Diet & Fitness Update, Week #1

First off: since I’m not technically doing Atkins anymore, I’ve changed the name of my Atkins category to Diet & Fitness. It seems to be a little more inclusive.

Now: on to the update.

When I weighed myself on Monday morning, I registered at 212.5 pounds. That was actually a pound and a half lower than the previous week, although I’m not sure what I did to lose weight during that time. *shrug*

Starting on Tuesday, I tried to follow the food plan Sheryl had e-mailed me. (Well, I did make an effort on Monday, but that Atkins-style lunch with Aaron really threw off my fat intake.) Breakfast was ¾ cup Quaker Oats, with Splenda Brown Sugar Blend and raisins. Lunches were mainly the dinner meat from the night before, with an apple or a salad. Afternoon snack was always tuna with Reduced Fat Hellmann’s (and sometimes onion and/or celery), and dinner was chicken breast or fish with a side of low-carb pasta.

Before you lambaste me, Sheryl, for my deviations from the diet last week (not that you would, but it’s fun to pretend):

  • Believe it or not, the only green vegetable we had on hand last week was salad greens. We’ll be attempting to remedy that during this week’s grocery shopping.
  • Hopefully, today we will be heading out to the whole foods store to locate some Vegenaise to replace the Hellmann’s. Even Aaron has admitted to curiosity.
  • The raisins in my oatmeal will soon be replaced with slivered almonds — again, with today’s grocery shopping.

In addition to changing my eating schedule and habits, I also began/continued exercising every evening. On Monday, I did the YOGAmazing “Yoga For Weight Loss” practice, which was surprisingly vigorous. On Tuesday, I did 50 jumping jacks before my Beginner’s Dumbbell Workout. On Wednesday, I really wasn’t feeling it, but I did 50 jumping jacks and 75 crunches, just so I could say I did something. I dropped the ball on Thursday and Friday, though, and didn’t exercise at all — although I did take a brisk 40-minute walk on Friday during my lunch break.

I weighed myself Thursday morning, and I had lost two pounds since Monday! Awesome.

What was not so awesome, though, was my horrific cheat meal — no, cheat DAY — on Friday. I had thought I could resist my department’s monthly potluck by planning ahead and bringing enough food to keep me sated throughout the day.

I was wrong.

At 1:30pm or so, after pretty much the entire department had ransacked the potluck, I ate the last sloppy joe, some Chinese salad (ramen noodles, vinegar, sugar, veggies), and a small piece of cookie bar. Then, that evening, a coworker took me to the dreaded Happy Rose Buffet as payment for helping him learn how to burn DVDs on his computer.

I weighed myself this morning. I’m back up to 213.

What a precarious balance I seem to have discovered. No cheat meals for me, apparently, and no skipping days of exercise. Not if I want to be successful.

Also: Later in the week, I began feeling particularly run-down when I got home from work. Not hungry yet, but tired. That’s why I slacked on my exercise. On top of that, after I ate my dinner, I found that I was craving carbs… so I ate a bowl of oatmeal for dessert. ::smacks hands::

So, I’m not sure if that was a result of me needing to follow the diet more closely, or tweak it, or just suck it up. In any case, this week will be better. More hardcore.

The more I focus on my health, the more I realize how fat I am. I’m looking forward to realizing how much more fit I am, instead.

Atkins, Take Two

I forgot to mention: Aaron and I went back on Induction last week.

We had both been gaining a little weight back (partially due to our repeated visits to the Happy Rose Buffet). I had gained back 12 pounds total from my lowest weight, but had gained it back slowly between January and May of this year, and stayed pretty steady after that. Aaron, however, finally hit a point last month where he decided he had to go back on Induction, and I gladly joined in. (I’m not good at doing Induction by myself. I’m too easily lured to the dark side.)

The first week, I lost 4.5 pounds. I was stoked. Then we went to visit Amy in Dayton, and I somehow managed to gain back two pounds over the weekend. I’m back to losing about a half a pound a day, though, so I’m going to lay off the daily weight check and go back to weighing weekly again.

I’ve been rediscovering old recipes this week, like the Mock Cream Cheese Danish, and finding new ones, like Hamburger Pie. OMG, so yummy. burger baked in the oven with a filling of cream cheese, mustard, and horseradish. It may sound weird, but it’s really, REALLY good. (Props to the Atkins All The Way podcast for that one.)

You know, Induction isn’t so bad. 🙂

Almost-normal-sized clothes again…

You know, self-portaiture isn’t quite as easy as it might seem, especially without a professional portraiture setup. In other words, finding an appropriate spot to set the digital-camera-on-a-timer in my house is a challenge. But I wanted to share my small joy with you, so… ph34r my new tank top. Rah.

To celebrate my return to this-is-how-fat- I-used-to-be- before-I-got-sloppy, I scrounged up a few pics of myself over the past 10 months or so and made a weight-loss montage. I didn’t seek out too many pictures, and I didn’t scan anything; it was just what I had already on the computer for whatever reason. But I think it gets the point across. And not only do you get to watch my double-chin melt away through the photos, you also get to watch my hair grow. 🙂

Aaaaaand I’m done.

Atkins Progress

Just happened to notice, hidden in amongst My Documents, the Weight.xls chart I created once upon a time when I was more obsessive over my weight-loss regimen than I am now. So, I opened it up and added the latest plot point of date vs. weight, and made a discovery.

Even though it seems like my weight loss is slowing, it isn’t. I’ve been losing at the same rate, a little over half a pound a week, ever since October or November. If I keep up at this pace, I’ll be at my ultimate goal (for now, anyway) by late Winter of 2005. While that might seem like a long time… I don’t mind. And, when you think about it, it took me a few years to put it on; it seems fitting that it should take at least a year and a half to take it off.

(Just stay away from the candy machine… Hershey’s with Almonds bad…)

My world

Aaron and I just had a major thrift purging, and took a carload of stuff to Goodwill. Seriously. A carload. The backseat and trunk were both full of computerage and old clothes. Mac Classic from Sheryl (rescued from an untimely demise in a landfill), scanner, Mac 7100, older Mac whose number I forget, 13″ Apple Monitor (which had to go to Salvation Army instead, since Goodwill doesn’t accept monitors), Genesis consoles and controllers, two bags of clothes, some books, an external Mac modem, etc, etc. We freed up a good amount of room in our bedroom and our computer room. And, hopefully, we racked up a good amount of thrift karma, to counteract our bad luck at finding deals at Goodwill and the flea market lately.

I weighed myself again yesterday, and found that my weight loss has temporarily stagnated at eleven pounds. Which, don’t get me wrong, I’m still grateful for, but I’m hoping to continue to lose weight at a decent clip, so I’m not tempted to drift from the Atkins Way. I do know I’m still burning fat, though, cause the pee-strip tells me so. Just to show how much weight this week and a half of Atkins has helped me lose, let me show you the lovely chart from my Excel weight-tracking worksheet (yes, I know, I’m a dork):

click for larger graph

That’s from mid-November of last year to right now. Note the stretch after the wedding where I didn’t give a shit about how much I weighed, and didn’t even weigh myself at all for a couple months. Also note the dip at the beginning of the chart, and the righteous rebound right after two Christmas dinners in a row. 🙂

In case anyone cares about my crazy work soap-opera… Andrew decided that one of the temps who was prepping should move to being a processor, and that Rama (who, you will recall, complained about being a temp and having waaay too many hours) should return to prepping. This took effect on Tuesday, and we’re all happy about it. All except Dawn, the other prepping temp, who pretty much hates all of us now, since we were instrumental in getting our old temp canned. But, really, Lorna just didn’t get it, for the most part. I won’t go into it, since you won’t really follow, but suffice to say she was inconsistent and just didn’t get it. So, yeah. All of us are in a great mood except for Dawn, who scowls and gives us all a silent treatment like we haven’t had since Junior High.

Still on the agenda: Loni’s carpal tunnel worker’s comp claim. Oh, yeah, and let’s see what Ruth says when she gets back from vacation and all the shit’s gone down. 🙂

P.S. – I’m on vacation today and tomorrow. Aaron and I are going to Ann Arbor tomorrow. Whee! Four-day weekend! Outside of my honeymoon, I haven’t had one of those for a long, long time.

Atkins and Aaron and work. (oh my)

Even though my site seems to be down, I’m still going to post an update.

Aaron and I are finishing up Day #3 of the Atkins Diet, and doing surprizingly well. People have told me they felt like crap during the initial induction phase of the diet — I feel great. I feel less lethargic than I did, though I’d stop short of saying I actually feel energetic. I at least feel more alert… though that could have something to do with my attempts to get to bed before midnight this week and last.

I’m enjoying having him home when I get home. It’s like every night is a weekend-night. All except for Monday, when I worked 12 1/2 hours.

At work, we swapped off what clients’ accounts we each process, and our temp, Rama, has apparently hit her breaking point with the stuff I used to run. She’s now complaining to our boss that she should only be working 30-35 hours a week as a temp, and she’s working 40+, and she wants to swap off with one of the other temps, so they can process for awhile and let her prep the work like they do. No dice, as per our meeting last week, but our supervisor, Andrew, said he’ll step in whenever she’s ready to go home. She was not satisfied with that answer, since it seems like he’s just trying to placate her, and not deal with the problem at its source — the problem being that the processors work 45-hour weeks (soon to be longer still), and the preppers are scrambling to barely make their 35 to 40.

We’re all at a snapping point. We’re sincerely hoping that we can all quit at once, having found other jobs, and leave Andrew floundering. We’ll see…

Gravity Games

Hey, remember this from the front page?

Week #1
9/7 – 9-13
No Dew Week

Week #2
9/14 – 9/20
No Pasta Week

Week #3
9/21 – 9/27
No Candy Week

Well, nix that. I’m joining Aaron on his full-on foray into Atkins, starting Monday. (That’s tomorrow.) I’ve got my Atkins profile up on their website, and checked out some recipes. Aaron’s gone full-force and bought the carb-counter book and the Atkins cookbook, and borrowed another low-carb cookbook from the library. He likes to eat more meat than I usually do, anyway, so I think the hardest thing for him is going to be cataloguing the carb content of everything that goes into his mouth.

Me, I’ve already broken myself of my Mountain Dew addiction, and I’ve pretty much cut out pasta. Those were the hard parts. Now I just have to get up early enough to eat breakfast, and remember to make myself a lunch before I go to bed the previous day (since I won’t just be grabbing a frozen meal from the freezer on my way out).

So, we’ll see how that goes. I’m looking forward to it myself.

Yesterday, Aaron and I headed out to Cleveland for the Gravity Games. For those of you who aren’t big “Extreme Sports” freaks, the Gravity Games includes skateboard vert (ramp) and street (men’s and women’s), freestyle motocross, wakeboarding, inline skating street and vert, and bike dirt, street, and vert. We watch it on NBC every year, and it’s been in Cleveland for the past couple of years, but we haven’t gotten out to watch it live. This year, though, since we got the heads-up at the Taste of Cleveland, we went out and got tickets for this bad boy.

We left around noon, and got there around two-ish. Found parking for five bucks, walked the couple blocks to the Games, brandished our tickets, received loose-fitting wristbands, opened my camera case (for no one to actually search it), and we were in. We walked around the Festival Village, which was basically the marketing and merch fairway, and got some stickers and a sampler CD of some kind. Could have gotten more stuff, had we actually been able to approach some of the booths, but the stuff we got was pretty much shoved at us by booth attendants out in the middle of the fairway.

We wandered over and found a bike dirt venue, where kids were allowed to go down a ramp and do their best trick on a five-foot dirt hill. I finished up the roll of film that was in my camera by snapping photos of the kids, and of the one guy who was running the show, who would go down the ramp occasionally, to keep it interesting. He turned a backflip almost as soon as we got there to watch, so I didn’t get that on film. 🙁

One of the great things about the Gravity Games being in Cleveland (besides the fact that it’s close enough to drive) is that your ticket gets you into the Rock Hall for half-price. So, we spent about an hour and a half, I think, wandering around the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. And we didn’t even get upstairs! We decided that our little taste of the Rock Hall was just enough to make us want to go make a day of it sometime in the future.

Bob Burnquist, Rune Glifberg, and Andy Mac watch one of the lower-ranking skaters (Sandro Diaz?) pull off a tailgrab. (c)  Pat Wright, Gravity GamesAround 4:00, we headed out and tried to find a spot in the bleachers by the vert ramp. It took some patience, and several seat relocations, but we ended up on the top row of bleachers, right by the WKYC Channel 3 sign. (So, if you happen to watch the Gravity Games on some Sunday afternoon in the next two months, and watch the Men’s Skateboard Vert Finals, look for us.) We ended up watching the Women’s Skateboard Vert Practice and Demo, so we could have our good seats for the Men’s Finals later that evening. I spent one roll of film on the Vert ramp, so we’ll see how that comes out.

It was great being able to see some of the skaters live: Bob Burnquist, Andy MacDonald, Bucky Lasek, Pierre-Luc Gagnon, Rune Glifberg… Too bad there was no Tony Hawk, but I guess you’ll have that when you retire. *shrug*
We headed out around 9:15pm — after the Finals were over, but before the scores were announced. Made it to the car, found I-90 West, and stopped for dinner at a TGIFridays in Westlake on our way home. Got home around 12:30am or so, which is early for coming in from an out-of-town excursion. Usually it’s 3am. 🙂

So, good weekend. Yeah. And Aaron’s got the next four weeks off of work, so he’ll be home when I get home from work every day. w00t! That makes things a little better, too.

My Weight-Loss Plan… For Real This Time

All right, guys. I’m going to proclaim my goals out loud (so to speak) and unashamedly, so that I cannot renounce my plans.

I am fat. More than fat, I am obese. I can’t seem to locate the entry where I discussed how I’m not-quite-morbidly obese and linked to the scary Flash BMI calculator (Beth? Do you remember?), but we’ve gone over the fact several times in the months before the wedding. I am still the same weight I was in November… which could be good or bad. I choose to be grateful that I haven’t gained any more weight. I maintain that there is some validity to the concept of a weight setpoint, since I seem to have stabilized around a given weight.

Oh, hell. I’m not going to dance around it anymore. I weigh 250lbs. *collective gasp*

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am 70 pounds overweight by the most conservative estimate. Being my ideal weight (my personal ideal weight, not what "they" say) would put me back in middle school — though I’m now about three inches taller than I was then. (Yeah, I hit my growth spurt in sixth grade. Oh, the horror…)

So, you say, whatcha gonna do about it? Well, I’m glad you asked.

First, I’m going to create a little spot for current weight info in my sidebar on the main page. That way, everyone can cheer me on (*nudge, nudge*). I’ll include my current weight (embarrassing though it may be), BMI (body mass index), and body fat percentage, and indicators as to whether each is rising or falling.

Next, I’m going to set goals. Actually, let’s do that right now. *scribbles math problems on scrap paper* OK, let’s assume I can lose one pound a week. That’s fair and relatively simple, right? Right. So, that would put me at my ideal weight on New Year’s Eve 2005. Not this coming New Year’s, but the following. (Good God, that’s a long time.)

But I need short-term goals, too, so let’s figure I’ll aim for ten pounds in ten weeks? That means I’m shooting for 240 by… oh, let’s say October 1st. Certainly I can do that… right?

— There. I just wrote it on my calendar. Hang on, do I need a five-pound mark? Oh, OK… *writing on calendar again* There. The end of September.

…Oh, yeah. Don’t I need a diet and exercise plan now? D’oh!

Actually, I have several books on the subject (yes, yes, Aaron and I have the Atkins Diet book…), but my favorite is The 200 Calorie Solution. No, it’s not a super-starvation diet. 🙂 It tells all about thermogenesis, which is the body’s burning of calories after a meal, and explains how to get the most out of your exercise by walking or doing other exercise within an hour after a meal. The idea is that if you can boost your metabolism just a little, that will be enough to raise your basal metabolic rate so you continue to burn calories at a higher rate. The process expounds upon itself, and eventually your body actually becomes an efficient fat-burner. Theoretically. I like this program because it strokes my food-ego; I don’t think I eat more than your average person, nor do I eat worse food. I do eat too many starches, though, and I’ll admit to being a pastaholic. I’ll give you that. Overall, though, I think I’m just too sedentary. (Case in point: I’m sitting here blogging while I should be out practicing what I’m preaching.)

Another favorite book of mine is The Setpoint Diet. It’s more dietary than exercise-based, but it’s portion control rather than calorie-counting. It also includes an exercise factor, though, as should any good weight-loss program. The hook to this diet is the groupings of foods into the stardard food groups, plus an "A list," a "B list," and "freebies." The concept is that complete elimination of any food group (ahem, Atkins Diet) is unhealthy for the body itself and a dieter is less likely to remain on a diet which completely removes a given food or group of foods. Eventually you’ll go off the diet, or just cheat, and the weight will come back. (Yes, I know there is a throng of Atkins supporters out there… I side with the anti-Atkins bunch, even though I haven’t tried the diet myself. Call me a skeptic, call me hypocritical, call me stupid, but I still say it’s just not sound.) Anyway, on this diet, you’re allowed to have, say, a couple beers or a piece of cake or some real mayo. Just not a whole lot of it, and not all the time.

The reason it’s called the Setpoint Diet is because the author is one of the believers of setpoint theory, which says that your body tries to stabilize itself at a given weight, just like it does with temperature (with shivering and sweating). If you kick-start your metabolism with exercise, and reach the lower setpoint without your body thinking it’s starving, your body will attempt to stabilize at the new, lower setpoint. Setpoint theory has also been supported with underweight people who try to gain weight, fyi. (I’ll look up some references later, for the skeptical.)

So, yeah. My first obstacles are a.) walking for 30 continuous minutes a day, and b.) eating breakfast. Speaking of, I should go for a walk now.

Anybody need a diet buddy? Come on, I know you’re out there…

T-minus Two Months…

Yep… I’ll be Mrs. Schnuth in about 60 days. Kinda scary in a cool kind of way.

I guess I should keep all the girls who read this updated on the wedding planning thing. Oh, yeah, and maybe Dan and Eric will be moderately interested, too. 🙂

Well, Sheryl has been kind enough to act as a surrogate bridesmaid while I’ve been getting my dress altered, traipsing 20 minutes north to Rossford on Tuesday, then on Saturday, then again a couple weeks from now. She’s also helped me find some appropriate undergarments, since the neat thingy I bought online totally peeks out of the back and armpits of my dress. Gah. Anyway, I’m sure she’s seen more of my pale flesh than she ever bargained for.

I was totally lucky to get as nice of a dress as I did for only $99 on eBay. (The auction’s expired now, but once the wedding’s done and Aaron’s seen the dress, I’ll post up the auction page that I saved.) I’m not used to wearing form-fitting apparel, so the dress actually makes me feel thinner, I think.

Speaking of… Now that I’ve been on a weight-loss kick (sort of) for four or five months, making a graph of my weight as I go, I can really tell when I gain my monthly few pounds. My graph makes a pretty picture like waves now. 🙂 I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that I’ll look like I do now at the wedding. I won’t look like I did during drumcorps, and I won’t look like I did even five years ago. (Would you believe I put on 50 pounds between 1997 and the year 2000? Seriously. That’s amazing to me. What’s even more amazing is how much longer than that it’ll take to get that weight back off…)

This week’s goal is to take two walks daily, preferably after meals. Should be a good week for it, except for Sunday, when snow flurries may rear their ugly heads.

Man, my writing is all over the place today. I can’t seem to concentrate on one topic long enough to get a good thing going. Bah. Maybe I should go watch the news… although I know what’ll be on.

Random Thoughts

Today at work I jotted down several blogworthy thoughts I had over the course of the mind-numbing workday:

When the temperature in the office reaches a certain point — say, 75°F or so — the vents open to allow outside air to filter in and cool things down. Over the past couple of days, this outside air has smelled of a slight tinge of spring. So cruel… so cruel. Barely above freezing, and my nostrils are dreaming of the spring thaw.

Some people at my work have accused others of being resistant to change. One person in particular, by the name of Loni, has done this accusing. Since our boss has begun a transition in our record-keeping from Microsoft Excel (which Loni set up herself about three years ago) to an Access database, it’s amazing how resistant this accuser is to change…

I read an article about premarital counseling in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. It had mundane but important questions like, “will you love your spouse if she gains 50 pounds?” Then I realized how much Aaron must really love me… because I have gained 50 pounds since he met me. Literally. I’m surprized he hasn’t staged an intervention in the meantime. 🙂

I’m not eating enough. (Nice segue.) I wake up too late to eat breakfast (I have to be awake awhile before I can stomach it), then when I eat lunch, I just have one of those little Weight Watchers-type frozen meals. When I’m done eating, I’m still hungry. I wait the prescribed 20 minutes after eating, for the food to “hit bottom,” and I’m still hungry. It’s easier to ignore the hunger while I’m at work, but I’m sure that it’s not healthy, anyway. Then I come home and am either too hungry to eat, or I go on an evening-long food binge. Ramen… canned veggies… hot dogs… ham… plum… all the stuff I probably should have eaten (or not) during the course of the day, crammed into a few hours of down-time at home. I need to fix this if I want to lose weight and be healthier.

Loni was telling about the wedding she went to in Chicago over the weekend — apparently the bride wore a scarf over her shoulder, bearing her family’s Irish colors. Neat idea. Then it occured to me… if I were to claim so-called citizenship of only one family in my genealogy, which would it be? There are certain lines I’ve been inclined to research more than others — some because they’re easier to find, some because they’re more interesting to learn about, and some because I’m closest to their descendants. I think I’d probably claim citizenship in the White family if I had to choose one. That’s my Granny’s mama, Maudie (which would be my mom’s mother’s mother’s mother, my great-great-grandmother). Interesting that I choose the matriarchal line; we’ve got some strong females in my family. …So what happened to me?

As far as my last blog entry, where I wondered if I’d become less of a person because I’ve ceased to struggle against my less-than-relevant job, I’ve come to a conclusion of sorts. I’d rather be sated, unruffled and relatively content in a job I didn’t intend to work than be miserable and unsatisfied in the same job. If I can ride things out, waiting in the wings and watching for opportunities, and make rent money in the process, why not?

Mary at work thinks I’ve lost weight. I was wearing my new black pants with the elastic waistband that doesn’t make my fat ooze out where it shouldn’t, and on top of that I wore a thigh-length blouse. I think it was all an optical illusion, since I’ve really only lost six pounds.

Oh, and in case you were wondering: no, I didn’t write all of this at work. I took notes so I’d know what to write later. I don’t have that kind of free time at my job…