Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

WE’VE MOVED!!!

So I’ve finally done it. Taken the plunge. Made the big move. For some time now, I’ve wanted to host my blog myself so I can do more and more with the site. I’m still WordPress all the way, but self-hosted wordpress now.

New posts and information will be on the new site: http://fatgirl2fitgirl.com

Please keep up with Fat Girl To Fit Girl there! If you have me on your blogroll, I’d appreciate it if you could update the link as well!

Thanks to my loyal readers. I hope the new site will create an even better atmosphere!

That’s http://fatgirl2fitgirl.com

Today’s post is about strength training!

Advertisements

Triathlon Training Inspiration

When I decided that I was going to compete in triathlons back in November of 2008, one of the first things I did was look for other newbie or training triathletes to see what they were doing and how they were feeling.

When you’re nervous about doing something, it’s always good to know that you’re not alone. And when you see others accomplish what you are setting out to do, especially if they are coming from that beginner perspective, it makes it easier to believe that you can do it too.

I went to Ironman training sites and experienced sprint triathlon sites, and I have some of those on my blog roll because they are great for tips and I just think those bloggers are cool, but they are so far ahead of me, while I’m ultra-impressed, I’m also a little intimidated. Someday maybe I’ll be hardcore too, but not yet.

So I searched for blogs of newbies at my level or a little ahead of me. And I found two blogger beginner triathletes who I have learned so much from, I just needed to give them a shout out. While they are young enough to be my daughters and definitely in better shape than I was starting out, they were also starting out. And they have been very candid about their struggles as well as their triumphs. Following these two bloggers has gotten me over the hump a couple of times when I just wasn’t sure I could do it.

My blogger girls, Jessica, who writes Gearing Up; and Jill, who writes Finishing is Winning; just completed huge goals, with Jill completing a half marathon and Jessica finishing the Redman Sprint Triathlon (a 1500-meter swim, 28-mile bike and 10K run). You go, girls!

We have all come a long way from almost a year ago. And by following their journeys— warts and all— I know they will keep inspiring me to work harder and go farther.

Thank you Jill and Jessica!

I’d also like to thank Hanlie from FertileHealthy for bestowing an Honest Scrap Blog award on me! I will be responding to that tomorrow.

Triathlon Sunday To Marathon Workweek

Have you ever had one of those weeks where there doesn’t feel like there’s time to breathe? That’s my week this week. Work deadlines, outside obligations like doctor’s visits and vet visits have kept me on the run all week (and not in the I finished a 5K in under 30 minutes kind of way!).

I’ve gone from the high of my triathlon to the week from well, you can fill in the blanks. And while I have lots of blog posts milling around in my head, I have no time this week to write them. So I’m letting you know I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I’m still feeling mighty proud of Sunday’s accomplishment. And I will be back, just as soon as the insanity subsides.

If not sooner, I will be posting on Saturday.

Remembering 9/11

I know that many people will be writing similar posts today, because it is a day we must always remember, however difficult that may be.

I was working in Manhattan in 2001 and should have been in the city on September 11. I worked in midtown, so for all practical purposes I would have been safe, scared but safe. But that day I wasn’t feeling well and opted to drive into the Long Island office instead. On my way to work (I was late), listening to the radio, I heard news of the first plane crash. At first I thought it was a sick joke the DJ was playing. Then, when I realized it had actually happened, I thought it must have been an accident. And then the second plane hit. And I knew. We all knew. This was being done on purpose. And I was scared.

I frantically tried to reach my husband who also often works in the city (in construction so he could be anywhere), but by then his cell phone had stopped working. I called his office. He was on Long Island that day too. My friends who worked in NY made it home that night. My brother got stuck in his office in New Jersey. But everyone was safe. We were the lucky ones.

At work that morning, everyone was crowded around the one TV in the building – in the gym, watching and waiting. A coworker and I headed up to the cafeteria for something to drink and one of our other coworkers was bubbling over after getting off the phone with her husband, who worked on one of the floors above the impact in the South Tower. He was safe and they were awaiting rescue. She had two young children. Just a minute or so later, another coworker came running into the cafeteria to announce that the South Tower had just collapsed. We watched our coworker’s knees give way and she fell to the floor. I will never forget the anguish on her face at that moment. One coworker was simply announcing the events as they happened. What he didn’t realize was that he had just told this woman that her husband had perished and she would never see him again. I don’t remember the anguished coworker’s name. She had just started working there. But I will never, ever forget her face or her sorrow.

We went home around lunchtime that day, after it was deemed “safe.” I went to get my kids from school. My daughter, then in junior high, had been shuffled off to a room with other students whose parents worked in the city, I am guessing to keep them from hearing news until they knew their parents were safe. She cried when she saw me. My son was younger and didn’t realize, I think, that my working in the city could have in any way meant I wasn’t safe. My husband arrived home minutes later.

We sat glued to the TV for the rest of the day as events unfolded. We cried a lot. The next day  on the way to work, I could still see the smoke billowing above the skyline. I passed a man standing on the back of his pickup truck on the side of the road, saluting and holding up an American flag. I cried the rest of the way to work.

The next week, back on the train, with police and guard dogs, everyone had stories, some horrific, some triumphant. People spoke more on the train in those following weeks than I had ever seen before. New York commuters keep to themselves, but now, everyone needed to talk and connect. The stories were a testament to how amazing we humans can be in times of crisis.

Eventually, life got back to normal. I worked for another six months in Manhattan before permanently moving back to the Long Island office. It was not because of 9/11, but I was happy to make the move back.

After 8 years, the events of 9/11 have faded some and life goes on. As it should. But 9/11 is a day we must never forget. And we must never forget that we were the lucky ones.

My daughter sent me this this morning. It is a fitting way to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives that day and the families and friends who held them dear.

That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet. — Emily Dickinson
On this day remember to get out and live, not merely exist. Laugh much and love more.

Exercise Won’t Help You Lose Weight…Or Will It?

There was an article this week on the Time magazine site that was titled Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin. The article got my, and everyone else’s, attention.

It also left me scratching my head? HUH?  Remind me again why I’m working so hard then? Running, biking, swimming, abs, and all the other stuff I’ve been doing? Now granted, the article does talk about the health benefits of exercise. It just proposes that exercise increases hunger and therefore, may not be the best path to losing weight.

Now I don’t know about the guy in the article, but exercise for me has been essential to losing weight. I don’t eat more on the days that I exercise because I’ve worked so hard to sweat some of the calories off. It’s days like today where I didn’t exercise that I don’t resist the Oreo cookies. Exercise backlash, perhaps?

I don’t know. This article makes the cardio vs. strength training argument sound almost reasonable. Why would you give anyone one more reason not to exercise?

I also read today: potatoes are not the evil white carbs we were once told they were. Water only really helps to curb your appetite if it’s in your foods (think soup).

Now I never thought potatoes were evil food. I like potatoes; technically they are vegetables and good for you. French fried? Maybe not so much, but don’t blame that on the potato.

And water? Drinking lots of it, all by itself,  has done wonders for my weight loss (I’m not a big fan of soup), not to mention how great my skin looks.

Carbs are bad. Well, not all carbs. Sugar…stay away from it! Fats, those are bad for you, carbs are good. Carbs are essential to healthy weight. Eat protein. No wait, don’t. Only eat melons, hot dogs and rice on every other Tuesday and Thursday….

There are so many conflicting diet rules, exercise agendas and secrets to this getting healthy thing, it’s no wonder we’re all overweight. Jeez, I mean, you start a diet, it’s working for you and then someone comes along and tells you that in the long run, you’ll still be fat. Why bother?

The bottom line is it comes down to common sense. There was an article a while back that said weight loss is about calories in vs. calories out. If you expend more calories than you take in, Voila! you lose weight. Now that’s something I can wrap my head around.

The key is finding the way that does this best for you. If limiting carbs keeps you away from your trigger foods, try that. Clean eating? If you can stay on that eating plan, good for you…healthy and lean. Me? Couldn’t do it. If I had to give up sugar, carbs or fat altogether, I might just die.

However, I’ve learned portion control (most of the time); I follow guidelines finally for getting enough fruits, whole grains, veggies and protein; I try to gauge whether I’m hungry or just stressed (for example, today’s Oreo binge was not because I was hungry). I treat myself now and again so I don’t feel deprived, but for the most part, I try to stick with healthier foods.

I eat well 90% of the time. The other 10%? I’m still learning. Some things work for me. Some don’t. This weight loss thing is not an exact science and I figure I’ll be experimenting forever.

As for exercise, do it. Even if it’s just a walk around the block. You’ll feel stronger, more confident, clearer and happier. I’ve lost weight before without exercise. That didn’t alter my life nearly as much as the weight loss has this time. I attribute that to the exercise, not the weight loss.

However you decide to get healthy, be realistic. Small changes, slow progress, those are the things that stick. Remember, these are changes for a lifetime.

So how are you making the healthy changes in your life?

The 3 Musketeers Bar Challenge

3MsktrsMainYesterday, around 4:00 pm, I was headed out to my niece’s birthday part and had to stop at Walgreen’s for a card and a couple of waters for hubby and me for the ride. For whatever reason, I strolled down the candy aisle aimlessly, not really knowing what I was looking for. But when I chanced upon the 3 Musketeers bars, I knew exactly why I ended up in that aisle.

There’s something about 3 Musketeers bars for me. They are such chocolately goodness, but lower in fat? Somehow, if I’m going to eat a candy bar, that is always the one I gravitate toward. I snatched up the candy bar, went to the register and paid (before I had a chance to rethink my decision) and hopped in the car. Where I rethought my decision.

Between the Walgreen’s register and the car, I had rationalized that if I ate that candy bar on the way to the party, I wouldn’t want cake (and the 3 Musketeers bar would be less points–it’s five. I know this. This was not my first 3 Musketeers bar). I’d eat less chips. Somehow, eating this candy bar would keep me from eating anything diabolical at a 12-year-old’s birthday. Yeah, right.

In the car, before I ripped the wrapper off that yummy candy, I decided to search for a pen, fill out the card and be ready when we arrived (even though we had a half hour ride.) I put the 3 Musketeers bar in my pocketbook and opened my water and took a swig. Now, even though the candy was calling my name–quite loudly, in fact… DH kept asking what was that noise coming from my bag–I suddenly had the urge to resist. I think they call this mindful eating?

So I didn’t eat the 3 Musketeers bar. It haunted me throughout the whole party, where I also didn’t eat chips and diabolical foods and only had a tiny two-bite sliver of cake. Not sure what was up with that either since I can almost never resist cake.

On the ride home, having eaten nothing at the party, I was hungry. DH wanted pizza so we stopped for that. I had a slice of pizza and then I was off to the movies with a friend to see Julie & Julia. I still had the 3 Musketeers bar in my bag and rationalized now that if I wanted movie treats (having been so well-behaved at the party), I had my candy already.

Instead, I just drank water. And thoroughly enjoyed the movie. On the way home, I considered the 3 Musketeers bar again but now it was late and I didn’t want to eat chocolate at midnight. Besides, having resisted it all afternoon, I was curious to see if I could continue.

It’s now 8:45 pm on Sunday and that 3 Musketeers bar is still in my pocketbook. I haven’t eaten it yet. And I’ve eaten very healthfully all day. And I won’t tonight now either. I’m debating whether I should keep it in my pocketbook to see how long I can resist it….

Or maybe I’ll just give it to my son and be done with it.

I’m curious though. Anyone know why it’s called a 3 Musketeers bar? I mean, technically, it’s only really two versions of the same flavor.

UPDATE: On my way up to bed last night, I stopped at my son’s room, knocked on his door and handed him the 3 Musketeer bar. “What’s this for?” he asked. “I don’t want it,” I replied. “Oh.”

I figured I shouldn’t continue to tempt fate. It’s good to have a 21-year-old in the house who isn’t watching his weight.

I’ll Do It My Way (and you should do it your way)

pizzaOver at the FoodFoodBodyBody blog, Foodie McBody has a post about eating an amazing slice of pizza after deliberating about it for a quite a while. Bottom line, she ate it, she enjoyed it, and she stayed within the boundaries of her health and fitness plan.

In the comments section, there was everything from “I could never eat pizza or anything else not on my healthy list” to me, who eats pizza at least once a week. A slice of heaven pizza is only 6 points, although, living here in NY, I usually count it as 8 on Weight Watchers. I fit it in to my points or I use weekly points. I can also stick to one slice, maybe 1 and a 1/2  if I’m particularly hungry.

The point is there is no one way to do the diet/exercise thing right. What’s most important is finding the way that works for you.

There are definitely foods that I can’t have in the house because I have no control, like Tollhouse Chocolate Chip cookies or potato chips and any kind of dip. There’s no stopping once I start. So I reserve those things for parties where the environment is somewhat more controlled and if I eat more than I should, I can’t continue the feast when I leave.

But I also know from previous diet starts and stops that to succeed, I need to be able to eat some of my old-time favorites with the new foods that I enjoy.

As I’ve proceeded on this journey, my tastes have changed along with my weight. In the beginning, I never didn’t have 100-calorie Hostess cupcakes in the house because if I needed a chocolate fix, that’s what I wanted. Now I don’t buy them regularly and I’m more likely to turn to a Kashi bar or cocoa-roasted almonds. However, that’s not to say I don’t have an occasional chocolate bar or get my hostess cupcakes once in a while. Those are foods that I can eat a portion of and then get back on track.

Following Weight Watchers has allowed me to continue to eat all kinds of food and lose weight without feeling deprived. I tried Jenny Craig once and lasted a week. I did Atkins for about 3 months. Those didn’t work for me but I know they work magic for other people.

With exercise, it’s the same thing. Some folks walk, some run, some Zumba, I triathlon.

It doesn’t matter what path you choose as long as you enjoy it and it’s something you will get up and go do on a daily or every-other-day basis. And you can always add/change it up as you go too.

There is tons of advice on how to diet and how to exercise to lose weight. But not all of those things work for everyone.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again because it is the one thing I have truly learned on my fitness journey this time: You can read all the advice and listen to all the experts but if you don’t like what they are telling you to do or you feel like you can’t stick to a program, it isn’t going to work for you. You have to experiment with different foods/exercises, find programs that you can stick to and do that.

Maybe it’s because we get so sucked in by the media and advertising about all of the diet claims that our weights go up and down so often. We can all lose weight on a program we can stick to temporarily, but can we keep it off when we can’t stick with that program anymore?

This time, I’ve taken it slow and steady and I know the changes I’m making will last a lifetime because guess what? I can still eat pizza!