Monthly Archives: December 2011

Resolutions, potholes, and perspective

My New Year’s Eve started badly. Weight gain for the week, plus measurements that didn’t live up to my expectations. I was disappointed and frustrated.

But I was also determined not to let that disappointment ruin my day. A friend of mine on Facebook posted a quote: “You can choose the journey, but not the potholes.” And that’s exactly right.

I had a big day planned. I was meeting a group of very, very dear friends for a sushi lunch at 11, and then two of those friends and I were going for facials. After facials, I had a date to meet my husband for dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant.

My morning had several frustrations that had brought me to tears, but as I was driving to sushi, I really, really wanted to change my mood. And so I decided to list my blessings.

I spent a full 30 minutes of that drive talking out loud in the car and listing all of the blessings in my life. There are way too many to list here, but let me sum it up by saying that if gaining 1.6 lbs this week is the biggest problem in my life, then I need to get over myself.

Like I told myself in the car, gaining weight this week is one of my blessings, because feeling that frustration and continuing on anyway makes me STRONGER. It’s all how you look at it, isn’t it?

I am, without a doubt, one of the most blessed people on the planet. 2011 has been a good year. My husband and I have a family, life, and jobs we love. We have made significant changes in our lifestyle — both losing 30lbs or so. We are healthy, our dogs are healthy, and our families are healthy.

We didn’t remodel the basement this year because River needed hip surgery, but we improved River’s quality of life and that is wayyyy more important than interior design. I missed visiting with my mom this year, but she relocated to Atlanta to be closer to my brother, and she has had a GREAT year there.

I’m feeling extremely positive about 2012. I feel like I have the potential for personal greatness; I am poised to take off and make my life even better than it is. No matter what unpredictable turns life throws at me, I’m in charge of how I react. That’s so incredibly empowering!

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? I have my challenge, of course, and starting tomorrow I’m going to be up at 5am at least five days a week to write a page on my novel. I am DETERMINED to finish my novel this year. I have a couple of other things I want to focus on as well, but those two are the biggies.

What about you? How are you going to make 2012 a great year?

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Week 4 / Month 1 Weigh In

Weight this week: +1.2 lbs
Total weight loss: 11 lbs

Since this is the end of Month 1 of my challenge, I also took measurements. An inch off my waist and hips, and 3/4 of an inch off my thigh. Not exactly the dramatic change I was hoping for.

I took pictures (which I am absolutely not posting here) and did a side-by-side comparison of the starting pic and today. Can’t say that I see much difference. My face looks a little thinner, and you can see my neck better, but that’s because I got my hair cut, not because of weight loss.

Disappointing all the way around.

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The week started weird because of the holiday. We did our Christmas last Saturday because that was my cheat day, but then I had two more days of holiday that weren’t cheat days. That made me antsy. Once I got back to my regular schedule, I felt better. I’m probably the only person in America who isn’t glad that I’m off work on Monday!

I really felt at the beginning of the week that I wasn’t going to lose weight this week. Everything just felt OFF, you know? I can’t say I’m surprised that the scale showed a gain this week, then, but I also can’t say I’m not disappointed.

It makes me wonder what I did wrong. I worked out with Jenny and B. I did all of my cardio. I ate 100% according to plan, even on those hoiday days I wanted so badly not to. In my head, I should have lost 3 lbs this week, like I have the other weeks, so that means this isn’t a 1 lb gain — it’s a 4lb gain. I KNOW that doesn’t make sense, but it’s still my emotional reaction.

I wanted more change at the end of the first month. I wanted to be wowed by the results. Instead I’m left ambivalent, disappointed, and sad.

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Realistic expectations

Last time I had my body fat percentage (accurately) measured, my lean body mass was about 135. That means my body without fat — my skeleton, muscles, and organs — weighs 135lbs. If I add a healthy body fat percentage on top of that — say 20%, which is really good for a woman in her mid-40s — my weight would be 162lbs.

I’m 5’4″. Okay, really I’m 5’3.75″, but I claim 5’4″. (Don’t judge me.) According to the standard height/weight chart, a woman of my height with a large frame should weigh between 134 and 151. I’m not certain whether I have a large frame or not, but we’ll go with that.

Note that my lean body mass — no fat at all — is already within the range. To get inside the range — to weigh 151 — I’d have to cut my body fat to 12%. If a woman’s body fat falls below 12% of her total body weight, hormone production can be compromised, and menstruation can be interrupted, and therefore the risk of osteoporosis is high. Body fat below 10% in women may be indicative of an eating disorder.

How about BMI instead of height/weight? At 162, I would fall clearly into “overweight,” despite being at 20% body fat. To get to the very top of the “healthy” BMI range, I would have to weigh 145. That would put me far below 10% body fat. A little over 7%, I think. (Which I think equals dead.)

Muscle makes me strong. It makes me fit. It makes me look better, and it makes me more functional. I’m working hard to *increase* my muscle — no way I’m going to let it melt away with the fat. My goal, if you really want to know, is to increase my muscle mass to 140lbs, which would drive my “ideal” weight to 168.

My mentor is a USAW weight lifting certified coach. She is a triathlete, a Crossfit coach, and a firefighter. She has 16% body fat, but doctors and nutritionists tell her that she is OVERWEIGHT. They tell her that because the chart says she’s OBESE, she is.

At 16% bodyfat.

She doesn’t care what the charts say, because she knows how strong she is, how fit she is, and what her cholesterol and blood sugar numbers are. She knows how she feels and what she can do. (She can also look in the damn mirror. No one with any sense would say this woman is overweight. Ain’t a pick of fat on her.)

I don’t care what the charts say. I’m strong, and I’m getting stronger. I’m losing fat and getting fit. I will never be a size zero. I will never be “normal” according to those charts. And I do not care. I am doing what’s right for THIS body.

I saw a person on SparkPeople the other day who had 146lb of lean body mass whose goal weight was 135. To weigh 135 with a healthy body fat percentage, she would have to lose about 30lbs of muscle during her weight loss journey.

Is that realistic? Is it healthy? Is that in her best interest as she ages, even if it’s possible? I think she’s setting herself up to fail because of a damn chart or because of that stupid BMI. And that makes me really, really sad.

Those charts are based on a mythical “average” that doesn’t exist. Really, truly — do you want to be AVERAGE? I’ve never been average, and I sure don’t plan on starting now! I am wayyyy better than average, and I think you should be too.

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Week 3 check in!

Weight loss this week: 3 lbs
Total weight loss: 12.2 lbs

Woo! I’m really happy with my progress.

I had trouble with my knees and ankles this week after a killer Crossfit workout on Sunday. It included lots of full squats (88, by my count) and some jump rope. I spent the week one-footing it up and down stairs. I even iced my knee on Monday — and I almost never ice sore joints.

When I worked out with Bernard on Thursday, I insisted on an upper body workout to give my knee a rest, and I asked for another one this morning when I worked out with Jenny. I’d rather progress more slowly and stay healthy than do the two-steps-forward, one-step-back thing. (Those upper body workout pay off though. I bench pressed 135lbs today!)
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Of course, I also want to say, happy holidays to everyone!

My holiday started yesterday. I met four coworkers (and dear friends) for lunch, and then I had a massage (ostensibly to work on the sore bits, but my massage therapist is also a dear friend, so really it’s a gab fest).

Oh, oh! Funny story. So I’d gotten undressed and was lying on the table under the sheet and blanket when my massage therapist came in. She touched my shoulder and said, “Is this new?” Since I was buck nekkid, I couldn’t imagine what she was talking about. “No, that’s the shoulder I’ve always had.” And then I remembered that I got a tattoo last month.

Anyway…

This weekend, Jay and I are having a quiet Christmas at home with the beasties (and their new toys). We both worked out first thing this morning, then we met for a late breakfast at our favorite cafe. Now it’s home to cook and play video games all afternoon, then a feast of favorites this evening.

Good thing Christmas Eve fell on cheat day!

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Week 2 check in!

Weight loss this week: 4.0lbs
Total weight loss: 9.2lbs

I’m really happy with my progress, especially the weight loss. See, back in January, I was at my highest weight ever. I did Slow Carb for eight weeks and lost 30lbs. Then I’ve been above that and back down to that all this year. I don’t think I’ve ever really gotten below it.

This week I’m back to almost exactly that -30 point. In my mind, this is where the weight loss begins. I’m really, really interested to see where I am on January 25, 2012 — exactly one year after I weighed my heaviest.

That’s a little over 5 weeks away. I’m hoping for significant changes. I would love to make it to an even 50lbs. All I can do, though, is stick to the program. I’m doing the right behaviors, so the progress will eventually follow.

Anyway, it was a good week.

I’ve had a lot of experience over the years figuring out what does and does not work for me, and I’ve set this challenge up in a way that should set me up for success. It sounds tough — strict requirements 6 days a week with 100% compliance required — but that’s the kind of black and white situation I do well in. Pass/fail. On/off. Right/wrong. All/nothing.

What can I say? It works for me.

I did well on my workouts this week. Cardio 5x, Crossfit on Sunday, and a strength workout with B on Thursday. I really like B. He’s a bit stuck in old school weight lifting protocol, but he’s a nice guy, and I love having an hour to do nothing but push heavy weight.

I’m sore too. LOL. This week I found some inner thigh muscles I’d forgotten about. And a few others. It’s a pleasant soreness though — the kind that says I worked my butt off. The best thing, though, is that my knees and ankles haven’t been giving me any real trouble.

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