Monday, January 31, 2011

I Think My Scale is Broken

Over the weekend, I didn't work out at all. But here's the thing - I lost weight, a pound each day.

Now on one hand, I suppose you're not supposed to weight yourself every day because of fluctuations. So someone could argue that it's just water loss. On the other hand, I haven't weighed this little in over a year or more. I'm not counting on being down to this weight tomorrow, but it was so joyful to see the number on the scale!

As to what happened, I did a little investigation.

Wife: I lost another pound today.
Husband: nods
Wife: did you mess with the scale?
Husband: smiles, kids around, but didn't do it.

Another thought came to mind. When I was reading Make the Connection, Bob Greene had said that the first week he worked with Oprah, she lost no weight. But the next week, she lost 5 pounds. He said that this can happen a bit when losing fat through diet and exercise. Your body will hold onto the weight in water that you lost, until it is ready (adjusted to the changes) to release it. I wonder if that's what's happening to me as well.

Side note: When I read that book, I thought that I couldn't do that, it would be too hard. But now, I am doing something very similar! Maybe it's time to re-read that book.

Well, whatever is happening, I am going to keep going. I have 2 more days of run/walking before I take off. And wouldn't it be nice if, during my travels, my weight continues to go down? Not that I am expecting it to. In fact, I am expecting to be up a couple pounds. But it's nice to dream.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

It CAN be done!

I've lost another pound today! I am down lower than I was when I was running. One week, 2 pounds down.


Why, you may ask, didn't I lose this weight before, if I could do 2 pounds in a week the week before I leave the country? Good question. My guesses are:

  • I know more about fitness and weight loss now than I did last summer
  • I am more motivated now than I was before
  • I am working toward weight loss, not a race
  • I am eating healthier and have made changes that were needed - and I am not craving the junk
When I stepped on the scale this morning, I was very hopeful. You see, I have been doing what diet people tell you NOT to do - weigh yourself everyday. But everyday, I would stay the same or go down a little. We have a digital scale that shows ounces. I'd be down a fourth or half a pound here and there, and yesterday, I was right on the dot of my lowest weight, no ounces. I knew if I could work hard enough and eat right, I could get below that number.

Yesterday, I did a walk/run workout and pushed myself to sweat for awhile. I even ran for about 3 minutes straight (could have gone longer). And before I went to bed, the Trader Joe's milk chocolate bar was calling me to eat a square. I have had a couple small squares this last week when I craved something sweet. But I thought to myself, "self, if you eat this chocolate, it could mean the difference between your next pound lost."

That last statement is a new way of thinking for me. Instead of feeling like a kid whose mom has forbid them something good, I was making a choice between weight loss, or a sweet something. What happened to my head?! Who took over my brain?! Who is this woman, and how can I get more of her thinking?!

Anyway, back to the scale. It was *** pounds and 8 ounces, just barely under. But it's there, and it's good. I really had wanted to lose this pound before leaving for India. For one reason, I won't be able to eat as healthy while traveling, so I could sure use that "buffer" of another pound. For another reason, I wanted myself to know that I could do it. That I could come back home, after 2 weeks of semi-bad eating and not as much exercise and KNOW, really know that I CAN do it. I can lose weight by diet and exercise.

Because, I've never done this before and had success. But now I have, and I know it can be done.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Go Hard or Go Home...wait, I AM at home!

On Tuesday, I wanted to change up my routine a little, the muscles in the back of my legs were tired from all this running and walking. So I unwrapped my "30 Day Shred" DVD by Jillian Michaels. Note that I bought this DVD before I started running. I was a little hesitant to switch to a video, because I wasn't sure if I could make myself break a sweat.

I should've known. This is Jillian Michaels, after all.

I was sweating within 3 minutes.

At one point, you could hear me saying, "I'd rather be running."

What I learned from this video, was that I am the one that has to push myself to go harder, to finish. When I've done videos before, I've always just done what I could and didn't push it. Burning calories is burning calories, right? But now, after this summer and learning more about fitness, I was ready to put it all out there for a video. There are places that I can go to if I push myself harder. And even then, I wonder if I can go harder than that. The video brought home to me all the things that I've been learning the last few months.

Then yesterday, back to running; 1 minute on, 2 minute walking. I had thoughts of 2 minute runs and 2 minute walks. And then, the plans went down the drain. My legs were fatigued almost from the first set. Yes, I was going at a faster pace, but from my run on Monday, I thought I could push myself more. Instead, I struggled to finish. I kept thinking, "I can stop now, I'm tired." And then the other voice responded, "just go one more set." I finished. Gotta keep listening to that second voice.

Today I'll let my body rest and then be back at it on Friday.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's Still There

I had wondered, when I wasn't running, how long it would take to get back into it again. Would it be as hard as before? Would I be sucking air, would my lungs be burning, would I tire at 30 seconds?

Well, something, some part of running, is still there.

When I started last summer, I could barely do 30 seconds and then when I got up to 60, I couldn't do it more than 3-4 times in a session. I ended up being able to go about 10 minutes straight before feeling that lung burn.

Now, when I've started over doing 1 minute running, 2 minute walking, it's no problem, really. I've been playing with speed to make it more of a workout. Yeah, I could probably go up to the next level of 2 minute runs, but...then there's that overseas trip coming up and I may have to start over once I return.

Sidenote - but is this one of those "why wait" things again? Why wait to step it up if I can?

I'm able to do the workout without the lung burn. The difference is, I'm sweating more (see previous day's post). When I ended last fall with a 10 minute run, there was lung burn, but no sweat. Huh. I'm a bit puzzled by all of this.

Perhaps, now that I'm running to get into shape, improve my body and lose weight - rather than to train for a 5k. My focus is different. I'm focusing on getting my heart rate up, and being in that fat burning zone. I'm doing this by increasing my speed each rep, both the walk and running parts. I even increased it to a speed I hadn't been to before on the treadmill during my runs last night. It felt good, and even felt like I could go more.

So, something is there still, from my running last summer and fall. It didn't all leave and I didn't completely have to start over (even though I kind of am). And my body is ready to go again.

And I have to get over this "why wait" thing that's stuck in my head and propel my progress forward.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Breaking A Sweat

This last week, getting back into running again, I did something that I haven't really done in awhile. I broke a sweat.

When I first started running and could barely go a minute without gasping for air and thinking I was going to die, I was sweaty all the time. But after awhile, when I was outside running, I hardly ever got sweaty, not even during my 5k.

Yeah, it was cooler out, so maybe it was harder to get real sweaty. But maybe not.

Another thing that I noticed was that I lost weight more when I sweated. When I was just out there running and pushing my endurance, and not sweating (and I don't know why not because I sure thought I was pushing myself), I didn't lose any weight.

My conclusion: sweat = weight loss.

It also probably means that I'm in my target heart rate. I don't have a good way to measure it, and there are so many different ways that you can find to find a "correct" one. So I'm just going by what I notice my body doing.

On Saturday, I walked and made sure to get myself up to the sweaty zone for at least 5 minutes. I did this by increasing the speed of the walk. I was almost up to running speed in walking!

BTW - the "sweaty zone" is when I am consistently perspiring; dripping down my face and other places.

This week, I'm going to work on getting into the sweaty zone for 5-10 minutes during my training sessions. This is my last full week before I leave the country for a little while! I am a bit nervous about how travel may set me back. But I am also glad to have started to get back into it now. Should make it easier when I get home.

I have been making exercising a priority. Tomorrow I have book group and they are doing the annual dinner & movie thing. Well, in order to have time to exercise, I'd have to get up early, and that probably won't happen. So I'm doing dinner only (bringing a salad that I can eat) and skipping the movie. Schedules can be worked out so that you can have a social life and get fit.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Why Wait?

I just finished my first run of 2011.

Oh, thank you for your applause and cheers! Yes, yes, it did take me awhile to get back into it. But yes, it's good to be back. I had a health scare this week, my numbers were not looking good. Which was the motivation that I needed to get back to running NOW.

As I ran/walked on the treadmill and listened to the Phedippidations podcast, I wondered, why did I want to wait to start? What possible reason was there to put off getting back into health?

It's easier not to.
The view from the couch is good.
I don't have the time now.
Why start now when I'll be out of the country for 2 weeks?

But these are really just excuses. There's no reason why I can't start now, so I did. After dinner, we finished watching Chuck and I told my husband that afterwards, I was going to exercise. It wasn't easy. It would have been so nice to sit there, watch another show, knit, and put it off until tomorrow. But I got off my butt and did it.

1 min run, 2 min walk x10, or thereabouts.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Embracing Winter

We're into January, and I've finally made peace with winter. Or at least a truce. In the beginning, I was so sad to not be running outside. The dark, the cold, the streets that were lined with piles of snow, all contributed to the malaise.

The treadmill workouts were like going from a 5 star restaurant to a family diner. Yes, you can still run, but there is so much less color and interest. Odd, because when I first started running outside, I was so self-conscious and wanted to hide inside. There were flirtations with workout videos and thoughts and plans for other alternatives. But this last couple of weeks I just simply started to move. And with the moving, came the truce.

Just 10 minutes of jump roping, that's all. And in the upstairs hallway, where no lights could be hit or things broken. Believe it or not, sometimes I'd sweat or get out of breath rather easily. I used to be so good at jump rope, could do 100 and be just fine. Now, I find myself tripping up quickly. But it was movement and it felt good.

This week, I've been tromping through the snow with my dog. Since I take him out at least 2 times (my hubby the other) I've been lacing up my snow boots. The snow is knee deep in places and there are layers of soft snow, crunchy snow, and all measures in between. We've made a track of sorts, breaking trails and tromping down unusual places. Just 2-3 laps at a time and I am slightly winded.

Let the snow fall!
I will tromp it down.

Let the cold winds blow!
I will jump inside

Let the winter be over soon
And I will run again.

2011 Goals

My goals:

  • Get back into running starting February 28th
  • Run a 5K - no walking in Sept or Oct
  • Weigh less than 200 #’s by the end of the year

I will do this by:

  • Following Amby Burfoot’s running plan
  • Working out 3 x’s a week minimum
  • Changing 1 thing in my diet each month for the better

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Sisters, My Cousins, my aunts and nieces

Lately, my heart has been burdened for girls and women who are victims of gender inequality. I'm not just talking about women not earning as much as men, or that we have a gender neutral Bible or even that we need to burn bras to make a statement.

The issues that my heart is breaking for are for the women in third world countries. These women are infants or even in the womb, are treated as much less than equals. In the worst or sometimes best of circumstances, many girls and women find themselves as modern slaves, and most of them in the sex trade.

For many years, I have known this, yet turned my eyes away. If I couldn't see it anymore, it didn't exist in my world. Yes, I did feel bad and wondered if there were things to be done about it. But someone else was taking care of such injustice, surely.

Because this is the injustice that God spoke about. To care for widows and orphans in their distress. Jesus commanded us to do this, but what have I done to obey? Sent caring thoughts and sometimes money and then conveniently forgot.

But now, I am looking this injustice in the face and beginning to see it. It is horrible, but there is hope.

When I was reading the book, "Half the Sky," there were statistics about the Asian countries and the girls who were slaves. It suddenly hit me - that could have been me. I was an orphan in an Asian country. Were some of these women my sisters, my cousins, my aunts, and now my nieces? Was I born and taken away for such a time as this - to help them in their distress?

I don't know the answers to these questions. But I lay the burden of this at Jesus' feet. And perhaps he can show me what can be done, because I AM SURE and willing to help. My burden has become a promise.


Yes, I am still alive!
No, I am not running!
Yes, I do feel a bit guilty about that.
No, I am not giving up totally.

After the 5k, I ran some and then when daylight savings hit, I was constantly tired and sleepy. My perfectionist mode kicked in that said, "if I can't get up early 3 mornings a week, then it's not really running."

Side note: I haven't gained any weight over the holidays. I tried to be sensible in my food choices. So this means, that the weight I lost in running, was true weight loss.

Now, after the holidays, it's time to regroup. I recall that when I first started, I ran in the afternoons or even the evenings. When I started to feel more awake and healthier, I got up in the mornings. I have started to exercise in the evenings again. As someone once said, the best time to exercise is when you have time.

Note the word "exercise." I haven't worked up to running yet. I've done some treadmill walking and last night I did some jump roping. 10 minutes of that was a workout. What I like about jump roping is that I don't need to change clothes or even put shoes on, I can just grab the rope and do it wherever. I am also using more of my body in this one exercise.

The idea for the rope came when I started to think about my upcoming trip to India. The places that I'll be traveling are not safe for women to go running around alone in. So with a jump rope, I'll be able to do that anywhere, and can do even 10 minute segments and stay active.

After I return home, it will be more warm out and I'll be putting together another running plan. I already think I know what I'll do - Amby Burfoot's plan. It's a nice, no pressure one that is a bit lengthier than the C25k. In the fall, I WILL do another 5k and run all or most of it.

Will it be a barefoot runner?
A Chi runner?
A Pose Runner?
A person who just gets out there when she can and does whatever she can?

Tune in and find out.

New Flight Schedule

My flying took a bumpy landing over the holidays. But the new year has a new Fly Lady theme - 7 in 2011! I've scaled back my flight plans to be more managable and will add more things as more habits are formed.

In 2010:
  • I learned the Babysteps of Flying
  • I made making my bed each morning a habit. Even though it's not perfect, it looks nicer
  • I am doing a load of laundry each day, as needed. No more clean clothes on the couch waiting to be folded. I have to have the time to do a load or I won't start one.
  • The upstairs living room was decuttered
  • The upstairs closet was decluttered
  • The kitchen was decluttered
  • We had a stress-free Thanksgiving hosting because of Flying
  • We had a delightful garage sale, getting rid of stuff
  • We got rid of over 30 boxes of stuff to charity (mostly after the sale)

In 2011 I will:
  • Continue decluttering the house
  • Bless others with or extras
  • Work towards working at home
  • Develop more Flying habits
I’ve picked out 7 things each day that I will do (plus a 7 minute before bed routine). Eventually the decluttering will give way to zone cleaning and missions, but I can’t do all three anymore. I’m also only doing the 15 minute declutter and the 2 minute hot spots, because the 5 minute room rescue and the boogie seems like almost the same thing.

Here’s what a day looks likes:

  1. Make bed
  2. 1 load of laundry
  3. Empty purse & bags after work (this is a big issue for me)
  4. Exercise/swish & swipe/dry mop, depending on day
  5. Change sheets/clean fridge/desk time, dust, vacuumdepending on day
  6. 2 minute hot spot
  7. 15 minute declutter

Before bed:
Shine think
Check calendar & thaw meat
Take meds if needed

Whew - it feels a lot lighter and much more doable! We’ll see how this goes for this month, and then I leave the country for 15 days! May have to regroup after that with some crisis cleaning at the end of February.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 - The Year of Catching Dreams

Before I go into what I've been doing the last couple of months, I'm posting about my thoughts on the New Year. I don't make resolutions because they fail, and then one feels that one can't start again until another year. Instead of that, I am declaring a theme.

2011 - The Year of Catching Dreams

I am done with chasing them, it's time to take out the butterfly net and catch one or two. If I merely say to myself that I'll chase dreams, it is too vague of statement and gives no direction. But to catch something - that takes planning, action and a solid goal.

A little while ago, I felt restless at work. This is my usual modus operandi - after a few years, the challenge is gone and I am maintaining things, not creating and innovating. I am a Starter. If I must work for someone else, I enjoy places that I can mostly control my environment, that needs some help that I can do, that I can initiate and follow through with changes, helping things function better and be creative as much as you can in an office setting.

For years I have been following this pattern. Each job ended with mostly the same result. I grew bored after there was not much more to improve, and then started dreaming about leaving and writing as my career. With my current job, I can't even muster enough energy to look forward to another "Starter" job even though I am bored and restless now. So now, I think it's time that I really do catch that dream of writing.

I won't be able to do this all at once and still maintain our lifestyle. So there are other dreams that I am taking my butterfly net to. Here's a list, though it may not be comprehensive:

  • Writing/working from home full time. Will include writing articles, the great American novel, writing knitting patterns and selling things in my etsy store
  • Having a decluttered home - thanks to the Fly Lady
  • Maintaining a clean home - thanks to the Fly Lady
  • Being fit and active - due to running
  • Taking a more active role in social justice such as the oppression of women globally, which leads to a host of bad things
  • Drawing closer to God in the "Interior Castle"
  • Communicating better with my relationships
I do have an outlined plan for a few of these items. Not all of them can be done properly in the course of one year. But just catching one of them and moving forward on others is something that I can resolve to do this year.