October 1, 2009

I’m working on it

I have this problem with pants in that they never fit me right. I mean never. I’m not talking about the length of them either. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but if pants fit my hips, butt and thighs they are huge in the waist. They’re so huge I could probably carry my camera in the back of them (and I have a DSLR). A size that would fit my waist wouldn’t go over my butt because I am so out of proportion. I consistently buy pants that don’t fit because there is no such thing as a pair that will fit my body.

Yesterday I bit the bullet and took two pairs of new pants from Ann Taylor Loft (regular price $60, on sale for $20!) to have the waist taken in to fit me. This tailor has a great reputation and a friend who has a similar issue takes her pants there all the time. I was confident they could get these pants to fit my body and I was willing to pay whatever it cost.

I tried on the pants in the fitting room and came out, my arms folded low on the waist to keep the pants from gaping obnoxiously. I stepped on the carpeted nook in front of the mirror and lifted the hem of my sweater so the nice Russian lady could see my dilemma. There was so much of a gap, she could see straight down the gap to my purple chonies. She grabbed a handful of waistband and said in a thick accent, “Ah yes, classic body,” as she pinned the extra fabric. I smiled inside and wanted to hug her. Oh, and she might have said “classic booty,” her accent was that thick. I do know that having a small waist and a healthy dose of junk in the trunk is not very classic. Because if it is, Ann Taylor and her other designer friends would make pants that fit me. And they don’t. Some brands even make “classic fit” styles and ha! No way, no how are they going over this classic booty.

(I just realized that I got Ann Taylor pants tailored. Har de har.) The pants will be ready early next week and I can’t wait to see how they fit.

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you know all about my quest to reach my driver’s license weight, and that I get up at o’dark thirty to go to boot camp every day. My buns of steel aren’t quite there yet, and I don’t have a six-pack but if you see me I will offer you my stomach to punch so you can feel my two-pack. I’ll never have Michelle Obama’s arms, but I’d like to have tighter Catheroo arms. The point is that I’m trying. And I have toned and firmed here and there and I love that. Psycho as it is, I really love getting up in the dark every morning. No! Really, I do! At the beginning of our workouts I get to look up at the moon and stars. I can see the Little (or is it the Big) Dipper while we warm up. The air is so crisp and clean and we’re all out there sweating like pigs while most of the world is just waking from a good night’s sleep.

The best part is when I drive home. Until we set the clocks back, I get to see the sun rise in front of me:
Good morning, sunshine!
So beautiful.

Some of the list below is redundant, but I want to show that I’m still doing it. Losing weight and getting healthy isn’t a quick-fix. It’s a lifestyle change. I really don’t remember how I used to eat back when I weighed more than 150 pounds.

Aside from the exercise, here are some of the changes I’ve made and continue to keep in my routine:

  • No more Starbucks (I’m more of a Peet’s girl anyway). No pumpkin spice lattes, not even a nice hot cup of plain old coffee. Jasmine green tea and water are all I drink on a daily basis. Too much caffeine makes me really jittery and a little wacko in the head.
  • I must have 7 hours of sleep at a minimum. If not, I miss boot camp. If I miss boot camp I get very grumpy. You wouldn’t like me when I’m grumpy. Often my sleep requirements cut into my Glee or Biggest Loser time, but that’s why DVRs were invented – to allow ME to see my shows and sleep. Thank you, DVR inventor guy!
  • Water, water, water. I fill my SIGG 1-liter bottle three times a day. I drink my water, I drink it up! And yes, I also pee all the damn time. This offers me the joy of seeing weird restroom habits at work which I will address in a future post.
  • I limit carbohydrates like bread and cereal to pre- and post-workout meals only. I need carb energy for boot camp and I replenish lost nutrients after workouts but I really try to stick to early morning only. I get healthy carbs throughout the day from veggies and fruits and brown rice or other whole grains. Do you realize how hard this is when I just received some goodies from here?
  • Eating whole/clean. Most of what I eat (aside from pre- and post-workout time) has no package. I focus on vegetables, fruits, eggs, and lean meats. OK so the meat comes in a package, but I ain’t killing and plucking my own chickens and wild Alaskan salmon doesn’t swim in the suburbs.
  • No, no, no refined sugar. I don’t even eat the fake sweetener stuff. One hint of sugar or a substitute and I go off the deep end. When I do crave some sugar I allow myself two Trader Joe’s dark chocolate wedges at a tiny 70 calories. Dark chocolate has anti-oxidants you know, so this is a perfectly legal snack food. I have been known to not stop at two wedges, but continue until I have eaten an entire layer of eight. And then I am filled with guilt and self-loathing and that kind of blows. So yeah, I try to avoid the sweet stuff.

So that’s what I’m doing. I’m not focusingtrying not to focus on weight as much as I am on sticking to my new lifestyle. The weight is coming off slowly but surely and I’m just 5 pounds shy of the next “decade” of weight on the scale. I want to see that second number on the scale change. I know it will…eventually.

I apologize for this post being all over the place. But it’s my bedtime and I didn’t have a chance to make it flow real well.

September 5, 2009

Shall we play a game?

GameOnYou all know how much I love competition and how winning an awesome prize motivated me to eat healthy and be more active during my 10-week boot camp challenge. Well, while reading Fit Bottomed Girls yesterday, I came across a review of this awesome book. Even though the title contains the word DIET, which I detest and don’t believe in anyway, everything else in the review made me want to immediately pick up a copy of The Game On! Diet and find some friends to play with me.

As the title says, the idea behind the book is to kick your friend’s ass while shrinking your own. You form two or more teams of at least two people and try to earn more points than the other team(s). You play for four weeks at a time, checking in weekly. You earn points each day by getting at least 7 hours of sleep, drinking lots of water, making healthy food choices and eating 5 meals, getting at least 20 minutes of exercise, practicing healthy habits, and keeping in touch with teammates and opponents. When you lose weight at the weekly weigh-in you earn bonus points too! But it’s not all good: you lose points when you snack on crappy food, try to sabotage someone else, or drink alcohol.

I know what you’re thinking – NO ALCOHOL?! I can’t do that! But every week you get one day to eat and drink whatever you want. Deprivation breeds failure, at least with me, so I like this free day stuff. I call it Baconday.

Authors Krista Vernoff, a producer for Grey’s Anatomy and Az Ferguson, Body-For-Life million dollar champion teach you how to rid your diet of junk and focus on whole foods (not to be confused with Whole Foods). They give you recipes, suggestions for healthy habits and yoga and workout instructions. I’ve only just thumbed through the book, but from what I have seen this is a great way for someone whittle into shape and I can’t wait to get started. I just need more people to play with!

If you’ve struggled with staying motivated or have just begun your journey into healthy eating and exercise, join me and my friends! It’ll be so fun kicking each other’s asses, we might forget we’re doing it for our own good! And we’ll have to think of a fabulous prize at the end. This is one competition where being a loser means you’re awesome.

August 29, 2009

Comparison is the thief of joy

Well, today was the big dunk test to see how much body fat I lost and how much muscle I gained. I mentioned before that when I was tested at the beginning of the 10-week boot camp challenge I was at 34.1% body fat. That is in the poor range, so there was lots of room for improvement.

Over the last 10 weeks I have missed maybe 5 days of boot camp and three of those were because I was out of town. I have a serious addiction to this boot camp and I am a completely different person on the days we don’t have it. I’m tired, sluggish and kinda bitchy, really. But on boot camp days I have so much energy, especially immediately after. I could beat Tigger in a bounce contest I am so hyper afterward – even at 7 am. The exercise part of the challenge was not hard for me. I mean the working out was hard, but the motivation to do it? I just wanted to because I love it. The workouts push my limits, and sometimes I might hate some of the exercises, like burpees, who the hell invented those little shits of torture? I do the reps and I sweat like a pig, burning around 500 calories on the weekday workouts, and more than 600 on the Saturday workouts. I swear, I frakking love boot camp so much that I’m going to get a license plate frame made that says BOOT CAMP IS MY PROZAC because holy damn it is.

The food part of the challenge wasn’t too horribly hard for me either, only because I had changed my eating habits last Labor Day when I joined Weight Watchers. I needed to make a few adjustments in this challenge though, like cut out all sugar (no more dark chocolate from Trader Joe’s) and refined flour products (no bread – gah!), and boost my protein intake focusing on lean meats and those high in omega-3 fats like salmon. I learned to love some new foods, like almond butter and flax seeds, and didn’t really miss sugar or alcohol. Social events pretty much sucked as far as will power went, and I had moments of weakness, but when I did I picked up where I left off and got back to healthy eating as soon as I could.

Each week I took measurements and weighed in. The first week I lost four pounds and I thought, “Wow! This is a piece of cake! At this rate I’ll be at my goal weight before 10 weeks is even done.” So very not true.

I lost no more weight for a long time after that. WTF? For weeks the scale did not budge. I was losing inches though – half an inch here, two inches there, but I could not get past the number on the scale. Even my clothes told me I was transforming because I had to pull out my smaller pants about halfway through the challenge. But the scale was stuck. I thought it might be broken, but I trudged along, working out five times a week and eating vegetables until I practically turned green.

Throughout this I’d watch my friends go out to lunch while I sat at my desk eating food I prepared and brought from home. I watched Matte enjoy wine while we watched TV and I slurped water from my SIGG bottle. I went to parties and allowed myself one glass of wine that I usually couldn’t finish, came home sober, and woke up sans hangover. The non-hangover mornings were an added benefit to this new way of living, and with the two liters of water my body craved every day, even my skin looked better – another bonus. Eventually I lost a couple more pounds, but they didn’t seem indicative of the amount of work I was putting into this.

Basically I kicked ass for 10 weeks and was nervous and excited to see where my body fat would be at today’s dunk test. I was so excited I could not sleep. I woke up at 5am wondering if it was time to go yet and every five minutes after that to see if it was 7.

When I got to the body fat testing place I saw that my toughest competition was about to get dunked in the time slot before mine. This woman has not attended boot camp as religiously as I have, but she told me awhile back that she’s lost double digits in pounds and in inches. Bitch. Many of my fellow boot campers have hinted that I was a lock to win this because I have shrunk so much and look so toned. Unfortunately, there was no way for me to know how I had really progressed until I did the dunk this morning.

The dunker dude called me into the truck for my turn while my fierce competitor was still inside in the changing room. When she came out, I asked her about her test and she said she had a 10% improvement. This is practically unheard of, and the dunker dude told me that only bodybuilders lose body fat at a 1% a week rate. I knew when I got into that tub of water to see how buoyant I was I needed to get to 24% body fat.

I didn’t make it. She beat me, taking me out of the running for a free year of boot camp. After all my hard work, determination, anal retentive boot camp attendance, and piles of rabbit food, I would not win the challenge. I faked a smile at the supportive dunker dude when he handed me my report but I wanted to cry.

After I changed out of my sopping swimsuit I went out to find my boot camp instructor who was outside jumping up and down to hear my results. She wanted to capture my excited reaction on video for her website. Only I wasn’t excited, I was dejected. I worked SO DAMN HARD and I didn’t win. I couldn’t focus on anything else. I couldn’t think about how awesome my body feels, how much less space I take up in the world, how I don’t feel bulky anymore, and how my body doesn’t jiggle in places where it used to. I didn’t care that my waist is 26 inches or that my thighs have shrunk and if you touch my abs, they’re hard. It didn’t matter that I went from a poor 34.1% body fat to a healthy 29.6%. I had lost the game, and I had lost to the person I knew would beat me – the person who WAS NOT at boot camp every single day. WTF?

DAMMIT! I WORKED SO HARD! So, she had a baby a year ago and still had baby weight to lose. Whatever. Who cares? She doesn’t work. For all I know she has a gym inside her house. Maybe every time the baby sleeps she rides a spin bike, or climbs a Stairmaster. Or maybe she has a nanny and spent every day at the gym or at a spa getting fat reduction treatment. She could not have won fair and square, could she? She didn’t work as hard as I did! I was sure of it because people think I am insane about my devotion to this, and that woman is so totally not even close to insanity. Not to diminish how busy moms of newborns are, but all I could think was she worked out outside bootcamp, something I couldn’t do.

I was fighting back tears the whole drive home. Yes, I’m a sore loser. I don’t care (pout). Anyone who worked as hard at this as I did would be pissed too. All week, Matte and I looked forward to going to Hobee’s for blueberry coffeecake smothered in butter after the dunk test. I know you’re not supposed to reward yourself with food, but sweet baby jesus, I needed something sinful to eat. After learning I didn’t win though, I no longer wanted it. I wanted bell peppers and lettuce and tasteless food that might make me lose more body fat. My boot camp instructor was hosting an end-of-challenge celebratory BBQ in the afternoon and I didn’t even want to go to that. I was afraid my emotions would betray me when she announced the winner of the contest was someone other than me. I wanted to crawl into a ball and cry like the big fat baby I was, but the coffeecake won and I savored every scrumptious bite.

I once read a quote that said “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Never was it more true than today. Comparison to my boot camp rival is what stole the joy I should have had in my own success. I mean, I am now in a healthy body fat range! Just 10 weeks ago, my percentage was “poor”. There’s nothing lower than “poor” except dead. I lost 8 pounds of fat, and gained 2 pounds of muscle. I LOST FOURTEEN GOTDAMN INCHES! FOUR. TEEN. INCHES. I mean really! Today me could kick 10-week-ago me’s ass.

It took me a few hours and some retail therapy to realize I was being a dipshit. Do you know how good it feels to put on jeans that you haven’t even been able to pull all the way on in over a year? I’ll tell you how it feels. It feels AWESOME! As awesome as trying on clothes in the Macy’s Juniors Department and having them fit! It’s also very satisfying hearing people who haven’t seen me in awhile ask, “WOW! How much weight have you lost?” They never believe me when I say, “Only about eight pounds,” because it looks like more. That’s all boot camp, baby.

So despite my disappointment at not winning the free year I’ll still go to boot camp. I’ll pay my hard earned money and get up at 5 am and go workout in a beautiful park (in the dark these days) with my incredible trainers who will kick my ass every day. I go partly because of my addiction, yes, but mostly because I am making an investment in myself and the returns are not only guaranteed, they are frakking incredible.

June 23, 2009

I hate math

I am in a slump. A weight-loss slump. So when my friend Rachel told me about a bootcamp she was considering joining, I jumped at the chance to get back into shape. Those of you who have been here awhile or knew me back in 2003-2004 when I was smokin’ hot, know that I have done bootcamp before and got in some crazy good shape, coming off an anorexic 6 months or so. Seriously, I was pretty ripped, or as ripped as I can be. I had definition in my abs and had strong arms and a smaller, rounder ass that someone once told me resembled that of Britney Spears. Yeah, I really looked like that. And I have pictures to prove it.

That was then.

You all know about my weight issues. You’ve read them here before. I’ve been on Weight Watchers since Labor Day and have lost no more than 15 pounds. Wait. I have probably lost around 50 pounds since joining, but it’s the same 1 or 2 or 3 pounds multiple times. Anyway, stuck at a 15-pound loss, I knew bootcamp would help me blast oodles of calories as well as this persistent plateau.

On June 1 I woke up at 5 am to get to the park by 6. Rachel and I did not know what to expect but we (I think we?) were pleasantly surprised by a kick-ass workout that would leave us deliciously sore every Monday through Thursday and also on Saturdays. Audra, our trainer is AWESOME. Possibly the most awesome bootcamp instructor I have had (and I have had several).

To keep us motivated during our summer workouts, Audra created a 10-week challenge that began on June 13th. The challenge comprises regular bootcamp workouts along with holistic nutrition counseling. Whoever wins the challenge by losing the most body fat and/or gaining the most muscle wins a year of bootcamp. For free. A whole year. This might sound funny, that I would want a year’s worth of waking up at 5 am Monday through Thursday and 7 am on Saturdays. Most people don’t want to get up before the birds and work their butts off to the tune of 500-600 calories per workout. More than that, most people don’t want to pay to have to do it. I’m willing to pay to get into shape, but I don’t think I will be paying much longer because I plan to win this challenge. Oh, and after 12 months of bootcamp, Audra will buy me whatever pair of jeans I want, no matter the cost. If they’re going to be expensive, they’re also going to be small.

I have a lot to work with. Despite the 15-pound loss and my ability to fit into my smaller clothes, I am fat. Don’t deny it, I’m not pitying myself. I have scientific proof of said fatness. When I did my bodyfat composition testing at the beginning of the challenge, I knew the percentage of fat on my body would be not good. In fact, I joked with Matte before taking the test. With no knowledge of what was good and what was bad, I told him, “I’ll bet you I’ll test at 35% fat. Watch.” He thought I was crazy, but I wasn’t too far off.

People, 34 percent of my body is FAT. So, see? I can say I am fat because one third of my body is pure, gooey, flabby, slimy, yellow fat. That is not OK. In fact, 34% puts me in the “poor” category. I know there are people who have much more than 34% bodyfat, and many of those choose to do nothing about it. But that is not OK for me either.

The percentage sucks duck balls. It really does. But I’m glad to not be in denial anymore. Pound-wise, I am within 8 pounds of my goal weight range, but bodyfat-wise, I’m far from healthy. So for the next 10 weeks, I will stick to my trainer’s eating plan that does not include sugar, alcohol, or coffee. I will eat protein and vegetables and drink green tea and pour flax on my yogurt. I will eat healthy fats like almonds, olive oil, and peanut butter and take essential oil supplements. I don’t need sandwiches. I don’t need beer. I don’t need ice cream. What I need is to be healthy and not 34% bodyfat. I will work out for a minimum of 5 hours a week and lunge, squat, plank, jump rope, throw medicine balls, lift kettle bells, pull resistance bands to the point of snapping, and I will run my legs off. At the end of the 10 weeks, if I don’t win the grand prize, I will be fit, with toned muscles, and a decreased percentage of bodyfat.

I wasn’t going to broadcast my percentage to the whole wide Internet, but I needed to so I could be accountable. I plan to check in on regular intervals (maybe just to say “sweet screaming jesus on a wholewheat cracker, my abs are killing me!”) to let you know how I’m progressing. If I stumble, I’ll be here to get some moral support. So far, it’s not been too hard, the eating plan. It’s close to what I was doing on Weight Watchers, but my calories have increased to allow adequate fueling for my crazy workouts. I freaking love bootcamp and always have when I’ve done it in the past. It’s the only workout regimen that has brought me success. The camaraderie, the early morning air, the view of the lake, and the getting it over with by 7 am. It’s what works.

May 5, 2009

I done shredded!

People, I DID IT. I completed all 30 days of the 30-Day Shred. That means every single one of the last 30 days, I let Jillian Michaels kick my ass all over my living room. She worked my thighs, my shoulders, my biceps, my hamstrings, my back, my abs, my abs, my abs, and my abs.

And you know what? It SHOWS. My pants are so loose, especially in the waist (which is where they’re already loose, but I’m not complaining) and hips.

And my ass? It’s rounder and firmer and doesn’t jiggle much at all when I run and jump in place.

I still have work to do and despite the lost inches (I have no idea how many because I didn’t take measurements before or after) I am not even in my goal weight range yet. I know the lack of weight loss is due to muscle gain so I’m no longer beating myself up for the scale not budging. Instead, I removed the scale from my house. Stupid little square panel that gives me bad news all the time. Get outta my house!

One of my motivators during the last 30 days, aside from the friendly competition with the others at Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans is that I have a wedding to go to later this month. The dress I am wearing is a halter, so I need good arms and a nice back for it. Wanna see the dress? It’s here. Cute, huh? I don’t typically wear long dresses, but my friend Liza bought the same dress for a wedding (we both hate our legs) and let me try it on. I was in love. That love grew stronger with a 20% coupon Liza sent me. My arms and back don’t look like the model in the photo because sometimes I eat. But I still think the dress is flattering on my newly shredded self.

I HIGHLY recommend this DVD to anyone who wants to be in better shape and get some all-over toning. It’s a very challenging workout but oh so worth it. If you’re not accustomed to exercise, don’t fret, there are lower impact versions of the moves for beginners. All you need is a mat and some hand weights (I use 5-pounders but might increase to 8). You have nothing to lose but sag and flab, so try it! And if you do, let me know so I can cheer you on. I’m planning to extend the 30 days for as long a I can, so I’ll be shredding along with you. We can curse Jillian together.

April 9, 2009

Am I getting used to this?

This morning when I woke up I was not sore at all. After three days of the 30-Day Shred, I felt fine. And I feel fine now, after the fourth workout this morning. That does not mean it’s an easy workout. I still grunt and groan and sweat like a piece of cheddar cheese in a Bikram yoga class, but I AM NOT SORE.

I am so very much not sore that I even considered trying Jillian’s The Biggest Loser counterpart’s yoga video tonight. Trainer Bob has former contestants (a few of them winners) as his “class.” I popped the DVD in and watched it to see what it was like. And then I sat there, transfixed, just watching. I watched yoga. For one hour. I did not get up from the couch to join in because I was in heavy food coma like I have not experienced in months. I think my turkey burger on whole wheat and flax English muffin did me in. That, and I had a glass of milk with dinner. If you are a person (like I used to be and sometimes still am) who can’t keep from snacking after dinner, drink milk with your meal. It will stuff you. Or maybe it’s just me because I drink practically nothing but water all day. Still though, I get so full when I have milk, which is good. It keeps the munchies at bay, and me a happier person on weigh-in days.

Another trick I have is rather than watch TV at night, I read. I can’t really read and eat at the same time. For one thing, I lose my place in the book when I reach into the bag, or box, or bowl to get whatever it is I am eating. Plus, I don’t want to get food all over my book. If the book is really good, I can become so engrossed that I lose all track of time and all of a sudden, it’s time for bed. AND I MADE IT A WHOLE EVENING WITHOUT SNACKING. That’s the best, Jerry!

April 8, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-in

Every Saturday morning, I get up earlier than most people and go to a Weight Watcher meeting. I may or may not have mentioned that here. I love WW. Truly love it. The leader is awesome and not cheesy or annoying like some I have encountered in my many failed attempts at WW. It’s because of her, and the other losers (heh) at her meeting that I am usually out of my house by 7 am. Before I go, I weigh myself so I am not surprised when I step on the WW scales. Then, on my way to my meeting, I stop for a grande nonfat latte at Peet’s. I don’t even take one sip until I have stepped off the WW scale. I play games with weighing like that. I’d rather hear my stomach grumbling near the end of the meeting, saying “where the hell’s my Shredded Wheat, woman?!” than add any extra ounces to my body by breakfasting before my official weigh-in.

The lovely ladies at The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans have their weigh-ins on Wednesdays. This is perfect for me because it will give me a half-way point before my Weight Watchers weigh-in, for me to check my progress. Some people say you shouldn’t weigh yourself more than once a week (if even that much). Most say not to weigh yourself daily. Well, I weigh myself every single day, in my jammies, before I eat breakfast. I just like the affirmation that I am still out of the 140s, where I was stuck for so long. Don’t even get me started on the 150s. That was serious suckage.

Since joining the Sisterhood (I sound like a nun now), and starting the 30-Day Shred challenge with them, I feel so energized. Sure I get support and motivation from my Weight Watcher leader and meeting buddies, but for some reason, I hold myself more accountable online. People can see me here. So if I put my weight here, and next week it goes up, well, it is possible that the ENTIRE INTERNET will know about it. (Chances are fairly slim that everyone in the Internet universe would stop here at my blog, but I’m putting it out there for all to see.)

So today is my first weigh-in at the Sisterhood. Today’s weight is:

135.1 pounds

Look at that. I bolded it and everything. And in a block quote. For some reason, I don’t have trouble telling people who I cannot see how much I weigh. Even though there are people I know in real life that come here and can see that, I’m ok with it. And yes, I am counting that tenth of a pound. Weight Watchers does, so I do too. And my scale (a Weight Watchers scale) also measures tenths of a pound.

I’m much less sore tonight than I was on Monday night after my first day of the 30-Day Shred. I’m sure the soreness will dwindle as I go on, too. I have so much energy during the day because I wake up at 6 and do the workout and then start my day. I’ve also noticed that my cravings for unhealthy foods have all but disappeared since I started working out again. My body must finally get it. Why would I work it out so hard and force it to lift and squat and jump and stretch and then put crap into it? That sort of defeats the purpose, don’t you think? And besides, I don’t want to be doing all this working out and saying on my blog, “look at me! I’m joining others in an effort to be healthy and lose weight. Today I ate a bag of potato chips and two pints of ice cream! I can do that, because I did the 30-Day Shred today!” I suck at math, but even I know the numbers won’t add up in my favor with that way of thinking.

I’ll check in again with my weight next week, and every Wednesday. If you want to come join us and slim down for summer, please do! The more the merrier, as they say.

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