Monday, April 25, 2011

Nobel Ambitions 4.25.11

I am a little behind on my blog.  Hope to have some time mid-week to get a post written and ready for Thursday.  Please come back! 

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. -Wayne Gretzky

Princess Diaries II images belong to Disney.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Nobel Ambitions 4.18.11

Be careful about reading health books.  You may die of a misprint.  ~Mark Twain
Princess images belong to Disney.  Duh.

Friday, April 15, 2011

One Week

I have had a really awful week.  I have been super exhausted, something is wrong with the girly-hormones, Charming and I are in a bit of a money crunch, work was a zoo and I am feeling overwhelmed because Charming got a new job and we are relocating in about a month.  To top it off, I have to sell the concert tickets that I have coveted for my favorite band because of the relocation (and failure to find a replacement date).  Have I mentioned I need to find a new job, pronto?  I am super stressed-out.
In response, my eating has been out of control.  It started with just a couple extra hundred calories here and there.  A couple of deli turkey slices while watching the tube.  A peppermint patty from the secretary’s desk.  But I wasn’t logging it into the Bodybugg system, so Digit had no idea.  As the week has progressed it has snowballed to an all-out feeding frenzy.
This is horrible.  It is making me feel bad emotionally—I feel guilty and disappointed with myself.  I haven’t gained any weight yet, but physically I feel gross.  I can tell the bad food is affecting my body.  It certainly is contributing to my sluggishness.  I am spinning out of control.  And I am kind of freaking out.  The Princess Half is in like 10 months.  I have so much work to do, and I want to complete that more than I desire anything else in the world right now.
For a few months now, I have noticed several tweeples mentioning #7day chip on Twitter.  I honestly thought it was somehow related to Overeaters Anonymous, something I tried once, but it wasn’t for me.  (I should blog about it in the future.)  So I have more or less ignored it.  However, someone I follow on Twitter blogged about starting the #7daychip program earlier this week.  You can check out her blog here.  She is amazing—super inspirational.
It turns out that #7daychip isn’t a certain diet or eating plan or OA.  It is about getting through a week, one day at a time, following your healthy eating choices, whatever they may be.  It focuses on being in control, for just a week.  Of course, you want to do this for many, many weeks in a row, but the focus is ONE WEEK.  People report progress Twitter, using the hashtag, and help each other out.
I have been busting my butt for four months in the gym.  I can do anything for a week, right?  So I am going to give it a try.  Tomorrow, Saturday is day one.  My goals will be as follows.
·         To stick within the calories allotted to me by Digit.  Not to be less than, or exceed the goal by more than 100 calories daily.
·         To report every bite to my trusty sidekick, Digit.
·         To avoid all fast food, even the stuff I have made fit in my diet, like a plain grilled chicken sandwich, I need to stay away from those places. 
·         No candy.  Not even if I report it properly.
·         To pay attention to what I am eating.  No mindless eating.
One week.  One week is nothing.  I can do this. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Magic Pills

Ohhhhhh, so I am almost embarrassed to share it, but you know, the fitness journey blog is supposed to be all about self-disclosure and stuff.  So here it goes.
In January I stopped into GNC for protein powder for the breakfast smoothies I like to make sometimes.
  • ¼ cup raw oatmeal, blended powder fine
  • ¼ cup vanilla lowfat, organic yogurt
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • Frozen berries—about a half cup-ish (Sometimes a banana & some ice instead.)
  • 1 scoop GNC Pro Performance® AMP Amplified Wheybolic powder
I find that this is super satisfying and it takes me almost all morning to drink the whole thing, so it appeals to my grazing tendencies.  I make it at night and store it in the fridge in a thermos and it is still nice and thick the next morning.
But I avoid my confession. Back to GNC.  So, they gave me a free sample of “OxyElite Pro”  a thermogenic--a fat burner, metabolism booster, magic pill.
I was skeptical.  And sort of intrigued.  Does anyone out there remember the good old days of Metabolife before they removed the ephedra from the product? That stuff was my crack in high school. 
I researched a lot.  Most people who reviewed it online fell into two camps.  1) The loved it, it changed their life. Some claimed it worked as appetite control.  2) They hated it, either because it didn’t work, or the side effects were too significant.  Individuals who reported side effects complained of heart palpitations, limited attention span, thirst and irritability.  Both pro-OxyElite and anti-OxyElite mentioned excessive sweating during workouts. 
I looked around a bit on thermogenics in general.  The science about why they worked seemed a little weak to me.  Plus this is the label on the bottle: “OxyELITE Pro is Pharmacist-formulated & must be used with extreme caution, only by healthy adults capable of handling its true power. It is mandatory that users get clearance from their physician before use.”  Seriously, are you selling me a diet pill, or an NRA membership?  Other resources said absolutely, under no condition should anyone take a thermogenic, because they don’t work, they mix with meds, they do bad things to the body---there are all kinds of haters out there.  Educated ones.

So Alice is not a princess, but I couldn't resist!  Her image
belongs to Disney.

So, did this stop me?  Of course not.  Mostly I was attracted to the amount of caffeine in each pill.  Like coffee, Jetson’s style.  I started with one of the beautiful purple pills before my workout.  I didn’t notice any negative side effects.  But was I sweating harder?  Yes.  No, that was in my head.  Well yes, I was!  Maybe?

The free sample bottle eventually ran dry.  So I invested in a big one—and increased my dosage to two each morning before my workout.  That’s like four cups of futuristic coffee in my belly by 5:15 AM. 

Image from GNC website. 
Purple is my favorite color, and these little capsules are pretty!

I cannot say I have every felt a negative side effect.  I also can’t say one way or the other if it has had any effect on my weight loss.  I can tell you that the bottle went dry on Monday.  And all week long, I have been a walking zombie.  It takes me longer to feel pumped up at the gym, I am sluggish in the locker room and I want a morning nap—desperately.  So, I think I can definitely attest that the caffeine was making a difference.

These types of things are not especially safe.  I don’t recommend them without doing your own research.  You should probably consult a physician.  Read the labels (the one on OxyElite is actually quite extensive once you get beyond reading about its “true power”) and investigate ingredients.  And we all have to remember, there is no magic pills.  Taking these things may be counter to my healthy, fitness focused goals and lifestyle, I don't know.  I feel like I am cheating--but coffee--without the work of coffee--I love it.  What do you think?  You can tell me the truth.

I am looking forward to a GNC run in the very near future.  Because although they aren’t magic fat melters—they are the coffee of the future!  Charming calls them my OXYcontin pills. 

GNC (or the OxyElite people) did not request this review and have not compensated me in any way to talk about their product.  All opinions expressed in this blog are my own.  CBC or a supplement manufacturer want to send me product or coupons, I would be happy to share my honest thoughts about how a particular item for me, and would disclose such perks to readers.   I can be contacted at

Monday, April 11, 2011

Nobel Ambitions 4.11.11

Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional, and mental states.  ~Carol Welch
 Image shamefully stolen from

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Keep Your Gloves Up


Note to reader:  My blog traffic has been dismal.  No one is really reading it.  I have considered abandoning it all together, but I think it is important I keep a journal of this process.  I may want to look back at it someday, and this format is as good as any.  However, the writing may be a bit more self-indulgent.  My posts haven’t lacked authenticity, but have been written for an audience:  shorter, cleaner less free thought, more structured.   Since there are so few readers in the first place, I am going to write more for me.  I apologize in advance for the tangential--edit free nature of this post.  Perhaps when my attitude cleans up (you will understand if you read on) I will return to my normal blogging self.  This one is to purge some emotions.
Image stolen from some women's fitness suply website I failed to make note of.

This weekend I was reading the blogs.  All of these weight loss/fitness goal people are amazing.  So many fantastic stories.  This week (and last) there were tons of about hitting emotional walls.  I know that it is part of the process, I have been there before and even allowed it to end my fitness efforts in the past.  But this time has been different.  I haven’t been overly emotional.  If I have been emotional at all, it has been positive.  Even when faced with villains like the Evil Inner Princess, I have felt intellectually superior to the threat and felt resolved. Recently, while reading blogs of negative emotions, I almost felt smug.  I am doing this, I feel good, nothing is getting to me this time.  I could identify with their problems, but in a historical sense.  Nothing could get me down.
Until today.  Today I finally hit an emotional wall.  Smack!  Face first.  Ouch. (Or was that a medicine ball?)
Based on my trainer’s suggestion to “Get off the damned elliptical”, I used this week to try a variety of early morning cardio classes.  I wish I had reality TV cameras following me, because this would make an excellent video montage.
Monday:  6:50 AM  “Cardio Class”
This class consisted of running in place, fast.  Lots of jumping jacks.  Insanely complicated push ups.  Lunges, squats.  Lifting weights repetitively.  Jumping rope.  Kicking.  Three minutes of an intense activity.  BEEEEEEEP! An obnoxious horn would blow.  Thirty seconds to rest and slug back some water.  BEEEEEEEP!  Three more minutes of some new intense activity.
It was hard.  Really hard.  After an hour I was beat.  The bald guy was really sweet afterwards.  He told me I did great and to come back for step aerobics tomorrow.  The little itty bitty lady asked what I thought.  “This isn’t Zumba,” I said.  She laughed.
Monday: PM
I plugged in Digit.  The number said that while I worked my ass off, the mix of intense cardio and floor work created a flux in my calorie burn.  I was short about 400 calories after work, not normal for me.  I sighed and decided to push harder on Tuesday. 
Tuesday: 6:50 AM “Step Aerobics”
I found out this is actually step aerobics mixed with weight training done while sitting in a chair.  The repetitive lifting makes my arms burn.  I feel I am getting stronger, but not burning calories. Why do we sit?  The cardio/step part was really difficult, it pushed me, which made me happy.  I kept up decently with the step portion, coordination wise.  Better than most people thought I would, apparently, because everyone (including the instructor) told me how impressive my performance was for a first-timer. The bald guy, now identified as Jack, fawned all over me.  I decided he is the new president of my fan club—cardio class region, distinguished from the elliptical region—the original branch. I felt good.
Tuesday:  Midmorning
Facebook Status:  I love the positive encouragement the staff at Baptist East Milestone Wellness Center gives me every morning, but some days I wish they would go Jillian Michaels on my ass.
Tuesday:  Evening
Digit told me I was in a heap of trouble.  I had a lot of calories left to burn.  I spent the night doing housework, laundry, dancing to commercial jingles.  Burn, baby, burn.  I went to bed 100 calories short of my burn goal.  I was pissed. 
Wednesday: 6:00 AM “Kickboxing”
Well dammit, apparently it was time to jump rope again.  And run in place some more.  When we started hitting the bag the instructor showed me how to hit.  This type of hit and that type of hit.  Keep your gloves up, she said.
I was sweating.  We started playing catch with partners using a medicine ball.  My partner had to downgrade from her 10 lb ball because the instructor was concerned it is too much for me.  It was, but mostly because I don’t like to play games where things fly at my face--especially if they are 10 pounds.  SMACK.  The four pounder hit me where I feared it would.  I chased the ball, felt my nose. No blood, it felt like it is one piece.  I thought to myself,  "well, actually that didn’t hurt nearly as much as it scared the shit out of me." I kept apologizing to my partner…for making her use the lower weight, for getting stuck with me.  I felt awful. I was hindering her from her fitness potential. She was nice and didn't really seem to mind.
We moved back to the bag. The instructor passed by “Keep your gloves up, gloves up Jessica!  You have to protect yourself!”  Could have used my gloves when I caught—uh—missed—that damned medicine ball. 
Dee, an occasional member of my Fan Club—Elliptical Division, stepped to my bag.  “Really, keep your gloves up or she will make you do push ups," she warned.  An emotion I am not sure I have experienced before washed over me—amused fear.  I hid my face behind the boxing gloves.  Punch, jab, punch.
The instructor came over and asked (for the fourth time) about my form.  “How would you kick a person?”  I laughed, loud.  “What’s so funny?”  She smiled.  “You keep asking how I would go about inflicting pain on someone.  I’m a pacifist.  I would probably try to hug my attacker first.”  She looked perplexed.  “Point your toe, don’t flex.”  She walked away, turning only for a moment.  “Gloves up!” she barked.  I kicked some more, with shitty form, occasionally forgetting and allowing my arms to fall to my side.
We hit the floor.  Planks.  “Jessica put your butt down!”  Hmmmm.  I laughed internally and readjusted myself.  I asked for it.  Stupid Facebook prophecies. 
Back to the bags.  “Jessica, you can hit harder than that!”  Wow.  Jillian.  Is that you?  “Gloves!  Put your gloves up!”  Dammit, can I just learn how to do the right freaking punches first?  I hid behind the gloves and continued to smack my bag.  I wanted my sweat towel but I couldn't pick it up with the stupid gloves on. 
The instructor opened the door of the aerobic studio leading to the running track.  “THREE LAPS.  RUN. NOW.”  What?  I have to run?  Three laps, that’s like three tenths of a mile!   “GO!”  I took off.  Jack jogged with me the whole time.  Encouraging me.  Go Jack, you shouldn’t wait for me, I said over and over.  Run ahead.  No, he insisted.  Now I have kept two people from making the most of their workout today.  Fantastic.
But guess what? I ran all three freaking laps.  I was proud.  And then we went back to the bags.  “Jessica, I am not telling you again!  GLOVES!  UP!”  Jillian?  Jillian?  Thank you for coming.  Now go home.
I made it through that hell of an hour.  But I still had to lift weights.
Sue, the Group Fitness Director checked in on me.  “How are the AM classes going?”  I started to gush:  I am afraid I am holding people back, I said.  My calorie burn sucks, I said.  The elliptical burn was so high, I said.  I START CRYING…IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WIEGHT ROOM FLOOR.  "I dont know why I am feeling so emotional," I sniffed.  And bless Sue for not taking me to her office, just 15 feet away.  If she had, my little sob soirĂ©e would have become a full blown pity party.  I pulled it together.  She was encouraging.  So nice.  They are all so nice there. 
In the shower I wept.  I couldn’t stop.  I struggled putting on makeup to prepare for work.  My face was too swollen (from tears, not that stupid ball) and my heart was too tender. 
I feel guilty.  For sucking energy from other people.  For holding people back.  I feel frustrated because I am sweating harder than ever, feel fitter than ever.  But the scale is frozen. 
I still have to plug in Digit tonight.  I don't think I am going to be pleased. 
I have a lot to think about. 
And I gotta keep my gloves up.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Nobel Ambitions 4.4.11

Don't dig your grave with your own knife and fork.  ~English Proverb