Assumptions: Why they’re usually never good.

This week, I saw my amazing friend Alan at Sweating Until Happy post this on his Facebook page:

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 10.08.33 PM

Do you know Alan? You should! He’s lost over 140 pounds, and is doing a triathalon soon! He’s an awesome athlete. It’s ironic that Alan posted this this week because I’ve also had several innocent assumptions this week come at me in the wrong way. I had a doctor’s appointment with a new practitioner, and after discussing my weight loss goals, he looked at me quizzically and said, “But do you exercise?” It was really hard for me not to pull out the sassy-snarky-sarcastic card that I play so well and be like “Nope. Not at all. In fact, I only move about 12 feet total each day, when I wake up in my bedroom and commute down the hall to my office for work.” However, my face probably showed some irritation as I patiently explained that yes, I hike, I do yoga, I run on the treadmill, I walk, I zumba… I am active. I know that it’s his job as a doctor to make sure I’m getting some physical activity, but I more resent the idea that just because I’m heavy, it’s assumed that I must not move. In the past, I’ve actually whipped out a business card for this blog at doctor’s appointments, just so I don’t have to explain the whole history of my ridiculous weight loss/gain/medical maladies. I may do that next week when I meet with a new endocrinologist… or maybe I’ll just get a t-shirt made that says “YES. I exercise at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes. YES, I am still obese.” (but I’d probably add a smiley face to the end of it, cuz that’s how I roll.) :) (This same doctor told me to lose 100 pounds. I actually did laugh (politely) in his face and said “Yeah, not gonna happen. I’m cool with just 55 more.”
(Underachiever? Nah. Realist? Yah.))

Big girls climb mountains!

Big girls climb mountains!

Then, as if once this week wasn’t enough, I also tried a new fitness class at a new studio. While this comment wasn’t so direct, I got more of the “Oh, have you ever done this before? Is this your first time trying it?” all the while being corrected about the moves. Innocent questions, but perhaps because I’m already sensitive about the whole weight/exercise thing, I felt a tad annoyed as I explained that I’d done this particular type of exercise several times for several years, but that I just like to try different classes. These things come up all the time for all kinds of different people. I know that my single friends hate how people always assume they’re lonely or unhappy. There are a million different assumptions we make about people at any given time, and that’s fine, because it’s human nature. But maybe if you’re going to assume something, pause for a moment before verbalizing. I have to work on this too. As a chronic sufferer of foot in mouth disease, I definitely have said things I shouldn’t have, or made assumptions, or reinforced stereotypes… and I’m workin’ on it. And that’s fine. We will never be perfect at never offending anyone or hurting feelings. But, we can work on an awareness, a type of “sympatico” that you gently roll around in your mind, reminding you that next time you want to blurt out something like “Good for you!” to the heavy person huffing and puffing around the block, they may not need those kudos. AND, those words of encouragement? Might actually be kind of a downer for the person on the receiving end. While the intentions are good, of course, remember what Alan said. You never know where someone is at in their journey.

Where have you experienced an assumption that didn’t quite jive with you? I know it happens with career types (like assuming because I’m a social media manager, I update my Facebook and watch YouTube videos all day), body types, ethnicities, hair color… you name it! I guess any trait could create an unwanted assumption, couldn’t it? :)

 

Losing weight with the help of the internet

I’ve been using myfitnesspal for probably a year now, I’m not sure.  Sometimes I can be good and actually log in every day but most of the time, I’m horrible at tracking my food and exercise.  I finally downloaded the app on my phone with thoughts that maybe I would get into the habit of logging in but nope, that didn’t help either.

I have a bunch of friends who are AWESOME at logging in every day.  The best part of tracking my progress online is definitely sharing my experiences with friends.  I think I’ve gotten to know some people a lot better because of the webpage and it’s been so wonderful to see how well they do!  Seeing them do great inspires me to do better yet I still find it so hard to get in the habit.  I can easily spend an hour on Facebook, but why is spending five minutes on myfitnesspal such a challenge?

Perhaps it’s because websites like myfitnesspal require me to be responsible for my actions.  If I’m honest and include everything I consume for the day, the shocking reality that I’ve processed 139 grams of sugar in a day screams out at me in bold red writing.  The line graph that shows steady progress being made only for it to plateau and eventually head north again doesn’t lie either.  There’s no running from my weight loss and health issues online if you’re being honest. Of course, I could weigh-in and avoid the shame, which I did all summer, but when I finally did sign in again, it made the process of dealing with the numbers and graphs even harder.

Myfitnesspal progress for the month of September... up and down...

Myfitnesspal progress for the month of September… up and down…

This week my weigh-in showed I lost .2 pounds.  Not much, well, from last week’s one pound gain, I guess I lost 1.2 pounds or so.  I did a TON of walking last week and played tennis twice!  I went up and down San Francisco hills and also spent a while wandering frantically around the San Jose State campus trying to find a meeting.  On each occurrence, as I would lift my baseball hat to cool off, I would brush aside the light layer of sweat that seemed to building and remind myself that all this was just a free work-out.

Next Monday will mark a full four weeks that I’ve been “back on the wagon” and I hope I’ll be able to make my progress line graph drop down a little bit more.

Do any of you track your weight loss or health progress online?  What are you experiences with it?

Thank you for reading! I’ve been loving all the support we’ve been getting lately!  You guys rock!

 

Love,
AprilSignatur

Finding a work-out partner

I tend to not be very successful when it comes to having a work-out partner.  With my random schedule, it’s hard to find someone who can match it.  Lately my desire to play tennis again has left me on a mission to find people to play with since I just can’t seem to do that alone.  I started on Facebook and ended up probably hurting my friend’s feelings when she eagerly volunteered to play but I said no because she’d have to take her one-year-old.   Sadly, I told her I was too worried about the baby getting hit by a tennis ball as she just started walking and exploring the world. I still feel guilty about it but my paranoia runs thick and last thing I would want to feel guilty about it pegging this gorgeous little blue eyed girlie in the head!

So I continued my quest.  I started to deeply ponder who I could play tennis with.  There’s still that 19 year old who hits on me that I met in tennis last semester…  hmmm….   I could play with my other young and hot friend but he’s just so much better than me that it’s a waste of time for him…  I could post an ad on craigslist but then I’ll probably end up with some crazy person who collects hundreds of those old glass McDonald’s cups and will invite me to come over to see them after we play or awkwardly stand around after making small talk…

Then out of the blue, my two good friends Megan and Eric said they would be down to play as I expressed my longing at a recent BBQ.  Yes!

I also discovered that two other separate friends are down to go ice skating with me during adult skate at the Snoopy Rink!  Thanks Nicole and Jake!  Yay!

It’s been two weeks of tennis on Wednesdays and I’m so happy to be playing again.  Megan, Eric, and I had a BALL as we played around, each taking turns being the lone person on the opposite court.  Now that was a good work-out, when two people team up on one side it results in the opposite person constantly running back and forth.  It was awesome!  I was SO sweaty.  That’s so rare.  :)  About half an hour into our tennis playing, I heard the familiar sound of Brahm’s Lullaby, the soothing sound for sugar that many Petaluma people would recognize quickly with perked ears.  It was our local ice cream man, John, driving around the cul-de-sac about to take his break.  Feeling incredibly deserving, I instantly suggested we give up playing to get ice cream.  Megan seemed down for my suggestion while Eric protested that getting ice cream would wipe out the whole point of us playing tennis.   I argued that eating ice cream would not affect our skill level but Eric stuck by his point and I decided against the ice cream, knowing it would give me something to write about on here.  Hah!   I guess he’s a  pretty good work-out partner.  ;)

When you all work out, do you choose to do so alone?  Are there any people you love working out with?  How did you find them!?

I hope you all have a glorious weekend and I’ll be back next week with another weekly update on my second week of being back on the wagon.

Ta-ta!

AprilSignatur

 

Hidden athleticism.

I have never been athletic.  While many of America’s youth spend their time in matching uniforms proudly running around with numbers on their back, I was never one of those children.  Well, I was once.  I think I managed a few months of soccer in kindergarten but the only thing I remember is the day I forgot to wear a different shirt for playing goalie.

I never entered onto sporting grounds again unless forced by P.E. (physical education) teacher in school.  I didn’t turn into a chunky monkey until puberty so it’s not like I could even blame my weight on why I avoided sports so much.  It just wasn’t my thing.  I was way more focused on doing extraordinary activities like choreographing dances to Jimmy Buffet’s song “Fins”. I could dance my fins to the left and to the right all night long but if I was told to run a mile in class, I could barely get around the track without wanting to drop to the ground and gasp for air like a beached sand shark.   As much as I despised any sort of sport-related physical activity, I did manage to build a firm appreciation of roller-blading.  Skating the streets of my towns helped build the awesomely firm leg muscles that I still have today.

Once I discovered my love of fitness when I lost fifty pounds and was working at a gym, I decided I should give sports another chance.  I’ve always had fast reflexes and have been pretty good at catching random objects that have been thrown at me so the logical choice was to try playing softball.  With help from one of the most influential guys in my life, my friend Aaron and I began meeting up to practice my throwing and catching.   I wasn’t great but I was determined and tried to gather a bunch of friends together to start a team.  That goal died quicker than Disney’s plan to makeover Merida from the Pixar movie, Brave.

With extra motivation from writing on this blog, I decided to enlist myself in P.E. classes at my college.   As many of our faithful readers know,  I enrolled in yoga, Pilates, and a half-semester tennis course.  I was excited to see how easily my body made progress in it’s strength and flexibility and knowing that my body can indeed be trained into athleticism has given me faith that I can do even better.

tennis

I’ve fallen in love with tennis and I’m even contemplating taking my racket with me across the Atlantic when I leave for Europe in a month.  How will I survive without the tight grip that my hands hold around the handle and the strings that bounce my affections in the form of a neon yellow ball?

I willingly played tennis four times last week and was eager to practice more in between days.  I even gathered phone numbers of my classmates to play with before I leave!  I plan on taking tennis again next semester but hopefully I’ll continue to improve over the summer.  Plus, I just love the cute skirts!

Do any of you play any sports?  If not, have you ever wanted to but found excuses of why you shouldn’t like I so often would do?

Alyssa is back from her glorious trip and will return with a blog to come!

 

 

Happy wishes for the rest of the week for you all!

 

AprilSignatur

My reflections on my no-weigh month

In a couple days, it will be one month since I agreed to say no to the scale for a whole 30 days. The first few days of not weighing, I felt anxious, like I wanted to just hop on and see what was going on. Since I had started boot camp three times a week, I had a hopeful feeling that the number would be lower – but then I remembered all the times I got on that scale thinking the number would be lower, and it was the same, or up, and it put me in a crappy mood for the next hour or two. The reason I decided to go no-weigh for a month was that it was getting discouraging to see the number not move. One bad weigh in and I was grumpy for the rest of the day, tempted to blow off my eating plans or exercise, because why did it matter? All that hard work and I was getting no where.

After the first few days of no weigh, I felt free. I didn’t hop on in nervous anticipation every morning. The scale became less of a mood-breaker and more of an annoying piece of furniture taking up space in my bedroom. It was liberating not to worry about a salty meal the night before, or if my exercise had “caught up” with me. I loved it. I loved being no weigh.

To help me keep track of my progress, I took all of my measurements the first day of no-weigh. I checked in today and did a re-measure, and I can say that I’m happy with the way things are going. At the end of this week, I’ll weigh myself and see what’s up. I don’t know what to expect. My fitness habits have been great, and I’m accomplishing major things fitness wise – running a mile without stopping, getting through 60 minute cardio sessions without dying, enjoying the healthy flush and spurt of energy that regular exercise gets me. Considering that I’ve just started a new job and am in my last month of grad school, my mood has been amazing. However, my eating has been more spotty with the last few weeks of school. This week, there were many days when I worked an 8 hour day, came home and immediately started working on my thesis, finishing up at 1 AM, snarfing down a few slices of pizza or going out to grab a Vietnamese noodle bowl with my husband. I haven’t been able to put as much thought and preparation into my meals, but I’m hoping my diligent exercise efforts have helped balance it out.

We’ll see how my weigh in goes at the end of this week, but if staying away from the number didn’t do too much damage, I might consider weighing myself less frequently. Over this long, long process, I’ve learned that you can FEEL skinny, FEEL fit, FEEL good – and not lose weight. But maybe you gained muscle. Or maybe you’re bloated. Or maybe you didn’t go to the bathroom. Or maybe you forgot to take off your bath robe. There are so many variables to what affects the number on the scale – and after my no-weigh month, I’m learning to give those variables less “room” in my daily life. Life happens. I don’t need a scale to tell me my worth, or what kind of day I’m going to have. I will choose to be conscious of my health by the way I feel – how I’m sleeping, my moods, my energy level, the color of my skin.

Have you ever considered doing a “no weigh”? Why or why not?

 

 

Weekend Recap – Enchiladas, Hiking and SNAKES!

Hello everybody! I hope you had a lovely weekend. I know I did! On Friday, Matt had the day off and so did I, so we were lucky enough to spend a day together with our dear friends Jason and Juan. We headed to their ‘hood, in west Los Angeles, where we ate a picnic lunch on the beach and then wandered into a restaurant store where I picked up a couple things that I’ll show off on the blog soon. The real treat of the day was when Juan made us homemade enchiladas for dinner. Now, according to Juan, enchiladas are only “Authentic” when the sauce is made from scratch, by boiling dried chilies and then pureeing them. Here we are tag teaming in the kitchen – me frying the tortillas, and Juan rolling them up.

Me and Juan rockin' enchiladas

Me and Juan rockin’ enchiladas

Here’s the end result – and HOLY GUACAMOLE, these enchiladas were amazing – I’d venture to say the best I’ve ever had in my life. The cheese oozed out of the middle and the bottoms of the tortillas were crunchy and salty against the perfect, slightly spicy red sauce. I wish smell-o-vision was real so I could have you scratch and sniff your screen to get a whiff of these babies. I love spending time with friends, and spending time with friends and delicious food is like heaven!

Amazing homemade cheese enchiladas

Amazing homemade cheese enchiladas

The next morning, I felt the need to burn off some of that amazing cheesey goodness, so Matt and I headed to a local hiking spot about 15 minutes from our house called the Victory Trailhead. It was a beautiful clear day, and despite the pollen polluting the air, you could see the blue sky for miles and miles against the rolling green hills.

Victory Trailhead

Victory Trailhead

The great part about this place is you can choose if you want a difficult hike, a moderate hike, or an easy hike. We went with moderate, opting for some steep hills to get the views, but took the nice flat path on the way back. We ended up hiking for about two hours total, and according to my Polar, I burned 700 calories!

Feelin' Fit

Feelin’ Fit

This hike felt good because while I was out of breath going up the hills, I felt pretty “in shape” compared to the last hike I did. I definitely started pooping out near the end, when my pace slowed down and I was draggin’. Good thing my head was down as I climbed the trail, because it helped me avoid stepping on this little guy!

ssssssnake

ssssssnake

While I’m always leery of snakes on grass trails, especially in rattler country, I didn’t expect to see one smack dab in the middle of the beaten path. He was a laidback little snake and posed for pictures before calmly winding his way back into the grass. According to Google, he’s a harmless grass snake and exclusively eats lizards and frogs. I was a lot less scared of him than the giant grasshopper that decided to jump on my thigh mid-hike. Matt had to flick him off me as I screamed “Get it off! Get it off!” in a shrill voice. I don’t do well with grasshoppers… some day I’ll blog about that, but I think that would only tempt the universe to make them flock to me even more. *shudder*

Anyways, it was a lovely long weekend – a great productive one to make up for next weekend, when I won’t be able to do much since I’ll be recovering from my first lipo surgery! I got a groupon for some targeted bicep and tricep liposuction, and I can’t wait to suck the fat right out of my guns.  …

APRIL FOOL’s, of course. As tempting as it sounds to just suck the fat from my body, I don’t have the funds or the guts to go under the knife. Anyways! Lipo, snakes and enchiladas aside, how was your weekend? Did you have a long one? Are you off today?