Sunday, October 31, 2004

Banging My Head Against The Wall

It's not about weight loss... it's not about weight loss... it's not about weight loss

Bullshit, it's all about weight loss. I know that there are many ways to determine a healthy body and that is my ultimate goal (specifically my LDL number). Yes, I've seen the fat percentage drop. Yes, I can "see" a difference on my clothes and in my face. Yet, there's still something about that damn number on the scale.

I can placate myself all I want and try to feel good about what I'm doing, but quite frankly, that little number on the scale does mean something, no matter what I tell myself.

It doesn't matter if I work hard and pay attention to what I eat. It doesn't move. Well, it moves, briefly, then it goes back up. It sorta teases me...

I feel like that 160 lb number just won't go away. I do feel like I'm banging my head against the wall. I'm working hard. I'm eating healthy. Yet my body refuses to let go of 160 lbs.

If after working this hard for 4 more weeks, and with meticulous food records, I don't see any more movement, I think it's time for professional help. I'm not sure if that's a nutritionist, a "real" personal trainer or a visit to my doctor to have my T3 & T4 tested (he did do a thyroid test in June when I had my cholesterol checked and I was told it was "fine"). The problem: they don't believe you. I'm over 35 years old and there's an assumption that I'm not working hard enough or I'm "cheating" on my diet. (I've already been shrugged off by my previous doctor when I had a concern... and she told me I was too young to have a thyroid problem; she was only concerned about my reproductive organs. Glad I changed doctors).

I think Matt's big concern is that I'm going to stop taking care of myself. Let me just say that a lot of this is now so ingrained and that I'm not going to just stop working out or eat what ever I want. I'm smarter than that, thank you very much. I recognize that's how I got to be 214 lbs. My goal in life is to never allow myself to be that disrespectful to myself again.

So I'll keep trudging along. I have to, I promised Matt that I would take of myself so we can spend our lives together for as long as we can. It's not fair to him for me to be unconcerned about my health.

I just wish I could share good news on this blog. I feel that I spend a lot of time whining and feeling sorry for myself, but when I started blogging this process, I told myself that I would be very honest with the process. I love those "before and after" stories you get in health magazines. They never mention the plateaus and the frustration and the tears. Or maybe it's just me.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Wednesday Weigh In... on Thursday

Yep, I sorta skipped doing my weigh in yesterday. I know I'm still stuck. So I weighed in this morning, and I'm pretty much where I thought I would be:

weight: 158.8
fat percentage: 39.2%

Yes, there's a bit of an improvement with both numbers, but I'm far from the "one pound a week" that I was hoping for. It really does seem to take me 2 weeks to lose 1 lb (however, I can literally gain 5 in one week by simply not paying attention).

I really do resent people that can lose 5 or 7 lbs a week (yes, I know they're just starting out and all they probably have to do is cut out soda... at 140 cals a pop, that really ads up. When you've already cut all that crap out, it makes it a little more difficult to lose weight).

Matt and I were talking about it last night. Over the last 9 years, he's lost 70lbs. I forget that it is slow (his came in "bunches" and with "breaks" between large drops...). I'm just really tired of this being the whole concentration of my life. I fear that it will always be a major factor of my life. I will always have to worry if I worked out enough, am I eating the right number of calories?

I've always equated counting calories as being just like budgeting finances. You have to know how much you're spending to be able to balance your income to expenses. Just like you track your checking account, you've got to track your calories. A budget is a budget, doesn't matter if its money or if it's calories. I don't want to be in debt and have to remember that a balanced diet is just as important as a balanced bank account.

However, it's still a pain in the ass to constantly track food and workouts, but I don't want to go into "debt"... as eventually you've got to pay the piper. And just like finances, it's easier to maintain a balanced budget then correct "over spending".

Monday, October 25, 2004

Monday Morning Depression

Okay, so I'm feeling very discouraged again. Part of me is happy that I'm working hard and I know that it is good for me. The rest of me isn't seeing the results. The work to result ratio never seems balanced to me.

Part of it is that I'm back over 160lbs (barely, but I hate the constant flucuation) the other part is that I really haven't actually "seen" results. I've been working hard (I know I'm working hard, that's why I wear a heart rate monitor) eating right, yet not much going on. Once I remove the water retention period, I actually have only lost about 1 lb in 3 weeks. Working harder than I ever have before.

I'm doing the Yourself!Fitness every morning for at leat 30 minutes, and some days 45 minutes (and once a week I do a full hour) and almost every day I do a second workout (usually only 30 minutes).

I will say that there's been a definite drop in my fat percentage, which I know is great (and yes, muscle does weigh more than fat, so I'm replacing some of my lost fat with muscle), but I'm tired of the constant battle. I'm tired of it being the complete and utter focus of my life. I'm tired of being hungry. I'm tired of being sore. I'm just tired. And it doesn't go away. Ever. Even if I decide that I'm bagging it, I can't bring myself to stop. I've come too far and quite frankly, it looks like this is how hard I have to work just to keep my weight steady. How depressing is that?

I know that everyone is different and I shouldn't compare myself, but I'm seeing all these fabo results from people on some of the boards and it doesn't encourage me. Just the opposite, in fact. It's just not fair.

I guess part of the depression today is that I'm feeling guilty for having a high fat lunch on Saturday (and a beer), but dammit, if I can't do that occassionally, then what's the point. It's not like I eat like that daily, or even weekly for that matter.

Anyway, I'm in a feeling sorry for myself mood today and working out didn't help. I think I need a hot bath and a good book.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Latest Fitness Evaluation Results

I had my latest Fitness Evaluation with Yourself!Fitness this morning. Not a great day to do it (but there's no way to by pass it and just workout). I'm a bit dehydrated from yesterday's splurge (salty food and alcohol is hard when you're aren't used to it).

My max heart rate is all over the place. I've gotten it over 160 during workouts, but I'm averaging about 151 for the evaluation. I'm regressing on the flexibilty (my hamstrings are getting tighter and tighter with every workout). I'm doing better with the crunches, but I still suck at pushups.

Total weight loss is 4 lbs (in 3 weeks). I also received "gold status" which means I've unlocked all the environments and music.

After my evaluation, I did a cardio workout, but I just had no energy. I probably should have done all this later in the day after giving myself some time to hydrate a little more, but it's football Sunday, and I would rather do the treadmill or bike so I can watch the games. I will try to get an other half hour in today, as I didn't feel I got a good workout this morning.

Off to drink some more water....

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Wednesday Weigh In

Well, it's that time again and kudos to Maya and the developers of Yourself!Fitness. I have finally broken my 160lb plateau.

That's right, I'm down to 159.4 lbs and my body fat is 39%.

Let me just say that I have never physically worked this hard before. I've also been very meticulous with my diet for the last week or so. I'm hoping this is a true break and I'll see a steady weight loss again. There is no doubt about it: this is hard work.

Hopefully with my continued focus and hard work, I'll be down an other pound next week (as that's the goal: one pound a week). I do have some challenges coming up (Stitch n Bitch yarn crawl and a possible night out next week) that will test my resolve, but again, life is full of opportunities for good foods, and I'm not willing to give them up just so I can lose a little faster. If it takes me 2 weeks to lose 1 lb, I'm willing to do that in exchange for an occasional beer.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Fat Percentage

Okay, I'm not losing weight. We know this. My scale fluctuates my weight between 160-162 lbs. Let's ignore that for the moment and talk about my fat percentage.

At my heaviest, I weight 214lbs, but we didn't get the body fat scale until I was in the 180's. At that time my body fat percentage was between 45-43% (yikes, I'm a heart attack waiting to happen). Okay, so I kept losing weight, and it got down to the low 40% (it fluctuates between 40-42%). The weight came off, but the fat percentage stayed pretty steady (even with my weight training regimen).

So now I'm down to 160ish lbs and that fat percentage and my weight have stayed the same for about 2 months now. Since I started using the Yourself!Fitness, the fat percentage just dropped significantly this week (coming off a water retention cycle). Yesterday it was at 39% and today it was down to 36%. (still weigh 160lbs, btw).

Again, I guess it shows that I wasn't being as disciplined as I thought I was being. I was going thru the motions and using the Yourself!Fitness has really been an eye opener for me as to how hard I need to work to lose weight.

I really can't say enough about this program. First I think it opens up a lot of ideas for game consoles to be more than just for gaming. I was so frustrated in the beginning using this that I almost abandoned it and I'm so glad that I stuck with it. I was so sore and tired after the first week (and lets not forget those tears of frustration!), however, I feel like I've made a lot of progress over the last 2-1/2 weeks. My enthusiasm has been revitalized and I actually do look forward to my workouts.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Consider My Butt Kicked!

Argh! I did a 45 min. cardio workout with Maya. I think she's as disappointed as I am that I'm not losing weight, as today was one of the hardest cardio workouts I've done. My heart rate got over 160 BPM (my max was supposed to be 151). Dammit, this plateau will break!

Actually, the weight may be holding steady, but thanks to my lovely scale, I know by body fat percentage is definitely dropping. All this cardio/weight training is definitely achieving results. I also find I'm sweating more. That's a good indication that I am working hard enough and eventually I'll see a weight drop (and of course, the heart rate monitor tells me how hard I'm working). I'm just so impatient.

I will admit I'm addicted to this program. I actually can't wait to workout and see what's in store for me. Not knowing what I'm going to be concentrating on really adds something to my workout.

I'm going to do another workout later today, but I'm not sure if I want to ride the stationary bike while Matt does his weight training or if he's going to do the core strength workout with Maya: if he does, I'll do that with him. At this point, there's no reason that I'm not losing weight, but I see improvements in other areas and I'm optimistic that the weight will eventually come off. If I can lose 50lbs, I certainly can lose an other 30. I just have to keep remembering that it is a s-l-o-w process (did I mention that I'm impatient).

Sunday, October 17, 2004

2nd Progress Evaluation Results

Well, I had my second progress evaluation on Saturday. Wasn't feeling in top form, but I did okay. I've lost 1 lb. My heart rate has been all over the place. I think part of the problem with that is that I can't do jumping jacks (which is what the evaluation has you do), so I do hops with arm movements. My lower body strength stayed the same at 50 squats. I did one less push up (I did major upper arm/chest workout on Friday, so I may have just been fatigued) and I was able to do 6 more crunches. Mostly progress and I'm a lot more comfortable doing the movments... maybe I will get a DDR Dance Pad? Is that online enabled?

I did a little treadmill work yesterday, too. B-O-R-I-N-G... after the challenge of the Yourself!Fitness, it seems really boring to just watch TV and walk. I still want to "mix it up a bit" with my workouts, but I'm going to have to find a way to make the walking a little more interesting.

I also found out that my heart rate monitor doesn't read properly while I'm on the treadmill. Something breaks up the reception. The only way I get my heart rate is if I hold the watch right next to my chest (and that's not the most practical way to workout).

Oh, and I've reached "silver" status on the Yourself!Fitness. That gave me a new environment : Alpine Retreat: there's cows, (sadly not sheep), in the background and a guy riding a bike. I've decided it's Matt riding along warming up before he goes up the Alp d'Huez. It also unlocked a new music genre: techno. The best music to date. I actually like this one. The only problem is if you aren't done with an exercise and the music ends, you get silence until the next exercise. Just a small glitch (and one that I've heard mention on the official forum) and not something that really bothers me. Just watching Maya keeps me in beat.

Anyway, I decided that I wanted a step bench to go with it, so we picked one up today (and some 3lb weights. I was getting too fatigued with the 5lb on some of the exercises). Now I've got a whole new set of steps to trip my feet over.

(sorry, got distracted watching the Eagles run an interception back for a touchdown: now that was a piece of beauty)

So I'm trying very hard not to be discourage with the lack of weight loss, so I'm concentrating on removing all that plague build up in my arteries.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Further Proof Of Life Being Unfair

So no matter what I do, I can't break below 160lbs. I've increased my workouts, I'm tracking my food and of course, my cooking is very healthy.

I know my cooking is healthy, as Matt is losing weight without trying. I recognize how hard Matt works, cycling every day 20-30 miles. His body fat is below 10%, but it's annoying that he can lose without trying, and I'm trying and the scale won't budge.

When we started dating, we were both people who had spent our teen years slightly overweight, and since our dating consisted of eating out, we gained a lot of weight together. After a couple of years of marriage, we decided that something needed to be done.

We joined Weight Watchers and we both lost a lot of weight. Not surprisingly, Matt was more successful than I was (male metabolism and he had discovered cycling by then). We moved, I changed jobs and my weight came back very quickly (plus an additional 15 lbs). I had reached 214lb at 5'2". So I quit the job, but it still took me a while to realize that I needed to work out more consistently. Our diet had already changed.

I got serious and lost 30 lbs before I plateaued (and the exercise was put on hold due to a groin injury). During that serious attempt of losing weight Matt continued to lose weight thanks to my focus on our diet. He continued to gain strength and endurance with his bike.

During the groin injury, I put on a couple of pound (maybe 5-7lbs) and a visit to the doctors told me that my cholesterol had jumped since I slowed down my exercise (and then there were the grilled cheese sandwiches every day for lunch). My LDL numbers had almost tripled in 2 years. Okay, fine, time to get focused again.

We got a treadmill (so I could change my cardio to avoid the over use groin problem) I tracked my food with FitDay (first online, then I upgraded to their desktop version. Still the best food/exercise tracking program that I have found). The weight started to come off again. I was building muscle.

Then one day. It stopped. I was keeping to my calorie range, I was still working out, but my weight wouldn't budge. This has continued for a while and I knew that I needed to "change up" my workouts.

I read about the Yourself!Fitness in Shape magazine. Sounded like something worth trying (as I love my Xbox and spend a couple of hours a day playing). The workouts are tough, I'm already seeing an improvement in physical abilities, but after two weeks of doing it (and still using either the treadmill or stationary bike), I haven't seen any weight come off.

Meanwhile, Matt is at a low enough weight that he needs to stop losing. He can not afford to lose more weight. It's very frustrating to me. I'm working hard, I'm eating right and I'm stuck. I know it will come off eventually, and I have no plans to stop eating right or exercising (as I will have to continue with it even after I get to a healthy weight), but damn why can't I just lose one freakin' pound at this point????

One of the problems with Matt is that he's trying to be considerate to me and keep his portions down. He needs to understand that we have very different caloric requirements, and he needs to fuel himself. I'm in deficit mode: I need less calories than my body requires so I can use the stored fat. So while he should be eating 2 cups of spaghetti, he needs to understand that I can only eat one and stop feeling guilty about eating so much more than me.

I'm just very frustrated with the male/female metabolism differencial right now. I'm also getting a bit tired of this being such a focus in my life. I spend almost 2 hours a day working out. I obsess over what we're going to eat (and how calories/fat/fiber, etc is in it). I just hope all this focus helps me lead a healthier life.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Wednesday Weigh In

Well another week has come and gone. An other visit to the good ol' scale.

Still can't quite break that 160lb plateau. I'm close (and it did jump up a bit during the week), but I really would like to see it get past the 160lb point.

I'm still using the Yourself!Fitness everyday. I'm mostly doing 30 mintues to 45 minutes of the workouts, using the recommended schedule. Since I'm still doing other cardio work (either on the treadmill or the stationary bike), I have added an extra cardio on a couple of days rather than using the equipment. (I try to burn about 300 calories a day on cardio workouts).

The biggest change I can see is in my arms. Since the treadmill and bike only use legs to get my heart rate up (which is actually hard to do), the cardio on Yourself!Fitness uses a lot of arm movement to get the heart rate up. It works well, but dang, my arms and shoulders are sore.

I went to a Whole Foods store yesterday with my friend and neighbor (so she could get some "happy meat"... the humane meat they carry is the only meat one of her family members will eat). It was my first time there, and a great resource of some healthy food choices.

I'm really trying to watch my animal fat intake (thanks to that high cholestrol number) so I'm always looking for tasty soy products. Sadly, no matter if it's soy or animal milk, the cheese was still too high in fat. My biggest struggle with my lowering cholestrol diet is the lack of cheese. I love cheese. All cheeses. I still want my grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch!! All I have to say is that it better be lowering my LDL's with all this lack of cheese! (I'm actually probably still eating too much of it, but I try to keep it to low/non fat cheese and smaller quanities... I simply can't go cold turkey on my cheese).

Sunday, October 10, 2004

First Evaluation Results

I did my first fitness progress evaluation with Yourself!Fitness. (10 workouts completed).

No weight loss since last week (but I'm retaining water, so I'm not losing sleep over that) and my flexibilty is less (but I think it's because my muscles are sore and tight). I was able to do 2 more push ups and I did more crunches than the first evaluation (I did the same for the squats, but I could do 50 squats the first time, and that's the max).

I'm glad I didn't bag this workout when it was frustrating me so much in the beginning. I'm getting comfortable with the steps on the aerobics (tho' there are still a lot of the flexibility moves that I simply can't do).

I like that it's a different workout every time you do it. Yes, its the same steps (which is good), but it's a different order and concentration is different every workout.

Matt actually was around during one of my workouts and he was impressed (can't get him to do it tho'... maybe after cycling season is over. He really hates the trainer and he wants to tone and strengthn his upper body).

I'm still supplementing the workouts with either the bike or the treadmill (I do 30-45 minutes of the Yourself!Fitness, then I bike or walk). At some point I figure my body will let go of some of the fat. I think I may still do my free weights 2-3 times a week, just because I enjoy doing them (there will be some cross over by adding it, so I'll have to figure out when to do it to allow for recovery).

Still hate the music, tho.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Love/Hate Relationship

Well, it's official. I have a love/hate relationship with Maya. Actually, now that I'm getting the hang of some of the moves (thanks JTShadow, I got that damn step turn almost comfortable).

Tomorrow is my first progress evalation. I do know that my weight is down a bit (at least is was this morning). I just really really really want to get below 160lbs. It seems that I have a great run, lose 10lbs, then plateau for 10 months.

I'm still not in love with the music, but the moves and the workouts are getting a lot more comfortable for me.

The definite advantage of doing the Yourself!Fitness is that I'm using my arms a lot more than on my cardio equipment. That really gets my heart rate up, and hopefully I'm also firming up those flabbing upper arms (and maybe my Rick Rack Tee will fit me soon!!!).

I'm also back to logging my food again on FitDay (I'm no longer using the free online version, but I bought the desktop version and I'm really happy with it). I simply do not lose weight if I don't track my calories. At some point that's going to sink into my brain. It is an annoying process, especially with my "creative" cooking style.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Remind me not to take dancing lessons

So I think part of the challenge for me with the Youself!Fitness is my complete lack of coordination. I simply stumble around. I can't do any "bouncing moves", which is about half the cardio workout. So I'll stick with my treadmill, stepper and stationary bike. As much as I want to be healthy, I'm not willing to dislocate my knee ever again. (#2 dislocation at the age of 14 was thanks to jumping jacks). I also can't get my feet to do some of the moves, no matter how many times I try the tutorial or take it one step at a time. It makes me feel clumsy and that's when the frustration starts to settle in. Not an enjoyable workout for me.

I'm thinking I'm going to continue using the program, but completely change it (heehee). Actually, I'm going to follow the schedule, but change what I do. On "cardio" days, I'll do equipment rather than the aerobics, since I obviously completely suck at doing them. But I'll use the strength and flexibility programs.

So even tho' this is marketed as a personal trainer, there's actually not a lot to customize. I also have to say the music is horrible. They have different types, but it's all so bland that I see no difference between the "genres". I understand from a programming stand point about not being able to use my downloaded music, but I would find it a lot more pleasant to listen to music I enjoy rather than the synthasized crap that is on this.

So I'm not really sure I would recommend this to a novice. I think this is a workout routine suited for someone already into aerobic workouts. That would not be me :)

I was hoping for something to motivate me back into a routine, and this may have in a backhanded sorta way. I now appreciate my other workout much more. I think I just need to refocus... and get back to my Fitday logs. I simply do not lose weight if I don't log my food (even if I think I'm keeping my calories down, I must not be, as I really haven't lost any weight in over 6 weeks now: Today's weigh in was 162 lbs.)

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Does Crying Help?

So I've been doing the Yourself!Fitness now for 5 workouts. I spent the last two crying my eyes out while I was doing it.

I'm frustrated and depressed because I simply can't do much. As much as I like the challenge and the routine, I'm thinking this isn't for me. I can't do a lot of the things (and there's no way to remove an exercise if you can't preform it).

I can't do jumping jacks for example, or any high impact "bouncing" thanks to my knee, and there is no "low impact" option. The yoga workout doesn't show you the "interval" stretches, but assumes you can do the full stretch. Instead of challenging me (which is what I think it's supposed to do), I break out in frustrated tears because to me it's just an other example of my failures.

Let me also say, I don't consider myself an "easy cryer"... I'm no Dick Vermeil, but for some reason hard workouts make me cry. I guess I'm just too easily frustrated.

I'm not going to give up yet on the program. It has only been 5 days, but if I find that it's not getting any better or more comfortable for me, I'm going to abandon it and go back to my own schedule.

Monday, October 04, 2004

So Freaking Frustrated!

So I'm now on day 3 of the Yourself!Fitness regimine. Yikes, I'm sore, tired and frustrated! I'm amazed at how many moves I simply can't do. (today was a core strength workout... I don't have enough upper body strength to do some of the moves: like planks!). I got tired very quickly and couldn't finish a lot of the repeats.

I guess it does go to show that no matter how much working out I've been doing, I'm still not nearly where I need to be. Yeah, it's great that I've lost over 50lbs, but there's still a lot of room for improvement.

I think the hardest part out of all this is that it's basically changing a personality trait. Like suddenly trying to be "perky" when you are reseved. You may be able to pull it off for a while, but eventually you naturally go back to your basic personality. I'm a sedatary person who hates to work out. No matter how long I've tried to make it a part of my life, it's still a struggle every single time I get on the treadmill. That's why it's taking me over 5 years to lose 50lbs. The advice of "finding something you love and you'll stick with it" is bullshit. I love to sit and knit or play video games. I don't like to sweat, I don't like being sore, I don't like coughing up phlem when I work out. So no matter what the actual activity is, I still won't enjoy it due to my dislike of the process.

It's probably a good idea that this weight loss is going so slow, as it does make it a lot more routine based than if I was able to lose it in one year. I just have this little fear in the back of my head that my cholestrol will drop, I'll get down to a healthy weight and I'll relax again and I'll be back to all those nice comfortable habits again....

Saturday, October 02, 2004


I just bought an Xbox "game" for working out. It's not really a game, it's an interactive DVD. It's personalized workout system with a computer generated personal trainer. It's called Yourself!Fitness and you can read about it here.

I read about it in Shape magazine, and picked up a copy of it last night ($35 at EBGames).

You start with a fitness evaluation, then Maya (the personal trainer mod) suggests what you should target. Believe it or not, mine was "weight loss" (5'2" and 160lbs, it's not surprising, eh). Then she suggests a workout regimine to help you with this. Now, this is changable; you don't have to go with the suggestions. It also allows you to use equipment that you may already have (free weights, heart monitor, stability ball, and step bench), but none are necessary (and you can add them if you get them later).

So I was able to max out on squats, but I could only do 10 pushups. Oh well. You re-evaluate every 10th workout, and the workout is readjusted. Maya encourages based on what mood you tell her you are in. She also will ask after each section how you feel and the next workout is either more or less challenging based on your answer (or the same).

I'm really excited about using this. I'm sorta half-assed when it comes to routines. I do what I feel like doing, and that's not the most efficient way to accomplish my goals. I did notice that my calorie burn on today's strength training workout was much too low for my needs (30 minutes burned 100 calories), so I did do 30 more minutes on the stationary bike. I also discovered that I suck at aerobics (oh, wait, I knew that), and I had problems getting my heart rate up to range doing her warm up. I may have to warm up on the mini-stepper to get in zone.

Definitely a good fit so far for me (and my beloved Xbox). I do wish that it utilized the customizable music function of the Xbox (but few games do this) and that there were more choices in personal training mods. I wish I could use Kain (from Blood Omen/Legacy of Kain series) as my personal trainer. Actually, I do think that having a choice between male/female trainer would have been a good idea. I think a male trainer would appeal more to the male gamer? Maybe not, as I already read on one of the boards that someone found a cheat to get a naked version of the trainer. Sigh. It just gives all of us gamers a bad reputation (get a life, or at least a girlfriend, dude)