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Vacation Then and Now August 29, 2009

Filed under: diet,exercise,food,good things,health,Nia — Susan @ 4:51 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

IMG_9325We’re taking a short little vacation up in beautiful Whistler (site of the 2010 Winter Olympics) in British Columbia, Canada. The mountains here are truly spectacular. Yesterday we took a gorgeous hike; today we walked around a stunning jade-green lake and then I went to the fitness center for a little workout.

It used to be that the word “vacation” was synonymous with: eat as much as possible because you might not ever have this opportunity again;  exercise as little as possible because this is supposed to be a “rest.”

But this vacation has showed me how much my mindset has changed. When we first arrived in Vancouver the other night, I discovered that there was a Nia (!) class taking place about a mile from our hotel.  I was so excited. International Nia! I put on my running shoes after dinner and took off in the direction of the class. I realized I only had about 15 minutes so I knew I’d have to run. It was fun, running through the crowded city streets in search of Nia. When I finally arrived at the building, the receptionist told me the class had JUST ENDED. Whoops. I am pretty bad when it comes to military time! So hubby and I walked back to our hotel (he had come with me to keep me company, not that he had any intention of doing Nia, LOL) and on the way we stopped in at a Lululemon store (nifty workout clothes). We both tried a bunch of things on and I bought a very Nia-esque top. And I thought, wow, THIS is different. Finding a workout in a different location (a different country, even!). RUNNING to get there. Shopping at a store that features exercise gear. All of these things would be fairly unheard of a year ago.

I feel like I haven’t fallen into “vacation bottomless pit mode” just because I’m on vacation. That is a relief and it feels good. Happily, we have a little condo type unit with a kitchen, so we haven’t had to go out for (and pay for) breakfasts and lunches. I was bummed to see that the supermarket here had NO WHOLE WHEAT English Muffins, let alone the double-fiber ones that I like. Likewise, no Fage nonfat yogurt! Needless to say, no super fiber waffles. I’ve been eating eggs for breakfast.

It has shown me that vacation can be fun and celebratory and relaxing and it doesn’t have to mean falling off any wagons. What a revelation!

 

Exercise as Pleasure, Not Punishment August 23, 2009

3388196563_528db7559eIt was not too long ago – less than a year – that I viewed exercise (or “activity” as WW likes to euphemistically call it) as painful, something to be dreaded and endured. Even though I was going to a personal trainer twice a week, I rarely did anything on the other days. And I often could barely get through my workouts. Sometimes I cried. Sometimes I threw up (I am not kidding). Sometimes I acted like a total whiney wimp so my trainer would have mercy on me and go easy on my poor pathetic self. It wasn’t pretty. I’d also use exercise as a tool to flog myself when I ate too much. Again, NOT pretty.

But things changed when January 2009 and this blog and my diabetes diagnosis rolled around. I knew that I was going to have to step it up or my body and health were in for big trouble. So I upped the trainer to 3x a week, and started myself on the Couch-to-5k running program. It was not so easy at first, but eventually my 60 second runs turned into two minute runs, then three and five and fifteen minutes. Around that time I actually began LOOKING FORWARD to working out. Once I began working out 5-6 times a week, I began feeling that endorphin rush that I had believed was a mythical state of being. I started feeling happier and more energetic. I stopped wanting to take naps every single day.

For many months, I felt like the longer, the harder, the better. I would go to the gym and go at the elliptical like a mad woman. All this was good. I got a lot stronger. I lost weight. All good!

But I started thinking, how the heck am I going to keep this up when I am sixty years old? Seventy? The idea of it made me feel kind of nervous and worried.

Not long ago, a friend of mine brought me to a Nia class for the first time. It was really one of the most unusual exercise experiences I have ever had. I was not sure what to make of it. I sort of mocked it but I had to admit that it made me feel good, and after that class, I really wanted to do it again (that’s always a good sign!). So yesterday I went to my second class. It was even better than the first one. I enjoyed it so much. The teacher had fabulous dimples (I am a complete sucker for dimples) and kept using words like “juicy” and “gooey” and “yummy.” She was just like that – yummy! and really happy. At the end of the class she put on this song called “Dream” and she was singing along with it really loudly and joyfully, just like you sing in the car with the windows rolled up. I mean, she really belted it out and it was so great! I did not have the guts to belt it out along with her, but it was great to hear.

Today I went to another class, at another place. This teacher was super graceful, elegant and willowy and just beautiful to watch. (that’s her in the photo above!!) She was so cool. The other two Nia classes I went to both made me want to laugh out loud (I did, actually) but today’s class had me almost crying in parts. I got really emotional and lump-in-throat as we were moving around. But in a good way.

If you look at the Nia website, one of the testimonials has this woman saying she used to pump iron and such, but now all she does is Nia and she is in super amazing shape. And I had to think, WOW, could you really be in such awesome shape from something that is so much FUN? It does not seem possible. And this is something that seventy year olds can totally do. And thirty year olds.

But I also did not think it was possible to lose weight while eating yummy foods like cheese, brownies, birthday cake and Prosecco. And here I am, doing just that.

It’s made me rethink all the ideas I had about “dieting” and “exercise.” Maybe it doesn’t have to be torture. Maybe the secret is that it CAN’T be torture.  :-)

 

Shock: CAN I Trust Myself? August 22, 2009

Wow. So I just got on the scale for the first time in a week. I was nervous. I was so nervous. In fact, I had worked myself up into a total lather, convinced that I had gained ten pounds while on vacation.  I told myself, it’s okay if you gained ten pounds. You’ll work it off. It will be okay. But really it would not have felt okay.

And guess what? I weigh exactly the same – TO THE OUNCE! – that I weighed last week. I couldn’t believe it. I had been telling myself all KINDS of crazy stories in my head. I was convinced it had all gone to hell in a handbasket.

It was an interesting exercise in trust. I did not trust myself. Not one bit. And I was completely insecure without my scale.

I couldn’t tell if I was eating too much or just right. (I never worry about eating too little, ha!) I did have birthday cake. I ate more cheese – fancy shmancy cheese- than ever.  I did have a lot more wine than usual. (normally my max is about one glass a week, and I think I was averaging more like one a day) I went out to eat. I didn’t exercise as much as usual. But I was “active.” (splashing around in the river, a bit of canoeing, some walking, and two runs)

I’m just sitting here right now going, “Huh. WOW.”

Can I reallllllllly trust myself?

Along these lines, I have signed up for an interesting site along with a friend of mine. Basically, it uses monetary incentive to stick to a goal. It’s called Stikk. Their motto is:

Having a goal is easy. Turning that goal into an accomplishment…THAT takes commitment. We know you’re ready, so Put A Contract Out On Yourself!

The concept is, you make a goal and then put a monetary value on it.  If you don’t reach your goal, your money goes to the charity of your choice. You can also choose an anti-charity, ie if you don’t reach your goal, your money goes to a charity that you vehemently do NOT support (ie Sarah Palin!). (I find that much more motivating)

I signed up and put my goal down as maintaining my weight for the next 12 weeks. The first six went okay, but can I really maintain for three more months?

They’ve been sending me emails for days, nudging me to report in on how my goal is doing. I was thrilled (AND shocked) to report that I’d actually accomplished my goal for this week.

I really have no idea how that happened.


 

The Diabetes Slippery Slope August 19, 2009

Filed under: diabetes,health — Susan @ 5:58 pm
Tags: , ,

When I first was diagnosed with pre-diabetes and then full-on Type 2 Diabetes, I was obsessed with testing my blood glucose. I was testing it a minimum of five times a day and could not imagine doing otherwise.

How quickly things changed! I had an excellent checkup and report from both my endocrinologist and cardiologist in May. And then I just kinda slowed down… and then kinda stopped. When I had a terrible bout of poison oak my blood glucose soared because of the prednisone I was taking. I was supposed to be testing a lot during that period but I HATED seeing those high numbers. So I pretty much stopped.

A friend with diabetes came to visit over the weekend. I got the picture that he pretty much doesn’t test his own blood sugars very regularly. Another friend told me that her mother (who died of diabetes at age 63) did not test at ALL.

How did I get to this point? By being complacent. By either assuming it’s “good news” so I don’t have to test, or assuming it’s “bad news” and making me reluctant to test. I can’t believe it’s only taken a few short months for me to fall into this lazy attitude.

How dumb is that.

So I’ve made a resolution to test a MINIMUM of 3x a day, starting… today. I woke up to a good 97. Now I’m going to go test again, post-lunch.

 

A Little Nervous Without My Scale August 18, 2009

I’ve been on vacation, celebrating my birthday in high style, since last Friday. Up here on the river, it’s mostly been a very blissful experience, floating about on the water, visiting with friends, eating well, and generally feeling very happy. Yesterday I went for a good run. But I’m feeling a little bit nervous because I don’t know what all this celebrating is meaning for my weight.

I know one friend who brings her scale with her wherever she goes. I actually considered that – we drove up in two cars, so there was plenty of room – but I resisted. But being without it has made me realize how I rely on it to keep on track. I know, I know, there is the whole “throw your scale away!” contingent out there. I realize that I’m not ready to do it. I actually HAVE been known to gain as much as 5 lbs (more?) in a week. And if that happens, I’ll deal with it. But I do think that knowing, on a daily basis, if it has crept up one or two, really does help keep me accountable.

I’m just… curious. On the day of my big birthday party, we had lots of good food. Including cake. I didn’t go WILD but I was nibbling a lot through the day. I had one piece of cake (it was goooooooooood) and luckily for me, we finished it off in one sitting so there were no leftovers.  Last night we went out to dinner. Tonight we’re going to a birthday celebration for my cousin-in-law, who is also staying up here for vacation. I just don’t know what the cumulative effect of all of this is.

It makes me relieved that now that I am a Lifetime member of WW which means I only have to weigh in once a month instead of once a week. I am confident that I’ll be able to get back into range by next month. But if it was a weekly situation, probably not. (sigh) HOW unfair is it that it’s so easy to gain 3-5 pounds in a week, and almost impossible to lose the same?

I guess I will find out when we go home on Friday.  Meanwhile, I’m wondering.

 

It’s Healthy Challenge Time Again! August 14, 2009

Some of you may remember when I participated in the Fabulous Fatties’ Challenge a few months ago. It was a great way to put together all of the different elements of healthy living. Well, Shannon and Angie are at it again, and this time they’ve got an incredible assortment of AMAZING prizes, including a deposit for their Fit and Fabulous Cruise in January of 2010!!! (I realllllllllllly want to go on this cruise, because it falls in the same week as my Healthaversary, or the one-year anniversary of when I began this blog and started my new healthy life – wouldn’t that be an incredible way to celebrate?)

These are the things involved in THIS new challenge, and note, there will be PRIZES given away every day. Guess what one of the prizes is? A gorgeous handmade quilt handmade by none other than MY MAMA.

* Bring people to the challenge from 8-12 to 8-19 this option closes at midnight on 8-19  *5 entries per recruit.
* Lose weight  *1 entry per pound
* Lose Inches  *1 entry per inch
* Set a goal of what you want to achieve during this challenge.  *2 entries
* Meet your goal  *3 entries
* Creativity tweet, myspace, facebook or other social network about this challenge  *1 entry per tweet/post etc. maximum 10 per day (hashtag for twitter #ffchallenge3 )
* Drink 8 glasses of water a day  *1 entry
* 5 servings of fruits or vegetables a day  *1 entry
* Exercise 30 minutes a day or more  *2 entries
* DO A RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS  *3 entries
* Keep a food journal  *1 entry per day
* Post about this challenge or linky love us on your blog  *3 entries
* Eat a healthy breakfast  *1 entry per day
* Do not drink soda pop  *1 entry per day
* Leave comments on other peoples blogs *1 entry per comment

As usual, I’ll do great on the blog-commenting, vegi eating and not drinking soda. I am sure I will fail in the water consumption. As always!

I have joined a team (nothing involved in being on a “team” other than receiving a lot more encouragement and support and company on the challenge) called the Downsizing Divas. JOIN US! It’s not too late!

The points you achieve each day are tallied up by YOU (on the honor system). You need to report them to the Fab Fatties on their blog in order to be eligible for the prizes. If you want to join team Downsizing Divas, please leave a comment HERE on my blog.

 

Celebrate! Celebrate! 50 around the corner! August 13, 2009

So, my 50th birthday is tomorrow! Woooo! I never thought I would be so excited about this date but to be honest, this is one of the best years I have ever had. I feel strong and happy. I am excited about many good things in my life, not the least of which is the amazing community I have discovered since I made a commitment to being healthy. THANK YOU people, you have been an awesome gift to me!!

I’m planning a fun celebration up at the Russian River on Saturday. My wonderful family will be there, as well as a bunch of beloved friends. I am verrrrrrrrrrrry excited. We’re going to float on the river, kayak, canoe, loll about on the lawn, play games, visit and eat! YAY!

I spent my birthday here last year and it was so much fun we decided to rent the same house and do it again. Except last year, for my 49th birthday, I was self-consciously heavy, not very active and just not feeling very good about myself. I was wearing this kind of awful stretched-out 15 year old bathing suit and… ugh. (you can see this lovely piece of attire at the top of my photos! and the boyfriend jeans at the bottom) What a difference a year makes. I have a brand-new bathing suit (maybe will post a photo next week) and a brand-new strong body. I am ready to charge into my 50s at full force.

I pretty much decided that I did not want to cook food on my birthday. (I want to pllaayyyyy!) Nor did I want to do a potluck because they can be a little anxiety provoking. What if everyone brings hummus and chips? So I decided to order food from a nearby place. They sent me this 15- page catering menu. Ummmmm…. so how do I approach this?

In the Beck Diet Solution, she believes that to “succumb” to celebrations is dangerous, because basically you can find something to celebrate every other day. (or EVERY day – um, isn’t it National Cream Puff Day?) At Weight Watchers, there are different ways to approach holidays and other celebrations. I’ve been mulling this for a while. Should I plan a beautiful gourmet “healthy” menu? Or…?

I decided on “or.” Or maybe a combination. I’m getting a mediterranean platter of :

White Bean & Basil Paté ~ A Creamy Paté of Great Northern Beans, Garlic, Basil and Parmesan, Grana Padano and Asiago Cheeses
Romesco Dip ~ A Boldly Flavored Toasted Almond Dip with Catalan Spice Seasonings
Eggplant Caponata ~ with Olive Oil, Capers, Garlic
Olive Tapenade ~ with Basil, Garlic, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice
Rouxille ~ A Spicy Red Pepper, Pureéd Potato and Olive Oil Dip
Accompanied by Sliced Baquette, Gourmet Crackers and
Fresh Seasonal Vegetables

Doesn’t that sound good? also a big cheese plate (mmmm cheese), a crudite platter (mmm vegies), a huge salad, and….. bbq ribs! Yeah, I love ribs. I love ribs SO much. And you know? I’m having ribs. And bbq chicken.

Also: cake. Something called a black bottom cake which is a dark chocolate cake filled with chocolate chips, with a white cream cheese frosting. It is so decadent and luscious and filled with butter.

I could have had, like.. strawberries? or something but… DUDE this is my 50th birthday. My endocrinologist said it is no biggie if I have dessert and spike my blood sugars like once or twice a week. So. There. I will eat cake!

I did have a little bit of a mind-spazz over this menu though. In the end, decided on a combination of food that I truly love. I don’t think I’m going to be snarfing down Mass Quantities (anybody remember Coneheads? I love them) of food because I am much more excited to be with my FRIENDS – but I am going to enjoy every bite.

I wish all of my bloggy friends could be there too. I will be thinking of you and raising a glass of Prosecco to you all! (my beverage of choice for the party) Bubbles bubbles!

 

Woo Woo Workout! & my Very Good Day August 12, 2009

One of my best buddies invited me to join her at a Nia class today. She and I only live 17 miles apart, but we are separated by a large body of water and a big bridge, which daunts us both from seeing each other more often. (she is also my What Not To Wear shopping and fashion expert!) I jumped at the chance to exercise with her! I was a little trepidatious because I’d watched some of the Nia videos, and it looked like some level of … er… coordination was involved. It was in the big gymnasium of her YMCA – about 30-4o people all spread out, and one very pregnant instructor with a microphone strapped to her head.  We were in bare feet, which felt really nice. I don’t usually exercise in bare feet.

The class started out with this very Cirque-du-Soleil-ish music (which I loved). Lots of swaying, head rolling, etc. Evolved into some kind of free-for-all ecstatic dance or mad hippie dance combo in which people glided (glid?) around the room, waving arms, rotating pelvises etc. Gyrations and undulations. I vacillated between wanting to laugh my head off, and getting really into it. It helped to close my eyes and groove. But there were also very specific choreographed moves involved as well. There would be a few minutes of scripted stuff, which I had to concentrate hard on, and then a few minutes of let it all hang, people! Bounce around in ecstasy!  The Nia people say that this activity is all about

“tapping into the mental, spiritual and emotional aspects of being, as… the physical. It aims to make movement more conscious, to release blocked energy, to enable participants to connect to a greater whole and learn to be guided by the pleasure principle: if it feels good, do it.”

It did feel good. On one level it was goofy as heck, but it still felt good. I especially liked what they call “Floorplay” (which I think MizFit would appreciate) as opposed to “floorwork.” We were encouraged to become embryos or protozoa or platypuses or whatever we wanted. It reminded me of my favorite scene in Harriet the Spy when her dance teacher casts her as an onion, and she rolls around on the floor really feeling it.

After the Nia class, I was definitely energized. Not dripping sweat, but with a nice sweaty layer. My friend wanted me to check out these high-tech stationery bikes that have an interactive video monitor attached. SO hilarious and high-tech and cool! I got on the bike and chose the Redwood Forest course, and found myself pedaling through these beautiful redwood forests! You have to steer so you don’t crash into a tree, and there are even hills that you really feel.  I think I rode about 5 miles at “level 12″ (whatever that is) and worked up a HUGE river of sweat. BIG FUN!

Then we had a very nice healthy lunch at the mall food court. I got gazpacho (cold soup was excellent because I was still superoverheated) and a hummus wrap. Then we strolled into the Gap. Remember that Gap commercial from the 70s? “Fall into the GAP.” I fell in, alright. I was not intending to either try OR buy anything but ended up having a mini-spree which I am now calling my birthday present from my dear husband.

I have been dying for a pair of “boyfriend jeans” (except, NO, I do not wear them with 5″ heels! LOL!) every since I saw them on J. Jill website (and Gap’s are cheaper! Way!). I am here to say – people, (no, WOMEN) if you want an ego boost the size of Montana, run right over to the Gap and try on some BOYFRIEND JEANS. They are cute, floppy, comfortable as all heck, and their sizes are INSANE.  Let me just say that I kept trying on smaller and smaller sizes until I was at size 4 (FOUR FOUR FOUR FOUR FOUR) and even they were kind of on the loose side. The saleslady suggested I try a TWO at which point I almost passed out from ecstasy and slid down to the floor to relive my Nia protoplasm dance. But alas, they had no size 2 BF jeans, so I took the 4s and hugged them to my (still-sweaty) bosom. HAPPY TIMES in Gap!

I also got, at the prodding of my fashionista friend, some wild colored clothing (ie: bright blue, dark plum, orangey red and mustard yellow-green.) As most people know, my favorite colors for clothing are: black and brown. Or orange and green but I only wear those clothes when I’m cheering for my kids’ rowing team. And it was all on some “Tuesday only” 40% off sale so I got a big bag o clothes for what normally would be like ONE Eileen Fisher sweater.

It was a good good good day!

 

Lifetime! and Julia/Julie August 9, 2009

Filed under: book,diet,food,good things,health,writing — Susan @ 5:18 pm

Today I went to my WW meeting and fiiiinnnnnnnnallllllly got my little gold Lifetime key! It was more exciting, gratifying and happy than I had expected. In a way I thought it was going to be sort of anticlimactic but I really let it soak in – I got here. I made my goal. I’ve maintained it – truly within 2 lbs – for 8 weeks. I got a little emotional about it, recalling how I’d joined WW probably 4-5 times in the past 15 years, and NEVER made my goal before, let alone Lifetime. I am now feeling like I have legitimate claim to this staff position too, and that I CAN go to leader training, having made it to this point. So that is a good feeling.

I went to see the Julie & Julia movie yesterday. Wow did I love that movie. I LOVED IT. Has there ever been a feature film about a blogger before? I could so relate to Julie starting her blog, and going weeks before she gets her first comment – from her MOM. (heh!) And then how it just grows and grows. I haven’t read Julie Powell’s book, but I have peeked at her blog. She’s gotten a lot of criticism for various things but I do have to hand it to her. I think she’s a good blogger, and she had a great premise. Which makes me see how rambly and kind of “un-premised” mine can be. (and if you think THIS blog is rambly, you should see my other one, which is TRULY a hodge-podge of every topic under the sun) It made me think about my blog. Do I want to focus it more? Do I want to change it? More recipes? More diabetes? More exercise? More… what? Sometimes I think how nice it would be to have more a dozen comments and visits a day. To be at the level of MizFit or Cranky Fitness.  But even nicer to get a call from a publisher saying…. we’d like to publish your book.

The book parts of J & J made me tear up. What is it to be a writer. In fact at one point I was practically sobbing. (when Julia gets that letter from Knopf – I love how she says, “Is it NOPF? or Kah-nopf?” When her husband keeps encouraging her, on and on. The marriage parts also blew my mind and warmed my heart. What an amazing marriage. What good love.

And the food parts – ohhhhh, the butter! The beef bourguignon! I am SO going to make that this week!! The movie also made me remember what a foodie I am, and how I DO love food. And that even though I have every intention of being healthy and maintaining my goal weight, I also intend to thoroughly LOVE and enjoy every bite of food, just as Julia did. It made me so happy to see her enjoying her food. I do not think I could cook my way through her Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year and maintain my weight, but I do think I can dip into it now and then.

 

Having Faith It Will Last August 7, 2009

Filed under: emotions,health,healthy challenge — Susan @ 7:26 pm
Tags: , ,

I’m in a weird blue-ish mood today. For some inexplicable reason, I am feeling “fat.” Yesterday I felt just fine. Nothing has changed. I had a good workout this morning, an excellent one, in fact. And yet I feel “fat.” I don’t know why.

This week I had my passport photos taken (for a big trip to faroff Canada, yay!). When I looked at my newly expired 10 year old passport, I saw myself ten years ago. I looked pretty chubby in the face and not too healthy. I wondered about what I will look like for my next passport, ten years from now. And it made me really sad. I realized that I don’t believe that this current healthy state will last. I have this weird dread feeling in the pit of my stomach, that one or five or ten years from now, I will be 50 or more pounds heavier, and will look back on the “now” me with a mixture of sadness and regret and longing. It’s enough to put me into a serious funk.

What is THAT about.

I think it’s that this state of health and fitness is very fragile. It’s new. I don’t really believe in it yet. And I think the only cure for this is time. Taking it one day at a time, holding onto it every day, every week, continuing to make good choices. And that hopefully these days, weeks and years will add up to a long time and one day I will be able to take it for granted and not worry that it will just (poof) vanish.

Maybe it’s like my marriage. When I first got married, I had no real faith that it would last. I WANTED it to, I really did, but I wasn’t sure it would really happen. I had had many relationships before my marriage, and they lasted for varying short amounts of time. So I didn’t have any experience to go by. I was not very secure or solid or confident in the early years of my marriage. But the years went by, and we went through hard times and wonderful times together. The relationship got tested. We changed, and we didn’t change. And now it’s been almost 21 years of marriage (come September). I don’t worry anymore that we can’t deal with challenges, or that it’s just going to vanish on me. I feel solid and comfortable and confident in it in a way that just wasn’t possible twenty years ago.

I wish I could be more sure of myself. I wish I could just KNOW that this is it, that I’m not going to lose sight of this. But I guess the only thing that will really make me feel that inside is time.

 

 
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