Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Month-End Review, June

I felt like I was in the zone this month. I was so on automatic with going to the gym and losing weight that I was caught by surprise during rock climbing when I discovered that my stamina had improved. The last time that I had gone climbing was in January and I was feeling that it was just too much to pull myself up a wall.

I'm in shape and even my left arm is stronger; I could hardly tote larger items with my left hand and now I can.

I've rediscovered the stairmaster and I no longer have to pause the machine to catch my breath. My cardio was quite varied this month and, through it all, I had a blast.

10 Minute Solution: Fitness Ball Workout, Upper Body, 3 x's

EFX, 1 x

Elliptical Trainer, 5 x's

Mowing Lawn, 2 x's

Rock Climbing, 1 x

Shooting Hoops, 1 x

Stairmaster, 6 x's

Stationary Bike, 9 x's

Swimming, 12 x's

Treadclimber, 10 x's

Treadmill, 3 x's

Yard Work, 2 x's

Workout Song Of The Month: P-Funk's Flash Light

Monday, June 29, 2009

No Pool Left Behind

In an effort to leave no pool behind, I went to the Maplewood Family Aquatic Center. In order to be admitted to the pool, you have to be a resident or be accompanied by one.

The price of admission is $6.00 for nonresidents -- $2 dollars more than The Kennedy Recreation Complex and $6 dollars more than the city pools. It would almost be better to pay the fee at The Heights which is $7 dollars since you're able to use the pool, sauna, hot tub and cardio equipment etc. In addition, you can leave and reenter The Heights if you get your hand stamped.

I went to the MFAC because I didn't want to deal with the city pool and I didn't want to jockey for position in the sole lap lane at Kennedy.

I was surprised to see that Maplewood has an Olympic size pool as well. They also have a nice area for the kids.

The Olympic lanes seem infinite. It took about an hour and a half but I got in 20 laps. I like the fact that there are two lanes devoted to lap swimmers. I was amazed by the man who did the front crawl forever and ever and by the toddler who jumped off the diving board. His father, who was sitting on the sideline, had complete confidence in his son's ability to jump and tread and make it back to the edge of the pool.

While I was doing the back crawl, I spotted a bird in a holding pattern. It was so cool; we were both gliding but the bird was far more graceful.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Another One Bites The Dust

I went to my third Target looking for some Archer Farms organic chocolate chips cookies. I finally thought to stop by customer service and ask if they were still selling them.

A woman called a man who told me that I would have to call Chris in the food market. I got on the phone this morning and Chris told me that he was showing *0* inventory for all stores in the surrounding area although this does not include the Illinois stores. Chris believes that they have been discontinued but I can call guest relations to make sure.

I guess that I had better enjoy these last two packs because as my grandfather used to say that's all she wrote.

Trader Joe's has a similar cookie. Alas, it doesn't move me like the Archer Farms brand.

Another One Bites The Dust

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Dilemma Indeed

I had prepared to be repulsed while reading Mark Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and my preparation was warranted. Pollan's book, logging in at 450 pages, was quite the undertaking seeing that I have not read a book in a long time.

Corn, corn, corn; it seems that we have quite the surplus in the US. Still, I had to do a double-take when I read that Bt corn is genetically engineered to produce its own pesticide.

I think Pollan is correct when he writes that yet since the human desire for sweetness surpasses even our desire for intoxication, the cleverest thing to do with a bushel of corn is to refine it into thirty-three pounds of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Pollan goes on to say that, annually, about 17.5 billion pounds of high-fructose corn syrup are produced and that, essentially, the government will subsidize HFCS but not carrots.

Other topics that caught my attention included:

  • 400 Cattle An Hour

  • Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO)

  • Earthbound Farm's Story

  • Environmental Costs of Cheap Food

  • Grading System That Favors Corn-Fed Over Grass-Fed Beef

  • Growth Hormones

  • Manure Lagoon

  • Nature's Logic -- No Match For Logic of Capitalism

  • The French Paradox

  • I liked how Pollan went and worked on the Polyface farm and highlighted grass farming but, best of all, I like the final chapter, The Perfect Meal. Pollan, for the most part, makes a meal out of food that he foraged or hunted (wild pig). In Pollan's words:

    Scarcely an ingredient in it had ever worn a label or bar code or price tag, and yet I knew almost everything there was to know about its provenance and its price.

    I'm strongly thinking about upping the amount of organic items that I purchase. Of course, even HFCS can be certified organic.

    Friday, June 26, 2009

    Checked But Barely

    Could it be that my exercise sessions are too long?

    Can You Get Fit in Six Minutes a Week?

    Even if my sessions are too long, I've programmed myself to work out for longer stints and I don't see myself cutting back on time at the gym anytime soon. Plus, as with food, I'm sure that another study will come out to contradict this one.

    Also, I think that I need to get my hands on The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite because my sweet tooth remains checked but barely.

    How the Food Makers Captured Our Brains

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    Back At Kennedy Rec Complex

    I went back to the Kennedy Recreation Complex. I guess I kinda like the joint.

    I did about eight laps before I took a break. Then, I went and leisurely swam around in the deep end since I felt like I was being chased in the lap lane at times. I also noticed that the deepest part of the pool is 13 feet deep and not 10 as I thought.

    I went back to do a couple of more laps then went to the general area again.

    After swimming, I went to a bicycle shop. I haven't had a bicycle in a very long time and I'm a little bit surprised by the hefty price tags and all of the different kinds of bikes. I saw a light green Raleigh hybrid that really looked nice but I'm not willing to cough up $400 plus dollars for a bicycle that I may not ride often.

    I saw bikes that were more than $2,000 dollars. Just what type of material went into them?

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Today's Cardio Selections

    The stairmaster works me over like no other machine and I definitely had room for comparison today. I started out on a stationary bike, moved to the elliptical trainer then took on the stairmaster. I finished up with the treadclimber for a total of 65 minutes of exercise.

    After leaving the gym, I prepped my camera to take this photo. Once I hit Market St., I knew that I would see The Arch which is quite the spectacle from Market or from anywhere downtown as a matter of fact.

    Don't worry. There were really no cars around except for one many, many car lengths away. Still, I didn't want to linger and that's why I ended up getting STL's version of a leaning tower.

    The weather is amazing. This morning the heat was stifling but as I left the gym around 7 p.m., I had my windows down and it felt good. I did a little yard work since yard waste pick-up is tomorrow. During those 25 minutes, I found out that the heat was not completely gone.

    Monday, June 22, 2009


    I was grateful for my GPS today and don't know if I would have found The Kennedy Recreation Complex without it. Well, I would have found it but it would have been a precarious situation trying to read directions on winding roads.

    I went to do reconnaissance. Lap swimming was slated for 5:00 p.m. and right on time, the lifeguard moved a red divider to make a lane. Voilà, lap swimming. I thought he would at least put another red divider up but that didn't happen. One lane, albeit a wide one, was set aside for lap swimming.

    The Kennedy Complex has an Olympic-size pool which means the lanes are 50 meters instead of 25 so one time down equals one lap. Those Olympic-sized lanes wore me out. I thought I would never reach the end at times. In addition, there were fast swimmers present. This one guy was swimming behind me and caught up to me rather fast. He straight up swam under me and surfaced in front. It was mega-cool and he seemed so at ease in the water.

    Before I got in the pool, I walked the perimeter to check out the depth of the pool which has a small deep end section which, at its deepest, is 13 feet.

    Overall, the pool is very nice. I also like the area to the side which has a canopy over it and sufficient seating. There were chairs everywhere because, obviously, some people wanted to be out in the sun.

    I also like the locker room which is spacious and has low flow showers.

    After swimming, I headed to Target and was surprised to see Dannon All Natural Strawberry Yogurt for $1.74 as opposed to $2.32 at Dierbergs. Target, like Dierbergs, only has strawberry and blueberry. It seems that they've stopped selling peach. I hate it when I have to go cold turkey.

    Sunday, June 21, 2009

    Tip, #1

    When I was checking out items at Trader Joe's, the associate said that he lets his Soy Creamy Mini Chocolate Sandwiches get soft then he adds fruit. He promised that it was delicious.

    I decided to try my Soy Creamy with a single strawberry (just in case). I thought my Mini and strawberry did a good imitation of a restaurant dessert. I haven't been to a restaurant in a long time so my imagination might be getting the best of me.

    I have to say that the T.J.'s associate made a good recommendation. I thoroughly enjoyed my dessert which was still less than 100 calories.

    Saturday, June 20, 2009

    Old Jones, #1

    I was immediately hooked the first time that I tasted chai.

    I studied several recipes before I made it. I had quite the production line going and even bought fennel and black peppercorns to add to the mix. It was all worth it though. My friend even pointed me in the right direction as far as tea. In fact, I still have some Red Label tea which I'm told lasts forever. Hope so.

    Masala Chai Tea

    Makes 2 small cups

    1 1/2 cups water
    1 stick of cinnamon
    8 cardamom pods
    8 whole cloves
    2/3 c milk (or half and half)
    6 tsps sugar (or to taste)
    3 tsps unperfumed loose black tea
    1/4 ginger root, thinly slice

    Put 1 1/2 cups water in saucepan. Add the cinnamon, cardamon, cloves and ginger and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the milk and sugar and bring to a boil then simmer. Throw in the tea leaves, cover and turn off the heat. After two minutes, strain the tea into two cups and serve immediately.

    From Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking

    Friday, June 19, 2009

    Thanks For The Croissants But

    I was cleaning out my Outlook at work since, with current, sent and deleted items, I had some 8,000 e-mails. I came across this e-mail that I sent to a crony in response to some goodies that she had brought to work:

    Oh Kathy,

    Thank you for the croissant but I think I forgot to tell you that I’m trying to be a very good girl these days.

    I’ve actually given up a lot of things or I’ve either made substitutions. Now, I eat chocolate-covered peppermint sticks instead of chocolate bars. With watching what I eat and exercising, I’ve lost 31 pounds. I know it’s hard to believe because I’m still chunky. :)
    Speaking of croissants, another work crony gave me this quintuplet of buttery, flaky treats in September 2007 as a part of a birthday gift. I treated them the way an overextended person treats their credit cards; I put them on ice.

    The question is -- why in the world do I still have them?

    Back Down Memory Lane

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    Inaugural Outdoor Swim

    I went by Marquette Pool this morning to see what was going on because when I went by there on Tuesday, the only water I saw was the dew on the grass even though city pools were slated to open on June 15th. I was delighted to see water this morning.

    I gathered my swim gear and headed for the pool immediately after work. To say that the pool was crowded is an understatement but most people were in the shallow end.

    In addition to the people in the pool, there were quite a few folks hanging around the gate.

    I actually stood by the gate for quite awhile trying to decide if I should just go to afternoon swim in Mehlville. I began to see little strips of spots to swim. I also had my eye on the deep end -- the perfect spot for laps. But how deep was the water? I definitely need to work on my treading skills and depth won't be an issue.

    I asked where the locker room was after someone told me that I could not go in the gym which was not my intended destination anyway. After I changed, I came out and was greeted by Dana who is usually at The Wreck Center. I cannot tell you how nice it was to see a familiar face. Dana said that she had been trying to get my attention but I had been so deep in thought that I hadn't heard her.

    She asked me if I was going to do laps in the deep end and that sealed the deal. I got in the water and was surprised by the coolness. It was 97 degrees outside but the sun hadn't had a chance to work its magic yet.

    I was in the pool for about two minutes when a fight broke out. Everyone had to get out of the pool as security and the lifeguards tried to break it up.

    After the fight, the lifeguards never returned to the deep end. I swam for a little bit longer but didn't stay in the shallow end long; there was too much activity and not enough space. I didn't bother to change clothes. As I was leaving, I saw Paris, a lifeguard from The Wohl Center. It was nice to see him as well.

    The swimming pool is wonderfully situated. The trees are a nice backdrop and it was amazing doing the back crawl while looking at the clouds and clear sky.

    It was sad, though, that the opening of the pool was marred by violence. Those kids would be better served by taking the free swimming lessons that Marquette offers or taking that aggression into, at least, a boxing ring.

    Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    CCPS Jones

    It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas in June. On Tuesday, one of my work cronies, Julie, left a mint plant on my desk. Julie's been nice enough to bring me batches of mint from her garden. Her mint has huge leaves and a wonderful aroma.

    Yesterday Kelly, another buddy, brought me some mint. Kelly's mint smelled like Wrigley's Spearmint gum and she mentioned that it might actually be chocolate mint.

    I had no idea that there was such a huge variety of mint. I was telling yet another co-worker, Karen, about this lemon situation in my backyard and she said that it was probably mint. That's when Karen hipped me to the fact that there is lemon mint and chocolate mint etc. etc.

    Now, I don't know if Kelly's mint is chocolate mint but it smells and tastes divine; biting into makes your mouth come alive.

    Awhile back, a fourth co-worker, Asmira, also potted some mint for me.

    I have to report that it did not make it which wasn't too devastating seeing that it had no fragrance which is half the mint experience for me.

    Today, one of my aunts gave me five boxes of Bogdon's chocolate-covered peppermint sticks (CCPS).

    See, I got her addicted towards the end of last year but she got tired of Bogdon's and I inherited the sticks. I wish that my cravings petered out so fast.

    It's funny that Kelly should bring me the mint because she is responsible for my chocolate-covered peppermint jones. Several years ago, she had a holiday get-together and she had these reception sticks that came from Trader Joe's. Of course, I immediately found my way to Trader Joe's to get my own stash. The reception sticks were seasonal and, because I had a jones for CCPS, Trader Joe's stopped selling them. I did not see this as a huge problem; I just went searching.

    Eventually, I found some at the Walmart in O'Fallon, IL. Because I did not want to cross the river too often, I always got several 8.5 oz containers. Eventually, WalMart stopped selling the CCPS. I found other CCPS but none with the four pieces for 70 calories stat.

    Eventually, I started seeing the CCPS at Big Lots and that's where I've been getting my supply ever since.

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    The Last One To Leave

    I know why I go to the gym immediately after work. Since The Wreck Center has changed its open swim times, I decided to go to afternoon swim at Mehlville's pool.

    I came home, got out of my work clothes, ate dinner and threw a load of clothes in the washer. I was rather relaxed and felt like I had already done something and I certainly wasn't feeling like exercising at the point but I pushed on. I got in my gear and headed for the pool.

    Apparently, quite a few people had the same idea. When I got to Mehlville at 7:30 p.m., at least 25 other people were there as well. I ended up sharing a lane with two people. Then, a father wanted to show his son how to dive off of the platform in our lane. The lifeguard finally told him that he could not do that while people were swimming laps. I was the first one in my lane and I was the last one to leave because, you know, a girl likes to get in her laps. With the sharing and diving etc., I only got in 18 laps but I was satisfied considering the circumstances.

    I saw this article in the New York Times. I really did not want to read it but felt like I should be informed.

    In Some Swimming Pools, a Nasty Intestinal Parasite

    Monday, June 15, 2009

    Food Neophobia

    I was trying to clean up and get rid of some clutter. I'm still shocked by how much stuff was under my bed and can't believe how many forgotten shoes, including tennis shoes that I had decided not to wear because some of the tread was gone.

    I had read that after you put a certain number of miles on your shoes, you should replace them. Of course, for all of those shoes that I had put to the side, I felt put in my place when I watched The Lost Boys of Sudan and one of the young men who had been living in a refugee camp for just about his entire childhood, let behind a a pair of blown out shoes for one of his friends. My shoes that I no longer wear are practically new compared to those blown out ones.

    I was also looking through magazines -- checking to see if there were articles that had moved me and needed to be saved or if I needed to just recycle the lot of mags.

    I came across an article, Michael Pollan's Dilemma, in the June 2007 issue of Cooking Light which is interesting because I'm reading Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and I have my own dilemma which is whether or not to keep reading it. Pollan's book is like the food exposé on 60 minutes or 20/20; I'd just rather not be enlightened about what goes on in a slaughter house etc.

    Pollan talks about how his son, Isaac, is such a picky eater. Pollan and his wife learned to cook for their finicky son with some success. The article went on to say that Isaac might have what anthropologists call "neophobia."

    I've never heard of neophobia before. Wanna know what they called it in my house? You're not leaving the table until you eat what's on your plate. Really, I don't know how I survived childhood OR the hours I spent at the table with my legs dangling from the chair.

    Sunday, June 14, 2009

    'Drea Can Jump

    Last Sunday as I was headed to my temporary fitness club, I saw some guys playing basketball. It was early so there was not a crowd. I got an urge to shoot some hoops so I set out to find my basketball and I hit the jackpot when I found not only my basketball but my air pump and needles as well. I discovered that the pump was broken which was not a problem since it was worth it to me to invest in a new one.

    I got to the court and there was no one shooting hoops. Perfect. I discovered that my ancient ball has seen better days. The b'ball kept enough air for me to shoot around for awhile then I headed to the fitness club.

    I took on the treadclimber, a stationary bike and treadmill. I did a fitness test on the treadmill which was pretty cool. I got kicked off two minutes before my test was over because, according to the Star Trac, my heart rate was too elevated for a certain span of time.

    I'm still digging the downtown vibe but what's up with the ferris wheel and giant grasshopper on top of the building?

    Saturday, June 13, 2009

    Chatty Kathleen

    Rock climbing worked me over on Thursday. I still feel its presence in the vicinity of my armpits, sides, forearms and in my ability to grasp objects. Soreness made for an interesting swim today especially when I did the back crawl.

    I did 21 laps and spent almost two hours in the pool. Now, it didn't take me two hours to complete those laps. I paused in between while my lane neighbor, Chatty Kathleen, talked to me. Kathleen is recovering from a stroke. In between swimming, she said soothing things to me like you're in a safe place, we start out in water, become one with the water etc. etc.

    Kathleen even took the time to show and tell me, as if it were as easy as spreading room temperature butter on bread, how to breathe during the front crawl. Now, that's when I felt really sorry for Kathleen. Her recovery is going well and she definitely out-swam me but the woman just doesn't know about my struggle with the front crawl. She doesn't know how I walk around taking deep breaths or looking at this video

    or looking at this one again

    or how I try to glean info from blogs.

    Breathing While Swimming By Coach Dee

    She didn't know about today's pre-swimming meditation.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    Revisiting Rock Climbing

    I worked up my nerve to go rock climbing again but barely. I haven't been climbing since Jan. 29th, my last day of class at the Center of Clayton. I think that I was reluctant to go because I was having such a hard time getting to the top of the wall.

    I agreed to go with two of my buddies from work but as I was driving to Upper Limits, I felt little butterflies in my stomach. I wanted to turn around but felt like it would be rude to have someone waiting for me.

    Jessica and her mother offered reassurance but escorted me right inside the wild zone.

    Rock climbing is fascinating and it's interesting to watch people as they tackle a variety of routes.

    To my surprise, I was able to make it up the wall four times before my arms gave out. I've been locked in this weight loss battle for so long that I failed to realize that I am in much better shape. This route was my toughest one. I don't remember if it was a 5.6 or 5.7 but, with encouragement, I made it up. Yay!

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    Rx For Tension

    The thrill of Winter/Spring swimming is over. Not only have the hours for open swim changed at The Wreck Center but the kids are out of school and spending lots of time at the pool. More adults are present too.

    I approached Madame D on her throne where she was turning a cheddar popcorn bag upside down. That woman snacks all the time but she doesn't have an ounce of body fat which reminds me of the time that Dr. Phil was on Oprah and said Don't worry about people with good metabolisms because that ain't you.

    I asked Dana if she had seen my swimming suit which I had left in haste on Monday. She had seen my suit and it was tucked away in one of the lockers. I put it on and realized that it was showing signs of wear and tear. It's also has more slack even though I've already made some alterations, albeit jacked-up ones, to it.

    Dana was nice enough to open up two lanes so I was able to get some laps in despite the water being wavy as all get out. At a quarter to 6, Madame D starting blowing her whistle and evicted everyone from the pool.

    It was an abbreviated workout which was okay because I didn't have a lot of energy and the few laps that I did get in helped to relieve some tension.

    As I headed to the locker room, this woman said I saw you doing your thing. I told her that she could do her thing too. No, I can't and I won't; I'm afraid of water. I wanted to continue the conversation but she had kids to round up. I think it's cool that her fear of water is not preventing her from bringing the kiddos to the pool.

    Tuesday, June 9, 2009

    Capital F

    I was over at my grandmother's on Sunday and my grandmother was in a foul mood with a capital F. She talked for two hours non-stop which got me to wondering how many calories does one burn while talking. I can't really go into what g'ma said because it's really not suitable for print.

    According to The Daily Plate, one can burn about 121 calories per hour talking. So, grandma burned about 242 calories.

    Any activity that can be done while sitting will expend slightly more energy than if you do it while reclining. For instance, talking on the phone while sitting will increase the body's energy requirements by 1 MET (a multiple of the body's resting metabolism). You can expend even more energy by adding simple activities using your arms or legs.

    In addition to burning calories, I hope that g'ma was also able to find relief via venting.

    So, what's a grandchild to do while she's listening to her g'ma vent? She peruses g'ma's latest Jet which had Mo'Nique and her husband on the front cover. Now, I didn't ignore g'ma. Even the most fit take a break and g'ma did pause to reload.

    I figured that the article would talk about Mo'Nique's role in the movie Precious as well as her recent weight loss since I had already gleaned this information from an Oprah episode. What I didn't know was that Mo'Nique and her husband have an open relationship. If you want the details, go straight to page 39 in the June 8th edition of Jet.

    I raised an eyebrow but I also laughed. Check out what Mo'Nique had to say about her recent weight loss:

    I am not at all trying to be a skinny woman. I could never be that because
    my head is too big. I can't do it. Right now I'm 224 lbs. I'm trying to to get
    down to an even 200 pounds. By American standards that is still considered
    obese. But for me, that's a healthy Mo'Nique.

    Monday, June 8, 2009

    All Eyes On Me

    I went to The Wreck Center and one of the staff members asked me if I had come to swim. Open swim is over with but you can participate in senior aerobics.

    Just how did I get out of the loop? And, no, I had no desire, nada, none to do water aerobics. To add insult to injury, one of the girls who attends swimming lessons piped in we already swam. I could see evidence of the pool as she had little droplets in her hair and on her face. As I was talking to them, Dana waved from the office and told me that she had been waiting for me. She would let me swim since the time had changed abruptly.

    I went to the locker room, changed then waited. I saw the sunlight beaming through the windows and I saw the still water; paradise was within reach. I waited and wondered what had delayed Dana.

    I finally gained entrance. Dana opened the back door and all of the windows. I had the pool all to myself. After Dana finished her tasks, I was outdone that she chose the highest poolside chair. Are you kidding me? The chairs are so odd and ancient. And I? I felt completely self-conscious. I felt as if Dana was a hawk waiting to swoop down.

    I didn’t even want to do the front crawl because, in all honesty, I feel like this little girl has breathing down better than I do.

    I felt as if I was taking a final exam and that Dana would be grading my performance. I know that she’s seen me struggle with the front crawl and I know what she expects from the kids. Finally, my arms started aching from relying on the back crawl and sidestroke so I switched up and did the front crawl for awhile.

    I try not to get frustrated about this whole FC thing. After all, it hasn’t even been a year since I took my first class and I know that frustration won't help my cause.

    As it was nearing 6 p.m., I headed in Dana’s direction so that I could put the divider up. She asked me a few questions about my breathing pattern and offered a few tips. She suggested that I slow down and not take my breath too fast as I turn to the side to breathe. I was looking up at her in that high chair and hanging on to every word.

    Sunday, June 7, 2009

    Prepared to Work Out

    I said that once my contract was up with my current gym that I would check out other fitness clubs. My contract expired a month ago and I've been quite lackadaisical about it all.

    I saw an advertisement for a fitness club downtown which promised 30 days free with no hassles. Promises, promises.

    My cousin and I met up downtown this morning and we ended up taking a self-guided tour since there was only one person at the desk.

    I was prepared to work out today because most fitness clubs start your free trial on the day you walk into their facility.

    As I was at the front desk, I noticed an interesting machine. It was a treadmill but, wait, it wasn't. I instantly knew what I was going to tackle today.

    Introducing the TreadClimber:

    I guzzled two cups of water in record time. I did 45 minutes but, don't fret, I also did the five minute demo and because I like to do at least an hour of cardio, I hit a stationary bike afterwards where I watched a bit of Celebrity Fit Club 3 -- the one with Tempestt Bledsoe, Chastity Bono and Countess Vaughn.

    As usual, because I don't frequent downtown, I enjoyed the scenery and architecture and resisted the urge to go to MacroSun.

    I listened to Nina Simone while I did my little tour and it was a glorious concert. I decided to drive by the riverfront since I was in the vicinity.

    It turned out to be a relaxing morning despite the fact that I have work on my mind. I actually entered my work address as the lock code at the fitness club and used the same address earlier when I was punching in directions.

    Since I was taking the long way home, I stopped by a car wash to get some of the debris out of my car. I found 1/4 of a South Beach Diet bar that I had lost long time ago. I wish that I had looked harder the first time around.

    Saturday, June 6, 2009

    Will I Ever Be Normal?

    My work posse is like the canary in the coal mine. About a week and a half ago, several people started telling me that I looked slimmer or commented that they were going to start exercising because it was working for me.

    The ultimate authority on all weight loss manners i.e. my scale finally weighed in (no pun intended) and registered what the canaries had foretold.

    For some reason, I googled BMI calculators. I find it quite annoying that after losing 54 pounds that I'm still considered to be in the obese category. Are you kidding? Really. There's a whole tab between obese and normal and I'm not shooting for normal either.

    According to the Mayo Clinic, here's what I can do about my BMI:

    Consider the benefits of achieving a healthy weight — a reduced risk of serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, increased energy and improved self-esteem, for example. Then talk to your doctor about the best weight-loss approach for you. To get started:

  • Embrace healthy eating as a lifestyle by choosing a variety of nutrient-rich foods including fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

  • Exercise. Before exercising ask your doctor about the right level and type of activities for you. Remember, even small amounts of activity provide immediate health benefits.

  • Set action goals focused on specific healthy activities such as starting a daily food and activity diary.
  • For more information on body mass index, check out the CDC's website:

    About BMI For Adults

    I went swimming today. There were only a few folks there when the doors opened. When it's quiet at the pool and, particularly, when I'm doing the back crawl, I have a tendency to start thinking about stuff, especially about the time when I was taking swimming lessons.

    I started to think about how I would take what Jim called the Nestea plunge when I attempted to float. I also thought about how my goggles fell off in the deep end. Jim asked about the whereabouts of my goggles. I matter-of-factly said, they fell off. I was thinking that that was $11.69 at the bottom of the pool because I was not even thinking about retrieving them but Jim was kind enough to get the goggles for me.

    I got in 17 laps before I had to share a lane which I don't do well. I once watched as some girls from the Mehlville swim team practiced in circular fashion in one lane. Their lane sharing ended up being more like synchronized swimming. Another time, the pool was also well-populated and I felt something on my leg. I actually stopped in ten feet of water (minus treading) because I had forgotten my location. I feel lucky that I didn't panic. It was one of the girls from the swim team and she was lane sharing but, alas, she didn't know with whom she was sharing.

    Today, I shared for three laps to bring my total to a nice even 20 then I exited the pool. As usual, sleepiness descended swiftly.

    Friday, June 5, 2009

    Standing Burns More Calories

    I don’t even find this comic LOL funny and I also don't think the women are overweight but, you know, to each his own but I definitely relate to the topic.

    I sometimes make non-funny jokes about burning calories. Once, we had an unscheduled meeting at work. People poured into the unprepared room and chairs were scarce; I offered to stand later reflecting that standing had burned more calories than sitting would have burned.

    And I've certainly had my frustrations while standing on the scale; I haven't screamed yet but...

    Thursday, June 4, 2009

    Four Ounces

    I keep track of the calories that I consume for the most part. Of course, with prepackaged food, it's easy to figure out how many calories you're consuming but with lunch meat etc., it's a little bit trickier.

    I got curious this afternoon and remembered that an old mail scale was around.
    So, I weighed my Trader Joe's marinated chicken. I was apprehensive about how much it would weigh and I thought that I might have gone for the head fake but it wasn't as bad as I imagined. My chicken weighed about four ounces.

    I also had a baked potato with a teaspoon of olive oil and Birds Eye steamfresh mixed vegetables for a tasty little dinner that I, basically, just had to warm up.

    Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    Back to The Wreck Center

    I've been going to different pools for the last week because The Wreck Center has been closed. I heard that one of the lifeguards, upset that his hours had been cut, tampered with the chlorine levels. Hopefully, that was speculation.

    Going to a different pool is like going to a different hairstylist. Once, I didn't realize that my stylist would be out of town and I had to go find a substitute because my hair had that unkempt look. The person did an adequate job but the experience and haircut was just not the same.

    When I arrived at The Wreck Center, I saw Nick and asked him who would be on duty with him. Nick was flying solo. At first, there were just a few of us.

    Then, the kids started to trickle in and it got quite wild. I asked Nick if he wanted me to put the divider up and he agreed. I just didn't want one of the kids to wander into the deep end.

    I got in about eight laps before pandemonium ensued. After that, I swam in abbreviated lanes because the kids were all over the place splashing water and such. Even though it was not the ideal environment for swimming, it was nice to be surrounded by familiar faces.

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009

    The Good Times

    I went to my fourth grocery store in three days.

    Today I worked out on the EFX, my newest cardio friend. The gym is close to Big Lots where I went to see if they had any Wasa crackers and chocolate-covered peppermint sticks. I didn't find what I was looking for but I did score some Kashi ripe strawberry bars.

    I couldn't very well bypass Sappington Farmers' Market which is in the vicinity. I had to, at least, get the part-skim cheese that I really like from there. I also picked up a few other goodies and I grabbed a Hanuta for, as Al Green would say, the good times.

    Monday, June 1, 2009

    12 Cents Per Cup

    I was low on bananas so I went to the store which is like eating Lays potato chips; you can't just stop at one item. Never mind that I went to Aldi and Whole Foods yesterday. Of course, you have to be careful about when and how many bananas you pick up because you can end up with too many ripe 'nanas.

    Since I was at the store, I picked up some regular oatmeal, cans of organic no salt diced tomatoes and Kashi Organic Promise Autumn Wheat cereal.

    The guy in front of me said You're trying to eat healthy, hunh? Just as he was spying my purchases, I was looking at his dog food and prepackaged cornbread which I thought was cake at first.

    I answered yes to his question and I say no deal to QuikTrip whose new billboard is advertising a 32 oz soda for $.49 cents. That's about 12 cents per cup but I'm not buying it.