That Shrinking Feeling(!)

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I’m seeing 248 on the scale, hot dog!  and I just got a heavy TOM, so I should see it go down even more next Friday.  Today is a gym day.  Wearing my pants this past week, fresh from the laundry, they felt looser!!  I’m extremely thrilled by that.  It was seriously saddening to have my one pair get to the point where putting them on made me feel like I had sausage legs.  I managed to reverse that, and am well on my way to getting back down to 237 — the point where I was when I started my new job (and proceeded to balloon up by as much as 30 lbs, the highest I saw was 268).  Looking back, I let my eating get way out of hand, and didn’t have the energy or time to do the same amount of exercise.  I didn’t give up, and I kept plugging at it until I had it under control again.  May have taken me some time, but I did it.

The moral of the story, stick with it, and you’ll see results!!

Here’s a pic from our recent outing to Brooklyn Heights.

Meals, diet cookbooks, the gym, and the farmers market

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I’m continuing on my quest to be more more plugged into the meals (bf does most to all of the grocery shopping and cooking).  I pulled out my Jenny Craig cook book last weekend and color tagged several recipes.  I handed him the book and said:  anything you make from here is ok.  He made a fish with red onions that was DELICIOUS (thanks, Jenny!), some creamy potatoes (ate that with chicken), some chicken nuggets with honey mustard sauce.  Was a good thing.

farmers market

We’ve been going to the little neighborhood farmers market after church on Sundays (went today), and that’s a very good thing too.  (This pic is actually from a couple of years ago, we don’t have these fall colored leaves yet this season.)  Not that I don’t think the supermarket veggies wouldn’t work as well, it’s more that we do it together, pick out things we might not have tried yet (variety has been a problem with the meals; I go crazy eating the same things again and again), and I do some of the cooking.  Today I bought a bunch of carrots and several types of apples.  I roasted the carrots with some red onions and potatoes (left the skin on), added coarse salt, pepper, fresh rosemary and oregano, tossed it all with olive oil.  It smells FANTASTIC.

Saturday I went to the gym after spraining/straining my knee and being out of commission gymwise for a couple of weeks.  It felt great to get on the treadmill again and sweat.  I did a couple of resistance machines too.  I decided to take it easy, since I’m just getting back up to snuff walking wise and definitely DO NOT want to re-injure it.  I miss the gym when I don’t get to go.  I’m so happy to be getting the leg back into working order, though it did still feel a little stiff this morning.  Guess I can’t expect it to heal overnight.

Ouchhhh, that had ta hurt!

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Well, I strained my knee.  The Wednesday before last, or thereabouts.  I wrapped it and iced it, then on Friday I thought the dang thing has disappeared (I didn’t feel it walking home from work), then BANG on Saturday I could barely walk.  It was soooo painful.  I spent all last weekend resting it, then all this past week wrapping and icing it AGAIN.  I have a 10 minute walk to the subway in the morning, then I have to change trains (involves going up a flight of steps, up a ramp, then up another flight of steps), then a 5 minute walk to the office.  Usually I get off early and walk for about 20 minutes, but I skipped doing that trying to get over this thing.

Yesterday I had the day off, and I’d been so good about the knee that I decided we’d go to the botanic garden.  The weather couldn’t have been nicer.  We walked all around the garden, then walked home, a lot a walkin’.  I was BUSHED, my stamina in just a week had seriously dropped.  Ok, and I was tired to begin with, was a long week at work.  The muscles feel a little sore today, but I can feel a definitely improvement.  I hate getting these kinds of injuries, where I have to pay close attention to give it enough exercise to work out the kinks and get it into shape again, but not over do it and prolong the injury.

Kind of maddening, because I had made a special effort last week to keep the eating on plan, but the screwed up activity level threw the weight loss off, I maintained.  I’m 4 lbs above my 245 ticker weight 🙁  I’m chipping away at it, the weekend eating has been good so far (I’m halfway through).  Tomorrow we’ll stop at the farmers market, and pick up a couple of healthy good things to make.  I’m a little less into planning out dinners this weekend than last weekend, I still have last weeks list and we can use several dinners off of that.  Just have to keep plugging at this.

botanic garden rose

Weekend outtings, the farmer’s market, and mindful cooking/eating

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Last weekend bf and I went to the Intrepid, which I LOVED.  Tons of walking.  It’s located on 12th Avenue, a good distance from the Time Square train lines.  Plus, once we got there, of course we walked around looking at everything and ended up being on our feet for hours.  When we got there, my hands shook from low blood sugar (I’m hypoglycemic).  They have an Au Bon Pain, I got a healthy chicken salad, coffee, and we split a small bag of vinegar chips (yes, I could have gotten a piece of fruit, my bad).  I did leave some of the bread.

On the flight deck of the Intrepid Since I spent last weekend as a fun mental health day, this weekend I wanted to concentrate more on diet, exercise and health, getting back to the basics.

Yesterday, I got in a nice two-hour work out at the gym, and got a good nap in in the afternoon.  I went on the computer and looked through 3FC and other places to find new recipes, showed them to bf (he does almost all the cooking), and he was very agreeable about varying the diet and trying new things.  I made sure to pick out dishes I knew he’d like, that didn’t call for a trillion ingredients that we’d have to go out and specially buy.

After church today, we stopped at the local farmers market and I picked up beets to roast, we got fresh basil, and small potatoes to roast to go with the 3FC basil chicken recipe.  Bf made fresh pesto with the leftover basil.  I sauteed the beet greens with garlic, onions, a little olive oil and pepper flakes (ok, maybe I did overdo it with the pepper flakes, doh!).

I can’t even tell you how good that food smelled roasting in the oven, wow!  And we have a nice amount of leftovers for next week.  I’m patting myself on my back, because I’ve been complaining that bf makes the meals, makes meals that really aren’t the best choices for my eating plan, and I passively sit there and eat it (it’s good, just too many calories, and I know it).  Then I whine when I get on the scale and I haven’t lost any weight (well, duh!).  He’s sabotaging me, kinda sorta!, I say.  So, at least I can say now that I took the bull by the horns and took responsibility for what I put in my own mouth.

I also watched the season premier of the Biggest Loser on the pute today, to give myself a mental boost.  I find it tough to stay on plan during the weekends, these past two I did much better, I’m proud of myself for that.  I’ve also been working on doing exercise in the evenings at home, since it’s been tough for me to crank up the energy to go to the gym after work.

Here’s to chucking passivity out the window!

Hiking in an elevator

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that’s an Instance of failed ingenuity (Dara Weir)

I went hiking today. Well, I’d actually categorize it more as walking than hiking.  About half was on a trail, but something of a citified train, even though the NYS Parks Department owns the land the train ran on and through.  All total, probably I covered about 3 to 4 miles.  That doesn’t include the walking through Grand Central or my neighborhood here in Brooklyn, up and down all the stairs.  And Main Street in Irvington, from the train station to the trail, fits my definition of steep.  Yes, without question a workout.  Then once we got to Sunnyside (Washington Irving’s house), I walked the little trail loop near the picnic ground.  I tackled the easy direction, downhill.  Still, very vertical!  I went to the gym for a 1.5 hour workout yesterday.  All in all a very good exercise weekend. 

I’m a little sore right now, but not overly tired.  It feels good to be in better shape.  What would I feel like if I got rid of this extra lugguge I’m carrying around?  I’ll probably be ready to run a friggin’ marathon!

We’re passing out of lily season at the botanic garden. Here’s one I captured on digital camera before they all disappeared.white lily

Exercise, stress eating, and spring flowers

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Spring here in Brooklyn, lovely, isn’t it.

I just finished jury duty today.  I almost got on the jury of a criminal case; the judge ended up declaring it a mistrial and they sent us home after 2 days.  Stressful because I just started my new job and didn’t want to take that much time off.  I did manage to get 2 days in at the gym, Saturday and then Monday, which helped make up for the emotional overboard eating.

The New York Times magazine this past weekend did a story on exercise and weight loss.  The following is an excerpt from that story by Gretchen Reynolds.

At the same time, as many people have found after starting a new exercise regimen, working out can have a significant effect on appetite. The mechanisms that control appetite and energy balance in the human body are elegantly calibrated. “The body aims for homeostasis,” Braun says. It likes to remain at whatever weight it’s used to. So even small changes in energy balance can produce rapid changes in certain hormones associated with appetite, particularly acylated ghrelin, which is known to increase the desire for food, as well as insulin and leptin, hormones that affect how the body burns fuel.

The effects of exercise on the appetite and energy systems, however, are by no means consistent. In one study presented last year at the annual conference of the American College of Sports Medicine, when healthy young men ran for an hour and a half on a treadmill at a fairly high intensity, their blood concentrations of acylated ghrelin fell, and food held little appeal for the rest of that day. Exercise blunted their appetites. A study that Braun oversaw and that was published last year by The American Journal of Physiology had a slightly different outcome. In it, 18 overweight men and women walked on treadmills in multiple sessions while either eating enough that day to replace the calories burned during exercise or not. Afterward, the men displayed little or no changes in their energy-regulating hormones or their appetites, much as in the other study. But the women uniformly had increased blood concentrations of acylated ghrelin and decreased concentrations of insulin after the sessions in which they had eaten less than they had burned. Their bodies were directing them to replace the lost calories. In physiological terms, the results “are consistent with the paradigm that mechanisms to maintain body fat are more effective in women,” Braun and his colleagues wrote. In practical terms, the results are scientific proof that life is unfair. Female bodies, inspired almost certainly “by a biological need to maintain energy stores for reproduction,” Braun says, fight hard to hold on to every ounce of fat. Exercise for many women (and for some men) increases the desire to eat.


I’ve noticed a workout at the gym, particularly if I have had a few days hiatus, can leave me feeling extra hungry.  I fall into that trap where I eat up the deficit.  I know the gym has tons of good physical and mental effects, but if I need to get a handle on the number of calories if I want to see this weight go down.  And with the stress of new job and jury duty and life, I’m wanting to reward myself with goodies, how wacky is that.  I think I’m not honest with myself about how big I am.  I see myself as smaller than I really am, so I give myself an excuse not to work harder getting the extra pounds off.  Then reality strikes (when I stand on the scale), and I feel so bad about myself.  I feel weak, and like I can’t get this done. 

I don’t want to make it sound like I’m giving up, which I’m not at all.  I get frustrated though.  Tonight is the Biggest Loser, that always makes me feel more hepped up about being on program eating wise.  Ay Dios mio.

Rainy Saturday, Gym day

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I got a yen to update my pic, even though I’ve only changed maybe about 10 lbs since the last one (I don’t really think the 10 down shows to any noticable degree).  I took it in my exercise get up, a red tee I got at DD’s for something like $5 (was a men’s large), and my Land’s End sports pants that I wrote about before.  I posted it on my photos page too.  I’ll be heading out to the gym in about a half hour.  Part of this blog entry is my way of procrastinating with my gift wrapping, they’re waiting for me in the other room, those naked presents, and the tape, and the paper, and the scissors.  Plus, it’s raining, yucko.  Me no want to go outside!

Saturday, every day is a new day

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It’s a chilly, lovely Saturday.  In about ten minutes I have to head out to the gym.  I’m not weighing in again until next Friday.  Instead of focusing full force on the scale numbers, I’m going to concentrate on eating on plan and keeping up my exercise.

I walk quite a bit, living in NYC.  I go to the gym three times a week too, I do the treadmill for twenty minutes, then I do either the arc or elliptical for another twenty.  On the days when I have time, I even take a mile walk before the gym (the gym itself is located six short blocks away, about a ten minute walk).  That all means that I go through tennis shoes fairly quickly, I’d guesstimate two pair a year.  If I lived in the best of all possible worlds, I’d have a foot orthotic because the muscles in the back of my feet start to bother me if I don’t 1) stretch them every day in the shower, and 2) wear shoes with good support.  Instead, I wear good tennis shoes.  Will this change as I lose weight?  I don’t know.  I’ve had it for quite a while. 

I thought I could hold out until Christmas, have my new tennies be a gift.  I couldn’t do it.  My foot started to bug me (once the tennis shoes wear out, it strains the muscles in a weird way, I don’t think I walk correctly).  I went into Manhattan with bf around 42nd and 34th Streets to shop, couldn’t find what I wanted, so I ended up ordering them online.  Not such a bad thing, since shipping when I bought them got thrown in for free.  It would have been the same had I bought them in a store.  They came Wednesday, and today they get their first gym workout!  I love getting new shoes! 

new sneakers



On Exercise, Injuries, and More on Patience…

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Since I was writing yesterday about patience in the weight loss process, it flows that I touch on another connected topic that has to do with exercise:  the exercise injury (pain; soreness; etc.).  The reason being, for the past couple of days I’ve had a very sore muscle in the arch of my left foot that’s been slowing me down going to the gym and walking, two key areas of my current regular exercise routine. 

I started this latest weight loss adventure at over 300 lbs, and from the beginning I wanted to incorporate exercise.  I want to say first off:  (1) I was a big baby and did want to exercise, heh heh; (2) I was in HORRIBLE shape and almost any exercise felt like a big chore; (3) I had never been an exerciser or sporty person, in fact I’d actively avoided sports (I’ve been heavy since I was a kid), and had a certain mindset that I was too big to do most exercises.

I began walking in my neighborhood, and at home doing routines like marching in place, side bends, leg lifts, etc.  As to walking, I didn’t have to go far before I’d suffer from lactic acid build up in the muscles of my legs.  Painful and discouraging!  Marching in place, after a time, made my knees sore (to the point I had to stop for a while).  Plus, I grew to the point where I hated marching in place.  I think it’s a good exercise, but man, I got so sick of it!  I moved on to other exercises that I enjoy more, and I since joined a gym.

So let’s talk about the gym! 

I signed up at my neighborhood Y when I weighed 270 pounds (mid 2005).  I was a big scaredy cat about it, dragged my bf with me the first few times.  I thought I’d be the hugest person there, that everyone would look at me, that I’d embarrass myself, etc.  Wasn’t true, and didn’t happen.  Despite my exercising at home and my walks, I still was not in very good physical condition.  I could barely do 3 minutes on the elliptical, and after a short work out on the treadmill and some resistance machines, I’d feel ill walking home (even called bf to walk me once).  I started going one to two times a week, upped it to three.  Slowed increased the time on the aerobic machines, tried different machines.  Learned how to use the resistance machines and slowly increased the weights there. 

I was too self conscious to really ask for any help with it (luckily, bf has a good knowledge, I relied on him).  Over time, I dropped about 20lbs.  A little aside, I thought the fat would melt because I was GOING TO A GYM.  Au contraire, since I didn’t have the diet consistently where it needed to be.  My stamina increased, my body toned, I felt mentally better.  On the one hand, going slowly I have stuck with it and still enjoy going after all these years.  On the other, I’ve had to be patient about the fact that I’d been going all those years and wasn’t closer to my goal. 

In January 2009, I made the decision to hire a trainer, since I’d been in the 250s for about 3 years, up and down with the same 5 lbs or so.  I didn’t lose weight at first, since I still wasn’t cutting out the extra eating, but I got into better shape, increased my upper body strength, learned new exercises and how to build my core, increased my confidence and motivated myself to do better with my diet.  I’m 242 now, and feeling very positive.

Back for a sec to the original topic, I’ve had physical and life setbacks that have kept me from going to the gym from time to time, and I do have to push myself sometimes, in those instances, to get back into it.  Sometimes I’ve gone to another Y just to have change (plus, the other Y has a nice pool). 

I can’t express how nice it is to feel these physical differences, less weight, better stamina, better shape, built up tone and muscles.  Wow, and my work did it.  I need to acknowledge that, and stop criticizing myself for not doing more faster; maybe, too, I can be less afraid to challenge myself.