Sunday, October 30, 2011

Surgery Today

It's just about 4:30 a.m.

I completed my admission papers last night but could not bring myself to stay the night in the hospital. I needed to be home.

I've been up since about 2 a.m. I wasn't panicking, but I was definitely feeling restless. I've tried to mediate and center myself, and I feel a bit calmer ... but I want it all to be over and done with already.

I don't know when I'll be back to blogging, but I'll definitely be online as soon as I can :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Last Workout

I had my last workout today. I was tempted to make it a 'last chance workout' but the last thing I wanted to do was overstrain myself and add to the soreness that I'm bound to feel post-surgery.

Half an hour on the cross-trainer
About a half hour of free weights - just to loosen up my muscles, nothing major
Then, RPM class - which is the class that I'm going to miss the most!

It's frustrating because I feel like I was just getting back into the swing of things and really getting into my workouts, and now this is happening.

Well, I guess this is life. Very few people have the luxury of having the time to workout whenever and how much they want on a daily basis as well as the ability (plus time & money) to fully focus on nutrition ALL the time ... most of us have things that need to get done everyday. On top of that, life happens -- we get sick, we get busy, people around us need us, plans get interrupted, things just happen ... there's no escaping it. The time to focus on getting healthy is now, at every moment ... not when the time is right.

So, I'm not going to dwell on missing the gym for the next few weeks. That type of thinking won't get me back into the RPM studio any sooner!! I'm going to focus on my recovery - on doing what's best for me - physically and mentally - to come back as soon as I'm ready and continue moving forward on this journey.

I'm definitely curious to see how the weight loss will go over the next six weeks. I mean my movements will be fairly restricted, and definitely no lifting ... I know that I can (and will) watch what I eat, but I also know that you need to eat well in order to replenish your body and give it the strength to recover ... so I'm just wondering how it will all balance out ... I guess we'll find out ...

Forward Focus Playlist

My go-to playlist on those days when all I want to do is zone out on a cardio machine ...

Ruhe (Schiller)
Reason (Ian Van Dahl)
Never Cry Again (Dash Berlin)
Shivers [Rising Star Remix] (Armin van Buuren
Only One Too [Lenny B. Club Mix] (Jewel)
Waiting [feat. Emma Hewitt] (Dash Berlin)
Sunspot [feat. Airwave] (Armin van Buren)
What Hurts the Most (Cascada)
Everything [feat. Jes] (Tiesto)
Overdrive (Clokx)
Tune (ATB)
A Forest [The Remixes] (Blank & Jones)

Just over an hour of soothing trance/house music.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Getting Ready

My surgery has been moved up yet another day.

It's scary, but at this point, I just want it to be over and want the healing process to begin.

There is, however, lots to be done. Yesterday was a very, very busy day. It started with a trip to the hospital to do some final blood work, and then, upon finding out that I had one less day to prepare for the surgery, it was all about getting errands done ... and there are A LOT of things to get done.

The good thing about having had a similar surgery before is that I kind of know what to expect and what I'll need after the surgery. Like getting in and out of bed and chairs is really tough - but now I can make sure I have something firm to hold on to so that I can lift myself up (plus I've got stronger biceps and triceps, yay!). There are some things that are too high or too low - and I need to move them so that they are easily accessible. Even other things that I wouldn't have though of before - like getting into my car after the surgery. There's no way I can step up into my tank of a car, and D's car is too low ... so that needs to be figured out. There's also a very high step that leads to the house's entryway ... I'll need a brick or cinderblock to step on in order to make that step ... see, lots of little things, but at least I can be prepared for them.

After a frantic day running around, I still managed to squeeze in an hour at the gym and it was bliss. I just put on my headphones, selected my 'Forward Focus' playlist, and walked. It was heaven. It was just me and the music and steady movement for an hour - no distractions, no other thoughts. I felt SO MUCH better after the workout. Nothing high intensity - I wasn't there to track calories or distance. I just wanted to sweat it out, and it totally helped.

Today is also focused on finishing up my errands ... I'm hoping that I can get another workout it. I also want to come up with a food plan so that I make sure my eating is on track when I'm back home. It's going to have to be really low-maintenance food, but that doesn't mean it's going to be unhealthy. Trying to stay calm, focused, and optimistic.

Optimism inspires, energizes, and brings out our best.
It points the mind toward possibilities and
helps us think creatively past problems.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Details

I've been going back and forth quite a bit about how much detail I should reveal about my upcoming surgery. I think deciding how much personal info to post on the web in itself is quite tricky ... Some people hold nothing back while others are guarded. I know that as a reader of several blogs, I always appreciate the honesty and raw emotions that are sometimes revealed in blog posts ... I also know that as I've been searching for info about my upcoming surgery on the web, the personal experiences of those who have gone through the same/similar thing have helped immensely. With that in mind, as well as the fact that this blog is about my overall health - and the surgery will definitely have an impact on it - I've decided to share. I won't go into too much detail, but just the basics so you have an idea of what I'm going through.

By the way, this may be too much info for some ... so if details about health/surgery are not your thing ... I don't recommend the rest of this post ...

In December 2008, I had a myomectomy. The pain and discomfort from the fibroids in my uterus had gotten to a point where I could hardly sit. The surgery took 2 hours longer than they had expected because they found so many fibroids inside me, and they were large. The recovery from the surgery was painful and totally demoralizing. I could hardly move without assistance. Sitting was painful, coughing felt like I was being stabbed several times, no position was comfortable - I was just in pain.

However, after three difficult weeks things started to get back to normal. I still had to avoid strenuous exercise for an additional four weeks, but in general I was doing ok. Unfortunately the lack of movement (and the added pounds that I had put on over Thanksgiving and Christmas just prior to the surgery) saw a 12 kg (25 pound) gain in weight ... taking me to the heaviest I had ever been. It was terrible. I felt horrible.

However, I no longer had any of the physical pain, and I felt that the surgery was a big success. What a relief. The doctors said that the fibroids would start regrowing (as there is no cure except for a hysterectomy) but that I would probably be ok for another 8 years.

By June 2009 I had had enough with the way I looked and I decided to focus as much energy as possible on working out and losing weight. Within a year (well, 14 months/Aug 2010 to be exact) I had lost 22 kg (45 pounds) and I felt really good. I had done it through A LOT of exercise and watching the portions of what I was eating (though still not always eating the healthiest of foods).

Then it started becoming more and more difficult to lose weight. In fact, I started gaining weight. I was still exercising regularly (though I had cut down to a 'normal' amount, 1-2 hours 5 times a week vs. 3-6 hours the previous year) and eating well, but I was stuck at a plateau. As I did more weights and upped the intensity of my workouts (I just did not have time to do 3-6 hr workouts anymore so I had to be more efficient) I noticed changes in my body - my legs and arms were definitely becoming more toned and thinner -- but what about my abdominal region? Who the hell cares if my fingers have become thinner?! It was very frustrating ...

My hospital visits in London this past summer let me know why. As I had mentioned, my fitness health was excellent, but upon examining me physically, when the doctor got to my abdominal region, his exact reaction was "Oh my goodness. Are you sure you're not pregnant? Your uterus is enormous!" Ya, not something you want to hear when you're NOT pregnant. I went to a specialist who confirmed I needed surgery. She also said that because of the fibroids, my uterus was the size of a 5-6 month pregnant woman ... and no matter how much I exercised, that swelling wouldn't go down because it was directly related to the fibroids.

Frustrating to say the least. Sure I could (should?) have felt relieved that becoming thinner wasn't because I wasn't putting in the effort, but anyone who is trying to lose weight will know that it's still frustrating to hear. Anyway.

I was upset because they had told me that I probably wouldn't need surgery for another 8 years, yet here I am, less than three years later and I need surgery. It's not even that they've started growing (I knew that a year ago, but they were still small). It's the fact that they've been growing so quickly and so big.

I'm at a 3 in terms of pain at any given moment in time, and at a 7-8 in terms of pain at least 2-3 times a day. During my monthly cycle I'm at about a 15-20 - no exaggeration. That's no way to live.

Sunday's doctor's appointment confirmed that surgery was indeed needed and sooner rather than later ... no surprise. The big question: Another myomectomy or a hysterectomy?

Doctors still think I'm young (35) for a hysterectomy. However, a hysterectomy is the only cure. If I undergo a myomectomy, I'll need the surgery again - who knows how quickly the fibroids will regrow, but they will regrow for sure.

So go through major surgery and have the pain, discomfort, and swelling come back again only to do the surgery again? Or have a final major surgery and just deal with the recovery and move on.

Surgery is scary in any case ... but I think having a hysterectomy takes things to another level. You can't go back after you've done this. I do not have kids, and am fine with not having any children. Adoption is always a possibility in the future if that's where the road goes ... but for now, it's stressful because it IS a big deal ...

I have decided to have a hysterectomy.

I know that there are some people who will think this is a very drastic step. However, they do not know the pain that I am in on a daily basis; they can't imagine what I go through. This is my decision, and I know it's a big one. I may have just started blogging about it recently but it's something that has been on my mind since the last surgery when it was given as an option, and it has become more of a realistic solution over the past six months. I don't need anybody to ask me if I'm sure.

I AM absolutely sure in my decision, but that doesn't mean I'm not scared.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Planks, Push-ups, and Positivity

The next few days will be all about surrounding myself with positive thoughts, positive people, and anything else that brings positive energy ... as well as brushing up a bit of my upper body strength.

My medical leave was approved by the department, and two of my colleagues have agreed to cover the classes that I'll miss. Luckily I'm actually not missing too many classes because of the upcoming Eid holiday.

I spent a few hours with KD another one of the trainers at the gym (Body Combat & Body Pump instructor) and her support and advice was really good. I feel so lucky to have many of the trainers at the gym supporting me. It makes a big difference. I mean, I've got my friends and family, but the trainers are both my friends and family too ... it's such a big difference from 3 years ago.

Losing the strength and fitness that I've developed over the past two years has obviously been a big concern of mine. Perhaps for some people it may not seem like the thing I should be worried about when I'm about to go through surgery ... but it is a big deal. To be honest, the idea of not being able to exercise for almost two months is really freaking me out.

In trying to stay positive, however, I'm reminding myself that I'm in a MUCH better place with this surgery than the last one. During the last surgery I worked out a little but ate like crap ... this time, for the past 2 years I've changed my habits and my approach to food. This time instead of having chocolates and biscuits in the house, there will be lots of fruits and other things that will be healthy and satisfying ... I'm sure (well I hope) that these measures will help me get back on my feet quickly (and not gain weight)!!

My core is going to take a major hit during this surgery, so I'm trying to do a few planks and push-ups throughout the day to strengthen both my arms and my abs. I know I'll need the strength. They're two of my toughest exercises, but I think they're the most important ones for me at the moment. I don't want to overdo it, but I do want to prepare a bit. Tomorrow I hope to focus on cardio.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Putting things in Perspective

Another doctor's appointment today and she's moved the surgery up by five days.

Of course I'm anxious about the surgery itself, but I'm more stressed about the recovery period and the fact that it'll keep me out of the gym for 3-4 weeks with no strenuous workouts for 6-8 weeks. I remember how painful the recovery was after my first surgery - could barely sit up or stand up without help ... it was very depressing and demoralizing.

However, I'm trying to keep a few things in mind:

1. If I could survive it once, I can survive it again.
2. I am a lot stronger now, so I should be able to cope better.
3. This discomfort will be temporary -- once this recovery period is over, I'll be better.

I thought I'd have about ten days before the surgery so I was planning on spending quite a bit of time in the gym - kind of trying to build some strength before going through the whole process, but I guess I won't have that much time.

I went to see my trainer DV at the gym today - not to workout, just to talk and kind of have a therapy session if you will.

It was great. Really, really helpful. He's known about my condition so he knew right away what I was talking about. He let me talk and then shared his thoughts ... he went into a lot of stuff, but the note we ended on was what meant the most to me.

When I told him about my concern about being out of the gym he said - So what? Once you're better you'll be right back. You're in pain now. This condition is getting in the way of you making progress. So have the surgery. Recover. And don't worry - I'll train your ass off when you're strong enough.

First time I really smiled in the past four days!

He said instead of trying to wear myself out over the next few days and overtrain that I should focus on workout out to relieve stress - cardio plus yoga/meditation. He reminded me of all I've accomplished and all that I will accomplish once this is over.

I can't tell you how much better I felt. I know it may seem like a silly concern, but it's an important one for me. There are actually so many little things that are on my mind right now -- about family, work, friends, weight loss challenges etc. I'm just trying to tackle them one by one.

I think the next few days are going to involve taking care of my mental framework to help my physical healing.

I'm also going to have to figure out how to handle my Fired up for fall and Triple Dog Dare challenges ... some modifications may be necessary ... we'll see. Advice/Suggestions are appreciated.

In the meantime - despite the stress, my diet has been excellent. Food is totally on plan, water intake is a bit tough because of the pressure on my abdomen but I'm still hitting my goal. I haven't put in as many hours at the gym this week ... yet. I still have a few days to see what I can accomplish. Lots to do. Not much time. It will all get done. Just trying to keep things in perspective.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fired Up for Fall - Week 6

My days (along with my moods) seem to be fluctuating a lot lately. I feel distracted. Even though I'm doing everything that needs to get done - eating right, exercising, going to work, studying, socializing - I'm feeling some sort of emptiness/anxiousness. Of course now, with surgery most likely in two weeks, I'm feeling the pressure even more. It's like just when I thought I would be able to settle into a good routine balancing everything out, this comes into the picture and I will have to reassess everything. I'm a bit frustrated, but definitely trying to stay positive.

Now, for Fired up for Fall Week 6!

Part I: Positive Picture

With all the stress that lies ahead, I need to remember to trust myself and be confident. There are so many uncertainties in life, but I can't hold on to the fear that comes with the unknown. I need to look at everything logically and realistically and trust that everything will be fine.


What have you done to achieve your goals this week?
I've made really good progress with my PhD writing. It's going slow, but I decided to take advantage of the three month extension and do my best instead of rush through it and just hand it in. The editing process is tedious, but I like the way it's all coming together.

This week was good in terms of both exercise and food. I managed to do a bit more NROL4W. I do realize, however, with surgery up ahead I will have to put the completion of Phase 2 on hold as I won't be allowed to lift anything/do strenuous exercise for 4-6 weeks. We'll see how it goes though. I'll do the best I can until I'm admitted.

I'm still not experimenting much with recipes, but I did make a root vegetable bake that turned out delicious :)

I haven't touched my office since last week, but it's still looking good from the first major clean up. Just a few boxes to go through and then I'll be done.

What have you done this week to make yourself feel fabulous?
Like last week it was friends who made me feel fabulous this week. I was asked to make 'my famous' tomato/cheese quiche for a friend's son's birthday party. As soon as I walked in the door with the trays (2 large quiches) those who knew what it was were excited ... and out of the 10 different foods that were on the table -- my quiches were the first ones to go! I gotta say that made me feel pretty good :)

Do you listen to music when you workout? What gets you fired up?
Music is a MUST! I have playlists for different types of workouts and ones that are designed to pep me up on days that I need a bit of extra help getting motivated for my workout. Lose Yourself by Eminem is always my starting song for when I do weights.
You can find some of my playlists here. Eminem, Ice Cube, P!nk, Pitbull, Prodigy, and lots of house/trance music all make my day at the gym!

What's your guilty pleasure music? How does it make you feel?
My music tastes are definitely diverse ... and I choose what I want to listen to depending on my mood. Guilty pleasure music -- gotta be Britney Spears ;)

If today were a song, what song would it be?
Today's a bit of a strange day - I'm trying really hard to keep my calm and stay focused. I am a bit scared of what lies ahead, yet I have to keep in mind that I am strong and I'm blessed in so many ways, particularly with an amazing support system around me for what I'm going through.

So, today's song - Extraordinary Ways by Conjure One

"I'm lucky, so much luckier than I ever thought I'd be"

Something to always remember ...

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Short post today as I'm feeling a bit distracted.

I went to the hospital today to follow up on my health issue. It was a new place and a new doctor; needless to say I was nervous.

Overall, the appointment went well, and I liked the new doctor (always a relief). She confirmed everything my London doctor said -- which meant that I do need surgery. The news wasn't a surprise to me, but realizing that I could have the surgery as soon as the first week of November (rather than next summer, which was my original plan) is making me a bit nervous.

I'll figure it out soon. I need to think about it all with a clear mind. I'll write more tomorrow - for now, I just need to relax.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Food for Thought

I find it so ironic that I woke up this morning and did not want to eat at all. I wasn't as hungry as I usually am in the morning, and nothing was appealing. I usually have a bowl of cereal in the mornings and on the weekends I might have something a bit different - a bagel with cream cheese or waffles ... but this morning I couldn't care less.

How do I go from being absolutely ravenous for the past four days to not wanting to even look at food? I forced myself to have a bit of cereal because I don't want to get into the habit of skipping meals ... but I didn't taste it at all. Just chewed and swallowed.

For lunch, I stared at the list of food options and nothing leaped out at me ... I then broke down the ingredients and tried to see if I could get creative. I usually just go for the soup and salad (quick and easy) ... but I wanted something different. As I said, I didn't want to skip a meal, and I don't want to get to the point where I don't enjoy my food (because I know that I will end up skipping meals - which has terrible consequences: risk of binging, dizziness, low blood pressure, irritation, messing with metabolism and so forth), so I ended up having a tuna fish sandwich. I know that doesn't sound exciting, but I haven't had a sandwich in ages. I think in the past two weeks I've only eaten bread once - bagel for breakfast - so I thought perhaps something new would stimulate my taste buds.

It's frustrating when you have to work this hard to figure out what to eat. I know there are so many healthy options - plus I still have a stash of emergency pre-measured healthy food in the freezer, but I just didn't feel like eating any of it. The tuna fish sandwich was fine. Nothing too exciting ...

Perhaps I'm still tired from last night. Another great party last night (October seems to be the party month!) which meant lots more dancing. The food part was actually a bit tough -- it's kind of hard to explain without going into some back story, but to keep it as short as possible - I used to eat at this friend's house frequently several years ago - and there are certain finger foods that are to die for and that I loved. It's been a few years since I've had any of them, so seeing some old big time favorites on the table made me hesitate a bit ... I wasn't really tempted. I just had a flashback of memories and how good those foods tasted. So for just a few seconds I hesitated in front of the table full of carbs and fried food - however, I headed straight to the broiled shrimp and ate a few of those, had two mini pizzas and that was it. I focused on socializing and dancing instead.

On the drive home - close to 3 a.m. - D&I were talking about old habits. I remembered when years ago I would have been heading home from a party around the same time and would just get a craving for some drive-thru ... and would often end up eating a McD's burger of some sort at 3 a.m. -- D had similar experiences ... It's great to know neither of us was even tempted to stop by at one of the four fast food joints that were on the way. I don't even remember the last time I ate at a fast food joint. I know part of it has to do with not eating meat or chicken, but even that change is relatively recent (3 years this November).

It was good to take a moment to reflect and remember that changes can happen. I don't miss eating fast food at all. Sure it's quicker than going out and buying fresh ingredients and preparing a meal at home ... but there's really no comparison to the quality and taste of the food. After reminiscing about my old eating habits and seeing where I am now, I can confidently say that even when I eventually reach my goal weight I will not be tempted by fast food. I'm not saying that I won't be tempted by any foods -- but places like McDonalds, Burger King, etc. are not longer even on my radar.

Another birthday later today ... it's my friend whose favorite foods are fruit and salad :) so I know I'll be safe in terms of food choices tonight :)

Friday, October 21, 2011


I'm hungry.

I mean, I'm really, really hungry ALL the time lately. It's starting to drive me crazy.

I'm not talking about a little, 'Oh, I could do with something to eat.' No, it's complete stomach GROWLING, feeling faint type of hunger.

I'm not sure what it is. It could be that I've been back to a more vigorous exercise routine these past ten days, it could be a bit of PMS ... I don't know. All I know is that I'm HUNGRY!!

The good thing is that I'm not craving anything. I'm not craving fried stuff, sweet stuff, or anything like that. I'm actually amazed at how little (if at all) I crave any of those foods. Even when I read other blogs and they describe fried chicken or other junk food all I think is 'Yuck.' I'm not saying that there aren't foods that I enjoy - french fries are definitely a weakness, and very rarely would I say no to a piece of chocolate! However, they're not 'go-to' foods for me. In fact, I don't think I have a go-to food anymore ... at this point, all I want to do is eat something.

The good thing is that not having any junk food in the house makes it SO much easier to avoid filling up on regrettable calories! I know that if there was chocolate in the house I'd head towards it ... so really pre-planning and avoiding brining unhealthy foods in the house is an important step. Plus, what I'm feeling is hunger, not a craving. It's just a desire for food - and desire for food NOW!

I try to eat every 3-4 hours. With crazy hunger striking every 2 hours, it's getting tougher, but I'm trying to hold off and eat every 3 hours (not sooner) and drink tons of water in the meantime.

It doesn't always work ... for me, it's still about having easy to prepare/eat foods on hand so that I don't have to worry too much - though portion control is still important.

For example, yesterday I sat down with some honeydew melon. One cup of melon is 60 calories; this container had 2 cups ... and I ate it all in one sitting. I'm sure if I had only sat down with 1 cup it would have been fine -- and I would have only consumed 60 calories instead of 120 ... but I sat down with 2, and I ate 2.

Is consuming 60 extra calories of fruit that big a deal? Probably not. That's not the point though -- it just made me aware that even foods that are good for you should be portion controlled in order to build awareness of how much you really need to eat. Two cups of fruit may be harmless, but it isn't necessary - not in one sitting.

Today I had pineapple -- and I only ate 1 cup (75 calories) instead of the 2 that were in the container ... and it was fine. It satisfied my hunger; I didn't need to eat 2 cups of it though I could have and I still would have only consumed 150 calories.

So I'm trying to be sensible with my food choices. I have a menu that I'm following as strictly as possible, but lately I've had to deal with this hunger ... the best thing for me has been grapes. I wash a cup of them (110) calories and put them in a ziplock bag and eat them through the day. I'll have a few at work, some on the way to the gym, a few right after my workout. I usually don't get through the whole bag, but they're clean, easy to eat yummy snacks that fill me up just enough so that I can get past my growling stomach and get on with my day.

Fruits aren't the only thing I snack on. Sometimes I need to eat something hot and salty (because of my low blood pressure). I know nuts are an option, but munching on nuts can be more difficult to control and the calories add up quickly. Still, they are quick/easy. If I've got a bit time (and patience) I'll chop a few veggies (cucumbers and carrots usually). Some days I'll have some soup ... it all depends on how hungry I am and what's on hand.

I hope that this hunger doesn't last for much longer ... well, at the very least, I hope that however I do end up handling the hunger in a healthy way.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

10 km stretch

I got to the gym in time for Combat class -- only to find out it had been cancelled! I hate it when that happens ... still, no excuse not to workout.

I told myself that my workout target would be to burn 600 calories. Body Combat is an intense kickboxing class, and I usually burn an average of 550 calories during a session ... so with that number in mind, I got on the cross-trainer and started.

As I approach 600 calories, I noticed my distance ... I was around the 8 km mark. I was getting close to 10 km. Should I stop at 600 calories and stick to my target or should I go for 10? I thought, what the hell, go for 10 km. So I continued ... I finished the 10 km in just under 1 hr 10 min and burned 700 calories. I can live with that.

It's been quite a while since I did 10 km at a stretch. I have no idea how far we go during our RPM rides, but at least being in a class breaks up the monotony. However, being on a machine for over an hour, not going anywhere, can get a bit exhausting - even with good music. After a while I was thinking - why isn't this done already?! Anyway.

My legs were already feeling a bit sore from yesterdays lunges and squats ... but other than that, the cardio session wasn't bad at all.

Food is good; water intake great. Now I just need to catch up on some rest {and laundry}.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Earlier vs. Later

Today was another crazy day ... I was at work longer than I had wanted to be. At least it was the last day of student presentations. Although some of them have been good, others have been unbelievably boring. I know that's terrible to say, but it's true ... and the presentations were followed by an excruciating meeting. There is no way I can explain how painful these meetings are ... they just take much longer than they should and they most often cover things that could have just be sent by a memo ... anyway.

I was really tired from last night - another night of just about 4 hours of sleep ... I did not want to go to the gym. I mean, I did want to go to the gym, but at the same time I kept thinking - I'm so tired! I could do with a nap. I decided to head towards the gym and decide when I got to the last traffic light -- turn right at the light and I'm home in 10 minutes; turn left at the light and I'm at the gym within 10 minutes ...

This is a dilemma I've faced several times - workout early or workout later ... I'm usually a morning workout person, and by morning I mean 6 a.m. (which is possible when I teach a 10 a.m. class, but not possible this semester) ... but there are some days when it seems to take a lot more effort. At the same time, I know that once I get started with my day (and especially if I go home after work) there's a risk that I'll get busy doing something at home - or too comfortable!! - and not want to go to the gym ... So, force yourself or not? All that stuff about listening to your body, are there times when you should just tell your body (or mind) to shut up because you know it's interfering with you reaching your goals?

I turned left and drove to the gym.

Even once I got in I was dragging my feet a bit, but that's ok - I knew I was there. I took my time getting changed, organized my locker a bit (procrastination follows me everywhere), and then headed down. I really wanted to continue the NROL4W Phase 2. I've only managed to complete the first round so far ... and I need to get on it if I want to finish within 5 weeks.

15 minutes of warm-up cardio on the cross-trainer (just over 2 km)
Workout A of NROL4W Phase 2 -- increased weights for the front squat push press and split lunge. I also added an extra step for the step ups (now up to 5 with 8kg weights/hand - right leg is definitely stronger than my left leg)
30 minutes of 'cool-down' cardio on the treadmill (just over 3 km)

That was it. I did it. What a relief!

The rest of the day/evening got hectic so I'm glad I got it out of the way because (as has happened several times before) once I get into other things, it's so much harder to make it in to they gym no matter how good my intentions are ...

I know I'm going to face the same dilemma tomorrow - early Combat class or later RPM class ... you'd think I would have learned my lesson by the end of this post EARLY is better than later!! This time, however, it's about the classes. If the classes were back to back I'd be all set ... but of course they're not ... I really need to come up with a proper schedule!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Busy Day

This morning I did NOT want to leave the house. I was fully dressed but still sitting at home ... watching the minutes tick by 6:30 (I'm usually out of the house a bit before 6:30 a.m.), 6:40 - can't move & I know traffic is building up; 6:50 - let me put away some laundry; 7:00 - shit. I'm so tempted to call in sick!! Oh well, I'm going to be stuck in traffic, might as well burn a new CD so that I have good music to enjoy in the car (arranged my playlist, burned the CD) ... 7:10 and I'm out the door. I was stuck in traffic for AGES!! I can't even begin to describe the insane driving here (cars jumping onto the sidewalk so that they can get closer to the traffic light and then hop back down onto the road -- basically what's causing the traffic jam in the first place!) -- I just tried to keep my cool. At least I had some good tune to jam to while I was stuck.

I made it to class in time ... but was literally counting the minutes until it was over. I wonder if students have any idea how much teachers sometimes just want to get out of class! Anyway.

I had a lot of rushing around to do to prepare for tonight's farewell dinner.

Today was MX's last day at the gym. She leaves for London on Thursday - I'm really gutted about her move, but I know it'll be a good change for her ... So even though I was hosting a small farewell dinner for her this evening I went in for her last RPM class (she used to teach that as well as Body Balance and Body Pump). It was sad. It's going to be so weird seeing her bike and not seeing her on it ...

Dinner was a success. Even though I hadn't cooked chicken in ages, I decided to make chicken kofta for the meat-eaters, root vegetable bake (only with herbs and a light coating of olive oil), vegetable stir-fry, salad, and rice.

I really enjoy cooking, but I haven't really experimented with any new recipes because I've basically got 4-5 meals on rotation - not much time for creativity or experimentation. At least today I got a chance to cook something new.

Monday, October 17, 2011

FMM - Stereotyping

I've missed the last few FMM's ... things just got a bit hectic. However, I thought today's question was interesting - and a nice break from the usual posts I've been writing. A lot of my PhD thesis is actually about stereotyping -- trying to figure out what type of assumptions people have of those who are learning to speak English, and as I live in the Arab world, how my students (predominantly Kuwaiti/Muslim) are judged based on their appearance.

So, here's the question:

FMM: Stereotyping
Have you ever been then victim of stereotyping? If so, will you elaborate? What do you wish people thought of you as they notice you for the first time.

I've definitely been judged by my appearance. Usually people can't figure out where I'm from ... and then when they hear me speak English they're surprised at my fluency. It's irritating, especially because I went to apply for a job once and they hired me ... but hesitated when they found out I wasn't American ... and then the director of the program said 'We just won't tell anyone.' It was frustrating and irritating -- and of course completely discriminatory. The unfortunate thing is that many people are still not hired based on what people assume they are capable of based on their nationality. As a Bangladeshi I get this a lot, and my parents experienced something terrible recently as well. It's a shame. We're in 2011 and still there's so much discrimination ... how sad.

As for being judged because of my weight ... well, I remember hurtful comments from my past, but for the last few years I haven't really noticed so I don't know. I'm relieved, because I don't think I could handle any more negativity around me!

I wish people would take a bit more time to get to know the person who is in front of them. However, I guess we all make some sort of assumption about others when we first meet them. It really is about being open to learning new things about others and being tolerant.

Fired Up for Fall - Week 5

It's been a busy week. I took some time off from working on my thesis and relaxed for a bit. I have to say I feel much better, more 'normal' and I'm definitely ready to get back into it. There's been a lot of work to do in general - essays to grade, a conference paper to write, etc. etc. so I haven't had too much down time, but I have been enjoying myself. It feels great to be back at the gym and putting in a few intense/challenging workouts. I hope I can keep it up.

We're at the half-way point for Fired up for Fall ... I've got 5 more weeks to meet all my goals.

Part I: Motivational Picture


What have you done this week to achieve your goals?
This past week has been really busy, full of good stuff though. Lots of celebrating with friends which meant that I had to be extra observant about what I was eating. I did, however, have a great week exercise-wise (9 hours total). I've been doing a few gym classes so that's changed up my routine a bit and I haven't been able to do as many NROL4W sessions, but I'm still sticking to it. I did manage to lose 1.5 lbs this week - so I'm getting closer to my 10 lb goal (5.5 lost total so far) ... and my home office is looking good :) though there are still some things to organize.

What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?
This week I'd have to say that spending time with my friends and family made me feel fabulous. I had a number of birthday celebrations, and they were all perfect :)

It's half way through the challenge, you can change 1 or more of your goals if you want to. What are you going to do and why?
I haven't reached the goals I've set yet, but I think they're reasonable enough to work towards for the next five weeks. No changes for me. I want to accomplish everything that I set out to do before making any modifications.

What's your worst bad habit and have you ever tried to tackle it? Do you want to?
The answer to this is related to my motivation picture of the week.
At the moment I think my worst habit is my self-doubt. Even when there's something I'm sure about, I hesitate ... or if someone says something positive, I brush it off ... I'm trying to work on this, but I still have a long way to go.

Fun time: Would you rather have burgers for feet or sausages for fingers?
Hmmm. Ok I have no idea how to answer this question!! I don't eat meat, sausages for fingers would mean stickiness on everything I touched (can't have that!) and burgers for feet -- umm no way! How would they fit into my heels? Ya -- this is a question that has no answer for me!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Trying to Focus

I was really feeling the effects of yesterday's workouts today. The muscles in my arms were aching even as I was writing/typing! It's a good kind of ache though. I was thinking about going for a swim today, but that didn't happen as I got bogged down with work. In any case, I'll be going in for RPM this evening.

Well, it's the start of a new week, and after a few distractions this past week I'm ready to get back into a more normal routine. I managed to finish the paper I've been working on for a conference being held in DC later this year - what a relief! I've still got a ton of marking to do. The student essays are not too bad, but they're just a drag to get through. Then of course there's my thesis ... will it ever get done?! I've only made a bit of progress on it since I got my extension but I really need to get a move on ... especially because I've been giving a lot more thought to the surgery I need to have. I'm honestly not feeling that well. The constant pressure and pain in my abdomen is irritating me ... plus I feel like I'm getting worse. Of course I don't
know this for sure, it may just be a psychosomatic effect. Nevertheless, it's distracting and I'm having a hard time staying focused on all the tasks I have ahead of me. In any case, I'm trying to schedule an appointment with a local doctor because I can't afford to keep flying to London for check-ups or treatment ... so fingers crossed I can accomplish something on that front this week and then figure out the next step.

Although this is an obstacle I'm trying not to let it distract from all the things I can still do/have to do. I need to stay focused - concentrate on things I can control and let go of the one's I cannot. Working, watching what I'm eating, working out, and water, water, water!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rested and Restored

I had a really good night's sleep last night -- I haven't slept that well in over a month, and as soon as I woke up, I could feel the difference. I had a lot scheduled for today (papers to grade, research paper to write, thesis to edit - still!), but the first thing I wanted to do was head to the gym and make the most of my energy.

Although I knew I wanted to go to the gym, I was indecisive about what workout I wanted to do. I was thinking about doing some warm-up cardio and then weights ... and possibly RPM class ... but that class started at 12. What would I do in the meantime (as I was planning on being at the gym around 9:30)? In any case, I got there and spoke to MC who was doing a Power House session at 10 ... so I thought - why not? It's been about a year since I did Power House; perhaps the change in routine will do me some good.

Power House is a circuit training class, and it is TOUGH. There are 16 stations. You spend a minute at each station completing as many reps of the exercise at that station as possible before moving to the next. For example, today the first few were: chest presses, weighted squats, running on trampoline, bicep curls, tricep dips, abs etc. The pattern is basically 2 weights, 1 cardio, 2 weights, abs, and repeat. It's quite challenging - especially because you have to transition from one station to the next immediately and get started. The goal is to do as many reps as possible, but you also have to pay attention to your form. [I'm very proud that I bench pressed 20 kg (45 lbs); I can't remember how many reps I did coz' I lost count, but I did well!] Anyway. It was a really good class. I was totally drenched, but didn't have any time to change my t-shirt before the 11 a.m. Pilates class.
That class was soooo good! I know there are a lot of people, especially guys, who think that Pilates isn't challenging. However, I assure you, if you're doing it correctly, it is very challenging! You try doing about 10 minutes of plank pose variations and let me know if you're sweating or not! TJ was teaching the class, and she is excellent. Though you look at her tiny little body doing these poses in perfect posture and you think - damn, she makes it look so easy!

Finally, RPM. I haven't done 3 classes in a row for a LONG time ... however I really wanted to do today's class, and I'm glad I did. Great session - more sweat, more adrenaline pumping. It was fab.

Now, it's back to work for me ... I'm feeling energetic from the cardio, but sore from the weights and Pilates ...

Tomorrow is weigh-in day ... as you could tell I didn't eat perfectly according to The Plan, but I think I was able to make smart choices, and I know I hit my workouts really hard this week. So we'll see if it all worked out or if I messed up!

Friday, October 14, 2011


Today was a recovery day for me. I didn't get much sleep this week, and my routine was all over the place ... I was hoping by this afternoon I'd feel up to a workout ... but it wasn't happening ... so today I just relaxed. I think what I really need is a good night's sleep.

On the food front, however, it's all been fine. Lots and lots of water -- and leftover fruit from last night's Edible Bouquet arrangement that I received instead of a birthday cake.

I think it's a great idea as to still have something special on your birthday, but not risk overindulging in icing etc. It was unique, beautiful, tasty, and guilt-free (I didn't even have the chocolate covered ones)!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Buffet - Friend or Foe?

Three hours of sleep + 8 a.m. class of 35 students + 10 oral presentations = NOT FUN!
Still, overall it was worth it - at least it's finally the weekend (Fridays and Saturdays are off in Kuwait).

So last night we went to a buffet for dinner. I've read quite a few blog posts about people going to buffets and seeing it as an absolute nightmare. Patter after platter of food and no portion control -- you can go up as many times as you want and eat as much as you want ... there is nobody there to stop you ...

Well, I think that's just one side of the story.

I was actually relieved that we were going to a buffet. For me it meant that I was in complete control. I didn't need to look at a menu and try to figure out what I wanted - guessing how much sauce something came with, wondering if there would be cheese on top of something, etc. etc. Instead I could go up and look at all my options -- what was fried, what looked like it had rich sauces, and of course identify the healthier options - salad, vegetables, fish ...

It is tricky though, especially the salad bar -- I approached it first, thinking that I could fill up on the salad ... but I noticed that most of the salads were already mixed with creamy dressings ... that was a no go for me. There was a platter of grilled vegetables - zucchini, red bell peppers, and eggplant ... I just had a few slices of the zucchini. Stayed completely away from the bread and rice - and was relieved that their one fish dish was grilled tandoori fish -- dry heat, no sauce perfect for me given the circumstance. I was also relieved that most of the other dishes had meat in them ... it definitely makes it a LOT easier since that just removes the temptation ... Did I overdo it? I don't think so. I didn't feel full after I left ... I think it also helps that I'm a slow eater and that I was surrounded by friends so the talking/laughing was more of a priority than eating.

Yes, lots of laughter ...
and that was before I saw the gorgeous pair of heels inside the box ;)

I think it's important to have and stick to a food plan ... but I think it's also necessary to be able to cope when you're in a situation where there are factors out of your control. Even in those situations you can have a plan -- you can control how much you put on your plate. At a buffet no server will come and plop a massive serving of buttery mashed potatoes on your plate ... if it's on your plate - YOU PUT IT THERE. I don't think you need to starve or deprive yourself of food -- I've definitely been there. I remember a time when I was afraid to eat ... every mouthful - even if it was just a cucumber - was followed by guilt. Look how far that got me -- nowhere at all.

My attitude towards food has definitely changed. Even foods that I used to find tempting before don't tempt me anymore. Some people post pictures of cupcakes oozing with chocolate frosting or lasagnas bursting with cheese ... I can honestly say that it doesn't make me think 'Ooo I wish I could have some of that' ... and I think another thing that has helped is taking more control of my cooking at home. Buying fresh ingredients, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and cooking in a way that is not only portion controlled but ingredient controlled seems to have changed my taste buds ... do I still like chocolate, ice cream, and all that stuff ... of course. Do I want any. No.
So last night was not a normal day in my routine, but I think I handled it very well, and I had an amazing time. I guess we'll see if my approach to food worked when I weigh in on Sunday. No matter what choices you make, the proof is in the numbers. If I weigh in and I've put on a few pounds then you can tell me that everything I just wrote is BS ... but I'm confident in what I've said. We'll see. [By the way, here's a short article about how to approach a buffet.]

No gym today - lots of furniture moving in preparation for tonight and some boxing skill training that I can do at home (I restart lessons next week - gotta be prepared) ... and perhaps a nap to recover from just a few hours of sleep last night!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

100th Post!

This is my 100th post! I can't believe it! I have absolutely loved blogging - as I said in a previous post, I've found blogging to be so cathartic ... and the support network out there has been amazing. It's made a huge difference in several aspects of my life. After yesterday's anxiety and subsequent recovery, I'm definitely feeling much better.

Today has been a great day so far ...

Had a great class with my students.
Went to the gym for some cardio followed by a challenging body balance class.
Lunch with my RPM trainer, M (ex-body balance instructor) and J - one of my main gym inspirations. A few edamame and 5 pieces of sushi plus lots and lots of water.
Some time with my parents and chillin' with D ... off to dinner with friends this evening.

Feeling truly blessed.

I'm 35 today, but I feel 27! Wishing myself a healthy year ahead -- and the same to all of you ;)


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Burn it to the Ground

I had a rough morning/afternoon.

My anxiety was bad - the worst attack I've had in about a year. Heart racing and pounding through my chest, restlessness, nausea, feelings of helplessness ... I had to struggle to fight the urge to vomit - that's a path I'm not going down again.

I knew what it was ... for the past five or six years my birthday has always made me anxious. It's not about getting older - not at all. I've never had a problem with the whole age thing. I'm perfectly fine with turning 35 tomorrow.

The anxiety lies elsewhere -- it's all attached to painful memories ... bad experiences that surrounded my birthday in the recent past ...

I understand the powerful consequences of trauma - but I don't want to be that girl who is anxious over various events that happened years ago. Why should I be a prisoner to distant memories - events that are no longer relevant in my life. Sure they happened. Sure they had an impact ... but should they affect me now? Today? Ever? I don't want it to be that way.

I got my stuff together and decided to head to the gym ... on my drive over my heart was racing and I was having second thoughts. Going to the gym in the early evening meant it would be crowded - my friends would be there - I'd have to socialize and I didn't know if I could handle it. It sounds silly, doesn't it ... but if you've had anxiety/panic attacks (and went through a really bad 2-year spell of social anxiety) then you know what I'm talking about.

I had a non-stop internal monologue going during the 2o-minute drive.

You can do this.
Do not be a prisoner to your fear.
You are stronger than that.
What happened in the past is in the past -- no good can come from rehashing those memories.
You define who you are at this moment.

I got to the gym and went upstairs to where my locker is. The room was empty - thank goodness. I had some editing to do so I sat down and worked for a solid 45 minutes ... just trying to focus my concentration on my work ... and keep convincing myself that I had nothing to worry about. Everything was fine.

At 5:45 I took a deep breath and headed up to the spinning studio. It had been a while since I had been to RPM class - but I knew M&D would be there and I was trying to tell myself to look forward to being around my friends versus feeling anxious.

Then the music started ... and I started to feel better.
I pedaled faster.
I increased the intensity.
Sweat was pouring - my heart was racing - but this time in a good way.
Track 3 was exhausting; luckily D chose a great track for recovery -- track 5 and I was ready to go - my legs burning, but my adrenalin soaring ... and track 7 - one of my all time favorites - Burn it to the Ground by Nickelback. YES!!!

"No fear, no doubt. All in, balls out!"

I gave it everything I had. Everything.

Tracks 8 & 9 were cool down and I felt like a new person.

As I showered and got dressed I felt good. I was proud of myself for not letting the anxiety get to such a point where I felt like the most I could do was just lie in bed and hide from the world. This may not seem like a big deal ... but for me it is.

The demons are not gone. There are still issues that need to be dealt with. There is still a lot of anxiety -- but for the first time, when facing an attack as bad as it was earlier today, I stood up to myself and said - No. This is NOT good for you. You CAN get through this ... and I did.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fired Up for Fall - Week 4

As I've said in my previous posts, things are getting better - and that's important. Gaining back that confidence and mental calm of having a routine has been making a big difference. I feel like it's made me more effective versus frantically trying to fit everything in. I hate being frantic, which sucks because I get frantic and anxious often.

Still, there's lots to be done and trying to stay on top of everything has been challenging - as always, one step at a time.

I completed workout B of NROL4W's phase 2 ... it went ok. Most of the exercises were new to me so I felt a bit uncertain as I approached them. It's always a bit tricky figuring out how much weight to use when you're doing it for the first time - but I guess it's just part of the learning process. Workout B of this phase also has HIIT training at the end of it. Just 14 minutes of cardio intervals. I took it easy since I'm finally feeling better so I didn't go into all-out sprints, but I completed the cardio - with a bit extra at the end {plus my warm-up cardio before weights} ... I'm gonna take another look at the explanations in the book to see if I'm doing them correctly.

Anyway - On to Fired up for Fall ...

In yesterday's post I mentioned how having to reflect on my goals and what I've been doing to reach them on a weekly basis has really made me aware of how quickly time is flying. I think keeping the bigger picture in mind is definitely important, but it's also important to realize that time is passing ... each day is an opportunity to make me life better in some way. That's really important for me to remember ... and that brings me to my motivation picture for this week ...

Part I: My motivation picture for this week


What have you done this week to achieve your goals?
I've made good progress on my thesis -- it's frustrating not being done yet. However, I'm glad I've got the extra time to edit. It's amazing how much time it takes. I've spent over 2 hours editing just a single page. It's tough - but I'm pleased with what I've done so far.

I'm finally back at the gym! I didn't restart until Wednesday so I didn't manage 5 workouts, but I did manage 3. I also started Phase 2 of NROL4W - loving it! I'm so pleased to be lifting weights again!

I'm down 4 pounds since the start of this challenge -- only 6 left. I hope this continues!!

I haven't experimented much with recipes this week -- hopefully I'll get a chance to try something out this upcoming week.

I have started organizing some of the stuff in my home office -- there are just SO MANY papers everywhere ... since I'm still writing and referring back to my data notes and research I need them to be easily accessible, but still, I'm making progress in others areas.

What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?
Aside from an awesome night out with friends on Thursday, tickets for a 3-week trip to Argentina with my BFF are booked!!! It's not until January, but I am very, very excited!!

What is your go to food/habit when you've had a bad day?
I am so happy to say that I don't go to food when I'm having a bad day as I know that eating something unhealthy will make me feel worse. However, I still have some compulsive habits that I turn to -- like organizing (mega organizing and tidying up) -- at least it's productive ... otherwise I usually go to the gym to work off the stress ... or I'll cook ... or shop

What's the last thing you did that you were really proud of?
I was really proud of my performance on my post-vacation baseline tests - both for Workout A and Workout B. Seeing the improvement really made me feel like I had accomplished something.

Fun time: What was your favorite subject in school, and your least favorite? Why?
My two favorite subjects were psychology and English literature -- and I ended up double-majoring in them in college. I remember my first day in psychology class -- the instructor asked - Why do we do the things we do? - Almost 20 years later I still think, what a great question ... and am still amazed by the different reasons people have for doing what they do ... not an easy question to answer at all ... as for literature - it really stems from my love of reading, of getting lost in somebody else's world. I really admire the skill it takes to write well.

Least favorite -- physics and math!!! I just didn't get them - at all. I really, really struggled in those classes. They traumatized me.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Noticing Changes

I am starting to feel much better. My cough has almost completely disappeared, but more than that, I finished my course of antibiotics which means that I'm no longer suffering from the side-effects. Now that the drowsiness and lethargy are gone, my insomnia is back! Still, I'd much rather deal with my insomnia than lethargy.

I also feel like getting back to a somewhat 'normal' schedule has helped. I'm still working on my thesis every day, but I've broken it up into little chunks - 2 hours in the morning, 3 in the afternoon, 2 more in the evening. In between I'm taking a bit of time to rest, catch up on some housework, and of course hit the gym.

I started slow this week because I didn't want to risk a relapse, but still just the bit of movement that I've been doing has made me feel the difference already.

In addition, my food and water intake have been really good. I was really, really pleased this morning to see my weight down another 2 pounds from last week. I haven't seen a consecutive loss of weight (albeit very small amount) in a long time ... and I'm wondering what the difference is. A few things have definitely changed - I'm back at home - I was traveling quite a bit over the summer and that always makes consistent, steady weight loss a bit tough. I've got a more established schedule versus how haphazard things were over summer vacation. I'm also back in the kitchen, carefully preparing my food - spending the time and money on getting the right ingredients to make sure I eat right ... and making smart choices when I go out to eat, so no matter what even if the food is not exactly what I had planned to eat, it's never off plan - does that make sense?

In any case, all of these things don't seem like that big of a deal - it's more like getting back into a regular routine ... the main change though has been this blog.

I'm nearing my 100th post, which coincidentally will fall on my birthday ... Aside from using this blog to just vent and ramble on about my thoughts, what's been amazing is the community I've discovered.

There are some incredible stories of weight loss out there - those who are really trying and seeing changes ... and then there are those who are struggling, which is in a way comforting to see in that I know I'm not alone in this. I've received many supportive emails and comments on my posts.

Aside from blogging, I also joined two on-line challenges. At first I wasn't sure how this would work - I mean, it's an on-line challenge with people from around the world - how is this going to work?

There are different motivations for each challenge --
Fire up for fall is just a weekly set of questions ... but it's really interesting to see how as you approach the first question -- which is always 'What have you done this week to achieve your goals?' - you immediately have to reflect. What have I done? Did I make an effort? Did I take the right steps that will get me where I want to be? Or did I falter? Was there something real that stood in my way or was it me just making an excuse? So on and so forth -- these questions matter. When you realize that you are going to be asked this every week, you start to make sure that you do something so that you have something positive to report. Could you lie? Sure -- but come on, how will that help you out?

The second challenge - Triple Dog Dare Challenge
Now this challenge is entirely different. It's a group of people who are following basically the same meal plan, with a few customizations. We get daily emails keeping us motivated and occasionally containing guidelines and reminders, and we weigh in every week. Again, could you lie? Sure - but if you report a weight less than what you really are, then who are you really kidding?

So upon hitting week 4 of Fire up for fall and week 3 of Triple Dog Dare these are the things I've noticed:

Accountability matters - if you take it seriously, it can really make a difference.
Acknowledgement from others makes a difference - Knowing that somebody else will be reading what you're writing makes you want to try harder and do more so that you can show your effort ...
Consistent weekly reports mean that you have to reflect every week. You get to sit down and think -- am I doing everything I can do to further my progress? It also gives you a sense of how quickly time passes - Another week has gone by already? Shit. I need to get my ass in gear.
Patience is key -- putting on the weight didn't happen over night, so just changing your habits isn't going to get the weight off over night ... You have to keep at it all the time. I know I have a hard time with this, but I'm working on it.
Planning ahead is important. Make a menu. List the ingredients. Shop accordingly - don't buy other stuff. Don't buy junk food. Don't even bring temptation into the house.

So, I'm down just about 4 pounds in 2 weeks ... I'm pleased with that because I've actually just gone below my plateau weight that I've been hovering around for the past year. This in itself is more motivation to keep pushing, keep trying ... and what a great feeling it is to know that if I get stuck, I've got a whole new community who is right there ready to support me.

I never expected getting involved in this type of blog to be so rewarding -- I'm really pleased.
For those of you who read regularly and comment/email - thank you. It really does make a difference. I hope I can do the same for others as well.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Reality check

"I'm not a saint and I'm not a sinner,
Everything's cool as long as I'm getting thinner"

There are some people who seem to be able to look in the mirror and say, "I love myself. Unconditionally. Fat rolls, stretch marks, triple chins and all."

I can't do that.

When I look in the mirror, I don't like what I see.

I don't want to hear that I'm being too hard on myself or it's all about inner beauty. This actually does not have anything to do with you -- it has everything to do with me.

When I look in the mirror, I don't like what I see.

It's plain and simple. Every inch of me reflects choices that I made or didn't make. My reflection in the mirror does not lie -- there's no reason for me to make up stories in my head saying, "At least you've lost X amount of pounds. You should be happy."

I'm not denying that I have worked hard - because my hard work is reflected in the mirror too. I am willing to give myself credit where credit is due (and that in itself is a HUGE step for me). However, the work is not done.

I don't beat myself up about my image as much as I used to -- I've lessened the harshness of my vocabulary realizing that the adjectives 'hate' and 'ugly' weren't helping my case. However, I don't fool myself. I'm still realistic about what I see in the mirror -- and I'm doing something about it.

I am still overwhelmed at the task ahead -- it's going to take a lot of work. I feel fortunate that I've never been afraid of working hard. I am ready to continue this journey and finish strong. I know that it will still take time. Real change doesn't happen over night. I have to be patient. I have to be practical. I have to be realistic.

When I look in the mirror, I don't like what I see ...

... but I will work my ass off (literally) until I do.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friends and Food

Last night was AMAZING! I thought it was just going to be a farewell dinner (our body balance instructor, who has become a very close friend of mine, is leaving Kuwait for good) - but it turned out to be a party! I'm glad I had my dancing shoes on because we DANCED! It's strange - I'm self-conscious about a lot of things, but I have no problem being the first one on the dance floor. It started in college, and then I got really good - even took part in a few salsa competitions (never won first place, but came second/third a few times in small competitions) and taught my own class ... but that was several years ago. Now, I don't dance as much - there just aren't as many opportunities and I haven't had the time. In any case, whenever I do get a chance, I'm on the dance floor, and last night was just what I needed ... a few hours to dance off the funk of the past two weeks, being ill, stressed, anxious, etc. Definitely worked in another 3 hours of intense cardio there (it sucks to sweat so much while dancing at a party, but what to do?)!

Food wasn't a problem at all. It was Arabic food which primarily
has grilled meats/fish plus different types of salads. I loved the fact that their tabbouleh (which is basically parsley with some
bulgur and tomatoes) had the dressing on the side, so you could add the olive oil and lemon (each in a separate carafe) to your taste -- which meant I could avoid the oil altogether and just have the lemon. I also felt quite relieved that almost all the food was chicken or meat - since I only eat fish and vegetables, so all the other foods weren't even an option for me. They had a lovely grilled white fish which I tasted and that was it. Dessert -- well who needs dessert when you can dance? :)

The thing that I realized is the company you keep can really make a difference to your eating habits and workouts. I'm so glad I've managed to make friends at the gym because it puts eating and socializing on a whole other level. Food isn't our primary focus - and if there is an occasion, like an opening of a restaurant or something, we'll go, but we're not always tempted -- plus we can give each other healthier suggestions. That's not to say nobody in the group has dessert or something fried -- they do. I do. But it rarely happens. I'm never worried when I go to one of their houses because I know that they are also conscious about what they eat -- why negate all the hard work you've put into the gym? Having this type of support system has really, really helped. There are still challenges, but having someone going through a similar process makes it much easier. They really do make me realize that I am not in it alone -- and that if I need help, if I run into an obstacle, they are right there to give me the kick in the ass that I need to get back into gear. Speaking of asses ..

This morning I woke up and I was SORE!

Squats & Lunges (though I only did 60) + dancing in high heels = MEGA PAIN IN THE ASS!!

Still, it was totally worth it! Today is a recovery day - back at the gym tomorrow! J