Thursday, March 31, 2011

Today's rain not stopping me

It's Wednesday morning as I write this blog entry. Its cold, raining and the sound of thunder rumbles and shakes the house. My yard is like a swamp from all the rain we've had recently and the streets are like shallow streams. I'm stiff, cranky and have a dull headache this morning. Walk? Jog? What? Are you crazy?

Years ago when I was a marathon runner I would oftentimes feel like there was no way a run would work on a particular day. Just too stiff and tired or hurried feeling. Generally, however, once I got the first mile done I'd start to loosen up and feel better about the effort. By the end of a run I'd wonder how I could have ever "not" done the run. It felt so good by the end of the effort.

So, remembering those days I went out onto my screened back porch this dreary day to exercise. I start with turning on some kick butt country music on my outdoor radio. Now that the mood is set, it's 30 minutes on the exercise bike. By the end of that I'm sweating and warmed up and feeling much better. The weights and push ups, etc., all fall into place now and my headache is gone.

We all have those days were we don't feel like exercising. But if we just ease into the routine and give it a few minutes, we'll normally feel better and be very glad we didn't skip that chance to burn some calories. So get out there my overweight buddies and walk, jog, go to the gym or bike. Just don't ever give up or give in. "You" are worth the effort.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How Did I Get Here?

Nancy Johnson
I'm making strides towards a healthier weight. I've lost 14 pounds since starting this blog.  Last week, I re-joined Weight Watchers to get my head really into the game of healthier living (notice I did not say diet).

As happy as I am for the weight loss, I want this to be a life-long change and I realize that before I can really have my long-term weight loss break-through, I have to address how I became overweight.

I was not large as a child.  In high school I was actually a "brick house" -- I had great proportions.  Weight did not become a problem until I left home and entered college and my taste buds were inundated with processed foods.  Then the weight really started becoming an issue.  It is not rocket science on why the weight problem started then. To get through college, I worked in the college cafeteria for 3 of my 4 years serving food twice a day.

In a normal scenario, being around food would not have been a problem. But when you mix boyfriend, freedom, and the pressures of maintaining my scholarship's grade requirements -- the stress level was high and food became my pacifier.  By the time I graduated I had gained 30 pounds.  A few years later when I completed graduate school, I added on another whopping 20 pounds.  Food was my therapist; it never disagreed with anything I said or did.

There were two periods of time that I replaced the food pacifier with exercise and healthier eating. The last time was when I was trying to get pregnant with my daughter (don't believe everything you read).  Exercise made me feel great, but I should have also learned about nutrition. 

I now realize that what I eat and how much I eat is just as important as exercising.  My past experiences have made me realize that it will take time to make real life-long changes to improve my health.

My poor choices have gotten me to this point, but fortunately I do not have any serious health issues. I want to lose the weight before I do and to help my daughter address hers.  So this week, I begin Week #1 with Weight Watchers.  I hope that by looking back, I can finally move ahead.

What would Cool Hand Luke Do?

I think I need multiple personalities. At least more than the ones I have already. Here's the good news...... I dropped another pound and did 21 miles of walking last week. I'm at 16 pounds lost so far and under 230 for the first time in ages now.

The bad news is I didn't bike any nor do my exercise weight lifting etc at all. I also ate and drank too much on two days. So, guess I should be glad to lose another pound. I feel like a 3 pound week is right there before me if I can put it all together for a week. It seems like I can only focus on one thing per week. Either food or exercise. Either walk/jog or bike/exercise. I'm also monitoring a knee ache for my walking/jogging. I need to be especially careful with any jogging this week.

So at age 59, and 229 pounds I'm making progress. But like they used to tell "Cool Hand Luke" in the movie with Steve McQueen, "You've got to get your mind right".

Monday, March 28, 2011

There's so many other ways to be a loser!

If being healthy is supposed to make me feel good, why do I feel so bad lately? I've lost between 10 and 12 pounds (depending on when I weigh myself), made a conscious effort to make good food choices (most of the time), and have started exercising and working with weights again (as frequently as possible). Not once have I felt successful. I even started to consider my professional and personal efforts disappointments. Since becoming a Charlotte Loser, I've simply felt like a loser.

Today I realized all my work hasn't been for naught. Best Personal Trainer Ever (aka Kristen) increased the amount of weight on the arm machine (the one where you lean back and pull down - the Arm Pull Down machine). I'm 5 pounds up and twice that down. I bought a book for a diet I am actually going to follow (and blog about). I'm still happy, laughing, and working towards being a successful human being.

I may be going slow, I may be doing it my way, and I may be having trouble, but I'm doing it. I'm doing it and being me, and if I can do this, anyone can. I've had bad days, crying jags, and frustrated melt-downs, but I'm still going like the fabled turtle who beat the crap out of that lily white hare. To anyone who struggles with anything - let's do this (however we can manage), and when we're successful, let's buy short skirts and tight shirts and go dancing!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Once Upon a Pound of Fat...

Melissa Sykes:

My diet book is MIA. In lieu of my book review, I decided I will tell you a story...

Once upon a time, in a body born long, long ago, a pretty little Pound of Fat formed. At first the fat was cherished - tickled on belly of the baby, cooed over as bracelets of flesh, and pinched in the folds of the thighs. As baby girl grew and Little Girl formed, Pound of Fat was a companion along the way - waddling, walking, and running towards adolescence.

Somewhere around Kindergarten, Pound of Fat was no longer appreciated. Instead, Pound of Fat made Little Girl different from the toothpick legs and matchstick arms that skipped around the playground. At first, Little Girl didn't realize Pound of Fat was to blame. After all, Little Girl was smart, loved, and emotionally-sensitive to others. In fact, it was not until Little Girl and Neighbor Girl bought the same pink ruffled bikini that Pound of Fat suddenly burst forth as the scalding plague that Little Girl would learn to resent as the source of all that was wrong with her.

Days and nights, months and years passed, and Pound of Fat caused lots of tears, defeat, and self-hatred. Pound of Fat was not who Little Girl was but she carried it around nevertheless. Despite her efforts to overshadow her one uncontrollable monster, Pound of Fat never failed to remind Little Girl how to play the not-good-enough game. When Little Girl became Insecure Teenager, Pound of Fat reached his most powerful state.

But one day, Insecure Teenager emerged as College-Fem. A loss unlike any other prompted College-Fem to seek solace in Gymdom, Superficial Attention From Others, and The Mall. It was then that Pound of Fat was defeated by the all-powerful Elliptical, who was aided by her allies Frat Party, Nice Clothes, and Self-Obsessed. Together they forced Pound of Fat into Muscle submission and all was well in the land of Anatomy.

But unknown to all, Pound of Fat was simply hiding, waiting for the moment that he could return to regain control over Physique. And like a slow moving train, Pound of Fat crept away from Muscle and settled his constitution all around what had now become Finding Me. This time Pound of Fat had help when raining down his destruction and chaos - Life Changes, Marriage, and Career all worked together in negative ways to make Pound of Fat more powerful than ever.

With sadness, it must be said that to this day Pound of Fat reigns over all the surrounding lands including Figure, Form, and Fitness. Much heartache and damage has been done during Pound of Fat's dynasty, and his domain has expanded as he's gained power and presence. But in a small corner of Pound of Fat's kingdom, there is a place called Embodiment. It is there that Mind, Soul, and Spirit have started to form a plan to regain control of Little Girl, who has now become Best She Can. Though they fight alone and frequently meet with failures, Mind, Soul, and Spirit push forward with their quest, knowing one day they will celebrate joyously after forever prevailing over Pound of Fat. It is then that Health and Freedom will sprout forth with abundance and Life will bloom.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Move Over, Jennifer!

Do you remember my blog about the scale at my doctor's office? Well that was nothing!

Yesterday I attended a Weight Watchers open house. There is nothing like getting weighed on a scale, in a room full of smiling people to make me accountable to lose weight.

I tried Weight Watchers in the past and did manage to lose some weight. But as soon as I stopped going to the meetings, the pounds started creeping on. When I started this blog, I was almost 20 pounds over my last Weight Watcher weight.

Why wasn't I able to meet my goal weight the last time I was a WW member? One reason. I focused more on the weekly weight and not enough on adapting to the heathier lifestyle to get to the healthier weight. Another reason. I absolutely refused to write down what I ate or track points. I was a Weight Watcher rebel. Sorry Ty!

Surprise, Surprise. I didn't lose much weight! It seems that failure to count the points in Weight Watchers is like drinking a diet soda with a supersized fried fast food meal. The intentions are good, but it just doesn't result in much lost weight.

Though food choice and portion sizes are key to weight loss, exercise really gets the excess fat moving. And guess what? The last time I was in Weight Watchers, I really did not exercise. The Weight Watchers system stresses all three components and when followed has been a great success for many people that I know. Boy did it work for Jennifer! The girl looks great.

To date, I have lost 14 pounds; more than a third of the way to my minimum 2011 weight loss goal. Yesterday, I rejoined Weight Watchers to help me retrain my brain on the healthy way to incorporate all three facets: better food selection, smaller portion sizes, and fun exercise into my 2011 weight loss journey.

Who knows, maybe I'll finally learn how to sing like Jennifer! If nothing else, I will learn to write things down, count my points and exercise along the way.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

One Size Won't Fit All

Just like there are many ways to gain weight, there are many ways to lose weight. I realize that the weight loss technique that might work for one person, might not necessarily work well for me.

I consider myself the tortoise of the three Charlotte Biggest Losers. Just like the tortoise in the children's story, I have decided to take a slower, less aggressive approach to my weight loss journey of 36 pounds this year and another 36 next year.

Am I not capable of losing more? Sure. Am I copping out? I'm sure that some may say yes, but I've made a very conscious decision to enjoy my journey back to a healthier lifestyle. I have several reasons for my strategy.

  1. I have learned in my Toastmasters journey towards my Distinguished Toastmasters Award that I can achieve anything that I set my mind to if I first get my head in the game.
  2. I am a single parent and caregiver of a teenager with multiple health issues. Time is a hot commodity for me. It took me over 25 years to get to my current weight. It didn't come on overnight and I don't think it’s wise to try to melt it off quickly. Perseverance is the goal.
  3. I've decided not to go on a "diet" for this journey. I have replaced the term "can't eat" with terms like "chose not to eat" or "rather not eat" because the road to a healthier lifestyle is about choices.
Weight is an important piece of a healthy life. It is an important measure, but it is just that -- a number. People come in all shapes and sizes. Take time to appreciate that one size won't necessarily fit all.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Suspenders are Great!

First thing is a big thanks to those of you who sent me suggested food "log" websites etc. I decided to go with "" I didn't get going on it until mid week. It did really help me think about how many calories I was taking in. The result? I lost the pound gained from the proior week and lost another for a new total weight loss of 15 Lbs.

This week I want to add an exercise goal to push toward. I will go for my first week of hitting or exceeding 20 miles walking/jogging. Also goal of minimum of 90 minutes biking. And of course the SPEW (situp/pushups/exercisebike/weights) workouts.

In addition to the scales indicating some success, my pants also remind me things are starting to change. Thank God for suspenders! Belts just wad up the material now due to the excess of waist size. So I bought some suspenders to hold up my denim pants . Hey, it also fits my old geezer personae, right? Also got fitted for my tux for my daughters April 16th wedding and once again the slacks were wanting to slide off and only keep my ankles modest. But tux do use suspenders to. So this week I dedicate my exercise and diet to whoever that genius was who invented suspenders. Now get out there and walk you butt off.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bad diets I've tried....

I've been on lots of diets. Lots. That's why this time around, I'm focusing on changing for life, not just the amount of days required to detox or fat-blast. Apple Cider Vinegar diet? Been there. I think I lost weight because I constantly felt like puking after drinking "the mixture." Weight Watchers? I've pointed and earned some stars but could have done better. I formed the ridiculous habit of thinking that 20 points = 4 cookies and then starved the rest of the day. LA Weight Loss? Worked well but I got addicted to the LA bars - I think they had a narcotic in them. Atkins? Made my cholesterol go up and gave me gas. Had I stuck with it, I might have been skinny with really disgusting habits. 3-Day Cleanse? Tasted horrible and I almost passed out pumping gas. Seems my roller coaster record proves that diets generally make me thin only for as long as it takes to make me fatter.

Obviously, I was a little skeptical when a friend told me about a new diet gaining popularity after debuting on a daytime self-help show (another one?!). Friend said she was going to start after learning about it from her mom who tried it and in 3 weeks lost 25 pounds. That got my interest - technically that's a personal endorsement and it's not even a six-degrees of separation Kevin Bacon distance. After lots of Google searches titled "___ diet + bad reviews", I learned that Friend's diet promotes "clean eating" and followers were able to make it part of their lifestyle. That appeals to me - I'm a proponent of clean and life. Not only does this plan seem doable, but it also is realistically healthy. It may even give me some stuff to write about since generating 2 posts per week is not that easy when you're limited to one topic that is kinda boring. Interesting...

I will be trying Friend's diet to jump start my weight loss and get me more than a 10 pound weight removal. I'm getting bored with eating the same things and want to have lots of new experiences on this journey. For the sake of blog research, I had been debating getting some hormone shots I read about. A diet book is way cheaper and may help me avoid a lecture from my mom. Had I a Kindle, I would have it instantly and be starting tomorrow. My birthday's not for awhile, so had to do. My estimated arrival time is Thursday; in the meantime I'll be keeping up with my exercise and healthy fare. Friday's post will dish the details. Until then, it's champagne wishes and cooking-light dirty dishes.

Friday, March 18, 2011

20 Things I've Learned Since Becoming a Charlotte Loser

1. I am blessed beyond belief to have loving, giving, funny, caring, accepting, and scrappy family and friends (I feel bad for anyone who has to go through the awkward adolescent years with an Anonymean in their life).

2. The claim that pizza is a vegetable-based food is crap.

3. Losing 10 pounds is harder than gaining it or getting 2 undergraduate degrees and a masters. Fit-monsters preach the theory that it's easy- calories in versus out. The mass-energy equivalence formula also seems pretty simple; I'm betting once you get into it, it's a doozy.

4. The world is full of perfect human beings - it's just impossible to meet them in person. Like the Trojan Horse virus, they seem to enjoy lurking on the Internet.

5. I really like Weight Watchers fajitas.

6. I'm definitely more intellectual than physical. Based on some impressions I've recently experienced, that may be a good thing.

7. I need to wash my face immediately after exercising or I'll break out like a 13 year old even though I'm 31.

8. Tough love is beneficial when it doesn't feel like berating.

9. I can still rock out to Prince like it's 1999.

10. Even if a garlic meal is eaten days before exercising, it will seep like lava out of the pores of the body during a workout (hint-hint gymsies).

11. I work too much and spend too little time taking care of myself.

12. Lots of people never stop using the "bully lingo" they learned in school (maybe because it's like so totally awesome).

13. The saying that people don't change should never change. Changing is difficult and time consuming, so it better be worth it. I've accepted that my husband will never break the habit of balling up his socks before throwing them in the hamper.

14. Even fit and healthy people are insecure and unhappy with themselves.

15. I sweat a lot. No, a lot.

16. My beliefs about humanity aren't wrong. Most people have good hearts and kind words - they just don't constantly yell them.

17. Eating healthy is more expensive than eating bad-for-you fare. Mind your opinions; it just is. Have you ever seen a buy one, get one apple deal?

18. Spandex is a really unflattering fabric regardless of shape or size. It also make you sweat in just the right spots if you exercise in a thong. Sweat underwear = not as sexy as some women may believe.

19. It is easier to be judgmental than to be supportive of something with which you disagree or can't understand.

20. Feeling sore after the gym is better than a sore conscious due to guilt.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I lose weight, then it finds me again

As I bust butt along the way to lose weight and get back into better shape, I recall that I've done this before. Twice in my adult life I've lost a lot of weight and been in tremendous physical shape. Once was for years of running competitively, including marathons. The most recent was a fanatical immersion into ballroom dancing with my wife.

Each time, however, I ended up going back to being overweight. Each time was due to relocating to new states or having a major lifestyle change such as an elderly parent moving into our house.

Those occurrences were both "reasons" and "excuses" as to why I slipped and stopped my fitness routines. So, I have to plan for the future. You never know when you might be laid off from work, like I recently was, or get injured falling down stairs or getting ill.
I/we have to diversify our diet and fitness activities to survive these bumps in the road. Don't just run or just lift weights. Do both those things and bike and swim or play tennis etc. Don't just do an extreme diet like Atkins. Do a diversified total lifestyle diet. My overweight buddies, we have to plan for the long battle and be sure to never give up whatever the problems that face us in life. Now get out there and go for a walk.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Charlie Sheen, I am Not

Nancy Johnson

You can blame ANONYMOUS' words and the tone that was conveyed in his/her post. You can blame society's attempts to make people who are different feel inferior. You can blame the continued negative posts that Melissa, Dan and I the "obese crew" must endure as a part of our weight-loss blogs and journeys.

It doesn't matter who or what you blame, but in my response to ANONYMOUS March 9th 8:34am's post suggesting that it's easy to lose weight that I should quit "talking about it," I allowed myself a Charlie Sheen-like rant. This was inappropriate.

Many of you have stated that I was WELL within my rights in my response to this post. I appreciate all of your support. It's so easy to get sucked into the negative cesspool. However, in whatever I do I must answer to: God, myself, and my daughter, Brittany. The latter was not pleased by my response. In Brittany's words, "I had become one of them -- a bully." In a way, she was right.

My daughter is the reason I am doing this blog. Earlier this year she shared her weight struggles in a news article in hopes to encourage others like her – those who are different. Brittany has endured much ridicule from kids because of her size. These kids don’t see a kid who loves music, plays several instruments, loves animals, and is one of the most compassionate people God has put on this earth. Most don't see these great attributes when they look at her. Why? They can't get past her size.

So when Brittany looked at me and said that I was wrong and that I should apologize to ANONYMOUS, I listened.

To the person named "ANONYMOUS March 9th 8:34am", I apologize for my choice of words in responding to your post. Everyone has a right to have and to state their opinion to a public blog. Thankfully, I am not doing this blog for you or any of the other negative people. Last week, I forgot this very important fact. Thank you Brittany for reminding me on why i signed up for this gig. to educate, to motivate and to encourage. .

As said by the author Robert Pirsig, "The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands." This is my goal for my future posts -- to share my journey towards a healthier future. I hope you all enjoy the ride.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Too many beers....

Charlotte's Biggest Loser is supposed to relate to losing weight. Well, for the last two weeks I've been just a regular "loser." A loser as in a person who just doesn't accomplish what they know they should. My weight has been stuck at 14 pounds loss and now this past week I gained a pound.

Its not some huge mystery though. Yes, I've been exercising. However, my exercise level has fallen short in one area or another each of the past two weeks. Either my total miles walked/jogged or my number of times doing the SPEW (sit ups/push-ups/exercise bike/weights) workout have fallen short. I know this because I keep a detailed log of my exercise.

I do not, however, keep a detailed log of my calorie consumption. That has got to change. Right now. I do know that due to some social activities I've had way too many beers the last two weeks and those things fill up the "keg" of my body and prevent any chance of the "six pack" from making a comeback.

I also have to acknowledge that the psychological "mess" that lurks in most of us is the other part of the battle. Why do I not always exercise enough and/or eat properly or the correct amount? I suppose each of us have some weird inner workings that make each of us unique. I also want to point out that being fat or fit doesn't eliminate or define all of our faults.
My overweight friends out there must join me in just keeping up the fight. Don't give up. Admitting you are not perfect is fine. But never admit you can't do it. I'll kick my own butt this week and start a food diary to help me not mess up as much and get back to it. Now get out there and go for a walk.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I went on a food bender...

Weekends are hard for me; I'm out of my routine and my eating tends to suffer. Sometimes I go on a food bender and can't get right until Monday. Then I feel that all my hard work and exercise during the week is ruined. I know I have to break the cycle, but I'm struggling in my attempts. Remember that "Stop the Insanity!" lady from the 90s? Yup, I'm livin' it loud and clear. That said, it's not like I just sit on the couch huffing whipped cream and licking the inside of potato chip bags. It's just that my lunches and dinners are a little bigger and a little less fat-free friendly - more Paula Deen than Rachel Ray. Being that there's a weekend every 5 days, this is starting to be an issue.

Filled with Clorox and laundry, my weekends consist of vacuuming, organizing, errand-running, and catching up. Unfortunately, they also happen to include some take-out and a low-fat fudge pop (or two). By Friday night, I'm sick of slicing vegetables and scrubbing dirty pots; healthy dishes take planning and prep time. Come Sunday morning, the guilt rolls in like a work-week fog and by Monday I'm back on the wagon, cursing my lack of will-power. This sabotage circuit is starting to get on my nerves, not to mention ruin my weight loss. But in my free time, I'm not naturally a schedule-driven person. It seems I've come across yet another bad-habit booby-trap that I need to overcome. On this journey, there seems to be no rest for the weary...or the weary just can't rest when it comes to weight loss changes.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A good workout with an Elvis lip

Obviously, my right side is way stronger than my left. Though I used both arms in my workout, I tried to raise my left hand to "scratch" my nose and felt a definite lag. Surprised?! Oh yeah, momma's got a brand new bag! After a rough patch following the Tennessee trip, I am back on track. I worked out twice since Monday and my fancy-smanchy scale says I am almost down 10 pounds. I know -- it's been a million weeks and I should have lost at least four watermelons by now. That said, I'm just happy to overcome the neurotic insecurity of thinking I am the fattest, most unfit person in the gym and everyone is staring at my totally fascinating ability to sweat gallons of moisture.

To be honest, I have to attribute most of my move-it mojo to Kristen and Marcia at the Y. I may have an intrinsic predisposition to do lots of things, but exercise is not yet a mastered motivation. Not only did Kristen text me Monday to remind me about "my homework," but Marcia also announced that I will start meeting with her to do some deeper exploration of my relationship with food - totally dependent dysfunction (duh).

During my last session with Kristen, we focused on lifting weights and using the machines that always intimidate me; the ones that only the true gymsies work out on as they listen to the iPods that are strapped to their fit upper arms. It was during this venture into the Magic Gymdom that I also discovered a freakish feature: when I start to push against the weight, I get this weird Elvis lip strain. I don't know if Kristen noticed. It started to distract me, but I buckled down and got serious. I didn't even worry that I'd get sweat marks in awkward, inappropriate areas. Everyone at the Y is so great anyway, that even if I had the sweat outline of boob-eyes and fat-roll-mouth, it wouldn't faze them.

I did have a mini-panic attack because I went to the gym instead of doing grades the day before parent night. Hell knows no fury like a parent and child who swear something turned in is not reflected on the progress report! But I ended up getting everything done and learned that sometimes I am going to have to force myself to put working out before working. I also realized that I am strong; the strength burning inside me no longer has to be focused solely on my dreams and goals. Instead, I'm beginning to uncover a physical strength that had been long-forgotten and hidden beneath the daily grind and comfortable blahness of life. Tickets to the gun show anyone?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What should I do about this reunion?

Nancy Johnson:

It seemed like such a reasonable goal for 2011. Lose 36 pounds in 36 weeks. This goal was set in preparation to attend my 25th reunion at my college homecoming on Oct. 7, 2011.

Well, surprise, surprise, surprise.

I had just gotten home from the Y when I saw it in the mail -- the invitation to my 25th college class reunion. When I opened the envelope, I was shocked to learn that my class reunion is scheduled for May 6, not Oct. 7 -- a mere 22 weeks earlier than I had planned.

When I saw the date, my initial response was, oh well. OK, maybe those weren't the exact words. Remember I am a work in progress.

Now, how do I prepare for a 25th reunion in May when I had already visualized how I'd look at 40 pounds lighter in the cool October air? I have jotted down a few options:

  • Option 1 -- Go to the May event without a care. Just buy bigger clothes.
  • Option 2 -- Don't attend the May event. Just ignore it and go to the October homecoming as originally planned. I can just read about the festivities after the fact because I will be too heavy and don't want the "looks."
  • Option 3 -- Kick it in gear. I have 7 weeks to lose as much weight as I can. Then attend the event with a smile and looser clothes.
  • Option 4 -- Hand out copies of this blog, explain that I am a work in progress and enjoy myself.

I choose Option 3. Who knows how much weight I can lose if I kick it up a notch? Plus, this will give my new support team at the Siskey Y a real short-term goal to work toward -- 10 more pounds by May 6.

I know all of the anonymous people will post their comments and I am looking forward to reading them. I'd like to also hear from people with actual names. So, send your comments and ask your Facebook friends to post ideas to help me kick it up a notch!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Considering the middle finger excuse

Nancy Johnson

I got the news last week. My middle finger will take another three to four weeks before my fractured finger is totally healed. Seems I didn't know my strength when I slammed the door on it. Maybe I should have listened to my mother and daughter when they told me to drink more milk.
Once upon a time, I would have allowed this small, yet very annoying fracture to be an excuse for not exercising. Don’t get me wrong -- I am still searching for excuses. Yet in three more weeks I have another four more pounds to shed, and fat just won’t wait for my middle finger to heal. I have made a Dr. Seuss-like commitment to myself and to my daughter to win this battle of the bulge. So my nine good fingers will have to compensate for the one fractured.

I had my first meeting with the Siskey YMCA staff. Talk about energy! Talk about friendly! Talk about commitment! I am not yet liking the exercise Kool-Aid, but what a supportive group of people. Listening to them, I could envision myself enjoying the treadmill, the stationary bike and even the elliptical machine. (This is my Goliath).

Watch out for the nine-fingered bandit at the Siskey YMCA. I will be searching for your empathetic smiles.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Exercise, no matter the ouch

I can fly! Oops. No I can't. Ouch! Treading air is harder than it looks. I'm about to go outside and try a 6.5 mile walk this Monday morning. The morning after falling down the stairs in our house. After being laid off from my job, my wife and I were clearing out my office up in the upstairs bonus room. I was trying to carry about the millionth load of stuff down the stairs when all of a sudden the last step wasn't the last step. For a moment I was treading air with arms full of junk I shouldn't have been trying to carry. I fell into the laundry room floor. Head into door. Elbows into floor. Right knee into floor. Ribs into a portable drill that I broke (the drill, not my ribs). I'm bruised and sore but seem to be intact. How stupid can a person be? My life didn't flash before my eyes while falling that cumbersome two feet. However, one of the first things in my mind was "will I be able to exercise tomorrow?" I'm about to find out. I think I lucked out this time. I'm kind of proud though that my thoughts went to being able to exercise as one of my first concerns. Maybe the importance of this effort has become part of my inner being after all.

I'm also made aware of how fortunate I am at age 59 to be able to do my workouts. Not everyone is so blessed.

To my fellow overweight buddies out there trying to get into a habit of exercise I say: "Get up and get out there and do it!" Just don't be stupid about it.

Personal Trainers Speak In Tongues

I had my first meeting with Kristen, my personal trainer at the Y. Not only was she fun to be around and positively motivating, but she also didn't think I was weird, which is a bonus since I was Binging* all over the place. We started with the elliptical machine and I quickly realized that nice gyms have equipment with TVs attached to them! I hardly have time to watch my shows during the week, so this realization provided exercise inspiration in its own dysfunctional way. It's slightly sad that I have to fill out the application for payment assistance, but forget pride, give me the discount so I can virtual cycle and sweat while watching Maury!

As we rotated through the various machines, including one that looked kinda like a spider and made me feel like I was gliding on air, I began to sweat and didn't even realize I was working out. Kristen kept me focused on talking and as soon as I started to get that mind-numbing feeling, it was exercise-switch time and she would say something to make me laugh - very clever. I now understand why the rich and famous have personal trainers on their payroll - it's like having a Fit Genie that hangs around and makes you healthy. Exercise didn't seem so bad with Kristen - her voodoo was bewitching.

This meeting was also monumental because for the first time since I started this journey, an avid exerciser actually admitted that in order to find the time to truly commit to exercise, something has to give or be put on hold. Even though I don't know his name, I wanted to kiss this Siskey sage because he conceded the very thing that many exercise aficionados keep denying. Yeah, running at dawn before a breakfast of grains and walking till dusk is admirable, but is a messy house and a lessened dedication to work worth the priority of working out? This is what I've been trying to figure out, and thanks to Kristen and some technologically savvy treadmills, I may be welcoming exercise into my life after all...of course, I have to actually join the gym first.

* This is a reference to the character of Chandler Bing from Friends. Known for "his wise-cracks and sardonic attitude," I am similar to Chandler Bing in that I use humor at inappropriate moments as a defense mechanism.

Friday, March 4, 2011

I auditioned for The Biggest Loser?

Last weekend I "auditioned" for the TV show The Biggest Loser. After being contacted and lured with the promise of a VIP pass (I NEVER get VIP'd) and a $250,000 prize (I will NEVER have $250,000), I dragged my husband kicking and screaming to Nashville for a weekend away during which I'd "happen" to go to a casting call. Flash-forward through the long drive and yes, a slice of pizza on the road (I know...I deserve crucifixion), and my husband and I were lost in downtown Nashville looking for the Memorial Theater so I could get chosen to complete for mucho moola while exercising away all jiggles and shakes. After a few million circles, I finally voiced aloud that we needed to follow the tracks of the thicksets and find an area filled with fatties (thanks for this word Anonymeans).

We arrived to find a "large" line that was more like a square with no starting point; paunchy people of all ages, races, and creeds nervously munched on snickety-snacks and sat on tailgate chairs. Marching up to a kinda-official looking lady with a clipboard, I proudly handed in my VIP pass and was ushered inside to complete a brief questionnaire while being ordered around by young self-important people dressed in black. I immediately noticed everyone had on their personality pants - it was as if the large ladies waiting with me were walking billboards screaming, "Pick me! Look I'm witty, fun, and fat!" Hmm... My husband was immediately labeled a "supporter" and forced to vacate the area due to a lack of space.

Finally, we were counted off into the theater and told to take a seat at a table containing 15 chairs and 1 Brandon guy who stated his title with the gravity of Jesus. After a bunch of references to former contestants who were nowhere to be seen (Do you know Mark from Season 3? No, but Jesse from Season 7 just posted on You-tube...), I had to announce my name and proclaim that I was "flying solo" since I wasn't auditioning with a partner. I stated how much weight I wanted to lose and my reasons for this goal (a desire to stop having to patch the thighs of my favorite jeans worn thin by chub-rub and an alleviated fear of turnstiles).
As my table-mates took turns, I noticed that everyone not only had their 2-page survey containing questions like "How will your life change by losing weight?" (I will no longer get the food sweats), but they also had a spread of photo montages and an additional 14+ pages that I suspected contained even more you-have-no-life-now-cause-you're-fat questions.

After being told to "show our personalities", things really got interesting. An older woman sporting a fake ponytail and pimp-cane introduced herself as Valerie, which rhymes with calorie. Everyone seemed to really like "Calorie Valerie" and I silently cursed that Melissa rhymes with nothing but the rude word for pee. Then Dead at 30 talked about her 150 pound weight loss and subsequent realization that she didn't have it under control when she still had 100 pounds left to lose. Teary-eyed she breathlessly told Brandon/Jesus that most of her family members died in their 30s...and she turned 30 this year! Shaazaam! I began to hear violins as Angry-Mom, Deaf-Student, Girl with Mustache and Family Heart Disease, and Friends All Skinny each stated their fat-plague. When it got to me all I could mutter was that I eat too much and never exercise. I tried to mention the blog, but Angry-Mom jumped in when I paused to breathe.

Needless to say, I have no 15-minutes of fame in my future. I did, however, get a glimpse of how my excuses start the violins playing too. Of course, this didn't stop my husband and I from leaving the casting call to go listen to music and swig some beers. But it was lite beer and we walked miles around the city all day, so somehow I felt lucky that I've always made myself a life regardless of my pant size.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Detailing my SPEW workout

I've just started my Monday morning with a 3.25 mile walk/jog. My weekly weighin wasn't good. I didn't lose any weight. Looking at my exercise log I'm disappointed at first glance. I only did 9.7 miles walk/jog, 40 minutes biking and two of my SPEW (sit ups, push ups, exercise bike, weights) workouts. All these items are less than I had intended.

Some readers have wanted to know more about the nuts and bolts of exactly what I'm doing for exercise. Well, the figures about give you an indication. My SPEW workings include 3 sets of 40 push ups, 3 sets of 50 sit ups/crunches and I've just gone up in dumbell weight from a 22 pounder to a 30 pound piece of iron. I do curls and shoulder lifts and two directions of arm extension then using a lighter ten pound weight for straight arm extentions.

The basics though are supposed to be the walking/jogging/biking. I've got to get those exercises "up" a good bit.

My daughter's wedding is April 16. I have to get fitted for the tux before the end of March. I'd love to lose another 5 to 7 pounds before then.

I guess my spirit is still somewhat in mourning from being laid off from my job. I was thinking negatively about my less than expected exercise for last week. Then again, for a "bad" week, that still kicks the butt from my recent past. So, keep your chin up folks and I'll do the same. Listen to your body and be smart about increasing your exercise increments. We fat buddies cannot, however, allow the trend to go in the wrong direction. Gather your focus, gather your friends and family. Gather your wits but just don't gather moss from inactivity. Now get out there and move!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What would you give up for a year to be thin?

Nancy Johnson

On February 23rd, comedian and radio host Steve Harvey poised a very interesting phone blast question, "What would you give up for a year to be thin?” As a person publicly struggling with my weight, I found this question to be very intriguing. There are many things that I am quite fond of, but what would I be willing to give up for an entire year to be thin?


I'd like to say that I'd be willing to give up my addiction for caffeine, but I would be telling you a HUGE lie. I am addicted to one particular form in a green diet bottle to be specific and not even the dream of being thin could break that addiction.

I'd like to say that I'd give up TV. Aside from the walking tapes, I could probably last a solid month. But I know I'd soon find an excuse to click on CNN or the weather channel as an excuse to turn on the tube. So, I don't think I'd last an entire year.

There is one thing that I think I could give up and probably should give up for a year -- fried foods. As a southern Yankee, fried foods were a staple growing up. Fried fish, fried chicken, French fries --you know the slogan – Gotta wanna needa getta hava. You get the drift.

Almost 20 years ago I gave up fried foods for almost of a year and was quite successful at losing weight. I lost weight the old fashion way -- eat less and work out twice a day. I know I am much older and now have a whole lot less free time, but ah, the memory of how good I looked and felt during this period makes me want to relive this pledge.

So Mr. Harvey, I will make every conscious effort to avoid and eventually eliminate all things battered and fried through the rest of 2011.

That is what I plan to give up in my quest to be thinner. What will YOU give up for a year to be thin? Post your comments. I really want to know! Don't be shy; you can post anonymously.

Inquiring minds wanna know.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Confession: My 55 excuses for avoiding the gym

My personal trainer contacted me and my first session will take place this week! In honor of my initiative to get a professional exerciser's help, I've decided to list every excuse I could possibly use to rationalize my avoidance of the gym. Siskey-Jennifer mentioned her nutrition group completed this exercise and it helped some of the members overcome their lack of gymotivation*. Yes, I made this word up; see my dictionary entry below.

* Gymotivation = (N) to have plenty of motivation for other things, but none for hard-core gym workouts. Usage - I am working on my gymotivation so I can eventually run a mile without stopping.

I have to admit that I surprised myself with my expert ability to make excuses. Is there a contest for this? I'm an olympian! Some excuses may seem familiar and others totally ridiculous (you're preaching to the choir), but this purge will hopefully result in a cleansed spirit and fresh perspective to just do it. Feel free to add anything I missed because if I can think of it, I will use it.

55 Reasons to Not Go To The Gym

1. I'm tired!
2. I'm hungry!
3. I have too much to do.
4. I don't have anything to do and finally have time to rest.
5. I just washed my hair and don't want to sweat.
6. I straightened my hair and (see above).
7. I'm having a good hair day and (yup, see above).
8. I have to grade papers.
9. I have to enter grades.
10. I have to figure out what I'm teaching tomorrow.
11. I have to make a test/quiz/project/PowerPoint for class tomorrow.
12. I have to do a million things for class tomorrow.
13. I have to do a million things period (notice the lack of detail).
14. I don't want to get up earlier than I absolutely have to (see Number 1)!
15. I don't want to stay up late (see Number 1)!
16. I really want to watch ________ (fill in the blank with bad shows that I love to hate).
17. I talked on the phone too long with my mom/sister/aunt/friend etc. and now I have to get going and do stuff!
18. I have to do laundry.
19. I have to vacuum.
20. I have to clean the whole house - especially the bathrooms - what if someone stops by and needs to use the loo?! It could happen!
21. It's nice outside.
22. It's not nice outside - who wants to go out in this?!
23. I have to make dinner or I will end up eating late and sleeping on a full stomach that will induce nightmares.
24. I just ate dinner - I can't go now - remember the swimming rule?!
25. I need to relax.
26. I have to pee and don't want to use the bathroom at the gym (eww, sweaty).
27. I have to feed the dogs - what if they starve and decide to eat the couch?
28. There's too much traffic!
29. My feet hurt.
30. My head hurts.
31. I had a bad day.
32. I had a good day.
33. We have no food in the house - I should go shopping instead.
34. We have food in the house - I should make a fancy meal and use recipes!
35. I have to write my blog.
36. I have to see my husband - we should probably talk about something.
37. I want to read my book - I'm an English teacher for God's sake!
38. Alright, I'm going (but secretly I know that I will procrastinate until whoever is bugging me gives up or forgets what I'm supposed to be doing).
39. I had a long day. * Sigh *
40. I just don't feel like it (again, lack of detail). * Angry sigh *
41. I'm so stressed out. * Frustrated sigh *
42. Let's watch a movie instead!
43. The dogs have been all alone all day and now I'm going to leave them again? So unfair.
44. Oops, I forgot my gym clothes (secret smile).
45. I forgot my socks and working out without socks is begging for a Blisterama (serious face).
46. I'm going to start tomorrow.
57. I'm going to start Monday.
48. I'm going to wait until the weekend.
49. During the summer I will have a ton of time to workout - why stress myself out about it now?
50. Once work calms down I'll have a schedule I'll stick to (even I don't believe this one).
51. I need a workout buddy.
52. I don't want to workout with anyone else!
53. I have tutoring/a meeting/an appointment/plans after school.
54. I'll workout at home.
55. I don't want to workout at home.

No, I'm really going. Really.