Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “work it

Yoga Is Kicking My Butt, At My Request

Ever since our niece came to visit NYC at the end of March, I’ve been going to yoga classes regularly. Pretty much every single day off from work, I’ve gone. I work full time, but it’s all squeezed into three days a week.

I think going to yoga 4 days a week is pretty good. It’s way up from the once a month I was exercising before. The motivation really comes from how close the studio is. This morning, my first class started at 11am, and the alarm was set for 9am.

At 10:45, I jumped out of bed. In 15 minutes, teeth got brushed, Emergen-C got drunk, yoga clothes got thrown on, and teeth got brushed. It’s really a blessing to have a studio so close to home.

I did something today I’ve never done before. I took two yoga classes. Back-to-back at that. I was tired as hell afterwards, but I felt so strong and so good and so proud of myself!

The first class was vinyasa, and for the first time since I started yoga, I was able to do tree pose equally on both sides and grow my branches. For those who don’t know what that means, I basically went from this:

to this:

Sometimes it’s like that. You do the same thing day in and day out without seeing much progress. Then suddenly, the progress leaps unexpectedly forward, surprising you.

The second class was aerial yoga, and being a bit tired from the first class added a layer of difficulty. But surprisingly, it became that much easier to push. I left the cirque tricks alone today, but did a lot more when it came to the ab and Pilates-style moves.

When I felt my legs lift off the ground for the first time, purely on the strength of my arm muscles pulling against the silk fabric, I was so elated. I want to feel like that all the time!

Because I basically know my schedule for the month, all yoga classes for this month are booked. There are thee more 2-a-days coming up. Usually vinyasa followed by aerial. I can’t wait to see what new ways my body will respond.

I am finally taking care of my body. I’m treating it better than I have in years. I’ve been saying it’s not about a goal weight or size. I haven’t lost any weight, and I still wear the same size clothes. Being not-in-my-20s means losing weight is a slower process.

If I’m being honest with myself, I don’t want to lose a bunch of weight. The smallest I’ve ever been, the day I met my husband, I thought of myself as too small. I was the size of my bone structure, so my opinion was wrong. But I grew up with a grandma who always said something to the effect of, “don’t lose too much weight, what if you get sick, you’ll need to have weight to lose.” Or something like that.

I know people aren’t really getting undiagnosable diseases like consumption anymore, at least not at the same rate they were in the 30s and 40s. But still… It’s part of my programming I can’t seem to break.

So instead, I focus on how good I feel in my body. How strong I feel. How flexible I’ve become. How much energy I have each day. The better food choices I’m making. And I try not to feel too happy that I haven’t lost weight. I’m only 31, the weight loss is inevitable if I keep this up.

Focusing on being as good to my body. Feeling pride that I can take two classes in one day and not just survive but thrive. Dreaming of the day when all of this is second nature rather than a new lifestyle I’m hoping and praying I can hold onto.


The Latest Effort To Get Healthy

So, again I’m trying.

I’m trying to get and stay healthy.

I’ve got the equipment, I’ve got the time, and I’ve got the space. What I’m missing is the motivation.

Motivation has always been the problem for me. My current work schedule is Monday-Friday 4p-12a. Ideally, I’d like to workout when I get home from work, but that’s not possible with my current schedule.

The best option is to wake up a few hours before work and workout then. Here is where motivation (or lack thereof) comes in. I would have to be awake and moving by 1pm at the latest to get some sort of workout in and still be on time for work. I’m usually awake-ish around that time. On Tuesdays when I go to Reciprocity Foundation by 2pm, I have no issues waking up that early.

But when the only thing I have to do is workout then go to work, I just can’t bring myself to get out of bed. “Why not just hit snooze 8 more times and get a smidgen more sleep?” I think. When I’m alert and looking at a scale that is stubbornly over 140 pounds (which is a lot with my bone structure and height), I remember that I need to get my ass out of bed and into some workout clothes. But when I’m in bed, all bets are off.

It’s so frustrating that half-sleep me isn’t as reasonable as wide awake me.

But I have won the battle with myself a couple of times in the last two weeks. I’ve done my Tracy Anderson workout videos three times and I went jogging around my neighborhood once. Four workouts in 2 weeks is a start, but it’s a pitiful start, and I need to do better.

Adding in the rock climbing, yoga, and kickboxing will be great if I can get myself into a routine.

One of my favorite games to play is something a friend of mine and I used to do in college. We called it In A Perfect World. It’s an easy game to play. You just start by saying, “in a perfect world…” and then fill it in.

This game is only for playing with yourself (that’s what he said) or with a trusted confidante, or if you’re not talking about anything to personal, with everyone who reads your blog.

I’m going to play a round of In A Perfect World but I’m going to focus only on my health goals.

In a perfect world, I exercise 5 days a week. I go running, I do kickboxing, I do yoga, I do Tracy Anderson’s workouts, and I do rock climbing. I don’t do all of them every week, but I do them at least twice a month, and fill in the schedule with running or Tracy Anderson.

I’m a size 4 or 2, whichever looks better to me in the mirror. My bone structure is a 0, but that’s too darn small for me. I like to see some curves and have a bit (just a bit) of cushion, you know?

Because I’m working out so much, I tend to eat better because I notice I’m sluggish when I gorge on unhealthy over-processed foods.

And best of all, I look great in this when I wear it for my 30th birthday celebration.

 

This is a hip & butt hugging, boobalicious dress that shows off a lot of leg. It would be a great way to say I'm 30, and I'm still super hot.

This is a hip & butt hugging, boobalicious dress that shows off a lot of leg. It would be a great way to say I’m 30, and I’m still super hot.

I’m hoping my girls come visit New York for Halloween this year. It’s a couple of weeks after my birthday, but I celebrate for a whole month anyway, so it would be perfect. I have one picture of me wearing this dress about 10 pounds ago, and I don’t love the way I look in it.

I really liked how I looked in the dress when I first bought it, but then I didn’t wear it for a while, and well, in a perfect world, I’ll love how I feel in the dress again.

In the real world, I’ve just got to stay motivated because what I would want in a perfect world, isn’t that hard to achieve.

In other news, I got a tablet!

2014-06-12 20.55.00

My screensaver is the sunset outside of my window at work. Beautiful isn’t it?

I’m super excited because I love me some gadgets! And it’s nice to have it for tracking my health stuff as well. If you have any of the fitbit products or if you’re on myfitness pal, friend me. Supporting each other and pushing each other to stay healthy can be key.

My fitbit profile

My myfitnesspal profile


On Coming Back to Blogging

Back again. It’s so hard to post consistently when there is living to do, mood swings to pretend I’m not having, and recaps that feel so cumbersome to put together.

But here I am, back and better than ever.

What makes me better this time?

Well, instead of pressing reset and acting like the time that’s passed didn’t happen, I’m going to pickup where I left off.

I left off talking about helping one of my best friends put together his second-to-last best man speech.

And I was talking about Wine School for the New York Times.

And I was talking about trying to get back in shape, and not really having the motivation to do so. Apparently pre-paying for exercise classes isn’t a great motivator for me.

And I was talking about embracing this wonderful city I now call home. New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do.

I’ve decided I’m going to also start talking more about the reason I’m here. I moved to New York City because of Easy, my jazz musician husband. There’s lot of stuff going on with that to talk about. And when they make a movie about his life and the lives of his contemporaries one day (it’s totally gonna happen), they’ll have some scene where I’m typing away on my blog as I’m cooking the guys dinner. The producers will have to include that scene as a condition of Easy’s participation in the movie. He just doesn’t know it yet, well now that he’s read that sentence, he knows. Hi Easy.

But until the movie gets made, this blog will document the mention-worthy crap that I know about his NYC jazz music world.

The first thing I want to talk about is the effort to get in shape.

I’m coming up on my 30th birthday soon. I have barely started on that bucket list some of my friends and I are doing that I keep promising to talk about. I should’ve put “get back to the size I was at college graduation” on the list.

What’s crazy is that around the time I graduated college, I felt like a fat ass. I weighed 125 lbs, which isn’t a lot at all. But when you’re only 5 feet tall and you have a tiny bone structure, it feels like a lot, especially when I floated around 100 pounds from age 13 to age 21.

But now I’m a good 15 pounds heavier than that. Which, again, I know is not a lot in terms of average adult weight. But all of my friends who weigh that much wear a size 2, 4, or 6. Because I am a ton of inches shorter than them, I’m wider and wear a size 8, pushing a 10 in some brands.

That shit is unacceptable.

If I lost 10 pounds, I’d lose an inch or so all around and immediately drop down a few sizes. I don’t ever want to reach a size 0 or 2 again because my fat girl boobs are kind of awesome (34C woot woot!), but I just want to reduce the jigglies.

My girls back in Chicago and I have a plan. We’re going to start keeping up with each other’s diet/exercise efforts. They all joined myfitnesspal and we’re going to keep each other motivated.

I think that having my girls trying to get healthy with me, along with the varied workout plan I’ve already paid for–and just have to start using– and the ease of online grocery shopping makes it pretty foolproof to stay on track.

At least, it certainly sounds foolproof.

I think there’s a saying, “it’s better to be thought of as a fool that to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

I’m feeling at this moment that my blog is a doubt remover.

But perhaps it’ll be wrong.

Perhaps I’m not a fool…?

I just want to wear a bikini and feel proud of what I see in the mirror.

When I’m home, alone or with my husband, I don’t have a lot of body issues. Even being overweight, I’m pretty happy with how I look naked. I’m shaped well enough, and again, I’ve got my fat girl boobs going. It’s mainly how I look in clothes that is a concern for me

I feel pretty strongly about dressing for my body type. I’m all about structured clothing items and fabrics that float away from the body. But I miss the days when I could literally put on any piece of clothing and it worked as long as it wasn’t intended for someone who was 5’10”. I want that back.

I promise if I get that back, I will still dress age appropriately.

Except for crop tops.

I figure it will take me until my 30th birthday to get a completely flat tummy, and my almost-but-not-quite-old ass will be wearing crop tops and lots of them.

But other than that, completely age appropriate.

I’m just hoping that when I get into bed tonight I can turn my brain off so I can get enough sleep to wake up early Friday and start working out.


122,000 Steps And Counting

My Fitbit is great! Thanks again to my girl Brenda for the amazing gift!

I can actually keep really great track of what I’m doing and keeping track is keeping me on track. Okay, I’m done using the word track.

Between fitbit.com, myfitnesspal.com, and cozi.com, I’m spending a good amount of time tracking my meals, steps, sleep, and workouts.

I’m hoping it’s front-end labor intensive, and once I settle into a rhythm, it will be easier to maintain. It’s already gotten easier.

I sync my fitbit a couple of time a day. I plan my meals now a week in advance. And while I’m eating or just after I finish eating, I log my food into myfitnesspal. I also log my exercises while I’m waiting for my post-exercise shower to heat up.

I don’t know how sustainable this all is honestly.

Once Easy (the husband for those of you who didn’t read my last post) is back, it might be difficult to maintain. I don’t know if he’s going to want to eat what I’m eating.

I’m basically a flexitarian now. I didn’t even know flexitarian was a thing until I saw there’s a Vegetarian Food Festival in New York in a couple of weeks that I’m going to miss.

I think this is me. Who knew? Image via No Meat This Week

I’m not a flexitarian for any other reason than a changing palate and health reasons. Tonight, I ate yogurt, strawberries, blackberries, apple sauce, brocolli, yellow rice, and kidney beans.

according to myfitnesspal, all of that was around 500 calories. According to fitbit, I burned around 550 calories just walking around today. Yet I’m full and not even a bit hungry or tired. How the hell is that possible?

I’d like to say that part of my feeling so good now is because I’ve been exercising. I have started on the Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis plan, yet again.

I can tell that my legs are stronger than they were. All this walking around NYC has made my calves look pretty good, and it’s making these workouts easier.

But the storms that have been whooping up on the East Cost have kept me from doing the other workouts I’m interested in.

When it takes twice as long to get to work, that makes getting up early to go to a rock climbing yoga class to a gym with no showers virtually impossible.

I have a friend from work who also purchased the Amazon local deal and has committed to going rock climbing with me. I’ve picked out a class at the kickboxing place that works in my current schedule.

Now all I need is for it to stop freaking snowing!

I am almost certain that when this post publishes, fresh snow will blanket the ground.

I plan on working out at home tomorrow, so I don’t need to worry about the weather until it’s time to head out to work.

There is good news in all of this. I wore a pair of pants to work this week that I haven’t worn since late summer. They were too tight.

Hell, they’re still too tight. But instead of being I-can’t-even-button-these-why-did-I-bother to being these-make-my-ass-look-PHAT-which-isn’t-entirely-work-appropriate-oh-well.

That’s a big step in the right direction. I cringe to think of my butt shrinking. But I’m happy to think of the back rolls and tummy pudge going away.

I’ve still got farther to go. But so far, the change in eating habits is going well, and Tracy Anderson is making exercise possible in spite of all of this:

image via Google

image via Google

I am looking forward to next Friday with every fiber of my being.

Oh, before I forget! The gift from Easy arrived yesterday. He got me a long-sleeve t-shirt in red with the HRC symbol on it. This shirt is comfy and a great cotton 2nd anniversary gift.

He knows that I’ve felt ever stronger about LGBT rights recently. And he knows I love a good traditional anniversary gift. He did good.


Chicago-Style Girl’s Workout Plan, I Wanna See You Workout

If you scroll down to the very bottom of my blog page, you’ll see a few things.

There is the standard search box you’ll see on all blogs, but I’ve cleverly hidden it in plain sight so you can’t easily find it, bah ha ha. Actually, I just didn’t know where else to put it because I didn’t like the look of it on my right tab column.

There is also a job disclaimer that my people request we put up so that my words are not associated with the company. I totally get that, but I’m such a huge fan of donation, I’m happy to claim my words as my very own. Go sign up for organ donation people!

But the other thing you’ll see at the bottom is the MyFitnessPal Ticker and My Tracy Anderson countdown. Both are at the bottom so as not to depress me on a daily basis.

The Tracy Anderson 90 day countdown ended August 16, 2013. That counts as a super-duper fail. I didn’t get past Day 10. It’s just so hard. Whine whine, fill in whine here.

And I don’t have access to a scale anymore. I intend on getting this cool bluetooth scale that goes with the fitbit.

Image via Amazon

Image via fitbit

These were my intended birthday gifts. They still are my intended gifts, even though my birthday was three months ago. The husband and I are working it out.

Perhaps if I can avoid Queens in general and potholes specifically, I would’ve had my birthday gift by now. Stupid Geico insurance deductible.

Moving on. Because I don’t have access to a scale, I have no idea what I weigh. But I’m almost certain I’m at my highest weight ever. Seeing as how I never really effectively kicked off the weight loss in the first place, that’s less upsetting to say than you’d think.

Working 4p-midnight is detrimental to my life plans. I’m not a morning person, so I struggle to get up before noon. I’d have to get up and start working out by 10 am to have enough time to really workout and get to work on time. And now that I’m helping babysit at the home I volunteer at, there’s even less time. Weekends are out because of the soup kitchen and church.

I know. Excuses, excuses.

Having said all of this (what kind of jerk has 300 words of introduction?), I have a plan to kick-start my new healthy New York life.

This plan includes spending money, but not a lot of money.

Amazon Local has all these great options for things to try. Normally, I would look at it for deals at restaurants and cool live events. But then I thought, why not use it for purposes other than taking in hundreds of calories in food and alcohol?

There are some really great deals available now too.

When I was in search of adventure the other weekend, I considered finding a rock climbing place, but didn’t pursue it because most indoor places do belay, and you need a partner.

Guess what? Amazon Local has a deal on the one indoor rock climbing place in Brooklyn. I checked out the website for Brooklyn Boulders, and it looks pretty cool.

While I was looking around for deals, I also came across a yoga/pilates studio, a kickboxing class, and a ballet/zumba studio. All of these sounded interesting, but I decided to go with the kickboxing because that’s one I’ve never done before, but always found interesting as a concept.

So I have pre-paid (at amazing discounts by the way) for a whole day pass at Brooklyn Boulders and 10 kickboxing classes at Village Kickboxing Fitness. Y’all know I love me some Greenwich Village, so any reason is a good reason to spend more time there.

Image via Amazon Local

I’m hoping that pre-paying will really encourage me to make it happen. I have until the end of July to use the promotional offers, but I intend to get started on them within the next few weeks. It’ll give me something to do while the husband is gone for the month of February.

I used to rock climb at this place that was in a south suburb of Chicago, but that ended when I grew my nails out for the wedding. You simply can’t rock climb effectively with long nails, and I grew them pretty long y’all.

2013-06-21 20.46.29

But now they are shorter, though still nice. If I really like the rock climbing, and if I can find someone to commit to actually going with me, I’ll keep the nails short.

With any luck, rock climbing and kickboxing will add some variety to a workout that I already enjoy (but, ahem, never make time for), and I can finally get back on track with exercising.

I’m doing okay diet-wise. I’m not on a “diet” per se, I use the word diet simply to refer to the food I choose to eat. I’m doing this pseudo vegetarian thing now. I barely eat meat anymore. I certainly haven’t lost the taste for it, I just choose better options, like black beans or chickpeas for protein.

And if I’m successful with my 30th birthday bucket list (which I promise to write a real post about soon), I’ll be able to add tofu to my list of protein options.

I don’t do too much in the way of frying, and I haven’t eaten any fast food aside from the occasional french fry in months. I just feel better when I’m not eating all that processed food, you know?

So I am going to risk the craziness and officially reset the 90 day countdown. Just so you know, this is not a 3 month thing, it’s 90 days of working out. I have to assume that I’m not going to work out more than three days a week.

Let’s be honest here I don’t have the time or the motivation.

But I’m going to set a timer for 90 workouts at three days a week. Maybe some weeks I’ll do more and that will balance out the weeks I’m sure to do less. I will also count those kickboxing classes and the rock climbing, which could turn into a membership as well.

So yup, I’m spending money in an attempt to look and feel better. If I were rich, maybe I’d be getting liposuction and hiring a personal trainer. I guess it’s a good thing I’m not rich because that just sounds like too much, right?

Wish me luck, y’all. Here I go again.

Day 90 is… August 27, 2014.

Damn, that seems far away. But it’s not really because that’s with me exercising only 3 days a week, so that’s 30 weeks. I think that’s a more reasonable goal because it lifts some of the pressure to try an exercise 6 times a week, which I was never able to sustain except when unemployed.

And if I”m doing it over that period of time, it will hopefully become a real lifestyle change. The Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis program continues after the initial 90 days, and she has a pregnancy workout plus a post-natal workout. So none of my life plans should interfere with the success of this.

I’ve written myself into excitement for the possibilities. If I do the home workout 3 times a week, swapping out one day every two weeks for a varied activity, it could work.

I can attempt running again once it’s warm outside. I have this amazing book Born to Run, available on Amazon to thank for even feeling like I could do this cause I kinda hate running. Read this book, and you’ll feel like you could become a supermarathoner. Or at least make it around the block more than once.

I can also try ballroom dancing again. You should try to polka for more than 10 minutes straight and tell me that’s not a workout.

Maybe I can even go back to hot yoga, which I truly loved deep down in my heart.

Any day now, or rather in like 7 months, I’m going to look and feel amazing. You just wait and see. I can’t wait to start complaining that none of my pants fit anymore. Well, that’s actually a current complaint because they’re kind of tight, but I’m hoping for it to turn into a complaint that they’re too loose.

Day one begins today. Anyone want to join me on MyFitnessPal so we can encourage each other?


Why Did I Eat Flamin’ Hots Before Exercising?

So, I’ve been exercising more regularly, and I’m finally starting to feel the effects that come along with continued exercise.

I sleep better, and need less hours of sleep overall.

I feel more hungry for healthy food and less hungry for unhealthy food.

My clothes are even starting to fit better. I long for the day when this yo yo thing I”m doing with my size in clothing is done and I’m maintaining a healthy weight and sexy body.

Lastly, I’m enjoying the feeling of motivation. Even when I have a good excuse not to work out, I’m taking that extra step to workout. I’m hoping I can keep this up because it feels great.

So on to the point of this post. I love flamin’ hots. I haven’t eaten them in a while because they are basically the ultimate unhealthy junk food when it comes to me. Don’t know what flamin’ hots are?

I didn’t actually eat the frito lay flamin’ hots though. I got that good local Vitner’s cheesy hot.

I’m not downing ho hos or anything like that. But I’ll eat the hell out of some empty spicy carbs. Enter Crunchy Hot Kurls.

I bought some on a whim on Father’s Day when I stopped in Walgreens to grab a can of assorted nuts for my dad. He really likes the assorted nuts, so I grabbed them. I just couldn’t pass up the snacks for myself.

Since it had been so long since I’d eaten flamin’ hots, I didn’t finish the bag in one sitting.

The next day, I finished the  bag, and it was so delicious.

One hour later, I was starting to workout. My workout involves a lot of laying flat and also having my head pointed toward the floor (i.e., lower than my heart).

That situation is not good for digesting all that spice and Red 40. I felt some horrific heartburn/reflux type pain. I was able to finish my workout, but I needed all the water when I was done.

Now that my goal is to work out daily, I pretty much cannot ever eat those chips again.

At least not two days in a row.

Or right before I work out.

Or at all.

Will I completely swear off spicy empty carbs? No, I can’t do that. I love flamin’ hot funyuns too much for that.

But I know I don’t ever want to feel that pain of all that spice making it’s way back up out of my stomach again. Kinda kills the endorphin buzz that exercise brings, you know?


Protected: Day One For The Second Time

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Back Away From The Donut

I’ve been trying to get healthy again. There were a few things that happened that made me think it was time to get my jiggly ass back in shape.

First, during the Ultimate Blog Party 2013, I joined in and found some new friends, one of whom commented on my UBP13 post. This comment came from Danielle, who invited me to friend her on MyFitnessPal.

If you are on MyFitnessPal, please friend Danielle and me. Her username is msvip213 and mine is cecerose0211. I don’t know about her, but I’d love more friends to track and get healthy with. From the moment her updates started showing in my feed, I felt more motivated. Just to know I wasn’t alone in the struggle meant so much to me.

The second thing that happened came right around the same time as UBP13. I received a text message telling me about my 10 year high school reunion. I knew it was about that time, but I hadn’t made the decision on whether or not to go yet.

I went to the information page and saw the upcoming dates are August 16-18th. That means I’d likely still be in town and able to attend.

You know what else happens August 16th? That’s Day 90 for the Tracy Anderson metamorphosis when I reset the counter. That day was chosen based on me working out five times a week starting last Monday. It just seemed like fate that I would get my jiggly ass in shape just in time for my 10 year high school reunion.

I have some thoughts about that reunion, but that’s at topic for another post.

On the topic of backing away from donuts, I have failed. I ate three donuts this week. Don’t even get me started on how many cupcakes I’ve eaten. I remember the summer I met the husband. I went low-to-no carb for a few months, and I loved the way I looked and felt.

Perhaps I should go low-to-no carb again? That would be no potatoes, no bread, no cake, no cookies, no anything that makes me happy in terms of food. I tend to overdo it when it comes to carbs anyway, so it might not be the worst idea.

Ugh, it also means no gravy! I can’t go without gravy, can I?

All I know is that with the new goal of truly reaching Day 90 by the time my reunion rolls around, I feel more motivated. I just have to get my life to agree with me.

My work schedule is not conducive to working out. This past week, I only got in three workouts. If I do six-a-week workouts for the next two weeks, I can easily get back on track. Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis is meant for six-a-week workouts, so I should be fine.

If I could just leave work at a normal hour, I could do it. I much prefer working out at 2pm rather than 9pm. Maybe I can  figure out a way to workout during work. After all, there is a small gym at the office with a DVD player and television. It’s definitely an idea to consider because it gets harder and harder to keep my motivation once the sun sets.

I think I have a pretty good psuedo-plan to get myself back on track. Possible no carb, possible working out at work, possible working out six days a week for a few weeks.

I will be posting again about how Day One went. I took pictures because I wanted to post about it. I am feeling so self-conscious about those pictures though, so the post will be password protected.

Perhaps when I no longer look like the pictures, I’ll feel like turning the password off. But for now, send me an e-mail if you want the password. I’ve got no problem giving that password out to my regular readers!

I can turn some of those possibilities into a reality, right?


I Looked In The Mirror. Damn.

It’s confession time. I looked in the mirror, even though I said I wouldn’t. I didn’t mean to, well not exactly. Let me tell you what happened.

I had just finished working out. I was running to the bedroom to grab a hair elastic so that I could put my hair up before getting into the bathtub. I just happened to glance in the mirror in our front hall accidentally. The next thing I know, I’m standing in the mirror, admiring the beginning of those lines on my stomach. You know what I’m talking about. Those lines that hint at the outline of a future six pack.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so far from having clearly identifiable ab muscles. But I will admit that I like to see those lines. They make me feel strong and sexy. All I know is, 2 to 3 minutes had passed and I was still admiring my body in the mirror. And do you know what happened after that?

A whole bunch of nothing happened after that.

Once I decided that I was going to work out only 5 days a week, I figured I didn’t have to pick specific days. I figured I would just work out as my schedule allows.

For this week that meant working out every day except for maybe Wednesday and Thursday, which were the only 2 days I have to go into work. Oh, but no, that’s not what happened. The mirror is my enemy. I knew looking at it would make me feel like I was making real progress.

I don’t know why, but any sort of progress sucks away my motivation. And as usual, I’m hoping that telling on myself will make me get back into working out. There are still enough days left for me to get my 5 workout days in this week. Cross your fingers for me because I really want to stick with it this time.

I know I say my main goal is to fit into the dress I wore the day I met my husband. And in some ways, it is my main goal. Or at least, it’s a way to visually recognize that I’ve got the body I want. But also, I just really want to be happy all the time with what I see when I look in the mirror.

Some of you know what its like to have mixed feelings about what you see in the mirror. I love my body and I think that I’m attractive and pretty and all of that. I know I could be better though. Having excess body fat on certain parts of your body is just unhealthy, and it makes certain items of clothing look unflattering. I’d like to be more healthy and not to leave certain items of clothing in my closet because they don’t fit well. It would remove a point of stress in my life, just that simple.

I care about my long-term health, more than I usually talk about in this blog. Working out as consistently as I can makes that possible. You may wonder why I care so much. Well, when I was a little kid, there were so many old people in my family, and I loved it. They were the siblings of my great grandmother. She passed when I was in college, making it past the age of 80 . So basically, I come from a family where people live until they are 70 and 80 years old. I want to be able to know my great grandchildren before I die. And to do that, I’ve got to grow old. And to do that, I’ve got to stay healthy.

I’m almost 30 years old, and I don’t have any children yet. The husband and I intend to have children in the next few years but we aren’t in any rush. That means I have to live really long time if I want to get to know some grandchildren and great grandchildren. Ideally, I’d like to be in good health when I’m spending time with him. I just can’t see myself in a wheelchair, on an oxygen tank, or needing a walker. I want to play with my grandchildren and great grandchildren. So I have to do everything I can now so that I can have a life I want later. I think that if I focus on the deep reasons instead of just the superficial ones, it will stay important to me day after day to get my lazy ass up and exercise.

I talk a lot about exercising but not so much about diet. I just wanted to explain why. I’m not exactly a health food nut. But I do believe in eating as many unprocessed foods as possible, and trying not to overindulge. It helps that I don’t have any food allergies, and I have a pretty strong stomach.

Normally, I don’t have problems with moderating my diet–except for when it comes potatoes. If it wasn’t for the fact that I would eventually weigh 300 pounds, I would eat potatoes every day. But usually, I don’t have a problem regulating my diet. So if you’re going through this same struggle trying to get in shape and stay healthy, I’d like to apologize for having no words of encouragement on the diet front. But I’m with you on your struggle to exercise.

It’s hard to get up everyday and expend that energy. Even when I think about the extra energy I’ll have after a few days of working out, it’s always… later. And for some reason ‘later’ isn’t a strong enough motivator. Or at least it wasn’t, until I started thinking about play time with my future great grandchildren. Needless to say, I’m feeling more motivated.

I just had to dig deeper. So if you’re lacking motivation, dig deeper. Figure you why you care about being healthy. Does it affect your future? Affect your clothes? Does it affect your happiness?

If you run out of motivation by thinking of whatever size jeans you aspire to fit, dig deeper.

If you can dig deeper, maybe next time  you’re working out, but don’t feel like pushing yourself, you can dig deeper then too.

Good luck.


Avoiding The Mirror

A week in and I’m still exercising. I feel very lucky that Tracy Anderson’s workout plan includes a day off. My work schedule has been bananas this week and I simply don’t have the energy to workout.

I’m not talking in a, “I’ve been working 12 hours and just don’t feel like it” kind of way. I mean, “I’ve been working 12 hours after only having 2 hours of sleep because I wasn’t supposed to work today, but I’m on fo resource, even though no other resource people ever bring their ass to work when people are short-staffed, but what the hell ever” kind of way. There was no way I was working out yesterday, so thank God it was my workout off day.

I think my best bet for maintaining my motivation is avoiding the mirror. The way this workout plan works is that you see results almost immediately. The second I see firmer thighs, a slightly flatter tummy, and less jiggly arms, I get too excited. That feeling that I can slack off because I’m almost there creeps in.

That feeling is complete insanity because I am in no way “almost there.” The goal is to fit into the dress I was wearing the day I met the husband. And I don’t just want to get it on, I want to look as good or better than I did that day. Just because my thighs aren’t as jiggly doesn’t mean I’m anywhere near that sexy little black dress.

Putting that in writing somehow helps me believe it more. Because I’m so far from fitting a size 0 it’s not even funny. Well, it’s little funny because for some reason I kept all my size zero dresses assuming I’d one day have the motivation to work out enough to get back into them. That’s pretty funny in an ironic kind of way.

But I still have hope. My optimism has not yet waned and I think my waist can again be less than 30″ without me sucking in. It will happen! Just not right away. It will take me a while, and if I’m being realistic, it’s going to take longer than the 90 days Tracy Anderson alludes to.

There’s honestly no way I can work out consistently 6 days a week. I think it would be better for me to aim for five days a week. That way, when crazy shit happens with my work schedule, as it always seems to these days, I’ll still be on track. And it will be easier to keep track of which set of workouts I’m on if I’m doing five days a week. She has it in 10 days intervals, so it will take me 14 days for each set of ten instead of 11-13 days.

I should reach day 90 in 18 weeks. That would be May 4th-ish, depending on which day of the week I would actually complete the 90th workout. That seems so far from now, but it makes me feel better somehow.

I’m not crazy, I swear. It’s just that the idea of boot camps and 30-day workouts mess with my head. It seems like a quick burst of hard work that’s impossible to maintain in the long run. But a nice mid-length goal of 4.5 months sounds good to me. It’s something I can maintain when I’m done, and the 5 day a week workout is doable as well.

I hope my optimism turns into proactive behavior. I guess we’ll see.

Oh, the other reason for avoiding the mirror is how I laser in on the burn on my lip every time I glance toward a reflective surface. I just hate the way it looks. I’ve been applying lots of neosporin, cocoa butter, and medicated lip balm. It’s healing quicker than expected thanks to the quick turn over of the skin cells of the lip. I hope it doesn’t leave a permanent mark.

For now, avoiding the mirror is the plan. I can’t see my burned lip or my lack of jiggles. I’ll just keep it up with the leg lifts and the neosporin. Before you know it, I’ll be wearing a size 0 (which is the size of my frame, not some unhealthy weight I shouldn’t aspire to) and having no signs that I ever foolishly threw freshly sliced potatoes into hot oil.


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Thirty Days Down, The Rest Of My Life To Go

Now that I’m past Day 30, I feel even better in terms of energy, mood, and self-image. When I look at my pictures from Day 1, Day 10, Day 20, and now Day 30, it’s really just amazing. In fact, I’ll post the old pictures

Aside from feeling amazing, the biggest notice is how my clothes fit. My largest clothes are becoming quite roomy. I figure by Day 60, I’ll have to get rid of some of my clothes because they will be too large. There are several items of clothing I haven’t been able to fit into for months that are starting to fit. I have a great pair of wide leg pants that button on the side. I can button them again, and I’m hoping to wear them in public in just 10 short days. They are perfect-for-fall pants after all.

The husband and I are going to a wedding in a couple weeks in Virginia for one of his cousins. God willing, I’ll be wearing this great dress I haven’t worn (or really fit well) since the day I met the husband. And I’m considering Halloween outfits that aren’t swamping my body. Halloween seems to be the time to run naked through the streets and claim you’re dressed as a “Sexy Bunny” or “Sexy Puppy” or “Slut #3.” Maybe I will just go as Slut #3. It will be hard to get me not to if I have any kind of lines on my tummy representing the start of a six pack.

Even when I feel like doing nothing and next to nothing, I still have energy. In that moment of doing nothing, I still know I could get up and do something, I’m not so pooped out that I have no choice but to lie down. The husband just started doing P90X (because he’s a crazy person). It’s been such a change in our house with both of us working out and making a more concerted effort to be healthy. When we’re working this hard, it makes everything else seem worth it somehow. Putting in work on the apartment, planning our schedules around work so we still have fun, and just hanging out and doing nothing is better. When you’ve worked up a sweat and can feel the burn, you feel like you’ve accomplished something that day. So just chilling and playing video games that night is nothing but fun and you feel no regret about it.

Taking care of my skin and my body has always been a priority, but when I’m working up a sweat 6 days a week, it’s even more important. I use lots of Mary Kay products on my face that include a toner, exfoliates, and has sunscreen. I use the Proactiv body wash. And Dove and Oil of Olay round out the pack for soaps, deodorant, and lotions. My hair isn’t an issue because I have locs. I can’t imagine how African-American women with hard to manage hair work out all the time. I guess those are the ponytail women. I honestly am glad my hair is locked so it’s not ever an issue.

I finished my Tracy Anderson food program after 30 calendar days. This was well before the 30th Metamorphosis Day. Since that time, I’ve just been trying to eat healthy (except for the evil ass cake week) and not overdoing it. The weight loss has continued, so I imagine I’m doing something right. I no longer eat anything canned or over-processed, and that has helped a lot. I eat a lot of lean meat, fresh fruits, fresh vegetable, and home-made baked goods. And now I’m basically following one of the P90X diet plans with the husband. The meal plan reads exactly like what we’ve been eating recently anyway. Each lunch includes lots of veggies either in soup or salad form with lean meat. Each dinner includes meat, some starch/health carb, one grain, and veggies. I think that even once we’re not taking their meal suggestions, it should be no problem to stick with this meal format, which isn’t too far from what I was eating on Tracy Anderson’s plan.

I’ve come up with some amazing recipes too. I made a citrus cilantro vinaigrette that doubled as a marinade for a chicken mixed greens salad we had for lunch the other day. More people would eat healthy everyday if I was cooking for them, trust me. Since I’ve had the baking bug recently, the house always has fresh cookies, or cake, or brownies to be found. They are definitely not low-fat, so we have to make sure we don’t overdo it. So far, except for the chocolate cake, it hasn’t been a problem. That chocolate cake is the first recipe I didn’t cut in half or into 1/3, so I can only blame the large volume of cake. The fact that it was still around after 5 days was trouble enough. When I cut a cookie recipe down and only make 8-10, it’s gone before we even get set to overdo it.

The last thing I want to say is that my calves feel and look amazing. I’ve always had thinner legs from the knee down, but now they look pretty shapely and strong. My skinny jeans are actually tight all the way down my leg now instead of just around the thighs and hips. Tracy Anderson wasn’t kidding when she said she’d give me an all-around more feminine shape.


Protected: Day 20, Pictures and Stats

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Twenty Days And Counting

I passed by Day 20 and I was so proud of myself. I truly understand how someone can start Tracy Anderson’s program, fall off, and only get back on momentarily before completely giving up. You really have to take it day by day and treat each day separately. I had to work hard to keep up the motivation. Now that I’ve moved on to the third set of exercises (for Days 21-30), I realized it was more about the exercises than my motivation. Okay, maybe it was both.

I just really wasn’t a fan of the Days 11-20 exercises. I liked Days 1-10 and so far I like Days 21-30. Maybe it’s because I’m stronger, more flexible, and have more endurance. Maybe it’s because I feel that I’ve gotten past a motivation slump. Whatever the reason, I’m feeling her exercises again. After coming in the house late Tuesday night, I still managed to get in the day’s exercise at 11:30 pm. I was so proud of myself for not missing a day. I would not have been able to do that this time last week.

I’ve been strutting my stuff the last few days. I’ve worn several items of clothing that have just been sitting in my closet. There are the slacks I haven’t worn in 6 months (and comfortably in 9 months). There was the dress I haven’t worn in over a year. It’s been such an amazing feeling to get back into these clothes I love. I felt bad leaving them so lonely in the closet. They just had to sit there watching my stretchy pants get pulled out to be worn yet again, feeling like a red-headed stepchild. But now they are back in rotation baby!

There are still a few more items waiting to re-join the fold. There is this skin-tight micro mini dress that the husband finds so sexy. I refuse to put that back on until my tummy is flat again, but it’s on my to-do list. One clothing item that has remained is my bras. My bra size increased as I gained weight. I don’t know what it is about Tracy Anderson’s workout that’s so magical, but I still wear the same bra size as I did with my fat girl boobs. My butt still looks curvy and plump, my hips still have the Coke bottle thing going on. That woman wasn’t kidding when she said she makes your shape leaner and feminine.

On a side note, did you know she has a pregnancy video coming out in October? I’ve been wondering what in the world I was going to do when I got pregnant, but she’s answered my questions. She has a 6 week old and she took the opportunity over the last year to produce a workout video for exercising while you’re pregnant. It’s supposed to be a great companion for her postpartum workout she did a few years ago. I won’t be getting pregnant anytime soon, but should I stick with the Tracy Anderson Method, it’s nice to know there’s a plan waiting for that point in my life.

The best part about this point in the workout is that other people have begun to notice the change. I have only lost about 8 pounds, but the difference is really being seen in the muscle tone and how much leaner my body is starting to look. My mother noticed my butt looked higher. The husband noticed my waist looked smaller and tummy looked flatter. And my co-workers have all said I looked skinnier. Skinny isn’t something I see as a compliment, but I know they meant it as a compliment, so it was still empowering.

At this point, it’s important to remember to maintain focus on the other parts of my well-being. I try to shower within a half hour of finishing my workout so my skin stays clear of breakouts. I make sure I use sunscreen so the my skin won’t get loose around the areas of weight loss. I drink lots of water, at least 40 oz. a day. And I do my best to get enough sleep, even sacrificing social plans. I have more energy, but only because I try to stay rested and stress free. Even when I can’t go right to sleep, I still focus on breathing and relaxation. Staying calm goes a long way towards keeping only the “happy” hormones in your body. And that helps promote weight loss.

As usual, I will do a separate post for Day 20, but it will be password protected. If you want access to the password protected posts, just e-mail me at chicagostylegirl@gmail.com. I usually have no problem giving the password to people who I know are regular readers/commenters.


Digging Deep To Find The Motivation

A few days ago, I was all set to write this post about how my good intentions had come to naught. But as I started, I looked at the clock and took note of the time. Sure, I hadn’t come home from work and changed right into my workout clothes to work out. But I had woken up with about two hours before the husband was coming to pick me up for our night out in the city. With those two hours I could either write a blog post and then get ready. Or I could workout and then get ready.

I honestly don’t know where I got the sudden motivation, but I put on my workout clothes and went to get my iPod, but I couldn’t find it. After 10 minutes, I gave up and decided to just work out without it. I hate working out without my iPod because all I have to listen to is the music on Tracy Anderson’s DVD. I don’t know how it works for some people, but feeling like I’m in the middle of a rave doesn’t make me want to work out, it makes me want to back away slowly and go hide.

Even with the music, I managed to get through the workout. I’m so proud of myself that I got back on the exercise bandwagon. I thought it might not happen. And now for a “this is going to sound f-ed up” warning. I honestly have a new compassion for fat people, which I never had before.

Over the years, I’ve gone from a tiny person to a regular-sized-but-short person to an overweight-but-still-short person. Over that time, I’ve always felt that getting healthy was just a matter of eating right and exercising. This is where my lack of compassion for fat people comes in. I honestly felt like all you had to do was get off the damn couch, and things would improve. I did hold a special exemption for health problems that attack one’s ability to workout/lose weight like myasthenia gravis, polycystic ovaries, etc.

Since working out wasn’t ever hard for me, my lack of compassion continued. I was either younger with more energy or unemployed with plenty of time. But now, I have learned my lesson. I’ve learned my lesson with a vengeance. I have a husband I spend a good amount of time taking care of, a full-time job, family responsibilities, etc., and it’s so hard to find the time. And even when I have the time, it’s hard to find the energy.

I know how extra weight tends to drain your energy, making it even harder to get up and motivated. Motivation is really the only way to keep going. Some days you just aren’t feeling it. Or maybe you start to see results so you think you can let off the gas a little. Whatever the specific reason, I can now name several why staying healthy is not simply a matter of getting off the couch. I know how easy it is to slip out of the exercise habit. I still maintain that being healthy is a real priority in life, but I officially have more compassion for those people who can’t find it in themselves to get started or to keep going.


Excuses, Excuses

Did you ever have an argument with yourself? The part of you that wants to take a break from responsibility is explaining how the dog ate the homework. The part of you that is responsible is shaking it’s head and saying, “I call bullshit.”

For the last two days, I’ve been having this argument with myself. Sunday night was such a great night. The husband and I went out to one of his friend’s shows and had drinks afterward. It was quite a lovely date night. But I woke up Monday morning with a weird pain in my leg. It was painful enough that I decided not to do my workout.

Then I got home from work Tuesday morning and had a raging headache. I just wanted to get into bed and sleep it off. So I did, reasoning that it was only two days off, and maybe I could get up early and do the work out before work instead. Of course, I didn’t set my alarm to wake up early, so that didn’t happen.

My responsible self is calling bullshit with increasing volume while I just hang my head in shame. I fully intend to workout this morning once I’m home from work. I have no reason not to and I actually miss working out. I’ve never been a fan of sweating, but when I sweat while doing Tracy Anderson’s workout, for some reason I can just feel the weight going away and the muscles tightening. I want that feeling, and I shall have it.

My job had it’s 25th anniversary celebration last night. I couldn’t officially attend because I was working, but I did dress up for the occasion since we had so many visitors in the building. The dress I wore was a dress I’ve had for over 5 years now. I was a completely different size 5 years ago. I haven’t been able to work a size small dress in over a year, but guess what? This dress is a size small!

My responsible self is saying, “I told you so bitch.”

So I’m done making excuses. I will take my butt directly home from work, change into my workout gear, and get it moving. And if I’m lucky, I’ll have enough energy to wash a load of clothes because I still haven’t washed any clothes in the past week. I will stop here without giving you an excuse because I am pretending I’ve learned my lesson.


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Can You See A Difference?

That’s one of the first questions you ask yourself when you’re trying a new diet and exercise plan. And yes, I can see a difference. Later (definitely not now in the super open public), I’ll do a post with pictures and measurements from Day 10.

The way Tracy Anderson’s Method works is a little different from what I expected. The idea is to take one day off a week for exercising, so each tenth day is really Day 11, or Day 22 or Day 34, depending on how the days fall. Also, if you miss a day of working out for whatever reason, you pick right up where you left off so the tenth day gets pushed back one day. I like it like that because I’m getting my money’s worth by not losing any time if something happens in my schedule that I can’t control.

Now about these changes I’ve noticed. 1) My double chin has disappeared. I have to smush my face down to see it now.  2)The small of my back is tighter. That extra little cushion is gone, which gives me a more defined curve as you go from my back to my butt. 3) My arms feel lighter and look thinner. They’re just a bit less jiggly. Since those wiggles always catch my eye, I’ve noticed the difference.

The biggest change is the increase in energy. When I have the time, I still like to get a lot of sleep, but I have so much more energy now than when I’m awake. I think of things to do and I have the energy to get my butt up and go do them. Even when I was doing yoga 3-5 times a week I didn’t have this much energy. I attribute that to the diet plan as well.

While I’m talking about the diet plan, I notice that I can supplement the plan with other food and still be alright. I’m not talking about the lunch from hell from Saturday, I just mean eating a nice salad I’ve made with romaine lettuce and lots of tasty toppings. Those topping don’t include bacon, which is a fact that really saddens me.

Anyone who’s ever discussed food with me knows how deep my love for bacon goes. Since I started the Tracy Anderson Method, the closest I’ve come to bacon is the bacon grease I used to saute my bell peppers, onion, and garlic when I made my black beans. Did I mention I’m like a country grandma with my jar of old bacon grease? That rendered fat goes into most things I make. So even when I’m not eating bacon, I’m still getting bacon essence. Don’t judge me.

Enough about diet and on to exercise. I read on a website that it’s recommended to look at the video for the next 10 days before you begin. I’m so glad I took that advice because I would’ve been totally unprepared for what came next. The next video assumes you’ve improved in strength and endurance. I feel like I have, but having that extra 24 hours to wrap my head around the new exercises just makes me feel better.

And I will need the entire 24 hours. The things she’s gonna have me doing today is insane. I tried to Google a picture or video that shows it, but no luck. I may have to pull out my camera and snap a photo of my TV screen. As I try not to psych myself out, I remember that I like this exercise plan, and in the short-term it’s working for me. It will be at least a couple of months before I decide if I can commit to it long-term, but I’m feeling good about it. It fits into my schedule, it works the parts of my body I want to focus on, and I find it interesting and challenging. I will let you know how it goes.


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Tracy Anderson Is Trying To Kill Me

I did the first two workout videos. Tracy Anderson method has an aerobic dance workout that you do everyday and a strength training workout you do for 10 days before moving to the next one. That shit is serious!!

I almost died. I made it through maybe 5 minutes of the cardio before I had to take a break. I tried not to sit down though. I spent the next 25 minutes halfway bouncing up and down. I did lighter versions of some of the moves part of the time. I went and took care of some housekeeping in the kitchen space (which is across the room) while still bouncing to the beat part of the time. The rest of the time, I did this black Baptist church two-step with my feet while doing a Jersey Shore type fist bump with my arms.

Tracy says if you can’t do the entire workout right away, just keep moving. On the day I can do that routine without my church-y two-step, I’ll feel like the most amazing in shape person I’ve eve been.

With fear in my heart, I moved on to the strength training, y’all. TERRIFIED is all I felt.

But I did it. Or, at least I tried to do it. The hardest part is mimicking what she’s doing. She turns her limbs at odd angles. The idea is to get to accessory muscles that other exercise programs ignore. Once I began feeling the burn, which was almost immediately, I realized that this workout is amazing!

I felt the burn in a weird area of my hips. I felt it on the tops of my thighs, but under the main muscle. I felt it on the back of my arms between my shoulder and triceps. It was crazy. She does something crazy like 50-100 reps of each move, so I only got through maybe 20 of each straight.

After going slower and taking breaks as needed, I got through it all. After I finished, I was ravenous. I ate cereal, grapes, a peach, and a spinach and mozzarella omelet. When I was still hungry, I popped a chicken leg into the oven (cooking for one, anyone?). Finally, I made myself a blueberry/kiwi smoothie. I added orange juice and plain yogurt to it. I know that’s an odd combo, but her diet plan includes lots of blueberries and kiwi, so that’s what I went with.

After what I’m now calling the Post-Workout Food Catastrophe of 2012, I have decided that maybe, just maybe, I’ll try her diet plan. She says the plan is energy rich and will jump stat my metabolism. I could use that so my body is burning stored energy and I don’t eat my weight in my version of healthy food after every workout.

The diet plan for the Tracy Anderson method doesn’t have much in the way of dairy, animal protein, or sugary fruits. And the portions are soooo small. I have decided that for now, I will do her plan, but I will supplement it if I’m hungry with a bowl of cereal (Cheerios or mini wheats only), a spinach omelette, or one of my fruit smoothies. I hope that will give me a good balance. Time will tell I guess.

I’m doing an accompaniment post to this one that actually shows my Day 1 body and lists my measurements. I really can’t wrap my head around showing everybody this, so I will make that post password protected. At the top of the right column on the home page explains how you can get the password. I feel just a bit self-conscious.

I have lots of pictures of myself at this weight that I like just fine. It’s just that in those pictures, I suck in to get a better silhouette. In this Day 1 picture, I wasn’t sucking anything in. I let it all hang out so you can really see the transformation. Hopefully one day, even without sucking in, my stomach will be completely flat.

When you started a new exercise regimen (if you ever have), how did you feel after the first day? Hopeful, scared, determined?