Exercise Improv

I suck at swimming.  I’m a disgrace to my Zodiac sign (Pisces).  I marvel at the way people just glide through the water, effortlessly.  It’s as if they have a secret motor beneath the surface propelling them forward.  How is that even possible?  Nonetheless, because my heel is still on the mend, I need to swim rather than do any other kind of aerobic exercise.  I won’t win any Olympic awards for my swimming performance or style, but I will get in the pool and get my heart rate pumping.  I will say that after ten minutes or so, I could actually feel my muscles.  That was pretty cool.  I’m guessing I’ll build up stamina over time.

I have to put my TEAM weight loss program on hold.  Very disappointed in that.  I will also start weight-training tomorrow with my trainer.  I’m worried that I won’t be able to keep losing weight if I don’t exercise.  I don’t think I’ll gain weight, as I’ve really tackled the eating thing.  I simply don’t eat foods that are not healthy or will put the pounds back on.  It’s easy now, and even rewarding when I find something new I like to eat.

That’s all for today, just wanted to make a note that even if you have to make adjustments to your weight loss program, all you risk is a little embarrassment in form.

Fighting Fat with Math and Accountability

In the online social tech world, I simply love being surrounded by math/coder/algorithm brainiacs who are working on Big Data problems and solutions.  It’s given me a finer appreciation for the precision of data at scale and the truth it reveals.

To that end, I’ve decided to start capturing more of my own metrics data for my 50% off campaign.  I ordered a Withings Scale recently.  The scale is a bit pricey, about $200 or so with shipping and tax.

Price notwithstanding, it’s a  beautiful piece of machinery and isn’t an eyesore in my bathroom.  It prompts me to weigh in every morning on my iPhone.  The scale measures weight (in tenths of a pound), Fat Mass, and Lean Mass, as well as provides a BMI reading.  These readings are then pushed to my web site where I’ve been tracking my weight loss: LoseIt.  And, I can access them on my iPhone, iPad, any computer and even push to Twitter and Facebook if I choose to.  (I will probably start doing the Twitter push once I get down about twenty more pounds.)

One of my business advisors, Esther Dyson, has been interested in self-regulating health care solutions for a long while.  I think I’m beginning to understand her passion for it.  When we put control of our bodies in our own hands with sophisticated tools, we are empowered.  These gadgets empower me and hold me accountable for my progress.  Because of the social web and my network of friends, I have the luxury of sharing my progress – on the good days and bad.   The support and the data that has wrapped my trek to lose this massive amount of body fat has sustained me and kept me on track.

I highly recommend making an investment in these tools.  The life you’re changing is 100% yours.  And before you can change the world, you need to change yourself to be the very best you can be.   Don’t think twice about the investment.  It can be amortized over a lifetime of good health and deeds.

Goal-setting and Life Set-backs

I reached a major milestone yesterday.  I lost 50 pounds.  I have been very excited about this news.  Of course, I have a long way to go. Two more goals (another 50, and the final 40), and I will be at my target weight which is 160.  That seems  way too heavy for normal women, but that’s where I will feel very comfortable.

Losing this much weight takes time and endurance.  I recently injured my foot (plantar fasciitis).  The doctor said I have to stop walking/running for exercise and have to stay off the treadmill.  That is extremely disappointing as I’ve been enjoying the  gym TEAM weight loss program.    Alas, I can swim and lift weights, and possibly  ride a stationary bike, so I will continue to exercise.

So, onto my next goal: the next 50.   That would be 200 pounds.  Sheesh.  It all seems so daunting, but, hey like my last post said, “I’m doing this.”

Have a great day!

Lawdy, Lawdy, I’m Doing This!

Getting your mind and body disciplined to lose weight is a lot like learning to ride a bike, I think.  At first you’re wobbly, insecure, easily thinking, “I can’t do this!”  But, with a lot of encouragement and the will to keep going, you start riding on your own!  That feeling of, “I’m doing it!  I’m riding a bike by myself!”  is pure elation.  Even if you need training wheels to get started, that liberating feeling when you’re cruising down the street on your own is pure joy.

So, I am starting to ride free of training wheels.  My mind is locked onto getting to my goal weight, and my body is responding to the physical training I’ve put myself through.  I signed up for a TEAM weight loss program at my gym and am really enjoying it.  OH, it’s not easy, but that’s part of the fun. I actually jogged yesterday on the treadmill and was not out of breath or had any chest pains.  Like a miracle, really.

Another good analogy:  exercise is like marital sex (for women, I guess).  You kinda don’t want to do it (nag, nag, nag), but when you’re done, you say to yourself, “Jeez, why don’t I every want to do this???”  No more explanation needed. 🙂

In the spirit of massively greater transparency this year in 2012, I’m going to start posting my weight so anyone who’s interested can track with me.  I started at 300 (count ’em!!) pounds.  I have had some rocky loop-de-loops, but am progressively moving toward my goal weight which is around 160.  So, even though I’ve lost a lot by most people’s standards, I still have a long way to go.  Stay with me!

I invested in a Withings scale.  Highly recommended.  Already finding some interesting data points. For instance, I weighed more after I came back from the gym, but my total fat percentage was lower.  Cool!

Here’s where we are today:

French Women Don’t Get Fat (or Ugly)

Ah, Paris.  I love you so much more than you love me.   All the women in Paris look like this young woman.   They exude fashion sense and good taste.  Walking around in Paris is a veritable moveable feast in style and sophistication.  Except, of course, in the heavily trafficked tourist areas where the out-of-towners blight the landscape.

I say this with no apologies.  I felt extremely uncomfortable in Paris as an overweight, under-dressed American.  But, in that reality, I was able to appreciate Paris all the more.  Sort of the old yarn, “I wouldn’t want to be a member of a club who’d have me as a member.”

Don’t misunderstand, this frank acknowledgement doesn’t mean I have low self-esteem or feel badly about myself.  It’s more of a recognition that looks are a form of Art.  I had forgotten this until I visited Paris.  It gave me a new perspective on beauty.   I tell my daughters (who are incredibly beautiful) not to define themselves by their looks.  I believe this wholeheartedly, but there is a virtue in complementing your beautiful surroundings with your own beauty.  Not sure I’m conveying this correctly, but it was a great learning experience and one I will remember for a very long time.

Now, onto weight loss issues.

Of course, it’s nearly impossible to avoid sugar and carbs in France.  I did really well for the first few days, but eventually broke down.  I even had pommes frites and pasta at one point.  I was really worried that when I returned to the US, that I would have gained ten pounds or so.  Much to my delight, however, I actually lost a HALF POUND!  I know why, too.  We WALKED the entire city, every day.   I wish I had my Fitbit in Paris, because – guaranteed – I was walking over 10K every day.  The best surprise for me was that I was able to walk these long distances without the usual resting, etc.  My feet hurt, but I was not out of breath or exhausted, etc.  I had no problem taking the long flights of stairs or going up hills.  It’s a testament to the work I’ve been doing.

After a wonderful trip, and a good few days catch-up and back to my new normal eating, I am very proud to report I have lost 40 pounds.  I feel great, and am looking forward to continuing with my 50% off campaign. Someday, when I can wear the clothes I’m collecting on Pinterest, I will return to Paris.  And slip in quietly unnoticed, which will indeed be a beautiful thing.

The Magic of Believing

I read this book, The Magic of Believing, when I was an adolescent.  This book, combined with a very strong faith, enabled me to pursue many paths and dreams with conviction and courage.  I very much believed in the power of the imagination to deliver on goals.

I started creating posters of my future.  With a little glue, scissors, magazine clippings, and poster board, I would assemble a collage that reinforced what I was working toward.   These posters were amazingly effective.  Even after I graduated college, I still enjoyed making them and displaying them.  I took a lot of satisfaction in achieving the dreams that I outlined on these posters.

I found an old one recently and realized I had achieved everything I set out to do.

To that end, I created a new one for my 50% off campaign.  I can probably even afford a frame now, so I’m looking forward to hanging this one and allowing the images and promise to seep into my sub-conscience.

Pinteresting Goal-Setting

As you know, I’ve decided to approach this mammoth weight loss effort as a project, or better, a campaign. I call it my “50% Off” campaign.   It’s a great way to keep focused on the goal, but have some fun along the way by treating it as a series of milestones and achievements.

Accordingly, I created a 50% off board on Pinterest. I’m posting clothes there that I like in normal sizes.   Although there have been great strides in the fashion world to offer better-designed plus-sized clothes, it’s still a fashion travesty if you’re not a size 0 or 2.

I’ll never be a 0 or 2.   (I think I was born a woman’s size 12.)  Nonetheless, I look so forward to the day I can buy something in a normal size.

Here We Go Loop de Loop!

Only Boomers will recognize loop-de-loop, but I thought it was a fitting headline for this post.  My new friends and colleagues from (the company formerly known as) XPLANE have taught me that anyone can draw. I wanted to demonstrate on paper how these “loop de loops” are the bermuda triangle (circle?) of weight loss.

I’ll be going along just fine with a gradual, steady weight loss… and then BAM!  I gain a pound or even two pounds, for no rational reason.  I’m convinced these upticks are devil-inspired obstacles that throw you into a fiery burning pit of anxiety, self-doubt, shame, and hopelessness.  These anxiety wormholes will snatch you and leave you in despair if you don’t get on top of them.

This is where I’ve been for the past week.  Battling the loop demon.  But, alas, I’m back on track and moving forward.

The best news, however, is I fit into a pair of jeans that were in my closet: TWO (count ’em) sizes smaller.  Fashion milestones matter.  Seriously.  I’ve even started a “50% off” board on Pinterest.  I’m pinning things I would like to wear… some day.  When (notice I didn’t say “if?”) I reach my goal weight, I hope to fit into an old pair of Levi’s.  I remember I used to wear a 29 x 30 in high school.  (Same size as my son today).

The Incredible Shrinking Woman

I’m actually down thirty pounds, but Lose-it! doesn’t have a badge for that.  Not sure what the next one is, but I’m looking forward to it!  It amazes me how much these milestones and personal support from friends matters as I truck along.

I’m still dealing with my pulled groin, or whatever it is.  And the heel thing is not going away.  Today, I tried to swim as I thought that would be less stressful on my muscles.  It still hurt, but I was really out of breath, so I guess I elevated my heart rate.  Of course, I got in the pool and swam down the lane and realized I had my FitBit on when I stood up.  It seems to be working now though, but I thought it was a goner.  We’ll see if it’s reliable.  They may permit a return on it according to their customer support community.

On the weight loss itself, it feels kind of strange.  I no longer have the gignormous stomach that obstructed the view of my feet.  (Where did it go?)  My clothes are all fitting loosely now, with very few exceptions. Like most women who’ve gained and lost, I have clothes in my closet in nearly every size.  I refuse to buy new clothes right now.  What I have done in the past is buy smaller size plus clothes in thrift shops.  I may do that again if my clothes really start not fitting at all.  The other noticeable weight loss is actually in my face.  I think it’s thinning out.  For a woman my age, I have very few wrinkles, so this is a welcome development.  When I reach my 50% off goal, I am definitely going to lie about my age. 🙂

I have been using a number of devices to keep me motivated (apart from the online friends and tools).  One device I’ve used in the past is to make a simple poster of my future state from magazine clippings.  It’s entirely old skool, made with scissors and glue.  It’s kinda fun though.  Lots of photos of horses.  I’ll post it when I have it finished.  It’s not a work of art, just a mental reminder of what I’m working toward.

My health has really improved, as I’ve said before.  I still can’t believe I don’t have acid reflux anymore.  I drink water exclusively, unless I’m drinking tea.  (Oh, there is plenty of drinking Chardonnay on occasion.)  I can’t give up alcohol altogether when I go out.  I still have not had a piece of bread since December 1st.

Tomorrow, I’m signing up for something at the gym called a 90-day challenge.  I hope it’s not just an opportunity or them to upsell me, but I’m going to do it.  There are a variety of programs associated with it that I’ve been curious about.  Yoga, grocery shopping, Zumba, even a 5K at the end, which I should be able to do by May 1.

Well, that’s it for now.  I’m feeling great and moving forward (albeit gingerly until my injuries heal).

Oh, best news?  I’m no longer “morbidly obese.”  Now, a pleasant “severely overweight.”  I’ll take it.