Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Month-End Review, March

Dare I say that I had fun at the gym today?

Is there really fun to be had while gutting it out?

Maybe I should say that I had a satisfying time as I exercised in three parts. I got physical on the adaptive motion trainer, treadmill and arc trainer. As usual, the arc trainer worked me over -- but it was a good over.

While I was on the AMT, this woman got off of the treadmill, did five regular push-ups then went into a downward facing dog position and repeated the sequence several times before getting back on the treadmill to run. I was out-and-out impressed and, I swear, it made me want to drop down and do push-ups although I've never done more than seven in a row and I've never gone into downward facing dog as a transition.

I managed to exercise 27 days this month. I took off on Fridays even when I felt like I didn't need the rest and I exercised by committee on some days. Here's how I exerted myself:

AMT, 11 x's

Arc Trainer, 2 x's

Bike (Stationary), 1 x

Elliptical, 2 x's

Stair Climbing, 1 x

StairMaster, 2 x's

Swimming, 12 x's

Treadmill, 2 x's

Walking Outdoors, 2 x's

And in the immortal words of James Brown: I feel good, I knew that I would...

I Got You (I Feel Good)

Monday, March 30, 2009


I shouldn't have spoken so soon about not having a jones for Soyjoy bars.


So far, I've tried apple and strawberry. They're a little weird and look a little burnt; I wasn't quite sure if I liked them but...

After a couple of tentative bites, I committed to the bar and decided that it wasn't too bad. I like them as a pre-workout snack and they seem to tide me over between meals so when I saw them on sale at Walgreens two for a $1 dollar this week, I decided to get a handful.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Gym Trifecta

People like to say that April snow is a possibility and, even though it's not April, it's still odd to see snow since trees and shrubs are in bloom.

I went to the gym today and I had lots of energy. I wanted to get on an AMT but one was broken and the rest were taken. I jumped on an elliptical trainer for 30 minutes then headed to a bike, a rare choice for me. To make it a nice even hour, I hopped on a treadmill for 12 minutes (including the cool down). I chose the variety mode which I ended up enjoying because it had to cycle through that mode in seven minutes. So, I went from a 4% incline to a 13% incline in the span of four minutes. It was pretty cool. I'm definitely going to do a short stint in variety mode again.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

House of Wasa

I found these Wasa crackers on sale at Dierbergs. I usually purchase them at Big Lots where the price is significantly lower. While Big Lots has had the multi grain, sourdough and rye in stock, the crisp 'n light have been rather elusive so I was happy to see them at Dierbergs. You can build quite the snack with a Wasa foundation.

Today, I went to the St. Louis Bread Company to which I have not journeyed in a very long time. I used to love to go to the STL Bread Co on Saturday when the cupboard was full. The goods behind the Plexiglas were a sight to behold. I went today to pick up some sandwiches for a work-related event. Oh my, the Bread Co now has bogels -- the bagel version of donut holes. I was overwhelmed by all of the pastries: bearclaws, soufflés, danishes, cookies and the humongous cobblestone muffins. Of course, their bulk made me curious and here are the cobblestone stats:
Serving Size 7 ounces (197g)
Servings Per Container 1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 650 Calories from Fat 120
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 20%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 410mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 123g 41%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 62g
Protein 12g
I picked up the sandwiches which smelled scrumptious. I swear that from the bag of sandwiches that I had, I could discern the distinct smell of the Sierra Turkey sandwich or, perhaps, it was just my imagination, running away with me.

I tried a SOYJOY strawberry bar today -- not bad but not an item that will develop into a jones.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Biggest Loser, Week 12 Rundown

The teams have been disbanded and it’s every man and woman for themselves.

There was a two part challenge this week and, during the first part, participants received blocks that totaled the amount of weight they’ve lost since being on The Biggest Loser ranch.

Each contestant was allowed to put weight on any player’s scale and several players had quite a good time placing their blocks almost exclusively on Tara’s. The weight was distributed accordingly:

Tara, 257
Helen, 215
Sione, 92
Aubrey, 72
Filipe, 67
Mike, 63
Ron, 37

Tara got really upset and thought about throwing the next weigh-in so that she could go home but Aubrey told her that she should take it as a compliment to which Tara responded you get ganged up on every single day and see if it’s funny. Laura, Tara’s teammate, talked her out of leaving and post-tête–à–tête, Tara seemed reinvigorated.

The second part of the challenge took place on a race track. The stakes? Immunity at the next weigh-in. The contestants had to pull a two ton car for half a mile and, in addition to the regular weight of the car, it also contained the extra weight from the first part of the challenge.

Sione took off jogging. Mike quickly followed. Tara, being burdened by the extra weight, struggled but maintained a steady pace.

I took everything that I was feeling from being so defeated to being so ganged up on and it made me push harder.

I’ll be doggoned if Tara didn’t dig down and turn it on. She caught up and passed Mike and Sione to win. It was such a great comeback moment.

Kristen, who is prone to preachifying, became the first woman in Biggest Loser history to lose 100 pounds while on the ranch because Laura missed the mark by one pound. Kristen referred to what had been a prison of a body for her; she wants to be an inspiration for all who want and need to lose weight.

Filipe waxed poetic and said that by losing weight every week, he experienced a milestone. He also said that he hoped to be an example for his fellow Tongans.

Here's Tara putting her car into overdrive.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Fastest Hour

You can never completely erase pool evidence. Usually, droplets of water remain on my face after I have changed out of my swimwear which reminds me of the advertisement for the St. Louis Blues -- Do you bleed blue?
I had been looking forward to going to the pool all day. I was not disappointed when I got in the water and I even managed to work out a kink in my right thigh from my stint on the Adaptive Motion Trainer yesterday.

The hour went by so fast though. I swam 20 laps while resisting the urge to sing Etta James' At Last because it's hard to swim and sing at the same time.

Three kids were practicing their diving skills by tossing soda bottles filled with water into the deep end and retrieving them. I need to get in on that practicing one day so that I can feel more comfortable.

I learned something new too. I should be washing off my goggles with cold water since the chlorine can destroy the anti-fog coating on the lenses. Who knew?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Does A Pickle Count?

I didn't do very well with vegetables today so I'm wondering if the pickle that I had on my turkey sandwich counts.

I did manage to get in quite a bit of fruit: a banana, kiwifruit, strawberries and pineapple.

I went to the gym today and took on the AMT. I had way more energy than I had yesterday. I watched Celebrity Fit Club 3 and the evening news while I bounced and strode.

The news had a segment about simple pleasures during these tough, economic times. People are still treating themselves to things like lipstick, movies, McDonald's (revenue up 8%) and small pieces of Godiva chocolate. I was thinking about my simple pleasures. I'm definitely going to say that kiwifruit, pineapple and Kashi TLC (Tasty Little Cereal Bars) Baked Apple Spice are on my top ten list.

In the good news segment, a viewer reported that the Eugene, Oregon YMCA is offering a free, three-month membership to people who have been laid off.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Where The Flip Flops Hit The Road

As I was leaving The Wreck Center, this guy approached from the opposite direction on the narrow sidewalk. He was either ultra-relaxed or ultra-disengaged. His voice was low as were his eyes. He noticed my black and white flower flip flops or he heard the commotion of them hitting the pavement. The pool is open? I told him yes plus the hours of operation.

I was in and out of the zone today and feeling better about the front crawl. Although I was not feeling completely energetic, I managed to poky up and down lane two 38 times. As usual, the open swim hour went by fast.

Yesterday, I made a quiche. I'm usually ravenous after swimming so I like to cook on Sunday so that I don't have to worry about what to eat or mindlessly snack while I prepare something. I decided to try this recipe.


I used almond milk instead of soy milk since I already had some around and I used a 365 whole wheat crust. I really enjoyed this Healthy Veggie Quiche which had such a nice flavor.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

'Drea Minus Fifty

I did it. Yes, I did. I managed to lose 50 pounds.

Once, the band of my MP3 player would only fit on my lower arm. Now, I can put it on the upper part.

I imagine 5lb sugar bags. I cannot lift 10 bags of sugar at once but I carried those 50 pounds on my body. Thank you to my body for its incredible support.

Back in May of 2007, I was eager to get away from it all and I headed to the refuge of two friends, Martene and Kiyana, whom I have known since my college days. I’ve been going to New Jersey and New York off and on for awhile and I had planned to go in the fall of 2001 but…

I found myself walking to and from McDonald’s for coffee. I also got some Mickey D’s hash browns one day and, for some reason, the woman at the counter gave me two. Although I felt guilty, I discarded one because the browns were unbelievably greasy and I remember thinking this cannot be good for me.

During my vacation, I ended up walking way more than I had planned. In one day, I walked to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden,

the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and Sahadi’s. I also walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.

I rode the subway for small segments of time but frequently got lost. I remember stopping to ask this woman for directions. Is it within walking distance? Her tone was reprimanding. No, you cannot walk; it’s too far. And, then, she gave me perfect directions to the subway station.

For all the reports about New Yorkers, I have never been turned down for directions or lead in the wrong direction.

I also walked a lot during the fabulous African Arts Festival because there was a lot to see.

I still have a full bottle of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap that I just had to purchase.
By the time of the AAF, I had accidentally and intentionally exercised, walked up and down the steps of both friends’ abodes and lost four pounds along the way.

I decided to ride the wave of this momentum and continue with weight loss because, although I never felt destroyed about being overweight, I was beginning to feel too heavy for my own frame. It was a subtle feeling but definitely present.

I heard about people losing weight while training for a marathon and, magically, I was looking through a Prevention magazine and saw that there would be a marathon in St. Charles, MO in September of 2007. I remember how I would study that marathon page, put the magazine down and return to it later. Finally, I voiced my interest to a friend and, before I knew it, I was walking in Forest Park where I gradually increased my distance until I was able to walk the 6.2 mile trail twice. The modest hills on that trail found me out of breath. In fact, the first few times that I walked the Forest Park trail, I struggled. I could not complete 6.2 miles without stopping. But as I labored, I got in shape and the pounds started to melt away.

What the experts said about the dual effort of exercising and dieting resonated with me. I took a look at what I was eating. I stopped eating the obvious caloric bombs. I even took a look at my usual turkey sandwich that I tend to eat for lunch. I let go of the mayo and my regular wheat bread and switched to Healthy Life which weighed in at 35 calories per slice. I again downgraded to an open face sandwich with only one slice of bread.

I went from Dannon’s La Crème to Dannon’s All Natural Yogurt which represented a twenty calorie difference -- small but significant. I also went from being a McDonald’s addict to McDonald’s sobriety. Ironically, I never purchased hamburgers at Mickey D’s; I went for the apple pies, fries and the anemic orange drink. Now, if I want fries, I cut up potatoes, add a little olive oil, spices and put them in the oven – another small move that made a big difference.

Dr. Oz was on Oprah a couple of months ago and something that he said stuck with me. Don’t go for the head fake he counseled while talking to overweight teens. One of the teens said that he only ate a few bowls of cereal for breakfast. He was eating some type of chocolate puffs situation. Dr. Oz said that all the information that you need is on the product package. He showed the teenager what a serving size was and asked him if that resembled the contents of his cereal bowls. The teen was eating much bigger servings and, by the time breakfast was over, he had already consumed about 600 calories and 98 grams of sugar.

Knowing the serving size was instrumental for me and I try not to go for the head fake. Dr. Oz is right. The information is there: 65g of fat or less, 50g of protein or less etc.

I thought that I was not a gym person and I spent most of my time walking outside. Occasionally, I would turn to exercise DVD’s. Once I committed to the journey, it was an hour of walking or bust.

As I continued to walk, an aunt and cousin started to accompany me. One day, my aunt mentioned that her colleague had free passes to a gym. Since I had never gone to one, I didn’t know that you could try out most gyms for a week. I overcame my feeling of being on the outskirts of gym culture and fell in love with the elliptical trainer. That one week at the gym ramped up my weight loss. I guess that my body had become accustomed to walking outside. After my week was up, I started to try out other gyms and would be sad when the week was over. I finally decided to pony up and join a gym.

I’ve given up quite a few foods but I don’t feel deprived and exercise has become such a way of life that I sometimes reach for my duffel bag even when it’s not time to go work out.

I was wondering how long it would take to lose 50 pounds. I sometimes read, in disbelief, about people who lost 100 plus pounds in a short amount of time but I’m glad that I lost weight in a way that was sustainable for me. At one point, I even considered going on a fitness vacation but, alas, it was too pricey for me.

This weight loss odyssey has been unbelievable. I found out some amazing things about myself and my clan. I met some fascinating people along the way including Judy, the wild water aerobics instructor at Bally's and Charlotte, a woman that I met at the YMCA while I was taking a swimming class (M) and a Women on Weights class (Tu & Th). Looking at me with complete attitude as I stopped the treadmill, Charlotte said I know you're not finished. I chuckled as I told her that I was just warming up before heading to the weights. Charlotte also tried to convince me to take a yoga class but my eyes were focused on taking another swimming class at the time.

All in all, I feel so much stronger and I definitely plan to continue with this quest. I feel like screaming à la Kevin Garnett after winning the 2008 NBA Championship anything is possible. Well not quite like Garnett, because he was a bit punch-drunk at the time.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Relating To The Biggest Loser

The Biggest Loser did not disappoint this week. The contestants went home and participated in a half marathon with $10,000 dollars going to the person with the fastest time.

A tin of sugar cookies was delivered to every one's home. Eating one cookie (370 calories) would shave five minutes off the time of a selected player.

Tara and Sione finished neck and neck. Tara's marathon time was 2:24:19 and Sione, impeded by a hamstring, finished at 2:25:57. Unfortunately for Tara, Helen ate a sugar cookie and it had her name on it. I like what Tara had to say when she finished the race.

I feel so accomplished. I did it. I did it. At 200 pounds, I ran a half marathon.
When Mike and Ron went home, I wept with Max, son of Ron and brother of Mike. He was sad that he was now the biggest person in his home and his father now weighs 337 pounds after losing 93.

I identified with Mike when he and his father went out to their favorite restaurant. The owner gave free pizza and beer to their party. Mike was like do you know where we've been? Mike had his hands clasped together and I could see the agony of trying to decided whether or not to indulge. In the end, Mike decided not to eat pizza.

Helen, the cookie-eater, was tempted by Polish food, including cake and bread.

Sione went to a restaurant and asked if they had whole wheat pasta. He also asked what kind of rice they served. I related to the attempts to find options. Sione selected salmon without butter and salt and doubled up on the vegetables.

Aubrey had a sobering visit with her father who used to be considerably smaller but now weighs over 500 pounds. Her father was having hash browns with lots of cheese plus ham fried in a grease pile for breakfast. Aubrey told her father I want you back but realized that he has to want a healthier life for himself.

At the weigh-in, wonder woman Tara only lost two pounds and started bawling again. Her trainer, Jillian, said that as the weeks went by, Tara was becoming more manic, over training, over thinking, overtaxing her body and not sleeping which resulted in her body putting on the brakes.

The Blue Team lost the weigh-in again. There was another selfless act though. I thought Aubrey was a goner for sure since she was not a part of the original Blue Team. Cathy, who only lost one pound, said that she could never vote for her daughter, Shannon, and that Aubrey had become like a daughter. So, she asked to be voted off. Wow. I'm glad that Cathy sacrificied herself for Aubrey who has five kids and precious little time to exercise when at home.

Sione and Filipe, who are still training with their not trainer Bob, only lost minimal amounts of weight. Jillian made a good point that something must not be working out for them with their not trainer. On previous seasons, Bob has had the stronger team but Jillian still managed to have The Biggest Loser emerge from her black tribe. So, it will be interesting to see if Bob's underdog team will emerge victorious.

Cathy said that the woman who came to The Biggest Loser campus thought exercising consisted of 15 minutes on the elliptical trainer and one mile on the treadmill; she had no idea of what she was in for. I'm sure that she didn't since it's reported The Biggest Loser contestants exercise about six hours a day.

Check out Cathy's new addiction:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kids Say The Darndest Things

Water slammed against my left ear, went into my nose and, of course, my mouth as I was doing the back crawl because thirteen kicking kids and five adults make for some very wavy water.

While I was at the edge of the pool, Markia got out of the kicking line-up to tell me that the black line was just for us. She wanted me to know that I could go beyond the black line. Since I haven't mastered the front crawl breathing yet, I usually pause at some point and I guess that Markia was watching me and also wishing that she could venture into deep end territory.

Since Markia is one of the more advanced of the younger swimmers, she and a few others were eventually allowed into the deep end. They had so much fun doing cannon balls.

My birthday is next week, Markia said as she climbed the ladder on her way to cannon ball glory. You know what I'm getting? Goggles.

Markia asked if she could borrow my goggles and I obliged. I did a few more laps and headed to the locker room to get dressed. When I returned to the pool area, I took my duffel bag and sat on a bench. When Markia noticed me, she came over by the gate. I broke your goggles. I'm so sorry. I'll buy you some more. Markia did what many adults find hard to do. She copped to what she had done, apologized and offered to replace the thing that she had broken. I assured her that she did not have to replace the goggles. In fact, I'll give her my spare goggles at the next open swim.

Monday, March 16, 2009

What A Day

I was looking forward to the pool all day and I get in only to be told that I need to get out. I told you to come at 5:30, Nick says. Um, no, you didn't. You told me to stay in one lane to the side. I sent a text message to Katie, he continues. But you didn't send one to me. I, reluctantly, climbed out of the pool. I was hot because I could have come later or brought some reading material, yarn, knitting needles or something.

I sat in the wire cage -- kind of like a baseball dugout with barb wire, watched the sun hit the water and looked at the permanent scowl of the coach from the MO School for the Blind who was on Michael's case as usual and, today, he was Michael. Last week, he was Mikey. Michael, why did you stop? Michael, get out of the pool. Michael, I'm going to take you to an all-deep pool and if you stop, you'll sink. I couldn't believe that he was threatening the kid with the deep end. I so hoped the Mikey would hit a water home run.

At 5:30, I had the pool to myself for about five minutes. Then, the front crawler appeared quickly followed by ten kids. Only one toddler was accompanied by a parent and there was complete bedlam as Nick tried to provide instruction for them all. The second lifeguard even had the nerve to leave and I'm sure that there was some violation of lifeguard to child ratio.

Despite the false start, I managed to get in 17 laps in 45 minutes but Monday at the pool was like Monday in general -- chaotic and draining.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Look and Song of the Day

I was at the gym working out by the window when this Afghan woman looked in with bewilderment. She seemed to be particulary fascinated by the pedals. I'm sure she wondered why someone would get on such a contraption.

While I was on the AMT, I had to disengage from the cardio theatre because neither This Week or SportsCenter was helping me gut it out. I unplugged from the TV and plugged in my MP3 player. Chaka Khan was in my ear first and I was able to find inspiration in this verse alone.

I'm every woman, it's all in me...
I was watching some of today's Suns/Warriors game which was an all out track meet; it made me want to get on a court just to shoot around a bit.

I found this recipe for Cocoa Brownies in Shape magazine. This rich, low-calorie chocolate treat was calling my name.


Why must the sweets always beckon me?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Loughborough Ave.

As I was heading down 55 South, I passed the Loughborough Ave. exit and whenever I pass this exit, I can't help but think about when I was exiting to go to my swimming class at the YMCA. I can still hear my swimming teacher Jim say I want you to strive to get to the end of the pool.

Later on, Jim basically threw down the gauntlet and told me that I was not to stop and I was thinking that there was no way that I would make 25 yards doing the front crawl and I didn't make it that time but I didn't put my feet down either; when I felt like I could no longer breathe, I simply starting doing a breaststroke-like action. I'm quite fond of combo styles. If I get tired of doing the breaststroke, I'm liable to resort to the sidestroke about 12.5 yards into the effort.

I was traveling down 55 South because I was headed to the Mehlville pool which also made me remember how Jim and Shannon used to jump right into the water and I'm beginning to think that they had the right idea. Just jump in. Adjusting to the water is worse when you try to, no pun intended, wade in the water. Mehlville tends to keep their water quite chilly and I was staring to ponder the benefits of a wetsuit. Well, today, the water was just right. While the water was right, I wasn't. I struggled to swim 16 laps in one hour.

I had the pool to myself until two girls got in. One girl was about eight or nine years old but rocking the butterfly and back crawl. She rocked about everything as a matter of fact. In fact, she looked like a future Olympian.

I love to watch people swim the butterfly. It's poetry in motion.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stepping Up

The Biggest Loser had the nerve to have a cliffhanger episode but Tuesday's show was worth the wait.

Tara won the pop challenge which had the contestants squatting with a six pound weight on their legs. In the end, Tara was about to give up but her eyes never betrayed her. She had that Jordanesque stare. You know the game (Bulls vs. Blazers, 1992 Finals, Game 1) when Michael Jordan was in the zone. He was hitting so many baskets that even he shrugged his shoulders.

The main BL challenge was at 24 Hour Fitness. It was a relay in which team members had to swim the length of the pool and collect twenty four 6 lb weights, carry the weights up the steps, crawl under an obstacle course, run back and forth down a basketball court and do 24 squats at one end of the court. The stronger Black Team barely won.

The prize? Twenty four hours of luxury. And luxury was almost The Black Team's tragic downfall. They smoked, drank tequila and ate calorically heavy food, including chicken tenders, mashed potatoes and fries. Their trainer, Jillian, was furious when she finally got out of them what they had done. During the Black Team's evening of luxury, they consumed 15,563 calories vs. 1,612 consumed by the Blue Team who remained at the ranch.

During the weigh in, Tara i.e. Wonder Woman lost no weight and broke down. She couldn't believe that she had folded to temptation so easily. The Black Team barely won the weigh-in.

Then, it was time to decide who was going to be voted off the tribe. The three original Blue Team members were going to stick together and send Mandi home but Aubrey saw how devastated her sister was and volunteered to go. Laura, from the Black Team, had an extra vote. The plan was for Aubrey, Mandi and Laura to vote for Cathy which would make for a tie since Ron, Cathy and Kristen planned to vote for Mandi but Mandi had something else in mind. She voted for Ron; so, there was no three-way tie. Mandi threw herself under the bus to give her sister more time on the ranch.

It's time for me step up and be the big sister, Mandi said. It was a very touching moment and it made me remember something that Venus Williams said after defeating her sister Serena in the 2008 Wimbledon Championship. A broadcaster noted that Venus' tone was subdued and she said that, yes, it was great to win but she also took her responsibility as a big sister seriously.

During her time on The Biggest Loser Ranch, Mandi shed 66 pounds. In her exit interview, she said I want everybody to know -- you have it inside of you.

Here's a video of the new Mandi.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

About The Pool

I've been to La Jolla, CA a couple of times and whenever I drive into that city and see the shoreline, I start singing a few lines from that James Blunt song:
You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful, it's true.
I felt that way about the pool today. Okay, not just today. The light of the sun was shining majestically into the pool area. I stepped into the water and put my arms out and glided underwater. Happy, happy. Joy, joy.

I swam 21 laps today -- the most laps that I've done in one hour and I'm hoping to work my way up to 32.5 laps which is a mile.

I was reading an old Zen Habits post which was actually a guest post by Brett Cornwright about training for a triathlon.


Cornwright talked about how some people learn to swim just for that event. He suggested Total Immersion as a reputable swimming program. I clicked on the TI link and found out that they will be conducting a freestyle workshop in Chicago this weekend. I briefly thought about participating until I saw that it was sold out and had a price tag of $495 dollars. Ouch.

I also got another idea from Zen Habits. I've been thinking about getting a bicycle but never thought about getting one from Craigslist. So, instead of walking, you might see me motoring around Forest Park and saying on your left as I pass by.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Elliptical Trainer, 1............... 'Drea, O

I have not been on the Elliptical Trainer in awhile and I don't remember being worked over like that by the ET before. Sweat was rolling off my face big time. In retrospect, my heart rate was probably elevated from my StairMaster stint. Although fatigued, I gutted it out. My inspiration was heightened when I saw the pregnant woman on the Arc Trainer, her usual machine of choice.

Sarah Reinertsen, the first female above-knee amputee to become an ironman,
occasionally pops into my head. Someone interviewed her a few years ago and she said sometimes I do look at people and think what a waste of two legs...

I went shopping at Trader Joe's a few days ago and picked up this box

of crackers which was such an impulsive purchase since I already have all of these crackers at home.

The Multigrain Savory Thins actually expired in July of 2008. Sigh.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Encounters of the Dinner Kind

Baked fish and vegetables were on the menu at my grandmother's house yesterday. I was excited since I miss the ritual of Sunday dinner with g'ma and company. In fact, it's hard to turn down my aunt's food even when it's fried fish, french fries and hushpuppies.

I quickly realized that the extra fine green beans and mushrooms were slick with oil.

The tilapia was extremely tasty and I inquired about the flavors. My aunt had used Old Bay Seasoning and told me that the recipe was in the paper on the table.


No wonder the tilapia was tasty; it had butter and mayonnaise on its flesh.

There's a chance that I could be under eating in proportion to the amount of exercise that I've been doing and I was hoping that the butter and mayo would do no harm.

I actually managed to move the scale, an anticlimactic event after all of the anticipation. I'm a pound lighter. Usually, I drop weight in two pound increments. So, the scale should move again soon.

I went swimming today which is such a reward after the j-o-b on Monday. I swam 20 laps in about sixty minutes. The kids from the MO School from the Blind were there and two swimmers collided again.

One of the teachers is taking a boot camp mentality to the max. I felt sorry for Mikey because the teacher was all over his case. Mikey did I tell you to stop? Mikey go back. Mikey do this. Mikey do that. Neither Mikey nor the teacher looked like they were enjoying themselves and as Shannon, one of my former swim teachers said, swimming should not be stressful.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Performance Can Hurt

My lower back, calves, hip and thighs are fully animated. Still, the steps in the park were calling my name but I knew better than to climb stairs back-to-back -- not to mention how ill-advised it would be post-'dreathon. Of course, my astuteness did not stop me from going to the gym.

While I was watching SportsCenter courtesy of the cardio theater, I saw this commercial with Jimmy Rollins that had me laughing out loud.

Pocketbook lady had me chuckling too:

"Excuse me," she said to two passersby, "I need a hand."
And she got a hand. PL was trying to dismount from the treadmill platform. I love that she asked for help and I also like that she's in the gym; I want to enjoy mobility for a very long time as well.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


What's a 'dreathon you might ask?

It's probably only something that someone as batty as me would do.

I got up this morning to participate in Master the Met, the second competitive stairclimb that the American Lung Association has sponsored. I like last year's t-shirt better than the 2009 T.

Stairs are the great equalizer. It doesn't matter what your fitness level might be; going vertical for 42 levels is going to make you breathless at some point. My legs started to get very heavy on level seven.

I managed to finish in 17 minutes and 14 seconds. That's an average of 25 seconds per floor. Last year, I finished in 19 minutes and four seconds. I felt like I would finish in less time since my fitness level is better. Plus, I was 16 pounds heavier at this time last year.

Master the Met was such an adrenaline rush and since it was a nice day (and because I want to burst through the current weight loss plateau), I headed to Forest Park to walk the 6.2 mile trail.

I know what you're thinking: climbing 42 flights of stairs and a 6.2 mile walk do not make a 'dreathon. Therefore, I continued on my mission to test my stamina and swam 11 laps. And that, my friends, concluded the 'dreathon.

It was nice to be in downtown this morning when it was all quiet -- for the most part; if you don't count the 900 something climbers that were going in and out of Metropolitan Square. I forget, sometimes, how I like the architecture of downtown and I also forget how amazing the Arch is.

I wanted to get a picture from the top of the Metropolitan Square building but cameras were not allowed on the stairwell. MP3 players were actually allowed this time around. I was glad that climbers still chatted and encouraged each other despite listening to their tunes.

Check out this article about people who climb stairs regularly or for stairclimbing events.


And here's a stairway to health calorie calculator.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

60 Minutes

When I decided that I would push myself to exercise more, I committed to sixty minutes of exercise whether stepping into the gym or into the concrete jungle. I should have made an exception for the Adaptive Motion Trainer. My workout clothes were quite damp and my legs felt quite shaky once I got off the AMT today. Really, I was used up.

I watched week nine of The Biggest Loser. Tara continues to give her all in workouts and challenges. She's lost 94 pounds in nine weeks. Others have dropped impressive amounts of weight including the hot cousins from the island of Tonga who have each lost 89 pounds.

I wish that there was a Biggest Loser for folks in the second phase of weight loss because I would apply in a heartbeat.

Sugar Ray Leonard and Rocco DiSpirito were the celebrity guests. The blue team worked out with Leonard while DiSpirito oversaw a challenge that had the contestants cooking lower fat versions of fast food like burritos, fried chicken and pizza. DiSpirito suggested cooking with soy flour which I had never heard of until then.

I was watching Survivor earlier. I know, it's like the high fructose corn syrup of reality shows but I don't have cable and I must give proper respects to Taj, who is exquisitely thick; she has large, beautiful arms and was able to win a challenge for her team by holding sandbags (attached to a bar across her shoulders) totalling 100 pounds.

I was reading an August 2008 edition of Fitness magazine. Sigh, I'm a bit behind in my reading. Several Olympians were interviewed including runner Lolo Jones. I loved what she had to say:

...What do I like best about my body? My legs. I have about 20 scars from where I've hit the hurdles over the years -- and I've earned them all.
I'm going to look into Alice Water's The Art of Simple Food, a cookbook that Olympian Natalie Coughlin mentioned in that same issue of Fitness.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Habits of Highly Effective Exercisers

My morning snacks were Dannon's All Natural Strawberry Yogurt and a fruit cocktail of blueberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, pineapple and strawberries.

After gathering my a.m. snacks, I laid out swimming gear
plus a Fit and Active Strawberry Light and Crispy Cereal Bar. I usually munch on something before working out, including jelly beans at times.

I have been very amused by SOYJOY's recent campaign pitting soybeans against jelly beans.

Only one snack will give you the sustained energy that you need.

Plain water has tasted unbelievably flat and uninteresting. I dug out the Perrier, which has probably been in my basement for about a year, hoping that it will help me increase my water consumption. I know why they tell you to drink more water when you're trying to lose weight. The extra steps that you take to and from the bathroom will greatly add to the amount of exercise that you rack up.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Killer of the Calves

I should also refer to the Arc Trainer as the glutes and arms killer as well. I didn't know if I would have the wherewithal to stay on that machine for forty minutes.

As it turns out, I ended up doing a split shift. When I first got on the Arc Trainer, there was no one on the AT to the right. Little did I know that two friends would have a Peaches and Herbs Reunited moment. Friend One, with a five-a-day soda habit and an inability to move the scale, got on the AT and proceeded to have a conversation right over my head and, since Friend One's voice was registering 8.0 on the Richter scale, I decided to turn my machine over to her.

Oh my God, am I bothering you? I never know when I'm doing that to people.

I told her that it was okay and I know how it is when you want to be with your friends...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Where I Was Coming From

I was so happy to see the Wreck Center after work. When I went into the locker room, there were clothes all over which is usually not the case. Then, I heard a lot of commotion in the vicinity of the pool.

I got into my swimwear, headed toward the pool and put my towel on the bench. There were about seven teenagers in the water and two adults with poles on the sidelines. I headed straight for Nick who explained that students from the MO School for the Blind would be there every Monday in March practicing for a race. Wow. I was apprehensive about the deep end and couldn't imagine the nerve it would take to learn how to swim with limited sight or none at all.

I claimed lane six and as I was doing the back crawl, Nick was talking to me but I couldn't hear him since my ears were pretty much submerged. Once I got to the end of the pool, I asked him to repeat himself.

You could hardly swim when you first started coming and now...

I wanted to say something profound but all I could muster was yeah but I think that Nick knew where I was coming from.

When I left the Wreck Center, it was still a little light out. It was nice to come home and not have to cook or wash clothes. I made vegetarian chili yesterday and it was mmmm, mmmm good.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

March Pomegranate

My aunt Girt offered me some fruit cocktail and I declined since I had made my own cocktail of blueberries, kiwi, pineapple and strawberries which was in my snack bag that I carry around. People are so used to me carrying my snack bag that it doesn't even amuse them anymore.

My aunt said watermelon would make this perfect.

Yeah, pomegranate would make mine perfect, I responded.

Before I knew it, I had a fourth of a pomegranate before my very eyes.

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's SuperAunt!

How in the world did she pull that off?

My aunt had been storing the pomegranate for, at least, a month and it had maintained its freshness.

I was so freakin' touched that my aunt would share her last pomegranate with me.

Her offering reminded me of a poem in Henry Dumas' Knees of a Natural Man.

Saba: Joy

purchase two
eat one
give the other away


On Friday, I went to a work-related luncheon and I wondered what would be on the menu. As soon as I entered the dining room, I saw slabs of cheesecake on the table. Haha, my first temptation.

I ate my salad sans dressing and passed the bread basket without reaching in. Those little balls of butter were visually appealing though. Lunch consisted of tilapia, pasta and mixed vegetables. The tilapia had a very nice flavor but had a cream sauce on top. At first, I was trying to eat around the sauce and I just finally gave in and ate it but I left the pasta alone. I do eat pasta but I try to make it whole wheat these days.

I also noticed that my tablemate had a tiny shrimp (disguised by cream sauce) on top of her tilapia. I was really hoping that the tilapia and shrimp had not been cooked together because I knew that there would be a shrimp on my plate as well. If push came to shove, I could have gone to Walgreens for some Benadryl.

Fast food is so off my radar these days. I didn't even notice that the Pizza Hut by skanky Schnucks had closed.

I don't cook all the time but I do have some standby meals like Kashi entrees.

I've tried Kashi's Black Bean Mango frozen entree and the Pesto Pasta Primavera.
I prefer the Black Bean one since the sodium count is 430mg compared to 750mg on the Pesto Pasta. As Dr. Oz would say, don't go for the head fake. As vigilant as I am, I didn't even look at the nutrition facts, I just assumed that the Pesto Pasta would be comparable to the Black Bean as far as the sodium was concerned.

If you would like to try a Kashi frozen entree, now is the time since they are giving away coupons for a free entree and Kashi is pretty good about sending out the goods.