Thursday, September 28, 2006

Take the longest day waste it all away

Wow, the last few days have all blurred into each other. I've got some craziness going on at work, and then there are the workouts.

Tuesday's weigh-in wasn't as exciting as I'd hoped - I've lost half a pound. But less is always good, and to be perfectly honest, my eating habits haven't been stellar. I haven't tracked what I ate for the past couple of days, which sucks. So back on track tomorrow. My snacks have definitely been better, and I'm really trying to watch those empty carbs.

Small changes are less painful, and I'm doing great with the exercise. I only made it to 3x cardio last week, thanks to Saturday's lunges and my inability to move from the couch on Sunday due to the intense pain in my hamstrings. That pain continued to Monday so I took that day off as well.

Tuesday I was back at Le Pro to do cardio in the morning, and workout with Tracy in the evening. Two-a-day workouts sounds really tedious, but actually isn't that bad. Since I'm only doing weights with Tracy, I don't sweat much so I only need to shower after cardio. And 30 minute chunks are much more agreeable than a whole hour.

Tomorrow morning at 7:15, I have a free "Bhangracize" class at the Pro Club. Not sure if I want to get up that early, so I'm going to play it by ear. If I don't make it for that, I'll do cardio anyway.

At some point I need to find an outfit to wear to Kristine's wedding (hi Kristine!). I might wait another week or two to see if all this weight training helps in the clothing department - I tend to see results pretty quickly when I lift weights, even if the number on the scale doesn't change much.

Anyway, the next problem for me to tackle is the food. I've been to Kidd Valley twice this week, and I'm sure their grilled cheese is better than their burgers, but yet not too healthy. Somehow the food in the fridge just hasn't appealed to me. Sad.

Good thing this is a 6 month program! Plenty of time for me to exchange lame habits for good ones!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Sun comes up it's Tuesday morning

OK, it's not really Tuesday morning. But I couldn't come up with a song lyric that contained "morning" in the 5 sec before starting this post.

I have officially completed my first 3 workouts at SHS as of this morning. And I'm still standing. With Jell-o legs, mind you, but we won't dwell on that.

First off, I *LOVE* the 30 minute trainer sessions. It's too short a time to contemplate my hatred of exercise. We do 2 (and sometimes 3) quick sets of 10 of the various exercises and I'm done. Not a lot of time between sets, so I don't even have time to think about how much exercise sucks.

And I'll let you in on a secret - after a week of regular exercise, I'm actually starting to hate it less. I love that virtuous feeling I get when my workout is completed before 10am. I like the slightly sore feeling I get the day after a hard workout. And though in reality I'm not any thinner (yet), I feel just a little bit better about what I see in the mirror.

Today was a harder workout than Thursday. We did walking lunges across the room and back. Those have never been my favorite, and I'm already feeling it now - I can't really stand up for long periods of time (aforementioned Jell-O legs) and tomorrow will be BAD. Right before the wedding last year I was actually doing those lunges with 15-lb weights. Crazy.

Tracking my food intake has been a bit harder - I'm actually a day behind now so I need to go reconstruct what I ate yesterday. The Web-based tool I use at is really easy, but I just seem to forget to do it. I'm not sure how to remind myself to do it - any tips from you out there?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

We circle round each other waiting for reaction

Today was a good workout day, which counteracts the bad food they had at the Company Meeting.

I did 30 min of hard cardio at Le Pro Club, and my heart rate ranged from 152 to 173 which is 80=90%+ of my MHR. Yay. Since I'm quite out of shape, it gets up there pretty quick and stays there without me feeling like I'm going to pass out. I guess it'll get harder as I get more fit, but I'll worry about that later.

My first actual workout with Tracy was today and it was fabulous. It was over before I knew it - 30 min of weight training, 2 or 3 sets of 10 of each exercise and that's it. Had to do full situps, very hard, but that was the worst of the bunch. This is the kind of workout I could get used to - quick and dirty, get in and out of there, and that's it.

Slight annoyance of the day - they confiscated my healthy snacks at Safeco Field when I got there for the Company Meeting. But even without my snacks I managed to stay under 1300 calories today. Woo hoo! So far, this isn't bad at all :)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I don't care what they say about us anyway

A quick post about a movie we saw this weekend. We watched Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle on our new projector. It's a movie I've wanted to see since it came out but never got the chance. It came highly recommended by our friend Dave.

First off, I don't recommend this movie unless you're a fan of the humor in "South Park". It's very crass. If you can get past this, it's hilarious (and very smart, in a sly way).

I *LOVE* that the two main characters are Asian-Americans. Not caricatures (aka Apu on The Simpsons) and not foreigners with accents - two regular guys. These guys are portrayed as being loser-cool, attractive to women and not the typical nerd stereotype that Asian Americans are usually stuck with on American TV and movies. The movie doesn't have much plot but is the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. And no, I wasn't stoned.

There's some controversy on the Internet (do a search on Sepia Mutiny) about how this movie is disrespectful to women. It's true, there's a lot of typical frat boy humor in it. (Reminds me of my favorite line in South Park when Cartman says "Get back in the kitchen, bitch and make me some PIE!"). But the point was not to make a PC shiny happy movie where all are represented in a positive light.

I'm just glad that a mainstream funny movie, stars two Asian American guys. There aren't a whole lot of people like us on TV or in the movies (Bend it Like Beckham being the major exception). I think Canada and the UK TV shows are further ahead in this respect. But it's nice not to be "invisible" anymore, and not to always be the doctor or computer geek on "Law and Order", though props to them for having any Asian American characters at all.

So if you saw the movie, what did you think? And as a side note, I thought it was interesting I used the word "freakshow" in the last post. If you saw the movie, you'll understand why.

The first cut is the deepest

So I had my first sessions yesterday at SHS and was too tired to write. Turns out my "behavioral counseling" is actually next week, so I only spent 2 hours there yesterday.

First I met Tracy, my trainer, who's tiny. She also doesn't take any crap from slacker exercisers like me. She accurately pegged me as a person who doesn't do sports because I wasn't good at it when I first tried it and thus gave it up.

Sadly, I have 40% body fat according to their bioelectrical impedance measurement. She said she thought it might be off since I was dehydrated. Ugh. Let's hope it's off by +15%, that's all I have to say.

We spent the first session figuring out what my baseline was - what my heart rate looked like in 6 min of cardio, and how much weight I could lift for each exercise I had to do. The starting weight was one where I could just complete 10 reps with good form. I guess I picked the right weights because I am sore today.

She also made me do as many calf raises as I could do (30) and wall squats with the giant exercise ball (60, but for the record I could do more, we just decided to stop), and crunches in a minute (30).

Our first real workout is tomorrow, thankfully for only 30 min. I'm on my own to do cardio so I think I'll do that in the morning. I'm supposed to do cardio at 80% of my MHR which is 190 for my age.

After my meeting with Tracy, I went to see the dietitian Marilyn who reviewed my atrocious eating habits for the past couple of weeks: very few vegetables, a lot of deep fried goodies, and lots of eating out.

She also asked me to rate my motivation on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being "Nothing can stop me from succeeding on this program". I answered honestly, and gave it a 3.5. She asked me to rank my confidence in success from 1 to 5, and I gave it a 3. I've tried a lot of times to do this, so I'm a little worried about how this time will be different. But I do think this will work if I can figure out how to stick with it.

Marilyn emphasized that this was not a "diet" but just a way to eat. The first thing I'm going to work on is eating a better balance of carbs and protein. My target is 175g per day which is about 3 servings per meal, with some more left over for snacks. I'm also supposed to focus on getting around 45g of fat per day, which is fairly high for me when I don't eat out.

So the first two days haven't been too bad. I've been tracking my intake on SparkPeople so it automatically counts fat, carbs, protein and calories. Today was 1175 calories, yesterday 1560. And I didn't really have to think about it too much while I was eating - I just tracked it all at the end of the day.

Tomorrow morning I'd like to get to the Pro Club early to do my 30 min of hard cardio before we go to the Company Meeting and sit on our butts all day. So far, so good.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Today I signed my life away to Sound Health Solutions. And in return I got a thin binder with some sheets of paper in it :).

I worked with the scheduling folks to get my trainer appointments set up. For now I'll be working out with Tracy at 7:30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 9am on Saturdays. That might change once my work schedule changes to part-time.

My first appointment is tomorrow. In addition, my first dietitian appointment is tomorrow as well as my first "behavior change" appointment. So I'll be spending a good chunk of the late afternoon/evening at SHS tomorrow.

Today I met with Dr. Gough and she took a "before" picture, took my measurements and talked to me about my goals. So here they are:

Exercise: Be able to run a 5K in less than 30 min
Nutrition: Learn how to eat so I can lose weight, then maintain it, without having to count calories - she called it "eating intuitively".

They have an Access database to hold participant info- I noticed some typos on the forms, and thought there might be an easier way for it to work. Maybe if I like it there, I'll offer to fix it for them :)

I'm looking forward to really getting started tomorrow.

Today I walked to work (30 min), then walked to a meeting in another building (about 20 min round trip) and walked to SHS (25 min). Not bad - the new Timbuk2 messenger bag is working well, even with the laptop inside.

I'll let you know if I reconsider tomorrow after 3 hours straight of what I affectionately call "Fat Camp".

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Dost thou love life?

Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of. --Ben Franklin

I got a bit of a wake-up call yesterday. My first appointment of the day was a "Health Screening" at Microsoft. They had it set up in a large conference room, with different "stations" for cholesterol testing, blood pressure, body fat, weight, and a nurse consultation about your numbers.

This was my starting point for my Sound Health Solutions program, since I couldn't get an appointment with my doctor for a physical until mid-October. So here are my numbers:

Blood Pressure: 99/70
Total Cholesterol: 179
HDL: 58
LDL: 106
Fasting Triglycerides: 77
Fasting Glucose: 91

So any of you with some health knowledge will know that my numbers look pretty good.

Now for the bad news:
Body Fat %: 37.7
BMI: 30.2

My nurse consultation was short and sweet. She pointed at the body fat/BMI numbers and said "You need to do something about this NOW while you're still young." She said I had been blessed with great genetics (thanks Amma and Appa) which allowed me to have such great cholesterol/glucose numbers while being so overweight. She also said she recently lost 55 pounds and wishes she hadn't waited until her 50s to do so. It was a short and sweet message for me that I needed to hear (again.)

So I guess I've got my work cut out for me! I've decided to give up red meat, since my last couple of beefy meals have grossed me out, and if I don't really like it, why should I eat it? I'm not sure about becoming a total vegetarian yet, though I'm not that excited about chicken either. I definitely can't give up seafood thanks to my love for sushi and shellfish. So we'll see how it goes - I struggle with getting enough protein so I look forward to working with the dietitian in the next few months.

My first consultation with the SHS doctor is Monday afternoon, so I'll get a better idea of how the program works. But I'm ready to start now.

Today's workout was pretty short - I *did not* want to be there, so I did 10 min on the elliptical and 20 min walking on the treadmill and called it a day. 65-80% MHR, so it wasn't totally lame.

My next project is cleaning out the fridge *shudder*.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Welcome to the freak show

Is anyone else totally baffled at the outcome of Rock Star:Supernova??

I'm so disappointed to have wasted so much time on that show only to have them pick MonkeyBoy Lipgloss Freakshow.


T minus 5 and counting...

Well, the big day of starting @ Sound Health is coming! One of the changes I've decided to make to help me accomodate this new lifestyle change is to drop down to a 30-32 hour per week part time schedule starting in October. Microsoft is very open to it but there are some details I need to iron out before this will happen. More about that later, likely on my other blog. Or my work blog since I'm always looking for topics to write about.

This week demonstrated to me exactly why my efforts at dieting and exercise fail - I get busy or stressed at work, and all good habits go out the window. I did walk *a lot* yesterday, but unfortunately forgot my pedometer so I don't know if I got my 10000 steps. I feel confident that I got at least 7-8000 though. Today I woke up late, got to work late, and then was so exhausted when I got home I changed into my PJs (at 6:30pm!) and snuggled on the couch with Spike to watch:

1. Mark Wahlberg on "Inside the Actors Studio" - loved it - he seems like a genuinely good guy, and darn he just gets more handsome as he gets older.
2. Project Runway - always good, and yay for Laura for finally winning a challenge. Gorgeous dress she made, though I'm still pulling for Michael.
3. Rock Star: Supernova finale - well, I'm actually waiting for TJ to come home from work so we can watch this together...

But you get the idea - came home, got on the couch for several hours of TV viewing. No trips to the gym in sight (especially not since I forgot my car keys at work today!). This week has been a little rough at work for reasons I shouldn't discuss on a public blog but I think once I get the part-time thing ironed out, it'll work itself out.

Oh and did I mention I've eaten at least one meal out every day this week?? Arghhh.

But tomorrow is another day and a chance to redeem myself. Lately I've been obsessing over diet Coke with ice, almost like a comfort food, and though it's not terribly bad for me (except for all the chemicals and fake-ness) it worries me that I crave it when I'm stressed. Boo. I thought that was at least one bad habit I didn't have - eating emotionally...

Anyway, thanks to all my friends for the support you've expressed here :) You guys are great, and it's about time you all moved to Seattle, dammit!!!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Waking up is hard to do

So despite all my good intentions and actually going to bed around 10:30pm yesterday, my insomnia struck again and I couldn't get to sleep until after 1am.

Instead of stressing about it, I got up and went through my closet and removed anything that didn't fit. Sadly, I now have 3 huge shopping bags full of stuff that doesn't fit. The upside to that is that once I drop some weight and start lifting weights again, I can go "shopping" in my own closet and rediscover some of those cute clothes. It's a great way to assess progress.

Dr. Pamela Peeke, who wrote "Body for Life for Women", believes very strongly in what she calls the "clothes-o-meter". She recommends getting out a pair of jeans or other piece of clothing and using that as your measurement of success, rather than relying on the scale which doesn't adequately reflect progress. And face it, it sometimes just LIES.

So needless to say I didn't get up at 7am to work out.

I walked to work today with my cute new Timbuk2 messenger bag (sans laptop since I'm still waiting for to send me the neoprene laptop sleeve I ordered). I love it - it's just the right size, is super light, even with my laptop inside, and the colors (red & orange) are so cheerful. They do make a laptop version with the sleeve built in, but it's *heavy* and only comes in two sizes - too big and even bigger. It was actually cheaper for me to buy the small messenger bag and order a separate $20 protective case for my laptop that'll fit inside. (And much lighter).

Like a good girl, I remembered to use my pedometer today and got in 8000 steps. Yay! Not bad, considering my usual sedentary day is around 2000 or less.

Tomorrow I'm going to take the bus downtown because I'm attending a tradeshow for work. That should be fun. Unfortunately I have some meetings in the afternoon, so I've got to come straight home from work after my shift in the Speech Server booth is done. But, if I walk from home all the way to the bus stop, it's a nice healthy walk and I'll get in a lot of steps. My goal for tomorrow is 10000 steps.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Maybe exercise isn't *that* bad

Today I woke up before 9am, then went back to sleep until 11. I don't usually sleep in that late. But before I got out of bed I had planned my next actions -- I was going to brush my teeth, eat a banana, and go to the gym, before I got sucked into any other projects.

It's amazing how easily I get distracted - I caught myself three times this morning trying to do some random chore, rather than focusing on getting dressed, eating something, and getting out the door to the gym. After throwing in a load of laundry, and taking out the overflowing trash, I was finally on my way to the gym.

My goal for today was another 40 minutes of cardio. I spent 30 min on the regular elliptical (no arms) and remembered to wear my HR monitor, and kept my HR at 70-80% of my max. Since I felt like doing a little running again (two days in a row!) I hopped on the treadmill and did 4 intervals of 2 min walking/1min running. It felt great. I was a little sore this morning from yesterday's workout but it was the good kind of "I worked out and now I feel virtuous" sore.

I know that morning workouts are best for me - now I just need to get to bed earlier and drag myself to the gym before 8 on work days. That's going to be the hard part! But after just 2 days in a row of working out (a veritable streak!) I already feel better. So maybe I can hang on to that feeling tomorrow morning when my alarm goes off at 7am. Hah!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Too much self-esteem?

I have paid a *lot* of money to Weight Watchers over the years. I don't deny that it works, but it makes me crazy with the counting and obsessing. The super-cool thing about it is they have an online-only program so you don't need to go to the meetings and hear from people who take a spoon to the grocery store so they can eat a pint (or gallon) of ice cream while they shop. I'm not a meetings kind of girl, so this online deal was perfect for me. Though apparently not perfect enough for me to solve this problem once and for all.

One of the features of Weight Watchers Online is a group of message boards. Nothing terribly special, the same kind of forums you'd find on any special-interest website. They're good for wasting time, picking up new diet and exercise tips, wallowing in some healthy schadenfreude (ie, at least I don't need to lose as much as *her*), and absorbing other peoples' insights about being overweight and the process getting healthy.

One post stuck with me - the woman had posted that maybe she had too much self-esteem because she just couldn't stick with any weight loss program. She'd look in the mirror and think that she didn't look *too* bad, even though her doctor and the number on the scale told her otherwise.

That really resonated with me. I've got healthy self-esteem, I don't call myself fat or make disparaging remarks about myself (even the 'zaftig' thing is me kidding around). It's true, I'm not happy with the way I look, but I'm not totally disgusted by it either. Which is a problem when it comes to motivation and keeping up with a healthy lifestyle. I haven't hit that "rock bottom" place where I'm totally miserable and can't function unless I do something about the problem. Unfortunately this hinders my efforts to get to a healthy weight.

And it only gets worse, as I start losing weight. At my wedding, my weight was in the 140s, which is still appallingly high for my height (damn those short genes!) but I was feeling great because I had worked hard to get there. And that's what kept me from staying on track after that - I get comfortable, think that I'm "close enough" and start to get lazy about food and exercise. This happens every time.

So how do I get around that? I like the idea of figuring out a lifestyle change, and just eating/working out that way permanently. Like Oprah says, exercising should be like brushing your teeth. You just do it every day, and it's non-negotiable. It's not about *liking it* or choosing to do it - you just do it because it's essential for your health. I never think "oh, I could skip brushing me teeth and then I'd get to work 5 min sooner" but I do that all the time with skipping breakfast or not walking to work.

Anyway, this is a topic rattling around in my head while I get myself mentally ready to start my new program. Any thoughts on this?

If you wanna be somebody else

Just a quick post to let y'all know I started a new blog today to chronicle my path from zaftig to svelte. I have signed up for a serious program that my benefits will pay for, and it's expensive and long. I am determined that this will be the last time I do this, so I can spend my money and time on more interesting things in the future.

Anyway, there's a nice long post over there so if you're interested you can go read it. I'll still keep this blog for cute dog and TJ stories :).

From Zaftig to Svelte


This time will be the last time

So I'm making a clean start for my upcoming transformation from (you guessed it!) zaftig to svelte. I like those words. I do not like my current state (99.9% zaftig, and only 0.1% svelte). That 0.1% could be considered a rounding error.

I pondered where to host this new blog -- there are supposedly weight loss blogging sites that have cool tools you can use, and communities you can join, but I am super happy with Blogger since my "regular" blog is there too.

I wanted to make a clean start and also have a place where I could blog mundane details like whether I worked out, and what interesting things I ate. I figured most people wouldn't care about that sort of thing.

The other reason I'm starting a whole new blog is to commemorate the upcoming start of my serious, skin-in-the-game, comprehensive 26-week program at Sound Health Solutions. My fabulous employer will be paying for most of it, and my portion of the cost is a little more than taking a class at UW. If I can fork over the money to take a class, I certainly can pay for something this important, and spend at least the same amount of time on it as I would a 5-credit class.

I'm lucky to have such great benefits, but also unlucky that my BMI is high enough that I qualify for such a program. I weigh more now than I ever have. Seeing that in writing is a little bit scary. I've wreaked havoc on my body from "dieting" over the past 15 years, though thankfully none of the attempts were unhealthy, just inconsistent. I've been successful once before (in 1997 I lost about 40 lbs, but unfortunately managed to find those again this year). This past year has really been awful for me with respect to gaining weight. I lost nearly 20 lbs for our wedding (yay for good wedding pictures) through a torturous exercise and high protein diet plan. As everyone knows, once you quit the high protein world, the weight comes right back on. And I love me those carbs. Couple that with being happily married, super busy at work planning two huge customer events, and eating out with friends, and you have the recipe for a 30 lb weight gain over 19 months. Horrifying.

I am way too scared to admit how much I weigh here, but in a perfect world I'd like to lose around 45 lbs. That may not be realistic for me to maintain, so I'll worry about it when I get there.

My new program starts on September 18. They've sent me a bunch of questionnaires to fill out. I worked on them last night. One is about depression, on which I probably scored the equivalent of "mildly blah". The other was about self esteem, which thankfully I have no problem with, except on the questions relating to appearance.

The worst one was on "Behavior Change". I have always thought I didn't have emotional issues with food and really it's just a question of me eating the right foods and exercising. I know what I need to do, I just don't do it. And that's sort of true. I breezed through all the questions like "I eat when I'm angry" and "I eat when I'm sad". I don't do those things. But then there were questions like "I eat to celebrate with friends" and "I eat out often in restaurants" and "I look forward to exercising". So I guess I'll have my work cut out for me.

The thing I like is that the questionnaire seems to be asking the *right* questions for me. This program isn't just for morbidly obese folks who have severe childhood traumas, it also seems to be good for people like me who just don't do the right things, have trouble planning meals, and getting to the gym. A friend of mine also went through this program and spoke very highly of it.

I'll post more about the program itself once I get started. The gist of it is to make a lifestyle change, not just a temporary diet and exercise program. It's very flexible, and accomodates people who travel a lot, eat out a lot, want to exercise at home, don't want to count calories, etc. It's super-personalized and you experiment to find out what works so you can sustain it. I'm looking forward to this new approach - I really want to get away from "counting" things, whether it be points, calories, fat grams, whatever.

Today I went to the gym for the first time this week and did 40 minutes of hard cardio, at 70-85% of my maximum heart rate (which I'm estimating at 200 to make the math easy, based on the 220-age formula). It felt really good to sweat. I did 25 minutes on the dual-action elliptical, and 15 minutes of run walk (2min walk, 30sec run) on the treadmill. It even felt good to run again (just a little bit).

Anyway, I want to get back to working out the next few weeks before I start at SHS, so I'm not totally overwhelmed by having to exercise 3x a week for an hour. I just finished that time-sucking Statistics class today, so now I really have *no* excuse for not working out.

Wish me luck on this long, strange trip! 26 weeks seems like forever but I know I'll need every minute of it to get to my goal. (And I might even need more time, since I'll be figuring out what changes I need to make that I can actually live with forever.)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Words like weapons sharper than knives

I'm blogging from my fancy new Motorola Q Smartphone, which I bought this week after getting my yearly performance review. The Man was good to me this year. Plus my old phone is 3 years old and no self-respecting gadget freak can last that long! This is just a test of Blogger's mobile posting feature. Oh, and i took that picture of Peanut with my new Q too. Whaddya think?

sharing is nice

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