Monthly Archives: November 2011

Fitness {re}Evaluation 2

Last night was my six-week “check-up” with Denise.  Honestly, I was a little (okay more than a little…) nervous about getting measured.  For some bizarre (and totally incomprehensible) reason, I was actually afraid that my inches would *increase*…that somehow I would be fatter than six weeks ago.  Of course, I know that could not possibly be true because I had lost 12.6 pounds in that same time.  But…all that rational thinking did not overcome all that spastic obsessing.

So, when Denise busted out the measuring tape and my heart starting racing, I just kept my eyes closed until it was finished.  The results?  I have lost an additional eight inches in six weeks!  That brings my total inches lost to 48.75 (in a little over 18 weeks)!  I am quite impressed with myself (if I am allowed to say that without sounding egocentric)!
(Here’s my initial fitness re-evaluation.)

As if last night was not great enough after my “high” on numbers…Denise was showing me around some other parts of the gym.  (Parts I have only been looking at and never daring to step inside.)  My “normal” gym routine is pretty basic (okay, it is probably just plain basic), and a little boring.  So, Denise wanted to get me out of that little “circuit” I have been doing for weeks now (probably about six or seven weeks, to be exact).  I am excited to be doing new things…that shows progress in itself, right?

She brought me to this…contraption?…where you basically hang your lower half off and raise your legs (it works your core…similar to crunches).  Here it is:

Well, about 40 pounds ago I tried this “machine” and failed miserably.  I could not even hold myself up on it long enough to really even let my feet dangle.  You can imagine my hesitation when Denise lightheartedly said, “Go on, Erica.  Jump up there.”  I explained that I could not do it…I had tried previously…and I did not want to embarrass myself in the middle of the gym floor (I tried previously in the circuit room – far, far away from the dead center of the gym floor.).  She kept encouraging me, so I hopped up there and said something to the effect of: “Well, I guess I am glad that you believe in me…even when I don’t believe in myself.”  You know what?  I DID IT!  I did five “crunches” before the excitement just overtook me and I stood on the foot rails of the contraption doing my own personal celebratory dance while going, “Woot woot!  Go me!  I just did it!”  Yes, out loud in the middle of the gym floor.  Yes, people were staring.  And, no, I did not care.

My night was pretty awesome.  I was happy about the inches gone from body…now over four *feet* (which is still kind of blowing my mind).  I was happy about being able to accomplish something I was not able to a few short weeks ago.  I was happy to be out on the floor trying new things.  Excellent way to finish off my day.

Has anything exciting happened during your week?

-Erica

Random Secrets {and associated truths}

While on my journey to a healthier me, I have noticed several things that have made me go, “Hmmm…really?”  Here are just the few I have encountered so far:

1. At my heaviest weight (of 315) I went straight for the handicapped stall in a public bathroom.  Maneuvering my giant frame in a “regular” stall was just too damn difficult.  I am happy to say…I no longer {need to} do this.  I can fit just fine in a “regular” stall, so I can leave the handicap stall for those who truly need it.

2. The last time I weighed 250 pounds was *at least* eight years ago (2003).  However, my license has stated 250 pounds since then.  Even as my weight continued to climb into the 300’s, I could not bring myself to announce out loud, in public my true weight.  Thank goodness I never went missing or anything because the police would have been looking for someone *much* thinner than me.  (tee hee)  I am happy to say…I am actually getting close to that mark.  So, my license will only be a liar for a little while longer.

3. As I begin to “shrink” out of my clothes, I keep pulling out old clothes to try on.  See – I kept almost all of my clothes through various stages of fat in hopes that one day, “I’ll be skinny again.”  Here is the interesting revelation…*all* (and I do mean every last pair) of my old jeans are “missing” the tags.  How?  Why?  Oh, that’s simple.  I used to cut out the tags so I would not have to look at the sizes (because *seeing* a size ?? was depressing to me).  The problem is as I now fit into random pairs of jeans, I have *no idea* what size they are!  I am considering just going to buy new clothes, but the thought still frightens me…

4. At my heaviest clothes shopping was a *nightmare* (and that is actually putting it mildly).  I absolutely despised shopping for clothes…especially jeans/pants.  Since I cut out all the tags in my jeans/pants, shopping for *new* ones in the store was always a painful occurrance.  I had no choice but to stare down the sizes as I tried to suck it in and fit into something that was never really going to happen.  At which time I would be sitting in the fitting room sobbing (hopefully quiet enough so that no one else heard) and feeling sorry for myself.  While I am still not to the point where I am *excited* about clothes shopping, I certainly do not dread it with the amount of hatred I used to.  I am confident that I could actually go into Wal-Mart or Target and find clothes that fit me…without too much trouble.

5. The seat belt in my van is actually not too terribly uncomfortable after all.  At my heaviest weight, I avoided wearing a seat belt at *all* costs.  It was uncomfortable because it would have to come pretty much *all* the way out in order to fit around my chest and stomach.  This, of course, meant there was *no* wiggle room.  I could not lean forward at all (heaven forbid I ever drop *anything*).  I am ecstatic to report that I can now wear my seat belt comfortably *and* I can pick things up off the floor with the seat belt still on!

I am sure there are more little quirks I adopted at my heaviest weight to accommodate myself, but these are all I can think of right at this moment.  As I discover more things, I will certainly share them.  Calling myself on these things helps to correct the mental processes that allowed me to make excuses (and I am all about being self-aware anyway).

Have you done any of these things (or other similar things)?

-Erica

Weigh Day (week eighteen)

Yes, it is that time again…good old weigh day.  This morning calls for a happy, happy day…a celebration is certainly in order.  What to do…what to do…

I weighed in this morning at 264.8, which means I have *officially* hit the 50-pound mark!!!  I am at 50.2 pounds total.  I am excited.  Elated.  Totally stoked.  Pumped.

This Wednesday I have my “fit eval” with Denise to measure my progress in inches (and weight on the machines), so I am looking forward to that as well.

Some random things I have been thinking this week (considering the milestone I have hit):

-My three-year-old daughter weighs about 40 pounds.  I have lost more than she weighs in just over four months.  Crazy.
-My seven-year-old daughter weighs about 59 pounds.  I have lost nearly her body weight in just over four months.  Insane.
-I have lost (at last measurement, which was thirteen weeks) over 40 inches.  That is more than three whole feet worth of me…gone.
-I bought one pair of workout pants this week.  My original workout pants were 3X (22-24).  The pair I bought this week were XL (16-18).  Amazing.

So, why is it that I *still* have yet to see someone thinner looking back in the mirror?  I have proof, confirmation, affirmation…but the eyes/mind just are not registering the changes.  This bothers me…more than a little.  This brings me to a couple questions for all of you (those who have lost a decent amount of weight):

1. Did you ever experience a “disconnect” in your body image during weight loss?
2. How long did this “disconnect” last before you could actually see the difference when you looked at yourself in the mirror?
3. Did you do anything “special” or “significant” to help yourself recognize the changes in your own body along the way (to either avoid or “cure” the “disconnect”)?

-Erica

Another {small} Setback

If it is not one thing it is another, right?  Here is the story:

Two weeks ago I changed personal trainers because Ebony left Fitworks.  Denise and I worked out on October 26th for the first time.  The workout was great (intense, interesting, new, etc.).  It consisted of various exercises I had never done before.  Two of which were full sit-ups and V-crunches.

Full sit-ups: Lying flat on your back, legs apart (more than shoulder width).  Hold a 15-pound medicine ball above your head (arms completely straight).  Sit up completely and bring the ball to your left foot.  Raise the ball back over your head and lie back again.  Sit up completely and bring the ball to your right foot.  Repeat (over and over and over and over again) alternating feet each time you sit up.

V-crunches: Only your tushie butt and hands should be touching the floor.  Your hands are only for stability.  Here’s a picture of what it (kinda) looked like when I did them…only I was *not* on a ball.  You alternate (fairly quickly) straightening and bending your legs while leaning your upper body back when you straighten your legs.  (I certainly hope I am making some sort of sense here – LOL)

V Crunches

Alright, so I did these two core workouts for approximately eight minutes (in 1-minute increments with short breaks in between).  Maybe that does not seem like a lot, but these were seriously intense.  The odd thing was my legs were burning (from the V crunches) but my abs felt fine.

The next day; however, my abs were *killing* me…and I do mean *killing*.  I could not lie flat on my back without pain in my lower abs.  I could not sit up without rolling out to the side and using my arm(s) to push me up because my lower abs felt like they would just give out.  The only thing I can even begin to compare it to was having my two cesarean sections.  It was awful.  What I did not realize at the time was I really hurt myself.

I ignored the pain and continued working out on my regular schedule.  Last night I went to Fitworks (two weeks later, mind you) to meet Denise.  When I tried to do sit-ups guess what?  I could not do them.  Not “I didn’t want to” or “I am afraid.”  I *literally* could. not. do. them.  I could do a regular crunch, but not a full and complete sit-up.  So, Denise starting asking questions because she knew I could do them two weeks ago.  Once I explained what I felt like for a week (actually more) after our original workout this is what she said:

I tore my muscle.

How awful.  Really awful.  I wanted to do those sit-ups and I wanted to workout hardcore.  After all, I want to be to 250 (or less) my Christmas.  I want to be to 225 (or less) by my birthday in February.  I have goals to meet and accomplishments to celebrate.  I do not have time to be injured and “taking it easy” on myself.  Right?

Apparently, she had another plan for me.  We switched from sit-ups and crunches to planks.  She said that I can still work the ab muscles, but in different ways that do not hurt them while they are healing (which evidently can take up to six whole stupid weeks, by the way).  She had to start me on the highest platform/table they have available at Fitworks (which really bummed me out that I was starting at the bottom – boo!) because I tried the lowest and could not do it without pain in my lower abs.  I started raised up on my hands and then lowered to my elbows.  Back up to the hands (straight arms) and back down to the elbows.  We did 45-second intervals with breaks (that seemed unnecessarily long to me) in between.  Here is (kinda) what it looks like, only I was on a platform not directly on the floor:

Planks

I cried at the gym last night.  Not because I was in pain, but because I am mad (really, pissed) at myself for not being able to do the sit-ups and the lower planks.  I feel like I am failing myself…like I am failing in general.  Then, of course, I was mad at myself for crying in public at the gym (tee hee).

This is when I got my first lecture from Denise.  “Erica, you’re working so hard.  You kicked butt tonight.  Yes, you cannot do this…temporarily…but you will do it in the future.  You *have* to allow your body to guide you on this journey.  When your body hurts you have to listen to it and take it easy.  That does not make you a failure.  That does not mean you cannot work out in other ways.  It does mean you should not continue do the moves that hurt you in the first place.”  That is not verbatim, but you get the idea.

The only problem is…I do not do “can’t.”  I do not handle “can’t” well – at all.  It eats at me.  It bothers me.  It keeps me up at night.  It gives me bad dreams.  It haunts me.  “Can’t” is not usually in my vocabulary.  Does that make me obsessive and a little bizarre?  Sure.  But I am okay with that (it is “can’t” I am not okay with).

Have you ever injured yourself working out?  How did you handle it?  Did it bother you not to be able to continue your “regularly scheduled programming?”  How long did it take for you to heal?

-Erica

A Series of Clicks…

Last night I was surfing the Internet and found some things I would like to share.

It all started by checking my e-mail…

I found this, which led me to a fellow friend blogger.  Naturally, I followed the link, which landed me here.  I browsed her blog for a while and stumbled upon a post that directed me here.  This post is a *must* read for anyone who is plus-sized and active.  Sallie has some serious insight into clothes for the plus size runner/walker/jogger.  Thank you, Sallie!  I will be investing in some new workout clothes very soon (as my old ones are starting to fall off), so I am very happy to have come across this post now!

Interesting how checking in with one blogger friend will land you with two new ones, huh?  Can I just take this moment to say how much I love blogging?

The last thing I want to mention right now is…
CONGRATS to J. over at 52 Weeks, 52 Pounds!!!!  He met his first goal of losing 52 pounds, which is *very* exciting!!!  The best part is he did not even need all 52 weeks to get it done.  This week was his 23rd week, so he has plenty of time to spare.  His newest challenge/goal is being implemented immediately, so GOOD LUCK J.!  I am certain you will rock this one out, too!

-Erica

Weigh Day (week seventeen)

So, I find myself especially happy this morning.  Why?  I really cannot tell you…I just am.  I am finally starting to feel really proud of myself.  To others that probably sounds weird.  Why would I not be proud of myself before now?  I cannot answer that either.  I am *so* close to losing 50 solid pounds, and that is making me very excited (and proud).  Now, if only I could look at myself in the mirror and see someone thinner…

I remember a time when I would slowly peek down at the numbers, eyes squinted, and holding my breath.  The thought of weighing myself on a regular basis made me have near-panic attacks.  Now; however, I do not find myself anxious or nervous at all, which is nice.  This morning I hopped right up on the scale and saw 267.6 staring back at me.  Awesome.  That is 2.2 pounds down from last week’s weigh in.  My average is 2.6 pounds per week (over the last seventeen weeks).

Alright, now I have a question.  When I started this blog 17 weeks ago I weighed in at 312 pounds.  That would mean I have lost 44.4 pounds.  However, just about a month *before* I started this blog I weighed in at 315.  This number is what scared the beejeebies out of me and made me decide I was going to do something about it.  I just didn’t start blogging until later.  So, on to my question… Should I consider the weight loss from 315 (47.4 pounds) or from 312?  Up until this point I have been calculating weight on this blog from the 312 point, but I am wondering if I should not be “selling myself short” on those other three pounds I have lost.  What are your thoughts?

Oh, and as for that celebration I mentioned earlier…it is on!  A couple of my girlfriends have decided to walk with me in the Holiday in Lights 5K this year in celebration of losing 50 pounds.  The walk is on the 19th, so I have 13 more days to lose the rest and make a complete 50-pound loss.  How exciting?!

How did your week turn out?

-Erica

Curry Salad

This looks amazing, too.  Another recipe courtesy of my Facebook friend, Amy, that is on my “must try soon” list.

CURRY SALAD

2 limes
1 c dry quinoa
1 1/4 c water
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 tsp curry seasoning (such as Spice Islands)
3/4 tsp salt
1 package (10 oz) shredded carrots
1 c no-salt-added canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 1/2 c thinly sliced scallions
1/4 c sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 c dried currants or golden raisins
3/8 tsp pepper

1. Zest or finely grate one lime to produce 1 1/2 teaspoons zest, then juice both limes.
2. In a saucepan, combine 3 tablespoons lime juice, quinoa, water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, curry seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until quinoa turns transparent and liquid is absorbed. Cool and place in a large bowl.
3. Add carrots, chickpeas, scallions, almonds, and currants. Toss.
4. In a small bowl, combine remaining 3 tablespoons lime juice, zest, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/8 teaspoon pepper; whisk until well blended. Pour over quinoa mixture and toss. Divide evenly into four salad bowls.

Makes four servings

Here’s the dirt:
431 calories
14 g fat (1.9 g saturated)
511 mg sodium
60 g carbs
10 g fiber
17 g protein

TIP If you can’t find curry seasoning, make your own using 1 teaspoon of curry powder, 1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon.

-Erica

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pizza

Tell me this pizza does not look absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious!  Yummy!  Another recipe from my Facebook friend, Amy (thanks!).

ROASTED RED PEPPER PESTO PIZZA

1 (10 ounce) roll of refrigerated pizza dough
6 tablespoons prepared pesto, divided
1 1/2 cups roasted red pepper strips, divided
1/2 cup chopped canned tomatoes, divided
1 cup precrumbled gorgonzola cheese, divided

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. 2. Unroll the can of pizza dough and cut in half. Pat and shape each half into two pizza shells, each about 10 inches in diameter, on a large greased baking sheet or two smaller sheets. 3. Spread each pizza shell with 1/2 of the pesto, then top each with 1/2 of the pepper strips, chopped canned tomatoes and gorgonzola cheese. 4. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese melts and the bottoms are nicely browned.

Here’s the dirt:
463.2 calories
23 g fat (9.1 saturated) 
32.5 mg cholesterol 
1589.9 mg sodium 
45.3 g carbs 
8.2 g sugars 
3.9 g fiber
17.6 g protein

***Of course, I would substitute whole wheat crust, which would change the nutritional information.***

-Erica

Victory…and a celebration?

Happy {late} Halloween, everyone!  My girlies and I had a *wonderful* time trick-or-treating with friends.  My older daughter was a midnight fairy, and my younger daughter was an adorable little clown.  It was a fabulous night weather-wise here in Cincinnati as well.  We just could not have asked for more.

So, I know a lot of people have anxiety about the holidays (including Hallowen) with all the extra “goodies” lying around…calling out to you (“eat me,” “I taste yummy,” and all of that).  I, too, was wondering (would not call it anxious, though) how I would fare with all the sweet stuff.  I am *proud* to say I am not tempted.  Not even a little bit.  Here’s why:

Last night after my girlies were in bed (and I was back from the gym.  Yes, after trick-or-treating for two hours I went to the gym and did my *full* routine anyway) I was sitting face-to-face with two giant bags of candy.  Usually this is where I dive in, spread everything out on the coffee table, and pretend like I am doing my chicklets a favor (by eating half of their candy).  Not last night.  I did not dump, spread, or do them any favors (LOL).  Instead, I peeked into one bag, pulled out a single Reese cup and unwrapped it.  As I sat there staring at it, I started to wonder.

“Do I *really* want to eat this?”
“Will it even taste as good as I think it will?”
“What if it *does* taste as good as I think it will?”
“Will I want another one…and then another…and then another?”
“Is it worth it to be so consumed in thought over *one* Reese cup?”
“Am I crazy for sitting here having an imaginary conversation with myself over a single Reese cup?”

After several minutes of back and forth with myself, I broke the Reese cup in half (and stared some more).  {Since I have never shared this…I used to *LOVE* Reese cups.  I mean *L*O*V*E* them – in a scary, this-girl-needs-help kind of way}  Finally, I broke the half in half and tasted a corner.  You know what?  It was not even good.  I did not even eat that Reese cup.  Honest.  What I *did* do, though, was eat a mini (you know, those tiny square candy bars) 3 Musketeers.  It was better than the Reese cup, but it was not as good as I remember it either.

Today was no problem.  I have not gone back into the candy bags.  Nor do I want to.  I am really proud of myself.  Really.  I feel like I have conquered a small (but significant) part of my battle against food.  I can say no and stick to it.  I do not *need* candy or anything else junky to get through my days.  That makes me feel good.

Oh – and about that celebration…

I am inching up on 50 whole pounds lost, and I think I want to celebrate.  I have not figured out exactly what I am going to do just yet, but I will think of something.  As part of my celebration, though, I am thinking about walking in the Holiday in Lights 5K.  That would be something new, fun, and a great way to really build a foundation for the “new” (healthier, more active) me.  The real trick is finding someone to walk it with me…

How was your Halloween?

-Erica