This blog is an accounting of my personal journey to find fitness. All the content on this blog should be read as a biographical piece of literature, not a medical resource. I am a physician, but I am in no way giving medical advice or establishing doctor patient relationships with my readers. I am simply keeping a diary. If you are starting a diet or exercise program or require medical evaluation or advice, please see your own family physician.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Tomorrow we are leaving on our summer vacation. The last several years, we have been going to the beach for a week and renting a beach house. These have been the absolute best vacations ever. However, this year due to the tragedy of the BP oil spill, (Freaking nightmare. I'll suppress my political diatribe now.) we decided to do something different. We are going up to the mountains to Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park. I am very excited because I haven't been in ages and my kids have never seen mountains. We have a 12yr old son, and 2 daughters, 5 and 4.

By BFF and her kids are going also. She generally joins us on our trips. Truly she is the sister I never had and her kids have allowed me the opportunity of knowing what it's like to be an "Aunt". We tell our kids they are "fuzins" Friend-cousins. They think it's hilarious.

We finally have everything packed. Traveling with 3 kids for 11 days is no picnic. It is always such a Production. My husband was being "helpful" and went to Costco and bought a whole bunch of snacks. He did pretty well, despite what I call his nutrition handicap. He is one of the smartest people I have ever known, but he knows next to nothing about nutrition. I keep telling him to check the label, but sometimes he's lured in by healthy looking packaging and words like "all natural" and "low fat." But, this is a subject for a whole other blog.

He got jerky, and some Kashi granola bars. He also got M&M trail mix. Luckily he did not get chocolate snacks or cookies which he's been known to do in the past. I am nervous about the trip because I do not want this to be a set back. In the past I've always put the "diet on hold" on vacation. I usually go nuts eating cookies and candy and pretty much any other piece of crap food I can get. Then, I gain back all the weight I've lost. The net result has always been that when I get home and see the gain, I decide that this proves I can't lose weight and it will be too hard and what's the point. And the diet on "hold" becomes the diet that never was.

I feel differently this time though, because I really am trying to approach this as lifestyle change. A complete overall of my diet, exercise, and mentality towards fitness. I plan to continue to keep my food journal and track calories. And, honestly I haven't felt deprived. I'm been hungry at times which has been great since before I ate so much so often, I hardly new what hungry felt like. But, I really like the tons of fruit and healthy stuff I've been eating. I don't miss all that other crap.

The best part is that this will be a very active vacation. Not only is there exercise equipment I can use and a pool where we can swim, but we'll be hiking and fishing and rafting and horseback riding (maybe). I say maybe because the idea of riding a horse evokes "fat fear". I've never done it before. What happens if they say I'm too heavy? What if I'm embarrassed because they have to get the "extra big horse" for the fat lady? And, what will I look like trying to haul my fat butt onto the poor beast?

But, I digress. The point is, we will be going and doing and seeing things most of the time. We'll have some relaxation in there also, but I'm excited to see how I do with working in exercise. I can honestly say I have rarely, if ever, worked out while on vacation. But, this time I'm excited that I'll be able to get in some extra workouts. I brought my polar so I can track my heart rate and count all those calories. More burnt means more liberal and happy vacation foods. (Calm down you inner sugar and snack beast. More liberal does not mean all you can eat oreos!)

I am concerned about the altitude. I've had trouble in the past. And then there is the asthma issue which I think will be fine. I've been doing great on my runs and my breathing is better but I'm a little worried so I'm taking extra meds and inhalers and some steroids just in case and for last resort use only. (Hate that stuff!)

We'll have internet access so I want to try to stay connected and blog. But, especially to continue reading all the blogs which have helped keep me focused and excited about losing weight and exercise and all the rest. Thanks to all of you for blogging so I can read it everyday and keep my brain focused on the important things. And thanks to my 4 followers! How cool is that! You guys are helping me so much with all your encouraging comments!

Weigh in Wednesday

Well, all the grouchiness yesterday made me dread the scale this morning. But, I did as I vowed and woke up with a smile on my face and ready to work out. After, I weighed and I did lose. 1.4 pounds. This brings my total loss to 24.8 pounds (Again with the .2!) So close to losing 25 pounds. Happy happy! Joy, joy!

I also measured. Since June 10th, I've lost a total of 8.5 inches. I knew my clothes were getting looser, but boy is it good to see those numbers.

My first inclination was to be irritated that I didn't lose that other .2 so I could finally be at 25pounds. But, then I remembered that I am trying to have a positive attitude and let it go. It'll happen. It is inevitable if I keep exercising and logging my food. (You all don't know me yet, but I'm what they call a melancholy personality. Kinda Eeyore-ish. I have to really work at being positive sometimes)

I really wanted to try to run today, but I felt so good after my run yesterday, I was afraid I'd be disappointed if I wasn't able to finish. You are supposed to rest a day in between. So, instead I rode my stationary bike, 6.5 miles on program 6. It's the hardest one I've tried. Boy those big hills sure make you realize how hard cycling really is. Then I did 100 crunches, 60 squats with weights, 20 real push ups and 20 girlie ones, and hand weights. I'm still bummed that I haven't actually been able to make it to the gym, but on the bright side, I'm proving to myself that I can do this no matter where I am or how busy.

Tomorrow, I'll do Day 2 of week 5 of my C25K. Then next week while I'm on vacation, I am vowing to at least try the dreaded Day 3 and the 25 min of jogging with no walking. I don't know if I'll be able to. I don't know if I'm ready for all that, but I'll never know until I try.

We leave for vacation tomorrow and I'll post more on that later. But, I'm still trying to formulate a plan for handling the vacation munchies while riding in the car and eating out a lot. We will have a kitchen in the condo so I have planned some meals to cook, but we all know how those plans can get messed up when you're on vacation. If anyone has ideas or hints, I'd love to have them. I've found that if I plan and think through how I might handle cravings and munchies, I'm better off. TTFN-Ta Ta For Now! (I LOVE Winnie the Pooh and friends.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Attitude, Schmattitude

Why do I do it to myself? Why do I weigh when it's not my weigh in day? Why do I weigh so often? Why do I let what the scale says determine my attitude?

This morning I did Couch 25K Week 5 Day1. I didn't want to. I woke up tired this morning after not sleeping well. I had a page at 2:30 am and then I had trouble going back to sleep. You'd think after all the years of calls in the middle of the night that I could fall right back to sleep. But, I didn't this time.

So, I woke up late and tired and frankly grouchy. I knew I wouldn't have time to go to the gym today. I had to cancel with my trainer since I had to take my son, the 12 year old klutz, to get an x-ray on my lunch hour. He whacked his foot on the side of the pool the other day when we were swimming. I knew this meant I won't get to the gym this week most likely as we are leaving for vacation on Thursday.

I went through all the internal self talk. Yes I talk to myself. You gotta problem with that? Anyway...I had the usual whiny voice in my head going, "I'm tired. One day of not exercising won't matter. We'll do it later. It's going to be hard." And the other one, "Stop whining I have so had it with you. You wouldn't be so tired if you woke up when you're supposed to. Now get up there and do it."


So, the bitchy me dragged the whiny me's butt up the stairs and onto the treadmill. It felt so good. I am so proud of myself for going ahead with it. I ran the 5 min intervals and I felt like I could still do more. Then I was mad I had to stop to go to work. Seeing a theme here?

Despite the fact that I was proud for finishing my run and how good I felt, I decided to get on the scale and before bitchy me could stop myself, I weighed. Now my official day is Wednesday and even though I knew I was in a bad mood, I did it anyway. Dumb. So the scale says I didn't lose any weight. Grr.

You can imagine how the rest of my day was. On the bright side, my son's foot is not broken. And, just when I thought this day was worthless, I heard this from my 86 year old patient on her way out the door, "Any day where I'm alive and healthy is a celebration." Wow. I had to smile at that. I think this needs to be my new mantra. Don't you?

So, tomorrow morning, I will be weighing in for real. And no matter the results, I will have a good attitude. Because, I know I've worked hard. I know I'm eating right and exercising and I am in better shape right now than I've been in...well, ever. AND I'm 40! So there Mr. Scale. You can bite me.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mommy See, Baby Do

My original inclination was to post about how much I hate Mondays and how grumpy I feel every week when I roll out of bed, but then I decided to write about more positive and interesting things I noticed over my weekend.

First, I did pretty well as far as food goes, although I did some extra snacking yesterday, including a dipped cone at Dairy Queen I had following my son's band performance. I knew better than to agree to going there. But, I did count the calories and even with that I only went over my calories yesterday by 41 calories. For the week, I ended up under by 4,000 and I expect a loss at my weigh in on Wednesday. Although, you never can tell what Mr. Scale will have to say about that. He's such an a-hole!

One of the big reasons I started this road to fitness is for my kids. When I think back on my childhood, I remember a lot of dieting. I think I was on weight watchers the first time at age 10. I've seen diets. A lot of them. I've seen weight loss surgery-my mom, her brothers, and others in my mostly obese family. I have not seen real success with weight loss.

The thing I cannot remember, and I've tried to, is ever seeing anyone exercising regularly or working out for the sake of fitness. It's just not something we did. In the 80s, I had the Jane Fonda tapes and did them periodically in my teen years. But, exercise was never a regular part of my day or anyone else I knew.

I really believe that I can set a healthy example for my kids by watching my food, teaching them to read labels and that exercise is and should be a part of your daily routine. Like brushing or flossing or bathing, I want them to think it is just something you have to do to stay healthy. It is not something I realized until just recently.

On Saturday, I decided to run outside, only for the 2nd time since I started C25K. I feel safer on the treadmill. I feel less self-conscious. I still haven't had the guts to run at the gym. I worry about people watching all that jiggling and fat flapping I guess. But, I've also realized it's easier to stop. If you're outside, you can't just sit down because you have to get back. So, I decided to go to the park. The track around the lake is 1.2 miles. Easy Peesy, right?

For the first time, I confessed to my 12 year old son that I want to run a 5K. I told him I'm training for it and asked if he wanted to join me. He does. So, Saturday am, he and I went to the park. I did 3 laps which is 3.6 miles. My longest distance yet. I am super slow, but I also finished week 4! Despite the heat. Despite the pollen. And, despite the jiggling fat.

The best part is that my son did it and felt so proud. Someone came up to him and told him he's going to be a great athlete when he gets bigger since he's started training so early. He was also jazzed about the next time we can go. Running laps at the park is not something I would have EVER done with my mom. It made me feel so good to share that with him.

Then, yesterday, I got in the pool with the kids. I've been swimming laps every time we swim, which is almost daily. This time, the kids got all excited about swimming laps with Mommy. Even my youngest, who is 4, decided to swim like me. Man is she fast! She beat me nearly every lap, which is 10 meters in our pool one way. I was telling her how amazing she is at swimming and marveling at how much faster she is than me. She said, "Mommy, don't worry. It's just because you are so much older and sweatier than me. You can get faster if you try!" I nearly drowned I was laughing so hard!

After that, I got out and did push ups and sit ups. You should have seen my girls, ages 4 and 5, doing them with me. HIL-alrious! Then, my 5 year old started teaching me some things she's learned in PE. I did them with her, although not as deftly for sure. Yet I was so proud and happy to be exercising with my kids and even learning a few things from them as well.

How about you? How do you approach teaching your kids about diet and exercise? Do you worry about them being obese like I do? The one thing I know for sure is that the changes I am making will change their lives for the better. Even if I don't reach my goal weight, I am leading by example and teaching lessons every time they see me making healthy choices.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Funk

Sometimes I dread the weekend. Mainly because I have found weekends to be a hard time for me, eating wise. So sometimes Fridays make me grumpy. My schedule is less set on the weekend although it always seems like I have more things to do than time. It's harder for me to have alone time and work out time.

This is something I have really worked hard to overcome. I've actually been on this journey for 18months. I gained back the 30 pounds I'd lost after some health problems. Before the last 3 months, I was in a cycle of lose 2-3 pounds during the week, gain it back on the weekend. Just another reason Mondays sucked for me.

But, today I decided to review my food logs for the last few weeks. When I did, I realized that I've done a few things right with the weekends. Finally. First, I work out more. I find activity one way or another. Summertime and being in the pool more helps. But, also yard work, weeding, mowing, walks with the kids and actually squeezing in workouts.

Also, we've been planning our larger meals. We used to just wait until we got hungry or the kids were screaming they were hungry. By then, no one wanted to wait for Mom to cook something. The result was often drive thru or pizza delivery or Chinese delivery. None of us need that crap. The last month or so we've thought ahead to dinner which we usually eat earlier on the weekend. We end up with one large meal and healthy snacks other wise.

After doing my analysis, I've decided to enjoy my Friday and my weekend. It no longer scares me. I can handle it. Now, I'm ready to have a great weekend and maybe try some new recipes or food ideas, maybe like the one I saw this morning on one of my favorite blogs. I'm not diabetic, but boy Biz has some tasty looking food there!

Now if only it were 5 o'clock.......

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Weigh in Wednesday

Today I weighed 226.6 for a 2 pound loss. This brings my total loss to 23.4 pounds!

I am very pleased with this loss as last week I had essentially maintained by gaining .2 pounds. POINT 2. PuH-lease. Sometimes I think the scale does this to me just to piss me off. Like .2 lbs is significant. Scientifically, I know it's not. Hell, one trip to the bathroom and I should lose that. But, in spite of my logical side knowing all that, I was irritated and frustrated last week.

How do you deal with weeks where you don't lose or even gain? For me in the past, this is where I would have given up. The old me would've gone on a binge last week when I didn't lose. But I didn't. This time I just kept going-- Working out, tracking my calories, eating healthy food, drinking my water. And you know what? It worked.

I am amazed at how much better I feel! The other day I told my husband how weird it was that I haven't had a migraine in several weeks. My body LOVES healthy food. I've been eating so many fresh fruits and veggies. I haven't been overly hungry thanks to snacks and I'm starting to know my body and what it needs. Did you ever say, "I'm hungry, but I don't know what I want."? I used to say this all the time. Now I know it wasn't hunger. It was often thirst, but mostly it was frustration, boredom, sadness, and even anger.

I even crave exercise. I can't sit still on the sofa so easy anymore. I'd rather be walking, or swimming or on the bike, or doing sit ups. I actually get grumpy if something interferes with my exercise time. Who is this person? Before I would have been happy to get to quit exercising. Now, I wish I could stay longer at the gym and get bummed when I have to leave. I am sore from exercising, but I LOVE it. It is a badge of honor.

AND, I've found that I really, really like water. I want it all the time now. It makes my body feel better. It's all I drink and boy what a difference. I'll bet I've had 2 diet sodas in the last 3 weeks. They don't even taste good and they make me more thirsty.

Of course today is a good day. Some days are harder, but for today I'm going to enjoy feeling good and successful.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

You've GOT to be kidding!

For the past 2 months or so I've been training with a personal trainer. He's a very nice guy, but sometimes I think he forgets how fat I am. I guess this is good, but sometimes I feel like he expects me to do so much more than I think I can do.

Today during our session he once again directed me to the area of the gym I like to call the "jungle". This is the area where they have free weights and all sorts of contraptions for lifting weights which are completely foreign to me. This is where various large, muscled men and women hang out grimacing and grunting as they do whatever it is they do over there.

He says to me, "Today we're doing machine chest presses, weighted squats and bosu dead lifts with weights." Uh huh. Sure we are. I must have had the same look on my face some patients give me when I say something completely medical like "gastroesophageal reflux" instead of heartburn. And there I was, me with my sweating and huffing and puffing and fatness amongst all the "hard core" gym rats.

But, you know what? I did all that stuff and more! I did it without too much trouble. My body does things now I never dreamed. I bench pressed 75 FREAKING pounds. I stood on the bosu-the half ball thing that "activates your core by creating instability when you stand on it" according to my trainer. I like to lovingly refer to it as the ball of terror as it is scary AND one of the many devices he pulls out when it's "ABD TIME" (he says in a cheery voice which makes me want to slug him). While standing on this thing, I did waist bends while lifting a 35 pound weight!

I can do 15 REAL PUSH UPS now. In less than 30 seconds. I can confidently walk into the "jungle" even when my trainer is not with me and use these contraptions without hurting myself or others. This has actually gained a little respect from some of the "gym rats" as I have actually been on the receiving end of a respectful nod after a set or two.

These are the little victories I hang on to when this whole thing seems so hard. I know there is no one actually reading this, but on the off chance, I hope you can find your "little victories" too. If so, please let me know about them. Then we can feel awesome and powerful together!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Here we go then....

Ok, so I've been reading a lot of blogs. A lot. For the past month, they have helped me so much. I feel like I've gotten to know some of these bloggers and then I want to tell them stuff that I'm doing and I can't. Instead of emailing like some sort of freaky stalker-type person, I thought I'd start my own blog. So here it is. My very first post.

I guess I should start with the obligatory story of me. I've always been fat. I've never known what it feels like to be thin. Most people in my family are obese, with a lot of the medical baggage that comes with that. My trainer asked me the other day, "When's the last time you were a normal weight for you?" I answered, "When I was about 4." This is the gosh darned truth. He chuckled because he thought I was kidding. I wasn't. He asked how I know I was a normal weight and I told him it's the only time I have pictures of me where I'm not fat.

I went through all the B.S. in school about being the fat kid. By high school, I was lucky enough to meet another fat kid who became and is still my best friend. We were class clowns and liked by a broad spectrum of people. We were also in the smart kid crowd. School was the only place I felt like I could excel.

By college, I was pretty comfortable in my skin. I was focused on my lifelong goal of being a doctor. I was accepted to medical school and by the first semester, I knew that this career path was not a healthy environment. Late nights studying, junk food and no time for exercise was the norm then and through residency.

Now that I'm an uh...an "established physician" and I've been in practice for over 10 years, I have realized that I am tired of not listening to myself. How many times a day do I give the "eat right and exercise" speech?? Lots.

About 18 months ago, a patient came to me with obesity, high-blood pressure and high cholesterol. She was very obese. We had that talk and I guess something I said stuck. Six months later, she came in and she had lost 70 pounds. She thanked me profusely and said I'd saved her life by talking to her that day. She was so happy and proud. And that was the moment. The one where I knew I had to get fit and wanted to change.

My brain said, "WTF? You got her to do all that by simply encouraging her, but you can't do it for yourself!" And , then I got really angry, and then really motivated. I joined a gym and started working out. I lost 25 pounds. But, I've had some ups and downs, including some medical problems which slowed me down. I was on steroids for 6months and had surgery, twice. I gained it all back, plus some.

When we got back from Spring Break this year, I hit 250 lbs. Again. And, I decided to stop wallowing in the fact I had gained my weight back. Again. And I'm back on track. Since March 22, I've lost 21.6 pounds and I'm working out 5-6 times a week. I'm tracking my calories every day and I feel in control and excited about exercise for the first time in my life.

About a month ago, I had a down time. I had gained a pound one week and I was really discouraged. I happened across Stephen at whoatemyblog.com and it saved me. From his blog I found others, and from theirs, more still and I am so thankful. I have a tiny hope that maybe I can do the same for someone someday. We'll see.....

Progress to TouchDown and GOALLLL!!