Monthly Archives: January 2012

I Have Nothing But Love…

…for my trainer.  I mean that from the very bottom of my heart.  She is absolutely, positively amazing…and I am actually a little teary-eyed just thinking about how awesome she is.

She truly believes in me, and that is such a nice (and foreign) feeling.  She challenges me and really pushes my limits.  Limits that I would have never pushed on my own.  I love that she takes the time to actually *teach* me in addition to just working me out in the gym.  She has given me countless tools to take with me even when I am not in the gym.  I love that she is honest with me and calls me out when she thinks I am holding back (especially when I do not realize I am).  She does not sugar-coat things for me, and she encourages me when I feel like I cannot do anymore.

Without even knowing or trying, she has changed my life in such a profound way.  She inspires me to give more than I ever thought I could give, and I will never be able to thank her appropriately.  Words are just simply too shallow to suffice.  (The over-gifter inside me is going crazy with ideas for things to buy her, which is hilarious…and a little creepy, by the way)

Oh, and by the way:

GOAL TRACKER:
40 days
17.8 pounds

That birthday goal may not be as “unattainable” as I thought, folks.  Who knows…

-Erica

Weigh Day (week twenty-seven)

Let me just start by saying this week’s weigh in made me *much* happier than last week’s.  I am inching closer to my birthday goal, which I may still not make (by the way).  I do not think I have mentioned this (although I may have and forgot), but my birthday goal weight of 225 is actually the lowest I have ever weighed as an adult.  So, going below that number should be quite exhilarating…and I cannot wait.

On to this morning…I weighed in at 244.4, which is a 2.6 pound loss from last week.  That brings my grand total to 70.6 pounds in 27 weeks.  Insanity, really.  I am actually speechless to think that more than *seventy* pounds used to be attached to my body.  I just simply cannot wrap my head around it.  Cannot.

I have started to wonder about excess skin this week, though.  For those of you out there who have lost a significant amount of weight…was this a problem for you?  Did you take any preventative measures to help reduce your risk of excess skin (such as creams or special exercises to tone/tighten)?  Anyone have any idea how in the world I will be able to tell if I have “excess” skin?  I mean, I am “squishy” right now…in my abdomen…but that does not constitute “excess” skin, does it?

GOAL TRACKER:
41 days
19.4 pounds

-Erica

{random} Thoughts and Happenings – Part Two

Here is the second edition of random things running around in this crazy mind of mine…

1. Graduation: I cannot possibly express how happy I am to say I will be graduating this month!  Two longs years of projects, assignments, classmates, and irritable professors are almost over.  I will have a degree in business by the end of this month.  How awesome that will be…  College is not quite finished for me, though.  I intend to take a break (probably into May or even the beginning of June) and then go right back in for a degree in graphic design.  The two degrees together should allow me great opportunities, and I am excited about that.

2. Dreams and Ambitions: As a child I wanted to be a teacher, baker, artist, singer/dancer, veterinarian, and many other things.  As a teenager I wanted to be an interpreter for the deaf, a baker, or a teacher.  Luckily, I had a sign language teacher in high school that was willing to be blunt with me.  Despite my keen ability to sign really well, she knew I would never find work in the industry.  Simply put: I was just not plain enough to “blend in” while interpreting.  I already had tattoos (starting getting tattooed at age 15) and my hair was already wild and beautiful.  She knew I had the talent, but that I would never work in a real life setting.  So, I laid that dream to rest.  As an adult I know I will never find work as a teacher (given my appearance).  That leaves only life long dream: to become a baker…

I love my kitchen.  She and I are the very best of friends.  I love cooking and baking.  Being in my kitchen whipping up delightful dishes helps me relax…it relieves stress I have built up over the course of the day/week/month.  In addition to loving it, I apparently have some sort of amazing knack for it.  People scramble and sometimes fight over my creations.  People beg for me to make certain things…or to share recipes.  Actually, for a while I was doing it from home as a {very} small business to supplement my income.  I have dreamed of (and actually planned…literally, with a business plan) opening my own deli/bakery here in my neighborhood.  The problem?  Would that be counterproductive to my overall health goals now?  Would that be like a recovering alcoholic opening and running a bar?  Yes, it would.  So, do abandon my life’s dream of opening this business or do I modify my original dream?  I am thinking healthy desserts, better portion sizes, and more fitness-driven environment.  What do you think?

3. Injuries: I hate that I even have this to write about.  Two injuries are plaguing me right at this moment.  My ankle, which is a constant, has been acting up…so much, in fact, that I will be back in physical therapy next week.  Yeah me.  Not.  The second is new: my left shoulder.  It started about three weeks ago (I think) and was just a slight twinge.  Now; however, it actually is quite uncomfortable…to the point where it prevents from doing certain things (such as lift anything over my head…including just my arm).  I wonder how much longer I will have to deal with this.  Does my shoulder not realize that I have goals to meet?  I need it to be functioning to do all sorts of great exercises (like curls, tricep extentions, pushups, pullups, planks, and even the ab dipper…among many other things).  Frustration.  Should I ice it? Heat it? Buy Icy Hot for it?  What do you recommend?

4. Investments in Health: Shoes and a sports bra, folks.  Athletic shoes to be more precise.  These are two things I have never purchased.  Ever.  The sports bra turned out to be much much challenging than I originally thought.  See, my build is strange uncommon.  I am somewhere between a 34 K and a 36 J.  Most sports bras are not designed for such a “small” band size combined with a such a large cup size.  They just are not.  So, I had to settle for a 36 G and hope to everything holy it holds up under pressure bouncing.  The shoes are already on their way (I am an Internet shopper, folks) and I cannot wait to try them on.  I measured my foot (per their instructions), so I am hoping for a dream fit upon arrival.  Denise is going to be so excited when I show up in real althletic shoes on Sunday.

What are your life long dreams and ambitions?  Do they conflict with any other goals and ambitions you may have?  How do you choose between two goals when they conflict?

How do you handle injuries?  Do you have any special tips or tricks to help heal a muscle faster?

What is your favorite “accessory” for fitness (such as your shoes, sports bra, special gear, etc.)?  Why is it your favorite?

-Erica

{random} Thoughts and Happenings – Part One

So, I have been “collecting” (if you will) random thoughts in this head of mine – some for a while and some are brand new.  I decided to break this into two posts, though, so it is less cumbersome to those who wish to read it all (thanks, by the way).

1. My disconnect: I thought it would get better as I progress; however, it has not.  Not even a little bit.  Yesterday marked a momentous occasion (I hit exactly 70 pounds lost), and I could not help but get frustrated instead of happy.  The reason for my frustration is this stupid disconnect I am experiencing.  I thought (earlier on) once I hit a “decent amount” of weight lost it would go away.  I thought I would be able to look at myself in the mirror and see dramatic changes.  I thought I would finally start to feel happy with myself…feel proud of myself…feel more confident in myself.  Nope.  None of that has happened, and it bothers me more than words could possibly describe.  I have tried staring at myself in the mirror (naked) and I have tried taking pictures of myself in old clothes to see how much different they fit (or don’t fit).  None of that has worked.  I still *feel* fat.  I still *feel* gross. I still *feel* awful about my body.  Why?  I cannot help but wonder if I am destined to *feel* fat for the rest of my life…even if I am no longer.  My ex- said that I have spent years programming myself to hate my body, and that I will have to spend just as much effort to reprogram myself not to.  Does that makes sense to you?

2. In the same sort of vein as my disconnect: Boys.  That is a stressful subject (for any girl, probably).  I have a bizarre story to tell, but I am going to tell it cryptically…  So, I was at a local establishment Wednesday night and was talking with the manager.  Just a few minutes into the conversation he gets this look of sheer panic on his face and looks down.  Then he gets a look of relief on his face and says, “Oh, thank God.  I thought my fly was down.  That would have been awful.”  I laugh it off and joke, “Well, that would have just make me like you more.”  He proceeds with, “Don’t tease me.  That has always been on my bucket list: flash a customer.”  I follow with, “What an interesting thing to have on your bucket list.  Well, if you feel like you *must* just to get it over with…”  Of course I was *joking* and thought this entire conversation was a hilarious “what if…” kind of scenario.  Boy was I wrong.  The next thing I know he drops his pants…all the way to the floor.  After he “re-dresses” he tells me I am his favorite and that I simply must come back soon.  So, does he *like* me (you know, like me) or was that just some random and crazy thing?  As I was leaving I thought to myself, “No way he likes me…look at me (enter the disconnect malfunction).”  This disconnect will not allow me to even *think* a boy likes me because I don’t like me…and that is no good.

I feel compelled to add to the above story that this fella was not some creepy old sleezebag.  He was a decent distance away from me and never tried to touch me or anything.  He was actually quite attractive and funny…and aside from that incident…seemed totally normal.  I was not offended or upset, nor did I feel like I was being victimized in any way.

3. My body and my goals: My 30th birthday is coming.  Next month.  My goal, as you might already know, is to weigh 225 by 2/25.  I am almost certain that is not going to happen (especially after last week’s 0.6 pound loss).  I have already mentally prepared myself not to make that goal…and I think I am alright with it.  As long as weight loss continues, I should get really close to that goal (my guess is within five pounds of goal).  Despite knowing (or thinking) I will not make that goal, I have decided to still leave it.  It gives me something to really bust my butt for.

4. While we are talking about my body:  Summer is coming.  It will be here before we all know it (of course, it is only 15 degrees out right now and I am already worried about summer…yes, I am strange).  I have had the same bathing suit for six years (maybe longer, honestly).  Despite fluctuations in my weight during that time, I was always able to wear the same suit.  Some summers it was a little tighter than others, but it always fit enough to wear it.  I also typically wore a shirt over it to hide my icky arms and such.  This summer; however, I know this suit will not work.  Even if I do not lose another pound between now and May (which, let’s hope that does not happen) it still will not fit me.  The thought of purchasing a new suit scares me.  To death.  I thought at first I would just skip the added stress and anxiety and purchase one online, but that seems too risky.  I would lose the opportunity to try it on first…and purchasing one right now would be stupid (because I do intend to lose more before summer).  That means, I suppose, that I get to carry around this anxiety all through the rest of winter, spring, and into the beginning of summer…trying to figure out if I will have enough nerve to go suit shopping in public.  Sigh.

Do you struggle with body image issues?  Have you overcome any body image issues?  If so, how did you reprogram your mind to accept (or even love) your body?

Are you thinking ahead to summer (bathing suits) yet?  How are you preparing to rock out half naked in public?  Do you have anxiety about bathing suits (or even bathing suit shopping)?

-Erica

Goals…check!

I just wanted to share a little excitement with you all…

I was just able to cross three (yes, THREE) things off my list of goals!

– Do planks on the floor (not only can I do planks on the floor…I can do mountain climbers on the floor…and reptiles, too)

– Do the ab dipper with straight legs (I can totally do this…not quite as many as with bended knees, but I *can* do it)

– 250 pounds (CHECK!  I’m well into the 240’s right now!)

I also added a goal, which may seem a little peculiar:

– Trust myself

While working with Denise today she had me doing some new (challenging, very challenging) things.  One was to jump up onto a raised platform.  The other was to step up onto a workout bench.  Both of these things scared me…to death.  I was afraid to fall, afraid to hurt myself.  Denise had all the confidence in the world in me, but I did not.  I actually said out loud, “I do not trust myself to pull this off successfully.”  It sounded *so* strange to hear that come flying out of my mouth…Denise thought so, too.  So, I definitely need to work on trusting myself (because I actually did end up pulling both of those things off, by the way).  Trusting my own abilities and not letting my own mind talk me out of doing things.

How is your list of goals coming along?  Are you actively working toward accomplishing what you want most?  Do you allow yourself to self-sabotage (talking yourself out of doing good things)?

-Erica

Can I Get A Drum Roll, Please…

(Just imagine it in your head for me…) 

I wanted to announce the winner of the fancy new pedometer I offered earlier this week.  I hope the winner enjoys the new toy…and plans to share in the joys of 10,000 steps per day with me often…

Andie is the winner! Congrats, Love!  I will need you to e-mail me at addictblog@aol.com with your address information so that I can send it your way.

Thanks so much to those who entered, and I hope to be able to offer other great fitness gadgets to you in the future.  🙂

-Erica

Weigh Day (week twenty-six)

Alright folks, it has been exactly 26 weeks since I began my journey.  Twenty-six weeks of exercising regularly, making healthier food choices, working on this mentality of mine (still, and always, a work in progress), and writing to all of you.  That is exactly one half of a year.  Crazy how time has just zipped right on by.

To see how far I have come…here is an excerpt from week one:

I will admit I met the scale this morning with serious apprehension (which is typical).  I am always afraid to find I have not lost anything or worse – I gained.  Today; however, that was not the case.  As I stared at my kitchen window, holding my breath, I slowly peeked down toward my feet to find…

I cannot recall (off the top of my head) I felt such anxiety greeting the scale in the morning.  That is certainly not to say that I have never looked down and thought about stomping on the stupid thing…but anxiety has pretty much left the building (of my head) when it comes to the scale.  What an accomplishment that is in itself, let me tell you.  For those of you who meet the scale with dread and nausea, you know what I mean.  It is nice wonderful to actually look forward to hopping up on that scale these days.  I am excited to see more progress, to be one more step (pound) closer to where I want to be.

Of course, progress was in short supply this morning (week).  The scale was still kind to me, but I am disappointed (to say it nicely) in my results.  This morning I weighed in at 247 – even (68 total pounds in 26 weeks…68.25 inches, in case you were wondering).  While that *is* still progress…it is only 0.6 pounds down from last Sunday.  Ick.  The only thing keeping my head in tact over this little hiccup is the fact that I know why…

Monday I had an appointment with Gwen (trainer) to get my measurements.  She ended up doing an entire fitness evaluation, which ate up all my time at the gym that night.  Problem?  I never raised my heartrate for any length of time, so very little calories were burned.  Boo.  Wednesday I did not go the gym at all…not because I did not want to, but because I truly could not (complicated and dramatic story I will spare you).  Friday, same thing.

So, pretty much no gym all this week (with the exception of Sunday’s workout with Denise).  I guess I should be thankful I am down at all with the complete lack of gym time.  Let me just say it felt *amazing* to walk into the gym today to meet Denise…and walk out sweaty and gross.  Excellent workout, and I needed it desperately.

This week should be back to normal, so hopefully I can get moving on my birthday goal:

GOAL TRACKER:
48 days
22 pounds

Thinking about the last 26 weeks (six months), how has your life changed?  Are you where you wanted to be right now?  Where do you want to be in the next 26 weeks?  What changes do you need to make to meet that goal?

-Erica

Ladies…Needing Some Input

So, I am going to start this post by apologizing to any male readers.  This post may (or may not) make you decide never to read my blog again.  Sorry about that.  If you do not dig reading about/listening to “girl only” related malfunctions, I urge you to stop reading immediately and revisit on another less girly day.  🙂  Thanks!

Okay…so now that it is just us girls (with the exception of a few extra curious male fellas comfortable enough to keep on trucking)…I am having some baffling malfuctions.  Let me begin by saying I have the Mirena.  Next month will be four years since I “got it.”  I have been quite happy with it (and the complete lack of monthly “visits,” if you will) since…until around September.  All of the sudden I started bleeding.  At first I was just like, “Oh, well, I guess I cannot complain since this is the first one in over three years.”  Then another came in October (and stayed for 8 painful days).  Another in November (only 13 days later…and stayed for 11 days).  Yes, another in December for yet another 8 day stay.  Again in January (yes, already) only 9 days after I stopped from December’s.

Of course, I am not stupid…I visited my doctor yesterday.  He is a little confused, though.  When I had my yearly check-up in the latter part of summer, he mentioned that he could not see my strings.  We discussed how I was feeling, if I had seen it come/fall out, etc.  We determined that it was probably not a big deal since I had not had any other problems/complications.

Adding that with this new development, his first thought was it fell out.  How could I not notice this, though?  Moving on from that baffling thought…

He also said that it could just be my body kind of freaking out because of all the weight I have lost.  Hormone levels fluctuating and trying to re-regulate with this new thinner, more fit body.  It makes sense to me…a little…but I am still wondering about that.  Could that be?  Could my body be freaking out because I have lost weight?  He was quick to add that losing weight alone probably would not have caused such panic, but that it has been in such a relatively short amount of time that probably aggravated my levels.  Okay…maybe?

So, my question to you ladies out there who have lost weight…did it mess with your cycles?  Did you notice any dramatic change in length or frequency…or any other aspect of them that made you go, “Hmmm…”

I am scheduled to have a pelvic ultrasound Monday afternoon to check on the Mirena.  But, if it is still there, then what?  I know you all are not doctors (or probably are not anyway), but maybe you have experienced something similar to give me some leverage or some understanding…

PS) I feel like it is probably important to add that I love my doctor.  He is truly awesome, and I do not believe (even in the slightest) that he is even attempting to dismiss me or bash the weight loss.  He was actually really excited for me (and even teared up a little while dancing in the tiny room with me).  Yesterday was the first time I have seen him since July (when I started losing the weight).  He said when the nurse told him how much weight I lost (since she weighed me in), he had to double check the numbers himself (out of pure astonishment).  Needless to say, he said I was the rockstar of the day week and that I made his day week.  On another side note, he said I made him feel lazy because he had actually put on a few pounds in those same six months.  He promised to hit the gym last night, and that he would be thinner when I came to follow up.  LOL

-Erica

Walking…It’s Healthy

Walking is such a simple thing to do…nearly everyone can do it and there is really no “wrong way” to do it.  No experience necessary.  There have been countless articles on the benefits of walking, and I have come across many blog posts documenting the same thing.  Walking is plain old good for you.  Apparently, there is some research showing 10,000 steps is the “ultimate walking goal” for each day.

I can say with confidence (not that I am proud of it, but I know it is true) I rarely, if ever, meet 10,000 steps during the course of one day.  I am busy most days, but busy often means sitting in my office chair or with my daughter doing schoolwork.  Housework also factors into my “busy,” but I am not racking up steps while stationary at the sink washing dishes or folding laundry.

So, while I have not really adopted any resolutions, per se, I have decided that I am going to start striving for those 10,000 steps per day.  I know it will be a challenge…especially on non-gym days (which is three out of seven), but I am up for the challenge.  A while back I began a challenge…and then pooped out before I finished.  Of course, I am not proud of that either, but I found I was working so hard at the gym (with Denise’s help) that I was often too sore to add things on my “recovery” days (non-gym days).  Walking; however, is something else entirely…something that will {should} not cause soreness.

Now…just how will I count all those steps during my day?  A fancy new toy, of course.  I am usually not really into gadgets and whatnot, but how else am I going to figure out steps each day, right?

This pedometer is (apparently) pretty awesome.  Here is an excerpt about it:

With 2D Smart Sensor technology and large buttons for easy navigation, the Omron HJ-203PK GoSmart pocket pedometer with activity tracker logs good athletic behavior in a slim and discreet device. Users clip the tiny step counter onto clothes, toss it in a bag, or attach it to an unassuming Olympian. The device faithfully chronicles up to seven days of distances travelled, as well as calorie- and fat-burning progress, and the activity tracker mode keeps workout data separate from everyday marathons.

Its features include:

  • Pedometer and activity tracker has large buttons for easy navigation while crowd surfing
  • Comes with clip and strap
  • Logs steps, distance, and calories and fat burned
  • 2D Smart Sensor technology for accurate measurement
  • Long-lasting lithium battery
  • Stores up to seven days of workouts

Does that not sound so cool?!  I cannot wait to get my hands on that baby…or, I guess, get that baby on my hip would be more appropriate.  And what better way to start a new challenge than to have a friend doing it with you, right?  So, I bought two…one for me and one for you (one of you, anyway).  Am I awesome or what?

To have a shot at winning the pedometer all you have to do is subscribe to my blog and leave a comment here about your current walking habits.  Do you already strive for 10,000 steps each day?  Do you incorporate walking into your exercise habits regularly?  Do you choose walking over methods of travel (such as stairs vs. elevator/escalator or even parking farther away from the entrance of work/store)?

I will be closing the drawing on Sunday, January 8th at 5:00 PM Eastern.  The winner (chosen via Random.org) will be announced in my weigh in post that evening.  Good luck!

-Erica

Does Competition Equal Motivation?

Competition is a funny thing.  Sometimes it brings out the best in people…and sometimes the worst.  It can be a motivator or a weight on your shoulders.  I think it is all in the mindset (again, how important mindset is…) of the individual participating in the competition.

With the mention of mindset I cannot help but wonder… Does competition really play a role in motivation or is it simply the mindset that drives a person to accomplish a goal?  A few course blocks ago I had to debate with classmates whether internal or external motivation drives a person to success more efficiently.  I chose internal motivation.  With internal motivation (and mindset certainly plays a part here), I believe anyone can accomplish anything.  In my opinion, external motivators can lose their appeal in a long-term goal (especially with a lack of internal motivation), which means their effectiveness is less.

My classmates (many of them anyway) disagreed with me.  Their argument was for external motivators (specifically monetary reward…and some went with just praise from others).  The common belief was that external motivators can create internal motivation when there is not any to begin with.  Do you agree?

I certainly believe that external motivators have a place, and that they can be effective (given the right circumstances and in combination with internal motivation).  I do not believe; however, they can produce effective results consistently (especially with the initial lack of internal motivation).

All that being said…I would love to start a group competition (because apparently that is the cool thing to do right now…with the start of Biggest Loser last night).  My initial thought is to have at least 10 people competing for 10 weeks.  After 10 weeks the person who loses the highest percentage of weight (because we are all going to be starting at different sizes) will win.  Win what you might ask…  Well, I was thinking each person would put in $10 to $15 to join the competition (and to emphasize commitment a little).  The winner would collect all money paid into the beginning pot.  So, with 10 people each putting $10, that would be $100 for the winner.  That’s a decent reward (in addition to health and fitness), right?

So, what do you think?  Do you believe internal or external motivators are more efficient?  Do you believe that external motivators can create internal motivation for long-term success?

If you are interested in participating in the weight loss competition group, please contact me via e-mail at addictblog@aol.com.  I will start a private group (probably on FB or Yahoo – depending on what everyone prefers) for competition correspondence and tracking.

-Erica