Monday, January 31, 2011

So sore, not sure I can type...

Okay, I'm being a little melodramatic, but for reals wow! Didn't I just run on Saturday and now it's time to run again?

I headed out to our first "official" training after the kick off, sporting my training shirt that totally fit! Hooray!

We were running right across the street from the ocean, but since it was dark, I could have been running across from a brick wall and I probably wouldn't have known the difference. I did like knowing the ocean was so close though.

According to the schedule tonight's run was meant to be another 1 or 3 mile option. When I arrived though, the trainer announced we'd be heading 20 minutes out and 20 minutes back. 40 minutes of running?!?!?!? Eek! I took a few deep breaths and reminded myself to go at my own pace. Walk when I needed to but still push myself a bit.

And guess what? I totally did it!
It was totally and completely challenging but doable.

And now, as I write this, I feel a bit whiny bemoaning my soreness, but it's the truth! Everything hurts! But in a "I'm really proud of myself for getting out there and doing this" sort of a way.

It's official!

It's official!

We're signed up, laced up, and ready to go (start training that is).

Coleen and I signed up for the SF half marathon (my gift from Santa) and this Saturday was our official kick-off.

A few things to report:

1) For the kickoff you had the choice of one mile v. 3 miles.
The idea of 3 miles made me break out in a cold sweat so I decided I'd do the one mile. When it was time to start the run they instructed everyone who was starting with one mile to stay where they were and folks doing three miles take a step to your left. I suddenly felt like I must smell or something because 100 people simultaneously took a giant step away from me.
Fortunately there were a few others who were opting for the one mile distance so I didn't feel too alone.

Out on the run, the trainers kept saying "it's only one mile! You can do it."
Only one mile!!!! Clearly spoken by folks who have no concept of my level of stamina.

2) Remember, I shared my burrito dining in comfort hot moment? Where I switched chairs so I would not feel all terribly squished while I was having dinner? I totally had another moment like this!

After the run (err... jog/walk) we lined up to get our training shirts. I first asked for an XL but then it was clear I wouldn't fit into it. So I asked if there were any larger sizes. I was handed a Womens XXL shirt. I tried that one on and it also was too tight. I felt my face flush red and asked if there was any chance they had a larger size. They didn't.
"Well, I'll fit this in no time at all, right?" I squeaked this out as a statement/question hybrid since I was not sure if it sounded true yet.

I'm about to walk away when I see the table of "mens" shirts. I asked if I could try on the men's XL. It also didn't fit! But the men's XXL totally fit me and I felt so grateful I had stayed because I didn't want to start my training with a training shirt that was too tight. I wanted to be able to use it NOW!!! Just as I am!

And why do sizes have to be gendered anyway? "Women's cut", I am a woman but there is no way I'm squeezing that shirt on!

3) I'm so nervous!

But also excited about this adventure! Especially since I get to share it with my dear friend.

But really, is it normal to be this nervous!? Eeek. We run again tonight!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Look ma! Part II

I'm super excited to have been given a Stylish blogger award by Sasha at Eat the Damn Cupcake!

As you know I'm new to this blogging publicly thing and so it's an honor to know folks are reading and sharing this journey with me.

Thank you!

So with that honor comes this little list of fun to do's:
  1. Link back to the person who gave the award to you (done!)
  2. Share seven things about yourself
  3. Pass the award on to 15 recently discovered great bloggers (or as many as you can).
  4. Contact those bloggers and tell them they’ve won.
Seven things about me

1. I love Oprah. Like really really really love her. As in, took a mecca to Chicago to go be at her taping and cried when she walked out, love her. She is such a source of inspiration and strength for so many folks to "live their best life"!

2. I love watching organizing shows: Enough Already!, Clean Sweep (not on anymore sadly), Clean House, Hoarders, you name it, I am fascinated by it.

3. Speaking of hoarding... I still have a box of love notes from high school. I should probably get rid of them, but just knowing they're there kind of makes me giggle and remember the covert passing operations we'd do in the hallway.

4. I talk to my Grandmother everyday. She reads me my horoscope.

5. Confession: I recently moved a tv into my bedroom (after swearing I'd never have a tv in my bedroom). I justified it by saying I would do workout videos in my room. I haven't done even one.

6. If I could watch You've Got Mail, Sliding Doors, Under the Tuscan Sun, and Sleepless in Seattle on one loop over and over, I could easily stay indoors for days, just glued to the tv and a box of tissues.

7. The class I think I actually got the most out of in college was my Singing for Actors class. I was so terrified on the first day, but by the end of the class I was belting out songs (still off key, but louder and braver). I think it changed me and it definitely brought more joy and music into my life.

It's perfectly timed that I got this award today, because I am just now writing a post about other blogs that I've been reading everyday!

So without further ado I am passing this award on to some fabulous bloggers that delight me with their vision, bravery, and sharing. You'll find your own reasons to love them, but I'll share just a tiny glimpse of why I check these blogs every week!

Fitness/ Health/ Well being bloggers-
I'm brand new to the world of fit bloggers. (More on that later). Here are a few of the blogs that had me at hello.

1. Half of Jess
Determined, motivated, smart, encouraging. Love reading her journey.

2. Small town heart gets smaller
Witty and funny. I so enjoy her updates.

3. Ohhhh... Flaxy Lady
Consistently trying new things, (including Jillian's 30 day shred! Yowsa)

4. Leaving Fatville
Another blogger keeping the humor in this journey!

5. 263 and counting
Totally puts her emotions out there in honest and readable ways.

6. Girl Stuck in a rut
Fun pictures of her creative eats as she navigates Weight watchers and the weight loss journey.

7. Scale Junkie
Totally love how she's opened up a whole community of healthy living bloggers.

8. Live Laugh Run Breathe
Just found this blog through the twitter world. I love her updates and tworkouts! (tweeted workouts during the biggest loser!)

Fashion/ Food/ Beautiful things

9. Jeana Sohn
Beautiful photos, art, fashion. Just a wonderful glimpse into the world of an artist. LOVE this blog!

10. Kloncke
INCREDIBLE writer, adventurer, activist, photographer, spirit. I so enjoy reading about her world.

11. Pink of Perfection
Delectable recipes, sharp insight, beautiful words.

Amazing organizers/ design folks

12. Space for Living
I'm biased, because this blog belongs to one of my closest friends. But I love how she totally tells it like it is. She wants "practicality, not perfection" when it comes to organizing and design. She's the first person I call when I want to brainstorm a creative solution.

13. I heart Organizing
Gorgeous solutions to organizing problems. Seriously amazing the things this woman does with decorative paper. So fun!

14. Young House Love
Prepare to become completely addicted (in the best way possible) to these creative diy lovebirds. Follow along as they transform their house into a home.

15. Sfgirlbybay
My intro into the world of bloggers. I read her blog daily as I began my move up to the bay area. Such incredibly beautiful photos and adventures in the city.

I don't have a blog roll up, but believe me when I say that I read these blogs all week long and they are a major inspiration. Hope you'll check them out!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gold star

No records for speed or efficiency, but a definite gold star for getting up and out this morning!
The other day I started brainstorming an outdoor workout that would get me moving and allow me to enjoy the beautiful weather we're having. After over a month of rain and cold it has been absolutely warm and gorgeous this week.

This morning I decided to give the workout a try. But the actual getting to the working out part took me way longer than I'd anticipated.

First I decided to rewrite the circuit since my first draft had been done on the fly and it was pretty sloppy and hard to follow.

Then I realized I didn't want to keep pulling the paper out of my pocket. And I knew I'd definitely need a reminder or two since it's my first time doing this circuit.

I know some folks are able to just get out there and go, but I'm really new to this consistent exercise adventure. I needed structure and a plan close at hand!

So I whipped out my masking tape and sharpie and made a little list that I could stick onto my new ipod holder.

I'm all geared up when I remembered I still had my Xmas mega mix on my ipod from this workout. I knew I needed some new tunes to get me going. So I exchanged Let it Snow and Carol of the Bells for a few songs that were sure to keep me grooving (That new Cee-lo song totally does the trick!)

By the time I had some oatmeal and finally laced up my shoes, it'd been almost an hour and I still hadn't worked out! But I was determined to give it a try!
I headed outside and started the circuit.
1) Lap around the park
2) Rocky stairmaster workout (all the way up the stairs, stretch at the top, back down, up 2/3, down, up 1/3, down)
3) Lap around the park
4) Rocky stairmaster #2
5) 3rd lap around the park and cut through the park to my favorite bench for strength training.
There's a number 6 and 7 to this workout too but it took me almost an hour to get through 1-5! The lap around the park includes some hills, stairs, and some lovely views... whoo!

I felt really proud of myself (and sore too!)
I will definitely do this circuit again but next time I'm hoping the gearing up will be smoother (and will include sunblock). It gets easier right?

Here are a few pics I snapped after my workout during the cool down.
View from the top and the bottom of my Rocky stairmaster workout

The site of my future pushups and tricep dips at my favorite bench.
Plus the view from the bench.

View from the north side of the park (including a glimpse of the bay). Also the future site of my lunges. I didn't do any lunges this time but I got quite the leg workout anyway.

A few more that make me feel like Spring is on its way!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ah, if only it was that easy....

If only I could just say, "Ready, set, track your calories and keep them at 2000 or under" and it would magically be so. Each meal would be well portioned and "balanced". I would be just full enough and my cravings would cease with the command, "No thank you, I'm getting hot."

I used to have this Weight Watchers ad as my screensaver.
I would imagine it was a picture of fit me spinning those bags around, just back from a divinely easy shopping trip where everything I tried on fit and felt fabulous. (quite different from my current shopping excursions).

Looking at the steps I'm taking towards my fitness goals was super helpful and motivating. Since I'm new at making these actually consistent, it does feel encouraging to know I'm moving forward with my goals even if I don't yet see much progress.

Virtually every single weight loss plan I've read about encourages food tracking. It helps me to pay more attention and also be accountable.

I wasn't a believer in the power of food logs until I actually started not only recording my food but also tracking calories. Some days it can feel agonizing to pay attention to my calories, but that's the only way I can really get an accurate picture of my eats. For example, a few weeks ago I wrote down everything I was eating throughout a particular day, but didn't actually record the calories until later that afternoon. I guessed I was going a bit over my goal of 2,000 calories. When I finally added it up, I was more than 1,000 calories over that goal and it was not even dinnertime yet. Same thing with my beverages, until I added them up the other day, I had no idea I was consuming over half of my daily goals in chais and wine! I guess I knew, I just wasn't paying attention. But now I am! And as tedious as it is, it has been so helpful as I try to really learn what foods feel good in my body, and how much I can eat and be full but not stuffed.

Of all of the goals and steps I listed out on my last post, food related goals are the most challenging for me. In addition to eating in response to emotions, I've never quite gotten that whole meal planning and grocery shopping for those meals and leaving enough time in your day to prepare the meals thing down. I've had a few successes that I've shared here with you, but now I'm stepping it up to make it an actual part of a routine.

I used to feel really embarrassed about this and had totally identified myself as someone who could not cook and had no idea how to shop for actual planned meals, but now I know it's totally something I can teach myself (with a little help from my friends). Descriptors like "I can't cook", "I'm not capable of being organized", "I'll just always be kind of messy" don't work for me and don't serve me.

I am actively shedding you negative self-talk!

Figuring out my relationship with food and how to eat in a way that moves me towards being healthier is an ongoing process. I actually tried Weight Watchers the year after I graduated from college and I lost 35 pounds. Not too bad right!

But, what I found was that I wasn't really learning how to eat. I was eating less, but I was just eating less junk. So of course I was losing weight. It's a great program that is definitely worth checking out but not one I'm currently participating in.

Basically with the Weight Watchers program I was on, you got a point total for each day based on your height and current weight. I vaguely remember I had 30 something points a day. You record every food you eat and drink and assign it a point value that's based on how much fat, calories and fiber is in that particular food or drink. Your goal is to hit your point total everyday and not go over.

You also have flex points. A bank of points that you can apply to any day or spread out throughout the week so you can splurge a bit. Every time you exercise you get activity points which you can apply to your point total if you want. There's weekly meetings where you weigh yourself and an instructor talks with you about a certain theme or topic. You get awards as you lose weight. You know I love awards! All and all at the time I found it to be a pretty great program. I know they have a new system in place but I don't think it's changed drastically.

I specifically liked the program in terms of helping me with portion control. I would eat one brownie instead of 3, but I was still eating brownies. Not a problem to make brownies a sometimes food, but for me I was staying on points but filling up on junk instead of learning to incorporate and plan healthier meals.

So that's more details on the whole "I am tracking all of my food and aiming to reduce my calories to 2,000 a day." part of my getting hot goals.

I've been pretty consistent with writing down my food, but I need to practice recording the calories throughout the day. Last night my friend Coleen was fixing dinner and she asked how many calories "I had left" to keep me at my 2000 calorie goal. I had no idea. I had written out my food but hadn't added up the calories. I need to do this so I can really utilize the food log as an active tool and not just a record of my eats.

What about you? Any tricks to meal planning that have worked for you? Have you ever tried weight watchers or some other program? If so, did you love it, hate it? Find that it's working for you? Does anyone else have pics up either as their screensaver, on their wall, or in their planner that motivates them everytime they see it?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

b getting present

"I dragged myself here kicking and screaming"

Not exactly the thing you want the teacher to overhear you say right before class. But I said it and I did and she did, overhear me. Funny thing was, she agreed. "Yeah me too! My bed was just so comfy and cozy this morning."

I had been so suprised to wake up over an hour before my alarm went off, and even more surprised that I couldn't go back to sleep, I hadn't even bothered finding an excuse to skip yoga class. I have a goal of going to class once a week- a revised goal which actually feels possible to do.

Truthfully, as hard as it was to get myself in gear to get to class, I was actually looking forward to it. I'm loving Jennifer's Tuesday am class and I knew when I actually started the practice I'd be glad I was there.

That feeling of gratitude did come, eventually, but not without completely laboring through the whole first hour of class. My legs and arms felt so heavy today and my balance felt non-existent. So I just tried to hold it together. Stay upright. Keep the sweat out of my eyes. Keep my stomach from showing. Keep my foot from sliding off the mat. No wonder it was so much work!

The second side of my lunge felt like I was balancing a mountain on 2 tiny little platforms. I started to fall out of it and suddenly Jennifer was at my side saying, "I'm so glad you're here. You're amazing you know?"

And that was all it took, I first let out a tiny sniffle and then a midrange whimper escaped and all of a sudden I was crying. Right there in class, mid-lunge. Not loud boo hooing or sobbing, but just crying. And I didn't know exactly why, but I have this theory that in my body, mixed in with the muscle and fat and bone, is memory.

I once heard someone say your body remembers and I believe it is so true. By the time I actually breathe into those little knots and tight spots I can't quite articulate what it is that I'm releasing, I just know that's what is happening.

Struggling through the poses all morning had me present in a different way than I am when my balancing comes easier and my arms don't feel quite so shaky. And I think the point is I need both and can be present to both; and everything in between (even the scary parts). And that applies way beyond the mat.
Today, just as quickly as I stopped trying so hard and let myself feel what I was feeling: discouragement, frustration, a feeling of being overwhelmed, nervousness.... the feelings were gone. I finished the rest of the class, tear free and quite present. And that was just what I needed for the morning.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The bounty continued...

I mentioned what a bounty of movement this weekend was! Two consecutive days of movement does indeed feel like a bounty to me! Progress!

On Sunday morning Coleen and I continued our exercise buddying and I was even able to convince my roomie Tami, to join us too. We headed back out to Kezar stadium to continue the interval training (running on the straight part of the track and walking on the curves). Our goal for Sunday was 3 miles, one more than we'd done last time.

I decided to try out my new sports armband. It's a little holder for your ipod or iphone since holding it my hands is not ideal for my new adventures in running.

I'm not convinced I love it yet. I think it'll just take some getting used to. The box said you're supposed to be able to operate the phone while it's in the case but I found the plastic to be too thick to use the touch screen. I also found it hilarious that I only had a Christmas mega mix that I had made for my holiday road tripping on my ipod. It had some really great songs but then every once in a while "Jingle Bell Rock" or some other random Christmas Carol would come on. Since I couldn't change the song without taking the ipod out of the case I just tried to hohoho my way through that track.

When I hit the track I was pretty confident that I could keep up with my intervals. I wasn't going to be sprinting so I just needed to run slow and steady. Loop one was a warm up walk followed by stretching. Check. Loop two we took off ran, walked, ran, walked and then did one more bit of stretching. Check. Loop three we ran our first interval and that's when I had to come to a screeching halt. Despite our warming up and our stretching, I got a massive pain in my left shin. It didn't feel like shin splints (something I'm all to familiar with from dancing on hard surfaces when I was in hs). It felt like a giant knot that was gripping my calf and making it virtually impossible for me to move.

"Keep going. You can do it" I winced in pain and urged Coleen and Tami on. I hobbled around the track and stretched and wiggled. The outside of your left calf is a very hard place to stretch.

As Coleen and Tami lapped me, I suddenly felt incredibly self-conscious and embarrassed. Suddenly, it was as if all eyes were on me (they weren't), watching me wobble my fat self around the track. I gotta admit, my negative self talk was alive and well and convincing!

Coleen and Tami were waiting for me at the start of our next loop. They tried to be encouraging (they were). "Did you try stretching like this?" And they'd show me a stretch they'd come up with that might help ease the pain.

I was too in my head to really absorb their tlc. As we took off I felt... awful. Is that normal? I mean how could I be so on top of the world loving the incredible weather and the company of two of my favorite people and then the next second I'm doubting my ability to do this. This journey, this adventure... and even this next loop of the track.

Coleen and Tami caught up to me after their next lap and said it looked like I was supinating, where you're walking on the outsides of your foot. I'm sure I was. I was not concentrating on form I was just trying to walk out this cramp/ knot or whatever was going on with my leg. When you are feeling so self-conscious, you don't want to know your two friends are behind you watching your crappy form.

But then suddenly, I decided they were not behind me criticizing me. They were behind me cheering me on. Somehow in that moment I was able to reframe it. I was able to take that negative self-talk and shed it. I wasn't "B the fat girl" wobbling around the track who didn't belong here. I was just where I was supposed to be, taking one step at a time and moving forward, even when it got kind of tough. (I should point out that during this "reframing" John Legend was in my ear crooning "Let it Snow". It made for quite a moment).

I'd like to say that in that moment when I shed the negative self talk and fear that was gripping up my insides, my calf magically also ungripped and I was suddenly a graceful gazelle-like creature sprinting around the track. I wasn't. I had to stop about 3 more times to stretch and talk down my cramp, but eventually it did ease up and my hobbling turned into chugging and I finished our workout with a smile on my face.

It's gonna be a long journey, this losing weight and gaining self. But I just have to take one step at a time. Right?

Mat date

This weekend was a delicious bounty of movement!

I started the weekend off with a Saturday yoga date with my friend Coleen!
I picked her up bright and early and we headed over to Urban Flow to get our yoga on. As soon as she got in the car she had a little surprise for me... she bought a pedometer!!!
She said my pedometer had inspired her! Love it!
She had a much more active morning than I did. Her pedometer is on the left and mine is on the right. Btw love her silver pedometer! So sleek looking.

This was her first time at Urban Flow and she totally put up with my requests to document the momentous occasion.
Class was lovely, though I did have to take it easy since I have a recovering foot and shoulder. (I know I know, my foot now too!) I was able to do modifications where I needed to and stick with it through the whole class.

I snapped a pic of the studio post class. Doesn't that room just look divine!

P.S. Coleen sent me pics of her pedometer later that night and the next day. Check this out! Um Coleen... amazing!!! Now you're inspiring me!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

smart gal making SMART goals

Buoyed by my day of successful water drinking (5 glasses!), I decided I wanted to take a peek at a few of my other goals to make sure they were SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time based).

I'm a list maker by nature and an avid goal setter but it's the actual incorporation of the goals into my everyday life that I need to practice.

My water goal felt a bit daunting but realistic. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

I added a little water tracking to my food log so that I could mark off each glass. This indeed felt like a smart goal. And I knew if I was going to have 8 glasses I would need to start with water instead of chai or coffee or anything else in the am and then keep drinking it all day long. Of course it is going to take much more than a day to make this a habit, but it's a start right?

I shared my goals (and have them posted there in the side bar so I can reference them every time I log on) so I thought I'd take a look at how I am working towards each one.

1) Take a yoga class each week. During class be kind to myself and remember to breathe.
I'm aiming for Jennifer's 1/2 class each week at Urban Flow Yoga, but since I know that might not always be possible, I have a back up class lined up too. This week I wasn't able to make it to the Tuesday am class so I'm planning to go to to a 1/2 class this weekend instead.

I'm also scheduling yoga dates when I can. I find it's fun to practice in community and some of my friends love going to class even more than I do.
2) Be able to fit into all of my clothes in my closet and feel comfortable and confident in my wardrobe.
I have never shared pics of my room after transforming our living room into my bedroom! I promise to do that soon! In the meantime though, my closet (in the pic above) is overflowing with clothes I don't currently fit in to.

My favorite organizer and dear friend Autumn of Space for Living, is heading up this way for a major organizing adventure and we're going to do a closet purge! I'll be sure to post pics as soon as we're done.

3) Be able to do full and strong push-ups off of my knees.
You've seen my push up attempt videos one and two right? Well, with my shoulder injury that goal has been on pause for a while, but I'm starting to incorporate some strength training and the yoga will help me get closer to that goal too!

4) Complete July 1/2 marathon.
My "official" training starts at the end of January, but my friend Coleen and I have laced up and done some run/ walk intervals to help us prep.

5) Weight loss goal this year of being under 200 lbs.
-I am aiming for 10,000 steps a day on my little pedometer.
-I am tracking all of my food and aiming to reduce my calories to 2,000 a day.
-and now I'm drinking my water!

Plus I think goals 1-4 will all help me get to number 5.
None of these steps feel particularly drastic, but my hope is that I can consistently incorporate them into my days to make real changes!

And sharing this all right here on bgettinghot helps with all of them!

What are some goals you're working on? Have you come up with ways to help you track your progress? Please share!

Consider me hydrated!

I answered my very persistent thirst with... water! No chai, not even one! Yes, coffee. But I had a chai free day.
In fact here's what I drank yesterday:
First thing when I woke up I drank a glass of water.
(It almost made my chai craving disappear, or at least dull down to a whisper.)

Cup of coffee with a tiny bit of cream

Glass of water #2

Lunch time I drank another glass of water

Followed by another cup of coffee with cream

And then the rest of the night I drank 2 more glasses of water.
That's 5 glasses!
While it's not the 8 I'm aiming for, it's a mega improvement from my drink tally just 2 days ago: 2 chais, wine, 1/2 shot vodka, ginger ale.....
So not only am I hydrated today, but I am also quite proud of my water guzzling.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Help me hydration!!

Last night I realized I was thirsty. I got up, filled a glass of water and promptly failed to drink it. Yup, that's it in the picture above, just sitting there waiting for me to pay it some attention.

When I woke up this morning I was super thirsty, but instead of grabbing that water, I got ready and went to get my Starbucks Chai Tea Latte. Now the logic behind that completely escapes me. I went on with my day, fueled up on Chai, ran pesky errands and even headed to Target which usually is a fun little excursion. And all day I was the crankiest girl ever.

Can dehydration make you cranky?

It's a gorgeous day in San Francisco, and despite my errands being pesky I had ample time to get them done. As a bonus I found a cute sweater at Target on sale for $3.00! So, I can only attribute my crankiness to complete and total dehydration.

I actually like water; so it's not like it's a battle for me to get a glass down. But I think I'm just completely out of the habit of drinking it.

Yesterday I drank:
A vitamin water
A chai in the morning
A ginger ale
and a chai around 5pm
A glass of red wine
1/2 shot of vodka
and... nope... that's it.
(I don't normally do shots of vodka, but my friend offered me a sample of a new brand. I also don't normally have 2 chais in one day, but yesterday I sure did.)

So that's 1,184 calories I consumed via beverages alone and it includes NO water. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but yowsa. That is totally not hot!

So I'm on a mission here. To drink at least 8 glasses a day, everyday.
And, gulp... I'm going to go on a Starbucks Chai tea fast. Yup, I'm going back to satisfying my chai cravings right here at home with bagged chai tea. Not only will this be good for my pocketbook, but it will also help me to ease up on 312 calories of delicious chai-tea-goodness.

P.S. Yes, the lamp is totally crooked in the post above. I got this lamp I love from Ikea and it will not stay level. Perhaps due to my assembly?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Look ma!

I got an award!

Okay, it's not exactly an award. It's a certificate for completing my Kaiser class on Healthy lifestyle changes that I mentioned way back in November! Either way I was still all glowy and proud; that or it's my sweat from run/ walking our final exercise challenge.

The class focused on tools to maintain a low fat, healthy eating plan, and incorporating movement everyday. Both things I certainly knew about, but hadn't been actively incorporating before the class. Yup, I loved the class. So much in fact that I was about to sign up for another one. But as tempting as it was, I decided that I'd actually spend time really utilizing the tools I gained from this class before hopping into another one.

This is the class where I first received my beloved pedometer. And where I really started to be more consistent with tracking food again. I'll share all the other tools I incorporate right here with you. In the meantime I'm going to find a place to display my little certificate. No, really, I'm serious.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I'm a big mixed woman in a tiny silver tube.

Have you seen Jumpin' Jack Flash? Whoopi Goldberg as Terry Doolittle, in the 1986 spy thriller that features espionage, mystery computer messages and Whoopi in a telephone booth screaming to the operator "I'm a little black woman, in a big silver box".

I remember this quote in particular because my mother thought this movie was hilarious and anytime it was on tv she would quote every memorable movie moment including, "I'm a little black woman, in a big silver box. You can't miss me" And then she'd laugh and laugh.

This is all I could think about as I prepared for my first MRI.
Random. I know.
After three months of physical therapy, my doctor decided he wanted to do an MRI to check out my shoulder. I'd never had an MRI before, but I asked around and the consensus was it was loud and slightly claustrophobia-inducing but nothing painful.

When the technician called me for my pre-test consult the first thing she asked was, "Do you weigh 300 pounds?" I don't, but I wondered what they would have said if I had. They asked about any metal in my body, surgeries, etc, etc.

When I arrived for the test a tiny petite woman guided me down long narrow hallways into an elevator and then surprisingly out these double doors that led to a free standing trailer that was behind the main building we had just navigated. I wanted to ask her why we had just gone through that whole maze just to get back outside, but I didn't. The long walk to the test had gotten my anxiety going. I kept thinking they were taking me to a dungeon or something dark and scary. Really it was just a little trailer in a parking lot behind the main Kaiser building.

A clearly annoyed man greeted us with a grunt as we entered, and I saw that my appointment had interrupted his lunch. The woman's super gentle tone made up for his gruffness though and soon I was lying on the table in an adjoining room ready to get... mri'd. Scanned? I don't know the proper terminology.

I was a little anxious as I looked up and above my head at the tube I would soon be lodged in. But the woman was standing next to me and patting my elbow and telling me not to worry about a thing, and that helped a bit. The gruff man appeared on my other side and hoisted this plastic contraption around my shoulder. He instructed me to turn on my side and he placed a big thick pad on my other side, to cushion me from the machine I assume.

"Here we go." He announced and pushed a button that started the beds movement into the tube. My head entered the little tube and then my neck, but as my shoulders start to enter I hear a squeaking noise as the pad slides against the inside of the tube. "Wait, I..., this is pretty tight." It was clear at that moment, I did not fit into the MRI machine.

"Slide her out. This won't work." The mans voice boomed into the tube and I emerged blinking and confused.

"I don't weigh 300 pounds." I blurted out.
"That doesn't matter."
"But on the phone they asked me if I weighed 300 pounds."
"It's just for the bed of the MRI machine. That has nothing to do with the tube."
"You mean, I'm too... fat for the MRI." I hadn't meant to say it that way, but I felt tears welling up in my eyes and my face turning red with embarrassment. "Don't you put grown men in these machines."
"It's not about weight. It's about... width." I could tell there was a speck of an attempt at kindness behind his gruff demeanor as he tried to find a word to use. I guess "width" was as kind as he could summon at the moment.

I turned to the woman still on my right as she resumed the patting of my shoulder. "It's okay, honey."
"But now what do I do?"
"We'll let the doctor know and then we'll get you scheduled for an open MRI."
"A what?"

I pause here, because at no point had they offered the option of an open MRI. Had I known this was an option I would have much preferred to be in something that started with open, rather than this tiny tube, big girth or not.

I got dressed and the woman led me back outside of the little trailer. I wanted to tell her I could find my way from here so that I didn't have to go back through the maze of the building, but she started talking to me. Surprisingly she apologized for her co-worker.
"I'm sorry he's not the most... sympathetic of people. That's why I'm here." She laughed nervously and looked up at me for some sort of response. I smiled the best I could but as soon as she was gone I stood next to my car and just cried and cried.

It was as if all of my anxiety about the "mystery test" and all of my frustration about my shoulder injury and the frustration about my weight and just all of it bubbled over into a slobbery mess right there in the parking lot.

"I didn't fit!" I blubbered this statement into the phone and it took about 3 times of me repeating it before my friend actually understood me. She'd been waiting for a call to hear how it went. After I explained the whole morning to her, she told me it was probably just because they had me on my side with that padding and the plastic contraption around my shoulder. I knew this was probably true but it still felt painful.

It took about 2 weeks to get the open MRI approved and scheduled and each time I thought about it I just felt nervous. The open MRI was at a whole other facility and the only maze I had to navigate to get to the office was the parking lot next door. The waiting room was warm and they even had hot chocolate and tea options for you while you were waiting. I was about to whip up some hot cocoa to sip to distract me from my nerves but they called my name and whisked me to the back and instructed me where to put my belongings.

The machine was the only thing in the large room and the first thing I asked the technician was whether I would fit. She kind of laughed a little. "Of course you'll fit."
"But I mean will there be...clearance, like all of me can fit"
"Honey we put line backers in here. We put 450 pound men in here. You're gonna fit"
I still didn't believe her.
But I did fit just as she promised. And after she reassured me that the two huge cylinders above and below me wouldn't move or smoosh me, I just tried to relax and breath and think about things other than the clicking and whooshing sounds around me for the next 45 minutes.

5 minutes after the test was completed they had my films. I dropped them off to my doctors office and I felt relieved and angry at the same time. Angry that I had to navigate my size in this way. And angry that I didn't know who I was angry at, the makers of that damn tube or me for feeling so heavy.

I find out tomorrow am about results from the scans. I'll keep you updated.

Closed mri image from here
Open mri image from here

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sunny Saturday morning

Not to be undone by yesterday evening's cereal-a-thon; this morning felt sunny and promising.

On a good note:
I found my pedometer! The one I was afraid I'd lost yesterday. I had clipped it to my robe when I was heading to take a shower. Talk about not wanting to miss a step!

Had a doctors appointment yesterday. When they weighed me I'd lost 5 lbs! Baby steps, but ones heading in the right direction!

Friday, January 14, 2011


Binge alert.

This morning was full of miscommunication and confusion. How is it possible I double book myself only to find out one of the appointments was actually written down wrong so I actually just ended up missing both? And since I'd rushed out of the house I hadn't eaten breakfast before my whirlwind of appointment missing.

After my flurry of a morning, a friend and I headed to a late breakfast. We finally settled on Brenda's, a delicious French Soul food restaurant, as our eatery of choice for this morning. How can a picture do such little justice to the deliciousness of a meal?

I got what sounded pretty healthy; a spicy veggie omelette. It was delicious... and so was the butter laden grits and fluffy, melt in your mouth biscuit, which was promptly topped with butter and fresh strawberry jam.

I had a plan! I was only going to eat half, similar to what I had done with my burrito at Papalote's. That night half was a perfect amount, I was totally satisfied and had half a burrito for the next day. But this morning I didn't let myself pay attention and so very soon I had eaten the whole breakfast and I was stuffed. Too much goodness I tell you.

The rest of the day was smoother but I still felt heavy from that breakfast. It was like I couldn't quite pause long enough to reset after that morning.

Then tonight, I decided I was too tired to fix dinner so I was going to have a quick bowl of cereal. I recently bought a smallish box of my new favorite cereal; Vanilla Almond cluster granola cereal from Trader Joe's. The plan was to have a little bit with my yogurt in the morning. It's such good cereal with amazing sweetness and crunchy granola clusters.

My one bowl turned into two. And then I just kind of kept going. At the end of it I'd eaten two big bowls and two little bowls. And it just so happens it was equal to the WHOLE box.

After my second bowl, when I reached for a small bowl I knew I was already full. And when I reached for the fourth... it's like I could see that pause button but couldn't... quite... pause long enough to press it. To make matters worse, when I looked on the box, my first bowl actually equaled 2 serving sizes. So my 4 servings were indeed equivalent to 8. At 220 calories and 8 grams of fat a serving, that is equal to 1, 760 and a whopping 64 grams of fat. Ironically, that is probably about how much my breakfast added up to. My two meals in that one day was equal to 2 days of food!

Tonight, eating was totally not hunger based; the first bowl yes, but the rest not at all. It was me checking out for the moment. I guess it worked because then all of my focus was now on the sadness of the great big ol cereal binge instead of any other emotion I was trying to navigate. Food really can feel like a comfort in the moment; but it's in those moments when it's comfort I'm longing for and not food to ease hunger that I need my pause button the most. Eat and enjoy the meal but not eat and eat and eat to check out.

Tomorrow I get to make a different choice.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Committment issues

I love my pedometer. But I don't Loooove my pedometer.
And yet somehow this morning I woke up and felt like the princess and the pea. You know, where she has a pea under all those mattresses and so she can't sleep.
Well this morning I had a pedometer digging into my left hip. Ow!
I guess I clipped the pedometer on to my pajamas because I was going to be up for a while and I wanted to keep recording steps? I don't exactly remember, but I know I certainly didn't intend to wear it while I slept. Although that could be a very helpful way to see if you sleepwalk....

I woke up before my alarm and I might have been a little cranky about that so I tossed my pedometer onto my nightstand. So I thought. But I haven't been able to find it all day. Maybe our little Fillmore got to it.

I had planned to do a post update about my steps, similar to this one here. But I honestly have no idea what happened to it. Note to self: Do not throw/ toss/ shove your pedometer, phone, alarm, etc when you are half asleep; not if you want to be able to use them again anyway.

Okay, ready?

This is a picture of my pedometer from the first post I did about recording my steps.
Imagine on Monday it read: 13,099
and on Tuesday it read: 11, 875
Not bad!
I hadn't recorded down the steps for yesterday but I know I didn't do too much extra walking so it was pretty low.

I haven't given up on my search so hopefully I'll have more numbers to report soon! Especially since Coleen and I have another interval training date coming up this weekend.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Goals redefined

I went to yoga yesterday! Again!

Jennifer Jarrett sent a gentle nudge via facebook.
Tomorrow morning? Please say yes.

How could I resist that?
This was the same class I went to last week, Tuesday morning level 1/2.

Jennifer, encourages you to keep your focus on your breathing. Of course your mind is going to drift, but when it does, "gently bring the focus back to your breath." Some days this feels more possible than others. My thoughts yesterday went something like this.

I am the biggest girl... biggest person in this class. I think I'm pretty consistently the biggest person in yoga and for that matter in my dance classes. Is there a yoga class where other folks of size go that I don't know about? Where they get to downward dog without fear their stomach is showing. Stop, I am accepting myself in the moment. I worry about that. Can they see my stomach right now? Wait, breathe. Why am I thinking about my stomach? The people around me are not thinking about me or worrying about what I am doing (I look up and the girl next to me was indeed looking at me). But wait we were doing a twist and I'm right next to her, where else is she going to look. Wait, breathe, breathe, breathe.
Then suddenly, mid-Warrior pose, my thoughts jumped to this blog and I saw a flash of the little goals list I've dutifully posted in the sidebar.
Long term goals for 2011
1) Consistently take 3 yoga classes a week. Including a level 2/3 class.

2) Be able to fit into all of my clothes in my closet and feel comfortable and confident in my wardrobe.

3) Achieve goal of weight under 200lbs
Current short term goals
1)Be able to do full and strong push-ups off of my knees... at least one.

2) Run a 5K
Where did those goals come from and when did those become my goals re: weightloss? Do they still feel true. Specifically, the first one in the long term goals section:
1) Consistently take 3 yoga classes a week. Including a level 2/3 class.
As I struggled through the remaining 3 breaths while in Warrior, I tried to quiet my mind and I suddenly couldn't care less about that goal. It suddenly felt counter intuitive to everything I wanted from yoga. Not the three times a week part, but the level 2/3 part.

What had I made it mean for me to be in a level 2/3 class? Even when I was taking yoga consistently I found the all-levels classes challenging. Wasn't the point for me to focus on my time on the mat, not some made up image I have of me as svelte yogi in headstand.

I started doing yoga because it felt healing to my very core. Each class I was reflective and sweaty and challenged and open-hearted and present. And I think when I created that first goal I kind of lost sight of that for a bit.

I like the first part of the goal:
Consistently take 3 yoga classes a week.
Mainly because Consistency is something I have struggled with. When I was taking class weekly it was like this gift to myself every time. With each class, I found a new little hidden pocket of joy that appeared to me when I breathed a little deeper, went at my own pace, and listened to my body. So the consistency part is a keeper.

I want to take at least one class each week. And I don't care if it's 1/2 or intro to yoga because that's not what this journey needs to be about for me. Wow, that feels freeing somehow. The promise of consistency without the pressure.

Besides come Savasana (the final resting "corpse" pose at the end of every class), the last thing I am thinking about is my size. My muscles melt down into the mat and any worries or struggle I had about the poses I didn't seem to fit in, or my breathing which felt too labored, slip away and are drowned out by the tingly gratitude filled bliss I feel in every fiber of my body.

I have a new, revised Goals list in the blog side bar! What about you? I'd love to hear any goals that are making your heart sing right now.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Don't rain on my...burrito?

Last night I was excited to meet up with a friend for our regular Papalote date. We both absolutely love their burritos (she likes the Carne Asada and I LOVE the grilled veggie burrito. yum!)

I felt good about the choices I'd made that day with food and while my burrito was a treat, it was still on the healthier side with all the delicious grilled veggies and black rice. We ordered our favorites, got a punch on our frequent buyer card, and grabbed the number for our table.

Because these burritos are well known for their deliciousness the place is usually packed. But last night we were happy to discover there was an open table by the window. Hooray! We snagged the table, took of our layers of coats and scarves and hats and gloves (did I mention its SO cold in SF right now) and went to have a seat.

Well, as soon as I sat down I kind of let out a little gasp? Shriek? I didn't fit into the seat!!!!!!
I felt my face flush red because it was an awkward sound I made and also really, when did I stop fitting into the seats at one of my favorite eateries?
After I'd recovered from the shock I noticed that indeed these were new seats! Some of the tables had these newer chairs with arms and some did not.
I've experienced that feeling before. The "I don't fit into this seat" panic. It really does feel like panic and for a split second it's kind of paralyzing, especially when it doesn't seem as if there are any other seating options around you. The other feeling that usually comes up is shame. As if I am solely to blame for not fitting into this seat and if I had just stopped eating so much and if I had been walking and if..... and on and on. That much negative self talk flooding all at once could paralyze anyone.

But not last night!

Without hesitation I manuevered my too small chair over to the bar and swapped it out with an armless chair. What's up with that Papalote? I mean come on, if you're gonna order new chairs do they have to be so painfully small? And I say that because yes I'm bigger than I want to be, but even my friend who is significantly smaller than I am said the arms kind of dug into her hips. (By the way, E if you just said that to be kind... thank you. I appreciated it).

What felt important about this moment really though was that I didn't stay in the seat that hurt me. Even though I was a little embarrased and surprised, I got up and switched out my chair and didn't think once about what the other peeps in the restaurant were going to think. It may seem like a small thing on the surface, but it felt like a brave and dare I say... hot moment.

Monday, January 10, 2011

On Sunday morning

Does anyone else read that title and automatically start singing No Doubt?

Ah Gwen! So tough!

So as comfortable as my bed was on Sunday morning.... I had a date! With my new shoes!

Coleen invited me to join her for a morning interval training run at Kezar Stadium as the official launch of our half marathon training! (In case you are wondering half marathon whaaat? Check out this post.)
The plan was to run the straight parts of each lap and walk the curves and to do it at least 8 times! 2 miles.
We did it! For those of you who are hard core runners I know it might not seem like much, but it was a perfect easing into running for me. I've been walking and getting my 10,000 steps on most days, but it's been a while since I've broken out into a full on run.

Then Coleen taught me about strengthening one of the main muscles that stabilizes your patella. This is super important for runners since knee injuries are fairly common. Note that she used the official name for this muscle, but I think the soreness I am currently experiencing is blurring my memory of it.

If you're interested in strength training for the muscles of your leg, I found an awesomely informative article on about recovering from injuries around the patella, specifically Patellar tracking disorder. I've never been diagnosed as having such but it still has some incredibly useful exercises. Also, since I sometimes have a tweaky knee, I'm trying to be super mindful as I embark on this running journey. You can check out the article here. It comes complete with pics of each exercise.

Our workout felt great and (to quote Coleen) we felt all jellified. That post work out feeling where you are all warmed up and have the good mushy feeling in your muscles.

That afternoon I joined my friend Jamie at Urban Flow for an intro to yoga class with the effervescent Rusty Wells . I hadn't planned on doubling up my workout, but the scheduling kind of just fell into place and I went with it. It was nice to be back at Urban Flow. Especially since my hopes to make it to yoga on Friday night were thwarted by an aching shoulder.

I captured another shot of the exit out of the studio because I just so love the "be kind". Hooray for sore muscles and happy hearts.

No doubt pic from here