Here's something new! Since I have my new heart rate monitor [and I'm falling woefully behind on activity minutes because of my injury], I decided to post my fitness stats here. So here goes. What I did in a week I [mostly] couldn't get to the gym.

walking, 20 minutes, 157 calories

seated rows with band, 4 sets of 15 reps, 15 minutes
bridges, 2 sets of 15 reps, 5 minutes
lateral raises with band, 2 sets of 15 reps, 5 minutes
pendulum, 2 sets of 10 reps, 5 minutes
pushups, 66 reps, 10 minutes

yoga, 15 minutes, 70 calories
walk, 30 minutes, 215 calories
jazzercise, 15 minutes, 148 calories
kettlebell, 6 minutes, 78 calories
pushups, 74 reps, 10 minutes

bike ride, 53 minutes, 704 calories
kettlebell, 6 minutes, 75 calories
stretching, 10 minutes

nothing, oops!

Friday: [aka my triumphant return to the gym!]
bike ride, 15 minutes, 204 calories
elliptical, 35 minutes, 496 calories
treadmill, 15 minutes, 166 calories
bike ride, 17 minutes, 231 calories

bike ride, 51 minutes, 697 calories

I finally got back to the gym on Friday and felt great for it. I also just barely squeaked through my goal of 1,000 fitness minutes this month [1,011]. Usually I have no trouble meeting that goal, but a week off from exercise really took a chunk out!

Today, it took me until 6pm to get out of the house and go for a bike ride. It was really hot out and I kept waiting for it to cool down... but it just kept getting hotter! Finally, after much whining on twitter, I sucked it up and left the house. And all that anxiety was for nothing: the bike path was beautiful at this time of day. Almost nobody was on it, it was almost completely shaded, and some parts were even cool [a welcome change from the 90+ degrees in the sun].
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Nice and shaded! And empty!
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Once I hit this mile marker, I know I'll have a 10-mile round trip.
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Excuse me, this is not a great place for your adorable goslings to have a nap.
Surprisingly, I went a tiny bit further today than Wednesday's ride [Wednesday, the bike path was closed just before the 11.5 mile marker] and yet, still beat the time. And the hills on the way back didn't kill me as much as usual. I'm always tempted to find a way around them, but I don't because I know that avoiding hills won't make me better at them. And I need to get better, they're everywhere around here!

House [blog] keeping junk: I installed a new commenting system, courtesy of IntenseDebate, because I realized [belatedly] that replying to other people's comments wasn't an option with the default commenting system [?]. Anyway, I've been using IntenseDebate on other sites for over a year now and love them. You don't need to register with them to leave a comment [although that's always fun because then your information is stored and you get reputation points and stuff], and you can also "log in" with your wordpress or twitter IDs.

Weigh-in tomorrow, and I'm feeling great about it!

taking credit where it's due

I've been stuck at the 25 pound mark for a couple weeks, and I've been frustrated about it. It's because my ankle's been acting up again and I haven't been able to exercise as much as I usually do. I spent about a week on bedrest, unable to do anything [I suppose I could've done upper body strengthening exercises but most days, I was in too much pain to even consider it], and I still haven't been able to return to the gym. I'm a little disappointed that I've only lost 25 pounds since the end of February, even though I know that's a great amount, because I had my goals set slightly higher [I'm about 8 pounds off of my goal at the moment]. But I need to step back and take stock of the last 5 months.

Since February, I have:
  • gotten a great start on my weight loss [seriously, 25 pounds is nothing to sneer at] 
  • completely redefined how I eat 
  • went from barely doing 5 minutes of moderate cardio to doing over an hour without stopping 
  • went from struggling to complete 5 modified pushups to, at yesterday's count, doing 76 regular pushups 
  • educated myself on numerous health issues, risks, and preventions 
  • sucked it up and went for a physical at the doctor, with great results [far better than I would've gotten had I gone in February, I'm sure] 
  • managed to eat healthy on a limited food stamps budget, despite initially thinking it was impossible 
  • tied into that, went from eating cheap, processed foods to cooking most of my food from scratch, mostly fresh fruits and vegetables 
  • modified a lot of my recipes into healthier ones 
  • regularly hit my protein goal 6 out of 7 days a week, which is becoming less of a struggle 
  • have been told by numerous people that I'm an inspiration to them 
And I did all this despite a badly sprained ankle that refuses to heal! I still can't run or jump, which upsets me a little [and holds me back a bit]... but there are plenty of other things to focus on in the meantime. I really have accomplished a lot, and the number on the scale doesn't reflect most of that.

For the curious...

I went out with my mom today and did my "big haul" of grocery food [I do this about once a month or so, stocking up on food I can't get in town]. I also, coincidentally, spent hours yesterday organizing my kitchen, which included the fridge. Now, it's fully stocked and I want to share its contents with you!

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Main compartment:
  • 4 cartons of soy milk [light vanilla, unsweetened plain, plain, and vanilla... I don't usually have 4 cartons but I was almost out and at the store that sells the light variety so I figured I'd stock up]
  • organic vegetable broth
  • Earth Balance
  • Brita filter and water jug
  • 3 pints of strawberries [they were on sale!]
  • salad [bok choy, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, etc.]
  • half an eggplant
  • bean salad [black beans, garbanzo beans, corn, tomatoes, olives, balsamic vinegar]
  • watermelon
  • red cabbage
  • corn on the cob
  • low-carb tortillas
  • red grapes
  • kiwis
  • mangoes
  • mini bell peppers [I LOVE these! A whole bag for $5]
  • bok choy
  • spinach

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  • green onions
  • organic cherry tomatoes
  • baby bella mushrooms
  • rosemary
  • cucumbers
  • parsnips
  • red bell pepper
  • jalapeno peppers
  • fresh ginger
  • romaine lettuce
  • snow peas
  • sugar snap peas
  • bean sprouts
  • roma tomatoes

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"Meat" drawer:
  • 4 packages of lite firm tofu
  • 2 packages of lite silken tofu
  • tofu pups
  • vegan ground sausage

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Door of Condiments:
  • ground flaxseed
  • lemon juice
  • fat free Italian dressing
  • organic ketchup
  • chopped garlic
  • relish
  • organic pomegranate jelly
  • roasted red peppers
  • Soyatoo whipped cream
  • Nayonaise
  • vegemite
  • strawberry preserves [this has been sitting in here for ages, I never use it!]
  • mustard
  • tabasco sauce
  • fajita marinade
  • soy sauce
  • hot sauce
  • chili sauce
  • lime juice
  • and on the very top is homemade mustard salad dressing
Three other things I bought today that I'm very excited about:

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Basil plant! Mmm fresh herbs!
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15 pound kettlebell [look at the size difference!]
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New charm for my bracelet!
I got a heart charm because I love myself and need to remember to take care of the body that I love. [Also seen is the 25-pound star that you haven't seen yet, although I added it two weeks ago.] You can't tell in this picture, but I also had to replace the closure because part of the old one fell off and got lost. This one's prettier anyway, it has swirls and dots all over it! I'm really enjoying this bracelet, and I definitely stay in control more on days that I'm wearing it. [Plus, it's a super cheap reward! Today's charm only cost $2.]

The last week and a half has been very challenging, fitness-wise. My ankle's been acting up again, I spent three days last weekend completely bedridden [and in too much pain to think about doing even upper body exercises]. I haven't been to the gym in almost two weeks. I didn't lose anything last week and it looks like tomorrow's weigh in will be just fractions of a loss, if that. I did make a couple mistakes regarding food, but mostly it's because I have done no exercise [aside from pushups]. I'm going to take my new kettlebell for a spin later today, but I doubt it'll make much of a difference by tomorrow morning. Thankfully, however, my ankle's been feeling back to ~normal~ [normal for it, at least] the last couple of days so I might get back in the gym on Monday, but hopefully definitely by Wednesday.

it arrived!

I love FedEx. Their packages almost always arrive ahead of schedule. They said my heart rate monitor wouldn't be delivered until Monday but lo and behold, the box was sitting on my porch when I went to check the mail this morning. Okay, yes, this is my 10% reward and I was 0.2 pounds away from it as of my last official weigh-in on Sunday, but this morning's peek at the scale assured me that I'm going to nail tomorrow's weigh-in, so I opened up my reward with no guilt.

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Exciting! I immediately opened it up and took a picture before even going through the setup. One of my main concerns with the watch was that it looked pretty big and bulky. I have very small wrists and was worried that it would look huge, or not fit right, on me. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. It fits, looks nice, and is extremely comfortable.


I quickly breezed through the setup, and I was all set to go off to the gym to test it out! Okay, that took another two hours before I was actually out of the house, but... whatever. [I've been dealing with some really bad social anxiety lately and it usually takes 2-3 hours of mentally telling myself to leave the house before I actually do so. I'm hoping that going to the gym on a regular basis and potentially interacting with other humans will help with this.] I'd put together my gym bag on Thursday so I knew I'd have everything I needed [or so I thought; of course I actually forgot things], even though I hadn't been back since Wednesday due to tight/sore calf muscles. I figured they needed a rest/time to adjust to the elliptical. Last night, I biked 10 miles and that seemed to really help them, so today I woke up determined to go to the gym [even before my HRM was delivered].

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gym bag all packed and ready to go!
It's about a 3 mile bike ride to the gym, and it includes quite a few hills. I struggle with hills still, since 4 years of riding the flat lands of Chicago didn't prepare me for them, so I had a suspicion that I was burning a few more calories than SparkPeople or MapMyFitness estimated. And was I right: according to my HRM, the bike ride to/from the gym burned about twice as many calories as SparkPeople estimated! Wow! At the gym, I was pretty tired [I had a bad night's sleep] and didn't push myself as hard as I usually do, but my grand total for the day [including bike rides] was 886 calories. Have I mentioned that I love the gym? Well, let's add my heart rate monitor to that list of love.

Weigh in tomorrow morning and I'm feeling good about it. I'm also feeling good about this shirt, which I haven't even been able to get on in forever and now I can [but it still fits too snugly around my stomach for my comfort at the moment]:

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The things I pull out of my closet when I'm looking for workout clothes. I can't wait to wear this for real, it was a thrift store find a few years ago and I'm pretty sure that I've never worn it.

Well, I shall see you tomorrow for my weigh-in!

new fitness fun!

Today I took my debit card out for a spin and made two exciting purchases. First off, I woke up determined to join a gym today. This is something I'd been considering for months, spending hours comparing gym locations, prices, and amenities. The closest gym to me is the YMCA and I applied for financial assistance, since their membership fees are way out of my budget of zero income. Very surprisingly, I got turned down for aid [how does a person with no income not qualify for financial assistance?] so I've been considering other gyms in the area since I got that denial letter last week. I wanted to join the Y, since they have a pool which would be great for my ankle, but I can't afford $99 to join. Sorry, no.

Ahem. Anyway. I'd actually been looking at gyms since February but I wanted to make sure I stuck to this fitness program before I signed a contract with anyone. So, I put it on the backburner for a while. And as you're well aware, not having a gym hasn't really held me back. I've lost over 20 pounds in 3 months, without a gym and even with an injury. Yes, it's been frustrating and probably more difficult than if I'd had a gym membership [or no injury] from the start, but it's been doable.

So why get a membership now? Well, it's mostly because I wanted a change. I love going to the gym, especially since I've always been in love with the elliptical trainer and there's just nothing to simulate that at home. I was getting a little bored of my regular workout videos but don't feel like I can do the more intense ones like P90X yet [especially with this ankle]. And, importantly, I finally had a little bit of cash to actually put aside for the gym.

So, after weighing all the pros and cons of the nearby gyms, I went down to Planet Fitness and signed up with them. They're a very basic gym, there are no extra classes like yoga or zumba that I'm used to, but it's also a really great price, just ten bucks a month. I can actually afford that! I don't need frills, especially since I mostly just want to use the elliptical machine until I can start running on my ankle. They have that. [Plus, bonus: showers! I don't have a shower at home, just a bathtub, so I haven't had a shower since I was at my mom's over Christmas. This was very exciting for me!]

I was there in the middle of the afternoon so it was pretty empty, but that's just fine with me. There were lots of cardio machines and they even had two of every weight machine [my old gym only had one of every kind]. The downside is that I didn't see a stairmaster or a rowing machine [although I didn't look for that one, I'll admit] but, eh, they're not entirely necessary [I honestly think I logged an hour total on both of those in the days I used to go to the gym every single day for three years]. The first thing I did, of course, was hit the elliptical. 35 minutes and it felt great! I didn't push myself too hard, since it was my first go and I knew I had the 3 mile bike ride back home afterwards, but it was still a pretty good workout and burned over 300 calories [according to the machine; 500 according to sparkpeople]. When I was done with that, I walked on the treadmill at a 5% incline for 10 minutes before hitting the shower. Not bad for a first day. Honestly, the bike ride home was the hardest part... my legs were tired already! I gotta get them used to this.

I've been to a lot of gyms over the years and this one fell firmly in the middle range of likability. There were some terrible gyms in Chicago that I tried out [one, I had a two week free pass and couldn't even make it through the first day because it was too hot in there. In January!], and I will forever love my small town gym that my mom still goes to [if I lived nearby, or had a car to drive there, I'd sign up there in a heartbeat], but this is a good middle ground. All the gyms were about 3-4 miles from my house [besides the Y, which is only 2] and this was by far the cheapest. It has lots of machines and online reviews said that even during peak hours, cardio machines are always open. There's no time limit for the machines [another gym in Chicago only let you sign up for 30 minute blocks on cardio machines. 30 minutes! I can easily log an hour on the elliptical]. The people seemed friendly enough, the staff was very friendly, and the music they played was such a variety that it must please everyone at least every fifth song [I had my ipod on but the few times I listened in, I heard a 50s hit, the 80s' "Come On Eileen", and a new song that's on the radio today and I only vaguely know from being in my mom's car]. The ages ranged from a kid in his mid-teens to an old guy in his 70s or so. Very comfortable.

Oh, this wasn't supposed to be a review. Ahem. Anyway. When I got home, I finally made that purchase I've been waiting for and working towards-- my 10% reward of my very own heart rate monitor! Okay, so I'm only at 9.99% officially but I'm confident that I'll hit that last 0.2 pounds on Sunday [which will most likely be before the HRM is delivered]. This is another thing I've been considering for a long time, reading reviews and features and debating what I need. I ended up being torn between the Polar FT40 and the FT60, there are only slight differences between the two but the latter is PINK [the FT40 is white, which I'm not extremely enthusiastic about]. The FT60, however, is more expensive so I went with the more sensible purchase and got the FT40. I do think it'll look good with my bike, which has white casing on the cables, but... I really wanted the pink one. Oh well. I will let you know all about it when it gets here! I haven't had a heart rate monitor since 2007 [I lost the transmitter in the move to Chicago, but the watch part stayed with me for a few more years after that], that was the Polar F4 which was a waaaaaay simpler model so I'm looking forward to newer features.

So anyway. That was my exciting day. Two big fitness purchases that I've been looking forward to for months. Now I just have to wait for my HRM to get here!

Onederland and WW flashback

I finally did it. After two weeks of staying the same, I stayed on track this past week and finally dropped 2 pounds, bringing me firmly into Onederland at 199.2 pounds. I am down 21.8 total, which means I'm 0.2 away from my 10% [heart rate monitor, baby!] and 0.4 from my original WW starting weight. In addition, I lost 4 inches total this past month, which is no small feat. I'm looking forward to this stage of my journey-- I did a fairly good job of documenting my weight loss journey the first time around. I have lots of pictures, all my old food journals, and my entire weigh-in record. I'm curious to see if things are easier or harder this time around, knowing the ropes but also knowing that I'm bound to have set backs [can you say ankle?] and possibly more frustrations. Also, my metabolism hasn't gotten any younger.

But I do know more stuff this time around. Last time, I had a six month plateau that I had to work through, which was frustrating to say the least, and it took a long time to realize that I was pushing my body too hard and not eating enough to make up for it [I worked a very active job, usually 12 hours a day, on top of working out at the gym almost every day]. Once I figured that out, the weight started coming off again and I reached my goal in a couple of months.

Anyway, I thought that I'd "celebrate" this moment of drawing [almost] equal with my WW starting weight by sharing some of my older pictures. Keep in mind, I went through an awkward period that I'd like to call "my entire life until I turned 21" so the earlier pictures definitely reflect that [although they're not the most awkward by far!].

October 7, 2004October 1, 2004

This is me at my starting weight in 2004. I'm happy to say that I'm pretty sure my body is already leaner than this, at the same weight. That's what working out regularly does! But see? I don't get curves, I just get lumps. Big lumps.

November 8, 2004November 8, 2004down at least 11.2 pounds

Just a month later, down 11.2 pounds. [Excuse the messy dorm room, please.] Already, those lumps are decreasing. Yay exercise! You can also see the handlebars of my bike in this picture-- this was when I first started really getting into cycling. I bought that bike upon joining WW and rode it all over campus. It's actually still at my mom's house, and I plan on using it as a secondary bike as soon as I get a new chain for it.

November 24, 2004
Collarbones! This is just two months on WW [down 18.4 pounds] and I already have collarbones showing! I also still have no clue what to do with my hair, but we'll avoid that [the poster matches the hair, sadly]. And holy major red eyes, but please ignore that for the ACTUAL REAL SMILE for the first time in forever. Also, that necklace? That was my 10% reward and my anchor throughout my entire WW process.

December 2, 2004-19 pounds on WW

I don't know what's going on with this picture but hey, I'm down 19 pounds in this picture and starting to get that slimline, non-lumpy figure! Still a mess of a haircut, though.

December 18, 2004: size twelve!
The first time I fit into size 12 jeans, the average size for American women. Never has being "average" felt so good!

I'm going to stop now, but there will be future posts along this vein. As it is, this is what I'm keeping in my immediate mind. Just these twenty pounds of change.

As for the ankle... well, that's been quite a story. After trying to run on it for a mile and then not being able to walk on it for days, I finally caved and went to the doctor. She sent me for x-rays and everything's fine on that front, so she referred me to physical therapy. But then my health insurance was unexpectedly canceled! So no physical therapy for me. And my ankle has been feeling even worse since the attempt to run. So I've been very light on the exercise, which is always annoying when I'm trying to burn calories. But, as you can tell from this week's weight loss, I'm persevering. I'm still extremely frustrated, and I've pretty much given up on running at all this summer [my doctor said it might take up to 18 months to heal without PT] but... well, what can I do? Not much, other than letting it heal. So I've been focusing on strength training and upper body cardio and hoping it heals [relatively] sooner rather than later.