Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Characters at the Gym

I am proud to say that despite eating pounds of carrot cake and an endless amount of Chocolate cupcakes, I made my 35-pound birthday goal.  The icing on the cakes, as if I needed it, was that I went clothing shopping and fit my former size-18, should be a 20, butt into 14s.  A milestone for me, because apparently size 14 is the average size of the American woman. Finally I am at a size that makes me eligible for Buffalo Bill to ask me, "Are you about a size 14?"  Note: I realize I reference Buffalo Bill entirely too much, but  I truly believe that he is the greatest fictitious serial killer ever created.  I know I would've helped him get that couch into the van and found myself at the bottom of a  well, trying to catch Precious with an old bone.  But I digress.

I started going back to the gym as it is finally starting to feel like summertime here, and if I am going to be outside sweating in the hot summer sun, I surely am going to be doing it with a margarita in my hand.

Stinky Old Man has been noticeably absent.  I have only seen him two or three times in as many weeks.  We shoot our dirty looks to one another then I avoid any machine he is on.  He has been changing up his routine and it seems like any time I try to dodge him by hitting the treadmill, he gets on one.  If I see him on the treadmill, I hit the elliptical and next thing I know- my nose hairs are burning, my gag reflex is kicking in and I am quickly hightailing it to a different machine.

Fortunately for me, there are a few characters who now make the gym well worth the visit, Stinky Old Man be damned.  They are so delighfully random, it makes anything Hell Machine can throw at me well worth it.  I have yet to come up with a good nickname for the first gentleman and I am open to suggestions.  I was pumping away on a rowing machine one day and an older man, I would say early 60s comes strolling by.  I didn't give him much 
notice, until he got on the machine directly in front of me and I got a look at his gym wear.  His clothes were so wonderfully random and tacky that I fell in love on the spot.  For bottoms, he was sporting a pair of ratty plaid pajama pants.  Footwear was a pair of plain white Keds.  The kind that I wore in 2nd grade and went to Flyerette camp.  He has a shock of white hair on his head that is kept in such a  state of disarray that Einstein himself would envy the coif.  However, the kicker was the shirt that he wore.  In the mid-90s,there was a tragic fad in t-shirts that involved 3 cats on the front in sassy accessories, and the 3 cats' butts on the back. 
You know the one. Typically sold at your neighborhood K-mart or Wal-
mart, seen on women typically over age 50 at the local craft shows and county fairs.  That shirt.  And this awesome man was wearing one, with pj pants, crazy hair and white Keds.  If fabulous had a picture, this guy is it.  If it wasn't 10 in the morning I would've offered to buy him a beer, just to hear the random stories that were sure to come from his mouth.  But alas, even I have my limits of not drinking until after the noon hour.  Unless we are talking about sporting events, then it is game on.  However, I haven't seen this gentleman in a few weeks and I fear he may have been arrested by the fashion police.  If he doesn't show up by Friday then I will be holding a candlelight vigil throughout the weekend.

My next favorite character is a gentleman I call both Tactical Salesman and Cubicle Army Ranger.  If I had to take a stab, I'd say he is in his mid 50s.  Every day around 11, his lunch break I assume, he comes strolling in and goes straight to the weight machines.  Only he stays in his business casual attire.  He gets on the machines and starts pumping away in his colorful Izod polo and snappy Haggar slacks.  If that wasn't strange enough, he wears a virtual combat belt of gadgets and gizmos on his waist.  Hanging off his belt and waist, he has 1. A cell phone in it's clip, 2. A blackberry 3. An iPod  4. His keys.   That's a whole lot of crap to have clipped to your waist.  What does he do if he has business to attend to in the men's room?  I get such a great smile watching him work out in his work clothes, rocking more junk on his belt than I carry in my purse.  I am tempted to slip him some advertisements for some man bags, but I believe his accessories are a reflection on his personality.  When he's doing biceps curls, he letting the rest of us wearing our Yoga pants and wife's pajamas that he's much too busy signing up people for 3-free months of HBO with their digital cable package to be bothered with changing or removing his gadgets.   He is motivation for me to keep going to the gym just to see what other random stuff starts appearing on his belt.

Finally, is my third and final new character, who has the potential to quickly become an archnemesis, following Stinky Old Man, of course.  Before I explain, if you have never seen the viral video, "My New Haircut," go to Youtube and watch it now. While there, I also recommend the Asian edition.  Don't be surprised if you are over 40 and don't understand why "My New Haircut" is so fabulously funny. Anyway, there was a young guy lifting weights who was STRAIGHT out of the "My New Haircut" video.  He had the crazy, gelled spiky hair, wore arm bands on his forearm, and a look on his face of general douchebaggery.  While I was lifting, I overheard this man grunting and moaning away as he lifted on all the machines.  It was obnoxious and distracting and pissing me off.  I started shooting death looks to him while he grunted away, then I noticed something interesting.  And quite hilarious.  After this guy got off each machine, he pulled the pin on it and moved it 40-60 pounds down, thus making it appear he was lifting more than he really was to the next person to get on the machine.  

Hee-larious! I could barely contain my laughter.  Who does stuff like that?? Who really cares how much you can lift?  So, while doing my leg presses, I let out a hearty guffaw when I saw My New Haircut pull it on the tricep curl and add 30 pounds then walk away.  He heard me laugh, shot me a dirty look, and came and stood right by the machine I was on, impatiently tapping his foot to get on the leg press. I did not fall victim to his intimidation tactic, not allowing myself to be bothered by his spiked hair and water bottle filled with a protein powder.  I finished my set, got off, smiled a bitchy smile and stood by to watch him.  He got on the machine, looked at how much I was putting up, and rolled his eyes like it was feathers.  Then he tried to push.  And couldn't.  Because all the grunting, protein powder, arm bands and pin-pulling doesn't change the fact that he can't put up 350 on a leg press.  

I was in my glory as he pulled the pin and had to move it up.  He was clearly disgusted that this fat girl who did not grunt, wore her hair in sloppy pigtails and drank un-proteinated water smoked him on presses. 

So I now have so many great reasons to go to the gym because of these glorious characters.  There's nothing like seeing a man in his wife's pajamas, or knowing if I need to make an emergency call that Tactical Man is on hand. But the best reason is to go is to continue to get laughs at My New Haircut guy.

Schooling him will never get old.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Crisis Averted: Temptation Resisted.

I just dodged a big bullet- a 620 calorie, 20 grams of fat (12% Saturated!) bullet.

For weeks now I have been craving peanut butter and chocolate ice cream.  Whether it is in the form of a blizzard, milkshake, waffle cone, I really don't care.  I just want some ice cream. And today I almost took some desperate measures for some.

Note:  I do let myself have ice cream and dessert regularly.  I don't really believe in depriving yourself of the things you love and I believe that people who do that are not ultimately successful at long-term weight loss.  However, with this, I also believe in only enjoying them occasionally and in much smaller portions than the 21-scoop volcanoes that I could have polished off before I started this whole adventure (who are we kidding? I could still easily kill 21 scoops, toppings included.)  So with my new modest portion sizes and decreased frequency of dessert consumption, I really try to plan when I will allow myself a sweet treat.

This Sunday is my birthday and I have plans to consume my body weight in Carrot Cake.  Hence the reason I am currently depriving myself  of any sweet treats.  Plus, it will help me make it to my 35-pound loss by age 26.  And it's irrelevant that it will only be 30-pounds loss once I get through some cream cheese frosting.  However, this logic and rational has been greatly tested this past week as all I want is some ice cream.

It came to a peak today.  I finished a delicious, well-balanced dinner and found myself wanting more. Something sweet, creamy and chocolate-esque.  The ice cream man comes around here regularly so I planned accordingly.  I set a few dollar bills and a baseball bat by the front door.  Once I heard the familiar jingle ringing through the air, I planned to casually walk out with my moolah and bat, get to the order window and then bludgeon the ice cream man, providing me the perfect opportunity to carjack the ice cream truck and ride off into a delicious sunset.  I envisioned myself cruising away at 80 mphs, Good Humor bar in one hand, sundae cone in the other, leaving a wake of crying children holding their allowances behind. However, there was one flaw in my plan, and the flaw happened.

The ice cream man never came.

Perhaps he got wind of my crafty plans.  I became desperate.  However, it was well after 9 p.m. at this time, as I spent too many hours keeping vigil with my Louisville Slugger on my front porch and not enough plotting  a plan B.  As I began to sort through my options, I realized ice cream was not in my future.  Dairy Queen closes at 9.  The man that works at the ice cream shop up in town seems to get angry if you come in after 8:30, which begs the questions: 1. Why does he stay open until 10? and 2. Who can be angry working at an ice cream shop?  Not sure I want to know support someone who is so unhappy surrounded by 40 flavors of home-churned hand-dipped heaven.

9:40:  I found myself standing over an open can of cocoa powder, spoon in hand, debating my next step. Any chocolate lover knows Cocoa powder for what it really is.  While it's name conjures up images of chocolate pixies sprinkling their sweet heavenly dust on you, Cocoa powder is actually nature's cruelest joke.  It is terribly bitter. But I was desperate and seriously contemplating digging in just to calm the cravings.

Then it hit me.  There is a McDonald's just up the way.  And they have McFlurry's.  Nevermind the fact that I truly hate eating at McDonald's and do everything in my power to avoid the Golden Arches. In that moment, it was like an oasis of sweetness in the parched desert of my stomach.  But I had a moment of clarity, and decided to check the nutritional information of their desserts to make the most educated decision.  Because clearly there is a healthy choice at 9:45 at night when going to McDonald's.

Thank God I checked!  I was planning on getting a McFlurry with Reese's in it.  I was disgusted to see that it packed 620 calories in it.  I only average between 1300-1400 calories a day, nearly half of my daily eating would be eliminated in one treat!  And I already used up 1250 for the day!  That meant I would either need to spend an additional hour on the elliptical tomorrow (No.) or cut my food intake by half (NO!)  And so I resisted.  And I came to write about my experience to get me out of this craving for ice cream.  I am quite proud of my resolve and will power, because it will be worth it this weekend when I see that I made it to 35 pounds.

And when I eat an entire carrot cake.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Progress Report 3

I've been getting a lot of harassing e-mails lately wondering where I am at. "Cari, when are you going to post again?" "Cari, did you stop doing your Website?"  "Cari, did you revert back to your life of gluttony and slothness?"

To all the inquiries- NO! No, I am not done writing and no I did not revert back to my slothness. Definitely been a bit of a glutton when it comes to things in liquid form with a proof content, but it's Festival season, what else do you expect.  I'll tell you the real reason I have not been updating my blog much lately:

IT'S SUMMERTIME!!!  Why would I want to be sitting at a computer sharing with the world about my obesity, when I can be at a festival eating funnel cakes to contribute to said obesity.  Seriously though, It's summer!  It is so nice out, don't waste your time on-line.  Go to a ball game, lay out in the sun, walk your dog, take your kids to the park!!  Or if you are like me, walk your dog to the park so that he can chase other people's kids.  It's my hound dogs favorite past time.   It's just been so lovely here that when I tell myself I need to update the blog, the thought of coming in out of the sun and away from the never-ending margaritas that seem to circulate in my neighborhood...I just can't do it.  I am loving being outside too much!

Fortunately my healthy lifestyle change did not go on hiatus for the summer break.  I recently met with Judy, my wonderful dietitian, and was so very, very happy with the results!  Since my last visit with her, I dropped another 8.5 pounds! That makes me happy, because that means I am losing about 2 pounds a week, which is the maximum I am trying to lose. I am not trying to do it quickly, I am trying to do it at  a rate so that it will stick once I reach my goal.  The best part of getting rid of those 8.5 pounds is that it put me over the 30 pound mark.  I know I said I was going to try The Worm for my dance party once I hit 30 pounds, but in case you missed it: Michael Jackson died.  So for me, a huge MJ fan, the only appropriate thing was to have dance party to, "Smooth Criminal" and "Beat It."  I was doing fine with the moves from "Beat It," a dance I perfected during my years living at Mt. Lushmore at Ohio U.  "Smooth Criminal" started off well, just bee-bopping and moonwalking around; however, it took a turn for the tragic when I tried that iconic lean.  You know that lean in the "Smooth Criminal" where MJ seems to defy gravity and lean forward at a 45 degree angle. Yeah, lesson learned the hard way that he had to have some special shoes or something, because I fell flat out on my face, did not even have time to brace myself.  It hurt and I did not breathe right for a few days.  But it was worth it to celebrate hitting, and surpassing, 30 pounds and to commemorate Michael in my own way. So perhaps I will save The Worm for when I hit 35 pounds.  Thirty-five will be a milestone for me.  When I started this venture on 1 March, my goal was to lose 35 pounds by my 26th birthday.  Now that it is a mere 11 days away, I believe I can reach it.  Provided I lay off the sauce this weekend. Note: If I stay sober this weekend, It will mark the first sober weekend for me since...I cannot even remember. Honestly, cannot recall a time Will & I have gone 7 consecutive days without a cocktail of some sort. Some might say we have a problem, but we think the only problem is in stopping. 

Other exciting news from my dietitian, my BMI is down again, I am at 36.44, right in the obesity range between morbid obesity and overweight.  For those of you who've been following, when I started this all I was well in the morbid range, so it feels good to get further away from that window and closer to the overweight range that comes with being under 30 on it. I am also exceptionally excited that my glucose level went down another 3 points putting me into the healthy range, and my cholesterol is now below 200!  Again, it is truly pathetic that at age 25 I am so excited over having healthy cholesterol.  But I live a pretty simple existence, so I will take my victories where I can.

I am learning a lot about eating better and my food habits have changed tremendously, so I am getting fewer and fewer tidbits when I see Judy.  However, some of the highlights include:

-To change up Zucchini, spring a little parmesan cheese on it.  Unfortunately, an entire block  is not acceptable. There's always a catch. Note: I learned this because I told her how my zucchini plant is apparently on steroids and is producing fruit like crazy! Ca-razy!!
-Salmon contains a lot of Omega 3.  Now for the real question: What the hell is Omega 3?  Sounds like a fraternity to me, like the Tri-Delts or something.
-If you lift weights and don't get enough protein, your muscles will eat themselves!  I am quite disgusted at the thought of some sort of cannibalism taking place in my body. I am contemplating starting to drink Muscle Milk.  
-At our last meeting Judy told me to incorporate more nuts into my diet to consume more monounsaturated fat.  However, she did not tell me that 2-3 cans of cashews a week was not what she meant.  

And that is all I got.  Wish me luck in making it through the weekend without a beverage or 8 so I can make my 35 pound goal as a birthday gift to myself!