HYC Check In

Scaleless in Seattle. (har har) I am still weighing myself, but giving myself permission to not post it publicly. I am stuck, stuck, stuck. However, since I am predicting the month of September to be funeral and crisis free, I expect to get to the gym 4-5 days a week, plan meals and return my body to its regularly scheduled programming.

I only have one more session with Cindy the Trainer next week. I would absolutely recommend signing up for sessions to anyone. Provided, of course, that you can have someone who is a perfect combination of hard-ass serious and friendly with a humorous personality. Of course, the monetary cost is significant, but the fact that I have learned a routine that I can keep up for myself, is so fantastic. Here are some tidbits that I have found to be the most helpful.

- Remember my summer arm campaign? Endless upward presses and triceps rowing, etc? Biceps and triceps are small muscle groups. Best to work large muscle groups. I always avoided the machines that advertised back muscle focus. Wrong! I'll be building muscle mass, while still engaging those small muscle groups. Neat!

- Cable machines have a happy balance between free weights and nautilus machines. You need to control the weight and the movement more, as with a free weight, which engages your core, and small muscle groups. Nautilus machines target one small muscle area. Nautilus is best for women when they are just starting weight training, and beginning to build their strength up.

- Cindy put together a routine that alternates between arms/chest/back and legs/core, so I get a full body work out in one hour. She pointed out that many people alternate their exercise to be upper one day, lower the next, but this means you would have to come to the gym 6 times a week to work that part of their body 3 times a week. She's a genius! Alternating is still effective, but not as efficient, in my book.

- Plie squats will work you inner thigh.

- Think about pushing your butt backwards when going to do a squat, it will keep your knees out of the danger zone, which is going over your toes.

I'm sore today, but not unbearably so. The best part about this routine? Super challenging, but also I love that I get to take a rest day from strength training in-between. I had been in a routine of cardio then weights every day, and obviously they were not that effective. Operation smaller pants, it's on!


Home again!

I would rather gather with family for a wedding than a funeral, but it is still wonderful to be welcomed. I don't see my husband's family very often, but when I do, they are some of the warmest people I have ever met. All of my husband's siblings and cousins shared their memories of spending summers at Papaw and Mamaw's ranch, and the trouble they would get into, and I had forgotten what a talented painter she was - her artwork is everywhere in my mother in law's home. In the understatement department, funerals are sad. It was a lovely/sad/weepy/uplifting all at once service, with a 90-something year old reverend who led the sermon so eloquently and with comfort, her nephew played she and her husband's favorite songs on the violin, and then we all went to the cemetery, where the wind kicked up a dust storm so violent that all the women were having to hold their skirts down. We then returned to church for the church lady pot luck lunch. I have never seen such a tempting spread. And I am grateful that I do not live there, I would surely be 400 pounds. Fried chicken, enchiladas, pot roast, fried okra, broccoli casserole, green chile rice casserole, spaghetti, beef and noodle bake, and myriad of desserts. My vegetable options were iceberg lettuce, tomato and baby carrots, or coleslaw. I think I gained 5 pounds this week - I am terrified to look. But I know that at my service, (knock wood, god forbid and all of that) I want people to eat and laugh and remember the good times. And in the avoiding untimely demise department - I walked early in the mornings on most days, before it got over 80 degrees. I even did some lunges and squats, um, once. But alas, it was no match for the donuts and lasagna that called to me from the kitchen. So I am back to planned meals, regular exercise, and trying to cancel out the damage done last week. So no weigh in today - and more thoughts on that later. I may give up the scale for a while.


Full Stop

We lost my husband's grandmother this weekend. She was 94, and had broken a hip earlier in the week, and decided to stop eating. I think it is pretty likely that she just decided to go. She was moved to hospice care and had nurses at her bedside when she went. It has been most difficult on Mr. Black's mother and sister. He gets weepy talking to them, but cherishes his last visit with her - eating steak sandwiches and repeatedly answering her "Do you have a girl?" question by referencing her to our wedding photo, as she was occasionally experiencing dementia. 94 is a good run, I think. Must be all that clean living, for the former cattle rancher's wife who cooked up a storm in her heyday. Tomorrow we leave for rural New Mexico where they really do have tumbleweeds, a fascinating sight to this West Coast girl. I have a feeling the week will feature lots of rich food and little exercise. The 100 degree weather is not conducive to my delicate sensibilities when it comes to exercise in the out-of-doors. This is just another speed bump on the road to health - and I'm learning to go with the flow. Back in a week!


Vanity or Health?

Something that I see very commonly across weight loss blogs are "losers" (get it? weight loss! Loser!) not caring about the number on the scale. I've even said it myself. But in reality and my heart, I do. I remember seeing Rosie O'Donnell in an interview and she said that as long as she's under 200 pounds, she's happy and that even 199 makes her high-five the nurse on the way out the door at the doctor's office. Hilarious and true. I've been thinking about what my threshold is. I have this goal to get under 200 pounds - so that means I care about the number. But really, I finally figured out what I do care about. Clothing size. That's what I really want. My friend sent me some gorgeous size 16 pants that she gleefully can no longer wear. They are in mint condition, perfect for work and high quality. I want to wear them. I want to be able to zip them up and feel good. And if I was a size 16 or my ultimate goal of size 10 or 12 and weighed but still weighed 224 pounds, I wouldn't care. (I don't think so, anyway) But smaller scale numbers should also equal smaller pants numbers.

Shouldn't I be more concerned about my health? Not vainly trying to fit into some clothes? Yes of course, I started this whole thing back when I got married and was inspired to live a longer life. However my weight has been an issue since I was 11 or 12. All of my childhood and adolescent memories often have a patina of feeling left out, being stared at, being made fun of, being rejected, and feeling inadequate because of my size (This is not a pity party - I also have been surrounded by love and accomplishments). But seriously, no one ever made fun of my cholesterol level or my risk for diabetes. No one can tell by looking at me that I can do 6 miles on the bike in 30 minutes, or plank and bridge in 15 and 30 second stints, they can't see what I ate for breakfast (fruit and yogurt) or that I watch my calories, or that I can do 20 lunges, or that my cholesterol levels and blood pressure are beautiful. I am so much fitter at 224 than I ever was at 290. So I wonder- what if I never lose another ounce? Am I still healthy? Can I accept the fact that size 10 or 12 pants aren't in my future? I know that in high school I was probably a size 16 or 18 - but I'm not one of those women who suddenly gained weight after they had a baby or something. I don't have a memory of oh- I want to get back to that weight. I've spent my whole life struggling with the vain part, and now I've connected the health part, so now I guess I have to connect the emotional part. Being in my 30's - with a pretty wonderful life and more physically fit than I have ever been in my entire life. And if size 18 pants are my only option, then I need to get over it already.

I'm not giving up on weighing less than 200, but I think I'll put the scale away for a while.

No, I said cable

I’ve completed 3 sessions with my trainer. One talky – two working out. I am challenged, sore, and feeling good. I’m getting to know my body in a new way. A painful and sweaty way. Muscles (I hope they are muscles) are screaming at me.

I’ve decided that my hell is a world where I am forced to do walking lunges all day. I tried to get out of lunges. “3 years ago I tried them with the other trainer, and they hurt my knee!” “I’ve got this hip thing.” “I might fall over!” Each argument was retorted with the fact that my body has changed over the last 3 years, I’m much more physically fit and I weigh less. And lo and behold, I can do lunges without hurting my knees and hips! Or falling over! Honestly, I am in awe of how many different muscles come out to yell at me when I do the lunges. They are a powerful weapon. I sweat, grunt and huff while I’m doing them. Which lead me to the thought – do people really get dates at the gym? I mean, I’m so sweaty that my hair is wet, my face is red, drippy and usually features some mascara running. Hot mess, my friends, hot mess.

And I cannot wrap my brain around the back raise. It is like a carnival ride, but I control the terror level. And “Back Raise” makes it sound like a hip hop dance. They should call it – just as painful as a lunge, but with gravity! Basically, your feet and calves are held captive against a plate and cushion, respectively, while your thighs rest against another cushion, and you let yourself hang down at 90 degrees, then heave yourself back up. Who the hell thought of this? Torture.

The highlights were these:
  • When my trainer said “Let’s head to the cable machine.” I said “Did you just say Kegel machine? Because I don’t need a machine for those.”
  • Planking for 3 sets of 15 seconds each – impressing the trainer “You’re a great plankster!”
  • Being able to hold a bridge for 35 seconds – and two more sets of 20-30 seconds! Thank you, Pilates class.
  • When I felt like I was wimping out during my second day, only doing 6 back raises, she said “You are working hard, I can see it, and your muscles are full of little tears. Respect the tears!”

And with that, I am taking a rest day. So far this is time and money well spent - I'm glad to feel like I'm not spinning my wheels any more and that I'm comfortable with the trainer. And did I mention that I did lunges. Like a million. That's amazing!


Remember, stressed is desserts spelled backwards!

Last I tuned in, I was headed to the wedding reception. Song was sung - to laughter. Don't worry, they were supposed to laugh! Once I sang, I felt like it was just a warm-up, and I wanted to do it again! But there it was, live performance is like that, you get to do it, and then the moment is over, and the memories are floating in the ether. There was wine a'plenty. I think the bartenders, who were really friends of one of the bride's mother, were pouring 8 ounces in a glass. At 11:30 am. Yeesh. I did not abstain. I couldn't - it was from a fancy winery, and I wanted to try both the red and the white. And the champagne was lovely. The food, oh lord, there weren't any good choices. Seriously. We were served a plated salad (very small) and then there was a buffet of pasta. Chicken parmesan, meat lasagna or penne in cream sauce for the vegetarians. And there was a plate of olives, cheese and strawberries. So I went for a smidge of chicken, and a smidge of lasagna. And a few strawberries. Ah well. Sometimes all you can do is exercise a little portion control. Upon returning home, I went right back to exercising (even though we were in our triple-digit heatwave), and eating fresh produce. The usual. But the scale, she is not happy.

So I took drastic measures. I have signed myself up for personal strength training at my local YMCA. I went through the process 3 LONG years ago when I first joined, but it is painfully obvious that I am stuck. Stuck, stuck, stuck. I hope to again find it inspiring, and to make some great results. I know by now that if my body has stopped changing, then I need to change how I move and fuel my body. I really, really, really think I make pretty good, informed choices about food most of the time. I could not plan my meals any more stringently. It is the sweet indulgences that are likely doing me in, but I know that I'm not going overboard.

Here's the one good thing - at least I am great at maintenance! My first session is tonight - I'll be back with a full report! And since making this commitment to myself, this is the first morning that I looked at the scale, shrugged and said "Won't be like that forever!" instead of cringing. Mental progress.


Funk solved!

No weigh in today. It was shockingly high this morning, which I attribute to the wine I had Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend, (busy social girl!) and the fact that I am at the peak of my cycle. Which, by the way, I "became a woman" over TWENTY years ago - you'd think I'd be able to tell when I am having a hormonal mood swing by now, for crying out loud. This was a long one, which I think is why it didn't occur to me. It is amazing how powerful my emotional swings are. But again, eating well and exercising have eliminated my cramps for two months in a row - that is a serious first for me.

So if we don't post weight, here are my NSV's for the week!
  • I exercised 5 days in a row - hooray!
  • I listened to my body and waited for it to get hungry (and apparently thirsty, with all that wine, eh?)

My challenge this week - a weekend with old friends at a wedding reception, which will have lots of food and drink. Another complication, it is in my old college town, so I'm already having memories of my favorite eateries. Being nostalgic about food is a serious pitfall of mine. The other problem? The reception is a luncheon, (at which I'm singing - those poor guests who have to listen to me!) so we arrive at 11, disperse at 2:30 and then are to meet up again for a dinner later that evening. However, with that schedule, exercise is most likely not in the cards for me. I know, I know, I have at least a few hours before dinner, but that's going to be spent visiting. So I'll have to make good choices, yes? Yes. Always facing choices. I hate that feeling when my time is taken away from me, and I end up having to ask myself over and over again - do you want to eat that, or do you want to weigh less? I want both, dammit! Must remember to have a lot of vegetables, and not as much wine. I'm writing that on my hand, I think.


The F Word

I am in a funk. There's just a general malaise - I guess I could call it depression, but it doesn't quite feel like that heavy. It is more like a general dissatisfaction with my life. I know I should be grateful for all I have, and that there are people in the world without caring families, friends, food and shelter and disease-free bodies. But sometimes a girl just gets down. I haven't wanted to focus on weight loss, I haven't wanted to cook anything spectacular, or socialize very much - which is very strange for me. I think I'm coming down from the high of having my husband return and the reunited bliss that ensued (lots of eating and snuggling) and then reality comes back in the form of trying to get into a new routine. I learned while my hubby was gone for 3 weeks that a) I really enjoy taking care of him, and b) that I want to spend more time at home with him and c) We watch too much TV. But I also want to exercise, and get out of the ding dang 220s already! (222.2 this morning, for reporting sake). But the effort to make both of these happen is not coming easily to me.

I have avoided posting anything here - and I am hesitant to publish this. It's not effective, interesting or insightful. It is just where I'm at. Here are some positives:
  • I have exercised two days in a row, and will again tonight
  • I have made a nutritious lunch and dinner for myself this week
  • I went shopping and got some cute new outfits
  • I have a beautiful pedicure
  • The sun is out!

I think I've lost my steam - it is not a struggle to do anything, but I am not excited about what I'm doing. I hope in the coming days I am able to shake myself out of these doldrums. Because really, it is ridiculous - I have so much potential.


HYC Check In

This morning showed a modest loss - only .4 - which proves that for my body, walking an hour a day just isn't cutting it. My hubby returns home tonight, and I don't know who is more excited, me or the dog! Next week I'll be able to resume a regular gym schedule, which is necessary and good.

I wasn't very successful in my exercise goal of doing some arm exercises this week - I have this old lady hip pain that surfaces whenever I do a lot of walking. This week was agonizing, and I was stretching and icing, and taking ibuprofen when I needed to. Which led to staying off my feet after walking each evening. So I'm grateful that I've been able to basically maintain by watching my calories. That Daily Plate is such a blessing! Hope everyone else had a successful week!


HYC Check In

This morning my scale said L o - alas, I don't think its talking about me. I think it means low battery. Which is fine with me, since this is my TOM weigh in - I'd rather not see that higher number today!

This weekend was delightful - I was able to be distracted from feeling lonely because my dearest friend and her hubby and baby were in town from Chicago. Making googly faces at a 15 month old, and walking around the zoo were far more fun than wishing my husband was home. Hooray! My food choices were not the best - but I walked and walked and walked every day - and even made it to the gym on Saturday. I am definitely feeling like I've got a handle on my eating, despite taking a detour through Dick's. I know exactly what I ate, and made sure to make my other meals as good for me as possible. I had the strangest phenomenon - in the TMI department - this is the first menstrual cycle that I've had in months where I didn't want to eat 16 pounds of sugar every day. I can't tell if it is because I'm eating less sugar in general, so maybe less sugar in, less sugar craved, or something else? Whatever made me sugar free is fabulous so I hope I figure it out!

This week I want to focus on doing more arm exercises at home, even though I'm unable to hit the gym, being on puppy duty. I can do more, that's for sure.

Back next week with fresh batteries and a real weigh in.


What I'm Eating, and What I'm Not

I cannot eat oatmeal for breakfast any more. I am putting my foot down. I know it is high in fiber, I know it is cholesterol lowering, I know it is filling and mostly delicious. But not even with applesauce, with raisins, with dried apricots, nor with nuts, can I enjoy it anymore. I even considered making it in a savory fashion with soy sauce and green onion, like a Chinese pancake, as I read about here but alas, we’ve been together every weekday morning for about 8 months now, and I’m done. I think what I’ll miss the most is that nothing is cheaper for breakfast than steel cut oatmeal, bought in bulk, and cooked with apples that I chop myself. I am now spending my mornings with the high falutin' and very expensive fresh blueberries and yogurt. They are a creamy, tart, and sweet dynamic duo! Antioxidants, fiber, protein and calcium, not too shabby on the nutrition front. I cannot stress how important it is for me to enjoy what I’m eating. I cannot eat purely for fuel. I want to eat the best fuel I can, but it also has to appeal to my palate. Has anyone else broken up with a healthy food because they were simply tired of it?

I haven’t posted a recipe in a while, so here’s what I ate for lunch this week. Because I loves me the fiber, that I am now missing from my oatmeal, I am having delicious black bean and sweet potato cakes for lunch this week. With lime sour cream. They are awesome, cheap, easy and I would make them again in a heartbeat.

Black bean and sweet potato cakes

2 TBS vegetable or olive oil
1 cup dried beans, cooked according to directions or 2 14.5 oz cans, rinsed and drained
1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed and grated – about 2 cups
½ cup rolled oats (quick cooking is fine)
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 TBS chili powder
2 tsp cumin

Lime Sour Cream

½ cup sour cream
Juice of half of one lime

Mix everything together, add more lime juice as necessary.

Set the oven to broil. Spray a broiler pan with non-stick spray.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add sweet potato shreds, and cook for 2 minutes more. Add garlic and seasoning, cook for 1 more minute, then remove from heat. In a large bowl, mash up your black beans a little, leaving them mostly whole. Stir in the potato mixture, oatmeal and add salt and pepper to taste. Allow the mixture to cool a bit before you add the egg. Stirring will help. When it is not so hot that it will cook all the egg, pour the egg in, and mix well with your hands. Shape into 7 patties – they are gonna be a little messy, just move them nice and gently to the broiler pan. Spray them with cooking spray, and place in the oven. Broil for about 7 minutes, and then gently, gently turn them over to cook the other side.

Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream, and fresh cilantro. Delicious! I estimate these to be about 250 calories a pop. I have a salad on the side, and a happy tummy. I made this according how I like it - but the original recipe that inspired me was on Allrecipes.com - but it has a lot more spice than I can normally handle. And I made one less cake, because I wanted bigger ones for lunch.

Happy weekend!


HYC Check In

I have so much to say - and not enough time or determination to sit down and write it out! I was pleased to see a loss of 1.4 to 222.6 this week - yahoo!

My exercise has been wonky - my husband had to leave town, and now I feel guilty about being at the gym, when my dog is at home pining away for his favorite person in the whole world, his daddy - for I am a poor substitute. So we're taking lots of walks, good for him, and good for me. But my heart rate is not getting where it should be.

Mr. Black will be gone for 3 weeks (wah!), and it is not so much fun for me - more on that later. Let's focus on my NSV. I met a friend for dinner and a movie and we ended up at The Cheesecake Factory. I wanted to have a cheeseburger and fries. With bacon, probably. I ordered the grilled eggplant, roasted red pepper and mozzarella sandwich, with a salad. And it was lovely. I had one french fry off my friend's plate - and was surprised that they weren't that great. I always build up foods to where I am yearning for them then discover I wonder what the heck all the fuss was about! We shared a slice of cheesecake, and did not even finish it. Good job, Sara! Entering my meals into The Daily Plate before I eat them is really helping me stay on course. Now to get my exercise up - and keep the calories down.


HYC Check In

Getting on the scale with my eyes squinched shut and fingers crossed, breath held (oh no, wait, that probably adds a few ounces, yes?) and then I hear the beep-beep that signals the weight is recorded, and holy macaroni, this morning I saw 224 - that's a 2.2 pound loss. I jumped for joy! (I now know that my last weigh in of 231, was a holiday weekend bloat.) I was truly surprised - as I had been hovering around 225 all weekend - and then I ate potato chips and ice cream in the SAME DAY! I swear riding the bicycle the night before a weigh in is what is giving me such good results. Actually, it's ME who is giving me such good results. I can treat my body well, or I can over-feed it and not move it enough, and gain weight. 'Tis always the way.

I am reading Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg right now (delightful, by the way) and there is a character named Evelyn who is overweight and hates it (if you saw the movie, it was Kathy Bates' character). She joins Weight Watchers, and there is a passage describing how she has been perfect for 9 days, she feels tall and thin, graceful, powerful and in control, and will never eat anything ever again unless it is crisp and fresh. Funny to realize that this is a universal feeling. I always think it is just me - reaching that euphoric feeling of success when I do what I think I should it has been true for ages. When we push ourselves and work hard and meet our goals - especially health goals - it is the most empowering feeling in the world. I must sustain this momentum, I never want to see 230 again.

Oh, and I didn't even tell you about San Francisco. It was fabulous, of course. Lots of walking, talking, eating and laughter. We went to a really nice dinner Saturday night - and the highlights of the meal were a goat cheese fondue appetizer, and a make your own s'more dessert, where there is a bowl of melted chocolate and a bowl of warm melty marshmallows. Oof. Not the healthiest, but I straightened up on Sunday. And, drum roll, please - I worked out before work! Miracle! Not a really long work out, but exercise, nonetheless. And I had a little moment at the water for my Dad. A lovely weekend. I am glad to be staying put at home for the summer - I've had enough airports for a while. No more traveling until November, thank goodness. Back to work, now! Hope everyone had a successful week!


Frisco Fun!

I had another great day yesterday. Went outside of my calorie limits, (pot luck at work) but I was really careful with portions, pushed myself at Pilates, and then walked the dog. Good job!

A fantastic weekend looms ahead of me - another work trip, and this time I'm heading to San Francisco! And basically I am like can'twaitcantwaitcantwaitOMGcantwait. I am soooo excited about this trip because I haven't been there in years. Sadly, Mr. Black can't join me, but my brother is coming up to meet me. Two crazy siblings painting the town red! Or, maybe recession orange. I'm so looking forward to a some little brother time. Time to laugh until we pee. Awesome. I'll help stimulate California's economy without trying to sniff out and glare at all the Proposition 8 supporters and the court justices who made an error this week. Ahem. Moving on, I also want to take a moment to pause at the bay, that's where our father's ashes are, so we can say a little prayer in the sunshine.

Here's the pitfall - our visit will involve eating and drinking. What do I want more? An indulgent weekend? Or, a healthy weigh in? Well of COURSE the obvious answer is that I want BOTH. But my body absorbs rich food like a sponge. All I can do is ask myself these questions with every bite and sip. Thankfully, I'll be on the same time zone, so getting up to work out before work won't feel like I've got lead weights attached to my eyeballs. I'll meet you back here on Tuesday with a full report, but no weigh in. Wish me luck! No, don't. I know what to do.

Tiny sunbeam

Yesterday I was spot on. I was lovely. Resilient. I ate within my calorie limit - even while I enjoyed one of Seattle's little treasures, a mini donut from the Pike Place Market. (I had to chew on a lot of gum to not eat more) then I burned 425 calories on the elliptical, did my arm work and some squats, and am a little sore in the arms today. This morning the scale said 227.8 - which made me sigh with relief that Tuesday was temporary bloating or something. I saw a teeny little ray of light yesterday - and it was coming from me! I was able to do what I need to do, and all it takes is focus and thought and determination. I gotta make that beam wider and wider!


HYC Check In

Isn't there some sort of moratorium on weighing yourself the day after a holiday weekend? And posting said weight on the interwebs? Sigh. I was up to 231.6 yesterday. In case you aren't counting, that's a 4.4 gain. Time to check yourself before you wreck yourself, sister. I know that circumstances were working against me. TOM, mild exercise that consisted of mostly walking in our glorious sunshine, and that old frenemy, alcohol.

Today I can beat myself up, or I can move on. I truly watched portions this weekend - I did not have the greatest food choices with a birthday celebration for hubby, general non-regimented eating, picking here and there, but trying to get my fruits and vegetables in. This is the most annoying song, over and over again. I think the key for me is constant, strenuous exercise. Last month when I was losing, I was really focused on exercise, then things come up, and I don't get to the gym in the evening. Time to become a morning exerciser? Before the rest of the day is eaten up? I am so not a morning person. There's something within me that sees 8 pm on the clock and says, well, no time to exercise now. That's not true, is it? I am choosing not to exercise after 8 pm. And Mr. Scale says here's the consequences. A more uplifting post should come after this one, I'm going to work on that.


HYC Check In

Greetings from Minneapolis!

I am a savvy business traveler lady again - and having a great time! No weigh in today, because while my hotel has several amenities, it does not have a scale.

I had the best exercise last night! There is a lake (we're in the land of 1,000 lakes, don'tcha know?) near the hotel, and the loop is 1.9 miles, so after a lovely meal of halibut, broccolini and a smidge of garlic mashed potatoes, I strapped on my shoes and iPod and hit the pavement. I was going to head to the fitness center, but it was still around 70 degrees out at 8:45, so I figured a walk was in order. Is Minnesota the lilac state? Because it should be! There are full, lush fragrant lilacs everywhere you go. Along the outer edge of the trail was a wall of lilacs that made my walk even better. The intermittent gnat clumps, were an annoyance, however.

My eating has been pretty good - I haven't even had one deep fried cheese curd. There are 6 hours until my flight home, so I make no promises. Today it is 85 degrees - Minnesota, I am going to miss your gorgeous springtime days.

Once home, I hope to return to operation gun show: the tricep days. I hope everyone else had a great week!


Make it count

I realized that since I've started this extended plateau in the 220's that my exercise has gotten stale, and doesn't challenge me as much. Last night I didn't want to go to the gym. I've been tired this week, and I only wanted to go home and relax. Here's the thing I realized, if I go to the gym and phone it in, I'm only hurting myself. (Um, duh, Sara.) My work out has to count to make a difference, and also to allow me to eat more! That's the whole whole point! Oh, and healthy lungs and heart and stuff. If I show up and just go through the motions while my mind is at home in the kitchen, then I am not doing myself any favors. And that afterglow never manifests itself as "Well, that was a waste of time!". In order to kick my own tush, I looked up how to maximize my efforts so that when I leave the gym I feel spent and as though I really didn't waste my time there. Here are some tricks to get the most out of your workout when you really don't want to be there.

Maximize your cardio calorie burning effort!
  • Jumping rope - this kills me, absolutely kills me. On average, this burns 684 calories an hour. (The heavier you are, the more you can burn!) If you can jump rope for an hour, you are a superstar, and little crazy. But what if you do it for 2 minutes in between lifting weights?
  • Stationary cycling, moderate effort - on average, this burns at least 556 calories an hour, again, the more you weigh, the more you can burn. When I take my cycling class, I literally fill up the little hand towel with sweat - so, so, gross! But it burns so good!
  • Rowing machine - on average, this burns at least 530 calories an hour, for someone under 200 pounds. This machine is kicking my tush, and I don't have the strength to sustain a lengthy workout on it yet, but I'm working on it!
  • Elliptical trainer - on average, can burn up to a whopping 800 calories an hour! When I first started working out, I could barely do 10 minutes, now I can go 40 and feel good. Keeping the resistance increased has helped me a lot too.

Maximize weight lifting

  • My fantastic trainer at the YMCA told me a secret once. She said that if you were really in a hurry, you could do a slow burn weight lifting routine. Whatever weights you're lifting, do so slowly, to decrease the natural momentum, and increase the tension time on the muscle. But be careful and don't hurt yourself, she also added. Choose and appropriate weight.

This way, if I only want to spend 50 minutes at the gym - 20 minutes on cardio, 10 minutes stretching, and 20 minutes weights, I can choose the most challenging exercises. Or, make up a little circuit training routine, where I do some cardio exercise, some body weight exercises, some weight lifting, then sprinkle in some jump rope inbetween reps. All the while I have my pouty face on, and then later I can pat myself on the back, and remind myself, it isn't that hard, is it?


HYC Check In

Oh no - a few spins around the sugar bowl and I'm up a neat and tidy pound today. Drat! My exercise was spotty this week, too, due to evening conflicts. How come when I eat candy and red meat and tell my body - now don't punish me for this, we're just enjoying a treat - it doesn't listen? Bah! Lesson learned, I have to stay away from the sugar! And get myself to the gymnasium, yes? Yes. I fought the dandelion war in our yard this weekend and my body was sore for two days. I now know why gardening counts as exercise, but does not allow one to eat chocolate or black licorice. Alright, moving on. I hope everyone else had a more successful week!


HYC Check In

This is amazing, I am down 1.4 this week, to 226.2 so I'm finally back to where I was before my birthday. Only took a month to undo the damage I did in two weeks. Sheesh. I guess walking around DC helped me! I hope that I can continue my streak and get back my 65 pound badge next week - I only have to lose 1.2 to get it. Come on, 225! I am hesitant to point out that this is week 4 of losing in a row - that usually does not ever happen to me. I hope I'm not jinxing myself!

I also want to change my exercise focus from biceps to triceps - I don't want to be one of those women who does not love every inch of her body, but my upper arms are not on my love list right now. I would really like to have some arms that I'm not ashamed of this summer. Now they are all jiggly gross and I feel super self-conscious. I hide them as much as possible, as though revealing my upper arms would let someone on to the secret that I'm overweight. That's not a secret at all, so it is kind of ridiculous, but it is how I feel. A new goal to reach for, here we go. If anyone has any secrets for fabulous arms, lay 'em on me!


My DC Experience: AMAZING!

I’m finally home from my trip, and fantastic doesn’t even begin to describe it. That town is amazing. I am not much of a history buff, and when I have been to Europe, I visit the ruins and am impressed and adequately awed, but tend to maintain some distance. This week, to be in that city, where history is all around me, it was exciting and moving, because it is my history. These lessons that I have heard over the years aren’t just legends, they are real, and here in front of me. It was just amazing, and yet I found myself feeling a little cyncical. That couldn’t possibly REALLY be the coat that Lincoln was wearing when he got shot, could it? It seems too far away, to difficult to imagine that artifacts have been preserved for so long. But I guess it is true, yes? I can't wait to go back with my family - I think we need at least a week just to see 4 museums. Basically, I spent the time alternating between being moved to tears by the monuments, and working a lot harder than I expected.

Thursday night, we had dinner with the local office team that we were visiting, and then a few members of my team wanted to go to the National Mall. It was 8:15 and I was exhausted, trying to not fall face first into the table, still trying to adjust to East Coast time, but if I have an opportunity to go with a group, I figure I should go. Seeing the monuments at night was incredible. The weather was so warm, the crowds were smaller and the monuments were so beautiful. We also got shooed away from the White House, so we watched the sky for Mr. President’s helicopter, but we never saw any arrivals. Unfortunately, I was on my own Friday evening. I was actually staying in Arlington, Virginia, so after I wrapped up work, I headed out to the Arlington National Cemetery, and now I want to honor everyone who has had the courage to go to battle and fight for our country, because it really is a sacrifice, one that I could never ever make. I wish that there would be no more wars for servicemen and women to fight in, however. After a good cry, I took myself to Georgetown for dinner. It was nice to have the pick me up of being on a busy street with college students and other tourists to distract me. My legs were getting tired from the walking, and I spied a Lush store. Perfect! I bought a bath bomb and some solid bubble bath and proceeded to have a nice dinner by myself in an Italian place along an open window, then went home and took a nice hot bath, painted my nails and slept like a log.

Saturday I connected with an old friend from college, who was kind enough to pick me up in the morning and we spent the day together. We walked around the tidal basin (no cherry blossoms) and then went to the holocaust memorial museum. The way the exhibits are set up you are gradually so immersed in the graphic nature of the takeover and murders that it is impossible to walk away without being so grateful for the life you have, and heartache for those who lost theirs, and disgust for the fact that it went on for years. Naturally, you think about what is happening in Darfur. My friend and I had spoken about it, wondering what I could do, because it is so easy to shrug it off and say that it is not our problem, it is not something I can help with, and to accept feeling hopeless, and then moving on to the next task in your life. Luckily they had a brochure, called “What can I do?” I will put it to use. We went up to Maryland and had a seaside dinner outdoors, and don't even ask about what is better Atlantic Maryland crab, or Pacific Dungeness crab - it can get pretty heated, which is hilarious to me.

Here are the best weight-loss parts. I fit into the hotel robe! That was so exciting. I feel like I’ve joined the secret club of people who fit into one-size-fits-all stuff, that for so long did not fit me. On the exercise front, I did not do so hot. I could never get up before work to get to the gym, being up late and the time zone were killing me. I did do a lot of walking, that's for sure. Food-wise I did much better. When I was on my own, I ate vegetarian, and small meals, because in the office, there is crap available from dawn until dusk. Bagels and sweet breads in the morning, and then heavy lunches, afternoon cookie trays and a fancy dinner. One of our lunches was ordered in from a place called Big Buns. I had to chew on my tongue to not laugh out loud when they announced it. Now it is back to basics and we'll see what my weigh-in brings tomorrow. I am anticipating a gain, only because I didn't do any formal exercise, visited the cookie tray, and had some alcohol. I feel like it will be minimal, and definitely worth it. No really, it will be. I know that I didn't go hog-wild and that's a great improvement from my former vacation attitude to eat anything that comes my way.


Traveling Wo-man

I have an exciting opportunity at work that is presenting a new challenge in my weight loss efforts. Am I now a cheese tester? No, but if that position is available anywhere, please consider this my application, because I would be an expert.

My new responsibility means traveling. Going to 4 of our national offices and auditing their files to make sure they are properly documented, in case our consulting advice was ever called into question, or litigation. Boring? You bet. BUT I get to fly on the company dime and see some great cities, and earn some points with my boss, so it is a win-win as they say in the bizness world.

The challenge? Eating out, and not having my familiar YMCA to work out in. As soon as I set foot on a plane, I'm all about I'm on vacation! Let's eat what we feel like and claim that I'm walking all of it off. But I saw what un-tamed birthday eating did, (8 pounds!) so I know that isn't going to work. Also, I am a freak about not having food nearby. I already went on a training session, and ate so much at breakfast because I wasn't sure when I was going to have lunch and what if I get hungry and oh my are those hash browns and granola bars? Move over! It was silly. Here are some strategies that I've laid out for myself:

1. Protein at breakfast makes me stay fuller longer s0, eggs and fruit are my best choice at breakfast.
2. Exercise! Every hotel we're staying at has exercise facilities, so there's no reason to not have some sort of movement.
3. Portion control - our team will be taken out on a big fancy dinner one night, and so I must remember that rule of only eating half of what is on the plate.

Practical, yes? Not too hard to follow? Yes. I just have to put them into play!

Tomorrow, I'm off to Washington DC and I'm so excited! I am pretty overwhelmed by the sightseeing options, and I only have Friday evening and all day Saturday to see what needs to be seen. I'll be back Sunday, exhausted and hopefully full of good memories, not cheese.

HYC Check In

The aftermath of Baconopolis was mild - I'm down 1.6 this week. Phew! I feel relieved and like I could shout I win! I ate bacon and still lost weight, and oh my the bacon was good.

My exercise was great - despite missing one day due to an emotional and stressful day at work. I'm still sore from my arm work on Sunday, so that is a fantastic feeling - I know I'm working hard. Two weeks in to the Daily Plate and I'm still in love with it, and I'm like why did you ever stop journaling your food? Seeing my calories in print makes a big difference. I am pleased that I'm losing and proud that my exercise commitment is still here - let's keep this momentum up!


Food, glorious food!

I am in shark-mode this week. My period is in full swing, and I can’t get enough to eat. Last night I asked my husband to go get me angel food cake, whipped cream, strawberries, and/or brownies, and/or cookies and/or French fries. Luckily for me, he didn’t. So, I ate a bagel with butter and jam. I never understood people who put jam on bagels, because why waste an opportunity to eat cream cheese with jam, but good grief, that is good. Dangerously good, Will Robinson. Today I have a lunch meeting and I ordered a falafel sandwich for myself. Should I have gone with a salad? Yes, but I didn’t. I am so excited for that dang falafel! And tonight, I’m going to an event put on by a local fancy pants chef, where we get to eat tasty little samples of my favorite bad-for-me-but-I-can’t-break-up-with-him-lover, bacon. Baconopolis! My palms get a little sweaty when I think about the bacon carbonara – and the dessert bacon, and sampling bacon by different farmers. All in a lovely venue with my husband and a friend, and a glass of wine. Oh, loveliness.

All this hefty eating should keep the shark at bay, and if it doesn’t someone check me for a tapeworm, because I should not be this hungry. The other thought that lingers is “counting” all of these calories. I had a pleasant weigh in this week, and I know myself, and myself likes to slack off when I’ve had a loss. For some reason I think my diligence can wane, I can relax, because I’ve obviously got this weight loss thing covered. Um, no, you don’t, self. So to make up for yesterday’s and today’s indulgences, I have to be super strict on Saturday and Sunday. I truly believe that it is possible to eat bacon and satisfy a carb craving without guilt, and still lose weight. I can’t deny myself social eating all the time, and the hard part is that I am learning (still) to treat those situations as special, as an exception to the rule, and to re-dedicate myself to good health when that special event is over. Lather, rinse, repeat.


HYC Check In

Oh, how happy was I to see 229.2 this morning? In a word, ecstatic! My first week of no-nonsense pure dedication paid off in the form of 2.6 pounds! Here’s what I learned this week:

Eating less and exercising more works for my body. Go figure.

I like using The Daily Plate.

Working out 5 days a week is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. On Sunday, I had grand visions of heading to the gym after taking a walk with a friend. But weird knee issues kept me away from the Mountain Climbers. Knee is better today! I am wary about whether I can sustain this kind of schedule – the sun has finally made an appearance in Seattle, and that usually makes me what to eschew the gymnasium – and in fact, felt silly that I went to the gym last night when it was so gorgeous out, but I got the job done that I wanted to!

It was true in school, and it is true today – when I apply myself, I soar! 199.8 – here I come!



I got an exercise routine, ya'll. Here's what I'm planning on doing for the next three weeks, and then I'll change the body weight exercise part. Posting it here keeps me honest, yes?

Monday - 45 minute spin class
Tuesday - 20 minutes elliptical, 10 minutes rowing (I could only do 5 this week!)
3 sets of 15 mountain climbers, with 10 push ups (alternating)
3 sets of 12 press-up squats with weights, 15 varied crunches (a la 30 day shred)
Wednesday - 30 min elliptical
3 sets of 12 lateral raises, with 10 push ups
3 sets of 10 kick backs and thigh raises
Thursday - 1 hour Pilates
Sunday - Same as Tuesday

Various parts of me are sore - and I am hungry a lot, so it feels like I am kicking up my metabolism. Hope so! The scale has not budged, however.

Know what is embarrassing? Doing the always effective but never enjoyable Mountain Climbers in the very busy YMCA - in front of some very fit men. But I was determined to get rid of my self conscious self, and just do it. You know what is even more embarrassing? While doing sets of Mountain Climbers, having your shirt fall down to your neck - exposing your belly and breasts in one fell swoop. After I scrambled upright, I was forced to tuck my shirt into my pants and look like Mr. Magoo. This was not in the brochure on how to be glamorous while getting fit.


HYC Check In - and survey questions!

I regret to announce that my weight was 231.8 today. But, I didn't even tell you that last week it was 234 - so it is almost like I lost 2.2 pounds! That is what 2 weeks of unadulterated birthday celebration eating and intermittent exercise will do to me. Could someone please tell me if there are any contests that award prizes for most efficient weight gain? I could use a boost right about now.

It is April for Pete's sake and now I am currently 8 pounds heavier than I was in January. I really think that part of it is my muscle tone coming back, but really it is fat. Sigh. I am having an intervention with my chubbier self, because I am realizing that I am in more trouble than just "heading the wrong direction". I am not working hard enough. A serious plan of attack, some serious changes are called for. I don't want to be someone who wallows in self pity and wonders aloud why they aren't losing weight, and promises to get it together someday, but never does.

  • Change the first! I haven't journaled my food in a while, and I used to be a FitDay devotee. However yesterday I signed up with The Daily Plate - I appreciate that their site has brand name foods, which is helpful for entering my cottage cheese, juice, yogurt - that kind of stuff- whereas on FitDay I always had to fudge the serving size amounts to get the right calorie and fat counts. So far, journaling brings me that oh so fabulous feeling of "do you really want to write down that you ate that? Because Jelly beans aren't really on your plan, girlfriend." I found myself last night wishing I hadn't spent so many calories on the stupid jelly beans and Triscuits that were calling to me from the lunch room at work. See, it is already working! Ooh - and the other thing I love about the Daily Plate, is that they have way more exercise options - like you can actually enter elliptical, which I have never been able to find on FitDay. My recommended calorie intake was 1,990 before exercise - that seems awfully high. Does anyone else follow the plate guidelines for calorie allowance? I'd love to know what your experiences have been.

  • Change the second. Exercise, baby. I need to change my routine - I'm finding that I work harder when I am following someone's instructions - a la DVD at home, or in a class. Last night I kicked off my new commitment by returning to spinning class. It was a killer - 40 minutes of hard work and more sweat than anyone cares to imagine. If I am just doing elliptical and weights, it is easy for me to take breaks, catch my breath, stop when I get tired and fiddle with my iPod. I want to make routines for myself to follow for a few weeks, and then change them up with new weight-bearing exercises. Anyone have any suggestions? Do you have a favorite routine that you can share that is sort of a full body work out - or DVDs that you like?
I am ready to get these last 65 pounds off my bawdy body, as Mr. Black would say. Any exercise or Daily Plate advice is sorely needed and appreciated. I hope everyone else had a great week!


HYC Check In - Birthday Edition

Happy birthday to me! Today is my real and factual birthday! In honor of me, there is a moratorium on weighing me. In further celebration of me, I have been eating cake, eggplant Parmesan and wine. Life is good! Tomorrow we’re off to Orcas Island for 3 days of relaxation. We’ve rented a little cabin, and The Ding is welcome, so I expect lots of walking, resting, reading and Mr. Black wants a rummy tournament. The card game, not Bacardi.

For the week in review, my exercise was spotty this week – I was having birthday dinners! I know that is no excuse, and when I get on the scale next week, I will likely be remorseful. But no apologies today, when I make a choice, I can't whine about that choice, right? Right! April will definitely be time to get back on the stick. More aggressive exercise, and more carefully tracked food. I'm taking a page of inspiration from Lynn - have you read this page yet? BRILLIANT! Its all about how you just have to do what is good for you, and not wait to be inspired. Go read it and try to not nod your head along in agreement, and realization.

I hope everyone has a great week!


Bleh. Or, HYC Check In

On Tuesday the scale read 226.4 - let's not speak of that again. My exercise was up last week - way up! Hooch consumption was down- way down to 2 glasses of wine! These are improvements, in my eyes. I am frustrated by the fact that while I was working on the show, I did not exercise a lick, but managed to come out only 4 pounds heavier. Now, I'm exercising and not seeing the scale go down. Time for a scale sabbatical? Maybe the month of April I will focus on doing what I know makes me feel good, and not worry about the pounds. I'm also leaning toward throwing my hands up and giving up the dream of weighing 199.8.

Let's focus on the positive - I ate well, and I exercised, I tried out a new routine in the gym, and that felt good. Movement and a varied diet is the best thing I can do for this bod-o-mine. So I have to keep doing it. I want my muscle tone back, by golly.


The Blind Spot Diaries: Part II - I still got it!

This was a long-time coming - and thanks to all for your kind inquiries about how the show went!

Stepping out on stage that opening weekend was exhilarating, terrifying and humbling all at once. My bundle of nerves tummy revealed itself in the form of bobbled lines, and being slow to pick up my cues. The perfectionist inside me found this unacceptable - and proceeded to put enormous amounts of pressure on me to be perfect. Once I stood in the wings and said to myself "You know it. Just do it." all of my lines came out just fine. I mostly did not want to be the actor that my fellow cast mates would not be comfortable being on stage with. I don't consider myself to be an unreliable actor.

This play was so unique and clever, that listening to where the audience found laughs and when they were moved, was half of the thrill. And discussing the script afterwards with friends, hearing what they liked or didn't, if they thought the lead girl was imagining it, or if it was real was delicious to partake in. I loved the high of performing, being so wired I could take on 30 day shred at 11 pm at night! Another thrill was that I had someone in the audience at nearly every single show. People who have known me for years and wanted to cheer me on, and new friends who were just as supportive. Many of my coworkers came and it was really fun to have them see me in my "real life". I'm not just the girl who can help you with your presentation, you know? And the post-mortem of the production, this little theater is so professional, they actually cared to hear how each of the artists' experience through the production was.

Overall, this was the best experience I could have ever hoped for. I finished the show with a sense of pride. Every single person in the cast I would work with again in a heartbeat. There was such a love fest when the show ended. Usually there is one asshole or person you don't care for at all - but not here! For someone not sure if she could ever be on stage again, this was a fantastic time. It stretched me as an actor, I think - it made me do stuff that was scary (singing! vulnerable character exercises!) and allowed me to play and have fun. The director said that I am going on her permanent list of actors to call upon, the Artistic Director wants me to join the company, and he asked me to audition for him in May. These are the highest compliments - I am so flattered to be received positively by them, when I was just trying to test myself.

I am so grateful that I was able to jump in when I did. 5 different worlds, 7 different costume changes, 2 songs, 5 characters, not enough rehearsal time and only one run before opening. I don't think I could have chosen a more challenging bus to jump on, but the ride was more than worthwhile.

The only negative? The time. As in no time to exercise. And I need it - as evidenced by my weigh in this week. I definitely want to reconsider the time commitment if I am going to audition again - it will have to be for something really wonderful, although Blind Spot is going to be hard to beat. But we only live once - may as well make it fun, yes?


HYC Check In

Do you know those surveys that you have to fill out for new doctors? Where they ask about how many drinks you have per week? I usually check the 1-3 drinks per week box, because mama likes a gimlet or glass of cabernet now and then. This week, I would have had to check the 6-8 drinks per week box. Yikes!

Remember last week how I worked my tush off with exercise, and was down 2.6 pounds? Picture it, I was feeling proud and like I was back on track. Well, then came a very busy social week for me. I had 4 events, and had 2 drinks at every single one. Even more than 2 at a birthday party! Combine that with only getting in 3 work outs, and I am weighing in at a disappointing 226.6 this week, a gain of 3.6 pounds. I was sore on Sunday from exercise – let’s marvel at the power of my body to gain weight while being sore. Awesome. Fluke? Was last week a fluke? I’ve also heard that you can gain during ovulation – maybe that’s it? Or, maybe I need to be honest with myself and admit that a heavy on the hooch, light on the exercise week is not conducive to weight loss, yes?

Back at it, I guess. Putting the hooch on the shelf and filling up my water bottle, and trying hard to not throw up my hands and say forget it, I’m living at 226 for the rest of my life.


HYC Check In

This morning I was greeted with 222.8 - that's a loss of 2.6 pounds! I am remembering the painfully hard exercise that I completed this week, and the fact that I ate carefully as well, to quash that voice in my head that says that there's no way I could have lost that much in one week, and it may have been a fluke that I was so high last week, etc. The effort is what's important - and I'm proud of what I accomplished this past week!

Ladies weekend was a wonderful respite, as always. We laughed and talked and visited the salon, and ate well and then talked and talked and talked some more. I am so blessed to know all of these fabulous women. They make me laugh and feel loved all at the same time.

On to a great week!


HYC Check In - Back at it!

It has been a month since I've weighed in - and as usual, I've gained weight at an alarming rate. I was 225.4 on Tuesday. That's 3.4 pounds. Yikes! I blame lack of exercise and girl scout cookies.

I got very sick after the show closed (that's pretty typical for me - my body says "Oh hi, are you free? Yeah, um, we've been holding on to this crap for a while now - here you go!") and then my gym efforts continued to be lackluster.

I did make it to the gym twice last week. And you know what? I was nervous about it - maybe nervous isn't the right word. But apprehensive. Doubting whether I would be able to complete a work out or if the YMCA staff would find me gasping for breath on the floor. After 12 minutes on the elliptical I wanted to get off. I fought through to the full 3o, but good grief it was hard! I feel like I am back at square one, strength wise.

However, I am proud to report that as of today, Friday, I have exercised 4 times this week. In a row! Cardio and weights on Monday, 30 Day shred on Tuesday (that is a killer - I'm still sore), Cardio and weights on Wednesday, and Pilates on Thursday. Hooray! I am willing to work hard for the next few months, because I am tired of the scale bouncing around the 222-227 range. Let's get into the 210's - yes?

Now I'm off to my 2nd annual ladies weekend. 4 of my dearest girlfriends, and we're all getting together this weekend, city style. Last year we rented a house, but this year it wasn't available, so we're going to the salon, and our favorite Mexican restaurant for mojitos, great food, and of course, we talk, talk, talk and laugh and then talk some more. It is good for my soul.


HYC Check In

222 - I'm happy to see you! We're in our third week of performances and I'm struggling to get back into the gym routine. I went twice last week. Barely- begrudgingly, and with hollow effort. Trudging to the YMCA and flinging myself against my will into the building, let alone pushing myself to lift weights and sweat on the elliptical, felt forced. Even though my arms, abs and calves are soft and squishy from lack of use, I was constantly distracted with thoughts of other ways to spend my time. I finished, but left feeling sheepish that I could have done more.

Which begs the question, why is my health the first thing to suffer when I get busy? It seems that I too easily give more weight (ha!) to domestic chores, surfing the net, or just being at home with family. These things are important, too, but I need to get past feeling like exercise is making me miss out on other things, rather than being one of the priorities.

Seeing the scale this morning was like getting an encouraging hug from a friend, who wrapped her arms around me and whispered in my ear "You can do it. Keep going!". My goal this week will to be to embrace my exercise and stop whining about it, already.

PS - thank you for all of the we miss you comments. I miss you too!


HYC Check In

I am under the gun a bit - a real post is in the works, but I will check in to say that menstrual cycle, drinks after a show, and no exercise makes Sara a bigger girl. 225.8 today. Ouch. I touched down at 221.8 last week, but I guess that doesn't count.

I'm slowly returning to reading and commenting on challenge blogs. Excuses, excuses. See you later!


HYC 2009 Check In

Drum roll, please for the first official weigh in of 2009! Today the scale saw 222.8 – hooray! What a relief. I went to the gym three whole times over my Christmas and New Year’s break, so apparently it was effective. I’m pleased that I only gained and lost and then settled at a net gain of 3 pounds in December. I seriously thought it would end up being closer to 6 or 7.

For 2009, I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself to hit a certain number – or, at least not an unreasonable number. And looking at my weigh in from January 2008 – I only lost 16 pounds in 2008. 16! But I bet my stress bucket lost at least 50 pounds. So here are some fitness goals for 2009.
  • Fit into a size 14 pants (I'm pouring myself into an 18 now)
  • Do some Pilates work on my own at least twice a week, rather than just once weekly at my class
  • Get my weight somewhere under 200 pounds - 199.8 counts!
  • Lose the guilt on indulging. If I'm going to eat something off plan, or not work out as hard as I can/should, then I have to accept what I did (see also only losing 16 pounds in one year)

In housekeeping news, my schedule at work is going to go crazy like bananas for the next two weeks, we have 19 reports due by January 15th, and our office is packing up and moving on the 16th, and the 16th is opening night of my show, so I'm in rehearsals every night until then. So posting will be spotty at best. I’ll see you on the 19th or so! Happy New Year!


The Blind Spot Diaries, Part I

Saturday marked my return to the fray of rehearsal. The show (Blind Spot) opens in eleven days. Eleven! It's very exciting and a little nerve wracking to be this close to having an audience. Up until now, this was just something sort of fun that was taking up all my free time, and it felt like my own personal project. Now I'm saying uh, Sara, you need to realize that we're going to have an audience, and that it matters how quickly you pick up my cues, and how well you're representing the playwrights' and director's vision, and this ain't just fun and games, baby. This whole experience has really affected me. I have not been writing about it here much, because it is hard to put into words. Essentially, I feel vulnerable and exposed, and pretty soon there will be a house full of people staring at me. So much of what these feelings are about are due to wondering if I can really pull off what I'm being asked to do. The characters I'm playing aren't the usual for me, normally I'm the comic relief. I love the feedback of making an audience laugh. Not hearing that in this show is killing me and makes me question what I'm doing. The director is so lovely, the kind of woman you want to sit with and hug and talk and share a bottle of wine with. But more than that, she's generous and kind, has wonderful vision about what this show is and communicates it clearly. At one point last month she must have smelled my fear or insecurity and looked me in the eyes and said to me "You need to realize that you are enough. You are enough." and she just about knocked me down. I'm taking that and putting it my pocket to hold on to as we get closer to opening. However, I'm the only one that can get myself to the point of feeling good about what I'm doing. I have one character (I'm playing 5 different women) that is really a challenge for me, and I'm struggling to get it just right. And time is running short to keep experimenting - I need to make some choices (Dare to suck!) and get to a place where I don't feel floundery. Just like when the scale ain't moving, you have to realize that only you can shake up your routine. In my heart, I know that I can play these parts and I know that it will be great fun and I know that I am lucky to be a part of a really creative show with really really talented people. I also need to remember that this director is so smart that she wouldn't have put me here if she didn't believe in me. Right? Right. So pipe down, negative self-talk, sheesh, we don't need you here.

I'm not putting this all out here to fish for compliments - I'm just recording some feelings. I too am a little disgusted by the insecurity - and hello, not helping me give a better performance. It feels good to purge this here - get rid of it and start working on feeling confident. Off I go!