Monday, 11 October 2010

I can't go to the gym

So, I wonder if anyone else has this experience. I will get ready to work out and by get ready I mean suit up and even get as far as the front door if I'm "running" or actually make it all the way to the gym and then I'll go outside or I'll get into the room with the machines and I will start to feel panicky and I will have to leave. The thought of working out, of doing any physical activity in front of any people is actually very upsetting to me. It is like being in P.E. class when I was little and the jerks would point out how slow I was because I was fat or would throw the dodge balls at me with full force because it would make that great thwaking sound when I didn't get out of the way fast enough. I know it is ridiculous to compare it that, partly because we're all grownups now and partly because no one else at the gym cares what I look like or what I'm doing there. But, part of me feels, when I'm running on a treadmill or on a bike or an eliptical trainer, that while I may be clever, well-educated and occasionally amusing that I've never looked like what I should look like so that none of that matters. I can't go to the gym. I. Just. Can't. I don't need to do things that make me feel worthless, like most people I have those moments without forcing them to happen.

I find myself in this odd situation where I would really like to add more physical activity to my daily life but I'm at a loss for how to do this. I can't go to the gym for the reasons I've previously outlined. And, I have a pretty full schedule so adding more classes like Zumba and Belly dancing (both of which I've started in the last month) is problematic. Perhaps I just need to get back to my challenge and really try to make it stick this time. I know I feel better and more relaxed when I work out, but I can't make myself do something that makes me want to cry. That just doesn't seem reasonable to me.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Apparently, changes have consequences.

So, I'm going to start this post off by saying something incredibly ridiculous and obvious: Changing how you eat, changes how you eat.

Now, let me explain. I've not had the best couple of days. I have part of a first draft on a big paper due to my advisor this week, and a lit review that I wrote a while back went missing during one of the many computer fiascos that has happened in the past twelve months. I didn't realize that until I decided I should reread what I've already written on Friday. Then, I went to a party to sort of chill for a bit and found myself roped into being grill master and having to grill more than 15 hamburgers for the host. This was not particularly relaxing. (And, if it hadn't been the hosts birthday, I would have told him no.) And, yesterday I had already planned to go on a leek fast so I spend the day tense from the previous day, working on a paper and not feeling very focused about it, and hungry, which, for unknown reasons always makes me feel like I'm a terrible person who has done something wrong and who doesn't deserved to be loved.

When it came around to dinner time, despite the fact that the fast was supposed to go a full 36 hours, I had had enough. So, I asked myself, "What will make me feel better?" And, I answered, "Junk food." That seemed fair so I asked, "What kind of junk food?" Well, nothing sounded good. So, I settled on cheese fries with bacon and some sort of onion and sour cream based dipping sauce. So, I went to the store to procure the ingredients to make this calorie and salt-laden pile of goodness. I get there, I walk through the prepared foods section and I see the sushi counter. And, before I know it, I've unconsciously changed Fry Fest 2010 into a quiet evening at home with some steamed vegetable gyoza and 6 Philadelphia rolls, some pre-cut pineapple and mango followed up by a slice of vanilla cake. When I looked down in my basket, I thought to myself, "Wow, that seems perfectly reasonable. We need to at least buy some chips or something." So, I picked up some bugles and a small container of fat-free onion dip. But, no bugle-binging took place. Reasonable meal eating. The fruit, gyoza and sushi are all gone, but everything else remains so that they can continue to be eaten in proper portions.

I'm as surprised as you are, dear reader. I'm as surprised as you are. But, at least this morning I'm not adding, "Oh, I can't believe I consumed 3,000 calories in 30 minutes!" guilt to the stress I was already feeling. That is a nice change.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Week 1 of my challenge

On the first day, while standing in warrior two, I thought, "Hmm, I'm going to have to fight myself the whole way on this." And, that's pretty much the case. 3 of the mornings this week, I've done closer to ten minutes of yoga than twenty. But, I think that by the end of the 30 days, I might actually be able to work up to 20 minutes. The thing is, my body isn't ready for some of the yoga poses. And, instead of giving it the old college try, I usually just end up staring at Rodney Yee in the video, swearing and giving up. That pose where you're in downward-facing dog, and then you lift a leg and twist? Ya. Fuck that. At least that has been my reaction this week.

Overall, though, I haven't much minded getting up the extra half-hour early and I feel better. This morning, I did (a good chunk of) the hip opening workout and it was perfect,just perfect. I didn't realize I had that much tension in my hips but as we worked through a series of poses beginning and ending with staff pose, I felt the tension releasing and my body relaxing. I've had that experience before, where you realize that some kind of emotion has been building up someplace when you feel it being released (sorry to go all dirty hippie on you), but it is still unexpected and a little surprising when it happens.

I look forward to continuing this challenge and seeing what else I learn.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Did you know that French women don't get fat?

While I was on vacation, I read French Women Don't Get Fat. You read that right. I read a diet book. On vacation. On purpose. I find diet books to interesting and (often times) amusing, so yes, I occasionally read them for fun. (Actually, I read a lot of things while I was on vacation. Reading is fun.) And, I found that the book is actually full of some pretty good advice. The thrust of the book seemed to be, "slow down, be choosy, make time for yourself, and enjoy what you have." And, I think my life could use a little more of that. I think most people could probably use a little more of that.

I've been thinking about my life and about how stressful being a graduate student can be. I have school work, research, lab hours, and teaching responsibilities that I have to balance with the business of being a grown up, which luckily for me just means making sure that my cats and I eat, sleep and exercise and that the bills are paid on time. And, when push comes to shove the parts of my life that get dumped first when I'm busy are my eating, my sleeping and my exercising. But, I have thought about this a lot, over the last eight months or so and I have come to the conclusion that taking time away from the eating, sleeping and exercising doesn't help me get any of the other stuff any easier. In fact, it makes everything just a little bit worse, likely because I'm not getting the vitamins/nutrients/calories I need and I don't have a place to appropriately blow off steam.

So, before I even picked up the book, I was already on the look out for little changes that I could make that would just get more movement into my life. I have decided that starting on Monday, I am challenging myself to 30 days of 20 minutes of yoga in the morning and to 30 days of a stroll after dinner. I'm a little nervous that I won't be able to keep it up but I think these are necessary changes that need to be made so I'm going to make it happen.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Owning it

So, as the seven readers of this blog already now, I'm back in the land where I'm from visiting my family for a spell. Visiting is always complicated, maybe others disagree, when you're visiting someplace you had lived for quite a long time. There are lots of people and places you want to fit in and not a lot of time and schedules have to be taken into account and it is a delicate balancing act (which makes visiting not always the best form a vacation can taken since you end up getting up early and running around and much driving. I digress.)

Anyway, on this little trip home I had the opportunity over the weekend to go shopping with my Mother and my sister, which is always a good time. We tried stuff on and laughed and found some really nice pieces on sale (My Mom and I ended up picking out and then buying the same endless scarf, but in different colors). We were in a store that we've all been to together before, but probably not in at least a year and I turned to my Mother and I said, "Where are the fat girl clothes?" And, she was surprised by the question. I think she responded with, "The plus sizes are that way." and then she said something like, "I didn't want to use that word."

I love my Mom, she's great. And, she's also struggled with weight and body image so I know that she's sensitive to these issues and she'd never want to do anything to hurt my feelings. I appreciate that. It is nice knowing that people do take your feelings into consideration. But, I'm at this point in my life where I just want to own it. I want to use words to mean what they mean and not pussyfoot around the pragmatics of things. I'm a fat girl. And, you know, I don't feel bad about it. I'm also a smart girl and a funny girl and (shock) a healthy girl who eats a lot of vegetables and a not-to-be-trifled with girl and making an effort to save people's feelings and avoid the word 'fat' for so long as made a big deal out of being fat. And, while my size might be one of the most obvious things about me visually, it is actually one of the least important things about me in total. I feel like there should be more of the bigger picture taken into consideration.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Let's play a little game...

It's called "Guess How Much My Grocery Bill Was Today." I haven't been to the store in almost two months for a trip that didn't involve buying alcohol, soda, and frozen pizza only (that sounded bad, I'm not an alckie, I promise). Do you want to know what today's combined total is from two grocery stores (the Co-op and Hy-Vee)?


And that's US dollars.


What can I say - I was seduced by the fruit (problem #1), by having absolutely NO staples in the kitchen except soy sauce and packaged tuna (problem #2), and by having to purchase things like flour and canola oil to bake with because what I had on hand was 3+ years old and skunky (problem #3).

I must rectify this overspending in the future.

Problem #1: Next time I do not need 3 pints of strawberries, I don't bake with them (omg, they look so good *drools*). Fruit is good for me so I will need to buy plenty of fruit in future but perhaps in not so much quantity.

Problem #2: The grocery bills of >$300 would be more spread out over multiple trips to the store if I actually went more than 6 times per year (current average). I would be better able to manage usage of staples that way, too.

Problem #3: If I cook more then I won't have skunky flour. Ergo, ...

On a side note - I AM BAKING!!! Hahahahahaha!!

I'm not sure what got into me but there are raspberry pecan muffins in the oven RIGHT NOW! Yummy (the recipe is from the EarthBound Organic Farm Cookbook, Food to Live By)!!

Losers - 'Flush' feat Riz MC & Envy (official video)

I've never heard of this band before but this video is really cool! Thanks to the lovely Michael Sheen for posting it on his Twitter!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Oh, fiber.

I have done a lot of thinking in the past week or so and I have reached a set of conclusions about the world that I think will better suit me and my current outlook on things. Some of these things have been interactional (I have a new rule in regards to people who use passive-aggression to get me to do what they want to do. My new response is basically going to be to say, "I'm sorry you feel that way" and then walk away.) but some of them have been about health.

The first health idea I had was that I am going to start training for a 5K. I figure, if I start now, in May, that buy October I should be able to at least walk 5K in a local race (maybe the Race to Cure Childhood Cancer.) The good people of Buffalo Runners have put up a website that lists all the local races. And, a friend of mine sent me a link to some software that is a nine-week training program called something like "from couch to 5K".

The second health idea I had was that I used to love eating healthy. And, there is no way I can't do that again. Especially now that it is summer and all the local farmers will be out at the Farmer's markets with their produce. To that end, at the Farmer's market recently, I bought a load of vegetables in order to make a chopped salad with a little bit of egg and cheese, too. (I also bought sausage that I'm going to grill up and I may toss in their, too.) I decided to chop about 3 meals worth and then when I finish that I'll chop a few more veg. That way everything stays fresh.

But, I'm remembering now the thing about eating a lot of vegetables: They are full of fiber. This is amazing. It is also...well, how do I put this delicately? When you go from eating a lot of junk food to eating a lot of fiber, you find that the first trip to the bathroom in the morning is much more of a necessity. Oh, fiber. This is good, though. Fiber comes in, fills you up and then goes right back out.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Gym Incentives

I'm convinced my body is falling apart (and I'm only 31).

My joints hurt all the time (all the time and anything from my neck down). If I go to the doctor, worried that taking my creaky self to the gym will make something worse, I'm told the joint pain is because I'm overweight.

Thank you, Captain Obvious. I'm so glad I paid my co-pay for you to tell me something I already know and while we're on the topic of being overweight I am not so morbidly obese that mere walking will cause arthritis. I'm fat because I have enough joint pain to make a trip to the gym worrisome (at least worrisome for me, I'm a worry-wart).

I haven't been dancing this semester because the department was getting audited - in retrospect probably a good thing because my back turned into one giant problem back in February - so my activity has been limited to stretching on days when I can actually reach my toes.

In short - I need to remember to get my worry-wart, achy, creaking, too-lazy butt to the gym (I'm not a wuss, really, but I'd like to avoid any and all joint replacements in the future so I'm a little paranoid).

As incentive, I bought new running shoes today. Buying shoes (as much as I like pretty heels and kicky sneaks to the max) is problematic for me. Bunions, tendonitis, high arches, and a poopy right ankle make me overly picky about what goes on my feet. I tend to buy Nikes almost exclusively because they have enough toe room and arch support without the shoe getting too big in the heel (I really prefer Shox, which protect my knees on heel strike, but they're too expensive and almost never on sale). I bought Triax+ after trying on a boat-load of shoes* - as an added incentive I decided to splurge and get the Nike+ chip for my iPod. It will add up my running time and distance so it's a little more fun than just plain, old running shoes.

So shoes plus chip/iPod adapter was about $120 - maybe I'll try them out this evening once my knees stop screaming at me for making them carry full Rubbermaid tubs up and down the stairs multiple times today.

*Scheel's was pretty busy today with a lot of people in buying shoes...but I was the only one to take a couple of light jumps and running steps to test out each pair for fit/performance. The pair I wound up buying I actually tried and tested three times. Everyone else would put a pair of shoes on, stand up, sit down, and decide "yes" or "no" that way. How do you people do that? What if the shoes slip when you walk? You wouldn't want running shoes to slip! Or rub or pinch your toes. Blows my mind.


So, this tumblr site which used to be called "Fuck Yeah, Deathfatties!" has been a great source of inspiration to me. Here are all these fine women, doing their thing and looking fucking awesome while doing it and it is so nice to have a place where you can look and see all different body types and shapes instead of what is our cultural standard.

I was finishing up an errand earlier today and it was gorgeous out. The plan had been to run my errands and then go have ice cream, but I changed my mind. I came home and I got on my bike. I thought I would take a spin around my neighborhood. What I did was find a back way that connects to the bike trail that is sort of near my house. Since I found the trail, I figured, what the hell, let's actually ride on it for a little while.

The trail itself winds along a creek and goes for about five miles. I rode about half of it. I then took a different route home. And, while I was riding I had a funny little thought, "Oh my. Its a Deathfatty on a bicycle. Look out, World!"

I had another thought while I was riding, too. I understand that there are a lot of health issues that are caused by long term obesity, but I can't help but think that our obsession with appearance is a major contributor to that. How many people don't work out because they're so ashamed of how they look? How many other deathfatties weren't out bike riding today, not because they didn't want to but because they know they are out of shape and they are embarrassed about that.

I will admit that I get embarrassed when I go for a ride or a walk and I come back practically panting and red-faced. But, I keep doing it because I actually enjoy it. It feels good to move. I wonder if we focused more on that and less on appearance, if the "fat problem" would be as much of a problem.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Exercise Equipment

So, over Christmas I was sitting on the sofa with my Mother and we were watching Shop NBC (its this thing we do. We shop a shopping channel and make fun of the hideous jewelry) but it wasn't what we usually watch, it was a physical therapist who had invented a piece of fitness equipment that uses resistance to strengthen your muscles.

It actually looked like fun. So, I ordered one. I figured, if it looks like fun and I can just do six minutes on it a day, I'd be 42 minutes more healthy every week.

Can you say that? "42 minutes more healthy"? Well, given the first paragraph is actually one long run-on sentence, I suppose I can.

Anyway, it came in the mail and I've gotten around to using it twice this week. I'm a little sore from it, but nothing I can't handle. Although, there is one exercise in the basic 6 exercises that I just can't seem to get to work. Its been like trying to hula hoop (which is to say "embarrassing".) In fact, now that I think about it, it is exactly like hula hooping.

The exercise is meant to target the waist, hips, butt and thighs. You hold the blade and rock your hips and make do its resistance thing. And, I can't get it shake. Its a little ridiculous. Although, the cats have come to love it. Cooper likes to sit on the cat tower and bat at it as it swings by.

Sunday, 24 January 2010


I kind of can't believe it! I've lost 11 lbs in two weeks! That's really more then expected. That's really impressive considering the Special K challenge is to lost 6lbs in 2 weeks! (I haven't tried on a smaller pair of jeans yet but I don't think I lost enough inches to have lost a jeans size) It's even more impressive considering that my exercise regiment was hampered by the huge blister on my heel, which still hasn't completely healed but at least is not painful anymore. I wonder how much I would have lost if I wasn't limited by my heel? It doesn't matter though because I did better then I thought/hoped and I have a good start to my year. Now I only have like 50-60 more pounds go to before next year. haha


So, I have a number in mind. It is a pretty high number, but not as high as I thought it was going to be. You see, I got on a scale yesterday.

I'm not proud of the number, but I'm not really that ashamed of it, either. I know how it happened. I'm not my priority. I know that I'm pretty much all I ever talk about here, but in the non-blog world, my priorities are my friends and family, my cats, my research, my students, the lab, making sure bills get paid on time, and that I'm doing all that I can to make sure that my PhD is worth something when I graduate. Oh, and for two and half years, my now ex, who provided me with opportunity and incentive to unlearn many of my good habits by making me feel like a piece of trash and only eating store-bought junk himself. On the surface, there are a lot of first-person singular possessive markers, so it still looks like I'm just talking about me. But what I'm trying to point out is, that when it comes to what my body needs and what I need to be healthy, happy and stable.

The number that I'm thinking about is what it is. So, if I want it to be something else, I have to work on it. Honestly, I've said this before and you might think this is just me trying to convince myself but, as long as I'm healthy and not miserable because my needs aren't being met, that number can stay put. The thing is, I know I'm not. I get winding walking up the stairs and my clothes fit weird.

In a previous post, I mentioned that my plan is to take lunch and snacks to school and to food journal. I've been doing really well at taking my lunch. And, remembering snacks. And, remembering to eat them. I have noticed a correlation between being hungry and not being able to get work done. And, thanks to my friend Annie I've discovered a new energy/nutrition bar. These things are kind of amazing. All of the ingredients are words I can pronounce (without resorting to a dictionary.) They are a little more calorie intense than the other granola bars I've been eating, but they are super tasty. And, well, its nice to exactly what you are eating.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Update on week 1 of my Special K Challenge. I have lost 5 lbs! That's right! 5 lbs! I'm so excited! I think it's really working. I've enjoyed it so far. I've also added a new exercise video to my routine. I bought a resistance band kit from work and I know it's working because I am so sore. We also been having some unseasonbly warm weather here in the New York area so I have done some walking. I met some friends for dinner at the great restaurant in the East Village. I decided to go straight from work then going all the way home, being there for about 10 minutes and then turn right around and leave. I had an hour to kill before we were supposed to meet so I walked around the Village for a bit. I like exploring new neighborhoods. Yesterday, I walked to work. It was a good walk but halfway there I could feel a blister forming on my heel and by the time I got to work it has huge. It really hurts. I hope it pops soon because it really is painful and I don't want it to interfere with m progress. I guess I'll just have to fight through the pain.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Back in the Saddle.

Now that Coltrane is posting and has, if you will, thrown down the gauntlet it is time to start blogging and thinking about food again.

It is funny to put it that way, "thinking about food" because, honestly, I don't ever stop thinking about food. I love food. I love cooking. I definitely love eating. I even love reading diet books, as odd as that sounds. And, I feel that at this point in my life I have read too many of them and I'm old enough not to feed myself properly. Like a grown up. Healthy and such.

So, I bought a ham, some potatoes, loads of veg, and a bag of salad. (I also bought bacon and cinnamon rolls. It is my last weekend of freedom before the semester begins and I am going to enjoy it!) I feel like, what is important is that I just remain mindful of what I eat. If I am paying attention and trying to only eat at meal times or when I am hungry perhaps I can break some of my bad, couch potato habits.

In an effort to do this, to be mindful, I am going to do two things:

1. I have started food journalling. Every time something passes my lips, I make a note of it. I even bought a planner so that I'd have something all set to go. I've eaten a lot this weekend. True Story.

2. I am taking my lunch and two snacks with me to school every day. Additionally, I have V8 (don't make that face, I like the way it tastes and I am not you. :P), some Fiber One granola bars and a mess of tea bags that I am taking into my office. I am hoping that access to tasty snacks and my own tea stash will curb any "let's go to Starbucks or Tim Horton's" urges I have. I feel this will be good for my wasteline and my budget.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Special K 2-week Challenge

ok, my first post. Yeah!

We have all seen the commercials for the Special K Challenge. Have a bowl of Special K for breakfast, eat one of their meal bars for lunch and then have one of their many snack options throughout the day and then a sensible dinner at night. If you do this for 2 weeks, you will lose 1 jean size. Or so they say. We shall see. I bought two weeks with of special k and 2 weeks worth of Weight Watchers meals for dinner because I'm lazy and I figured that would be the easiest. I'm starting Sunday, I want to eat all the "bad" food I have first so they are not around to tempt me and anyway Sunday seems like a good day to start. So as of now, I wear a size 16 jeans. Hopefully, I'll be a size 14 in 2 weeks