Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Keeping Busy

I did it. I signed up for Bally's and made a "gym date" with Karen for next Tuesday. Plus, my new workout clothes arrived and fit well. So it looks as if I'll be starting a new workout program. Karen has suggested that we begin with two days a week, which sounds reasonable. I hope I can keep it up for the long haul.

Right now, my motivation is to be fit for Greece, but there are other things coming up in the future that I'd like to be in shape for, too. I have three weddings to attend this year and it would be nice to dance at them, not to mention buy new dresses for the events. I have a craft fair in May and would like to be able to walk around and see what the other artists have made. Then there's Jon's 40th birthday in October and it would be great if we could take a more ambitious trip, like to Japan. In other words, there is plenty ahead for which I need to be in shape.

Happily, other areas of my life are going well. I've sold some jewelry and hope to get a place at some more fairs. It's a little surreal to me to actually see this business coming together. For years, I tried to sell a novel and that was a bust; I then recorded my album, which was mainly purchased by friends and family. Don't get me wrong; I'm very proud of the work I did in regards to these projects, but it would've been cool if they'd led to a new business venture. Who knows, maybe they still can. But in the meantime, I'm honored that people want to wear my jewelry and are willing to PAY for it! This was NEVER the way I'd expected my life to go.

Which just goes to show, that you can't give up -- you just never know what twist or turn will be ahead. I'm not anywhere near my goal of being fit and healthy, but feel as if I'm taking some positive steps, both physically AND metally.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Gearing Up For A Workout

I've made up my mind to join the gym this week. They're having a reasonable online special at the moment, so I can definitely afford it and this Bally's is right near my home, so distance isn't an issue. It's just a matter of getting my butt to the gym a few times a week. Karen says that she'll go with me, but I have these fears of people laughing at the fat chick as she attempts to work out. I know they probably won't care one way or the other, but I'm still worried about this. Silly, I know.

To get myself into the mood, I ordered some workout gear: a T-shirt and stretchy black capri pants. The only "workout" clothes I own right now are ripped T-shirts and mangled sweats that are way, too tight, so I figured that I'd feel more comfortable if I at least look presentable.

I've also tried to map out a reasonable workout for myself. The last time I belonged to a gym, I could easily do 90 minutes on the elliptical. Obviously, I can't do that now, but there are plenty of other machines that I can work on. I can do the bike, the rowing machine, the treadmill ... if I do five minutes on each, just to start, and then add in some weights, that's a decent workout. Then I can work my way up. There's nothing wrong with only doing a few minutes on each piece of equipment until I can do more. From what I remember, I built up strength fairly quickly the last time I was at the gym.

I think that these are reasonable goals as I prepare for our Greece trip. There, I'll need to be able to walk up some hills and maneuver narrow, stone streets. I'd like to be able to enjoy the city, to be able to take in the views and just have fun walking around. I don't want to be in pain for this trip and I know that if I went right now, it would be a disaster. I NEED to get in shape so that I can finally get some of my life back and having this trip as a goal is a good place to start.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Accepting Compliments

I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not, but since I've gained weight, I haven't worried too much about my looks. I like to be put together and enjoy wearing nice clothes and look neat, but I'm not obsessed, either. If I get a zit or have a bad hair day, it doesn't faze me too much; I'd rather concentrate on other things.

In many ways, not paying too much attention to my appearance is a relief for me. I mean, I used to stare at myself all the time and think that I was ugly or not thin enough or not good enough. Meanwhile, I look back at photos of myself from when I was 17 or 18 and I was a cute kid. I don't know what the hell was wrong with me. I don't think I'm ugly now, nor do I think of myself as being a great beauty, either. I really just don't think much about it. As long as I don't look ridiculous -- like I'm weaing pajama bottoms with a Hawaiian shirt in public -- I'm okay with myself. I get plenty of compliments about my talents or personality, which is pretty cool. The main issues I have with myself is with my physicality or lack thereof. If I could be average looking and in decent shape, I think I'd be sastisfied. I really do.

Don't get me wrong; if I awoke one morning and looked like a model, I wouldn't complain. And I do sometimes wonder what it would be like to be really attractive. My friend Scott is way above average in looks, though he's not obsessive about it, either. When I asked him once what it was like to look in the mirror and know that he's handsome, he couldn't really answer me. I guess we all have flaws and things about ourselves that we wish we can change -- even beautiful folks.

The point to this post is that when people do comment on my appearance, it takes me by surprise. Jon tells me that I'm beautiful, but I figure that with him, it's my whole package. On my wedding day, everyone told me I looked pretty, but well, I was the bride and it was expected. Every so often, a guy will hit on me and that's very unexpected for me, too.

Tonight, my friend told me that her friend, whom I met once, commented that I'm pretty. It's nice to hear this, but it seemed like a weird thing to say about me as a first impression. What's also interesting is that this is a woman who gave me the compliment, and women can be especially cruel to each other at times.

I think a lot of times I forget that I have an appearance; I'm just kind of a body that exists, trying to walk and live and function. I wonder if this will change as I lose weight. I don't want to go back to obsessing over models and feeling badly about myself, and I like the fact that I'm noticed more for my accomplishments than for being a beauty queen. Maybe I'll reach a point where I'm somewhere in the middle; where people consider me to be cute, but I'm truly noticed for the work I do. I think I can live with that...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Signs Of Spring

It was unseasonably warm today in NYC -- which was fine with me! After enduring the winter from hell, I was happy to have this balmy day. I don't like very hot weather, but I do love the spring. It made me happy to get a taste of it this afternoon.

It occurred to me this week that I've been going to therapy for about a year now. I've seen counselors in the past, but this is the longest I've ever stuck with a program. There are some days when I'm not sure that I really need the help or that I've changed much; but then there are other times when I realize that I've become a lot more calm. And it definitely helped me deal with my broken leg.

I'm almost afraid to write this because I don't want to jinx anything, but right now I'm pretty satisfied with my life. I have good friends, a great husband, a decent family and an exciting new business venture. The one really bad thing is my weight. If I can ever manage to get it under control, I don't think my life will be perfect -- not even close -- but it will definitely be fuller. And if I'm satisfied with the state of things now, I imagine that I'll have a lot more fun when I'm able to dance again or go hiking or walk around a new city without experiencing back pain.

This is why I keep going to therapy, even on those good days. I'm slowly putting my life together, piece by piece. I don't think it'll be completed until, well, I'm dead, but I'm going to keep building myself up.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Portion Control

A year ago, Jon and I set sail on a Caribbean cruise with our friend Scott and his grandfather, Gene. Surprisingly, I didn't gain weight on this trip like many cruisers do, even though we were offered food 24/7. But I'd made a conscious plan to enjoy meals without going overboard and stuck to it.

One thing that made it easier to do this was that the ship served smallish portions at the formal meals. At dinner, I'd always order an appetizer, main dish and dessert, but each dish was just enough for one person. I had some great food during the week including Cornish hen and chocolate lava cake, but I never binged. Since I ate healthy portions and got a lot of walking in, I managed to shed about three pounds.

I was reminded of that tonight, not only because this happened exactly a year ago, but because Jon and I celebrated a belated Valentine's Day at a high-end Indian restaurant called Junoon. The food was great, but like the ship, the portions were conservative. I'm used to going to Indian restaurants where I have to take home half the meal because they give you so much. But here, you got only a few pieces of everything. And know what? I felt satisfied when I was finished, but not stuffed.

In my many readings about food and diets, I've come across a lot of articles where it's been noted that there's a correlation between healthy eating and income. I don't think this is completely true because I know plenty of wealthy people who eat terribly and not-so-wealthy people who eat well. But I do find it interesting that many of the more expensive restaurants I've been to serve small portions whereas places like Denny's give you all these extras with your meals. I suppose family-type restauarants try to cater to those who are looking to get more for their money. I've also read about the "French diet," where it's been explained that the French are in decent shape because they eat well, but keep portions tiny. All of this is definitely food for thought (pun intended).

I've been trying to follow this method in my eating: eat well, eat small, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. I feel as though this is something that I can stick with for the rest of my life.

It was really nice being able to go out and try some unique foods, but end the meal feeling energized, rather than sluggish. If I could lose weight on a cruise, I should definitely be able to do it in my routine life.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Back in high school, I hated Valentine's Day. I ever had boyfriends back then, so this was the day when that fact was rubbed in my face. I'd watch the other girls parade around school with their roses and teddy bears and chocolate and wish bitter, bitter thoughts upon them. During my junior year, I went so far as to dress in all black and wear a black "Valentine veil." I thought I was edgy. In reality, I looked like a witch.

Then I met Jon and on Valentine's Day, 1999, he asked me to marry him. I, of course, said yes and the rest is history ... or is it? I'm still not gung ho over Valentine's Day. I never make a big deal out of it and don't feel as if we have to dedicate one day to love. On the other hand, I don't hate it, either. It is nice to remember the people in your life who love you, like your friends and family. It's easy to get caught up in the romantic aspect of V-Day, but one thing I've learned from being married 10-plus years is that ALL types of love are important.

To bring this back to the theme of this blog -- weight loss -- I'm still trying to keep from substituting love with food. Habits are hard to break, but I'm getting there, and on this V-day, I feel lucky. I may not be thin or beautiful, but I have a lot to look forward to, as well. On this holiday of candies and chocolates, I'm proud to say that I concentrated on that and didn't go overboard. Remember, love doesn't have calories!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ode To A Grecian Yearn

Karen gave me a Greece travel guide for my birthday. Now Jon and I are seriously starting make plans for a trip to Greece in May. Usually, I'm gung ho about traveling and especially about making plans for it. I'll go through all the hotels and restaurants, and pretty much know a place by hearft by the time we get to it. My friends love traveling with me because I'm willing to do all of the leg work. I'm usually good at finding unusual, but cool places to visit because I put so much time into my research.

Honestly, I'm not feeling it as much this time around because I'm nervous. I want to have a good time on our trip and I'm afraid that I won't be able to climb the hills or walk around the ruins, and will end up driving Jon crazy. Our worst trip was to London, where I could barely walk a block. I ended up having very bad feelings toward a great city because I remember being in pain the whole time. I've been wanting to go to Greece for a long time and want this to be an awesome trip -- especially since we haven't traveled in about a year.

I still have more than three months, though, so I figure that's enough time to get in shape for this. Realistically, I don't have to be in great shape. I don't have to train for a marathon (even that would be appropriate for Greece) or even for a smaller event; I just need to be in good enough shape so that I can walk comfortably and not have to stop at every block. That's a doable goal and one that I should achieve by spring, anyway. I'm already in better shape than I was a few weeks ago when I was sick, so that's a start. And three months is enough time to get into shape so that I can merely walk. I mean, I went from being in a wheelchair to functional walking in about three months. Now I just need to turn that into distance walking.

I'm a little apprehensive about joining a gym again, but I'd like to do that soon. If I work out three times a week, doing the treadmill and elliptical, that will be a really good start.

I know that Jon is very excited about going to Greece. I want to be able to share that with him and enjoy my life again.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Catch Me If You Can...

Now that my birthweek is over, I've been able to get back to normal eating. I did well this week, having a lot of vegetables and few sweets. I was very disapointed because the health food restaurant from which I usually order my lunch has stopped offering their brussel sprouts! Instead, they've switched over to their winter veggies, cauliflower and carrots. I ordered them and they were tasty (the cauliflower is grilled with ginger and the carrots have some kind of spicy marinade), but it's just not the same. I guess I'll have to get some brussel sprouts from the store and figure out how to cook them so that they don't taste like feet.

Yesterday, I ordered in from a different place and got a slice of spinach quiche with a side salad. I felt so bloated afterward! I've been eating less bread and fewer carbs and I could feel the difference when I had a heavy thing like quiche. I was ready to take a nap right at my desk. I'm going to stick with the "cleaner" foods that aren't made with flour and sugar and oil, or whatever else.

I still have a long way to go with walking, but I am getting faster and am able to move better. On Tuesday, it was about 40 degrees F in the morning, so I went out with my denim jacket. I have a heavier coat that makes me look like an Eskimo, but I only like to wear it on very cold days. It's big and bulky, and pretty annoying. Scott says that I look like that little kid from A Christmas Story who was so bundled up that he couldn't put his arms down.

Anyway, the temperature dropped about 30 degrees during the day so when I went home that night, I was FREEZING. I seriously thought I was going to be flash frozen as I waited for the bus, and no wonder, it was literally about 10 degrees F outside. Once I got off the bus, I was only a block away from my home, but I wanted to get there as quickly as possible. I walked SO fast. I mean, I didn't even think I had it in me, but damn it, I wanted to be inside. When I got there, one of my neighbors saw me coming and held the door for me. I guess she last saw me in the wheelchair because she said, "Wow, you can walk -- and you're walking fast!" I was like, "Yeah, it's a miracle!" But I now know that when pushed, I can speed walk, at least for short distances. I don't think I'd be able to escape a monster if one were to chase me, but I'd at least have a fighting start...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Birthday Madness

Tonight was my sixth and final birthday celebration. Yes, I ended up having a birthweek rather than a birthday this year, but it felt really good to be acknowledged by so many friends and family members. I think that everyone felt badly for me having such a shitty year in 2010 and wanted to make up for my broken leg by making sure I had a good time. Which I did! This was definitely one of my best birthdays.

I'm also happy that I did pretty well with eating. I had some alcohol and a lot of food on my actual birthday, but I didn't go overboard with cake or candy, or anything like that.

This evening, I went out with Scott for dinner. I had chicken with veggies, fries and salad, but we were talking the whole time, so I only ended up eating about half of my meal. That was fine, though, as I felt full, but not stuffed.

Scott also noticed that I'm having an easier time walking. Now that the snow has melted somewhat, it's easier for me to navigate the sidewalks, but I also know that losing weight, even just a few pounds, has helped tremendously. I can now walk a few blocks before I have to stop and sit down, as opposed to just a few feet.

After I walked Scott to the train, I'd planned to take the bus the rest of the way. But after sitting at the stop for about 10 minutes, I was getting cold and realized that I had to pee, so I walked the rest of the way home. It wasn't a long walk, only 10 minutes or so, but I'm proud of myself for doing it. Plus, it was a nice night and it felt good to be outside.

I'm glad that it's February and we're getting closer to spring. This winter has been awful for me, but I'm looking forward to being active when the warmer weather hits. Last spring, I was in a wheelchair. I'd like this spring to be as happy as this year's birthday.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sweating To The Oldies

Who knew that you could work up a sweat simply by singing? That's what I discovered last night when I went out for karaoke with friends. We were there for three hours and by the time we finished, I realized that I had built up a sweat.

I know that this was because I was active, even though we were sitting. But was moving around, dancing in my seat and waving my hands the whole time. When we sang "Stayin' Alive," we did the classic hand movements; when we sang "Piano Man," we swayed from side to side. I guess for me, it was somewhat like the aerobic programs that they often for the elderly or wheelchair-bound people, where instructors have patients concentrate on moving their upper bodies. So I got a little workout in and I didn't even know it! I was too busy having fun singing and dancing the whole time.

I also didn't eat too much last night. We ordered Japanese food at the karaoke place, but it's hard to eat and sing. I had some miso soup and veggie tempura, but by the time my chicken came, I was too busy enjoying the karaoke. My husband and his friend ended up finishing my dish. Today I had lunch with my parents, but I was really on plan; I had veggie fajitas with broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini.

I've decided that I would like to join a gym. There's one right by the bus/subway stop so it's convenient, and the online price is reasonable. I'm a little nervous about getting back into that, but I know that it will be good for me. I've been doing well with my eating for the past couple of weeks and need to take the next step. Now I just have to get up the courage to sign up.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Birthday Reflections

Yesterday marked the big day when I turned 37. Overall, it was a pretty good birthday. Work was quiet for once, so it wasn't too stressful. In the evening, Jon and I went to a wonderful tapas bar ... where I ate way too much. It was worth it, though, because the food was so good.

Today, I went back to eating clean and healthy things. This weekend is going to be tricky because I have several more parties on the horizon, but if I stick to veggie dishes, I should be okay. Tomorrow is my karaoke party, so I'll get chicken teriyaki or veggie sushi and then on Sunday, we're going for Tex Mex, so I'll get veggie fajitas. I've been feeling good lately so I don't want to go overboard. Splurging on my birthday was one thing, but I can't do that every day.

What was really nice about yesterday is that so many people contacted me to wish me a happy birthday. It made me feel really loved and reminded me that the people in my life don't care that I'm fat. I've kind of reached a point where I don't care about my looks too much and my desire to lose weight is coming more from my desire to be able to do things.

Tonight Karen and I discussed joining a gym. We're intending to check out the Bally's that's near us. I belonged to Bally's ages ago and liked it, but am nervous about entering a gym again. The last one I belonged to was tiny so I didn't feel as if I stood out too much. Then again, if Karen is with me it won't be so bad. I used to love the elliptical and am anxious to try that again.

On the way home tonight, the cabby asked if I'm Karen's mother. Her mother! I'm six years older than her, but we're both in our 30s. It gave me a bit of a complex. I mean, I don't yet have gray hair, but I guess being overweight makes me look older. Yet another reason why being obese sucks. Still, Karen had fun calling me "Mom." Haha. Once I get back onto the elliptical this "Mom" should be able to keep up with those youngins....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Following My Heart

A big part of my weight loss journey is not just about getting healthier physically, but about getting healthier mentally, as well. That said, I've been trying to stand up for myself more at work and in other areas of my life. I did just that today when I decided to not go ahead with a situation that was making me very uncomfortable.

Back when I broke my leg, everyone expected me to sue the city for my accident. I was never fully on board with this idea, but everyone was like, "Oh, I'd do it if I were you!" and so I went ahead with filing a suit. My heart wasn't in it, but I listened to what everyone else was telling me. The thing is, I just didn't feel like I had a case, at least not a case worth what we were going to ask. Yes, breaking my leg sucked and the bus should've pulled up to the curb. But I can't say I "suffered." I hated having my bone popped in and getting surgery, but beyond that, I spent most of my time watching sitcoms on my laptop, writing and hanging out with friends. Not the worst way to spend a few months off! I was lucky because I didn't lose that much money from work and insurance covered most of the medical costs. So while I did experience some discomfort and inconveniences, saying that I suffered is definitely pushing it.

Still, I set up appointments with a lawyer and he arranged for some hearings. Then he called me yesterday ... and wanted me to lie about some of the facts so I'd have a more viable case. I just couldn't do it. Getting some extra money would be nice, but not at the expense of losing some of my dignity. I'd rather put the energy into my jewelry business and make some extra cash that way.

After I gave up my case, I felt like the weight of the world was off of my shoulders. In the past I would've celebrated with some chocolate, but instead I treated myself to a lunch of spinach, brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes. Weird, huh? I'm actually starting to crave vegetables. I've been sleeping better, too. I don't know if it has anything to do with me putting healthier food into my body, but it wouldn't surprise me.

My birthday is in two days (Thursday, Feb 3) and I don't know if I'll make it to my goal of 10 pounds lost. But I've definitely lost something and can feel a difference when I walk and move. It's not enough yet so that anyone would notice, but I'm noticing and that's ultimately what counts.

My next goal doesn't have to do with numbers on a scale, but more with losing inches. I purchased this adorable cashmere sweater that was on sale and is a bit too tight. I'd like to be able to fit into it by the end of February. So whether I get there by losing weight or tighening up with the BowFlex or both doesn't matter; it's a nice, realistic goal to shoot for --and I'll be giving myself a belated birthday present.