Thursday, January 31, 2008

Healthy '08, month in review

The year started off quite well. My main goals for January were:
- exercise every work day, 21 days total
- track calories six days a week at Sparkpeople
- run two miles at 6 mph
- start a strength program
- get off on the right track with weight loss

- 20/21 days at the gym, I missed this past Monday morning when Cutie was awake from 3:45am and then Hot Wheels got up at 5:15am.
bonus stat: average 447 calories burned per workout
- 31/31 days tracked at Sparkpeople
bonus stat: only 3 days over 1800 calories (all under 2100), average calories 1600 per day
- ran 2.0 miles at 6mph last Tuesday. The first mile and a half I felt like I could keep going and going. The last half mile I decided I would be stopping at 2.0.
- strength program started. I only followed it 2/4 scheduled days, though.
- weight loss results: gym weight 1/2/08- 168.8, 1/31/08- 162.0, 6.8 pounds lost

Overall: pretty happy with this month. I know the changes I'm making are for the long haul, the 3 days of slip-ups weren't that big of a deal. In the past a slip-up generally led to me slacking even more- the slippery slope I think I have found a way around.

Goals for February:
- 21/21 work days at the gym
- track 29/29 days at Sparkpeople, stay under 1800 calories 26/29 days (if I "allow" 3 days over I won't be upset when I have one, and three days aren't enough to do much damage)
- strength train 8/8 scheduled days, set some specific strength goals based on progress
- run 3.0 miles at 6 mph
- continue weight loss with a goal of 155 by 2/29

Friday, January 25, 2008

Before I get too proud of myself

This morning I was supposed to get up and run before circuit training class. Here I've been all impressed with my new found determination and success with the whole being healthier thing. In the big picture, it's been 24 days, not exactly earth shattering changes. Then this morning came and after being up much of the night with the kids, I skipped the run before class. I still attended the 6am class so I'm giving myself credit for something. After about 70 chest passes with the medicine ball, my arms are sure feeling it.

Overall it was a good week, though. Tuesday morning I ran 2.0 consecutive miles at 6 mph. I'm almost a third of a way to a 5K and my race is not until April, so I think my goal of coming in under 30 minutes is going to be realistic, barring injury or illness. Wednesday was strength training and elliptical trainer, yesterday was 45 minutes on the other elliptical doing the hill interval program. That was a tough workout. Circuit class this morning and as if today I have been to the gym all 17 work days of the year so far. I've also logged every bite of food at sparkpeople since Jan. 1st and I've only been over my calories once. According to the scale at the gym, where I weigh in fully clothed, I've lost 6.2 pounds in the past 24 days, a 3.8% body weight reduction. I'm pretty psyched about that. Especially since the size 10 jeans I bought at the beginning of December are clearly getting too big now. When I lose 12.6 more pounds I'm going to buy myself something. Then I'll reassess my weight goals and take it from there.

There's a new race on the schedule! I'll be doing a backwards mile race on March 29th. There's also a 5K but I decided on the backwards mile because it sounds like fun. I've heard that if you're not trained for one, they're quite difficult. I'm not sure I'll train, or if so how much, but I've got some other friends from work interested as well. The boys will do the lollipop run for kids six and under. Should be fun!

Monday, January 21, 2008


The first transformation of the year belongs to our half bath. I think I mentioned that the only way we were able to afford a 4-bedroom colonial with a great yard and garage was because the kitchen and half bath are 1960 originals. SuperDad spent the week after Christmas dismantling the room all the way down to the subfloor. He then recreated the room to the current state. We love it. It's funny because to look at it you would think that our style is very country, for goodness sake there are flowers and bows. The colors were perfect, though. Here's the before and after, we hope other people find it as great an improvement as we do. I've heard though, the dusty rose sink and toilet might have been worth something on Ebay, they're coming back in style. Ugh.

Bathroom before: (and the toilet matched the sink and tile)
Bathroom after:
I'm so lucky that SuperDad is very handy and that my father, who is also very handy, is retired and available for all remodeling jobs!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Roll with it

I had every intention of getting up and running before 6am boot camp/circuit training class this morning. However, about 4:20am I was called by Superman who's got a whopper of a cold. He was quite congested and far too awake for 4:20am. I got him back to sleep, brushed my teeth and got dressed, went and pumped a bottle for Cutie and was ready to head out the door. Then Superman was awake again, this time he woke up SuperDad. I looked into the playroom just in time to see one of the dogs run into the wall and start a seizure. It's been over a year since either dog has had a seizure, a fact that husband and I were just discussing the other day- apparently jinxing ourselves on the issue. It lasted about 10 minutes or so, he can't walk or see, he drools and pooped on the floor. They're not life threatening, unless he were to maybe fall down the stairs during the seizure. Apparently it's odd for litter mates to have a seizure disorder, but both dogs have it. When they were younger they were about every other month or so but they've decreased dramatically since then. They'll be seven years old next month. So I hung around to make sure he got through the seizure, got Superman his yogurt shake and turned on a video since not even kid cartoons are on yet at 5:20am. I headed out the door and got to class with about 30 seconds to spare. No run, but the circuit class was good enough for today.

Another thing not going according to "plan" is the mobility that Cutie has developed. Yes, she's not even five months old and already she can cross the room on her own. It's a cute combination of rolling and inchworming that brings her within inches of the deadly Legos and other small toys left around by two big brothers and woefully underprepared parents. At least when Superman was at this stage, Hot Wheels didn't really have any inappropriate toys that we had to worry about. Today our house is stocked with Legos, marbles, magnets, action figures and any other number of non-infant friendly toys. Within the next week or so the gates will likely come out of storage and all non-Cutie rated toys will stay in the playroom and Cutie will stay out. Or that's the plan. I know other people have raised young children with older children so it's likely she'll survive this stage but the choking fear is still out there.

Anyway, that's just how it goes around here, even the best laid plans are derailed by life. It's first Friday- two weeks late- and I have avoided the donuts, but I did have a bite of blueberry muffin top. I think it's about 100 calories, shouldn't kill me or anything and it did taste good. Happy Friday.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

If it aint broke- leave it alone!

Here's my little rant to start the morning. When I was training for the triathlons in 2006, I decided that some of my sports bras needed to be retired. Actually they decided they should be retired when all the elastic disintegrated after I don't even know how many years I had them. For a while I went the cheap route and would just double up crappy sports bras- no one sees them anyway. Then, I found them. My friend that was training with me said Target had Champion seamless sports bras that were awesome. Indeed they were. I fell in love and as soon as they had a color no one wanted and it went on sale for $8.98, I bought it. I have all the ugly fluorescent colors available- again no one sees them so who cares what color they are. Well, on a shopping trip two weeks ago I decided I really needed just two more so that even if the laundry piled up a little more I wouldn't have to resort to a crappy old one, or two. (Not sure why I keep them around but you never know.) I even paid full price for them, that's how much I wanted them. Well, I pulled one out last night to wear this morning at the gym and it felt a little different than the other ones I have. This morning I put it on and realized why. They've obviously removed all support from them, relegating them to immediate strength training day bras. I was planning to run this morning but couldn't go back and get another bra without waking SuperDad and Cutie, so I hit the ARC elliptical trainer. They don't say "new and improved" or anything, they're just poor. Oh well, better hope the older ones last a couple years or something, or until I find a new great one that doesn't require it's own bank account to stock up.

I'm in a different place in my life right now than I have ever been and it's pretty cool. When I started this triathlon thing I read other people's blogs about training for Ironman events and all these exciting things and I felt a little jealousy. I also felt like I wasn't really going to be a "real" triathlete unless that's what I was doing, or at least wanted to do. At first I thought, well, they can't have little kids like I do, or a full time job like I do, it's not possible. I was wrong. It is possible, but only if it's what's important to the person doing it I guess. I enjoy reading about everyone's journey for whatever events they undertake. I am NOT training for an Ironman, and I have no definite plans to do so ever. It's in the back of my mind as something I might like to do some day, but that some day is really far away. I know it could be done, for me it's not something that should be done. I'll settle for some 5Ks, some sprints and maybe an Olympic event sooner rather than later. But that's about it. It might make me less of a triathlete, but not less of a person. That's a big thing for me to realize. I always felt like unless I was trying to be the best at something, I was somehow less of a person. That feeling is finally gone. For the first time in my life I'm living my life as it is now, not in anticipation of where it's going. I may never have another child, I'm not moving again (for a very long time at least), I'm not looking for a new job or even hating my current job, I'm not at all focused on what I haven't got, I'm enjoying what I have. It's fun this way.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Down to it

I can't get the pictures to post anywhere but at the top of the post.

This morning was my first session with the trainer at the gym for strength training. Our fitness center is here at work and it is the best thing about my job- other than being paid. We have full time trainers available for personal sessions almost any time. This time of year they run the annual New You program. They had over 300 people sign up for the weight loss sessions, about 150 for the strength training sessions and some for the flexibility sessions as well. So, trainers are busy right now but things slow down for them later in the year. My trainer is a kick-ass triathlete who often places in her 20-25 year old age group. I can go and sit at the machine circuit but I really wanted to go through with her which exercises are going to be the most bang for my buck. I'm planning on doing 30-45 minutes twice a week and then a quick cardio session. I've got about 60-90 minutes of workout time each day. It's not a lot for fitting in strength and cardio on the same days, but it will have to do. After my pathetic pretest last week I know I've got my work cut out for me. This morning was a good start even if I do hate squats and lunges, they need to be done.

I have been quite remiss in not mentioning that Superman turned three earlier this month. Two went out with quite a bang- sent to bed early the night before his birthday for misbehaving. So far three is agreeing with him, we're enjoying a respite from the whining that had become a little too frequent in the house. He was hoping that as soon as he turned three he would go to school so he was a bit disappointed that he's still got to wait until after the summer. Hot Wheels also thinks that he will go to kindergarten the day after he turns five- despite our repeated explanations to the contrary. It's tough having a birthday right after the holidays, (although you can get some good sale stuff!) there's just an overload of presents, parties and excitement. This past weekend officially ended the holiday and birthday season with the last family party taking place at our house. Fun was had by all.

Yesterday afternoon was so much fun when I got home from work. The kids asked for some music on and they danced and we practiced yoga poses for almost an hour. Hot Wheels does a great tree pose and he was really into it. I found a cheap Jumperoo for Cutie and brought it home on Monday. I thought it would take her a few days to get the hang of jumping- wrong. It was all of 10 seconds before she bounced a bit and cracked herself up. When she really gets going in there it's quite a sight to see. She's thrilled with it thus far and the boys think she's a riot in there bouncing and laughing. It was an almost perfect afternoon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Not why I love my husband

It's the end of the honeymoon. The weight loss honeymoon, that is. On January 1st I weighed in at (yikes) 175 pounds. Sunday morning I weighed in at 166.5. Eight and a half pounds would normally make me ecstatic- especially if it hadn't started from 175, but oh well. Then, dear husband gets on the scale. His weight loss was 7 pounds. I gloated for a moment that I had lost more and then I thought about it. Those 12 days consisted of me tracking every bite that I took and working out with more consistently hard workouts than I had done in over a year. I was really working for those eight and a half pounds. What did my dear husband do to lose seven pounds? He informed me that he ate less junk food. That's it! Not even NO junk food, just less. Okay, I have my Dove dark chocolate heart every day, but it's just one, 40 calories worth of delicious dark chocolate heaven. I swear all he has to do is decide to lose weight and it just falls off. I'm thinking I'll be lucky if I keep up even one pound weight loss a week after this. I knew the first ten pounds or so shouldn't be too tough, I had already lost and gained those since Cutie's arrival. But now we're getting to the tough stuff. That would leave me 31.5 to go, I'll settle for 20 if possible. Or maybe I'm destined to remain an Athena and shed the 16.5 left that would leave me in that category. I would imagine I could be a fit 150, especially since I meet with the trainer tomorrow morning to start my strength training program. A nice cut 150 could look good on me.

Not a great start to this week. Something was bugging all three kids Sunday night and after 2am I think I was only able to grab a few catnaps between jumping out of bed to attend to someone. I dragged myself to the gym yesterday, tripped twice on the treadmill and decided I'd be safer on the elliptical trainer where I didn't have to pick up my feet. As is always the case for me, I was alright yesterday but dead on my feet this morning, so it was another elliptical trainer morning. Still 50 minutes, it's all I had in me. Better than nothing anyway. Tomorrow's strength training, Thursday I'll try to get another run in, maybe 2 miles no stops, that would be good.

I'm already looking forward to my lunch today. I do enjoy Lean Cuisines and that's my daily work lunch. Last week I took the boys grocery shopping with me which means I've got to pick my Lean Cuisines quickly or they get restless. I accidentally grabbed buternut squash ravioli with vegetable and walnuts in white sauce. I usually hate white sauce. I gave it a try the other day and I love it. I bought three more yesterday and ate one for dinner. Yum.

If you're on the weight loss wagon as well, I highly recommend They've got decent calorie and activity trackers and they make graphs and stuff. Great free site with lots of resources and people.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday numbers

9:05- my pace for one mile this morning on the treadmill. I was quite excited to be able to get through the whole mile at that pace and then I had Boot Camp circuit training class for 45 minutes.

1485*- the number of calories I need to sustain a weight of 165 pounds. Based on this calculation that I'd never really gone through before:

1. Convert your weight in pounds to kilograms by dividing your pounds by 2.2. Someone who weighs 140 pounds weighs 63.6 kilograms. Weight in pounds x 2.2 = ____ weight in kilograms.

2. Multiply your weight in kilograms by 9.99. Your weight in kilograms x 9.99 = _____.
Convert your height in inches to centimeters by multiplying your inches times 2.54. (Someone who is 5'10" — or 70 inches — is 177.8 centimeters tall.) Your height in inches x 2.54 = _____ height in centimeters.

3. Multiply your height in centimeters by 6.25. Your height in centimeters x 6.25 = _____.
Multiply your age in years by 4.92. Years of age x 4.92 = _____.

4. Add the numbers from Steps 2 and 4, and subtract the number from Step 5. Add 5 if you're a man, and subtract 161 if you're a woman. Total = _____.

1348*- The number of calories I would consume a day to maintain a weight of 135, if I ever got there.
* I am aware that those numbers are based on a relatively inactive person. If I'm working out 350 calories a day, that should, theoretically, give me an extra 350 calories I can consume.

1508- Average number of calories I have eaten per day since starting my tracking again last Wednesday. I do love Sparkpeople, but there are still enough items not listed that I pick equivalent items so it's possible that number is off, but it's quite close and if anything I've been trying to err on the high side.

3677- Number of calories I have burned off at the gym since last Wednesday. It's amazing how much easier it is to eat a pound than burn off a pound! That's an average of 525 per workout, and that's a killer hour to start my day.

300- Calories burned per day nursing (some information says 500, I believe the lower number). It's amazing to me that three times now I've been solely responsible for sustaining a small person's life for multiple months. Cutie will start foods in about six more weeks, although she's already shown interest in what we're eating. Yeay for healthy babies, and yeay for my body cooperating and letting me do what I can for them.

5- Numbers of weeks until the Penguin Plunge, where I will don my bathing suit, in February, for a lovely dip in Long Island Sound.

That's about it for me this week. It's been a decent one, despite having to work full days now. Life goes on, quickly, I just try to keep up.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hitting "It"

Think she's hungry? Cutie was thrilled to recently join us at the dinner table in her own booster, rather than hanging out in the swing on the floor. Since she'll still be nursing for another month and a half or so, she doesn't get food at the table, but manages to amuse herself. And, as you can see, sometimes she snacks.
I've managed to lose 4 pounds since our family challenge weigh-in on January 1st, this morning I was 165.5. That's pretty amazing for me in 10 days and it's my lowest post-pregnancy weight so far. For me the key to losing weight is mostly mental. I don't know anything now that I didn't know for the past few months. I always knew what I needed to be doing, harder exercise and tracking my food conscientiously, it just takes me getting to a point where the benefit of feeling better outweighs my happiness with the complacent lifestyle I fall into from time to time. I was actually holding a delicious looking piece of cake yesterday at a retirement party here at work and I passed it down to someone else without a second thought because those calories, while tasty, were not worth it to me right then. Would I be able to do it all the time? No, I know that. But a couple weeks ago my mindset was "what the heck, one more junk food won't make a difference" and now I've gotten past that. How does that happen? I don't know. I think that's why diets fail, though, people try to gut it out with the diet and exercise when their mind is not really there yet and they're just setting themselves up for failure, I think. I had to get really sick of where I was, not just telling people I wasn't happy with my weight, really feeling it myself, and that got me back on track. As bonus for me, in the past 10 days I've had more energy, great workouts, and slept well, too. I sometimes think about how I thought I could diet in the past. I really think that at one point in my life I believed that if no one saw me eat something, it didn't have calories. I remember going out with friends and being so hungry while they were eating, but I would eat until I got home and then I'd go nuts with it. Crazy, but in my mind it was what would work. I'm sure my weight loss will slow down. I doubt I'll ever be the 135 pounds that one on-line program recommends for my 5'7" medium frame body. I'll do what I can, work hard, and go for the best results I can. And I'm enjoying myself along the way.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


This morning at the gym I took my pre-test for strength training. I'll share the embarrassing results only because I know that they will improve with time: 11 push-ups (the girly on-my-knees kind), and 4 pull-ups on the gravitron with 80 pounds of assistance. So I could only pull up 87 pounds by myself, 4 times. I almost got a 5th, but didn't.

However, later on the elliptical trainer, I was passed a note that made my day. One of the regular gym-goers is a guy that cracks me up on the treadmill. He sings, dances a little, really gets into it. Yesterday I was on the treadmill and he took the one next to me and I mentioned that he gets extra credit for choreography. We talked for a minute or two, he mentioned he was listening to his teenager's music on the headphones and was learning a lot about him. Well, he handed me a paper towel on his way out of the gym and prompted me to open it. He had written "Keep at it, you look great". Political correctness in the workplace be damned, that made my day!

I recently made a wardrobe change, switching from my "mommy jeans" to a more fitted look with a straight leg. I bought two pairs of the more fitted jeans and despite my fears that coworkers and strangers would try to gouge their eyes out at the sight of me in fitted clothing, I've actually been complimented on the look. I've also got a few shirts that are not two sizes too big and they have also been well received. I am aware that other people don't think about me nearly as much as I think they do, and I'm not at work- or anywhere else for that matter- to impress anyone with how I look, but maybe I will make more of an effort to dress nicer. Or maybe not.

I tried round two of bridesmaid dresses this past weekend and there were a few that actually looked decent. It was a pleasant surprise. My sister's choosing a dark red color, could be very dramatic. They're strapless, though, I'll be working on those push-ups and pull-ups for sure.

Yesterday we watched American Gladiators because we had taped it on Sunday night. Hot Wheels was so excited about it we all waited to watch it together. I was very disappointed that it's become much more flashy reality-show like. The announcer drove me nuts with the "witty" commentary in the play by play. After watching the show we went to the playground and Hot Wheels asked me to go for a run with him to train for Gladiators. We did two runs of two laps around the tennis courts, probably nearly half a mile. Then Hot Wheels, Superman and Super Dad all ran through the playground playing "Eliminator" the obstacle course like event at the end. They ran up hills, crawled through tunnes, over obstacles and down slides. Hot Wheels is very excited about being on the show, except the part with the water obstacle under fire- he's not too thrilled about that idea. Some TV is good after all.

This morning Cutie and Superman go to the doctor for their 4-month and 3-year old appointments. Time's just flying by. New pictures soon.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Why cars are amazing

Today I hit a small milestone and spent more time running than walking in my workout. Run time: 21 minutes, walk time: 19 minutes. I didn't say I spent a lot more time running, just more. The newer treadmills in the gym have a cool feature on the bottom of the display where there are three buttons programmed to 2, 4 and 6 mph. This is convenient for intervals because I alternate between 4 mph walking and 6 mph running. I started thinking about the difference between 4 and 6 mph. In my car that's a barely noticeable difference. On my treadmill that's a huge difference. I would burn 324 calories at 4 mph for an hour, but 812 at 6 mph, and the cooldown went to 3 mph, that's 260 calories per hour- not all that much less than 4 mph. I ran 1.7 miles consecutively and then did some intervals to get to 2.1 miles run, 1.4 miles walked. A good start to the week! (until I got to the locker room and realized I left my sweatshirt at home, so I have to wear a t-shirt and jacket all day at work, thank goodness I had the t-shirt)

Our fitness center here at work has an annual N.E.W. You, Nutrition, Education and Wellness program. You can sign up for the weight loss, strength training or flexibility track. I signed up for weight loss at first but switched to strength. I know what I need to do to lose weight, I just have to do it. But I really want some help in setting up a strength program and making progress there. That will help weight loss, anyway. I've got that chin-up bar out in the backyard and my goal is to be able to do 2 unassisted pullups by the summer. That may sound really wimpy, but I've never been able to do a pullup, so it's a big goal for me. I have my pushup and pullup pretest one morning this week, probably tomorrow morning. I'll be lucky to do 10 pushups, on my knees of course, and I have no idea what I can do on the assisted pullup machine. But, you've got start somewhere, I should be able to make decent progress from this starting point.

We taped American Gladiators last night, it's Hot Wheels' favorite show. We're going to have a picnic in the family room and watch it when I get home. Hot Wheels has mentioned on multiple occasions that he wants to be on the show when he grows up. Quite a lofty goal for a 4-year old.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Reviewing and looking ahead

Thankfully, the Bloglines problem resolved so I've found all my "friends" again.

The start of a new year. Looking back at 2007 I can easily say that the year ended as the happiest time of my life. I'm not in nearly the shape I would like, but at least I know I can get there and I'm finally ready to make the effort. There were some large annoyances, like getting passed over for the promotion list- (bringing me to 8 years at the same level), and the work situation had some major downs. But things are looking up in my new job and I'm hoping the promotion will be coming next year- a mere 10 years after starting. For all my griping about work, I have a flexible job that affords us the ability to have a parent home with our kids, even if it's not me I've got it pretty good. It's not the job of my dreams, but it's good enough. A good effort in 2008 will hopefully earn me that promotion next year.

Family. What can I say that I haven't said before? Probably nothing, but I really am so blessed. A wonderful, hard-working, fun, (and attractive) husband and three healthy, adorable (while age-appropriately challenging) children, my sister getting married in July to a great guy, my parents are in good health and are a huge part of my kids' lives. It just can't be better than this.

I've got awesome friends, we've got our new house, the house I intend to live in for the rest of my life if possible. Life is good, no, great!

So, what's up for 2008? Husband and I started a weight loss challenge this morning. The one of us that loses a higher percentage of weight by July 1st wins $100 gift card to anywhere we choose. I'm planning on a 5k in April and a sprint tri in August, other events are TBD as time and finances allow. I will have to put on a bathing suit next month, though. I'm Penguin Plunging for Special Olympics at a local beach. A group of us from work will be dressed as ballerina queens with tutus and tiaras, I'm looking forward to it, even if I will still be a bit overweight for bathing suit wear.

Time to enjoy the rest of this family day before returning to work tomorrow. Happy New Year to all!