Posted in daily life, Loosing Weight

People You See at the Gym

golds-gym-logoI joined Gold’s Gym about two months ago, not sure whether or not I’d like it. In my experience, gyms tend to be hot places with not enough air flow. I sweat and get hot when I exercise. But this one was brand spanking new. I hoped it would be different.

It was.

I’ll go ahead and get the glowing review out of the way. The people who work there are pleasant, fun, and encouraging. They have programs for every level of fitness–from the “I’ve never exercised a day in my life” people to “I could bench press cars” fanatics. I wouldn’t have lost the weight I have without them.

But that’s not why I’m writing this post.

I’m writing this post to tell you about the kind of people you see at the gym.

All kinds of people go to gyms. All kinds. A lot go in the hopes they’ll look buff and lose weight in just a day or two with minimal effort. There are people, I’m sure, who could do that. Yahoo for them.

But the ones who are there every day? They are the real interesting ones. The kind that might get immortalized in one of my books one day.

The Fashion-Challenged Exerciser

We’ve all seen this person. Could be guy or girl. Any level of fitness. But they seem to go out of the way to wear the most unfashionable outfit possible. And this is saying something, considering people at gyms tend to wear whatever is comfortable. I mean, they aren’t there to win beauty pageants–they’re there to get sweaty.

There’s this one guy my husband calls “Shorty Shorts Guy.” I haven’t seen him, but apparently, not only are his shorts short, but they bulge two inches past his waist, like he’s stuffed them with Styrofoam or something. And no, I’m not talking about the crotch area. I’m talking about his thighs. Why would anyone want to wear poofy shorts? And tuck their shirt in to boot?

Madam Marathon Runner

I can’t tell you how many older ladies–and gentlemen–I’ve seen exercising at the gym. Most, I will admit, are just trying to stay healthy. But there’s always one or two there who look like they could bench press their teen-age grandchildren. Then go run a marathon. You know, just by looking at them, that they’re just as serious about what they eat as they are about exercising.

I’ll admit these old ladies really impress the heck out of me. They’re in better shape than I could ever hope to be. I’ve seen them do pull-ups. Pull-ups, people. If I could do half of what they do, I’d be ecstatic. But let’s face it–I’m too lazy and like to eat too much to put that much energy into being that healthy.

Mr. I Can Bench Press Cars

There’s this one guy I see all the time. Don’t know his name. But I’m pretty sure he lives at the gym. He doesn’t work there, but he could probably teach any class. If he doesn’t, I’d be seriously surprised.

This man, he looks like he’s in his late 50s, and his hair used to be blond. His muscles are bulging and sculpted, and he wears tight fitting clothes. This morning, I saw this man doing pull-ups like it was no big deal–then pause in the middle of a pull-up, point his toes, and then lift his feet over his head. He pointed his feet to one side of his head, then the other. This lasted for like thirty seconds.

I have no idea what that exercise is called, but it’s got to be the hardest, most impressive thing I’ve ever seen a person doing at a gym.

Mr. Strange

Every now and then you see someone that, for whatever reason, just looks weird. It could be what they’re wearing or some other feature, but you look at them and think, “what?”

There’s this guy who, I swear, looks like a black version of Bane, the super-villain from Batman. He’s big, he’s buff, and he wears a mask that covers half his face. He sounds like Darth Vader when he breathes. I haven’t seen him cart an oxygen tank or a funky backpack with tubes coming from it–but it’s the kind of mask that looks like it should. I have no idea what it does, but I would really like to know.

Posted in daily life, gardening, Loosing Weight

How Has my New Years Resolution Fared the Year?


State of my Weight

So, at the start of the year, I made a New Years Resolution. Like many Americans, my resolution included losing weight. My goal was 20 lbs by Christmas.

At the start of the year, I was 200 lbs. As of last Friday morning, I was 182 lbs.

I’m so close I’m starting to wonder whether I set my goals too low. Maybe I should shoot for 175 instead.

I can’t tell you how excited I am. I haven’t had this easy a time losing weight since I was 19. Then I lost 17 lbs in five months. This year, I’ve lost almost 20 in almost six. (I was last 200 lbs in March.) Three of those pounds I dropped in the last week. I wasn’t going to count those pounds, but they stayed off, so I guess I can!

I’m going to attribute my success to well, number one, God. Without His support, I wouldn’t have had the hope to persist. The next person I’m going to thank is my husband, for being such a good, competitive sport. Thirdly, to the wonderful trainers at Gold’s Gym. They’ve helped and encouraged me, listened and given advice, and help me find exercises that are easy on my sore knees.

And I have no idea why I have sore knees. But they’ve been hurting all summer, and the people at Gold’s Gym have been great about working around it.

Our Finances and Garden

Money wise, we’re good. God’s blessed us so much it still boggles my mind. We’re in the middle of trying to buy some land, and we’re waiting on the loan to go through. I tell you, never has waiting been so hard!

My garden is still alive. I pulled up my tomato plants a long time ago (they didn’t fare very well through the summer), but my okra plants are thriving and giving me more okra then I can use. I’ve frozen almost a gallon Ziploc back full, and the plants show no signs of slowing down any time soon!

I did plant green bean plants at the end of August. They’re about a foot tall now, still growing and green. Not as leafy or bushy as I like, but I also planted a different breed then I’m used to. I have no idea how these guys will turn out or how they will be different than Blue Lake, but I’m eager to see. Hopefully they’ll continue to grow, and here in a month I’ll have some fresh green beans to enjoy.

Posted in daily life, Loosing Weight

How I lost 10 pounds

It’s Official: I’ve Lost 10 Pounds!

help-not-loosingLike most Americans, I’ve been trying to lose weight for years, with not much success. I’ve made numerous New Years Resolutions, started and quit exercising more times than I can count, and stopped dieting more times than I’ve started. All without seeing a single pound drop.

The closest I got was 5lbs about two years ago, when I worked as a housekeeper for a hotel for a month. I gained that weight back the week I quit. I’m pretty sure the only reason I lost weight then is because I basically exercised non-stop 5 days a week for 6 hours a day. Anyone who’s done housekeeping knows what I’m talking about.

Anyway–where was I? Sorry, I got sidetracked . . .

I’ve lost weight! Ten pounds, and I’ll tell you how I did it, too. Hopefully this will help some of you.

Set time aside to be healthy

Chances are, you aren’t me. God has blessed me with the chance to be a housewife and let my husband support me. I have plenty of time to exercise and watch what I eat. (Or the opposite–eat because I get bored)

You probably don’t have time to sleep, much less cook or exercise. But believe me, if you want to lose weight, you will probably have to. And if you are so busy you physically can’t schedule twenty minutes to cook something healthy, you might have to get creative.

For example: Take the stairs instead of the elevator. What floor do you work on? 7th? Oh, lucky you. You just got your exercise in for the day.

Keep in mind, making time doesn’t just cover cooking and exercising. It also covers shopping. If you make room in your brain to shop better, eat out less, stop going to Starbucks, etc., then your also making room in your life to be healthier.

No more soda, snacks, or fast food

You’ve heard it once, and I’ll say it again. You want to lose weight? Eat healthier. 

What does that mean? That means no more candy. No more desserts. No more soda. At all. Not diet coke, not coke with fake/substitute sugar. Maybe carbonated water, but even then I’d draw the line. Just do yourself a favor and stop drinking it. Sugar aside, it’s full of chemicals that aren’t good for your body.

I know you’re addicted to Dr. Pepper (my husband is), but instead of spending the $20 a week on sugary drinks you’ll down in a single setting (if your like my husband, he can drink an entire liter of Dr. Pepper. By himself. In one setting. Now you know why it got banished from the house), spend it on fresh fruits and vegetables or lean meats instead.

Meat isn’t cheep. How much can you buy if you aren’t spending it on food that would go straight to your thighs?

For me, eating healthier also meant no more fast food. Now, I didn’t eat fast food necessarily because I liked the taste. We ate out a lot because we were lazy, it was convenient, and our fast food joint of choice was literally two blocks away.

Getting off my lazy butt and cooking not only gave me something to do, but it allowed me to control what went into my body. And it saved me about $80 a week I could spend on healthy foods that I wasn’t spending on fast food. And just so you know, it’s just the two of us. I don’t have kids yet. I can’t imagine how hard this would be if I did.

Can’t go cold turkey? You might need to do what I did and give yourself a treat once in a while. For us, this meant we allowed ourselves to go out to eat on the weekends. Note: this did not mean fast food. So, yes, go eat in that expensive Mexican restaurant. Just not Taco Bell.

I don’t count calories on the weekend. Yes, this means I don’t lose weight on those days. In fact, I usually gained 2 or 3–or even 5–pounds on the weekend.

Oh, and don’t forget to stop snacking and eat less. Eating healthier doesn’t mean squat if you can’t control how much you eat. Or eating between meals all the time.

The idea is to retrain your metabolism and your taste buds. If you aren’t constantly craving ice cream (me), it’s a whole lot easier to eat less. This isn’t a quick fix. It will take a while. So make sure to develop your patience, too, while your at it.

Get to know your body

Everyone’s body is different. You don’t have my body (be glad). I don’t have yours. And you definitely don’t have that magazine model cover’s body. She don’t even have it. Ever heard of a thing called photo shopping?

Your body will respond to different exercises and diets better than others. Find out what it responds to best. For me, this meant I needed to eat more protein and less anything my body thinks is a sugar. Which included starchy foods like pasta and vegetables.

I didn’t eliminate it from my diet–if I did, my husband would protest and then buy it behind my back just so he can sweet talk me into making my homemade meatballs. But you can bet I reduced it. If I eat too much of it, I get just as tired as I would have on a bad night of sleep. Instead of eating macaroni every day of the week, I had it only two nights a week.

This also meant I got out of the house and into the sun. Sorry, honey, but I need my daylight to wake up. Right now, it’s cloudy and noon: I’m yawning and fighting to not eat something sugary.

If you have any kind of health issue, you will already be on some kind of restricted diet. Like if you had diabetes, for example. Work with your health issues. Stick to the diet that will help you get better best. Atkins? Paleo? Vegitarian? Whatever your problem is, what you eat will either make you healthier or not. Don’t make yourself sicker by doing an exercise or a diet that will exasperate your problems.

Find an exercise you like

It’s a basic truth of the human condition: if we don’t like something, we don’t do it.

Why do you think we stop exercising? Because we hate it. Because its a hassle to put on exercise clothes and go to someplace and get sweaty for an hour and feel exhausted for the rest of the day. Because no one really likes how sore muscles feel (not unless your already in shape). Because people like having energy, and exercising can take what little you have away.

But if your overweight, you need to exercise. So find an exercise you like and do it. You aren’t going to exercise if you don’t like it.

For me, I like biking. I live in an apartment at the edge of your typical, suburban neighborhood. I’ve got a one-mile route that goes through that neighborhood and yet never takes me more than a half mile away from home. This way if I crash and fall off my bike, I can walk home. Or limp to someone’s house to use their phone.

Do you like to run? Good for you. I hate it. Need something less harmful on your joints? Try swimming. Can’t leave home? Exercise videos are your new best friend.

Whatever it is, find something you like to do. Don’t do what so-and-so is doing because he swears by it. Don’t do the newest exercise craze. You’ll get burned out and bored of those things in a week. Do something you like to do. As long as it gets you off the couch.

Get off the birth control

Now, so far, I’ve given you a lot of advice. Every one of these things I have done, and I honest believe they have helped me lose 10 lbs (since March, if your curious). They have certainly helped me be healthier. I feel better now than I did this time last year.

But you want to know why I really was finally able to lose weight? I got off birth control.

That’s right ladies. That little pill that allows you to have as much sex as you want and yet not get pregnant? That’s the thing I’m talking about.

Everything I looked up on the internet said that weight gain is not a side effect of birth control. Personally, I think they lied. Because the instant I started taking that little pill, I gained 5 pounds. And it didn’t stop there. In the 2.5 years I was on birth control, I gained 25 pounds. That’s right. 25. My previous average was about 5 lbs a year, not 10. I shudder to think how much more I would have gained if I’d stayed on it.

Here’s the thing about birth control, ladies: it is designed to mess with your bodies. 

Medical science likes to believe they know everything about our bodies. That they know exactly what’s going on in there, and that they have all the answers for why such and such happens. They don’t. And they don’t know near as much about the female reproductive system as we would like for them.

The female body is full of all kinds of hormones. Maybe they were in balance to begin with, maybe they weren’t. Maybe your ideal balance isn’t the same as someone else’s. Maybe it doesn’t look anything like the textbooks. Maybe it shouldn’t. Who knows what good or bad that little pill is actually doing you?

I’m not saying birth control is bad, ladies. Don’t think that. If you actually need your birth control for very good reasons that have nothing to do with controlling the population of little people in your home, then by all means take it.

But for me, birth control was not that great. Sure, it gave me regular, pain-free periods. And it made sure I didn’t get pregnant. But that was it.

For me, birth control increased my appetite and decreased my metabolism. I was always hungry–especially for the wrong things–and I had no energy to burn off the extra calories. Not to mention, I was depressed more times than not.

You know how hard it is to lose weight when you’re depressed, hungry, and have no energy? Of course you do. You probably feel like that right now.

Now that I’m off the pill, I have energy, I’m not nearly as depressed as I was, and I can more easily control how much and what I eat. Coincidence? I think not.

I hope some of this helps you. Feel free to leave a comment. But please, consult your doctor if you have questions. I have an English degree, not medical.

Posted in daily life, gardening

My first crop and other things

Green beans are in!

first crop of greenbeansI have to admit, I’m excited. I picked my first crop of green beans this week. It wasn’t much, just enough to feed my husband and I. Still, it’s the first crop, and there are more blossoms on my plants. Meaning, here in a week or two, we’re going to have more. Yippee!

As for the rest of my garden, my tomato plants are finally blossoming. My okra looks good, but hasn’t blossomed yet. I’ve planted some squash plants, and they look good, too. I don’t think I’ll be getting any squash or okra until June or even July, but I’m not worried. Can’t wait!

What else I’ve been up to

While I haven’t done much writing on book two of the fantasy trilogy I’ve been working on, I have been doing some editing and rewriting on book one. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve edited and rewritten the book. More like the third or fourth. But to all of you aspiring writers out there, I’ll tell you a secret.

The more you edit it, the better it’ll get. Until you edit it to death. That’s bad.

I’ve got a good group of ladies (and men) helping me critique it to be the best it can be. While I don’t make every change they suggest (that’s my prerogative as a writer), I do make a lot, and they do have a lot of constructive criticism. I have managed to edit out an entire nine pages thanks to their efforts. I didn’t think I had nine pages to get rid of, but apparently I did.

I do look forward to the day when I can get back to writing book two. Oh, and finish writing notes and world building. That’s still going on. But I’m no longer in a hurry, and the work is ongoing. I’m having fun, and that’s what’s important.

Posted in daily life

Gardening and Weight Loss Goals Realizing

Good News Everyone!

greenbean blossomsMy green beans have blossoms! Squee!

I can’t tell you how excited I am that my green beans have blossoms. They have, one and all, bounced back from being poisoned via the evil weed killer. Now, not only do they all have beautiful new green leaves, they have blossoms as well. There’s even one baby bean in there. It’s so cute! And edible. 🙂

I wish I could say the same thing about my tomato plants. They still aren’t doing that well. I had to replace one of my tomato plants, and the other isn’t looking that great. However, it’s still alive, so I’m hoping it will recover and give me some tomatoes before the Texas summer heat rolls in and kills all my plants.

On the other hand, it’s finally warm enough for my okra plants. They’re growing up a storm, thought they aren’t anywhere near close to giving me okra to eat. I just wish I could remember what breed of okra I bought. Some okra can get rather tall, while others stay small and bushy. If I knew that, I could better estimate how long I have till its harvest time.

In other news

So I’ve been trying to lose weight. Like, for forever. I know what you’re thinking–so what? So is 3/4 of America, and most of them are failing!

Believe me. I know. I was one of them. Was, being the operative word.

After exercise 5-6 times a week since the first of the year, I am happy to announce that I am FINALLY loosing weight. And just so you know, I waited two weeks to announce this because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just losing water weight. However, the three pounds that I lost survived the weekend, so I guess that makes it official.

I’ve lost three pounds! Yippee!

I know you must think that’s stupid. I mean, I’m getting excited for losing three measly pounds. I could easily gain it all back in a week (especially if I stop exercising). What’s all the hubbub about?

It’s three pounds. It’s weight that’s gone and jeans that are fitting better. It’s the fact that I have energy and that I’m no longer depressed all the time. I’m walking around with a bounce in my step and I’m excited for the future. I even shave my legs, pluck my eyebrows and wear dresses.

That’s what this is all about. It’s about being lighter, eating less and living a healthier lifestyle. It’s about making all of those changes stick so that when I start having kids, I’m not immediately having health problems due to being overweight. That’s my goal, and I have to stick with it.

And now that the weight is finally dropping, I’m not about to stop now. I’m going to keep exercising and eating less. I’m going to continue to introduce one new healthy habit a month into my life until I reach my goals. And when I reach my goals, I’m going to keep with my new habits until that new me becomes the New Normal Me, and the New Normal becomes the Permanent Me.

Oh, I know it may not happen. The Lord could come back before I reach my weight loss goals. I could have an accident and become a paralyzed. Heck, I could have One Really Bad Week and lose all those shiny new habits I’ve just acquired. I don’t know the future, and that’s okay. That’s what relying on the Lord is for. What I can’t do, He can.

Posted in Uncategorized

One Month Exercise Update

So, a month ago my husband and I wrote up a contract and signed it. This contract held us responsible for doing three things: saving up money, exercising, and reading the Bible. I thought I’d give everyone a one month update.

money don't grow on treesSaving Money

No, money does not grow on trees, and don’t we wish it did? It would certainly help us pay off our student loans if it did.

At the moment, we are doing ok. We’ve built our savings account back up, but it still has a little ways to go before we meet our goal there. One more pay check and it’ll be good. Yeah! Also, our savings account is healthy. Paying off our student loans is next on our to-do-with-our-money list. Let me tell you, I am ready to see it go away! With God’s help, this will be the year it does.

In order to spend less money, we are eating out less. The contract stipulated we eat out only on the weekends, which we are doing. This not only helps us save money, but calories.

Weight Loss

exercisingOne month ago, my husband and I started exercising. This wasn’t the first time we’d started exercise. This would make my eighth year to make that resolution. I’m hoping that regularly exercising soon becomes a lifestyle, not a three-months-out-of-the-year-resolution lifestyle.

When we started out this year, I was 188lbs, and he was 288. It took us two weeks to figure out what worked. For my husband, bike riding for thirty minutes four times a week on high difficulties work for him. For me, I have to work out for an hour on lower difficulties five or six days a week. He can burn between 500 and 600 calories at a go nowadays–easy. I’ve worked myself to burn over 400 calories at a time. We both hope to see those numbers climb in the future.

To help us lose weight, we are eating less, snacking less, and going out to eat less. This isn’t easy to do. Both of us like eating out, especially on stressful days or when we are running short of time and don’t want to cook.  But we can’t eliminate eating out, snacking, or our favorite foods. Instead, we are controlling how much of our favorite snacks we eat and how much we eat at our favorite restaurants. This helps us prevent binge eating and cravings. Though we have had to completely cut out some things. I’ve had to give up ice-cream, and my husband has had to give up soda.

On the whole, this has been working for us. Yesterday I weighed 186lbs, and my husband weighed 278lbs.

Bible Reading

dsc00253Finally, our progress on reading the Bible. My husband has had much more success finding time to read the bible. He actually listens to it while he exercise. Considering he works out for thirty minutes, he can listen to a lot of Bible. He’s past Numbers now and into Deuteronomy.

Me? I’ve had much more . . . choppy progress. To state it optimistically. I haven’t found time to read my Bible and I haven’t been putting a lot of effort to developing a healthy Bible reading habit. Unfortunately.

I know God is a forgiving God, but I look at this and I shake my head. If I had been trying my best, that would have been one thing. But I know myself, and I know I haven’t been trying. Thankfully, there’s still plenty of year left. I’ve just got to start trying again. For real this time.