Thursday, September 30, 2010

52 weeks only sounds like a long time...

I have to admit, I'm getting slightly down on myself for the lack of progress on my list.  I'm definitely focused on a few items--namely losing 52 pounds and running a 5K, but elsewhere my progress has been a bit lackluster.

Now, the approximate 44 weeks remaining in my challenge is still a lot of time to accomplish most of these things, but I definitely am falling way behind on others, namely reading 52 books.  To date, I have read a grand total of ZERO books!!  (After abandoning Go, Mutants! I gave up on Born Round when Frank Bruni started getting into way too much detail about his bout with bulimia.)

The funny thing is that this reading challenge should be so easy for me!

So, I know this is totally going to out me as the complete dork I am, but from junior high all through college and beyond, my great love was reading.  My personal goal was to read EVERY SINGLE BOOK EVER PUBLISHED!  Even the bad ones.  And, yes, I've read a lot of bad ones.

In fact, I used to buy blank white bookmarks--the kind that were meant to be decorated--and write the names of all the books I had read on them.  I numbered each book mark and could fit the titles of probably 50 different books on each.  I even had a special box of pens and a system for deciding what color to use to write the title! 

Okay, beyond dork, I know.  But the point is that I LOVED books and I LOVED to read.  But in the last year I can count on one hand the number of books I have read.  Actually, two fingers would do.  And both books were at my parents house while we were on vacation.  Their house is filled with books--on the coffee tables, on the end tables, on the nightstands.  I have no question that being raised in this environment is where my love of reading was born. 

The question is: When did things change for me?  And the obvious answer is: When I had kids.  Suddenly I was too busy, too stressed, too tired, too... TOO to do much of anything.  Suddenly it was too much trouble, too much time, too much money, too... TOO to take care of myself and my needs.

But that is a big point of this challenge.  Beyond what reading does for me, it's also important to my daughters.  I want to sit on the couch and read.  I want my daughters to see me reading, to know that I like it.  I want them to like it too.  I KNOW that actions speak louder, so I need to make mine speak!

That's why I am going upstairs right now to pick out a book.  It may be one I've read before.  That's not what's important.  What's important is that I find a book I really want to read and find and show that love again.

Here I go...

(See you in a few minutes...)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Shut up.  I was faced with two shelves full of Faulkner, Hemingway and Twain and I panicked. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

C25K: Still Moving!

I've started the Couch-to-5K program several many times in the past.  It always starts out great--"What, I only have to run for one minute, then I get to walk?"--but, as pathetic as it sounds, I've never completed week two. 

Today marks the end of that era.

I can't even begin to describe how proud I'm feeling of myself!  Despite a history of fizzling out, I am definitely not fizzled!  In fact, I even went out and did today's run despite an extremely painful shoulder. I thought I slept on it wrong, but it's getting worse and worse.  It's so bad I'm having trouble taking my clothes off--hey, maybe I should enlist hubby's help!  Then I could count the win for item 16!

So despite all the self-talk telling me it was okay to skip out since I was INJURED!!!  I just went out and did it.  I told myself before hand that if it was too painful to run I could walk.  So glad I did--it turned out that as far as my shoulder's concerned it's much less painful to run than to walk.  End result: Week 2/Day 3 of Couch-to-5K is history!!!

Now on to Week 3.  It's definitely going to be a challenge, but I've proven I'm stronger than I give myself credit for.  I'll be there, and I'll see you all in Week 4!

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Love Exercise!

Yes, I do!  I love exercise; how 'bout you?

I just realized tonight that I totally love to exercise. How do I know? During the commercial break in Project Runway I got up to go to the kitchen. And yes, I went to the fridge. Can you guess what I did next? (Hint: It's probably not what you're thinking...)


Time's up!

I consulted my YMCA exercise schedule for tomorrow to see what class I could go to after dropping my girls off at school! Yessssss!

Can't believe how I've changed.

So, how about you? Do you love exercise? Is it a necessary evil? Or do you avoid it like the plague?

BTW - I'm going to BodyPump tomorrow (love working those arms!) followed by Week 2/Day 1 of "Couch to 5K." Go me!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ten pounds down!

It's official: I lost another 1.8 pounds to total 10 pounds down!  I spent the first seven weeks of summer putting on ten pounds and the last seven weeks taking it back off.   Now I'm ready to get down to some new pounds. 

I'm proud of my ten pounds, but I'm not entirely happy with the way I've done it.  Let's just say there has been some slippage back into those old habits.  Having one glass of wine every once in a while has turned into having a glass of wine every night, then another glass, finally ending up in me shoving handfuls of Goldfish crackers in my face. 

Also, if I'm being honest with myself I know I manipulated my weigh in.  I usually weigh in at night, this week I did it first thing in the morning.  Ostensibly this was due to conflicts with my husband's work schedule, but I was all too eager to change things around. 

So I've lost the ten pounds but, frankly, I'm lucky. 

This week there's a new plan: Stick to my food plan 100%.  No glass of wine.  No little splurges.  Certainly no more alcohol induced mindless binging!  Eat everything that's on my menu without substitutions or omissions. 

I signed up to do Jenny Craig, NOT "Julie Craig." 

After all, MY "diet plan" is why I just spent the last seven weeks losing those ten pounds I gained at the beginning of the summer.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Yes, it's true--I faced down the one class that most intimidated me: BodyPump.  Actually, I've now officially faced it down twice. 

Why so intimidating?  There are men in this class.  LOTS of men.  So I'm sure my issue comes from some sort of middle-aged "women should only glow" sort of conditioning, but seriously, I find it hard to be all I can be when there are men around.  I hate that about myself, because that is not who I want to be, it's not who I believe myself to be at my core.  But I still feel that hitch about showing myself to be a truly strong and capable woman.  Even when I try to be, I still have that little "aren't I cute" wink in my eye...

So, BodyPump is another Les Mills class set to music.  That means the routine is repeated for about three months before it's changed up.  Theoretically, if you go to a BodyPump class in Boston or Los Angeles, Seattle or Miami, they should be the same. 

The intimidation factor--for me anyway--is that this is basically a weight lifting class.  There are barbells and weighted disks.  This is the type of class where you might grunt or make a funny screwed up face.

So the good thing is that it's your barbell, you decide how much weight to put on it.

The bad thing--for hyper-competitive me--is that you decide how much weight to put on and you might notice that you have less weight than anyone else in class. 

I've been going to a Saturday morning class.  It's the only class I can fit in around my daughters' dance and horseback riding lessons.  It seems like a pretty regular group that attends.  So lots of them have really heavy weights.  I've been forcing myself to scale back.  Because if I let my instinct take over I'd be trying to do at least what they're doing.  When I look at my puny little barbell I have to consciously remember that they've been doing it longer--they ARE stronger.  And I need to do what's right for my body, not theirs.

But it does make me feel weak.

On the other hand, it's a really good workout.  Most classes--and I'm a classy kind of girl--are cardio-based.  Sure, most have a few minutes of abs or push ups at the end, but that's not going to give me the arms I want.  (I actually LOVE having really defined arms.  And, yes, I have had really defined arms in the past to know.)

As to the intimidation factor, the instructor and other attendees were super helpful.  In fact, on the first day I walked in looking definitely bewildered and the woman in front of me helped me choose all my equipment and set them up.  The instructor also immediately looked for any newbies (ME) and kept a special eye on them--lots of very detailed form tips right where I could see them.

I'm planning on making this a Saturday regular and I'll be upping my weight next week--just a little though.  I'd like to find a way to incorporate more strength training into my routine, but I'd have no idea what to do in the open gym.  Since I can't afford a personal trainer, BodyPump will fill that niche. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

But I looked so cute...

Inspired by my small but noticeable--to me anyway--weight loss, my plan to make myself a priority, and Lindsay Ferrier's (aka Surburban Turmoil, a blogger I stalk) article on always being the dressed-up mom , I got all dressed up for my daughters' first day of school.  My day-to-day "mom" uniform is rather uninspired: T-shirt and jeans or a skirt plus flip-flops.  Forget make-up or an actual hairstyle for myself, I'm happy if I can get all four of my daughters dressed and wearing matching shoes.  If their hair gets styled it's an added bonus.

But not this year, I decided.  We've moved to a new town, new school district--time to preview Julie 2.0.  After all, this is original Real Housewives territory!  And--if I can say so myself--I clean up pretty well.  So first day I was looking cute and put together in my wrap sweater, skirt and super-cute platform wedges. 

But then, half-way across the parking lot disaster struck: a rock on the sidewalk.  I now know, it only takes a single small pebble to buck one off her super-cute platform wedges.  And boy did I go down hard, managing to take out my youngest daughter with me.  Ouch! 

So, take a look around:  Yes, everyone is looking at me, no way to pretend it didn't happen (well, unless you're the dad walking behind me who actually stepped over me to go on his way...).  Also?  The blood running down my legs from my skinned knees are a total tell.  Double ouch!

But don't you worry, I got right back in the saddle today.  That's right: brown strappy wedges.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My Secret Diet Shame Exposed

As if there's something worse than being fat.  Well, actually there are tons of things worse than being fat.  But here goes.  Although I was perfectly capable of getting fat on my own, I am apparently unable to get unfat on my own.

So--here goes--I am doing Jenny Craig. 

I hate that I am doing Jenny Craig.  I am a smart woman and I should be able to do this myself.  But the fact is that my own diet attempt have failed.  I've mostly avoided the fad diets, but at the beginning of this summer I made a conscious effort to eat "healthy" and exercise more. 

I gained 10 pounds.

I fully believe in that whole initial weight gain at the beginning of an exercise program, but this was a steady increase in weight over the course of 2 months--more a testament to the idea that exercise doesn't make you lose weight.

So anyway, Jenny it is.  I have to say, it's not awful.  The food is actually pretty decent (this from a former all-from-scratch cook).  But more importantly, I've been incorporating way more fruits and fresh vegetables into my diet.  I feel like this was the jump-start I needed to get me on the right track. 

This isn't the way I want to live long-term, but I think it's going to make a good jumping off point.  And actually, that's what Jenny Craig is about: Teaching the right skills to make good choices in the future.  Right now, I feel like I'm going to do it. 

No, I know I'm going to do it. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Shakin' it Like the Tin Man

That creaking and crackling coming from the back of the gym?  Yes, that would be me trying to get my hips to move.  Seriously, I don't physically know how to make my body do that! 

So yes, after several threats and false starts, I actually got my non-shimmying hips to Zumba.  Here's the thing about Zumba:  You can always tell who is going to Zumba based on their logo tank tops, cargo pants and arm loads of bangles.  Definitely not typical gym attire.  After the classes they gather in packs and practice their moves in the halls, hips shaking, long hair flipping.

So, part of my reluctance to go to Zumba was due to these women.  Would it be like crashing a high school cheer leading practice?  Would they be looking over their shoulders at me and wondering why I would even consider showing up?

But it wasn't like that at all.  Not that I'll be hanging out in the halls after class, but I was definitely part of it.  Well, not my hips...  but the rest of me was all in!

So the class just started off with a bang.  Music on, start shaking.  There are set routines that go with each song, so a majority of the class already knew the moves and could jump right in.  As far as instructor direction, the moves really weren't explained, you just tried to follow along as best as you could.  But a lot of the moves were fairly repetitive, so you could kind of figure it out after a few turns through.  Unfortunately, it seemed like as soon as I'd get a move it would be time for another!  And I'm not sure I'll ever figure out how to shake my booty like that--especially that whole front/back hip thrust.  I'm having trouble with that even in slow motion.

Despite the Zumba girls, the majority of the class was just normal gym ladies--some fat, some thin, some young, some old, some could clearly groove, others were trying just as hard as I.  There were even a few men.  After the first few minutes I didn't feel self-conscious at all.  Biggest bonuses: it really didn't feel like exercise, the time flew by...  and I burned over 500 calories! 

My one tip if you're thinking about trying Zumba: Don't pick a spot in the very back of the room.  If you're anything like me that will be your first inclination.  Instead try to get a spot where you can see the teacher.  I really couldn't see her at all for most of the class.  Luckily I was behind several of the Zumba ladies so I tried to copy them, but it would have been so much easier if I could have seen what the instructor was doing.

I will definitely be doing this again--I'm actually a little sad it doesn't fit into my schedule tomorrow.  But I might try another new class called Burn.  I think it's a cardio/interval training type class.   I also missed my C25K day today--after Zumba plus a full day at Disneyland, my legs were begging for a break.  But weigh in is tomorrow night, so hopefully all this moving will show up on the scale too!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mutants: Out. C25K: In.

Things are still moving along on "Plan."  Well, except for the book thing.  I finally gave up on Go, Mutants!  I realized that I was actually scowling at the book and planning elaborate ways of destroying it every time I saw it on the nightstand.  Fortunately for it, it's from the library, so I couldn't go much beyond the dirty looks without risking a heavy fine.  Unfortunately for me, I still haven't returned it to the library, so it's currently racking up $0.25 per day.  Stupid book.  Remind me to never again check out a book with a fifties-style space alien on the cover.  The library will probably be able to build a new wing once I finally get the book turned in and pay the fine.  This is the reason I should stick to bookstores!!

I did start a new book, an autobiography, yesterday that I think I will enjoy called Born Round by Frank Bruni, the former NY Times restaurant critic.  I've only read the first few chapters so far, but it's fascinating to read about his struggle with food and his weight that started in childhood.  Although I'm sure the obsession comes from a different place, but as the mother of a food-obsessed seven-year-old it's very enlightening to hear it from a different perspective.

And, I've started work on another goal: running a 5K!  Yesterday I started doing the Couch to 5K program from Cool Runnings.  Basically, it's a two-month training program designed transform couch potato into runner.  Perfect!  So day one was a five minute warm up walk followed by eight 60 second run/90 second walk intervals.  I actually felt amazing!  I've been walking around the lake a couple times a week, so I just started with the C25K program, then continued with my walk around the lake once the intervals were done.  I'm planning on running Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Cool thing--the walk from my house around the lake is 3.3 miles.  A 5K is 3.11 miles, so once I can run all the way around the lake, I'll know I'm ready for a 5K.  I was thinking maybe a Turkey Day Trot would be fun, but we're not sure where we'll be on Thanksgiving yet.  If we stay home, I'll probably shoot for Dana Point.