Reader Question, Office Temptation, Boot Camp

March 24, 2011

Three topics today.  Let’s get started!

1) Reader Question. I got a great question the other day in the comments section.  Lisa wrote:

I need to lose about 35 lbs. and am working with a trainer. The problem is I am an emotional eater. Before you started this journey, would you say you were an emotional eater? Do you think that’s how you gained the weight? I am talking to a therapist too about this, but I know the best advice comes from people who have experienced this firsthand. My problem is that I use anything “bad” that happens to me during the day as an excuse to emotionally eat. It sucks and I have to get myself out of this rut! I have lost 10 lbs. since Jan. 1st but gained some of it back, despite working out on a regular basis, because of the emotional binges. Anything you can share with me would be a tremendous help!

Ugh, emotional eating is such a hurdle, and I’m sure most of us deal with it in some way.  I wouldn’t say that I used to be an emotional eater, I’d say that I’M STILL an emotional eater, but I’ve developed some habits and techniques to combat tough times.  Food provided comfort in bad times, was a release in stressful times, and was a way of celebrate in good times.  There were very few emotions that I didn’t respond to by eating, so yeah, that’s pretty much the definition of emotional eating!

The good news, though, is that you can combat it, and it sounds like you’re on the right path, and I applaud you for working with a therapist.  Here’s what’s been working for me:  I took reward and celebratory foods off the table.  I used to treat myself:  if I was feeling great because of an accomplishment, than I told myself I could stop for ice cream, pick up a pizza, or load up on candy.  There have been times in my life when I was exercising, but eating poorly, and partly it’d be because I’d think, regularly, “yeah, I can have more fries and a shake – I had a good workout yesterday.”  Not anymore.

Focusing on changing my thought patterns during good times seemed like an easier challenge, because when I was really craving something as a celebratory treat, I could say ‘no’ to myself, and, instead, focus on whatever it was that provided me a reason to celebrate, and still feel great.  What I’ve found is that because I refuse to indulge in reward foods, I now have the great motivator to prevent binging in bad times:  After all, why should I console myself with crappy food when I won’t reward myself with it?  It’s a little mental game that works for me, and maybe it might work for you, too.  I hope this helps, Lisa, and KEEP IT UP!

Have any tips to battle emotional eating?  Share them in the comments section!

2) Office TemptationAs I mentioned yesterday, I recently started at a new job, and get to show up to an office every day for the first time in a few months.  That also means I get to, for the first time in a few months, deal with office temptation.  Here’s what tempted me yesterday:

Look! A fun-sized box of chocolate-covered raisins!

Did I say fun-sized? I meant a THREE-AND-A-HALF-POUND BOX.  Here it is next to my cup of tea:

It’s even bigger than my friend Jamie’s head, who has “a notoriously large head” (her words, not mine):

This beauty (by which I mean the candy, not Jamie, although Jamie is also definitely a beauty) was just sittin’ in the break room, left out for everyone to enjoy.  I don’t know where it came from, but there it was.  And I really wanted to have some… until I crunched some numbers.  Here’s the nutrition label:

There’s 30 chocolate-covered raisins in a serving, and 40 servings in the box, so that’s roughly 1,200 raisins total.  At 170 calories and 6 grams of fat a serving, that box contains 6,800 total calories and 240 total grams of fatGross.  Of course, a numbers for a single serving aren’t terrible, but I know that I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, eat just 30.  So I stayed away altogether.  Hopefully the box will be gone tomorrow!

3) Boot Camp. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I took, for the first time ever, two boot camp classes on two consecutive days, and man oh man, am I sore.  On Tuesday, I went to my now-regular boot camp class with Craig Ramsay.  He had us working with DynaBands, these latex stretchy bands that you can use to strengthen and tone your muscles.  It was my first time using a DynaBand, and it was fun, because it was new for me, but like every Craig Ramsay class, it was tough.  The exercises he taught us focused on specific muscles, but we would do them in lunge or squat positions, so other muscles would be utilized for stability and support.  Brutal.

If that wasn’t enough, on Wednesday, I went with my friend Chris (my most recent running buddy) to a boot camp class at his gym, where I had picked up a free 7-day pass so I could work out with him.  That class was taught by a nice woman named Kristy (Christy? Kristi? not sure of the spelling), and it involved free weights, a step, those giant balls, and a mat.  Thankfully not all at once, but I’m sure that day will come.  I’m tired just thinking about it!

This morning, I did cardio: 50 minutes on the elliptical; almost 550 calories burned.

Keep it up, David!

The Week In Workouts

March 19, 2011

It’s been a busy week, but I’ve gotten lots of workouts in, and there’s lots to catch up on.  Let’s see… where to start… where to start?  I should probably go back and figure out where I left off in my last “Week in Workouts” post, but it’s late, and I’m tired, so screw it.  I’ll just do the past week.  Want more?  Tough.  File a complaint with the blog police!

Saturday, 3/12/11: I took Richard Simmons’ class at Slimmons, and he played all-new music.  It was a very good class, and not overly packed, which was nice.  Since Richard was out of town during my actual birthday on the 5th, he called me up at the end of this class, along with 4 others, and led everyone in a group performance of “Happy Birthday.”  Having 75 people sing to you is a great way to start your weekend – I highly recommend it!  For anyone that isn’t familiar with Richard’s classes, they’re a fantastic workout, and tons of fun.  There’s 45 minutes of cardio/dance aerobics (very similar to Sweatin’ to the Oldies); then about 10 minutes of toning with free weights, then 10 minutes of sit-ups and push-ups, then Richard gives a little 5-minute pep talk to end the class.  And, yes, anyone can go, and it’s only $12.  Twelve dollars.  To work out with Richard freakin’ Simmons.  Yep, it’s the deal of the century!

Sunday, 3/13/11: 50 minutes on an exercise bike.

Monday, 3/14/11: 50 minutes on an elliptical.

Tuesday, 3/15/11: Boot camp class with Craig Ramsay, and it was tough.  Before class started, Craig says, “Hey, let’s go to my car, and grab some kettlebells.”  My reaction?  “Oh, crap.”  And, of course, I said it out loud.  My experience with kettlebells has been very minimal, but enough to know that the next hour was going to be brutal.  Kettlebells are weights that are designed to be swung around in all sorts of crazy ways, meaning you’re working tons of muscles at once (here’s some basics on kettlebells if you’re unfamiliar).  Sure enough, the hour was pretty brutal, and I left barely able to lift my water bottle to my lips.  The next morning, my shoulders were still very sore.

Wednesday, 3/16/11 – Nightswimming:

“Nightswimming deserves a quiet night
I’m not sure all these people understand
It’s not like years ago,
The fear of getting caught,
Of recklessness and water
They cannot see me naked
These things, they go away,
Replaced by everyday”

Those, of course, are lyrics from R.E.M’s 1993 song “Nightswimming” (listen to it here). That song ran through my brain on a loop on Wednesday, because I decided to break in the new Speedo swimsuit that I bought a few days ago at the pool, and, coincidentally, it was the first time I’ve swam in that outdoor pool at night.  Man oh man, I’m in love!  I haven’t worn a Speedo in about 16 years, since I swam on my high school’s swim team, and it makes all the difference in the world.  Being aerodynamic in the water rocks!  I had a great workout, and felt sleek and fast.  I was still sore from the kettlebells… But I had a productive 50-minute swim nonetheless:

  • 1000 yards warm-up (200 free, 200 IM, 200 kick, 200 pull, 200 IM)
  • Descending ladder, all free (400, 300, 200, 150, 100).  The 100 was an all-out sprint (1,150 yards total)
  • 3 x 50 yard free all-out sprints (150 yards total)
  • 200 yard cool-down
  • TOTAL:  2,500 yards (that’s exactly 100 lengths of the pool)

Thursday, 3/17/11: My friend Chris asked me the other day if I’d be down with working out together in the mornings.  I love working out with friends, and since we live in the same neighborhood, I jumped at the chance.  We decided to go running on Day 1, and met at 7am at a local park.  Chris calls it Porn Star Park, because in the summer, he’s noticed it’s very popular among the big-fake-tittied, scantily-clad, bottle-blonde crowd, and Chris is convinced they’re all porn stars.  He very well may be right: 90% of all pornography is filmed or produced in the San Fernando Valley, where Chris and I, and 1.75 million others, live.

Anyway – I brought along my camera to snap a few pics, but really, there’s not much to see.  It’s a big park, near a freeway:

Due to a slightly groggy brain, thanks to the very early nature of the workout, I failed to note what time we started or stopped, but my guess is that we were running for around 50 minutes.  Based on the signage at the park, I’d guess we went about somewhere between 3.2 and 3.5 miles, but, again, I didn’t really pay attention.  It was nice to catch up with Chris, though, and I look forward to working out with him more.  Just in case you’re wondering, there were no Porn Star sightings, but, of course, I certainly wouldn’t recognize anyone anyway.  When I hear “adult film,” my mind goes to Merchant Ivory films, doesn’t yours?

Friday, 3/18/11: Well-deserved REST DAY!

And since I’m sharing every single thing I eat this week, to show how I log my food, here’s my…

Food Log for Friday, March 18, 2011:
–Breakfast: 1/2 cantaloupe; 2 hard-boiled egg whites
–Lunch:  Sandwich (whole wheat bread, turkey breast, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumbers); 2 pickle spears; fruit cup; 1 Kashi granola bar
–Dinner (Lotus Vegan restaurant):  1 fresh roll (lettuce, carrots, scallions, mint wrapped in rice paper, with 1 tsp peanut dipping sauce); shrimp salad (cabbage, mint, scallions, red onion, other veggies I’m forgetting, soy shrimp; some sort of oil-free thai chili dressing)
–Snack:  15 Runts (candy from a gumball machine at the movies; I was really craving something sweet, and 50 cents for a palm-full of candy seemed better than a $4 huge box of something from the concession counter.  FYI, the banana Runts are my favorite.)
–Beverages:  2 glasses hot tea; 2 water bottles (64 oz each); 1 liter sparkling water; 34 glasses water; 1 more liter sparkling water

Keep it up, David!

A Week and a Half Of Workouts

February 26, 2011

It’s been well over a week – since Valentine’s Day, actually – since I last ran down what I’ve been doing for exercise.  Too long!  So here we go, working backwards from today.

Friday, 2/25: Wanted to go to the pool, but it was cold and raining, and it’s an outdoor pool.  Decided to wait for clearer skies, and hit the gym instead, where I did about 15-20 minutes of weight-lifting, then 51 minutes on the elliptical while watching a SNL special that was being rerun on Vh1.  I sure do love Tina Fey!

Thursday, 2/24: Richard Simmons’ class at Slimmons, which is about 45 minutes of cardio aerobics, 10 minutes of free weights, and 10 minutes of sit-ups and push-ups.

Wednesday, 2/23: Fun at the gym:  50 minutes on the arc trainer, and 15 minutes or so with some free weights.

Tuesday, 2/22: I grumpily made it a rest day.  I was sneezing and blowing my nose all day, and decided to take a day off so my body could focus on fighting the cold I had caught somewhere.  It worked – the next day, felt way better!  Bummed, though, because I wanted to go to Craig Ramsay‘s boot camp class, which I’ve been enjoying.  Instead, I watched Glee while lying in bed, which I also enjoyed.

Monday, 2/21 (Presidents’ Day): Unintentional rest day.  This was the day that I learned to shoot a pistol at the firing range.  I made it home around 3pm or so.  I was planning on working out that evening, after taking a little power nap.  I went down for the nap at 7pm, and got up from it at… 9am the next day! I can’t remember the last time I got 14 hours of sleep.  All that sleep felt really good, to be honest.  I think my body was catching up from my long, wonderful, but exhausting weekend (which is thoroughly documented here, here, here, and here).  I think my cold, which had made its presence known earlier in the day (thru sniffling and general stuffiness), also played a part.

Sunday, 2/20: No dedicated workout, but I spent 10 hours walking around Knott’s Berry Farm, and apart from lunch, and actually being on rides, I wasn’t sitting down at all.  So I’m counting that as exercise.

Saturday, 2/19: Richard’s class at Slimmons (see 2/24, above).

Friday, 2/18: Rest Day.

Thursday, 2/17: Fun in the pool.  I swam 2600 yards.  You can see how I broke it down at the end of this post.

Wednesday, 2/16: I went running, after giving myself an attitude adjustment, which you can read about here.  (I ran for 33 minutes, then did 27 minutes on a bike at the gym.)

Tuesday, 2/15: Went to Craig’s boot camp class, which lasted an hour.  I was sore for the next 36 hours.  He called this particular class his ‘slow burn’ class, so it was a lot of weights, and a lot of slow, deliberate movements, and at the end I could barely lift my arms.

Looking back at these 11 days, I wish that 3 of them weren’t rest days, but I didn’t plan them that way.  And what am I gonna do about it now?  Nothin’.  So it’s not worth dwelling on.

Tomorrow I have an appointment, so I won’t be able to go to Richard’s class.  Haven’t decided what I’ll do instead, but I’ll figure it out.

Keep it up, David!

A Week of Workouts

February 6, 2011

It’s been nearly a week since I last shared my workouts, so read on, and then you can consider yourself all caught up.  I’ll work backwards.

Sunday, 2/6 (Super Bowl Sunday). I awoke bright and early and made it to Beverly Hills for Sherri’s 9am class at Slimmons.  Sherri’s Sunday morning class is long (90 minutes), and she packs a lot into it:  cardio aerobics, toning with free weights, exercises at the ballet bar (squats, lunges, leg lifts, etc.), ab work on the mat, and she ends it with a good 10-15 minutes of stretching, which feels great.

I got a nice second round of exercise today, because I went to my cousins’ place for the big game, and since my aunt, cousin, and I could care less about the big game, we left at the end of the first quarter and went for a great walk around their neighborhood, which is very hilly and quite beautiful.  We walked for close to 1 hour and 15 minutes, most of it going either uphill or downhill.

Saturday, 2/5. I went to Richard Simmons’ Saturday class at Slimmons.  The theme was all ’80s music, and Richard was his energetic, festive self, and it was a good, fun class.  Richard’s classes are made up of about 45 minutes of cardio dance aerobics, then roughly 10 minutes of toning with free weights, 10 minutes of abs and push-ups, and a short little motivational pep talk at the end.

Friday, 2/4. I tried something new – a boot camp class!  It was led by Craig Ramsay, who you may recognize – he was a trainer with Jackie Warner on Bravo’s weight-loss show Thintervention, which aired last fall.  Here’s the Thintervention website, and here’s Craig’s Thintervention bio.  I’ve been hearing about Craig for, gosh, probably a couple of years.  He and I have a few mutual friends, and they’ve been taking his boot camp classes for a while now, and raving about them.  Despite hearing about Craig, over and over again, I didn’t actually meet him until about a week and a half ago, and he invited me to one of his classes, and so, on Friday, I went.

It was tough.  There was only three of us in the class, so Craig was able to move us out of the gym’s classroom and onto the gym floor.  He had me warm up on the bike, and after a few minutes he handed me some weights and talked me through a trio of shoulder exercises to perform while pedaling away.  Then some different bicep and triceps exercises with a barbell, then three different types of push-ups that made me want to throw up, then he put me on a treadmill and upped the incline until my legs felt ready to fall off, then, at the end, a couple different types of pull-ups.  Phew!

What I liked most is that in addition to being really personable and funny, Craig really knows his shit, and articulated exactly why I was doing everything he had me do, with an emphasis on how exactly I’ll benefit from keeping the correct form and executing the proper technique.  I felt sore and exhausted after class was over, but I also felt smarter, and I can’t complain about that!

You can learn more about Craig on his website.  And here’s a picture of me and Craig after class:

Thursday, 2/3. Rest day!

Wednesday, 2/2. I had a busy day on Wednesday, but in the morning I headed to the tiny little gym in my building and did 10-15 minutes of toning with free weights, and 45 minutes on the elliptical.

Tuesday, 2/1. Since I hadn’t run in about a week, I decided to juice up the iPod and hit the streets.  It wasn’t my best run, by any means.  I felt ready to quit after about 10 minutes, and had to push myself to go just a couple more blocks, or just until the end of the song…  I was hoping I could push past the feelings of not wanting to run anymore, but I couldn’t, and after 20 minutes, I stopped.  In those 20 minutes, I made it 1.9 miles.  My route:

You’ll note that my end point was nowhere near my starting point, which meant I had a long ways to go to get home.  I ended up alternating between walking and jogging every couple blocks.  All in all, I was out on the roads for close to 50 minutes, but since I didn’t keep track of the time during the off-and-on jogging part, I’m only gonna add the first part of the run, when I ran continually without stopping, to my running chart:

  • 9/21/10: Distance: 3.1 miles.  Time: 41 minutes.  MPH: 4.53
  • 9/27/10: Distance: 3.3 miles.  Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 4.4
  • 10/5/10: Distance: 3.2 miles.  Time: 40 minutes.  MPH: 4.8
  • 10/12/10: Distance: 3.8 miles.  Forgot to note time and MPH
  • 10/16/10: Distance: 2.9 miles.  Forgot to note time and MPH
  • 11/1/10: Distance: 3.1 miles.  Time: 36 minutes.  MPH: 5.16
  • 11/6/10: Distance: 5.1 miles. Time: 60 minutes.  MPH: 5.1
  • 11/14/10: Distance: 3.9 miles. Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 5.2
  • 11/28/10: Distance: 4.2 miles. Time: 46 minutes.  MPH: 5.47
  • 1/4/11: Distance: 3.0 miles. Time: 34 minutes.  MPH: 5.3
  • 1/24/11: Distance: 4.4 miles.  Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 5.86
  • 2/1/11: Distance: 1.9 miles.  Time: 20 minutes.  MPH: 5.7

I’m actually surprised that despite how crappy I felt on the run, I moved along at 5.7 mph – a pretty good pace for me!  After returning home, and feeling like I just bombed that running attempt, I hopped on the stationary bike in the little gym off my lobby, with the idea that I’d do another 15 minutes of cardio.  I ended up doing 25 minutes, which made me feel better about the whole day.

Monday, 1/31. Click here for my workouts from 1/28 – 1/31.

Oh, and since I’m talking about exercise, I’ll end this post with the exciting news (to me, at least) that I jumped at the chance to renew my gym membership at a great promotional rate, and now I’m paid up through February 2012, and I’m paying less than I ever have in the three and a half years I’ve been a member!

Keep it up, David!