A skiing challenge!

by Christine on February 27th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

2300 theoretical “calories burned,” 5 hours of skiing

Today we went downhill skiing again. We skied for five hours, and I was doing really well! This was only my third time skiing ever, and I did five blue hills, and my parallel turns are getting a lot better. I can do them a lot faster now, too, on occasion. I still freak out sometimes when I start to go too fast–I feel like going fast means I will not be able to gain control over stopping and turning, so I tend to take things slow. Much too slow. When I go a little faster, it’s much easier to parallel turn!

I did get into one major mixup. I was going down a blue hill with the hubby (who, by the way, is the best ski teacher EVER), and I was having a great time, parallel skiing and taking my fun old time going down the hill. But then WHAMMO!  There was an area blocked off for little kids downhill racing. It was the steepest part of the hill, and they blocked more than half of the slope. It was steep, narrow, and there were mini-moguls to go through! It took me a long time to make it through the area, but I finally did. When I got to a good stopping place, I took my skiis off and sat down in the snow. Every inch of my body was shaking from being so on edge for so long!  After recovering, I went the rest of the way down the hill (also very steep, but this time much wider so I could take the turns as slowly as I wanted to.

That run took over an hour to go down, and every step of the way my muscles were tensed and working at maximum capacity!  I have to imagine that the calorie burn was awesome!

Add 1 coffee, 1 small cup of clam chowder soup, and a few french fries after skiing…that means a big calorie deficit!

I need to do a grocery store run, pronto. I have no fresh veggies in the house, and I have been craving salads.

I hope everyone had a good weekend, staying on track with their diets and exercising and enjoying the winter!


Yesterday was a really bad day!

by Christine on February 23rd, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Yes, I had a really bad day yesterday. As I may have mentioned before, I have been having car problems. My indicator light and my VSA light have been on for a week.  In that time, my car has been handling poorly, I’ve been losing gas mileage, my cruise control shut down on Friday, my dashboard lights have been working funnily, etc. Yesterday I took it down to get repaired, and I was told that it is going to cost $1200 to fix ($600 for parts, $600 for labor).  Yikes!

As if that wasn’t bad enough, hubby’s car is broken, too, and needs to be fixed. When I left the house yesterday, hubby said that he was feeling a little headachy and was going to go back to bed for an hour. Then he was going to go to work and have some co-workers help shuttle him to- and from a car repair place. He knew that I was going to get my car fixed today, too. I specifically told him to call me and check in with me and let me know what’s going on with his car.

Now let’s get one thing straight. I HATE dealing with car issues. I believe that as a woman, every car repair place is out to scam me. I know…hypersensitive much? When I was 16 and took my first car in to an oil change place, they purposely broke something so that they could charge me extra ~~ just to get my car started~~. I called my dad in tears, and when he came down there of course they discovered that they merely “bumped something” and would fix it free, pronto.

Another time, a little more recently, I needed to get my brakes fixed. I dropped my car off and they called with a quote: $800. Fortunately my father in law was there and he told me he could fix it for $150. Ironically I saw the asshole mechanic at NAPA auto parts, and when I asked him how he could dare quote me $800 for something that cost $150 in parts, he smiled and shrugged and said, “Hey, I had to try.”

My husband KNOWS that I loathe dealing with car repair people. I have bitched about this for years. And when the car repair place called yesterday to say that it was going to cost $1200 to fix, of course my first inclination was to ask my hubby for a second opinion and/or to intervene if necessary.

I called his cell. No answer.
I called home. No answer.
I called his work. They said he never came into work.
I called his cell and left a message. No answer.

I called him another 28 times, at home and on his cell phone, and there was no answer.

I then got into a little bit of a squabble with the car repair place. I knew they had loaner cars, but they didn’t want to give me one, or, rather, they said that all the loaners were gone to other customers. (They had to keep my car overnight.) At $1200 I wanted a goddamned way to get home; I did NOT want to pay for a taxi, and my flaky husband was nowhere to be found. I threw a fit, and they finally found a loaner to give me.

On the positive note–the ONLY positive note in all this–the loaner is a brand new Acura TSX (my car is a 2004 TSX) and oooh it drives so smoothly and nice! I want to tell them they can keep my junky car–I’ll keep this one!

When I finally got home last night, I mentally shut down. I told hubby that I wanted to be alone. I went into the bedroom and read some, and slept a LOT. I just shut down mentally.

It’s bad enough that this car charge is going to max out my credit card once again. It’s bad enough that I had to deal with these asshole car repairmen that I KNOW are scamming me, somehow. But it’s really even worse that I had to deal with all of this crap alone. I thought that spouses were supposed to be there for one another, ESPECIALLY when dealing with issues that make each other nervous. I felt completely abandoned and completely alone, especially because I had asked hubby that morning to be on call, check in with me, to be there for me, and he wasn’t.

I also feel a little bit like I have to do everything around the house, and so my feeling of isolation was really only compounded with this situation. My dear hubby, who was home all day on Monday for the holiday (I had to work) neglected to bring in the trash barrels, bring in the mail, shovel the walkway for me. He didn’t take the full trash downstairs, didn’t put the towels away that have been sitting on the counter for a week (that I washed and folded), couldn’t be bothered to put his own freshly washed clothes away (he dumps them in a heap on his closet floor). And then he’s too sick on Tuesday to answer the goddamn phone when I call because he’s too busy playing computer games???

I’m tapped out, emotionally.

I know my first response in times like this is to indulge, overeat, dive into a huge bucket of ANYTHING. It’s all about quantity in times like this. But thanks to my gastric band, I don’t have to worry about overdoing it.

Still, I wish life got easier sometimes. I’m tired of constantly fighting it out!


Food sabateurs and losing/maintaining around them

by Christine on February 21st, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition

Everyone battles food demons, and losing weight or maintaining your weight loss can sure be a challenge when unhealthy food is constantly being pushed in front of you.

What are some of your biggest food challenges? Who are your biggest food pushers?

At work, I am my worst enemy. I am grateful that my office is located far away from the office kitchen, so if there are donuts and cookies sitting on the counter, I am not aware of them. Instead, I am my worst enemy. I love to stop at Dunkin Donuts for a small coffee (with cream and sugar) in the mornings. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and I factor in the coffee calories into my daily calorie totals, it’s often hard to resist getting a wake-up wrap or a donut in addition to that coffee.

Also, while I know that it’s healthier and more cost-effective to bring in a healthy lunch to work, I have to fight my own desire to go out to a restaurant for lunch. Even a healthy restaurant choice (side salad, soup, grilled chicken) is higher in calories than anything I would pack and bring into work. Consequently, I tend to sabotage myself sooner than anyone else does.

The only time I really good food pushers at work is when I’m at a marketing event, and alcohol is involved. None of my clients want to drink alone, so they are constantly asking me, “Can I get you another beer?” or “Bartender, another round please!”  More often than not, they take the option completely out of my hands and out of my control, ordering for me in order to keep me drinking.

For some people their family is the biggest downfall to staying on board with their plan. Big family dinners mean fried chicken, lasagna, baked goods, vegetables coated in fattening sauces and dressings. I know a lot of families that also have picky children that refuse to eat healthy food, forcing Mom to make two (or more) separate meals—one for the picky eaters and one for the rest of the family. Making two meals every day is extremely taxing, and it’s easy to just say, “screw it; I’ll just eat what they are having.”

And what is it with society that wants to feed you unhealthy foods when you are bound and determined to lose weight or keep your weight off? It seems that humans are programmed with the challenge of fattening up the newly-skinny. How many times have you been at a friend’s house or out to eat with a friend, and they make junk like homemade macaroni and cheese, extra-chocolately cookies, or just “happen” to leave a bowl of your favorite candy sitting on the coffee table in front of you?  Why do food pushers have a need to sabotage our best efforts?

So what can we do to fight the food pushers around us and maintain a healthy lifestyle? Please chime in with some suggestions below!! Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • Prior to any outing with friends, make sure you tell them that you need their support in regards to food, and to please help you to make healthy choices
  • Schedule physical activities with your friends, not eating events. Rather than meeting for lunch, why not meet at the mall for a 2-mile walking loop?
  • Bring your own healthy dish to share at a family dinner
  • If you’re feeding a family of picky eaters, schedule separate food times, with the healthy eaters eating first. At 5 pm the healthy eaters will get to eat their salad. At 6 pm the rest of the family can eat their hot dogs and Mac & Cheese. If you eat your healthy food first, you’ll be less likely to want to eat the unhealthy option.
  • When at a marketing event where alcohol is involved, either lie and say that you can’t drink because of your medicine, or pull the bartender aside and politely ask that they serve you diet coke for the remainder of the night, even if someone orders something different for you.
  • Don’t forget to food journal every day! Most smart phones have free applications you can download to help keep you on track throughout the day.

How do you stay on track when food temptations and food pushers try to derail you?


Pink Floyd Experience + Snowshoeing in Lake Placid

by Christine on February 20th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

What a fun weekend I have had! On Friday night I went with a friend to see The Pink Floyd Experience. Although it was essentially a really good cover band with a really good light show, the show gave me a real appreciation for Pink Floyd music and the talent of its guitarists. Fun night!

Before heading to the concert we stopped at a bar, and I had fish fry and tartar sauce (no french fries) and a beer. For lunch that day I had a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup.

On Saturday some girlfriends picked me up and we headed up to Lake Placid for a moonlight cross country ski/snowshoeing trip. (www.cascadeski.com) It cost about $15 to use the trail, and that cost included beer, smores, and hot dogs on the trail. Unfortunately there were so many people at each bonfire that it would have been a 20 minute wait to stand in line to get a cup of beer. (I snuck in once and got a cup!)  Everyone in my group snow shoed, and it was so much fun!!! I got a new pair for Christmas and it was so easy to adjust, and the crampons just seemed to work and be manipulated much easier. Loved them.

The best part of the outing, which was about a 1 or 1.5 mile trail…nothing very long…was the scenery. The trail was lit periodically with LED lights,  but mostly the trail was dark. It was snowing a little, and the trees had a beautiful coating of snow on it. You could see the tree tops contrasted against the night sky, and it was so perfectly beautiful it took my breath away. Unfortunately, because it was at night, I didn’t get a good picture of it.

There were 7 of us girlfriends in our group, and we all piled into one small hotel room to sleep. Somehow we all fit! We snuck in a quick wine tasting during the day, and had a really delicious dinner at the Northern Exposure restaurant on Main Street in Lake Placid. I got the veal piccata that was sooooo delicious! The only downside was that it took about 45 minutes to get our food, and we were so hungry–and so pissed about the wait–that we all got pretty cranky.

Lake Placid is such a great small town, with plenty to do both inn the winter as well as in the summertime. Imagine snow-covered streets and everyone walking around in ski pants and parkas. The Olympic Center is in the middle of town where you can watch a hockey game or the speed skaters in their outdoor rink. The Olympic Center just outside of town has sledding and luge rides, too! Our hotel overlooked Mirror Lake, and the hotel had plowed out an ice skating rink on the middle of the ice, and the hotel offered dog sled rides for $10!  Really, seeing all the fun outdoor activities really reminded me what a real gem of a town that Lake Placid is.  If you ever get a chance to visit Lake Placid, you should!

This morning we stopped at the Noonmark Diner on the way home. Delicious diner food! They make homemade bread, pies, and even jam. Totally worth a visit to, especially after a long hike in the mountains! I had some scrambled eggs and 2 slices of bacon. Yum!

Unfortunately I had a hard time keeping my delicious dinner down (barfed it all up, thanks to my gastric band), so I actually ate very little food during our snowshoeing trip.

FYI, you burn about 400-500 calories per hour snow shoeing (125 pound woman). I burned a little over 800 calories on my excursion out, but maybe more because I jogged a quarter of the way back! What a workout!!!


Accept your size or fight it?

by Christine on February 18th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition, Eating Disorders

This week I learned that there is a formal movement and approach to health called Health At Every Size (HAES). The movement focuses on self-acceptance regardless of the number on the scale; it focuses on pleasurable physical activity and “normal” eating (as opposed to being on a “diet” all the time).  The emphasis is on being healthy at any size, rather than on weight loss; weight loss, of course, as we all know, is riddled with heartache, hard work, failures big and small, and a lot of anguish. I really don’t think that it is possible to be in dieting mode and be sane and happy at every step along the way.

In this movement, HAES (often also called “fat acceptance” although HAES takes on a broader meaning) members do not believe that the narrow weight range (the BMI chart) is healthy for every individual. Rather, each individual person needs to find their own healthy range and eat in response to physical cues rather than emotional cues.

A lot of my readers also read Allan’s blog over at Almost Gastric Bypass. Allan is a firm critic of the “intuitive eating” movement, claiming that it is this inability to eat intuitively that has lead our nation into an obesity epidemic in the first place. In my own experience, most people who attempt to embrace “intuitive eating” almost always fail; it seems that our brains and our bodies are clearly at odds when it comes to understanding what we as individuals need to consume to fuel ourselves. Other bloggers (importantly: many medical professionals who also blog) point out that being overweight leads to a myriad of physical issues, including diabetes, high blood pressure, increased heart attack risk, depression, tiredness, joint point, and the list can go on and on. These bloggers all claim that it is not healthy to accept obesity.

Benefits of the HAES Movement:

As for me, I guess I can see both sides of the argument. I’ve been through the mental anguish of trying—and failing time and time again—to diet and lose weight. There is nothing more disheartening, frustrating, and depressing than trying your hardest to lose weight and continuing to fail, despite your best efforts.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to myself, “Screw it, I can’t do this; I should just accept myself the way that I am.”  I think that if we learned more self-acceptance, I think that a lot of medical issues would disappear as well. While I think that obesity really does lead to serious medical problems (as listed above), I also think that many obesity-related problems are psychosomatic: I hate being fat, therefore I am depressed. I’m depressed, so I’m tired all the time.  If you embraced yourself and said, “I am okay just being ME” without need to change yourself constantly, I think the depression would evaporate, and consequently the tiredness (and stress, maybe even the high blood pressure) would also go away.  (Read more about Compassion and Understanding in an overweight world.)

Furthermore, I think that a lot of the pressure to be thin is created by social pressure. It’s not you and me that want us to be thin, but the outside media that push anorexic models (or big, beefy, muscly men) on the cover of magazines, with encouragement of how to diet, dress, and live life just like them. These physiques are impossible for most individuals to achieve, even at “perfect” weights. I can definitely see the benefit of accepting our bodies as they are, rather than striving for a physique that is impossible to achieve.

I am a huge proponent of finding your own “calorie setpoint,” which is the number of calories you need to sustain your body. I believe that this number varies wildly from individual to individual—I do not believe it is possible to rely on a generic doctor’s chart or generic BMR/RMR calculators because each person has a vastly different genetic makeup. Similarly, I don’t think it’s healthy to assume that every individual who has a BMI of 28 is overweight and therefore unhealthy. I definitely think that there’s something to be said about finding your own comfort zone. I know numerous women that are very comfortable—and look fantastic!—at a Size 14/200 pounds, while I looked unhealthfully overweight at that size. It is important for each individual to discover what works best their bodies and to use that as a guideline.

Downsides to the HAES movement

So while I can see the benefit of the HAES movement, I think it can also be harmful to us. Obesity is unhealthy for all the health reasons listed above. I am pretty sure that HAES refers to those who are only sort-of-kind-of-overweight, not the 600 or 700 hundred pound folks. But, HAES has enough ambiguity in its language that it implies that a 700 pound person should embrace their size and eat “intuitively.”  Clearly this would be a terribly unhealthy way to live at that size, but again—the HAES movement doesn’t clarify this point. Granted, there’s a lot of grey area as to “how big is too big?” Doctors try to quantify this grey area by using BMI charts, and while I think that BMI charts can be faulty, they DO work as a guideline for the vast majority of people.

Furthermore, I think that the HAES movement excuses their behavior by placing blame on everyone else except for themselves and their own actions. Rather than saying, “I’m overweight because I eat too much” they say, “I’m overweight because I can’t live up to the standards in society.” You can blame genetics, medical problems, society’s standards, the way you were brought up, etc., but in the end it’s ultimately your fault that you are overweight. Whether you want to embrace or your size or lose weight, the first step needs to be stepping up and accepting your role in your size. Nobody made you the size you are at except for you. It’s been my experience that those that attempt to embrace their size do so at the expense of everyone/everything else that has made them the way that they are.

We are not victims of our own bodies. You may not understand how to control your body or understand the needs that it has, but we are not victims of our bodies. With proper learning and experimentation, we can gain control of our bodies and achieve the weight loss goals that we set out for ourselves.

What do you think about the HAES movement? Do you believe you should accept yourself at any size, or should you stick with the battle of weight loss until you have achieved a medically-approved healthy body?

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