Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Getting Sick?

It's amazing how you can feel fine one day and the next feel sick as a dog. That isn't the case, at least not yet, but I woke up around 3am with a killer soar throat. My husband has been sick for days now, first the throat, then the nose running and running and running. I've tried my best to keep away from him. I'm even sleeping in the guest room.

I'm still in the "Dang it! I'm not going to get sick!" stage, but seems like everyone around here has got this thing right now. I'm going to double up on vitamin C and keep at the exercising. What else can you do?

That will really be the worst part of it because I'm so in the workout groove right now.

My latest DVD purchase is Leslie Sansone Walk Away the Pounds - Walk and Kick. It's a 1/2 hour walking slash kickboxing version of her other workouts, and I'm giving it the thumbs up. Actually, I would like to find a longer version of this same workout. For anyone who has ever had a kickboxing class, this may not measure up to what you've done before, but it's got some of the same moves. (I took one years ago and loved it. Unfortunately, the teacher moved to another town to open up a studio, so the class at the local community center ended after that.)

For anyone who uses her other walking DVDs, this is a good change of pace. It still is very much like her other routines, but she adds more kicks (of course) and some arm work including punches. She doesn't use any weights for this one, but if you're really tough, you could probably hold some in your hands while you punch. Me? Not that tough (yet).

Monday, January 29, 2007

Almost on Week 3

This Wednesday will mark three full weeks of my exercise mania, and so far so good. In fact, physically and mentally, I'm feeling really good. I still have about 30 lbs to lose, but my stamina is getting better. I even managed to do my killer fat burner 3mile DVD on Saturday and survived. Sure, I felt like going to bed right after I finished and it was only 8pm, but I made it through the entire routine with the weights. Considering there is no way I could have done that three weeks ago, that is a huge step for me.

I passed on the Pilates machine, but I found a wonderful DVD at my library that I'm hoping will give me some of the same targeting workouts.

After I abuse my employee library privileges and keep this for longer than I'm supposed to, I'll probably end up buying it. The DVD includes 20+ mini routines, anywhere from as short as 8 minutes up to 30 minutes. For example, yesterday, I did a 30 minute walking DVD in the morning before going to work. Then I came home, did the 8 minutes abs/gluts on this DVD, and followed that with a 1 mile DVD. So, it offers some good "squeeze them in" workouts. Plus, I know I need to tone up as I try to lose this weight. My abs are a major problem area for me right now.

I'm off to a full day, gotta blog, then exercise (planning to do another Pilates abs/gluts and then my easier 3mile DVD), and then cracking the books for teaching class tonight. We are doing pronouns! Oh, joy!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Fatand40 @ Squidoo

I discovered Squidoo recently so decided to put together a sort of library of exercise DVDs and other related stuff I've started to collect since my stab at getting fitand40.

Check out my new lens, as they call it: http://www.squidoo.com/fatand40/

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Free Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers has an offer this week for free registration. I think that usually costs about $35 to register, so that's a pretty good deal if you've ever wanted to try this weight loss program. I've done it about three times, and so I'm a life time member. That means I can join back up at any time without the registration fee, just have have to pay the weekly weigh-in fee, and it's usually discounted a dollar or two for life timers.

Obviously, since I gained all my weight back more than once after going through this program, it didn't work for me, but I don't totally discount it either. In fact, I know that if I were to go back I could probably get all this weight off in about three to four months. However, then I'd be back at the same problem - keeping it off.

Their new ad campaign says "Be an After. Stay an After," suggesting that you'll get it off and keep it off, but on that, at least for me, I think is where WW does not deliver. After I got it off, each time I was with their program, the support for keeping it off was lacking. And, I soon realized that it really just meant eating about 1200 calories a day forever, and that was something I couldn't do. So, their idea of "keeping it off" is keeping yourself on an extremely low-calorie diet for the rest of your life. I don't need to pay someone to tell me that works - duh.

On the up side, I learned a lot on the WW program, especially about food. Because I'd been so thin most of life, I never thought much about what I ate. If I liked it, I ate it; if I didn't like it, I didn't. Nutrition? Calories? Carbs? What where those? So, I do credit WW with teaching me about food.

The WW program is really geared for people who need to lose a lot of weight, 50 to 100+ lbs, and who have issues with food. Most of the meetings I went to dealt with very heavy people talking about weird things like hiding food in their closets. Or, I used to love it when they'd complain because they couldn't eat all the food they needed to on the WW Points System. Yeah, here I was literally starving for the first three weeks with me 20 points (I got used to being hungry some how for awhile after that), and these people with their 50 points had too much food - wa wa - poor babies.

So, those are my issues with this program. It works in the short term. I learned a lot. But it's not something most people can do forever, at least that's my opinion.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Comments on the New Strategy

I've sort of talked about my latest diet strategy, exercising a lot, but the other issue has been food. Honestly, I just got to the point (and yes, I know, it's only been a few weeks) that I'm (yet again) sick and tired of writing every single thing down that I eat. This was my big problem with Weight Watchers, along with eating about 1200 calories a day, forever.

Something that I've begun to realize with my new exercise schedule is the fact that if I want to exercise in the evenings as well as the mornings, I really can't eat much of a dinner. This then is another addition to my latest strategy - cutting down on a meal. I don't meaning cutting out, but instead of having, say, a sandwich, I may have a few cheese sticks and a piece of fruit. That way, around 6ish I'm not too hungry or too full to exercise.

At this point, I'm about two weeks into this new strategy. Thus, it's way too early to tell if it's been working or not. I think if I can manage for a few months, 2 or 3, then I can gauge my success better. One result so far is the fact that I feel pretty good mentally if not physically. I guess those endorphins are kicking in.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Tempted by Pilates

I came this close this weekend to buying a pilates machine.

QVC had a really nice one on sale for about $300, and it included lots of extras. I had my credit card in my hand. Hey, I have Christmas money I haven't spent yet, and I'm too fat to buy clothes, so why not spend it on something that might help me get into some new clothes? Plus, I've been so good about exercising lately. Heck, I deserved this.

But then I had a thought - how many calories would I actually burn with this type of exercise? It was definitely what I liked to do - lots of stretching - no jumping around - but would it be intense enough for my new diet strategy - exercising like a maniac?

So, I went over to Self.com, which has a calculator for this kind of stuff, and checked it out. I plugged in 30 minutes and the results? 100 calories! Yup, that's it! 100!

I burn 3xs that with my walking DVDs, so that sobered me right up. I felt so cheated though. I was so ready to buy that puppy. I zipped over to Amazon.com and ordered some new Leslie Sansone DVDs (and a book of course...I can't help myself....almost as bad as French fries).

I'll let you know how my new DVDs are once I get them, but for now, it's back to Leslie Sansone - Walk Away the Pounds for Abs - 3 Miles.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Dangers of Gum

I've never been much of a gum chewer. Usually, I chew it for a few minutes, get all the good flavor out, and then toss it. But, my DH put a few tins of Altoids gum in my stocking, and I'd forgotten all about it until yesterday. Not thinking about it, I popped a few in my mouth and munched for awhile. As is my usual with gum, tossed it out once the flavor was gone, and tossed in another.

Not long afterwards, I noticed I was ravenously hungry!

I had totally forgotten one reason I normally don't chew gum - it makes me hungry!

I did some Internet research on the issue of gum and hunger, but surprisingly, I didn't find anything definitive about it, at least not during my 5 minutes of lengthy research. But, I think it just comes down to the fact that when you chew like that, your saliva goes crazy, and you are telling your body that you're eating, when in fact, your not. You're just chewing. So, then your body says, "hey, where's the food? don't I get something in my stomach after all that nawing?"

So, the Altoid tin is now closed. I'm not sure if I'll ever chew gum again!

Monday, January 15, 2007


I'm throwing my diet to the wind and having burgers today. We are having a BBQ for a party of two. Since it's MLK Day, we are both home for a change, so we are firing up the grill, and that means our famous messy burgers, complete with cheese, blue cheese dressing, tomato, pickle, lettuce, oh and the burger too of course.

I'm planning on eating very light all day, and I've actually managed to do one of my 3mi DVDs again, so hopefully, the damage won't be as bad as it could be.

On the exercise front, things are still going well. Splitting them up has helped a lot. It has also motivated me to squeeze in short workouts on days that I normally feel too pooped to do any exercise. It just feels weird not to exercise every day now. Too bad I couldn't just eat whatever I want every day and exercise to loose weight, but of course - not possible.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Fat and Silly Today

Is this too funny? My friend Lei from "A Hearty Life," and about 50 other blogs (the woman, seriously, does not sleep!) turned me onto this link at blyberg.net: http://www.blyberg.net/card-generator/

You can make your own card for the old style card catalog. I'm going to have to send it to all the librarians I know. Thanks, Lei.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ballerina Break Up

My life, as usual, is crazy right now. I'm still doing 20 hours at my crappy part-time job; I've started teaching one night a week at a local university; I'm setting up two web classes for me to start teaching in February at a junior college; I'm trying to get through a book (good but kind of depressing) someone gave me to review; and oh yes, I'm still trying to keep up with all my web writing and paid blogging gigs.

To say that it's hard to find time to exercise is an understatement. However, I've decided to make it a priority, even if that means my Christmas tree is still up - Yes! I know. I'm awful! - I am determined to get in some exercise every day.

One issue I've had along with the time thing is the energy thing. I know I need to exercise for more like an hour each day rather than 30 minutes if I really want to burn off some of this gut, but after 30 minutes, I'm exhausted. So a friend of mine, who also used to be a personal trainer, suggeted something I've been thinking about but just wasn't sure was doable for me - breaking up my workouts.

I know I can do 30 minutes; plus, it's easier to squeeze in a 30 minute workout than an hour long one. I don't expect to do this every day, but a good number of days I think I can. For example, yesterday I did 25 minutes of Yee, then later that evening I did 20 minutes with Leslie, and then the DH and I went on a brisk mile long walk with our dogs.

It felt great getting all that in, and while I know I just don't have the time to do that every day, I'm going to try it out on the days that are more my own, days I'm not at my PT job for example, because, though I have a lot to do, I can organize my time as I want to without literally punching a time clock.

I'm still counting calories, but I just know from past experience that exercising always is the key for me to lose weight. My body needs it, and metally, I always feel better when I've exercised regularly. I think some of that is from my dance days. I may be a big fat ballerina now, but I still have to move.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Past Time for Calcium

I've taken a multi-vitamin for years, but I am finally taking a calcium and vitamin D supplement. I know. I know. It's really past time for me to be taking these, and what is so stupid is (a) they are pretty cheap, about $5 plus there was a $2 coupon stuck on the box and (b) they actually don't taste that bad.

I'm such a baby when it comes to taking pills and medicine. If it tastes icky, then I just can't get it down, but these are sort of sweet tasting, probably because they are 10 calories each. Yes, can you believe it? My vitamins even have calories! Damn!

But, my mom's doctor is trying to talk her into taking some drugs because she has signs of osteoporosis, so she's been doing a lot of reading up on the whole thing lately and finally I listened to her (for a change) and started taking two of these puppies a day. Seems like, according her to her research, fat white chicks with small bones (yes, there are small bones under these layers of fat), who are fair skinned have a higher risk of this. To top it off, between my grandmother's issues and now my mom's, well, the writing is pretty much on the wall for me.

Hopefully, better late than never.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Jazzercise from the 80s?

One of the perks of joining Spark People are its daily newsletters you can sign up for (or not sign up for, your choice). Since I'm not just trying to lose weight but generally trying to get fit as well, I signed up for the exercise newsletter and the general daily one.

Today's exercise newsletter was touting the benefits of Jazzercise, which I've taken on and off for years depending on where I've lived and where classes have been offered. For the past, say 8 or 9 years, I've lived in an area where the closest classes have been a good thirty minute or more drive, and the classes offered have been extremely limited, so when I heard that classes were now offered in my town and only about 15 or 20 minutes away, I was very excited. I even blogged about it here.

Other than the fact that the class was only s0-so, the real kick in the pants was the price, $10 for walk-ins (though the first class is free) and after that it's $8 a class. Back when I took it previously, it was $5 for walk-ins and about $3.50 a class. Yes, a huge difference.

So, when I read this in my Spark People newsletter today, I had to wonder if they were quoting Jazzercise fees from the 1980s or something: "Because individual instructors independently own Jazzercise classes, there is no set rate. You will find that classes cost anywhere from $2 to $7, depending on the number of classes you purchase."

If I cared enough, I'd write to Spark and tell them they are wrong, wrong, wrong, but instead I'm blasting them here.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Yeah Yee

Okay, Yee gets a thumbs up on this one. I'm not sure all yoga lovers will like this or not, and honestly, I question its "beginning" level. However, it has a lot of the movements that I enjoy doing, such as lots and lots and lots of sun salutations. And, of course, who doesn't love downward facing dog?

I got a wonderful stretch on the back of my thighs, and it got my heart rate up, so that's what I was looking for. In fact, this in general is why I like power yoga so much better than some other forms that have you constantly meditating or laying around. If want to do that, I'll take a nap. When I exercise, I want to break out into a sweat.

Plus, I have real issues with getting my mind to stop thinking. As I'm bending over in mountain pose, I can't help but think of stupid stuff like, "Hey, I need to clip my toe nails!"

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Yen and Yang with Yee

I've really missed my yoga and now that I'm back on the diet and fitness mill, I splurged on a new Rodney Yee DVD, Power Yoga - Flexibility. This is really to replace an older power yoga video by Yee I had that has finally retired. I love that video, but I wasn't able to find the exact same one on DVD, so hopefully this one will replace it.

I've really started to notice that my whole body has gotten much stiffer over the past year or so, and while I can attribute some of it to being out of shape, unfortunately, I think more than likely it's just another perk of being over 40. Gone are the days when I could stretch for five second and flop down into a split.

I'll let know you what I think of this newest DVD purchase. With shipping included, this puppy was less than $10.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Had a Thing

Last night I had a "thing" to go to, one of those events that required me to dress semi-professional for a change, and of course, that meant trying to figure out what still fits me in my closet (ya, not much). I knew there was going to be snacks there, and so I planned ahead, making sure I ate an egg and cheese sandwich before I left. I'm learning slowly, but protein is really the way to keep myself full.

So, I get there, and sure enough there is Mrs. S0-and-So's lemon cake, chips, sodas, and a huge sandwich ring. Everyone was very friendly and enouraged me to "have something to eat." I hate situations like this because I feel like I'm being rude when I protest, so I compromised and picked up a napkin and put 3 preztels on it, returned to my seat and pulled out my water bottle.

A few minutes later, another participant showed up and sat next to me. Again, everyone greated her and insisted she get something to eat, and she gently protested. We introduced ourselves and come to find out we both had purposely eaten something before we got there to make sure we didn't eat at this "thing." She had just lost 50 lbs after having a baby and had about 20 more to go, which she confessed she needed to lose before she'd gotten pregnant. I confessed that I had no baby to blame it on and we laughed.

It felt good not to be the only person in the room that was fighting off the food. I didn't have to sit there while she chowed down on cake and sucked down a chunk of sandwich.

So far the last two days have been like that, tough but I'm doing it. I'm sticking around 1500 to 1700 calories and trying for 8 glasses of water a day. Two days down, a million to go.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Spark Me

I'm going to try something other than fitday for a change. Not that I don't love fitday, but I've also discovered Spark People, which has a lot more bells and whistles. Actually, it may have too many because so far I'm finding it a little awkward to use, but I will probably get used to it. Plus, it may be that their server has a million fatties like me on it since it's the first of the year, so it's a little slooooowww right now.

Along with the usual food and exercise tracking, they also have message boards, daily tips you can get emailed to you, and loads of other things that I haven't had the time to figure out yet. Like I said, maybe too many bells, but I like the idea of the newsletters. They could sort of work as a daily reminder to keep myself focused.

Speaking of focused, I'm off to do my 2mile today then hitting the grocery store to load up on fruits and vegies.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Girlie Menu

Tomorrow is grocery day, so that means the official back on the diet day. I'm not going crazy right now, but I'm still working through some leftovers. Got those black eyed peas to eat you know. I also got a short work out in this morning, so that always helps me start the day right.

As I'm sitting here trying to finish up some of my blogging for the week and prepare to clear tomorrow for teacher prep work, I came upon an interesting blog post about women's diets versus men's diets. This is something that has been a real struggle at our house because my husband and I have totally different needs. He can eat one big meal all day and nothing else and be fine. Me? I have to eat 20 little meals a day. If I try to eat just one big one, well, I just can't eat that much at one sitting, so that means 2 hours later I'm hungry again.

Okay, here's a little from the post I mentioned published on Aprils CR Diary, "His and Hers Portions?"

It would be interesting to see if restaurants would begin serving his and hers portions. You wouldn't have to label it that way, of course, you could just have size small and size large. But imagine a restaurant where my 4'11" friend and her 6'10" husband could go, order, and be served dishes that more closely corresponded to their actual calorie needs. There could even be a menu of "Just for Her" tiny, low calorie side dishes like calcium-packed yogurt treats. Men could order off the women's menu, and women could order off the men's menu, but there would be a basic understanding that men and women come in different sizes and a one size fits all approach doesn't work.

I love this idea. I usually bring home a doggie bag when we go out, but honestly, I still end up stuffing down way more than I need to. I'd love to see more places offer a variety as far as portions.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Black Eyed Peas

And, I don't mean the band! Today we finished up lots of leftovers from the past few days of celebrating and I also cooked up a batch of my black eyed peas. Yes, I cooked something. It's one of a few dishes I actually know how to make, sort of a family inherited recipe from my dad. There's little to no measuring required, so I'm good with that.

For any yankees out there who need some luck and peas for next year, here's the recipe:

Take a small bag of black eyed peas and soak them at least over night. If you can find fresh ones, great, no soaking needed. Drain and save for later.

Fill up a crock pot or large pot with water, add a ham hock, bring it to a boil, and then simmer for an hour. If you don't have time for this, just skip this part and put the ham hock directly into the pot with everything else, but if you do, it will add a lot of flavor to the finished dish.

Toss peas into a crock pot, along with the ham hock, and at least a few cups of the water from the pot you just boiled the ham in.

Add the following into the pot: 1 sweet onion, chopped; a small can of tomato paste; hot cherry peppers, at least 3 big ones; dash of various seasonings such as oregano, basil, cyan pepper, paprika, and thyme; 1 bay leaf; and a liberal shaking of tobasco sauce. You can add just about any spice that sounds good too you as long as it's on the hot side and is not salt. Never, ever put salt in your peas when you're cooking them or they won't get soft. You can add salt to taste later once they are done cooking.

Put the lid on and let cook overnight on low. When you wake up in the morning, your kitchen will be filled with the smell of hot and spicey black eyed peas!