Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Truth About Exercise

I need to exercise. I've decided. My weight really isn't budging much right now. The trick is to find what type of exercise to do. I have tried several in the past few years.

Last year, I went to exercise boot camp. Two hundred dollars a month to have someone yell at me while I run. I loved it, believe it or not! It was effective. After a few months, I could run about half a mile without stopping. This may seem like a small accomplishment, but this is coming from a woman that could run about twenty feet before people were running to their bags to get me their inhaler. You may think I'm joking. It happened...twice. I'm a heavy breather, apparently, when I run. After a while, other runners were telling me hello before I ever went past them. They could hear me approach and I don't think it was my shoes they were listening to. I truly did love the Boot Camp but my budget did not so alas, we parted ways. I am still on their email list. At some point, I will return, after becoming independently wealthy.

I once had a membership to 24 Hour Fitness. After working through feeling a bit out of place, I began a routine of 5am visits. I enjoyed taking Yoga classes. The classes were great as long as I avoided the mirror. No matter how hard you try, you cannot turn an apple into a tree. Those that have done Yoga will understand.

I also enjoyed the Treadclimber. Interesting piece of equipment. Part treadmill and part stair climber. All that I can tell you is that it made me sweat. Profusely. And gasp. And have people ask if I needed an Inhaler. A good workout as long as you looked straight ahead. Any veering of your head to the right or left could leave you struggling to find your footing on two individually moving tracks. How do I know this? Of happened. I tried to converse with someone on my right and almost got pitched off the side. After that, I became the lone wolf. Don't talk to could get me killed.

Now I am resigned to using Exercise Tapes. My latest is Turbo Jam. Part kick boxing and part Jazz dance. Very fun....high energy and fast paced. I can kick a normal sized person in the head now. It's a skill that doesn't come in handy often but when the need arises, I am prepared! This is good. When confronted with a dangerous situation, our bodies go into "fight or flight". We have learned that if I go into "flight", I will do fine as long as I only have to run 40 feet and someone has an inhaler nearby. I'm thinking that my chances of survival are slim.

Now, I have noticed that the videos' are not nearly as effective while watching them from the couch. This saddens me as there is nothing more relaxing than laying on the couch , watching a good video. With popcorn. While the plot may be lacking, the action is spectacular.

So on we go....I will begin actually trying to follow the directions on the video and moving to the beat. I will start...tomorrow. It is almost 11:00pm tonight. I may pop it in for old times sake. And make a bag of popcorn.

Have a good night, all!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Caffeine Conection

I am by my own definition, squirrely. I use this term to describe anyone that has a hard time sitting still, looses focus easily and could most likely have a practiced psychologist thinking ADHD. My boss…? Squirrely. Some of my past students…? Definitely squirrely. Me? Come to a Program Director meeting and you will see the signs. Don’t put me in a spinny chair and then fail to keep my mind occupied. This could by why I cherish my boss…he keeps things moving, then jumps up and leaves the room. No time for my mind to wander.

Children with ADHD are typically prescribed Ritalin or a similar stimulant. Yes..I said stimulant. For most, the thought of taking that little squirrel that jumps around and now giving them something to stimulate them would be a recipe for disaster. Not for those with ADHD. It gives them ability to focus. It helps increase the inhibition that “normal” (another topic, another time…are there really any “normal” people?) people enjoy without even knowing it. Most normal professionals do not fight to keep from spinning. They sit in meetings, listening attentively, and looking professional. Well, maybe not at the meetings that I go to. Truly, many of my antics are purely because I love to see people laugh. It bonds us together and keeps the mood light and flexible. I have been known, however, to be at the mercy of my brains inhibition handicap at dire moments. Did I really say that out loud?

So where is this heading? Guess what caffeine is classified as? A stimulant, of course! Why, I’m not really doing anything other than self medicating! My staff are all medical professionals. I am now getting why they are voicing fear and apprehension on my upcoming caffeine withdrawal! It’s not mood swings they are afraid of….it’s the fact that I will be climbing the walls and hanging from the fire sprinklers. They feel a sense of responsibility for me. I love them for that.

The question that also needs to be asked is…does caffeine help my weight loss? Look on the Internet. I can find information that helps either argument. It does…it increases activity levels. It doesn’t…it increases cravings. Take your pick. For me? I’m unsure! What I have decided now, though, is to taper my caffeine consumption. This should also help me with my budget. I’ve worked my way up to two Starbucks Double Shots most days at work. This could be my lack of inhibition at work again by writing this. I fully expect to hear from everyone…”Are you kidding?” Let me remind you that I take my lunch every day and very infrequently eat fast food anymore. I don’t have my nails done and dye my own hair at home. Give me this one vice. I’ve been working 12 -14 hours a day for the past few weeks so its been this one little shot in the arm that everyone around me supports! You don’t have to work with me….let me do this for those that do!

So….I’m cutting back next week. One a day for a few weeks and we’ll see where it goes. If my weight starts to creep up, I’m off the wagon. At some point, I’m going to have to learn to use that espresso maker that my husband bought me. Just remember….I will have to be on caffeine when I learn. Otherwise, I’ll just be spinning in the chair while he reads the directions to me!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Life beyond the candy dish

I have a candy dish on my desk in my office. It is full of various types of chocolate - Kit Kats, Take 5, Hershey bars, etc. I keep it pretty full - I've read that chocolate can boost serotonin levels. This seems to help when a hostile student walks in and wants to vent. They start with "Mrs. Saretsky - I am unhappy because of....." I say "have a piece of chocolate." Now we are friends. I am no longer the enemy but someone to help them work through their issue. Serotonin is a powerful thing. It was either keep the chocolate or find a way to put Paxil in the water. There were certain legalities involved with that one.

Pre Weight Watchers, I was boosting my own Serotonin levels. On stressful days, my hand was in that jar as many as fifteen times. Since starting WW, I have not touched the jar other than to fill it. Its almost a superstition now. I can't have even one. I'm not afraid of the calories. I'm afraid that if I start, my cravings will take over and my staff will find me on the floor surrounded by paper wrappers. With the jar stuck on my head. Have you seen "Chocolate" the movie? If not...please do. You will understand my fear.

Do I miss the chocolate? Nahhh - I grab a Fiber One bar. Same taste but with 9 grams of Fiber. Should I spend some time discussing the benefits of Fiber? Lets just is helpful with weight loss. You put that together however it works for you. For me, its worth not digging into the jar. I feel a sense of control.

Now...If I could only get the same control over my Starbucks addiction, I could be on to something. I told my staff that I am giving up coffee next week. They all asked me to take the week off. If you don't hear from me next week, it's because I am holding my head in my hands, and rocking in fetal position. If you have ever given up caffeine, you know the pain I am about to endure. We'll see how it goes. Someone guard the candy dish....I feel a need for Serotonin coming.

Have a good night!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The science of it all

Ahhh - the big weigh in today. I am down another .4 pounds. Which now leaves me with a loss of 18.4 pounds. I'll take it! Expecially the day after a holiday in which a party was involved!

Now, it is notable to mention that I lost most of my weight in the first month and a half. The last six weeks have been a series of two steps forward, one step back. If you graphed my weight loss, it would look like a mountain range, decreasing as it heads into the horizon, but definitely not a straight decline. I am beginning to see a pattern however.

There seems to be some nonsense about when I follow the plan as written, I loose weight. When I stray, I have unpredictable results. I MAY loose or I MAY not. Or I MAY gain! Hmmm. Now, it would not have taken a normal person six weeks to ascertain this. But I have a truly analytical mind. I need data. At least six weeks of it. Now, to continue in true scientific data collection, I should try six weeks of following the plan completely. If I start to loose dramatically, will I look back and wish I would have used the previous six weeks in a better manner? Nope. I tend to learn the hard way. I have accepted it. I have the scars to prove it. At five, I learned to not bother a dog while eating. How did I learn this? By trying to hug a dog right after his dog chow was pored. Blood everywhere. Screaming mother. A cousin yelling "the dog bit Sheri's eye out!" But learn I did and I have never repeated that error. Funny what barred teeth do to your memory. I remember this dog being huge! At least a German Shepherd. Only years later did I learn that it was a Dachshund. Stop laughing. It was a Dachshund with a very large mouth.

I learned the hard way not to make comments about my husbands driving. The same day that I made some remark about his driving like an old man, I rear ended someone in front of my work. Embarrassing. Even worse was that when he looked at my license, he said "Saretsky... I know a Saretsky. Do you know Eric?" Oh, yes. Do I know Eric. At dinner that night, I started out with...."Hey, I ran into your friend Jim today."

So...I am a "hard way" learner. But learn I do. I have about sixty pounds left to go. Yes, its true. I need to loose the equivalent of a small child. (One of the few times that I actually wish I was pregnant and I just needed to wait nine months!) I'm thinking its time to stop the "hard way" and just go with what works. I have stocked my freezer today with Smart Ones for lunch at work. I have committed to eating my five fruits and veggies every day and also purchased a case of water. Here we go. I'm hoping to pick up speed from here. I would love to give up the mountain range and just go for a ramp. Keep me in your thoughts. I would love for this to be the only time that I need to be reminded to just follow the plan. Maybe I could get out that swim suit before 2011!

Friday, July 3, 2009

How much do clothes weigh anyway?

It's been a very long day. There is a preconceived notion that no reasonable company would plan an audit the day after a three day weekend. Except the one that I work for. We decided to forgo the three day weekend. I was grateful. There was talk of forgoing the two day weekend - I'll count my blessings. I have heard that stress causes weight loss in many people. I was excited as I got home and looked at the scale. Surely my hard work today would be rewarded in some incredible weight loss. My pants felt loose. OK, I was sitting at a computer most of the day and my large caboose does tend to stretch my pants out a little, but work with me here. Did I mention that it was a very long day? I'll try to forget that I also ate, not a six inch, but a full foot long sub today. Now, before you judge me too harshly, it was over the course of several hours, but it was 12 full inches of lunch meat and bread all the same.

So, with all of these considerations, I gingerly stepped on the scale. weight loss. This couldn't be. It must be my clothes. Obviously. I think jeans must weigh....what...five pounds? That fair. OK - I'm down some then. As long as I plan to weigh in at Weight Watchers on Sunday in my underwear, all will be well.

So...I'm left without my normal stress relieving devices. I did have one small glass of alcohol but that's where it stops. Alcohol can add up to your total daily allowance for food if your not careful. Since I already spent that on bread, cheese and meat, I don't have any left to spare. Chocolate is tempting but unlikely since I have to hit the scale in two days. So...I'm down to my last calming vice that I enjoy but most likely drives my family crazy. It would be singing at the top of my lungs in my room with the door closed. Oops - better grab that window too....sorry neighbors! To make it even more torturous for anyone listening, I usually only sing country. It just doesn't get better than that. I noticed that my son left a few minutes ago...running. Most likely holding his ears. But me? The picture of calm now. My vocal chords are spent. My pants are loose. I have tomorrow off for the most part and the cat has been locked outside. Life is good.

Enjoy your fourth. I will sit in sweet denial that Monday will ever come and will hang onto my heavy pants theory until proven otherwise. Which will most likely be on Sunday. Feel free to drive by and listen to the concert. It will probabley begin soon after weigh in.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Connection between Lack of Sleep, Weight Loss and my Cat

Let me start with another medical theory. Lack of sleep causes weight gain. Why, you ask? It’s not really known. Some health care providers believe sleep loss increases our hunger hormones; others think that it changes our Basic Metabolic Rate or our ability to burn calories. At this point, who cares…if it is true, it is yet another evil plan to keep me shopping at Lane Bryant.

For any of you that have insomnia, we are most likely pen pals. I come from a long line of insomniacs. I don’t remember my mother sleeping…ever. If I woke up as a small child and walked in the living room, there she was sewing at her table. She, however, was not only a functional insomniac but she flourished in the late night hours making beautiful dolls and crafts. I am not a functional insomniac. I can handle small tasks like laundry and dishes but if I tried to use a sewing machine at 3am, you would find my hand sewn to whatever I was making. I differ also in that I do have periods of sleep. Lovely ones. I am not awake every night. Well, at least I wasn’t before…my cat.

Let me give you some background information. First, it’s not really my cat. It’s my mother-in-laws cat. When she became ill, we inherited two cats and one very ugly dog…who hates my children. That’s another story. One of the cats, while being very cute, is a very accomplished hunter. We have found the remains of two gophers and sufficient bones for a small memorial yard for birds. My husband has planted a variety of colorful plants in our front yard to attract….you got it…birds. We feel like accomplices to first degree murder. So my husband decided to give the birds a chance. He bought the cat a bell for her collar.

Did I mention that this cat is also nocturnal? She stays outside until about 2am at which time, she must come in. It’s not a request. She knows where we sleep. She only weighs about four pounds but can make a sound when she is jumping off the roof that rivals a car crash. She then scratches and meows right over my head into the open window. I get up, let her in and then attempt to go back to sleep. Now comes her planned revenge for taking away for her hunting license. It’s like a delicate song. “My little bell, my little bell. How I love to ring my little bell. I’ll watch your eyes close and let you doze…and then let you know how I feel about my **** little bell.” She then proceeds to jump on the bed…off the bed…on the the bed.

You may say…Don’t let her in to your room, stupid. She’s a cat. She’s not. She’s an evil entity. If you don’t let her in, she will try to crawl under the door. I don’t even think she’s really a cat. She’s some kind of punishment for past sins. I should consider myself lucky though. My husband woke from a deep sleep one time doubled over…she had landed a body slam on his privates. All while ringing…her little bell.

Can we get rid of her? Common people, she’s my sickly elderly mother-in-laws companion. Could you get rid of her? She’s actually very cute in daylight hours. But in the dark of night, her other personality emerges. And she is yet another of many reasons why I’m having an issue with my fat suit. I got on the scale this morning. I am down another two pounds. I think the cat was watching. I’m not looking forward to tonight.