Friday, April 25, 2008

Hasta la pasta

Friends, I'm outta here (for a week, anyway). Time to get some last-minute word done, pack, and go on vacation!

Oh, how I need a vacation.

For those of you who didn't see my added stuff yesterday about my liver MRI test results, I heard from the doctor. There are no definitive answers. They suspect this is a typical not-of-concern hemangioma, but they don't know for sure. Now they're sending me for a Nuclear Medicine Scan. That'll have to happen after I get back from vacation. I'm going to do my best to not think about it until I return, too. I need a vacation from that mess as much as I need a vacation from work!

Although work is kicking my arse right now. I found out there's a big presentation the day after I return. Um, no, I can't have those analyses ready for that meeting, folks.

I can't wait to sit on the beach with my wonderful hubby of 5 years (happy anniversary to us!), relaxing, listening to the ocean, and forgetting about anything and everything stressful. Yay!

Have a wonderful, on-plan, healthy, active, run-like-the-wind kind of week. I'll be back around May 5th or so.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"Don't spoil your dinner!" ~~ EDIT: Test results

I posted a comment on Ashley’s blog, and then decided to expand on it here, because I wonder if others had the same childhood learning that they had to unlearn (or if you learned it but it still works for you).

I know a lot of us were members of the “clean plate club” … you couldn’t leave the table until you finished your dinner, there are starving kids in China, blah blah blah. A lot of us had to drop out of that club and change that learning before we could successfully lose weight.

That's not the club I'm talking about, though. I was a member of another club. I was a member of the “don’t spoil your dinner” club. I remember being RAVENOUS waiting for dinner to be ready. Mom was cooking, kids were helping out, and OH the hunger. And I remember not being allowed to eat anything during that time because it would “spoil my dinner.”

I carried that idea into my adulthood … if I was cooking or especially if I was going out to dinner, I wouldn’t let myself eat anything. That way I’d be good and hungry at dinner.

Oh my gawd! Talk about a recipe for overeating!

I really had to retrain myself on the whole eating before dinner thing. It’s extra-important for me these days, since my husband gets home from work fairly late. Now, I have a late afternoon snack with some protein (often a vitamuffin and skim milk – 3 points and oh so good), and then sometimes an even later right-before-dinner snack of raw veggies. I find it really helps me keep the overeating at dinner in check, and I make better food choices when I’m looking at a menu because I’m not ravenous.

Was anybody else a member of the “don’t spoil your dinner” club? I’m curious – have you dropped out of the club?

Tangent … the phrase “ruin your dinner” makes me think of this video, which makes me very happy:

Can you tell I’m totally trying to distract myself from thinking about the fact that I still haven’t heard from the doc with my test results? I called the office four and a half hours ago (after three hours of watching the clock), and asked them to call me, and they said they’d call me back. No word yet. ARGH!

I did get my MyShape clothes, though. I’m holding off on the review for now … details to follow (I wouldn’t consider the MyShape experience over at this point).

I heard from the doctor. STILL no definitive answers. STILL they THINK this is a typical not-of-concern hemangioma, but they don't know for sure and they need to know for sure because the alternatives are bad news. Now they're sending me for a Nuclear Medicine Scan. That'll have to happen after I get back from vacation.

I guess inconclusive news is better than bad news, right?

I was really hoping for good, or at least reassuring news, though ...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Eager anticipation and anxious waiting

For some reason it really didn’t hit me until yesterday that I’m going on vacation in a few days. Only a few days! Yay! But, damn! I have a lot to get done before then.

One thing I meant to do before I left was go get a new swim suit and a couple nice sundresses. I have a couple swimsuits that’ll do (getting new suits was just for the fun of it), but the dress thing is a little more necessary. Most of my clothes are casual or (in rare cases) business casual or business attire – I don’t have much in the way of pretty lightweight feminine dresses or skirts. I definitely don’t have enough of that sort of thing for a week’s worth of dinners. Last time I had to dress up it was for a trip in the fall … methinks the velvet and long-sleeved stuff isn’t going to work (at least without me getting heatstroke).

Yesterday, I looked at the calendar (soon! We leave soon!), and looked at my closet (oh crap, what to wear!), and I decided that desperate times call for desperate measures. I decided to take a shot at ordering the dresses online. When it comes to clothes, I don’t usually buy anything but tops online, because it’s sooooo hard to know if something will fit. But maybe, just maybe, there’s a way around that …

Have you guys heard about I saw it on the news a while back.* You enter in all kinds of measurements, and then the website categorizes you into body types and gives you specific recommendations for clothes that will (at least in theory) look good and fit. It chooses the size for you … you know how when you go shopping and you’re a size 14 in one skirt and a size 4 in another? (Yes, I’m exaggerating, but you know what I mean.) The website matches your measurements against the fit of each outfit and figures out that in this dress you’re a 10, but in this you’re a 6. And if they don’t fit, there is free return shipping.

Interesting, right?

I have no idea if it works. But I figured what the hell. I have no time, no time, no time to go try on 14,000 different dresses to find two that actually fit and look good. Why not let a website do the work for me? So yesterday, I ordered two dresses from them. I spent waaaaaaaaaaaay more than I would usually spend on pretty damned near anything clothing-wise, but I was so intrigued by the concept and if the dresses truly are fabulous …

Now I’m waiting at the window, obsessively checking, and at the same time obsessively checking to see if they’ve put up any new clothing options for me. I can’t wait to find out if the system worked. Granted, the clothes are so darned expensive in most cases that I couldn’t shop there often, but what a great option for a splurge on rare occasions. IF it works.

We’ll find out soon! I’ll let you guys know.

And speaking of anxious waiting, I still don’t have my MRI test results. Argh! I did get a call from the nurse on Monday with news that my chlamydia test results were negative. Uhhh, great. I didn’t even know they tested me for chlamydia. I recognize the need to rule out all possible causes for abdominal/pelvic pain, but really? An STD? *sigh* I understand that you truly never know, and some couples sometimes aren’t quite as monogamous as is assumed, but, um, yeah. This test result was not something I would have been terribly worried about (if I’d even known they’d run the test in the first place). I feel pretty safe from STDs at this point in my life. Thanks for checking, thanks for the phone call, but can’t you just get me the MRI test results, please? I’m so tired of waiting. On Monday they told me it would likely be today (not Tuesday as I’d originally heard). So … soon. Hopefully I’ll know something soon.

Oh, and speaking of possibly damaged body parts, my knee has very slight but definitely still present soreness from my run on Saturday. I think my Monday workout wasn’t as low-impact as I’d intended. Grrrr! I really want to stay in the running habit! I want to keep the momentum going and eventually build more speed and endurance! But I think for my long-term well-being I need to stay off the knee today. Maybe it’ll be better tomorrow or Friday.

* Can I just say that it seems strange to me that this was on the news? Is this truly NEWS? Don’t get me wrong, I love that I found out about it, but “news” … come on people, really?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Where am I? Volume 11 (Alternate title: There was a little girl …)

It’s Tuesday – time to take a step back and get a feel for where I am in my weight loss health and fitness journey.

Weeelll … do any of you remember the poem:

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good
She was very, very good*
And when she was bad she was horrid.

Basically, I’m that little girl.

Well, minus the curl … my hair is straight as a board.

But “very good” and “horrid” describe the past week for me, when it comes to health and fitness.

Let’s get the “horrid” unpleasantness out of the way first. My eating. Ugh! The past week was horrid, at least until yesterday. I ate junk and crap, and then some more junk. I stress-ate on Friday and mindlessly ate socially on Saturday and Sunday.

Friday I pigged out on cookies and indulged in fried goodies food; Saturday I ate too many pancakes with full-calorie syrup and butter and later drank lots of beer and ate fried chicken strips; and Sunday I had lasagna, then went to a hockey game and ate (I kid you not) a couple cups of popcorn, a small plate of tortilla chips and salsa, 1 beer, 2 Dr. Peppers, part of a cookie, some cotton candy, and part of piece of cake. My stomach ached Sunday night, not surprisingly.

And also not surprisingly, the scale reading isn’t looking the way I’d like it to look at the moment. It’s above the maintenance range I’d set for myself. I’m over my 134 “stay below this weight” target, and my past-week average is over 133. The numbers did drop today vs. yesterday, and I’m back on track now so I expect it to get back down into my goal range in the next few days. But MAN! I lost it there for a few days.

Thank goodness that a few bad days don’t undo months and months worth of work.

And, from a health and fitness perspective, the past week was not all bad. Despite my complete lack of being on-plan from an eating perspective and slightly over goal, I had a very, very good week when it came to exercise.

In fact, I even earned my exercise badge:
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My goal last week was to do two couch-to-5k runs during the week, and run an official 5k on Saturday. I also wanted to do one full-body strength training workout and, later in the week, an upper-body strength training workout. I did it! I did all of it!

And in running the 5k, I beat my goal in terms of time. I’d walked a 5k in the past (with an occasional jog thrown in) at around 45 minutes. That time was without any real training – I was doing step aerobics so I wasn’t completely out of shape, but I wasn’t training to run or walk at all. I decided I’d try to beat that by 10 minutes, and aimed to come in at or around 35 minutes. When I did my test run on Wednesday I hit just over 35 minutes, and when I actually ran the 5k on Saturday my chip time was 32:08.

Not only did I meet my goal, I beat it! Woo hoo! And I officially graduated from the couch to 5k program – Hooray!

So, looking back at the past week, it wasn’t a bad week, but it wasn’t a good week either. My goal for this week is to be able to look back and say it was a good week.

Goals for the week:
- Eat on plan from Monday-Friday (Monday went well – yay!)
- Go to Mexico for vacation on Saturday and eat reasonably (but not perfectly)
- Do cardio and strength training Monday (done), and then run 30 minutes on Wednesday and Friday (or Saturday in Mexico … I’m aiming for Friday, though). I want to get an upper body workout in before the end of the week, too.

I’ll be away next week on Tuesday “where am I” check-in day, since my husband and I are going to Mexico for vacation for a week to celebrate our 5 year anniversary. We leave Saturday and return the next Saturday. I’m looking forward to a nice, relaxing week. I’m actually excited to be going to a place that I can wear a bikini. My body is by no means perfect (far from it!), but I’ve worked really hard on it, and it looks better than it’s looked in a long, long, long time.

My plan for the week of vacation is to eat reasonably (but I have no delusions that I’ll be perfect), and to do 3x cardio and 2x strength training (with one strength session being only upper body if my cardio is a 30+ minute run). There’s a fitness center, but I’m hoping there’s also a place for me to run outside. Cross your fingers for me.

I’ll post a couple times before I leave, but for those of you who are Healthy You Challenge Tuesday-only check-in-ers, have a great couple weeks!

* Apparently this line should actually be “She was very good indeed,” but that’s not how I learned the poem. I’m mis-quoting it the way I learned it. Also, this poem was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Who knew!?!

Monday, April 21, 2008

I think I might be a runner now

I ran my first official post-c25k 5k on Saturday morning. Yaaaaaaaay!!!

I enjoyed it thoroughly. My husband and I invited lots of friends to join us at the run, and since there was a 10k, a 5k, and a 1k, there was a little something for everyone. Our group had a total of 17 people running or walking – 7 of us ran the 5k, 3 of us walked the 5k, 4 of us ran the 10k, and 3 of us walked the 1k.

When it came to the seven 5k runners, I was right smack in the middle in terms of finishing times – two guys finished significantly ahead of me, two finished later, and three of us were right in the middle. I was the only female who ran the 5k – most of the women walked the 5k or 1k, although one ran the 10k (she graduated from the couch to 5k program in July of 2007).

My official chip time was 32:08 minutes. I am completely satisfied with this time. My goal was to be at or near 35 minutes; I beat my goal!

I ended up running the entire distance with my husband, which was fun – we’d planned on running separately but figured we’d start out together and separate once one person needed to slow down or speed up. But instead of separating, we stayed together the whole time. I think his ability to run faster than me was offset by the fact that I’d trained more consistently, and I'd recently done much longer training runs than he’d done.

The run felt very right to me. I feel like the couch to 5k program prepared me for the run … well, it prepared me for everything except dodging strollers and waist-high children, anyway. There were LOTS of little people who would sprint forward and then abruptly stop, and lots of folks moving not-so-quickly while pushing strollers. I don’t know if my time was hurt by the obstacle course-ness of the beginning of the race, or if I actually ran faster to get out of the first-mile chaos.

Unfortunately, my knees are a little sore. I think I upped my distance a little too quickly in the last couple weeks. I’m going to rest my joints for a day or two (maybe I’ll do the recumbent bike tonight rather than running), then get back to 30 minute runs 3 days a week.

I’ve definitely caught the running bug. Right now I’m contemplating doing a 5k a month through the summer, and then beginning to train for a 10k towards the end of the summer or in the fall. I need to figure out what 10k will be my goal race and plan around that. There’s a 10k in August, but I’m not so on board with doing a 10k in August in Texas. I’d rather do a 10k after it’s cooled off a bit.

I also need to settle on a 10k training program. I was originally leaning towards Hal Higdon’s 10k program for novices, but now I’m considering the Becoming a One Hour Runner program instead. I really like training based on time instead of distance … I think that works better for me.

It’s good that being active is the game plan – with the way I ate on Friday and all weekend I’ll need to find ways to burn calories. I had some stress eating on Friday, then on Saturday we went out for pancakes after our race, and then we went for beers. On Sunday I did fine all day, but we had Stars hockey tickets for that night and I went a little crazy on the stadium food. The scale and I … let’s just say we’re not friends this morning.

Thank goodness for Kathy’s “one perfect day” challenge … hopefully that’ll get me back on track.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Diagnosis: Unknown

Yesterday wasn't the best day I've ever had.

First, I took my new car in to the shop to get window tint added, and I ended up sitting in the car rental place for an hour before they had a car for me. I was sooooooo late to work.

Then in the early afternoon I went to my doctor's appointment to get the results of my CT scan, and (before she'd even talk to me about the test) my doc (TMI warning) gave me a pelvic exam. Not my favorite activity, let me tell ya.

The good news is that the pelvic was fine, but when we (finally) talked about the CT scan I found out that the CT scan results were inconclusive. There is a lesion on my liver that could be nothing at all to worry about, or might be something to worry about. Guess what I get to do this afternoon? I'm going to get an MRI. Joy. Not only do I have to wear a paper outfit and get injected with strange contrast chemicals again, I also get to spend yet another weekend wondering what the hell is going on with my body. I hate waiting on test results. I'll probably hear results on Tuesday.

There's also a cyst on my ovary, which she suspects is just your typical uninteresting and not-of-concern cyst. She's going to leave it alone and re-check the size in 3 months. So in three months, I get to have an ultrasound.

Woo hoo! I'm so excited, because you really can't have too many radiological tests!

Yes, that's sarcasm.

Anyway, to top it off, I get back from the doctor's office and I find that the mailman brought me a present. The car dealership had sent me a big tin of cookies as a thank-you for purchasing my car.

Yummy, tasty, chocolate-chip cookies.

What do I do? I eat a big freakin' pile of them. Yes, I totally regressed into stress eating late yesterday afternoon. I hadn't done that in a loooooooong time.


Hey, at least I ate them with non-fat milk, right?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Couch to 5k: Final Week

I’ve completely lost track of what week and day I’m on in the couch to 5k program. Week 9, maybe? Is that the last week? I guess that’s the downside of switching to my own music rather than using the magical podcasts that help me keep up with this stuff. Oh well. Bottom line: I’m done with the prep-work for the 5k, and I'll be a couch to 5k graduate after I run my official 5k run on Saturday.

Yesterday I did my final pre-5k run, and I approached it differently than the other c25k runs. The couch to 5k program is set up such that you can run based on length OR time. All along, I’ve been running based on time … time was easier to keep up with, and I could pace myself as needed as I built up to longer and longer runs. But yesterday, for the first time, I ran based on distance. Instead of running for 30 minutes, I went to and created a course that was exactly 5k. Then I didn’t set my timer to beep at 30 minutes – I walked to my starting point to warm up, and I ran until I got to the end of my 5k distance.

I ran 5k yesterday!

It took me 35:35 minutes to run my own personal unofficial 5k. When I’d been running based on time I’d only worked my way up to running for 30 minutes, so this approach increased my running time by a little over 5 minutes. I could definitely feel the difference. It was hard. My original plan was to finish the couch to 5k program about a week or week and a half ago, and then work gradually up from the 30 minutes to longer to get to 5k. I think that extra time would have benefited me from a comfort perspective. But whatever – comfort schmumfort – I did it, and now I know with confidence that if I pace myself on Saturday I can do it then, too. Woo hoo!

I was very pleased with my 35:35 time. My hope was that I’d be at or close to 35 minutes. I’d run/walked a 5k and the time was around 45 minutes, so 35 minutes seemed like a good first-run goal. Now, the question is whether I can do the Saturday run in around 35 minutes. I figure I’ll have the adrenaline going for me, but I know the actual race route is a little hillier than my completely flat neighborhood. But I also had the wind working against me during some of my run yesterday, so if the wind is calm Saturday morning, maybe … just maybe … I can still be around 35 minutes.

And hey, ultimately, it doesn’t matter all that much how long it takes. The primary goal is to RUN the entire 5k. If the running is slow, so be it. That’ll just give me another goal to work towards.

5k, here I come!

(Oh, and PS, I did watch BL last night. Yay!)