Monthly Archives: January 2011

Struggling with exercise this week

This entire week exercising has been a struggle. It’s my fourth week of being more active, and I’s been a slow slog every single day to make myself go to the gym, feel like I’m improving (I’m just not seeing it), dealing with some really sore/tense muscles that have made me want to stay home and heal up. Last night I had no idea what I was going to do. I didn’t feel up to the treadmill or the elliptical, due to stress it would put on my cramping feet muscles, or the muscle on the back of my legs below the calf (ie, pressing off, running, or going uphill at all). So I was not looking forward to last night. I thought I might do some upper body weights and a piddly little bit of cardio, just to go. Instead, I joined J in yoga class.

He’s been trying to convince me to go. I initially told him no way, yoga is hard. I can’t do most of the poses (I’ve tried a time or two in the past), and I’m not in shape enough yet. But I went last night. Omigod it was hard. I panted a lot, couldn’t do some of the poses, had to take a few breaks. I just sat down and rubbed my cramping feet. But I did most of it. By the end, whew, glad I made it through, that had been my main goal. J wanted to do some cardio after, too, while I was ready to go lie down, so I just walked on the treadmill (my leg muscle still not being up to going uphill or running) for 150 calories, 22 minutes until he was ready. Then when I got home, all the soreness kicked in. My lower back muscles. My stomach! Ugh. Now I know why I was trying not to go. Grin. This morning? I hurt in more stomach muscles than I remember having!

So will I go again? Reluctantly, probably, but I may only go once weekly. I am extremely non-flexible and I know this will be amazing for me. I know it will be a while before I can it well and not feel like a fish floppin’ around out of water. And yes, everyone else was healthy looking, in shape, and able to do everything without falling over in the balance poses (except maybe 2 other people!). At least I didn’t hear any sniggers or chortles while I was there. And why J had to put his mat front and center in the class, so I felt obliged to be next to him, front and center, instead of at the back of the class in the corner, was even more annoying.

I think I’m PMS right now, so many that’s why I’m having such a hard time with the gym this week. I hope it passes soon. I will say that if I hadn’t had a partner to drag me to the gym or tell me to go get ready, I may have skipped out once or twice this week. Instead, I’ve gone every day except my Thursday off (my schedule doesn’t allow me to go then). So the lesson for this week is that a partner keeps you accountable. Go J!

Now I just have to get my duff off the couch (I loooooove lounging on Saturday mornings) get dressed, figure out a menu plan, and go get fixings to make my ginormous batch of pot stickers! I decided I’m going to make my own instead of buy the big bags of ling lings from Costco. Mmmmm. Now I have to go browse foodgawker and find which version I’m gong to make. Pork? Shrimp? Tofu shiitake?

Stay strong everyone…and see you all at the gym later!


Posted by on January 29, 2011 in Gym


Summer plans

3 weeks at the gym and its already getting old. I feel like I have years of drudgery to look forward to. Well, I think it’s really that I’m not fit enough to really do much, or well, yet. Like run, without stopping, fast, for more than 10 minutes at a time. I know I’ll get there. But it’s wierd when having done this oh, so many times before, I never really had much of a result before having quit. So subconsciously I’m plodding to the gym 5 times a week and eating better without really having any expectation that this phase will ever pass. That’s because I’ve never kept at it long enough for it to have an effect!

As a related side note, I think I’ve lost about 5 lbs since starting. I’m using the gym scale, and often with my workout clothes and sneakers on. It was 225 when I started. Last night it was 220 on the same scale. Until I see a definitely dip into the 200 and teens, I probably won’t feel like I’ve really accomplished much, other than starting, and working on the process. I know logically that after a few months I’ll start craving the gym, and exercise, but it ain’t happening yet. Right now I’m fumbling my way through gaining some basic strength, building my core, and increasing my endurance so I can do more than basic activities without panting (at least I’m past that stage!).

So I’m already thinking about the fun I’m going to have hiking and playout outside this summer. Remember my fitness vacation idea? I already have plans to go hiking just about every weekend during spring/summer/fall. Serious 1000-2,000 calorie burning hikes (just guessing here, not really sure, but sustained activity for 6+ hours should be at least that, right?). Really – you try walking switchbaks for several hours, all uphill, and see if you don’t get fit as hell! Well, I also used to bike. A lot. But I haven’t done that much in the last few years.

Here’s a little background. I never really learned how to ride a bike when I was young. I sorta learned in my 20s, but sucked at it. Then I started hanging out with a friend when I went back to college at 28. I made good friends with one guy from some of my tech classes (I called him my angry asian young man). He was bike crazy. And restaurant and cooking crazy. When we weren’t going out to a Seattle restaurant for dinner, we went cycling. We lived pretty close (15 minute walk apart). So we’d meet up regularly and go biking on the Burke-Gillman trail from the University District up to Bothell. 1 hour each way. I guess about 30 miles round trip. Then we went a little further. Then one summer we did a big 60-mile loop around Lake Washington. Up to Bothell, around to Kirkland, south to Renton, and up north to the start. It took me 7 hours and kicked my butt. But I did it. And I had one of those starter bikes with the thick frame, and a cushy seat. I was told to get used to this for a while, but a couple thou’ miles on it before I got a road bike. But shortly after “the big ride” (I only did one), I stopped cyling.

So I had to move, and moved further away, he graduated and left for grad school, and I stopped cycling as much. After a while of this, I decided I needed to do more and decided to “upgrade” to a road bike. I was also on a money diet (I’m in the midst of paying off $45,000 in debt), so an expensive, brand new bike was NOT in the budget. Instead, I found a bike that fit my frame (pretty darn small, I’m 5’4″) on craiglist. I got it for $200. But did I start using it? Well…

…You can guess the answer by now, right? Of course not. It was really uncomfortable to ride. All hunched over like that. There’s one major flaw with a road bike. The position and a big belly do not go well together. I’d hit my belly with my legs while pedaling, and man was it uncomfortable and hard to breathe in that position. Plus, the shifter is halfway down on the shaft (it’s oldschool), NOT on the handlebars like I was used to. Plus the handlebars make me really nervous. I can’t sit upright, and my hands got kinda numb.

I want to get the shifting moved up and maybe a new handlebar, maybe more upright and maybe not technically “road bike” style. J also tells me that once I lose weight, I won’t notice the discomfort as much. All I know is that I miss cycling, and I don’t like this bike yet. Maybe I need to work on fixing up my old all-purpose bike. It has a bit of extra rust on it, having lived outside for a year. But luckily I’ve cleaned the bird’s nest out of the storage sac on the back (I kid you not). If I fix it up, I know I’ll use it. It will not be as fast as a road bike. but then, extra effort to keep up (as I am competative, I will definitely put pedal to the metal!) will be extra calories and good muscle workout.

I gotta do something. I miss going for 2-3 hour hardcore cycling sessions on the weekends in summer. I miss tooling around , being able to go from Alki to Ballard in 25 minutes without a car. Plus it will be something to do without spending most of a whole tank of gas ($40 a tank!) getting out to the mountains or sitting inside in a hot, smelly, boring ol’ gym.

What do you do to change it up?


Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


Cake…and a consolation prize

J made a 2-tier cake and finished it last night. There were multiple steps that took multiple days. Make the lemon marmalade. Turn that into a lemon marmalade glaze. Make buttercream. Bake 2 cakes. Let the buttercream cool and harden. Assemble. Well last night it was completed. We each had a slice. I had had a large-sized dinner, so I stopped halfway through and didn’t finish the slice. Bully for me!

Well, I did not want this cake loitering at home, even though it’s not on my top 10 food favorites. I will still eat it, as it is already made, and it is yummy. J gave me half to take in today to give away to coworkers. Well, I didn’t bring enough for lunch, or well, I brought enough, but I’m not used to eating so little. It’s 4 pm, and I’m starving. I am thinking about the big huge chunk o’ yummy cake in the next office, knowing it is left over and wanting to eat it since I am so hungry. I mean really *hungry*! I’ve been hungry for like 2 hours, talking myself out of eating this and that (such as chocolates I have squirreled away at my desk for desperate times).

So what did I end up doing? I did not eat the cake! Instead, I made a packet of oatmeal. It still has sugar in it, but at least it’s only 155 calories and has a lot of fiber and other yummy, stick-to-your-ribs goodness. But it’s a poor consolation prize compared to cake. As my coworker said when I showed her (with a huge frowny on my face) “that makes me sad.”

Yes, I am sad. Triumphant. But sad. This is a bittersweet story (like the marmalade, haha). And there’s still a third of the cake at home. That makes me even more sad. (And I won’t even mention the leftover buttercream that J saved for “cupcakes.” But I don’t WANT cupcakes! I’ll eat them! You’re not ALLOWED to make cupcakes.)


Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Uncategorized



Recap: week 3

 Still on board. I hope the scale at the gym starts going down and I hope I get my hunger under control soon. Here’s how I did, first at the gym, next with eating.

Mon: weights 3 sets, upper and lower.
Tues: cardio, 55 minutes, 500 calories, intervals, 3 minutes running, 1 minute walking.
Weds: weights, 3 sets, upper and lower body.
Thurs: day off.
Fri: cardio, 60 minutes running/walking on treadmill, 600+ calories! Ran for about 43 minutes out of 60. It whupped my ass.
Sat: no gym. Did 1 hour very brisk walking along alki beach, it’s something at least.
Sun: 100 minutes cardio. Was physically and mentally resistant to working out, probably from not having gone the day before, but made myself at least run during commercials of Iron Chef, and did steep hill climbs the rest of the time. 670 calories.

I think I’m eating higher calories than a serious dieter, but that’s ok. I thought I was losing weight, still don’t have a scale (still debating whether to spend the $35 to buy one), and when I’ve weighed myself at the scale at the gym, it looks like it went up a little mid-week. I don’t know if it’s because of what I ate that day and all the water I drank during a workout, but it’s not really going down much. Not that concerned, as my pants feel a tiny bit looser, I’ve noticed. Am just going to keep going as I am, and hopefully get a scale soon to be more accurate about when (and not wearing heavy clothes and sneakers!). I know I’m eating higher calories than a lot of people, (I’ve calculated it roughly at about 1900-2100 calories) but they are good quality, unprocessed, and I’m still working on being hungry all the time – it’s worse on the weekends.

I’m kinda annoyed – J got it into his head that he wanted to make a lemon cake. He has made 2 white cakes, a lemon marmalade glaze layer, and a buttercream frosting. He ran out of time last night so he’s planning on assembling it and decorating it today. He is not helping me by making this. Luckily, it’s not a big bowl of popcorn dripping with butter and nutritional yeast (in which case I would be in trouble), so I will be ok having my one slice tonight and then abstaining from the rest. I think he is going to give me half to take to work to give to a coworker friend of ours. He says he gets inspired by baking. I’m going to have a small slice with chamomile tea tonight and that’s it. Now if it was a big bowl of potatoes, cheese, butter, salt, steak, or some variation of that, then I’d be really worried. Cake, somehow doesn’t trigger uncontrollable eating to me.

Anyway, time to sign off for the day. Weights tonight – haven’t done them since Wednesday!

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Weekly recap


A slippery slope

Reality check time! I was feeling all holier than thou because of how well I’m doing. I’ve eating much better, I’ve taken food to work every day, and I hadn’t missed any workout days at all. Awesome! But. And there’s always a but.

I’ve kinda dragged my feet in going to the gym a few times. I’ve kinda not wanted to go (fairly often). I still don’t look forward to going. Yesterday I had every intention of going (you knew this was coming, right?). We had a ton of errands, and what’s funny, they were all fitness related! I bought a new $50 high-impact workout bra for the um, more well-endowed, to which club I belong. I had to drive 45 minutes up to Greenlake to visit one of my favorite resources, Title 9, to try on a new bra, with a cross-back (40DD, which fits my DDD actually). I ended up going with the regular kind I already had, since the fit was wonky, and it was $10 more expensive (and I could use more than 1 bra, since doing laundry EVERY SINGLE DAY is not really realistic). Then I got all this cool astro-glide-like stuff for working out and chaffing (a daily issue of mine). $20 there. Then REI to get some wicking undees, $16, which help with the battle of chaffing (again, to supplement my only pair which need washing more than I wear them!), and since they are the only kind I’ve found that actually kinda fit. When we got home from all the errands at 5 pm, I still had to wash all my workout clothes, so had to wait 2 hours. I was all set to go to the gym at 7, until….

Now don't you feel sleepy, too?

My finchy cat came up to snuggle and suckle on the blanket on my lap, and I didn’t have the heart to disturb him. He is so adorable with his snorgling and purring and his little tongue suckling on air. 30 minutes later, (and at this time, Robin was sleeping on J on the couch under another blanket so we had a double whammy!), I asked if he was ok not going to the gym. I kinda wanted to chill, relax, and heal. I was still really sore from the intense cardio on Friday night that almost killed me. Plus, we had done a pit stop at Alki beach in the afternoon. J skateboarded, while I went for a very brisk walk – we were there about 1 hour. So in a way, we both kinda exercised. I figured it was at least 250-300 calories of exercise. Not awesome, but something. That chipped away at the gym resolve too.

So I crapped out. I know that makes going the next time that much harder. I know how it goes. It’s a slippery slope. You don’t go to the gym one time. THe next day if you don’t go in, then you start losing your fitness edge, and your muscles will start chipping away at your resolve. “It’s so nice and comfy on the couch, are you *sure* you have to go…now?” or maybe “It’s so late, if you go you’ll be so tired and wouldn’t it be better to get a full night’s sleep and do it…tomorrow?” UGH! I have to nip this in the bud RIGHT NOW.

So tonight I’m going no matter what. After all, it’s Sunday night. I have to get my hour of Iron Chef at 7 pm! No way around it, I have a date with the treadmill at 7 pm…tonight!


Posted by on January 23, 2011 in Excuses


Who’s your role model?

I don’t think I’m a typical girl. I like free weights. I like being strong and having muscles. I’m not frilly or silly, or obsessed with guys, shopping, or getting married. I don’t know if it’s because I never had any strong female role models when I was younger – I was, shall I say, a bit introverted, and not the most popular person. I hid behind baggy clothes and long hair. I was chubby (as I’m much heavier now, I hesitate to call it fat), too. I didn’t really have any strong role models in  my family either.

I can’t remember ever having women or any female for that matter that I looked up to, or wanted to be like while in my younger years. I do remember that the first person that really impressed me was seeing Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2, all hardcore and intense, doing chin-ups in the psych ward at the beginning of the movie. My jaw dropped. I was in love. I wanted to look like her. I wanted to *be* her.  I think that was my first inspiration to start going to the gym, back in my early 20s, and even then, it took me a few years before I did it. I remember wanting to pump iron, even though cover models for muscle mags make me ill – they look so gross! But show me a toned, muscled, hardcore, in-shape person, and I drool. Unfortunately, if I do get there, I’ll probably look more like a Russian female shot put thrower, wide, stout, and short. 

Even now, it’s that type of female that wows me and makes me want to get fit. Sassy, lean, toned, serious. None of the svelte, chic, anorexic-looking trophy wife-types for me! Anyway, just ramblin’ here.  Who is your role model?

Update: I remembered yet another big role model. I don’t really know this person, Marla, but she’s from my 2001 Outside magazine subscription and omigod she is gorgeous (she was the cover story)!!! Tada:


Posted by on January 21, 2011 in Inspirations


Six days in a row, whoo hoo!

I made it 6 days in a row at the gym. Awesome. I’m looking forward to my day off today.

Yesterday, Wednesday night I really pushed doing the weights, and it felt good. It was hard, I’m not really strong yet, but I’m finding my groove. I’ve got a routine for full body, have finally learned how to use the equipment I’ve selected to use, and know what settings and weight amounts to use (which is enough to just barely, by the skin of my teeth, be able to finish the last 2 reps in sets 2 and 3, with a lot of grimacing, groaning, teeth clenching and muscle overloading). Now the only I have to contend with are my shoulder, which is holding up pretty well, and the gym crowds. The shoulder twinged a lot less yesterday, I think it’s partially repairing ligament damage from 2 years ago, but also loss of strength and poor blood flow and flexibility in that area. It could be adhesions in the fascia causing stress/discomfort. Anyway, I’m being careful not to aggrivate anything and to do it safely. If in doubt, lower the weight. If still in doubt, slow down/stop the exercise. Unfortunately, nothing I can do about the crowds. I guess I’ll suffer with everyone else for a few more weeks (which is funny, since I just started going again on Jan. 2, ha ha, I know I’m one of “them”).

I’m taking care to not overdo the weight and to maintian proper form, rather than force it and muscle through it wrongly and potentially damage something. I’m doing 3 sets right now, 15 reps of everything if I can do it, 10 or 12 if I can’t.

Got home, ate dinner, and then had to go in to work pretty late for overtime, so didn’t make it to bed until after 1. Ugh, dragged my feet this morning, and let me tell you, it couldn’t be a better time to have a day off! The extra money is a bonus.


Posted by on January 20, 2011 in Uncategorized