Sunday, December 31, 2006

A new personal best

Today I had a new personal best during my workout. I 'ran' (or is it crosstrained or ellipticaled?) for over 3 miles in 30 minutes on a higher level than I usually use! I have been hovering between 2 and 2.5 miles each 30 minute workout on a hill level (the one where the machine changes "incline" for you in intervals) 13 (out of 25) but today I kicked it up to level 14 (just wanted to use yet another parathensis) and must have had some great songs on my Ipod because I really did well! I just keep thinking back to when I started this journey, only 6 months ago and I could barely run 30 feet!

I also picked up my speed quite a bit during my 10 minute warm up jog. My weight training went pretty good too. So all in all I had a pretty outstanding day at the gym! Hopefully it pays off for me on Tuesday when I step on the scale.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A typical day in the life of ME.

As per Kim's request below, here's the low down on my routine:

I never denied myself anything. If I want a cheeseburger from McDonald's (one of my weaknesses) I have one. But I don't follow it up with a super size fry and fish sandwich! I do not restrict myself from anything because like all my diets in the past, and there's been a ton, if I deny myself something eventually I'll have a weak point and totally binge on it. But when I do have that cheeseburger for lunch I keep it in mind when I am making my meals for the next couple days. I'll eat a little lighter, more veggies, leaner. And when I say once in a while I don't mean once or twice a week, once in a while to me is every 2-3 weeks or so.

Instead of having 2 fried eggs, 2 pieces of toast with butter, sausage and bacon for breakfast I have one egg scrambled, one piece of toast with a little butter and if I want one piece of sausage OR bacon, not both. I don't have time for hot breakfasts anymore though. My normal breakfast for me right now is 1 cup (a little less than a cup, but roughly) of no fat yogurt (blueberry flavored)(I started off measuring but now I can eyeball it, but every once in a while I will measure again just to keep myself in check). I add to it 2 tablespoons of a nut mix I made with walnuts, almonds and cashews (occasionally I'll throw in some pecans and pine nuts for taste). Those are the 'powerhouse' of nuts, so I've researched, and although they have fat in them, have healthy fats in them along with other vitamins I need. I also don't get enough protein on a daily basis so this helps. I add 2 teaspoonful of raisins and about 2 teaspoonful of granola cereal. The granola cereal has sugars in it, as you can imagine, but I need just that little bit of crunch so I sacrifice that. If you want to be healthier you can get some plain oats and add in some honey instead. Occasionally for breakfast I'll have a quesadilla, so a tortilla and cheese thrown in the microwave for 30 seconds. Not too fancy, but pretty decent.

Around 10:30 I may have a piece of fruit for snack. I have a late breakfast and early lunch, so most times I'm able to skip this snack.

My lunches are the same just about every day. I have a small ham sandwich, one or two pieces of thinly sliced ham and a slice of cheese on black bread (it's a Dutch bread, there is no American equivalent but it's close to a dark Rye or pumpernickel). I say a small sandwich because the bread is littler than a US loaf of bread. I also eat 2 portions of veggies with my lunch, usually cucumber, tomato and red pepper slices. I also have a small (about 1/3 the size of a wonderbread sandwich) peanut butter and sugar free jelly sandwich. The peanut butter is natural so it's healthier but I need that little bit of sweetness.

I have an apple or other fruit for snack about 2:30.

My dinners vary greatly. Sometimes I eat sauteed veggies in a wrap (onion, yellow bell pepper, zucchini and pineapple is my favorite mix). Sometimes I grill some fish with veggies. I eat lean cuts of beef, chicken, turkey...pretty much normal stuff, only lean and never fried. My meat is gently rubbed with EVOO so it doesn't stick, but in no way fried in grease. Every dinner has veggies of all sorts and a small potato or rice. Occasionally I leave the starch out.

So basically I try to get in food groups and portions. Portion control is what is most difficult for me. I don't count calories, points, watch carbs, eat clean... I just count portions. None of those other things are things I would be willing to do for the rest of my life so I didn't even bother trying them. I'm not willing to cut out carbs for a year, let alone the rest of my life, so I'm not going to try and do it for the sake of losing weight. I'm not willing to count points or calories for the rest of my life, so I'm not going to start now. I am trying to do something that works for me and can work for me forever. It's a lifestyle change.

My exercise started simple. I would walk. Then I started jalking (jog a little walk a little). That turned into more jogging and less walking, which eventually changed into full on jogs. I did it three times a week about 20-30 minutes each go. I also did weight/strength training in my own house 3 times a week. I did exercises that I remember from gym class in school and made sure each muscle group was targeted at least once in my routine. I didn't try to do something out of my realm (planks, a million sit ups, pull ups, 10000 lunges) I did things that I knew I was able to do but still challenged me. Leg lifts, arm curls, toe raises for my calves, just your basic exercises. I did all that for my first 30 pounds.

My reward for losing the first 30 was a gym membership. I now go to the gym three times a week religiously. I do a 10 minute cardio warm up, then lift weights, then a 30 minute cardio workout every single time I'm there. I meet with my trainer every 6 weeks to get a new routine. Occasionally, when I can, I try to get in a 4th cardio workout but it doesn't happen very often. When I say I do a cardio workout I don't mean I walk on the treadmill at a snails pace while reading a book. I honestly push myself with every workout. I make myself drip with sweat. I'm not fooling anybody but myself if I say I'm "walking" but really taking a stroll. I am constantly trying to increase my difficulties of my workout.

So there you have it, a general idea of what it's like to be me for a day or two.

Friday, December 29, 2006

It's all about YOUR needs.

So I've been writing this blog since July/August and I've shared quite a bit of my life with everybody out there. But what I'm wondering now is if there is anything I'm missing? Is there some burning question out there that you're waiting for me to talk about or touch on that I just haven't brought up yet? Do you want to know more about something that I've talked about in the past? Do you just want me to shut up and quit talking altogether?

So let me know... what do you want me to write? What do you want to read more of? What do you want to read less of?

ok so basically I have a case of writer's block and am just looking for some inspiration.

And Keith don't even think about posting some ridiculous request smartass.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Good vs. Evil... well Good Sarah vs. Evil Sarah at least

So this is how the conversations have been going in my head the past 2 or 3 weeks.

Good Sarah: Yes it's cold and raining out but it's Wednesday/Friday/Sunday and we're going to the gym.

Evil Sarah: But it's REALLY cold and REALLY raining and it's so warm and cozy inside, we could miss just this one time.

Good Sarah: You know once you miss one time it turns into two times, then three, then it's easy to miss whenever you just don't feel like going. Get your shoes on.

Evil Sarah: (hiding shoe) NO I promise if we miss this one time we won't make it a habit. It's December, you've been so busy, you deserve a night off don't you? Ohhhh look at those warm PJ's just sitting there waiting to be worn. I think there's some hot chocolate in the cupboard. We could have such a snuggly evening.

Good Sarah: HOT CHOCOLATE! Now that's hitting below the belt. By the way... look below your belt. See that? That's your belly. If you want to lose your belly by your brother's wedding you have to go to the gym.

Evil Sarah: Gym-schmim and the wedding is months away!!! Let's sit on the couch. I hear they're playing a 'Nanny' marathon tonight!

Plain old Sarah: Of course Good Sarah wins out, especially if Super Marco swoops in in his tights and cape and tells her 'we're going!'. But the drama continues once we hit the gym. This evil Sarah just never gives up!

Good Sarah: Good, there are plenty of cross trainers open. Once we're finished with the ab workout we'll hop on and be done in a jiffy (yes, my good side uses words like jiffy)

Evil Sarah: We already burned 100 calories just in the 10 minute warm up. We've lifted all the weights. We've done really well with our food today. I say we skip the cross trainer and head for home. We can still catch the tail end of the Nanny-a-thon.

Good Sarah: We're already here, we're already sweaty. We may as well push ourselves and finish the whole routine. It's only another 30 minutes.

Evil Sarah: My feet are killing me! That cross trainer always makes my feet go numb and hot. I hate it. I say skip the cross trainer until we get new shoes.

Good Sarah: It's really only 30 minutes and we just got new shoes! We burn almost 600 calories in those 30 minutes. That's your whole breakfast plus some gone in just one session. Remember that dress you wanted for J.O.'s wedding? They don't sell it in 'big girl' size!

Plain old Sarah: Once again good wins out over evil. The thought of shopping is always great motivation. But the drama isn't over yet!

Evil Sarah: Holy crap I'm hot and tired and *gasp* we're only 10 minutes into it. But we've done 10 minutes that's way better than we had planned on. I say we hop off this contraption and hit the showers. Who's with me? (pumping fist in the air)

Good Sarah: Calm down E.S. You know we always feel this way during the first 10 minutes. We do this all the time. Just quit looking at the time and before you know it we'll be done.

Evil Sarah: Before you know it my ass! We're just starting and you know we set it for the hill level so the worst is yet to come. I say we get out of here while the gettins good!

Good Sarah: Ok I'll make you a deal. If we can make it to 20 minutes without looking at the timer then we'll stop early. If we look at the time before 20 minutes is up then we have to do 40 minutes? Deal?

Evil Sarah: Wait a minute here... you're saying if we just don't glance at the time once before it hits 20 minutes then we can go home once it hits 20?

Good Sarah: Yes

Evil Sarah: Piece of cake! Mmmmm we could have a piece of cake after the workout with milk.

Plain old Sarah: Yes, this is a real deal that I often make with myself at the gym. If I don't look at my time before 20 minutes is up then I will allow myself to go home. If I peek at it and it is before 20 minutes I make myself do 40 minutes. Of course this is how is usually goes:

Evil Sarah: (to herself) Geesh it's been a while but I think it has to be past 20 minutes but if it's not then we have to stay longer. But really, it's got to be past 20 minutes we've been on this thing forever. I'm gonna glance...HA!!!!! It's 24 minutes! We win the bet! We get to go home now.

Good Sarah: Well it's only 6 more minutes to finish up the whole routine, we may as well stay don't you think?

Evil Sarah: Hell no I don't think we should stay. I won the bet fair and square I'm outta here.

Good Sarah: But see.. in the amount of time it took you to blurt all that out we're now at 25 minutes. We can surely do this last 5 minutes can't we?!

Evil Sarah: I hate you.

Good Sarah: I know. It's what keeps me going.

Plain old Sarah: Yes folks, this is the saga that actually happens in my head. It's not always easy to get off my butt and go to the gym but once I'm there... well sometimes even then it doesn't get easier. But afterwards, when I finish the whole workout I really do feel better about myself.

"I'm getting kind of T.O'd. She hasn't sent me a fully body shot yet."

The picture (and quote in the title) is from Kip, Napoleon Dynamite's brother. If you haven't seen the movie yet then you must immediately leave your home, drive to the video store and rent it. IMMEDIATELY!!!!

Today was my weekly check-in and my weight stayed the same. I guess it's better than gaining but I was still hoping for a little loss. I guess I should have expected it though since I did miss one workout this week and the chocolates have been flowing.

So now that Christmas season is over there are no more excuses for missing the gym. No reason that scale shouldn't start sliding down in the opposite direction. No reason at all for me not to lose a little each week. I'm going to try to stop the cycles of losing big one week and gaining a little back the next week and just continually lose little by little each week.

I was going back over some old posts and noticed I kind of got away from posting about my goals. So maybe as a little New Years resolution (well that started back in August) I'm going to try to refocus on my goals for my weight loss. I'm going to try to lose that 2.2 pounds every week or between 6 to 8 pounds every month.

I have also started noticing some more changes in my body. My belly is taking on a different shape other than round. It doesn't stick over my pants nearly as far anymore, which is gross in one sense but really good in another! That little upper belly pudge should be gone rather quickly. I've really been focusing on my ab workout in the gym, to do my reps slow and steady and I can feel a difference. (ouch!)

If you read my Ode to my Kneecaps then you know I've found them peeking out from under my chubby knees. My collar bones are still protruding and I still admire them on a daily basis! Now I also have wrist knobs. You know the ones on the outside part of your wrist, that little bone there...well I have wrist knob.

There is a little keyhole of light that shines through my upper thighs. So my thighs still touch at one point but right above where they rub together, they've grown apart so there is this little keyhole of light that you can see when I stand i front of you. I've been increasing the weight on the adductor machine to focus on getting those Siamese twins permanently separated.

My feet are actually a pretty normal size. Well I guess if your normal size is big and wide. I am still a size 10 WW and I don't think any amount of weight loss will change that but my toes don't resemble Snausages (that little doggy snack) anymore. They actually look like real toes and there are spaces between them and everything. You can see the veins and stuff in the tops of them, so some of the chub is gone there.

So as the new years begins, I begin again. Another 50 pounds to lose. Another milestone to make. Another reward to reap. More changes to see. More clothes to buy. More pictures to take. More sweat at the gym. More focus.

Oh, and here's that body shot for all those Kip fans.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas Everybody!

I hope you all are having a super holiday season. Mine as kept me busy (as you can see from my lack of blogness) but I'm hoping is going to slow down any time now. The picture is of me at my office Christmas party on December 21st and 52 pounds lighter.

As a testament to Dutch cuisine, I've not had much problems sticking to my healthy eating habits therefore I don't seem to be gaining any weight this month. I love the Dutch but they are definitely not known for their creative or tasty cooking abilities. I have been a little busier lately and have missed two workouts at the gym this month. Bad Sarah bad bad!

Which made me realize that I've kind of had tunnel vision since joining the gym. I couldn't make it there the other day as I had something or other to do so I accepted that and didn't make myself feel too awfully guilty. It's just one month that's busy, won't happen in January for sure.

The second time I missed the gym I felt a little more guilty. Time is running short before I come home to the US and I want to lose as much as possible before then. But I missed my workout as things just had to be done.

So here is where the tunnel vision comes in. While I was sweating away on the cross trainer yesterday I thought to myself 'why in the world did I think I had to go to the gym to get in some exercise?' DUH! For pete's sake I lost my first 30 pounds without a gym membership why did I think I could no longer exercise if I couldn't get to the gym!

Too bad I didn't think of that before I missed the workouts. But at least I have an alternative plan now. So if you don't belong to a gym or just can't make it to the gym don't let that make you lose momentum! You can always go for a jog/walk, run a flight of stairs a couple of time, jump rope, do an exercise video or put on a great CD and dance those Christmas cookies off your thighs.

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Forgot to post yesterday...

I forgot to post my weigh in yesterday. I lost 3.7 pounds so woohoo. It's tough with Christmas and all the dinners and drinks and goodies laying around but so far I haven't done too bad. Sorry it's so short and uneventful!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Inappropriate man strikes again!!!!

I posted a while back about the unwritten rules of the gym and told a little story about this guy who totally broke one of the rules and hopped on the machine right next to me when there were several others open. Then he proceeded to watch my every move and constantly check out my stats.

Well today Marco and I were at the gym doing our warm up on the treadmill and in walks Inappropriate man. I literally gasped at the sight of him and then whispered to Marco "hey, that's Inappropriate Man, the one I blogged about."

Of course Marco didn't hear me or know who I was talking about so breaking a rule myself I pointed at Inappropriate Man and with a sight head jerk loudly whispered "HIM! That's the guy I blogged about, remember?"

He didn't seem nearly as interested in the guy as I was but there was no way I was going to miss a chance at watching this guy in action (while not being the victim of his inappropriateness this time).

Sure enough, Inappropriate man jumped right on a cross trainer between two women and immediately started checking out the stats of the girl next to him. There were 5 empty machines in the row right behind them!!!!

I gave Marco 'the look'... you know the one with the big eyes and smirk on my face with the every so slightest of a head nod that clearly says 'SEEEEEEE, look how inappropriate he is."

My workout ended and I went to get a paper towel to wipe my machine down keeping my eye on inappropriate man the entire time. The girl did something on her machine and like a hawk Inappropriate Man's head whipped around to look at her. I immediately looked at Marco to see if he saw what I was seeing and sure enough, I got 'the look' ...the big eye, half smirk, slight nod that said 'you're right Sarah! He IS inappropriate!'

Once again he did some odd workout, like 7 and a half minutes and then jumped off the machine to go lurk somewhere else (I'm sure). There was a whole gym full of people for him to gawk at and make feel uncomfortable. He really had his work cut out for him.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Big blob of jelly (and that's a good thing!)

That's how I felt today after cashing in on my 'reward' for making it halfway and losing 50 pounds. Today I got my much anticipated massage and let me tell you it was beautiful!

I had never been to this spa before and I was a little skeptical to say the least. I have only had 2 massages since being in the Netherlands and those experiences were less than relaxing.

My first massage was given to me by a girl who had to be inexperienced. I could have very well been her first client for all I know because she couldn't be giving those kind of massages for long and manage to stay in business. First of all the chair looked very similar to a dentists chair. It didn't recline all the way back and really it was just like sitting in the dentists chair. Imagine laying on your belly like that. Talk about uncomfortable! Oh and are you relaxed at the dentist's office? Yeah, me neither. Then she massaged me as if I were a very delicate flower that would crumble if she used any sort of pressure. It was more like a tickle fight than a massage. When she whipped off the towel to massage my stomach, yes folks my stomach, I could not have been more uncomfortable. I have had quite a few massages in my day but nobody every massaged my belly. I was so tense by the end of that session I needed a massage to relive me from the stress of my massage!

My second massage was probably uncomfortable for me because I'm in Europe and Europeans are more comfy with nudity that I obviously am. It was my first massage ever given to me by a man, which shouldn't be a problem. "He's a professional, I'm a client" I kept telling myself over and over. When he whipped off my towel exposing my breasts to the world (ok so it was just me and him and he is a professional, I kept telling myself) I thought to myself, ok when in Rome do as the Romans do, be calm don't make an ass out of yourself. So I laid their naked from the waist up tyring to be relaxed but I pretty much stopped breathing altogether when he went ahead an massaged down my entire sternum. Once again, when I left I needed a massage to relieve me from my massage.

So you can see why I'd be a bit nervous going into this place, no?

But it ended up being great. I was left alone in the room to undress (unlike the second massage who just kept on setting things up while I was getting undressed) and given a robe to change into. I soaked my feet in a warm stone bath while she got all the magic muscle relaxing potions ready. She then helped me out of my robe holding it up in front of her face while I clambered up onto the table and covered up, making sure I had privacy, which I really appreciated. They didn't have heated tables or towels like other places in the US I have been to but she did throw on some extra covers for me as I was chilly.

I had a hot oil massage, which I'd never had before and it was so freaking awesome. The hot oil in combination with the whole massage experience itself was just relaxing as I could have ever hoped for. She really kneaded, rubbed and elbowed me in all the right places and I was totally able to relax. By time I was done I felt... well I felt like taking a nap actually. Of course I didn't but I really could have! They had a shower in the room for when I was done (they use the hot oil in your hair too so unless you want to try to bring the 'grease look' back into style you have to shower) and left me to get dressed.

I am so very happy I chose that as my reward and that it actually worked out this time! It was well worth the had work it took me to get there. Now I'm thinking I know exactly what I want for Christmas !!!!

I'm a bad blogger!

Sorry I haven't posted in a while for those who check religiously (all 5 or 6 of you haha!) This past week has been crazy nutso busy at work and by time I get home the last thing I feel like doing it sitting on the computer again. I'm also going to school on Monday and Tuesday evenings until 10 at night, workout at the gym on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday nights so that really doesn't leave a lot of extra blogging time. This following week is going to be just as busy at work but after that things should slow down a bit and I'll be back to my normal blogging self.

Please stay tuned!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I will not appologize. You shouldn't either.

This post was inspired by a woman (on the nest) who was asking for encouragement to be brave enough to go to the gym. Like a lot of us she was worried that because of her size/lack of experience that people would stare.

I'll be the first to admit it's intimidating to go to a gym for the first time. You're surrounded by all these fit people who know what they're doing and here I am bumbling around on the machines, dropping weights, pressing buttons on the equipment and just plain being an idiot. Lord knows I felt intimidated!

Just some thoughts that went through my head... Will people make fun of me? Will they laugh at my inability to lift much weight, if any at all? Will I be the joke in the locker room? Will people point, gawk or whisper to one another? Or even worse... all of the above? Will the big spotlight follow me around so everybody can see my every sweaty move?

The answer to all those questions is no. And now that I've been going to the gym for a while I realize that whole heartedly but it really did take a few times before I was comfy.

First of all I am by far the biggest woman in our gym that I've seen. I would go so far to say I am one of the biggest PEOPLE in our gym, men included (meaning overweight people, obviously there are the muscles heads who are bigger than me).

I know all about feeling intimidated or actually 'less than worthy' of being there. How messed up is that that I should feel 'less worthy' to be in a public place that I pay for because of my size?

So here's how I got through it. It may sound cheesy or corny or I may just sound salty (just wanted to get a third food reference in there) but it's what I had to do to really get through my first week or so at the gym.

I had to give myself a pep talk. See, I told you it was corny. But really, here are some of the things I had to tell myself before walking into the gym and actually throughout my first couple of workouts.

I told myself (literally) that "this isn't about what those people think, this is about me." I am doing this for me, my body, my life.

This wasn't about impressing anybody. I'm not in high school, I don't need the 'cool kids' to like me anymore.

I have just as much right to be in this place as anybody else does. In fact I may need this gym more than anybody else here.

I will not continue to live unhealthy because of fear. I fear being unhealthy more than I fear what others think of me.

I don't owe anybody an apology for my body. I am here now and that is what counts. From this moment forward I am here and I belong here. Go ahead and look at me, I will not say I'm sorry.

But of course I occasionally catch people's eyes at the gym. When I see somebody looking at me I just smile kindly. More often than not they smile back. They're not the enemy, they're just people trying to stay healthy, just like me.

Sometimes I even go so far as to think for them. I think they think "wow, if she can jog on the treadmill, I'm going to do it too."

They sometimes think "holy crap that girls kicking ass!"

Occasionally I see a "man, I'm impressed" behind somebodies smile.

It's all about perception really. And what you don't really know... improvise!

The skinny girls aren't really whispering "can you believe she is sweating after only 15 minutes" they're really saying "She's walking at a steeper incline than we are, we better step it up!"

That guy isn't looking at you thinking "what the hell is that women doing with those dumbbells." He's really thinking "isn't that cute the way she almost dropped that on her toe. I should go talk to her."

The trainers aren't gathering around the desk at closing time saying "Did you see Sarah this week? That girl has some major work to do." but they are saying "hey, my trainee Sarah lost 12 pounds in 6 weeks, she's really motivated!"

It's all about what those little voices are telling you in your head. You just have to train those guys to say what you need them to say.

You have to know that you are worth every ounce of energy you're spending at the gym. You have to know that if you don't do this for yourself nobody is going to do it for you. You have to know that your life will be better for it. You have to know that this is about YOU and only you. No apologies just PUSH.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

An ode to my kneecaps

So long it's been since you've been seen.
I wonder, oh wonder, where have you been? (said with an accent to rhyme with seen... Hey it's my poem here I make the rules). Anyway...where was I? Oh yeah...

So long it has been, since you've been seen.
I wonder, oh wonder, where have you been?

It's been many years, 10 or 12 at least.
How I've missed you so badly, to say the least.

When I was lying in bed and saw your knobby face peek out
I wanted to jump up, to scream and to shout!

My kneecaps! My kneecaps! I can see them. Woohoo!!!
It's really been years and oh how I've missed you!

I'll tell you every day, my protruding patellas
It's good to have you back you sweet little fellas.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally!!!! 50 pounds... GONE!!!

I don't have much time but I wanted to post that I am finally halfway to my goal of losing 100 pounds!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I jumped on the scale this morning to see the numbers are exactly-on the dot-not a tenth of a kilo/pound to spare-smack dab-right on-50 pounds down!!!!!

Yay!!!!!!!! I felt like I had lost weight this week in my clothing but I always get that worried "OMG what if I'm imagining it" feeling in my belly anyway. I was so very happy to see the number though.

I am so totally motivated now. I hope the next 50 will be a little bit more smooth sailing as I learn from my mistakes from the first 50.

And just for the record..... YAY!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I felt like a true Dutchie today (and that's NOT a good thing!)

If you've ever been to the Netherlands then you know that a bicycle is not just for recreation. It's a way of life.
It's nothing to see men in suits and ties pedaling their way to work in the mornings. It's a norm to see women in their dresses and mini skirts biking to their destination, trying to cover their 'parts' as well as they can, in heels no less! It's also normal to see a parent biking with up to 3 kids balanced on their bikes (one in front 2 in back). It's crazy how many different ways you can find to attached your children to a bike and drive in traffic!
Biking in Amsterdam has a whole different meaning to me than it did in the States. In the US I rode my bike for two reasons. The first reason was because I was 11 and had to get to softball practice. The second reason was for exercise and didn't even happen until I was about 22. Let's face it, after age 16 and earning your little plastic drivers license you don't really ride a bike anymore (at least in the midwest).
Well that's not the case for the Dutchies and since I'm living here I decided to join the masses and get a bike a while back. I chose an omafiets (see picture) because it was cheap. Omafiets literally translates to 'grandma bike' and from the picture you can see why. I chose it in this lovely orange color because if I'm going to be riding a ugly bike I want it to be the ugliest bike possible! (they also come in lime green if orange doesn't suit you). And of course no omafiets is complete without a little bell. Ring-a-ling-a-ling!
For the first month I owned the bike every time I would hop on and start pedaling, the music from the Wizard of Oz would pop into my head. You know the scene when the mean old lady (later the wicked witch) comes and snatches Toto away from Dorothy and is riding away with the dog in her basket? Yeah, that song...every time. I'm singing it now. Great. I still find myself singing it every once ina while but not nearly as often.
The bike is a main form of transportation and the quickest way to get through the city. And those crazy Dutch don't just ride them on sunny days! No sir! You see people holding umbrellas in one hand, steering with the other. Or you can just buy a long hooded raincoat and pedal to your heart desire. These people are troopers and really take it like a champ.
Well today I decided to be integrated and ride my omafiets to the gym since Marco took the car to work. It's a short ride and in better weather I would ride there anyway. On the way there it was just sprinkling so no big deal. I've ridden in the rain before.
Well the way home was a totally different story. I left the locker room a hot sweaty gross mess to get downstairs and discover a downpour.
Oh good.
I could have waited in the gym for the rain to let up but around these parts that could take minutes or hours, you just never know. I figured I may as well start on my way and hope for the best.
So it's freezing, I'm sweaty, my hands are ice blocks and the wind is whipping me around all over the place. Now I've lost some weight but I'm no waif model by any means. I'm still a pretty big person and that wind was pushing me around like a bully on the playground determined to give me a wedgie.
I swear the bike ride home was a harder workout than being at the gym. I was soaking wet, freezing cold and not a happy camper by time I reached my doorstep.
Integration-schmintegration... next time I'm skipping!

My first workout injury :o(

Something's not quite right here. We worked out Friday night as usual. (yeah we're real lame and have nothing better to do on Friday nights!) Then Saturday morning I woke up and had some muscle pain in my upper back, right underneath my shoulder blades, especially in the middle. I just assumed I was a little sore from the workout, even though I very rarely get sore afterwards.

Well as the day went on I noticed the nagging ache became more of a pain. By bedtime Saturday night it was painful, but no big deal.

Well after sleeping for a few hours I tried to roll over and HOLY CRAP it hurt! I have definitely pulled a muscle or something. So I slept like poo that night and again last night too. I am a belly sleeper and I totally can't do it with this injury unless I lay flat on my stomach with my head off the pillow, face down and my arms tucked under my body. Yeah, that's reeeeeaaalllly comfy!

So I went to the gym today as it's my regularly scheduled workout day. There was no way in hell I was going to miss today when I'm sooooo close to halfway there!

I checked with the trainer as to what exercises I should avoid and what the 'cause' of my injury could have been. I always try to concentrate very hard on my movements and make sure I do them as I was shown. I want to avoid injuries at all costs. A heck of a lot of good that did me!

I imagined it was the squats that caused my pain because the way I have to hold the bar makes the spot right between my shoulder blades sore while I'm doing them, which is where I am having the most pain now. The trainer didn't seem to think squats were the problem but told me to avoid them today and do the leg press instead to support my back better. He also took away 2 of my other exercises (the lat machine and the low row). He still wasn't sure how I hurt myself as he thought I would have noticed it the day that it happened, not the next day, but who knows. So I did the rest of my routine as usual and it went pretty well.

The pain is ok during the day when I'm moving around and my muscles are warm but at night when they're cold and not being moved a lot it's pretty bad. I'm going to pop some ibuprofen tonight before bed and hope that I can get a good nights sleep!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas...I have to share my gift for Marco!

I don't want to get into the whole tradition of Sinterklaas (it's actually very controversial these days but I'll let you google it if you want to know why)but I'll give you the low down as quickly as possible.

The quick run down, Sinterklaas and his helpers (which is the controversial part)come on a boat from Spain about 2 weeks before the 5th or 6th of December and Sinterklaas greets the kids via a big parade. His 'helpers' give out gingersnap cookies (called pepernotjes) to good kids and smack bad kids with a little twig type thing. If you're a bad kid Sinterklaas also will steal you and take you back to Spain with him. (It's really scary for a kid I can imagine but go ahead and take me to Spain! Oh the torture!) Anyway on the 5th you leave your shoes by the door in hopes that Sinterklaas will leave present in them for you. You also sing special songs around your shoes. But as far as the gift giving goes it's basically like the American Christmas. Christmas on the 25th here isn't such a big deal and not many gifts are exchanged.

So we decided not to do much for Sinterklaas but do more for Christmas this year so we only got each other small-ish gifts. Well I got Marco a HUGE bean bag type chair to sit in while he's playing his play station as he usually sits on the floor, which makes me cold! I couldn't even fit it in the trunk of the car and had to push the front set ALL the way up to get it in the back of the car it's so big!

But to make the gift giving more fun I made it a little treasure hunt, leaving clues here and there. The first clue begins on his one present that he's seen (wrapped) and has been buggin me to open for days now. So on top of that gift I left a note saying that he's been such a good sport (sarcasm anyone?) that I thought I'd play a little game with him. It says he can't open this gift but if he pays attention he will find out where his other is. I promised not to send him all over the world, maybe just a trip to Russia.

Well I collect Russian Matrioshka dolls (also called nesting dolls) so obviously in one set of them I hid his second clue telling him how clever he was for figuring it out and promised that after all this is done I will warm him up a nice meal.

That should send him to the microwave where I tell him that I'm making the clues too easy and that even though I promised not to send him everywhere I wondered if he'd be willing to go with me to Columbia for some coffee.

This should send him to the decorative box in our living room that says columbian coffee on it, but I realize he may actually look in the coffee maker and coffee grounds first. That should be fun! When he realizes it's the box in the living room he will open it to find a wrapped present.

Once he opens the wrapped present he will see it's a dog bone! I wrote that I must have gotten Scooter's gift mixed up with his. I wrote that it's too bad because Scooter has so many toys that he really didn't need another gift.

This clue should lead him to Scooter's toy chest where I've hidden at the bottom what looks like a wrapped gift card. He'll open the gift card to find my library card with a note wrapped around it saying "Thanks for finding my library card, I've been looking for it everywhere! I would have gotten you one but you never even read the book I gave you for Christmas 2 years ago!

This should lead him to look in the book I got him, The Davincci Code. In the book I left another clue telling him that his feet much be exhausted from all this running around and that maybe he should just open the present that's on the table where this all originally started.

So he'll open that gift. They are cute house slippers that look just like soccer cleats and are the Dutch colors. Very cute! On that gift I say that now that his feet are warm he's probably ready for a nice nap and to go ahead and lay his head down and rest a bit.

That should lead him into the bedroom where, under his pillow, he will find a wrapped present. On the outside I wrote "looks like you found something, but what is it?"

When he open it up he will have no clue what it is, as it's just the outer cover of the bean bag chair all folded up in a plastic bag, the beans are actually in a huge separate bag. So on the outside of that I wrote "still don't know? Maybe you should take a hot shower and clear your mind?"

That should lead him into the shower where the last of his present, the big bag of beans, is!

I can't freaking wait!!!I am such a kid but he is too and I think since it's just a bean bag chair it's a fun way to make the gift a little more fun.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Halfway is like Christmas

Getting halfway to my goal is just like Christmas! I seriously feel like it's never going to get here! As I suspected I would, I gained 3 pounds this week (lost 6 last week) but GOD! Can I just get halfway there already? I've been anticipating seeing the number on the scale for a month now and I just seem to get ohhhh so close but never quite there. I am still losing steadily but it's so frusterating to be almost there but still unable to say "I'm halfway to my goal."

But like Christmas, once it's here it'll be wonderful and once it's gone you'll never get it back.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It's our 2 year wedding anniversary today!!! (November 27th)

I guess I could say all those typical things... wow time has flown by, it's been the best two years of my life, it seems like just yesterday....I'd do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing... But I'd rather talk about the most important part of an anniversary... GIFTS!

So two years is your cotton anniversary according to what I've read. There's not much you can do with a gift in the category of cotton really. I mean you have clothing, bed sheets and q-tips (cotton swabs). That's about it. I really thought hard about the q-tip gift but didn't think I could pull it off without getting sticks and rocks in my stocking for the next 5 or so years.

I went with the most obvious cotton... the clothing. I didn't want to just give clothing though, it had to be special clothing. Let me tell you... the clothing I came up with is about as 'special' as they come.

I decided to decorate a shirt for Marco to celebrate our anniversary. As I still haven't gotten that Beadazzler I've been asking for for Christmas I decided ironing on was the best bet. I was discussing this idea with my friend Alexandra and we decided it was a brilliant idea, cheap, easy and just so darned clever.

So we schemed up a plan to meet at her house on Saturday for some food and an ironing party. I bought two long sleeve t-shirts to decorate and had been thinking of ideas for weeks. Alexandra bought special printer paper to print our images out and all you had to do was iron it on. Simple enough, no?

Three hours into 'project anniversary' and a small breakdown on Alexandra's part, we decided maybe it wasn't as simple as we thought.

The directions were in Dutch which really wasn't a big problem, so we thought. Between the 4 of us (me, Alexandra, her partner Theodore and her son, none of us speak Dutch as a first language) we decided the directions said you just print out the images, place them on the t-shirt, add heat and Voila! So we did our printing, cut out the images and turned on the iron. As it was warming Alexandra began thinking. If we iron on the images this way the writing will come out backwards won't it? We took another looksie at the directions and decided that even though we thought it said you didn't have to mirror the wording that the directions had to be wrong. We were sure it was this companies first time producing such an item and they didn't realize their mistake!

So back to the computer to mirror the images. I'll be the first to admit that I am not computer savvy. I can do the basic functions, get my way around Word and really that's about it for me so I wasn't much help. Alexandra's computer was... let's should I put belongs in a museum next to T-rex. It was a little less than up to date and even less likely to cooperate with us.

After a few hours of copying, pasting, pdfíng, saving, shutting down, losing it, choosing colors, re-doing it, e-mailing it to the other computer, shrinking, stretching, centering, printer problems, fonting (is that a word?) we finally got the images mirrored and printed out. Just in time, too, as we used up all the paper!

So Alexandra bravely ironed the first image onto the t-shirt (this is where the breakdown comes in). The paper wouldn't come off the image. We decided she didn't heat it enough. She ironed it again. Still wouldn't come off. Again and again and again. The paper was still stuck to the t-shirt. With her nails she decided to just pick the paper off and see what was underneath. (breakdown ensues)

"Sarah! It's stuck! It's not coming off!"

"What do you mean."

"This *beep* *beep* paper won't come off! It's stuck!"

"Here let me try."

I took the shirt and tried to pick the pieces of paper up off of the image. My finger immediately went through the burnt dried out cloth. She baked it to a crisp. I'm almost certain that if she'd have continued ironing within another minute the shirt would have been engulfed in flames.

I started cracking up laughing of course. Alexandra wasn't so much laughing as almost in tears.

Her son came over to see what was going on and within minutes diagnosed the problem. Had we bothered to do a little experimenting with the paper prior to printing and ironing we would have seen that you have to peel the paper off before ironing, leaving just the image to be ironed on. This also meant that none of the wording had to be mirrored, it needed to be the right way. That's 3 hours of our lives we'll never see again!

Thank God we hadn't ruined the originals that we thought were unnecessary. Once she got the hang of it Alexandra had the t-shirt ironed on and ready to go within 15 minutes. We wrapped it up and I was on my way home, one t-shirt done and all the wiser.

Being the child that I am I couldn't possibly wait until our actual anniversary to give the gift to Marco. I had to see the expression on his face when he opened it. He actually seems to like the gift but shortly after opening it asked "is this all I'm getting?"

I made my way to the shops today... where are those darned q-tips?

It says your third anniversary is leather. I wonder how good Alexandra is at tanning hides?!?!?!

(I'll post pictures of the finished product in a day or two)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Totally my luck!

Before I moved to Wales (so about November/December 2003) I had lost some weight. About 40 pounds or so, so nothing to sneeze at. I took myself on a shopping spree with my friends Keith and Josh and got myself a ton of new clothes to take with me when I moved.

Almost as quickly as I paid for the clothes (I think I easily spent $500+) I began gaining the weight back. I don't know if it was nerves of moving overseas, my first plane ride (yes my first plane ride was at 27 years old and a 7 hour flight to London, may as well start off big!), meeting new people, experiencing new things, starting a new chapter in my life or what, but I quit concentrating on losing weight and quickly outgrew my new wardrobe. I'd say within a month they no longer fit. Many items I didn't even get to wear.

So for the past 3, almost 4 years I have lugged these 'smaller' clothes around with me everywhere. When I moved to Wales I brought them along in case I decided to lose the weight again while I was there. They sat in my closet and no Welsh man (or woman) ever laid eyes on them.

When I went from Wales to Amsterdam I lugged those suckers with me again, determined to one day fit into those clothes. Every year when the seasons changed I would take those clothes down from the storage, open the suitcases, say a quick hello and pack them away once again (once I was frusterated enough to stick my tongue out at them & flip 'em the bird) . Occasionally I would think ''I may as well get rid of these things" but never could quite make myself do it. I mean, what a waste of money!!!!

Only recently have I had enough guts to take those clothes out and not just say 'hello' but actually put them on.

Talk about bad timing! I should have taken them out a while ago because so many of them are already too big! I know that's supposed to be a good thing, but what craptastic luck!

I did find some sexy new bras and undies that I never got to wear that now fit like a glove. WOOHOO!

I have posted on a message board for asking for people to participate in a clothing exchange with me and have two girls who are willing to share their old clothes while I need them! You just gotta love message boards don't you?

It has also put a little thought into my head about forming a clothing exchange type of store/website/something for people who are in my situation. It's such a shame to have to pay full price for clothes you will only be fitting into for such a short period of time. I'm all for buying gently used, good condition clothing and passing my things on to others! I don't know how I would even begin such a project but it's much needed.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Just a little update...

We've gone to the gym for the second time doing our new routine and today I'm not sore at all! I guess it was just the initial workout that kicked our butts but today I'm able to walk down the stairs and everything! I can even sit on the toilet and get up without wincing! Yay!

Oh and Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Another 6 pounds.... GONE!!!!

In my usual style I lost big this week after last weeks minor 3 pound gain. So once again I am very close to being halfway there. I am 1.72 pounds away from being halfway to my goal of losing 50 pounds. If I keep up with my usual pattern of loss and gain it should be 2 weeks before I'm there. With this week being the first full week of our new workout routine I am hoping I can just get that 1.72 pounds out of the way next week and get my massage! Supposedly switching things up will keep your body in the losing spirit so let's hope it works!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I'll take "things that kick my ass" for $1000 Alex!

I'm a big fan of game shows. I love them, really. I used to play sick from school just long enough to catch The Price Is Right as often as my mom would fall for it. I have dreams of Bob Barker finally calling it quits and me being the next Sultan of Barker's Beauties.

When they came out with the game show channel, re-running old game shows, I was in absolute heaven.

My name is Sarah and I am a game show junkie.

Most recently I have felt like playing $100,000 Pyramid, the winner's circle of course. If you aren't familiar with the game...well shame on you... but it's fairly simple. One person is given a specific word/phrase/sentence, like "What a dentist might say" and has to somehow get his partner to say that sentence by giving them clues, such as "open wide" or "looks like you have a cavity".

So here's some clues... see if you can figure out what the phrase is...

*drinking arsenic*
*stepping in front of a speeding locomotive*
*taking a long walk off a short pier*

The clock is ticking!!!! Did you guess it?!?!?!?

If you guessed "things that will kill you" then you're the winner!!!!

That was fun! Let's do it again!

Here's another...

*drinking arsenic*
*stepping in front of a speeding locomotive*
*doing 3 sets of 12 squats at the gym*

If you guess "things that will kill you" again then you're... well if you didn't guess it you're not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, if ya catch my drift.

Oh yes, the "squat of death" is how I like to refer to it. It's oh so good for your body yet so very unbelievably painful to do. We did our first full set of new exercises at the gym today and can I just scream OUCH?

I knew the squats were going to be difficult. I remember doing them in gym class in junior high. I also remember one of my study hall teachers using them as punishment for kids who couldn't keep quiet.

So when you know you're going to have to do something that will cause yourself pain, you try to prepare yourself for it. All day today I told myself I was going to hurt. I was going to be in pain. I even prepared myself by taking an ibuprofen before going to the gym.

But no amount of prep could have gotten me ready for the hurt I was going to be in...None.

I tackled the squats first. Kind of like eating peas when you were a kid... you eat them first and then wash them down with the rest of your food. Just do it and get it over with.

So I stood in my place next to the bar...made sure my body was in position...pulled the bar up from the bar-rest... and squatted.

Such a searing burning pain shot through my legs I thought somebody had set me on fire. It wasn't pain like getting smacked in the head with a 2X4 but more like pressing really hard on a fresh black and blue bruise sort of pain.


I squatted again.

Same searing pain.


I squatted again.

Less pain yes still painful.


This repeated until squat #12 was completed. Then I rested as I watched my husband do lunges with, by the look on his face, the same pain shooting through his legs that I had.

Then I repeated. Twice. 36 squats total.

Now if you would poke me in the eye 12 times I would probably stop you after the 1st time and most definitely by the 3rd or 4th time. Not only that but I'd be a little pissed off at you for poking me in the eye, yet I will put myself through 36 painstaking squats for what? To be fit? To be healthy? To look good? A tight ass? Hot thighs?

Yeah, that's right. And I'll do it again on Wednesday.

Sucessful weekend at the gym!

We had our meeting with our trainer yesterday and overall it went pretty darned well.

Just a little background. When we first joined the gym, six weeks ago, Leineke (pronounced lean-uh-kuh and a typical Dutch name) weighed us both, did our BMI's, and sat us on a bike to see what fitness level we were at.

The weighing and BMI's weren't surprising. Embarrassing... yes, but surprising no. The fitness level, however, was devestating. She had a scale that calculated your age, weight, height and heart rate after exercising for 5 minutes on the bike between a certain set speed. Somehow she figured out where we were fitness-wise. Here's a breakdown of the fitness scale.

You can be (and I'm improvising here):
a: super fit
b: fit
c: above average
b: average
c: Below average
d: way below average
e: weak
f: very weak
g: me

Yes folks I was off the scale, way below average, worse than bad, in no shape but round, unfit.

Leineke asked that I try to improve at least one point by our next meeting. That wouldn't bump me up to very weak, but it would be an improvement.

Well I did even better than one lousy point... I bumped myself all the way up 1.2 points!!!! I am officially very weak! Now usually that wouldn't be something that would make me happy but considering they almost created a whole new scale on a count of me, it thrills me!!!

Some other stats: I lost 6 kilos (1 kilo=2.2 pounds) in as many weeks, so that is really right on target with my goal. She said 4 of those 6 kilos was fat loss, so woohooo for that! My bloodpressure is good, right on target. My BMI decreased by 1.4%, which is pretty good. My heart is still having to work too hard when I am exercising, but that is understandable as I am still over weight.

We also got our new workout regimine. She decided since we used machines mostly for the first 6 weeks we would throw in some free weight training for the next 7 weeks. We did the walk through with her only doing one set of each exercise just to get the feel of it and to make sure we wouldn't injure ourselves.

I'm not going to lie... one set of each exercise kicked my butt. It's going to be hard and I'm going to be in some pain for the next couple weeks until I get the hang of this new routine. It's gonna suck but I'm going to do it!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

As expected.. this week I gained.

Three pounds. Blech. BUT (there's always a but) last week I lost almost 6 so in two weeks I managed to lose 3 pounds, which is a healthy amount of weight to lose in that time frame. (repeat until depression subsides) HAHA

This week I'm going to once again concentrate more on my food intake. This week has been/is the dreaded visit from Aunt Flo, so some weight gain was expected seeing that I have the appetite of a grizzly bear. Since Thursday last week I have been continually 'hungry' even if I had just eaten an hour prior. Getting this under control is one of the hardest parts of my journey and I continue to struggle with it every month.

This weekend we meet with the trainer to weigh in, do BMI, fitness level...all that gooes stuff and we get our new workout regimines. Should be interesting!

I'm still not far from halfway to my goal. I think within the next 2 to 3 weeks I'll be making my appointment at the spa for my massage. Ahhhhhhhh.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Unwritten Rules of the Gym

Surely these rules are written somewhere, but even if they're unwritten I think they're pretty well known. Obviously they aren't practiced by everybody, if they were there would be no need for the rule then right?
  • You don't blow your nose in a restaurant while others are eating.
  • You don't date your friend's ex-'s.
  • When you're at the urinal you keep your eyes forward (so I've heard).
  • You don't invite people who belong to AA to your wine tasting party.
  • You don't wear white to another woman's wedding no matter how much you dislike her.
  • You don't smack somebody else's kid even if they are rotten.
  • You don't hop on the machine right next to me at the gym when there are 5 of the exact same machines open elsewhere!!!

Ok, so that last one may not be a rule but if it isn't it sure as heck should be. To me that's the equivalent of going into a fairly empty theatre and picking the seat right next to another couple. Yes, you can sit anywhere but it's just known that you don't do such a thing.

So I was only 10 or so minutes into my 30 minute cardio on the treadmill. I was jogging away... minding my own business...rocking out on my my own little exercise world. Marco was next to me doing his thing. There was one guy on the machines behind us which left 3 treadmills in the back row and 2 treadmills in my row open. From every treadmill you get the same view so that's no reason to chose the one next to me.

So this guy hops on the treadmill next to me and is getting all set up to work out. I momentarily contemplated moving machines to the other side of Marco but I hate having to stop my pace in the middle of my workout and I was kicking a little ass that day and didn't feel like quitting. I rationalized that he had every right to work out next to me and had the gym been more busy this would actually happen anyway.

Then I notice the guy start looking at my stats on my machine. Again, this is out there for everybody to see I guess, but it's just known that you do your thing and don't look at everybody elses business. Yeah you can walk by and glace at somebodies stats but this guy was just flat out looking.

I gave him a quick glance and half assed smile that said "hi there wierdo, I'm very uncomfortable right now and please quit looking at my machine" and went back to my workout.

That day I happen to be trying something new with my jogging. I was keeping a steady speed but alternating the incline myself. I usually do the 'hill mode' where it changes the incline for me throughtout the workout but I wanted a little extra push that day so took on the task of inclining myself. It was going well.

Inappropriate man started his workout and of course it totally threw me off my pace. I don't know what it is but if I am on the eliptical or treadmill and somebody next to me is going faster than me I just feel propelled to keep up. If they're going slower it's no problem but I just can't have somebody going faster than me. I guess it's the competetor in me or just plain old wackiness.

I changed the incline on my machine to try to control the urge to speed up. As soon as I pressed the button to make the treadmill higher his head whipped around to see what I was doing. I think I actually felt the breeze it created. Wwwhhip!

I continued on my machine trying to ignore the fact that every single time I changed my incline, which was about every 3 to 5 minutes, this guy was all up in my business looking at what I was doing.

I tried to motion to Marco my dislike for the jackass next to me but that message is hard to convey without being totally obvious. You can only do so much with slight headjerks and facial contortions without others thinking you're having some sort of spasm.

I made it through my last 20 minutes without looking at the guy again. Then the strangest thing happened. When I stopped jogging and went into my cool down mode he just quit jogging altogether and got off his machine. Stopped the whole program right in th middle, no cool down... no anything! So since he didn't even get on the machine until I was 10+ minutes into my workout it means he only ran for about 17 or 18 minutes. What kind of routine is that?!?! Who jogs in 17 minute incriments? Aparently this guy does.

Then there's the whole nudity-in-the-locker-room-yet-still-chatting-like-we're-fully-clothed thing that I'm still very uneasy with but that's a whole other blog.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

So a new body needs new hair... no?

In an act of bravery (or stupidity) today I pushed open the door of the salon, stepped up to the counter and said "cut it all off"!

And so they did.

Ok so it's not all off but it is really the shortest I have ever had my hair since I can remeber. The picture doesn't even capture the lack of length and bulk that the back of my hair no longer has. It's kind of one of those shorter in back, longer in front, a little bit stacked for volume type do's. This picture is practically right out of the salon so it's about 100% guarenteed my hair will never look like this again.

I don't know what made me do it really. My hair hasn't endured much transformation over the years. In the 90's it was all one length, wavy, long with big mall bangs. (Hey, it was the look!) In the mid-to-late 90's I finally cut it off shorter... all the way to my shoulder blades. It was still big and curly but my mall bangs had calmed to just the blunt straight across my forehead look.

Since it was a new millenium I decided to go wild and grown my bangs out in the 2000's. So for about the last 6 years I have had various lengths of the same haircut. Long layers to help me deal with my curl and anywhere from shoulder length to mid-back as far as length goes.

But lately I've been thinking I need a new look to go along with my new body. So I did it. I like that it really makes me look like I have a neck. I like that I don't feel like I'm hiding behind a mass of waves anymore.

She took a lot of bulk out of the back and it is just clean looking. I think it makes me look a smidge bit older but what 30 year old should have the same hair-do she had when she was 20?

Tomorrow is the true test though. I will wash it for the first time and be left alone to deal with what comes out from under the towel. Wish me luck, I'm sure I'll need it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Almost halfway there!

I lost another 5.94 pounds this week so I am really very close to halfway to my goal! YAY! 5 more pounds and I am down 50 pounds total!

I notice a definate pattern with my weight loss. One week I will have a big loss, like this week, then the following week I usually gain 1 or 2 pounds back, or stagnate. I seem to be making a 'staircase' pattern but the general slope of the pattern is going down which is what I am really concerned with.

Sorry this is so short and not very interesting, but it's a crazy busy week!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I went shopping with Marco over the weekend to buy my newest nephew a gift. (Yay Gryffin!) While we were out and about I was curious as to what size clothes I could fit into now. I didn't want to buy anything, just wanted to see... ya know what I mean?

So we went into C&A (one of the few stores here who realize bigger people need clothing too...maybe we should all run around naked one day in protest?) and I grabbed a pair of pants 3 sizes smaller than what I used to wear. (They were one size smaller than my 'skinny' jeans which I happened to have on that day.) I grabbed a shirt I liked in two different sizes just in case I had a bout of 'wishful thinking' with the smaller of the two.

I slipped into the dressing room and tried on the smallest shirt first. Amazingly fit. Not only did it fit, but it looked really good. I marched out to show Marco and he agreed. He noted that I looked hot but if the shirt shrank any at all it would be unwearable.

I argued that yes, he was right, BUT I am not going to get any bigger and I actually plan on getting smaller PDQ so that shouldn't be a problem at all. This shirt was 4 sizes smaller than what I was when I started this journey... it looked good and I was buying it! (plus it was only 15 euros).

So I went back in and slid into the jeans. Zip-button and I was in! They looked good too. I paraded out to show my new found size to my husband and once again got the two thumbs up. WOOHOO!

But besides getting a couple pieces of new clothes I also figured out something else. Maybe I haven't been feeling so great about myself lately because I am still wearing all the same clothes I had been wearing before?

Yes, I did revive my older pants that I hadn't fit into for years but had I outgrown (or would that be ingrown?) them without realizing? I was still wearing them same shirts I had worn over the summer before any of this lifestyle change really started.

As I slid on my 'skinny' jeans to go pay for my new clothes I took a looksie in the mirror. My skinny jeans weren't looking so hot anymore. They were way too big in the booty, big in the legs and I could even fit my arm down between my body and the waistline. My t-shirt hung down well past my butt. It draped (or drooped) sadly across my (newfound) collar bones and cascaded over my boobs to just kind of hang out in the general area of my stomach. I could have been wearing a potato sack and looked just as good.

Well no freaking wonder I don't feel like my body has changed! I'm still dressing like I was 42 pounds ago!!!!

So we payed at C&A and shopped on. A little giddy from my last purchase I went to the workout section of V&D and grabbed a couple articles of workout gear. I slid into the pants and shirt in my new sizes and DAMN! I looked good! I actually had a shape other than lumpy and frumpy. I actually had curves instead of bumps. I looked like I had lost weight.

Why didn't I see this or think of this sooner? Of course I don't look good in my old clothes. I have never liked when people dressed in clothes that were too big for them (even when it was trendy in the 80's and 90's to wear oversized sweatshirts over leggings. Gag!) to try to hide their bodies and that is exactly what I was unknowingly doing to myself.

So I'm looking forward to my next paycheck and getting a few new pieces. Of course I don't want to go all out and buy tons of everything since I don't plan on being this size long but I definately do need a few more shirts to get myself through this stage of the process.

I'm hoping that this will help a little bit with the doubt I've had recently. We shall see.