Monday, February 27, 2012

Week 8: Vacation's Over! Back on the Wagon!

This week was boring! LOL! Okay, maybe not boring, but certainly sedate after last week. I'm back on track with my diet, and stayed on program all week. Still dealing with the consequences of my indulgences though. As of Thursday's weigh in, I was up another three pounds, which means I gained a total of 5 lbs while I was on vacation. It's hard to believe that it took me three weeks to lose three pounds, and only ten days to gain 5. It just doesn't seem fair! As friends have reminded me though, alcohol is the diet killer, and while I didn't go on any crazy benders, there were a quite a few happy hour evenings, combined with tasty eats. Oh well. For better of for worse, it's done and it's time for me to get to work taking it back off.
My feet are still bothering me, and I've decided to stay away from doing any sort of gym activity that involves me putting pressure on my feet until I've been to the doctor this coming Monday. This week was all about getting back on track, so I wanted to at least TRY to get some exercise. I went to the gym one night this evening and gave the arm bike a try. The arm bike is just what it sounds like. You sit down as you would at a recumbant bike, but instead of pedals for your feet, you have pedals with hand grips. It moves the muscles in your arms and shoulders and gets your blood moving. From what I understand, it's primarily used by people who can't do excercises which involve the larger muscles of the legs (which burn WAY more calories, btw...) whether due to foot or leg injuries, or because of excessive weight. If you've ever watched a TV show about super morbidly obese people who are trying to lose weight, they usually put them on arm bikes because it's one of the only cardio excercises they can do, because they're often too heavy to walk on a treadmill or use other cardio machines like stationary bikes and elipticals. It's also a good machine to use for five minutes or so to get warmed up before lifting weights.
I wanted the arm bike to work out, but It's just not my thing. After just one 40 minute workout,  my wrists and hands were sore, and I'm not looking to mess them up too. Plus, it really doesn't burn very many calories.  I decided to just take it easy until I can get to the doc, and get my activity points doing housework and gardening. I spent a large chunk of my weekend working on tidying up the garden. I've got my two largest beds cleaned out, pulled out all of the dead and dying annual vegetation like giant zinnias, moonflower vines, and marigolds, plus a small mountain of weeds. It was quite the workout, as my legs, back, and arms were quick to remind me come Monday morning.
This time next week I hope to have some answers from the doc, a game plan, and hopefully a weight loss to report!
Weeks down: 8
Weeks to go: 44
Starting weight: 271.5 lbs
Current weight: 270 lbs
This week's GAIN: 3 lbs
2012 weight loss: 1.5 lb
2012 goal: 219.5 lbs
Starting BMI 40.00
Current BMI 39.4

Started WW on 11/28, @ 281.5 lbs 
Total loss: 14.5 lbs

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Weekly Check in: Week 7 and Staycation

This week was not a good week in terms of progress towards my weight loss goals. I took the week off work and planned to make a little staycation out of it for myself. Coming on the heels of the previous indulgent weekend, instead of climbing back on the wagon like a good monkey, I thumbed my nose at the caravan and cavorted my merry way into a 2 lb gain.  I went out almost every day this week, including an evening out with my ladies on Valentine's Day, a catered open bar employee appreciation event for work, plus several happy hour evenings out. (Including my first visit to a British themed gastropub!) Then, over the weekend, I went out of town to a convention in San Jose, CA and hung out with some good friends that I haven't seen in over a year.
I can honestly say that I only remember cooking one real meal all week. The rest was meals out, or fast food. I'll tell you straight up that I was a bad little monkey, and I didn't even try to track my intake this week. I relaxed, spent time with friends, stayed out til all hours, and slept in every day. I didn't go to the gym once, but that was only partially due to laziness. The main reason I didn't go was the growing realization that I've done something really bad to my feet. I took the week off from the gym to see if the break would help my foot problems, but little luck there.
The pain has been getting steadily worse over the past few weeks, and by Saturday evening there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that I'd be seeing a doctor about it. I've had pain in my arches and heels on both feet. On the right foot, I'm getting charlie horses across the pad of my foot when I flex my toes, and once in a while I get a spasm down the length of the arch that feels like my foot is splitting open. In the left foot, I've got pain and visible swelling on the top of the foot, just in front of the ankle. The pain is the worst in the morning when I first step out of bed. Based on my symptoms, it sounds like possible plantar fasciitis in both feet, or even a stress fracture in the left foot. I'm no doctor, but I have an appointment on the 27th. In the meantime, I plan to stay off my feet as much as possible, keep the left foot braced (when I immobilize my ankle, I get less strain on the top of the foot) and stay away from heels and shoes without arch support. I'm also stretching and massaging, but it's not getting much better. I spent most of Sunday walking around the convention barefoot because the sneakers I brought gave me blisters, and the wedge sandals were making the cramps worse. No one seemed to notice or care about my bare feet, but I'm sure it didn't help my feet any.
I flew home today, ending the great staycation adventure, with all of it's debauchery and multitude of culinary and alcoholic indulgences. I expect I may be dealing with some additional weigh in consequences, as my most recent weigh in only brought me through Thursday. As of tomorrow, I'm back on the wagon.
Weeks down: 7
Weeks to go: 45
Starting weight: 271.5 lbs
Current weight: 267 lbs
This week's GAIN: 2 lbs
2012 weight loss: 4.5 lb
2012 goal: 219.5 lbs
Starting BMI 40.00
Current BMI 39.4

Started WW on 11/28, @ 281.5 lbs 
Total loss: 14.5 lbs

Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekly Check in: Week 6

I lost one more pound this week, so I must be doing something right! Still at it at the gym, and staying on point with my food tracking, during the week that is. I had a really big weekend with friends who came to town from the East Coast to celebrate my friend Amanda's Dirty Thirty. I tried not to go overboard, but honestly, I didn't even try to track my points this weekend. There were food and cocktails a-plenty and while I was conscious about what I was eating, I fully enjoyed myself! I saved all of my weekly points, and stashed away my activity points in preparation for the weekend... something told me I was going to need them!
We're talking dinner out on Friday night at the Grand Lux Cafe at Palazzo (Their tuna tartare salad is killer!) followed by red velvet birthday cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes. After that we headed out to Frankie's Tiki Room which is always a dimly lit scene of scandalous, rum fueled unrepentant debauchery! I only had two tiki drinks... but then there was a late night snack at Herbs and Rye with my friend Gemini after the East Coasters went back to their hotel to pass out. Herbs and Rye is a fun little spot with great food and drinks, and a number of tasty happy hour specials. It was also the scene of my introduction to the glories of carpaccio (or as I like to call it: cow sushi! Haha!) Shrimp cocktails, bacon topped mac and cheese... and no more drinks for the mermaid. Not until the next afternoon anyway... when I hit the champagne brunch at the Bellagio with my East Coasters. I kid you not when I say that our party of 7 held down the table for a full five hours. We hit up the buffet line for all manner of tasty things, but it was the champagne that really fueled the afternoon's shenanigans! We had such a great time laughing and telling stories. I kept expecting our servers to gently (or not so gently) suggest that we'd more than had our money's worth, but they just kept refilling our glasses! 
Saturday evening was another night out on the always fabulous Las Vegas Strip, and another meal out at the PBR Rock Bar at Planet Hollywood. I tried to be good and ordered a turkey sandwich on whole weat, but it was no good, so I picked at a pile of fries instead. Probably the worst empty food decision of the weekend. At least the rest of the indulgences were worth it. I only had one beer plus a shot of Jack when a cute rugby player bought a round for all of us girls. All in all, not nearly as bad as it could have been.
Sunday was tame in the grand scheme of things, with dinner out at a Mexican restaurant just before dropping my friends off at the airport. Unfortunately, the food was not so good. My entree was anything but light... but I ate less than half of it. I more than made up for it with tortilla chips, I'm afraid... which was probably the tastiest part of the meal.
After the weekend's indulgences, I'm going to be happy if I even break even on my next weigh in. I weigh in on Thursdays, so this week's weigh in took place before the indulgences of the weekend. I've taken the upcoming week off work for a little staycation. I'd like to think that I'll be a good monkey, but we'll see what happens.
Weeks down: 6
Weeks to go: 46
Starting weight: 271.5 lbs
Current weight: 265 lbs
This week's loss: 1 lbs
2012 weight loss: 6.5 lb
2012 goal: 219.5 lbs
Starting BMI 40.00
Current BMI 39.1

Started WW on 11/28, @ 281.5 lbs 
Total loss: 16.5 lbs

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Queen of the Night: In Memorium

I have a very distinct memory of the first time I heard Whitney Houston.  I was five years old, living in Pocatello, Idaho where my mom and stepdad were college students. It was the music video for "The Greatest Love of All." What I remember is seeing this beautiful lady, singing this pretty song, and she was singing about me! I felt special. At the age of 5, most of the meaning of the song went over my head. I didn't understand the chorus, but I remember hearing these lyrics, and even then, they stuck with me:

"I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be...

...I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadow
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can't take away my dignity..."

When I was about 12 years old, "The Bodyguard" came out, and my mom bought the soundtrack on cassette tape. I'm surprised I didn't wear it out. I was a latchkey kid and usually spent a couple of hours home alone after school, doing my chores before my parents got home. I remember playing this album LOUD on the stereo in our living room so many times, belting along with Whitney while I did the dishes, and cleaned the house. I knew every note, and in my head, I sounded just like her.

loved her music, and she was so pretty. So classy. Statuesque. Elegent. I idolized her just a little bit.

I remember so many mornings and afternoons riding the school bus, with all of us kids singing along to singles from "The Bodyguard" and "Waiting to Exhale." I remember listening to her Mariah Carey duet "When you Believe" with my best friend, talking about both Whitney and Mariah's voices, and discussing their vocals and technique. At 17, we were vocal majors at a performing arts magnet, thought we knew it all, and took such discussions very seriously.

She was a pervasive musical presence all throughout my childhood and teen years.

Watching her decline and spiral into addiction over the next decade was a sad thing. She lost it, and eventually her drug abuse trashed her voice. When she did try to make a comeback in 2009, it became clear that she just didn't have the goods the way she used to. I always hoped that somehow she would clean herself up, and show us the Whitney that I loved growing up. The Whitney who's powerhouse rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at the 1991 Suberbowl still gives me chills.

I've heard a lot of people say a lot of harsh things in the past day since the news of her death broke. "She squandered her God given talent." "One more dead drug addict." "She cared more about getting high than she did about being a mother" "One less crackhead in the world." "She might have been talented once, but she was washed up... who cares?"

I do.

Hearing these flip, harsh and hard hearted comments makes my chest hurt.

Yes, she made a lot of bad choices. She was a drug addict, and her addictions ruined her instrument and her ability to do what I believe she was on this earth to do. She was a train wreck and a hot mess. She went from being an icon of grace, beauty, and enormous talent to one more sad cautionary tale of the way that drug use and addiction can destroy a life like a cancer.

None of that takes away the fact that she was one of the greatest singers we've ever had.

As a singer, your voice is so much a part of your identity. It's like a limb. Losing the magical spark that sets you apart, that is so much a part of who you are and your self worth is absolutely devastating. It's paralyzing and terrifying. I can only imagine how Whitney must have felt to know that she had thrown away what was undoubtedly one of the best parts of her life. How she must have felt to be the butt of so many cruel jokes, and to know that on some level they were true. I'm sure the knowledge of how she'd screwed up and knowing what she'd lost contributed to the darkness inside of her.

I can have compassion for her without condoning her bad behaviour. Why is that so hard for people to understand?

I believe that a person's legacy is more than the sum of their worst parts. Her music inspired people and touched countless lives, including mine.

Today, my heart is broken for her, for her family and friends, and for the millions of people around the world who loved her music as I did.

Whitney, I will always love you.

Rest in peace.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week 5 Check in

This week flew by before I knew it, and I'm late getting my update in! Oh noes! Not the end of the world actually, though I would like to get better about posting on time. I've been spending about three hours per post getting everything together, including the pics. It doesn't seem like it should take that long, but I'm picky about my writing. I like to entertain people, whether that's singing, crracking jokes, or writing this little blog. Hopefully, I'm doing my job reasonably well, and you keep coming back. I'll keep writing either way, but it's always nice to get a little feedback to know that somebody out there is following my posts. =)

I lost one more pound, (slow AGAIN, but progress) and I feel like I'm starting to get back into my routine. I did not do well at all on my sleep goal, however. Seems like I just couldn't get myself to bed at a reasonable hour, and when I did, the sleep I did manage to get was poor quality. Weird upsetting dreams and waking with headaches. Not so fun. I'm going to try to do better this week. 

I got to the gym  four days this week, and Friday night I got my best workout stats yet. It may not seem like much, but I'm pretty proud of it. When I first went back to the gym in December, this is what my stats looked like:

That's a 30 minute mile, and a low incline.

After two months, and a hard push Friday night to see what I could do, I did this:

That's almost a 20 minute mile, and I climed 4x as many feet.
I may not exactly be a star athlete, but that's better than I've done in a long time. It feels good to be making progress, and I've been increasing my intensity gradually. I learned my lesson about what happens when you push too hard too fast on more than one occasion, and I'm not looking for a repeat. Unfortunately, I've still got a fair amount of foot pain after my workouts, which isn't a problem I've had in the past, and it doesn't seem to matter which pair of sneakers I wear. I'm keeping an eye on it, and stretching throughout the day.

I think now that I've gotten my cardiovascular fitness up a few notches I'll start incorporating the eliptical crosstrainer. I've read that if you do the same workout all the time, your weight loss progress can slow because your muscles get too used to the activity. So, this week I've made a point to up my intensity on both the speed and the incline. I'm going to shoot for at least one day a week on the eliptical, even if it's not the full hour I do on the treadmill. I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet!

Eventually I'll need to start adding some weights, but to be honest... I hate weight training. I know it's good for me, helps create more lean muscle mass, helps boost your metabolism, blah blah blah... but I hate it. No two ways about it. Part of that is that I'm a little bit intimidated by the weight machines, but more than that, I just hate the activity. When I'm doing cardio, I can get in my zone, hit a stride and just GO. You can't do that with weights. Or at least I can't. It feels difficult and unnatural. So for now, I'm pretending that I don't know I should also be weight training. It can be our little secret... right? 

Weeks down: 5
Weeks to go: 47
Starting weight: 271.5 lbs
Current weight: 266 lbs
This week's loss: 1 lbs
2012 weight loss: 5.5 lb
2012 goal: 219.5 lbs
Starting BMI 40.00
Current BMI 39.3

Started WW on 11/28, @ 281.5 lbs 
Total loss: 15.5 lbs