to 300.

Still. It IS tempting. ;)


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Weigh-in & Chicago


Image courtesy of Ampersand Seven

Oops! I missed yesterday's weigh-in. I had Monday off, so my brain has been on the wrong day all week.

Anyway, I'm down a pound to 302.6! Just a couple more pounds to 300. :) It's amazing how a couple pounds can feel so close yet so far away. I remember thinking I'd be under 300 by Thanksgiving and then seriously disappointed when I didn't get there by Christmas or even New Year's Day. It's gone much slower than I imagined it would, but then I remember being 350, 340, 330 and it doesn't seem so bad. I got stuck between 310 and 320 for a few months, but 310 - 300 has been sailing along at an average pace of 1-2 pounds per week. :)

-=-

As I said, I had a personal day on Monday. I took it thinking I would need a full three days to finally recover from bronchitis, but it cleared up Sunday night. I felt restless and stir-crazy Monday morning, so I decided to go to Chicago.

I was a bit too late to make the second morning train from Kalamazoo, so I figured I'd drive. Driving gives me more time in the city anyway, since the last train from Chicago to Kalamazoo leaves at 6:00. I wish they had an 8:00 train.

Anyway, there was a bit of a snafu on the way, as the toll road no longer accepts MasterCard debit cards. I told them they could run it as credit, but they had a fit. I had to shut the car off and run across six lanes of tollway traffic to the McDonald's in the toll plaza. I used the ATM then ran back to my car. My coat is purple, and traffic wasn't heavy, but I still worried about getting hit. I stayed near the toll booths, though, where traffic was stopped, and everyone let me through. It's kind of hard to miss a fat girl in a purple coat. ;)

Once I got to Chicago, I parked in the economy lot at Midway and took the Orange Line into the city. I wouldn't normally park that far out, but taking the Orange Line from Midway into the Loop completes one step of my goal to ride every CTA line from end to end. :) I'm also SUPER close to completing the Red Line; I only have three stops to go. They're on the far south side, though, so I'll have to do that during the day and sit behind the conductor, just to be safe.

I had a good time in the city. I mostly just walked around and looked at buildings. I saw The Rookery and Chicago Board of Trade in the financial district on LaSalle. Then I went to Hershey's to get a gift for Brent and the gift store in the Hancock Building. They used to have really nice pictures and posters of Chicago, but I didn't see any this time.

After that, I went to Gino's East for dinner. I'd kind of hoped they sold pizza by the slice, but the smallest deep dish option was four pieces. I can barely eat two, so I skipped the pizza and ordered pasta. To be honest, I didn't like it, but I was pretty full from the chicken nooodle soup I got as an appetizer (which was very good), so it was no big deal.

I took the #151 bus to the Sears Tower, as I've always wanted to see The Ledge. The wait wasn't too bad, even though the express elevators were under maintenance. I waited about 30 minutes to go up and then 30 minutes again to go down.

The Ledge was awesome! I kept offering to take pictures for couples while standing there, and one of them offered to take my picture in return. I don't like my glasses (they're my old pair), but I love that you can see the city all around me.





It was quite an adrenalin rush. It was a lot of fun, but every time I looked down, I had to fight my brain's urge to push me back onto the regular floor. I could literally feel the muscles in my legs trying to turn and move back, even though I was fine. It was pretty funny and a very good lesson in biology/psychology.

After my fun on The Ledge, I took the Orange Line back to Midway, picked up my car, and drove home. I took I-94 instead of the Skyway this time, to avoid more shenanigans with the tolls. I had cash on me at that point, but I was still miffed about the earlier trip. Plus, the tolls have gone up quite a bit, so I don't know if the Skyway is worth it anymore. It used to cost around $2.80, but now it's $6.40. Someone suggested getting an I-Pass, since tolls are 50% off and you don't have to worry about carrying money, but you have to pre-load it with $50. I don't know if we'll drive to Chicago enough to make up for that. The only time we drive is when we're going just for the day; otherwise, we take Amtrak. So we'll see.

I really enjoyed my day to myself. I love wandering around Chicago and feeling anonymous in the big city. I'm so sick of Kalamazoo; I can hardly stand to even drive to work anymore. I need a change of scenery in a big way. Brent suggested going to Chicago as often as possible so I can get a break. I used to go almost every weekend, but that stopped a few years ago. Now that I've paid off my debts and have some extra "play" money again, I might do that. I have next Friday off since I'm working this Saturday, so I might head over there again. There are lots of things I like to do that Brent doesn't (like The Ledge), so I can use that time to do the things I like. He says he doesn't mind if I do stuff like that when we're there together, but I'd hate to make him wait or drag him to something that bores him. So these little day trips will be good for me, and then we can do the big stuff we both like during our trips together.
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