Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sloth, torpor and an upset tummy

Yesterday was a day filled with nothing but sloth and torpor.

I did not, as I had planned, hit the gym hard.  Quite the opposite - I didn't hit the gym AT ALL.

"And why?" you may ask.

Because I did not lay out my gym clothes the evening before. And because I sleep in until 9:30 - something that I have not done in a long while - leaving me feeling incredibly groggy. And instead of just heading right to the gym I collapse in a groggy heap on the couch saying to myself, "I just need to wake up a little bit and then I'll head to the gym."

So then I fool around on the computer for a while. And then I decide to play a few games of Boggle on my phone.

And then suddenly it's 10:30 and I'm ravenously hungry. So, off to the kitchen to make myself some oatmeal because I cannot possibly go to the gym when I am just starving. Oatmeal consumed it's back to the couch to "digest." And as I'm digesting, I'm reading my book. Then playing some more Boggle Then dozing a little bit. All the while saying "I just need to digest for a little while longer and then I'll  go to the gym."

And then suddenly it's 2:45 and I have not only digested my oatmeal, but I'm really hungry again!

You see where all of this is going don't you?

"I'll just have some lunch, digest for a while and then around 4:00 I'll head to the gym..."

Yeah...ummmm...not so much!

Yesterday was a day taken over by with what Buddhists describe as one of the "Five Hindrances"- sloth and torpor...Buddhist teacher Gil Fronsdal describes this hindrance to enlightenment:

Sloth and torpor are forces in the mind that drain vitality and limit effort. Sloth manifests as a physical absence of vitality. The body may feel heavy, lethargic, weary, or weak. It may be difficult to keep the body erect when meditating. Torpor is a mental lack of energy. The mind may be dull, cloudy, or weary. It easily drifts in thought. Being caught in sloth or torpor can resemble slogging through deep mud. When this hindrance is strong, there is not even enough mindfulness to know we’ve fallen in.

Yep, that was me yesterday. Lethargic with a definite absence of physical vitality and a dull cloudy mind! Oh, had I only not slept so late and just hopped into my gym clothes right away! My day could have been so much different! use whining about it now. What's done is done. So, there ya go.

Today - I wake up early with a bit of tummy discomfort. Thanksgiving Part 2 at my mother-in-law's was really tasty and fun. Ate leftovers. Played games. Hung out with my nieces who are 2 and 5 and very hilarious. But I did indulge in a little too much dessert once again. And today my body is letting me know in no uncertain terms that I just cannot ingest that much rich food anymore.

My body is rebelling against my old, bad behavior.

So, instead of heading right to the gym I come out here to my spot on the couch to write a blog post and allow my tummy to settle a bit because come Hell or high water...I AM hitting the gym HARD today.

No more sloth and torpor for me today.

No way.


I just returned from the gym and a very sweaty 1.5 hours of upper body strength training and cardio. AND I even weighed myself...fully expecting the worst after two days of TG eating. However, I did not gain any weight this Thanksgiving!!!! Woohoo!!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Post 2: Thanksgiving

I'm full.

Not like that super-uncomfortable-I-just-ate-enough-food-for-5-people kind of full (the kind that I have often felt during Thanksgivings past), but rather just pleasantly full.

So, the strategy I had laid out for today:
  1. Exercise by doing the Newport Pie Run 5K
  2. Eat a good breakfast/lunch before heading over to my mother-in-law's house 
  3. Wear fitted jeans rather than my usual skirt with elastic waist.
  4. Allow myself one small plate of appetizer type foods and then don't eat anymore appetizers once I've finished what's on my little plate
  5. Chew gum for the rest of the afternoon so I don't eat until dinner is served
  6. Use a salad plate for my dinner so I can have a little taste of everything without feeling too bad about it.
  7. Eat one slice of the pumpkin pie that I made because I know that it is within the boundaries of my eating plan
So, how'd I do?
  1. Newport Pie Run: check!
  2. Good breakfast/lunch: check!
  3. Fitted jeans: check!
  4. Eat one small plate of appetizers and no more: yeah...ummm...not so much. However, compared to prior years I did GREAT
  5. Chew gum: check! (and then spit it out so I can have a few more rice crackers with cheese)
  6. Use salad plate as dinner plate: not so much on his one. However, I filled the plate mostly with various vegetables (low fat cole slaw made by me, brussel sprouts, butternut squash, broccoli, mashed cauliflower and asparagus) leaving just a little room for turkey and homemade cranberry sauce.
  7. Eat one slice of pie: Oops...not so much on this on either...I did indulge a bit at the dessert table.
So, I let my cravings get the better of me today (damn you, cheesecake!), but all in all...I think that I've made progress in that I am sitting here feeling pleasantly full and sleepy rather than in a great deal of lower GI distress and discomfort as I have been over the last few Thanksgivings. Did I eat too much? Absolutely. No question. But relative to what I used to eat at TG, I feel OK about my choices (except the cheesecake! Damn you!)

I also feel OK because I know that I am heading to the gym and for the rest of this weekend to undo some of the damage that I have inflicted upon myself.

Tomorrow: hitting the gym HARD.

Best wishes for good health and a Happy Thanksgiving,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I'm feeling a little low post-Fall Fitness Challenge.


Because I calculated how much I have left to lose to reach the mid-range normal BMI: 196 sticks of butter.

So, part of me is feeling really good about finishing the Challenge and the weight that I have lost thus far, but then the rest of me is sort of moaning and groaning about how much there is left to lose. However, the part of me that is moaning and groaning is thankfully not also saying, "Well, f@#$ it. Let's just go get a blue cheese bacon burger and fries and two slices of seven-layer chocolate cake! Losing more weight is just waaaaayyyyy too much trouble."

Thanks goodness that I'm not thinking that.

But what I'm realizing is that I need to set some short term goals ASAP or that number...196 sticks of butter...will be looming large in front of me and one day I might given in to a "screw it" attitude. I don't want to return to the Pizza Days.

So, for now, I'm thinking that I will sign myself up for my gym's Winter Fitness Challenge. Now that my busy season is almost behind me, I'll be able to devote the kind of focus to the Challenge that I really didn't have in October and November.

And then I'm thinking that it might be time to start training for my first 10K...

Those 196 sticks of butter don't have a chance.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fall Fitness Challenge...Complete!

"I can't [insert affirming life event here] because I'm in the middle of my busy season."

The above is the refrain that has dominated my life from August to December.

My busy season - the time during which my schedule becomes insane with meetings, presentations, daily travel, and numerous mailings. For 4 years I put my entire life on hold during the busy season:
  • Time spent with family and friends...nope. 
  • Going out with my husband and spending time with him...nope. 
  • Vacation with husband...nope.
  • Working ridiculously late hours and weekends....yes. 
  • Not taking care of myself...yes. 
  • Not going to the gym....yes. 
  • Eating loads of restaurant food, fast food and highly processed crap that are no good for me...yes.
  • Collapsing every night and weekend in an exhausted heap on the couch to watch TV and do absolutely nothing else...yes.
  • And each year during this time gaining 15 pounds...yes.

Until this year.

Until this year when my husband, who had just joined the gym in August and joined me in the South Beach Diet announces that he is going to sign up for our gym's Fall Fitness Challenge in September.


"But...but...but I want to do that, too!" I think to myself and then just as quickly think, "Oh, but I couldn't possibly do that.  It's right during my busy season." And then I think, "Yeah...and where has my busy season gotten me?? 60 pounds heavier than when I started this d@#$ job."

60 pounds! That's 240 sticks of butter, People!!

Giving over my life to my job and its attendant busy season has to end. And so I say to my husband, "Would it be OK if I did the Challenge with you?"

"Of course, Sweetie," he says to me.

And so I sign up for the 10 week challenge...wondering how on earth I am going to fit in 6 days a week of exercise including personal training, group training and 2 classes per week. But I also know that if I don't I will pack on another 60 sticks of butter and that is just not acceptable.

And so here I am now at the end of the Challenge reflecting on my experience.

So, what did I learn over the course of the ten weeks?

I'm more physically capable than I give myself credit for. "You're great to train!" says my personal trainer D at our celebration banquet just few nights ago. She continues, "I mean aside from the dirty looks you give me [she says this with a big grin and a laugh] you can DO a lot. So many people come in and can't even DO a single lunge, but you got it right away."  Thanks, D.

Running still isn't for me (right now, anyway), but I'm a pretty good fast walker and managed to shave more than a minute off a mile walk. I cross the finish line second to last during our final fit test, but I finish strong. I feel good and decide that it doesn't matter at all that I am only one of two people who walk the mile instead of running it. (D says she is sure that I can run a mile rather than walk it, and somehow I know that if I do the next challenge that she's going to put her theory to the test...)

I can and should try new things. Before the Challenge I would never, ever have tried the Saturday Low-n-Loaded class at my gym. The Challenge made me do it at first. But I kept me going back and will keep going back because I am determined to get through one full class doing every single exercise the instructor throws at us for the entire allotted interval time. I'm close. I know that I can get there.

Food is always going to be something with which I struggle. I'm a lifelong compulsive emotional eater. However, I know now that with planning and determination that I can succeed in responsible, sensible eating.

Reaching out to other people and being a part of something that is not my job works for me. I've always held myself back from activities like the Fall Fitness Challenge. Always thought that I wouldn't do well because I'm uncoordinated, shy, kind of a dork and not terribly coordinated. But I was wrong. I totally enjoyed this experience and loved being with other people who are trying to lose weight and get to a healthier place in their lives. I didn't feel out of place at all.

 * * * * *

The other day at work my CEO tells me, "You're my hero" when he finds out that I've shed almost 160 sticks of butter. I don't know that this makes me a hero, but it certainly makes me healthier and happier.

In terms of the Challenge, I landed at the bottom of the pack in regards to weight loss. Most of the other participants shed an impressive 10%, 12% even 14% of their body weight during the 10-week challenge period. My 6% certainly pales a bit in comparison, but I'm perfectly happy with my results. I lost what I normally would have gained at this time of the year and that feels like a huge victory for me.

Being a part of this Challenge reminded me in no uncertain terms that I've only got this one life and that I need to actually live it. And in that I was 100% successful.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Weigh-in day today.

156 sticks of butter lost!  BMI in the 20s!!

And for the first time in several years the number looking back at me from the scale begins with  a "1" and not a "2"!!!


The sweet smell of success.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Major changes

"No, you can't go back to sleep. C'mon, you're already awake. Let's go to the gym"

These are the words that my lovely husband speaks to me this morning at 5:40 a.m.

Never thought I'd hear those words from Chris - especially at 5:40 a.m. being that he's not exactly what you would call a "morning person," but he's changed his habits so much since The Pizza Days that here we are.

"Are we going to start saying stuff like 'BP' - 'Before Pizza' and 'AP' - 'After Pizza'" Chris jokes the other day when I say to him, "That was back during our Pizza Days."

Because the truth is that before we started on South Beach and then the Fall Fitness Challenge, Chris and I enabled each other's worst habits. I was always too tired to shop or cook. We never planned meals. We both worked long hours. At the end of a long day, with little or no healthy food in the house one of us would ask the inevitable, "What do you want to do for dinner?"

And 90% of the time...we'd go out or order in.

Pizza, Chinese, Buffalo wings...all the bad stuff. All of the time.

Is it any wonder we both got so fat?

But now...thanks to my husband's dedication to doing the meal planning and both of us shopping regularly, there's almost always something healthy to eat and so we have no reason to indulge in high-fat, unhealthy meals like we used to. And then there's my wonderful Chris urging me to not go back to sleep, but to to instead go to the gym with him.

Rather than enabling each other...Chris and I are now empowering each other to be healthy.

Do we miss pizza and Chinese food and Buffalo wings?

You bet.

But do we miss them enough to give up feeling good, losing weight, getting strong and living a healthy life.

No way.

The Pizza Days are over.

Monday, November 8, 2010


BMI today = 29.88

Overweight, but no longer classified as obese!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bernice is not happy!

For those of you new readers (if there are any new readers coming to visit here...) Bernice is my mid-section. She had gotten so big and cumbersome at one point not so long ago that she seemed like her own entity...thus, "Bernice" was "born."

But Bernice, for as stubborn as she is, is going away.

Today I lay on the mat doing my Bernice crunches. In between sets, I place my hand on my middle.

Not long ago when I would lay down, Bernice would be right there in her full, very round, mooshy un-glory. Sticking up - a big hill in my mid-section. And she would be laughing.

Well, Bernice isn't laughing anymore.

When I lay down these days...Bernice disappears.

Oh, how lovely to feel a flat mid-section when I lay down!!!

When I stand back up, Bernice returns, but in a very diminished state. She grumbles incessantly about this and tries her best to get me to eat things that I shouldn't so she can return to her full size. But I resist!!

At a client presentation last week there is a plate of pastries, which I try my best to ignore, but there's Bernice grumbling and moaning for a croissant. The smell just about makes me swoon, but I say to Bernice, "Uh-uh. No way. You are NOT getting croissant."

I won't repeat the terrible things she says in response. Too many expletives...

Bernice is going away.

Bernice is not happy.

Bye-bye, Bernice.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Slow and steady

does not actually win the race.

But that's OK.

Chris and I - via the Fall Fitness Challenge - participated in our first 5K race this past Sunday. The 32nd Annual Spooky Run sponsored by the Greater New Bedford Track Club.

We arrive early to get our "bibs" (the race numbers you put on the front of your shirt) and meet up with the rest of the FFCers. I'm number 363. We all stretch and enjoy looking around at folks who've come to the race in costume. A middle-aged man in a bridal gown and veil (his bushy mustache is the perfect finishing touch), quite a few pumpkins, two Vikings, a number of cats, and - my personal favorite - the team of five serious runners wearing all sleek, serious black running gear adorned with festive pink or purple sparkly headbands, pink or purple striped socks and short, bunchy tu-tus in either pink or purple. The lone guy on this tu-tu wearing team (in purple) looks pretty hilarious. "Hey, I was totally drunk when I agreed to do this!" he says with a huge grin and laugh to the police officer who is ribbing him about the purple tu-tu.

It's a brisk day, but sunny. Everyone seems to be in good cheer. We make our way to the starting line and wait for the 10Kers to take off. As I'm heading to the back of the pack where the walkers start, Trainer A walks beside me and says, "Awe, c'mon. You're not going to run this thing?"

I laugh, "Oh, yeah. I'd take like twenty steps and pass out and then all of the runners would be tripping over me. That would NOT be good!"

He laughs, "It'd be kind of like a Tour de France pile up situation."


He breaks away to position himself in the front of the pack with the runners.  I place myself firmly at the very back of the pack.

At 9:05 the race officials set us free.

Surprisingly I find myself having to pass quite a few other walkers whose pace is much slower than mine. I get "stuck" a number of times behind groups of slow walkers, but finally manage to find some open space and off I go....short, quick strides with my arms at 90 degree angles pumping hard. My pace feels pretty steady. The course - through a park and around the streets of New Bedford - is relatively flat with just a few gentle hills. My breathing is steady, but I'm definitely sweating and my heart rate is up.

I pass some folks on the course and am, in turn, passed by some folks who pick up their pace. There are two women who must be in their sixties that eventually by-pass my position and leave me in the dust. I try to pace myself against them and am a bit frustrated and embarrassed that I cannot keep up with them. Especially since neither of them is breathing particularly hard or seems to be pushing very hard to walk at that pace.

Obviously, I have a lot more work to do on getting these legs and lungs of mine in shape!

Still, I manage to cross the finish line ahead of a few other walkers. Thus, I achieve my goal of not coming in dead last. Not exactly the mightiest of goals, but...what can I say? I didn't know what to expect and just hoped that I wouldn't be the very slowest person to finish the race.

So, here are my stats:

Time: 47:15
Pace: 15:13/mile
Place: 331 out of 361

I'm the last of the FFCers to cross the finish line with the next slowest FFCer to cross almost 2 minutes ahead of me.

Still, the last walker to cross the finish line comes in well behind my time - 18 minutes after me (his pace is 20:58/mile. So, while compared to the runners I am a turtle, compared to at least a few other walkers I was rolling along at a pretty decent clip.

I know that I can improve. I'm going to shave some time off of my next 5K, which I think is coming up pretty soon. Stay tuned for more details...