Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Weekly Meeting Topic: A Little Help from my Friends

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Wow, it's been an emotional day. 

When I got to my WW meeting tonight, I was weighed in by my leader. I like that she reads my blog now because she has way more insight into my thoughts and my journey and knows far more than she would from just my attendance. (I really don't talk that much in the meetings.) She knows that the last few weeks were rough for me and after she weighed me in, she asked me how I was doing. I told her I was definitely doing better than I had been, but am not great. I haven't fully recommitted yet (I'd estimate I'm doing 40% of what I would like to be doing). She told me my weight was up at the scale (I wasn't surprised) and then we talked. I took in everything she said. It all made so much sense. And she actually gave me a few great strategies for this week that I'm going to use.

She helped me - when it didn't even occur to me to ask her for help (more on this below).

While at the scale, telling her where I am mentally, I admitted something to her something that only dawned on me today while I was doing my 112 flights of stairs (I do a LOT of thinking on the stairs). I actually figured out what triggered my binge a few weeks ago. And just telling her the cause - admitting it out loud - made me cry instantly. I will share it with you all, but it really needs its own blog, so you'll have to wait a few days.

When I sat down and saw what tonight's meeting topic was, I was emotional all over again. It was about friends, and asking for help - something she had just done for me, but I never would have asked for.

We talked about how friends are helpful along our journey, how beneficial they are and how important their support is. They can motivate us, inspire us, keep us in check, give us new ideas, discover new foods or activities with us, or even just be a shoulder to cry on or an ear to vent to. They can empathize. They can sympathize. They can celebrate our successes with us and help pick us up when we fall down. They understand what what we are going through and it's comforting to know they are there for us.

Though the meeting centered around friends and help, I have to admit, I do not relate to either concept very well. Let me explain:

1- I *do* currently have people in my life I would consider friends but that has only happened in the last 4 or 5 years. And I have never had a best friend. In fact, for most of my life, I did not have friends at all. I spent the majority of my life alone. Literally, alone, in my room, doing "weird stuff" (as my Mom would say - you know - reading sheet music and playing instruments, drawing, or organizing stuff. Normal stuff kids with no friends do.) In fact, I am still that person: Alone, in my room, doing "weird stuff". And to be honest, with my limited friend experience, I know I'm not a good friend. I'm used to putting myself first because I never had to consider anyone else, and I still do that. I never consider anyone else's feelings before mine. And as surprising as this may sound, for as much as I share on my blog/online, I keep a lot of stuff to myself. I only allow people to get so close to me (in real life and online) and then there's a wall they hit and I don't give them any more. I don't let them get any closer. I guess that's how I always protected myself and to be honest, I'm not sure that will ever change.

2- As for help, being what I would call fiercely independent (probably from being alone most of my life), I have to admit, I have a lot of trouble asking *anyone* for help for any reason. Not only do I not like admitting I need help, but it usually doesn't even occur to me to *go* to anyone for help. I feel like I should be able to figure out everything on my own, because that's the way I've always done things. I had no love or support from my family and I had no friends so what other choice did I have? I relied on myself. For everything. And became the person I am today as a result.

That being said, my WW journey has been one of the few times in my life that I realized and admitted that I *do* need help. I obviously cannot do this alone or I would have. Long ago. I do get a lot of support from the meeting, from the program, from all of you, and from my new leader, Melanie. And though it's hard for me to admit it, I do need all of that. I tell people all the time that I wouldn't be where I am today if it were not for Weight Watchers and if not for the meetings. I know they have been crucial to my success. I guess it's just good I realized that or who knows where I'd be today.

So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all of you who listen to me. In person, or by reading my words. Thank you for our ideas, your suggestions, your input, even your offers of help (many of which I will never accept). But I do appreciate it. And thank you, Melanie, for that hug tonight. You have no idea how much I needed that. I'm so thankful you're my new leader and I can't wait to have you hand me my lifetime award. We're gonna do it together. :)

What did I accomplish this week?
  • I finally got on the Wii after 3 weeks of avoiding it. I even let it tell me I gained 8 pounds and that I'm "overweight!". I seriously hate that stupid machine. What I really dislike is that it takes SO LONG between exercises, and all the stupid shit the 'trainers' keep saying to me. I wish I could streamline it so it goes from exercise to exercise and make them shut up. I'm not sure how much more I'll put up with it.
  • I journaled about half the week. Obviously not as much as I wanted to do, but more than the previous week, so that's progress.
  • My 8 pound weights aren't fatiguing my muscles fast enough, so I ordered new 10-pound weights for my Total Body Conditioning class .
  • Speaking of: I had such a great Total Body Conditioning & Pilates class this weekend that my hamstrings and ab muscles were *killing* me till last night. I really worked them to their max and it felt great.
  • I ordered a medicine ball to use as my desk chair at home (instant core workout). And if I can adapt to it/like it, I'll get one for work too.
  • Despite my inconsistent eating, I'm really proud to say that I still use the stairs at work all the time & walk the escalators at work and in Grand Central - even if I'm with William (and he takes the elevator) and even if I'm not pressed for time. I remind myself that I *can*. And I *will*.
  • I did my 112 flights of stairs again today (my new distance record) with my 2 pound weights. Here I am before:

showing off my left hip (my favorite of my two hips):


and after (I was a super sweaty mess!)

  • I worked out 6 of the 7 days including running, like I said I would (that was a huge accomplishment since I had put it off for a few weeks.) Here's my activity spreadsheet for the week:
Activity Week Ending 20100330

What do I want to do this upcoming week?
  • Journal, obviously. And along those lines, try something my leader suggested to me tonight (I'm not mentioning it here)
  • Plan two long bike rides for this Saturday and Sunday when the weather is supposed to be great. And use them as my 'bike therapy' time.
  • Weigh myself daily @ home, including my full weigh in on Saturday (I've been avoiding the scale). Also, take my measurements and record them.
  • I have 3 nights of socializing in a row. I will handle them by planning my day around them as much as possible (eating less throughout the day/getting in my produce & good health guidelines) and I will journal ahead of time (at least the # of points I am willing to use for the events, even if not the actual items).

Before I go, let me do a few thank yous/shout outs. If I didn't put your link here, it will be coming soon. Thank you to these bloggers:
Secondly, I'd like to mention that I got a little caught up on email replies - as far as March 17th. I have about 50 emails to go (and climbing...) but will not address them before this weekend, the earliest. (possibly later).

Lastly, I have plans Wednesday through Friday night which means I will not be blogging again until this weekend, the earliest. But considering it's supposed to be beautiful weather, and I will be out on my bike, I can't say when for sure. This is just a warning since some of you grow concerned and email or text me when you don't see anything for a few days. I do appreciate it, but no need for concern. This time. :)

Have a terrific week everyone!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Biking Adventures: Welcome to Biking in 2010!

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It's not quite officially biking weather yet (I only ride if the temperature hits 50 degrees or more). But to date, we've been lucky enough to have a handful of what I consider "bike appropriate" days. As you likely know, I take photos whenever I go out riding. And I wanted to share some of my favorite photos since you all seem to enjoy my biking/photo posts.

Oh, I also have two REALLY BIG, EXCITING biking bits of news to share, but can't yet. I want to wait until they're official. And believe me, it's KILLING ME to not tell you this stuff...

There is one other bike related thing I can share with you though - I found this out on Friday and it pretty much blew my mind...

Do you remember how I rode the NYC Century Tour last September? If not, let me remind you: that's the day I rode 70 miles in fishnets, heels and a leopard bustier. To date, it is my longest ride in a single day. Here I was in Brooklyn, just before passing the Verrazano Bridge:

Me, during the NYC Century Tour

Not only did I know I'd be doing the NYC Century Tour again this year, but I wanted to do the longer tour. (Last year I registered for 55 miles. This year I registered for 75.) And when registration opened up, I was ready. So ready that I had a calendar reminder set up for the day/time registration would open up.

And on that morning, I had the URL up and my finger on the "refresh" button just waiting for the moment I could register. And I did!

Well, here's the funny part - on Friday, I got an email from someone at Transportation Alternatives, who told me "you were the first person to register for this year's NYC Century Bike Tour!" How funny is that? I was the *first* to register! That's crazy, but I thought it was so cool. I had no idea I was first, but I was really glad they told me. I think it proves how excited I was/am! (Note: You can still register here.)

Anyway, here are some of my favorite photos from my few trips this year (there will be plenty more to come!)

Love on the Williamsburg Bridge:


Grand Central Terminal (view from 42nd St):

After I took this photo, a tourist Dad and his daughter asked me to stop so they could get my photo. They said I was the "coolest thing they had seen while in NY" and liked my "drive by phototography" style (most of my photos are taken while I am in motion). I thanked them for the compliment but admitted it was very dangerous and I should probably stop to take my photos so I don't get killed...

I love bringing my bike to Grand Central Terminal. It's my biking/activity world and my commuting world combined!

I took my bike for a visit to GCT

This is on the Queens side of the Pulaski Bridge. I love this. For obvious reasons:

I love this so much I can't stand it!

One of my new bike riding outfits - I love this skirt. I recently picked it up at Target in the girls' department for about 16 bucks. The slingbacks are from Payless for about 20:

Waiting to descend the Williamsburg Bridge. Again.

"Love Me" in Williamsburg. This is recurring graffiti I've found in Brooklyn and Manhattan that I really like. I photograph it whenever I find it:

Love Me

I love this so much! OMG the beard makes me laugh every time!

Post Beards

A Hassidic couple walking along Kent Ave in Greenpoint:

View of lower Manhattan behind an overflowing pile of trash (photographed from the Brooklyn Promendade in Brooklyn Heights):

NYC Skyline behind an overflowing pile of trash

I found this amusing (on Christie St in Manhattan):

You can tell the judge...

I <3 NYFD. I <3 murals. This satisfies both of those loves:

NYFD Squad 18

The gorgeous (and century old) Manhattan Bridge:

I love the Manhattan Bridge

Paper tigers hanging from trees with water tower in the distance (on the border of Chinatown in Manhattan):

I love this graffiti/stencil on Franklin Ave in Williamsburg, Brooklyn!

You're a Star! (I love the hell out of that!)

Call me crass, but I love the F word (11th St in Williamsburg, Brooklyn):

Bliss <3's You (and fuck you!)

Buildings in Manhattan (I don't remember where):

I love this shot.

I don't know how sweet Drew met his demise, but I hope he had a great life while he was here. He must have been a well-loved dog to have such a beautiful memorial. RIP Drew! (1st Ave in Manhattan, Lower East Side)

RIP Drew! I'm sure you were a great dog!

So that's it for some of my favorite photos I've taken while riding my bike in 2010. There will surely be more as the weather gets nicer and I have more bike riding adventures. (This is my Flickr set of biking photos for 2010, which will get much bigger throughout the year, as I ride more.)

And if/when either of the other two exciting biking related news items becomes official, I will certainly blog about them. Till then, enjoy the photos! :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Activity and Fitness: Running

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I've always hated running.

I never ran as a child, or an adult for that matter. I played no sports. Heck, I was so lazy I hardly walked. Truthfully, prior to age 35, I barely moved. So running, to me, seemed like the most painful and horrible thing you could put your body through. And if you're severely out of shape and overweight (like I was), running really is nothing short of torture - not to mention embarrassing.

Along my weight loss journey, despite the fact that I joined a gym and worked out very regularly, I never even considered running. It just didn't even occur to me; I held onto my lifelong fear and hatred of it. Running was something *other people did* - *Fit people*, whose bodies were capable of all that high intensity and impact. Running, for me, just wasn't an option.

Then, one day, last August, totally randomly, I was at the gym with William and I said to myself "Today's the day I will run". I don't know why that was day I decided to give running a try, but I did. And I wrote a blog about it.

Since then, I've tried to run once per week, but some weeks I didn't run at all. To be honest, I still do not love running and have to force myself to do it. I have to talk myself into doing it - using a lot of empowering beliefs and positive self talk to get to the gym on the days I schedule myself to run.

"Why do you run if you don't enjoy it?", you may be asking yourself. I'll tell you why - Because there is no reason for me NOT to run: I am physically capable of it, it makes me stronger and I feel great when I finish. Besides, I hated everything when I first started - every machine, every class, my stair workout, every bit of sweat and discomfort - but that's no reason not to do those things. It's just a matter of getting used to it mentally and physically and pushing myself and seeing results - because I can and I feel great when I do that.

But I have another secret weapon/running inspiration: my twitter pal/fellow successful WWer and blogger, Suzi Storm. I have never met this woman or even heard her voice but she reminds me a lot of me (someone even asked her if we were sisters). She was my first pal on Nike + and I love seeing her running updates on her Twitter page. Look how cute she is!

Whether she realizes it or not, she inspires me to run. On February 20th, just seeing she had run that afternoon inspired me to go out and run - even though I had already done my workout that day. And now every time I run, or if I think of *not running*, I think of her and get myself to the gym.

Yesterday, I went for my run like I said I would in Tuesday night's blog post. Here I am when I got home from a 3 mile run:

Friday morning, after a 3 mile run

Then, when I uploaded my stats into Nike +, I had an unexpected surprise - apparently this run pushed me out of their Yellow Level and into Orange. According to this guy, I'm now officially an athlete ;) :

Because of that video, I did wear my one and only orange shirt yesterday (side note: I hate orange - I have a whole blog drafted about how much I hate orange but it isn't complete...).

Stupid orange

Suzi doesn't know this, but I even have a song in my workout playlist that makes me think of her, and I added it to my playlist specifically for that reason. It's Oasis' "The Shock of the Lightning" - a long song with a good pace and a nice droning to it. For me, it's another anchor - every time I hear that song during my work out, I think of her. And if I'm running, I run even harder.

If you look at yesterday's running chart, the portion of the graph that is elevated for the biggest stretch is when that song was on. I challenged myself to run the length of that song. That's the longest consecutive period of running I have done to date. It was not easy, but I pushed myself:

Run 20100326

And in my post-run notes, I even thanked Suzi for her constant inspiration:

Orange Level

So why do I run? I run because I can. I run because it's something I never thought I would be able to do. I run because I feel amazing afterward. I run because it's an instant sense of accomplishment. I run because I am pretty sure it has helped redefine my body. I run because I hope that one day I *do* love running. And I run because I'm inspired by Suzi Storm and so many others. Thank you, Suzi :)

And apparently Suzi is sharing the love with a blog post today about me! That was a total coincidence, I swear!!

Note: If you're on Nike + and would like to add me, my profile is here


And before I go, I promised to give a shout out for this upcoming event in NYC:

There's an exciting upcoming fitness and wellness event in New York City – the 17th annual SELF Magazine Workout in the Park, taking place Saturday, May 8th at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 P.M.  Tickets just went on sale to the public this Monday, March 15th, and they usually sell out. They are available at www.SELFworkoutinthepark.com, they are $20 in advance, and include a year subscription to SELF (a $10 value).  Proceeds benefit Cancer and Careers, Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Update on My Recovery and More Thoughts on Missed Meetings

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"You may not be there yet, but you're closer than you were yesterday." - Unknown
That showed up on my phone yesterday morning because I subscribe to Weight Watchers Twitter feed and have their posts sent to me via text. I especially liked it because the timing was appropriate for me with everything I have been going through lately. After Tuesday night's post, I had decided that Wednesday was my fresh start day, and I *was* closer than I had been the day before. I suppose the quote can be interpreted however you like, but I like to think that because of my mental reset and fresh start, I was closer to my short term and long term goals, to being back on track.

I was determined to make yesterday the day I got back on plan - to make it the day I broke my recent cycle of food abuse - to make it the first of many days of with good, healthy, clean eating - to make it the day where I begin to feel proud and comfortable again.

And I'm pleased to report that yesterday *was* that day. I accomplished what I set out to do. I ate well and journaled, I followed the good health guidelines, I went to punk rope (but didn't have a great workout - my body is still recovering from everything I put it through in the last two weeks and it wasn't functioning as optimally as it normally does). I was on plan and in control again, which is a great feeling. It's nice to start putting distance between the present day and the setbacks I am recovering from.

But the first day back on plan is always the most challenging, for me at least, getting back to all the things I know I need to do - the things that came naturally not long ago - and undoing the old habits that I was allowing to creep back in. But I did it. In the morning, I walked in the opposite direction of the store where I had been buying my daily giant chocolate bar & soy crisps. I also had to avoid the chocolate and nut aisle in Target that afternoon. But both of those things were completely within my control and I managed to do it. It may have taken some mental rehearsing and positive self talk, but that's what the Tools for Living are for. I knew I could do it, and I was so relieved that I did.

I'm not saying getting back on track is easy. Yesterday was challenging for me. But it feels so good mentally as soon as I do get back on track. (And I know from experience that in a few days I will feel better physically too. I'm really looking forward to that part.) And sure, I was a little hungry and irritable yesterday, but I knew to expect it and I dealt with it successfully. I knew I had to endure those physical and mental feelings to break my cycle. I've done it before and I know that it gets easier as I have more good days under my belt. Soon enough, my body won't be expecting all of that extra food I had been giving it the last few weeks and my physical hunger as well as my emotional hunger will be far more manageable. I will survive. And I will be stronger as a result.

One thing I wanted to mention was that I'm really glad that by writing about my setbacks (as well as my successes) manages to inspire and help so many of you. In regards to the feedback I received recently, I was especially glad to hear from those of you that told me you also had your own setbacks, or had given up, but my honesty and hearing how I went to my meeting anyway and faced the scale convinced you to attend your meeting too, or start re-attending meetings. That is some of the best feedback for me because it means 1) I helped you without even realizing it and 2) that you're accepting the process, that you are acknowledging there is no such thing as perfection, and that you're not letting it derail you. That's such an important lesson and thing to accept in this journey and I was really happy to hear that sentiment from so many of you, so congrats to all of you that went to your meetings!

Over a year ago, I wrote about my thoughts on missed meetings. In my 3.5 years on program, I have missed very few meetings - only when I was too sick to leave my apartment and once because the bus never came and I missed the meeting because of it.

I have attended my meetings in every type of weather imaginable and was even there on the night of my birthday in 2007. I was there the weeks I followed program really well and had reasons to celebrate; but more importantly, I went on the weeks I knew I had strayed far off program - including this week. Those are the most important weeks to go, but that's most often when we consider *not* going. Yet it's those times when we need our meeting the most - We should get weighed in (but you don't have to look at your number and if you really don't want to get weighed in, you can always use a no-weigh in pass. For me, I believe in facing that number - good or bad), we need to see our leaders and fellow members - people who have been through and understand what we are going through, we need to share our experiences, we need that support, we need to hear something that really resonates or gives us a new idea or inspires us or makes us think of things differently, we need to put the past behind us and move on.

You don't have to share anything if you don't want to, but all that matters is you GO to your meeting. I can't stress enough how important it is to be there on those weeks. Missing a meeting only gives you more license to stay 'off plan' and that so easily leads to allowing yourself to put off another meeting and another and another. And at what point do you go back? How much more damage do you do in that time? Think about it - what good is going to come from NOT going to your meeting? None, I assure you. If you think "I'll go back when I take off the weight I put on this week", I can tell you that is a TERRIBLE IDEA and it's not going to happen. You are not going to magically lose that weight. Just go to your meeting. No one is going to judge you. They are there to help.

Because of how I feel about missed meetings, I was so happy to hear how many of you went to your meetings after your own setbacks and I implore all of you that attend meetings to make a commitment to yourself that you will always go - no matter what. Because NOT attending a meeting doesn't change the events of the past week but it can have a devastating effect on how you handle the upcoming week.

I'd also like to thank my leader Melanie who weighed me in this week. I warned her that I knew I was up before I even got on the scale and mentioned I was 'dealing with stuff', but I didn't talk about my week in the meeting. I didn't want to share it there so I saved it for the blog. And she left me an amazing comment in my post on Tuesday night that made me cry. Thank you Melanie, for being such a great leader and believing in me. It means so much, you have no idea.

Thank you all again for your support, encouragement and belief in me. It's so nice to know how much you all root for me, and I think of my readers often. Thank you for being there for me!


On a side note: If you live in the tri-state area, I'd like to mention an upcoming benefit for Autism Speaks going on in Hoboken, New Jersey. They're looking for bakers for this event. Details are here:

On April 17th, 2010 from 1 to 4 p.m., at Willie McBrides Bar in Hoboken, NJ, 20 bakers will feed a congregation of hungry guests and an exalted panel of Judges at this boisterous, delectable, extraordinary shindig to benefit Autism Speaks.

Winners will be selected in the following categories
  • Most Creative
  • Best Presentation
  • Most Unique Ingredients
  • Sexiest Baker
  • Best In Show which will be voted on by both the judges and the guests!
100% of the proceeds will go to benefit Autism Speaks

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Weekly Meeting Topic: More Feedback, not Failure

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This week's topic tied nicely into everything I've been going through these last two weeks - we talked about learning from our mistakes. Feedback, not failure, as Weight Watchers says.

As I admitted last week, I had one of my worst binges ever the previous week. The day I wrote that post, I thought I had put it past me. I actually did great on plan that day, last Tuesday. But the next day was another story... Starting with post-work beer on St Patrick's Day that I hadn't planned. Followed by consuming half a jar of peanut butter with half a loaf of bread on Thursday, followed by yet more quantities of food I should not have consumed the rest of the week and weekend.

Again, I made a conscious decision to engage in old habits, poor choices and destructive behaviors. More self-sabotage - eating way too much (mostly nutritionally insignificant foods  - more giant dark chocolate bars every day, bags of soy crisps and more vegan cookies), drinking too much beer and not tracking anything. Almost a repeat of the previous week.

Needless to say, there are consequences for my actions. It showed up as another 3 pounds on the scale this week. And while that totally sucks (I've gained 7 pounds in 2 weeks), I really do believe in what I say all the time "It's not just about the number on the scale". While I hate seeing that number go up, it's not what I dwell on - it's the behaviors that scare me the most, because those behaviors are what ultimately drive that number. Those behaviors are what got me to be 208 pounds. Those behaviors are what made me, and kept me, heavy and unhappy most of my life. Those behaviors, left unchecked, will bring me back to a life I don't ever want to return to.

I managed to undo two months of progress in two weeks. And if I don't stop now, when will I stop? When I'm 200 pounds again? It may sound dramatic, but any of you who have been in this situation realize that it's not. That's *how* these things happen. And I refuse to let that happen. I've been through this too many times. But I am fully aware that if I continue to eat this way, if I let these old habits back, I will look and feel the way I used to.

But the truth is, I already see it and feel it. The same way I could see and feel all those great tiny differences over the last few weeks, I feel them again, but this time in the wrong direction. I feel the difference when I cross my legs (not as comfortable as it was just two weeks ago). I feel my ass is bigger just by touching it. I see my stomach is bigger. Even my face is bigger and I don't like looking in the mirror (and this is one of my favorite pasttimes!). I miss how terrific I felt two weeks ago. I miss feeling in control. I miss not feeling bloated. I miss being comfortable.

If I were to allow this over-indulgence to continue, when will it end? As I have said in the past, I will never quit. Because if I quit, I know it's just a matter of time and I'll be 200 pounds again, maybe more. And that is not an option for me. I will NOT let that happen - I have promised myself I would never return to that life of self-imposed misery. I don't ever want to be that person or live like that again. And then I remind myself that I am in control. I'm in control of being healthy. I am in control of preventing myself from returning to that awful life. I'm in control of everything I put in my mouth. I'm in control of every decision I make that will impact me negatively or positively - long term and short term. Ultimately, I am in control of all of those things. We all are.

I was talking to a friend about my recent setbacks, describing my gluttonous events and mentioned several times that I felt ashamed. He suggested I remove emotion from the equation - stop feeling ashamed for what I did so I could get past it. And he was right. Somehow I forgot to think of it that way. And it reminded me of something very similar my leader, Melanie, said in a meeting a while back - she reframed setbacks for us, suggesting we remove emotion from these kinds of events and see it as data. That way we can analyze the data and move on. It was great advice then and hearing him say it helped me to think of it that way again, so I was thankful for the reminder.

I won't lie, it's disappointing to have setbacks, but I've written this before: None of us will ever be "cured". There is no such thing. This journey is forever and it's just part of life. We will suffer setbacks. Even me. ;) And I think it's good that I share this with you so none of you think I have some secret or have this all figured out. It's a learning process for all of us. All that matters is that we get up, dust ourselves off, learn from it and move forward, determined. And that's exactly what I intend to do. I want to go back to how I felt just two weeks ago - amazing in every possible way. I can't wait to feel that again. I know what I need to do, and I know I can do it. I've done it before and I can do it again. Now I just have to do it. And I will.

Accomplishments/great moments in the last few weeks:
  • I can't believe I forgot to mention this, but a few weeks ago, I signed up for the NYC Century Tour. I did the 55 mile route last year, but I'm going to do the 75 mile route this September 12th.
  • I had some incredible feedback from my Total Body Conditioning instructor, who wrote this to me in an email "It’s such a beautiful thing to go from having exercise be self punitive to a way to celebrate your body; I’m so glad you recognize that. It’s also a true pleasure for me to watch you get stronger in class-you’re lifting heavier weights, your form is impeccable and you work hard.  Best thing ever for an instructor" Wow! There are so many compliments in there, I don't know where to begin! I got teary when I read that! And my Pilates instructor this week came around to me while I was on my mat at one point. Again, I always think "What am I doing wrong now?" when she gets near me. While we were in the middle of an exercise, she took hold of my foot that was on the ground (bent at the knee) and began to pull it out straight. At first I thought it was aligned incorrectly with my hips or something. I continued to do my leg circles with the other leg and asked her what she was doing as she pulled my leg flat on the floor. She told me "You're strong enough now to do them this way". I wasn't doing anything wrong - she had given me the 'advanced move'. I definitely felt the difference. I was simultaneously proud and pretty amazed at how far I had come, in both classes. And I realized how much my instructors had seen me change and how much believe in me. And that felt so good.
  • On my way to WW 2 weeks ago, a man standing next to me on the subway prefaced a conversation by telling me he didn't want to offend me, but he had a question. I was curious and told him to go ahead. He asked me what gym I go to. I laughed when I heard his question (how is that offensive?), and told him two - the Y and a chain gym, but that I work out every day. He told me I looked so fit and healthy. That was a HUGE compliment to me. I had never been told that by a stranger - this man has no idea how sedentary I used to be, or how overweight I was - and I was so flattered to think I appear 'fit and healthy' to strangers! I am used to receiving compliments on my physical traits or style/outfits, but those have little to do with me - those are a product of my genes and just knowing where to shop. But being told I looked 'fit and healthy' was a compliment that was all MINE. It was all my doing and I felt so proud at that moment. It's really one of the best compliments I've ever had. (for the record, here is a photo of me that night minutes before I got on the 6 Train. I do think my arms have been looking really good lately-)
Tuesday Evening in Grand Central

  • I keep forgetting to mention that I finally tried Steel Cut Oats and holy moly they're amazing! Thank you so much to all of you that recommended them a while ago. I love them! They're even better than oatmeal. Way better, in fact. What a great nutty texture and flavor!
  • I did the stairs yesterday and incorporated my 2 pound weights for the first time (something I mentioned wanting to do a few weeks ago). It definitely made it a little more challenging, but it was fun. I tried to vary how I used them each time I did a set up the stairs, and on my way down I held them over my head. It was a nice distraction, a bit of a bonus arm/shoulder workout and I got a lot sweatier than normal. I can't believe how much I look forward to my weekly stair workouts now! I love them! I did 112 flights yesterday. 

Before 112 Flights of Stairs


After 112 Flights of Stairs
  • Speaking of my stair workout... I realized that once it gets warmer I won't be able to do the stairs in my office because it will just be way too hot in the stairwell and I might pass out. This saddened me a little since I enjoy this workout so much now... then I remembered the outdoor parking garage where William parks. I'm going to use THOSE stairs instead! So I have a warm weather stair plan. Yay!
    What I will work on this week:
    • I think it goes without say that journaling is high on my list of priorities this week. I need to journal. I will journal. (I heard another fantastic quote in the meeting tonight - apparently the fill in leader, Ellen, says "Even if you don't journal it, your butt will."  Wow, she is right about that! My ass has gotten noticeably bigger these last two weeks that I haven't journaled! That's a great quote. One I'll be reminding myself of daily if I consider not tracking...)
    • I'll continue to think about why I engaged in the self destructive behaviors over the last few weeks so I can learn from it as I put it behind me.
    • I will make a conscious effort to remove emotion from the equation when I think about how I over-indulged. I will focus on 'analyzing the data'. 
    • Needless to say - I will immediately break my habit of going to the drug store every morning when I get off the train to buy a giant chocolate bar and bag of soy crisps (this was costing me 5 dollars a day!!! in addition to costing me 14 points before I even had my breakfast! What a waste of money and points! Geez...)
    • I will run this Friday (groan). I haven't run in a few weeks and I need to. I'd also like to write my blog about running that I've been meaning to write.
    • I will only drink beer on Thursday and Saturday, 3 max per night. (I drank almost every day last week.)
    • I will remind myself what I want, why I am doing this, and that I am worth it. Often.
    Finally, we ended the meeting with a fantastic quote on the board. It's credited to Tom Krause (I had to look him up, he's a motivational speaker). It stated:
    "There are no failures, just experiences and your reactions to them." 
    I absolutely love that quote and it will be helpful for me to remember that this week as I get back on track and think about what I can learn from, and how I want to respond to, my own recent events.

    Also, thanks to all of you for your support via tweets, facebook, text messages, emails - it means so much to know how many people care and how many people believe in me. It's pretty overwhelming, really. Thank you all for reminding me I'm not alone.

    Oh and sorry but I took a break from everything blog related this weekend, so I'm now even further behind on email replies. Hang in there...

    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    Because I'm Awesome

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    (Note: Whenever I write a very personal post like I did this past Tuesday, I get an overwhelming amount of mail in addition to the comments. Usually very long, personal emails, which is great. The problem is that I was already a week behind in responses on my correspondences so I wanted to let you all know that I will be unable to address most of the email, comments and facebook emails until Sunday at the earliest. Therefore, you may have to wait two weeks for a response. I know that's a long time but I think you all realize that I don't get paid for this and I have a very busy life outside of blogging, and responding is very time consuming, so that's the best I can do.)

    For several years now, I have been using the word "Awesome" in reference to myself quite liberally. I say it often when people ask me the simple question: "How are you?" I usually respond, enthusiastically: "I'm awesome! How are you?!". And if you're my friend on Facebook, you may have even noticed that my headline reads, quite simply: "I'm Awesome".

    Facebook: I'm Awesome.

    I am guessing that if people don't know me and hear my 'awesomeness' references, it comes across one of two ways:

         1) I'm totally conceited and full of myself.
    My response: That's not entirely untrue and if this bothers them, quite honestly, I don't care.

    (Or they may think the opposite...)

         2) I have low self-esteem and am trying to convince myself I am awesome by saying it to myself repeatedly.
    My response: I assure you, that is hardly the case. There is one thing I no longer suffer from, and it's low self esteem. If anything, it's possible that I think way too highly of myself (see #1).

    I have come to a point in my life (thank you, 30's!) where I actually like myself and finally realized that I am, indeed, *awesome*.

    I feel this way for a number of reasons - a lot of which only occurred to me after I took the time to make my health and my life a priority. And I'm insanely proud of turning my life around the way I did and I see no reason to act modest about this feat or my greatness. I really am awesome and capable of some pretty awesome things!

    My Punk Rope instructor, Tim, picked up my constant references to my awesomeness quite a while ago. And one night, he told me there was a song he was going to play in class that was an ode to me.

    What is the song, you wonder? Simply enough: "Because I'm Awesome!" by the Dollyrots. Here are the lyrics. Many of which (unsurprisingly) I do think apply to me:
    I’ve got the new style, uh oh
    And I’m walking right down your street
    I’m on your speed dial, you know
    The one everyone wants to meet

    (I always tell you how great you dress)
    It’s cause I’m fashionably socialized
    (You’re smarter, better, no, the best!)
    Just look at me!

    I’m a leader, I’m a winner, And I’m cleaner
    Cause I’m awesome!
    I don’t need you cause I’m neat-o and I beat you
    Cause I’m awesome
    That’s right

    They say I’m gifted, uh huh
    Well I’m a certified prodigy
    I’m gonna own you, uh huh
    I’m gonna bring you to your knees

    (I always tell you how smart you are)
    It’s cause my brain is really supersized
    (You’re an academic superstar)
    Just look at me!

    I’m a leader, I’m a winner, And I’m cleaner
    Cause I’m awesome
    I don’t need you cause I’m neat-o and I beat you
    Cause I’m awesome!
    That’s right

    Got a career plan, uh huh
    Gonna make lots of money
    And bought a self tan, uh huh
    Don’t I look healthy?

    (I always tell you how great you smell)
    It’s cause I’m naturally deodorized
    (You’re stronger, faster and can spell)
    Just look at me!

    I’m a leader, I’m a winner, And I’m cleaner
    Cause I’m awesome!
    I don’t need you cause I’m neat-o and I beat you
    Cause I’m awesome
    That’s right

    Rah rah rah rah rah rah rah!
    Rah rah rah rah rah rah rah!
    Rah rah rah rah rah rah rah!
    I don’t need you
    Cause I’m Awesome
    Uh huh
    Not only do I love the funny, happy and self-appreciating message in this song, the fact that Tim made it 'mine', and that it has a great sound (it's fast-ish, fun & pop-punky - the way I like most of my music) but it's also the perfect tempo for jumping rope and cardio workouts. It's in my iWorkout playlist and always puts a smile on my face when I hear it because of the associated memories, the lyrics and the positive message.  (Note for you WWers: This is the tool for living called Anchoring)

    You can hear it/see the video here:

    Tim, thank you for dedicating this song to me. I'm not sure if you were making fun of my my lack of modesty when you did so, but I really love this song and am glad you made me aware of it. Thanks for giving me this anchor :)

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Confessions from (and the Recovery from) a Binge

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    I've chosen to cover the weekly topic tomorrow because I wanted to write something more personal tonight while it's all very fresh in my head...

    Today is TWIET (Tweet What I Eat Tuesday) and among the food/exercise related tweets I posted, I also tweeted something I wasn't sure if I was going to mention here at all:
    Confession time: I binged this weekend. Probably 150 points over my allowance. I hope my body is physically capable to do the stairs today.
    Sending that out into the Twitterverse helped me in a number of ways:
    1. It would explain why you're going to see a very small list in my "accomplishments" for the week in tomorrow's post.
    2. It would explain why I'm further from goal.
    3. It will explain why I'm not going to be feeling or referring to myself as 'tiny' for a while.
    4. It helps me re-set myself mentally when I admit things and are accountable for them.
    5. And finally because I want you all to see and believe that I'm not perfect, yet I am still successful because I persevere.
    I recently answered a reader question regarding this topic - how do I recover from setbacks. There's plenty in there but I didn't have a recent binge to draw upon in my reply. Now I do -

    This weekend was the biggest setback I've had in months. It was the worst binge I've had in recent memory. I honestly cannot remember the last time I ate so much. Which leads me to a thought I had during my binge (I'm still very thoughtful and self aware, even during a binge!):

    You don't have to BE fat to FEEL fat.

    We've all heard someone we consider skinny or 'normal size' complain that they feel fat. And I know my reaction was that I wanted to slap the hell out of them and tell them to walk a mile in MY fat shoes - with my actual fat, my thighs rubbing, my stretch marks, my shortness of breath, my inability to wear pants/shorts/ANYTHING without pantyhose, my childhood memories of being called fat daily, my years of insecurities and pain. But unless they've ever actually been fat, they have no idea what it's really like.

    The thing is though, during my binge, on some level, I felt like I could relate to that sentiment.

    First there's the label "fat". At what point am I not fat? Do I stop calling myself 'fat' now? I have fat, does that not make me fat? I've called myself fat for so long I'm not sure it's safe to stop referring to myself that way. But for the point I am trying to make, I will say I'm 'average size' currently. Despite that, and despite that I looked pretty much the same as I had the day before the binge when I saw 'tiny' and called myself 'tiny', I FELT SO FAT.

    I realized that fat is not just a size, it's a behavior. When I eat certain foods, I *feel* fat. When I engage in gluttonous behaviors, I *feel* fat. And quite simply, just having that much food IN my body made me *feel* fat (and I'm not kidding when I tell you I could plainly see my belly was bigger as all the food just sat there waiting to be digested. It was pretty disgusting.)

    So I may have 'appeared normal size' but I felt fat. And this is why. This is what I ate over the course of the weekend (this is only what I remember):
    • 3 giant dark chocolate bars with chilis and cherries (11 points each, or 33 points total)
    • 1 giant vegan cookie and a vegan brownie (cookie=10 pts each, brownie unknown maybe 10?)
    • 8 oz of almonds (34.5 points)
    • 8 oz of mixed nuts (36 points)
    • Way too much pumpkin butter on too many slices of whole wheat bread (approx 8 for the bread, 8 for the pumpkin butter)
    • Raisins (6 points)
    • Soy Crisps (6 points)
    • Beer (8 12-ounce bottles) (21 points)
    • Powdered Peanut Butter (4 points)
    • Vegan choc chips (a few handfuls, approx 8 points)
    • Finally, the only thing I feel ashamed to admit: I consumed a jelly donut, a krueller and a giant black & white cookie (I am guessing 40ish points?) from Peter Pan Donut & Coffee Shop (Best bakery on the planet, btw. and mere seconds from my apartment. Tragic.). I am only ashamed because those items are not vegan. That's how far I stooped in my gluttony. And to tell you the truth, that was the last straw in my binge that made me stop. In fact, I managed to stop myself before I finished the krueller and I didn't eat the coconut covered chocolate donut - which I *easily* could have put away. That really was my sort of "What the hell am I doing?!" moment of clarity.
    The above was consumed over the course of 4 days: Friday through Monday, and comes out to roughly just over 200 points. TWO HUNDRED POINTS. To give you a little perspective, I get 19 a day. That's more than a week's worth of food + my weekly points. And all of that food was all in addition to all of my 'regular' food: vegan pumpkin pancakes, bean & veg burritos, super salad, vegan pita pizza, steel cut oats, bananas, apples, grapefruit, etc...

    That's an insane amount of food and one thing that's shocking/scary: I did not once feel physically full - From all of that food!!! - I never stopped because I felt "full" or stuffed! Sure, I was satisfied. I knew I didn't need any of it. I know the difference between satisfied and full, and I never had that uncomfortable "I feel sick, I should stop eating." sense of fullness. How that's possible with all that food, I have no idea. But I never felt it. I stopped only if I ran out of food or got temporarily disgusted with myself.

    I have been trying to figure out why this happened this weekend and I think it's an unfortunate combination of events:

    1- PMS: I am a women who has never used PMS as an excuse for ANYthing. And it, as well as my time of the month, has never held me back from anything. However, I do know my appetite can be voracious days before my period arrives.
    2- No sex: Most of you know I'm in this ridiculous contest with some guys at work. There were 4 of us when we started - The first guy (the one that convinced me to not have sex) gave in and had sex two weeks ago, the second guy gave into facebook (his vice) last week and now it's down to William and me. No sex for me. No bacon for dear old Sour Balls. (Today is Day 30. 19 to go.) Because of this stupid bet and my desire to take the title from William, I have abstained. But I gave into some dark chocolate on Friday morning. And that was what started my binge. It was the first time I felt euphoric in a long time. And I wanted more.
    3- The weather: For some reason, I noticed I am prone to overeating/binging when the weather is bad. This weekend was horrible - nothing but rain and wind for the same 4 days I comforted myself with food.
    4- Being close to goal: Could part of me be panicking about getting to goal and I'm sabotaging myself?

    I bet they all played a part in the weekend's events.

    Since I was on a haiku kick today on Twitter, one of my followers told me my pennance was to write a binge haiku. I give you not 1, but 3. ItzDawn, this is for you:

    This weekend I binged
    I ate everything in sight

    Why did I do that?

    Won't beat myself up

    that's not going to help me
    Must learn from these things

    Today's a new day
    Another chance to improve
    I am back on track

    The good news is as of today, the sun came out - both in NYC and in me - and I have been back on track all day. I dealt with my situation via twitter and this blog. I went to my meeting. I faced the scale (up 4, not at all surprised, whatevs.). I tracked my food. I hit a new record on the stairs (112 flights, thank you).


    Before walking the stairs


    After - New record: 112 flights!

    Today I did what I always tell you guys to do: Forgave myself, learned from it and moved on. I say that all the time and I want you all to realize that I honestly believe in it. I believe in what I tell you. I don't just write these things, I actually live them and they are what keep me going! They are how I am still here, why I am still a success and what I will use to keep me from ever getting back to 208 pounds.

    It's like I try to remind you often: It doesn't matter how many times you fall down. You WILL fall down. Sometimes for a longer period, sometimes harder and further, and sometimes worse than others. All that matters is that you get back up. As quickly as possibly. Continue the journey. You may be a step or two back from where you were but how many steps back are you going to be if you don't get up at all? 

    Besides, it's like that truly awful pop song in the 80's "Ain't nothing gonna break my stride, ain't nothing gonna slow me down." 

    I apologize for this... but not really. Enjoy!

    (and for the record, I'm old enough to remember watching Solid Gold religiously every Saturday, probably in my Jordache jeans. It was one of the highlights of my week as an 11 year old!)

    Wow. It feels so good to get all of that out. Now I will go make a healthy dinner because I've only had 12.5 points so far today. Good night and thank you for reading!

    Saturday, March 13, 2010

    Review: Weight Watchers Conair Scale

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    I get a lot of questions about the Weight Watchers scale I use at home, so I figured I would do a post about it. Here is a link to what the model looks like, along with a full description of the features. (Note: That page lists the 'suggested retail' as $62.99, which seems right. I paid $59.99 at Target a few years ago.)

    Of course you can use the scale to just check your weight, but I think the real reason to spend this much money on a scale is all the extra stats it gives you, including: Weight in Body Fat (scary!), Body Fat %, BMI, Body Water and Bone Mass. I can't say for sure how accurate any of the numbers are, but as usual, what I enjoy seeing is the change in numbers and percentages. (I want to also point out that the scale can be programmed - height, age, sex - for up to 4 different people/users.)

    I have been using this scale since December 2, 2006 (about 10 weeks after I started WW @ 196 pounds) and I only recently realized that I initially set it up wrong - I set it up as "male". I'm not sure how this affects their calculations, but it did - because the week I noticed it, I logged my stats as "male", then changed it to female, and weighed myself again to record my numbers as "female". You will see that in my stats below for the date 2/27/10 (the two rows highlighted in purple reflect how different my numbers were when I weighed in as 'male' and then 'female' within one minute).

    Scale Stats 20080112
    Scale Stats 20100313

    Unfortunately, because of that initial set up snafu, that means all my weigh ins going forward only show the differences since 2/27 and not since when I first started using it.

    I use the scale almost daily to check my weight, and weekly I use the full features - run through all the numbers to enter them into my spreadsheet (as shown above). Even though I can't vouch for how accurate any of these numbers are, I do enjoy keeping track of them and seeing the changes. That being said, I do like this scale and would recommend it.

    Before I go, I'd like to thank these other bloggers for their recent mentions:

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    Activity and Fitness: Punk Rope! (with video of me!)

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    As most of you know, on Wednesday nights I go over to the Greenpoint YMCA and take my favorite class: Punk Rope! When I started this class three years ago, I was 30+ pounds heavier, not in nearly the amazing shape I am now and was super uncoordinated. (Come to think of it. I have no childhood memory of jumping rope. I was really a beginner!) This was the first group class I braved. I finally talked myself into going, even though I was worried I'd look like an idiot or collapse from exhaustion and I was also intimidated because I didn't know anyone - except Tim Haft, the trainer and founder, who I had met only briefly once before.

    In the 3 years I've been going, I have improved tremendously, made friends and obviously gotten in much better shape.

    Some of you may have caught the recent segment on Martha Stewart - I appeared in that piece, but there was no footage of me actually jumping rope. And I've been dying to show off for you fine people. So tonight, I asked a friend to get a short video of me jumping. Here I am!

    I started off swinging the rope, then jumping in, which is how we start every jump. Then I wanted to do some of the harder moves, so I did double-unders and crosses. It may be hard to see it, but when I do the heavy jumps (there are 5 of them), those are "double unders" - where the rope actually swings around under my feet twice in the time I do one jump. From there, I went into crosses, where I only managed to do 14 before I hit myself with the rope. I usually hit myself somewhere between 10 and 20 - which is why when I did 50 consecutive crosses a couple of weeks ago, I was blown away. That's my all-time record.

    Punk Rope also had a short segment on Channel 2 in NYC this past Monday. Unfortunately, I couldn't attend at the time of the taping, so I am not in it, but my friend Joe Katz is! He's wearing glasses and the yellow shirt that says "I'm Awesome" (this is not false advertising, he is!). You can also jump straight to the video here.

    And here are some other photos from tonight:

    Me after Punk Rope (143 pounds):

    03/10/2010 143 pounds

    I love the hell out of this shirt and haven't worn it in a while - "Good things come in pink boxes" from VooDoo Donut in Portland, Oregon:

    It's true, good things DO come in pink boxes ;)

    I know some of you have bought the DVD so you could try punk rope at home, or wrote to Tim (tim@punkrope.com) to get Punk Rope at a gym near you. If you are looking for a super fun work out that is great for uncoordinated beginners (I was one!) as well as fitness enthusiasts (I am one!) and every level in between - I highly recommend you check it out. I can't say enough great things about this class.

    Thanks for keeping Punk Rope alive, Tim! See you next Wednesday! xo

    Tuesday, March 09, 2010

    Weekly Meeting Topic: Tools for Living

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    Totally gratuitous: I looked amazing yesterday and felt super skinny and tiny - Look at me! My belly was super flat and my legs were crossed so neatly!

    At work. Looking pretty fantastic.

    At tonight's meeting we went over the Weight Watchers Tools for Living. I mention them fairly often in my blog because I love them. In fact, when my leader, Melanie, made me stand up in front of the meeting to accept my 50 pound award last week, she asked me something along the lines of what do I like best about the program. Without hesitation, I said the Tools for Living.

    Here are the 8 Tools for Living with links to descriptions of them on the Weight Watchers website. And this is how I use them:
    • Winning Outcomes: Just listing "What I want to work towards next week" in my weekly blog post is one way I am using winning outcomes. Stating what I want to do that week to work towards my ultimate winning outcome (aka goal): reaching lifetime status and getting to my goal weight.
    • Storyboarding: These are the steps I will use to get *to* the winning outcome(s). For instance, how am I going to get to goal? 1) be accountable with my food by measuring and tracking 2) In order to do that, I will control my environment at home and at work, making sure I have the tools and foods I need, while keeping out the items that will not help me 3) make appointments to work out and stick to them, rearranging my schedule if necessary... That's just one example of storyboarding, of course.
    • Empowering Beliefs: You may not believe this, but anyone who knows the "old Sheryl" - me from before this journey - truly cannot believe how much I have changed. Not just in the obvious physical way, but in my entire personality and attitude. I was always very negative, pessimistic and a fatalist. And I now realize that I wasted a huge portion of my life being that way. I had no positive influences and no support system growing up, so it was difficult for me to believe in myself at all. Slowly I embraced empowering beliefs and they helped me changed my life. I do believe in myself now. I have confidence. I am careful about how I phrase things (keeping them positive) and I like to remind myself and others to never say the word "can't". In fact, one of my blog readers sent me a Tweet today that brightened my day. Christie said "I eliminated the word "cant" from my dictionary today, because you were right. There is no can or cant there is only will or will not" Brilliant, Christie! I am so glad to hear that clicked for you! I hope it clicks for everyone. (along those lines, my original leader, Carolyn, used to stop us whenever we said the word 'try'. It's such a non-commital word and gives you the excuse to NOT do something, so don't use it. Besides, even Yoda said "Do or do not. There is no try." I'm not a sci-fi/Star Wars geek, but he's right!) Be very conscious of any time you say the word "can't" and think about what you really mean. Admit that to yourself and rephrase it - Is it that you "can't" or that you "won't" or "don't want to"? Tell yourself you CAN. And you're worth it. And believe in yourself. Those thoughts go so much further than you may realize.
    • Mental Rehearsing: I've mentioned this tool a few times. I rely on it when I'm doing something out of the ordinary - like maybe attending an event I know will be challenging. Or even if I'm just for a night out with friends. I think about exactly how I want to behave - how I will respond to temptation, what I will consume, what/who I will avoid, etc. I try to see as much of the experience in my head *before* I get there so that when I am there, I can act out the scenario as I already have. Whether this sounds silly or not, I will tell you it's been 100% effective for me. Every time I have used it, I have succeeded and acted the way I saw myself behaving when I mentally rehearsed the situation.
    • Motivating Strategy: I can't believe how often people ask me how I stay so motivated. I must get a comment or email a week on this topic. I refer them to my several blogs on motivation because I feel like I talked about it so many times, in so many ways, I can't possibly cover it again. If I had to sum it up, I would say that what motivates me is 1) My own mortality: I am not going to live forever. I wasted so many years being unhappy and uncomfortable that now I want to make the most of my life and the youth I have left 2) I finally respect my body and realized I am no longer willing to put crap into it 3) I want this more than I ever have before. I am determined and focused. I told myself that I will never, ever stop. No matter what. Quitting is not an option. {Another Tweet follower tonight said "I wish I had your motivation and drive." and I told her: "There is nothing special about me. You *can* have my motivation and drive. It's in you - find it!"}
    • Positive Self Talk: I use this all the time - especially when I am running or doing my stair workout. But I use it in all sorts of situations - reminding myself how awesome I am, that I *can* do something - that I am worth it - that the only thing stopping me is me - that I'm stronger today than I was yesterday - that it is ok to not be perfect. I use this tool so often now, it's become unconscious.
    • Reframing: I probably talk about reframing more than any other tool. It's my favorite. It's about seeing something differently. And I believe that to be successful on this journey, you *must* change your thinking about so many things. That's exactly what this tool is about. I "reframed" how I see candy and other fake food. I reframed the situations at work that caused me to binge and eat mindlessly. I reframed how I felt about activity - focusing on getting healthy and not obsessing about everyone looking at me, sweating and how stupid I look. Reframing. Live it, love it!
    • Anchoring: My two favorite anchors are 1) My bike. I love the hell out of my bike and I blogged about how after I completed the 5 Boro Bike Tour last year, my bike became a huge anchor for me. It was a constant reminder of what I accomplished, what I was capable of, how I finished something so challenging despite the obstacles. It was a symbol that I can do anything if I put my mind to it. 2) The Chrysler Building. Most of you probably know how much I love The Chrysler Building. Lucky for me, I get to see it every day (I even picked my dentist solely based on the fact that he's located *in* the Chrysler Building. What a joy to get my teeth worked on!) When I look at the Chrysler Building, I see strength, elegance, and timeless beauty. And I remind myself that by being on plan I am stronger, more graceful and more beautiful than I have ever been. Just looking at that building, I feel myself sitting up taller (and I have pretty good posture already). It instantly puts me in touch with what I am doing and why I am doing it. I took this photo of it this past Sunday:
    Chrysler Building
    That's it for the meeting, so I'll move onto my weekly updates...

    Great Moments and what did I accomplish this week?

    • I tracked most of the week, but I went over my points - I had a really rough weekend emotionally and I did not take care of myself very well. I worked out but I drank a lot of beer, distracted myself with food (healthy food, but still too much) and I didn't take my vitamins. I got back on track and on plan yesterday and went back into eTools to record what I remember ingesting this weekend, but I may have missed a few things. Here's how my weekly tracker looks:
    Weekly Tracker Week Ending 20100309
    • I worked out every day and even had the opportunity to ride my bike both Saturday and Sunday for a few hours each day. Spring is really almost here and there will be tons more bike riding opportunities. I can hardly wait! Here is my activity spreadsheet:
    Activity Week Ending 20100309
    • I ran on Friday, like I had said I would. At the time I really had to force myself to do it - which is usual. I still don't look forward to running. I didn't expect much but it turned out that I had my best run ever! I clocked in with a pace under 11 minutes!
    Run 20100305
    • I attended Pilates on Sunday where we only did a 30-second plank. We usually do a 60-second one. I told the instructor I want her to challenge us to a 90-second plank next week. I hope she does it. But either way, I can't believe how strong my hamstrings are now. I remember when I couldn't do the spine articulations because I would get such a severe charlie horse in my right hamstring, I would collapse to the ground. Now I never, ever stop. They might be challenging. But they are doable.
    • I sort of accidentally hit a new record on the stairs. I had intended to do 108 (same as last week), but because of where I started, I ended up doing 109. Here I am before and after:
    Before my stair workout

    After 109 flights of stairs
    • I noticed my balance has improved greatly - not only because the Wii Fit keeps telling me but also because in my strength training class, when we do that stretch where you stand up on one leg, bend the other leg at the knee and grab that ankle, pointing the knee down so you can stretch the quad - I can finally do it without wobbling! I noticed this a few weeks ago and it's amazing! I'm so much more stable than I used to be!
    • After Total Body Conditioning on Saturday, my instructor told me I did PERFECT push ups. You have no idea how much that meant to me. I have always struggled with push ups but have slowly been building my arms/upper body strength (thanks to her class). As I was doing them, I remember thinking they felt 'right' - that my body was nice and flat, butt not in the air, core tight - but I really have no way of knowing if my form is correct. So when she told me that after class, I was elated!
    • It finally hit 50 degrees last weekend, so I took the Hello Kitty Cruiser out for a spin. One thing I noticed is that climbing the ramps of the Williamsburg and 59th St Bridges seemed less like a chore than the last time I did them. I am certain my quads/legs are even stronger than they were last time I made those climbs.
    • I gave blood and once again my hemoglobin was fantastic (13.4); no longer borderline like it used to be. (and for whomever commented that donating blood burns 650 calories, I assure you it does not. I wore my heart rate monitor. It burned less than 50. It's the same as sitting still which averages - for my age/weight - 100 calories burned per hour.)
    What I want to work towards next week:
    • I will track again and my goal is to eat my daily and weekly points but *not* consume my activity points (since I exhausted all of them this past week)
    • Work on the 'leaving a bite' thing. I've caught myself consciously NOT doing it. It's like I'm rebelling against myself. That's not good. I will continue to work on this.
    • I *will* Wii this weekend. I didn't do it on Sunday because I was an emotional mess (which I'm not getting into...)
    • When I do the stairs next week, I will either do a new distance record (112 flights) *or* I will do the 108 flights with 2 pound weights. I haven't decided yet.
    • I'm going to buy a medicine ball to do some core work @ home. If you have any input on size/brand/etc, leave it in the comments.
    • I'm also going to buy either an EA Sports game for my Wii Fit or the Biggest Loser game. Again, please leave your input in the comments (or email me).
    And thank you to these blog readers for the recent mentions:
    And here are some upcoming blogs I'm working on which should be up in the next few weeks (in no particular order):
    • My personal thoughts on Hunger - controlling it, dealing with it, accepting it
    • Reader Question: How do I handle a day off/weekend/break in routine (great question, thanks Kim!)
    • Reader Question: What changed to break my plateau/get me focused and put me in this "get to goal" frame of mind? (another great question, thanks Katie!)
    • A review/information regarding the WW scale I use
    • An FAQ regarding my workouts/gym stuff
    Have a wonderful, safe and healthy week!

    (PS: I am about a week behind on email replies right now. I'll get to you eventually...)

    Saturday, March 06, 2010

    Celebrating Success: Back in a favorite outfit

    Links to this post
    If you've ever visited this blog, I'm sure you've noticed the photo at the top of the page. That photo was taken on September 15, 2007 by a friend of mine - an excellent photographer named Pat Oehler.

    At the time, I was 146 pounds (down 50 from my start in September 2006) and I was wearing my favorite skirt from Banana Republic with a blouse from Target and my giant flower hair clip.

    Here are a few other shots from that day:

    Shortly after that photo was taken, my weight went over 150 and I fluctuated between 150 and 160 for the next two + years, probably averaging 156. That skirt no longer fit. But I didn't get rid of it. I loved it and knew I was getting back into it eventually.

    In mid-January this year, that time finally came. I cracked back into the high 140's, and I was ecstatic! I was finally able to wear that skirt again! I was so excited about it, I mentioned it in my weekly post.

    That weekend, I invited over a friend to help me recreate the photos from nearly two and a half years ago. The quality of the photos isn't as good, but this is the exact same outfit - skirt and top, neither of which had fit since September 2007:

    01/24/2010 149 pounds

    I still get excited just thinking about it! I love that skirt so much. It's a size 2, which I mentioned in another blog - but I just want to point out that I do not take much stock in sizes because they vary wildly from store to store and even within a store. We all know they are not standardized - though I wish they were. What I *do* take stock in is that when I started my journey, I was a size 14 in Banana's skirts, and a 16 in Ann Taylor's. So what's more exciting for me than being a size 2 @ Banana is that I went *down* 7 sizes. THAT is awesome!

    Not only do I have a brand new one of these skirts in a size 2 with the tags on, but I actually bought a size 0 at the time too. I assumed that if the 2 fit @ 146, then the 0 would fit when I got to goal. It's in my closet. Tags on. And when I get to goal, I will try it on. :)

    Size 2 and Size 0

    Before I go, thanks to these recent mentions:
    Oh, and if you're in NYC, it's in the low 50's this weekend. 50 degrees is my magical bike riding number so that means I will be out on the Hello Kitty cruiser and I can hardly wait! If you're in the NYC area, enjoy the sunshine and this beautiful day/weekend!