Thursday, October 30, 2008


So, I need to get more exercise. Lots and lots and lots. And I'm really having a problem with this. One part is a time thing... this is my seriously insanely busy part of the year... but that's a short-term issue. The biggest problem is that the kind of exercise that works best for me is a little difficult for me to be doing right now. I just don't exercise well at home. I know, if I were a better person, I would buy a treadmill or something, and I would do the billion exercise DVDs that I own. But I'm not. A treadmill would become an expensive clothes rack, and the DVDs are just getting dusty. I am terrible at self-motivated exercise. Put me in the gym, and I'm happy as a clam, because I'm there to work out, and I don't get distracted. Put me on a racquetball court, and I'm really, really happy. Leave me at home with a DVD, and I'll sit on the couch curled up with a book. I know, no self discipline. I should be able to do something that bores me out of my skull and makes me miserable for a lousy half hour a day, right?

I can't go to the gym right now, and I'm having a hard time fitting in racquetball. And it sounds like an excuse, but it's all about Michael. He can't do these things, not yet. And every time I leave the house, it's a slap in the face for him... it reminds him that he still can't drive, that he still can't walk really, that he is stuck in the house and I am flitting around like a butterfly (ha!). He doesn't say this, but I see it very clearly. And so he says, go to the gym, but I can't. Not yet. Not until he can come with me. Work is not negotiable, but this kind of thing is.

So I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. Can't do the exercise I want, too... lazy or unmotivated or intolerant of boredom or whatever... to just DO the things that I could do at home. So this week, in a "let's do something even if it's stupid" move, I bought a Wii Fit balance board. We had a Wii anyway (also gathering dust, I might add), so it wasn't a huge investment. And I've done this the last couple of days, and I have to report that this thing is really kind of fun.

So, here is a report based only on a couple of days of use.

1. This is the big one for me. It's interactive. Every exercise requires some kind of paying attention... focusing on where your balance is, that kind of thing. So you have to pay attention, and there's something that gives you some kind of feedback on whether you're doing well or not. Those DVD fitness instructors never notice if you sit down and drink tea instead of following along! I really like this part, and I suspect that this is what might make this work for me.
2. There are "rewards." Do a certain amount of whatever, and you unlock new games/exercises. I like rewards.
3. If you are way out of shape, like me, even the fairly simple exercises really are a workout of sorts. I am sore. A little anyway.
4. There are a variety of things to do, and some of them are pretty fun. The basic step thing is fun. The balance games would probably be fun if I had any sense of balance. And there are four different areas... balance games, yoga, strength training, and aerobics. Some of these would clearly not be very challenging if you were already in great shape, but just about everyone needs to work on balance.

1. What I said above about difficulty level. But I'm a long way from there.
2. Response time is pretty good, but there are a lot of screens you have to flip through. Makes it take about 25 minutes to do 14 minutes of actual workout time. Haven't found a good way to streamline this yet, if there is one.
3. I get the impression from other reviewers that there isn't really a great workout disc for the Wii Fit yet. Like all startup Wii programs (like Wii Sports, for example), there's a lot of good stuff here but some clear limits. As far a I know, the only other disc for this is by Jillian Michaels, and it does not seem to be getting good reviews, in part due to poor response time.

All in all... definitely worth it at the moment. Let's see where I'm at with it in a few weeks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Discouraging days

Sometimes I try to think about what the theme of this blog is, and I mostly think it's about trying like hell to get yourself healthy again all odds and in the face of a lot of really discouraging life stuff. It is hard, like my little Sisyphus gif to the left, not to let yourself get worn down by this stuff. Really hard. And the trouble is that health is not about one huge burst of effort; it's about day to day to day to day small incremental choices. It takes a lot of effort to make the right choices again and again, especially when it's hard to see that they're getting you anywhere. Sometimes you just want to quit and go get a pizza. Sometimes you do quit and go get a pizza. But the trouble is that you just have to get back on the horse, every time, because at the end of the day, there aren't any other choices.

It has just been hard here lately. I don't say this in the rest of my life because... well, I don't know. Because there's no one to say it to, I guess. Because I don't feel comfortable saying, I can't shake this ocean of sadness. Because I don't feel comfortable saying, life, at the moment, is hard.

Michael is losing weight, which in the grand scheme of things is great, but it's slow (although actually pretty fast by any reasonable standard). But it hasn't made much of a difference to his physical problems, not yet. And he is so discouraged because he's really no closer to being able to walk without terrible pain and feeling unstable all the time. This has only been aggravated by the rounds of doctors that we've been seeing lately... the regular guy (conclusion: Michael's iron count is really low, take some iron, see some more doctors), the lung guy (conclusion: everything is ok; it's just hard to breathe when you're fat), and the two doctors we see on Friday. He's tired of being poked, and the walking and getting up and down and up and down doesn't help his knee. He's just so low, and it kills me to see him like this... plus it doesn't help how I feel, either. I really realized this last week when he started taking iron and suddenly, wow, he was a little like his old self again. And I felt light; I felt like maybe I could cope with everything.

This week hasn't been like that.

There's no conclusion here, nothing upbeat at the end. This all will pass. I hope.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekly Stats, October 20

Michael: 443.2, -4.0, total loss since January: 99.7 lbs., total overall loss 170.3 lbs.
Nina: 280.0, -0.7, total loss since January, 22.2 lbs.

Progress toward 5% of body weight goal: Nina, 29% of the way to goal; Michael, 11% toward goal.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

All the Wrong Messages... the Electrolux Ads

Have you seen the series of annoying Electrolux ads with Kelly Ripa? These have been high on my annoy list for some time, but the latest one, which is for a washer and dryer, has just maxed it out for me. It just seems to me that every message in this all wrong.

First of all, Kelly Ripa is frighteningly thin. Some people wear thin well, but she just isn't one of them. Back when she was a young actress on All My Children, she was very pretty, and not at all stick thin, so there's nothing that would convince me that there isn't an eating problem involved here somewhere. She looks all wrong, and it gives the ads an air of the surreal. And in today's society, if you're too fat, that's bad, but if you're too thin, you get TV commercials and the cover of fitness magazines. When are we going to learn that "fit" means "healthy", and that too far on either side is unhealthy?

Secondly, the whole "message" of these ads is that these appliances reduce your work time to zero so that you can skip around like a magic elf. I'm sure that I'm being silly here and taking this all far too seriously, but you know, even with the most fabulous washer/dryer in the universe (and I have to say that those Electrolux front-loaders look pretty nice...), laundry is still work. Not work like in it was in 1900, but still work. So is loading the dishwasher, emptying it, cleaning the kitchen, and so on (not that I think that Kelly Ripa actually does any of these things, so maybe she does skip around like a magic elf).

Thirdly, and this is the one that really put me over the edge on this particular commercial, the thing that these appliances apparently free up you time for is making massive chocolate chip cookies for your kids, so they can eat them while glued to the TV (hard to tell but that's what it looks like to me). Fine message. The way to be a good mom is to feed your kids huge lumps of sugar and park them in front of the television.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Weekly Stats, October 13

Michael: 447.2, +1.5, total loss since January: 95.7 lbs., total overall loss 166.3 lbs.
Nina: 280.7, -3.5, total loss since January, 21.5 lbs.

Progress toward 5% of body weight goal: Nina, 25% of the way to goal; Michael, -7% toward goal.

A weird week, all in all, partly because I was gone for a couple of days at a conference, and everything tends to kind of go to hell if I'm not here. So not perhaps as good a week as it might have been, although it's refreshing that my weight is down for a change. (Hey, at this rate, I might beat Michael in the 5% challenge, and since he has been Incredibly Smug, that would give me a certain amount of satisfaction.)

This week I just have to fly down to NYC tomorrow, back in the evening, and it's going to be a long day and very likely not a good food day, but I'll try. And then we get back to what passes for normal around here.

Mostly I've been thinking about all of the things that I do that are not exactly helpful toward losing weight. Which is a whole different post, maybe after I've had about ten more cups of tea....

Monday, October 6, 2008

Weekly Stats, October 6

This is kind of a restart point for us, so rather than posting weekly change (since I haven't in a couple of weeks anyway), this is just where we're at. Notice that Michael is still doing impressively well (I am so proud of him!), and basically I'm not. Oh well....

: 446.2, total loss since January: 97.2 lbs., total overall loss 167.8 lbs.
Nina: 284.2, total loss since January, 18 lbs.

So today we are starting our 5% challenge.
For me... 5% = 14.2 lbs, or 270
For Michael... 5% = 22.3 or 423.9

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The 5% Solution

Yes, I haven't exactly been posting lately. Or weighing myself, or much of anything else, although I've managed to stary pretty religiously low-carb no matter what else has been going on. And what's been going on has mostly been stress and exhaustion... Michael's been sick, partly a cold of some sort, partly a worsening of the breathing problems that he's had for a while. And we have been extremely tired and stressed and unhappy with each other and the world. It's not been a good few weeks at all.

But at some point, you just have to start over again. I say that like I've been doing something bad, which I really haven't although certainly the volume of food I've been eating is too much and the amount of exercise I've been getting is too little, and it's all been compounded by something I did to my neck/upper back on the last Baltimore trip, which has meant that it's extremely painful to lie down, and thus hard to sleep, which absolutely Does Not Help. But I haven't much been focusing on my weight, or health, or anything else... not for a long time, really. This last six months has been all about my mother and about Michael and about everything that's wrong. Is it any surprise that I get up every morning with some Dorothy Parker-like "what fresh hell is this?" sort of feeling?

It's time to refocus.

It's time to think about taking care of me a little.

It's time to think about getting things done rather than obsessing about how little I want to do them.

So we decided, by way of incentive, that starting Monday, that traditional diet restart day, we are challenging each other to lose 5% of our body weight. This started out as Michael saying that he could lose 30 lbs. faster than I could... which I didn't argue! I mean, besides the fact that I haven't exactly been losing a lot of weight anyway, 30 lbs. on him is a lot lower weight % than it is on me. And then we said, ok, he would lose 30 lbs. and I would lose 15. And that seemed ok, but the more I thought about it, the more it makes sense to me to think of this as a body weight percentage... that's fair; that's even for everyone. So we're weighing in tomorrow, and then figuring out what 5% is. And we'll see what happens. I'm not sure what Fabulous Prizes the winner gets, other than bragging rights, but I'm positive that Michael thinks he can do this faster than I can, so I have that spirit of competitiveness going, which is not a bad thing. Oh, and the rule is, you cannot starve yourself. Which doesn't work anyway.