Tag Archives: random

Today Is The Day

…and what a day it is, folks!  I hit that 100-pound mark this morning…actually just a touch beyond!

214.8

That puts me at a total of 100.2 pounds lost in *exactly* nine and a half months…to the day.  Absolutely INSANE in every way.  I would never have imagined coming this far so quickly!

I, of course, have worked *very* hard to get here…I have overhauled my relationship with food (big game changer).  I have reorganized my life to include activity every single day.  I have surrounded myself with people who are a positive influence and who push/inspire me to be better.  I have owned things that I never would have before (such as being addicted to food, being an emotional eater, etc.).  I have remained honest (not only with all of you, but with myself).  I have consistently worked on (and continue to do so) my mental status and have strived to put the kibosh on self sabotage/harrassment.

As much determination as I brought to the table from the very beginning, I do have to give credit to those who have been instrumental to my journey.  Denise, of course, being number one.  Without her I know I would have become frustrated (especially with all the injuries and such) and quit months ago.  I would not have been able to dig deep enough within myself to find passion for fitness and even a little self love.  She is an absolutely amazing woman (both as a trainer and just as herself) and I am truly thankful to have her in my life.

Other people who have encouraged and assisted me include Dorsey, Aaron, Ketrell, Chris, my daughters, Branden, Bill, friends, family, other members at Fitworks, all of you who read and comment with kind words, and even random people who just said the right thing at the right time.  Collectively you all have made this journey much more interesting, exciting, and achievable.

This is certainly not the end, though.  I still have 29.8 more pounds to lose (at least).  So, my next incremental goal is to make it under 200 pounds…that, my friends, is going to be one seriously exciting day!!!  I have not seen anything on the scale beginning with a one in a minimum of 13 years!!!  That will be an incredible milestone…and certainly cause for celebration!

GOAL TRACKER:
5 weeks; 3 days
15 pounds

-Erica

Countdown to Century: 1.6

The anticipation is just about killing me…I have to be honest.  It seems like it will take *forever* to get to the 100-pound mark.  That saying keeps popping into my mind, though, and it is pretty relevant:

“Slow and steady wins the race.”

I know it will happen for me…eventually.  The struggle that I have had with the last few pounds I have lost (really about the last 10) are preparing me for just how hard it is going to get after I pass that 100-pound mark.  The weight is not going to continue to just melt off of me.  I am going to have to crank it up to HIGH all the time to keep things moving.  I am going to have to switch things up every few days to keep this body guessing.

I also wanted to share this with you:

The last picture was taken when my chicklets and I went walking at Sharon Woods. We walked the 3-mile loop they have…and the trail is beautiful! My chicklets loved it and had a great time searching for wildlife along the way. We ended up spotting a frog, fish, ducks, 2 turtles, an inchworm, a spider, lots of squirrels, and a chipmunk. That, of course, does not include the dozens of doggies we saw trotting along with their owners.

How is your week going?  What is the goal you currently are working toward?  How close are you to obtaining that goal?

-Erica

More On The Knee

So, at this point I have been in physical therapy for five weeks.  The first three weeks I was not allowed to jump, run, lunge, squat…pretty much any really good leg move.  I was miserable, but my knee was feeling *much* better.

The fourth week I was cleared to start lunging and squatting again.  That went just fine – still no pain in the knee.  Last Friday they added jumping into my routine.  That, unfortunately, is where things went wrong.

Friday was alright (I did two or three jumping exercises), but Monday they added even more jumping maneuvers.  Uck.  My knee hurt *so* bad Monday evening I could not even workout.  I could not walk up my stairs leading with my left leg either.  So, I looked like a toddler taking one step at a time always leading with my right leg.  Awful.

I just left my doctor’s office and the news did not get any better.  Since my knee cap is still not tracking correctly, and I still have pain with use of the knee, he is referring me to sports medicine docs.  That, in itself, is fine.  The problem is he decided to restrict me…again.  No running or jogging, and absolutely no jumping!  He really is not on board with me continuing with lunging and squatting, but I told him (which is completely true) that those moves do not irritate my knee.  So, extremely hesitantly he told me that “some light lunging and squatting could be okay” but that I should watch it and definitely not add weight to it.

Does this knee really not understand that I have goals to accomplish?!  I do not have time for this…seriously.  I hate being limited, and I hate feeling held back.  That, unfortunately, is something I have to deal with because the alternative is me damaging my knee so bad that I will require surgery.  Of course, I do not want that.

So, for now I am to avoid running, jogging, and jumping like the plague.  My doc even said it could take *months* for this to heal.  *MONTHS* – like I have that kind of time.  He added (with a lighthearted smile and chuckle) that he wants me to make it to my goal, but with the ability to walk when I get there.  🙂

-Erica

Anxiety to Perfection

So, there I am…standing in a virtual sea of chocolate, marshmallow, candy coating, cookie bits, and more.  I can feel my anxiety rising and I begin the whole internal discussion:

“Why am I feeling *so* much anxiety right now?  This is *so* much more stressful than Halloween was – and I hadn’t made this much progress then.  It should be easier now, right?”

“Hello!  We didn’t have to *buy* candy for Halloween, remember?  So, we never had to *stand* in the candy aisle and stare at all the yummy, delicious, gooey, caramel-filled…”

“Hey!  Wait!  Aren’t you supposed to be talking me *out* of this anxiety?!”

“Nope.  I’m just here so you don’t have to be alone when you’re anxious.”

“Great.”

So, I am pacing the aisle and feeling absolutely ridiculous.  Then what happens?  A woman walks by and leans into my shoulder with a simple whisper:

“None of this is on your diet, girl.”

I look up to find another of Denise’s clients standing there with a giant smile on her face.  What a way to bring me out of that funk, right?!  I thanked her (sincerely) and told her what crazy madness my head had cooking when she rescued me.  The whole situation reminded me a *lot* of Andie’s waitress rescue story.  Thank goodness for small pushes right when you need them, right?

Let me clear…I was *not* going to “cheat” with some cheap, funky Hershey chocolate.  I was starting to rationalize buying some more expensive, upper tier dark chocolate, though.  That, my friends, is a slippery slope.  I am *so* very thankful for that little pick-me-up when I least expected it!

This is such a rare occurance for me that I felt compelled to share with you all.  I rarely feel temptation knocking so hard.  I rarely find it difficult to say, “No thanks,” when sweets make an appearance somehow.  I am far too focused to waver every single time something creeps into my sight.  I would have failed long ago if that were the case.  However, every so often I do find weakness.  Luckily enough I often have someone (or something) to break through it without regret or shame waiting at the end.  For this I am also thankful.

After all, I am 4.8 pounds away from 100 pounds lost, folks.  No chocolate could possibly taste *that* good, right?  😉

How are you coping with Easter?  Are you going to allow yourself some wiggle room or stay firm in your resolve?

-Erica

Forever Fat

I will be forever fat.  Not in the physical sense, of course, but in other ways.  I have to admit, though, that I am pretty okay with this revelation.  Let me tell you why:

Being fat for all of my adult life has changed me as a person.  I have experienced ridicule and judgment.  I have learned how quickly people dismiss others based on their weight (or other visible differences).  I have learned how cruel others can be, and how many assumptions they make instantly.  These are lessons I never want to forget.

I never want to forget how it feels to be sitting in the corner hoping no one else will notice I am the fattest girl in the room.  Maybe I will not be the fattest girl in the room anymore, but someone else will.  I am far more likely to notice this situation – and be in a position to change it – now.

I never want to forget how it feels to walk into a waiting room and realize there are no chairs without arms.  “My giant tush will not fit into any of the chairs provided,” I think.  I am far more likely to realize the bigger person leaned up against the wall is just embarrassed to even attempt to sit down (for fear of getting stuck).  I will be in a position to change that, too.

I never want to forget how it feels to be judged and pointed at, people whispering.  That hurts – more than those whispering people know.  I will be far more likely to put a stop to that kind of situation when I see it now.  No one should have to endure that.  No one.

I never want to forget what it is like to have my child’s doctor lecture me on how to feed my children healthy diets and ensure they are getting enough exercise.  My daughters are not overweight, nor have they ever been (or ever will be, as far as I am concerned).  The doctor just assumed I must feed them junk food all day long since I was fat.  Another snap assumption (completely wrong, by the way).

These (and other) experiences have taught me a lot throughout my adult life.  I never want to be one of “those” people.  I will carry with me my inner fat girl forever so that I never lose sight of these things.  I *will* be the one person in a room willing to talk anyone – regardless of their appearance (fat or otherwise).  I *will* teach my daughters how important it is to be non-judgmental of others – regardless of differences.  I *will* strive to make a difference in every person’s life I pass through.

Years of torture (both from others and myself) have really weighed on my mental status.  I firmly believe these experiences are why I am having such a difficult time seeing my “new” self in the mirror.  I still see fat – everywhere.  No one can understand how bizarre it is – unless they have experienced it.  The facts (scale, clothes, measuring tape, etc.) just do not line up with what my eyes see.  I wonder if they ever will.  Maybe not.  Maybe that is my mind’s way of ensuring I never lose sight of my former self, though.  Maybe that will be my constant reminder of how it felt to be fat.  Or maybe my mind is just too stubborn to let go of the only body I have known and embrace change.  Who knows.

Weight loss is certainly a *lot* more complex than just calories in and calories out.  I was not expecting this mental roller coaster – not even a little bit.  No one ever talks about how much emotion is released with every pound.  I cannot tell you how many times I have broken down in the gym, crying.  Not because I am sad, but just because sometimes it wells up inside with the adrenaline pumping and spills out onto the gym floor – without my permission.

So, as much as being fat has changed who I am as a person, losing this weight has changed me equally.  I am proud of who I have become.  I am proud of what accomplishments I have made.  Even if my eyes will forever see me as that fat girl.

-Erica

Nutrition Talk (as of today)

Nutrition is a complicated subject.  At least for me it is.  The reason I find it complicated is because the information seems to be ever-changing.  One day eggs are “bad” with all their artery-clogging cholesterol.  The next day eggs are “good” with all their muscle-boosting protein.  It gets confusing, and complicated, to try to eat right.

Add to that back-and-forth nonsense all the fad diets that encourage people to cut out entire food groups because they are “bad” (with research backing that claim up, no less)…now you have a serious dilemma when trying to eat healthy.

Of course there are a few areas in which every “expert” seems to agree…trans fats (hydrogenated oils) are bad, excess processed foods with added sugars are bad, and too many calories per day is bad.  All across the board these are accepted to be true.  I suppose those few commonalities are supposed to make us (consumers) feel better about eating.  Well, those rare agreements between “experts” do not make me feel any better.  Not one bit.

Another aspect of nutrition that makes it more complicated for the consumer is language.  When manufacturers were required to label their products with nutrition information and ingredient lists, the language changed.  Sugar was no longer just called “sugar” in most products.  Instead “sugar” became corn syrup or lactose, which deceived consumers into purchasing something they maybe would not have if they knew it was added sugar.

The following are random tidbits I have picked up over the course of the last eight and a half months.  (I am not a nutritionist, nor do I claim to be any sort of expert on this subject.  Additionally, what information is included below is likely to change within a few months/years.)

Sugar is also known as:
barley malt, brown rice syrup, corn syrup, dextrose, evaporated cane juice invert syrup, fructose, fruit juice, galactose, glucose, granular fruit grape juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, maltodextrin, maple syrup, molasses, organic cane juice, sorghum, sucrose, and turbinado (this list is courtesy of WH Big Book of Exercises).

Nutrition “Secrets:”
1. The healthiest foods you probably are avoiding are: pork chops, mushrooms, red-pepper flakes, full-fat cheese, iceberg lettuce, scallops, vinegar, and chicken thighs.
2. Fatty foods you should eat (without guilt) are: meat with flavor (such as bacon, rib eye, dark meat chicken, and ham), whole milk, butter (not margarine), full-fat sour cream, coconut, chicken skin, and eggs.
3. Saturated fat is *not* a nutritional villain.  In fact, most types of saturated fat (there are over 13 types) have a positive effect on cholesterol (and some do not have any effect on cholesterol at all).  This, of course, means that the consumption of saturated fat is in *no way* linked to heart disease risk.
4. Foods that you think are healthy (but probably are not): yogurt with fruit on the bottom (added sugar), baked beans (enough sugar added to equal an 8-oz soft drink), california roll (two main ingredients are white rice and imitation crab), fat-free salad dressing (added sugar), reduced-fat peanut butter (added icing sugar), corn oil (high content of omega-6 relative to omega-3 has been linked to an increase in risk of cancer, arthritis, and obesity).
Info pulled from WH Big Book of Exercises.

The number one problem with my current diet is probably my ratio of carbs to protein.  I will be honest, I am not big on counting calories and I am not big on calculating how much of each nutrient I am consuming each day.  This is about to change, though.  First of all, my weight loss has slowed tremendously.  I think that can be attributed to many factors, one of them being my diet.  It has worked for me up to this point (eight and a half months).  However, now that my activity level is *way* up and the level of intensity is also *way* up, I think it is time to re-evaluate things.

The nutritionist I met with a couple months ago recommended I eat 85 to 90 grams of protein each day, which I easily manage.  However, this book recommends “1 gram of protein per pound of desired body weight.”  That would actually bring me to 180 to 185 grams of protein per day.  They also mention that sometimes that is just too much protein for a person to consume, but say that 125 grams should be considered the minimum requirement.  Maybe if I were consuming that extra 40+ grams of protein my muscles would be recovering more quickly.  When I work really hard (which is majority of the time I am in the gym, of course), that muscle group will be sore for 3 to 5 days.  Absurd.  I want to get back to an alternating schedule of working muscle groups, but I need the muscles to recover much more quickly to make that happen.

All of this seems unnecessarily complicated (in my opinion).  I wish things were much more cut-and-dry.  Conflicting information is everywhere and most of it is “backed by research that proves its validity.”  Ridiculous.

How do you figure out what you should and should not eat?  Are you following a specific dietary “plan?”  Do you calculate daily nutritional content (if so, how?)?

-Erica

 

There’s No *NEED* For The Gym

When I have conversations with people outside the gym about fitness, health, and weight loss they usually combat with, “I can’t afford the gym,” or, “I don’t have time for the gym.”  I understand that the gym is not for everyone.  Some people do not have a gym close enough that they would find it convenient.  Other people truly do not have time for the gym (such as they work during the only hours a close gym is open).  I get that.

However, you do not necessarily *need* a gym to lose weight, be fit, and increase your health.  Food is the number one component anyway.  Really.  What you consume has *far* more to do with how healthy your body is, and how much you weigh.

Aside from food, though (because that is not the purpose or direction of this particular post), there are plenty of options that get your body moving at home – in the office – in the park – anywhere – anytime.  Here are some examples of workouts I have discovered recently that do not *require* a gym membership, and most do not *require* any equipment at all.

I, of course, cannot do all of these exercises right now because of the restrictions for my knee.  However, these look like great workouts and would really deliver some great results (if you stick to them).

The yoga workout above is pretty intense (especially if you do the moves one right after the other) and will really work your body.  I did power yoga last Monday night with Denise and Aaron.  That was the first time I had ever done yoga, and it was seriously intense.  I was pouring sweat (literally) and there were definitely some moves I have yet to master (as in tree with your arms straight up and warrior 3).  Balance is my nemesis – still.  I have improved my balance, but it is still not a strength of mine – yet.

This plank workout is not for the faint of heart – and not for anyone who cannot hold a plank for…a long time.  I plank often (I love them, and, yes, I know that is weird) and this workout still kicked my butt.  No joke.  I ended up using 8 lb weights for the curls and 5 lb for the tricep kick-backs.  I probably could have used heavier weights for the curls, but I did not want to kill myself.  I will also admit that I was not able to run through this entire routine while in plank position.  I did the top two and then stood up.  Two more and stood…then went back for the last one.  I will work up to doing an entire run-though, but that will take some time.  (Which just gives me something to work toward.)

This pilates workout was alright.  It would probably work better for someone who has not done these kinds of moves before (a beginner, perhaps?).  I do Russian twists (similar to the first move) with a 12-lb. med ball, so just twisting like that did not do much for me.  The last move; however, was pretty challenging.  I had a hard time keeping my back entirely straight.  That probably is an indication that I still have some postural muscles to strengthen.  The side plank was pretty easy for me, although I do have trouble figuring out how to position my feet.  Once I get that figured out, I should be golden.

This leg workout is excellent (for me) because it requires no lunging…and only a chair for equipment!  This is one workout that pretty much anyone can do – even if you are just starting out.  Maybe your leg will not go as high to start, but you will still be working those legs!

Everyone has to start somewhere.  I was not able to do a whole lot when I stepped into the gym at over 300 pounds.  At that moment I felt like I was never going to be good at anything (fitness-related).  I felt like I was always going to look awkward and struggle with the simplest moves.  However, just continuing on (not giving up) improved my abilities quickly.  I found that I was doing new things every week.  I was able to squat a little lower, lift the leg a little higher, do two more reps, five more minutes, etc.  My body got stronger every day, and it felt great.

Like I said, you do not *need* the gym.  You just need to make it a priority – in your livingroom, in a park, in your office – and do not let the lack of a gym membership or equipment prevent you from working your body.

Do you workout outside of a gym?  If so, what are your favorite workouts that require little or no equipment?

-Erica

Finding Myself

This has been a crazy journey…and not a perfectly straight path either.  I have experienced highs and lows, successes and set-backs, joy and frustration…and so much more.  The funny thing is I have learned *so* much about myself in the process.  Things I, apparently, was not aware of before.  For example:

I have crazy discipline/will power.  My journey started a touch over eight months ago, and I can honestly say I have not “cheated” a single time.  I did have a *super small* piece of cake at both of my daughters’ birthday parties, but I did not consider that cheating, per se.  I planned ahead, ate *super tiny* pieces, and exercised my butt off following.  Even my trainer says my food journal looks bizarre without any random “bad” foods lurking about.

I have insane amounts of motivation and drive when I *really* want something.  I must admit I am bad with starting something and not finishing it.  I have always considered myself more an “idea” girl than a “follow-through” girl.  Fabulous ideas pop into my head *all* the time, but I rarely have the endurance to see those fabulous ideas all the way to the end.  I often get bored with things and just let them go.  The good thing about realizing this about myself is that I know when I come across something that *truly* moves me, I will have the “stick-to-it-iveness” to make something wonderful happen.

I am stubborn.  Really stubborn.  Nothing will get me going more than failing at something – especially something I see someone else doing perfectly.  If I falter or struggle with something, you better believe I am *too* stubborn to accept defeat!  I will keep working and keep failing until I get it right.  I will work myself to the point of exhaustion just to say, “I did it.  Finally.”  Denise has learned that about me, too.

I have passion for fitness.  This is something I *never* thought I would say, but it is true.  I absolutely *L*O*V*E* being at the gym.  Love it.  I spend hours, literally, at the gym when I go…and I love every second of it.  I love being around like-minded people – people who value health and fitness.  I also love observing other people doing crazy things and setting goals for myself based on what they are doing.  It motivates me to continue to push myself and step outside my circle of comfort to grow.

I might be an adrenaline junkie.  When I am really working hard, sweating, and feeling all my muscles working to their fullest potential (you know, when your muscles actually start trembling from the weight of your own body)…I have the biggest smile on my face.  When I feel my muscles burning, I want to push harder.  I *love* the way my body feels after I work the crap out of it…and I hardly ever want to stop.  Leaving the gym is the hardest part for me.

The longer I am on this journey, the more I love it.  I have met some amazing and wonderful people.  Inspiring spirits that really motivate me to be better.  Denise is definitely one of them.  I have mentioned before how awesome she is.  My life would not be the same without her in it.  Another is a more recent addition to my favorite people in the world: Aaron.  There is definitely something special about that guy.  He is one of the newer trainers at Fitworks, and I already love him.

The most exciting (and surprising) thing I have learned about myself so far is that I want fitness to be a permanent part of my life.  Not just in the sense that *I* want to work out for the rest of my life.  More so in the way that I want to *share* fitness with other people.  I want to help other people who are feeling how I felt when I started.  Feeling hopeless, like their lives will never change.  Like they are “destined” to be fat forever, regardless of their efforts.  I truly believed (before starting this journey) that I would spend the rest of my life over 300 pounds, and that there was nothing I could really do about it because I had tried *so* many times…and failed.

Meeting the right people changed my life…forever.  Something so small as one person genuinely believing in me is all it took.  One person.  Then it all snowballed from there.

Do you have someone inspiring/motivating in your life?  How instrumental do you think he/she/they have been to your successes and perserverance?

-Erica

An Update On This Knee

This knee…is a serious pain in my…knee.  My first physical therapy appointment was yesterday afternoon.  I honestly expected to get a “that’s not that bad” or a “that’ll be easily fixed.”  Let me tell you, that is *not* what was said – ever.

It turns out that my knee is worse than I imagined.  When she marked the edge of my knee cap and then asked me to flex my quad (still lying flat and not bending my leg at all) the shock on her face said it all.  She then marked the edge of knee cap with my quad flexed.  The result?  My knee cap deviates to the left *more* than half an inch when I flex my quad.  I do not even have to bend the stupid leg to dislocate the knee cap – just flex.  My outer quad is *that* much strong than my inner quad.  Go figure.

The other bit of bad news is that my right knee does the same thing…I’m just not symptomatic on that side – yet.  So, all the exercises/stretches I will be doing for my left knee, I will be repeating for my right knee.  Hopefully this will prevent me from doing as much damage to my right knee as I have my left (and, of course, hopefully that prevents the right knee from ever hurting this way).

When the physical therapist checked the strength on all four sections of my quad, it was surprising.  My leg is very strong in three directions, and weak like a child in one (which, of course, is the inner quad).  This imbalance is what is causing my malfunction.  Additionally, my quad muscles and hip flexors are extremely tight, which compounds the problem.  I stretch every day (usually multiple times even), but evidently I am not stretching efficiently enough to properly lengthen/loosen my muscles.  So, they showed me ways to properly stretch…and, who knew a stretch could hurt so bad?!  When she started to stretch the front of my thigh, I almost shot off the table and said an abundance of sailor words!  Sheesh.

In light of this information, I am seriously debating whether continuing with Zumba is a good idea.  I love it, and I seriously want to go back.  However, all that bouncing around and squatting/lunging is strictly forbidden for the sake of not grinding any more of my joint away.  Decisions, decisions.

Looks like this will be a challenging road to travel…and this certainly means more alterations to my workout routines.  I *must* be very aware of how I move my legs and when I flex my quad.  Should be interesting.  Thank goodness I have Denise – she always knows what to do!  🙂

-Erica

Serious Fun {with a Hefty Dose of Pain}

Last night I ventured into new territory and attended a Zumba class held at Fitworks.  Denise has been telling me for months to get into those classes.  I have to admit I always find myself stopping to observe everyone in the classroom dancing, laughing, and having a great time.  I absolutely love to dance (who doesn’t, though?), so I thought it would be a natural love affair.

Denise and I discussed Zumba again since my knee malfunction came to pass.  I expressed concern that I would not be able to do all the moves (jumping/bouncing and the like).  Of course she said, “Then modify those moves, chica!”  After much deliberation, I decided she was right (yes, of course she was right) and I ventured in.

Here is the “problem” with me…I do not do “half-assed” things.  If I am going to do something, I am going to *DO* it.  So, when the moves turned into bouncing, squatting, lunging, and all the other stuff I am “forbidden” from doing…I was doing them anyway.  Maybe not jumping as high or lunging as deep, but there I was moved by the music and in the mindset that nothing could stop me.  I had an absolute *blast* and loved every single {painful} minute of it.

Once the class was over and I started to walk out is when the pain truly set in.  I found myself half limping to my car and wishing I had not done quite as much as I did.  As soon as I walked in my door, I grabbed ice and a comforter and headed for the couch.  I used the comforter to prop up my left knee/leg and ever so gently laid the ice down over the whole section.  The throbbing became so intense for a bit I could not even concentrate on anything.  I sat and stared at my ice pack.  Once my ability to form thoughts came back I found myself thinking forward to next Thursday.  How am I going to prevent myself from irritating my knee this much when I *want* to move.  I *want* to dance.  But, considering the amount of pain I was in all night (including so much pain it woke me up a few times in the middle of the night), I do not want repeat that fiasco again.

So, I suppose I will talk with my doctor this week about getting a knee brace of some sort.  Maybe wearing support that prevents my knee cap from pivoting/dislocating would help me move better (and/or make it hurt less)?  Who knows.  All I do know is I loved Zumba, and I want to do it again…this time without the hefty dose of pain.

Do any of you wear any kind of brace during workouts?  If so, was it prescribed to you (such as a custom-fit brace) or did you purchase it at the store?  Do find it helps you significantly reduce discomfort or does it serve more as a reminder to take it easy on that joint?

-Erica