Working Out the Work Out

If you’ve been following this blog at all, you’ll know that I’m constantly going on about losing weight, and never managing to do much about it. I count calories or work out for a week or so at a time, then fall off the wagon. It happens over and over. I’ve done all kinds of things to try to get myself on a schedule and actually in the weight loss zone. My latest endeavor was that great app, Gympact, which essentially pays you for going to the gym and charges you if you don’t. Eighty six percent of Gympact users supposedly make their alotted gym visits every week, but somehow I managed to screw up every week. To date I’ve lost about $100, and every time I lost money, I just got a little less inclined to try harder next time. Guess I’m in that small percentage of people who just can’t seem to try hard enough to meet the goal line.

So here goes another thought. What if I treat going to yoga class every morning like going to work? What if it’s a required part of my week days, and there’s no question as to whether or not I have to get up to 5:30 to meet the expectation every morning? In the past when I had a required work punch in time, I wasn’t late and I didn’t skip – I woke up on time, got ready, and went. Even when my commute was upwards of an hour, I’d figure it out and make my goal of getting to work at such-and-such a time.

Tomorrow I’m going to set my alarm with the idea that going to Bikram is essentially starting the work day. Then we’ll figure it out from there.

Day #42: Thursdays Are Not My Favorite

They just aren’t.

I didn’t make it to class (again!) this morning, but I was so very good yesterday that it really doesn’t matter that much. I weighed in at 155.6 lbs when I got up today, and it’s really awesome. I’ve been eating lighter and exercising every day, sure, but overall it’s not like I’m working all THAT hard, and here I am almost 9 lbs lighter than I was a couple of months ago. The last time I steadily lost weight like this was a few years ago, when I dropped to 143 lbs by working out like a maniac and basically starving myself. I don’t want to do that ever again, so I’m happy to be losing gradually.

My body really doesn’t want to give up this weight, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to start working out even more and eating a lot less processed food. Neither of these things are bad, and I knew they probably had to happen. It’s just that I really don’t have time for cooking, and that doesn’t matter – I’m going to have to make the time somewhere. Just like I’m going to have to make the time to get these last few Bikram double down days out of the way, then start running every night, too. When I think about it too hard, I’m exhausted, but after I exercise I’m nothing but smiles. Just got to concentrate on how much better I’m feeling lately.

Talking about feeling better, my back didn’t hurt last night. For the first time in a couple of months, I could turn over in bed without having to gingerly lift my hips, then prepare for stabbing pains as I rolled over. I think it’s the 30 Day Bikram Challenge, finally just working my hips back into their correct placement. I’m definitely getting a much deeper stretch in my thighs, all around, and I think that as I limber up, it’s just going to get better. The chiropractor did tell me if I was going to fix my twisted hips for good, I would have to stretch a lot more. Think it’s finally working! With that in mind, I might extend this 30 day challenge into a 60 day one.

I’m also excited to see my muscles start to get more definition. My legs are looking so much better, and that in itself makes me happy. Back in college I had killer thighs – people used to compliment me on my legs all the time, in fact. Then as I got older, they didn’t necessarily look bad, just not great. I definitely wasn’t going to wear any short skirts or anything! But now with all this work I’m putting in, my cellulite is a lot less noticeable, and I’m starting to burn the fat off of my thighs little by little. It really gives me the strength to keep on going – I want Jennifer Aniston legs!

OK, time to get packing and go to work. I’m supposed to talk on the radio today to promote this event that my gallery is throwing on Saturday. It’s weird – I feel like I should wear something attractive to this, even though it’s the radio and no one is going to see me.  Guess I gotta go get that figured out.

Oh, yeah, so I found out yesterday that I can get my student loan payment reduced. If that happens, once I hit 150 lbs I’m going shopping for some new Fall clothes! Woohoo!

 

Day #40: Getting There

I weighed in at 154.6 lbs today! It’s taking awhile, but slowly but surely, I’m heading in the right direction. Today is Day 18 of the 30 Day Bikram Challenge, and I’m a resounding FIVE classes behind (argh). Today is a double down day, another attempt to close the gap a little. I went to class at 6am, and I’ll go again at 6pm. I’m really starting to like doubles, even though that’s so weird of me, I know. I sweat out so much in the first class that by the second class, even if I’m rehydrated, it’s so much easier to see muscle definition. Since I’m not a muscular girl, and never have been, it’s so effing cool to look at myself and see the beginning of a four pack, or notice real muscles building up in my arms. It’s crazy cool.

Aside from trying to catch up in yoga, I’m not thinking about that much else this morning. Just scrubbed down my yoga mat, since it was getting really stinky. I used dish soap, Borax, and vinegar and a lot of hot water. I’ve never scrubbed a mat with soap and water before – typically I use an antibacterial spray, but that just wasn’t cutting it today. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Oh, and talking about working out, I’m still wearing the Zaggora hot pants every day. I’ve been wearing them anywhere between four and eight hours a day, just to lounge around the house and sleep in. Last night I wore them while finishing up some last minute work at home, and talking on the phone, then went to bed in them, but I woke up an hour later feeling so constricted by the fabric. It’s tough for me to get used to wearing something that tight and non-breathable for great lengths of time. However, it’s my choice, and I’m not going to wear them to work out in until I feel really comfy in them. My thighs are looking a little smoother, but I don’t think they’re any smaller in circumference or anything yet.

I’m going to take a fifteen minute nap before getting ready for work – suddenly got really sleepy. Catch you all later.

Day #37: The Hot Room Double Down

Whew! I finally went back to the studio yesterday, and class wasn’t too bad for having been away for a five day stretch. It was supposed to be a double day (to make up for all the classes I missed over the last week) but I didn’t make it to morning class, only afternoon. No worries, though – I’m doing a double today and tomorrow to start the process of catching up. To make it “official,” I even put together a Google calendar of all the doubles I’ll have to do to end the 30 Day Challenge on a high note.

Talking about high notes, wanna know something weird? Before class today, I weighed in at 159.2 lbs, which makes sense given that I’ve been almost a week without exercise. However, after class I weighed in just out of curiosity since I’d sweated what seemed to be an abnormal amount for me, and I was 155.4 lbs – almost 4 lbs lighter! It’s crazy to think that I sweated out 4 lbs of water in my morning Bikram class. Even crazier, I wonder if I’ll even be able to sweat anything out in the afternoon class. I ate a pretty good lunch of steamed veggies w/ cheese sauce, and a Plant Fusion chocolate shake (made with a banana and almond milk to give me extra strength in class), so hoping I’ve got enough electrolytes in my system to survive the second class without getting sick afterwards.

Tonight I’m going to meet The Man’s 1-year-old niece for the first time. She and her parents live in Florida, and I haven’t seen them in over two years now. It’ll be nice to get together again, but I’m a bit apprehensive. The Man’s parents, brother, sister-in-law, a baby, The Man AND me in our teensy tiny apartment is going to be nerve-wracking, to say the least. Plus, the house isn’t baby-proofed, it hasn’t been cleaned since last week, and where on earth are the cats going to hide from the baby? Miss Isabel will NOT be happy. But then honestly, neither will her mother. I’m just not as psyched about being an aunt as I seem to be expected to be, and I’m pretty sad that there’s so much pressure to be in love with this baby that’s not even related to me. It just seems so fake, but of course I seem like a heartless monster if I do anything but act delighted to be hostess. Argh. Wish I had another yoga class to go to so I could just escape the whole evening…

Day #25: Bikram & Numb3rs

Happy Labor Day! Hope you all spent the day grilling out, chilling in the pool, or sale shopping and getting tons of great deals. I did none of these things. After another mostly restless night, I finally fell asleep for real once The Man left for work at 6am, then slept through to about 11am. I then proceeded to be really boring all day long 🙂 I recently started watching old episodes of the TV show “Numb3rs,” and after today I’m about half way through the second season. I generally dig crime dramas and mystery shows, and this one is no different. I’m not as into it as I am shows like “The Closer” and “Bones,” but it’s an OK way to while away an afternoon.

Today was the third day of my studio’s 30 Day Bikram Challenge, and it was a much better class than the last two I have under my belt. I only sat out one round of Triangle pose, and one of Camel, but in general I was much stronger than even yesterday. I even extended my leg during standing head to knee, which pretty much never happens. Typically I have a lot of trouble keeping my knee locked and my weight distributed evenly, but today was good. I feel great – can’t wait to go back to class tomorrow.

As far as food goes, I was OK today. Not great, but not a complete disaster. Granola bar and green tea for breakfast, steamed veggies and fake chicken tenders for lunch, egg salad sandwich for dinner, and a (too big) snack of Cheez-its. I was about 400 calories over where I wanted to be, but I’m OK with that.

 

Day #?: Bikram 30 Day Challenge, Isaac, Etc…

Not sure what day of my weight loss journey this is, and disinclined to take the time to look over my old posts for a clue. I’ll figure it out tomorrow.

I slept over at my in-laws’ last night, and it was marvelous. The Man stayed behind in New Orleans to protect against looters, since our power was still out and people do asshole-ish stuff like loot around these parts. I showed up at his parents’ house with dirty laundry and a garbage bag full of perishables, and they treated me like royalty. The Man, Sr. kept my wine glass full and plugged in a couple of great chick flick DVDs, and The Man’s Mom whipped up a great dinner and made sure that I knew where her stash of super girly bath supplies were, so I could take a really relaxing dip and feel more human. It was a great night, and I even slept in late this morning. My hips and lower back didn’t hurt as much as normal when I woke up, making me think that on top of the twisted hip problem, maybe my bed at home could be a bit of a culprit.

In the early afternoon, I drove home in high spirits with clean laundry and really great smelling hair. The Man’s Mom had let me use her Wen Cleansing Conditioner, and I really liked it, though I used A LOT less than the instructions call for. It comes in this squirt bottle, and is a combination shampoo/conditioner that you’re supposed to use like 14 squirts of. I used 7 and it was perfect. My hair came out feeling so soft, and although I’ve got pretty great natural highlights, the color of my hair even looked richer when it was dry. I’d like to try it a couple more times to see if it’s really as great as it seemed on the first try. Have you tried it? Any thoughts to share?

Today was the first day of my Bikram studio’s 30 Day Challenge, so even though I didn’t really feel up to going to class, I made myself get up and get out. Class was BRUTAL. It must have been a combination of factors, from not practicing in four days to not being hydrated enough, as well as being so tense and stressed out, but I was having a lot of trouble breathing and keeping my heart rate down. As a result, I was dizzy and nauseous for much of the class, and ended up just sitting a few of the poses out completely. I gave it my all, but my all was considerably less impressive than usual. After class, I drug myself back to the locker room and commiserated with the other ladies. Several of them had had a really tough time, too, and we all agreed it must be the stress of the hurricane situation just lingering. With stuff like that, you’ve just got to forge ahead and keep breathing, keep opening up your chest with good backbends to let all of that hurt out and all of the fresh experiences in. Sorry, I’m going all hippy dippy on you, but it’s been true in the past for me, and it will be true tomorrow when I go back to class and work on my Camel some more.

After class, I came back home, where I found out that The Man (who works for a government agency) was called away to work in Baton Rouge for an undisclosed amount of time in response to the massive flooding that’s going on in other parishes. I won’t comment on his frustration with the delayed response time or the inadequate response levels he’s seeing at his agency, but I’ll say that I feel very bad for his situation for however long they keep him. It seems to be a clusterfuck, and as an extremely logical, helpful and orderly person with a real call to help those in need, he’s not in the best spot right now. From an insider’s position, it’s absolutely terrifying to think what’s going to happen if we get another storm anytime soon. Our state is not equipped to deal with anything else this season.

From a very selfish spot, I’m both excited to get some down time to live alone again, as well as disappointed that this all had to happen now. Tuesday is our six-year anniversary as a couple, and because of his job and our living situation over the past few years, it’s a date we typically don’t end up spending together. Not to mention that the last time he was deployed for a natural disaster, he was sent to another state over Halloween AND my birthday. It would just be nice to get to spend some important dates together. But I won’t be lame about it – we did just get to spend a pretty nice couple of days at home, by candle light.

OK, I’m done talking your ear off. Just waiting on a load of laundry to finish up washing, then I’m going to hit the hay. Maybe I’ll do a little more reading, too. So far since Tuesday, I’ve read “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” for the umpteenth time, as well as “Dead Until Dark” for maybe the second or third time, and now I’m reading “Living Dead in Dallas” again, too. Maybe while The Man’s gone, I’ll actually read something new, like the Game of Thrones series…

Oh, I forgot. I weighed in today at 156.6 lbs (can you believe that, after all the crap I ate?) and here’s my day’s diet. Pretty unhealthy, but I had to grab what I could at WalMart, and they were in a sad state.

Day #8 Wrap Up

It’s midnight, and things are just getting going at the bar across the street from my house. For some reason even though the bar is really nice inside, with good acoustics, romantic lighting, great cocktails and plenty of places to sit, on the weekend, patrons stand around outside the bar, screaming at the top of their lungs. The weekend crowd is also really into cars and motorcycles, and love to circle the block with radios blasting at top level, revving way-too-loud engines in some sort of weird gearhead competition that I don’t really get.

As I’ve mentioned in other entries, my apartment is pretty small, and since the screaming and revving goes on until around 2am at the earliest, I’ve had to get used to it invading my life. For instance, right now I’m sitting on my bed, clearly hearing every word of a shouted conversation between two women discussing the infidelity of a boyfriend (husband?), in great detail. This isn’t angry shouting – it’s just a conversation. And it’s out on a quiet, mostly residential street, so there’s no need for screaming. But scream they will for at least another couple of hours. It’s just one of the things you get used to in New Orleans. The bar can’t contain its customers, and the cops don’t have time for silly noise complaints like mine. Instead, I’m counting it as early training for sleeping through the noisy hell of a home filled with children. When you look at it that way, it’s a priceless service!

But no more bitching. We’re here to recap my day. I ate pretty well all day and even fit in a run and some crunches. The run was awesome, and I thought I was making good time until I realized that what I thought was a 2 mile run was only 1.6 miles (not so great). My time was still OK, at 10 minutes a mile, basically, but I was disappointed after thinking that my run time was super fast and awesome today. Oh well, maybe tomorrow. Setting my alarm to try to wake up for 8am yoga class, and hoping to make it to an afternoon class, as well.

Here’s my day’s eats, from LoseIt.com…

The End of Day #4

Wow, today has been one hurried post after the next – sorry about that. I guess that’s just Monday for you!

I made it to Bikram class in the late afternoon, and at some point between poses I got this grand idea in my head that I was going to go home and make a good dinner. As you can probably tell from looking at my daily meals so far, I don’t really cook that often, and when I do, it’s typically something I can whip up in under 5 minutes, like eggs or a sandwich. Tonight I came home and made baked flounder filets, with a side of baby bok choy, onion and tomato stir fry and a side of sautéed mushrooms in Alfredo sauce. It was an amazing meal, and to my surprise after tallying everything up, it was under 400 calories! That means that even after a big lunch, a grand dinner, AND snacks, I was still under my daily calorie allotment before I even worked out. Yay me!

Y’all will have to excuse me, ’cause I’m gettin’ ready to hit the hay. Here’s my day according to LoseIt – let’s hope tomorrow morning puts me at somewhere in the 158 realm…

Wrapping Up Day #1

It’s 9pm CT, and I’m feeling like it might be time to hit the hay soon. I got home about an hour ago to find the lights all off and The Man taking a nap. I thought it might be a good opportunity to initiate a little friskiness, but instead when I woke him up he was in a shitty mood, so that’s a no go. Instead I weighed in out of curiosity (161.8 lbs – wtf?) took a shower to wash off the Bikram sweat, and now I’m curled up on the couch in my favorite pjs, jotting down notes here in on C&Q.

Obviously, I made it to my Bikram class. It was awesome, probably the best class I’ve been to yet. It was our instructor Joshua’s last night at the studio for at least a year. He’s leaving to study with a yogini in San Antonio, and we’re all really going to miss him. He’s one of my favorite instructors, always cracking a joke, quick with words of encouragement, offering awesome suggestions for improvement, just a great presence. He’s one of the teachers that makes you want to work extra hard to get your postures just right – my Balancing Stick is always best in his class.

Today was not only his last class, but also his going away party, so during class he played music at strategic parts (like “Lose Yourself” during Balancing Stick and “Danger Zone” during Full Locus, lol!) I love music, and feel that basically everything is enhanced with the right soundtrack. The same held true for yoga class tonight. It was a lovely time, and I hope that one of the teachers might start doing that every once in awhile, especially in Friday night classes. After class I stayed and chatted with a couple of the ladies I see around from time to time at the studio, and then I was offered a huge (HUGE!) piece of this beautiful triple layer cake from Whole Foods. It even had this gorgeous glazed fruit on top. I said no, but the instructor really wanted to get rid of it, so I took it…and walked straight down the street back to my office, where I gave it to one of the graphic designers to eat! Yay for self control!

So this is what my day looked like, according to LoseIt.com:

Yoga Extras

Today during Bikram I was having a hard time keeping my mind in the present. It was a tough class; the studio just added a second humidifier, and it was the last class of the day, so it was just a tad over 105 degrees the entire time. Plus, even though I normally love this teacher, today his strictness was really wearing on me. I got severely out of breath by Eagle, and from there it was pretty much downhill. I did my best to do most of the poses (except for Triangle, which I skipped out of not wanting to further aggravate my groin and glute, and also because I just wasn’t feeling up to it), and by the time I got to the last three poses, I was just completely worn out. Kind of a bust, as far as class goes, but I keep telling myself that we need the ‘bad’ classes to be able to feel extra good about the ‘good’ classes. Besides, I didn’t faint, injure myself, or – horror of horrors – leave the room, so I’m pretty much golden, right?

Anyway, while I was trying to live through class, my mind kept wandering. One of the things I was thinking over was how different each of my old studios has been. Overall, I love this studio the most. It’s brand new, and the owner/teacher did an amazing job at including all of the state-of-the-art bells and whistles, along with the regular Bikram must-haves. The hot room has full length mirrors on two walls, windows to the street on another, and then windows out into the hall on the fourth. The heating system is superb (although I was hating it today), and the humidity ensures that the heat is easier on your skin and you never feel like you’re getting roasted. Or at least you feel like you’re getting basted regularly, anyway! There’s also the required wood-grained antimicrobial carpeting, which smells weird, but whatever.

This is the first studio that I’ve studied in that has fans, though. I like them, but I still feel vaguely guilty when the teacher turns them on, even if it’s just for a second during the transition from standing series to the floor, or sometimes during camel (by which point a breeze feels glorious, I’ll admit it). It’s also the first studio that I’ve gone to that had showers and bathrooms in separate locations. This doesn’t bother me – I’m just happy there are showers – but it’s something that sets it apart. As is the crazy-cool Brita Hydration Station (it’s a water fountain, but it’s seriously spacey).

One thing that my studio is missing, however, is a mat-cleaning station. My first studio had a stainless steel table, very much like something you’d see in a professional kitchen, set up to wash your mat down as soon as you walked out of class. I loved it! I’ll admit – I forget to clean my mat all the time, which is really gross, I know, but I’m forgetful and lazy. It was great to walk out of class and be able to put your mat on a waist-high slab, and have a bottle of cleanser and a sponge ready to go to wipe it down. If I ever were to have my own studio, I’d definitely incorporate a mat-cleaning station.

Another thing that tends to bother me is when people set their mats up in weird places, or take up too much space and inconvenience other people in the hot room. Years ago, before I was introduced to Bikram, I did work study at yoga studio that used two mats for each person. It sounds weird, but it was a cool concept. The owner had figured out how many people could comfortably fit in the room, and where the mats would work best. He had us set out a certain number of mats, in a certain placement. When people would come into class, they’d either use a yoga towel or blanket, or more usually, their own yoga mat, and place it on top of the already placed mat. This meant that everyone was lined up perfectly, without crowding their neighbors, and no one had to think too hard about it. It made the beginning of class even more relaxed. I don’t think I’d go through the trouble of setting out mats, but I have wondered about marking suggestion spots on the floor to help people line their mats up correctly and ensure that everyone has enough space.

One last thing that’s very different about my current studio from my last is that we’re encouraged to drink water. My first studio had ‘party time’ after Eagle, so I was a little freaked out when I got to my second studio and the teacher informed everyone to drink water sparingly during class and try to avoid it if possible. I wondered if this was healthy, or if it was even doable. Over time, though, I realized that what they were saying was true. If I was properly hydrated going in, I never actually got thirsty. Before (and now), I took sips of water when I was bored, or tired, or to ease my stress level at being so very hot and achey. I’m very seldom actually thirsty in class, and if I am, I can always track it back to not drinking enough water before class. My fault – not the fault of the practice. The teachers at that studio all advised against drinking during class, pointing out that it was easier to feel dizzy, disrupt your carefully cultivated temperature balance, and that of course it would make you feel like puking during Kapalabhati breathing. All true. This doesn’t mean that my weak ass avoids drinking water, now that I’m at a different studio. However, I probably need to step back from knowingly allowing my weakness to get the better of me in class.

I’ve been reading other peoples’ blogs who say they get massages or eye masks or aromatherapy during class, but this has not been anything close to the norm in my small experience. What ‘extras’ have you seen in your Bikram studios? Anything you liked a lot? Anything you hated? I’m interested in knowing how very different something that is so regimented can be.