Tag Archives: expenses

Run, Cicely! Run!

8 Nov

I am not an athlete. The marathons I love best involve my Netflix queue.

Somewhere in this weight-loss cycle, however, I began to enjoy running. I have no clue how that happened.

I know why it appealed to me: I’m ridiculously cheap. I come from a family of thrifty people. Savings accounts are things of beauty among my people. I’ve had three jobs in the past 10 years and my dad hates it because I’m ruining my chances for a pension. Daddy, much like his daughter, likes to think of the long-term savings.

This was my first 5K that I ran with friends in Long Island. I can't remember my time (think it was a little less than 40 minutes), but I do remember I was impressed with myself.

My first 5K in Long Island. I think my time was a little less than 40 minutes. This was also midway through my weight-loss cycle.

That’s where running comes in. It’s so damn cheap! If you’re mindful about it, all you need are shoes. Just about everyone has old sweats and T-shirts around. And if not, head to a thrift store. My only suggestion is don’t skimp on the shoes. You’re going to have to walk on these feet and with these legs for the rest of your life. Your choice of shoe will make a world of difference.

One of the other benefits about running is that it’s a great use of time. All you have to do is go outside your door. I live in New York where there are always people on the streets. But here, pedestrians have a little respect for runners and will step aside when you say, “Excuse me.” And despite the notion of New York being the concrete jungle, there are plenty of dirt paths and tracks to run here. You can run from your door to any number of parks like Central Park, Riverside Park (my personal fave) or Prospect Park (for my Brooklyn folks).

Then there’s the community of people you find when running. It’s the best way to people watch. Sure, sitting in the park and watching the world go by can be informative. But try being the world that goes by. You’ll see a variety of people on any kind of run. And watching people run can be entertaining. Later I’ll do a posting the different kinds of runners you’ll see. They’re outstanding.

These are the added benefits of burning hundreds of calories the cheap way, but it’s not easygoing the beginning. You’ll start off slow. I began only doing three miles an hour (walking). Then I started added a little jog between laps around the park. Before I knew it, I was running the entire time. I began without any training (unless you count elementary school gym classes). I was in my mid 20s and in generally good health besides being overweight.

The day I ran six miles in an hour, I almost cried. It had been a longtime goal to be able to hit the 10-minute mile. Now I’m running 5Ks and 10Ks with no problem. I always say, “I run a 10K on a Tuesday.”

I’m at the point where I want to run a half marathon. I’ve got the endurance for about eight miles, but 13 seems daunting. It’s all about setting goals for yourself and doing your damnedest to achieve them.

What goals have you set for yourself doing your favorite workout?

Also, check out these yoga poses, courtesy of Self magazine, to help you keep from putting too much strain on the body.

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Booby Traps

28 Oct
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fuschia_foot/600752201/

photo credit: Fuschia Foot via photopin cc

Last year, I went on vacation with friends to Cancun. I hadn’t been to the beach in a couple years and it was past time I put my toes in the sand. Funds were a little tight and I wanted to spend my vacation fund on more important things…like drinks at Senor Frogs. So I decided to forgo a new swimsuit.

I took my favorite suit: a white, low-cut one-piece that was totally flattering—30 pounds ago. When I went snorkeling, one of the guides wanted to take my picture under water. I blame the water pressure, but as I sunk myself, one of my girls decided to make an appearance for the camera. Yep, I flashed my Cancun snorkeling guide.

During the beginning of my weight-loss journey, I’d lost and gained several pounds, but nothing happened to my bra size. So I figured I’d always be an hourglass. Worse things could happen.

But then something changed. I started losing even more weight and my tops began to feel a little loose. “No worries,” I thought. “This is what you wanted: medium-sized shirts.” And then came Cancun.

I learned that breasts lose weight, too. Who knew? Breasts are mostly fat, so when you’re in hard-core cardio mode, as I’ve been for a while, you’re going to lose that fat.

Let’s be honest: I had really nice boobs. When they were big, they were full. Out of the many things I could gripe about on my body, breasts were not cause for complaint. But who am I without my girls?

No one tells you that this could happen. No one warns you that along with smaller jeans and even smaller bracelets come smaller cup sizes.

Every woman has a horror story about bra shopping. It’s a complete nightmare. No two bra makers are the same and every “expert” says they know what will fit you. Lies, I tell you! All lies!!

If you’ve watched any show aimed at women, at least 80 percent of us are wearing the wrong-sized bra. Eighty freaking percent! How can so many people be so wrong about something so necessary. It’s because unlike your shoe size, your bra size fluctuates with age, body composition and lifestyle. The size bra you wear to cocktail hour may not be the same size you’re wearing to work out.

You can’t trust the 15-year-old with measuring tape at Victoria’s Secret. Don’t even look the way of the older lady working checkout at Macy’s. Go to an actual lingerie store that specializes in undergarments. Victoria’s Secret is the Nine West of bras: cute selection, but the material just wasn’t made for multiple uses.

Another thing to look into, which I’ll be trying soon, is this list of exercises from Shape magazine to perk up your boobs. Nobody wants saggin’ dragons.

What do you do give yourself that extra lift?

I’m Skinny, Now What?

25 Oct

skinny_now_journeyI’ve lost all this weight, now what?

No one ever really tells you how this is supposed to go. You set a plan in motion to get somewhere, but you don’t plan on what to do when you get there.

It’s like going on vacation, but you’ve only planned the flight and hadn’t considered the hotel or transportation.

That’s how I feel most of the time. Over the past five years, I’ve been working out (then vegging out) in order to reach some semblance of an ideal weight. It all began, when during a routine check-up, I found out that I weighed 200 pounds.

I’m 5-foot-2. I come from a long line of curvy women and was raised in the Midwest. We love BBQ, fried anything and lounging with drinks in our hands. While this isn’t exclusive to my home region, it is one of our marked characteristics. However, I never thought I would let myself get that big.

After the shock and tears of my new predicament, I decided to take action. By take action, I mean I read up on what people do when they take action while I ate a brownie sundae. As long as I didn’t have one everyday, I was OK, right?

So I got a book, “Extreme Fat Smash Diet.” Then I started talking to my friends who were working out a lot. They were doing Fat Smash and going to the gym. I hate to sweat, so I needed another plan. Turns out Dr. Ian Smith wanted me to actually burn some calories, too.

Then I started really reading the book. While it seemed like a good idea, “extreme” is far from a misnomer. Your meals can consist of one egg and a half cup of juice for breakfast; a cup of sliced fruit for lunch; a small veggie-only salad for a late lunch; and veggies and beans for dinner. Not too appetizing. Oh, and lets not forget the hour of cardio that you’re doing four to six days a week.

These are not the things a couch potato likes to do. But then I hopped on the scale again and decided it was time to hop on the treadmill.

I joined a Ballys. My gym-rat ex-boyfriend and I went to one once, so I wasn’t unfamiliar territory. Plus this one was closer to my house.

The first step is always the hardest, but I started to get my energy up, despite the damage all the sweat was doing to my hair.

Then I picked the book back up and tried doing the plan. It took a few stop-and-go weeks, but I finally got on track. The book says that if you stick with it, you could lose up to five pounds a week. “Yeah, right,” I thought. I avoided the scale that first week, not wanting to be disappointed if nothing was happening. At the end of week one, I’d lost five pounds!

I started really feeling myself then. It was on and popping at the gym. By that time I had already planned on a trip to Puerto Rico, which required beach attire. I refused to be mistaken for a beached whale, so I got addicted. All told, I had lost 20 pounds in six weeks by the time I got to the beach.

Since then, I’ve been doing the diet off and on. Not long after another breakup, I lost another 25 pounds the healthy way.

Yo-yo dieting over the years has helped me drop a grand total of 60 pounds. However, I’m human; I’ve gained about five to 10 of those back.

For the most part, I’m comfortable with my current weight and the shape of my body. There are a few things that need tightening up, but no body is perfect.

And that is what this blog is about. I’m close enough to my goal weight that I feel I can talk about this with others: keeping it off ain’t easy, and once you’ve gotten comfortable, how do you adjust to the new you?

It was very weird looking at myself in the mirror after having lived in this body for more than 30 years. I was used to a certain jiggle in certain places. I’d gotten comfortable with shirts, pants and even bras fitting me a certain way. There were curves that were once my calling card. Who am I now without the body that I used to live in?

I want to address that and take you on my journey of self discovery as I try to move forward in the world while trying not to lose some of the things I liked about the old me.

I’ll be posting workout updates, recipes and stories about my experience. Let me know what you think. It’s an open forum into my life (Lord, help me!). I think it’s a journey that many of us are going on, but there’s not a lot of conversation about it. Let’s discuss.