Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: October 2008 Page 2 of 3

Phoriday Bonus – Video 7

I’m not entirely sure if this is the laziest or the most genius one we’ve made, but that is for you all decide.  Enjoy, and have a great weekend!  Posting may be sparse earlier in the week because I am on voice recording duty.  It’s one of the more fun parts of the job, but also means less time at my desk.  Miss me terribly, and I’ll be back to ramble more by Wednesday, fo sho.

Why I want to lose the last 20-40 lbs

So Wednesday I hopped on the scale and saw 165.0 staring back at me.  This is exactly 100 lbs from where I was January 1, 2007, when I decided to take a stand against my own flubber.  Well, technically that’s an educated guess being that I weighed 262 at the doctors a few months before, and I definitely didn’t lose any weight – probably gained at least a few half lb hamburgers since I had JUST gotten back from vacation.  The first time I weight myself halfway through the month (since I didn’t previously have a scale) I was in the high 250s, so it has to be about right.  Anyways, I’ve always said my start weight was 265, and so shall it be.

Things are a lot different now than they were back then, in a lot of ways I couldn’t have even imagined.  I never thought I’d be an exercise nut, but I’ve been working out regularly for over a year now and get angry when someone tries to muss with my exercise time.  Them’s fightin’ words, pardner.  I never thought I’d prefer veggies to french fries or fruit to chocolate some days (key word – some days).  Actually, I never thought I’d make it this far.  Historically, I would lose some weight (20-30 lbs), feel great, go back to the way I was (no exercise, too much food) and gain it back and more.  I ALMOST did that, except something in me kicked in once we moved to Austin, and I realized it was time to do this fo reals, yo.

There are also things that didn’t happen.  I didn’t become this super confident, super powerful dominating woman ready to throw open closed office doors, and use a machete to cut through red tape.  I was actually probably more empowered to do that before even if I was out of breath after walking down the hall to that office.  I didn’t become truly happy and all is not right with the world.  Yes, my reflection brings me joy.  But it doesn’t make me complete and whole as a person, it’s just one less thing on my “how the hell am I ever going to get around to doing this” list.  I’m also in the best shape I’ve been in my adult life, but I still have the batwings under my arms, and the potbelly I don’t remember having even 10-20 lbs heavier when I was younger.

When I started this endeavour, I had 170 lbs in mind as the holy grail, because that’s what I weighed when I was 20, had just become newly single after 3 years of crazy, and felt sexy, confident, and attractive.  Well, I’m there now, and remembering the summer between my junior and senior year of high school when I was probably about a buck fifty, give or take, and felt uber confident about my body and still have some kick ass clothing from my days working at Hot Topic (it was a great high school job, and I remember when we were the 13th out of 20 some stores that existed)  I wouldn’t mind breaking out (namely this gorgeous sundress, but there are a few other things).  Then again, there was also my gymnastics period where I probably ranged from 115-125 where I was a muscular goddess.  I definitely didn’t feel like the picture of beauty or confidence then (since I was a good head taller and probably 20-40 lbs heavier than my teammates) unless I was out on the floor or on a stage, but day-um I had some muscles.  Note to self, must scan some pictures from those days from the photo-shoebox of doom.

Though I could be happy here, I’ve decided to press on.  Even a month and a half of plateau didn’t stop me from trying and now that I’m going again, I’ll press on.  Here are twenty of the reasons why, in numerical list form, in no particular order of importance.

1.  Running will be so much easier the lower my weight goes (in a healthy range, of course).  I’m pretty sure if I had less to lug around, I could smash my 7:50 time with ease.

2.  I’d like to put together an outfit without worrying about if my belly fat is hanging out.

3.  I’d like to be able to wear every last thing in my closet, or have given it away because it’s too big.

4.  I’d like to know what walking into the room and being the h-a-w-t est girl felt like, because I’ve always felt completely inferior to at least *someone* in my social circle.  I don’t know how to explain this one in a way that makes me sound less vain or petty – I’d just like to be at the point where I’m so comfortable with myself, I don’t wish I looked like *insert person here*.

5.  I want to wear a bikini of some sort without feeling self conscious.

6.  I’d like to have a normal BMI.  Not because I feel I am overweight now being just 15 lbs over the recommended range (I’m pretty sure I carry a LOT more muscle than the average gal), but I might as well give myself the best chance to live long and healthy I can.  Maybe it will counteract some of the drinking and smoking :).

7.  Zliten and I want to take a dance class and hopefully someday get good at partner dancing.  It would be super cool if I was light enough for him to pick up and do some fancy moves.

8.  I still have great boobs even at 125 when the fat goes away elsewhere.  I resented them during gymnastics, but I could really rock them now.

9.  It would be fun to do some of those simple gymnastic moves again.  Like, I dunno, bust out a handstand piroutte or aerial at parties to freak people out.

10.  If (and that’s a big if) I do have kids someday, I refuse to be the chunky, matronly mom in the mom pants and mom haircut driving the minivan.  If I had a daughter, I’d want her to want to raid my closet when she got older, and not just on ironic theme day at school.  Also, in non-selfish-land, I’d want to motivate them to be active and balance gaming time with sports and crap and see eating healthy as a good thing and cookies as a food you don’t eat everyday.

11.  If Dana Torres and Oksana Chusovitina can keep themselves going as ancients in sports where their teammates are half their age – it’s not too late for me to get in the shape of my life and go out for something.  Whether it’s running, dancing, whatever – nothing keeps me going like the promise of competing at it.

12. I really want to amaze people at my wedding next year, a lot of whom haven’t seen me since my heaviest.  Not that they wouldn’t be shocked now, but it would be fun to see the reactions if I showed up in better shape than they’ve seen me since I was a kid.

13.  Along with that, I want to look back at wedding photos and not think “damn, I look fat there”.  I refused to be a fat bride or I’d be Mrs. Zliten McGnome by now.  I mean, if I’m going to pay for professional photos and for something I’m going to want to keep forever, I don’t want any negative thoughts connected with them.

14.  I’m just not done losing yet.  I like the thrill and the drama of stepping on the scale, hopeful it says something lower than it did yesterday.  It causes me great agony sometimes, but also great joy.  I need to definitely start measuring and/or calculating body fat % so I have something to play with to when I do decide I am ready to maintain.

15.  I would like to feel justified in splurging on some items of clothing (a really nice jacket, a pair of jeans that fits me incredibly well, etc) and not feel like it might be a waste because it will only fit me until I really get in the shape I want to be for the rest of my life.

16.  I love how I get more and more energy and feel more and more like I can do *anything*.  I can only imagine that gets better as you get slimmer (to a point, of course).

17.  Never having to lie on drivers licenses or other forms you have to fill out that include your weight, and never having to hear a doctor tell me I should lose weight when I get off the scale.

18.  Being able to walk to my bedroom, and look at pictures on the wall in hallway, and not think “geez, I looked so good then, I wish I looked that good now”.

19.  Frankly, for the first time in my adult and teenage life, I’d like to be at a point where I don’t get up in the morning and wish I weighed less.  I fully believe I’ll be on a quest to improve my fitness and tone muscles and get stronger and better the rest of my life (or I hope), but it would be nice to not have to think about losing weight.

20.  Because it is my own body, and I have the goddamn right to mold it into the healthy, strong, powerful, and super capable form it deserves to be in.  It’s been good to me even when I haven’t been so good to it, so I want to treat it well for sticking with me, and lightening it’s load in a healthy way to a healthy point can’t be a bad way to start.

A lot of these things are vanity related.  I was a little disappointed with myself until I realized – hey, I’ve done the “lose weight for my health” portion already.  I am a fairly healthy weight, in better shape than a lot of people, and generally comfortable in my skin.  This is totally and completely vanity weight.  If I wasn’t such an overachiever at everything, I could probably be reasonably happy here.  But why not give it a good ol’ try to see if I like me skinnier?  History shows that gaining weight isn’t very hard for me, so if I look too gaunt at 125, I can glance at a cupcake or two and presto!  Job done.

All I know is I’m going to keep trying, and I hope I have the wisdom and common sense to stop at the right number, whatever that might be and whenever it happens.

5 Random Things

1.  I think *crosses fingers and knocks on wood* that I have kicked my plateau.  I’ve been between 165-166 for the last few days.  I’ll wait for a 164 to really rejoice, but though it’s inching down, down is what counts.  Slow and steady wins the race.  I guess it’s also worth mentioning that I weighed 165.0 today, which is 100 lbs exactly from my highest weight (or my estimate of my highest weight, because the scale and I were not best buds back then).  I have removed a 5’0″ tall woman at an average weight from myself.  Have to say it feels pretty awesome.

2.  I’ve been gaming a bit.  Besides my non-game gamey fixes like Ikariam and Tiny Adventures, Zliten and I played around with the Little Big Planet demo, and we’re hooked and can’t wait to actually get it.  We also played through the Wii version of Strongbad’s Cool Game For Attractive People.  Yay adventure games.  If you are asking yourself who Strongbad is, go here now.  Specifically here if you don’t want to search the whole site.  Do not dilly dally.  Use the scroll and the buttons, the buttons, the buttons.

3.  I have been yelping more!  Yelp is a lovely review site, and quite helpful.  Anytime I’m looking for a new restaurant or bar to try – it’s my go to site.  If I’m looking for a mechanic, plumber, tailor, etc – I can at least give it a look to see if someone in my area has had a stellar (or poor) review.  I’ve forgotten to contribute over the last few months (or more) and I’m trying to review all the places I’ve been lately.

4.  We figured out our Halloween costumes!  We’re going to be Wraith from Stargate Atlantis (me a queen, Zliten is going to be Todd).  We’re not going all out and making the costumes ourselves, but trying to get as realistic as we can.  The awesome thing that I was able to do was go into a costume store, and purchase a costume off the rack (and a S/M to boot).  I’ve never had both the money and the slim-ness to do that before.  Yay!  Here is the first go at the makeup – it’s way too green and a little messy, and covering the eyebrows with liquid latex didn’t work so well, but we learned a lot doing it and will do much better next time.  And yes, I know, I need to work on my scowl.  Zliten does it much better.

5.  This weekend is the eye of the storm.  No plans whatsoever.  I can’t go shopping since I haven’t hit 160 (strangely, after I decided this, I started losing again… THERE MAY BE A CONNECTION HERE…), no downtown outings, have plenty of food to stay in, no parties to attend, no plans with the parents, not even dinner plans with anyone.  Trying to decide what we want to do.  Ice Skating?  Movies?  Rock Climbing?  Being 100% shut ins all weekend?  Only time will tell…

Treadmill Stretching Routine

So we’re all told to stretch after cardio (just not before warming up), but not really how to do it.  Here is a stretching program I perfected over the last month which seems to have worked – I’ve been feeling a lot less like my muscles are about to snap like a taught wire, and though not quite like the dancer/gymnast I used to be, but a lot closer.  Keep in mind that you WILL get odd looks doing this on the treadmill (some people have never heard of efficiency before-why would I walk ALL THE WAY to the mats to stretch when I have a perfectly good space right there)  but it can be done also on the mats or in the privacy of your own home if you are a bit more reserved than I.

All stretches held to a slow count of 10, and repeat the cycle twice.

1.  Ballet Barre stretches.  Essentially like this but remove step 3 unless you want to be a ballerina when you grow up.  Put your foot on the railing of the treadmill (or any other waist high object), and fold your chest over.  Aim to touch your toes and bring your chest to your knee.  Stretches those super tight hamstrings.

2.  Standing Quad Stretch.  In case you were wondering, this stretches the quads.  Nuff said.

3.  Forward Fold.  I like to also call this one “show your ass to the guy on the treadmill behind you”.  Your hamstrings might scream, but they’re just screaming “I love you for stretching me out”.

4.  Right Leg Lunge.  Just like this, baby.  Your head will be under the display part of the treadmill.  Stretches the hips and adductors.

5.  Right Leg V.  Try to kiss your knee and feel the hamstring burn.  I couldn’t find a good picture of this so basically put one foot in front of the other, both in line, center your chest over your leg and aim for your chest to touch your knee.  Sorta like this but instead of both hands on one side, one on each.  And no raising one to the ceiling, just don’t do it!  The triangle is a lovely stretch but save it for a yoga day.

6.  Right Side Lunge.  Feel froggy and loose in your hips and adductors.  Try to touch your crotch to the treadmill, which is probably the only time EVER you should consider doing that.

7.  Standing Straddle.  I also like to call this one “show your ass to the guy on the treadmill next to you”.  I actually skip this one if there is actually someone on the ‘mill next to me.  That is much too much butt-in-face for even me to do.  More hamstring and adductor love.

8.  Now do the other side – you don’t want to be lopsided, do you?  Do a left side lunge, left leg V, then left leg lunge.  I often repeat 4-8 if I’m feeling particularly tight.

9.  Curb Stretch.  Don’t forget the calves!  Do this, but use the back of the treadmill instead of a curb.  You can also bend over and grab the railing and really lean into it.

And…you’re stretched, you didn’t even have to go anywhere (because I know once I leave the treadmill it’s like I forget how tight I am and just want to get on with my day), and fellow gym goers think you’ve lost your mind.  Misson accomplished!

Plateau: Googling My Way to Knowledge

So I’ve spent some time researching plateaus over the last few days.  I have to share with you some of the most interesting and odd tidbits so let’s bring on the internet hodgepodge of factoids!

This site pretty much tells me that I should never have gotten on a plateau in the first place and my body is a freak of nature.  They advise to keep a food diary (I track my food religiously here and have for over a year), break up your meals (I eat breakfast in three segments from 9 to 11:30, lunch at 12:30, a snack in the afternoon, fruit before my workout, dinner right after, and then usually a light late snack), eat more (been on that for the last few weeks), get support (check), shake up my workout (they advise once a month, which is spot on with what I do), weight train (check – increased it but was definitely doing between 1 hour – 2 hours before per week), drink plenty of water (8 glasses or more a day without fail).

The only things they suggest three things I haven’t done: cut out alcohol (you can have my whiskey and diet coke when you pry it from my cold dead hands), cut out all refined carbs (again, you can have my bread and potatoes when you pry them from my cold dead hands… they even mention salad dressing and ketchup), and moving more outside the gym.  Honey, I work my ASS off in the gym for the hour I have, I don’t fuck around and chit chat and day dream while I’m doing my squats, I rest only as long as it takes to get my heart rate low enough that I will not faint dead away during my reps.  That’s why I could never have a workout buddy (one of their suggestions).  Workout time is NOT social time.  It’s business time, and I love it that way.  I would resent someone that couldn’t keep up.  Back to the point though – I feel like my workouts earn me a little couch time.  I mean, it’s great if you go up and down the stairs instead of elevators and try to get up and talk to people instead of emailing (which I do) at work and you take a 10 minute walk on your lunch break (which I don’t).  If that’s your main form of exercise, I am not belittling you, I just need balls-to-the-wall sweat sessions or I get cranky.  And I think those allow me to not have to get up and march in place during commercials or wear a pedometer and walk circles around my house to amass 8 or 10 or 100k steps per day.

Anyways, so besides asking me to give up two of my main food groups (seriously, do these people know what it’s like to be 29, have a full social calendar with friends that are a bunch of lushes, and not home cook every meal?  srsly…) and start a nightly parade around my living room 12 times, I’ve got it all down.

The site also recommends Free Trainers (though sadly they don’t actually link there – bad), so I hopped over and decided to check it out.  They suggest that I eat 2238 calories (168 g protien, 336 g carbs, 27 g fat – how is that even possible to consume that much fat free protien?) with a slow metabolism and being sedentary to lose weight.  That’s about 1k more than I was consuming on a normal lo cal day a month ago.  So what to do after I resign myself to a daily diet of pretty much beans and lentils to get that much protien on that little fat?  I need to do my advanced workout 5 days per week of doing 5 minutes on the treadmill to warm up, stretch, and then do 3-4 different weight lifting exercises per day.  Gee, I thought I was cutting down with MY workout program, I could be in and out of the gym in less than 30 with that plan.

So instead of deciding to undertake a fitness plan which can only end in extreme flatulence, on with the googling I go.  This next site only has 5 tips, so at least I can dismiss them quickly.  Cycle calories is the first tip, which I do naturally (I mean seriously, who can eat exactly 1500 calories per day), but not with any schedule.  I’ll eat 1500 one day then 1800 if I’m going out for a steak dinner, and then 1200 on a day I’m just not super hungry so it averages out over a week.  I just can’t schedule it day by day.  Then again, strength training and changing up your exercise routine and eat more often – gee why didn’t I think of that?  The only new advice was to change your macronutrient ratio, which I have been doing with pushing fruits and veggies and adding nuts to my diet.  So, besides a nice ancedote at the bottom about chilling out if you’re having trouble, not helpful at all.  Next!

This looks like more of a body builder site but still seems applicable.  Sadly, it looks like they’re saying the same things in a different combination.  Tighten up your diet (which can’t help but remind me of tightening up the graphics) once again advises cutting out processed foods and cutting carbs.  Then there’s calorie cycling again, eating more often, varying your workout, journal your progress, and don’t overtrain – but go ahead and try working out twice a day for a few weeks or doing 6-7 days of cardio, and while you’re at it why don’t you work on upping the intensity.   Clear as mud, right?

On and on.  This site gives me advice I’d like to believe works – forget about your diet one day per weekend or take time off.  However, I think that’s what got me into this mess.  Wiki how looks great until the “Tips” section.  Doing my resistance training (aka full body strength session) before intervals would only end in tears.  I’m so worked over after 20 mins I need an extra long cool down and I start with something easy to give myself time to recover.  Doing that last?  No thanks.  Doing more than 5 days of cardio a week?  Sure, I might take a walk or swim or do something passively active on a day off but I need my 2 days off – just like I need them off work to recharge.  Take one away and I break down after a while.

According to this site, it’s simple.  I’m either eating too much or not enough.  If I’m eating at least 1200, it’s enough.  And god forbid homegirl wants a damn sandwich – it says not to mix your protien and carbs (who can possibly do that?).  Carbs are still the devil, and though I’m exercise at the max duration they suggest, perhaps I should stop just taking a walk around the block and do something more intense like a slow jog *eyeroll*?  And I have so many options with this site!  I can either workout either more intensely, with more variety, longer, or more often.  Or, if that’s not enough, workout twice a day because celebrities do it and working out with no fuel in your body is supposed to be good for you (what a crock of shit).  And according to them I should be eating…oh, just about what I do now, but in 300 calorie mini meals every 3 hours, again, foiling my plans to sustain any sort of normal life and to be able to eat socially with other people, oh, ever.  And if that doesn’t work, just do the Atkins diet!  I mean, Atkins worked so well for me before (read: I hated what I could eat so I starved myself).

After my time with the big Goo today, I’ve come to these conculsions:

1.  I am pretty much smarter about this than the internet.

2.  Their only suggestions are things that…

a.  I am doing already (varied exercise, correct calorie range with some fluctuations over the week, eating often enough to keep my stomach not grumbly, water, journalling my food and exercise, etc)

b.  Things that I refuse to do (cutting out all refined carbs and/or alcohol, cardio 6-7 days per week, two-a-day workouts, etc)

c.  Things that make no sense (like eating 2300 calories a day, not eating carbs with protien, and cutting way down on workouts)

I think in light of the situation at hand and the information in front of me, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, and just aim to bet a bit better at it.  In other words, lessen the amount of nutritionally void things I stuff my face with without eliminating food groups, make sure I’m getting my fruits and veggies everyday instead of some days, use the more sane October gym plan as an opportunity to do 100% of my workouts this month.  I guess it’s all about moderation and consistency.  It has to be, because if carbs really are the devil and running is evil, sign me up to be a crankypants in hell.

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