Saturday, April 4, 2015

Day Ninety-Four: March, or as I Like to Call it: The Month of Suck

March was not a good month for me. It started out strong and then slowly but surely turned to shit. I don't know what happened. Oh, wait. Yeah, I do: My birthday happened. And my period. And my favorite author died. All on the same day. The same. Damn. Day. Shit. I've decided to pretend March didn't happen. I will post a picture, but it'll have to wait until I can find someone other than me to hold the camera. Suffice it say, it won't be any worse than the last, but it sure as hell won't be any better either. I'll post my cheats too. I'm trying to get out of mourning mode. Work with me here.


Weight: 135.7 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Day Seventy: Wellness Center Fitness Assessment Sans Montage Music

I'm going to start working out if it kills me, and if my recent fitness assessment is any indication, it probably will. Okay, I'm being overdramatic about that, but stil...

As mentioned in a previous post, I recently joined a gym. In my entire thirty-nine years of lackidasical existance, I've been a member of at least three gyms, not counting my current membership. Of them all, I think the East Jefferson Wellness Center has to be one of the nicest. The equipment is up to date and plentiful, the staff seem friendly and knowledgable, and there are a multitude of classes for every fitness level. They also offer a free fitness assessment when you join to help you meet your fitness goals.

A friendly staff member imparting the knowledge.

Today, I received my free assessment from a staff member named Rebecca. I was sitting in the waiting area, waiting for the fun to begin, when I overheard the older gentlman sitting next to me talking to a staff member about an ultramarathon she had recently run. Not a marathon. An ultramarathon. Apparently, she had run so hard, they had to take her out on a stretcher. Wouldn't you know it, this staff member ended up being my fitness assessor.

This picture isn't blurry. The camera was just overwhelmed by her fitness awesomeness.
We started by taking my blood pressure, height and weight, and my body mass composition. My BP was fine. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I've lost 7 pounds since I last weighed myself. I also learned that I'm a half inch taller than I previously thought. I know. I know. It's the simple things in life that make you happy. If only I could grow a few more inches without losing or gaining inches horizontally, I wouldn't need a fitness blog. My body mass compostion was a little less thrilling. Basically, I stood barefoot on a machine while holding onto two metal handle thingies while standing still and wondering if sucking in my gut would do any good. To answer the question: No. No, it won't.

Also, it doesn't take bribes. Don't bother.
The results revealed that while I'm at a good weight overall, and I do have a good consistency of lean body mass, I'm a few pounds over where I need to be body fat wise. Most of it is in my "trunk", which apparently, has a lot more "junk" than absolutely necessary.

That was the "resting" measurement portion of my assessment. Next came the "active" portion. This consisted of me balancing on each leg for thirty seconds, doing a plank for thirty seconds, performing as many pushups as I could do (one), and step aeorbics on a platform with three risers, for three minutes, while staring at a cabinet without a motivational kitten poster or montage music. Somehow, I pulled through.

Next, we went out into the main gym where I was made to do a series of strength training exercises. I learned the proper form for doing, well, everything, and I learned how to use a kettlebell without giving myself a concussion. I also learned that I look constipated when I do a reverse tricep pushup.

Next up, cardiovascular! This one brought back memories of Highschool PE class. I alternated between doing jumping jacks, cross body toe touches, high kicks, and speed skating, thirty seconds of each, four times. That doesn't sound like much until you realize you're doing them quick with only a little break in between. At least now I can do them without the extra forty pounds I had when I was a chubby teenager.

We tried out the stairmaster, which was easier to use than many of the other stair-type machines I had tried in the past, as well as some of the weight machines. Although some of them look a litte complicated, I was assured that any member of the staff would be happy to show me how to use them.

So, after all this, I was rated at an intermediate level of fitness. Not too shabby for a gal who spends most of her down time pounding away at a keyboard.

Oh, and I haven't forgotten my end of the month pic from February. I just got caught up in stuff, as is my custom. So here it is, and stop nagging. Be advised, I didn't have anyone to hold the camera for me, and I didn't have a tape measure, so no body measurements this time.

Weight: 133.2

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Day Fifty-Six: Adventures with Yoga

There's no sugar coating the facts. I hate exercise. Given a choice between binge watching multiple seasons of Bones or jogging on my treadmill, I'll pick binge watching every time. I'm just naturally lazy. It also doesn't help that my treadmill is loud and I live in an apartment complex with thin walls and a neighbor who sleeps most of the day because he works nights. That or he's a vampire.

Not my neighbor. Thank the gods.

This hasn't helped my weight loss journey in the least bit, but I've been trying, by golly, and by trying, I mean I've been roped into doing yoga with my sister. She joined a yoga studio about a month ago and has been nagging me to try it. At first, I wasn't too enthusiastic. From what I've seen on TV, it's just a lot of weird poses, trying to balance yourself on one foot, and a bunch spiritual mumbo jumbo that I'm just not into, but I was getting desperate to find a new routine that didn't bore me to death, so I tried Yoga Krewe's 30 for 30 package (for first timers only) where you can attend unlimited classes for thirty days at thirty dollars. I figured if I didn't like it or didn't get much of a workout from it, I wouldn't have wasted that much money. And really, how hard could it be?

Yeah, turns out Yoga is a lot harder than you would think. Since starting the class, I've discovered muscles I didn't know I had. It also strengthens your core muscles, which I apparently have. I learned this when they made their presence known by letting me know how unhappy they were that I've neglected them for so many years. I've also discovered that the only way to get me to a 6 AM class is to bribe myself with a donut. Guess what one of my cheats was this month?

Two of these. The other one was in my stomach before I could take the picture.

Two early morning classes and the only way I could force myself to make it to either one was to sleep in my workout clothes the night before and bribe myself with a plain cake donut. And the only reason there wasn't glaze on that thing was because I couldn't quite bring myself to waste all the effort it took to make the class in the first place.

In spite of my early morning donut slip ups, I've kept to my calorie limit (except for one day when I went way over, ironically, when there were no donut bribes to be had), and I do enjoy the classes. Getting to them is a pain, however, especially since the studio is all the way the hell over in Gretna. Because of this, I've decided not to renew my membership there. Instead, I've signed up for a membership at East Jefferson Wellness Center. The membership fee is only $60, which isn't too shabby compared to the $99 unlimited class fee at Yoga Krewe. Not that the Krewe hasn't been wonderful. The instructors there are really nice, know what they're doing, and are patient with less than agile members such as myself, but I'll be getting more out of it since the Wellness Center offers classes other than yoga, has workout equipment, a pool, and a sauna.

Not a donut, but it'll do.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Day Forty-two: Still Alive...Barely

Believe it or not, I'm still keeping up with this fitness shit. Sort of. I haven't worked out in over a week. I haven't given up, but I have been a bit...sidetracked? At least I can say I've pretty much kept to my diet. Well, I haven't gone over my calorie limit. That's kind of hard to do when you've basically only been eating low fat chicken soup for half of the week. Motivation to exercise, however, has eluded me.
It started last Tuesday. I wasn't feeling well. The constant change in weather has been affecting my sinuses, and I knew I had to be coming down with something on Wednesday when I couldn't get my lazy ass off the couch the entire day. I couldn't breathe out of one nostril, I was exhausted for no good reason, and my head was killing me from yet another sinus headache. I had reserved a spot for a yoga class that night, but there was no way I was going anywhere but bed. I never work out on Thursdays because that's my game/writer's meeting night, but I figured I could catch a yoga class on Friday morning before I went into work if I was feeling better by then. Too bad I felt like poo for the next two days.
I couldn't call in sick Thursday because I already had clients on the book. It would be like pulling teeth to find someone to work for me. When my husband called me at work the next day to let me know he wasn't feeling too good either, I knew I couldn't come in on Friday. If I was contagious, I wouldn't be able to work on clients without making them sick too. I found a couple people to pull my shift for the next day and went home. I missed the class I reserved on Friday morning, so no exercise for me then either.
Saturday. Ugh. Saturday was hell. Health wise, I was feeling better, but I had made the mistake of asking my husband to drop me off and pick me up after work. There were parades due to run down Poydras that day, and I just wanted one easy day. I told him to pick me up at Baronne at the Jimmy Johns, a plan he thought was stupid because he believes there just has to be a back way to get to the Loews where I work. There is a back way. There are many. Too bad they're all blocked off two hours before the parades start. No amount of explaining this to him would convince him though. I also should have told him to wait to leave until after I called him because he left an hour before my shift ended and got there a half an hour before I got off. And because I had to wait for the authorities to allow me through the parade barricades (this can take anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour), he spent the next ten minutes after I got off driving around the block. This caused a heated argument on the ride home that ended with me going over to my sister's house to gripe. I also went riding around New Orleans trying to find this mysterious back way that will magically transport me past numerous blocked streets. Seriously. Just about every street surrounding the hotel is blocked off during a parade. I fucking hate Mardi Gras.
Suffice it to say, I missed the Saturday night yoga class as well. Because fuck it.
I'm going back tonight, though I'm not really enthusiastic about it. The temporary membership I have runs out on the 27th and the full membership rate is way too much for me to afford, but maybe if they have a walk in fee, I'll drop in twice a month. Eh.
This entire week has taught me two things. One, that Mardi Gras traffic is hell on a marriage, and two, motivation is really hard to find when you're too tired to go looking for it. On the positive side, I weighed myself last week and came out close to seven pounds lighter than when I began this thing. I also took measurements, but I'm not sure I trust that I did that right. There is no way I lost that many inches in such a short amount of time, even if the pants I fit in again say otherwise. Also, I have my end of the month pictures. Please feel free to enjoy my pasty whiteness. One of us should.
Weight: 140.4
Bust: 40
Waist: 33.5
Hips: 40

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Day Thirty-One: Cheat Day of Awesomness!

I'm so glad I decided to have a monthly cheat day. At least, I was last night when I ate this lovely slice of awesomeness:
Pictured above: Awesomeness in it's solid form.
The picture above is P.F. Chang's New York-Style Cheesecake, a
smooth and creamy cheesecake with graham cracker crust served with fresh berries and raspberry sauce
 (per their menu). I'm not big on raspberries. Fresh berries are for healthy days, anyway. I wanted chocolate, but I swore I wouldn't touch the stuff. Luckily ,they had caramel sauce. I nearly died of a self inflicted diabetic coma, and I'm reasonably sure my husband nearly died of embarrassment from all the moaning and euphoric exaltations coming from our table. This lovely slice of heaven was 920 calories. That's not including the caramel sauce. It's just as well I couldn't finish it all. Okay, I finished most of it, but still...
My alcoholic beverage was less orgasmic.
Pictured above: Awesomeness in its liquid form. Or it would be. If it had more vodka.
This is P.F. Chang's Coconut Lemon Sour which includes Pearl Coconut Vodka, coconut water and fresh lemon juice. It was sweet and delicious and satisfying. Too bad it wasn't very strong. Either the bartender was stingy with the vodka or I've grown a tolerance for liquor in my old age because I didn't get so much of a buzz from this. Usually I can blame a full stomach, but not this time. I finished half my drink before the waiter served me my appetizer. Too bad really, because it was quite delicious. I have no idea how many calories were in it, but it was probably a lot considering how sweet it tasted. Kind of a waste of a cheat, though. Next time, I'll just order an appletini and be done with it.
Because I'm holding myself accountable for all cheats, I'm also including other little slip-ups that happened this week, including this one lonely tortilla chip I ate during Thursday night's D&D game:
So very, very lonely...
In my defense, I thought the host of the game was going to be making food like he does every other game night and decided to have one serving of whatever he made. As it happened, he didn't make anything this week. I was hungry, so I allowed myself one chip. Taking the picture kept me from eating more. I was saved when one of the other players bought the entire group burgers. I opted for the one without cheese and decided not to take a picture of it because I was still under my limit and sustenance was required. And I feel like such a tool every time I have to take a picture of my food in public.
Speaking of which...
A very lonely pizza bite. If only it could find its lonely tortilla chip soul mate...
You know those free sample food carts at Sam's? That's where I found this poor excuse for a pizza product when I took my mom shopping last Wednesday. Well, not this one per say. This is the one that was left when I realized I had just popped a cheat food in my mouth. Again, I wouldn't have eaten this if I had stopped for lunch, but in my defense (I'm incredibly defensive when I diet) I didn't realize we would be stuck shopping for four hours straight. Four. Fucking. Hours. Seriously. When I realized what I had done, I immediately took a picture of its surviving sibling, much to the chagrin of the food cart lady. She asked me what I was doing with such a confounded expression that made me wonder if she thought I was a free sample hating terrorist. I explained that I had a blog and was holding myself accountable, yada, yada, and her confounded expression was followed by a headshake and a prayer for my generation's addiction to social media and the interwebs. And really, I can't blame the woman.
So, that's that. Now I slowly pine away from my next cheat day on February 18th, when my husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary. I'm not sure what I'll cheat with this time, but I'm sure Darren will be embarrassingly contemplating the murder of every desert making chef within a hundred mile radius.
Author's note: I've made it through the first month without slitting a wrist. Yay for me! Next post will include weight stats as well as my end of the month photo. Yay for me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day Twenty-One: To Cheat or Not To Cheat, That is the Question...

After some consideration, I have decided to allow myself a monthly cheat day. The idea was posited to me by Quirky Chrissy of the blog of the same name. She suggested I allow myself a weekly cheat day, but I've decided to make it a monthly thing and see how it goes from there. This month's cheat day will be January 30th when my husband and I see Shen Yun at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. My cheat will consist of one alcoholic beverage and one serving of desert. The desert can not have chocolate in it. I just can't control myself around chocolate.
Speaking of cheats, earlier this month I promised to show pictures of food items that went off my diet. This has raised certain questions I'm still trying to answer. I did go off my diet once or twice these past few weeks, but not in the sense that I ate a mountain of potato chips or whatnot. Basically, I've either been forced to eat something I probably shouldn't due to lack of an alternative or I've gone over my calorie limit because I ate too much of what I'm allowed to eat. Here are a few examples:
This was the day I forgot to bring my lunch to work and all they had were burgers and hotdogs, and they were out of the fat-free dressing. Beef is considered a "red" food on my Noom and so are most salad dressings. I'm only allowed around 15% of red foods, and this put me over my percentage limit. Ironically, I don't think I went over my calorie limit for the day.
I did go over my calorie limit the day I ate this totally benign and Noom approved whole wheat bread slice. I was desperately hungry that day and feeling like crap to the point that if I didn't have something in my stomach, I felt like I was going to dry heave. It was around this time that I started wondering if I shouldn't up my calorie limit or at least check to see if I had been depriving myself of some necessary nutrient. I also started taking vitamins around this time.
It's not what you're thinking...
No, those aren't droppings from some mysterious animal. Those are almonds and, according to Noom, a red food. I was feeling low on energy and desperately needed a boost. This is what I used to eat when I was low on energy (also when Noom used to include this as a yellow food), and it did the trick, but it also put me over my calorie limit for the day.
These are just a few examples. I'm starting to wonder if it's even worth it to include these as cheats. I haven't gone too far over my limit, and to be honest, I felt I needed the extra food. Either my body isn't used to the calorie cut or my app is wrong about my limit. I want to lose weight, but I don't want to risk my health in the process. In the future, I might only include these over the limit cheats if I go over 200 calories or more. After doing a little research, I've come to the conclusion that as long as I exercise and stay within a 1,300-1,400 calorie limit, I should be fine. I'll decide at the end of the month after I've weighed myself. I'll probably be in a less than generous mood by then, but what can you do?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Day Fourteen: Exercise and All the Funny Notes on My Noom

Exercise has never been my thing, my public school education having instilled a fear of gym shorts and sweat from an early age. But I am trying, by golly. I've set up an exercise regiment that is flexible and probably isn't doing anything for me, but at least it's more than what I was doing most of last year. I've been trying to incorporate different routines and not just stick to the same old, "run on a treadmill until I'm bored" shtick. I've only missed two days so far. One was the Friday of the first week when I was getting acclimated to my new sweaty lifestyle. The other missed day was yesterday when I had a painful sinus headache that kept me in bed most of the day. So far so good.
I have an app on my phone to keep myself honest. Or as honest as a lackadaisical, life-long couch potato can be. One of the nifty things about my Noom Coach app is that I can log any exercise I do throughout the week. I can also leave helpful little comments such as the one I left on January 2nd, the Friday I planned to workout after work, but pooped out:
Never assume you will have the energy after working a late shift. Either get here early, or do it at home.
And then there's this helpful nugget that came after I realized listening to the same Crystal Method song was going to slowly drive me insane. Especially since it would pause in the middle of the song for no apparent reason (I later learned my phone was being interrupted with email notifications and such):
Two minute run between sets. Really, REALLY need some new workout music. Preferably on a player that doesn't skip. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with my phone?!?!?
And also there's the snarky one I wrote on January 6th. That was the day I planned to go to the gym to swim, but decided to use the treadmill at home instead because I just wasn't feeling it:
Supposed to swim. Would require me to leave the house...Fuck that.
My favorite notes are the ones where I got creative with what I considered an aerobic workout:
...Sex. I was on top. I'm counting this.
And no, I will not tell you how long that aerobic workout lasted.
Never scream "FEEL THE BURN, BITCHES!" during coitus. It confuses your partner and raised certain...questions.