Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Day 16

It’s been 16 days since the start of my 100 days. The goal of this exercise is to make it a healthy habit to spend some of every day focusing on fitness. I’m happy to report that during this time, I’ve only missed 2 days, and each day I’ve missed has been followed by twice the amount of activity the following day.

Even on days when I’ve been unable to make it to the gym, I’ve whipped out the 25 lb. dumbbells and done a very solid workout in the small floorspace in my bedroom. A small investment of $5 weightlifting gloves and a $5 exercise mat has made it a more comfortable space and still qualifies as *home gym* for now. So, even on days when it’s time to work out at home, even if it’s close to midnight, I still exercise. I’m proud of myself for not slipping into the ‘let’s do something easy’ category when I’m working out at home. In fact, I’ve added an extra set to each movement on these days for good measure.  

The problem isn’t the exercise. The problem is these cravings I have for Very Bad Things. Things like sugar and salt, and all kinds of things that can potentially sabotage my work. To be honest, I feel like calorie counting sucks the joy out of eating. And I don’t want to hate eating! Au contraire. I want to eat and enjoy, deny myself nothing, and feel physically good and emotionally satisfied with what goes into my body.  I’m so good at the concept of indulgence that I can convince virtually anybody that they deserve that cupcake, would feel cheated without it, should have it because life is short and c’mon, cupcakes! So it’s tough for me to convince myself, sometimes, that I am perfectly fine without the delicious morsel.

They say that everything is fine in moderation. I get it. I understand it. But I also know that if I follow my calorie count for weight loss, I get terribly hungry. I also stay up late, til around 1:30 am due to when I work out and my body’s patterns. So during the time I am awake after my workout, I have to take special care not to go on a snack rampage. I mean, at some point it stops being a snack and turns into a meal, right? Stress eating still happens, sometimes in small amounts, other times more. The difference is that I am totally aware when it happens. It takes everything in me to make the right choice.

When I had my weight loss previous to my last hiatus, I was doing what I could to keep everything in check. I was using MyFitnessPal to track my calories, which was helpful but tedious. I ate strictly the amounts and the foods that were ‘good’ for me. I would have salad every day, greens with every meal. It’s a little less appealing in the dead of winter in New England, but I’ve gotten back into the swing of it. I don’t like the feeling of being hungry, at all. Usually by the time I realize my body is hungry, I am famished. And that is not a good feeling. That is a feeling that leads me to overeat in the first place.

Everybody says that weight loss is 80% (at least) diet. It might be time to take a sharper focus on food. And water. I don’t drink enough water...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Wintry Mix

When I used to keep a diary as a child, I'd apologize profusely after my eventual return to writing. I would feel pressure to catch up on all the things that have happened, only to eventually stop writing because the breadth of it felt too expansive to tackle. I never felt like I had enough time to catch up.

I have the same feelings when I stop working out for awhile. I try not to get caught up in the guilt feelings, because ultimately guilt doesn't help me. So, as of now, I'm giving myself the permission to let go of that mentality. 
Time to cut that shit out.

After holidays/life/lethargy/stress/work/morelife, I'm back to documenting, back to working out. I never really stopped, not in my mind. I took a step back. Truth be told, I really enjoyed myself and put a few pounds back as a result. 

Back It Up
Taking a step back highlighted all the places where I *know* I go soft. I start 'relaxing' about my diet, getting mindlessly snacky (#foodtastebetterthanstress), and succumb to convenience/couching because I feel wiped out some days. Also, it's winter in New England and I like curling up with my dogs and falling asleep in pile on the couch. But…Inertia.

In other words, I am no doubt aware of where the cracks are. Call it a work in progress.

Light the Fire
I watch motivational weight loss stories like people go to church. I'm inspired by other people's success stories, and always end up with the feeling of "If s/he can do it, well duh…"

I also joined the Biggest Loser contest at work again. Last year, I was one of the top 3 in a squeaker of a 3-way tie. I don't really care about the competition much, but the added accountability is helpful. Aw hell, truth is, I would be chuffed to win.

Lastly, I partnered up with a couple of awesome people so we can keep each other honest. My BFF is my gym buddy, naturally. And my friend from work has similar goals is also a creative person, and knows the struggle of a lifelong affair with pastry. I'm doing 100 days of fitness with her (and my BFF by proxy). Today is Day 9, and so far so good. I did have to miss one day because of travel, but I made up for it on the following day's workout.

There have been some minor challenges, like an inability to get to the gym on bad weather days, or lack of time, but I am generally eager to show up. My mood is *always* elevated after exercise. I still don't love cardio, but I can do it and not struggle as much as I had when I first started exercising. Weights are still my love. I've been able to do a decent workout with 25 lb. dumbbells at home, so I really have zero excuses not to work out!

5x5 workout = 5 sets of 5 reps
I'm trying to focus on progressively heavier weights with fewer reps rather than many reps at a single heavy weight. It's helped warm up my muscles and left me with some energy in the tank. By the time I reach the fifth set, the weight felt challenging but doable. (Update: my PR on bench press went up to 80 lbs. I think this method is working!)

There was this woman at the gym who tried to talk up the trainers to my BFF and I on leg day. She went on and on about how 'amazing' the trainers were and how she lost 60 lbs.  I didn't feel the need to point out I had already lost a bunch of weight with no help from the trainers, but I did tell her I wasn't impressed with the experiences I had with them. My BFF was equally nonplussed, and we both agreed very quickly that she probably worked for the gym.

I'll have a salad. (sad trombone)
Truth be told, I get tired of salad. There are many times when it isn't interesting. Like today, I almost went into the kitchen to get the pizza reward for doing a good job. Instead, I went downstairs and got a salad. I wanted pizza, I was interested in pizza. But I can't screw myself over for lunch. And that pizza…ohh that pizza is a gateway drug for me.

Still…Pizza. I'll have to think of it as some kind of test. A delicious, cheese, carb-laden test.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Diva Dash 2013: My First Obstacle Course

Marshfield Fairgrounds, MA — The day had finally come for the Diva Dash. I was, as usual, woefully underprepared, nervous and excited for whatever the day held. I had no idea what the course would actually look like, how much running would be involved, and how much energy I had. My general approach would be that I would do my best. When I say best, I mean try my hardest to do it all.

The fairgrounds were packed with hundreds of people, mostly women but some kids, dudes, and even dogs. (Note to self: bring the dogs!) One of the earlier waves were getting ready to start. The crowd counted down and the ladies were off! A flurry of bright colors, tutus, kilts, camo, and glitter took off for the initial run before the first obstacle.

A number of vendor tents were set up all along the main part of the fairgrounds. It was a bit tricky to find the bib pickup (there are no obvious signs) so I asked a girl in a highlighter yellow tank and tutu where it was. We headed over to the big tents on the opposite side of the course, spotting our team (team MadWomen) as we approached. Packet pickup, it turns out, is an easy place to meet. Everybody was busy putting on their numbers and the ladies were all buzzing with excitement. Apparently the shirts caused a stir and one woman begged to join our team next year. lol

Mad women!

We all got situated and introduced ourselves. This was a mixed group, some friends from work, some from Pug Rescue, some friends of friends. I gave a rousing 2 minute peptalk.

"The object of the game is to HAVE FUN. If you feel the need to run ahead like a gazelle, DO IT. If you are a slow runner like me, go SLOW. If you make it in first, please stick around to cheer us when we make it to the finish!"

With that, we circled together, put our hands in and on three, we yelled "MADWOMEN!" I seriously had chills!

Somehow we ended up the first row at the starting line for our wave. Depeche Mode was blaring on the speakers. When the countdown ended, we all took off in a group. I knew that the slower of us (two of my best gal pals along with me) would splinter off from the pack (aka the gazelles).

Totally unafraid to show our enthusiasm. 


I've tried to remember what the obstacles were in order:

  • Exercise balls/tires (step through tires with hanging exercise balls to trip you up)
  • Ropes obstacle (criss-crossed ropes that you had to navigate through by crouching or crawling)
  • Hay bales (climb over)
  • Tires (climb over)
  • Wooden walls (vertical climb)
  • Cargo net (vertical climb)
  • Parallel bars with canvas straps (step on the straps and hold yourself up as you go across the parallel bars)
  • Steep hill (climb)
  • Monkey bars
  • Teeter Totter

Whee! This is still easy and I'm not tired yet!

Where Val loses her tiara in the ropes obstacle

There was a good deal of space between obstacles to make up for the 5K distance, including some hills and logs you had to avoid on the forested portion of the trail. There was very little shade, and on this hot day that made a huge difference for me in particular. Mile markers told you when you reached 1 mile, then 2, which I found helpful. There were not many water stations on the course, and nobody ran with a water bottle.

The gazelles jumping over the hay bales.

Many of the obstacles were totally doable for me. The hardest obstacle for me was the Wooden Walls. There was an 'easier' and 'harder' version of the wall. The harder version was taller, but since I don't have terribly long limbs, I chose the easier version. It took me two tries to figure out just how to get myself up and over, but I was able to throw my arm over the wall and use the leverage to pull myself to a straddle, then completely over the thing.

The trickiest obstacle was the parallel bars with the straps. The trick was to learn forward and use your upper body and core to balance. At some points, the straps were wider apart and if you weren't careful you could get stuck or fall off. I was somehow able to do it (YAY CORE MUSCLES AND UPPER BODY STRENGTH!).

My favorite obstacle was the Cargo Net. When we arrived, a large, short woman who wasn't with her group was attempting to climb. You could tell it was super hard for her, she wasn't sure at all if she could do it, but her determination was fueled by all of us bombarding her with positive vibes. "You're doing it mama! Keep going! Almost there!" It was the most inspirational thing to experience so many women pouring their support into helping her over that net. I think every one of us thought, that woman could be me.

When it came to my turn, I climbed that sucker like a monkey on a tree. Who knew? I was also super impressed that my friend, who is really afraid of heights, just went for it. She didn't look the whole time but she did it like a champ.

I have to say that throughout this ordeal, I started to feel worse and worse. By mile marker 2, I felt really, really hot and really queasy. I had to sit out for a good chunk of time and I actually threw up. There was nothing in my system but caffeine that morning and some water. I do think chugging down water at the water station made me feel sick, and it wasn't until well after I tossed my cookies that I felt ok. My two pals stuck with me the whole time (I love these ladies, they have my back!). Not to mention that a bunch of strangers asked if I needed help as they were passing. Everybody was tremendously supportive.

After that episode, I still finished the rest of the course. The parallel bars, the steep hill climb, monkey bars and finally the teeter totter were all after the mile 2 marker. I had to walk slowly and was really aware of how dry my mouth was, but I could still do the obstacles.


The monkey bars had an 'easier' side with bars you could step on. At the final obstacle, the teeter totter, we saw our group by the sidelines. Someone was there to help with a hand as you walk over a narrow plank that pivoted like a teeter totter. When we looked back, we saw a whole group of teammates holding each others hands as they walked over the teeter totters all at the same time in a show of team solidarity.

We cheered our last teammate as she went over the teeter totter, then the three of us held hands, our teammates yelling and cheering, as we ran across the finish line.

Our team cheering us on from the sidelines near the finish!

Almost there!

There were many hugs and people running around to pick up their swag bags and free glass of wine. Unfortunately they ran out of T shirts in our size (why, I have no idea as we all pre-registered). At this point, I was sitting down but found my way to the medical tent thinking I just needed some water and shade. As it turns out, I felt pretty dizzy and wanted to lay down. My lips were white from being so dry and parched, and it became a strong suggestion I get checked out at the hospital. So that is how it happened that two beautiful EMTs carted me off in the ambulance. My best friend rode with me and my teammate drove my car to the hospital for me. Luckily her husband was our team photographer and had driven them to the fairgrounds that day.

Two IVs of fluids and 5 hours later, I was able to go home.

Maybe it was the sheer amount of pheromones and estrogen swirling about the air, maybe it was the fact that the very same morning I woke up to Aunt Flo, or maybe it was Maybelline... But I am still moved by what a special day it was for all of us. I've never had so much fun doing something physical like that in my life, let alone on a team. For someone like me, who has never really done a team sport apart from soccer one year when I was 10, it was transformative. Despite my trip to the ER, I had the best day. And I can't wait to do it again next year. Properly hydrated of course. :)

Dude, if I can do this, anybody can do this. :)

Special thanks to Kevin, Val's hubby and fantastic photographer. View the full set of our Diva Dash adventure photos here.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

14,595 Pounds Lifted

When I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, I should remember it was only 14,595 pounds. Getting back into the swing of regular weightlifting makes me feel like I'm getting in touch with my inner badass, however slowly. :)

Broke Ass Diaries: The Gift

There is this time at the end of every two weeks when I am dead broke. This usually happens right before I get my paycheck. I know I make enough money. I'm just bad at managing it. (Working on that.)

Once again I am at this dip right before I get paid. Only this time it is worse, because I am wondering if I have enough gas to make two round trips to work for the next couple of days. I have just enough food in my pantry, the dogs have food, I have toilet paper. I'm otherwise ok…but the gas situation is bothering me.

And then I remember… The gift.  Stuffed into a stocking over Christmas was a $25 Visa prepaid gift card. I saw it on the floor of my home office the other day. It had fallen out of a stack of mail that I moved from my desk. I didn't think anything of it at the time, just noted what it was and left it sitting there on the floor. 

The Universe took care of me today. I needed gas money…BOOM, gas money. Not only that, I forgot my lunch, but my best friend was able to give me something to take to work. Hot Pockets aren't the healthiest thing, but it'll do for today. 

Things might be a little tight, but I'm all right. Nobody goes hungry today, nobody is stranded. And today is the playground workout day, which makes me happy because I know I'm doing something good for myself.

I think the Universe is telling me to get better at budgeting my time and my resources in a hurry…that not every day will be like today and today is a gift in itself. Have a contingency plan, make sure to take care of myself, be grateful, and everything will be ok in the end. 


Friday, August 23, 2013

Your adversary should feel like he’s run across a rabid wolverine wielding an industrial buzz saw.

WARNING: frustration rant

My shoulders are sore from a work gym workout last night with dumbbells. I've worked out twice this week and feel better for it, despite the fact that I am stressed about other real life things. Do you have those days where you make one decision that turns out to be wrong, and spend the rest of your time trying to fix it and beating yourself for being an asshat? Yeah? Well you should try it sometime. It builds character.

No, really. Today I want to not deal with it. I can't control this shit. I can only control (to a certain extent) how I react, how I deal with things... I can be better at some things. Better with managing my time. Better with planning.  But control in so many ways is just an illusion.

I just have to learn to be ok with the stuff I can't control. I can't control the decisions of other people either, but I can control how it affects me. I can distance myself. I can say 'no' even though I love to say 'yes.'

I have to be ok with fucking up.
I have to be ok with making mistakes.
I have to be ok with the difficulties of living in this skin, in this life.

I can do that, right? 

So... despite all this, there was some good that happened today.

I recognized when I was spiraling. I stopped it. I made the active decision to walk away. To write about it. To do the things to make it right.

And my reaction to the stress is to WANT to workout. I want to be able to push myself physically and feel the exhaustion in my muscles, the change in my breathing, the almost swimmy feeling I get when I've done something physically demanding. I want that. Working out invariably lifts my mood and often gives me the opportunity to find perspective.

Choosing to move instead of stagnate is powerful. It can be initially tough (it usually is), but it can be the momentum I desperately need. He who is both a source of joy and frustration once told me that when you show up, you redefine yourself. It's true. Show up. Be ready to work. Be ready to fight. And remember, your adversary should feel like he’s run across a rabid wolverine wielding an industrial buzz saw.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


"I ran a mile in the rain with no music, no inhaler, just me. I half ran, half walked, half wheezed and half panted, but I feel better, which confuses me, since I still hate running. I'm going to do this every day, until I stop hating it."

This was today. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

My 2nd 5K: The Pug Rescue of New England 5K

It's 90 degrees and jungle humid. I know it's jungle humid because I've been to the Philippines, but let me tell you, *this* is just as sticky...but we are lucky because we are running a path that hugs the ocean in South Boston. I use the word 'running' knowing that a lot of it will be walking in the full sun. The difference between this 5K compared to my last one is that I've been running somewhat consistently over the past few weeks, and I feel better prepared even though I may not be. That, and my best friend is doing her first 5K today too.

At the starting line. We hang in the back, because you must let the fast people run first. This is technically a run/walk, but so was my last 5K. You recall...the one in which I came in dead last. But this time, I am hopeful. I am hoping that I run a bit more, even in the heat. I'm hoping that I don't get hopelessly distracted by my BFF, the other people on the path, my sweat, the fact that I have no water bottle with me, whatever. Most of all, I am hoping I am not last.

At the starting line

We start. I run. I stop a little ways in to breathe; it's always hard for me in the beginning of a run and even though I have my inhaler in my little runner's pouch, I don't use it. It's like I have to convince my body, yes, this is ok, this was planned, do not fail me. But I ran a bit, and rested in the shade, watching my BFF slowly catch up. She waved me on, "Go on!" she said, but I felt conflicted, and ended up waiting a bit at different points so she could catch up and I could catch my breath. That was ok, I felt I wanted to support her too, because she didn't know if she could do it 'on land' even though she'd been training on a treadmill.

Hint to new runners: run outside and run several times a will see progress, in some cases, a lot of progress compared to the treadmill.

Somewhere on the way to the halfway mark, I got a sickening stomach cramp. Shit. This only happened to me once when I was training on the treadmill, but it was enough to make me stop. It could have been the water I drank just before we started, or the coffee I had, or the fact that I didn't/couldn't eat before hand. Whatever it was, it was uncomfortable, so I had to stop, bend over at the waist and hope it away. Thank god for the person that left their sprinkler on at the half way point... I stood in it and let the cold droplets hit me before the return loop. 

At this point my BFF and I were chugging along. Every so often I would say, "It's fcking HOT!" and wipe the sweat away from my eyes. We saw other people coming towards us on the way to the halfway mark and I knew, thankfully, I was not going to be last!

Every so often, I would literally feel my legs getting antsy... I am not a fast walker at all, so walking was almost worse than running at times. But when I felt the jimmy legs, I ran. We passed the 2 mile mark, walking. I ran a bit more, eventually, we were at the 3 mile mark. My BFF had started to talk to me somewhere in there, and it was chit chat that made zero difference to me to tell you the truth. Who knows what she was saying...I just know that when I get tired, especially from running, the last thing I want to hear is someone talking! I was about 10 feet ahead of her when I raised my hand after the X time she said my name and yelled, "Stop talking to me!"

"Okay," she said (begrudgingly) as I picked up the pace. 

New rule: When I'm running/lifting weights/doing anything 'active', nobody try to have a conversation with me. No offense, but if I can have a conversation, I'm not working hard enough.

I could see the finish line...I started to run. I ran strong, I was sure-footed...this was different than before. And after 1:02 minutes and a few seconds, or something like that, I crossed the finish line. Not too far behind me, I could see my BFF and started cheering for her along with others than knew this was her first 5K. Red-faced and sweaty, she crossed the finish line. And really, I could not be more proud.

I'm Presh, she is Maggie Mae Spikerdoodles,
registered under the names of her two pugs that passed away.
They would have been proud of their Mama.

This is from the woman who has been my gym buddy and given me much grief on the nights when I didn't want to go to the gym, and even more grief when *she* didn't want to go to the gym. If you asked her if she would ever run a year ago, not only would she have laughed, she would have laughed so loud she could potentially puncture an eardrum. That is how ridiculous the idea was. 

We've come so far. 

Me, after the race
The next day, we celebrated at Finale, where we had amazing desserts of unspeakable richness. And we deserved every bite.

Monday, May 13, 2013

My first 5K: Patrick Downey 5K for Esophageal Cancer

I am woefully underprepared. I want to throw up, but here I am. So many things went wrong…my partner isn't running with me. I got 4 hours of sleep last night. It's raining. This is my first real run outside and in a city, with traffic and people everywhere. But it doesn't matter now, because here I am, at the back of the group waiting in my t-shirt with superhero theme and cape I sewed onto it. Then the sea of people lurched forward and off we went.

I was dead last. I was prepared to be dead last. I am a slow walker on the best of days. Probably an even slower runner. But since I had the time to think the whole way, I just went. And I kept going, even though I didn't see anybody anymore in front of me. I was so excited when I went past the first check point and saw the last people far ahead, maybe a half mile ahead. I felt hope that I could reach them. So I ran a little.

This is how the race went. Nearly the whole way, I was walking, except when I went down hill and where it was flat. I jogged, and I panted, and the whole way I huffed and I puffed. At one point early on, some people in a truck rolled down their windows and cheered, "Boston Strong!!" I gave them the thumbs up and kept on trucking. I had a lift in my step. It was so cool to hear cheers, instead of feeling as though I was singled out for being the fat girl at the back.

When I got to the third check point, Frank, the brother of Patrick, told me I was over halfway there. I was psyched, that was good. I could keep going, no problem. I was walking so even though I was wet from the rain and sweat, I was doing it! I could see Frank's daughters in front of me and knew I wasn't so far behind the last of the group. I caught up so I was only about 20 feet or so behind them. They were walking and splashing in puddles, having fun, these two sisters. I was glad they were there because they made me laugh as I followed them up the course.

I made the second to last turn after going down a quiet street. In the distance I see my boyfriend and Eli, the dog. He couldn't run the race that day because of his arthritis, but I was so glad to see his shape in the distance. I was just…happy…to see a friendly face. And Eli was excited too. The bf jumped up and down and took a picture. "Just around the corner" he said. "meet you at the finish line!"

Then I boogied and started going quickly downhill. As I rounded the corner, I could see the finish with the big digital clock. The girls had just finished and when they saw me, the group of people at the finish started shouting "Run! You are almost there!" So I did. I saw the clock counting up from 59 minutes and I RAN, my cape flowing in the breeze. I think I was smiling the whole way. And I passed the finish line, just under 60 minutes. And it was the BEST feeling ever to know I did this, by myself, however slow, despite being dead last.

I learned so much about myself in that hour. The distance isn't that hard. It is doable. My body *wanted* to run at times and that was ok, it was also doable. It didn't matter that is was my first time, all the other runners were incredibly supportive. At one point after the race, someone called me a 'runner' and I thought, well damn, I guess I kinda am. 

I'm already registered for the next one...the Pug Rescue of New England 5K on June 1st.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Stop waiting

On Friday, I officially started the C25K program. I've been practicing running for a few weeks, and based on where I was with practice, I started well into the program, at Week 4, Day 1. The timing could not be better since I have nearly exactly 10 weeks excluding vacation to complete the program. That gives me 9 weeks to run 3x per week upon return from Paris.

Honestly though, I am not going to wait.  While I'm in Paris... I actually plan on exercising. I want to run along the Seine. I want to get sweaty in the city of lights. If I could, and maybe I will, I would walk the steps at Montmartre. I would, but I fucking hate stairs.

This trip shines a light on so many things for me. Be with who you love. Do the things you want. Experience life in all it's beauty and all it's agony. Don't be shy about sucking the marrow out of life.

Fidget is my spirit animal. 
We think we have time for the things in life that we want to do, but we are all on borrowed time. The time I spend with Fidget reminds me of this every day.  I've had him since he was 8 weeks old. Fidget has seen me through a decade of highs and lows. He's seen me at my happiest. He's seen me through my divorce. I owe it to him to spend as much time as we can together while we can both still move. 

Me, Fidget and JJ at Stoddard's Neck.

We're getting older. He has a white beard that he has earned. His back end wobbles when he walks from the spinal surgery he had last year. I have a lock of white hair and my back end wobbles when I walk too. I know he...we... are on borrowed time. But while we are here, we're going to love every minute of our time and live the best life. 

...Which is why we're having prime rib for dinner. That's part of living too. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring has Sprung

It was pointed out recently that I haven't updated my blog in awhile, and they wondered if everything was ok.

Yes. :) Things are ok, they are sometimes even not so bad that they are good. 

The bulbs are coming up in the front yard which means I've survived another winter in Massachusetts. Boy, do I wish I met weightlifting and exercise back when I first moved here. Among a host of other weird stuff about me, like lots of people, I tend to get very blue during the winter months. But exercise has pretty much saved me from feeling like shit this winter. You could even say I feel geared for Spring. 

Lifting all the things

I had been working out with the 70 lb. barbell and it was plenty challenging for deadlifts at 3 sets of 10. But I kept seeing this 110 lb. barbell sitting there, all alone. I wasn't going to leave without trying. So even after an entire workout, I was still able to lift a 110 lb. barbell for 3 sets of 5. That's right, I am getting stronger.

Three nights ago I went to the gym and had enough time for legwork. I can still feel my thighs a bit sore but it is a good sore. A haven't-we-met-before kind of sore. There were two cool things that happened (aside from having a good workout). I did a 190 lb. leg press 15 times. This will be the first exercise in which I will surpass 200 lbs. very soon, which is a huge testament to how much weightlifting has helped build me up. (See workout below...)

Second, the trainer that signed me up for the gym used me as an example of how to do the Glute Kickback machine with one of his clients. I was sweating my ass off and he said I had great form… Technically I just wanted to finish my workout and not have him talk anywhere near me while I was concentrating. BUT…when his client went to try to use the machine after me, she very loudly exclaimed, "You had this on 130 lbs?!" I laughed and said, "Now you know why I'm sweating!" 

It is something magical to realize how strong you are. It is at once hopeful and startling. 

Fitocracy has been sending out weekly emails now to show your performance over the course of the last week. And last week I found out that I lifted 66,234 lbs. That is for every rep with weight attached, not counting bodyweight exercises. Let's just say I was floored by that number. See: hopeful, and startling!

An Unexpected Journey

In a couple of weeks, I am going to Paris with some of my closest friends. This is a sudden trip but one I am grateful to be able to do. Money is hella tight, but when push comes to shove, what is most important are the people you love and the things that fulfill you. Everything else can pretty much wait.

The bittersweet part of this is that my friend is sick with a tumor, so this is the time before the chemo begins. The time to make this memory is now.

Eat all the things

When I'm in Paris, I know I will be eating. But I am also going to exercise. We are staying in a hotel that probably has a gym, and if not, I am now versed in enough bodyweight exercises to make a good workout. I also plan on jogging along the Seine. 

But really…the food. Before my trip especially, I am trying to be extra vigilant about the calories I consume. I was in the middle of a bag of Trader Joe's trail mix, eating happily and completely disregarding the 1/4 cup "portion" when I realized how bad it was for me. Not that the food is bad, but the behavior needs to stop. I need to be mindful of portions, and if I need a snack with substance, I am better off eating something that either has volume with few calories, or is protein rich but not unbelievably high in calories. So there are foods that have now made it onto my 'banned' list for now. I can't risk having dried fruit, nuts, or bread from Trader Joe's. Not until I've learned some DISCERPRINE!


In my house of love, I've gone up and down. My divorce paperwork came in, finally. So now I am once again officially single. There is the boyfriend, and we are working at this…it's hard though. I won't lie. But I love him. If I didn't, I would not have listened when he said he was afraid I would one day end up in a scooter because of my size and my breathing issues. So for that I thank him. Now for the rest of the work. 

I'm doing it, I'm taking care of myself, now to get him to take care of himself. 

Take care of you,

Craveworthy Tracked a Workout for 1,741 pts Mar 26, 2013
  • Romanian Deadlift:
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+51 pts)
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+51 pts)
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+51 pts)
  • Barbell Deadlift:
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+65 pts)
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+65 pts)
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+65 pts)
    • 110 lb x 5 reps (+72 pts)
    • 110 lb x 5 reps (+72 pts)
    • 110 lb x 5 reps (+72 pts)
    • At the end of my workout, I just had to try 110 lbs. (:
  • Standing Barbell Shoulder Press (OHP):
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+89 pts)
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+89 pts)
    • 70 lb x 7 reps (+84 pts)
    • 70 lb x 7 reps (+84 pts)
  • Barbell Bench Press:
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+65 pts)
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+65 pts)
    • 70 lb x 7 reps (+61 pts)
    • 70 lb x 7 reps (+61 pts)
  • Barbell Squat:
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+65 pts)
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+65 pts)
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+65 pts)
  • Stiff Leg Barbell Good Morning:
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+32 pts)
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+32 pts)
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+32 pts)
  • Bent Over Barbell Row:
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+36 pts)
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+36 pts)
    • 70 lb x 10 reps (+36 pts)
  • Goblet Squat (dumbbell):
    • 35 lb x 10 reps (+45 pts)
    • 35 lb x 10 reps (+45 pts)
    • 35 lb x 10 reps (+45 pts)
    • 35 lb x 10 reps (+45 pts)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Last night, at the suggestion of my trusty BFF, decided to try running on the treadmill.

Immediately, I noticed that I fit differently on a treadmill since the last time I got on one. Last time, I remember feeling awkward and ungainly, knocking myself about when I tried to pick up the pace. This time, no knocking about. I felt really aware of my gait and my joints. I could feel my legs lift up easily instead of laboriously. Breathing came more naturally than I thought it would at that pace. I sweat like crazy, but good crazy. Then I realized, I lost about 60 pounds since the last time I got on this thing!

Second thing, I *wanted* to go faster, but since I don't have speed yet, I started slow with just jogging. Even though I could probably walk just as well at that speed, I wanted to get my body used to the movement and impact of running. So I did... I went a little faster and tried to go for as long as I could at that pace. I would jog for a few minutes and rest for two, and so on for about 25 minutes. I either slowed to a walk or stopped briefly when I had to catch my breath, but for the most part I kept moving.

Third thing I noticed... I did much better than I thought I would. I didn't think I'd be able to make it a full 3 or 4 minutes without stopping, but I could. And even though it was a jog, it felt like running to me.

Thank you, Dr. L, for giving me drugs to keep me breathing and able to exercise.  <3>

Saturday, March 2, 2013


The numbers are in. So far, I've lost 16% of my body weight, 4.5% since January. I am due to take new measurements, though I'm a little sad that I've been sick with flu and have a wrist tweak so my progress for the last couple of weeks has been slower than I've liked. BUT, progress is progress. :)

I've been asked to take progress pics. I am notoriously camera shy when it comes to my body from many angles...That is, the ones that make me look lumpy and fat. Read: all angles except for the front. lol Eventually, I resigned myself to the fact that pictures are just that, and so what, I look like what I look like. I was still a happy person at a larger size, at times blissfully so, but I always had a problem with how other people judged me for my size. It is enough to make a girl hate the world.

That being said, here are some of my Before pics.

Sunset in Key West, 2010. This pic makes me happy and sad.

Blue Ginger, Ming Tsai's restaurant, with my sister. I'm on the left. 2010.

Paris, 2008. Wanted to burn this photo.

And here is me in progress.

Last night after workout, 3/1/2013.

Nowadays, I wear a belt because I'm shrinking faster than I will let myself buy clothes. I *just* put a new hole in that belt the other day. I feel strong, able, and overall, more centered. I love being active. And all this since starting back in June, 2012. 

I sweat like a mofo, and I like it.

You can see my feelings in my face...And I am pretty happy with them so far. :)

Friday, February 22, 2013


I had a long conversation with my mom. It's been awhile, since there has been a lot of upheaval on her end and mine. And frankly, I think neither of us want to depress the other with our various troubles. But today, today I asked how she was and we talked.

I didn't realize how much I needed to talk to her, or important it is. I hadn't talked to her at length about any of my fitness goals, my diet changes or how much weight I'd lost. I tried a few times before, but it almost felt as though she didn't hear me. That is kind of the way she is when she is troubled. But today I got to tell her what I do and why it's important, and she said very plainly, "It has to come from the heart."

She said more stuff too, and it was a little frustrating because she talked about my bro's health issues, who is in his late 20s, and already has high cholesterol. I told her my cholesterol has never been bad and it has gotten even better since minding what I eat. She knows, and I think she also feels as though if my bro doesn't get fit on his own, he won't do it. *sigh*

I told her they should *all* get moving.

It's the one big reason being on the east coast at once liberates me and makes me feel a little trapped. I want to do more for my family, be a positive influence to them, but it's hard when they are 3000+ miles away. And as my folks get older, the more nervous I am that one day will be the last day I *didn't* talk to them.

...Now, to fulfill the promise to myself. Off to the gym, and then, a well-earned time out with friends over wine and good food. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Recovery, Nesting, and Letting the Fuck Go

Last week was a marathon. Between signing divorce papers and reclaiming my friendship with my ex, trying to write and give out employee reviews, and having the flu, I am happy to be home an extra day today so I can nest and make my house a home.

I haven't worked out this past week. No energy, no possibility. I've been ok with my diet, and have continued to lose weight, though I am not always disciplined about it. To me, being ultra disciplined with food is no way to live. I am working mostly on moderation and controlling what kinds of food I eat. Still, I've lost a total of 60 lbs. and that feels pretty awesome. I've wanted, desperately, to binge at times. But I have still managed to keep this sensation at a dull roar.

During this weekend's adventures in nesting, I unearthed my latest bloodwork results from December. The results from caring about my body better are showing. I am borderline with my blood sugar, NOT diabetic (doc wrote this in all caps!), with the only advice being to continue good diet and exercise. My cholesterol has gone down (though it was never bad), what the doc says is 'great shape.' Potassium is almost serially low for me, in part due to the diuretic I take with my blood pressure medicine. I am *still* on my HBP meds, and will likely be for the rest of my life, but I'll take improvement over anything. When I gave blood recently, I was as close to normal as I have been and I hadn't taken my meds yet, so that is also a win. I do believe that had I not been taking care of myself, I would not have recovered from the flu yet. Today is the best I've felt in a week.

Back to nesting. Since my BF moved in some time ago, I haven't had a chance to take back the spaces in my house that were filled with boxes, bags and OAC (Other Assorted Crap). I still had a couple of photos of my ex on the wall (*facepalm*). Just goes to show you how blind I get to my surroundings when I am dealing with emo stuff. Yesterday, I removed the photos and now empty frames are hanging in their place. The one thing about me is that I will not ignore an empty frame, so I'm doing an art project to fill the space. Honestly, you can't move on if you don't let the fuck go of the past. 

The state of the house is a physical manifestation of my state of mind. Taking back my space is a bit like taking back my body. It is somewhat uncomfortable if not painful, but doable. There is much more that needs to happen before the house feels livable again. This is how chaotic this environment has been in the past year, like a major fault line being disturbed, tectonic emo plates shifting and reshaping the landscape before my eyes. Now I am starting to sift through the rubble.

Today I finish organizing the home office, which had been impassable. Already changed the curtains and the sunlight is pouring in....

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A whole new level of my own closet!

I'm sharing my Fito status as my blog entry this morning.

I used to do this thing I called wishful shopping. I'd buy clothes that were the right numeric size but I never tried them on. Well this morning I put on a shirt that I loved on the sale rack but never fit.

Wouldn't you know, I've unlocked a whole new level of clothes shopping. WIN!

Keep working at it. What you do every day counts. Never give up, never surrender. :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Unending Quest for Badassery

Bless me blog friends, for I have sinned. It's been awhile since I've published anything. I've been processing everything that has happened over the course of the last year. And my conclusion is this: life moves on. And this year already stands to be a great year.

Soon my divorce will be final. That was the biggest emotional upheaval of the last year. Boyfriend has moved in, and while he is polar opposite of my previous relationship, I am very fortunate to find someone who loves me and supports me in getting healthy. In fact, you could say that he was the impetus for me getting off my ass.

My boyfriend is blessed with a strong physique that is the culmination of a lifetime of activity, biking, lifting heavy things because he's had to, and natural sports ability. I am entirely jealous of this, but at the same time, I am encouraged. The fact is, since I've started being active, I've felt younger and more mobile, not to mention way more energetic. I'm pretty convinced that exercise is the most accessible way to travel back in time…or at least, turn back the clock.

I've come to realize that I absolutely enjoy exercise. Sweating and not caring about it feels good. Making my body ache from moving around so much feels good. This is a HUGE difference from my previous attitudes toward fitness and weight loss. I've come to appreciate being able to take the stairs, which is a new one for me, being able to stand without back pain for a longer period of time, and walking across the parking lot in freezing temperatures without struggling to breathe. God, how I hate not being able to breathe.

Now, I'm nearly fifty pounds down. I'm on the elliptical for 45 minutes at a time. My back is less painful. I take the fucking stairs with a full backpack. BOOM. Shaka laka.

One of my goals this year is to do an obstacle course. I haven't quite grown the balls to run yet, as I'm a little fearful of my knees and ankles not being to hold up the impact of my frame right now. But I am seriously excited to build up to something that I know I would never be able to do a year ago. For a lifelong fatty like me, physical challenge can be the scariest thing ever. 

I'm nervous, but I'm not scared. 

And I can't wait to see what happens in 2013. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Maybe we'll win Powerball

My parents are losing their home. After 26 years of living at this address and many unsuccessful attempts at getting the bank to listen and work with them over the course of the last five years, they received a notice that the house had been sold at auction…without getting any notification that the property was going to be at auction at all.

So that is one of many things on my mind. Now to find a place for my mom and dad to live while calming their stressed out minds and making sure my sister doesn't freak out. It's a lot. It's pretty bad, yet…

I think everything will work out in the end.

I am determined not to let stress foul up my fitness goals. I've made it to the gym consistently again, though with a bit less fervor than I had been initially. I am still pushing myself and rebuilding what I lost over my month long hiatus, but the good news is that I am still very strong and feel the benefits of muscle building daily. Let's just say I raked more leaves the other day in one shot than I had ever in my life. And the fact that I was only sore for a day afterward and was able to do it without dying made me happy. 

But life is not so easy or simple. I am fortunate that I have so much support from my friends and my sweet babu. We are all flawed separately but are lovely together. It makes me hopeful that in the end, we will all be ok. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I don't know what is more awesome.

The fact that I am sore today because I did a full workout with dumbbells last night…in sets of 15 instead of sets of 10. Maybe because my boots fit, and they are not plus-sized calf. Maybe because I have a warm winter coat in a size smaller than before. 

Like I said. I don't know what's more awesome, but this must be what awesome feels like. :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I'm Back

It's been awhile. A slew of things happened, punctuated by getting a pretty nasty cold and being out of commission for awhile. It is so easy to get caught in a pattern of laziness, or resignation that it is going to take forever to reach the ultimate goals. I know why people end up giving up!

But I honestly never desire to give up, even if I'm not feeling so hot or feeling frustrated. I have to let the frustration happen to a certain extent. I have to make mistakes and then learn from them. This is the way I work. This is why I am self-aware... but also why I know I can will ultimately reach my goal.

My month-long hiatus has made my strength suffer, but I am reminded by my Fito support network that it will be MUCH faster getting back to where I was in comparison to how it was when I first started working out. For the past couple of days, my BFF and I have lugged ourselves to the gym and gotten a good sweat on. I will say that the pace has slowed a bit (shorter overall time at the gym, but working our asses off while we are there). Tonight I've made myself totally accountable by announcing to the Fito community and my Facebook friends that tonight is dumbbell night, or else! I know I will not live it down if I don't accomplish my mission.

I know it's going to hurt, but fuck it! I don't mind the hurt. I am also back on proper nutrition. I won't lie…When I was on hiatus I ate ALL the cookies…but I was lucky. My weight fluctuated by just 1 lb. And right now, we are holding steady at 46 lbs. lost.

It made my night when my boyfriend gave me a hug last night and said, "You are definitely shrinking."

Of course, it bugged me when he asked during my time off from the gym, "So are you going back to the gym?" But I know why he asked. He wanted to make sure I wasn't giving up. He is also part of my system of accountability.

And now, he's going to join my gym too. And pretend he doesn't know me, and flirt shamelessly with me. There's one way to make the gym more fun. :)