Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dance Party Gone Wrong.

I have a confession to make.

Every morning I have a 5-minute dance party by myself. For five minutes in the a.m., I blast some tunes and just break it down. Sometimes I will just sort of jig around the bedroom, some days I practice the New Jack Swing style I am so very desperate to learn, others I rehearse my ballroom steps or work on my M.C. Hammer shimmy a la the "Can't Touch This" video. Regardless of what I do, I make sure that every morning before I leave the house I rock out and dance around for at least five minutes. The music varies, although it is overwhelmingly Disco. Sidenote: I love Disco. I really truly deeply love Disco music. I am currently listening to The Trammps and will probably switch it over to the BeeGees next. If you ever need an idea on something to get me, give me Disco music. No one has ever done it and I will love you forever for it. I really despise people who say, "Disco is Dead." Say that to me one more time and you'll be the one who is dead, buddy.

Anyway, enough about Disco, back to my Morning Dance Party. How I get my Dance Party started every morning varies. Sometimes some really great song will be the alarm on my iPod alarm clock (Toto's Africa anyone?) and I will just hop out of bed and start dancing. Other times I will get out of the shower and start my shimmy because my Herbal Essences moves me that way. Maybe I read an exciting news story that makes me happy- IE anytime I read about a state legalizing Gay Marriage, I always throw a Dance Party for that. There are times when I just have to stop my routine to fit Dance Party in, and there are days like today when I learn something good that makes me break out into it.

Only today went terribly, terribly wrong.

I got onto the scale to see where I was at, as I have been really slacking off with my working out and not eating as well as I should be. I've still been active, and still eating better than I used to, but not at optimal performance. I figured I gained a few pounds back, and I expected it. However, to my great surprise, I did not gain anything, I actually lost weight! Seeing the tonnage goes down always excites me, but the number on the scale reflected back to me that I am down 25 pounds from when I started! Quickly my brain told me weight always fluctuates a few pounds and it was probably due to the fact I had not put on my standard pound of eyeshadow and pound of mascara, but I quickly dismissed it because that scale was telling me I was 25 pounds lower!!!

So Dance Party began! Oingo Boingo was playing on my iTunes, so I decided to bust out my best 80s dance moves. I started with an excited Moonwalk (Yes, I can moonwalk) across the bathroom floor then continued into the Running Man as I crossed the bedroom, I hit the doorway (literally) played it off and spun around hollering, "25 Pounds! 25 Pounds!" then started with the Roger Rabbit down the hallway. I got to the top of the stairs and cut into the finest display of The Sprinkler you have ever seen. Except I have never done the Sprinkler, I was just hit by inspiration to break into it. A word of wisdom: Fat Girls are not made to do The Sprinkler. Only half of my imaginary lawn was watered when I simultaneously pulled my quad and my hamstring in my right thigh. I doubled over in pain, grabbed at my leg, but moved a little too swiftly for my mass to balance itself and I fell. Down my staircase. Into a wall at the bottom.

Dance Party was cut short. I laid at the bottom of my stair case, elbows raw with carpet burn, tailbone aching and a sore leg from The Sprinkler gone wrong and realized some moves are just not made for Fat Girls. The motion of trying to gyrated on one leg while getting my elbow and knee to meet (a task I doubt I could accomplish sitting on the ground due to my 50-year-old man sized Beer Gut), was just too much for my body to handle.

When I hit the 30-pound mark, I am sticking with The Worm. Pretty sure I can handle flailing and flopping across the floor, especially if I pretend there is a frozen coke waiting for me on the other side.

Let's just hope the support beams and boards on the house can handle it better than my leg could. On the bright side, at least I won't have very far to fall.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lessons Learned-Mother Nature Edition

I have always envisioned Mother Nature to be a soft and welcoming character. In my mind, she has long flowing hair colored like marigolds, eyes the shade of the Mediterranean, wears a beautiful gown of the softest moss, and tops the entire ensemble with a crown of ivy and lilies.  She's enchanting, just wants you to love her earth and the beautiful things she surrounds us with.

That was before this week.

My vision has changed.  Gone is the vision of a delicate earth mother.  I have learned that Mother Nature is a wicked harpy that sleeps in black swamps, smells like rotted tree stump, and has dead dandelions for hair. She is the most vicious and vile creature. I would much rather spend time with Father Time as Mother Nature has scorned me for life. Sidenote- I never told anyone this, but growing up I always thought that Father Time and Mother Nature were married.

It all happened on Wednesday.  Jen and decided that rather than go to the gym, we should go for a nice walk, as it was 80 degrees out.  Fortunately for us, we live directly on Lake Michigan and decided on a 3-mile loop that included 1.5 miles along the shore of this lovely Great Lake.  Sounds fine and dandy to me.  Until I actually start walking in the sand.  Holy Crap! Walking in sand is tough work! My experience with the sand includes either beaching myself to get a tan, drinking mojitos on the beach, enjoying sand castles, or a combo platter of tanning myself while drinking mojitos while breaking to kick children's sand castles over.  Never, and I mean NEVER, has exercise ever been incorporated into my trifecta of drinking, tanning and making kids cry. But Wednesday was different, and I actually walked, quite briskly, on the sand. 

Damn you, Mother Nature!! This beach is no longer my playplace.  It is your own homemade Stair Climber! You duped me! I hate Stair Climbers, they are the epitome of hell in my exercise world, I would rather use Hell Machine than ever use a Stair Climber. But walking on your beach that I loved so much felt just like the worst piece of Aerobic equipment ever manufactured.  And you had the nerve to make your shores long and plentiful, meaning I had to walk 1.5 miles to get off of the sand. Terrible!

However, walking in the sand paled in comparison to the task that faced me when I wanted to get off of the beach.  The beach is down a large slope from where are homes are. There are few clear-cut paths to safely get up and down. The path that we ended up at was misery. It was as if some doofy contractor haphazardly dumped a truck-full of concrete down a hill side, then threw large rocks into it for traction.  Staring it up at it, I knew what competitors on Nickelodeon Guts felt when they faced the Agrocrag. It was terrifying, and miserable.  I had to stop twice on the way up to catch my breath, aka make sure my heart has not exploded yet. I was grateful to be walking with an RN, and hoped and prayed Jen had portable defibrillators tucked into her yoga pants.  But I made it, and swore at Mother Nature the whole way home.

Apparently wretched Mother Nature does not like to be sworn at, because she sought further revenge on me that day. As it was beautiful out, Jen, Tiff and I declared the day to be Margarita Wednesday, or as Tiff says, "DrunkDay," instead of the usual Wednesday Hump Day. So we filled up  a baby pool with water, threw it in our blacktop driveway, put on our bathing suits and started drinking Margaritas.  I am not sure whether the site of three suburban military housewives sitting on a driveway by a baby pool in their bathing suits while drinking margaritas at 11:30 a.m. is awesome or pathetic.  I vote for it being wonderful, perhaps because we are planning to do it again next Wednesday.  Nonetheless, I have never burnt in my life in this Midwestern sun.  Sure, throw me in Mexico and I crisp, but not in the Midwestern. But Old Lady Nature decided she was going to get back at me for cursing at her all day, by frying the tops of my shoulders and the tops of my legs to a nice bright red shade.  Okay, so maybe it was the margaritas that made me forget to use sunscreen or the fact that my doctor forgot to tell me my new meds increase my sun sensitivity. But I highly doubt that, I truly think it was wenchy Mother Nature getting back.

And it continues, because I have not been able to work out these past two days.  I attempted to go yesterday, but the constricting elastic of a sports bra on my tender shoulders literally brought me to tears.  I went to Target instead.  And today I actually made it to the gym, but a few minutes on that elliptical with my burnt legs was miserable, absolutely miserable.  Then I tried to lift. HA- good luck doing a shoulder press with a sunburn.  

I was at the gym for a total of 8 minutes. This includes locker room time.  Pathetic. So I learned a hard lesson- never mess with Mother Nature.  She is pretty intense with her natural workouts with the sandy beaches, hillsides and Agrocrags. If you accept her challenges, do not swear at her as she is a vengeful and vindictive old broad. Next time I hang out with Father Time, I will be sure to ask him what he did to Mother Nature to make her like this.

Clearly Mother Nature is a scorned woman full of revenge.



Sunday, May 17, 2009

Diet Karma

I am starting to fade with this whole healthy lifestyle kick.  I am starting to make compromises with myself, cheating out on my gym days, enjoying forbidden snacks more frequently than I should.  It all came to a head last week for me. Diet Karma bit back.

From 8 May-16 May, I fell back into my life of terrible eating habits with out any activity.  I was riding high from my visit to my dietitian and figured a few indulgences were acceptable.  On Friday the 8th, I had a preview day at the University I am attending.  I started the day well,  passing on the doughnuts in favor of orange slices, I continued by skipping the chips at lunch and opting for a diet soda over my love of sugary-sweet Mountain Dew.  There was a break in the day with cookies and sugary snacks, and I left the building to go outside to avoid temptation.  Then the happy hour and dinner began.  Instead of going for a wise light beer or a Jack and Diet, I started sucking down sugary sweet Margaritas by the gallon, and was topping them off with shots of Patron, all while inhaling chicken tamales, nachos, taquitos and any other snack that passed by within a 5-foot radius. 

I had to take the Metra home after an evening of complete over-indulgence. I will spare you the details, but a great life lesson that I would like to share with you is that Tequila never, ever mixes with an hour-long train ride.  

Diet Karma-1, Cari-0

I had to wake up early the next morning to fly to Ohio to help my brother move to Chicago (Hooray!!!)  Obviously I did not get any workouts in, but I justified it that I was doing a lot of cleaning and moving, so that counted for something.  I ate like crap, but at least skipped on the fries and had either salads or the world's largest side of broccoli ever seen.  I drank more than was wise after the tequila incident, but I stuck with lite beer.  I helped unload a U-haul. Note- Soloflex has nothing on moving someone when it comes to a total body workout. I couldn't walk the next day, hence the reason I skipped the gym. If I ever need to get in shape quickly, I am getting a job at a moving company.  Anyway, all the activity versus all of the gluttony balanced out, as I came back without gaining any weight.

Diet Karma-1, Cari-1

That all would've been fine and dandy had I got back into my routine of working out and eating healthy, but it has been all to easy to slide back into sloth-dom.  However, Old Lady Diet Karma had a few tricks up her sleeve to get me back on track.  It all came to a head on Thursday.  I went to a Cubs game, and prefaced the game with a bloody mary and a few 9% beers, some stuffed aptly named Delirium.  Pre-game, I feasted on mini corn dogs and tater tots- not a vegetable in sight.  Except the celery soaking in my bloody mary.  The binge continued at Wrigley field as I started downing Old Styles like it was Holy Water.  I had a ball park frank.  I tried to eat a soft pretzel with cheese, but Diet Karma tried to warn me to slow down by somehow getting me to dump the entire cup of cheese down my leg, (Yes, it was Diet Karma and not the beer.) But I laughed in Diet Karma's face, and had some nachos and more beer post-game.   I got home around 1900, and decided around 2030 that I was hungry.  My fridge is packed full of veggies, fruits, and healthy options.  Loaded with lean meats, portioned salads, low-fat dips.  So what did I do?  Managed to find an old hot dog in the back of the deli drawer and made myself a Weinie Wink. 

Later that night, around 2300, Diet Karma decided that she has had enough of my ways and decided to get my attention once and for all...By bringing me an awful case of food poisoning from the old, smelly hot dog.  With every heave, I was reminded that a banana, a few tomatoes, or even some rice would have never done this to me.  I was betrayed by my favorite type of food- casing foods.  It will be quite sometime before I will be able to safely and comfortably enjoy a delicious red hot or keilbasa.  DAMN YOU, DIET KARMA! WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?? Oh right, because I ate like a gorilla for a week with only going to the gym once.

Diet Karma-2, Cari-1

The worst part about this is how I manage to rationalize everything to myself.  Because after clearly being punished by an awful case of food poisoning, I still indulged in so much fried turkey, bacony beans, potato salad and chocolate cake this weekend under the logic that I expended so much on Thursday night that a slight binge was acceptable.  Some sort of twisted reverse bulimia concept.

However, I cannot let this behavior continue, so tomorrow I am getting back on track with my healthy living after a long slip into calorie heaven. I've been enjoying the good stuff in moderation, but it has been pure excess lately.  As a result of my immature and selfish actions, the thought of enjoying delicious sausages make me nauseous, which truly breaks my heart and makes me very sad inside.  So Diet Karma won this round and brought me back to my senses.

But it is not over between us, because grilling season is upon us and I am going to want a bratwurst.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Progress Report 1

I am not going to lie to you, I am dog tired right now and do not feel much like throwing a blog on here. I have a few incredibly busy days ahead of me and will not be in the Windy City until Monday, so you will have to hold off for a few days before hearing about my inability to resist baked goods and muscle pains from working out.

Before I take off for a few days, I feel I should give you all a progress report. After all, what good is keeping a blog to document my journey in trying to regain the ability to reach my toes without sharing my progress.

I met with my dietitian today for our 4 week meeting, (not monthly, every 4 weeks, like clockwork.) Despite the fact she is trying to wean me off of sausages, cheese, and dark beer, she is incredibly helpful and supportive. I enjoy going to her over my normal doctor to track my progress because she does not just weigh me. They calculate body fat percentage, pounds of body fat, and your BMI.

Huge side rant about BMI. I got into a discussion the other day with another portly lady about BMI, as her doctor also advised her to try to live a more active life due to her BMI. She started telling me how the BMI scale is not a proper way to monitor your health and body fat levels. Granted, it is not a perfect system, but it's a helpful guide. However, her argument for being against BMI is that according to it, Venus & Serena Williams are overweight, Michael Jordan is overweight, most pro athletes have "unhealthy" BMIs. Lady, who the hell are you kidding?? You think that because you have the same BMI as the Williams sisters that you are a finely tuned tennis machine?? It is very clear to me that you are no pro athlete, and you're deluding yourself if you think that because there are exceptions to the BMI scale that you should have been in Beijing 2008. Argh! Get out of here, lady.

Sorry about that side rant. Anyway, I started with this whole eating healthy/working out crap on 1 March. I did not start seeing my dietitian until 9 April. Today was my second meeting with her, and we hit some milestones! On the scale today, I was a full 20 pounds lighter than what I was on 1 March. Also, since seeing her last month, I dropped 10.9 pounds, 9.5 of it was pure body fat- which makes me wonder, what was the rest of it? Toe nail clippings? I dropped 2% in my body fat percentage too.

The biggest highlight for me was my BMI. On 9 April, I came in at a whopping 40.29 on the old Body Mass Index scale. Although, the fact that I am about to get picked up by the Dodgers accounts for that, right? Well today, my BMI came in at a measly 38.47. Not a huge drop, but by getting under 40, I am no longer officially Morbidly Obese!!! I am just an average, run-of-the-mill, not gonna die from my fatness Obese Person. I now am labeled as regularly Obese. Let me tell ya, dropping that Morbid feels great, because what an awful word. Makes it seem as if I got within a 3-foot radius of a Big Mac I would keel over just from the fumes. By the way, I hate all fast food contrary to the lore of fat people scarfing McDonald's, with the exception of Burger King due to the fact that they make sweet, sweet frozen cokes available to me with ease. So hooray, I am just obese. My next goal is to get that BMI under 30, because then I am just Overweight, which I believe would put me in the minority in America, as most are hanging out in Obesity land with me. Other highlights from my trip to the dietitian include:

- An everything bagel does not count as 1 starch. It is in fact 4 starches. Whoops...
-To enjoy a nice salad at lunch without the extra calories of salad dressing, just squeeze some fresh lemon wedges on it ( WTF!?! Who Does This??? Honestly, anyone??)
-Shrimp is very high in cholesterol. Damn, that's the only thing that's from the ocean that Will & I have not mutilated on the grill.
-Most marinades do not count towards your calorie and fat count. Hershey syrup is not one of them. Damn.
-Whole Grain Bread can be deceptively high in sugar and fats- I KNEW IT! I knew I hated Whole Grains for a reason!
-Caramel Apple lollipops do not count as a fruit serving. Drat.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Warning: Eating healthy is hazardous to your health

Clever marketing and solid advertising is something I truly appreciate and latch onto.  I try to support companies that produce ads that I enjoy, such as Charmin toilet paper, Mott's Apple Juice and Dove soap.  Subsequently, I boycott products who have truly awful campaigns - I'm talking to you Orbit Gum with that obnoxious, "Dirty mouth, clean it up," crap you pull.  I am a sucker for great ads, infomercials, and strong campaigns.  They make a lasting impression on me and influence how I spend my dollars.  

In 1992, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association hooked me for life with the ever-so-simple and positively addicting, "Beef, it's what's for dinner."  At nine-years old, I became positively hooked on this simple catchphrase and made every effort to shape my eating habits around it.   As my culinary skills developed, I slowly became amazed at the versatility of the cow.  Chicken, now there is a one-trick pony.  And the pig, yeah you have your chops, loins, ribs, roasts and the essential Holy Trinity of bacon, sausage and ham.  But the Cow surpasses both in terms of it's generosity in creating a meal plan with variety.  You have roasts, steaks, sirloins, rounds, flanks, and ground chuck, which can provide for so many options on it's own.  The selfless cow does not stop there though, he provides gorgeous hide for my couches, jackets, boots and belts, and he continues by sacrificing his hooves so my dog can have a treat to enjoy that smells like manure.  Cow, I love you, I love eating you, I love wearing you and I love that a marvelous slogan came out making it more socially acceptable to devour you for dinner.  And breakfast, lunch, and snack-time with your delicious jerky.  

However, a few years ago I married a man who brought my lifestyle of beef consumption to a screeching halt.  My husband does not care for red meat. How in the world does a girl who's blood type is "Grade A" from years of sweet cow consumption marry a man who does not like meat.  It's sinful, a tragedy. But I've adapted and force one sweet, beefy dinner on him a week while suffering through pork, chicken and vegetarian night the rest of the week.  Will suggested eating fish every now and then, but unless we are talking about shrimp, lobster or crab, I do not know how to prepare it. So we do not eat a lot of fish, unless it is served raw with a side of wasabi, in which you can order me double please!

So I've been existing on a decreased-beef lifestyle featuring chicken and pork but have made the best of it.  It was fine, until I met my dietitian.  She was looking at my eating habits for a few weeks and said there was simply too much red meat, as red meat is bad for you.  LIES, I say!!  Beef is what is for dinner, it's the most essential part of the food pyramid, please don't tell me those Cattlemen were lying when they imprinted their catchy slogan on my young brain, which clearly has brought them thousands in revenue from my pocket. However, she persisted.  I had to cut even more red meat out, making it a "sometimes" food.  Her suggested "sometimes" foods include cookies, bacon and chocolates.  Cari's "sometimes" foods include celery, anything whole-wheat, and fat-free dairy products, (We all know fat-free dairy is a very poor impostor for the real stuff, calories be damned.) But in the spirit of trying to be successful with this whole get healthy shtick I am on, I agreed to forsake my loyalties to the cattlemen and start eating more fish.  The non-deep fried in a golden beer batter type.

First attempt was a total bust.  Last week, I bought some delicious looking tilapia filets and decided we were going go grill them.  They marinaded in lemon, herbs and garlic and smelled amazing.  They looked even better on that grill and I started to feel very optimistic about adding fish to my diet.  Then Will went to flip the filets, and nearly half of the meat fell through the grill and singed in the burner.  No biggie, I figured, as there was still plenty of fish left.  I went in to finish the rest of dinner and left Will to manage the grill.  Ten minutes later he comes in with this bowl that can only be described as Tilapia Hash.  Apparently they just fell apart of the grill, he salvaged what he could but the results ended up looking like what I suspect is a McDonald's Fish Filet patty prior to being compressed into that square.  We picked at it over dinner, trying to be optimistic and considering that next time we should use tin foil.  However, it was completely lacking as a suitable dinner.  Fortunately, at 11:30 that night I heard noises in the kitchen and noticed Will was not in bed.  He was nice enough to share half of his Turkey sandwich with me.

So tonight we decided to give it another go with some salmon.  I juiced the left-over key limes from last week's pie, mixed it with some melted butter and sent Will off to grill them and baste them.  We adequately foiled the grill and could barely contain our excitement over the yummy salmon we were sure to enjoy.  I am in the kitchen, making some veggies, and all I hear is, "BOOM!"  I run outside to see the whole top of our grill on fire.  Will is valiantly fighting the flames and quickly extinguishes them.  The grill is fine.  The salmon, not so much.  In his basting, some of the butter-lime mix spilled onto the burners and the whole thing went up.  Will was okay, but the same cannot be same for his eyebrows. We have resigned to the fact that perhaps we should not grill anymore fish.  Or even try to cook it for that matter.  My poor husband was nearly blown up trying to grill some salmon filets.  Red meat never tried to blow him up. Dietitians may say beef will kill you, but clearly fish is the enemy in this household. When the salmon came off the grill, two pieces were blacker than tar, and two were still raw in the middle.  So much for eating healthier meat.

I hope he makes peanut butter & jelly tonight.