Category Archives: Cardio

Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Day One

The process to be approved for weight-loss surgery is not short, but if the end result leads me to incredible health benefits it’ll be worth it. It’s slightly less overwhelming now that I’ve spoken to my doctor about everything I need to do in preparation, but it’s going to be a long road.

The surgeon sent me a checklist that must be completed before I can be approved, and the process has begun:

  • Clearance from Cardiologist with a recent EKG – I had an EKG a few weeks ago, and it came back normal. Whew! I still have to see a cardiologist though, which means I have to find one soon.
  • Psychological Evaluation – I’m in the healthiest place I’ve ever been in my heart and mind, so that doesn’t seem like a big deal. I just need to schedule an appointment.
  • Pulmonology Evaluation – I have to have a pulmonary function test and an arterial blood gas. I really have no idea what this means, but it sounds like it might hurt. Yikes!
  • Blood work with a TSH within the last 12 months – I did this a few weeks ago too, but if they need more blood I’ll let them poke me again. I think we’re good are though.
  • Physician supervised weight loss and exercise program for 6 months – My insurance pays for Weight Watchers meetings, which counts. I’m already doing pretty well there, so I’m going to keep it up. Today was my first of 6 appointments that will be specific to my weight-loss progress. I’ll see my doctor again a month from now, and I hope to be 8 to 10 pounds lighter.
  • Dietician Evaluation – This seems pretty straight forward, and I think I could benefit greatly from it. I’ll do that on the same day as my surgical visit.

I’ve been doing well with Weight Watchers lately, and I’m finally starting to feel well after a few weeks of pain due to skin issues. I haven’t exercised in over two weeks, but I think I’m well enough to start again. Unfortunately, there’s no prescription or remedy to completely fix the problem, so even though it hurts again I have to deal with it.

sleep studyTonight I’m doing a sleep study, which should be interesting. Thankfully, they sent me home with the equipment, so I’m not required to spend the night anywhere else. It seems invasive, but it won’t be nearly as uncomfortable as sleeping in a hospital or another strange place.

I typically sleep through the night and wake up feeling rested, so I’m guessing I’m okay. I’m just going to do every test they suggest with the hope that it will lead me to a healthier place overall.

This process feels overwhelming to me, but I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about how life would be different. I already love my life! I have a loving family, a great job, a group of good friends, a boyfriend who is thoughtful, encouraging and understanding, a comfortable home and a bright future. I don’t want any of that to change; I just want my health to improve long-term, so I  can enjoy the life I’m already living. It would be cool to be able to buy jeans again too, but I think I’m pretty close to that right now.

 

 

 

 

 

I Will Always Love Richard Simmons Because of Moments Like This One

I cannot believe that this happened for the first time five years ago!

I think of Richard so often, and right now I’m going through training that makes me think of him everyday.

He helped me change the way I see myself. He made it okay for me to love myself more, to desire more for my life and to feel confident dancing off the pounds.

I’ve gained weight since this video, but I’m in pretty healthy groove right now. Watching this video for the first time in ages reminds me that I can do very cool things.

If you’re reading this, Richard, I love you and miss you and pray for you.

Stress and Gratitude

Have you ever had one of those weeks in which you’re counting down the minutes to Friday and looking forward to the fun things you’re going to do over the weekend? Well, that was me…last week…until my plans for a relaxing, long weekend with people who matter to me were cancelled. Thankfully, I was able to recharge on Monday. (Can we just talk about how much I love long weekends?)

Windblown after a day at the beach

The last few several weeks have been stressful. I’ve had some amazing moments, but it also feels like I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. Mom is doing so much better than she was physically, but it’s still hard not to worry about her. She’s recovering though, which is the most important thing to me right now. I’m so thankful for that.

Last week I just didn’t feel rested. This week was better, but I’m still fighting to get back to my regular energy level. I typically sleep like a champ, but I’ve been restless a lot over the last few nights. Last week I was completely worn out. This week has been better, but I still don’t feel 100%.

I know that my weight is affecting the way my body feels. That’s obvious, but I want to change that. I need to change that. 

The air conditioning has been out at work since April, and I’m taking on some challenges that simultaneously excite me and scare me.  I have had a few moments in which I felt like crying and/or curling up in a ball, but as stressed as I’ve felt at some points, I’ve also experienced some awesome moments.

East Jefferson YMCAIf you keep up with me on social media you may know that I work at the YMCA. I do membership stuff and marketing things, which gives me an opportunity to reach the community in ways that are new and exciting for me. And right now we’re halfway through an 8-week painting class that I coordinated for children with special needs, and it brings me so much joy to see those kiddos enjoying themselves each week. Some of them are so talented that it would be hard to convey without just showing you. Maybe I’ll share some photos from our upcoming art gallery.

I’m also working on another project (the one that is challenging and slightly terrifying.) It’s not something I’m ready to discuss here yet, but the point is that work is good. I’m happier than I knew I could be in an office environment, and I’ll be much happier when I go in on Monday and the a/c works again. (I mean, it’s Summer in New Orleans.) My boss and I joked that we’re bringing our jackets because we’re going to freeze ourselves out.

It’s also an exciting month because my sister and nieces will be here in a few weeks. Auntie has  a long list of activities planned, so I definitely have to get energized before they arrive.

I’ve been pretty lazy with my exercise routine lately, so I’m starting TRX workouts next week with a few friends from work. I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with a trainer before I leave work.

I’m also sleeping more than I ever have. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I require 7 to 8 hours of sleep now. I’m okay with that, but I know it will be a lot more beneficial if I release the stress that’s been lingering and spend more time exercising.

Hydro FlaskDrinking water also helped a lot lately. I still felt run down, but I felt much more alive than I did the week prior. I’ve committed to drinking more water, and I’m guessing that will help as well. I still don’t drink sodas, and I only drink coffee a few times a week. I just stopped consuming a gallon of water a day until I purchased my new Hydro Flask. It’s 32 oz, so I only need to fill it up 4 times to reach my daily goal. And I love the fact that it keeps the water cold all day! My sister gave me an 18 oz Hydro Flask a few years ago, and after losing it, I considered buying this one. I seriously wanted for about a year, and now I take it everywhere with me. I even brought it into Whole Foods today where I had lunch with my friend, Michelle. Wow, I suppose it would be an understatement to say that I’m stoked about my water bottle. Sometimes it’s the little things. Ha.

Now I’m back to recognizing my lack of self-discipline and trying to remind myself how much better I’ll feel a month from now…three months from now…if exercise is a part of my daily routine.

Today I’m going to stick to the basics and use one of my favorite workout DVD’s for motivation. 30-Day Shred used to bey go-to, and now that a certain someone has connected my DVD player, it’s on. It’s the quickest workout I do, but it also works every part of my body. I can handle  27 minutes of circuits even though I don’t feel like it.

Am I the only one who’s tired of being tired right now? I don’t know if anyone actually reads the things I write anymore, but I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who needs to work on consistency in my intake and exercise.

Maybe I’ll have some positive things to report soon…

 

 

 

 

Finals and Making Time For Things That Matter

I woke up Tuesday morning feeling the pressure that the day before a final exam often brings, and though I’m prepared I knew I’d spend a big part of my day studying.  And I did (with index cards and everything. ha)

If you know me, you may know that I often find clarity and peace when I’m sweating so before I hit the books, I hit the gym.  I did a 5k before working my upper body with free weights.  And I felt so much better when I left than I did when I arrived.

I was pretty pleased with my average heart rate too.

After my workout, I did a few other things that I had to do, then I entered study mode.  And I feel like I’m (mostly) ready for the exam though I plan to get to school early today to review with my friend and classmate, Melissa.

The rest of the week will be just as busy because I have a paper to write and another exam next week.  Those things matter, but my health matters too.  And making time to exercise seems to help me focus so I’ll be sure to do that even on high-pressure days.

How do you react to life’s added pressures?  Does exercise keep you centered?

 

 

Morning Workouts? Moi?

I did some things differently today, and they worked out well that way.  Last night I was in bed before 10pm which doesn’t usually happen unless I’m sick so I was up early this morning.

I studied for my quiz and worked out and showered before going to class, and I made an A on my quiz.  (Yay!)  I also managed to complete a pretty fast mile.  I typically stay around 4 mph or a little higher, but today I rocked my first mile at 5.27 mph.  That’s lightening speed for me!  Maybe I could like being a morning workout person.  Who knew?

I stopped at one mile then started over because I knew the next mile would be slower, and it was..

After I did my “quick” mile I did a couple of slow ones before working my upper body.  It wasn’t a long workout, but it was intense.  There’s something about being in the gym and sweating hard that makes me feel good about myself.  Obviously, it feels good to know I’m doing something good for myself, but it’s more than that.  When I’m sweating I’m able to let go of my negative thoughts because my mind is filled with the positives. And I carried those positives with me all day.

You may have noticed that this is my favorite exercise shirt. ;)

Exercise clears my head, and I like doing it early.  I think I’ll do the same tomorrow and see how I feel.  What do you think? Is it better to workout in the morning?  My preference is definitely afternoon or evening, but maybe that’s changing…I suppose time will tell.

What’s your preference?

 

A Major Change

After a post I wrote earlier this week, I had to face some real feelings and thoughts, and while it’s not easy to share them, I’m going to.  Here’s where I stand (and where I’ve been standing longer than I care to admit) right now.  I feel stuck.  I weigh 12 pounds less right now than I did at the beginning of the year, but it has been far too long since I made substantial progress.

I’m not discounting the fact that I exercise like a champ on a consistent basis…nor am I belittling the fact that I’ve managed to maintain my 100 pound loss.  These are both incredible things, and I’m damn proud of what I’ve accomplished so far.  That said, I’m not happy with where I am now.  My eating habits need to change, and they need to change now.

As I write this post, I’ve just successfully completed the first day of a personal challenge that I hope will spring board me into weight-loss once again.  I’ve counted calories all day, and I’m ending the day having consumed 1,474 calories (most of which came from fruit, veggies, egg whites and other lean proteins.)   My workout today included 30 minutes on the elliptical (easing back into it after being off for a month) and a strength workout for my arms followed by 5 minutes on the treadmill.

You can't really tell that I was sweating buckets, but I was...And I like it that way.

People say that weight-loss is easy, but those people often miss the point.  I’ve lost 100 pounds.  I know how to eat, but sometimes I find it extraordinarily difficult to convince myself that it’s a good idea.  That’s the hard part, at least for me, so I’ve decided to eat about 1,300 calories on rest days and no more than 1,500 calories on workout days.  I’ll listen to my body and do my best to adjust, but I think this is a healthy and realistic window that will yield good results.

I like the gym, and  I like exercising outside when the weather allows it.  I love to sweat, and I love to feel my heart pumping because it makes me feel strong and capable and athletic.  Now it’s time to reintroduce healthy eating into my everyday life.  And I’ve decided that for the next 30 days (probably longer, but this is my initial commitment) I’m going to track my caloric intake.   I made a difficult and bitter decision to leave Weight Watchers shortly after they unveiled the new PointsPlus plan over a year ago, but I never fully committed to counting calories.  What can I say?  That was then, and this is now.  I’m going to try again.

I realize that counting points and calories both work as long as you do it consistently, but I’ve been fighting with myself over the last few months to figure out how I can make PointsPlus work for me.  I’ve posted several times about modifying the program to work for me by counting fruits, tracking EVERYTHING through the recipe builder, etc.  But the fact is that  a successful day in my WW tracker looks like about 2,400 calories, and that’s far too many.

I’ve wanted to believe that I could make PointsPlus work because I love the support of the meetings, and even more so because I feel so indebted to Weight Watchers for what the helped me achieve in losing the first 100 pounds.  I also adored my first leader in New York, Jen, and my current leader, Penny.  I’m also completely infatuated with David Kirchhoff, the most handsome, friendly and witty CEO of all time.  (Swoon.)   But the fact is that, I’ve complicated the new program so much in my head just to make it work at least a little bit, that the simplicity of calorie counting has been a relief today.  I’m not saying goodbye to Weight Watchers.  I’m just trying something new to see how it compares.

Day one of calorie counting was a success...

I’m tracking my intake through SparkPeople for a couple of reasons…First, because I like the people I know behind SparkPeople.  You all know Coach Nicole now, right?  She doesn’t know I’ve crossed over to the calorie counting side yet, but she will soon.  😉  And secondly, I love the SparkPeople iPhone app!  It’s fantastic!  In addition to tracking my caloric intake, I can also track my workouts.  I can even get specific with my strength exercises, weights and reps.  I’m in love with this app, and I like that it’s free.

So this is where I am.  I’m starting over again because it seems like the right thing to do.  And I’ve said before that I’ll restart as often as it takes.  It’s better than throwing in the towel or refusing to face the fact that I’ve become complacent with food, right?  Anyway, I’m here, and I’m not going anywhere…But I’d like to see my excess weight flee the scene, and I’m hoping that this big change in my routine will do the trick.

What’s the bigger challenge for you?  Food or exercise?  Do you track your calories everyday?  Do you track you intake at all?

 

 

I May Not be Perfect, But…

Have you ever had a day (or a week) in which it seems like everything that could go wrong goes wrong?  Yeah…I’d guess I’m not the only one.  And last night, after everything seemed to calm down, I made the choice to eat more than I should.  I recognized what I was doing after only a few minutes, and that’s when I phoned a friend.  Actually, I sent Kelly a text which basically said I’m on the verge of eating too much, and she called almost immediately.

I had already eaten more than I should have, but it could have been much worse.  When we spoke, I stopped eating crap, started drinking water and vowed to go and exercise until I didn’t feel like eating anymore, and I went.

After finishing 5 miles on the ellpitical and drinking a gallon of water, I forgave myself.  And I’m feeling pretty pleased about the choice I made the push the junk food aside and hit the gym. Sure, I shouldn’t have eaten junk food.  And yes, I regretted it almost immediately, but I was reminded by a good friend who has definitely been there that the best time to get back on track is right now.  I did that, and I’m going to feel a lot better about myself today than I would have otherwise.

I may not be perfect, but I’m awesome.  And Kelly is awesome too….

 

No More Boyfriend For Kenlie, (Or Dear Penny, I Want A Bravo)

Many of you are probably familiar with the bravo stickers that Weight Watchers leaders give out when their members do something good, and next Thursday, I’ll be collecting at least one.

Cal and I broke up today.  Well, it was official today, and we discussed it  just before my weekly weigh-in so I walked into my meeting trying not to burst into tears.  And yeah, that lasted until someone said hello.  I let it all out before the meeting.  I cried, weighed in then cried more.  Oh, and I’m down 3.4 pounds this week which exceeded the two that I hoped to lose so I’ll definitely take it.

Anyway, after feeling rather miserable during the meeting (I honestly can’t even tell you what it was about) I went to dinner with some friends who were talking about hitting the gym.  I typically do not workout on Thursdays so I drove home.  And as I was changing clothes I decided I’d hit the gym too.

As a treat to myself, I paid for a day pass to Peak Performance, the fancy gym with the awesome ladder, and decided to sweat until I felt better.  And I did sweat – until they closed.  See Penny?  I deserve a bravo!  (If you read my blog, you may already know that Penny is my WW leader…)

Only halfway through my workout...

Instead of turning to food this week, I’ve stayed on track.  I’ve exercised everyday, and I’ve tracked my food.  And I feel better about myself when I do that so I’m going to continue doing it.  I’ll be in New York for the next week, but I’d like to show at least a 2 pound loss a week from now so I’ll have to be mindful while I’m there too.

So back to the break-up.  I tweeted about it today, and I changed my relationship status on Facebook. (That makes it official, right?)  Anyway, I didn’t share many details, and I probably won’t.  But here’s the short version.  I care about him, but we decided (together) that he isn’t really what I need.  Unfortunately, I changed my mind, but he didn’t.  He wants to be friends, still wants to see me, etc.  But I don’t know if I can do that.  I don’t know if I want to do that.  As I said, I care about him, and it was nice while it lasted.  I got to say everything I wanted to say to him, and I don’t have a single regret about our short time together.   That’s probably all I’ll say about him.

So it’s been a long day, and I have some packing to do.  I’m flying out at an ungodly hour so my plan is to rest as much as possible tomorrow while accomplishing a few things – including another sweaty workout.

I read a quote that inspired me this morning so I’m going to share it with you…

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.”

I can’t make someone love me or want me or miss me, and I can’t make “Mr. Right for Kenz” appear in my life (as much as I wish he would.)  But I can continue working toward becoming who I want to be.  Last year was hard, and this year I’ve decided that, hard or not, I’m going to do what I need to do for myself.  I’ve already (re)started, and I think we all know I’m not going to quit.

I hope your day was better than mine, but I was reminded, as I often am, that there are so many people around who care about me.  Thanks for that…

 

 

Friends Who Understand, A Great Workout and A Plan

Yesterday I did some things that I don’t ususally do – some good things and some things that I wish I didn’t have to admit.  Let’s start with the things that I wish I didn’t have to talk about…my weekly weigh-in.  I skipped it.  Yep, that’s right.  For the first time since joining Weight Watchers in 2009, I skipped a weigh-in because I didn’t want to deal with the numbers on the scale.

As a monthly pass member, Weight Watchers allows me to attend unlimited meetings, and they don’t require a weigh-in to attend.  I just didn’t do it, and this behavior is a slippery slope that I am not willing to slide down so I’m saying it now – I will NOT skip another regularly scheduled meeting because I don’t feel like facing the music.  I just won’t do it so feel free to hold me to it.  Over the last week, my choices became progressively worse until yesterday when I decided that enough was enough.  Now I have to do it again tomorrow.

I also did something that made me feel good about myself.  I took Anne’s advice, and set a challenging fitness goal for myself.  I hit the gym and completed 10 miles on the bike, pedaling as fast as I could.  It takes me 5 1/2 minutes to do a mile which added up to a great cardio workout followed by 100 crunches.  I know I should feel good about being able to do 10 miles on a bike without much effort, and I do.  But I thought I’d feel exhausted, but I didn’t.  I think I’ll have to try 20 miles when I’m back at the gym Monday.  Until then, I plan to do my favorite Richard Simmons workout, “Party Off the Pounds.”

I’m traveling again tomorrow which means that I’ll have the opportunity to prove to myself that I can make healthy choices even when I’m away from home.  I’ll bring a gigantic English cucumber, grapes and bananas.  And this time, Cal is coming with me, and I think we’ll spend some time ruminating over his ideas to change my palate.  I think it’s okay to like sweets, but I don’t think it’s okay to let them consume my mind or control my actions as they sometimes do.

With the holidays quickly approaching, I’ve come up with a plan that will (hopefully) help me stay in control of my cravings and food intake.  Chubby McGee, one of my favorite blog friends (check out her blog here) spurred a thought for me that has turned into action, and it worked well yesterday so I’ll do it again tomorrow.  She said that she loves cupcakes so she allows herself to have one every week.  She budgets for it in her intake, and she walks to the bakery and back to get it.  By the way, I’ve done that before, and I think it’s a brilliant plan.

And her comment made me think about something that I did during my first year of weight-loss.  I ate fruits and veggies and lean proteins along with foods that were high in fiber.  I exercised regularly, and I ate a piece of cake almost every night.  Yep…I did it.  I had a serving of cake (7 points at the time) for dessert almost every evening, and it took a lot of pressure off.  I didn’t worry about skipping ice cream when my friends ate it, and driving past a bakery was no big deal because I told myself I’d enjoy something sweet later.  And it worked.   it allowed me to focus on everything I was trying to accomplish without the fear of eating too much later.

So that’s my new plan, kind of.  I don’t plan to eat cake everyday, but I will allow myself to have something sweet everyday, at least for now.  I have more than enough PointsPlus to eat nutritiously and stay satisfied while enjoying  half of a cupcake or a Kit-Kat.  I have me entire life to reform my nutritional intake and to figure out why I crave sweet treats, but I don’t want to spend my entire life trying to reach my weight-loss goal.  I’d rather do what I can to reach that goal asap and worry about the rest along the way.

So in addition to working out hard, I’m going to eat healthy foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients – and have something sweet everyday.  That’s my plan, and I think it’s going to help me get through the holidays with success just as it did the first year.  Obviously, I’m no pro.  I’m just a girl who’s trying to figure it all out, and I have a feeling that while I might get a little flack for it, this plan is going to get me closer to where I want to be.

 

 

Not Really Sure What I’m Doing

Yesterday was a fun day for me. Cal came over late afternoon, and he accompanied me to the gym before heading back to my place to help me make dinner.  He grilled steak for fajitas and I chopped and sauteed vegetables.  And we even made salsa with my KitchenAid blender.  Have I ever mentioned that I love fresh cilantro?  It’s true.  Our dinner was amazing, and I was so ready to eat it that I forgot to take a picture…Can you believe that? 😉

After dinner we watched the Presidential debate on Bloomberg (which is so much fun when I can watch with someone who understands what’s going on in my head!) But I have to admit that I was pretty self-conscious before that  (when we arrived at the gym.)   He’s never really seen me sweat (apart from a slight glisten when we took a walk near the Mississippi River) until yesterday, but it’s a big part of who I am so I didn’t hold back.  I tore up the elliptical for a few minutes before working my upper body, and I felt great at the end.

My workouts have been pretty solid since I joined Anytime Fitness.  And while I know I’ll experience a gain on the scale this week (after how I ate last week when Uncle W was in the hospital,)  I’m still pleased with the direction I’m moving in now.  And I know that the scale will start reflecting my efforts soon.  I’ve been killing it at the gym this week, but I worry that I may not be making the most of my time at the gym. I did managed to climb the height of the Empire State Building 2.89 times before hitting the weights.  (Thanks for calculating it Ron and for pointing it out, Anne!)

On the elliptical....

I’m trying to get comfortable with the weight machines at my new gym, and while I have pretty good form, I am trying to utilize machines that I haven’t used up this point.  And now that I’m comfortable with how, I really need to know how much.  I’d like to hire a trainer soon, but I’m not sure where to start with that so I’ve been taking notes and using google to figure out what I should be doing.  I’ve also been keeping a journal of my workouts.  (Yes, I carry a little notebook to the gym so I can remember what I did.)  I write in it after every set.  But there’s no rhyme or reason to my weight training, and I need to change that.  I’ve been feeling sore over the last few days, but not overly sore so I wonder if I’m doing too much or not enough.  I really don’t know.  If you click on the picture below, you’ll see that I’m putting in effort.  But you’ll also see that I’m making it up as I go along.

There's a bicycle on the front of my book, and it says "Life's a Journey." Just saying...

 

Richard Simmons, while famous for his cardio workouts, teaches the importance of weight training in his classes.  Did you know that he makes toning videos too?   He ends every class with weight training and floor exercises,  And though I’m not at Slimmons every week anymore, I strive to do the kind of workouts that would make Richard proud.  And it’s important to me to make the most out of the time I spend at the gym so it’s my goal to make a better plan.

Uh, for the record, I'm not usually looking up and smiling while I do leg curls.

I’m doing my best right now, but if anyone has advice to offer, I’m willing to listen.  Until then, I’ll just keep doing what I think is right and hoping that I can start seeing the reflection of my efforts on the scale and in the mirror.  Is weight training part of your routine?  Are you nervous to try it because you’re not sure where to start?  Do you have any advice to offer yours truly? 🙂