Friday, May 30, 2008

Still Moving in the Right Direction, if Just in Baby Steps

Haven't had much to say here for the past week. Part of it is the frustration of not being able to use the features successfully to make this more interesting, with pics in the right places and right sizes, and links to cool other stuff looking like they should. I feel like a dork when I can't do this stuff. But I will keep trying. Like now, here is a pic of my usual morning smoothie

I think I've talked about these before, but I'm still excited about them. I keep changing them so they get healthier. Lately I've been adding AltaDena fat free yogurt to them and not so much milk. I'm still trying to finish my 2% milk so I can give soy milk a try. And, in the meantime, I have actually been measuring my morning milk. That is a very new thing for me. I have one cup total for my coffee and smoothie. Once I switch to soy milk for the smoothies I'm planning on getting fat free coffee creamer of some sort too. Okay, so this is why I haven't been writing here much either. I feel like reporting all the minutiae of my efforts is probably not that interesting to anyone except me.

But, I do want to say that the two other little changes that I hope will add up to some weight changes are my change to "light" mayo, which has 45 calories and 4g of fat per Tbsp, as opposed to the 90 cal and 10 g of fat of regular mayo, and the light stuff comes out in this cute ribbon, and I've measured, I am usually using only 1/2 Tbsp. So, that is a very very good change. As is my use of "I Can't Believe it's Not Butter spray.
Now, I have read some big brouhahas about the false claim that there is no fat and no calories, because that is true with just 1.25 sprays of the stuff. But for my money, any product I can use that tastes like butter and contains only 10 cals and 1 g of fat per 12.5 sprays (plenty for a baked potato or piece of toast) is a miracle in my book. Especially compared to regular butter which has 100 cal and 11 g of fat in 1/2 T, which is NOT enough for a baked potato for sure. Now, there might come a day when 10 cals and 1 g of fat will seem like a very big deal to me, but I don't think that will be any time soon. Probably right about the time I start rolling on those foam things for my lateral fasciati thing.

I'm also still gonna talk about how the "getting active" part of this journey is going. Now, I could just sum it up by saying, "Pretty darn good!", but for those of you who know me, that would be too too easy. I have to write a paragraph or two instead. I can't say I'm a ball of energy yet, or that I keep moving all day, but I have been doing something active for at least 45 minutes every day. A few days this past week it was moving furniture and cleaning, a few days it was walking for 30-60 minutes while my vehicles were getting serviced (note to self: always wear tennies when this is happening), a few days it was playing in the water, riding waves and keeping moving as I was waiting for waves for 60-90 minutes, and a few days it was the gym for cardio.

I hadn't been to the gym for I think almost a week, but made myself go tonight. I wanted to see if I could do the treadmill, because I'm getting interested in doing the C25K plan. And OMG! What an amazing surprise!!!!! I did 30 minutes-easily! I'm not kidding. I didn't even hold on to the handles most of the time. 20 minutes was at level 3, the last 10 at level 4. A very slow pace, but my heart rate was in the high teens, low 120s the entire time. Perfect! And 98.6 calories burned. Now, this accomplishment may seem like nothing, but a month ago there is no way I could have even done 10 minutes, maybe not even 5. Last time I was on the treadmill I was hanging on for dear life. So, for me this is major progress.

Then I switched over to the bike for 20 minutes. 15 minutes at level 7, and my hr stayed in the 120s, the last 5, with the biggest hills at level 9. Only once did my hr get up to 139, and no pausing at all! Another 116 calories burned. Not pleased with the calories burned, but I am very very pleased in the progress I'm making with my heart rate and perceived effort. I also tried an ab crunch machine before I left. I think I'll schedule an appt with a trainer soon to learn how to adjust the machines and set up a little training program. I guarantee it will not be with the TFH of fasciata fame.
Okay, all caught up. Not sure what I'm going to do for the rest of the weekend in terms of exercise, but it will be something. That I can guarantee.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Follows Instructions Well

Okay, I'm over my scare, and I think something weird is happening. I actually look forward to going to the gym now and miss it when I don't go. Is this the same woman who had a million reasons NOT to go to the gym just a month ago????

So, I followed Laurel's advice and very carefully watched my heart rate today. A few people have told me that the machines' readouts are probably not that accurate, but I'm just not ready to go out and buy another piece of techno-jewelry. So, I'm going to stick with the machines' opinions on what I'm doing for right now.

I was planning on trying the treadmill again to start with, but they were all full. Oh darn! So, I did 33 minutes on the bike. At first I set the level down to 5, but my heart rate stayed around 115 or less so I upped it to 7. Then it ranged from 115 to the mid 120s (avg=117 overall). The funny thing was I burnt 134 calories, pretty close to what I was burning when I had the level up at 10, in the same amount of time. Since that was so easy I didn't feel like I'd really worked out, so I went over to the ellipticals. I set the levels at 1 and watched my heart rate immediately start going up. It pretty much stayed in the 135-139 range the whole 13 minutes, but it occasionally went into the 140s. When it did that I slowed down and waited, impatiently I might add, for it to go back to 139. I hate being a wuss! But, I'd rather be a live wuss than a dead warrior. That's just how I am. I burned another 100 calories there.

So, 234 calories burned today with 46 minutes of safe cardio workout. That sounds pretty much like I'm on track, right? Well, let me tell you, I wasn't done with the "keep moving" portion of my day yet, no sirree Bob. Once I stopped sweating, Sheez I hate that, I changed and did some errands and went to the beach for about 45 minutes. Enough to catch some little waves and do some isometric exercises with my friend, my boogieboard, while kicking around in the water. I was hoping the waves were going to be a little bigger, as forecast, but it doesn't really matter, because any day I'm in the water is a good day.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Scary with a Capital S

So, I was talking with my friend Laurel on our online scrabble site. I mentioned that yesterday at the gym I got my heart rate up in the 190s. Laurel is an emergency flight nurse, and she got very concerned when I said this. Told me I could cause myself to have an MI, which is a kind of heart attack. Said that they often have had to use a defibrilator on people whose heart rate goes that high. Scared the you know what outta me!!! I want to get in shape, not kill myself!

She sent me this formula:
If you are 57, take 220-57=163 (max HR)

Low intensity cardio (start with ) 163x.65=106

Mid intensity (in a few weeks for 30 minutes) 163x.75=122

High intensity 163x.85=138

And recommended,
Never, never go over 163 for you. You are stressing your heart way too much and may precipitate a MI.

Sooooo, I'm rethinking my whole approach at the gym. Here I've been thinking that the more the better. This may be true in terms of length of cardio workout, but it definitely is not true in terms of intensity. So, in direct opposition to Emeril's standard advice, I'm going to
take it down a notch
..or maybe a bunch of notches. I was so scared, that today I didn't go to the gym. Instead I went to the beach and swam around for about a half hour.

I'm going to try to go to the gym tomorrow and really pay attention to my heart rate. Like Goldilocks, Not too fast, not too slow, I'm going to be shooting for Just Right. And maybe start looking around at some of those weight resistance machines, whatever they're called.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Moving Up, Down, and Forward

Yesterday I went to the beach with my daughter and just played around. No waves except a tiny shore break. Lots of families, including a couple of dads giving their cute little sons pushes on their surfboards. I wish I'd brought my camera because those little guys were riding those waves and having the time of their lives. I just paddled around for about 45 minutes. I figured it was better than sitting around my house, playing on the computer. It was movement.

Today I woke up early, before 6 a.m. Even without the dog across the street barking. Did I mention that the information I sent them must have worked, because since I have been back from Kona he has hardly barked at all, and when he does he stops really quickly? I'm wondering if they are using the spray bottle technique. Whatever they are doing, I am grateful.

So, despite my sore legs, I had a smoothie and went to the gym. This is the moving up part. That torture machine that I thought is an elliptical machine? Now I'm not so sure. While I was on it today, I looked to my left, and there was a row of similar machines, but the arm things on those moved too. My arm bar thingies didn't move. I checked. So now I'm thinking I have just been using a stairmaster maybe. I mean the feet things are the same, big trays that move all weird - up, down, kind of sliding back and forth, it is the arm bar thingies that are different. Don't laugh!!! I had never set foot in a gym until less than a month ago! But, if anyone could tell me what I have been using to torture myself, I would really appreciate it. Anyway, I increased the time by one minute very long minute I might add...up to eight minutes. And still only 59 calories burned. Maybe I slowed down when I noticed the REAL Elliptical machines?

Then I moved on to the bike. Since 20 minutes + cool down went so well Saturday, I upped it to 30 minutes + cool down today. Again, on the highest hills it paused twice, even though I was pedaling as hard as I could. I think that may be a good thing though, because at times my heart rate was up in the 190s. I was thinking maybe I should "downshift" it to a lower level for those hills, but my pride just won't let me do it - yet. If I can't make it up the hills at level 10 in another week, I will try that. Oh shoots! I forgot how many calories I burned, but I know it was 131 at about 14 minutes, so I would guess it was over 200 by the time I was done.

I've been making small adjustments to my food. This is the moving down part. I bought some lowfat mayo, I checked carefully for the lowest calorie/fat when I bought bread. Did I mention that rye bread had fewer calories and fat than all of the other whole grain breads I looked at? I was surprised at that. I bought some of that spray on buttery stuff. I occasionally calculate weight watcher points. My morning smoothies are 6 points, about 380 calories, so I think that is about right to start the day. I'll try to post a pic of one soon because they are so pretty. The result of all this is I have lost 4 pounds!!!! Most of it during the last week. So I guess it is true that muscles burn more calories than fat. Not that I am all toned or anything, but this exercising on a consistent basis is beginning to work. That's the moving forward part.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Double the Time, Double the Calories Burned, and A Little More Fun

So, it took me until Friday to go to the gym again. I found all kinds of ways to avoid it; catching up with stuff around the house, gardening, etc, etc. But, yesterday I woke up and just wanted to go. That is a new feeling for me. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to do even the little I had been able to do the week before. But, lo and behold!!!! I not only did as much, I did more than last week. I started on the torture machine. I swear I forgot the name of it until about an hour ago. I keep wanting to call it The Equalizer for some reason. The Elliptical, that's it. Anyways, did six minutes yesterday. Mind you, I was sweating away, hanging on to those bar thingies for dear life, but I made it through and burned 54 calories. Then, on to my favorite..the bike. I set it for random hills again, and did 15 minutes plus a 2 minute cool down for 113 calories. That is a total of 21 minutes and 167 calories! More than the week before!

Well, today I went again, because I just can't quite convince myself 100% that gardening counts as one of the 3-5 times of exercise for the week. On the way there I almost started crying, I'm not sure why exactly, but I know it has to do with shame and feeling like I didn't want anyone to look at me, that I am too fat and people will be thinking all kinds of bad things about me. I almost pulled over and called Michelle to get a pep talk, but I made it there on my own. And lo and behold again!!! I actually exercised for 30 minutes today!! 7 on the Torturer, 27 on the bike. Let me say that again. I EXERCISED FOR OVER 30 MINUTES STRAIGHT TODAY!!!!!!!! That is twice the length of time I could do just a few weeks ago. Progress!!! AND!!! I burned 212 calories. DOUBLE what I was burning at first.

This was so so motivating for me. And, another good thing is that I set the random hill bike level at 10 and it only paused once because I got below 40 rpms on the highest hill. I was working really really hard at climbing those hills, and I don't know if everyone's gym is like this, but people at my gym do not make any sounds like they are exerting themselves, so when I let out a few good "whews" I felt very conspicuous. I tried to be "vewwy vewwy quiet" after that. The other thing that has me kind of self conscious is that I tend to sweat a lot, I mean more than most people. I of course have a towel with me, and usually wear a t-shirt rather than a tank top, but it is kind of embarassing when sweat is rolling down my face. I just keep reminding myself it doesn't matter what anyone thinks, I am doing this to get healthier. I just don't make much eye contact, and that seems to help. Bringing a book also helps, but today I was finding that I had to really concentrate on the hills, and wasn't able to read much.

Here's one more positive thing to report. My feet are totally used to shoes and socks now. My toes only give the slightest wiggle when I first put the socks on, and then they relax and I don't hear a thing from them the whole rest of the time. Cross another excuse off the list.

Michelle made a list of the top ten things that have changed since she has lost 67.4 pounds. Yeah, Michelle!!!! 75% of the way to your goal!!! That got me to thinking that maybe I would make a list of goals for myself soon. Other than the amount of weight I want to lose, of course. As I started this journey a little over three weeks ago, I was afraid to actually hope and visualize where I wanted to go with this, because I was afraid I would drop out or fail. I'm beginning to believe that this journey, like my no smoking one, is going to lead me through some unforseen rough spots, but that it will end up bringing me more happiness than I imagined. For now I'm going to keep working on doubling my efforts and hopefully that will lead to doubling my fun.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Keep Moving

That is the secret for me. If I just keep moving I will lose weight. Kona was beautiful and this time with snorkel gear it was even more fun. It was raining when I got there Friday, and I was worried that we might not get to go snorkeling down at Honaunau, but the weather cleared up and I snorkeled for hours on Saturday and Sunday.

My friend Bonnie and her daughter, Dawn, stayed in pretty close to shore on Saturday, but I ventured out a little farther. On Sunday my Dawn and I snorkeled out aways. She showed me where some friends had written ALOHA on the ocean floor with concrete blocks. Probably not the most ecologically friendly thing to do, but they sink all kinds of things here to make "artificial reefs" and the fish seemed to like swimming around them. We swam out to where it gets really deep, and while we were out there I mentally called to the dolphins, because for the past few years I have been wanting to swim with them. We stayed out there for about an hour, then went back to shore, which is mostly black lava, with a little sand back aways from the water.

Just as we got out of the water Bonnie said, "Look, there's dolphins out there." They were right where we had been! Dawn and I turned and went right back in and swam out towards them. They disappeared, but we hung around out there for a while until Dawn wanted to go back to land. Just as we got out again, guess what? There they were again...swimming, a few jumping and spinning. We didn't go back in, decided it wasn't our day for swimming with them, but it was still very cool. A few people who go there frequently said they'd never seen them in that close. I'm hoping one of these times they will swim with me. I really need to learn how to do this picture thing better. You can just see them if you look over the left shoulder of that woman standing there.

Because she knew I've been interested in this dolphin swimming/communication thing for a while, Bonnie got me this book last time I was there.

Joan Ocean goes to her church, so maybe one of these Sundays I'll meet her. While I was looking for a pic of this book, I came across her website and apparently she is looking for people to sublet her place in Kona for 2-4 week intervals this summer with reduced rent in exchange for feeding their animals. Anyone interested?

So, this week I haven't been to the gym yet, but I've done yard work two mornings. Today I went to the doctor to see what we should do about the cough that never went away after I quit smoking over a year ago. I was hoping time would take care of it, but it hasn't, so she first suggested a bunch of tests. Since my insurance only covers half of most tests, we opted for trying three different types of medications to see if any of them worked. She called it "the poor man's diagnosis". I usually don't take much medication, but since it will probably save me hundreds of dollars, three separate trips to town, and will most likely identify the problem sooner, I decided to go with it. I also had a lung x-ray to rule out emphysema or cancer. I'm really wanting my lungs to work the best they can now that I'm getting more active again, while acknowledging that I probably did some permanent damage already. And I am just plain sick and tired of coughing!

No word yet from weightwatchers/my insurance company on the reduced fees for meetings. I'm continuing to eat healthier. Fruit smoothies for breakfast made with ice, 1/2 cup lowfat milk, a banana, 1/2 papaya, and a few strawberries. Yummy! Lunch has been a salmon pattie, steamed broccoli, and kim chee. I'm still using about a tablespoon of mayo, but will get lo-cal mayo once this jar runs out. Dinner has been poke (raw fish and onions), more salmon or chicken breast, broccoli or spinach salad. My big downfall continues to be quesadillas. I do them in the microwave, and have been using corn instead of flour tortillas and have tomatoes and sometimes lettuce in them, but I just can't get away from that cheese! I have at least one a day : ( I've also been eating fruit in between as snacks. My weight first thing in the morning has ranged from 197.6 to 199.2 (199.5 at the docs this morning after breakfast) this past week, so at least I haven't gained anything, and if I average them all, maybe I have lost a pound. I keep going back and forth about joining weightwatchers, but mostly I think it would be a good idea, at least for a few months.

Tomorrow it's either the gym or bodyboarding, depending on the weather and waves, before I head into town for a meeting. Just gonna keep moving.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

This whole week, since coming back from Kona, I have been waging an inner exercise or not. I couldn't figure out why this week I was struggling so much, when last week I was so enthusiastic. I was draggggging. My first thoughts about it were that I had gotten into it too fast too soon too much, and that for some unknown reason that would make me not want to do it this week.

Today I think I figured it out. I AM tired. And it is partly because I keep getting woken up by the dog across the street. Yes, he was probably barking last week too, but on the weekends he doesn't start so early, so I usually sleep in a bit more. I was up early every morning while i was in Kona, ready to holo holo, go see, go do. But no sleeping in. My schedule is later than most people, since I work about noon to 7 or so, so I go to bed later, and would naturally sleep later, except for the dog barking and waking me up.

So, I sent my neighbors some information on being a good neighbor by controlling their dog's barking, including some Humane society-recommended training methods. I also sent a brochure that has the guidleines for what is legally considered a nuisance in terms of barking dogs. I am really hoping they get the point and do something about it.

Anyway, I didn't go to the gym today, but I did go bodyboarding. Given the choice, I will always opt for ocean fun over gym fun. There were some trade wind generated waves, which are always fun. No Portugese man 'o wars, which sometimes accompany trade wind waves, so better yet. It was fun, had some good rides, jumped and swam and made me smile a lot, worked all kinds of groups of muscles, and didn't get tired for a half an hour. Stamina increasing. Yeah!!!

Tomorrow I am going back to Kona. Have my snorkel gear packed. Planning on going back to City of Refuge. Looks like really good snorkeling...crystal clear water, a live reef with plenty of fish.

Here's a pic of someone else bodyboarding at my beach today just to get an idea of what I'm talking about. It will probably show up at the top. One of these days I will figure out how to insert them where I want them. Hope everyone has a great weekend, doing things they love.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ups and Downs with some Fun in Between

I needed to get back on track before posting again. I had a great weekend in Kona with my friend Bonnie and her daughter, Dawn. We know each other since Dawn and my kids were in preschool together. Whenever I go there Bonnie plays tour guide. It's really fun to be driven all over, looking at places and things I haven't seen for so many years. Friday we drove up the Kohala coast and stopped here for a few minutes. Hmm...can't get the pics to post under this text and don't have time to keep messing around with it. Anyway, I wore my pedometer everywhere we went and managed to walk 1.5-2 miles every day. Not a lot, but something.

On Sunday before coming home we went down to The City of Refuge. It was so different than it was the last time I was there more than 20 years ago. Much more crowded, but still so beautiful. You just can't beat the blue Hawaiian ocean. I might go back this weekend and bring my snorkel stuff. The water was clear, the reef alive with fish. Bonnie said she's seen lots of turtles there. I would love to swim with dolphins, so maybe that will happen one of these times. Anyways, here's a pic of City of Refuge. That's lava in the foreground. The other thing i like about this "beach" is that there is shade. Gotta have shade. Oh shoots! That one posted at the top! Anyways.....
Yesterday I had planned to go to the said beach. You know that's on my mind. But, once again my sleep was all messed up. I woke up at 4 am and went back to sleep between 7 and 8, didn't get up until 11. All groggy. Couldn't get myself to go. I did do some office cleaning for about an hour, including moving furniture around, so that burned a few calories I am guessing.
Today, although I didn't want to, I made myself put those shoes on and get to the gym. BTW, my feet have totally gotten used to wearing shoes!!! Amazing!!! I thought it was going to be super hard because I hadn't gone since last week, but I did good. I added an extra minute on the elliptical (10/20 difficulty, the TFH should be happy about that, but she would probably just grin and move it up to 15). Up to 6 minutes burned 30 calories. Then on to the bike. I couldn't adjust the first one's difficulty level, so did 6 minutes on that one and burned 36 calories, then switched to another one. I set it for random hills and difficulty level 12/20. After a few minutes of what seemed like too easy, I increased it to 15. I was cruising right along at about 4-5 milesper hour when I hit the first hill. My pace kept slowing down until the machine would pause because my rpm's were going below 40. I kept thinking of Michelle's friend Kate's advice...just keep it slow and steady. After it paused 3-4 times, I set the difficulty level down to 12, then to 10. I was thinking that is kind of like shifting into lower gears..or higher ones..whichever makes it easier to go up hills. I managed to get through the whole rest of the course without it pausing. I rode for 17 minutes. 15 minutes then 2 minute cool down, burning another 107 calories. Grand total for the day = 173! I know that doesn't sound like much, but it's a big increase from last week. And, I'm happy I could do some hills. My heart rate varied from 120s to 150s.
I'm still waiting for the paperwork to come from my insurance company so I can get started on WeightWatchers. I'm hoping it will be in the mail today so I can go tomorrow morning.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Go boogie-boarding more when the waves are bigger.

  1. It's fun, fun, fun!
  2. It's a good workout
  3. I have to keep moving the whole time
  4. It uses lots of groups of muscles-legs, butt, chest, arms
  5. Time goes fast - I don't get bored
  6. I don't have to wear shoes
  7. My body loves being in the ocean
  8. It 's a Be Here Now activity - I can't think of anything else when I'm doing it
  9. The view is incredible
  10. I smile the whole time