Monday, August 30, 2010

Twenty Lbs Down and Houlihan's Restaurant

I began this post last Thursday, after I did my "official" home weekly weigh-in:

Hooray, in spite of my anxiety, general craziness and lack of patience in weighing myself, I've now lost twenty lbs! It was a tough week keeping my motivation up, since I had no immediate scale gratification. I can't visually judge my body with any degree of accuracy. I can understand how people with anorexia can have a distorted body image. How I see my figure seems completely controlled by my emotions, so when I didn't have any concrete proof of my progress, I'd look in the mirror and think, "Do my thighs look fatter? Is my stomach larger or smaller?" I try not to obsess, but it is difficult.
Kristian said that my legs are looking shapelier, which was super sweet of  him.
So, I feel happy and thin (ner)!

This week, I tried to do some ab exercises on a mat (more about this in a upcoming post) and my dogs went wild with delight. They were sure that I was on the floor to play with them. It made my attempts kind of ridiculous. They were play fighting where my legs should go, and I ended up crunching with a ten lb. Zoe on my chest. I don't know if she made things worse, but muscles all through my torso ached for two days after.

Finally, we went to Houlihan's Restaurant for dinner on Wednesday, which was a new place for us. I was very happy to discover that they have something called "Small Plates." The idea is that you can order more than one and sample different dishes. My idea was that I could order one, and still have room for a small dessert (I know, so much to learn). So, I got the 4 oz grilled salmon with mashed potatoes and a watercress salad. It was the perfect amount and so delicious. The salad had balsamic dressing, and I have to admit I wasn't crazy about the combo; it seemed bitter to me. But, I am not a natural salad lover. I'm trying to learn to want it. After dinner, Kristian and I split a s'mores fondue crock, which is, "Warm chocolate ganache, marshmallows with crystallized graham cracker sticks & strawberries." It was fantastic!They do offer mini desserts for one. We were very pleased with the meal, and the price, and plan on going back often. Minus the dessert, it will be a perfectly reasonable and satisfying place to eat out yet support a healthier eating style.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nevada vacation = healthy eating challenges + fun!

Las Vegas Show Girl

Picture from Wackystuff on Flickr, who describes it as a: "1940s pin-up card dispensed from penny arcade vending machines."

We came home yesterday after five days in Nevada. We had a great time, visiting relatives in Boulder City and spending 24 hours together in Las Vegas.  Since this is my fitness blog, I'll keep my summary relevant: this was challenging to a healthy lifestyle! Since we were guests of my husband's family, we didn't choose the restaurants we went to, and I was frequently tempted to overindulge by the yummy-sounding choices on the menus . I tried to stick to my healthier habits, and sometimes I did okay. I drank no soda the entire trip, only water with lemon. I admit that I wavered the night of our dinner in Vegas, but fortunately, they only had Pepsi, and my poison is Coke, so I opted out. When I had sandwiches, I refused the French fries and had fruit or cottage cheese instead. I turned down dessert, although not always. We filled the guesthouse fridge with fruit and Breyers Smooth and Dreamy chocolate carmel ice cream sandwiches.

My plan was to avoid weighing myself for a week, and stick to better habits now that I'm home. I did workout last night after we returned. But, I couldn't stay off the scale. I told myself that it wouldn't count, that it was evening and I was fully clothed. And the scale said...I lost six pounds. I couldn't believe it. True, I wore my new clothes and they continued to fit me, but it seemed too good to be true. Guess what? It was. I weighed myself twice, got the same reading, demanded of Kristian if the scale could be off, and once I accepted it, I went back upstairs and weighed myself again. Unfortunately, that time, and two more times, showed that I've only lost a pound. Now, I doubt even that, so I haven't recorded it. So, I'm staying off the scale until next Thursday morning, when I do my "official" weigh in.


I mean it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My healthy lifestyle anchor: a stationary bike!

My bike and my dog Zoe

Programming the bike for my workout

Yes, it's a Schwinn 140

Gratuitous photo of Zoe and Jack begging for treats after my workout

Six days a week I ride my stationary bike, a Schwinn 140. Yesterday, I finally moved up to peddling for an hour. I feel proud of this, because when I began, I think around the end of June, it was a struggle for me to finish 20 minutes. I seriously sounded like an obscene phone call. I was also afraid of breaking into a sweat and getting my heart pounding, because I thought that I might have a heart attack. I've found that hasn't happened.

Here is a little bike background. My husband and I wanted to get a stationary bike that we could both use. He was the driving force behind us choosing one, because he began to change his lifestyle for the healthier months before I did. He did some research and we settled on the Schwinn 140 Upright Exercise Bike   .
It can hold someone 300 lbs, so I felt confident that I wouldn't break it and we read somewhere that it was appropriate for people 5' tall and up and was adjustable. So, we ordered it from Amazon, on sale and with free shipping. Kristian had to put it together, which was not fun, but it was worth it. One important caution however, if you are petite. I'm 5' 2" with very short legs and it was a struggle for me to reach the peddles. This was very frustrating and upsetting for me, but Kristian took it to a machine shop at our church (who knew?) and they bored an extra hole in the pole that raises and lowers the seat, so that my little legs could peddle. :) The other problem that I had at first, and sometimes still, is that the seat hurts my bottom. It is oversized, but it can be pretty uncomfortable. I think I've toughened up, because it's less trouble now. Those things aside, I'm very happy with this bike.

I like that the bike keeps track of calories burned and miles covered. It tells you how fast you are peddling as you ride ( I'm not sure if it's counting revolutions or what, but if my number gets to a certain range when I'm going to it, I'm happy).  Now that I'm working out for an hour, I'm up to 16 ish miles and 450 + calories burned during that time. The bike has different levels; I think that it goes up to 16. I'm now on 10. It also has different pre-programmed courses and circuits, which I rotate through.

The best time for me to workout is right after work before Kristian gets home. Then I can turn up some music and go to town. My dog Jack sometimes thinks that I'm playing with him and tries to grab the pedal as I turn it, but he tires of that pretty quickly. I find I put more effort in if I bike to music early in the evening. If I do it later at night, Kristian and I will watch a DVD together like The Closer: The Complete Second Season,
NCIS Naval Criminal Investigative Service - The Complete Third Season or All Creatures Great & Small - The Complete Series 3 Collection.

I called this an anchor for me because if I'm not losing weight as quickly as I should or I feel like I'm losing motivation or eating more than I should, I do my workout and think that I'm doing what I should. If I do it, I will eventually lose more weight. I want to keep this up and add in some hula hooping, yoga and some weight bearing exercise.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My favorite summer ice cream treats

As I have mentioned before, I have a major sweet tooth. I have lost 16 lbs this summer, but I still needed my daily sweet fix. Aside from eating more fruit, I've been heavily dependent on Breyers Smooth and Dreamy ice cream bars and sandwiches. I eat one of these daily, usually after I finish my biking workout. I can't believe how good they taste, and I am picky. Also, as far as I know, they contain no artificial sweeteners. I just don't like those. I know, it's ridiculous, considering every other artificial thing that I consume.  I would like to try their Smooth and Dreamy scoopable ice cream, but for now, I'm enjoying the portion control.

My favorite flavors are above, especially the Chocolate Carmel Brownie sandwich.
Try them!

 Nutrition information available here .

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New clothes for the not-as-fat girl

Kristian and I went shopping for some new clothes last weekend. That does not happen all that often, but we were in need. My jeans were just getting too baggy, and he needed some new boots.So, we ventured to Mall of America, aka The Mall of Hysteria. Have you been there? It's incredibly huge and busy and parking there is an art. I usually go to Southdale, but today we pulled out all the stops.

   First we went to DSW and I found the Softspots Aster Mary Janes above. I am thrilled with them! I normally wear a 6 1/2, but these came in my ridiculous real size which is 6WW. I think that they are cute. I love the flower, they have a wedge but not a higher heel, so I can stand in them at work all day, and  they are not open toed or heeled, so I can wear them through 3 Minnesota seasons. Yeah!

Then we went to Lane Bryant, and I bought some daringly small clothes. I guess that I have some body distortion, because you can ask any of my friends and coworkers and they will tell you that I wear my clothes too big. I have this fear of putting all of my tummy rolls on display. However, I had my husband take some photos of me for "Beforish" pictures for the blog, and I was unhappy to see that you couldn't tell that I have a waist, even though I do. So, I decided to trust him and the sales women over my own instincts, at least fit-wise. I got a pair of their petite straight leg jeans. The sales woman was a whiz at looking at me and knowing which pair would look best. I knew I wanted a straight leg cut, because I have relatively slender legs, but I would've gone for the Red size 22 (Lane Bryant has its own jean sizing system). This is supposed to be if you are moderately curvy. She showed me how I could go down to a Red size 20 or try a Yellow size 22. It is a narrower cut, but the material has stretch and actually it looked good on me. The placement of the pockets made my behind look shapely, even though it's really kind of flat. A winner. Then I bought some black trousers. I am 5'2", so they will have to go to the tailor to be hemmed, but I can wear the jeans right now!

Shopping for t-shirts was more of a stretch mentally. I bought four in red, pink, blue and purple. I was shocked to find that the fit of choice was a size 18/20! I've been wearing a 26/28. I was even encouraged to try on a size 14/16, but it was just too clingy for me. Kristian really liked the ones we got, though. He looked at me and said, "you've got curves, baby!" I left the store feeling elated.

The next day I tried on my clothes as whole outfits and did a little fashion show. Then I panicked. What was I thinking buying these fitted clothes? What was Kristian thinking letting me get them? What if people laughed at me or thought that I was mutton dressed as lamb? But, on Monday I wore my purple shirt and my old jeans to work. My coworkers were very nice, and complimented me a lot. Today I decided to be brave and go for it and I'm wearing the shoes, jeans, and red t-shirt. I've had nothing but positive reaction. So...