Tuesday, January 30, 2007

As of today... 59 pounds down!

So this weeks weigh-in was way better than last weeks but I don’t dare let myself get too excited. I ‘lost’ 4.4 pounds off of last weeks disappointing weight. I’m about 1.3 pounds down from my weight 2 weeks ago (so I lost big 2 weeks ago, gained last week and lost again this week but overall between the 2 weeks lost 1.3 pounds). The fact is I’m losing. The numbers are going down although it’s slower and wackier than I would like but like one brilliant woman on the nest told me… this is a marathon not a sprint! I thought that was very well said and definitely something I need to keep in mind.

This week I’m planning on working out 3 possibly (and probably) 4 times. I’m trying to incorporate more fish into my diet so I’m looking for some great healthy tilapia recipes that don’t require 1000 ingredients that I can’t find here. So far I’ve just been using s&p and a bit of EVOO, finished off with a squeeze of lemon, but I’d like to mix things up a bit. If you have any great recipes I’d love it if you’d share.

I’m nervous about what next week is going to bring to the scale but I just have to keep telling myself, it’s a marathon, it’s a marathon, it’s a marathon.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Fat Personified

So I'm totally over my whole crying-feeling-like-crap-because-the-scale-hates-my-guts-and-is-out-to-ruin-my-life funk that I was in on Tuesday (and part of the day Wednesday). Now I'm just pissed.

I began feeling pissed right about the time I got to the gym on Wednesday evening. I got on the scale there since my home scale was obviously possessed by Satan himself and I was not thrilled with the number. It was only the slightest bit lower than what it said when I was there 3 weeks ago. No biggie, sometimes you hit a plateau right? WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!

Well ok, so not wrong but I just got over a plateau I am not ready for another one! Not only that but I've added another full workout to my routine every single week PLUS 10 extra minutes of cardio to my other 3 days so in total I've added another day of weight training and 70 extra minutes of cardio every single week for 3 weeks solid and I move only a slight bit on the scale?!?!?! (And I was super careful with my food so that wasn't it at all.)


And that's what I told myself over and over Wednesday. Instead of getting weepy I decided to get pissed. While mulling things over in my head as I clambered onto the cross-trainer I thought:

"I freaking doubt it! I will not put up with this #%$&@."

"You are not going to beat me. You will not win this time around."

"I am stronger than you are and I am stronger than you ever will be so go ahead and mess with me but you will not win!"

The thing is... I didn't even know who I was screaming at. Who is this monster that is just irritating the hell out of me? It's not my husband. It's not my trainer. It's not food. It's not the gym. It's not me. It's not you.

It's fat...personified.

I imagined my fat as a person. Well at least with some human characteristics.
Fat was an ugly "guy". Sort of potato shaped, short and wide with a dull grey skin. No legs, he just perched up on his big grey bottom and swayed back and forth in front of my machine. He had stubby arms with thick fingers and was holding a cigar. He had on one of those old man golf hats on the side of his lumpy head and a long thin wide mouth with a crooked smart-ass smile on it. He was taunting, me not vocally but I could see it in his eyes.

"I'm on your thighs and I'm not goin no where! Na-na-na-boo-boo."

"I'm in your belly making it look like jelly."

The strange thing is that this actually worked for me. I yelled (in my head, I don't want everybody at the gym to know I'm one brick short of a load) at fat the entire time I was on the cross trainer. And when it hurt I pushed on and yelled at him some more.

The more I write and re-read my blog the crazier I think I seem but hey, I'm telling my story here so if I'm crazy in my story then so be it. We all need a little crazy in our life don't we?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Not Weight Loss Related but still important to me

I’ve had a little side project going on in my life besides my weight loss. As I mentioned in my New Years entry Marco and I are dealing with infertility. I belong to a message board/support group for infertile women on MSN.

Another member of the board (Amy) wrote a letter to her local paper talking about her infertility and it inspired me to start a little movement of my own. Together with Amy, I have tried starting a little campaign to get the word of Infertility out there.

Below is the message I am posting on my Infertility board and I am asking anybody who wishes to, to partake. One in 8 couples in the US suffer with infertility so more than likely if you are reading this you know somebody who is dealing with it. If anything, you “know” me and can write a letter on my behalf.

Here is the post:

We’re trying to spread the word of infertility and get our issues publicly noticed. Amy Lastname and I (Sarah Aarssen) are trying to rally as many infertile couples and their friends, relatives and neighbors to help us in a letter writing campaign to spread the word about infertility.

On Sunday January 28th we are asking you to send a quick e mail to a few of the main media telling your story of infertility (media links provided below). We’ve chosen the 28th to signify the average woman’s cycle and are asking the media to not let another cycle go by with infertility going unnoticed (feel free to include this in your letter).

Not everybody is a letter writer or has the time to tell their whole story so I’ve made some quick, easy, fill in the blank, type form letters to make this easy (see below). Of course you are more than welcome to tell your story however you chose, I’ve created these in order to hopefully make it easier for more people to participate.

Please copy and paste this entire message into any other message board you see fit. Please post this notice on your blogs. Please feel free to e mail this out to all of your friends and family. The more letters we have sent, the greater chance we have at getting noticed!

If you are not able to participate on Sunday the 28th please don’t let this stop you from sending in a letter. Although we would like to have a big influx of letters all on one day to get the most attention every single letter will count no matter when it is sent.

If you cannot find the time to send to every single media listed please pick the few you do have time for.

Infertile couples have sat and suffered in silence long enough. Please take the time on Sunday to think about your story or the story of your loved one and help spread the word.

Please email me at sarahaarssen@gmail.com if you have any questions or concerns.

Sarah Aarssen (and Amy Lastname) on behalf of all couples suffering with infertility


Dear Sirs,

I am writing in hopes that you will (insert your wish for your letter, do you want to spread the word about infertility, do you want to educate your family and friends on how to deal with you emotionally, do you want to get the attention of your congressmen, do you want to ease the pain of other infertile couples).

My (partner and I, husband and I, daughter, son, cousin, friend) is suffering with (male factor infertility, PCOS, unexplained infertility, endo.etc. or just plain old infertiltly) and have been for (insert amount of time). I’ve decided to take a stand and do what I can to raise awareness.

In a short few lines you can exand on what it is you’re hoping to accomplish by this letter for instance: After 2 years of suffering alone with on my husband to talk with I am ready to tell my story and really educate people on how to be sensitive to my situation. OR: After hearing” “relax and it will hapen’ for the millionth time I need to finally speak out. Or: I am so tired of having insensitive comments thrown at me in every direction and need to let people know it is NOT ok to say _______. OR: I think it’s incredible that insurance in the state of _______ will cover Viagra for an impotent man but not whatever medicine for an infertile couple. OR: There are so many people suffering through an array of emotions in dealing with infertility but there is nowhere to turn for help or support. Or: My husband and I are at our wits end and don’t know how to deal with this anymore, it’s tearing our marriage appart.

Nobody is saying anything to the millions of couples who are suffering. Nobody is helping ease our pain. I am reaching out to you in order to ask for your help.

Please help break the silence of infertility. Help us spread the word.

OPTIONAL: You can contact me at ________, I want to tell my story. OR I wish to remain annomous but would love to tell my story in confindence. OR I do not wish to be contacted but wanted to open your eyes to what is going on in the US.

Your name
Trying to conceive for years, or months or years and cycles
Suffering with ________
Here you can list what you’ve gone through 2 failed IUI´s, 3 miscarriages, one sucessful IVF, adoption of baby boy,
Member of the MSN TTC+ month group (or support group) for how long (or member of whatever group or if you’re not a member of any message board you can leave it blank)

Your name
Cousin of an infertile couple (mother of an infertile son, friend of an infertile woman)


Dear Sirs,

My name is _________ and I am infertile (or my partner is infertile or WE are infertile or my daughter suffers with infertility or my son suffers with infertility or my best friend suffers with infertility).

I (we, they) have been trying to have a child for ___________.

I (we, they) suffer with ___________.

I am writing in hopes to help ease my (our, their) pain or in hopes to make it easier for the other infertility sufferers. Please help spread the word of infertility.

Your name
Trying to conceive for years, or months or years and cycles
Suffering with ________
Here you can list what you’ve gone through: 2 failed IUI´s, 3 miscarriages, one sucessful IVF, adoption of baby boy,
Member of the MSN TTC+ month group for how long (or member of whatever group or avid reader of name infertility blog or if you’re not a member of any message board you can leave it blank)

Your name
Cousin of an infertile couple (mother of an infertile son, friend of an infertile woman)


O Magazine

Oprah Show

The Oprah Winfrey Show110 N. Carpenter StreetChicago IL 60607

Oprah and Friend’s XM Radio-Ask Dr. Robin

Oprah and Friends XM Radio – Ask Gail King

Dr. Phil – Infertility Specific

Dr. Keith Ablow – Personal Crisis show topic

The View
Have Your Say TodayThe View320 West 66th StreetNew York, NY 10023

ABC News (you can pick the program on this site)
Good Morning America157 Columbus Ave., 6th FloorNew York, NY 10023(Write your name, address, phone # on letter. On outside of envelope, write "story idea")

NBC Nightly News

The Early Show on CBS
Email: earlyshow@cbs.comSnail mail:
The Early Showc/o CBS News555 West 57th StreetNew York, NY 10019

Reader’s Digest



Ladies Home Journal
Letters to the Editor
Ladies' Home Journal
125 Park Avenue
NY, NY 10017


Discovery Health Network

Tyra Banksc/o Studio Fan Mail122 S. Robertson Blvd. #15Los Angeles, CA 90035

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Disappointed is an understatement.

I honestly couldn’t believe it when I got on the scale this morning and it showed I gained 3 pounds from last week. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve actually cried after a weigh in. Last week I had a big loss so it is normal that the following week I gain a little but I honestly thought I would lose again this week or in the least stay the same. Usually if I’m going to gain I have a hunch before hand so I’m a little bit prepared when I get on the scale in the morning.

I worked out 4 times (and really pushed myself) and was super careful with my food all week long and just felt like I did so well. I even snuck on the scale Saturday morning and was still the same number as what I was last Tuesday so for it to jump up 3 pounds in 3 days was just really shocking. I felt so good after trying on that dress while shopping and now I just feel like crap.

I know it’s not about the numbers. I know it’s about my health and I know that I’ve done really well so far and this is nothing to get upset about but I just can’t help to feel really disappointed.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I had the most wonderful day out shopping with my husband today. To be honest almost every day shopping is wonderful if you ask me but today was super special for me.

Since losing all this weight I've been getting by with minimal clothes. I am still, even though it's winter, wearing the t-shirts I bought over the summer with long sleeve shirts underneath them. I just can't justify spending money on new clothes when I don't plan on being any size for very long. The shirts I'm wearing are too big for me and this past week I had just had it and said I had to buy one or two new shirts to get me by until I reach a stable size for a while.

So off we went to the city to do some shopping. I wanted to go to H&M as they carry plus size and tend to be a little more stylish than the other plus size shops around. I've posted this before but I'll say it again... In Holland if you are a big woman they also expect you to be 60+ years old, 7'4" and have just a smidgen of colorblindness, so it's very rare to find trendy clothes here.

I was very disappointed in my findings at H&M. Everything in my section seemed to have been picked through and picked over and what was left wasn't pretty. We left disappointed but shopped on. Marco suggested we go into this sports shop and look at some men's sweatshirts. Not 20 seconds into the store and I spotted one I liked. I popped it on and voila! I have a new shirt (and it was 50% off!)!

We continued shopping as I couldn't wear just one shirt all week long. It didn't take me long to figure out that today just wasn't going to be my day. Everything was either too short, too cold, too big, too ugly or too beadazzled.

That's when we happened along to the fancy-schmancy section of one store. Lots of formal dresses, evening gowns, party dresses...beautiful stuff all in small sizes... or at least too small for me. We're going to my brother's wedding in April though and I have been looking on the Internet for something to wear so I thought this would be a great chance to get some ideas.

I browsed through and really liked a couple of things I found. I'd pick a dress and start thumbing through all of them in that particular style looking for my size. After searching every tag and being disappointed with each turn of the cardboard I gave up in the hopes that they would carry my size in anything. Marco, being the good dedicated husband that he is, was helping me turn tags.

One dress in particular caught his eye but of course they didn't have it in my size. The biggest they had was two sizes smaller that what would fit me...or so I thought. I really liked the outfit (it wasn't really a dress it was a pants suit but not really a suit but I don't know how else to explain it so I'm going to just call it a dress) but was sure it wouldn't go up over my hips.

After some coaxing from my husband and a few excited giggles going back and forth if I should or shouldn't try it on from me, I snatched the dress off the rack and hurried to the dressing room. "This should be funny" I thought.

I knew it wouldn't fit my butt but I thought it just may look ok on my upper half.

Getting the thing on was a hoot. The 'dress' is actually one big onsie. The only way I could figure out to put it on was to step into the neck hole. So I did.

I stepped in the neck and got my feet all situated so the entire frock was in a bunch around my ankles. I started pulling it on. A little tug here... a slight snap there (the material was stretchy and forgiving)...a battle with the sleeves...some situating of gathered material and it was on.

It was on! It was on and it looked... pretty darned good! Once again I was so surprised at my body. I've always been curvy (ok more lumpy than curvy) but this dress laid in all the rights places and forgave me in all the wrong ones! I actually had a figure and it looked good. I couldn't believe it. After dressing myself in jeans and too big t-shirts for so long I had no idea what my body was doing under there. Apparently it was just waiting for the right outfit to let me know my hard work was paying off.

I stepped out of the dressing room to show Marco and I'm pretty sure he was just as surprised as I was. We actually had a laugh about it... and I haven't stopped smiling since.

I didn't buy the dress. It was still a little too snug for my liking and I just couldn't convince myself that I should get it. Call me superstitious or whatever but I just thought maybe I would jinx myself and my weight loss if I bought something now to wear in April.

But I just couldn't shake the smile off my face. We shopped some more but my mind was back in the dressing room looking in the mirror, checking myself out. If it makes me feel THAT happy then maybe I should get it? What better motivation to stay on track than a smoking hot dress/suit/onsie that makes me feel so absolutely fabulous that I just can't stop smiling about it.

So Thursday I'm going back to get it. Heck with superstitions. Maybe I'll leave the tags on though... just in case.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Different dictionaries for healthy eaters?

I've noticed a trend in language throughout my life style change. Once I discovered it, I started noticing it more and more and now when I see it, it sticks out like a sore thumb. I think what irritates me most about the language is I've noticed I've started using it myself. There are certain words associated with unhealthy foods that you don't really see connected to healthy food very often. Let me give you a few examples of what I mean.

"You should quit guzzling soda."
"You just wolfed down a biggie burger and fries."
"You must be shoveling in the twinkies to weigh that much."
"Chow down wide load!"

I never read the advice "you should guzzle at least 8 glasses of water a day." I've never read that some Hollywood star was "wolfing down" anything unless they were talking about Kirstie Alley, Rosie O'Donnel or some other un-thin celebrity. Nobody's photo is unknowingly snapped while "wolfing down a salad"!

I guess I find it so irritating because it draws a really disgusting picture of what overweight people are doing. It paints a portrait (at least for me) of some unkempt slob sitting on the couch with his/her TV tray pulled up next to his/her belly which is protruding out from under his/her too small t-shirt with his/her bucket of KFC next to him/her and about 6 cans of Coke strewn about.

Yes, being overweight is not healthy. Yes some overweight people may guzzle, shovel, inhale, cram, chow down, wolf and pig out but it's not necessarily the norm and the language we use when talking about obesity really dictates differently.

Not every overweight person is cramming food in their mouths every second of the day. Not every overweight person has a drawer full of Little Debbies and Snickers in their desk. Not every overweight person guzzles soda all day long and belches loudly as they wipe their dirty faces on their sleeves.

Maybe it bothers me so much because when I used to eat anything (even healthy things) I would sometimes think others were looking at me thinking "geesh does she really need to be eating that?" And I would really be self conscious when I was eating something unhealthy. Maybe all these years of associating my weight with words like "pigging out" and "shoveling" has made me draw myself as some sloppy unworthy self portrait that doesn't really reflect who I am at all.

So I'm going to try to do my part to disassociate these grossly misused words with being overweight. If anything it can only make me more at peace with my own body.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Holy Hell I'm Over the Hump!!!!

Happy Tuesday! And boy was it when I jumped on the scale this morning. I lost 4.6 pounds this week. Now THATS what I'm talking about! I added in an extra workout on Saturday and have been doing my new routine according to my trainers instructions and it's paid off!

But I'm actually more excited about the bigger numbers. I think I am finally over that "hovering around 50 pound" point and am now beginning that "hanging out with 60" phase. I am 57.6 pounds (26.6 kilos) lighter than when I began this journey. I am healthier than I ever have been. I am "lighter" (for lack of a better word as I still am not light) than I have been since as far back as I can remember, possibly even high school!

Now I just gotta keep on pushin!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

How do you keep pushing on?

My very good friend Kim e-mailed me recently. She just joined a gym with her new husband and wanted to ask me "how do you get past the point on the treadmill when every minute seems so torturous?" She's so cute! She said I could answer on my blog, so here it is!

I think it's pretty fair to say we all know which moment she's talking about. It's that moment in time when your body is a little tired but you're just bored to death of what your doing and no matter what song is playing on your IPOD it doesn't help the hands on the clock tick any faster.

I've said this in a previous post so I won't go into lengthy detail (not that I could ever be long winded!), I sometimes cover up the time on the machine with my towel. That makes me think about something other than how long I've been on the stupid machine. I also don't allow myself to look at the time until it's past 20 minutes or else I make myself do ten minutes longer, so basically I make deals with myself.

I also force myself to think about something that really makes me think, like I'll think about what I want to blog about and try to come up with 2 or 3 new topics to write about. That usually distracts me for a while if not the whole workout.

I also think about how my body is going to look when I am done with this whole journey. Will I always have 'big people' legs? You know the ones I mean? When people who are very big lose a lot of weight they always seem to keep their 'big people' legs. Of course their legs look better and are thinner but they always seem to still be a bit bigger than your average set of stems. Maybe this is a delusion that only I would notice but it is something that I think about. I think about my belly and how it will look after losing 100 pounds. Will I need surgery? Will 100 pounds be enough? I think about my underarm flab and wonder if it will ever pack it's stuff and get the hell out.

I think about Oprah quite a bit. (quit laughing) Yes I mean THE Oprah. I wonder silly things like what she's doing and what her plans for the day are. (I said quit laughing!) I wonder if she's in a good place with her weight right now. I´ve grown up watching Oprah and seeing her at all different sizes and she seems to have finally gotten a hold of her weight and I wonder if she has a certain peace with it. I wonder if I'll ever have that peace myself. I wonder what I'd do with all that money she makes on a daily basis. Yeah, thinking about Oprah can take up a whole workout, no problem.

I also suggest to Kim that whatever her goals are (maybe fitting into a dress she loved) that she should just think about that and know you're doing this for that specific goal. I also suggest that if she is having a really hard time with it then she could use a different machine or two or three machines in one workout. Use a bike for 15 minutes, then the cross trainer for 15 then the treadmill for 15. Just splitting it up helps because then you're not doing one thing for the whole hour or however long your exercising for. It's good to keep your body guessing what's going to happen next anyway so then it doesn't become "used" to your routine.

And my favorite way to pass the time at the gym was my last little piece of advice for her. I told her to think up stories about the other people at the gym. They can be as crazy or devious or evil (I tend to lean towards evil for some reason). Imagine what their lives are like at home. If you see some girl on the treadmill running like she's in a race make up a story about her. What's she running away from? What's she going to do after the gym? What was the happiest day in her life? What will she look like in 20 years? What's her dirty little secret?

Every time I see "Inappropriate Man" I think of a new story about him. He has all kinds of adventures in being inappropriate. He's been inappropriate in the melon section at the grocery store, in the mirror in the locker room, in the confessional at church, while riding his bike... his inappropriateness is endless!

So there you have it... Sarah's ways to get ya through the daily grind at the gym.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Information Overload

Over the past month or so I've been spending a lot of time on a health and fitness message board. I like to read all the questions people have, all the secret ways others have to eating and living healthier and ask a few questions of my own occasionally.

What I've found is that everybody has their own way of going about things (and some think that their way is the right way and the ONLY way and have even gone to extremes such as name calling to try to get their point across!). Every trainer has a different philosophy unique to them. Every dieter has a different way of dieting. Every runner has their favorite type of shoe and personal routine that works for them.

For instance eating unhealthy food "occasionally" ,I've found, means something different for every person. "Occasionally" for me is once a month, maybe it happens once in 3 weeks then not again for 2 months, but generally it's about once a month. I don't have a calendar or anything that I check a box every time I'm unhealthy or anything.

To others eating something on the not-quite-so-healthy side of the scale "occasionally" means twice a week sometimes even 3 times. So when I say here that I occasionally have a cheeseburger a Mcdonalds when I have a craving I really mean roughly once a month. The point is...don't look at what I'm doing with a different definition of "occasionally" in your mind and say "well Sarah does it!".

But if you want "occasionally" to mean 3 times a week for you then that's fine. Don't let my blog get in your way. I am following my plan and that's what I'm sticking to and that's something I recommend for everybody.

Since spending more time on this message board I have read tons of different opinions, diets, philosophies, facts, studies... pretty much everything and anything you can think of that is weight loss and exercise related. And although there is an old saying of "knowledge is power" I believe that too much knowledge, too much information can be overload causing "power failure".

I've also noticed that I've gotten caught up in it. I've started thinking about things like "eating clean", counting points like Weight Watchers do, my heart rate and how it effects what kind of calories I'm burning (if in fact there are different kinds of calories and according to my trainer there are)...all this new and different information out there. I slowly and unknowingly started slipping back into some of my old habits of feeling anxious about losing weight. I've been feeling frantic about if I'm losing it quick enough. I've began obsessing about the best way to lose and which way works the quickest. I've been stressing my self out unnecessarily over food and exercise when I really just need to continue on the path I've chosen.

So that's what I'm going to get back to and that's what I suggest to anybody out there who is also trying a life style change or even a diet. Pick a source and stick to it. You don't even have to pick the source I am using (Dr. Phil's Ultimate Weight Solutions) just as long as you pick something that is working for you.

If you chose to count points with Weight Watchers then don't bog yourself down with people's advice who are trying to "eat clean" or using the "reverse diet".

If you have a personal trainer at the gym who wants you to lift light weights with more reps rather than heavy weights with less reps and you trust your trainer then follow his or her advice.

If you're doing the Adkins low-carb diet then don't get on www.sparkpeople.com and count your calories too. If you want to go on the tuna, pineapple, string cheese and water diet then do it but don't get your mind twisted by a person who chose the chicken, apple peel, corn (cooked several different ways) and diet soda diet!

If you're anything like me reading about all these different ways to lose weight and different ways of eating and exercising you will get overwhelmed especially when it comes to meal time.

I want ______, but it has carbs, but it's low in calories, but it has fiber, but the ____ in it is good for you, but the ____ is bad if you're doing ____. You'll get pulled like taffy and you'll end up not eating anything because you just have too much conflicting information. (or you'll end up eating everything because you just can't be bothered to sort the whole mess out!)

So my advice is to pick a source, stick with it. If it works for you then stay with it. If it doesn't work for you then try something new but push what you've done in the past aside.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Very disappointing weigh in yesterday

I guess "very disappointing" is a bit dramatic. I did only gain 1.3 pounds when I weighed in yesterday but I was trying so hard to continue my downward slide instead of this constant gain/lose pattern I'm in all the time.

I'll have to attribute part of the gain to missing my Friday workout. I slept like poo Thursday night, was up at 4 am and had a pouding headache by time I got home from work at 6. You could have packed for a 2 week trip to Europe in the bags under my eyes and I just felt awful. I'm also retaining water like a sponge due to my hormones this week. So it's not like the gain was totally unexpected but it's still unappreciated!

All excuses aside, I'm looking forward to really getting into my new routine at the gym tonight and getting those endorphins pumping. Fingers crossed for a better week this week!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Mixed emotions about the gym today.

Yesterday was supposed to be our meeting with our trainer to change up our routine, get weighed in, get BMI and fitness level taken and all that good stuff. Notice I said it was "supposed to be" because it just didn't happen.

Marco and I had noticed we hadn't seen our trainer around lately. I figured, like the rest of the country, she was just away on vacation for the Christmas and New Years holiday. So we showed up to our appointment to find out she had quit. Well thanks for calling us!

I was really disappointed because I really liked working with her. She always had positive things to say and was very attentive. She was always offering help/advise with food since she was a nutritionist and I just all around liked her.

We rescheduled our appointments for today with a new trainer. I must say I went in with kind of a rotten outlook. I was still a little miffed they didn't bother to call us about yesterday and I just knew I wasn't going to like this new guy.

Boy was I wrong!

Our new trainer was great! He worked out two new routines for Marco and I to do and he really tailored them to our specific goals. Before we were doing the same exercises which was odd since we have different fitness goals. I want to lose weight and tone muscles while Marco wants to gain muscle. So the trainer took that into consideration when planning our our exercises.

He introduced quite a few new exercises and machines for the two of us. I have one set of weights I do on one day and then a second set of exercises I do on the next workout, alternating between the two. Marco has 3 separate routines to rotate between.

He also told me I need to slow down my cardio and do a lower pace for a longer amount of time. This is the part I'm not so sure about. Slowing down never seems like a good idea to me. I just want to keep going faster and further.

He isn't the first trainer that's told me that this is the most efficient way to lose weight. (to keep my heart rate lower, but steady, for a longer amount of time instead of getting my heart rate super high for a short time period, if you consider 30 minutes a short period of time) I have also read this from different sources but I just have such a hard time believing it.

It doesn't make sense to me that I burn 550 calories in 30 minutes my old way but now I am going to slow down, burn less calories but workout longer but lose more weight! But I'm going to give it a try and see if it really works as everybody keeps telling me it will.

So today I was on the cross trainer for 30 minutes (we were at the gym for 3 hours today so I couldn't do 40 minutes but I will next time) and burned 357 calories. How is that more effective than burning 550?

I am supposed to keep my heart rate at 124 which proved to be virtually impossible for me to do. I was moving at a snails pace and still hovering at about 130 for most of the time. I know 124 is a general guideline so I think I did pretty well. But I barely broke a sweat. Usually I'm dripping by time I'm done, even my fingers and ears get sweaty! My face wasn't even a pinky color. I'm very uncertain about this new cardio routine.

That said, knowing that I was moving at a snails pace and my heart rate was above 130 really struck me. My poor heart as been mistreated for so long. It has to work SO hard for me to do even the littlest of movement. Imagine how hard it would have to be working 10 years down the road if I wouldn't have started exercising it properly and remained as overweight as I was. What about 20 or 30 years down the road? How long could I have made my heart work overtime before it was just all ticked out? It made me really thankful for being able to lose this weight now and begin a healthier lifestyle.

Just some real quick stats before I go. I improved my fitness level by 1.7 points. I have gone from very weak, to weak, to ... well still weak. But I was told as long as I move up one point each time we meet with the trainer then I am doing well, so 1.7 is really great!

My BMI decreased by 1.5% which is great. I still have a lot of fat to lose before I am even close to being in a healthy range though.

The scale at the gym said I only lost one kilo (2.2 pounds) in the past 7 weeks but I checked back on my calendar at home and according to my scale at home I've lost 3 kilos (6.6 pounds) in the past 7 weeks (which is about 0.4 pounds off my target weight for that amount of time). I find it really strange that there is such a big difference between the two scales. The first time we had this meeting at the gym my weight loss on my home scale matched what their said right on. I'm going to stick with what my scale says at home since it's the one I use every week (and it gives me the beter stats!). We'll have to see what the gym scale says in 8 weeks when we have our next appointment.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Jesus in a Jar

One question I get a lot when people find out that I've lost 50+ pounds is "how'd ya do it?". Seems like a logical question and I know it's one I've asked in the past to people who have lost significant amounts of weight.

I never give the typical "diet and exercise" answer (even though that really is what's causing the actual weight loss) because like I said in my earlier posts the formula of diet + exercise = weight loss is a very well known fact and when you say that to somebody, they look at you like "no shit Einstein."

I always feel the need to really explain how I had to get a hold of my emotional eating and how attached I was to food. I am always honest and say that by reading Dr. Phil's book "The Ultimate Weight Solutions" I was able to get a grip on my eating habits and it's given me the key to succeed in my weight loss this time.

I've noticed a bit of a pattern in the response to my answers though. By time I get to the "I read a book" part of my answer the person's eyes have slightly glazed over and it seems they lose a bit of interest in what I'm saying.

It makes me wonder what some people want you to say. You know they really want to know how you did it but underneath somewhere they really want you to tell them all about "Jesus in a Jar". I know it's what I used to want to hear when I would ask that question of somebody.

People want "Jesus in a Jar". They want one of those power pills or super drinks to have been your savior. You pop it/drink it once a day and it will be your weight loss salvation forever.

"Jesus in a Jar" is forgiving of all your glutenous sins. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy for dinner followed by a slice (or two) of cheesecake? No problem! J.I.A.J. forgives all.

"Jesus in a Jar" is omniscient and knows how to fix whatever your weight problem is, from over eating, to not exercising, to drinking too much altar wine (which is chalk full of calories)(wine that is, not necessarily altar wine). With J.I.A.J. it doesn't matter if you eat huge portions of food and consider walking through your house exercise, J.I.A.J. KNOWS your habits and will fix them, instantly.

You see people on infomercials always giving thanks and praise to their "Jesus in a Jar." "It saved my life." cried the woman in spandex clutching her J.I.A.J. to her bosom. "It's a miracle!"

People want a get thin quick scheme. They want to lose weight and they want to do it immediately. And before this post gets too preachy I want to say that I was definitely one of those people at one time.

I didn't want to deal with my emotions or take the time to read a book. I wasn't even sure how I felt about Dr. Phil. Was he somebody whose opinion I trusted?

I wanted a get thin and I wanted it now and I wanted it easy. Who cares why I eat like I may not see another meal for a week or two? Who cares that the last time I really broke a sweat was in the dressing room at Lane Bryant when I was trying to zip up a pair of jeans that were clearly marked the wrong size? Who cares why I was morbidly obese? (and yes, I was morbidly obese). I didn't want to take the time to step back and really look at my life. That's a scary thing for anybody to do, thin or not thin.

I wanted to be saved and if you offered me J.I.A.J. and said it worked for you, who was I to question? The "diet" industry is a multi-billion dollar money making machine and it's because we all want the same thing but don't know how to get there or don't really want to take the time and effort it takes to get there on our own.

I remember when I was little and my sister and I would always want to order those records (yes records, I'm THAT old!) they offered you on the back of the Parade magazine. You know the ad I'm talking about... you buy 100 records for 1 cent or something of the sort. Every Sunday we would grab the ad and look through all the records we could buy. One lousy cent and mom and dad wouldn't even let us order! Cheapos!

After asking for the millionth time my dad took the time to teach us to read the small print. We found out that even though they promised us 100 records for only 1 cent that that wasn't all we would be getting and it wasn't all we would be paying. We even found out that we didn't even get to pick the records they sent us! What a rip off! One of the most useful things my dad taught us kids is that if it seemed too good to be true then it probably was.

I found that the same applies to weight loss. If the "Jesus in a Jar" that your contemplating is a miracle drug, if it seems so easy to do with minimal effort on your part, if gets great results quick, if it's is as simple as pie (and you can eat as much pie as you want while on it) and is just too good to be true then you probably need to read the small print on your jar-o-Jesus.

Maybe that's what I'll say the next time somebody's eyes glaze over when I'm telling them about my journey. I'll simply ask "Got Jesus?"

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

10 Reasons Women Should Lift Weights

This list was posted by a fellow nestie and I was really inspired by how much I am actually helping my body my lifting weights. Keep in mind when I say I lift weights, I'm not hoisting 500 pound barbells over my head while grunting loudly and sporting a spandex onsie. But I am trying to tone my muscles, working each group out until they're fatigued and increasing weight as I go.

Some of these points I knew but many of the health benefits were news to me!

Brought to you by: http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/women/a/aa051601a.htm

You Will Be Physically Stronger.
Increasing your strength will make you far less dependent upon others for assistance in daily living. Chores will be easier, lifting kids, groceries and laundry will no longer push you to the max. If your maximum strength is increased, daily tasks and routine exercise will be far less likely to cause injury.

Research studies conclude that even moderate weight training can increase a woman's strength by 30 to 50 percent. Research also shows that women can develop their strength at the same rate as men.

No more excuses for making Marco haul the groceries up all 4 flights of stairs.

You Will Lose Body Fat.
Studies performed by Wayne Westcott, PhD, from the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, found that the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat. As your lean muscle increases so does your resting metabolism, and you burn more calories all day long. Generally speaking, for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35 to 50 more calories each day. That can really add up.

Yay for burning more calories all day long!

You Will Gain Strength Without Bulk.
Researchers also found that unlike men, women typically don't gain size from strength training, because compared to men, women have 10 to 30 times less of the hormones that cause muscle hypertrophy. You will, however, develop muscle tone and definition. This is a bonus.

See and women always say they don't want to 'bulk up' now we know that's just a cop out!

You Decrease Your Risk Of Osteoporosis.
Research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density (and enhance bone modeling) by 13 percent in six months. This, coupled with an adequate amount of dietary calcium, can be a women's best defense against osteoporosis.

Yay for no Osteoporosis!

You Will Improve Your Athletic Performance.
Over and over research concludes that strength training improves athletic ability in all but the very elite athletes. Golfers can significantly increase their driving power. Cyclists are able to continue for longer periods of time with less fatigue. Skiers improve technique and reduce injury. Whatever sport you play, strength training has been shown to improve overall performance as well as decrease the risk of injury.

So my leap frog skills are getting better by the month and I didn't even realize it!

You Will Reduce Your Risk Of Injury, Back Pain and Arthritis.
Strength training not only builds stronger muscles, but also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury. A recent 12-year study showed that strengthening the low-back muscles had an 80 percent success rate in eliminating or alleviating low-back pain. Other studies have indicated that weight training can ease the pain of osteoarthritis and strengthen joints.

As a sufferer of low back pain, I'm glad to know I'm helping myself.

You Will Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease. According to Dr. Barry A. Franklin, of William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, weight training can improve cardiovascular health in several ways, including lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol, increasing HDL ("good") cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. When cardiovascular exercise is added, these benefits are maximized.

Heart disease runs rampant in my family. I need all the help and protection I can get.

You Will Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes. In addition, Dr. Franklin noted that weight training may improve the way the body processes sugar, which may reduce the risk of diabetes. Adult-onset diabetes is a growing problem for women and men. Research indicates that weight training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 percent in four months.

Another disease that's prominent in my biological line... Diabetes.

It Is Never Too Late To Benefit.
Women in their 70s and 80s have built up significant strength through weight training and studies show that strength improvements are possible at any age. Note, however, that a strength training professional should always supervise older participants.

You Will Improve Your Attitude And Fight Depression.
A Harvard study found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counseling did. Women who strength train commonly report feeling more confident and capable as a result of their program, all important factors in fighting depression.

We all can use some help being a little more cheerful, have a little more spring in your step, no?

So there you have it guys, or rather girls! I'm sure the benefits are very similar if not the same for men so guys you start lifting too!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Way to start the year off right!!!

Good news when I jumped on the scale this morning! Another 3.5 pounds gone! After last week not losing anything (not gaining either) I was REALLY looking forward to seeing the number budge and it finally did! YAY!

Now I just need to keep the momentum going! We meet with our trainer this weekend to weigh in, get BMI’s done and get our new routines so hopefully that will keep the weight coming off.

Yay for my first weigh in of 2007 going well!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Taking down the tree the Dutch way

Just wanted to share some pictures of us putting the tree out after Christmas. Maybe it is done this way in parts of the US as well, but not in my neighborhood.

Here is photo number one of the naked tree. (not meant for children under the age of 18. Parental discression is advised)

Step 2 of the process. This is Marco holding the tree. What's that you say???? Yes, he is holding it awfully close to the open window.

And the final step. That's our tree, chucked out the window, laying sadly in the yard.

No, we're not just the neighbors from hell, this is actually how they get rid of their trees. If you're nice, like we are, you then go down and drg your tree to a nearby garbage bin for pickup but if you chose to let it lay there that's no problem either. The garbage men will eventually make they way round to your neck of the woods to pick the poor pathetic tree up and put it out of its misery.
So if you're ever in the 'hood this time of year and see people tossing trees out their window there is no need to call the police. It's just another Dutch tradition!

Happy New Years Everybody!!!!!

Happy New Years everybody and welcome 2007!

We didn't have major plans last night, as usual. We went out for a nice dinner at our favorite restaurant and then headed back home. We broke open a bottle of champagne at about 10:30, each had a glass and then dumped the rest of it down the drain. Oh how I used to love champagne! Used to being key here.

We then flipped through the channels on the tv about 8 million times before deciding there was nothing on. I thought I'd watch some videos on www.youtube.com but didn't find it nearly as interesting as I had hoped.

At 10 minutes until midnight we decided to play keep away from the dog, one of his favorite games. We played until 4 minutes until 12. I had just enough time to brush my teeth and take out my contacts before the big moment. At 2 minutes until midnight Marco turned the TV back on to a countdown channel and hoped that it'd hurry up so we could go to bed.

At the stroke of 12 we wished each other a Happy New Year, did some kissin and watched a the entire neighborhood as it exploded into fireworks. It's one of my most favorite things about the holiday here. Everybody buys enormous amounts of fireworks (the kinds that are illegal in Illinois and only professionals are allowed to have) and so you have beautiful displays of huge bombs coming at you from all directions. Even in the rain the neighbors were troopers and let off their light displays.

I decided to call my sister to wish her a Happy New Years, even though it was far from it in Illinois. My nieces thought it was so cool that where I lived it was now January 2007 and where they were it was still December 2006. I got to hear my 1 year old niece, Mia, say 'Sarah' for the first time (although it was more like sawuh).

After hanging up with them Marco called his parents then I called mine. My dad was having an exciting bowl of Corn Flakes and my mom was thinking about taking a nap. My family, a bunch of party animals.

We were in bed by 12:30, which outlasted out 80-something year old neighbors who told us this morning they went to bed about 12:15.

I don't make New Years Resolutions... why should I set myself up for failure so early in the year? But I am looking forward to quite a number of things in 2007.

We'll be making a trip home in March, 88 days away actually. We'll be attending my brother's wedding in April. It will be the first time that all of my parent's kids (including sons-in law and grandkids) are in the same state (and country) for over 3 years, so we're really looking forward to the little reunion.

We're looking forward to the possibility of adding to our family in 2007. As some of you know, any many of you don't, we have been struggling through infertility for the past year or so. We're hoping to have some good news in the beginning of 2007 and maybe by mid-year we could possibly be on our way to become parents like we've always wanted. I haven't talked about this much with many people (and never on this blog) but I've decided to be more open with our struggle. It's nothing we're ashamed of, it's nothing we could have prevented or foreseen, but it is something we're struggling with. We're looking forward to some good news this year after last years constant crushing blows.

We're looking forward to moving to a bigger house in June-ish. We're looking forward to planning a vacation a little closer to home at the end of 2007, maybe somewhere warm, with a beach.

But most of all I am looking forward to meeting my goal weight in 2007! It will be the 'lightest' I've been since as far as I can remember and definitely since high school.

I expect life will throw me some curveballs this year, it always does, so I'm looking forward to having everything all planned out to only have it turned upside down on me!

I wish you all a very Happy New Year and a sucessful 2007 in all you hope to do!