Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Shoes

I love new shoes. I love the smell of new shoes. I love the feel of new shoes. I love shopping for new shoes. Shoes do not judge you. They do not make you look fat. It is not embarrassing if you have to go up a size. You don't have to get naked in a mall to try them on.

I just got a pair of new shoes. I bought myself a pair of Adidas Supernova Sequence.
I went for my first walk with them on Friday night. It was great. My shins hurt much less, and didn't hurt right away.

If you want to take up running I recommend the first thing that you do is get a new pair of shoes. Do not do what I did. Do not wait to buy new shoes until you are sure running is something you want to do. Buy new shoes first. It is worth it. Otherwise, you might just want to quit before you even get started.

I also recommend that you buy your new running shoes at a specialty store. A store with a knowledgeable staff can help you find the right shoes for your feet and gait. In the Treasure Valley, I recommend The Athlete's Foot. The experience sure was better than the last time I bought 'running' shoes at Fred Meyers.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Exercise Calendar

For now, I have decided to keep track of my workouts using Google Calendar. It's not fancy, but it will work for now. The good part, I can share it with you. If you have a better suggestion, please let me know.

Can a Couch Potato run a 5K?

I've been wanting to run, actually run, a 5K race. Except when I was pregnant in 2007, I've participated in the Idaho Women's Fitness Celebration for the last several years, but I've always walked. I've been thinking about training using the Couch to 5K program. I even downloaded several pod casts. But I've been to afraid to start. I can't run. I've never been able to run. It hurts. It hurts my legs. It hurts my feet. It hurts my lungs.

Since I've been walking most days for 30 minutes, on Monday, I finally decided to give it a try. Why not, I asked myself? If I can't finish it, I'll just walk the rest of my laps around the neighborhood.

I loaded Robert Ullrey's Week 1 Podcast onto my ipod, tied my shoes and set out.

Five minutes of brisk walking -- easy peasy.
60 seconds of jogging -- not so bad -- I'd done this a little before.
90 seconds of walking -- my shins hurt a little, but I keep going.
60 seconds of jogging -- I can do this.
90 seconds of walking -- walk walk walk
60 seconds of jogging -- just finish this segment, you can do it!
90 seconds of walking -- Yay Me.
60 seconds of jogging? -- I don't think so.

I completed 3 of the intervals before I decided not to push it to much. Hey, I want to be able to improve, right?

I felt good. I had run some. I rock! Until my leg cramped. It wasn't a cramp I had experienced before. Right at the bottom of my leg, across the front of my lower shin and around the back. It was weird. I couldn't move my foot. So I hobbled home. I didn't get my 30 minutes in, but I did some good stretching, and I felt much better.

Last night, instead of walking (or running) I did my new "Biggest Looser" Boot Camp Video. It was fun, lots of squats.

My new plan is to do the C25K program Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and do the Biggest Looser Video on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'll leave Saturdays and Sundays open to try something different, go hiking as a family, or whatever.

Monday, January 26, 2009


I woke up Sunday morning, used the toilet, and stepped on the bathroom scale. I weighed 207 lbs. I know that I didn't expect big changes. I haven't changed my eating habits enough to notice a big loss on the scale, but I certainly didn't expect to see a 4 pound gain. It made me want to cry. So, I ate a bowl of ice cream for breakfast. I know that is not an appropriate reaction. I know it is a really inappropriate action. Then I beat myself up about it all day, and felt terrible. So, I had a bowl of ice cream for dinner. Then I beat myself up about that, and I didn't want to go for my walk. My husband was trying to encourage me, and finally I did cry. I told him how discouraged I felt. I wondered why I should even bother going for my walk. He said he was sorry and he encouraged me to keep at it and he told me how proud he was of me.

So, I put on my shoes and my heart rate monitor. I stretched a bit, and I set out. I jogged twice and had my best time yet -- under 30 minutes. I felt encouraged. I felt good. I felt like I can do this. I even did some push-ups when I got home.

To be successful I'll need to tackle my emotional eating. I don't really know how to go about it and it seems like such a tall mountain to climb. For starters, I will work this week on keeping a food journal. I'll write down everything I put in my mouth, and I'll try to write down why I'm putting it in my mouth.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Several times in the last year, I thought for sure my son J had an ear infection; he cranky or running a fever or pulling at his ears. I was always wrong. I had lots of ear infections. My sister's kids all have had lots of ear infections. Her youngest had 3 or 4 before he turned one. Finally, at J's 12 month well-child visit, he was diagnosed with an ear infection. I didn't know kids could go so long and never have an ear infection.

He was prescribed amoxicillin. A wonderful drug for sure, but I knew it was also a common culprit for causing allergic reactions. I read the print out from the pharmacy. I thought I knew what to watch for.

Nine days after his first dose J woke up with small pimple like bumps on his belly and face. He was also running a fever. I thought for sure that he had gotten the chicken pox from the vaccine he had received at his well-child visit.

An allergy to amoxicillin was the last thing on my mind. I had watched for a rash for the first few days. He got a bit of a diaper rash, but some yogurt and Ron's Diaper Rash Cream cleared it right up.

The next day, I gave J his final dose of the antibiotics. I got an appointment with his pediatrician for that afternoon. His rash was getting worse, and I didn't think it was chicken pox anymore, but I didn't know what it was.

One look at him, and the doctor said, "No, that's not chicken pox. He's not taking any medications, is he?" I answered, "Only the amoxicillin you prescribed him 10 days ago." "That would do it," she replied. She suggested some benadryl and said the rash would last several days.

Two days later, it was still spreading, so I took him back to the doctor. His pediatrician wasn't in the office, so we saw one of her partners. She was nice and all, but I really love our doctor. Anyways, J got a dose of long acting steroids, and his rash looks much better -- it is not so bumpy, and much lighter in color -- though it is still spreading.
Day 2
Amoxicillin Allergy - Day 2
Day 3
Amoxicillin Allergy - Day 3
Day 5
Amoxicillin Allergy - Day 5

He has been very cranky. He hasn't been sleeping well, and has just wanted me to hold him. It has made it very difficult for me to get out in the evening for my walks. Though I have kept my promise to exercise everyday. Two days I didn't get my full thirty minutes in, but I made the best effort I could on those days.

My husband has been very wonderful. He has done a great job supporting me. He holds crying babies while I go out for my walks. More importantly, he encourages me.

Healthy Habits. Healthy Families.

This morning, I picked up a "Healthy Habits Healthy Families" calendar at daycare. It is a bright fun calendar with tips for becoming healtier as a family. Each month includes a new healthy recipe. It is published by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. In Idaho, you can get your copy by contacting the Idaho Care Line at 2-1-1.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Change: Add a serving of fruit

I was hoping my 'weeks' would go Saturday-Friday, or Monday-Sunday, but it doesn't seem to be working great that way. I am continuing with one change before moving on to the next. My problem this week is that I'm having a really hard time deciding which change to make next.

We are almost out of Pepsi in the fridge, so it seems like a perfect time to give that one up -- but I'm not sure I'm ready to give it up completely. I've tried that in the past, and it seems to me that it is too big of a change for one week.

I've decided instead to add a serving of fruit. That is, I'll make sure to get at least one each day. Most days, I'll admit, I don't eat any.

I love it!

I got my Forerunner 305 today. I like that I have a more acurate time for my walk than just using the clock on my ipod. Here's the data from my walk. I'll use this as my baseline.

Total Laps: 3
Total Time: 0:30:12
Total Distance: 1.68 miles
Total Calories: 189
Average Pace: 18:02/mile
Average Heartrate: 139

My shins really hurt tonight. I've got to figure out how to make it better. It was very discouraging that they started to hurt so early during my walk. I want to be able to enjoy it. I expect it to hurt when I push myself, but not like this.

Happy Birthday to me

My birthday was on Saturday, and I still walked. I'm awfully proud of myself, especially because I was really bummed. I had been really excited because I was going to get a Garmin Forerunner 305 for my birthday.

I had been wanting a heart rate monitor, but now the cheap one wouldn't cut it -- this one has got GPS. It was just what I never knew that I always wanted -- until I saw them last week on sale at Costco.

I like to look at numbers. I want to see my heart rate go up, and hopefully see my resting heart rate go down. It's one of those metrics I was talking about.

But I digress -- when we went back to Costco, they didn't have any left. I was grumpy, and I pouted, and I acted like a martyr, but we went home and ordered one online. It should be here any day now. Anyways, I was bummed not to have it on my birthday, but I walked anyways.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I think I feel good

My week of exercise is over. I did it. I exercised for 30 minutes every day for a week. I feel better. I know it's only been a week, but I do. Each day I walked, it got a little easier. Yesterday, my shins didn't start to hurt until almost one full lap of the neighborhood. I even ran some -- not much, but some. It really got my heart racing, but it felt good -- it hurt, but it felt good. I only got 15 minutes in tonight, because I've got sick babies, but I'll pick it back up tomorrow. Not because I want to, but because I need to. I think when I do it because I want to, that will be real progress.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I don't have any. Last night I had a really hard time finding the motivation to get in my 30 minutes of exercise. My husband went to play church ball last night just after the boys went to bed, and I don't like any of the videos I had. When Brett got home, I put my shoes on and went for a walk. It wasn't something that I wanted to do, but it was something that I had promised myself I would do. It was cold, but it wasn't as hard as it was on Monday. I walked a full three laps around the neighborhood in 32 minutes.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


As a software engineer at least part of my day is focused on metrics. Management always seem to be trying to measure progress and sucess. How many lines of code were written? How many bugs were found? How many bugs were fixed? How many support calls did we get? How does that compare to last week, last month, last release?

Now, I'm faced with a simliar problem. How do I measure success? I've said that I don't expect to see big changes, especially right away. But looking back in a week or month or year, how will I know that I've made any progress. The obvious answer is weight. But I really don't want to make this all about weight, more about becoming more healthy and more fit. I'm going to come up with some sort of metrics, data that I can report. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

On the first of each month I'll report my progress, but for now, I'll just report that this morning I weighed 203 pounds. That's the heaviest I've ever weighed, and I hope it's the heaviest I'll ever weigh.

And of course, I'll report on my weekly changes.

Slim In 6 (years mabybe)

Several years ago I bought the "Slim in 6" work out series by Beach Body. It promises a beach ready body in just 6 weeks. Sometimes, I wish that merely making the purchase was enough to see the physical transformation.

The dvd came with three work outs, "Start It Up", "Ramp It Up", and then "Burn It Up". The package included a nice big chart to track your progress. It indicates that you should use the "Start It Up" video for the first three work outs before moving on to the more intense "Ramp It Up" work out. After a couple of weeks you finish off the series with "Burn It Up".

My problem was that I could never make it past the "Start It Up" phase. Several times, I would start my 'six weeks' all gung-ho. I did the "Start It Up" work out as directed by the chart. Then, as directed, I would move onto the "Ramp It Up" workout. I was always a little leery about the warning something like, "It is recommended that you master the Start It Up work out before moving on to the Ramp It Up workout."

I pondered at the definition of "master". Does master mean that I don't pass out before the end of the work out? Does it mean that I don't fall over when I do the squats? Does it mean that I should follow the instructions on the chart, and only do it three times?"

"The chart says three times," I would tell myself. And then I died. Well, not literally of course, but I wanted too, after trying the "Ramp It Up" workout. I never have made it all the way through that workout. It was very discouraging. So I would give up.

It has never made much sense to my why I do such things. Why didn't I just continue on with the "Start It Up" workout for another week or two. I would tell myself, "But the chart says to move on, If I keep doing the 'weenie' video, I'll never make it to "Ramp It Up" before my six weeks is up!"

I'm an engineer for crying out loud, you would think that I could see through my own illogical rantings. I should have been telling myself, "If you quit, you'll never make it through the 'weenie' video, ever!" That's the truth!

Yesterday, I chose to do the "Start It Up" video for my 30 minutes of exercise. I did pretty good, I didn't do all the squats or push-ups, but I completed the video. It felt good. It kinda made me want to jump back on the "Slim in 6" wagon. I was ready to pull out the old chart again. But I didn't. I'm taking it slow. Maybe I'll do the video again tonight, but probably not. I've got others in my collection. If the fog outside clears, I might just go for another walk.

Slim in 6
What I like
On screen clock shows you how much time is left in your work out. I like to watch it and say, "I can do this for another 10 minutes" or "Yay! I'm half way through!"
What I don't like
There isn't really a warm up and cool down/stretching session as part of the work out videos. There is a separate "Slim & Limber" work out which is 15 minutes of stretching. That just seems like extra effort. I want it all at once, included in the work out. It's a weird mental thing.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thirty minutes is a long time

That was harder than I thought. I didn't manage to get out to walk today until after the boys went to bed. That meant that I had to do my 30 minutes in one big chunk. I was kinda disappointed when after just a few minutes my shins started to hurt, but I pressed on. I was even more disappointed when I was standing in front of my driveway after my first lap around the neighborhood, and I realized that it only took 10 minutes to complete the lap. Standing in front of my driveway for a second time, I thought about stopping and going inside. I was cold and I only had 8 more minutes to walk.I was walking slower now than when I had first started. I didn't think I would make it another lap, so I did a did a half of a lap. I conveniently live in a subdivision with a figure 8 layout. I walked into my driveway with 2 minutes left. I did a little bit of stretching, and I was done. I completed my first 30 minutes of exercise! Now, I just have to go drink my water.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Change: 30 minutes of exercise every day

Drinking more water has gone pretty good. Some days I had to drink it just before going to bed. Most days though I was able to drink the 16 ounces (or more) during the day.

The next 7 days, I will excersize for at least 30 minutes everyday. Just a half hour every day. I'm going to make it really easy on myself and start with walking. I can even break it down into three 10 minutes chunks if I can't get away for 30 minutes at one time.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I can't believe it is already the 6th of January. I'm back at work after a wonderful break. The holiday wasn't as relaxing as I had hoped, but we met my parents in Seattle after Christmas and had a whirl wind trip.

We visited my grandmother, who is in a nursing home. It was good to take my boys to see her, though they won't remember the visit, and neither will she. We were able to get some 4 generation pictures taken - which we already have with all the other living great grandparents.

My grandmother wears a pendant around her neck that contains a photo of my cousin, my brother and myself, when we were young. She kept showing it to me, and talking about 'her little people' and how precious the necklace was to her. It was both heart-warming and heart-wrenching at the same time.

I was glad to know how much she cares for me and how special I am to her. It was also so sad to keep telling her, "that's me, that's me in that picture." As we were leaving, she said, "Don't forget about me."

I won't. She doesn't know that I think of her often. She doesn't remember the cards and phone calls. I hope that even if she doesn't remember me, she remembers that the little girl in the picture remembers her and loves her.

I love looking at the pictures of me with my great grandparents. Some passed away before I was old enough to remember and some I visited on my way to college. I hope that the pictures we took on our trip will help teach my children the importance of family.

I hope to be around to see my great-grandchildren some day.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Change: drink 16 oz of water a day

I thought I would be pretty specific about my changes, especially this first one. I want something I can measure, so that I can know I'm being successful. I know that 16 ounces of water isn't a lot. I know that in the past I've consumed almost a gallon of water a day. I've recently realized that some days, all the water I consume is when I'm brushing my teeth. That's not good! If I drink more, great! It's a start. And I'm starting today! Even though it's 10 pm and it means that I'll probably be up all night using the bathroom, I will drink 16 ounces of water before I go to bed.

Small Changes

My twins first birthday is just around the corner, and my 31st birthday follows shortly. I was disgusted with myself when I realized that I weigh more today than I did the day they were born.

I was probably one of very few women that was disappointed when I wieghed myself the day my boys turned 6 months old, and I was back at my pre-pregnancy wieght. This is because 2 weeks after they were born, I was 20 pounds lighter than I was when I concieved. The only time in my life when I had difficulty gaining weight, I was pregnant. I think that is part of my problem. When I was pregnant I got used to eating everything, trying to put on extra pounds. I ended up only gaining 12 pounds, but my boys were healthy. After they were born, I spent most of my time nursing them, and trying to eat enough to support all of us. But I also spent a lot of time in my arm chair, always with at least one boy attached to my breast.

Not that I'm blaming the a year of bad habits on my weight explosion. It's a life time of bad habits that is responsible. I just spent a year with an excuse. And now I don't have an excuse. It's time to get control. It's time to eleminate the bad habits, it's time to not only loose wieght, but to be healthy. My boys are eating table food, but I don't want them to eat what I'm eating. Packaged dinners and frozen pizzas are exactly healthy meals. I want to teach them to be healthier than I am.

I've tried diets before. I've done weight watchers and dabbled with Atkins, but it all seems a little bit overwhelming for me. I get a good start, but I always seem to loose steam. I think part of it is a fear of failure, and I think part of it is this preverse perfectionist in me. If I can't do a diet perfectly, if I cheat a little here or there, I can't do it at all. I'll probably talk more about being a perverse prefectionist more later, as it applies to much of my life.

So, this time I've decided not to jump right in. I'm going to take small steps and make many small changes over time. But I'm going to start with one small change. I don't expect to see big changes in me, but just small ones. I plan on making one small change a week. Part of me thinks that I focus on one change until I've developed a new good habit, and it takes 21 days to develop a habit. Part of me thinks the week is the way to go, heck, I can do anything for a week.

You can see that I don't really have a plan, but I hope you'll follow me on my journey. I'll record my goals and my progress. I'll tell you more about me and my health issues, and reasons I want to change. Feel free to offer support or insight. This is really new for me and scary. I'm a very private person, especially when it comes to wieght loss and health issues. So, be kind.