About Me

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Pittsburgh, PA, United States
Six years ago I decided (age) 42 would be my magic number. I stepped on the scale for the first time in a LONG time. It was a BIG number, it was a SCARY number, but mostly I knew I had to own that number. I lost 40 pounds, leaving the obese category behind. In 2014 I committed myself to working out HARD and a low sugar diet, losing more weight and gaining nice definition. Then life happened, and I lost momentum, gaining some weight back. My goals now are different, and include completing my first ever marathon at age 48. GULP! You can read about the next part of my journey here.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Natural Timing

I am horrible at establishing regular practices.  I refuse to commit to a schedule for anything, except where absolutely necessary.  God help the person that tells me I "have" to do something.  I am not stubborn exactly, but a born contrarian.

We are pressured to live by "clock time", which is nothing but make-believe.  I hate clock time, with a passion.  But I fell in love with the concept of "Sojong" when I read about it in  "Living Beautifully," by Pema Chodron.  Sojong is a Buddhist practice of confession, traditionally practiced by Buddhist monks, and it is governed by natural time -- taking place twice a month, during the new and full moon.  Pema Chodron explains how Sojong can be adapted for the layperson, as a practice of self inventory, a practice of reviewing the previous two weeks -- not as an opportunity for self criticism but as an honest self assessment.

For me the question always is "How did I meet each day?"  When did I open myself to the moment?  When did I shut down?  I am not judging myself on much I weighed, or how many miles I ran, or if I completed tasks at work, or if I impressed other people, or if I was a "good mom", "good friend", "good whatever." Did I stay in the moment, or did I check out?  I don't want to check out.  Sometimes I write these thoughts in my journal, sometimes not, but I find that I come to the practice of setting intentions and self assessment more effortlessly when it is line with Nature's schedule, not the human calendar.

It's not that I think there is anything mystical or magical about the Full Moon, but witnessing the cyclical changes of nature, from the tiny to the massive, is very powerful.  Why would you want to be anything but tuned in to the unfolding universe around you?

Happy Summer Solstice.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Now We're Having Fun

Tonight TC (Trainer Cathy) asked me if I wanted to do a combination of chest and arms since I missed my arm workout on Monday. I said I wanted to do all the moves I like, it's gonna be Fun Night!

So here is what I did:
40 Bicep curls with wall squats
90 count Russian Twist with 10 lb weight
72 count triangle pushups (in real push up position, not from knees)
40 military style pushups
80 count plank, various style, mostly straight arm
chest flies and press with 20 lbs weights, with leg lifts
30 v shape curls with squats (increased weights to 15 lbs)
30 shoulder presses with static lunge

and a bunch of other stuff ...

Was this all fun?
Yeah, actually it was.  Almost as much fun as wearing size 6 jeans.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Watch Your Language

Four years ago, when I started losing weight, I set 3 progressive weight loss goals.  To reach a) 165, b) 150, and c) 135.  The numbers were simply lower weights I was at at various times in my life.  In 2010, I was 80 pounds away from 135 and I didn't focus on that number at all.  I took it one day at a time, one pound at a time.  The first 40 pounds came off relatively quickly, and then in the summer of 2012 I reached 165.  And stayed there for approximately 24 hours.

The first thought I had when I reached 165 was "Well I reached my first goal but it is going to be HARD, so HARD to get to 135."

With that one word I created my reality, and spent the next two years traveling the scale from 170 to 175 and down again,  When I bumped above 175, I felt fear ... I don't want to go back to where I was.  When I got close to 170, I felt fear ... I don't want to give up food as a crutch to go lower, it's too HARD.

I have no idea if I will ever be 135 pounds again, but if I am not it is not because it is HARD to get there.

Another word I'm relinquishing is SAD, as it applies to situations. People can feel sad, situations are not sad in and of themselves.  If I'm sad, then I'm sad. You can't unfeel a feeling.  If I call a situation SAD, I've created a reality that has nothing to do with truth, just with a story I chose to spin.  If I call another person's situation SAD, I've presumed to pass judgment on what is none of my damn business.

I've experimented with "positive mantras" -- "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it, people LIKE ME!!!" is the famous SNL example -- and truthfully I hate them with a passion.  Now I look for moments of Wordless Whimsical Curiosity.  You don't know what the hell is going to happen, but it just might be awesome.

We are so quick to slap labels on a future that is really wide open.  We might be amazed at what comes to us when we leave words behind.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Cost Benefit

I post quite a bit on Facebook about working out, fitness and weight loss.  I don't question my commitment to healthier living, but by no means am I gung-ho.  There are plenty of times I feel waffly about working out. 
I am often tempted to cancel my strength workouts in particular. They are damn hard!  This week, after a long drive on Sunday (followed by a short, but relatively fast, run) I was really dragging, and wanted to bag both  my arm workout on Monday and chest/ab workout on Wednesday.  Why didn't I?
1.  I work out with a friend, and cancelling on on a commitment to someone else is harder than cancelling on yourself (not legitimate, but true).
2.  I love running, and while I appreciate the benefits of it -- fat burning, endorphin rush, etc -- I credit weight training with allowing me to really reshape my body.  The scale doesn't always reflect this transformation, but smaller clothes sizes do.
3.  When it comes right down to it, I don't spend *that* much time on working out.  My average is about 2 hours per week for strength, 3 hours for running, and then some weeks I toss in a bike ride, karate, and/or yoga (all of which are FUN).  I target 2 non-consecutive rest days per week.

Is transforming your body, and feeling fantastic in every way, worth 2 hours per week of pushing yourself?
I can't imagine saying "no."  I can't imagine saying anything but HELL YEAH.  At some point I'd like to add a third strength workout per week, but even if I never do, the benefits to my current routine are amazing. 

This is my Arm workout (thanks to my friend Cathy for documenting).   Most of the moves include both weight and cardio -- the arm moves are done concurrently with squats or lunges. I sometimes do a bit more and it usually takes about 60-70 minutes.  By the end of it I am a sweaty, shaky mess.

Cost = Low
Benefits = Astronomically High

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Go Your Own Way

Today I weighed in at 160, 55 pounds lost total.  My size 8 jeans are a little loose on me, and I am dead certain I will reach my goal of 155 by the end of our company weight loss contest (early July).  I get compliments, and compliments are nice, but nothing compared to this -- every day I look in the mirror and like what I see.  Truthfully I felt the same way 20 pounds heavier, because that feeling comes from the inside, not the outside. If other people like the way I  look, that's great.  If they don't, well ...s'es each, s'es own.

There are a thousand ways to lose weight, in terms of food and fitness habits.  Here are some of my habits, and if you want to lose weight you don't have to follow any of them.

I use myfitnesspal to track calories.  You don't have to track calories (although if you can't figure out why you aren't losing weight, tracking your food intake, at least for  awhile, is a great practice).

I don't eat pasta, bread or bananas.  They are very carb heavy and just not worth it to me, nutrition-wise.  I eat pizza on Fridays, because it is freakin' delicious.

I like to weigh daily.  The number on a scale never upsets me and I like to know where I am.  You don't have to weigh every day or every week, if it makes you anxious.

I treat myself daily with my favorites.  I drink wine, almost every day. I eat an Oreo almost every day.  I enjoy them, and I see no reason to give them up.

I eat meat and cheese.  I don't know if I want to live in a world without cheese.

I don't drink a lot of water.  I know I *should* but honestly at this point I simply don't care to improve that habit.

I workout a lot because I love it and it makes me feel fantastic, physically and mentally.  If you really hate exercise, you don't need to do any to lose weight.  However, it is probably worth it to try out a few activities to find one you like, because the human body was designed to move.

I am a numbers-oriented person. I love lists, spreadsheets, and graphs.  I use those tools to manage my weight loss initiative.  If you hate them, don't use them.

There is only one thing you *need* to do to change your outside, and that is change your behavior by changing your inside.  What is inside might surprise you.

Me, today.