Monday, December 29, 2008

Weekly update, 12/30/08 + New Year's Thoughts

We're back from our trip! Had a great time and enjoyed visiting with my mom and step-dad. It's always an adventure, balancing the need to keep the kids moving with quietly chatting with the parents, but I think we did fine this time. Brining new toys and getting some nice new ones helped, I think!

Side notes: If you ever find yourself visiting Lompoc, California with children, be sure to include a stop at the Lompoc Aquatic Center. Amazing facility, with a big water play structure for kids and 2 water slides for kids over 48" tall. (Sadly, the big slides were closed the day we went, but still much fun for Thing 1 and Thing 2.) Another nice place to visit, with or without kids, in the Solvang area is Nojoqui Falls. The Hitching Post restaurant in Buellton is tremendous, although Pea Soup Andersen's is pleasant but not a must-do unless you really love split pea soup...if you do go, it's easier to get seated in the coffee shop, the dining room can take forever on a busy day. (Hitching Post became even more popular from the movie Sideways, which was interesting to watch from a "places I know" standpoint but provoked the worst PMS reaction in me...that Jack character would have had a reeeeally long run back to the hotel in the buff, because the actual location of that girl's house is about 20 miles away!)

New Year's Thoughts, 2 Days Early (uh oh, my hypocrisy is showing!)
I was going to get all cranky about New Year's Resolutions, like I usually do this time of year. I've always felt like New Year's Day falls way too close to Christmas. I finally get the holiday "to-do" list done, and feel like kicking back to enjoy the twinkly lights a bit before charging ahead into the new year. I was going to say "but everyone's turned off their lights and packed up the tree," although that's not true. I saw lots of lights on my drive home last night, and our own tree (artificial) will be up probably into the weekend. So I need to breathe and repeat the mantra painted on Emily's Bakery in Santa Cruz (which we passed on the way downstate): "Relax. You have plenty of time."

What's different this year: I used to not be ready to stop the that's not quite so much a part of it all. Only so much sugar-free treat feasting you can do without the dreaded maltitol master-cleanse....Of course, now that I'm following health & wellness blogs, there is a lot of talk about new year's resolutions and forming new habits and the like. It started December 26, and that made me feel rushed and a little cranky. But I know it's well meant and where it comes from (and that, for many, rushing past this time of year is a needed survival tactic).

So...resolutions. I feel like my whole past 6 months has been developing new habits, and I want to get them more firmly in place before moving on to new stuff. That said, I resolved back in October to do one race each quarter this year, so that was already on the list. If I set any others, it would be along the lines of Diabetes Mine blogger Amy Tenderlich's, who resolved to "enjoy life more--while staying calm and being kind." Or to do something really fun, like go horseback riding at that place with the Tennessee Walking Horses when they reopen in April. (I've always wanted to ride one, and now I'm not too heavy to do so!) "Go to Kauai" would be a nice one, too, but looks like "Go to Michigan" will be more doable, due to airline prices and where the frequent flier miles will take us.

What did I do last year? I resolved to form 10 new habits, one each month with a couple of months off. I achieved 7, which I think is pretty good, because I usually observed the time-honored tradition of either (1) resolving to not make resolutions, (2-this one goes back aways) doing something during Lent instead or (3) make-'n'-break. The 7 habits were pretty much the goal items I list here each week, plus learning origami and walking the dog regularly.

Progress last week:
7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: 7-day average was 100; 7-day fasting average was 98, with 100% of numbers below 120. (met goals)
Weight goal: Maintained (met goal of maintain or lose)
Food goals: Didn't record, but "ate to the meter." (When not measuring, I do a combination of low-moderate carb/plate method.) Did a little too much sugar-free chocolate eating. (no goals tied specifically to food this week)
Exercise goals: Got in 4 days of activity: 2 trips to the pool and 2 runs. (Missed 5 days of activity goal by 1 day.) Did arm exercises 1 day but missed the abs part. (Met half of the goal of 1 arms+abs this week.)
Misc. goals: Was present with my family during the Christmas weekend. (met!)
Monthly measure: Since last month, I lost 1" in the bust, 0.5" in waist and hips, and 1.5" in the thighs! Woo hoo!

Goals for this week:
7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or lose.
Food goals: 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals. Lighter eating if dinner is after 7 p.m.
Exercise goals: At least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days; 3 days of arms & abs strength training workouts; do at least 3 runs, weather permitting (Weather-permitting=not raining and temperature over 40 degrees).
Misc. goals: 7 or more hours sleep/night.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone reading enjoys a wonderful holiday time, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or nothing in particular. Mr. Handsome-and-Handy, Things 1&2, and I will be invading my mom & step-dad's place tomorrow. (Muuuuah-hah-hah! Figurines, you've been warned!) But so far, we're already enjoying some AMAZING (and minor) Christmas miracles:

My dad (who lives in Tucson) surprised us with a weekend visit this past weekend! Ironically, I had just read Christie O's blog about her appreciating Christmas time with family, and I was nodding in assent pretty much as Dad pulled up our street...(AMAZING!)

I snagged the last retractable extension cord at Home Depot. It was something Mr. H&H really wanted for Christmas and was not expecting. I had checked online, and the web site did not show any being available at our local store. I went in on Friday, following a strong hunch...(minor, but still pretty cool)

...and we're all together, healthier than this time last year, and able to give our kids and each other a really nice Christmas. (AMAZING!)

So I'm feeling pretty good-humble and more grateful than I can say.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Weekly update, 12/22/08

Busy-but-fun week ahoy: Worked yesterday, working today, off the rest of the week. We're having "virtual Christmas" on Christmas Eve, because we have a long drive on Christmas Day to go to my parents' for the long holiday weekend.

This past week, I *felt* like I slacked off, although I wasn't too far off from goal. (SeaBreeze, feel free to say "I told you so." :-) Probably too many video workouts; even the ones I like tend to make me feel like I slacked. The bike worked well, has what I call "the noodge light," which lets you know when you need to work harder/less hard, and I feel like I get a good workout when I pay attention to it. Last week's run was disappointing in a way: I ran slower, and about 25 minutes in Nature called...and sometimes ya can't just let her leave a message, either. :-/ Good thing I was close to home. I've always worried about that on longer runs....On the other hand, I hadn't eaten breakfast. Today's run was right on target. (And it was nice to feel like I had the time to run "just a little longer," since I'm the only one on a schedule today.)

Oooo, and cool news! I won a prize in the "Diabetes Mine Holiday Survival Sweepstakes!" The topic last week was how to offset holiday stress. One big thing for me this year was that Mr. Handsome-and-Handy took it upon himself to do most of the gift wrapping and cookie baking. I was a little bummed to miss the baking--I was "the baker," you know? But he & the kids did a fantastic job, and it did keep stress levels a lot lower. I think he appreciated that I did most of the shopping tasks and the card assembly, which aren't exactly his favorite. (And we got our cards done before the seasonal craziness kicked in. For some reason, the prospect of doing the cards really stresses me out. And I don't know why! We have the process 95% automated, and we just do a photo card.)

Progress last week:
7-day blood glucose average: 109 (met goal of 120 or lower)
Fasting blood glucose: last 6 of 7 days were less than 120 (yesterday morning was 125; ouch!); average was 112
Weight: -1 (met goal of maintain or lose)...Wait, what's this??? I just updated my "Ticker Factory," and lo-and-behold, my BMI number just dropped into the "overweight" category! Yippeee!!!
Food: 5 meatless low-fat, 2 fish meals. (met fish goal...sort of. I read that the place we picked up our fried fish from uses rice oil, so I'm going ahead and counting last night's fried fish in the "fish meals" category...not exactly low fat, but "healthy oil," from what I've read. Next time we go, I'm asking to confirm.)
Exercise: 30+ minutes cardio 5 days, but only one run. 2 days of arms and abs strength training. (Missed running goal by two days, strength by one day. One of the days missed running was due to weather, the other was that I just felt like using the bike.)
Misc: Didn't track sleep, but I felt well-rested in general. Gym decision? Going to go for it!

Goals for this week:
7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or lose.
Food goals: Taking the week off for the non-meat/fish goals; otherwise, sticking to the plan as close as possible.
Exercise goals: At least 30 minutes of activity (walking, running, swimming, biking, or video workout) 5 days. No specific running goals; will start training for the February event the following week. At least one day of upper body and abs strength training.
Misc. goals: Be present in all ways with my family during the Christmas weekend.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Comments for charity on MizFit Online

Okay, I'm preaching to the choir with this one. But maybe, just maybe, there's some benighted soul out there that will stumble across my blog in the next day or so who has not discovered MizFitOnline, online home to the amazing MizFit and the Bumbling Band. Which means the other 99.999% of you all knew about today's item: MizFit is donating 10 cents for every comment between now and the 24th in the morning to Safeplace, a domestic violence shelter in her area.

I was happy to read that someone contacted her about anonymously matching donations. What is totally NOT surprising is that she's getting a lot of comments and is inspiring lots of local acts of goodness.

But don't wait until Christmas Eve! Get on over and leave a comment on this post: MizFit's Halfassed Friday Rhyme. (subtitle I'm emptying the wallet, People, & need your help)

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Weekly update, 12/16/08

Whew! Busy week, and it's only Tuesday night! I'm sorry I haven't responded to everyone's comments yet, but I read them and sure do appreciate the support. Thanks!!!

Today alone: we've been watching the weather, and we found out this morning that there was snow up in the Santa Cruz mountains, not too far from where we live! So we pulled Thing 1 out of the first two hours of school this morning and took a "snow detour." It was great! Thank goodness Mr. Handsome-and-Handy is originally from snow country in the midwest, I'm a total wuss when it comes to winter driving. About 4 miles up Hwy 35, the snow was falling and the towering pines and redwood trees were thickly frosted with snow.
Me: "Wow! This is like being in a snow globe!"
Thing 1 (yes he actually says stuff like this): "It's a Winter Wonderland!"
Thing 2: "We didn't bring carrots for the snowman's nose!"
Mr. Handsome-and-Handy, ever the realist: "Well, I'm not sure there will be enough to build that big of a snowman..."
But there was about 3 inches on the ground, so plenty for a little snow fun: snowball fights, eating snow, making snowmen.

Last week was kind of weird...I completed my last 2 days of the gym trial. I've been kind of on the fence about joining, frankly...would it be a good investment? Would I use it enough? Would I use it a lot at first, then let it languish? On the other hand, monthly membership is only $29.95, which is less than we pay for Thing 1 and Thing 2's monthly dance lesson bill. We could save on our water bill if I use the gym first thing in the morning before work, too. I resolve to definitely decide one way or another this week. Plus we just got an indoor exercise bicycle--I love it, since we live in a flat area and it simulates hills in the preprogrammed workouts. Generally, I've had a mental block about spending money on fitness stuff; hence working out at home and garage sale hand weights. I worried that doing so would somehow "jinx" me fitness-wise. Then I realized that sheesh, that kind of thinking after 6 months of consistency is a bit ridiculous.

I was also fighting the tail end of my cold last week, which is why I think I just didn't do any exercise on Wednesday morning...the previous day's spin class kicked my posterior more soundly than I thought! I did run on Friday, which felt good. I hadn't run outdoors for over a week.

I learned something interesting on Monday: rice, even brown rice, really bumps up my blood glucose levels. I ate a 7-ounce box of brown rice+salmon+avocado sushi yesterday for lunch, and a bunch of grilled veggies--healthy, right? And had a level of 150 2 hours later, which is a post-meal level I haven't seen in quite awhile. Rice goes back on the "handle with care" list, along with corn. Haven't had that problem with either oatmeal or with wheat items (such as my flax bread), or with potatoes.

Oh, and last night? Thing 2 suggested that we do an exercise video. Yeay! I could redeem myself after all. We got about halfway through segment 1 of the 10 Minute Solutions Kickboxing Bootcamp (aka, "The One with the Blonde Lady Who Boxes"). Thing 2 admired the instructor's well-defined arm muscles, did a few moves, then got bored and wandered off. Baby steps, friends, baby steps...

Progress last week:
7-day blood glucose average: 107 (met goal of 120 or lower, but had the one post-meal reading of 150)
Fasting blood glucose: last 7 days were less than 120; average was 107.
Weight: -1 pounds (met goal of maintain or lose)
Food: 4 meatless low-fat, 2 fish meals. (met goal)
Exercise: 30+ minutes cardio 4/5 days, only one run. 2 days of arms and abs strength training. (Missed cardio goal by one day, strength by one day.)
Misc: Accomplished about half the week on the sleep goal (4/7 days with 7+ hrs. sleep). Signed up for my Q1 and Q2 2009 races, have selected my Q4 race but not my Q3. I think I've got some time. :-)

Goals for this week:
7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or lose.
Food goals: 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals. Lighter eating if dinner is after 7 p.m.
Exercise goals: At least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days; 3 days of arms & abs strength training workouts; do at least 2 runs, weather permitting (decreased amount because weather did not permit for the first 2/5 days and we're supposed to have more rain. Weather-permitting=not raining and temperature over 40 degrees).
Misc. goals: 7 or more hours sleep/night. Make final decision about whether or not to join the gym.

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Quest for"...if not "Greatness" then "Motivation"

As I've blathered on about before, training for an event makes a huge difference in my motivation. So I'm really excited about Christie O.'s latest challenge on her Baby Tea Leaves web site: The Baby Tea Leaves Quest for Greatness! Her last challenge was a weight-loss challenge called "Hot for the Holidays"...which was fun and popular, but I was really amped by the new challenge's focus on fitness. However, the newly-converted fitness zealot in me is wondering: where the heck did all the HFH participants go? Christie left it very open-ended: choose an athletic event (or fitness goal) to train for, then do the training and enjoy the byproduct of better health and fitness. Not like people had to commit to running marathons or doing an Ironman...although, admittedly, it's easier to find events and to train in places like her Florida and my Northern California than in the more winter-bound places. But the "no rules" rider certainly leaves it open to looking for something in the spring....

Anyway, I've committed: I just registered for a 5K run on President's Day (2/16/09). I had decided, after running the Pumpkin Run, that I wanted to race at least once per quarter. This challenge was a nice kick in the posterior for getting me to find a race and to register. And I found one really close to home! I also registered for a race I'd found awhile ago, the "See Jane Run Half-Marathon and 5K". (Just the 5K...not quite at half-marathon level yet.) I'll freely admit that I chose it only for the slogan: "I run for chocolate and champagne." I can't wait to get that t-shirt! It's a bit of a drive away, so it sure wasn't for the location. Not sure what I'm doing for the July/August/September time frame, but definitely rounding out Q4 with the Pumpkin Run again. Maybe I'll be up for a 10K by then...we'll see!

That said, speaking of "fitness" and "motivation," I have to confess something shameful. Thing 2 wanted to do an exercise video with me on Sunday, and I flaked. My reason? Oh, this is so lame, I'm cringing as I type it: I'd showered late, and I didn't want to get all sweaty again. Yes, I told you it was lame. Not simply lame, but a horrible example for Thing 2, who proceeded to geek out playing multiplayer "Midtown Madness" with Thing 1 while I graded papers for Thing 1's teacher. I resolve to NOT flake on offspring-initiated fitness again!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 5: You Spin Me Right Round, Baby, Right Round...

Tuesday was Day 5, my final day of the trial offer at the gym. Analysis and decision to be posted later....

Oh. My. Aching. Quads! Here's another instance where the class name was a misnomer. Doesn't "spinning" sound so carefree and playful? Don't let the title fool you: it was intense. It was 45 minutes. My thighs may never be the same....

Random observations:
- There is no coasting in the Spin class, figuratively or literally. When you stop pedaling, you don't coast; you risk snapping off your foot.
- I liked the music. The tempo is really fast, too. Was that Alvin & the Chipmunks singing "The Freaks Come Out at Night?"
- As SeaBreeze predicted, spinning made me reeeeally sweaty. Glad I brought my towel!
- It also made my thighs burn until I realized I probably ought to slow it down just a touch if I was going to last the whole class. (I'd say that if the instructor was at 100%, I was performing at about 60%.)
- I liked how the instructor made sure everyone's machine was adjusted properly.
- Dang, those bike seats are HARD! That must be part of why there's so much standing and pedaling.
- Would I do it again? Definitely! What a workout!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day 4: Road to Nowhere

Report from Monday, Day 4:

Today I did my workout at lunch: the treadmill. (I know, in the figurative sense, it's not really a "road to nowhere" in the fitness quest, but it seemed like the obvious-but-catchy title for today.)

I did the fat-burning program for 35 minutes, although I found using the machine's sensors a bit annoying after awhile when running (unlike the recumbent bike, on which there's nothing else to do with one's hands). I think, whatever I decide about gym membership, I'm going to have to get my own heart rate monitor. *sigh*...more gadgetry.

I disembarked with post-treadmill syndrome: the sensation that the ground was still rolling beneath me. Sort of like getting off the Tea Cups at Disneyland and having the world continue to revolve. Luckily there was not the same urge to stagger drunkenly.

I ventured upstairs into the Land of the Buff (the room with all the free weights, weight machines, and other instruments of pain and delight). There was a woman at the top of the stairs working with a trainer, and I gave them wide berth to avoid getting whacked with the ball weight thingy. I circled around and found the rack with the 8 pound hand weights. I did some of my usual exercises. I decided to skip the floor exercises until tonight. Frankly, I don't feel too keen about anyone except Mr. Handsome-and-Handy seeing me lay on the floor all sweaty and panting and flailing my arms and legs around in the air. Exercise can be so unintentionally...intimate.

One cool thing about the Land of the Buff: There are treadmills upstairs, and they overlook our nice office neighborhood rather than the ginormous TVs. I'll have to remember those for next time.

I'm not sure I like using my lunch time for working out. But it was nice to have the option.

Weekly update, 12/9/08: Walkin' in a Winter "One-derland"

Keeping this one short, since I've been blathering away about the gym in other posts. The big news: arrival in "one-derland" (weight below 200) is official! I thought I'd be spending a few more weeks bouncing back and forth across the border...and who knows, I still might, but I'm tickled because I wasn't expecting to be there until New Year's. Now, the trick is extending my stay through the rest of the holidays and beyond.

Progress last week:
7-day blood glucose average: 102 (met goal of 120 or lower)
Fasting blood glucose: 6 of the last 7 days were less than 120 (one day was not tested, since I ran short on test strips); average was 104.
Weight: -3 pounds (met goal of maintain or lose)
Food: 4 meatless low-fat, 0 fish meals. (completely missed fish meal goal by two meals-ack!)
30+ minutes cardio 3/5 days, including 2 runs. (The two days I missed cardio goal, I did 25 minutes and 20 minutes, respectively...but two of the 30+ minute days were 80 minutes and 75 minutes. One of the non-running days included the Bodyattack class, which was probably more intense than my typical run. So overall, I'm feeling okay with not hitting the goals precisely as defined this week).
2.5 days of arms and abs strength training. (Skipped abs portion and 3 arm exercises at the gym the other day and did not complete at home as planned; again, Bodyattack class included abdominal exercises, so overall I probably did more than a typical week in that area.)
Accomplished about half the week on the sleep goal (4/7 days with 7+ hrs. sleep).
Gym trial offer: I went to the gym every work day since turning in the coupon, as planned.

Goals for this week:
7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or lose.
Food goals: 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals. Lighter eating if dinner is after 7 p.m.
Exercise goals: At least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days; 3 days of arms & abs strength training workouts; do at least 3 runs (weather-permitting).
Misc. goals: 7 or more hours sleep/night. Sign up for a 5K race in March 2009 or thereabouts for the Baby Tea Leaves "Quest for Greatness" challenge. I *love* that Christie O. is structuring her latest challenge this way, focusing on fitness instead of dieting! And I've been wanting to race at least once per quarter in the coming year, so this is a good tie-in for my Q1 2009 goal.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Day 3: Meat, Potatoes, Gravy, and MacGyver

What do those have to do with “7 Days of Fitness and Fun” promised by my trial offer of the gym? Read on for the report of last Friday's gym day:

I arrived at the gym with only 10 minutes before my free assessment with the personal trainer. I hopped up on the treadmill and put it through its incline paces. I thought I glimpsed a co-worker behind a newspaper on the way to the locker room, and found out later that yes, I had indeed. Said coworker informed me that we have a pretty good corporate rate. If said rate is still the going one, I really have no excuse to not join--if I want to. (Side note: Yes, Microsoft Word: I AM an English major who boldly splits infinitives when I darn well please.) Heck, if it keeps me out of Whole Foods at lunch time, we might end up saving some real money here.

Free Assessment with the Personal Trainer

"You know what they say about free get what you pay for.” - Red Green, The Red Green Show

"The first and greatest commandment is: Don't let them scare you." - Elmer Davis
(This was, incidentally, Monday's randomly-received quote from a tea bag...whether one should consider randomly-received quotes from tea bags as messages from the universe is really outside the scope of this entry, but hey, comment away!)

I think the trainer and I both felt somewhat deflated by the session: he did not get a wealthy new client who wanted to spend some serious money on personal training. I did not get much in the way of concrete advice. For both of us, it consumed an hour of our time that we both undoubtedly could have spent on other things.

The meeting: I showed him what I've accomplished so far (10 minutes). He did his sales pitch, cleverly disguised as conversation about me and my goals (40 minutes). I have a pretty big aversion to sales pitches, even if I did have the money to spend on working with a personal trainer. (From the range he quoted for personal trainer, the 5-6 sessions he said people did as a start would cost AT LEAST nearly as much as a full year of membership at the gym. I know which one my Frugal Half would say is the better deal.) I'm not even sure I need a gym to reach my goals, and what I heard was that even the gym by itself is not effective to reaching fitness goals. We concluded with taking measurements and calculating body composition and fat-burning target heart rate numbers (10 minutes).

He was persuasive, in that he cited a lot of things that are near and dear to fitness bloggers I admire: core strength is king, strength training is highly effective for fat loss and fitness, you do not need to be reliant on the machines and can create an effective workout with free weights (and a medicine ball and some other ball thing I forget the name of), fat burning target heart rate is different from a cardio target heart rate, and a good trainer is gold. Salesy-feeling aside, I have a hunch that he might be one of the good ones.

I have NO doubt that if you have the resources and want professional help in developing your physical fitness, a GOOD personal trainer would be highly effective. (Of course, I also held that opinion before the meeting, so nothing new there.)

That said....

What I felt I got: Small potatoes.

- Fat-burning target heart rate. (I confirmed Mr. Handsome-and-Handy's comment: yes, there are calculators online that do this. The effective ones will prompt for your age AND resting heart rate, FYI.)

- Body comp numbers. Starting goal: decrease by 3%.

- Instructions for how the core should feel when it's activated, and advice to not sit with my back to the foot of the couch when doing seated exercises.

- Observation of what I do for strength, without the weights.

What I didn't get but hoped for: More meat.

- Getting out on the floor with weights and confirming that I doing my set of existing exercises properly. (When I asked why I was not feeling anything in my triceps when doing a seated tricep extension, he said that was not a very effective tricep exercise. Of course, the thing to do next would have been to say the *polite* equivalent of, "Well, throw me a fricken' bone here: what should I be doing instead?")

- Freebie-quality sample starting program for the beginner. Could even have been a paper handout.

- More specifics about how to achieve the body comp goal; not even a "keep doing what you're doing."

I felt unsure about writing about this experience because I found myself feeling defensive, and a bit deflated afterwards. And when I start feeling that way, I know it's time to get quiet in myself, sit with my discomfort, and think before I write. Or at least write a bit and edit extensively later.

Thoughts that ran through my mind:

- Why did I feel disappointed? Were my expectations realistic for a free assessment?

- Were I to join the gym, would it be totally worthless without a personal trainer? Or, I guess a better question is, if I spend the money and use the gym, will I achieve better results than being consistent with my workouts on my own? I can see that if one joins but does not *use* the gym consistently, one will not reach one's goals, but I'm not convinced that the gym is totally ineffective if used. It's like any other tool for fitness.

- Why am I questioning my ability to find my own way...when I feel like I've done pretty well so far? Is my ego getting in the way of a fair assessment of the experience? That is, do I feel deflated because my ability to research and create my own workouts was challenged? If so, why? I'm seeing demonstrative results in my health. Do I have an unrealistic fear of the "plateau" predicted by the trainer if I did not change up my routine every 8-12 weeks? Or was the ego-sting/uncertainty more to do with the fact that I cannot afford both gym and trainer, and I disagreed with a fitness professional about which would provide the better value for me over the coming year?

So, when I feel muddled, I often turn to a good friend. Fortunately, I have an athletic tech writer pal who is only an IM away. Whether I agree or disagree with his opinions (yes, he's always this blunt), he often has some insights for me:

Me: "What's your opinion of personal trainers? I had a free assessment with one at the gym the other day. I'm writing about the experience, and I'm feeling kind of muddled."

Friend: "I think they are pretty much pure profit for the gym, just like extended warranties at Circuit City or Best Buy. Unless you really don't know what you're doing, I don't see them as a big help; you're better off usually finding a friend and teaming up. Or if you really want to learn, see if the community college offers any sort of evening weightlifting class."

Me: "Oh, that's a good idea. That's the main area where I'm somewhat ignorant: strength training. I've read up a bit on it, and I have some exercise that I do with my hand weights, but I may unknowingly making mistakes in form. I take it slow and haven't felt like I'm injuring anything, so I figure I'm doing okay with it."

Friend: "Well, the good thing about the gym is that the machines, unlike free weights, are pretty much all designed to put you in the right form....Hey, look what's featured on jatbar's front page today!" (Yes, he is also a Net magpie.)

Me [after detouring to read their review of Harry's Hoffbrau]: "Yeah, baby! I sure do agree with their assessment."

And this of course reminds me of a long-ago visit to the Redwood City Harry's with Mr. Handsome-and-Handy. A trainee was filling our plates with all the good stuff and topping it off with a seemingly good-sized dollop of gravy. A long-time employee came over and coached him: "Hey, that's not enough gravy! Give 'em a little more!" And he grabs the label and brings on the veritable gravy tsunami. Who were we to argue with the voice of experience? Definitely time to trust the expert. (Just citing my mindset of way-back-then, of course. Gravy tsunamis are no longer on my menu. I still adore Harry's, though; like many places, it is possible go healthy when dining there.)

Locker Room Redux

Following the meeting, I headed to the locker room. Dang! I forgot my shower shoes. No WAY am I going in there barefooted, even though it is probably the cleanest public shower I have ever used. What to do...what to do...AHAH! I grabbed a couple of plastic bags off the roll (thank heaven for a well-equipped locker room), and a couple of twists and knots later, I have a pair of dandy foot covers. And thank goodness: it would've been a royal pain to dry out my running shoes before Monday. MacGyver would be proud, although he probably could have whipped up the perfect running shoe dryer out of 5 paper clips, 2 Popsicle sticks, and a rubber band.

Luck, Bad and Good

Unfortunately, Mr. Handsome-and-Handy received his shipment of a sentimental favorite food: Better Maid Potato Chips, both regular and BBQ flavored. He totally busts tail taking care of kids and home and is generally frugal to the extreme, so I didn't tease him about the shipping costing about 5 cents more than the chips themselves. Salt and crunch, exactly what one wants on a Friday night.

Fortunately, 1 oz. = 15 gram carb, and I had presence of mind to use the scale to measure out a portion.

Unfortunately, my cold peaked on Saturday: I had no sense of taste by dinner time.

Fortunately, dinner was take-out from Popeye's chicken after a big romp at Rancho Sempre Verde Tree Farm. We have an artificial tree, since Mr. Handsome-and-Handy breaks out in a rash after wrestling Christmas trees. But RSV has wreath making with these wicked wreath crimping devices, a big bonfire and free marshmallows for toasting, and crazy swings (tire and old-fashioned plank & rope) hanging from the trees all around the farm. Awesome place to spend the afternoon. So...what was the fortunate part about dinner? I could not taste the crunchy, golden, spicy/salty crust. So I stripped it off after a few bites confirmed that no, I was not going to get any flavor satisfaction there. Later, I dished out some low carb chocolate ice cream...only to toss the rest after a couple of bites.

Unfortunately: Return of the taste buds the next morning. I ate a fairly large breakfast.

Fortunately: I was on my feet much of the afternoon at a kids' birthday party, playing pirates with Thing 1 and Thing 2 for much of it. I'm just as glad they avoided the jump house, because there were over a dozen young toughs in there playing "kickboxing arena."

Unfortunately: There were Kettle Chips...and no scale to weigh out a portion. Why-o-why did I think I could eat just one?

Fortunately: I'm pretty sure I didn't eat too many. I think the veggie tray:chip ratio was about 5:1. And I didn't touch the pizza.

So while it wasn't a perfect weekend from the health standpoint, it leaned to the "Fortunately" category: Blood sugars stayed in an acceptable range, I moved around a lot, and there was no gain over the weekend.

P.S. - Mr. Handsome-and-Handy tried something that sounded weird but ended up tasting good, especially if you enjoy mixing soy sauce and wasabi at the sushi place. He mixed reduced-salt soy sauce with horseradish and used it as steak dipping sauce. Taaaaaasty!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Web album of my progress to date

I've created a web album with my progress to date. (Click the link to view it.) It shows overall starting, at the beginning of Baby Tea Leaves' "Hot for the Holidays" challenge, and at the finish of the challenge (which is just past my halfway-to-goal point). I'll be updating this periodically.

Friday, December 5, 2008


[This is the second day of my "7 Days of Fitness and Fun" free trial offer at the gym next door to my workplace. Day 2 was actually yesterday. Day 3 was today...and I'm still figuring out how I felt about it. The "7 Days of Fitness and Fun" will actually be only 5 for me, because the gym is too far from my house to go on the weekend. Hope no one feels short changed...]

The other day, I let SeaBreeze know that YES! I had set not just one, but TWO feet into the gym...and hadn't run out screaming. I walked out calmly, with slightly damp hair, following a pleasant spin on the recumbent bicycle. I told her that I was considering a class.

What gym assessment would be complete without sampling from the veritable banquet of classes? Who knew, for example, that there are at least 7 styles of Hatha Yoga alone, mixed and matched per the instructor's style? Not this former couch 'tater. Capoeira? Zumba? Did you know that you could BODYPUMP, BODYSTEP, and...BODYATTACK?


Me (asked more rhetorically than anything else; I knew she was screamingly busy): "Hmmm...spin at lunch or...'Body Attack'...? Sounds kind of scary, doesn't it?"

SeaBreeze: "If you take spinning at lunch be prepared to be VERY sweaty. I would recommend Body Attack because it will likely include weights as well."

Although, from the brochure of class descriptions, it sounded like "Body Attack" was also in the "VERY sweaty" category....

"BODYATTACK: Les Mill's high impact cardio format. Bounce off the wall athletic, continuous motion, high calorie burner. Call in the towel crew...its [sic; no, my editing mode does not have an off switch] going to get wet and wild."

Oh yes, people, there was sweat a-plenty. "Bounce" was also the operative word for this class...and not exactly the way the designer intended. Various floppy bits going one way, arms and legs flailing the other way...curious sensation at this speed.

But otherwise, I really got into the class. It was 60 minutes, and it didn't feel overly long at all. Fun music, of which I recognized some of the original pieces mixed in (which probably predated many of the participants' births). There was also much more room to jump than the tiny space in our living room, even with a full class. The instructor was exactly what I remembered of aerobics instructors: slender, no floppy bits, and perky. I liked the way she showed alternate moves (of varying intensity) for the different routines, although I felt I kept up intensity pretty well. (Back in the days when I used to take classes, there was only one speed: HIGH IMPACT, whether your floppy bits liked it or not.) Like at home, I find it hard to consistently move in the correct direction with the rest of the class at times. To my credit, I checked side and rear-view mirrors at all times, and "BODYATTACK" didn't take on any unfortunate connotations.

One thing I noticed, and this happens in workout videos, too: the instructor's exhortations to the group. Sometimes it seems effective, at other times it seems kind of contrived. I think this instructor did it pretty well, although if you wanted to lurk in the back, this was not the class...she kept us moving all over the room and was high-fiving people constantly. Is the verbal stuff taught as part of the instructor training, or is it spontaneous?

The weirdest part was the "fishbowl effect" of the studio being downstairs and pretty much ALL windows. Who knows how many coworkers walked by and saw the tech writer shakin' her cosmic thang. What I also noticed later in the class, when I was too swept up to care, was that ALL the machines along the glass wall facing the studio were full. Of men. Eh, who can blame 'em? ;-)

We ran, we kicked, we bounced, we "superman'd"...we did a little arms and a little abs...more bouncing and dashing around...a bit of stretching, and we were done.

I felt like the time spent with workout videos had prepared me well for classes at the gym. As did the running, endurance-wise. I also learned to not let a ferocious-sounding title discouraging me from trying a class.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Day 1 of "7 Days of Fitness and Fun"

Or, "Fear Factor: The Gym Edition"

(Dedicated to MizFit and SeaBreeze, my MizFit's Bumbling Band motivational buddy. Yes, I did it!)

Stunt 1: Presenting the Coupon
Last night after work, I marched myself next door to Gold's Gym (yes, it's literally next door to my workplace) and presented the coupon for my FREE "7 Days of Fitness and Fun."

Gold's Gym is quite the amazing place. It's intense. And not a little intimidating. There are 3 studios: cardio, spin, and pilates/yoga. There are large, complicated, scary-looking machines. There are weights. There are mirrors. There are large-screen TVs with suggestive music videos. And there are serious fitness people there.

The front desk staff kindly recommended redeeming said coupon on the first day I wanted to work out. I told them that yes, tomorrow would be better, and did I need to schedule an appointment or anything? Nope, just c'mon in. Great!

So I prepared my kit and (thanks to tuning into Bumbling Band commentary on I-forget-which-thread) included a hand towel for wiping down equipment. I forgot flip-flops for the shower, so popped into the drugstore on the way into work. Salubriously, the last pair of summer flip-flops were in MY size. Why do coincidences often feel so contrived?

At lunchtime today, I once again marched over and presented coupon. Got a tour from a nice staff member named Joey. The trial offer included a personal trainer session, so I met one of their trainers (Dave) and have a session scheduled for Friday morning. He seemed nice, a fellow coastal resident like myself. I didn't have a lot of questions yet, but I'm sure I'll get some assembled by Friday. It sounded like he helps people figure out a good program for them, and he's one that specializes in basic newbie training programs, so I'm hopeful it will go well. I'm pretty sure they don't want to scare anyone away.

So far, so good. No one asked where I summered or told me that I could not order the duck. (References from one of my all-time favorite movies, L.A. Story, if you didn't recognize them.)

Stunt 2: The Workout
On to the locker room. Not crowded. No mean girls from Jr. High School up in there. The coast was clear. And yeay, they had some coin-locks! I didn't need to worry about anyone swiping my ever-so-fashionable work clothes. (*guffaw*) I changed and headed onto the floor.

Ohhhhh my gahd. Which of these scary-looking machines could I figure out to do a quick workout? Ah, some recumbent bikes. (I did a long run this morning, so I wasn't in the mood for anything too intense yet, and tomorrow is my strength day.) I hopped on and figured out how to get a 30 minute fat-burning workout started. Nice! I pedaled and pedaled. I liked the heart rate feedback. I think I might have done something wrong, because it said it would increase resistance to help me make my target heart rate, and I felt almost no resistance at all. I felt like I was going to take flight at times...probably would have if the pedals had been attached to rotors. Oh well, I'll ask about that on Friday, I guess.

Stunt 3: Showering in The Locker Room.
I'll save you the TMI body anxiety issue details. It was a little more crowded. And why did the towel hangers get placed so far from the shower stall? Ack! But everyone seemed to be mostly interested in their own business or in Martha and her guest gilding acorns on TV. So, with the chant "I am a growna-- woman...I am a growna-- woman" pounding in my brain, I accomplished the final stunt.

I emerged from the gym (after finding the "Out" turnstile)...heart still galumphing a bit, but standing a little taller, and about 160 calories lighter.

More later....

Monday, December 1, 2008

Weekly Update, 12/2/08 and Post-Holiday Ramble

Overall, I consider last week a success, even though I didn't meet all my goals. Funny, I didn't find Thanksgiving terribly challenging (although I sure found it hard to stop eating bits of the Lacey toffee cookies). It was the days after that were more challenging. We kept pretty busy over the weekend, but Friday? It was hard to not snack. I did pretty well with sticking to lower carb foods, but too often those looked more like nuts and salami vs. carrots and celery. Luckily we were pretty active.

It was also a time of surprises....

Surprise #1: Mr. Handsome-and-Handy went for a run on Saturday. He's been working on losing some weight before starting exercise, due to a knee injury many years ago. But I guess he felt ready, or maybe starting on his birthday felt auspicious, because he announced, "I'm going for a run!" and out he went. He ran, starting cold, the same distance in 15 minutes that it usually takes me about 17 minutes to run...but then his knee went wonky on him and he had to stop. I did tell him that I found doing intervals very effective for me when getting started...*sigh* But it looks like I'll have some competition at the Pumpkin Run next year!

Here's surprise #2: When at our host's place at Thanksgiving, our cookies were in the garage. When I went to fetch them, I had a sudden attack of home gym envy: There was a big ol' punching bag mounted to the ceiling, a weight bench, and weights. I gave the bag a few punches. Should I be disturbed that it felt really satisfying to do that? Then, later that weekend, Mr. Handsome-and-Handy mentioned that our brother and sister-in-law were looking to sell their recumbent exercise bike...were we interested? "Oh, yeah!!!" I exclaimed...then remembered how little space we have in our 960 square foot house. I guess there's always the garage. I think that it would be great, too, for Mr. Handsome-and-Handy and his knee.

Surprise #3: the big burrito. On Saturday evening, I picked up some taqueria food on the way home from the park. Mr. Handsome-and-Handy wasn't feeling so hot by the evening, though; he just picked at his nachos. So I ate most of those (scraped the toppings off most of the chips); my big al pastor burrito (except for about 4 ounces of it) waited for Monday. I plopped it up on the food scale. 19 ounces!!! Oh my. Looks like I wouldn't be knocking off the rest at lunch that day. To think I used to eat the WHOLE THING in one sitting. Wow. So I ended up eating the whole thing...all day long, divided across morning snack, lunch, and dinner. Happily, Mexican food does not spike me, and it was a nice treat. I think next time, though, I'll cut it up and freeze it in portions.

Progress last week:
7-day blood glucose average: 104 (met goal of 120 or lower)
Fasting blood glucose: 6 of the last 7 days were less than 120; average was 110. (missed goal of 100% FBGs below 120, but on average was below 120. No, the exception wasn't the big burrito. I ate a large, just-baked chocolate chip cookie and 1/2 cup of milk on Tuesday evening, which is probably why the a.m. number was up the next morning.)
Weight: -2 pounds (met goal of maintain or lose)
Food: 4 meatless low-fat, 1 fish meal. 6 of 7 meals eaten before 7 p.m., and the one meal was light. (missed fish meal goal by one meal)
Exercise: 30+ minutes cardio 4 days and 15 minutes 1 day, including 3 runs; 2 days of arms and abs strength training (met cardio goals all days except one, and missed by 15 minutes that day; missed arms & abs goal by 1 workout)
Misc: Met sleep goal of 7 or more hours/night all nights except last night. Not that I got to bed earlier, but we did a lot of sleeping in during the holiday.

Goals for this week:
7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or lose.
Food goals: 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals. Lighter eating if dinner is after 7 p.m.
Exercise goals: At least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days; 3 days of arms & abs strength training workouts; do at least 3 runs (weather-permitting).
Misc. goals: 7 or more hours sleep/night AND talk to the nice folks at Gold's Gym about using the one week free pass they stuck on my car.

Happy December!

Wow, it's December 1st already! I can hardly believe it. What's even more amazing? We mailed nearly all of our holiday cards this morning!!! We still have a little shopping and baking and shipping to do, but it's nice to have the cards out of the way.

I'll give the full status tomorrow, but I feel like I did pretty well during the Thanksgiving holiday. I did loosen up on the weighing and measuring, and I ate a bit more than usual, but we were also much more active than years past. I worked out on Thanksgiving morning during a slow half hour, spent much of Thanksgiving on my feet (playing ping-pong with the kids, chasing balls up and down the deck stairs, standing around and mingling), didn't overdo the main dinner (and relished every bite!), did my usual run on Friday, and took the kids on park outings on Saturday and Sunday.

So...Christmas in "one"derland? Looking more possible every day....


I entered the Mary Lou's Weigh Platform Giveaway!

Check out Roni’s Weight Loss Blog for more information.

P.P.S. New month, new photo. No mai tai in hand or lei around the neck...but still lots of great stuff to smile about!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Just wanted to wish anyone cruising by the blog a very Happy Thanksgiving!

My blogroll is the "virtual" portion of my gratitude board. I'm truly grateful for the accountability and inspiration I receive daily from the fitness/weight loss and diabetes blogging communities. I receive this from both the bloggers and commenters on the blogs I follow and the people who offer comments and encouragement on my own. THANK YOU!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shout out for "Astronomy Picture of the Day"

Don't know how many of you follow the exceedingly cool "Astronomy Picture of the Day" site, but today's is thrilling: "Fireball over Edmonton". We read about it over the weekend, but this!

Kind of makes me think twice about going outside to view the Geminids this year....

Weekly Update & Monthly Measure

First of all, a hearty WOO HOO for passing the halfway-to-goal-weight milestone!

I'm also happy that the pants I bought the other week that were just a wee too tight are now fitting well. Snug, but in a good way. They'll be a good reminder to take it easy on Turkey Day.

The last Tuesday in the month is my "monthly measure" day. After last month's yawner, I'm happy to report some progress:
Bust (cross the "girls"): -0.5" (-7.5" total)
Bust (cross the ribcage): -1" (-7" total)
Waist: -0.5" (-5.5" total)
Hips: -1.5" (-6" total)
Thighs: No change (-1" total)
It's interesting that results from my little experiment are holding up over time as well, including the corollary in the comments....

Progress this week:
7-day blood glucose average: 106 (met goal of 120 or lower)
Fasting blood glucose: 6 of the last 7 days were less than 120; average was 115. (missed goal of 100% FBGs below 120, but on average was below 120)
Weight: -3 pounds (met goal of maintain or lose)
Food: 8 meatless low-fat, 3 fish meals. (met goal)
Exercise: 30+ minutes cardio 5 days, including 3 runs; 2 days of arms and abs strength training (met cardio goals; missed abs on one of the strength workouts)
Misc: Met sleep goal of 7 or more hours/night all nights except last night. (yawn!)

Goals for next week:
7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or lose.
Food goals: 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals. Lighter eating if dinner is after 7 p.m.
Exercise goals: At least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days; 3 days of arms & abs strength training workouts; do at least 3 runs (weather-permitting).
Misc. goals: 7 or more hours sleep/night.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mind games and superstitions

The weight loss mind games are difficult. Why does it always seem harder when you get close to a "decade" number or a milestone number? After reading MizFit today ("What the (bleep) do we know?"), I'm thinking that maybe even thinking that thought is leading to some sort of self-sabbotage. Not to be overly dramatic about it. *cough* Not me. ;-)

And then there are the superstitions. Mine seem to center around clothes. Am I finally achieving success because I got rid of the last of all my old clothes last summer? When do I "give up" my loose clothes? Did my buying slightly-too-tight pants to wear for Thanksgiving as a reminder to not overdo things cause me to bob around my halfway point vs. surging down the scale?

I must say, just writing that helped me realize how bizzaro this line of thinking can be! ;-) I have not ruled out the possibility that this is PMS-thinking and can be recognized as such and then gently let go.

What superstitions about weight loss do you have, if any? How do you overcome them?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Quotable Friday: Annoyingly Cheerful Quotes

Well, it's Friday again, and I've neglected the usual feature for long enough. Today is about annoyingly cheerful quotes...ones that I like, anyway. Do you have any to share? Please, do!

Actually, I couldn't find very many off the top of my head. Here's the one from my Good Earth tea bag that made me think of looking for annoyingly cheerful quotes:
"A pound of pluck is worth a ton of luck." ~ James Garfield
This sounded kind of funny-but-painful to me. I guess I do have a mean streak after all...
"Optimism is the cheerful frame of mind that enables a teakettle to sing, though in hot water up to its nose." ~unknown
And finally, this one might just be plain annoying, since true; for some reason I kept it around in a folder full of old Dilbert clippings. Applicable for both running and writing:
"Never mistake a clear view for a short distance." ~ unknown
Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

If You've Had Gestational Diabetes, Please Read

If, like me, you've had gestational diabetes, please read Jenny Ruhl's latest article, "Myth Busters: Gestational Diabetes Is Indeed Real Diabetes." Whether you believe the article or no, she offers a compelling argument (convinced me!) and good advice for post-pregnancy follow-up.

If I had known after my first pregnancy what I know now, I guess I would still be doomed (at least 50% chance of doom, anyhow) to develop diabetes. But I would have saved my poor pancreas years of some serious abuse.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Holiday Card Photos, Exercise, and Weekly Update

Greetings! We had the most strange and wonderful weather lately: clear days and temps in the mid-70s! It was downright balmy by the coast this past weekend, so we did our holiday card photos at the beach. Things 1 & 2 romped around in swim suits, but the icy ocean water (and dearth of palm trees) reminded us that no, we had not been magically transported to Hawaii. Then--WHOMP!--today we're back to the fog and cold.

When we looked at the photos later, I felt pretty darn happy, and not just because we were all looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. (My Mr. Handsome-and-Handy tends to look tense in photos, but even his smile was looking sincere.) I'm not quite halfway to goal, and I still have the "obese" BMI label, but I was happy to be looking much healthier in our family photos. I was especially tickled by a little bit of definition in my forearm that didn't used to be there.

It made me glad that I overcame my resistance to exercise and work on fitness as well as fat loss. The whole body change thing is a fascinating process overall. Sure, some parts are, alas, looking a bit "deflated" when I do the full mirror check (loose skin in the neck...what is happening to my inner thighs?!?! and--*sigh*--the poor girls). Some parts still need a lot of work (tummy? nothin' new there). But some parts are looking stronger and better (go arms and legs!).

I've been seeing a lot of "exercise doesn't help weight loss" articles lately. That has not yet been my experience; although, sure, if I respond to increased appetite, it tends to slow my loss. But I like what it does for me: Improves my blood glucose control. Makes me feel good physically. And the label "runner" or "athlete" sure as heck takes the sting out of the label "obese."

So, for progress this week, I'm absolutely delighted by my blood glucose numbers. This is the FIRST week that I have had ALL my fasting numbers below 120!!! Woo HOOO!!! On the weight side, I maintained. I'm finding that this whole process is like rehearsing maintenance, because this is the process for the rest of my life: the process of being aware, of analyzing what's working now and figuring out what needs to change to get to where I want to be. Of balancing the slips (um...last night's nut-binge comes to mind) with doing better at the very next meal. (Flax bread french toast with sugar-free jam & almond butter and a side of non-fat cottage cheese, anyone?)

Progress this week:
7-day blood glucose average: 112 (met goal of 120 or lower)
Fasting blood glucose: 100% of the last 7 days were less than 120; average was 111. (met goal of below 120)
Weight: Maintained (met goal of maintain or lose)
Food: 4 meatless low-fat, 3 fish meals. (met goal)
Exercise: 30+ minutes cardio 5 days, including 3 runs; 2 days of arms and abs strength training (met cardio goals; missed strength by one workout)
Misc: Whoops. I forgot to track my sleep, but I felt pretty well-rested and it did not impact blood glucose levels.

Goals for next week:
7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or lose.
Food goals: 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals. Lighter eating if dinner is after 7 p.m.
Exercise goals: At least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days; 3 days of arms & abs strength training workouts; do at least 3 runs (weather-permitting).
Misc. goals: 7 or more hours sleep/night (which means being in bed before 10 p.m.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

World Diabetes Day Linkfest

If you see a landmark building lit up in blue, or see someone wearing blue today, or think "Hmm...I've been hearing a lot about diabetes on the radio lately," wonder no more: Today is World Diabetes Day.

I wasn't sure what to write today. I'm sure there will be a lot of great awareness info out there.'s hard to go wrong with a linkfest! Here are some favorites:

Diabetes etiquette tips for people without diabetes
A guide to what is and is not helpful for interacting with your friends and family who have diabetes, from the Behavioral Diabetes Institute.

A good general resource with lots of articles. My pal Travis from Tu Diabetes contributes articles for this site.

UCSF's Diabetes Teaching Center
Online education for people with diabetes. If you have a friend or loved one with computer access but who does not have access to a diabetes educator, this is a terrific first resource!

Blood Sugar 101
Excellent resource, lots of information. I think this web site saved my life. Also has a handy Blood Glucose/a1c calculator.

Tu Diabetes
A social networking site for people with all types of diabetes. It's a good community for not feeling quite so alone with the disease.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thanksgiving Stuffing Remembered

[WARNING: Do not read if the mention of a certain fast food establishment resembling a pale fortress induces in your person a response of the "Harold and Kumar" variety...which probably does not include readers of this blog. Whew! I'm off the hook!]

All the healthy alternative recipes for holiday favorites I'm seeing online (yeah!) made me remember a Thanksgiving dish of the most opposite kind....

My Mr. Handsome-and-Handy was born and raised in Michigan, and like about 47.5% of the state's population, migrated to California in his 20s, as did his brother. (Which actually works out to more like 33.3%, if his family is any indication of the trend. This also explains all the Red Wings jerseys we used to see at San Jose Sharks hockey games, and maybe why my dad was always partial to UCLA even though he never went to college there...but I digress.)

Anyhow, his relatives send little poignant reminders of home every now and then: pictures of the snow piling up in his college town of Houghton, Red Wings apparel...and banners...and newspaper clippings, links to the "I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas" song, and the like.

One year, one of his sisters sent us a newspaper ad. It featured coupons for White Castle hamburgers (the frozen food case ones...which is kind of baffling: why would anyone in the Midwest buy the frozen ones when you can get the real thing?). It also featured a recipe for White Castle Turkey Stuffing.

"This is CLASSIC!" I exclaimed. "We'll have to take this ad to your brother's Thanksgiving get-together."
"Why just the ad?" queried my husband.

Why indeed. While more bankrupt than Enron nutritionally (or perhaps this...Velveeta AND White Castles???), it tasted pretty good. The frozen White Castles don't have mustard or pickles on them, so it's just meat, white bread, and tiny minced onions, not exactly novel ingredients for stuffing. Oysters in stuffing, on the other hand...what's up with that?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Weekly Update

First off, Veterans Day greetings. If you have served in the military, are serving, or are the supportive family member of a man or woman in service: you have my heartfelt thanks.

So...time for another weekly update! I'm pleased with the week's progress, even though it did derail somewhat on Friday. I had a doctor's appointment on Thursday and got my flu shot and my tetanus booster. (Otherwise, all is well. My doctor was happy about numbers; she advised that if the holidays got too challenging and my fasting were going up, we had some leeway to increase my metformin dosage, but she thought I was doing fine as-is. I go back in January for next a1c and cholesterol testing.) Not sure if it was a reaction to the shots, or something else, but WHAM! I was wiped out on Friday and ended up staying home and laying around and sleeping. (Not exactly the opposite I'd wanted or planned, but I rolled with it and was fine by the end of the weekend.)

And today, I indulged in a nice bike ride for my morning workout, riding along our coastal trail, since Thing 1's school is on holiday and we didn't need to do the whole morning routine. I haven't been able to do that since the early fall, before the mornings started getting so dark, and it was a great treat.

Progress this week:
7-day blood glucose average: 111 [met goal]; had only one fasting blood glucose at 122 [almost met goal].
Weight: -3 pounds (59 total) [met goal]
Food: 5 meatless low-fat meals and 2 fish meals. [met goal]
Exercise: 4 days of 30+ minutes (and only two runs), 2 arms & abs strength training workout [did not meet goal].
Being sick on Friday and hurt arm from tetanus booster did not help at all [did not meet goal].
Sleep: Met goal of 7 hours/night only one night, but sure made up for it on Friday!

Goals for next week:
7-day blood glucose average goal: <= 120, with morning numbers <120.
Weight goal: Maintain or lose.
Food goals: 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals. Lighter eating if dinner is after 7 p.m.
Exercise goals: At least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days; 3 days of arms & abs strength training workouts; do at least 3 runs (weather-permitting).
Misc. goals: 7 or more hours sleep/night (which means being in bed before 10 p.m.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Weekly Update

Time for the weekly update! (I've changed the title of my usual Tuesday post to not be quite so scale-focused. I really want this to be more about overall good health.)

I guess I overreacted a bit last week with my setback, but it did make me more aware of some of the things I wasn't doing well. So I'm delighted by this week's progress...although a little bewildered, because I took it a bit easier activity-wise than previous weeks. The lesson, I guess, is that it's okay for me to aim for "moderation in ALL things." I'm finding, though, that with fitness, it's hard to not get swept into the "more intensity is better" frame of mind. I do know that yesterday morning, running felt good again, so perhaps cross-training is the way I should go. I'm sure that it being lighter in the mornings again helps; I was out running during the most beautiful sunrise yesterday.

Progress this week:
7-day blood glucose average: 109, but had 2 mornings >=120 (90-day average is now 125! My eventual goal is to get and maintain my a1c below 6%; in diabetes circles, this is known as "being in the 5% club.")
Weight: -4 pounds (56 total)
Food: 5 meatless low-fat meals and 2 fish meals.
Exercise: 2 days of 70 minutes cardio; 2 days with 30+ minutes cardio and 1 day with 20 minutes cardio (tap lesson DVD :-). 3 arms & abs strength training workouts. Halloween was an active rest day: I was on my feet a lot that day, which I think helped. For some of the cardio, I tried 2 new workout videos via Netflix. (Love the Roku box; it enables me to watch things from our "instant watch" list on the TV.)
Misc: Went to sleep early one night. Rest seems to help with the morning fasting glucose numbers. And I've noticed they are always lower on the weekends...go figure!

Goals for next week:
7-day blood glucose average goal: <= 120, with morning numbers <120.
Weight goal: Same or less
Food goals: 3 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals. Lighter eating if dinner is after 7 p.m. (Meaty dinners after 7 p.m. or snacks after dinner seem to bump up the morning fasting blood glucose levels.)
Exercise goals: At least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days; 3 days of arms & abs strength training workouts; try a new workout video one of the mornings; do at least 3 runs (weather-permitting).
Misc. goals: 7 or more hours sleep/night (which means being in bed before 10 p.m.)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween and The Secret to Cutting Oneself Off the Candy

No "quotable Friday" last week; I was immersed in Halloween stuff! I took the day off so that I could help out with the kids' school festivities, do pumpkin carving, and not be too burned out from the commute to enjoy the evening. I might do that again next year...whatever day ends up being the day of the school festivities, anyway. Had a blast at Thing 2's preschool: cute costumes, parade, all the good stuff. Mr. Handsome and Handy helped out at Thing 1's school (which I covered last year). Next year they'll be at the same school, so that will go a little easier.

With all the fun day stuff, though, they were kind of wiped out for trick-or-treating. We were out only about 45 minutes or so, and they were done.

Me: "Kids, the night is young! It's a FRIDAY! We can keep going, c'mon!"
Them: "Nah, we just want to go home and eat our candy."
Me: "Well, let's go over to aunt & uncle's house! They give out full-size bars and hardly get any trick-or-treaters!"
Them: "Meh."
(Although I did convince Thing 2 to go, then to cruise around and look at decorations with me for a little while.)

Kids these days, I tell ya...half-full buckets? I would have filled that sucker up and stayed out as long as possible. Full-size bars were the stuff of Halloween legend back in the day. And mine dislike all candy with nuts or caramel or nougat in them, they just like the fruit-flavored candies, gum, and plain chocolate. No Reeses? No Snickers? No Butterfinger, Milky Way, Baby Ruth, or Three Musketeers? *sigh*...Mr. Handsome and Handy happily dispatched the Reeses and Snickers. I budgeted carbs for 2 frozen minis on Saturday and 2 frozen minis and 1 frozen fun-size on Sunday...and the blood sugar was well within range. Yeay! And the rest of the candy rejects are in the work breakroom. I think it helped, too, that I was pretty busy most of the weekend and that I worked out on Saturday evening to the 10 Minute Solutions "Kickboxing Bootcamp" (did all 5) and got in about 15 minutes of Crunch Salsa workout, both on Netflix instant viewing. Liked them both, but I especially liked the Kickboxing one...the dance ones make me feel a bit clumsy.

Oh, yes! I promised something amazing!


Are you ready for it?

Are you sure?


Okay, okay, here it is......


.....more drumroll.....

.....cymbal flourishes and a few bangs on the cowbell.....

Dearest readers, I am delighted to share with you today....


Here it is: Make an appointment with the dentist for some item of major dental work the closest available day after Halloween...or possibly even the morning of Halloween if you want to avoid the candy altogether. While I didn't do it on purpose this time, I'm realizing the true genius of this coincidence now, as I nurse a sore jaw from part 1 of a crown procedure. With said procedure, I'm wearing a temporary tooth, and this does not allow for sticky or hard foods. NO problem there, since even lunch doesn't sound too appealing right now....

Hope everyone enjoyed a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Weekly weigh-in: -52

Yes, oh observant ones, that *is* up a pound from last week. (I knew this accountability business would come back to bite me in the posterior....)

"Okay," I thought to myself. "Monthly measure is here! Let's get a little non-scale victory dancing going on!" Hmmm...1.5 inches off "the girls," but waist and hips were exactly the same as last month.

Well, yes, in fact, that DOES suck. But what messages from the universe have I been getting lately? Mr. Deepak Chopra was saying something just the other day in the CD I was listening to about detachment: be deeply involved in the actions, but let go of the outcome. And that we don't always get what we want right away. Which means, to me, do the right things and trust that the best result will happen in time. I think part of the message, too, was in Lynn Haraldson-Bering's article "The Dichotomy of Snow and Maintenance" over on Refuse to Regain the other day. Weird as it is to think about, I might be nostalgic about this process someday. Even when the process is looking right now something like the Tibetan Plateau. (My, my, my: talk about a coincidence that feels contrived! I had no idea when I Googled "world's largest plateau" that THAT would be the result! ;-)

So: sticking to the plan....

The plan looks like doing strength training at least 2 days per week. I hadn't done any for an entire week and didn't feel like doing any last night...but I did it. I'm still doing at least a half hour of running in the morning, and getting at least 2 lunch walks in per week. I wish it all didn't feel like such a forced march lately, though. As they say in the Dr. Seuss classic "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish":
Here are some
who like to run.
They run for fun
in the hot, hot sun.
Well, it's been really, really dark when I'm running. And damp. And cold. Maybe that cuts into the fun factor a bit. I also need to sign up for another race; this might be post-race letdown. (Seabreeze, is that a myth, or does it really happen?)

On the food front, I need to keep the following in mind: Just because it's good for me, and doesn't spike me, doesn't mean I need to eat a whole bunch. As Lyn said today over on Escape from Obesity, every bite counts. So...Almonds? Pistachios? Other salty seed/nut kindred? Yeah, that's right, I'm talkin' to YOU! You're NOT goin' DOWN! (The hatch, that least not as often. I got some plain walnuts, which don't seem to trigger.)

The plan also looks like is more broth when I'm craving something salty or want to munch after dinner. I love the Better than Bouillon stuff--I just tried the vegan chicken base today and it was really tasty! (No, not affiliated, just love the stuff. Any good broth or bouillon will do. Homemade is easy...maybe this weekend, it's supposed to rain.) Or maybe some pickles. It seems like I really have been craving strong flavors lately...anyone else eat tiny bits of salt-free seasoning straight from the jar? Or dip veggies in wasabi+soy sauce, like I did at lunch today? (Now there was a non-scale victory today: passing hot food bar and lots of yummy-looking and -smelling stuff over at Whole Foods today and getting sashimi and mixed raw veggies to eat with my hummus packet.)

I didn't have a problem meeting my goal of three non-meat, not-saturated-fat meals and two fish meals last week. Same goal this week, and I'm halfway there already (thanks, in-store sushi bar!).

So I guess it's not more new changes, but re-embracing the old changes. I'd love some ideas for helping get the workouts fun again, though. Any "watch instantly" Netflix workout videos you like? Alternative ideas? I'm going to look into horseback riding at this place I've been dreaming of but was always over the weight limit for until recently...Mr. Handsome and Handy (and Frugal) actually suggested it, too, when I swooned over some people riding past our backyard on horseback the other day.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Quotable Friday

Today's topic: Change
"Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me." - Author Unknown

"The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them." - George Bernard Shaw
Those quotes jumped out at me today. Over on Roni's Weigh this week, the Question of the Week was "Do your friends and family help or hurt your efforts?" Many people commented about understanding their close family's or friend's bewilderment and sometimes resistance, because "I'm the one who's changing, not him/her/them."

Oddly enough, I was on the flip side of that earlier this year. My husband had some health issues and, while they turned out to not be serious (*whew*!), he was advised to lose weight. (That's a lifelong struggle that we both share.) So he started, and while I did my best to be supportive, I also felt a bit scared and defensive, because darn it, *I* wasn't ready to change! The contrast between our food choices wasn't pretty...and my plate sure as heck wasn't the pretty one. So that did start me in the right direction, making small changes, starting to read lots of weight-loss stories and blogs...then came diabetes, which led to my big sprint that left him probably feeling the same way I was feeling.
Sometimes changes happen, and while there are many I still would not deliberately choose, I'd have to say that the following is true for me:
"We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance." - Harrison Ford
And then this one reminded me of all the mind-work that goes into change, especially changes relating to food and fitness:
"If you want to truly understand something, try to change it." - Kurt Lewin
Finally, because it's Friday and I refuse to be totally serious on a Friday....
"I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed." - George Carlin

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why do we sometimes do the OPPOSITE of what we should?

I'm contemplating one of the compelling mysteries of life this morning: why do we sometimes or often do the OPPOSITE of what we know we need to do for our health?

Here's a real-life example: Yesterday I decided to be accountable and posted my nutritional challenge. I felt...well, if not fully charged to do the right thing, I thought I felt okay with it. Onward and downward, right? "Limbo lower now!"

So I walked through the door last night, a little later than usual. I'd had my afternoon snack later, so it's not like I was ravenously hungry or anything. The husband had made some lovely, bbq beef ribs. Oh, *yum*! I grabbed a couple and fixed a nice salad (using rice wine vinegar since I knew I'd be getting more than enough fat from the meat), and ate my dinner. Maybe gnawing on roasted bones activated some primal autumnal urge...because I grabbed another rib. Then the husband opened a bag of (oh, I know this is going to gross a lot of people out, but here goes...) fried pork skins. (They bought fried pork skins? *sigh*) I ate a couple of them. Then I thought, "Ya know, cashews would be the better choice right now." Yep, still there. I ate a handful. What's this? A can of roasted, salted almonds? Hello, beautiful! I ate one handful. Then another.

Imagine, now, the sound of brakes squealing. "Ego" finally piped up and slapped "Id" upside the head: "What do you think you're DOOOOing?" Whew! I grabbed for the good tools shared by various healthy living bloggers and commenters over the last month: I popped a sugarfree mint in my mouth while tidying up, then reported to the bathroom and brushed and flossed teeth. I did my strength training with more than usual vigor. (Thing 2 kept darting past my wooshing arms and giggling, and sitting on my tummy, so I did a few leg lifts with her on board. Whew!) This morning was clear and starry and not too cold, and I was on track time-wise, so I did a nice 50-minute run on the trail instead of around the neighborhood. It felt great. Equilibrium restored.

I know, it's probably not the most shocking scene of gluttony ever recorded, but it's the out-of-control feeling that distinguishes this from plain ol' eating. I don't like that feeling any more than the next person. I will probably never understand why it happens (suspecting PMS), but it's something to be mindful about the next time around, and hopefully a little sooner.

Fortunately, tonight Mr. Handsome and Handy is making salmon for dinner, so I'll be able to have another "goal meal." And I'll be sure to keep those mints handy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Weekly Weigh-in: -53

Feeling good, down -2 pounds this week. Blood glucose levels are great post-meal but still drifting up above 120 sometimes. That seems to happen more when I eat dinner later in the evening, even when my post-meal numbers are fantastic. Might just be one of those things I can't control, but perhaps next time I have a late dinner I'll try to make it lighter and see if that impacts things.

Yesterday's visit with the diabetes educator nurse and the nutritionist went pretty well. They felt I'm doing very well with my progress. It had been a couple of months, so I don't think they were expecting to see that much less of me. ;-) They had a copy of my lab results and were a bit concerned that the HDL/LDL numbers weren't looking quite as good as the rest of my cholesterol panel. So we discussed cutting saturated fats. I felt a little daunted, frankly. While I've been doing fine with balancing my carbs and eating better ones, I have been lax on the fats. We do eat a lot of red meat, and I loooooove crispy chicken skin or the charred fatty bits on the meat. Don't get me started on bacon, it's my passion. I held a mild grudge for years against my brother-in-law for burning the gourmet bacon we brought to his house one time. So...*sigh*...I wouldn't say I replaced sugar and refined carbs with fats--I already was eating plenty of fats, too, right along with the sugar and refined carbs--but the fats aren't my special focus from a reducing blood glucose levels standpoint. When I go a little over my fat portions, I haven't been stressing about it. So, while it hasn't noticeably impacted the weight loss so far, it is impacting future health. It's time to start gradually removing that prop. (*heavy sigh*)

My nutritional challenge for the week, then, is to have at least 3 meals with no meat/cheese/eggs/animal-based fats and at least 2 meals with fish. I was pretty close yesterday at lunch: black beans and salad and fajita-style veggies...with a small sprinkle of cheese (probably about 1 Tbsp). Yesterday's breakfast was one: fat free cottage cheese and a slice of flax toast with sugar-free jam. (I'm not counting my snack, since that's not a meal with protein or fat servings and I've been going fat-free with my Greek-style yogurt all along.) I bought some firm tofu and some tofu-based sausage, so we'll see how those go.

I've also made the fitness goal of running a 5K race quarterly. (Although I'm eyeing a couple of runs in November that look promising...) So it was back to running this morning, 35 minutes in swirling mist, I kept having to wipe off my glasses.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Running: Not Just for the Sweet Young Things

Okay, y'all are probably ready for me to shaddup already about the Pumpkin Run. But I checked out the results list, and I was veeeeery interested to see that the biggest age groups in both the 5K and the 10K were the women ages 40-49. Maybe not typical of other races--this being my first as a "sweet middle-aged thing" and all--but if you're in my age bracket and maybe not sure if you're a "runner" and happened to be intimidated by the idea of running a race, tell those "I'm not young enough/fast enough/jock enough" thoughts to go far, far away and never come back.

I'm also motivated to keep going and work on my speed. A 71-year-old gal from Oakland totally dusted me with a time of 36:31. Any tips for improving running speed? Or do you just do it every day and it naturally improves? What do you use after Couch-to-5K?

5K Photos

Here are some photos from the 2008 Pumpkin Run...

My view from the back of the pack. Yes, it really was that gloomy of a morning, weather-wise. But I found the view of this big ol' line of people running and walking very inspiring. Maybe because I usually run alone, early in the morning, in the dark.

The 2-mile marker. (Yes, I stopped my race to take a picture of the ground. I thought it was cute. ;-)

Yeayyy, I did it! (My fan club was sleeping in at home, so I had to ask a cute guy the dorky favor of taking my picture. Oh *darn*.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I ran the 2008 Pumpkin Run 5K!

WOW WOW WOW!!! Where to start?!?! Words seem inadequate. I'm just not sure how to describe how exciting and fun it was, how exhilarating it felt to run in a race. I think perhaps the term "runners high" gets misused...I'm not sure if during the run is when I feel it, but it was definitely how I felt crossing that finish line. The glow is lasting all day.

The Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Run was a terrific event. The morning was foggy and cool, but hot coffee helped. There was a short kids' race (and all finishers got a goodie bag), plus a 5K run or walk and a 10K run. I highly recommend it, it's a friendly scene. There were people of all ages and sizes milling around before the race: moms and dads pushing jogging strollers, people with dogs, lots of kids, young adults, elderly people...and me, feeling excited and a little sick to my stomach, telling myself that it was just like a regular morning running, except a little longer and a little bit lighter outside. I had to run for the bathroom twice. I'm glad I rode my bike to and from the event--it's only about a mile and a half flat road each way, but it helped reduce the pre-race jitters and gave an outlet to the post-race rush.

Then it was time to run! I found a place in the back, flinched when the starting gun went off, then trotted along with everyone. There were a few people in the neighborhood outside cheering the runners, which was nice. I was toward the back of the running pack, and there were some other gals going about my pace. An older gal running with her dog had to stop once to do his business, and detoured briefly to toss the bag, and she still passed me up.

What was really cool was looking across this huge field to the Coast Trail, and seeing this long line of runners going around the field and up the trail. I stopped and tried to get a decent shot from the back of the pack, but the photo really doesn't do it justice. I kept a comfortable pace the whole time, not knowing whether I'd feel really wiped out near the end.

Into the campground, pausing briefly at the water station, then down to the turnaround, back past the 2-mile marker (which was so cute, I had to stop and take a picture). More water, plus a few pieces of candy corn. Then onto the last street for the run back up to the school. Wait...there's the stop sign! Is it really that close?!? I thought Kelly Avenue was WAY longer! So I kicked it up a notch, made the turn, then the next turn, then put in as much speed as possible through the finish, bellowing a hearty, "WOO HOO!!!" as I crossed and went down the chute. "Wow!" I thought to myself, "that wasn't as grueling as I thought it would be. And I finished in way less time than I thought it would take!"

I stopped and had a snack, hung around through the awards, and checked out my official time: 39:29. I was 203rd out of 275 overall, and 34th/46 in the women 40-49. I know that's not going to impress any of the jocks out there, but I was utterly delighted.

Oh, I am so hooked now. I grabbed a flyer for a new year's day run over in Palo Alto. Not sure how that will fit in with our holiday plans, but I'd love to race once a quarter...and there's the choice next year, should I train to do a better 5K or go for the 10K?

Just before I left, the gal who won 2nd place in the age 70-79 division stopped and talked with me. "I'm 75," she said. "I think this is my last one." "Gosh, I hope I'm still running races when I'm 75!" I replied. I sure hope I see her at next year's run.

p.s. - I'll post pictures tomorrow...I can't find the usual controls in Blogger for adding pictures.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Quotable Friday

In honor of running the Pumpkin Run 5K this weekend (the first race I've run since I was a sweet young thing in high school), I was just going to post the ubuiquitous "Just Do It" slogan. But then I was checking out the blog of my new "motivational buddy" from MizFit*'s Bumbling Band, SeaBreeze. It's on the side bar under "Inspiration," and it perfectly summarizes how the fitness part of things feels for me. Glad to know I'm in good company. (Might work for you, too; see how it works when you substitute "running" with your personal challenge-de-la-vie.)
"Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp, or are you going to be strong today?'" —Peter Maher, two-time Olympic marathoner from Canada
And I also found via MizFit this quote from Jack LaLanne, which struck me as being laugh-out-loud funny for some reason...maybe because I'd been feeling guilty about not stretching enough before and after running.
"Fifteen minutes to warm up! Does a lion warm up when he’s hungry? ‘Uh-oh, here comes an antelope. Better warm up.’ No! He just goes out and eats the sucker. You gotta get the blood circulating, but does the lion cool down? No, he eats the sucker and goes to sleep. And that is the truth." - Jack LaLanne, on warming up before working out (I don't think nutrition and exercise are the only reasons he's still around at age 94, he's one of those fiesty people! ;-)
Then again, cats of all sort do spend a lot of time stretching, don't they?
Hope you all enjoy a "just go out and eat the sucker!" kind of weekend!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Weekly weigh-in: -51!

Down 2 pounds this week. Woo hoo! I passed the 50-pound mark. I still have a long way to go until I reach my goal, but it feels really, really great to be closer.

I'm also happy to have progressed in my arm strength training. I moved on to two 7.5 pound weights (my original 5-pound hand weights plus my husband's 2.5 lb ankle weights) arms still feel wobbly today.

5K in less than a week! AAAAIIIEEEEE!!! I haven't done the full distance in awhile, so I'm hoping I'm ready for it. Maybe tomorrow morning I'll do a trial run again.

The 50-pound Retrospective

Okay, here's the really weird part of all these physical changes: dealing with the fact that people (0ther than my nearest and dearest) now notice that I've dropped the weight equivalent of a small child. I guess I'd expected to quietly do my thing and not have anyone notice or comment at work. It started subtly, with comments about my hair looking nice...and I hadn't had a haircut in weeks. I just assumed that "Your hair looks nice" was the new, polite way of saying, "Daaaaaaaang, you have lost a TON of weight!"

Now it is pretty much the latter observation. (But said in a kind, positive way...I'm very fortunate to have nice coworkers.) I generally respond with a grin and a "thanks," but sometimes it gets a little when coworkers say I'm "inspiring" and proceed to tell me how hard or impossible it is for them to eat properly, exercise, and lose weight. I'm still working on these areas--or at least the first two, with the latter being a nice by-product of improving health. But after the first month or so, it hasn't been as hard for me as I thought it would be when I was the one thinking that eating sensibly would be hard and booooooring and--chuh!--forget about squeezing exercise (painful, unpleasant business, that) into my busy schedule. I listen, and do mention that I felt the same way, and tell them how I'm doing it if they ask. But I don't feel exceptional, I mean, if *I* can do it....

What's really weird is that sometimes I feel like an imposter. I know that you can't fake the results; I have focused and taken action to get where I am now. I don't fake likes and dislikes...for example, I don't pretend to hate chocolate or to love vegetables. (I do love 'em...except lima beans.)...and while I do feel good after a run, often as not I don't feel like running first thing in the morning. But I haven't divulged to most people that I have type 2 diabetes and that keeping it managed is driving me to make these seemingly "impossible" changes. Confession time: I feel ashamed of having gotten it, although I believe (in my mind at least) that it wasn't just sustained bad habits that got me here, genetics and possibly other factors contributed. For me, doing everything I can to manage it makes me feel less ashamed. Fear of what would happen if I didn't do anything about it also motivates me. Would I have had the "stick-to-it-iveness" without those really big sticks waving around behind me? Moot question at this point, although not sure what would have been the catalyst after 14 years of being overweight...not sure "feeling tired of being fat and out of shape" would have been enough, but then, it has been for others and may have been for me, too.

Anyone out there going through similar? How have you dealt with it?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Quotable Friday!

I felt a little under-the-weather last night, so I decided to try my rainy-day alternate workout. I popped in a walking workout DVD. "Wow," I thought to myself. "This seems kind of easy. I guess I have developed some endurance." I did break a sweat, and I enjoyed going for a full 60 minutes and felt a little fatigue on the strength training portion. But overall, it seemed pretty easily done. That was a really good feeling.

So today's theme? Endurance. Seems rather timely in a general way, too.

"Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory."
- William Barclay

"Endurance is patience concentrated."
- Thomas Carlyle

"Life is an error-making and an error-correcting process, and nature in marking man's papers will grade him for wisdom as measured both by survival and by the quality of life of those who survive."
- Jonas Salk

"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome."
- Booker T. Washington

Wishing everyone great success as we endure the coming week!

"Hot for the Holidays" challenge update: I lost another pound between Tuesday and today, so down 3 for the HFH challenge. I'm hoping it will be "Halfway for the Holidays" for me, since I'm 11 pounds away from my halfway-to-goal point. And in another 25 pounds, I will shed the "obese" BMI label! Yippee!