Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Weekly Wednesday Wrap-up

I'm really trying not to make this blog about stats and numbers. I think this journey will provide much more than that if I take the time to reflect on the changes happening in and around me. So I've stayed away from the "here's what I ate today" and "here's what I did today" format in favor of finding a story each day to share with you. I may not always succeed in doing so, but that is the goal anyway.

However, I know if I were reading this I would also want to know a little about the logistics of the diet and training. So I think including those facts once a week might provide a good balance. It will also help me to maintain a good handle on my progress.

So on with the first Weekly Recap:

Calorie counts: 1251, 1354, 1401, 1495, 1371, 1241, 1307

What's working: Logging my food into the online food diary has been absolutely necessary for me. I have a much better handle on what I'm consuming - not just the calories, but the nutrients I'm getting for those calories. Using a food scale has made the food logging much easier too. It was a pain at first, but once you get into the habit it doesn't take much time at all. Also, looking at the nutrition information for restaurants online before you go out makes it so much easier to make better choices. I actually ate out quite a bit this week and managed to still eat healthy. I had a breakfast burrito at McDonald's one day, a baked potato with chili at Wendy's one day, and a Power Sandwich at Panera Bread yesterday. So its not like I've been sentenced to a life of nothing but meals prepared at home.

Favorite Food Finds: There are a few products I've found at the grocery store that I'm loving! Earthgrains makes these Thin Buns that rock. They are the perfect little vessel to deliver all that lean protein I'm eating and it only costs me 100 calories as opposed to 2 slices of my regular whole wheat bread that adds up to 220. I also like the Fiber One 90 Calorie Bars. They're actually really good! I keep one in the car in case I get tied up somewhere without a healthy option. And this might not appeal to everyone, but I mix 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin (loaded with fiber and vitamin A) with a container of vanilla yogurt (I like the Fiber One stuff) and then sprinkle a little bit of cloves in there - its like pumpkin pie....well, kind of. I found the idea online somewhere so I can't take credit. Although, I did add the cloves, so I'll take credit for that. Anyway, I was finding that sometimes I don't get enough fiber and this little concoction always helps me meet the requirements and it keeps me full for a long time.

Struggles: I have to say that I really didn't struggle at all this week as far as the food goes. I think it must be a honeymoon phase or something.

Minutes exercised: 420
Miles walked (we'll get to the running later people!): 11

What's working: As much as I hate to say it, I'm starting to really like the Wii Fit. Its not exactly an intense workout, but it keeps me consistent. Plus the games and the competition between my kids is a lot of fun. Squeezing exercise in anywhere I can has become almost a game. Instead of sitting in the car and reading while I was waiting for my daughter at dance class, I just went for a walk. I got a quick little 1 1/2 miles in without anyone even missing me.

DVD I'm Liking: Turbo Jam - Not too dancy, but still fun.

Struggles: Finding the time is certainly the biggest struggle for me. The days I blocked off a certain time to exercise were always the easiest. So I need to plan it out ahead of time for it to actually happen. I've also got some aching muscles. If anyone has some extra cash out there and wants to invest it - I suggest buying some stock in the folks who make ibuprofen 'cause I'll be buying A LOT of that stuff over the next few months!

Pounds Lost Since Last Wednesday: 9.2 pounds!!
Total Pounds Lost: 15 pounds

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

To Gym? Or Not To Gym?

I'll admit that its been quite some time since I've darkened the doorway of a gym. But I've had a few memberships over the years and I'm considering signing up for another one at the request of a good friend. She just got a new membership and thought it would be a great idea to work out together while I'm training for this crazy running goal.

You would think this makes perfect sense, but I have reservations.

My past gym memberships have entailed me signing the contract, getting the little tour from someone, going home that night all pumped up, and then watching my bank account dwindle as the monthly fees came out for the next 24 months.

I've done this not once, not twice....but three times.

The owner of the last place actually felt bad for me and hooked me up with three months of unlimited personal training to try to get me into the gym. I aquiesced for a couple sessions until I realized that I liked him even less than Wii Fit Trainer Dude.

Yea, me and gyms don't seem to get along. I mean, I'm all for the cute outfits and the great equipment. But other than that.....I'm not feeling the love.

Plus, let's not forget that I'm a fat girl. Fat girls don't like gyms. And then there are the perky, skinny girls who don't sweat. I hate them. I'm sure they're nice and all. I've got a perky girl or two inside of me right now. But I still hate them. My friend is a perky, skinny girl. I love her! But maybe when we're in a gym together I will get all Jekell and Hyde on her and not like her anymore. You never know. And we laugh alot when we're together. So there is the bladder control issue to consider. It may actually be physically impossibe to workout next to a perky, skinny girl while laughing, loving her, and hating her all at the same time. Yes, now that I think about it, I do believe the bladder control issue would present the biggest hurdle.

But I could use access to a treadmill since (like a big doofus) I recently sold mine. D'oh! For five years the stupid thing just sat there taunting me and taking up space. I was happy to see it go. I mean, who thought I would ever have some hair-brained idea to train for a 13 mile race? 13 miles in a row....on the same day! My own treadmill would sure come in pretty darn handy now. Wisconsin isn't exactly ideal for running outside this time of year. Oh well, eventually the snow's gotta melt, right?

So, I'm considering the gym thing. No promises. Just thinking maybe. I imagine the experience would make for some pretty funny stories on this blog. We'll see.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lessons Learned While Shoveling

Normally, I just hate shoveling.

I despise it really. Except for the first snowfall of the season. I never mind that one. Everything is pretty and white and it looks so peaceful. But after that its all downhill.

There really are many things to dislike about shoveling. I mean, it totally disrupts the day. If you have to be anywhere you need to get up extra early. There is the whole cold factor, which gets old. There are the times when you toss a big ole shovel of the light, fluffy stuff and the wind blows it right back in your face. And then there's the wet, heavy stuff that sticks to the shovel. Or the times when the piles at the end of the driveway get so big that there is nowhere to go with the snow and you have to walk your loaded shovel half a block just to empty the darn thing. I could go on...but you get the gist. I hate shoveling.

So imagine my surprise this morning when I found myself out in the driveway, shovel in hand, and still smiling. Maybe it was because we got significantly less snowfall than was forcasted? Or maybe it was because it wasn't bone-chilling, snot-freezing cold?

Turns out I just had a better attitude about it and figured it was a free workout. Yep, I actually embraced the task just because it gave me an extra 45 minutes of movement to log for the day. Its all a little crazy.

So here I am in my silly little state of bliss becoming one with the shovel and I hear my neighbor a few doors down shoveling his driveway. Soon after his wife comes out and they start arguing. The guy is clearly agitated and yells about how he always has to shovel and snowblow the freakin sidewalks and how his wife never has to.

Side rant: In my world, you are not allowed to bitch about snowblowing. You can gripe if the snowblower doesn't start, or if it breaks, or if you cut off an appendage or something with it. But if you have a fully functioning snowblower then, for the sake of all of us shovel-wielding wannabes, just quit your stinkin complaining!

K. Thanks for letting me get that out.

So anyway, the dialogue from across the way escalates and becomes peppered with all sorts of colorful language that is polluting my aforementioned state of bliss.

It got me thinking......I'm quite thankful for my singleness at this point in time. I mean, there are no expectations, and therefore, no disappointments or hard feelings. Things just are how they are. If I want the driveway cleared, I shovel it. If the clothes need washed, I do the laundry. If the toilet breaks, I grab a plunger.

Which got me thinking further how this is the absolute perfect time for me to be taking on this little self-imposed fitness challenge. It is kind of selfish after all. I mean, I am spending a ridiculous amount of time focusing on me......what I need to eat.....when I'm gonna I'm gonna find the extra time to blog about it all. Sure, I have the kids here and I need to take their needs into account, but that is a little different. When it comes right down to it, we just have a little dictatorship. I can really have my way all the time if I want. I would think a household with more than one adult in it would have to run more like a democracy. And....well....I'm gonna require a lot of "me time" over the next few months.

So while Mr. and Mrs. Happy will spend a good part of their morning arguing about something rather trivial, I can just shovel the stupid driveway and move on. I don't have to like it. But at least I can use all the hot water in the shower to ease my aching muscles when I'm done!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What? No Sausage!

This weekend was a busy one.

But its amazing how much exercise I was able to squeeze in since making it a priority. That, and now that some people actually read this thing I can't imagine having to tell you all about spending the whole day on the couch with a bowl of chips. chips. No couch. (so far)

I'm quite enjoying this little challenge. I'm finding some awesome recipes to make my measly 1500 calories a day taste good and, frankly, yesterday was the only day I even came close to exceeding that limit. My favorite cookbook right now is So Easy by Ellie Krieger. I've found some real winners in there. Plus I like that it lists all the calorie and nutrient counts for the recipes which makes it easy for logging into the food diary.

As much fun as I am having with all this, I can't say my son is enjoying it quite as much. Now, both my kids are pretty healthy eaters and are not averse to trying new foods. I credit that to all the traveling. They always have to try local foods when we visit new places and that little rule has served me well in raising non-picky eaters. However, it does backfire every once in awhile when cooking for them 'cause they can be little food snobs at times. Not to mention they are not cheap dates. Those enlightened little palates of theirs require a wee bit more to satiate than chicken strips! But, for the most part, they have been troupers in the low fat meal-testing that has gone on in our kitchen.

However, this weekend when I asked my son what he wanted for breakfast he looks up at me with these sad eyes, already knowing my response and says, "eggs benedict.....and biscuits & gravy." The boy was truly pathetic. Now normally I would succumb to the power of the puppy dog eyes, but I think we've already established that the cholesterol count in eggs bennie is just more than my little ticker can take right now. And it is my favorite breakfast ever. And if I gave the boy his breakfast wish there is no way I could resist temptation. It turns out that the power of the eggs bennie is, indeed, stronger than the puppy dog eyes. He knew it wasn't gonna happen, but wanted to make his wishes known.

Duly noted, Buddy. We're gonna have to move on.

Then he asked, "Don't you have some sausage to just make me some gravy?"

Then I thought about freezer void of sasuage?....its just not right. I live in Wisconsin. We are the bratwurst capitol of the world. And I want a brat. Maybe a brat covered in sausage gravy! Oh yea....that's the ticket. I look out at my Weber grill all lonely and covered in snow on the deck. It was then that I was thankful that this Lent thing wasn't happenning over the summer.

After realizing my longing for a brat was probably similar to my son's longing for a hearty breakfast that didn't involve egg whites, I offered up a peace offering of pancakes. He was happy with that. And I was happy because pancakes are not a big temptation for me. Both the kids were estatic at the thought those glorious piles of carbs all covered in melted butter and whip cream. To up the sweet factor they requested butterscotch chips inside and I obliged.

Standing over my griddle I was inspired to make pancakes in the shape of Mickey's head like I used to do when they were little. I thought they were gonna tell me I was just a big dork, but their little eyes popped right out of their heads when they saw them. Just like when they were five. I'm so glad that their food snobbery has not sawyed their affection for Mickey-shaped foods.

I'm happy to report that I did not partake in the pancake deliciousness. I went with the egg white/veggie scramble and felt darn good about it.

I am also doing my best to wear out Max - but I've got a way to go there. That dog's got some energy!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Exercise Hurts


Can't type.

Even fingers are sore.

And I'm out of calories for the day.

So I'm going to bed.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Dog and The Wii

So I'm feeling like I have a good handle on the diet portion of this training and decided to make some strides (pun totally intended) in the exercise department today.

I have to say that it was tough to schedule it in. My days are a little chaotic. I could see the time just slipping away until I forced myself to take a timeout and at least get outside with the dog. It was a beautiful sunny day and practically considered a heatwave at a balmy 38 degrees. The dog, Max, is definitely the biggest benefactor of my increased activity level. We walked about 2.5 miles and he loved every tail-wagging, tree-sniffing minute of it.

Here's a pic of my Max. Obviously not from today since we've got oodles of snow outside. This is from last fall. I just love that dog!

I look forward to the day that he's not dragging me behind and I can kick his butt. For now he is happy with my woosy pace.

And while Max might be happy with me and all sorts of supportive of the new "Get off your Butt" lifestyle, the Wii Fit Trainer Dude is not impressed.

I decided to pop in the Wii Fit game tonight to log a few extra minutes of movement. I know its been awhile since I've played, but frankly, I'm still holding a grudge from last time.

I know you guys want to hear about my strained relationship with the Wii Fit Trainer Dude. So let me back up a wii bit (another pun totally intended. I'm just cracking myself up tonight!)

Anyway, back when the Wii Fit first came out I pre-ordered it and made sure I was one of the first people to check it out. Cuz I thought for sure I had found the answer. Weight loss in a video game - brilliant! (Almost as brilliant as a holiday celebrated by the consumption of donuts...but I digress.)

Anyway, I let the kids have the first crack at it and watched as they set up their own profiles and played some of the games. For those of you not familiar with the Wii Fit, you enter in height and age info and customize your avatar (called a Mii) on your profile. Then you stand on the balance board to measure your weight and test your balance. I got through all the fun hair color/eye color/shirt color stuff and proudly stepped on the board......and then....the most humiliating, horrifying thing happened.....

My Mii turned into a beach ball.

Yep. Turns out the Mii will mirror whatever shape it feels is deserving of your height/weight combination.

So here I am with my cute little blond haired/blue eyed Mii in her fashionable pink shirt and she turns into a freaking beach ball with arms and legs wobbling penguin-style around my 42 inch screen. My traitor kids started laughing hysterically. I mean, they tried to hold it in for about 3 or 4 seconds, and then it was either let it out or literally bust a gut. They laughed so hard they cried. I cried too, but its unclear as to whether or not there was laughter involved.

Anyway, since then I have not been on the best of terms with Wii Fit Trainer Dude. I just don't trust the guy. But I figure I need to give him a second chance.

Apparently its been 477 days since I've last seen Wii Fit Trainer Dude and he wasn't impressed. He scoffed and I re-inputted the goal information and just went about my business kicking my daughter off the leader board in step aerobics. (It took me ten tries and 30 minutes to accomplish this...but I was determined and she was going down!) I tried some of the other games, but really, I can't hula hoop in real life. And swinging my hips around pretending to hula hoop is just disturbing.

Poor Max was really worried.

Anyway, I'm easing into the exercise thing for now. I'll ramp it up this weekend when I have more time.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lent Success and Doctor Stress

So on this second day of lent I am feeling pretty darn good. I have measured and weighed perfect little portions and logged them dutifully into my virtual food diary. In return, the number-crunching program has rewarded me with a shiny green bar of approval for remaining in the acceptable range. (1251 for Wednesday and 1354 today.) Its all a little obsessive compulsive.

I've also put a bit of thought into the planning and plotting of how this crazy little journey is gonna play out.

I've gathered up all the fitness equipment and DVDs that have been quietly living in the corners of my home. I'm pretty sure I could do a different workout every day for 60 days and never repeat one. Who bought all this stuff? Sheesh! Apparantly buying the weight loss stuff doesn't work. You have to actually use it. Oh well, lesson learned.

That sound you hear is me reluctantly removing the shrink wrap from every exercise program produced in the last ten years.

I've got my training schedule all figured out. I'm starting with the Couch to 5k program and then modifying it a little to make sure I'm ready for the six mile run on May 30th.

It all sounds good. But I haven't done a whole lot of moving yet.

And since I'm on such a roll I decided to visit a doctor to get a handle on all those health numbers they worry about so much. If for no other reason than to have a nice "before" picture of my stats before I rock this running thing. I haven't visited a doctor in years. I've never liked them much. No offense to any docs out there - but mine have always pretty much sucked. The one doctor who I would go to every three years or so decided to move. I wasn't heart-broken or anything. It was just convenient cuz he had all my records. Plus he was at least nice to me. Not the greatest doctor in the world, but someone you could stand to be in the same room with for 15 minutes at a time.

I got pnuemonia two years ago and that is when I found out he had jumped ship. So naturally I just saw the doctor who had taken over his patients. Oh man, this guy was a piece of work. Seriously. Just. Not. Nice. He says, "Well when you're feeling better you should probably come back to see me so we can check this and that....blah, blah, blah....but you probably won't. So have a nice life." I'm thinking he was looking to lighten his patient load and I was happy to oblige.

So I took my perscription and haven't been to the doctor since. I called around today to find a doctor in my HMO and discovered that there are only two who are taking new patients. No big. I'm not picky. Sign me up with anyone.

The recptionist tells me that the first available appointment is May 25th. Are you kidding me? No wonder I never go to the doctor. So I have the option of either going to see Mr. Personality again or gamble with a new doctor a mere 96 days from now. Five days before I run the 6 mile race. Stupid doctors!

But other than that....I feel great! :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ramblings and Realizations

I love all things New Orleans. Its one of my favorite travel destinations. I love breakfast at Brennan's, dinner at Redfish Grill, walking down Bourbon Street and listening to the jazz spill out from the cramped little bars. I love beignets at Cafe du Monde followed by a stroll through the Farmer's Market. I love looking for treasures on the walls of the many art galleries as well as in the stories of the people who run them.

To me, New Orleans conjures up feelings of carefree expression and creativity. Not to mention, some good old-fashioned fun personal memories like seeing the Packers play the Saints in the Superdome and spending my 30th birthday celebrating Mardi Gras with a million other revelers. Good times. Good times.

So I always celebrate Fat Tuesday with a little over indulgence. That usually starts with a big ole bakery box of paczki (pronounced poonch-key). Now, the whole Paczki Day addition to Mardi Gras is more of a Polish thing that us Midwesterns celebrate. Especially areas with large Polish communities like Detroit, Chicago, and Milwaukee. I mean a holiday that is celebrated by eating donughts? Sign me up! The bakeries turn out these powder-sugary, fruity-filled concoctions once a year on this day before Ash Wednesday. The best bakeries will have lines early in the morning. I am fortunate to live close to one of the best producers of these sinful little indulgences. So I made sure to order mine well in advance, along with a King Cake - which is more of a New Orleans tradition.

Historically, the whole Fat Tuesday thing came about when Christians were preparing for Lent. They would use up all the eggs, lard, sugar, flour and fruit before Ash Wednesday when they would traditionally fast, and then give up such indulgences until Easter. I'm not Catholic and have never really celebrated Lent. But I do honor the Holy Season and find much strength in the Biblical significance of giving up luxuries for 40 days.

Anyway, yesterday morning my kids anxiously awaited the arrival of the bakery box of goodness. I then promptly took another box to a friend's house and celebrated Fat Tuesday with two of the greatest women I know. And man did we do it up! We celebrated personal accomplishments and just enjoyed being in the company of each other.....and in the company of an extraordinary amount of food! We felt no guilt and decided that according to all food diaries, this day never happened. (Because really...have you seen the cholesterol count in eggs benedict?! Yikes!)

The remainder of the day brought about many more poor food choices and a full 24 hours sporting my "comfy pants".

So is there a point to all of this, you ask?

Well....d'uh. This is the rambling portion. Realizations will start shortly.

Anyway, I had a great day. I enjoyed my friends, my diet way too high in sugar and fat, and the 24 hours of guilt-free fun that Fat Tuesday allowed me.

The realization kicked in when I had to take an antacid before bed. I felt just plain yucky! Plus I didn't sleep well at all. On top of that, I had some really horrible dreams.

You see, since the beginning of the year I have been doing pretty well watching what I eat. I've been logging every ounce of food online at I'm uber aware of how many calories, fiber, iron, and all sorts of other stuff that I'm consuming. I haven't cared so much about the calorie count as much as just eating cleaner and being more aware of the nutrition content of food. The food logging has brought about a relatively painless 11 pound weight loss (which includes a 3 pound weight find while I was on vacation at the end of January!)

So while I had a blast yesterday, I'm just more confident that I'm really ready to rock this healthy lifestyle and start running. I like the way I feel when my body is properly fueled. And as brilliant as the whole "Fat Tuesday" concept is to a fat girl - it lead to a mid-day sugar coma and a significant food hangover I will now refer to as "Oh My God I Can't Believe I Ate That Wednesday". (Which I fully intend on celebrating again next year.)

During our five hour breakfast, my friends and I were talking that maybe this year we would give up something for Lent ourselves. It was kind of tough for me to think of something. I don't have many vices. I only drink occaisionally, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs, and I really don't eat that poorly. I eat good food. I just eat vast amounts of it. I thought about giving up refined sugar - which would make sense. But between now and Easter is my birthday and my daughter's birthday. And, let's just face it, there will be cake involved. No sense in making a promise I can't keep.

So since I couldn't come up with one thing to give up, I decided I will limit myself to 1500 calories a day. That will certainly be a sacrifice for me, but also doable I think. Plus it will help make this running goal a bit easier.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lofty Goals

I am loving 2010 so far.

I've been making all these grand goals and basically planning to conquer the world. So I thought now is the perfect time to really push outside my comfort zone and set a super crazy goal like running a marathon. Okay, maybe not a whole marathon. Let's go for half a marathon. It may not sound like such a big deal to those who don't know me, but for friends of mine....I'm sure they just wet themselves. Or they're still laughing.

You see....I'm a fat girl.

I never really realized that until a recent picture of me surfaced and I thought, "Wow, that girl has the same shirt I do!" However, it was actually me sitting there in all my flabby glory. Who knew? Apparently all those years of avoiding mirrors and blaming the shrinking of my clothes on the dryer add up to plain and simple denial.

Anyway, this little realization is not the reason I've decided to start running. (It was more to inform you as to why my friends are laughing or reaching for some clean underpants.) I've actually been wanting to venture into the world of running for quite some time. I have friends who run marathons and they are all sorts of inspirational - not to mention a whole heck of a lot of fun to be around.

The main reason I want to start training is for the discipline. It is more a matter of changing my time management habits than changing the way I look. (Not that I'll complain about the latter!) I've always been a top notch procrastinator. I usually finish what I start out to accomplish, but there are typically long nights and buckets of coffee involved right before the deadline. This whole running thing is different in that I can't cram for a marathon. I need to stay true to a training schedule for months at a time. I can't just show up at the starting line after cramming the night before. So the intellectual side of me thinks that training for a half marathon is just a brilliant idea and makes all the sense in the world. The realist side of me is wondering what the heck I'm thinking.

I'm sure I'll revisit that question at some point along the way.

So here are the deets:

The longest I've ever run know those few steps you take after you trip to keep yourself from falling. Yea, that is probably the quickest forward movement I've had in the last 20 years.

I'm 36 years old. I am a single mom of two pretty awesome kids, ages 12 and 13.

My driver's license lists my weight as 230 pounds which would actually be an accomplishment if I were to see that number on the scale.

I'm running a half marathon on October 2, 2010. I will run a quarter marathon on May 30th as part of my training.

I'll keep you posted on my experiences, my training, and my sanity along the way.