Saturday, January 29, 2011

And the Punch Line Is...

"And BOY are my arms tired!" 

I swam a mile this morning and OMG are my arms ever feeling it!  First off, I was amazed that I could still swim; and to manage that far out of the gate? Well, that was stupendous!  But in hind sight it might have just been plain stupid.  My arms started feeling it when I got home and started to make some breakfast.  You see, I met Diane at 6AM up at the pool and I was just barely awake enough to find where I laid out items from the night before.  No time for breakfast and besides I was taught never to eat before the pool.  Drowning just is not appealing.

So, I reach up to the cupboard door and pain strikes!  These muscles obviously haven't been used in while and they were DEFINITELY letting me know.  I managed through making a bowl of cream of wheat for breakfast but I had a full on grimace face when I put the bowl in the microwave which is above the refrig. in my apartment.  I was especially glad that I had canisters on the kitchen counter with sugar; a much more manageable level.  But later on, I found myself wishing I had mind control to turn off light switches.  Oh, to just think that the light switch is on or off in a thought; today it sounds pretty good to me.

During my swim, I discovered that it was time for a new swimsuit.  I had this suit for two years but age and chlorine had caught up with it.  It felt like I was swimming with a sack on.  The whole time I was concerned that it would stay on or some of those folks that wear goggles were going to get an eyeful.  Yes, I'm still not wearing goggles when I'm swimming. 

I tried one of Diane's new water toys out.  It's a set of paddles that you strap on to your hands.  Well, I should say I tried them but I didn't put them on correctly.  I found out later from Diane that they should be strapped so that the paddle is against your palm; not the back of your hand the way I had them.  That would explain why they didn't seem to work right for me; and also, explain the puzzled looks the life guards were giving me. (Though, it always seems like they keep a close eye on me-- I think it's the "Most Likely to Drown" sign I have on my forehead.)  I did, however, manage one lap in my warped kind of way with the paddles on.  Live and learn, I guess!  So anyway, for those of you that may have been like me, here's a photo of how to properly have the paddles on...
The proper way to wear the paddles.

Homework to do before next week's swim?  Get a new swimsuit.  Swimming in a sack is not easy.  And I need to do a bit more upper arm working out.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Weighing In & Choices...

This morning when I hopped on the scale, I was surprised to see that I was down 4 lbs. for the week. Not that I was disappointed; quite the contrary. Most of the week I had been hitting a plateau of a 1 lb. loss for the week; but BAMM! This morning, I was down another 3 lbs.! This started my Friday morning off at a pleasant place, and I felt good. I’m down a total of 9 lbs. so far and that feels good!

I will tell you though that I’ve rather been working my tail off for those 3 lbs this last week. I worked out 4 different times at the gym (all at a 60 minute minimum) and even went on a 3 mile snow hike. I’ve pretty much stuck with the 1200 calories per day plan. I did have a cleansing day this last Saturday and that was the day I lost the first pound this last week. Go figure! I did have a couple of days where I forgot to eat a meal. I got too busy and forgot to eat. This happens to me. Sometimes, I get to going 90mph and I don’t feel like stopping in to the pit stop.

What’s been the hardest thing for me recently has been making the correct healthy low cal choices. 1200 calories per day can quickly be eaten up by fattening high calorie foods, and then you can be looking at an empty plate or end up skipping a meal which is not a good thing.  It’s hard when you are eating the low cal tuna salad sandwich in the lunch room and one of the guys sits down next to you with a big juicy cheeseburger with potato skin fries. It especially doesn’t help when they offer you some of the fries and you’re still hungry after consuming the tuna salad.   Eating out seems to be especially hard and some of the salads out there are not as low cal as you would be led to believe.  I've gone to the always ordering the salad dressing off to the side.  But overall, I'm discovering that I'm best off when I plan my meals ahead of time.  This has been a bit of a challenge because I'm a "do-er" and not too much of a "plan-er", but I guess that's something I'll need to learn.

I’ve been sticking as much as I can to the healthy low cal choices, and it’s starting to show. The other day, I stood nude in front of the mirror and took a hard appraisal of what I saw. I know I’ll never have my 20 year old body back and that I need to do some work here. But I think that with a bit of work I can gain my “legs of steel” back. If I start doing some sit ups on a regular basis, I could get back my flat stomach. (No, there’s no chance of a 6 pack here—except if it’s for alcohol consumption.)  But overall, there's some possibilities to see myself looking not too bad in a bikini this summer.  I just need to get working on it.

To these means, I’m planning on doing some sit ups on a more regular basis. I’m also thinking of getting some more upper body work outs. Tomorrow morning I’m meeting Diane for a swim, which often turns into an excellent upper body workout. Now to keep up on everything and keep on track; after all there’s only 23 lbs to go….

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Snow Hiking Fun!

Kym, Susan, & Diane-- Them Posers!
Sunday late morning, I went with friends snow hiking up a small local canyon.  Neff's Canyon is kind of tucked in above the mid eastern bench area of the Salt Lake Valley.  It is a pretty little canyon where locals go snow hiking, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, or just take the dogs out for a bit of a hike.  Quite often on the way down (if the valley air is clear) you can see over the entire Salt Lake Valley.  It's an amazing view! 

Myself & Susan
We had met at a local bagel/coffee place and decided where to go for our hike.  It was going to be about 3 mile round trip; up and back hike.  It started out fairly cold and I put an extra layer on when we arrived at the parking lot.  There was just a nice dusting of new snow from the day before so we passed on the snowshoes and I took my Yaktrax along just in case it was icy.  We got about a third of the way up, and two of us(Susan & I) paused in the hike to let the other two catch up. 

It was here that I had some problems. I discovered that my fingers were really freezing.  They were so cold that they felt like they were burning.  I Susan's gloves on but no change.  Then, the two that were now caught up arrived.  Kym had mittens with outside mini pockets and I put them on.  Then had her open my packages of hand warmers, which I had brought along (just in case) and she put into the mini pockets.  Awwww... warmth! 

Treat break! Kym, Susan, & Diane.
But then, I bonked!  My head felt like it was swimming and my eye sight started to get that fuzzy TV screen effect.  I felt a wave of nausea.  I laid down in the snow quick; standing was just too much.  Susan had some animal cookies, and had me eat one.  Then, they helped me stand up.  I was ready to go back down, but they said no that I needed to get a little better before we attempted to go back down. 

Diane talked me into continuing on but taking it slower.  Susan and I had really pushed it that first bit.  It proved to be a little bit too much for me.  Of course, it probably wasn't smart of me to be doing this kind of activity so soon after a day of cleansing my system.  I didn't have any of the reserve like I usually would have.  Cleansing?  Well, my version constincts of a day where I have water and herbal tea for most of the day and then have a dinner with vegetables and whole wheat bread.  I try to do it at least once a month of kind of reset my body.

Me at the top with a bit of attitude-- where's the flag?  I've conquered!
As we continued on going slower up the canyon, I felt better.  We stopped a couple of more times before reaching the top.  Diane shared with us little goodies that she had brought along.  One stop, she shared a yummy chocolate chip cream cheese cup cake; and the stop at the top she had a bag of fruit & nut mix.  When I got to the top I finally felt like myself and it's always seems easier to hike down hill than up.  It was as we went down that we saw some of the cutest little dogs coming up.  They were like a little fur ball with tiny feet working their way up the canyon.  Hey, if a little fur ball could make it that far; what was I complaining about?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The "Stevie Wonder" & Weighing in...

The gym at my apartment’s clubhouse is nothing snazzy but it does have a newer treadmill and elliptical machine. So I am managing to workout there three times a week; a couple of week nights and then once on the weekend. I often arrive and the lights are off and I end up turning the machines on. I feel as though I have my own personal gym.

Last night the endorphins were kicking in pretty good after the treadmill workout (running 2.4 miles in 30 min). I started in on the elliptical. I guess you could say the endorphins went to the head because I just decided to get silly, and besides no one was around. So as I was on the elliptical I started to do the Stevie Wonder. Now some of you may be wondering… the Stevie Wonder? But some of you may have heard me mention the guy that Diane & I used to see at the gym. I nicknamed him the Stevie Wonder. He would be going along on the elliptical too with his eyes closed and his head wagging about.

So for 45 min., I was doing the Stevie Wonder, only with my eyes open. I was also finding that it was easier to do it with certain tunes on my mp3 player. “Funky Town” worked real well and “Don’t Worry Be Happy” was a good tune for it too. Now I’m a bit curious if it burns more calories and yes, I did look terribly silly in the mirrors as I went along. But it was only me, and actually it was rather fun! Who knows maybe I’ll do it more often?

Weighing in…
I thought that I would do updates on Friday as to my progress on my weight loss. That way I can hold myself (or try to) accountable for what I do during the weekend.  This week I’m down 5 lbs. YES!  Not too bad for a starting week. I managed to work out three times this week. Twice I worked out for about 45 min of cardio and once for 75 min. I still need to do a bit of the weight training thing.  I stayed under 1200 calories per day for most of the week.  I did have one day I went over by a couple hundred but I've been really trying to be conscious of what I am eating and the calories involved.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Good & the UGLY...

The Good…
** I survived the opera and lived to tell of the event. It actually was an amazing opera. The classic tale of Hansel & Gretel was wrapped up together with wonderful costumes, sets, a bit of fog, and cute children filling in various extra parts. Did I mention I was in amazing seats? I was in the 4th row of the balcony. I didn’t need to use opera glasses to see their faces on stage. I was amidst all those people that had jewels, furs, and tuxes; but I wasn’t as out of place as the guy that showed up in a t-shirt and holey blue jeans.

** I finally got a battery for the “Health-O-Meter” scale.  After weeks of forgetting to pick up the batteries, I finally remembered!  Though, I tend to wonder how much of the forgetting was subconscious.

The Ugly…
** This occurred after I put the new battery in the “Health-O-Meter”. (Who thinks up these names for scales?) I took off every stitch of clothing (hoping that this would help) and stepped on. OMG! When the digital red numbers stopped looping around, it was pretty UGLY! So UGLY, I wanted to take the new battery out and drop the scale from my third floor balcony. But I didn’t!  It's obvious, the "Health-O-Meter" was working properly but was not being agreeable to my vanity.

** The REAL Ugly that I’m 15 lbs. heavier than what I had expected! So now I’ve got 32 lbs. to lose before I get to my goal weight. OUCH!

The Good…
** I want to end this on a positive note. I got on the scale this morning and I’m down 5 lbs.!  5 lbs. in 3 days!  I’m heading in the right direction. Only 27 more to go!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Up for an Afterlife Experience?

I recently received two free tickets for the Opera. A friend who’s going out of town gave them to me and just asked me to make sure they would get used.  The tickets are for Hansel & Gretel written by Engelbert Humperdinck.  The first time they told me this they quickly went on to say,"No, not THAT Humperdinck!"  I, of course, said," Wow!  THAT really would have been an interesting opera if he had."  They just sighed and laughed.

This year, I’ve become enamored with the Opera and have been able to go due to a series of friends similar to this friend. I thought it would be easy to find someone to go with me.  Oh, but not so!  I’ve asked quite a few friends and had a series of responses; mainly with the idea of no behind them. Some have been nicer than others. I asked one friend who I’ve gone to sporting events with and I know he’s gone to theater events in the past. A semi-cultured person and I figured I would ask. It was a long shot; I knew. But I was rather surprised at his response.

My Friend: “Let me put it to you this way… There’s near death which equals the ballet. Then, there’s death, AND then there’s opera!”

Me: “So are up for an afterlife experience?”

MF: “Yeah, very funny! You should take that stand up comedy on the road.”

Me: “Oh come on… I’ll even take you out for a good stiff drink afterwards. That’ll bring you back to life!”

MF: “No, really. I think I’ll pass.”

The ever so strange thing is that I had a near run in with a deer coming down a newly snowed canyon picking up these tickets from my friend's place.  Hmmm... So thus it looks like I’m going to be doing a solo afterlife experience on Saturday. Figures! The afterlife may be calling me...  Now I just have to wait for the fat lady to sing and pray that I’m reincarnated!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Wonderful Read!

It was as I was taking a break from reading Moby Dick and I discovered a read I REALLY liked. I found myself about 175 pages into Moby Dick and I needed a break from the book. Sometimes, this happens I need a break from a book because I get bored or I’m struggling with the language. Then, I’ll end up reading back and forth between two books for a bit. I must admit that Moby Dick for me is a challenge because of the language and sentence structure.

It was shortly prior to this that I had purchased “The Memoirs of Cleopatra” for my Nook and I thought what the heck. I’ll see if I can haul my way through the two of them. I was a bit shocked when I opened “The Memoirs of Cleopatra” and it was about 1250 pages. That’s the problem with the Nook a thick book doesn’t really show itself until you open it.

I started reading this new book with an image of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra and past that really didn’t know that much about her. But my hats off to the author Margaret George; within a short amount of pages she was bringing Cleopatra alive to me. She intertwines historical events and details of life in the period into a well crafted experience. I will every now and then venture into historical novels but this was a page turner. I found myself immersed in Cleopatra’s time and enraptured with it. I read the whole 1250 plus pages in under 10 days. During the 10 days I found myself staying up till the wee hours of the morning reading and couldn’t seem to put the book down. I was addicted and needed my Cleopatra fix.

I would recommend this book and I am now curious to read the other two historical novels written by Margaret George. If they are as well written as this book, they will be a pleasure to devour the words on the pages.  Now the REAL challenge is going back to Moby Dick.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

50/50 Dieting & a "little" OCD…

Since Monday, I’ve been trying to be good as far as my diet. I’ve been trying to stick to 1200 calories per day plan. I’ve managed that about half of the days so far. Not a real good start. My hardest challenges have been—food brought in at work and late in the evenings at home by myself. Yesterday one of the guys at work ( a lot of us at work refer to him as Martha Stewart) brought two full slabs of slow cooked pork ribs with bottles of BBQ sauce to enjoy. It made my planned lunch pale in comparison. Besides, how could I pass up a free lunch of pork ribs? I did however limit myself to three ribs with about 3 tbsp. of very spicy hot BBQ sauce. Yum!

The other side issue of late evenings at home alone? I get bored and I’m one of those that eat when I’m bored. To this end, I’ve tried to stay busy trying working on my 100 Salt Lake City Porches Painting Project. I’ve also been trying to use the rest of the yarn that I got to make knitted wash cloths that I gave out for Christmas gifts. I have two large half spools of Sugar’n Cream yarn. I’ve now knitted 8 dish cloths in the last week. I have the feeling that these wash cloths are going to turn into birthday presents for the next few months. Either that or SURPRISE! You are getting a present just BECAUSE!

But even with keeping myself busy with painting and knitting, I’ve dangerously wandered into the kitchen late in the evening. I have had low fat yogurt on hand just in case but you can only eat SO much yogurt; and I’ve never been fond of fruit. Hmmm… so I’m thinking that I may try to drink a whole 8oz. glass before I actually eat anything. Maybe that will help

Another possibility for the evenings…I checked out the gym at my apartment’s club house. I was surprised they had what looked like a new treadmill & elliptical machines. Nice! Also, a new flat screen TV in the upper corner. I’m planning on visiting there a couple nights a week; instead of going to the 24 Hour Fitness gym with Diane in the wee hours of the morning. (Sorry, Diane!) My gym membership expired and I can’t seem to bring myself to pay for another year. Yep, I’m being a cheapskate! But I really want to work on saving money too. (Another New Year’s Goal!)

The OCD? This morning I was trying to locate a certain black turtle neck sweater in my closet. I was getting rather frustrated. And thinking I REALLY needed to work on one of my New Year’s goals of “Uncluttering my Life”. So when I should have been getting ready for work, I found myself organizing my closet. All the dresses on one end; all the skirts next to them. Then, I put all the short sleeve shirts together and the long sleeves together. Tonight if I get in the really OCD mood I may put everything according to colors.  OH MY!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year; New Goals...

A beautiful sunrise photo I took a few days ago from my balcony. 
It’s the dawn of a New Year and I have myself playing with idea of setting new resolutions for this Year of 2011. I find it exciting and for me it’s rather like a blank canvas that is calling me to paint a new scene. What will it be? And how will it turn out? Hmmm… that is certainly food for thought.

And as I am sitting here enjoying a cup of coffee, and my mind is perusing through all of the possibilities; I can’t help but reflect on how I only attained about 40% of last year’s resolutions. Which I will admit was rather dismal and I can’t help but think that I need to be more realistic. No matter how much you may want to set goals and plan ahead; life has a way of throwing a few wrenches with possibility a few crow bars at you, or whatever other tools that may come to mind. There’s no possible way to see around that curve in the road and know what’s coming your way.

So what I’m trying to say is that maybe I need to set goals that are perhaps a bit vaguer? But then again I just might be too easy on myself. This is the dilemma that I find myself in as I am need of another cup of joe. But then again I maybe just over analyzing this to death; …which I do have a tendency to do. Hmmm… Okay so with all that going on in my head, here is the list that I’m thinking of…

1. Save more money! This was the one goal that I really did manage this last year. I now have enough in a savings account that if out of necessity I could go 6 months at my current cost of living if I lost my job. Not bad and I’m thinking I should continue this and try to work towards a full year.

2. Find a balance with my running and cycling. Run some more of those fun 5K’s. Last year, I ran two half marathons and I felt that I really had accomplished something. It was fun running and finishing one of them alongside a friend. But I did all this running and it came at the cost of not being able to enjoy my cycling as much. With that in mind I’m thinking of signing up for more 5K runs and giving myself the time to enjoy my cycling.

3. Do one century on my bike. I came close last year and if not due to a mechanical problem I could have done it. But I made the attempt too late in the cycling season and only had the one opportunity. Part of the reason I attempted it too late in the season was because I was training too much for running.

4. Be more conscious about my weight. Basically lose weight but I don’t want to focus on a particular goal weight. I feel like I would be setting myself up for failure if I did that and also would pushing towards unhealthy type of eating habits. I definitely would like to lose this the weight I gained over the holidays. It’s been a sugar fest from Hell the last few weeks. I would like to rein in all that bad holiday eating and work back towards the weight I was at during the end of the cycling/running season. I was within 6 lbs. of a goal weight that I had in mind for years. I was pretty pleased with myself and I think with some healthy habits and exercise I could be there again. I would like to work towards it in a more healthy way.

5. Commute more to work either on my bicycle or via walking. I think this will help with my other financial goals and also allow me to get more exercise. Sounds like a Win-Win situation to me.

6. Finish my 100 Salt Lake City Porches Project. I’m currently working on porch #9 and I think it is progressing well. I would LOVE to tie the project with a charity if I can and start selling them on-line on my Art blog. I also would like to have a showing of all 100 Salt Lake City Porches in one place; preferably not in my small one bedroom apartment. If you get the chance check out my Allgood Art blog.

7. Narrow down the clutter/things in my life. We live an age where things/items seem to collect around us. For some of us it is a status symbol. For others it maybe just in the pure joy of having some of these items around them. But lately to me quite a few of these items/things seem to be getting in the way and just collecting dust. Also, sometimes it seems as though some of these items require other items and can develop into an unseemly amount of MORE things. It’s not as though I can take these with us when we die and on top of that I only live in a small one bedroom apartment. So, part of my goal in this is clear out a great deal of those items that I don’t need. I would love to work towards being able to move everything in my apartment in one truck load if I needed to move. And yes I know that this may sound contrary to do a painting project of 100 Salt Lake City Porches. But even so, I would like to “clean up” some of my act. I have items that sit in upper areas of closets that have not seen the light of day. I also have a closet FULL (to over flowing) of clothes that I need to trim down. I will admit that I am a clothes horse and most of it is from thrift store finds that I REALLY should have never bought in the first place. WHAT was I thinking? So I’ll need to sit down and figure out what I need and what I don’t need. Then, I’ll start trimming down.

I think that's enough goals for one year, don't you?