Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Queen of Starting Over

I started this blog three years ago with vague notions of regular entries, a large audience I would regale with my humorous attempts at getting off of my couch and into better shape, and down the line, a book deal like that 'sh*t my dad says' guy. I'm a writer, so at the very least I thought I could purge some demons, pass along useful information about food and exercise, and motivate myself to follow through with this adventure/project/bloody crazy idea.

Turns out keeping up with a blog is easier to think about than it is to do. I've logged thirteen entries in three years. I love each of my twelve followers, but yeah...twelve. The good news is that I weigh 12 lbs. less than I did in May 2010. The less than good news is I'm still sadly, woefully out of shape. Turns out a lot of things are easier to think about than do. So what's a princess to do?

For starters, I don't have a couch anymore. It was kind of a happy accident involving some cats and a dog and well, there are some stains you can't come back from. Then, like always, I started with a decision: my health is important to me and I am going make it a priority. I want energy to keep up with my life. I want to be around for as many years as I can, and more than just be around, I want to enjoy those years. I want my daughter to have a woman in her life she can emulate and be proud of.

So, three frogs are sitting on a log and 1 decides to jump off...how many are left on the log? The answer's three. Decisions don't go far without action. So here's my decision in action:

1. I bought kale, blueberries, almonds, avocados, coconut oil, bananas, and quinoa because good-for-you can too be yummy.
2. I learned how to make homemade guacamole with Greek yogurt and hummus with cumin.
3. I upped my water intake and started adding fresh lemon slices to my water when I'm home.
4. I dusted off the scale and put it in my bathroom. All I know now is the poundage: 142. Not obese, but my baseline hovers around 125 when I'm exercising regularly and not eating Marie Callendar's dutch apple pie every night. I'll be adding the rest of my measurements in the next post, so I'll know where I'm at with those too.
5. I  pre-registered for a local 5k (yay Bad Prom Run!) in November. I found a workout buddy and we start training together next month when she gets back from New York. We want to run the whole thing, averaging ten minutes per mile. I started training solo with a little coaching from the hubster in the meantime. I found a handy 'running for beginners' chart. It's week one. I'm walking fast for 4 mins, followed by 1 min. of slow walking, repeating that 4 times, for a total of 20 minutes. Even a couch potato can walk for 20 minutes. It's day three and I'm sore all over. Like, can barely move, bend, sit, or stand sore. But being sore is okay--I have a GOAL to work toward. It's worth all of the pain.
6. I put myself on a strict sleep schedule--at least 7 hours of sleep every 24 hours. I have insomnia so if I can't sleep at night, then I get all my next-day stuff done and sleep when the sun comes up. Gotta work with what ya' got.
7. I'm keeping a success journal, and my health figures prominently in my goals, instead of hovering in the 'yeah, maybe someday' category.

So I failed in 2010. And in 2011. 2012 wasn't much better and 2013 is more than halfway over. I've decided I don't care how many times I've failed, I will not give up on myself. Fall seven times, stand up eight. I heard a motivational speaker mention that the greatest baseball players in the world fail at hitting 70% of the time. They have a 30% success rate and that gets them to the Hall of Fame! I can rise to those odds. I am the Queen of Starting Over, after all.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Breaking Up (WIth Bread) Is Hard To Do.

I feel like hosting a parade.  Some people throw parties to celebrate momentous occasions; I feel as though nothing less than a parade will do for this: tomorrow.  That is the big, huge deal.  Tomorrow.  For me, maybe not so much for you.  But, for me--huge.
Tomorrow heralds the arrival of 30 days with zero nicotine (not even an e-cig!) AND...I'm joining a gym.  A real, live, honest to Jim, gym.  I have consulted with my boyfriend's mother, who is secretly my hero...if she ever reads this, the secret's out...oops.  Now I have a general idea of the hows, whats, and whens of my upcoming workouts (alternate muscle groups, switch up the cardio and strength training sessions to minimize risks for injuries, et cetera).  I still have the equipment and the previous exercises outlined by my former trainer last year.  Yes Casey, I kept everything.  I figured someday I would get over myself and actually follow through with your helpful suggestions.   I have an air-conditioned facility at school for my cardio and weight lifting activities and a balance ball, dumbbells, and yoga videos for my at-home stuffs.  The plan?  4 days a week. 1 to 1.5 hours per workout.  1 weekend day off.  No cheats.  Every other time I have tried to get a workout habit going, I cheated and broke up my entire flow.  No cheats has worked miracles with my nicotine dependence (or lack of, I should say), so I'm applying it to workouts too.  Keeping the schedule, no matter what.  Unless I'm dead or grievously injured, of course.  But that isn't going to happen (knocking on wood...now).
I have also checked in with one of my other inspirations (shout out to my homie Augustina--that's right, I said homie...I know, that's so suburban white girl of me) and have decided that tomorrow is the day I break up with bread.  Instead of sandwiches, hoagies, subs, po' boys, cheesesteaks, whatevers, I'll be having my turkey, meatballs, steak, chicken, tofu, etc., served over lettuce.  Or in a bowl over a pile of mixed veggies, depending on the type of not-a-sandwich I would like to devour.  In celebration of my impending good decision-making, I consumed my fair share, plus yours, of supreme pizza and lasagna this weekend.  Going out with a bang, I guess.  Ha.
So goodbye my formerly favorite foods. I will miss you, but my soon-to-be-whittled waist line will not.  If I can quit smoking and eating donuts, I can do This.  I have survived worse, but I'm still scared.  There's a part of my head that asks potentially damaging questions, like: what if I end up like I did last summer--smoking and sedentary again?  What if I do all this work and nothing changes?  Yeah, yeah.  What if, indeed.  How about, what if I actually accomplish what I'm setting out to do?  That is a novel idea and I'm going to go with that one.  This isn't rocket science and I won't be winning any Nobel awards or Pulitzer prizes for my efforts.  I'm just one girl on one fairly insignificant mission that happens to be a huge deal to me.  Someone should really throw me a parade...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

So That's How To Get Motivation

I weighed myself on my fancy, body fat and hydration-measuring scale today.  After the pounds result flashed onto the screen, I was too chicken to see if I was dehydrated or what exact, excessive percentage of body fat I'm currently lugging around.  I don't enjoy seeing the numbers climb: 1...3...nope...4... ... ...see?  Even here, I don't want to admit that I have been between 118 and 125 pounds for most of my life, but I am so far beyond those numbers now that I just want to crawl under the couch and chain smoke.  But what's in a number, and why should I or you or anybody care about any of these trivial matters when the rest of the inhabitants of the world are trying to blow themselves up because they're hungry, oppressed, or grumpy? 

The usual shtick about American societal pressure on a woman's appearance is losing muster with me.  I am not an actress or model.  My livelihood does not depend on my outer casing.  I do not live in fashion-conscious New York City or Los Angeles.  I do not subscribe to any fashion or "women's" magazines.  I am considered intelligent, well-read, somewhat cultured and globally-conscious.  I should not measure my sanity, my esteem, my very femininity by the size stamped on shirt collars and waist bands.  I know better than this.  I care anyway. 

I should delete the words "I, me, my" from my vocabulary and volunteer at a no-kill animal shelter or sort mail for that organization that saved those lost Sudanese boys; maybe save for an eco-vacay and go see how the rest of humanity lurches forward, rarely able to survive what waits for them in the next minute or two; get my priorities, my perspective straightened out.  I conjure a picture of an imaginary mom-type human with her fists sinking into her hips as she growls this sage advice to me. 

That's all great imaginary mom lady.  But I am still sitting at my desk, at 3 o'clock in the morning on a Wednesday at the end of summer, beating my head on the keyboard.  I am still angry, jealous, bitter, regretful.  Now I'm not in the shape I want to be in AND I'm shallow for caring about this more than the orphaned Libyan children.  My imaginary mother is making me feel real guilt.  That's talent. 

Does the imagined pep talk work?  Maybe.  I might actually look for my lone pair of tennis shoes tomorrow.  That yoga DVD may eventually makes it way from the hallway closet to the DVD player.  That goal I scribbled in dry-erase marker could possibly manifest itself as more space between my thighs.  After that, perhaps I'll find a Russian burn victim who could really use a few extra bucks for skin-graft surgery...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The 1st Anniversary of This Time Last Year...


First, an ankle injury.  Then my home life experiences gross amounts of upheaval.  Next, I fail a class. (I have a 4.0 GPA, and the professor begrudgingly agrees to an academic withdrawal after I site numerous contemporaneous circumstances that contributed to my acute failure.  But still, I failed.)  Adding injuries to insults (or it that the other way around?), I start smoking after nearly 6 months of freedom from the blasted addiction.  I fall in love.  Still woozy from that, I stop working out completely.  I forget that I am "of a certain age".  I eat illegal amounts of chocolate chip cookies and mac-n-cheese. The pounds come for a visit and never leave.  He loves all of my inches and I learn to pose in the mirror in just a way that temporarily fools my overly-critical eyes before I leave for work.  I float away.  Far, far away.  

I'm happy.  But...

I can't ignore my before photos showing the me I am used to seeing, or the painfully honest musings of a child who squeals "squishy!" every time she hugs me, or the pants that won't button even when I am lying on my bed, sucking in my stomach until I can't breathe.  I become mildly obsessed with thin women who are in their 40's and 50's--how do they maintain their shapes?  I lovingly envy my gorgeous girlfriends, whose parts seem to fit into all the right places.  I begin talking about doing yoga, walking, weightlifting, running, Zumba, P90X, jumping rope, taking the stairs, pushups, situps, bicep curls.  I talk a lot, but do nothing.  I put 3 tablespoons of sugar in every cup of coffee I drink.  I drink an average of 4 to 5 cups of coffee every day.  I copy my 6'9" boyfriend's eating habits.  I suffer mightily for this lapse in good judgement.  The pasta and desserts in all-he-can-eat portion sizes collude with my peripatetic lifestyle and I end up miserable. 

I'm not as happy as I want you to think I am.  

Here I am, here we are:  it's the 1st anniversary of this time last year.  It's not enough for me to just blab or blog anymore.  And it's not enough to go through the motions of making healthier choices if I don't seek to understand why I want/need to make them in the first place.  So, the princess is dragging her engorged booty off of the couch (again) and I will be using this space to explore those whys.  I can't promise instant success, but I will always share honestly.  Thank you for reading this.  Thank you to all of my inspirations, near, far, wherever.  (That was dangerously close to being a Titanic quote...)  You get my drift.  Thank you for that too.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Month 1: Potato Makes Some Progress

5/14/10 6/18/10

Circumference Measurements:

13 1/4" 13 1/4"
16" 15 1/2"
37 3/4" 36 1/2"
bicep ®
12 1/4" 12"
bicep (L)
12 1/4" 12"
forearm ®
10" 10 1/4"
forearm (L) 9 3/4" 10"
32 3/4" 31"
bellybutton 35 1/4" 33"
40" 38 3/4"
thigh ®
23 1/4" 21 1/4"
thigh (L)
23 21"
calf ®
14" 14"
calf (L)
14" 14"

waist to hip ratio 32.75:40  31:38.7

Body Composition:

fat lbs 52.6 33.0
% fat 34.0% 28.6%
LBM 102.0 115.4

5'5 3/4" 5'5 3/4"
154.6 148.4

Strength Testing:

max pushups 60 secs:
5/14: 20 on knees, 5 off
6/18: 10 on knees, 20 off

Progress, not perfection...

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow; but through it all I still know that just to be alive is a grand thing.
~ Agatha Christie

This is not about fitness, or couches, pototoes, or princesses.
Sometimes, a small slice of life lurches out of my peripheral view and smashes right into my face, demanding attention like a neglected child. Sometimes, the best laid plans go awry. Sometimes, pain really is the best professor. Sometimes, what I was sure of becomes a question mark. Sometimes, this is okay.
I do like living. I like the act of being alive. Not just sucking air and taking up ether-space. But Living. It hurts, it's messy, unpredictable, terrifying and glorious; sometimes living is all of these all at once. I like the feeling of working for my accomplishments. I like to earn, rather than be handed opportunities. I like dedication and committment and loyalty, even when an outcome doesn't unfold quite like I expected. When I paint, I get paint in my hair, on my thighs, under my fingernails, on my feet--everywhere. I live like this too. When I sing, I pull the notes from deep within my solar plexus--I'm pretty sure this is where I pull tenacity and courage from as well. When I snuggle with my daughter, I am no more or less of the human I was before she was in my arms--but I'm certain that I'm just enough of a human for her. When I make plans, I'm aware that futures have a way of falling down mid-flight (thanks to The Desiderata for that line). But I still like living.
I'm glad I don't go through life unassisted. I'm content with my small cadre of Friends. They are gorgeously multi-faceted people who have helped carve me into the shapes I am. Sometimes, they are the few obstacles between me and my insanity. I need them and I love them.
I have questions, my head is a dangerous playground, I let fear cloud my vision. But I still like living.

(for jenna--thank you.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Week 4: The L Word

Lazy. Laziness. Lazing. Lazed. In whatever form it appears, I fear this word. What if I don't recover from a bout of laziness? What if lazy replaces inspiration and I backslide right back onto the couch? What if, indeed.
I'm wrapping up my fourth week and heading into my fifth week of this intrepid journey. If you're still reading this, gods bless you. If you've grown weary/bored/uninterested, well, I don't blame you--I might too, if I wasn't writing the silly thing! But, I digress.
I had a most enlightening conversation with a girl friend and realized something important: changing what I do, is just as important as changing what I think about what I do.
My body has protested many of the thousands of steps I have taken in the past month; my muscles have groaned in protest to the pushing and pulling I have been engaged in; my feet are demanding new shoes; I've never been so tired and had so much energy at the same time. Habits are forming, albeit slowly, in my own potatoey way. I am DOING. I hiked Camelback Mountain (just over a mile long, and nearly an equal distance straight up), it was very very hard, but I made it to the summit. And back. Barely, though--a kind stranger had to force feed me pink Gatorade because I was getting heat exhaustion. I jogged in Dreamy Draw Park--lots of hills, lots of rocks. I twisted my ankle on Friday during that venture. Ouches, but nothing ice, elevation of foot, and low-impact cardio can't heal! I played more tennis--and I'm getting worse. Anyone want to coach me? I know absolutely Nothing about the game. But I have a lot of fun bashing a neon greenish-yellow ball around with a racket and running all over the court, so it pretty much counts as a wicked good cardio session!
And then, my brain happens. You know the feeling: you're wrapped in the warmth of self-acceptance and accomplishment, patting yourself on the head, basking in the glow of others' encouragement, then, BAM. Your tape cranks to life. "Why do you even bother? You're only going to fail miserably. Even if you do manage to lose weight, you're still going to look terrible when your clothes come off. What's the point to all this? They're still all going to laugh at you. You are lazy, ineffectual, self-destructive." Etc., etc., etc...Sigh. The not-enoughs will kill any dream, every time.
So, getting back to that conversation I had with my girl-friend...I've developed a counter-punch to all that fear-based ('scuse my French) bullshit my mind manufactures when it needs attention. A mantra, a frame of mind, a refusal to prove those insidious tapes right. I am ready for this life--that is why I'm living it. I can do everything I'm setting out to do--that is why I'm doing it. I leave myself, my heart, my arms open--not to be hurt, but to welcome the next opportunity. I can accept the natural consequences of all of my decisions. I can make decisions to benefit myself, my family & friends, and lord help me, even the world. I am capable. I am learning. I am free. I am not those thoughts or those fears, just as I am not my successes or my aspirations. I am so much more than the sum of my parts. So are you.
Courage will never be enough of an antidote to nullify my brand of fear--too much ego in there(no really, check the word out again: cOuraGE). That brings me to that mantra I mentioned before: my new L word. Love. Love, love, love, love, love. With love, we cannot fail. Listen. You hear that? That is the sound of the tapes grinding to a halt, power lost. Love 1, Tape O. I win. So do you.