Challenge Update: Diamonds Out, Trekking Supplies & Workout Leggings In!

Despite my inner child’s excitement over the potential of owning another pretty, shiny thing if I hit my weight loss goal by April 3rd, I think I’m going to have to change my direction re: prizes for meeting my goals. I know, I know, it’s a disappointment – so much less sparkle involved in hiking gear than diamond jewelry!

But seriously, I’ve been thinking about it over the last few days, and it would be a much better use of funds if I focused on getting my supplies for the Camino, instead of a new belly button ring. I’ll have to buy things (a pack, hiking poles, new socks, and all manner of other fun odds and ends) to go on pilgrimage, anyway. It makes more sense to reward my good behavior with supplies that will only encourage more good behavior. Also, it would be a lot less wasteful of me. Maybe I can save the bling for my next milestone.

No matter what, I’m also thinking that some new fun workout clothes are in order, whether or not I hit that 170 lb mark. Some of the ladies at my gym have been wearing these amazing workout leggings, and I’ve been coveting pretty hard for the last month or so (Sad, right? Totally going to hell over spandex. Oh well.). It wasn’t that long ago that it was hard for me to even find decent workout pants and leggings, and back then it seemed they were all gray and black and uber boring. Now I’m seeing awesome ones in a plethora of colorful patterns. I dig loud, crazy designs, so incorporating them into my gym life is definitely a big plus. Something like these…

Onzie Low Rise Leggings

Onzie Low Rise Leggings in “Copa Cabana”, at Nordstrom. (Click image to visit site.)

Onzie Capri Leggings in Prism Print from Bloomingdales. (Click through image to visit site.)

Onzie Capri Leggings in Prism Print from Bloomingdales. (Click image to visit site.)

Onzie Track Leggings in Teal Chevron at (Click image to visit site.)

Onzie Track Leggings in Teal Chevron at (Click image to visit site.)

What do you think? Do you dig going loud and crazy at the gym? If you’re a lady (or happen to know a lot about women’s gym clothes), any good workout leggings to suggest?

A Week’s Worth Of Notes In 45 Minutes

Mardi Gras Float Storage

This pretty much sums up how I felt this week. (Also, if you’re curious, this is what used Mardi Gras float components look like in storage.)

It’s almost 1am, and since I need to wake up in seven hours, I’ll try to keep this brief. However, I didn’t want to go to sleep without jotting down a few thoughts about this past week. So here goes…

Iron Tribe Transformation Challenge: We’re almost done. It’s hard to believe that 40 days has gone by this quickly. I’m not really sure how I’m doing just now, mostly because I screwed up last weekend and it took me most of the week to recover. One of my best friends was in town with her husband for the weekend, and we went out for a drink on Saturday night. Since I haven’t been drinking at all during the challenge, I was planning to just have one cocktail and then stick to water. But somehow I ended up having four or five. My body couldn’t handle it, and I was incredibly hungover (read: at death’s doorstep) on Sunday. The only food I could manage to get down was my “comfort food” – Chinese takeout, followed by pizza a few hours later. I made similar dietary mistakes (thankfully in lesser quantities) for the next couple of days.

To make it worse, my period started this week (sorry for the TMI, dudes), and from Tuesday through Thursday I was feeling terrible. Everyone’s experience is different, and honestly, every month’s experience is different for me. Some months I won’t even have a cramp. Others I’ll be doubled over in pain. This month I was ridiculously emotional, and physically weak. I’m not sure if I’m weaker every month, since this is the first time I noticed it. And boy, did I notice it.

On Monday at the gym, one of the coaches remarked that I should be using a little more weight, and I nearly broke down and cried over nothing. I couldn’t drag myself to the gym on Tuesday and Wednesday, but during Thursday’s workout the simplest movements were grueling. I had the lightest amount of weight on the bar that I could use and still look alive (35 lbs bar + two 10 lbs plates = 55 lbs) and every move was a struggle. To give you some perspective, I’m not terribly strong, but I’d typically be at at least 65 lbs for something where I needed to put the bar over my head (strict press, for example).

Today was pretty rough, too, but at least my emotions were in check. I’ve gotten so used to being happy and excited to go to the gym that facing this week’s emotional depletion was really scary for me. There are a lot of things that rock about being a woman, but the monthly emotional rollercoaster is not one of them.

Work: It’s going pretty well. Nothing to write home about, but we’re getting some new contracts at one of my jobs, so that’s great, and the other job is running smoothly. For now, all is well.

Fortune favors the brave, you know.

Fortune favors the brave, you know.

Relationship: I’m coming up on the one year anniversary of my first date with my boyfriend. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long. We didn’t start dating for real until April, but we’ve been counting the first time we went to a concert together as our official anniversary since it was such an important moment, and it stood out like a touch of magic in both of our lives. It’s a little weird, since it wasn’t supposed to be a date, and I was dating someone else, but we connected, and that connection grew, and now we’re here. Life is messy. But I love him, and he loves me, and all is good. I have never felt so emotionally supported as I do right now. He gets me. He gets stuff about me that I don’t even get. He sees things that I see, but never know how to explain, and we laugh so much. We’re synced in so many ways that sometimes it’s a little unnerving. We’re not perfect, but we make each other better people. We’ve been going to yoga together each week, and tonight we went to a ska concert (Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, and Authority Zero). He’s teaching me so much about my strengths and my limitations, and I’m really grateful to get to not only get to know him, but to know myself through him. I’m excited to see what the next year of our relationship looks like.

Drinking: I mentioned it above, but I don’t really talk about it that much on the blog in general. However, I should probably note that I’ve been unhappy with my drinking habits for awhile now. Joining Iron Tribe and starting this Transformation Challenge were a good kick in the butt to reevaluate my relationship with alcohol, and see if there was a way to make a positive change for myself in that arena. Without going into it too much (I’ll save it for another post), I’m really proud of how I’ve changed my alcohol intake since January 5th.

Before the challenge, a typical week for me would be going out two or three times a week, with 3 – 5 drinks each night, and a couple of glasses of wine at home on the other nights. As crazy as that might sound to those of you living anywhere other than New Orleans, that’s actually quite a reduction in my habits from a year ago, when I was drinking a bottle of wine most nights. At no time did I feel addicted or like I even had a problem, but I was always lethargic and achey. It’s obvious now that whether or not a chemical dependency was in play, the amount that I was drinking was poisoning my body.

Mostly I was doing it to self-medicate, which is dangerous in and of itself. I don’t like hanging out in crowds, or meeting new people, so if alcohol was an option, I’d gladly take it. Drinking at home before a year ago was to deal with an unhappy relationship and growing depression. Drinking at home during the course of this year was sometimes just because it’s damn pleasant to have a glass of wine and watch a movie with your boo, but sometimes because I hated my work schedule and was drinking to escape life for awhile.

Since the challenge started, I’ve had two nights where I drank 2 glasses of wine while watching a movie with my beloved, and one night where I drank way too much whiskey while hanging out with my bestie, her husband, my boyfriend, and one of his friends at a crowded bar. What have I learned? Avoid crowded bars, treat wine as a special treat, and most of all, enjoy sobriety. It feels a hell of a lot better in the morning when you haven’t actively poisoned yourself the night before. Also, when you’re in your 30s, your friends won’t treat you like a pariah if you say you’d rather just drink club soda. Or at least my friends won’t. I suppose if mine did, I’d just have to find new friends. We’ll see what happens when Mardi Gras weekend comes along, but as of right now I feel pretty good about my decision to keep it light on the booze and heavy on the working out.

French Quarter home, all dressed up for Mardi Gras. Follow me on Instagram for more architecture photos.

French Quarter home, all dressed up for Mardi Gras. Follow me on Instagram for more photos of New Orleans life and architecture.

Santiago de Compostela: I’ve been shopping for gear, but haven’t made any decisions yet about pretty much anything. The flight is taken care of, and I know I’ve got some time before I have to really start pulling together the bits and pieces I’ll need for my pilgrimage. Right now, my main mental battle is on whether to wear pants or leggings (I’m thinking leggings, b/c of thigh chafing) and whether I can get away with wearing trail trainers instead of boots (experienced peregrinos say yes). We’ll see.

The First 10 Pounds

Road Map to Weight Loss

If by “diet” you mean “paleo”, then yes, we’re in business.

Today I hit 184.8 lbs. A couple of years ago, had you told me that I’d be this heavy, I would have been appalled. But today, I’m happy. I’m happy because 19 days ago I was 194.8 lbs., and yesterday I fit into jeans I haven’t been able to wear for a few months. Ten easy pounds down – 40 much harder ones to go.

First off, let’s just get this out of the way – weight loss is not magical. Weight loss is not something to be done quickly. It’s totally possible to take diet pills and starve yourself and get skinny (I know this because I’ve done it in the past), but that shit catches up with you in the end (see 1st paragraph). The full extent of my “magic formula” thus far is lifting weights and doing high intensity interval training five days a week, 45 minutes a day, walking between 5 and 8 miles a day, eating paleo, staying hydrated (aiming for my body weight in oz. of water), taking fish oil and PAGG supplements, and keeping track of everything in a food/exercise journal.

All through high school, I was 135 lbs. I ran track and ate whatever I wanted, and I had a decent enough figure. Then I went to college, in the first semester I gained 20 lbs. from sleeping in and eating as much food as a non-body-conscious 18 year old is bound to do on an unlimited meal plan. A few people told me that the weight looked good on me, and rather than take a look and decide for myself, I decided that sounded OK and just went with it. I remained at 155 lbs. throughout college and into my early 20’s, when Hurricane Katrina disrupted my life. For about 5 months after Katrina, I was too broke to eat properly, and I dropped back down to 135 again (still no exercise, just no food). Then I got back to New Orleans and gradually started gaining the weight back, plateauing at 155 until 2007, when I went through a particularly stressful period and went up to around 165. I moved to Chicago, started going to the gym a couple of hours a day, training for a marathon, and doing Bikram yoga, and quickly dropped back down to 145 again, at one point getting as low as 138 while doing a raw cleanse. When I got back to New Orleans again in 2011, I slowly started putting on more weight, passed my normal plateau point of 155, and just kept going until now.

Every single one of the drastic losses have happened as a result of either crazy exercise – hours and hours per day – and/or crazy food restrictions. None of them has been sustainable, or in the least enjoyable. Every time I’ve dieted, I’ve spent pretty much every waking hour craving whatever it was that I wasn’t supposed to be eating (and those ingredients have varied wildly, as I flitted from diet to diet). The exercise has me completely worn out all day. I’m irritable, and frequently experience dizzy spells throughout the day.

So what’s the difference now?

First off, I’ve decided that this is it. This is the heaviest I will ever be, and come hell or high water, I’m going to make the changes that are necessary to get healthy and stay that way. I’m also 19 days into a 40 day challenge period at my gym, Iron Tribe, where I’ve been given the goal of staying as paleo as possible, working out at least 5 times per week, and staying physically active throughout the rest of my day. Not only am I not craving anything (except for brownies, which I’m getting ready to fix tomorrow with this stellar paleo brownie recipe I just found tonight), I’m not feeling tired, sick, or dizzy. I feel HEALTHY. Sturdy. Capable of more if I want to push the limits. Excited to continue to push those limits after this 40 days is up. For the first time in my memory, I feel like I’m getting this weight loss thing right. And it feels so good.

So yeah, I’m still a good 40 lbs. over where I’d like to be, but I have faith that I’m going to get there. The first ten pounds are out of the way, and the rest are going to take considerably longer than 19 days to disappear. But I know that it took me years to put on this weight, and with some faith, I’ll excel in shedding it again. For good this time.

One other thing that I’m really excited about is that I haven’t had a drink in 19 days. During the last year or so of my old relationship, I was drinking a few glasses of wine most days, and sometimes more. In retrospect, I realize that this was extremely unhealthy, physically and emotionally, since I was doing it to make my life bearable. Even after moving into my own place, and transitioning into a much more healthy relationship with my current beau, I was still going out and having a few drinks a couple of days a week. I wasn’t seeing not drinking as an option (as many people here in New Orleans don’t), and to be honest, I hate social engagements when I’m sober. In general, I just don’t like being in big groups of people, or going out to loud, crowded bars or concerts. I’d much rather stay home or hang out with a few people at a time. I was drinking to make talking to people bearable, but in the end, I was experiencing many more negative side effects than positive. Mornings after were never pleasant, and my depression definitely sunk its claws in more on days after I’d had a few drinks.

It was such a relief to have this challenge pop up and, well, challenge me to give up drinking and see how I’d feel without it. I’ve cut down on going out, that’s for sure, so I’m nowhere near as social as I was trying to be. But overall, I don’t care. I don’t miss being out at all, and if knocking booze out of the picture means that I’ll be less sad and start to lose some weight, I call it a fair trade. Even though I’m not addicted to alcohol in a dire sense, I’m glad to be able to address my need to dull the pain of social interaction with substances (including scarfing down bar food to avoid talking). Whether that means I’ll be losing friends in the end still remains to be seen, but overall, everyone’s been really supportive so far.

I could just keep writing on my feelings about this drastic change. Like how excited I am to eat bacon every morning, or how weird and amazing it is to walk past the cheese aisle and not fall to my knees (mentally, at least) with the overwhelming need for a wedge of brie. But it’s time for one of the most important parts of keeping my body healthy – sleep. A glorious 8 hours of it. All mine. Damn, I’m digging being me right now.

Week 1 Update: VICTORY!

A week ago, I started watching what I was eating and endeavoring to squeeze a leetle bit more exercise into my day. Using, I found out that I should be eating about 1240 calories a day in order to lose 2 lbs. a week. Once you add in calories lost through exercising each day (around 400 to 500, depending on day), this meant that realistically I could eat around 1640 calories a day and still come out on top. I’ve been tracking every single bite, except for on the 4th of July, when I took an “off” day and drank/ate everything I wanted to. On average, I lost about half a pound each day.

  • Starting weight (6/30/14): 179.4 lbs. (81.37 kg, or 12.81 stone). 
  • Ending weight (7/6/14): 176.4 lbs. (80.01 kg, or 12.6 stone).

Reflections: The hardest part of this week has been dealing with my emotions. When I get happy, sad, or stressed, my strongest impulse is to eat. Not having the ability to fall back on food was REALLY tough. Also, there were several times when I was supposed to go out with friends to drink and/or eat, and although I cancelled a couple of social engagements due to not thinking I’d be able to cope, last night I went out and had a difficult time of it. I ended up eating a salad with no dressing (ugh) and a small cup of red beans and rice, then sipping on one cocktail when we went out for drinks. Since it was more of a “hanging out with acquaintances” thing than a “drinks with friends” thing, it was even more uncomfortable than typical. As they say, though, them’s the breaks. I’ll endure a few uncomfortable silences in exchange for losing pounds any day.

At any rate, I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I’m not hungry, or tired, or feeling like I’ve overworked myself at all this past week. My goal weight for this week was 177.4 lbs, so I’m a pound lighter than I planned to be, but that’s fine since I’m sure I’ll fluctuate a little in the coming week. My goal for next Sunday is to be 175.4 lbs. Also, I think that for the next week I’ll try stepping up my game just a little bit in the exercise apartment, maybe tack on an additional mile to what I walk each day, and try to get up to burning a solid 500 to 600 calories a day in exercise. Wish me luck!

Weight Loss Presents #1 and #2

I’ve been thinking about it a bit today, and have decided what I’ll be giving myself for reaching my 5 lbs. and 10 lbs. goals. First off, a little background. I started concentrating on losing these stubborn pounds on Sunday, June 30th, at which point I was 179.4 lbs. I’m working to lose 2 lbs. a week, which means that I should (hopefully) reach my first 5 lbs. goal (174.4 lbs.) around July 15th if everything goes right. That’s 13 days from now, slightly less than two weeks. Who knows, maybe I’ll do what I’ve done historically and drop that initial weight quicker – typically I end up losing the first 10 lbs. super quickly, then my body slows down and goes back to the normal 2 lbs. a week thing. Sometimes it will be as much as 10 to 15 lbs. in a week, which would be fun but is definitely not necessary. I just want to keep this gradual and ongoing for the next four and a half months. Anyway, so if everything runs on schedule and I lose 5 lbs. by 7/15, I should lose the next 5 lbs. (putting me at 169.4 lbs.) by the beginning of August. I know, I know, this is all very boring and full of numbers. I’m not too fond of numbers, either, but it’s kind of how this thing works. Just wait until I start taking and posting body measurements – now that’s gonna get super irritating, right? 🙂

Anyway, on to the more exciting stuff – my presents!!!

I’ve decided that Present #1, on or around July 15th if all goes well, will be a day at the spa, with a facial, massage, and mani/pedi! Yeah, I know it sounds like I’m setting the bar pretty high, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’m a member at Massage Envy, and I’ve got 6 months’ worth of services waiting for me to redeem them. Plus, my favorite nail place is right next door and it’s a bit of a hike to get there, so I might as well make a day of it, right? So I’ll get the massage and facial for free, and just have to pay for the mani/pedi. Totally worth it, since I’ve been doing my own nails for a couple of months now and it’s really just sad – I should not be allowed to dabble in nail polish. I think that this time around, I’ll treat myself to a fancier nail design than I typically get. Maybe rhinestones in my pedicure, or chevron nails, or something cool and different. I’ve always been scared to ask for a special design, so maybe this is the time to get bold with it.

As for Present #2, I’ve been jonesing for a seaweed body wrap ever since my last one back in January of 2013 (so sad that it’s been that long – ack!). For those of you who’ve never had a body wrap, they come in slightly different formats, but in general the process includes getting coated in a mud or paste infused with essential oils and other goodness, then getting wrapped up in saran wrap and covered with a blanket. It’s kind of like getting a mud mask, but on your entire body, and it generally is cold and weird and awesome. Afterwards, you shower and get a short massage, and you leave feeling like a million and one dollars. They’re supposed to help you detox, have tighter skin, and shed excess water weight, but really I just love being pampered. Plus, when you get out of that seaweed treatment your skin is unbelievably soft, like baby smooth. It’s amazing. I have a gift certificate to the spa that I’ve been waiting to use, so as soon as I lose that 10 lbs., I’m allowed to head on over to get the royal treatment. I might even put a little extra down and get a second treatment that day, like a short massage, or maybe a salt scrub to make me even more buttery soft. We’ll see.

So what do you think? Have you ever offered yourself incentives when it’s time to undertake an onerous task like weight loss? How’d it work out?

Shifting Priorities…and Pounds

Since going off of birth control a year ago, I’ve gained 25 lbs. Add that to the original 20 lbs. that I needed to lose to be at my optimum weight, and you can see that I’m kind of in a bind. (Literally – my jeans are cutting off my circulation.) So as of yesterday, I’m back in diet & exercise mode. Which, let’s be honest here, has failed every single time I’ve tried for the last 15 years, as I’ve swollen from 135 lbs. to 180 lbs. Argh.

My biggest two problems are being lazy and having an emotional attachment to eating. My favorite activities are all sedentary: watching TV, reading, sleeping, playing around on the computer. On top of that, my moods demand to be accompanied/assuaged/otherwise treated with food. Do I know it’s wrong? Yes. Do I care, and want to change? Definitely. When it comes down to it, am I able to resist swinging by Popeye’s for some fried chicken, or getting that late night burger after an evening with my friends? Not really. Every time I’ve tried to focus my energy on eating healthy food, working out daily, and quitting that horrible cycle of treating my emotions with a prescription of baked goods and fried meat products, I’ve ended up failing spectacularly. Each time I fall even deeper into the hole, and end up cycling through patches of intense guilt and sandwich eating.

But all we can do is try. And maybe this time I might have a little more to try for. I’m turning 33 in November, and it just so happens that LoseIt tells me that I have exactly enough time between yesterday and mid-November to get pretty damn close to my goal weight. If I lose 2 lbs. a week, it’s realistic that I could be really close to 140 lbs. by my birthday. Also important is that I’ll be seeing two of my oldest friends that month, something that NEVER happens since they both live across the country and none of us ever get to travel that far. One friend recently experienced some amazing life changes and is looking quite svelte, so I can use her as my friendly competition. After all, I’d hate to be the chubby girl in her vacation photos. The other friend has always been super-competitive and a tad bit mean to me, so I can use her as my less-than-friendly competition. It will be immensely satisfying to look good in all of her vacation photos. Plus, the odds are high that if she sees I’ve gained weight since we last saw each other, she’ll make sure to mention it, and I will lose my everloving shit if that happens.

To get started, I’m taking small-ish steps to add activity to my day-to-day existence, as well as to cut back on needless calories:

  • Tracking every bite I eat at
  • No more drinking (except for special occasions) – in other words, no more margarita nights with the girls or glasses of wine at home with sexy awesome boyfriend. Boo.
  • Walking to and from work every day – at a little over 2 miles each way, that’s 400 calories right there.
  • Wearing my VivoFit to track my steps walked, calories burned, and activity levels throughout the day.
  • Joining up at and making my bid to lose 40 lbs. a little more exciting of a challenge.
  • Drinking lots of water. This time of year I tend to eat even more because I hate going out in the sun and love sitting on my ass in front of the TV, but also because I’m constantly sweating and mistake dehydration/thirst for hunger.
  • Eating more veggies, less processed foods, little dairy, and no wheat.
  • Most importantly, talking about this here on my blog.

The worst part of sharing this on my blog is that since I’ve failed every time I’ve tried to lose weight over the past few years, I’m embarrassed to even let people know that I’m trying again. But eventually this is going to work out, and I really do need to be held accountable for my actions. So I’m going to keep sharing my weight, my struggles with eating, and my daily activities here.

Eventually, I’m going to start building on more activities. I already do a little bit of weight lifting every day, plus some yoga and basic stretching, and I’ve been jogging one or two days a week, too. But for now, I’m just going to concentrate on watching what I eat and walking to and from work every day. I think that’s going to have a drastic effect right off the bat, and I don’t want to push it so hard that I end up giving up as soon as I start, like every other time. Eventually I’ll work up to daily yoga or dance classes or trips to the gym, and longer runs every day, that kind of thing. But it might not be for a month, who knows?

The other thing I’m going to do is pledge myself a present for every 5 lbs. lost. That’s EIGHT PRESENTS, y’all. EIGHT things that I covet, that will be mine as long as I stop eating crappy food and start making slightly more intelligent choices each day. I’m not quite sure what my presents are going to be yet, but I’ll probably start shopping around online tonight and plan them out so that I have something to obsess over. It’ll probably be all clothes, books, and jewelry, though I do definitely want some things for my house. Hmmm…

The other thing I should probably note is that even though I’ve taken one set of blood tests that confirms I have a thyroid imbalance, and one set where the levels were all normal, I haven’t had enough money to get any other tests taken or go to the doctor for an official diagnosis and drugs. So this weight gain could possibly be because of my thyroid. But first, since I’m not losing my hair, my cycle is normal, and my brain fog is largely gone now that I’ve drastically cut back on wheat products, I’m going to try the diet and exercise route to see if it’s possible to make a dent in my weight. Eventually I’ll be able to afford health insurance. One day. Maybe. Probably not. But I’m seriously not going to worry about that today because it will just send me back to the refrigerator. For now, let’s just do some walking and eat some veggies. The rest can wait.



Day 34: Getting Tested

Something’s wrong. Well, there are multiple things wrong, but the biggest is that I haven’t just not lost weight over the past month – I’ve gained it. Today I weighed in at 164.6 lbs. Sure, I haven’t been restricting calories heavily, and there have been some foods eaten that I’d call “junk,” like pizza one night, and Chinese takeout another, but I’ve never gone over 1500 calories for a day (I’m supposed to be eating around 1300), and most days have some sort of exercise built in.

Of course I need to be doing better about eating fruits and veggies and eschewing dairy, soy, and processed foods. I definitely can’t argue with that. And I definitely need to do more heavy-duty exercising, though my back and hips have been really bugging me for the last few days, and I’ve been so stressed out that the thought of adding one more thing to the schedule just makes me want to take a long jump off of a short pier. But wait! Just when you think I’m plain crazy – there’s more!

Over the past few years, I’ve been suffering from symptoms that I’ve blamed on IBS, adrenal fatigue, birth control pills, and age. Then when I went off of birth control two and a half months ago, I started taking my basal body temperature (BBT) every morning, and quickly realized that something was off. Most days my temperature was at or below 96.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Often, it’s been as low as 95.2 degrees. At its highest, it goes up to about 97.3 degrees, but only in the last few days of my luteal phase, after which it quickly plummets again.

Since low basal body temperature is a warning sign of hypothyroidism, or under-active thyroid, I’ve been reading up on the condition to find out how serious it is. Along the way I’ve found out about a host of other symptoms that I’ve been exhibiting for the last few years. Here’s a list of symptoms that I checked off as a “yes” (this does not include “no” symptoms) on a thyroid quiz a few days ago:

  • Family history of thyroid disease.
  • Unexplained weight gain.
  • Unable to lose weight with diet/exercise.
  • Constipation.
  • Low body temperature & feeling cold when others are hot.
  • Constant fatigue.
  • Feeling run down, sluggish & lethargic.
  • Aches & pains in joints.
  • Depression.
  • Restlessness.
  • Mood swings.
  • Feelings of worthlessness.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Losing interest in normal daily activities.
  • Can’t remember things.
  • No sex drive.
  • Eyes are sensitive to light.
  • Light headed / dizzy often.
  • Recurrent sinus infections.
  • Heart palpitations.

So – yeah. To make a long story short, I’m going to get a Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test tomorrow to see if I can start figuring this stuff out. Of course, I don’t have medical insurance or make enough money to even afford to see a doctor for tests, but luckily I ran across a great deal today on a site called MyMedLab. They’ve been running a promotion on a test that measures TSH levels, and it’s only going to cost $25 to get the test run, which is HUGE. Here’s a link to the deal – it’s kind of buried in their website. They’ve got testing sites all over the US, and as it happens, a few in the New Orleans area. Wish me luck!

Losing Weight with Hitch Fit

Just wanted to stop in and leave a little message, a kind of commemoration if you will. A week ago today, I started following a specific diet plan as part of what I’ve called my “soft opening” of a full-scale overhaul of my daily nutrition and exercise. The diet was put together for me specifically by Diane Chaloux of Hitch Fit, and is a pretty simple affair – five meals a day, with close attention to protein vs. carbs vs. fat in each meal. Even though it’s nothing earth shattering, it’s still more than I was ever able to figure out and follow on my own. I typed out every meal on a sheet of paper and put it up on my fridge. I’ve followed it for a week, mostly to the letter but with a few alterations here and there in places where I knew I could substitute a protein source or carb source, etc. Last Sunday I started out my day at 160 lbs. Today I am 153.6 lbs, and I haven’t even started the hard part of the program yet – weight training three days a week and cardio pretty much every day. That starts tomorrow, and I’m ready.

The biggest changes for me on this plan so far have been eating a lot more than I’m used to (weird, right?), avoiding a lot of stress by knowing what I’m going to eat at my next meal, foregoing starchy carbs at dinner (my favorite), and not drinking even the tiniest glass of wine all week. I’m also using this opportunity to work towards cutting out dairy and meat as much as possible, and I haven’t had any kind of cheese or cream-based sauces all week, which is also a really strange thing for me. I do, after all, live to eat brie. But overall it’s been pretty easy. I love the physical experience of eating, and eating until I’m stuffed – with this plan I get to do that, just that now I’m filling up on kale stir fry instead of Cheetos and Diet Coke. I also like not feeling any pressure to go out to lunch, or eat whatever fatty stuff people have brought in to share at work. They all know I’m on a special meal plan, so I don’t have to explain myself or ask forgiveness for not trying out the newest baked goods.

Mostly there’s the fact that I know, and have known, that too much wine and cheese have been my downfall. I used to eat at least a pound of brie a week, sometimes more when I lived in Chicago and hated every single moment of my job. It’s not a huge problem anymore, but it’s a slippery slope. I’m a brie fiend. So for now I’m drawing a hard line in the sand, and avoiding drinking and dairy all together.

My biggest goal right now is to be at least 145 by the time I see my two best friends at the end of the month. I can’t wait to surprise them with a much more fit and focused me. I also can’t wait to use whatever gift certificates I get for the holidays to buy new jeans in a smaller size!

Day #26 Wrap Up

Argh. I just waxed poetic about my day for a couple of paragraphs, then accidentally erased it all. I’m too tired to write any more, so here are the basics:

1) Did yoga (Day #4 of the Challenge!), rode my bike, walked, and ran 2 miles today. Awesome.

2) The Man took me out to Luke, a John Besh restaurant, tonight for our anniversary. It was also awesome. Wonderful food and very attentive service.

3) I ate some crazy and incredible food for dinner, and though I think I overdid it on the calories, I still ate very sensibly given my choices and predilections. I still have half of a fried oyster, bacon, avocado caesar salad waiting for my lunch tomorrow – yum!

Day #8: Uptick

This is one of those days I was telling you about, where my weight swings up and I feel like a complete failure. However, I’m not going to be that girl today. Today I’m going to be a winner, keep a calm head, and come out on top. I weighed in this morning at 161.0 lbs, after a slip-up last night with a new batch of banana muffins and a lovely Chinese food dinner with The Man. I did alright with the Chinese food – only ate half of my dish, in fact – but it WAS noodles, and then I followed up with a couple of muffins. It was an emotional eating night, except eating lavishly was not in response to emotion, but to physical state. Since I’d only gotten 4 hours of sleep the night before, I was just too worn out to think about cooking dinner when I got home. That, coupled with my desire to lay on the couch all night (making Chinese sound even more inviting) are what did me in. I’ll know better next time.

So back to today. I’m slightly heavier, but knowing my body, by Sunday I’ll be back at 157 if I watch my intake and go to yoga every day. As promised last week, I’ve taken my measurements, too:

  • Thigh: 23.5″ (same as last week)
  • Hips: 40″ (same)
  • Waist: 28″ (down 1″)
  • Chest: 37″ (Which is still weird, given my 34″ bra size. Maybe the girls at Victoria’s Secret can explain for me.)
  • Biceps: 11.5″ (down 1/2″ – woohoo!)
  • Calves: 14.5″ (same)
  • Ankles: 7.5″ (same)

Right now I’m trying to get geared up to go to work, drinking my protein shake for breakfast. My supplements arrived in the mail yesterday from Vitacost, and instead of taking a bunch of pills this morning I thought it would be much more fun to just add everything into the shake. So now I’m drinking a shake with 500mg of raspberry ketones and a serving of coleus forskolii, both natural supplements to aid fat loss. I also just took some probiotics, which I’m hoping will help speed up the Chinese food in leaving my body. Next up is a multivitamin, then Vitamin D drops at work, and I’ll be full to the brim with all kinds of good-for-you’s.

Wish me luck – I’m bringing the banana muffins to work, and will boldly attempt to refrain from eating any. No clue what I’m going to do for lunch, but it better be natural and 400 calories or less. Then it’s on to Bikram at the end of the day, where everything feels beautiful and warm and limber, including yours truly.

Happy Friday, everyone!