pounds & persistence

my journey toward fitness and wellness and faith

Archive for the category “Excercise”

Pounds

So, it’s still POUNDS and persistence around here. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of the persistence- taking my injections routinely, logging time on the elliptical more frequently, slogging through the ever- increasing demands of my job- but I haven’t talked much about pounds. I have good news: I’ve lost a few.

I haven’t really been all too focused on the pounds as I’ve been striving more for a healthy lifestyle, but as a natural byproduct of working out more and eating better, I’ve shed some. My hubby and I were recently talking about my diagnosis and he said that one of his biggest frustrations can be that he doesn’t always feel like I do everything in my power to be as healthy as possible. The doctor said that exercise will strengthen my body and is good for people with MS. And I don’t exercise regularly. The doctor said healthy eating will give me important nutrients and is good for people with MS. And I don’t always eat well. I know it would make my husband feel so much better if he felt I was taking my disease seriously by doing everything in my power to fight it, including a healthier lifestyle. This thought has really resonated with me and inspired some changes.

I think I’d like to set some goals. I’m do much more motivated when I have them- look at what my sister and I did at the bike MS ride this June! Only, I’m not sure what to set or how to achieve them. I feel like I’m on the right path, but need an extra little kick to get my locked and committed. I don’t know yet what that kick will be, but I do know it’s important. It’s important to my hubby and it’s important to my health. At least those factors are much more motivating than numbers on a scale! And the numbers, I hope, will fall as a byproduct of my other motivations.

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

Summer is here! The sun is out and so is school! In honor of this, I am making ch,ch,ch,changes! First, a new look. Fresh for summer, I decided to put some RED in my hair! It’s bright red, almost kool-aid color, but I’m diggin’ it.

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A new ‘do wouldn’t be enough of a change, however. This blog is all about POUNDS and persistence, and what better way to shed some pounds and prove my persistence than with some exercise. My hubby has been talking quite a bit lately about getting some kind of exercise machine in the house so that he can use it too. He swears that since he got a promotion at work in September, he’s not only been more stressed but also less fit, as he is no longer getting the kind of physical exertion he used to. And so we went to look at treadmills and ellipticals and stationary bikes and after much measuring and speculating, ended up with an elliptical trainer!

 The ceilings in our row home basement are low and so we needed to put any exercise equipment on the upper floors, and a treadmill would just have too much impact to go in an upstairs bedroom. So, we ended up rearranging the office to now look like this…

We’ve had it for almost two weeks and, except for the days directly before or after the bike race, I’ve used it every day. My hubby is also loving the convenience, though neither of us really loves to work out. However, getting to watch our favorite shows on the iMac while we sweat sure does help! Hopefully, this step, coupled with the red meat free diet I’ve been embracing, will help me shed pounds AND feel well. Baby steps really…

We Did It!!

I know it could sound haughty and arrogant and self-centered, but I’ve got to say that I am so freaking PROUD of myself. And Anna. And, of course, my mom and dad and even sisters Tessa and Brie, but mostly Anna and I. We did it. We completed 30 miles. We really weren’t sure we could.

Friday afternoon, the afternoon before the race, Anna and I had agreed that we would meet at my house early to try to beat some of the traffic going over the Chesapeake Bay bridge. No matter how early we left, however, we were destined to sit a spell in bumper to bumper misery simply because the Chesapeake Bay bridge is the primary route to Ocean City and to all other ocean front towns. And because it was the last day of school for Anne Arundel County students, so many families would be celebrating. And because that last day of school was a half day. I  too felt like celebrating, as summer is just as much a welcome break for the teachers as it is the students, and my celebration apparently would be to complete a 30 mile bike ride. I was beginning to think that my mother HAD really started to rub off on me…

The drive was long but lovely and we kept each other company the whole way. We checked into our enormous hotel room and promptly took a short nap. Anna and I awoke to our parents knocking on our hotel room door, prodding us to the race registration check-in and dinner. They were excited and animated and, even here on the Easter Shore at a bike race they’d never participated in, knew some fellow cyclist. As Anna and I exchanged knowing glances, they introduced us to RUNNING friends that were now also CYCLING friends who we just HAD to meet. Figures. At the race registration, however, we discovered that, because of the generosity of my family, I had raised $1000 and now qualified for a “Top Crab” jersey, which I would get to wear throughout the race. I was just hoping to raise enough money to meet the $300 minimum for entry and not have to pony up any of my own funds to cover the difference, so this was unexpected and very special. I was getting pumped.

After an upbeat, fun dinner with Mom and Dad, Anna and I headed back to our hotel to wait for Brie and Tessa to arrive. When I called Tessa months prior to the race and asked her if she’d like to pedal it with me, she tactfully replied that she wouldn’t be able to carve out the time for training leading up to the race because of her other obligations and, therefore, she would definitely not be participating IN the race. But neither hell nor high water can keep Tessa away from any event where all her other sisters are assembled, so she registered as a volunteer, left the babies with her hubby and trekked to the Eastern Shore. When I first mentioned the race and the idea of volunteering to Brie, she didn’t even hesitate. She immediately registered as a volunteer and began contacting the appropriate people to make sure that both she and Tessa could be stationed at the same rest stop. They showed up, wine in hand, after a full day of work and a long drive out the Chestertown, MD, ready to volunteer their hearts out.

The morning of the race, Anna and I were nervous. The race organizers had provided all meals for registered participants and volunteers, and so we would be eating in the cafeteria with the other would-be racers. Neither Anna nor I had ever wished so fervently that we had only volunteered for something, not actually participated in it. I managed to choke down my eggs over the butterflies in my stomach while Dad cracked jokes and made conversation and Mom sorted out last minute details, like where the start line was and what time they actually had to begin the race. Since they were participating in the Metric Century ride, a 62/63 miler as it were, they would start before us and, after some serious prodding on Mom’s part, they headed off in the direction of the start line. Tessa and Brie returned to inform us that they had to ship out to their assigned rest stop, but they wished us well and assured us that we would see them as soon as we could managed to pedal to their stop, hopefully still upright and coherent. Anna and I were alone and a little apprehensive. We were freaking out. We got our bikes, checked the tires, added air, adjusted a chain that had partially come off, all of which made us feel tough, but did not calm our nerves. At 9:00, we set off from the start line.

The first 5 1/2 miles we had to cover before we reached Brie and Tessa and their promised rest stop were largely very flat and not that difficult. It took a few miles to readjust to being on a bike again, and our rears complained during that entire adjustment period, but by the time we pulled into Kent County High School, we were feeling ok. We spent just a few minutes chatting with Brie and Tessa, or rather, guzzling water while they talked to us, and then were off again. Shortly after we left their encouraging smiles, however, we discovered the hills.

We weren’t expecting hills. We had been told, by our mother no less, the woman whose brain child this whole adventure was, that this course was flat. In fact, I distinctly remember that as a selling feature when she was pitching this idea of a 30 mile bike ride to me. And there they were anyway- hills. On the second hill, Anna informed me that we were walking to the top. I dutifully hopped off my bike- there would be no leaving one man behind. We guzzled our gatorade and pushed on, hill after hill. We walked just one more hill and seriously considered turning around, right there at whatever mile we were at, and starting back for the finish line, when we ran into an encouraging cyclist who assured us that the half-way point, and therefore rest stop, was only 1/2 a mile further. We trudged on. “1/2 a mile” might have been a slight exaggeration on the part of the cyclist, but she was well-meaning and we pulled into the second rest stop exhausted and discouraged. And heard someone calling our names.

As we feebly dismounted onto shaky legs, our mother, beacon of all fitness, called excitedly over to us, all smiles and enthusiasm. I could have strangled her with her helmet strap. She looked so happy and not nearly as drained as we were, despite having completed over 30 miles already that morning. Our father was no better, all chatty and positive. For them, this seemed to actually be FUN. All Anna and I wanted to do was find some shade to curl up and give up. But they brought us lunch, complete with SANDWICHES and COOKIES and SODA! After 30 minutes and the best sandwich of my life, Anna and I felt like new women ourselves and understood our parents buoyed spirits. We even enjoyed seeing them and hugged them before they headed out on their final half of the race.

The next 7 miles were hard- the day was so damn hot!- but not impossible and we learned to master the art of removing the water bottle while pedaling, drinking, and then replacing the water bottle while gliding. We felt accomplished. We pulled into the rest stop at mile 22 happy to see that it was the same rest stop as earlier and that we would see Brie and Tessa again. In fact, they took care of us from the moment they saw us, helping us off our bikes, getting us drinks in the shade, filling our water bottles and even taking our bikes over the mechanic at the stop for more air and a thorough once over. They did not, however, cave to my plea that they stuff us and the bikes in the back of Brie’s Ford Fiesta and take us to the finish line. As we climbed on our bikes for the final miles, however, we felt remarkably better.

At 1:00 on the nose, we pedaled across the finish line. Even with our long breaks at the rest stops, we were able to finish in 4 hours, which was much better than we thought we’d do. As we pedaled the final leg of the race, Anna even began planning for next year, began talking about how much fun it’d been and how nice everyone was. As if on cue, some of the more experienced, better cyclist came along side us and began chatting with us, keeping us company for a few of the final miles. There was music and medals and sandwiches and Rita’s mango italian ice in the shade.

Two by two, the rest of our family began to show up and assemble, relaying their accounts of the day. Tessa and Brie had great stories and a little bit of sunburn from the rest stop; Mom and Dad had great fun and photos from their ride; Anna and I had a huge sense of pride and accomplishment and a gratefulness that we had survived. But we also realized that we had all enjoyed ourselves. We realized that we had all gotten something positive from the experience. We realized that this was the first time just the 6 original Foster Family had been away together since before Anna’s engagement 6 years ago. And we realized that we would do it again, may even ask for donations again, next year. Prepare yourself now, we may come a knockin’!

Ready for the Race

"Top Crab" jersey

Best Volunteers EVER!

All the "Fierce Foster" team

Busy busy

Weight: 257.4 lb

So, if you’ve read my blog regularly, you may notice that I took a bit of a hiatus for the last 10 days. That’s a long time for me. Was I on vacation? Nope, I posted to the blog almost every day that week! Was I sleeping late and soaking up the last days of summer? Nope, I posted many a morning after sleeping well after all working folk were clocking in. In fact, my hiatus wasn’t intentional, it was a result of sheer hectic chaos as I headed back to school last week. Each morning greeted me earlier than I had been used to in a while and as I tackled the seeming endless to-do list to get ready for the impending first day of school, I couldn’t seem to find a moment to do much of anything! In fact, my busy schedule affected more than just my blogging plans- I also had difficulty squeezing in a workout. At the end of the long week, I realized that I hadn’t exercised, at the gym, on my bike, in my neighborhood, ANYTHING, all week. I was sure I’d pay for it on the WW scale this weekend, since my numbers at home hadn’t moved much at all.

Thankfully, I was only up .4 lbs in my WW weigh-in, which should be easy to shed. But this crazy week did make me think about all the best laid plans and practicality and how I will possibly squeeze in exercise when my schedule is even more packed with students and papers to grade and lessons to plan! I’m realizing more and more that those who exercise are able to do so because they not only realize that it’s important for themselves and their health, but also because they make themselves and their health a priority, a fixed commitment that they will not mess with. This, for me, is hard. I feel guilty at times making myself a priority, especially when it comes at a potential inconvenience for my family. I think a lot of women feel this way. And it strikes me as oddly sad, since I don’t notice as many men suffering through the same conflict and guilt. So this school year, I need to make a new resolution. I need to decided to prioritize myself and my health and let the chips fall where they may. If other members of my family need to step up and help out, so be it. I don’t have to do it all myself, I just have to take care of myself. This is a resolution I feel I MUST keep.

C.C.

Changes

Weight: 245.4 lb.

As you may notice, I’ve taken some of the advice given to me and stopped obsessively weighing myself and posting it every day. I like to track my progress regularly and draw fresh inspiration from the number on the scale (you know, like a determination to see it go down) but I don’t want to fixate on that number as my only sign of progress. For example, the number posted above is the lowest weight I’ve ever recorded on this blog- yay me! According to my home scale, I’ve weighed in at some version of 245 for threes consecutive days now, so I’m finally starting to believe that I may have actually lost 16 pounds this summer. This is an accomplishment and I kinda want to tell everyone about it- friends, family, blog readers… even complete strangers who may have the misfortune to ring me up at Target where I’m buying a top just one size smaller than I previously bought! I’m obviously, and I think deservedly, excited. 

But even more exciting are the other changes I’ve noticed. For example, I’m beginning to get used to the concept of exercise and incorporate time at the gym with less protest from my body and view movement at home (walking the dogs, riding my bike, etc) as another opportunity for activity and fitness. This is a positive change. Also, I’ve begun to look at food differently. I hardly ever drink any more and abstain from sodas and frappuccino’s, preferring to eat my points, not drink them. Yesterday, I ate out for all 3 meals and I noticed that the foods I’m choosing in restaurants is different too- egg white omelet with mushrooms and tomatoes for breakfast, fruit on the side, a whole wheat turkey wrap with avocado and no mayo for lunch, and a grilled tilapia over linguine and Caesar salad with dressing on the side for dinner. It wasn’t hard to order lower point menu items, they all tasted great, and I was more than satisfied when I was done. The friends I was dining with for each meal didn’t poke fun at me and I felt confident in my choices because I’ve started to look at food differently and figure out which things are good for me and which things I should eat in moderation. I still enjoy splurging on an ice cream with friends or splitting a dessert with my hubby, but I track these points occasionally and move on. 

In an earlier blog post, I commented to a friend about my lack of success with the WW program and she made the observation that in reality, it wasn’t that the program had failed me, it was that I had failed to work the program. That observation has been so helpful these last few summer months as I keep plugging away even when the scale doesn’t change much or I am tired of tracking everything I put in my mouth. And, because of that, I’m starting to view  my food and my lifestyle differently. And this change, in my opinion, is really what lasting weight loss is all about. 

C.C.

Really?!!

Weight: 250.1 lb,

The best part of summer vacation is the freedom from work and plans and the flexibility to wake up late and lounge around watching morning television, like the Today show. And this morning, they were interviewing a columnist from Cosmopolitan magazine on a recent survey they had conducted of more than 70,000 people. Apparently, according to the results, 50% of the men reported that they would leave their girlfriend (they were unmarried) if she gained significant weight. The ladies went on to discuss how men could perceive significant weight gain as a sign that a woman no longer cared about her appearance or being sexually attractive to him and that their intimacy could suffer. They also discussed how men are judged according to how their partner looks. The Cosmo columnist even went so far as to state that there was evidence that a man with a heavy set partner was likely to be perceived as less successful or competent than the same man with a fit partner.

Ugh. Really, all I have to say is Ugh. I mean, I knew this information, we all knew this information, but there’s something so jarring about putting that information down in stark black and white on paper for all the world to read. And of course those of us who tip the scale a bit more toward the higher numbers suspected that the world perceived us, and maybe even our loving partners, differently because of our weight, but to confirm that information as more than just our imagination is kinda disheartening. I mean, I know my husband loves me and thinks the world rises and sets where ever my sexy behind happens to be (even though he stumbles through expressing that, like most men) but it’s sad to me that anyone would perceive him as less than the super competent, super sexy, super swagger man he is because of my extra weight.

However, I also want to highlight a comment that one of the women made in passing. She said that a woman who feels good about herself, who is comfortable with her appearance and who has found a weight she feels good about maintaining is likely to be more confident and, therefore, sexy. This is just a reminder that it’s really not the number on the scale that determines whether or not you’re attractive, but the voices in your own head and the feelings about your own body. I may not be at the weight I’d like to be or rocking the jean size I’d like to be, but I know I’m still cute and my husband is damn lucky to know that my sexy behind will be in his bed night after night, irregardless of what anyone else thinks. Like my aunt says, Sexy is as sexy does and that reflects well on anyone’s partner.

To read the results yourself, use this link and read up.

C.C.

10 Pounds?!

Weight: 251.6 lb

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Hello readers! If you’ve been reading my posts, heck if you’ve read any previous post of mine and then todays, you may notice that the above number is the lowest number yet that the scale has turned up. I’ve been clawing my way toward weight loss for the last 6 weeks, and this number reflects about 10 pounds lost on my own home scale. I have a WW weigh-in today, however, so we’ll see if their official scale agrees.

In preparation of my weigh-in, I’ve been implementing some strategies- some silly, some serious. The silly strategy is my breakfast, which was delicious and is pictured above. However, peaches and coffee really isn’t a practical breakfast, and I’m aware that such light fare will not satisfy me in the long term, but with my weigh-in just around the corner, I figured something light would hold me over until I could indulge in a real breakfast later. Maybe even at Sam’s Bagels. Yum.

On the serious side, I’ve made a concerted effort to move more this week, and not just at the gym. Though I’ve kept up, for the most part, with my gym workouts, I’ve also tried to incorporate more bike rides and even trips to the pool and another trip to the zoo. And I think these activities will pay off- yesterdays trip to the Baltimore Zoo with my husband, his sisters and my nieces burned 25 activity points according to my WW app! So I’m hoping that I’ll be able to continue to incorporate some of this activity, like walking the dogs or going for a weekend bike ride with the hubby, even as I head into fall and a busy school schedule in just a few weeks! Hopefully this will catapult me to even more pounds shed from the scale… Wish me luck!

C.C.

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