Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back to Life...

Back to reality. Why did I miss this again? Remind me again why I couldn’t wait to get back to class.

So, Body Pump isn’t exactly my favorite. When I started going, Turbo Jennie told me this was the class that would change my body. And damn if she isn’t right. THIS is the class that has me losing inches. It’s hard. It’s not fun. (Okay, it’s kind of fun, but not nearly as fun as any of my other classes.) And did I mention, it’s hard? Yeah. It is.

Since I started, I’ve really been afraid to take a break from Pump. Even when I miss a day during the week and end up doing it once instead of twice, I dread going back. I always secretly thought that I would just quit if I ever missed a bunch of classes. (Which is one of the reasons I love the Y and the friends I’ve made there. I can’t just quit. There would be questions. And serious trouble.) Weight lifting was one of things I asked about at one of my very first appointments for my foot injury. “Oh, you can lift weights,” I was told. “You can’t stand and lift or carry them, but you can lift them.” Okay.

I made it work, too, with Jennie’s help. (You know, her gentle guidance? I believe it went something like, “Get your butt in here and do arms, girl!” *Sniff* So supportive. I love her, really!) Every Pump for the last five weeks—okay, four weeks, because I’m pretty sure I skipped the first week completely…and maybe the next week too, for some reason...okay, the last few classes, anyway—I’ve gone and set up all my stuff, with the Hubster dutifully carrying my weights and my friend, The Sex Toy Lady helping out. For the first ten minutes of class, during the warm up and squats, I would head out to the fitness area and ride the stationary bike. Back to class for the chest track. Walk the track a time or two during the back exercises. Back into class for triceps and biceps. Out again for lunges. Back for shoulders, abs, and cool down. During one class, Jennie pointed to me and told the other instructor, “Now that’s dedication.” Dedication? Maybe. More like I was scared out of my mind about taking time off and coming back.

Tonight, I went back for my first full class. Yes, my smile was about five miles wide when Doc said I could get back to exercising, but beneath the excitement was the fear that I just wouldn’t be strong enough. That I just couldn’t do it.

But I did it. I dropped my weight a little bit, but probably not as much as I should have. My legs are reminiscent of those Wacky-Waving-Inflatable-Arm-Flailing-Tube-Men. (Except I would be Wacky-Waving-Inflatable-Leg-Flailing-Tube-Lady.) I couldn’t help but giggle through class as my legs shook uncontrollably. It reminded me of my first Pump when Jennie told me to bend my knees and I told her not to look at me because they were shaking so badly. Arms were tough, but not because I haven’t been doing them, just because it’s a hard round. (For the record, my shoulders, triceps, and I are done with Body Pump 70.) My back feels awesome. I missed the clean and press. (I am totally serious, too. It’s a great move once you get it down. Of course, would have been easier tonight if my legs had been a little more stable than…oh, let’s say…Jell-O?)

I’ll have to see what tomorrow brings me. I am taking it easy still, but anxious to get moving more. I will never complain about going to class again. Ever.

I went to Weight Watchers last night. I went last week and threw a temper tantrum, threatening to quit if they made me get on the scale--they didn't. I skipped altogether the week before. I gained two pounds the week before that. This past week, I kicked it into gear, tracked my points the way I was supposed to, and stuck with the plan. I was rewarded at the scale, where I discovered I lost FOUR pounds! My weight loss total is 29.2 pounds--Very exciting stuff. I can only hope to get my metabolism back on track and really start knocking out the pounds. Let's GO!

I’m back. And better than ever.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Life Without...

I discovered tonight, that I might have to live the rest of my life without guacamole. I’m not sure I can do it. Avocados might be the one food I’ll risk an allergic reaction for.

It started out innocently enough. A couple of years ago, I noticed my tongue getting itchy when I would eat baby carrots. (You know, trying to be healthy.) I started washing the carrots really well, thinking it was something that was on them. My tongue was still itchy. I started buying *gasp* regular carrots and peeling, washing, and cutting them myself. It still did not help. Then I noticed the same thing happening when I ate cantaloupe.

I did some Googling and discovered I was not losing my mind. What I was actually experiencing was a reaction to my regular allergies. A cross-reaction. The next time I went to my doctor, I mentioned it to her, the Wikipedia information printed out in my purse. She knew before I even pulled it out, though. “Oh yes, Oral Allergy Syndrome. Your allergies are maturing.” Maturing? What the heck? I don’t want mature allergies. I want to eat carrots and cantaloupe.

I the past couple of years, I haven’t had as many “regular” allergy symptoms…just these new food problems that have suddenly popped up. I’ve tried everything to control my allergies. At one point in my life, I was on two daily medications, an inhaler, nose spray, and eye drops. With no relief. So I stopped everything cold turkey and just dealt with the symptoms as they popped up. My doctor told me that medication wouldn’t stop the reactions I was having, but it might make them less severe. I didn’t think an itchy tongue was that severe, but she warned me of hives, swelling, and anaphylaxis, which I’ve experienced before and would really like to avoid. She told me that raw foods would cause the worst reactions, but cooked foods may cause gastrointestinal problems…which I am also not fond of. We decided it would probably be best for me to just avoid the foods altogether. On my way out the door, she stopped me. “Be careful with strawberries.” Check.

Since there was nothing I could really do with this new diagnosis of “maturing allergies,” I avoided carrots and cantaloupe. When I had similar reactions to kiwi, bananas, blueberries, and melon, I avoided them, too. I forget every once in a while. I order a salad and don’t notice that they used a bag salad mix with shredded carrots in it. Once, I ordered a strawberry margarita and had sucked more than half of it down before I started feeling funny and swelling up. A couple of Benedryl helped, but I was pretty embarrassed.

The reactions got worse. A sliver of a carrot might have me breaking out in hives. I kissed Little Sister once after she ate strawberries and my lips swelled up like someone had punched me in the face. I ate a banana that almost choked me because my throat started closing.

I keep finding more and more things that I can’t eat. The list scares the heck out of me…I don’t know what I’ll do if I wake up one day and find I can’t eat apples. Or oranges, peppers, or peaches.

I went to an allergist this year who tested me for 64 environmental and food allergies. I am allergic to…pretty much everything. Trees, grass, pollen, cats, dogs, horses, dust, mold…everything. As far as food goes…I am only officially allergic to bananas and hazelnut. (I can’t remember if they tested me for avocados, but I will ask at my next appointment.) The doctor confirmed that my reactions are due to Oral Allergy Syndrome. He wants me to do allergy shots, which I declined, due to a near-death experience 8 years ago. (That’s a story for another night, though.) He put me on 3 allergy medications, hoping they will make my reactions less severe.

I am still waiting, but not have had much exposure to anything I’m allergic to since I saw the allergist. I recently thought I had a small reaction to watermelon, which was new, but I haven’t had more to confirm it was a problem. Tonight, I specifically requested an avocado for my salad, which also included tomato, orange pepper, green pepper, cucumbers, and black olives—all things I’ve eaten recently with no reaction. I’ve had slight reactions to guacamole in the past, but ignored it…Tonight, though, I wasted 4 points on half an avocado that made me itch.

And so the list grows…

Honeydew melon

The internet is full of people who are familiar with OAS. My life, however is not. To everyone I know, I’m just weird, allergic to bizarre things, and a pain in the ass to cook for or eat out with because I have to ask a million questions and often pick through my food to make sure there’s nothing hiding in there. I scour ingredients lists, looking for hidden things that might cause a reaction. Carrots hiding away in Italian salad dressing or pureed into tomato soup. Blueberries masquerading in my cherry yogurt. (This happened more than once. I’ll never buy that store’s brand again.)

I hate being so high maintenance.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Long and the Shorts of It

Even though my weight loss has been yo-yoing the past month or so, people keep telling me how great I look. I have been so focused on the scale that I haven’t been very gracious. I suppose I should say “Thank you,” rather than rolling my eyes and saying, “My pants feel really tight today.” So, if I’ve blown off a compliment recently, I’m sorry and thank you. I do appreciate them, really.

I went into work today because I’m taking Friday off to head down to Omaha to visit my mom, some cousins, and the Henry Doorly zoo, of course. (Even if I may have to see it in a wheelchair or a scooter that beeps when I back up.) I actually like working Saturdays because it’s quiet and I can get a lot done. Plus, I can wear whatever I want.

Though I have shown up on a Saturday in my pjs, today I wore shorts and a T-shirt. I don’t wear shorts very often, because I’m not a real fan of my legs. I only have one pair of denim capris that fit me well right now, though, and they were in a wrinkly pile on my bathroom floor. I wanted to be comfortable, but not pajama comfortable—never know who might show up on a Saturday when I’m in pjs and no make up, hair a mess and singing at the top of my lungs to whatever’s on the radio. I’ve been caught more than once by our sneaky IT people. They’re like stealth bombers.

I was walking down the hall and caught my reflection in the window. I swear my right leg is looking slimmer than my left, which has been my biggest fear with this damn cast on. I can’t even say how many miles I’ve pedaled away on the stationary bike, pushing with my right foot while my left went along for the ride. With the cast on, I couldn’t tell if it was an illusion, or if my legs were actually different sizes.

I kind of forgot about it until it crossed my mind randomly this evening. (I am supposed to be editing, so I am, of course, finding other things to keep me occupied.) I started digging for a tape measure. I just had it last night, measuring the wall by our door for a new shelf to control the outrageous amount of shoes we seem to have accumulated. Naturally, tonight, it was nowhere to be found. I discovered one in my sewing kit and snuck into my bedroom for a little investigation.

My legs measure the same, so I’m thinking it was a weird illusion created by my cast or the window or the time-space-continuum. It’s got to be something like that, right? While measuring my legs, I remembered that there is a place in my 3 month points journal—which I have been using religiously for the last 4.9 days—to record measurements.

I flipped to that page and started comparing.

Since April 27th, I have lost one inch off my upper arms, two inches off my waist, two inches off my hips, and THREE inches off my thighs!!!

I am super impressed with myself and can’t believe I didn’t think to measure myself sooner. (Actually, I think I did, but couldn’t find my tape.)
Does it mean I’ll wear shorts more often? Probably not. I still don’t love my legs, though I’m thrilled to know that something I’m doing is working. I will promise to stop feeling sorry for people who have to see me in shorts. (Only if they’re wearing sunglasses, though, those babies are white, white, WHITE!!!)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

PC Awareness

A few words on portion control...

I like to eat.

No effin’ way, right?

I don’t remember having a problem with portion control when I was living at home. I remember the “Mom-Look.” The do-you-really-need-more-of-that look I’d get when reaching for seconds. She tried, but I was stubborn.

After I met the Hubster, who loves to cook, the pounds piled on. I was completely oblivious…until I saw a picture of a Fat Lady that I didn’t even recognize as myself.

I’m embarrassed to admit just how much food I can pack away. I tend to think of food as something I deserve. I had a rough day at work. I deserve that pizza. I exercised really hard. I’m having those chips. Or worse…this food is really good and I might not get more, so I better eat it now, while I can. (Yes, it has crossed my mind, as terrible as it may be.)

Weight Watchers is good for me when I follow the plan. It’s too easy, though, to not track food. To not count points. To fall off the WW wagon. I’ve done it a million times. Back in March, when I dragged my mom to her first Turbo Kick class, she told me afterwards that I should be able to eat whatever I wanted after burning that many calories. I’m sure she didn’t mean it, but it stuck with me anyway. (Why did I pick that moment to start listening to her???) I started being a little more lenient with myself on the points. (Hmmm, Hip Hop and Turbo tonight? I’ll have cheese AND mayo on my Subway tonight…and maybe some chips. I burned a LOT of calories. Let’s get dessert. Calories are so much easier to get IN than they are get OUT.) I kept losing weight, but it was very slow.

In April, at my WW meeting, we talked about tracking. I knew it was something I needed to be better at. Every Monday, at the meeting, I would tell myself I was going to write down everything I put in my mouth, but by dinnertime Tuesday, I’d have quit already. I decided to buy a 3 month point tracker notebook because I always feel like the more money I invest in something, the more likely I am to stick to it. (No, it doesn’t really work, but I’m sticking with that theory for now.) I used my tracker religiously for…17 days. Damn. Two weeks later, I picked it up again. I wrote down breakfast. That was May 19th.

Today, I crossed out May 19th and started new. (I ate the same breakfast today that I did almost two months ago. I am very boring.) I wrote down everything I ate. EVERYTHING. The seven M&M’s I picked out of the Hubster’s trail mix. The mini milky way I swiped from the candy dish at work. The full fat alfredo sauce I poured onto my pasta. Every bite. I’ll do it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.

I have to.
I need to.

Since my foot injury, I haven’t been able to exercise like I want. Unfortunately, I haven’t changed my eating habits much and in the four weeks I’ve been practically immobile, I’ve gained (at least) four pounds. (I can HEAR my metabolism screaming at me. “What the hell are you doing? Get MOVING, girl!!!” It’s like having Jennie in my head.)

At my meeting last night, I refused to get on the scale, threatening to leave—or even quit—if they tried to make me. (Which they didn’t, of course.) I am out of control. I need to step back and remember why I’m doing this in the first place and remind myself that I can do it.

I can do this.

Tracking my points makes me realize that I actually don’t eat too badly. I generally eat pretty healthy for breakfast and lunch, and then screw it all up at dinner. The dinner I had tonight was only 9 points, though….the trick for me is eat only 9 points worth. Tonight, it meant measuring or weighing everything and boiling my noodles separately so I could make sure I had the proper portion. So I dirtied a few extra dishes…I ate my serving and when it was gone, it was gone. What I need is a big “OFF” switch. A big button that says, “Okay, stop eating NOW!” Since, apparently, I didn’t come with that button—did anyone?—I’m going to watch my portions, stick it out with Weight Watchers, track my points…

And lose this weight for good.

I am done being a Fat Lady.