Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What a Difference a Month Brings (by Andi)

Tug and I started our fitness quest one month ago. I have heard that it takes about 30 days to make a resolution stick and to really incorporate new habits. I made it 30 days! I am feeling really good about how far I have come in one month and how good I feel. What I have done, I can continue to do. And that is huge for me.

In one month I have lost 9 pounds. My clothes feel a ton better. I can see the difference in how I look but more importantly, I can tell a difference in how I feel. Those little back rolls of fat, gone. And I can run (okay, jog) for like 15 minutes at a time. I sleep better and I have more energy. I retired the slacks I bought at Kohl's at the beginning of this journey. Only wore them twice. BUT I don't regret the purchase. They really pushed me over the edge to change my life and get healthy.

Don't get me wrong. This is not all ponies and flowers. I have not "arrived." This past week, I only lost one pound. It's to be expected. It's going to be harder to lose the pounds as this journey continues. Today I went a little crazy with the goldfish crackers when we got home. I waited too long to eat and instead of waiting just a few more minutes after getting home late to find me something decent, I went for the cheesy little fish crackers. I'm also OUT of healthy food for lunch tomorrow. I plan to make some turkey stir fry dish tonight as soon as I can get the ground turkey to thaw. That, on top of baths for the kids and getting them to bed, you can bet it will be another late night. Drat. And no mommy TV time.

Oh! New trick! This week I decide while leaving my office to purposefully leave my make-up and shower stuff at my office instead of toting it home. This way, I HAVE to get to work in order to get ready for my day! Tricky me. I have certainly cursed myself over this stupid yet effective joke on myself.

I am trying to stay away from the scale just a little bit. Twice a day is a little obsessive. I have come up with some more clues to verify my weight loss and fitter physique. First some of my older clothes. I have a pair of jeans I just could not zip up a month ago. Now they are just slightly embarrassingly tight. Second, the shower towels at the work gym seemed like a cruel joke seeing how they would barely fit around my hips. Now I can wrap and secure! Lastly, and possibly the best indicator, some friends have told me that they can see a difference! So cool.

Weight loss aside, I am also very excited about the change I have seen in Tug and the way he supports me and takes care of himself. I can see the change in his body and I enjoy sharing healthy food dishes with him. He likes my chicken salad and tuna salad. He even agreed to try tofu at some point, which is great because my mom gave me a new recipe that calls for tofu! Lucky him. I also like it that he takes time for himself to work out which makes me feel like I can take time for me. I feel less guilty about it. I am sure it was a guilt I never needed to carry, but I did. And now I don't! (Too much)

So that's the month! Not to shabby! Now on to month #2. Wish me luck (and a dash of discipline).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Finding a Place for Margaritas by Andi

Here I am, in the middle of week 4. I have lost 8 pounds. I know this new way of life is more than just doing what it takes to lose weight. The bottom line is; it's still January! This is not a race, but I have been treating it like a race. I have been weighing myself every day. Sometimes twice a day. Celebrating the scale going down and kicking it into gear when the scale went up or seemed stagnant for more than a day. Honestly, I cannot go on like this. 365 days of judgment. I need to refocus on sustainability.

So today, instead of running on the treadmill, I went back to the speed walk on a steep incline. This allowed me to play Tug in some Scrabble and Words with Friends on my phone. It was definitely more enjoyable than trying to discern the lyrics on the angry music the gym guys play. And also more enjoyable than squinting to read the bad news on the ticker on the bottom of 9 News. Maybe tomorrow I will kick it back up a notch at the gym but I need to remember this is not about just losing weight. It's about doing it in a way that is sustainable. And running every morning is not sustainable. My knees told me so. Ouch! My knees! What the heck!? They creek, they are sore and sometimes I grimace just to sit down or stand up. Is this a sign of aging or a sign that I am still overweight (a fact Wii Fit seems to take joy in reminding me)?

Food! Eating has been good. Eating is always good! I had some Mexican food with a giant margarita swirled with frozen sangria on Friday. Oh my. That was so good. I don't even have the words to describe it. Yesterday I had a piece of my moms birthday cake and it was amazing! Otherwise, I have been eating healthy and plenty. I am really glad the scale can go down with bumps in the road like margaritas and birthday cake. I am rarely hungry and I have made sure to keep certain quality treats in my diet so that I truly enjoy what I am eating (like fancy cheese and snazzy salsa). I cooked up about 10 chicken breasts this weekend and made a whole bunch of lunch dishes, including diced chicken for salads. One of my favorite dishes is this apple/grape chicken salad from the Eating for Life cookbook. Amazing! I also made more protein pancakes and cooked up some ground turkey and ground beef for stuffed peppers and chili. I added some of that fancy cheese to the stuffed peppers which added a fabulous taste. I also made some protein shakes from the Eating for Life cookbook on some of my workout days. The base of the shakes are EAS Lite shakes and then I add certain ingredients like frozen fruit or my favorite-a vanilla shake with pineapple bits and coconut extract for a frothy pina colada! YUM!

So I am liking the food but the kids are not. How long must I make two dinners (one for me and Tug and one for this little food critics)? I know what you are thinking and you are probably right. Give them the food and if they don't eat it, they'll be hungry. That's their problem and their choice. The thing is, they won't eat it. It's good food. It's time, energy and money that goes in the trash when I serve them my food. So I cook them up something else. Something I think they will like better. Nope. They usually don't like anything I make. (No wonder they are slim!) These kids need veggies! So I bribe them. Yes, I do. I tell them that they must eat their veggies to get dessert and I proceed to load up their plates with veggies. I say "forget the pizza and apple sauce, just eat the veggies." Sometimes it works. With my four year old, I leave her plate on the table after she declares she is no longer hungry and when she sees her brother eating dessert, she will usually go back to the table and eat cold, cooked broccoli. Yuck! I wouldn't touch that! Anyhow, I am getting tired of cooking two dinners each night. And it really bursts my bubble when Tug ops for fast food over a meal I made. And it bursts my bubble even more when one day a week, I leave dinner up to Tug to make and he decides it's a good night for eating out. Not fair! Come on, Tug! Make me a healthy dinner! I dare you. (I also defrosted the salmon which would cook up nice with the ancho chili powder and a drizzle of syrup and served over a bed of greens or sauteed spinach with garlic and squirted with lime. Just sayin.)

In a couple past posts, I listed some helpful tools or tricks I had up my sleeve to assist my in this venture: dessert flavored gum, Eating for Life cookbook, the oh-so-judgmental scale and of course getting a root canal resulting in a sore mouth. Over the past few weeks I have come to depend on these other helpful tools.
1) Food staples like Mio water and protein pancakes from the Eating for Life cookbook. Here's the recipe: 1 cup oats non instant, 1 cup fat free cottage cheese, 6 egg whites, 2 packets of sugar substitute, dash of cinnamon. Blend it into a batter and cook up about 8 pancakes. This is enough for 2 servings. Add fresh fruit and sugar free syrup. Very good stuff. It tastes great and keeps me full for about 4 hours. The protein is a great way to follow-up a work-out in the morning. These can be made on the weekend and wrapped in foil to grab and go at 4:30 in the morning.
2) Sleeping in my work-out clothes. It's hard enough getting up at 4 am. Why not get mostly dressed before going to bed? And I have got to pack my work clothes the night before. I do not need to be packing a bag that early in the morning. I would be sure to miss a key garment.
3) My Keurig coffee maker. (Thanks Tug!) No more Starbucks! Saves me some money and calories I would normally consume after ordering a salted caramel mocha.
4) This blog. Not only does this serve as a way to be accountable, writing out my thoughts during this process is helpful. Not to get all mushy psychological on you all but the benefits of journaling are real and this is like a journal for me.
5) Lastly, supportive friends, coworkers and family. I have learned that I am not alone in my struggle with weight. There are people at the gym who will call me out if I miss a day. And my biggest support (Tug) is making changes to keep the bad food away. The man finished our ice cream just for me!

Let me know if you have some tricks of your own to incorporate healthy eating or more activity. I could use some particular tricks on mitigating the negative effects of a desk job. I have been thinking about getting some kind of addition to my desk so that I stand and type but I worry about my feet. Anyone have this?

A final note about the kids: I have used them as an excuse for not buckling down and losing this weight. I said I could not find the time to exercise without taking time away from them. And yet, I found the time. I have said food prep takes too much time away from my kids. I have learned that 2 hours on the weekend can save me over 2 hours during the week. I knew it would not be easy but it is doable. I have limits. I won't be like those crazy people running in a snowstorm, but I can start my day an hour earlier and I can take "me time" on the weekend to plan and prep meals. It's about using time smarter and demanding a little more discipline. And as a result, the margaritas will taste better and the birthday cake will be totally worth it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Key is Healthy Habits, Duh!

So it's been a while since my last post.  In terms of exercise, I'm still on the wagon.  I've been getting up an hour earlier 3 times a week to lift weights before work.  I've only ridden my bike on the trainer once in the last week.  Food-wise, i haven't been as successful.  Last week, I did fast food three times.  More than I'd like.  Not that this is an excuse, but last week was fairly hectic at work with a lot of hours and two early start days.  The second one, I didn't take my lunch because I didn't get up in time to make it that morning.  I also had a dinner from Wendy's one night.  Not the healthiest option, but their burgers are so dang good.  I also had two huge helpings of the peanut butter cup ice cream in an effort to finally finish it off and get it out of the freezer.  Not all was lost on the food front though.  I didn't have a single potato chip or cookie last week.  I had a few salads with dinner.  I ate apples and bananas with lunches and as snacks.  With the ice cream out of the house, I am turning a corner to more consistent healthy eating. 

I mentioned in my last post reading some health-oriented magazines.  Mainly Andi's copies of "Weight Watchers" and "Cooking Light".  I usually don't get much useful information from WW as it tends to be more geared towards women.  The "Cooking Light" was somewhat informative, in a "duh" kind of way.  Apparently last year the magazine began a feature called Healthy Habits for a new year.  Each month they'd introduce a new habit to undertake to become healthier.  This months copy had a rehash of the first two challenges from last year.  Healthy Habit number one was to introduce more vegetables into your diet.  At least 3 daily servings is recommended as a starting point (with the goal being 7 daily servings).  I always knew from our old friend the Food Pyramid that veggies were important... but 7 servings a day!?!?!?  Wow!  I'm lucky to have 7 servings a week.  I really don't care much for vegetables.  Tomatoes and carrots, yes.  Anything else... not so much.  So with that in mind, I'm going to make a concerted effort to have more veggies.  Simple?  Yes.  How much better can I be at this?  Time will tell.  I'll keep you posted.

The second Healthy Habit in the magazine was..... (wait for it....)..... Be More Active.  This is where the "duh" factor really kicked in for me.  Do we really need to be reminded of this?  If I get off my ass and get my body moving and the heart pumping a little bit harder and its easier to lose weight and be healthy?  Really?  I had no idea.  This is Health 101 stuff, isn't it?  Yes, it is.  But also, more importantly, it is important.  And we all need reminders every now and then of why it's better to take the stairs instead of the elevator. 

One of my biggest reminders of this very simple staple of improving and maintaining healthy lifestyles was delivered when Andi and went on our cruise last January.  Our cabin was located on the 10th deck.  Four decks below the main pool deck and 4 decks above the promenade deck (with shops and indoor restaurants, etc).  When we first stepped aboard, we were pointed to the elevators to get to our deck.  I believe on the second day, we were sitting on the pool deck people-watching, as we both like to do, when after a particularly large group of people walked by, I said to her "If I ever get that big and out of shape, you can divorce me."  Then I looked around some more.  All around us were people that would probably be classified as "obese".  Age didn't matter.  There were kids, young adults, middle-agers, seniors... all with apparent weight problems.  Then it dawned on me.  Our society pushes over-indulgence.  This cruise was an over-indulgence, with it's endless buffet's and over-attentive staff.  This became even more apparent at the buffet's and on the pool deck where overweight shirtless men and bikini clad women lounged about, puffing cig's, drinking copious amounts of booze, and wolfing down plate afer plate of free food.  To that point, I had not used the elevators on board since the first time.  I resolved to go the rest of the trip without using them and would only use the stairs to go from deck to deck.  I also decided to only eat when I was hungry and not to go back for seconds on the buffet "just because I could."  Wouldn't you know, I actually lost weight on this cruise.  I didn't pig out, had healthy breakfasts, ate lots of fresh fruit, and I was active every day (either walking a ton of stairs or snorkelling excursions or both) and came home healthier than when I left.  That cruise was kind of the impetus behind this blog as I realized I didn't want to become the 60 year old pot bellied man with bad knees and hips that couldn't physically do the things I wanted to do. 

All of this reminds me of a couple of other topics that I want to discuss on this blog.  One is the idea of portion control and how that idea has gotten lost in our Super-Size world.  The other is how different eating habits among couples can learn to coexist to foster healthy habits for both participants.  The latter is a work in progress but something that needs to be discussed in order for us to both maximize our goals.

As always, thanks for reading. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Emotional Eating (by Andi)

The first two weeks were great. Really great. This week has been good but the weight is coming off a bit slower. I am down 7 pounds. I continue to get up in the middle of the night (okay 4 am) to workout before work. I still enjoy the feeling during and afterward. I even added something new to my workouts...running! Well, some would call it jogging. I have started running for 2-3 minutes and walking fast for 1-2 minutes. I keep it up for a total of 30 minutes. I do arm weights after that. I'll try adding time to the running part little by little and maybe, one day, I'll be like those "old salts" I mentioned before! I am very excited to report that my bigger clothes are starting to feel better. Not tight anymore. Most are plain comfortable! So great! I remember reading "nothing tastes as good as being thin feels." Gag. There are days when I could argue that! But having clothes that do NOT feel tight is a wondrous thing!

I have continued to cheat now and then on the diet part. I had a lunch meeting (lunch provided) the other day and it was really yummy. They had small gourmet sandwiches from Udi's and chocolate chip cookies by the ton! The same day, turned out to be a generally rotten day and I ended up getting home feeling pretty glum. It was one of those days that would have normally called for a glass (or three) of wine, had we any. We did not. So what did I do? I ate crummy food. Yes, I stood in front of the pantry and ate nilla wafers, trail mix (mostly the m&ms and nuts) and an oreo cookie. And as I ate the crud, I could FEEL my anxiety go down. Weird! A bona fide emotional eating episode. OH! And I made BBQ pizza for the kids and they decided they did not like BBQ pizza "anymore" and so I ate a whole lot of it. Bad night for eating. But I got up the next day and worked-out again. And then I was back to healthier eating. It did not derail me. Another small victory!

That night, as Tug and I compared our day, I told him of my emotional eating episode and he had no idea what I was talking about. He understood how having a glass of wine might decrease ones anxiety but he could not equate that with food. I could not explain it. I just know that I felt better. I have read that one should replace food with something else enjoyable like exercise (riiiiight) or a bubble bath (suuuure). Sorry but although exercise feels good during and afterwards, I would not chose two workouts in one day for just about anything. Sounds like a fast trip to an eating disorder to me. And bubble bath? No thanks. Like I need to soak in the tub with my kids running around the house. Now shopping...that's an idea. Another feel good activity! Especially shopping and finding a great deal! Anyhow, the breakthrough is this: I never considered myself an emotional eater until then. And now that I know what that feels like, I am prepared to confront it next time with some other activity. Maybe a shot of rum. Kidding! Well...

Being fairly new at this daily workout routine, I had a funny thing happen to me today. I worked out at a satellite office this morning. It's a workout room I am completely unfamiliar with. I was wondering the building at 5 am looking for the room. I finally found it (thanks to the help of one of the grave shift co-workers of mine). About halfway through the workout, I realized there were probably no towels here. I was right. And I did not bring any. I am thankful there was a generous supply of paper towels! Too bad the paper towel was in one of those wave-your-hand-in-front-of-it-and-get-a-few-inches dispensers. Lesson learned! Eight minutes late to work! Nothing like making yourself feel like a dummy before the sun comes up! Okay, it's pretty funny.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Back in the Saddle and Trying Keep Us There (by Tug)

So last time I posted, I had pretty much completely fallen off the wagon and not worked out or ridden in several days.  Ridiculously sad considering I had only been "on the wagon" for about a week before getting mule-kicked in the ass by my old friend Mr. Lazy and landing, splat, in the mud by the side of the road while my fitness goals kept on trucking down the highway. 

So, how's it been going, you ask?  Actually, pretty dang well, if i do say so myself.  I DID get up at 5am on that dreadful Wednesday morning and I DID work out downstairs.  On Thursday, I spent about an hour on the trainer, riding and pacing my pedaling to whatever came out of Pandora's convoluted algorithms on "Allman Brothers Radio".  Made for a good ride that had the floor covered with sweat when I was done.  I  kept the big Mo (that's Momentum, btw) going on Friday by getting up at 6am and hitting the weights again.  Saturday, I worked most of the day, watched the Broncos get their butts handed to them by the Patsies, and caught up on DVRed shows with Andi.  I think we watched "Parenthood" and "Modern Family".  Both of my favorite shows on TV for their decidedly different takes on parenting and family life.  Sunday, I worked out AND put in a good ride.  Today is an "off" day, but I am getting up early tomorrow for weights. 

Also on Sunday, I worked on some home "fitness" by cleaning and organizing our basement rec-room to make it a more functional and inviting place for the family.  For anyone who's ever been down there, its a pretty cold and sterile feeling place.  And not sterile as in clean.  The god-awful linoleum tile just seems to collect dirt.  Making it a full-time liveable space is an on-going (read: 4 years and counting) project.  I finally have a vision for the space, and budget willing, should be able to do what I want down there and have it completed by the end of the year.  I feel like I've said that before though, so we'll see how it goes.  Life always seems to throw us curveballs when I think I've got it figured out.  The plan is to carpet 2/3 of the space with carpet tiles (Anyone know a store that actually carries them???  The only place I've found them is by ordering on line.  I'd like to actually see something before I order it.  Especially carpet!).  Then I'll put down some "rubber" exercise pads for where the eliptical, my weight bench, weights and bicycle trainer will go.  The goal is to have a space where the kids can watch a movie, play video games, do art projects, work on homeword, etc. in the same space Andi and I work out so we don't feel guilty by going down there and leaving the kids upstairs doing something without us.  Its about 1000 sqft, so we should be able to make this work.

Speaking of Andi... I couldn't be more proud of what she's been doing.  Getting up at 4am and working out before work and then coming home and doing the mom thing is an amazing thing to behold.  I'm really hoping she can stay on track.  Sadly, in the past, I think I took on a huge role in her "finding weight" after she'd done a wonderful job of losing it.  If you haven't read her blog post from a few days ago, she is constantly battling temptations in the house.  The good Lord has apparently blessed me with good metabolism.  I can pretty much eat anything I want and not put on a lot of weight.  I think at my heaviest, I've been maybe 172 lbs.  My "normal" weight, without exercising or eating "right" hovers around the mid 160s.  (This isn't to suggest I am a sloth and sit on my ass all day.  Even though I have a "desk job", I am on my feet about 3/5 of the day, checking on my staff and helping people out.  Even when i'm at my desk, I am often standing while typing, etc.)  My old weekly diet would include eating fast food 4 or 5 times a week, having salty potato chips with my lunches, about 48 ounces of carbonated soda a day, etcetera, etcetera.  Thusly, if I was out doing the grocercy shopping (which I do a lot because it's easier for me to do it on my weekday off than for us to go as a family on the weekend), I'd usually bring home some stuff that I'd like, but that would undoubtedly sabotage Andi's efforts.  Oreo's, Lay's BBQ chips, eclairs.  Basically anything with a lot of sugar and/or salt.  To wit, right now in the pantry there is a bag of insanely addictive Honey Mustard and Onion Snyder's Pretzel Nibblers.  In the freezer there is some peanut-butter cup ice cream and about 2-dozen frozen chocolate chip cookie dough balls waiting to be cooked and eaten.  With the crap I would bring home, it's hard to imagine any sane person with just an inkling of a sweet-tooth to be able to live a week, passing through the kitchen multiple times a day, WITHOUT taking part in the delicious yumminess that comes with high-calorie, fattening goodies.  I know I can eat them with little impact.  I also know by now that she can't.  I don't know if that's just a difference in the sexes or what, but I know my behaviour had impacts on hers, whether intended or not.  So this time around, I'm going to do my best to see that I'm not bringing stuff into the house that might derail her efforts.  When these devilish temptations are gone, I'm not planning on bringing any more chips, pretzels, ice cream, etc. in the house.  I've rediscovered apples and peanut butter as a terrific snack and hopefully that'll continue to satiate my needs for a bit of sweet in the evenings.  I think I can do it.  When Andi's doing the healthy eating thing and exercising, she is a happier person.  Her happiness makes me happier, which makes the marriage stronger.  I can easily skip the cookies and ice cream at the grocery store knowing we're heading toward a better place as a couple.

For this week, I'm going to continue the pattern of weights and cycling on alternate days.  I'm also still doing well on the brown-bag lunches at work, subbing the chips with apples.  I also have a slew of magazines to catch up on that always have tips for healthier living.  "Men's Health", "Cooking Light", and even Andi's "Weight Watchers" are on the docket.  I'll let you know if I find anything of note between the pages. 

Thanks for reading!   

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Temptation (By Andi)

It's the end of week two. I am down a total of 5.2 lbs. I am really proud of that number! I think I earned it. I got up early 4 times this week for a pre-workday workout and I ate pretty well.

Despite plenty of temptation this past week, I think I responded well. I am tentative saying that because I did give in a little and giving in to just a little temptation has been a slippery slope for me in the past. I have a bad habit of giving in to temptation and then telling myself something really stupid like "Well, you just blew it today. You might as well have whatever else you want." And then I would proceed to pig out.

This week, I did not do that. Nonetheless this week was full of reminders that LIFE is full of temptations and I can't expect myself to be perfect all the time with what I eat because if I feel deprived, one day, I will blow it and proceed to stuff my face. I have got to find balance between eating well and not depriving myself.

So what was so enticing? Earlier this week, my co-worker had her birthday and we took her to lunch. She chose Red Robin. Yes, the place with fried jalapenos on salads. And the others kept a couple baskets of endless fries on the table the whole time. I had water and the chicken apple salad with no dressing. Then the other night, my very loving husband suggested we go out to the Olive Garden for dinner. I had minestrone soup, salad, a glass of wine and one of those yummy chocolate mint candies that comes with the bill. I actually left two of those candies on the table. Wasteful. And of course, would you believe that the chipotle ranch chips are still sitting in my pantry? And Tug made chocolate chip cookies from the dough in the freezer two nights this week. And lunch snuck up on me and the kids today while we were out running around and low and behold, McDonald's was right there! They got Happy Meals. My daughter even put three fries aside for me and said "Here mommy, these are for you." I would be remiss not to tell you that, as I type this, the whole family is asleep and we have things in my house like cookie dough, nilla wafers, chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream and goldfish crackers. Seriously? Is this a joke?

As you can see, it was not an easy week. I don't expect my family (all of whom are slim) to give up the foods they like because I'm trying to lose weight. BUT what's a girl to do?

The temptation battle will rage on. I am open to suggestions. For now, I have two weapons. The first is gum that tastes like desserts I like such as chocolate mint ice cream. Not bad. The second is the fact I had some dental work done on Tuesday and my mouth hurts. I'm serious. That's my very sad second weapon and I don't think the pain will hold on much longer. I need a plan.

Now please excuse me as I go get those flippin' chipotle ranch chips from the pantry. Tug said I can toss them. And tossed they shall be!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The New Girl at the Gym (By Andi)

I am half way through this second week and feeling GOOD! I am down a total of five pounds! This week I started getting up WAY before the crack of dawn and working out. I now get up at 4:20 and I am at the gym by 5 am. I am using the gym at work and then getting ready for my day in the work locker room. There are surprisingly a lot of people on the roads at 4:40 am. And who knew that there are a fair amount of people who actually make it to the work gym before 5 am!? I was surprised. I work in a law enforcement agency. I am a civilian. And, of course, a woman. I am the only woman and the only civilian I have seen in the gym this early in the morning so far. I stick out. On my first morning of this new workout I was on the treadmill in the middle of a decent uphill speed walk, sweating it up pretty good when I looked down and realized how very dorky I must look. It was my shoes. A while back I bought Shape-Up shoes. These are the walking shoes with a great big sole. They are supposed to tone your legs better than regular walking shoes. The day I brought them home, Tug said he just read an article saying they don't work like they claim to according to studies. (He probably also said something about walking behind me when I wear them as to not be seen with me. I don't think he likes the looks of them.) Well, I wouldn't give. I just bought them. They were spanking new. I hate wasting money! I hate wasting time (I did not want to return them). So I broke off the tag and they were mine! Nonetheless, I did some Internet searching and found mixed reviews including some people who claim to have thrown out their backs or developed bad knee problems. I was not deterred. Within the first week of wearing them around the house, I got a twitch in my eye. It lasted an abnormally long time. The shoes? Doubt it, but I thought it was funny to blame the shoes instead of living with a twitching eye and having no explanation. So these shoes...normally they are about $70. I found them on sale at Kohl's (surprise) for $19.99! Sold. And why were they so cheap? No one wanted them. And why would no one want them? They are bright white (so?) with purple and lavender trim. And thus, I seem a little out of place in my law enforcement gym. And my pink tank top does not help. Real quick, the shoes...I think they are comfortable and I truly think they make my workouts harder. Especially walking up hills. And my twitch is gone, so I'm sticking with them.

My work out has consisted of a 30 minute walk at an incline of 4-5 at a speed of 3.7-3.9. I am the only one using a treadmill to walk. Most of the others there are lifting weights. And if someone does come over and use the other treadmill, he's running. Pretty fast. Even the old salts that workout there in the morning run. It's impressive. And for those of you who know the workout room attendees, when I say "old salts," I am not talking about our boss man. That would be rude. After I walk, I do like 10 minutes of triceps, biceps and other arm muscles of which I know exist (because they hurt a little now). After the workout and getting ready in the locker room, I start my day at my desk at 6:30. This may sound like a cliche, but this early morning (near middle of the night) workout really makes me feel good throughout the day and I really do have more energy. And the best part is, it does not take time away from my kids. Love. That. Is this sustainable? I think so. There are people I work with that do this and they have been doing this for a very long time. I think I can too!

Food. I've done well packing my food the night before and keeping it healthy, tasteful and filling. It has not been easy. I was up until 10:30 last night cooking salmon for my lunch salad today. That's some jacked-up dedication. And not very sustainable. I need to do a better job at that otherwise, I can see myself blowing off food preparation and going right for the high sodium frozen meals, of which I will probably have tomorrow since we need to go to the store.

So this is my week so far. I am excited about the results. I know I can lose weight. I know I am on the right track. I just have to sustain it. Time to put the kids to bed and make some healthy pancakes for tomorrow. (The Eating for Life pancake recipe is so good! Fairly easy to make, filling and yummy. Check it out!)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What the Hell Happened This Week???

Wow!  It's been only two days since my last post and I am already WAY off track.  I haven't hopped on the bike at all in the last two days.  I also haven't gotten up early to lift weights.  Sunday night, into Monday morning, I didn't sleep very well, so when the alarm went off, I predictably hit the "snooze" and sacked out until my regular getting up time.  Boo me!  I did set my alarm for 6am this morning, but unpredictably I forget to actually turn the damn thing on.  Boo me, again!  On the bright side, I did sleep soundly right up until 645am, which I haven't done in a LONG time.  I at least have that going for me.  Sheesh!  I suppose I could spend the hours when I get home working out.  Truth be told though, I really would rather spend that time with my kids and wife.  My work schedule has me working until 730pm and getting home around 8pm.  That gives me an hour with the kids before they hit the hay.  Then another hour of quality time with Andi before we hit the hay.  Since I work at least one weekend day a week, my time with them is pretty limited.  I know that sounds like an excuse, and maybe it is.  However, I feel this time with them contributes to my mental and relationship fitness. 

I really have to hand it Andi, though.  She is really taking this whole thing on full-bore... which she normally does when she gets going.  She doesn't do anything unless she's 100% committed.  She's been getting up at 4am to get to her work early so she can work out there BEFORE work.  Pretty awesome that she has a gym at work she can make use of.  I wish my place of work did.  We're a Fortune 200 company with tens of thousands of employees, yet no gym or childcare provided.  I don't get it.  At any rate, considering her schedule at work, at home, volunteering for school stuff with the kids, etc., I don't know how she does it.  She's pretty amazing.  Dare I say it?  She is actually inspiring me.  Tomorrow I WILL drag my lazy ass out of bed to work out.  Yeah, tomorrow is my weekly 13 hour day at work... but if she can get up at 4am, I can get up at 5am.  I WILL DO IT.  NO EXCUSES. 

I did discover something fascinating on Monday morning when I weighed myself.  This is a topic for another conversation... BUT you CAN apparently lose up to 4 pounds in 7 hours by simply laying around in bed.  I must explore this further.  I may be on to the next great diet fad: Sleep Away the Fat! 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

(Widespread) Panic in the Basement

Well, we're a week into the new year and so far, i am pretty happy with what I've done.  There is one thing i wanted to start doing this week that i have completely bombed on.  I was going to try and get up an hour earlier in the mornings and work out with weights before the kids got up and before i had breakfast, etc.  Turns out this is a lot harder than i had though it would be.  Maybe its because i don't get home until 8pm every night and i really love the two to three hours of vegging before going to bed, but i just can't drag myself out of the sack to get going. 

Not all has been lost though.  I've gotten my bicycle trainer all dusted off and have been riding pretty hard in the basement every other day.  For those not versed in cycling, a trainer is basically spinning wheel that you set your back tire on and pedal away.  It sits a few inches off the ground so its stationary.  I bought it a couple of years ago, used it sparingly, and its been sitting in the basement collecting dust for a long time.  In the winter months here in Colorado, its generally too dark, too cold, or snow or ice still resides in the shadowed sections of my favorite trails to make riding possible or safe.  When i originally got the trainer, i had visions of long, hard rides in the confines of our rec room in the basement.  After the first couple of rides, I got a very tender spot in the, ahem... groin area.  I also discovered a swelling that I'd never noticed before in my daily shower checks.  This was after my dad was first diagnosed with leukemia, so i got scared, went to the doctor and had it checked out.  Turns out it was a pretty common inflammation from riding.  I didn't enjoy the discomfort much, so i basically stopped riding that winter.  I also learned that riding on a trainer is nothing like riding outdoors.  For one thing, its awfully boring to just stare at the walls and floor, and therefore it was hard for me to get motivated to go down there and suffer.  Secondly, the trainer actually offers more resistance than the road, so the workouts were actually harder than riding outdoors.  I was finding my legs were as tired after an hour downstairs as they were after a two hour ride outside. 

Surprisingly, I have found going downstairs to pedal a lot easier this winter.  I can attribute this to a few things.  One, I believe i am a more dedicated bicycler (i hesitate to use the term "cyclist", but i think I'm getting there) than i was a couple of years ago.  I really have found a joy in just hopping in the saddle and pedaling.  Its a fantastic way for me to decompress and work out the myriad thoughts in my head.  Second, I have upgraded my cycling shorts.  Turns out, money can buy happiness.  My first pair of cycling shorts were Canari.  Nice enough, but the reason i bought them were they cheaper than the others.  I upgraded to a bit more pricey, but a lot more comfortable Pearl Izumi shorts.  Much better padding, and consequently a more comfortable ride.  Third, I have found that putting on some concert DVD's or DVR recordings and watching those while pedaling helps the time go by a lot faster.  I have found two methods that really work for me.  If i just want to go down and have a nice, steady ride, I'll watch one of the 20 or so episodes of "Justified" that i haven't seen yet (this is a great series that i highly recommend to anyone).  If i want a really hard ride, a DVR recording of Widespread Panic's "Tunes for Tots" concert in Macon, GA does the trick.  My strategy is to choose a certain number of songs that I'm going to listen to for that particular ride.  For the first song, I'll start with a nice, easy cadence.  For the next song, I pedal at about 95% max capacity until the song ends.  For the next, i go back to recovery mode.  Next song, pedal hard, etc.  The fun, and sometimes excruciating, thing about this is, you never know how long those guys are gonna noodle around on any given song.  One song might last 5 minutes, the next 17, the next 8, the next 12 and the next 4.  It's really kept it interesting for me and keeps me from constantly looking at my watch, wondering how long I've been going.  When the songs are over, I'm off the bike.  Even a relatively short ride (35 minutes) is a hard one.  I think i need more live concert recordings of some jam bands.  If anyone has any recommendations, I'm game.

Another thing I've been pretty happy about is my eating habits during the work week.  Since i typically miss dinner with the family on the nights i work, I had been in the habit of grabbing some fast food on the way home maybe 2 or 3 times a week.  Usually Chic-Fil-A or Del Taco or Taco Bell.  I would also grab a cheeseburger and fries at the "cafeteria" at work a couple times a week.  This week, I took lunch every day and only had fast food on Wednesday night (Chic-Fil-A).  Lunches were usually Corned Beef sandwich, some potato chips, and pretzels.  Not super healthy, but a lot better than what I'd be eating otherwise.  I think I'm going to start taking a banana for a morning snack.  And maybe take a jar of peanut butter to work to keep in my desk drawer to pair with some apple slices.

So there's my first week of the new year.  I'm not getting that chiseled chest or those huge biceps(yet), but i definitely do feel a little healthier.  Less fat in the belly and less body fat.  On the schedule this week: Target a bike race, find a 10K to look forward too, and schedule a trip to Vegas with the Better Half.    

Chipotle Ranch Chips May Ruin Me This Weekend (By Andi)

Over the past week, I think I have done a pretty good job eating better and adding exercise into my schedule. I worked out four times (25 minutes of aerobic and 5-10 of weights or resistance). I had good breakfasts each morning with the exception of Thursday when I went a little crazy with the granola. Lunches were good. Dinners were good. Snacks were good. So at one point, I was down four pounds! I know that is a lot for one week. Then yesterday, I got home from picking up the kids and I basically lost my mind. I pigged out pretty good. Have you ever tried the Lays chipotle ranch potato chips? Or how about the Wheat Thins Stix? So good. And instead of making two dinners to please the kids and my diet, I cooked this "family size" frozen chicken, broccoli, rice, cheese casserole dish concoction that had enough sodium to kill a flock of birds and enough fat to make Santa sick. It was kinda yucky but edible if eaten with buttered toast sprinkled with garlic salt. I thought the kids would like it. They didn't. They told me they would pretend it was ice cream and try to eat it. They took about five bites between the two of them. That was a dinner FAIL. And why did I eat it after tasting it and discovering it was not any good? It took 60 minutes to cook. I hate wasting money and I hate wasting time. So much in fact, I would rather eat crappy food I paid for and took 60 minutes to cook than toss it and find something better. We will cross that item off future shopping lists. And thus, my total weight loss this week...2.6 lbs. Still, not too shabby.

Finding the time to exercise has been a challenge as I expected. This week I did most of it while watching my son play Xbox and after my daughter went to bed. Pushing it back this late into the evening (8:00) has pushed my bedtime back too. Going to bed at 11:00 and getting up at 5:10 is not working for me. Do I dare get up at 4:30 next week and start my day with a workout? Tune in next week and see!

Just a few more wins for me this week: no alcohol, no cookies, I tossed out the eggnog (that was a waste of money that made me flinch), no sticking my hand in the cereal box for a fistful of yums to taste what the kids are having, no Starbucks (no salted caramel mocha), no fast food. And earlier today, I opened the Goldfish cracker box, poured a bit out for my daughter and did not have ANY! Woot! Woot! (Sometimes the smallest things are the biggest triumphs!)

Tomorrow starts another week. Bring. It. I'm ready. Let's hope my co-workers will stop bringing their little treats to the office to share and let's hope Tug finishes off the chipotle ranch chips soon.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

First Time Blogger, Tenth Time Dieter (By Andi)

First, let me acknowledge that I know I am not supposed to call it dieting. It's a "lifestyle change." Nonetheless, I have not yet been able to change it for more than about 4 months. I have lost weight over and over. Weight Watchers three times. Slimgenics once. Old fashioned dieting the rest of the time. So the big question for 2012 is what will I do differently to make this time a true lifestyle change? Well the last time, Slimgenics, I swore to myself to get on the scale every day and if I saw the scale start to go up, I would push out a couple really good days of exercise and eat clean. That did not work. I did not follow through. And when my pants started to get a little tight, I chalked it up to water retention or the washing machine shrinking my clothes. Well guess what? Three bigger sizes means I gained the weight back. Period. I got on the scale two nights ago and my suspicions were confirmed. And I cried. I am so disappointed in myself. I read a very cool quote on a Facebook friend's page the other day. A set-back is just a set-up for a come-back. And so it begins!

This blog was Tug's idea. I got a text from him while I was at work the other day asking me "How serious are you about getting fit?" He's a sweet guy. He did not say "losing weight." Then he told me about his idea of a blog. I agreed to it because I think I need to be more accountable to someone and you are it! I think you will get very different posts from the two of us. I struggle with weight. I want to feel better and look good. He wants to train for bike races and running! He's a pretty fit guy. Not overweight in the least. Ug I hate thinking we weigh about the same. Anyhow, I expect our posts will be very different. After all, this is the same guy who can sit in his easy chair and eat chocolate peanut butter cups right before bed each night and not gain a pound. This is the same guy who lost three pounds on our cruise last year when I gained nine! Does this paint a picture for you? Different challenges. Different posts.

I am a full-time working mom. I love my job but it's pretty intense at times. I get up at 5:20, get to work at 6:30, get off work at 3:00, pick up one kid from school at 3:30, the other from her school at 4:00 and spend from 4:00 to 5:30 enjoying time with them. Homework, playing, taking them to swim class, baseball, cub scouts, dance class... Then I make dinner, clean it up, pick up around the house, do some couch sitting with them (Where's Perry?) until Tug gets home just in time to tag team getting the kids to bed. First problem, I have not carved time to work out. That is one lifestyle change I need to work on first.

The very good news is...I am ready! It wasn't the feeling of fat rolls on my sides while driving the car that did it. It wasn't breathing harder while walking up the stairs at work. It wasn't knowing that most of my wardrobe was too tight. These are all things that have been bugging me for months. It was going to Kohl's on Friday and realizing I am three sizes above where I want to be. I want to lose 30 pounds. I will be very content with 20 but I am going for 30. First, I need to have my fat clothes fit loose. Then I need to get into a size 10. Then I will reevaluate but I hope to be in a size 8 by this time next year.

So here is where I start. Again. I pulled out some trusted tools. I have this Slim for Life cookbook that I love! Like any eating healthier plan, food prep takes time. But this cookbook is more realistic for me and my family than many others I have, including the Weight Watchers ones that often call for obscure ingredients that I have to make a special trip to the store for. I pulled out the scale. Ug. It's important for me to see the numbers. No more blaming the washing machine for a change in the way my clothes fit. I dusted off the elliptical. I actually got on it last night! That's right. New Year's Eve. I ellipticized for 25 minutes. It felt pretty good. And I got out our Wii Fit and Wii Biggest Loser games. My son and I had a blast last night playing Wii Fit. And here's a trick I learned last night. While many were out drinking alcohol including fancy little martinis, which I love, I poured me some Mio pomegranate flavored water and sparkling pear cider into a martini glass and sipped like it was a 10 dollar drink. Not bad. I might use the martini glass every day for my Mio water! By the way, Mio sweet tea rocks!

Tug is right in his previous post. This will all boil down to finding the time. Making the time. Taking the time for ME. I need to exercise and prepare good food while balancing my roles as a mom, wife, friend, employee, supervisor. And so begins the come-back!

Here's to a healthier way of life in 2012!