Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I weighed in this morning.

I lost 3 pounds this week! That brings my weight to 173 and my total weight loss to 87 pounds. It also allowed me to meet one of my long term goals. My BMI now says I am "overweight" instead of "obese" or worse yet, where I started, "morbidly obese".

I am overweight.

And I am damn thrilled! LOL.

Now the next goals...

Short term - get to 170, because it's an even number. Then get to 160. The later has two points of significance - that will be my 100 pound mark AND it is what I weighed at the start of my senior year of high school. That note is important because those pictures were the last I liked of myself.

Long term - 145, that's where I go from "overweight" to "normal weight". How bizarre to even be thinking of that in terms of accomplishing it soon. It's just 28 pounds away. It's also just 10 pounds away from my original ultimate goal of 135.

That potentially means, that barring another wicked plateau, (and assuming I keep losing an average of 2 pounds a week) I could reach my original goal by the end of November. I can almost taste that victory, but...

You may have noticed I keep saying "original goal" in reference to 135. As I look at my body, I see more than 38 pounds left to lose. So now the plan is to get to 135 and reassess with a trainer what's next.

I know, I know. For the moment just concentrate on getting there.

Best always, Ms_H
Weight - 173 pounds

Monday, June 25, 2007


Wow, it's been over a week since I promised this story, so...

I had to go to the mall for that shin splint guard (which I am still using with success, by the way) and I decided to make a return at Lane Bryant. I had bought two new bras recently and while I have been wearing one daily, the other I had bought for "special occasions" and it had yet to be broken out.

Well, last week I realized the one I wear every day was getting loose, a remeasure told me I am about to transition down a size again. Not in cup size of course, god forbid that happen. I walked into the store seeking my new size and it turns out they do not have it in the store because it's considered small and is generally only available online. Do I want them to order of their website? Yes, please. This was one of those fabu moments of accomplishment, I am slowly moving out of being able to shop at Lane Bryant. Then she asks, do I want to look around before we finish the exchange? Sure, I always want to look around.

I wander. I do not find a lot and I am about to give up and head for the cash register when I spot this dress.

Now, I don't own a dress right now, I have given them all to charity because they no longer fit. This hasn't really broken my heart because I have a history of not looking the best in dresses anyway. However, I have two family weddings to attend this summer and while a dress has been given to me for one, the other has left me perplexed.

It's my brother Casey and his fiance Annette's wedding. It's at a city park, with the reception in a facility by the lake. While I knew I needed something nice, it is in mid-August in a park in Iowa, satin isn't going to cut it. Besides, I am photographing the wedding, so I will need to move about freely. Well, on the hanger, I thought this dress fit the bill so I grabbed it.

I got in the dressing room with the size 16 figuring it would barely fit and I would hate myself and go home. Instead I put it on and it fit perfectly and for the first time in 20 years I looked at myself in the mirror and said, "Damn". As in damn fine. I kind of stopped breathing for a second as I realized by the time the wedding rolled around I was going to need a size 14! I just kept repeating "damn" under my breath and nearly cried from disbelief and joy.

You see, despite watching the numbers fall on the scale, I still see myself the way I looked when this started. I have talked to a few other people who've lost substantial weight and they admitted to suffering the same problem. But I have concluded that when you have been overweight for more than half your life, it is going to take a while to see a new truth. The truth is, I am not going to be the "fat girl" forever and my skepticism will sooner or later be faced with an image in the mirror it can't deny. In the meantime I am looking forward to more "damn" moments to get me there.

Best always, Ms_H
Weight - 176 pounds (I weigh in tomorrow.)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

38 Minutes

Last night was the night I was supposed to train with Gordon. His back was hurting, so he begged off. I sat at work staring out the window because that meant I would be on my own to run and I just wasn't feeling it. I had spent three days with little or no sleep and that seemed like a good enough reason to bag it for the night.

Then Marianne came in. She has been an amazing and supportive friend on this journey. I tell her Gordon is down for the count.

Marianne: "Are you still going to go?"
Me: (lackluster) "Sure," Marianne just smiled.

I finished up my work and she slid into place. I sat in the other side of the room and started to read the paper. It was the sports section regarding today's Indy Corn 250 at the Newton Speedway.

Marianne: "You big into racing are you?" she queried innocently.
Me: "Well, I grew up around it, so I am kind of interested in the big racers coming to Iowa," I answered with honesty. My dad races and so does Gordon and I am interested in anything that makes Iowa appear to the outside world as anything other than a place where corn grows and pigs poop. Yes, we have both, but we have a hell of a lot more!
Marianne: (smelling a rat) "You stalling are you?"
Me: (getting truly honest) "Yep, a little." Marianne just smiled. She didn't give a guilt inducing speech or remind me why working out was so important, she just let it lie there.

Five minutes later I was out the door.

I started out with the intent of walking/running 2 miles and not really killing myself to do it. (Gordon wasn't there to play drill sergeant.) Five blocks of fast walking in I started running and something weird took over. In spite of the thick air, it was SO humid, I quickened my pace. I ran longer and walked less. Before I knew it I was crossing the river bridge into the East Village. From work to the capitol and back is my 3 mile route. Somewhere along the line I had decided to go further.

I looked at my watch, I was also going faster. Darn fast for someone who hasn't been running that long. Plus the walking in between running spurts was faster than usual. I felt great and was in some sort of "zone" as I made the loop and headed back toward work.

38 minutes. That's how long it took me to do 3 miles. That works out to 12:40 a mile. That's nearly the pace I hope to run in October for the 5K.

Did it kick my butt? Yep. But I felt rockin'! Not only physically, but mentally. And amazingly, I don't hurt this morning. This is my first real sign, I can do this running thing.

Best always, Ms_H
Weight - 176 pounds

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Running toward my goals

My day was redirected today when my step-mother called to say she had a migraine and could I keep Caelen tonight. Luckily for her the only must on my agenda was working out. Mind you I had no idea how I was going to cram that in with him along.

So I met my mom and step-dad for lunch with Caelen in a bit of a funk. Working out has become important to me mentally, as well as physically. (If you've been working out for a while, you know what I mean.) Well, they offer to take Caelen swimming that evening at the gym while I go upstairs and get in my workout.

It ended up working out well. We met them and Gordon and went on to the gym together. Mom and Bruce played with Caelen, who is becoming quite the swimmer for someone who isn't even 4.

Gordon and I went to the upper part of the gym with the machines and the track. I could tell that he really wanted me to run with him on the track, but something about that surface makes me a bit crazy. Though I did walk about a mile and a half on it, I got bored. So I headed for the treadmill, which I know is boring too, but I wanted a change.

I walked for a couple of minutes and then I did something I have been waiting for, I ran. Not just a block or two, but for 3/4 of a mile, non-stop, in 9 minutes. Then I cooled down with a walk and did a few leg machines, because I had already done my arms at home this morning.

I felt so empowered after the run. Now mind you, it was continuously flat terrain in air conditioning, so it was optimal. But I was impressed and damn it, that all that matters at the moment.

Best always, Ms_H
Weight - 176 (YES! I lost two pounds.)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Just Keep Going

I blogged about my shin splint the other day. I was able to go find a support, as my friend mentioned. I have yet to wear it.

That is because I had a male moment last night, when I went to run with my brother. My shin was feeling pretty good, so I must not need it right? Yea right. Testosterone is a funny thing, it affects women the same way as men, we become invincible. LOL.

Well, it turned out o.k., because Gordon was understanding. We had walked/run a couple of miles and I asked if we could just slow to a walk. O.k., my walk is 4 miles an hour or better, which Gordon hates, but it's not as jarring as running.

Today it hurts, but it is getting better. As is my calf, which I just looked and I have not mentioned. I have no idea what I did, but Thursday I ended up with a cramp in my right calf and it was hard to walk. I took Friday off from working out, because it's my usual day off anyway and I stretched the calf and massaged it. By last night it was o.k. to run. It's still a little sore, but it could be worse.

And what is the lesson learned in all of this, just keep going. Now, I don't mean be unreasonable, but your body will make it clear if exercise is a problem. As for me, it's best to just keep going because otherwise my evil twin Luci will return with plans of how we can "just keep resting", so it will get better of course.

I have a great story about what else I found at the mall when I went to get my shin support, but I will share that later. All I will say for now is, "Damn".

Best always, Ms_H
Weight - 178 pounds

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Shin Splints

Well, I have officially done it to myself. My left shin has a "shin splint", also know as the outer area of bone and muscle getting very cranky. It started on my Monday run/walk and tonight it really dug in. So, no more running until I get it to settle down.

I am hoping for some relief by Saturday or Gordon will think I am making excuses for not running with him. We will still walk, but frankly that will not satisfy him.

I Googled the condition and found a new stretch for the front of my legs. I also found trainer recommendations for dealing with the pain, ice and ibuprofen. Neither one was a big shocker and both helped.

I will just walk hard the rest of the week and work my upper body. I refuse to give up a week of training to an injury I probably could have avoided by dropping another 20 pounds before I started running. Or maybe it's my running surface, all concrete.

Perhaps I should look harder at working out at Gray's Lake, I could be on the grass at the edge of the path then. Hmmm, something to consider. In the mean time I will follow the treatment options prescribed and look into the shin splint prevention strap a friend mentioned at work.

Best always, Ms_H
Weight - 178 pounds (Yes, I lost a pound and yes, I wanted more.)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday in the Park

Gray's Lake was re-imagined a few years ago. For some odd reason, I have not been there since this happened. That is despite the park being raved about as a wonderful oasis in the city in which to workout. This morning I remedied that.

The Hy-Vee Triathlon is happening next weekend at Gray's Lake and due to spring flooding the place needs sprucing up. So Parks and Rec is looking for volunteers to help clean and plant and mulch and more. I was one of those volunteers this morning. I got a nice, mostly upper body, workout lifting trays of plants and digging to plant them.

Then, when I needed to leave to go to my mom's for Sunday dinner, I walked back to my car rather than get the ride they kept insisting I take. I ended up sweating through about a mile and a quarter in no time flat. (Most of the sweating was due to the jeans I was wearing to be able to kneel for planting.)

What I learned is, people are right, it was a relatively peaceful place to workout. It's close to the airport, so on occasion there was an airplane taking off, but otherwise it was almost serene. I am going to get a trail map for distances and probably use the park once a week as a place to walk/run.

Best always, Ms_H
Weight - 179 pounds

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Saturday Night Training

You have to know I am dedicated to this exercise and weight loss thing. I am going to be meeting my brother, Gordon, on Saturday nights to train for that 5K we have agreed to do in October. So, instead of sitting my butt in a theatre chair and seeing a movie or a play, I will be walking/running my way through the East side of Des Moines.

And you know, I really don't mind. Not only will I get a chance to get out and sweat for the day, I will also get to spend time with my brother.

I see my youngest brother almost every day because I care for his son. But I only get to see Gordon once a week, because we both work so much. So, this will be a great chance to catch up. I am also hoping to take his severly overweight dog for a walk each week as well, man does poor Milo need it.

Remember people, our animals depend on us for not only food, but exercise. Sadly, obesity has become an epidemic for not only people, but pets. (I'll put my soapbox away now and tie on my rinning shoes.)

Best always, Ms_H
Weight - 179 Pounds

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Walking Club

I have started a Walking Club at work. Our first walk was Monday and it was just me and one other guy. But today it was me, him and another guy. I have several promises of people joining up this next Monday. We are doing it on Mondays and Thursdays because that is what fits my schedule.

We are walking at 5:30 in the evening, which gives everyone a chance to clear their desks, change and meet in the lobby. I am hoping my obvious weight loss, coupled with other people joining, will create motivation for others to join.

I walk/run before or after the walks with everyone else, because I do not expect anyone to be at my pace straight out of the gate. Then we walk as a group for 30 minutes. That's for the moment, 15 out, 15 back. This not only lessens the chance that anyone will fall off, it shows them that you can fit exercise into your life without it owning you.

I am using this as an outlet for my urge to help others get healthier, it's fun. It also feeds my need to take care of the world. Someday I will win the lottery and be able to pay to help things happen. But for now I will simply try to help one out of shape Iowan at a time.

Best always, Ms_H
Weight - 179 pounds

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Hot Damn! - 179 & 13.5

Finally! I stepped on the scale this morning for my weekly weigh in and the needle gave me amazing news. After three weeks at 183, I have lost 4 pounds in the last week. That brings me to 179. It also pushes me past my short term goal of losing 2 of my nephew. He weighs about 40 pounds and I have now lost 81. This puts me just 44 pounds from my original stated weight loss goal. And frankly I am proud.

As for 13.5 that would be my overall per mile pace during my walk/run today. I did 3 miles in 40 minutes. About a third of it was running. Again, I am quite proud. I am training for that 5K later this year and just getting started with running. I was hoping, by the race in October, to be running a 12 minute mile. But this gives me great thoughts of doing even better.

I am on a high tonight.

Best always, Ms_H
Weight - 179 Hot damn! (Did I mention that already?)

Monday, June 4, 2007

Old Connections

I have had the joy of running into a few people I haven't seen in quite a while over the last couple of days. I also enjoyed a long visit with my best guy friend from high school. These contacts have left me feeling great.

#1 - I ran into a woman named Kathy who I know through politics. I haven't seen her in about a year. I was in Campbell's Nutrition and I had this sense that someone was following me, but it's a store, duh, someone probably was. Well, it turns that Kathy was trying to get a good angle on my face, to see if it really was me. She slid in front of me and said timidly, "Angel?" I smiled and said yes. She looked a bit flabbergasted and said, "Wow, you have, uh, changed." I continued to smile, tried not to chuckle and gave her the brief I give people when they ask: 77 pounds so far, healthy eating and exercise, sorry about that. It was a quick conversation, because she didn't quite know how to react. I reacted by feeling great.

#2 - I was at the Greek food festival Saturday night and ran into City Councilman Tom Vlassis and his very lovely wife Sophie. (She is a great activist for those with Lupus, among many other causes.) When Tom saw me he kind of nodded, but didn't fully have a look of recognition. Sophie flat out said, "I'm sorry, I am not sure I know you." I laughed a little and acknowledged that it had been quite a while, almost two years. I reintroduced myself; which I found particularly amusing to do as we were once good acquaintances. She was shocked. She asked how much I had lost and when I told her she shot a look at Tom, who is indeed overweight, and said, "Tom you should be doing that." Tom then mentioned that he had recently lost 7 pounds. I told him that was great and that it all starts with one pound.

I mean that, it does. Just like it starts with putting down that first drink or not lighting that first cigarette. Being overweight has as many reasons as any other affliction, but only you can find a treatment that will work for you. Because like addictions to alcohol, heroine or nicotine you go into recovery, you are never cured. It will be a life-long commitment to being healthy or the weight will kill you. Sadly unlike other substances, you can't just stop eating, you have to find a way to have an agreeable relationship with food.

An old friend...
David was home from San Francisco (okay, technically San Jose) the past few days. He was mostly visiting family, though he found time to have a full evening at a favorite old bar and see me for a couple of hours. We had coffee and got a chance to reconnect. He is as funny as ever, witty and fabulous and handsome. I sound like I am writing his personal ad. David's Blog That's his link if you are interested. ;) And here is a pic...

As for David and I, the truth is the past couple of years have been good to both of us.

He has been losing weight as well and looks pretty good, though he feels he has a few pounds left to lose. He showed me a pic from 2005, he had let himself go as much as I had. I am quite proud that he has made such a dramatic change as well. He deserves the best and I can't wait to spend more time with him soon. He had me contemplating a visit to the coast by the end of our date.

So basically the last few days have been a fine reminder of how far I have come. I may have been sitting atop a three week plateau, but it's loads better than where I have been before.

Best always, Ms_H
Weight - 183 - Though I weigh in tomorrow, here's hoping.