Tag Archives: weight loss

Life Support

15 Aug

20120815-233718.jpgI want to begin by thanking all of you for reading my last post. It’s nice to know that so many of you are interested in the mental and physical benefits of yoga…oh wait…no…you just popped in to see me get kicked to the curb in the comments. In that case, thank you for not making me an overnight Internet sensation, a trending topic, or suggesting that I might want to go out with your 50 year old son who lives in your basement, collects dolls, and is “such a catch.”

At moments as special as this I like to reflect on how lucky I am to have the friends and family I do. On Friday night my darling friend, the Secret Agent, hauled my sorry ass to the park to “walk it off.” Yes, a bottle of wine was looking far more appealing. Yes, I was second guessing and mood swinging and swearing. Yes, I was a bundle of mixed emotions that just wanted to crawl into bed and pull the sheets over my head…but I went. And it was exactly what I needed to be doing.

Secret Agent knew that I needed to vent and then just rub some dirt on it. She has the distinct advantage of knowing me since the 7th grade, so she knows how difficult I can be when cranky, but she also knew what I needed at that moment…a friend and a distraction.

I know you’ve been waiting to hear about the Sister Wives, and I couldn’t think of a better time to talk about them. What you have to understand is that we knew each other ages ago in a dystopian society known as high school. Some of us were friends, some of us were friendly, but through the miracle of social media and the uniting love of brunches that involve booze, we came together again nearly 20 years later in a community far more successful, moderately more hygienic, and far more fun than Bronson Alcott’s utopian adventures at Fruitlands.

As a unit, we fight crime, right wrongs, and singlehandedly keep vineyards and distilleries worldwide in business. Ok, those first two things are a slight exaggeration. We provide each other a great deal of love and support. This is most apparent in moments of crisis….like my birthday…you know, the baby thing. One Sister Wife was alerted to the crisis and mobilized the other two (we’re working on getting something akin to the Bat Signal going to facilitate this process). All three arrived at my apartment to be with me while I drank and cried and, in the end thanks to them, laughed.

The idea of the Sister Wives began as a perfectly rational discussion about the ideal of living together and sharing the responsibility of caring for the menfolk and children…but has since evolved into a more Edenic vision than ever before dreamed. We talk often of purchasing a compound – we have our hearts set on a recent listing for one with 22 small houses and a casino – and living happily as one extended family. I’m lucky here because, as the only single gal, my sisters bring 3 good lookin’ men with them as well as two awesome children.

We are selectively offering membership to others, ensuring harmonious living. My gusband will be joining us, provided there is a dance club and a stable of hot, young men. We were also lucky enough to stumble upon someone who readily volunteered to be our charismatic cult leader and is uniquely qualified to fill that role. I intend to be First Wife to that one.

The point of all this is (or at least what I’m forcing it to be to fit into the theme of this blog), that sometimes you need your friends to take care of you or remind you to take care of yourself when things look bleak. I know that as I’ve struggled with my weight loss, fitness goals, heartbreaks, and family health crises, whether I’ve succeeded or failed, crumbled or stood firm, I’ve come through all of it because of my incredible support system.

Pro Tip: Build yourself a support system…a soft place to fall (yeah, I think I just quoted Dr. Phil). Help and encouragement can be found in so many different people and places: a yoga class, friends, family, neighbors, a personal trainer, dietitian, or therapist. Your support system doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s – it just has to work for you. Trust me, I’m moving mine to a compound led by a man named Mingo.

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Just Say Om

8 Aug

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When I sit down to write these things I usually know what they’re about and where they’re going before I type the first word. Tonight I’m not as sure. I have a lot of things I want to tell you…about my twisted love life, my yoga classes, my Sister Wives and The Compound, but I’m not getting my usual laser focus going so I’m just going to wing it. My apologies if reading it feels like dropping acid.

I’ve learned a lot of lessons in 37 years, some of which I’m just now starting to implement in my daily life. Some are simple, like eating ice cream on a really hot day makes me sick, and some are more nuanced, like what I want and need in my life and that I have a right to make those things clear and ask for them.

Things with the Irishman have been a bit dicey for the last week. We had a stupid tiff and he’s been a little on the standoffish side since. I brought him to a party on Saturday night at the home of one of the Sister Wives and he really enjoyed himself but I think he also got his first glimpse of Independent Lisa. Independent Lisa doesn’t babysit or cling to you…she drinks, and mingles, and meets other people, and laughs a lot. Independent Lisa had a great time at said party. It could well be that Independent Lisa is not the Irishman’s type.

Here’s the thing about his type…I don’t know what it is. I realized that I have no idea what he’s attracted to as far as I’m concerned. Kids, I’m built like the prow of a ship…if the prow was attached to a short, padded body with a sizable aft, and I’m pretty ok with that. As it turns out, neither my fore nor my aft are of interest to good ol’ James Joyce. I like to think I have a big personality and a good, if bawdy, sense of humor…and yet those characteristics seem as incomprehensible to him as Finnegan’s Wake. So what gives?

So here’s where it gets weird – just as I start to spiral a bit and berate myself about my smooshy midsection and the fact that I haven’t been to the gym in 2 months, The Hebrew Hammer reappears. I cannot say at present time (because I don’t know yet…I’m not holding out on you) what has sparked this renewal of his suit, but he has resurfaced full of praise of my multitudinous virtues. He is aware of my current involvement and has nicknamed the Irishman “Judgy O’Judgerson” for his habit of mild yet repeated critique. I know I need to address the fact that neither of our towns have been miraculously relocated closer to each other…but not just yet…because I’m confused…and cranky…and thinking too much about what everyone else thinks and wants and thinks of me.

So I went to yoga. Twice this week. Yoga is amazing for this sort of confusion and angst. No, it doesn’t solve anything. You don’t shake yourself up like a Magic 8 Ball for an hour and suddenly receive the right answer to the dilemmas of daily life. Here’s what it does do: it forces you to focus on yourself. To practice effectively you have to quiet the mind and focus on your body..its movements, its limitations, its strengths AND NOT JUDGE THEM. It takes all my concentration to breathe and not fall over. It takes all my patience and kindness to laugh and smile when I DO fall over. I can’t think about the Irishman and the Jew or my belly or what comes next. I just have to stay in the moment and contort and lift my body and breathe.

I like my body when I’m in class…it can do cool things and if I keep at it it will become conditioned to do more cool things. Yoga is moving me toward my weight loss and fitness goals and helping me gain the focus to tackle my personal and professional ones. If you haven’t taken a yoga class, I encourage you to give it a try for both the mind and body benefits. For those of you who feel like you’re too hardcore – have you tried lifting your body weight recently? How flexible are your hips and hamstrings? Give it a shot – you’ll find it’s quite the workout. Most studios offer small beginner packages to take it for a test drive. My studio, Verona Yoga has 3 classes for $30 for new students and two Absolute Beginner classes a week.

As always, I invite any and all comments, but I’d love to know what you do to get out of your own head, find your focus, or feel more comfortable in your own skin. Off to bed for me! Namaste.

The Luck of the Irish…Perhaps

23 Jul

Irish Big Love?So when I last wrote I was pining for a fellow of the Hebraic persuasion who felt that the schlepp through the deserts of South and Central New Jersey to reach me in the Northern Promised Land was far too difficult. Had Moses felt the same all of Biblical history would be re-written. And so it was in the life of this single gal. If I have learned one thing from this epic attempt to date – other than that I don’t really like being molested in parking lots by men who look like my gusband but are straight – it is that we (meaning me) cannot pin our hopes on impossible dreams and stories we made up after enjoying the fruit of the vine.

When it became clear that my gentleman caller was, in fact, sticking to his zip code where dating is concerned (marked by the arrival of a woman who I arbitrarily named Ethel), I moved on without many bumps and bruises…and met the Irishman. Besides having a smattering of Irish in my family tree, many of my favorite people wear the green including one of my Sister Wives (known for going “All Crazy Irish Girl”). For those not in the know, I am not a polygamist, and I promise to devote a post to my beloved Sister Wives and our dream of owning a compound in a later post. I loves me some Irish…and redheaded Irish…don’t get me started.

The Irishman is handsome. And age-appropriate. And an amazing father to his beautiful 16 year old daughter. He is sane, has a great job, lives a reasonable distance from me, and, did I mention handsome? He has a great sense of humor and, virtue of virtues, seems to enjoy me. I’ve been enjoying his company both on the phone and in person and had the great pleasure of meeting said beautiful daughter this weekend. Children are the measure of their parents and this girl was a wonder. She is sweet and funny and has none of the disturbing overly grown up qualities I see in many girls her age. We had a lovely dinner and I managed not to spill anything on myself or drool on her father.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself or put pressure on things, but I’ve been smiling a lot lately. The Irishman is generous with his praise and is quite clear that he finds me attractive, and yet…the sad fat kid voice keeps cutting through all the fiddles and fanfare. Although my weight is slowly wending its way down, I’ve become a little obsess-y. I hate my mid-section – where I store anything and everything I put in my pie hole. I find myself considering Insanity (which would kill me) and  CrossFit (which would kill me twice) to make it go away. The truth is that I still haven’t adjusted completely to my workday beginning at 8 instead of 9 and have been staying up too late as a result of the dating expedition to actually get up and work out in the morning.  I’ve missed yoga more than I’d like due to work stuff.

Here’s what I AM doing…I’m trying to relax and enjoy myself. I’m taking control of my eating by starting the day with a good, solid protein shake, drinking a Red Sea’s worth of water and decaf iced tea, and having a reasonable lunch and dinner. Most of all, I’m walking in the door of my apartment every night and immediately removing my pants. Pants-free evenings are not only comfortable, but also remind me that my rear end hasn’t met the back of my thighs yet and is still pretty damn hot.

I’m off to enjoy this delightful thunderstorm, the latest episode of The Closer, and some absolutely hysterical texts from the Irishman before I retire. Until next time, may the road rise up to meet you all.

Yes, You Can Be Too Good

17 Mar

Today was weigh in day for me at Weight Watchers and I gained a pound despite being the model of reserve since my binge 2 weeks ago. It was a disappointment to say the least, but I pulled my leader aside after the meeting and gave her the lowdown.

Davida asked about what I’d been eating and how I was doing on Points. I told her that in an effort to introduce more protein into my diet I’d been downing a protein shake for breakfast with skim milk, PB2, chia seeds, and a banana, but that because the Points were so low I’d found myself with a ton of Points left at the end of the day. She looked me dead in the eye and said “You’re not eating enough.”

Let me tell you, those are 4 words I never thought I’d hear. She told me that if I continued to eat significantly less Points than I’d been given I would not lose weight because my body would hold onto everything I put into it. She encouraged me to beef up my breakfasts and said she often eats 8 Points at breakfast – with an egg, toast, a glass of milk and fruit. She said that having 2 or 3 Points left at the end of the day is ok but 10 is not.

This anecdote brings up a good point, sometimes when we’re trying to lose weight, even in a structured program, we impose restrictions on ourselves that are not only destined to trigger a setback or binge, but are totally counterproductive. In accordance with this sage advice from Davida, I’m going to eat more this week and see if I can sort myself out, starting with a lovely dinner with my folks tonight.

That’s all for me for the moment, I’m off to do a yoga DVD to work the kinks out. Let me know if you’ve had issues with under-eating or other food-related challenges – I’d love to hear from you. Also, Fitness Forsaken is on Twitter (FitnessForsaken) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/FitnessForsaken) so there are even more ways to get in touch.

Have a great weekend!

A Little Perspective

14 Mar

As I sat on my yoga mat tonight, waiting for class to begin, a beautiful, tall, willowy woman – the woman I’d like to be when I grow up – walked in. She was a friend of a class regular and a first-timer. She bent down to roll out her mat in front of mine and immediately turned to me and said, “Please don’t watch me…unless you want a laugh that is.”

I laughed and reassured her that we would all be too busy figuring out what to do to look at anyone else. I remembered my own first time in this class – just 8 short weeks ago. I arrived anxious, self-conscious, and slightly uncomfortable. What was the difference between me and the supermodel? I outweigh her by about a third grader.

When I first came in I got acclimated by checking out the other students and felt better when I saw a woman about the same size as me. I felt better because I felt like the expectations of what my body should look like and how flexible I should be had now become more realistic- if you look like me you must perform like me. Now the real difference between me and Heidi Klum is more clear…and more than poundage.

She was nervous, not only because she had never done yoga before and was afraid of looking stupid, but because having a body like hers…looking the way she does, people expect more of her. There’s something really comforting in the idea that it cuts both ways. It really drives home the point that insecurity lives in bodies of all shapes and sizes.

As I went through my practice I felt good and strong and capable. My head stayed clear. I didn’t think about my body except to notice the increase in my flexibility or which muscles I was tensing so I could release them. I love yoga for the way I feel after practice, but even more so for teaching me to be aware of my body without judging it. I hope our resident top model learns the same…and I’ll stop referring to her as a supermodel or Heidi Klum because I shouldn’t judge her either.

In terms of my own weight loss, I’m back in a good place. I reminded myself that I know, from previous weight loss efforts, that my body drops weight more easily and functions better when I eat more protein – something I’ve been lacking in my mostly meatless meals. I’ve been having morning protein shakes made with skim milk, a banana, chia seeds, and Synthrax Nectar Sweets chocolate truffle protein powder. Today I added PB2 – basically defatted powdered peanut butter – for even more protein and a quasi peanut butter cup flavor. I’m actually looking forward to weighing in this week.

I hope everyone’s having a great week. I’ve got an amazing personal trainer waiting to answer your questions in an upcoming post so ask away in the comments, or, if you’d like more privacy email me at lrgittleman (at) gmail.com.

Making the Right Choice For You

24 Feb

You've got it baby!Losing weight can be a very lonely process. Some of us do it in secrecy, protecting ourselves against embarrassment if we fail, while some of us join a program, like Weight Watchers, where we can be a part of a community with the same goals and struggles. Regardless of how we pursue loss, we still have to continue to exist in the life we’ve built over many years. We’re still members of a family (or two, or three), still have friends, co-workers, and social obligations. The challenge, inevitably, is maintaining focus and resolve while engaging in daily life as well as the battle of the bulge.

I have friends whose tastes run to burgers, fries, and shakes. As much as simply the thought of those foods, especially in combination, makes me drool like Odie at an Alpo convention, seeing it across the table from me is far worse. I envision lunging across the table and inhaling it, leaving behind a crime scene that even CSI would find horrifying. I think that’s a pretty typical difficult situation, but what makes it more challenging is being “out” with the same friend.

Once you’re out of the closet where your weight loss effort is concerned, you often feel like you’re denying your friends or family the things that they want because you want to make healthy choices…this is the beginning of the story of every backslide I’ve had in the past five years. The first time my friend suggests going to one of our favorite haunts, heavy on ice cream, burgers, and fries, but then adds “Oh, but you’re on a diet.” I’m a little embarrassed and uncomfortable. I feel bad.  I think “One meal won’t kill me.” I cave. Then the next meal gets easier, and the next easier still.

We want to say yes. We want to see our friends and family. We want to please people – make it easy for them. We want to sit down for a meal without worrying about the fat, carb, and calorie content of our meals. We feel bad and eat emotionally.  In the end, isn’t that what has gotten to us to this very moment? Didn’t not wanting to inconvenience other people or think about what we’re putting in our bodies get us here?

In the end, it’s a choice; a choice that requires us to put value on ourselves. Isn’t it time that our health, happiness, and self-esteem matter as much, if not more, than our friends getting to eat a burger and fries? I’ve talked about backsliding before, and while weight loss is about choice, backsliding is about not making a choice in your own favor. It’s about grabbing the immediate gratification and letting go of the long-term payoff.

What I’m finding, day by day, is that I can give myself some short-term gratification AND make the right choices daily. What works for me is having one “easy day” – in my case Saturday. I weigh in at Weight Watchers at 9am, go to the meeting and then ask myself “What do I want? What have I been craving?” If it’s pizza, I have pizza for dinner, if it’s a cookie, I get myself a cookie at my favorite bakery. I still count the points, but I don’t worry about it as much as I would every other day. Knowing that there’s a day in my week when I can indulge (though not in excess) makes it easier to make good choices every other day. What’s more, it takes away the taboo on certain foods – there’s nothing I CAN’T have.

The most important thing is that I’m making a choice here – not abdicating responsibility.  In the end, when I sit down with my friend The Hamburglar it’s not as hard to make a healthy choice, because I know, come Saturday, that if I still really want a hamburger or  fries I’ll eat them.  What works for you in these situations?

Have a great, healthy weekend!

Let’s Do The Time Warp Workout Playlist

20 Feb

Despite a sinus infection and an annoyingly irritated eye, both of which have kept me out of the gym, it’s been a pretty good week at Chez Forsaken. I weighed in at Weight Watchers 2.2 lbs lighter and, as of this morning, my now compulsory Saturday treat from Hobcaw Cafe (a lovely, generous slice of red velvet cake) has not altered that in the slightest. Now that I’m feeling better I’m gearing up for a triumphant return to the gym and charging the ol’ iPod – The God Pod – which led me to think about the music that gets me moving.

I’m constantly cruising workout playlists online and in magazines to find some tunes that get my motor running and help me power through the tougher parts of my routine, but I must admit that my musical proclivities don’t usually match the suggested songs. Hi, my name is Lisa, and I’m in a musical time warp.

For as long as I can remember my tastes have run toward music produced prior to my birth and have really ceased to expand beyond the radio fodder of my college days circa late 1990s. Having worked at a software company with a lot of people 10 or more years younger than me, I’ve tried, as of late, to incorporate some new music into my library. As a result, my workout playlist looks like a massive American music retrospective. So, for those of you who don’t mind admitting early old fogey-dom and a desperate looking attempt to stay current, here are some favorites from my God Pod.

  • I Want You Back – Jackson 5
  • Animal – Neon Trees
  • Say Hey (I Love You) – Micheal Franti
  • Shambala – Three Dog Night
  • Fat Bottomed Girls – Queen
  • Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and The Waves
  • Runaround – Blues Traveler
  • Valerie – Amy Winehouse
  • Hard to Handle – Black Crowes
  • Spirit in the Sky – Norman Greenbaum
  • American Girl – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
  • Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
  • Little Red Corvette – Prince
  • St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion) – Jon Parr
  • Single Ladies – Beyonce

Does your playlist look a little schizo too? What are your workout faves?

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