Sunday, July 31, 2011

A little early morning poetry

Well, I never thought I would be writing this as much as you probably never expected to read this...I gave running another shot today.  The only sprinklers on were at the entrance to the park, the park was empty by them time I got to my "running spot," and I figured I didn't have anything to lose. 
It (surprise surprise) did not go well.  I tried doing a fast walk to prepare my lungs a bit more for the actual running but alas my body does not like running.  I didn't even make it half way around today but at least I gave it a try.  How am I ever going to enjoy it if I don't keep trying?  It adds quite a bit of time to my ride so I doubt I will keep it up during the week but maybe I can try again next weekend!
As I rode back home today I thought about how beautiful the morning is and I was really thankful for these fitness aspirations as I would miss this if I weren't up riding my bike at six am every day.  I really enjoy watching the fog as it slowly lifts from the tall grasses, the beautiful colors that paint the sky as the sun wakes up, the finches and other birds that fly along and land on the fence beside me as I ride, and the simple beauty of nature that surrounds me each morning.  I also thought about how many people miss seeing this.  All snug in their beds and oblivious to God's artistry as it is created and evolves right outside their own window. This is for you...

You don't see me, but I'm here
I come out early
And disappear

If you are lucky you might see
All the beauty
That is me

I know that your bed beckons you
But I'll be gone
Just like the dew

So let your tired eyes awake
The worth is great
Make no mistake

The beauty that awaits is rare
Take the steps
To stop and stare

Take the time to visit me
You won't regret
What you see

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Run for your freakin' life!

This morning greatly tempted me to stay in bed! I shut off my alarm and felt awake but lazy.  My bed was so snug and warm...who in their right mind would leave that?  Well, we all know that I am not in my right mind so I got up after giving myself an extra ten minutes as a treat.
It was humid this morning making it harder for me to believe that I actually left my bed for this but I did feel good knowing that I was going to hit the trail on a Saturday again.  As I rode and watched the fog in the grass starting to lift I thought about what else I can do to challenge myself.  After all, I am doing a decent job with goal number what?  Logically, goal number two seemed like the next step.  As I rode I thought about how I could start running and then I thought about the nice little loop that I take on my bike every morning.  It seemed logical-ride to the park, run the loop, ride home-easy.
The more I thought about running the more I wanted an excuse not to run.  By the time the park was in sight I couldn't think of any reason not to try a short run...what do I have to lose?  Then, as I entered the park and saw the sprinklers on I thought-EXCUSE-I shouldn't try this running thing in the sprinklers.  Further into the park-EXCUSE-city workers were there cleaning.  Did I really need to subject some poor stranger to my pathetic attempt at running?  I made up my mind-no run this morning. 
I continued my usual ride around the loop thinking about how big it actually was and wondering how I could ever run all the way around.  Then I started to think about how pathetic is was that I wanted an excuse not to run and how pathetic it was that I didn't want to look like an idiot in front of strangers.  I stopped my bike at the end of the loop-at the point where my ride heads toward home.  I stood there for a while looking at this loop that I wanted to run around.  While trying to decide what to do, I gave more witnesses the opportunity to show up as two people came to the park to walk their dog.  I used my phone to check-in to Riverside Park on Gowalla (awesome app by the way) trying harder to convince myself that this was a really terrible idea now that there were more people to witness it. 
Finally, I stepped off my bike, removed my helmet, and took off.  I am not really sure if I was actually running...maybe it was more of a jog...but I was doing it.  After the first 20 feet I was done-ready to stop.  This was not fun or enjoyable at all!  What the hell was I thinking?  As my body screamed at me to stop, trying to figure out what it did to torture me so, those witnesses that I thought were a good excuse not to run became a decent excuse to keep running.
Running thoughts:
"Ugh this sucks."
"How the heck does anyone enjoy this?"
"This feels really awkward."
"I bet I look incredibly stupid."
"Who cares how I look, I am running after all."
"I think I need someone to teach me how to run because this just doesn't feel right!"
"I bet there is Running for Dummies."
"OMG my lungs are going to explode."
"AHHHHH I am not even half way yet."
"Why do the freakin' sprinklers have to be on?"
"This is pathetic...I am not even going to make it half way."
"Just shut up and run!"
Finally my lungs told me to stop (I must have pathetic lung capacity) or rather they screamed at me that if I didn't stop they were going to drop my a** on the pavement.  I ran just over half way before slowing to a walk.  All I could think was-how is this ever going to be enjoyable? And yet, I did it-I ran.  It was pathetic and sad and it felt like time was standing still and I wanted to never do it again but I still did it. I didn't run all the way around the loop but I ran over half way after wanting to stop right away at the beginning. Hey, that's progress!  I take what I can get.  Although this may take some serious recovery time, so don't expect another running post for a while...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Good Decisions and Even Better Clothes!

A little bit of a late post today but not because I slept in!  I actually got up for my ride and finished it in record time!  My mother-in-law was meeting em to switch vans this morning so I had to make sure I was back in time.  It was icky humid this morning and there were more sprinklers on than normal at the park so it was quite the ride that it was yesterday.  Kiddo #1 woke up early this morning leaving me without any time to write.  Now that both boys are awake they can keep each other occupied enough to give me a little time. 
Yesterday I went on amazing shopping trip with friends.  I walked a lot which was good.  We ate out at Red Lobster so that my first challenge at a regular restaurant (non buffet).  I had 19 points left for the day and I think I did okay.  I won't lie and say that I didn't go over in points...I am sure that I did (darn those cheddar biscuits) but the difference was that I didn't just give in and make all around poor eating decisions. 
I had a nice 4 course meal which fit my budget well and had options that seemed decent to me. 
Course 1-New England Clam Chowder
This was probably my worst decision but I didn't let it blow the rest of my meal.  High in fat but not too bad carb wise.  I really should have forgone the soup all together but with how incredibly yummy it was I am glad that it was my little indulgence.
Course 2-Garden Side Salad
I think I did great here!  While I did order bleu cheese dressing, I used less 1/4 of it!  I dipped my fork into it and then poked some salad and I was really amazed by how much less dressing I used (thanks Biggest Loser for that tip).
Course 3-Grilled BBQ shrimp and Rice Pilaf
Both things low in fat and the rice contains fewer carbs that if I had a baked potato.  I did not finish either item.  I was starting to feel a bit full and I still had dessert coming. 
Course 4-Some Apple Thing
I only ate the apple filling and skipped out on the buttery, flaky pastry that it was enclosed in GO WILLPOWER!  I also tried a small bite of key lime pie (thanks Jill) because I had never had it before.  It was yummy!
I drank water...lots of water!  After all we had been shopping all afternoon/evening.
Overall thoughts on the meal-it was super delicious and I felt full and satisfied but not stuffed.  While you had great food Red Lobster, your nutrition page leaves something to be desired-lacking any information on protein or fiber content in foods.  It also appears to need some updating as not everything on their menu is found on the website.
I am really happy with how the day went!  I got some extra exercise and got to spend some quality (kid free) time with friends.  We didn't get back until late but I didn't allow myself to use that as an excuse to sleep in this morning!  I am feeling great and I am proud of myself for keeping moving!  Oh, and I almost forgot...I officially consider myself to be a size 14 again!  Every single 16 that I tried on yesterday was too big :o)  That is a change that also makes me really proud!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Just wonderful!

This morning's ride was WONDERFUL!  The sunrise was beautiful, the humidity was low, and the sprinklers were off at the park.  It felt great to be riding this morning!  Today is all set to be a good day although it will still have its challenges. 
The plan: Sioux City shopping trip with my wonderful English department coworkers and getting to see Kim!
The challenge: Supper-having a meal out.
I feel really good about the decisions I have been making so I am actually not too worried about eating out today.  I am kind of excited for the challenge.  I think I am starting to gain a bit more confidence in my ability to get myself fit.  Part of this comes from me not missing a single bike ride since a couple days before starting this blog.  I have been hauling my butt out the door every morning with less and less extra effort to leave my cozy bed every day.  I feel really good-less droopy or sluggish throughout the day.  I really think things are going great!  I look forward to my challenge of eating a healthy supper out tonight!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I prefer to reside amongst the living

Today I thought I would address an issue that my husband likes to poke fun of me about: my bike helmet.  I wear a bike helmet each and every day for my ride.  As you all know helmets are all the rage this summer and are a perfect example of the latest fashion!  Okay, maybe not...but do I really care? No, not really.  I wear a helmet not to look cool or sport the latest fashion but to save my noggin!  Yes, I ride mostly on the trail where there are not really any cars but there are other riders, hills, and steep slopes with rocks on the way down.  Also, I have to ride on the road to get to the trail.  While I do think it is unlikely that my helmet will be used to save my noggin on my morning ride, I prefer to err on the side of caution.  After all, who puts on their helmet thinking, "I am going to use this thing today!"?  Brain damage would also put a real wrench into my fitness routine!
Besides these life saving benefits, I also feel good knowing that I am setting a good example.  I have two boys who also wear bike helmets-no bribing, screaming, or threatening required.  Neither of them complain about putting their helmets on-in fact they are happy to do so. My youngest even gets excited! Who wouldn't get excited about a dragon helmet though?  This noggin saving example is one that I am happy to set so that one day when they go riding with their helmet-less friends they will opt to keep their own helmet on and maybe even razz their friends the way that they razz my husband about NOT wearing one!
Now, while I am on my little helmet rant I would really like to make a plea to helmet makers.  Make helmets for 2 year olds!  Yes, I can make due with a 3 year old helmet but I would like an even better fit for my little guy!  They may not be riding bikes but we certainly take them on rides via bike carts and seats.  Help us keep them as safe as possible!
I grew up with a helmet law-one we were made to follow.  I got used to wearing a helmet.  My kids are growing up with a helmet law too...Mom's law!
One final note to those who do not wear helmets: although it is your choice (depending on where you reside) and you can say...if I choose not to take a safety measure that will save my life and it ends up killing me I guess that is my choice (something that I have heard from people complaining about seat belt laws).  Do me a favor...think about the driver that may end up hitting you-possibly through no vault of their own.  Should they really have to go through life knowing that they took someone's life when the person who was lost could have prevented it?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

And then there are nights like this...

I had an amazing supper.  It was delicious and did not make me go over on points (in fact I even had enough left to have an ice cream sandwich-I opted for a 1 point popsicle instead). Also, keep in mind that I usually have 20 points left for supper HA!
The meal:
Steak-marinated to perfection in a bit of balsamic vinegar, garlic salt, and grill seasoning; cooked medium rare
Red skinned baked potato
Spinach salad-less than 1/2 a serving of light balsamic vinaigrette dressing
Small chunk of asiago batard bread (from HyVee if bread weren't so high in points I would easily eat a couple of their small loaves of bread a day-as it was we didn't even finish the small loaf GO US!)
And the thing that made every aspect of the meal sparkle just a little bit more-BLEU CHEESE!  I can have a serving (1/4 cup) for 3 points.  If you love blue cheese like I do, then you know that 1/4 cup goes a long way!  I topped my steak with it, sprinkled some on my potato, and topped my salad all for just 3 points! They were totally worth it.
The major highlights of this meal-my potato was not smothered in margarine and sour cream, my salad was devoid of croutons or bacon bits, my serving of bread was small and did not include margarine, my steak was super lean and still incredibly flavorful, and last but not least, I chose the fewer point dessert. YAY ME!

If you never screw do you learn anything?

This morning felt great although the humidity made it feel like I was breathing water rather than did look like it was ready to rain so maybe that will help.  I am glad that it didn't rain yet because I am not sure if I am ready to be THAT committed to my morning ride!  Part of the reason it felt so good...I over indulged on pizza last night.
A love for pizza makes eating healthy challenging!  What makes it even MORE buffet.  Last night they had a fundraiser at Pizza Ranch for some heart walk thing for the hospital and Matt wanted to go.  To be honest, I wanted to go too-we all love pizza and it was for a good cause.  The only problem is the buffet!  How do you stop with the mindset of getting your money's worth?  To top it all off I even drank soda rather than water.  While I do feel like I over indulged, I am also a bit forgiving.  I knew that I was going out for pizza so I really tried to limit my points (the fact that we were running around doing errands all day really prevented snacking) throughout the day to save them for supper.  I had 22 points left by supper time and I am still sure I went over.  I am still under points overall for the week so again I don't feel too bad.
What did I realize through this? Buffets are to be avoided at all costs.  Also, when I go out I need to get out of the mindset that I need to get my money's worth and rather just try to get a good handle on what I consume.  I really do think the buffet was the biggest issue as I have no problem stopping when we have an actual pizza (because that means that there will be LEFTOVERS!).  The fact that the drink was included in the price was another issue-I am very accustomed to drinking water when we go out anywhere (the only exception would be when I order an alcoholic beverage) but the fact that I was paying for soda made me feel like I should get soda.  Next time I will stick with water.
So, a setback is a setback and it is only something that I can learn from.  No one is perfect and I know that I can do better.  After all, this wouldn't be much of a learning journey if I did everything just right the first time!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Riding, shopping, and loving

Yesterday was a good day.  My bike ride burned as much as usual but I enjoyed it.  If I keep this up one more day I will have gone for my morning ride seven days in a row!  That will be a record for me!
Morning ride
Blog post
Those that know me, know how much I love to shop...not just for clothes and things but really any kind of shopping!  Yesterday was grocery shopping day (I had also gone on Saturday-2 stores, 2 days to save as much $ as possible!).  I was extra excited to go shopping because I was determined to buy some good healthy low point foods.  This was also my first shopping trip since restarting Weight Watchers, so I was armed with my points calculator and ready to go :o)  We bought a lot of fresh produce-usually about 25% of my budget is spent there but this time it was closer to 35%.  Although I cringed a bit think about how little money that left me for the rest of the store, I just kept a mental tally on the total.  Some really great discoveries-Wheat Thins Stix (3), Simply Fruit Roll Ups (1), Kix (3-for 1 1/2 cups!), turkey brats (3) and sweet potato fries (4).  The sticks are AMAZING!  I am buying more today as we just bought one box to try them.  Overall we only went over budget by a bit but we get more grocery money today so I wasn't really that worried.  I saved about $10 with coupons.  I feel like we have a good stock of healthy foods both meal food and snack food which is just what I need to stay on track.
Yesterday I did excellent on points!  I had enough left after supper to indulge in a sundae cone YUM!  I did so well that I still had points left after that and I felt full!  I hope that I can keep up wonderful days like yesterday!  Ice cream is good so it makes me happy that I can eat it without feeling guilty!  That is part of why I love WW SO much!

Today is off to a good start I feel good, I have a plan for the day, and I am falling in love...with a puppy.  Some of you will read this and think that someone else is typing when I say that I want a dog.  Heck, one year for April Fools Day I posted a picture of "my new puppy" and finally when I revealed the truth one of my friends expressed their immediate disbelief when they saw the picture.  I have said time and time again that I love dogs but from a distance.  I love to pet them and play with them and send them home (much like what some people say about kids HA!).  I have no desire to have one more thing that needs my attention-I clean up enough poop by having a 2 year old!  All that being said, I am in love with a beautiful beagle puppy down at the pound.  My ride takes me by there every morning and every morning I love that dog more and more-I don't even know if it is a boy or a girl...I should really check the paper.  As much as I love the pup I know that I am dreaming.  We have no place for a dog and no time for a dog.  I just hope it gets a good home.  I think that this sudden desire springs from the people that I see on the trail with their dogs.  Their dogs look so happy and they look so happy.  Who wouldn't want a piece of that happiness?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The will...the power...the willpower!

This morning I thought I would spend some time talking about one of my favorite things-FOOD!  I love food...all different kinds of food.  This is a pretty big obstacle for me.  I love to cook it. I love to eat it. I even once wrestled in it (college ramen noodle wrestling oh yeah!). It has been a good friend to me through good times and bad.  I didn't always have enough as a kid which makes me think I over compensated a little bit when I actually got to be in a house that always had food around.
We went to a movie last night (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2) where the biggest temptation food theater popcorn *drool*.  We opted for no butter flavoring which was a good choice but then we also also got a large soda.  I like to think that in the overall scheme of things it really was more of a treat than anything else (and I did have 8 points left although I am positive I went over with the soda) but it was still a bad choice.  If anything I should have thrown my water bottle in my purse LOL. 
I will say though that I think I did pretty good.  I cut myself off after a bit because I felt a bit full and really watched the entire movie itself sans popcorn.  We then went out for a quick drink before heading home where I made another really good choice-I had a Mike's rather than a daiquiri.  If you know me, you know that this was a big deal for me.  I am not a big drinker by any means (a big part of my past prevents me from going that way) but I do enjoy certain wines and daiquiris.  If I go some place and they have daiquiris that is what I am drinking :o)
Ok, enough about food willpower, on to exercise willpower.  This morning I experienced the same thing that I experience just about every morning-the desire to stay in bed.  I am pretty much a morning person.  I wake up feeling generally well rested and wide awake. So, why do I want to stay in bed?  I have a bed that I feel is extremely comfortable and a cozy quilt that keeps me nice and warm.  When that alarm goes off I open up my eyes, shut off the alarm, and think, "Ahhh morning...ugh that means I have to leave this wonderful bed..."  I do not feel tired and sleepy, I do not desire to hit snooze and wake up later, but I also do not desire to leave my cozy bed.  I have become accustomed to laying there for 5-7 minutes soaking up every last ounce of comfort before exiting but it still doesn't make it easy to leave that bed.  I would say sitting up and putting my feet on the floor is the one thing that takes the most willpower from me on any given day.  I could just stay there and read a book!  Thankfully, I don't.  I haul my butt out of bed and usually have a smile on my face by the time I face the bathroom mirror, because, while I hate leaving my bed, I love greeting the morning.  It was another beautiful morning for a bike ride, and it gives me the willpower to leave that bed behind!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The honest to goodness truth

While on my bike ride this morning, I was thinking about more things to write about.  As the sweat started to pour down my face and my legs burned as I pushed myself up another small hill, all I could think was this, "I want to quit."  I realized at that exact moment that I think this EVERY day.  I love my bike ride in that I get some peaceful alone time, I get some nice fresh air, and I get to do something good for me.  I hate that the ride has hills.  While the hills are fun to go down, they burn to go up.

So, there it is...I want to quit.  I want to quit every day.  I fight the temptation to hop off my bike and just walk the rest of the way two or three times a morning. That is me being completely honest.  I love it and I hate it all at the same time.  So, why not just quit?  (Other than the fact that I just started a blog about being a fitness failure hmmmm...) I always tell my students that an F is better than a zero because it is the truth.  Hopping off my bike and walking is like failing to turn in an assignment.  I don't want to be the fitness zero because that is worse than being a fitness failure.

Last night I took one step toward upping my fitness grade by changing my alarm clock settings.  I usually skip my ride on weekends because weekends are a time of relaxation...okay lets be realistic here...I just told you how much I want to quit so why subject myself to that on a Saturday morning?  Well, let's see, maybe because I need to push myself and my quitter attitude (this is why I think personal trainers are so effective-it is harder to say no to someone else than it is to say no to yourself).  Last night before bed, I clicked my little "alarm mode" button and changed the settings so that my alarm clock goes off seven days a week at 6 am instead of just going off Monday through Friday.  This is a step in the right direction especially because I usually consume more calories on weekends and thus need the exercise.

I want to do better and be better I just have to keep going so that my body can discover this good feeling too.

It's not just about weight loss

For so many people, everything is about the pounds (plus or minus).  We all seem to be entranced by that number in the scale.  You know, that one we are often times not fond of or *gasp* lie about. While that number does factor into fitness, I am more concerned with being healthy, feeling better, and being more active.  I won't freak out if the numbers go down slow or if they jump up a couple notches now and then, as long as I am making good choices and doing things that are good for me.  Below I go over some of my goals and the obstacles I face-realistically :o) But first I need to look into how that magic number does factor into my fitness...

This is about being truthful in order to get past failure so here it is-by the numbers: I weigh 192.6 pounds (as of yesterday afternoon) and I am five foot six inches tall.  According to the handy BMI calculator I found, that gives me a BMI of 31.1 AKA obese.  While this is something that totally saddens me, it is also something that pisses me off enough to do something about it! I don't want to be obese or even over weight. Obese does not equal fit and healthy. I want to be healthy!

1. Be active every day!
2. Enjoy running (yeah here is where you can start laughing)
3. Eat healthier and shop healthier
4. Eat less when I am out with friends (smaller portions not less friend time)
5. Learn more about general fitness

1. I am lazy, I love TV, and I like to read (usually sitting in a cozy seat somewhere not doing any sort of exercise)
2. I HATE running
3. I love foods that are inherently UNhealthy and healthy food is more expensive
4. I tend to indulge more when I am around friends.  Talking seems to bring out my appetite.
5. I would much rather read fiction books
There are more obstacles, but I will cover those later. These are just the ones that immediately pertain to my goals.

With all that being said, I have a bumpy road ahead but I also have some motivation, some inspiration, and some help.
Motivation: Not wanting to be obese or over weight
Inspiration: Friends, family and one particular student we will call BT (as I didn't ask her permission to put her in my blog) as she always made me think about the food choices I made and made me feel better when I made good choices.  I don't really think she knows just how much she made me think and rethink my choices.
Help: Weight Watchers Points Plus really helps me think before I eat and make better choices throughout the day and week. I don't attend meetings or track things online, I really just follow the points system.  I initially lost 35 pounds using Weight Watchers but gained about 10 pounds back after I found it difficult to keep up with-more on that later.

Now, after all of that, I just want to say that I love myself, even my obese self.  I think more people need to love themselves just a little bit more.  This is not about loving myself more but rather finding something new to love about myself. Too many times women hate what they see in the mirror or get down on themselves over their weight. The mirror and photographs becomes a things that we try to avoid but we really need to face ourselves head on.  Don't look in the mirror and say, "I'm so fat."  Look in the mirror or look at photographs and say, "I can do better."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Where I am coming from

So, let's start with why I started this blog.  The reason is two fold:
1. I miss writing-it seems like I have no time for writing or art-two things I was quite passionate about in high school and college
2. I hope that by writing about my fitness attempts that I will hold myself more accountable for the choices that I make and laugh a bit along the way

Now that that is out of the about that title?  As a teacher and a mom, I witness success and failure on a daily basis.  As far as my own personal fitness is concerned I have failed...on more than one occasion!  I am a "Fitness Failure," but I am using that F to push myself harder and improve.  I do not wish to spend the rest of my life overweight and out of shape because I plan to have many great years ahead of me!  The only way that I will push past my roadblocks and get to a place where I feel healthy is for me to be honest with myself about my faults and my failures.  An F doesn't have to be an F forever!  So I named my blog "The Fitness Failure" because I have failed, but I don't want to anymore.

Today-reasoning for the blog