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.

April 7, 2009

The Biggest Loser Drinking…er…Shrinking Game

Remember the Newhart, Cheers, or Seinfeld drinking games? You watch the show and when a specific event happens, you drink. Sometimes, like if George and Kramer had sex, you’d drink everything in the house. Well this game is exactly like that, but different.
If you watch The Biggest Loser on NBC on Tuesday nights, and you think you never have time to work out, this game is great for you. To make it fit you, I’m only including the number of reps for each exercise. You can choose to focus on upper body(bicep curls, tricep dips, pushups, tricep extensions, chest flyes, etc.), lower body (lunges, squats, hip raises, yadda yadda), abs (crunches, reverse crunches, oblique crunches, bicycles, whatever suits your fancy), or cardio (jumping jacks, jump ropes, butt kickers, and so on) You can make this as easy or as hard as you want. I encourage you to push yourself for maximum benefit. If you’re already exercising and something in the “What they do” column happens, no need to interrupt what you’re doing, just tack it on to the total number of reps. Quite possibly you could be doing 100 crunches at once, if Bob goes berserk twice in one episode.

Don’t worry if you don’t have weights, you can use cans of food, or bottles of water, or (I guess) bottles or cans of beer. You might want to wear shoes for the cardio exercises, if you have any knee, foot, or ankle issues. They’ll provide support to your joints, and could help keep you on your feet, and not on your butt, if you have hardwood floors and are wearing only socks.

During a two-hour show, you could probably get at least a 30-minute workout from this. This idea was inspired by Jillian Michaels because she kicks my butt all over my living room for 30 minutes every morning, and so I feel really guilty just sitting here watching her on TV during the show. It’s like she’s looking at me, calling me lazy. I can’t take it!

If you do the workout during the show, be sure to check back in afterward and let me know how you felt when you were done. And please leave suggestions in the comments. Have fun!

What they do What you do
A man cries (this includes Bob) 10 reps
A woman cries 5 reps
They have a food temptation 25 reps
A contestant has a 2-digit loss at the weigh-in 10 reps
A contestant has a gain at the weigh-in 15 reps
A previous contestant appears 15 reps
Someone says “I’m tired” 10 reps
One of the trainers says “last one!” 20 reps
Product placement (Glad, Extra, Subway, etc.) 15 reps
Someone says “last-chance workout” 16 reps
Jillian yells 30 reps
Bob has a conniption fit 50 reps
The contestants leave the ranch 25 reps
A contestant has a visitor from home 20 reps

April 5, 2009

What I’ve been (and will be) up to

Maybe this can masquerade as a Grace in Small Things post. Let’s see if I can squeak out five things here. It is my 50th Grace in Small Things, so I should make it a good one, huh?

  1. My weight loss journey is at a dead end. I cannot get out of the range I have been in since Christmas. Last week I ate way too much crap food, but I did work out FIVE TIMES during the week. This is unheard of lately. The result on the scale was a gain of .2 pounds. While I’m not upset with the gain, had I been eating thoughtfully and healthfully(?) I could have had a nice loss. BAH! So, I’m going to start a challenge hosted by The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans. Starting tomorrow I will pop my nearly never-used DVD of Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred into my DVD player and let her torture me every single day for 30 days. I thought about not mentioning this here, but by doing so, I’m hoping to be more motivated to commit it. See, I am a people pleaser and if I tell you I’m going to do something, I do not want to disappoint you by not doing it. What I’m really saying is that when I am sore from the strenuous workouts, I’m blaming you guys. OK?
  2. Also, because of my serious need for extra motivation in the weight loss journey that never ends, I am enlisting your help. This story showed up in my Google Reader last week. This guy lost more than 50 lbs in 10 weeks, and one thing that helped him was soliciting comments from his readers. For every comment he received, he worked out for one minute. This is where you come in. I am going to exercise one minute for every person who comments on this post (and subsequent posts). Before I work out, I will check how many comments I have to my latest post and do one minute of crunches, pushups, walking, weights, whatever per comment. This does NOT mean that you can leave multiple comments to one post. You can comment as much as you want, but the way it works is one minute of exercise per commenter. No fair turning your 10-word sentence into 10 comments of one word each. Remember that I am doing the 30-Day Shred, so I will probably be able to kick your ass if you pull some crap like that. Also, having shredded, you might not recognize me sneaking up behind you and might mistake me for some hot chick with great highlights. (Lately I have been getting lots of comments on the color of my hair.) For this to work, and for me to get a proper amount of exercise, you need to comment. Don’t worry about being witty, or funny, or anything. If you usually delurk, say so. (Hi, delurkers! Thanks for coming!) Just please help me get my ass in gear. Please. I don’t ask for much, but right now I could really use some help.
  3. Along with the exercise, I am also joining The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans in their current challenge Shrink Into Summer and will be telling you every week how much I weigh at my weekly weigh-ins. My weigh in day at Weight Watchers is Saturday, so come back and see how I am doing. I can’t believe I am going to tell you all how much I weigh every week, but if that isn’t motivation to get my act together again, I don’t know what is! But if I tell you my weight, you’d better leave a comment. You can’t just be all voyeuristic and not say something to add to my exercise minutes. Deal? Deal.
  4. A co-worker and I are starting a weight loss challenge in our office. I am a very competitive person and I fully expect to win this challenge. This is a sneaky way of motivating myself, under the guise of helping my colleagues and friends shed some unwanted pounds. I’m sneaky like that! We’re setting up an internal website where folks can get recipes, menu ideas and tips on exercise and healthy lifestyles. I’ll be sure to post some of the tidbits here, and if any of you have something to share, please do. Your helpful hint will also count for one more minute of exercise for me.
  5. On a completely different topic, I signed up for a writing class so I can get some help on how best to tell the story I have to tell. I’m looking forward to learning some new skills, and am even excited about letting perfect strangers read my work and tear it to shreds. If I ever do write a book, perfect strangers (and probably several imperfect ones) will be reading what I wrote and I won’t get to hear if they think it sucks. So I’d rather hear it before I go through the trouble and sweat of writing the thing. And I’m going to have to grow a thick skin and get used to rejection if I ever plan to farm a book out to publishers or editors. Not that any of my classmates will think my work sucks. Because it so doesn’t. It’s completely awesome and fantastic. Of course it is.

Hey, don’t forget to comment. <\whoring for comments>

Updated to clarify one commenter = one minute of exercise. Thanks for your help!

February 10, 2009

One little cookie won’t hurt, right?

Here’s the deal. I had a food emergency. I was hungry starving. I didn’t have my usual veggies or fruits to nibble on, so I figured I’d just have a cookie. Only one. But it was this one:

Do you think it’ll do any damage at my weigh-in? I hope not!

*I didn’t take this photo, nor did I make the cookie. See more about it here.

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