Monthly Archives: January 2011

1/25/11 Reprieve!

Tuesday.  Just heard from my doctor.  I get to put off the next procedure for 3 more months.  Why?  Well because apparently I still have antibodies in my system.  They should be gone by now.  In fact, instead of being gone they increased.  Boo.  Not to worry, I will squash them  Apparently my antibodies think there is still something to fight in my system and they will cause inaccurate results if she tries to give me the next set of injections and blood test.  So no injections.  Who can blame my antibodies for wanting to hang around? I am just a fun person to be with.   I have until June 29th to have all the antibodies gone from my system or they are going to have to nuke me again.  Oh, it’s on my little Antibodies, it’s on.    I just need 3 more months of healthy eating and plenty of sleep and  fresh air and sunshine and I am convinced I can lure all those little antibodies lemmings out of my system and watch them jump off the cliff one by one.  I will do everything in my power to not get nuked again. (The doctor did say that sometimes it can take up to 3 years for the antibodies to go away and that is when I get to say I’m cancer free.  So it’s not like it is some kind of unusual occurence.)

I am, in fact quite cheery about my test results.  Why?  Because cancer schmancer, my Iron and Vitamin D tests came back okay.  Not fantastic but they were equal to what they were 3 months ago (my Iron is 29 which is not anemic and my Vitamin D is 26 which is not anemic either.)  But here is the kicker.  I have not taken a vitamin in two months!!!  Yep.  I tossed them.  I don’t believe in them.  I think they are a big fat scam.  I’ve been working hard to stay away from processed foods (no Angel but I’m trying).  I’m eating up a green storm.   I’ve been going to the Juice Generation and getting the Green drinks once or twice a week.  Kale is the New Beef (line stolen from Dr. Furhman.).  Fresh fruits and veggies and tofu.   Keeping it low on the grains but still have some everyday.  (I’m a 1/2 cup brown rice gal instead of a 1 cup brown rice gal.)  This week I have added TVP to my diet and I think that is going to help a lot. Today I’m off to replenish my hemp powder supply and refill my chia bin.    Take that Anemia!  Take that corporate America Vitamin Scam!!  Okay, I make one concession.  I will take Iron pills if I feel droopy but I think enough Kale and Sweet Potatoes and I won’t even need those.

Doc is adjusting my medications again. What a shock every 3 months we change it again.  I told her when I went to her office that she would be lowering my dosages.  I have been feeling very tense in my muscles.  My hands cramp a lot. I haven’t had any leg cramps recently but I feel tense and there is no other explanation that the increase in my medication. Sometimes I look down and my hand is cramped into a clench and there is no reason for it.  And I was right, she is lowering my dose, just a smidge.

I don’t get to graduate to 6 month checkups yet but I think one more 3 month check up and I’ll be ready to graduate.  I’ll get there by hook or by crook.

This morning I completed Day 1 of the Deepak Chopra meditation challenge.  Was a nice little meditation.  It should be interesting because they are going to do a bunch of different kinds of meditations over the next  21 days. 21 days is supposed to start a habit.  That would be nice.  (If anyone actually reads this and they want the day 1 file so they can start the challenge, they can email me and I can send the actual meditation mp3.)  Echo, echo, echo….

Reading Tim Ferris’s new book The Four Hour Body.  I’ve actually been a follower of Tim Ferris for many years via his Four Hour Work Week in which I am a firm believer.  I follow his blog and have been reading excerpts from his book.  He was on Dr. Oz yesterday.  I watched the show and was impressed with some of the ideas.  I started this morning with his mandate of 30 grams of protein first thing in the morning.  (Since my doctor already had me doing that I don’t know who to really give credit.)  I will report more as I start implementing some of his other ideas like ice baths (seriously, it’s 14 degrees out) and grape fruit juice (big fan.)   Oh and the pre-binge squat fest, interesting…  I’ll write more as I try.

I’m 25 days into my Purple Teeth Challenge.  To be honest I kind of forgot I was doing it.  I guess I’ve done it so many years that it has kind of lost its novelty.  (Or that 21 days thing really does work).  It’s not been a real challenge.  I have just one more week and then I can have a glass of wine if I want.  For 4 points!!  (One of the casualties of the new WW points system).

I think it will be a good week.  I’ve been tracking up a storm.  I feel okay.  Ready to go tackle some hill repeats — with purpose.


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1/23/10 To-do List

Sunday.  A bit behind on the docudrama, been busy with whatever.  Couple of things I want to get down on the old record.

Tomorrow starts the Deepak Chopra 21 day meditation challenge.  It’s free and I’m looking forward to have a virtual mediation sangha My Buddhism class is hard and I have never felt so stupid in a class anywhere.

Week two of my return to WW went well.  I won’t say it was easy. But I followed the plan and I plugged everything into the tracker.  I’m still struggling to find foods that work to fend off the hunger.  But I’ve lost over 5 lbs in two weeks which is really good.  It’s the free fruit that is helping me hang on.  But I’ve made some changes the last couple of days that I think will help. More than anything I’m really glad to be back with my group

Had doctor check up last week.  She wants me to cut down the oatmeal and substitute TVP (textured vegetable protein).  That seems to help a little.  I was ready to talk about diet for the entire visit when she brought up some pesky business.  “Do you mind if we talk about your Cancer for a minute?”  I had to laugh.  I do have a way of manipulating the appointment to discuss only things I want to talk about.  “If you must.” I replied.

It’s time for another treatment and I’ve been avoiding it like the plague.  But she promises this will be pain free (side effects are minor if I get any),  I just have to go in for a series of injections over a few days and then she takes a blood test at the end of the week.  This test will show if my cancer is gone or not.  If it is gone, I get to finally graduate to tests every six months instead of every three.  If it shows there is still cancer lurking around I have to go for another dose of radiation.  This is my graduation test. I’m excited but nervous.  We have to wait for the insurance to give approval because these injections cost a ton of money.  Really ready to close this book.  I feel fine so I think it will all be good.

Training going okay but I’m suffering because of the cold temps.  I have had to shorten all of my long runs and I’m getting nervous.  Weekdays I’ve been in the gym — just can’t bear to be outside.  I”m worried this is going to make the marathon very difficult but I continue on. I tried to do the half marathon but had to bail after one loop of the park and I never really recovered.

Sundays have been my big workouts because I’ve taken up rowing at Trinity College in Hartford on Sunday mornings.  It’s fun, they have tanks with fake boats with sliding seats and actual water that we put our oars in.  The teacher was really great.  If I stick with it and get good enough I can join them for races.  This is the link to the group I row with and picture of the tanks and some of my fellow rowers from my class.

After rowing in Hartford in the morning I head over to Plainville for swim group. Last week and this week it really started to hurt about 1 hour into the swim. (We row for 1 hour and swim for 1:30)    The rowing doesn’t feel too taxing but I guess it is accumulated fatigue.

I’ve never hurt so much from a swim workout…ever. I can barely walk right now. We started with 400 warmup (the pool we swim in is 25 yard like my club, it’s not meters.) After our warmup we played a game called “Golf.” I’ve read about this but I’ve never done it. You swim 50 as fast and as efficiently as possible. You also count your strokes. Then you add your time plus your strokes and you get your score. The coach points to certain people to yell out their scores. He starts at the end of the pool 78, 68, 62…and I think if that really fast girl had been there she would have been even lower.  Then he points to me… uh, er… 98. Okay he say, you HAVE to do the next one in 96. The goal is to beat your own “Golf score.”

We played 8 rounds of Golf and for each and every single round my watch read exactly, and I mean exactly 55 seconds. The only difference was my strokes. My arms were starting to burn and I did 98 or 97 for the first 4 and then I think I hit 100. I never hit 96. I was very disappointed but I was very happy with the 55 seconds. It usually takes me 1 minute going my absolute fastest for 50 in my pool (and that is not a maintainable pace).  Coach says as I get fitter I will be able to reduce the golf number…

Then we did 300 x 2, 200 x 2, 100 x 2. (I’ve been bumped back to the baby lane and another guy I’ve been swimming with got promoted. The other lanes did a little more. Turns out these people are practicing 4 times a week PLUS Sunday swims. No way!! The coach asked me if I’ve been practicing and I lied and said yes. (I don’t think he would could my 30 minutes of doggie paddle and jacuzzi as a workout.) 4 times a week? What? I can’t swim 4 times a week. But I can get more diligent about Wednesdays and throw in a Friday as well. But 4 times a week? No way. I’m in the wrong group.

So that’s 2000 yards before we start the kicking. My legs are burning. Coach tells me I am kicking all wrong. Really? I’ve been kicking like this for 7 years, it’s wrong? He says my feet are coming too much out of the water. Oh great. Now I have to learn a new way to kick? But it did seem to take me a little faster his way. Stop bending your knees, kicking is like walking, he says. I’ll have to practice that.  Our lane does 6 x 50 kicking bringing our total to 2,300 a smidge less than a mile and a half.  Felt like ten.

My legs were just burnt. I guess the rowing crept up on me. I feel like I’ve run a marathon which is good because I need more running.

Lots of work to do. Get more distance in on my runs. Get more time in the pool. Keep up with the rowing.  Work on my weight.  Oh yeah, I have to get my bike set up on my trainer. Still haven’t found those pedals since I threw them away somewhere in August…. Ah it feels like training…

Let the games begin….


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1/11/11 Think About It

Tuesday.  I think there is a common trait amongst the readers of my blog — all three of you.  I think you are all investigative journalists at heart.  I love how you all pry and probe and try to figure out why we do what we do.  Why do we over eat?  What’s the best thing to eat?  How do I get motivation to get off the couch?  How do I get any kind of daily practice of anything going?  And when you get it going how do you keep it going?  And when it stops how do you get it back?  I love getting emails with latest theories and even more I love getting the questions.  Why do you think we… whatever.  Have you ever thought about….something.

I am MORE than aware that I have been struggling with my weight, my fitness and life through my blog for, gasp, six years now.  I’ve been close to goal, I’ve been far from goal.  I’ve been at my training peak (MY training peak, not close to anyone else’s training peak).  I’ve done countless races.  I’ve done great (for me), I’ve PR’d, I’ve crashed,  I’ve ridden in the SAG wagon, I’ve run triumphantly over the finish line fists pumping in air and I’ve limped over the finish line looking like Quasi Moto.  I’ve lost 50 pounds.  I’ve gained back 50 pounds. I ‘ve  dealt with cancer — mine and others.  I’ve dealt with the stress of work, caring for others, caring for myself.   I’ve been on and off this Journey to Fitness for so long it should be embarrassing that I am not Jilllian Michaels by now.  But I’m not.  I’m just me in my struggle.  Sisyphus pushing the donut up that hill over and over again.  But it’s my donut and my hill and unlike Sisyphus, I am not condemned to push the donut up the hill, I choose to push the donut up the hill.  If I nibble on it a little, eh sue me.

Last night I started a new class in my Buddhist Studies.  I’m supposed to take one class a “semester” but let’s just say I’ve been on spring break for two years.    It’s a six-week course comparing and contrasting modern psychology and Buddhism.  I don’t call myself a Buddhist because I don’t do the work to be a Buddhist.  They actually expect you to study this stuff and work at understanding it.  I’m a dabbler, a dharma hacker at best.  I’m not into organized labels either.  I am me in search of understanding the nature of me.

Last night I was really in over my head.  I thought the hard part of the evening was going to be staying up until 9 p.m.   (Okay so I fell asleep a little during the meditation but they all had their eyes shut anyway so nobody knew).  But, it turned out the hard part was the discourse.   I think I had my chin to the ground the entire time.  Two teachers up front one Psychotherapist and one a well-known Buddhist Teacher — both young guys — in a closet somewhere I am sure I have tennis shoes older than both of them.  How smart these two guys were astounded me.

I’ll admit that I kept trying to mentally accuse them of psycho babble.  Phht, all meaningless words, mumbo jumbo.  But as I started to listen and grasp bits of what they were saying I realized that they were making sense and I was only understanding a tenth of what they were saying.  It wasn’t psycho babble, I was just ignorant.  I was out of my comfort zone.  I don’t like not being able to just pick up on what everyone is talking about.  People laughing over jokes that went right over my head.  Every once in a while I caught the drift of a discussion but for the most part I was sitting there thinking — I’ve let my brain turn to mush.  I am not a thinker anymore.  I am no longer on my brain game.   Darn you online Scrabble!  Look what you have done to me!!!   Soduku has stunted my brain growth.   Then I started wondering if these guys’ brains actually hurt?  Does it hurt to be that smart?  Do they watch American Idol?  To think that deeply, it must feel like a huge mental squat.  How do you hold onto all the muscles of logic at the same time without falling on your butt?

So I came home not proud of myself for 3 full days on Weight Watchers.  Not proud of myself for my weekend workouts and my Monday stretch and making vegetable soup.  I realized I had spent so much time working on my body that I had ignored my brain.  Mental fitness.  It’s really important.  Watching my father with dementia I know that there was more he could have done to fight it off.  But it has to start before you are 80 and giving up on the crossword.  Like every muscle in my body and every habit I am working on developing, I have to work my brain too.  Not just maintenance — creating new strength. My job is not enough. My book club is not enough.

Back in 2001 I started to study Russian for a work project I was going to do.  I am not good at foreign languages. Oh wait, let me rephrase that, I have not traditionally put in the required effort for me to excel at foreign languages.   I taunted my high-school Spanish teacher into a semi-nervous breakdown (I’m not kidding.)  My college French professor promised to pass me if I promised to never come back.  (I’m not kidding.)  I am a linguistic nightmare.    When I started to study French, my high school Spanish came back.  I merrily went to Italy and made up my own language throwing words from French and Spanish around indiscriminately once I realized that if everyone was drinking Chianti we all understood each other anyway. I studied Russian for two years and I was terrible.  I messed up tenses, conjugations and genders.  I demonstrated my ignorance when, while in St. Petersburg, I was stumped why nobody would give me sour cream while I kept pleading “I want to see, I want to see!”    But despite all of this, I miss studying foreign languages.  Why?  Because I actually felt my brain stretch when I did it.

Just as it is not enough to keep doing the same sports over and over again if you want to increase your body’s strength and dexterity, you have to stretch your brain in other directions as well.  For maximum agility and speed you want to confuse your body muscles AND your brain muscles.  When I was studying Russian I kept pointing to my head and said I could actually feel my brain stretching, right there.   I could feel it working in a new way.  It is just like when you go to yoga and you do a new pose and your body screams that it cannot possibly contort that way.  The next day you can’t wait to try it again to see if you can do that.  I don’t remember any Russian anymore but I am convinced if I started to study Greek it would all omecay  ackbay in a lashfay,

It’s not enough to read a book on a subject you enjoy.  It’s not enough to do the crossword puzzle again for the 400th day in a row.  That’s just maintenance.  That’s like putting in your long miles on the road.  You already know how to use those muscles.  I’m talking about doing drills and creating new muscle strength by figuring out something new.  Don’t know how to download music to your ipod (you know who you are.)  Sit down and figure it out.  Read the manual.  Stretch your brain.  Clueless about your DVR? Always wanted to understand a combustion engine?  Who am I to judge?  Go for it.  You will “feel the burn” and be better off for it.  Hate poetry?  Challenge yourself to read, understand and memorize a poem.  Figure out Twitter and why anyone would use it.  Next time you see something that makes you think “oh I just can’t figure that out.”  Remember Eleanor Roosevelt and the saying that gets me into more trouble than fudge “You Must Do The Thing You Think You Cannot.”

For me, right now (or for six weeks whichever comes first) I am going to stretch my brain in the dharma.  I’m going to read the books, study the terms (again) and when the teacher holds out a round object towards me and solemnly asks “what is this?”  I’m going to have something more intelligent to say other than  ” what? that’s not an orange?”





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1/10/11 On Track Again

Monday.  Pleased with myself or whoever that person is who has taken over my brain.  Can’t say it was  a perfect Journey of Fitness weekend but it was pretty good.  Saturday was supposed to be my 10 mile run.  Couldn’t do it.  I walked to the park, ran a difficult 5 miles and called it quits.  My chest hurt so much and my legs were like bricks.  I never warmed up and I just didn’t feel like killing myself.  Everyone else seemed to do fine but my lungs hurt for the rest of Saturday and into Sunday morning.  I decided I was no longer going to run in sub freezing temperatures.  That’s it.  That’s my new rule.  It must be greater than 32 degrees for me to run outside.  Maybe someday that will change but I am just not willing to hurt that much.  Or maybe I just didn’t dress properly?

Sunday I took it indoors to the gym and I was really pleased to be back to the cardio area after a long time away.  I started with 10 minutes on the rowing machine figuring I have to start getting my muscles ready for next weekend.  I like the rowing machine — for some reason it just puts every joint back into the right place.  Then I took to the old elliptical and did 40 minutes on that.  That’s a really good workout for me.  Makes me lift my knees and is lower impact.  I had forgotten how I used run better after a session on the elliptical.  I think I’m going to make that my regular Thursday session.

After 50 minutes of cardio I hit the pool.  I just wanted to practice my stroke.  Wasn’t looking for a big workout.  After a short warmup, I did 30 minutes just practicing 400’s and holding the water.  At certain moments I felt like I was catching the watering and feeling a difference.  The next moment I lost it.  My hold on the water is elusive.   I did notice that I’m pulling before my hips are turned and I’m not sure if that is optimal.  It seems it would make more sense to have already rotated to your side before pulling but I have to play around with that some more.  I was really happy to stay indoors for the day.  That’s all I needed.  I didn’t need to have further lung pain to make me feel like I had exercised.

Food went REALLY well this weekend.  After WW on Friday I had stopped at Stiles Market and loaded up on bags of fruit and veggies.  I was cooking up a storm ala Dr. Furhman and plugging it into my WW tracker.  I really found it sooo much easier than before and I realized one big change in the tracking.  Because it was so easy to stay within my daily points I really didn’t mind putting into the online tracker.  I also thought they had worked out a lot of the bugs from the online tracker so it seemed to work faster.  Even though fresh fruits are zero points they recommend that you put the points into the tracker but it was great because they would just come up as zero! (Doesn’t mean you should just eat fruit all day, the rule of only eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full still applies.)

Basic weekend food consumption:

Every morning I’m eating the same thing because I can’t be bothered to invent something else.  My usual 2/3 cup oatmeal, 1 cup blueberries, 1 oz almonds, 1 tbls chia seeds, 1 tbls flax seeds and 1/2 cup almond milk.  I also have a banana.

For lunch I made a  huge salad (and I mean el grande) (dressing has only a tsp of olive oil), lentil soup and some baby potatoes.

For Dinner day 1 I had whole wheat pasta with sauteed mushrooms, onions, kale (Dr. F says Kale is the New Beef), tomatoes with a Tofurkey Italian Sausage link.  Oh and another salad.  (The leftovers from this dinner made lunch Day 2).

For Dinner day 2 I made another big salad with half an avocado for the dressing ala Dr. Furhman (don’t use oils, use the raw ingredients like avocado or walnuts and make your dressings that way), a few baby potatoes in there and the piece de resistance was the acorn squash.  My mother had given me the idea of doing squash in the microwave so I gave it a try.  Cut the acorn squash in half, down side in a glass dish with some water, wrapped in plastic wrap.  10 minutes.  Fantastic.  Sprinkled with a bit of earth balance and some cinnamon.  The other half is for dinner tonight!  It was awesome.  Did you know half an acorn squash (medium size) has 4 grams of protein?  Who knew?  I guess because of that Weight Watchers counts acorn squash as Zero Points!  Shut the front door.  How awesome.  Zero points AND 4 grams of protein AND tastes delcioso!

Fresh fruit and sliced veggies like apples, pears, carrots, green peppers and celery are my “snack” food but I try to really eat them more as an appetizer than a snack as Dr. Fuhrman says we need to give our bodies hours between meals. (He is NOT a fan of the five small meals a day and goes into a long explanation as to why.  In a nutshell you have to let your body go through its natural cycle and if you keep interrupting it with eating and digesting it can never complete the cycle.)

For dessert at each meal I had a nice fruit salad.

Both days I stayed within my allocated points and I also accrued a mass of activity points which I did not use because they say only use them if you are hungry and I was okay.

I would be lying if I said this was easy.  I had to shop, chop and cook and clean.  And fresh fruits and veggies in large quantities are expensive  so I broke down and hit Stiles Market which has very cheap fruits and veggies but I noticed my kiwis came from Italy.  Not sure I really approve of that contribution to my carbon foot print but we’ll do everything as best we can.  For right now I am willing to put in the effort and really try to start instilling some habits.

What’s the big difference between this and how I ate before?  Bread, rice, potatoes and Earth balance Spread and Olive Oil.  All of those are huge points so I really measure those all out.  Okay, what’s really missing is the bread.  And the pita chips.  And the bread And pita chips.  Then of course there is the pita chips and bread.  And, of course, as my friend likes to say, it’s not just the bread it is what you put on the bread and in what you dip the chips.

This morning I made a pot of homemade lentil soup and that will be all ready for lunch.  Just smelling it I felt the nutrients entering my body.  I notice for me, I’m too tired to cook later in the day and I just want to order something in.  This way, the lunch will be all prepared.  I’ll have the soup with some brown rice and probably a salad too.  Fruit if I’m still hungry.

Busy week.  But I feel like I’m kicking it off with the right foot.  I slept almost 8 hours last night and I feel okay today….  I hear a faint rumble in the distance.


My Lentil Soup Recipe (I made this up myself but seriously how hard can this be?)

Saute 3 cloves of garlic and a medium onion in a large pot.  I put in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Chopped up two large carrots and two celery stalks and threw them in.  (The sautéed garlic, onions, celery and carrots pretty much start every soup I make.)

Then I added just enough vegetable broth to cover the carrots and celery so they would cook to soften.

I added a bay leaf, some oregano, some basil, salt and pepper.

Then I added a can of whole tomatoes (because I didn’t have a can of chopped tomatoes).  And I chopped them in the pot.

I added the rest of the box of vegetable broth (I buy the 1 quart boxes and have them on hand.)

1 15 oz can of lentils, rinsed to get the can taste out.  In my next life I’ll soak dried lentils the night before.

At this point I turn off the heat.  There is no meat in here to cook and I don’t want to cook all the nutrients out, I just want the carrots and celery to be not tough.

Then I chopped up a large bowl (maybe two+ cups worth) of spinach and threw it in the pot and covered it.  (No cooking.)

Total Time to Prepare: 10 minutes

Here is nutritional breakdown.  Makes 4 servings each serving is 4 WW points which is NOTHING now…  4 is the old 2.

Here is how it looks (Note: Perspective is skewed.  It is in a big bowl, almost 3 cups of soup):

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1/7/10 Home Again

Friday.  Big day today.  Started with accidentally pulling down a couple of servers around the world… then they came back up and everyone was okay again.  Turns out the Internet will live despite me.  Then I went to yoga.

Had to look up on my blog how long it has been since I’ve been to this yoga class.   It was February ’09.  Gasp!!  That’s almost two years!!   I’ve done what I like to call “sleepy” yoga at Kripalu but it is not the same as what my former regular yoga class put me through.  I knew I was in for it so I hesitated about whether to go or not.  But, my yoga yogi sent me an email and said if I didn’t keep my promise of coming to class on Friday I would owe him $50!  That made me laugh but it also made me show up!  As I suspected I couldn’t do half the things I used to do and I was never that great at it to begin with.  I was sweating bullets and updogging and downdogging no-stop.  I had no balance (which I always struggled with but had at least gotten to a point where I wasn’t going to knock someone over) so I stayed close to the wall and the ballet bar.  It was hard, but to be truthful I think I could have been even worse.  At least I could do some kind of dog, even if it was just a bad dog.  In the end I felt very glad to have gone back.  I love the instructor.  I feel it makes me stronger.  I have a lot of practice to do but I will go back next Friday for further humiliation and practice, practice, practice during the week.

My big news is today I returned to Weight Watchers.  What?  Who? Wha?  Yep.  That’s right.  I rejoined weight watchers after 7 months away.  I feel really good about it and I think it is the right decision.

I’ve been reading about the new weight watchers program called points plus.  First new program in 13 years and it is very different.  Couple of big changes.   Most fresh fruits and fresh veggies are zero points.  Yep.  Zero.  (Dr. Fuhrman is nodding.)  They’ve also increased the number of daily points you get (they increased mine to just about what I used to eat anyway.)  But the values of all the items have changed.   There is a new formula.  Points used to be based on fat, calories and fiber.  Now they are based on fat, fiber, carbohydrates and protein.  Yep, they don’t count calories anymore.  A calorie is no longer a calorie.  What this ends up doing is making foods that are less processed require fewer points (thereby encouraging you to eat them).   Veggies were always zero or low but fruit wasn’t.  This works REALLY well for me.  No points for an apple, more points for a glass of wine.  (Boo hoo, used to be 2 and now it is 4 —- yes, of course, I looked that up immediately!)

Oh and one other little thing….  TRACKING IS OPTIONAL!!!   Yep, if you don’t want to track you don’t have to but you have to stay within a range of listed foods.  If you want to eat a candy bar you are going to have to track.  If you are willing to eat only from a list of unprocessed foods — no tracking required.  All natural, unprocessed foods ala Dr. Fuhrman!!!  And you have to promise to listen to your hunger and stop eating when full ala Geneen Roth, and Dr. Furhman.

So how do I reconcile this with all my jabbering about Dr. Fuhrman, Geneen Roth and Dr. Beck?  I think they all fit perfectly.  I can eat exactly as Dr. Fuhrman suggests — high nutrient foods.  I will still focus on my mindfulness via Geneen Roth and use the behavioral tools of Dr Beck (which are repeated throughout WW all the time.)  But the big difference is I will no longer be going it alone.  I missed my meetings.  I missed my friends.  It was like a homecoming today when I walked in.  I was struggling more than ever trying to foot it alone.  I knew about 10 people in the room and we were all so happy to see one another.  Surprised to find two of my WW friends had reached their goal weight while I was gone.  Happy to see everyone.  It felt good to go back.

All day long I kept thinking about my inner tuning fork (not to be confused with my inner dessert fork.)  When things feel right you know it.  Your inner tuning fork responds.  It’s an instant yes or an instant no.  If it’s a grey area and you have to think about it, probably some modifications need to be made.

One thing that always bothered me about Geneen Roth is how she would dis Weight Watchers.  Geneen Roth made me realize I was in a vicious cycle with WW.  I THOUGHT was someone who struggled with tracking and could no longer lose weight so therefore I WAS someone who struggled with tracking and couldn’t lose weight.  I agreed with her premise that the diet mentality was a fat sentence.  But what I felt was missing was that everything she described — eat while sitting down, listen to your hunger, eat what you are hunger for, stop when you are full — these are all tenets of WW.  She was comparing the Weight Watchers she knew from 30 years ago when you really would eat something disgusting just because it was all you could afford with your remaining measly points.  That’s not the Weight Watchers I knew and it most certainly is not the WW of 2010.  Finally I had to say to myself that Geneen, you have a point but you are not entirely right.  Geneen is also the first person to say you need group support.  Well where better to get group support than WW?  It was a worthy lesson to read her book and I still believe in what she has to say.  But, I’m now ready to take what I need from Geneen and leave the rest.

Then I discovered Dr. Fuhrman.  I really agree with everything Dr. Fuhrman says.  I never got into his wacky MANI points system because that just seemed like another Weight Watchers system.  Weight Watchers based it on calories (then), Dr. Fuhrman based it on nutritive value.  They both used proprietary formulas.  I couldn’t be bothered with that. Well now WW doesn’t count calories either.  They finally realized a calorie is NOT a calorie.  Your body handles 100 calorie banana very differently than a 100 calorie cookie.  The worlds are colliding.  I can eat Dr. Fuhrman’s way but still get the support of the meetings and the online tools.  Best of both worlds.

I’ve always felt Dr. Beck and her Beck’s Diet Solution worked with Weight Watchers. Even Dr. Beck says her plan works with Weight Watchers.  She’s not a diet, she’s the behaviorist.  You pick your diet and Dr. Beck helps you work the plan.  She works on tweaking your brain.

I feel like a kid who has a bunch of divorced parents and they are all coming to my wedding and promise to get along.  I get to see the best of all of them and nobody is fighting — including me.  Plus now I get to see all my step and half siblings.

I believe the key to my success is going to be my mental attitude going in.  I’m not going to beat myself up about tracking points.  I’m going to take what I need from each system and I’m going to leave the rest.  I’ve earned the right to use my discretion.  I’ve studied everyone.  I’ve read all the books.  I understand their theories.  Now I get to bring it all home and put it to use.  This feels right.  It feels good.  I feel happy.

If I can master this AND the pigeon pose?  I may rule the world.


Seriously, my yogi was trying to get me to do the crow pose today.  Yeah, it didn’t happen.   Not all the way home yet.  I laugh just thinking about me trying to do this.


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1/5/11 Test #1

Wednesday.  This week, along with my marathon training group,  I had my first running test.  I was not looking forward to this.  We had to run a timed mile.  I haven’t been able to run a mile without stopping in a long time.  I’ve been on run/walk duty for as long as I can remember.  I really had to think about it.  What’s the point?  I can’t run a mile.  I can only do this run/walk thing.  But my phrase de l’année is “FACE IT TO ERASE IT.”  Ala Suze Orman.  Unless you know what you are dealing with how can you fix it?  You need a benchmark so get out there and start marking the bench!

My instructions were to do a warm up, stretch, then run a mile as fast as I could.  Recover for a little bit, run another mile as fast as I could.  Recover a little bit and then run another mile as fast as I could.  Good grief this was going to be painful.  At this point I’m doing 15 minute miles.  I’m jogging 1 minute, walking 1 minute with very little difference in my speed between jogging and walking.  The good news is, every week I seem to be able to do a little further distance with this method.  The bad news is when I try to bump it up to 2 minutes or beyond I get out of breath  and my heart rate goes much too high.  I know, slow down, slow down.  Well, that’s what I do and that’s how I settled into this walk/jog thing that is a 15 minute mile.

As I thought about this  assignment, it occurred to me that maybe my goal should be to try to run a mile without stopping.  I mean before I worry about timing the mile, shouldn’t I worry about completing it? Yeah, not going to happen.  I reconsidered and thought maybe I could just see how far I could get?  Okay, that seemed reasonable.   Let me see how far I could go without stopping.

I did my regular warm up for 1 mile — 1 minute jog/1 minute walk.  I was already aware that for some reason I seemed to be getting air in.  Strange.  It was only 32 degrees out with wind chill.  That usually makes it hard for me to breathe.  That was a good sign.

I told myself to forget about speed.  I was just trying to dial into the slowest jog I could do so that I would be able to finish the mile or as much of the mile as I could.   It would be a great accomplishment to be able to run a mile without stopping again.  I haven’t done that in a long, long time.  Just slow it down.  I took off.  Everything seemed strange.  Nothing was hurting.  The air was going down into my lungs.  My knees weren’t hurting.  The strange quad pulling was not there.  I felt relaxed.  I felt okay.  Is this as fast as you can run?  No.  Not by a long shot.  But it is as fast as I can go to KEEP going.  Fine.   Then all of a sudden I realized I was going to finish the mile.  OMG.  OMG!!  OMG!!!  I’m about to run a mile without stopping!  And I felt fine.  I could hold a conversation if I wanted to.  When did this happen?  How did this happen?  Why couldn’t I do this even two weeks ago?  I was flummoxed.  I checked my watch.  Exactly 14:01.  Okay that is not fast by most standards but some people can’t even run a mile.  I’m pretty sure I can speed walk a 14 minute mile but I jogged it and I didn’t stop and I was really happy.  All of a sudden the future seemed bright — or well at least clouds lifting.

I proceeded as the directions said to do a recovery for a little bit.  I decided my recovery would be a walk and some more stretching.  I was preparing for timed mile #2.  Okay, now I know I can do it.  Can I do it a little faster?  I know the directions said to do our fastest mile but I really didn’t feel like blowing up. I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it again but now no excuses — you have to try.  I decided I would concentrate on fluidity and lifting my feet.  (My first mile felt a little straight legged.)  So I started the second mile like the first.  I concentrated on light and easy.  I remember what Coach Hola had said years ago “it’s like driving — you don’t just hammer the gas pedal, you start slowly and gradually put more pressure on the gas.”   My breathing was freaking me out.  I was getting all kinds of air into my lungs.  Where was this coming from?  I started to pick it up a little.  Then I concentrated on lifting my feet.  By the last quarter mile I put it into real running mode.  Okay, for 1/4 of a mile, let her rip.  Really run.  Really, REALLY run.  When I finished the mile I was gasping for air and ready to die.  Good.  Watch read 13:08.   That’s great!  13:08 and I know I could run faster than that!  But more important I just finished doing a timed mile twice!!  I was beside myself.  I can’t believe this.  I really can’t believe this.  I’m getting some endurance here.  Finally!

Okay, recover and stretch again.  (I added the stretching part between the miles, that was not in instructions.)  Ready for the 3rd timed mile.  This is when I had to laugh at myself.  At the beginning of the session my only goal was to try to run a mile without stopping.  Now I was ready to try for a personal record.  Maybe I could do a 12?  Wow, how quickly I forgot about the original goal.  I did the little walk and stretch routine and set out on mile #3.  Almost immediately I felt a difference.  Whoa, this is not as easy.  I was struggling right off the bat.  My breathing was more difficult.  I could feel my heart rate rising (I haven’t been wearing my monitor just going by the feeling in my chest and my breathing).  Whoa Nelly, SLLOOWW downnnn…  About half way into the mile I blew up.  I had to stop and walk.  My heart felt like it was in my throat and my chest felt like it was collapsing onto my lungs.  Busted.  Bummer.  I couldn’t do the whole mile.  Hey wait a minute.  Keep going.  You don’t have to throw in the towel just because you stopped and walked.  Pick it up again.  So I picked it up again and started a little slower until I saw I only had a quarter of a mile left and then I let ‘er rip.  (Well, MY version of let ‘er rip.)  Final time 13:15 WITH a walk break.

HMMMM….  All kinds of interesting info in there.

First and foremost.  I can, in fact, run a mile without stopping.  I probably can’t do more than that right now, but for my long runs I will just keep increasing the run portion and remind myself that I can in fact run a  mile so suck it up buttercup.  I’ll keep practicing on my shorter runs to do more consecutive miles.

Second.  The walk break really doesn’t kill your time that much if you keep it short and you work hard on the run part.

Third.  I think I might actually be able to run a marathon again.  It’s not going to be fast but two weeks ago I didn’t think I would be able to do it.  Now I’m starting feel like, slow and steady and I’ll get it done.  Nothing wrong with that.

My final analysis of the test?  I’m giving myself and A+.  I think I worked hard.  I think I was smart about how I approached it.  I think I got good data.  And, like in any good test, I learned something.



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1/3/11 It’s all in Your Head

Monday.  Whoops missed a few entries end of the year.  Last couple of weeks have been not so good health wise but Thursday I started feeling better again and I’m now on an upswing.  I’m ready to carry that upswing into 2011 and wipe 2010 off the books.

If I have one new year’s resolution for 2011 it is for the power of positive imaging.   I have been struggling with my mind the last couple of weeks and the image I had of myself in my mind was of an old me and I was resorting to old bad habits.  It’s no coincidence that I was trapped up in CT where I had left a copy of my old negative self-destructive image neatly tucked away in a drawer ready to be pulled out at the slightest provocation.  Now, back in NYC under the harsh lights of nearby broadway I had to look in the mirror and ask who the heck are you and what have you done with the other me?  You are what you think you are.  If you think you are struggling,  an addict, incapable — you are right and your subconscious will set out to prove it.  If you think you are athletic, kind, patient, happy — you are right again and your subconscious will set out to prove that too.  It’s about changing the negative film print in your head.

I was off track in a big way. I  could blame the holidays, I could blame having to take care of two elderly people, I could blame the snow storm.  But the real story is you have to have a clear of image of who you are despite the surroundings.  The surroundings are going to change all the time.   The only constant is the me who is I.  Unfortunately for the last couple of weeks it has been the me that is who?  Ah right.  Her.  I forgot about her.  Let’s see what we can do to get that positive image back in my head.

I kind of slipped up on Dr. Fuhrman.  For 3 weeks I was doing great.  Starting to feel really good.   But it requires effort and planning.   Then all of a sudden I found myself in situations having to make rash food decisions and before I knew it, there were bagels and pastas and the dreaded Stacies Pita Chips.  (They are going to sue me one day  but I dis them only because I love them.)   Then I don’t know how it happened…  Suddenly dark chocolate started to appear everywhere and the wine was flowing and glowing and then it was snowing. Oh my.  And then some elves appeared with vegan cake and I was down a dark hole and I couldn’t see the light.

But then I think the universe sends you some signs.  Road markers.  I was walking down the street with Dr. Donna and all of a sudden a voice says “hello.”  I turn to find my old yoga teacher.  He’s the best.  But I haven’t been to his class in maybe 2 years?  A year and a half?  I had been thinking about going back to his class but I hadn’t gotten around to it.  Next thing I know I’m promising to come back to class and he is telling me he is going to hold me to it.  Friday 8 a.m.  I will be back in his class….  Inshallah.

I couldn’t wait for New Years Day.  Once New Years Day hit I knew it would all be over.  But I just had to get past the final party, New Year’s Eve.

Had a lovely group over my place for a pre-run nosh.  It was quite nice.  I made an awesome vegan pizza (flatbread) — recipe here It was my first time making pizza from scratch.  I also made a vegetarian version for the cheese people.  It was not that hard and it was great.   I think I could learn to perfect the recipes.

After our nosh we headed to the park for the midnight run.  Weather was really nice and warm.  I did the 4 miles with my bud Espo.  It was just right.  We kind of power-walked jogged the whole thing but chatting away the entire time.  Just the right way to do it.  I couldn’t have run/run it, I just have a hard time running at midnight.  Go figure.

A couple of pictures of some of the NY Eve gang (courtesy of Mister’s Mother)

And me

Got home around 2 a.m. and almost enough sleep before we had to get up to do the Polar Bear Plunge.  My 3rd year.  It was fun but the fun part is watching everyone else get all excited.  The water was really cold this year.  I think it was more noticeable because the air temp was so warm.

My friend Cat was awesome and went in for a second dunk with me.  Very proud of her.  My first year I dunked once.  Last year I dunked twice.  This year I dunked three times.  I was impressed she was willing to go in twice!

Here is our twice as nice picture. It’s kind of hard to look good coming out of the Atlantic Ocean freezing your butt off — (wouldn’t that be nice?):

And our crazy group almost everyone:

After our dip we went for brunch and I was given another assist from the universe.  Of course the first thing I thought of ordering were some french fries and a beer if they had it,  but my friend Paul is sitting next to me and he’s doing the Paleo diet for 60 days so I was reminded of Dr. Fuhrman and I had a baked potato and a salad.  Okay I stole a french fry and a fried onion ring from my friends but at least I didn’t eat a whole dish of them.  It was just nice to have someone sitting there saying “me too.”  It’s easier if you are not struggling alone.

I’ve been struggling with the running.  I’ve been doing it but my lungs have been hurting.. a lot.  The cold was really cutting into my lungs like a knife.   Yesterday I finally had a decent run.  Well, run/walk.  I did 10 miles without having to back down at all.  And I am quite sure I could have squeezed another 2 out if pushed.  But it is still a run walk and not very fast.  That’s okay.  It was progress.  The weather was great.  No lung pain.  No knee pain.  No pain, period.  And today I am not exhausted.  In fact, I’ve been sleeping less than 8 hours every night which is a huge difference from sleeping 12 hours a day.

As I expected, I am very happy to have 2011 underway.  I’m doing my purple teeth challenge (no alcohol of any kind for 30 days.)  Gives me a chance to cleanse everything for a bit.  I feel better already…..

So for 2011, for me it’s about daily renewal.  It’s about coming back to the now.  It’s about putting a little extra effort into setting up systems to help me stay on track.  It’s about running, health, family, friends and trying to just be the best I can.   To control what is in my control and to let go the things that are not.  A little more patience.  A little more effort.  A little more peace.  Putting that picture of the me I want to be in my head.

I have Dr. Fuhrman, Geeneen Roth and Dr. Beck back on speed dial.


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