If This Were Easy…


I am intrigued by this…

Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 1:59 pm

From Metafilter, a quote:

I lost the first 90 pounds about three years ago, and it took me about two years to do it – and it was plain, old fashioned, “eat less, move more.” In my case “eat less” meant adhering to the “serving size” that’s listed on everything here in the USofA. If I want a cookie, I can have a cookie – two if that’s what the serving size is.

That’s an intriguing idea. I mean, it’s part of what I tend to do anyway, if I’m weighing and measuring thing. But it’s so simple and uncomplicated.




Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 9:27 pm

I “decided” on three tickies.

And by “decided” I mean, “after several months of not tracking tickies and thinking about which tickies to track and changing my mind and still not tracking tickies, I logged into Joe’s Goals, saw the three tickies that are actually still set up on my Joe’s Goals account, and figured they’d do.”

So, the three tickies are:

  • Drinking 3 glasses of water
  • Going to the gym
  • Tracking food in Daily Plate.

And hey, today, I’m 3 for 3.

Of course, the women’s shower room is being renovated at the gym tomorrow, so prospects for continuing that streak are limited, but we’ll see. Perhaps I’ll go and walk on the treadmill for a bit and come home and shower.

What’s worse than being back where you started?

Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 12:11 pm

How about being back where you ended up after you slid backwards from where you started?

When I first started trying to lose weight seriously, I was 337.5, and I lost a bunch of weight (down to about 260) and then gained it all back and then some. The single fattest I’ve ever been was September 3rd, 2008, when I weighed in at 369lbs. Then I lost a bit of it again and got back down to 315 or so, before letting it all go to hell.

Well, this morning, after months of avoiding it, I stepped on the scale.


Right back at the worst it’s ever been.

I could tell you how much that made me cry, but then I’d start crying again.


Well, that’s a disappointment

Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 11:04 pm

My goal for swimming is to be able to swim 50y/min. That’s what Livestrong considers a ‘moderate’ pace, and I’ve generally been not close to it.

In order to swim 50y/min, I need to be able to swim the 20y pool in 24seconds, and my best times to date have been 27seconds, but my average time is more like 35-40.

I swam one set of 2 laps tonight, then checked my lap timer and it was showing an average lap time of 24 seconds. I felt totally triumphant! Woo! 24 seconds!

Or, you know, I’d accidentally recorded a third lap that was 2 seconds long and it dragged down my average from 35 seconds.

Triumph averted.


Some notes on swimming lessons

Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 10:54 pm

That’s right, two blog posts today. That should make up for months of not posting, no?

I actually had my first swimming lesson this evening. The instructor is not, in fact, the heinous bitch who hates me, so that was good news.

I had originally signed up for Adult 3, which might have been a little more advanced than I actually needed, but as it turned out, Adult 3 was cancelled on the grounds that I was the only person who signed up for it, and I got bounced back to Adult 2.

Adult 2 was overpopulated by my presence, and some other woman got really, really huffy about that, and completely steamrolled the instructor’s suggestions that she stay for this week and give the gym a chance to come up with a solution. The woman got totally bitchy and walked out on the class to go demand her refund. Uh, good riddance, I guess.

The remaining three people in the class were two youngish girls who are really just learning to swim. They’ve had a couple of rounds in Adult 1, so they can swim, sorta, and are too advanced for ‘and now you lay back on my hand and float while I hold you’ of Adult 1, but they don’t really feel particularly comfortable in the water. Go them for making the effort.

Go them doubly for telling me they thought I was a great swimmer and they were really impressed. That made me feel good about myself, so yay! I told them I just had a few years experience on them, what with having taken my first swimming lessons when I was 2, and all.

The other guy in the class can swim, but not with his face in the water. I don’t know if that’s a nervous thing or just a bad habits learned over many years thing.

Basically, there are only three levels of adult lessons, versus about 12 levels of kids lessons. So Adult 1 is ‘I do not know how to float or blow bubbles’ and Adult 3 is ‘I am a very a good swimmer, and I’d like to swim further and faster’ and Adult 2 is absolutely everything in between. There’s no way the four of us would all be in the same class if we were kids swimming at the levels we swim at, but I guess the demand for adult lessons probably doesn’t justify the additional striations.

I did make a little progress on kicking, I think. I found it quite exhausting, so that may be part of the problem — I may just need to build up more endurance at kicking since it takes so much more energy.

I need to remember my lap timer for next week, since having the instructor time laps for me really doesn’t work — she has too much else going on to watch the clock.

I stayed after and swam a single set of 14 laps, since the pool was open for Adult Lane Swim after my lesson ended anyway.

Why I’m taking swimming lessons, a handy chart.

Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 10:39 pm
Crawl 00:28.75
Crawl w/ Kick 00:37.23
Crawl 00:38.22
Backstroke 00:55.59
Crawl 00:36.86
Crawl w/ Kick 00:49.13
Crawl 00:37.75
Backstroke 00:59.51
Crawl 00:38.80
Crawl w/ Kick 00:47.84
Crawl 00:35.28
Backstroke 00:56.64
Crawl 00:36.84
Crawl 00:42.86
Break 01:33.44
Crawl 00:30.52
Crawl w/ Kick 00:42.52
Crawl 00:39.19
Backstroke 00:52.52
Crawl 00:37.60
Crawl w/ Kick 00:45.13
Crawl 00:40.01
Backstroke 00:58.65
Crawl 00:37.53
Crawl w/ Kick 00:46.40
Crawl 00:41.97
Backstroke 00:56.80
Crawl 00:40.97
Crawl 00:41.88
Break 01:53.86
Crawl 00:32.35
Crawl 00:39.64
Crawl 00:43.96
Backstroke 00:55.00
Crawl 00:38.27
Crawl 00:43.66
Crawl 00:42.42
Backstroke 00:55.62
Crawl 00:40.13
Crawl 00:43.39
Crawl 00:42.42
Backstroke 00:55.97
Crawl 00:40.52
Crawl 00:45.40
Break 00:49.53
Crawl 00:35.01
Crawl 00:40.23
Crawl 00:40.65
Backstroke 00:55.08
Crawl 00:38.32
Crawl 00:45.39
Crawl 00:43.60
Crawl 00:50.60
Crawl 00:41.66
Crawl 00:44.40
Crawl 00:39.41
Backstroke 00:55.58
Crawl 00:42.67
Crawl 00:43.45

So, okay, the handy chart probably isn’t actually all that handy. But a detailed reading of it will reveal why I’m taking swimming lessons, despite the fact that the chart covers off my ability to swim a kilometer.

I swim in sets of 14 laps (250m give or take), with backstroke laps on the 4th, 8th and 12th laps. Those are essentially resting laps, and they’re quite slow, and I don’t care.

More interesting is the crawl laps. Normally when I do front crawl, I swim arms only. But sometimes, on the return laps that aren’t backstroke, I try kicking. And those laps are much slower than the arms only laps, which is, uh, bad.

Now that return lap is almost always the slowest of the crawl laps — I think that mainly has to do with the currents in the water, but it may also have a bit to do with how the turns get timed into the laps. But even taking that into account, in the first two sets of the time above, I was kicking on my returns, and in the last two, I wasn’t.

In the first half, that return lap was an average of 6 seconds slower than the one that followed it. In the second half where I was never bothering to kick, the return lap was only an average of 2 seconds slower than the one that followed it. 4 seconds, when you’re talking lap times between 30 and 45 seconds is a fairly significant percentage.

So, that’s why I’m taking swimming lessons. At the very least, I’d like to be able to kick my legs and not have it hinder my progress.

My long term swimming goal is to get my crawl speed up to 50y/min, which is what’s considered ‘moderate’ swimming speed. I don’t think I’ll be able to get there if I continue to swim arms only. It’s just under 30y/min in the set above, but would be a little better without the kicked laps.


Wanting Things

Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 6:43 pm

{Imagine a pro forma apology for failure to update my blog here. Did you know there’s an entire blog out there that does nothing but link to other blog posts about the owners of those other blogs failing to update on a timely basis? There totally is. Only I can’t find it right now, because my google-fu is week.}

Since the last update, not much has happened. I’ve pretty much failed to do any of the things I was supposed to be doing and along with my blog, I abandoned my ticky boxes, my food tracker and having a waistline. And that’s not so good.

So I was whining about that on LSG the other day, and one of the other members suggested I make a list of all the things I want to do. And I thought, hey, well, that’s something I can do. I like lists. It’s low commitment.

Except here’s the the thing I’m having trouble with. When I think about things I want to do, what I actually get are:

  1. things I want to do, but don’t do
  2. things I feel like I should do
  3. things I should want to do, but don’t, really
  4. things I want to have done, but don’t particularly want to actually do
  5. things I want to do in theory, but not in practice
  6. things I don’t really want to do, but tend to do anyway
  7. things I do actually want to do, but don’t really know how
  8. things I want to want to do

Some things don’t fall neatly into those categories, either.

Take, for example, editing the first draft of my novel. It falls into category 3 — I feel like I should want to do it. But I don’t want to do it. Which makes me feel like I’m a bad writer (which I might well be) which makes me feel like a bad person (which I try not to think I am). So maybe it’s more in category 4 — I want my novel to be edited. I even want to have been the one who edited it. What I do not want is to actually sit down and edit it. Which is partly related to category 7, in that I don’t feel confident of my abilities to edit.

Going to the gym is pretty much all of those things, depending on how I’m approaching it at any given moment. Mostly, it is 8.

So how do I decide what I want, when I don’t know what I want?


Week 1 Roundup

Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 1:01 pm

So, I’ve spent a week at the new gym. I’m not fully moved over yet, as I’m still doing 2 training sessions a week at the old gym, but I have been to the new gym 4 times to swim and do aquafit.

I’ve been doing fairly well with the swimming, though I’ve been getting there later and later every morning and thus getting less distance in, so I need to turn that around a little. I’m having trouble just getting a routine in place for the new gym, and I keep doing things like making wrong turns on the way there that push me later and later. Still, with the swimming before aquafit and then the aquafit, I think it’s a pretty good workout.

That said, my reaction to Monday’s Aquafit class was: Worst. Aquafit Class. Evar. The instructor was a substitute and probably not used to teaching a combined deep/shallow class (which is kind of inherently a weird concept since they are so very, very different) so she mainly taught a shallow water class and every 5 minutes, she’d come running over to the deep end to tell us if we couldn’t do something, to just jog on the spot.

And then, Wednesday’s class was marginally better, different instructor, who paid more attention to the people in the deep end of the class. It was still not a great class — no focus on technique, no intervals, no exercise sets — but at least I felt like we were doing something.

Then, Friday’s class: Worst. Aquafit Class. Evar. I’m not sure the Friday instructor even realized she had a deep water class. She stood at the shallow end of the pool, where none of us in the deep water could even here her, and didn’t look past the first third of the pool at any point. Beyond that, it was simply a boring class, even if you could follow it. Do this for 2 minutes, followed by do that for 2 minutes, followed by another thing for 2 minutes.

Today’s class, which I took in the shallow end, was a much better class in general. She had more focus on technique than I’ve seen from any instructor in Toronto (which means about 1/4 the amount you’d get from the worst instructor in Prince George) and a limited attempt at setting the exercises. I’m not sure how I’d have felt about it if I were in the deep end, but I think it was definitely the best of the bunch. This may be because the weekend crowd is different and younger and thus more able to handle a more complicated cardio class, I’m not sure.


Notes from the Gym

Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 3:30 pm

I went in this morning and signed the papers to dissolve my contract with Strictly Fitness this morning. The conversation happened at a very high volume, but only because they were jack-hammering up the cement floors in the hallway, and not because the transaction was otherwise problematic. Linda was perfectly happy to just fill out the form and let me leave. I probably should have been dealing with her in the first place.

It’s kind of sad that I’m probably going to escape that gym right around the time they finally finish the damned renovations, so I’ll be suffering through them for nothing. Today while I was doing sit-ups, a construction guy came over and started pulling nails out of the floor about 8 inches from my head. I just kind of looked at him in shock and he said ‘I’ll only be a minute.’ I wanted to yell at him, but it didn’t seem worth it, so we just moved somewhere else — and we finished before he did.

I did complain on the way out the door, but Linda said there’s just nothing they can do, the guys on the job don’t have the common sense god gave a gnat and while talking to them about one specific thing will get them to stop, it doesn’t stop them from doing 10 other stupid things in the next hour.

My last day will be March 2nd, and my last payment went out yesterday. It’s nice to be feeling free and clear of that obligation.


This is the first day of…

Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 11:30 am


It was also my first day at my new gym. I got up early (oh god, so early) and went in to swim laps before aquafit class.

I didn’t quite get a full kilometer in, because I spent too much time dithering about my lap times and trying to calculate how many 18 meter laps I needed to swim to reach a kilometer (55.555,  in case you’re wondering) and how to best break that up in appropriate sets (4 sets of 14 laps each, with resting laps on the 4th, 8th and 12th, in case you’re wondering) and how I could have been so stupid as to forget my water and how exactly one manages the weird two-locker system they have going on at my gym and how I could have been so stupid as to forget to eat before class. But 900 meters isn’t bad for my first day swimming in a few weeks anyway.

Then I took the aquafit class which as epically lame. But she was a substitute instructor, so I’m hopeful that the regular instructor will be better. I do seem to have traded old Russian women in for old Italian women, but the old Italian women do seem to actually try to do the workout, lame though it might be.

I’ve also been slacktastically failing to bother tracking my food since I went home for Christmas, so I’m back doing that, as well.

Also, for the benefit of those who missed it on Facebook, my old gym has agreed to nullify my contract once I finish up my personal training sessions.



Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 3:40 pm

So having talked to 5 new gyms, I’ve narrowed it down to 2 choices.

The first is the Columbus Center at Lawrence & Dufferin. The second is the University City Recreation Center at Finch & Sentinel, also known as the ghetto gym.

Columbus Center UCRC Advantage?
Pros Cons Pros Cons
$47 / month $47 / month Tie
Will cancel for a move w/ 30 days notice Annual Memberships only Monthly, quarterly, semi and annual memberships. UCRC
Towel service available Towel service either $1 per towel or bumping up to $85 membership which doesn’t offer much else I care about Not sure they even offer towel service CC
Katya works there, and while she couldn’t be my trainer, she could help pick my trainer Personal training $55-65 / session Personal training $40 / session UCRC
7 km / 10 minutes (really more like 15) 2 km / 5 minutes (really 5 minutes ) 98 stop signs in those 2 km UCRC
Aquafit classes throughout the day, including an 8:30 class with a lane time ahead of it. Only aquafit classes are at night. CC
Apparently quite a nice facility, though I haven’t toured it yet. Probably pretty ghetto, though I haven’t toured it yet. CC

Going based on costs, it’s a pretty easy win for ghetto gym. But I suspect that I might actually like going to Columbus Center a lot more.

I’m going to have to go to both of them, I guess, and get a sense of how ghetto is ghetto.


Looking for a new gym…

Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 2:34 pm

Fun telephone conversation of the day:

Goodlife Fitness Man: I thought I’d call since I find calling easier than email.
Me: Well, okay, but I find email easier, that’s kind of why I sent one.
Goodlife Fitness Man: Well, there’s just a lot of information to go over. A lot of details.
Me: You mean, the sort of thing I’d like to have in writing?

It moved on from there, and actually the information he had to offer was not too bad from a cost/cancellation perspective. It was just, you know, a dumbass conversation.


Things I didn’t know until I knew them…

Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 2:24 pm

I was doing one of those internet research study thingies this morning, and it asked me to describe something I was grateful for. I ended up writing that I was grateful for all the friends who support me in my efforts, even though in the moment I might seem bitchy and ungracious about it.

And I wanted to say that here, because writing it to some grad student at the University of Virginia doesn’t really get the message to the people who should really be hearing it.

If you’ve told me I’ve lost weight, or asked me how my workout is going, and I’ve given non-enthusiastic replies, I’m sorry. It’s rude of me to be so ungracious when you’re doing exactly what I need and want you to do, which is taking an interest in and supporting my efforts. I should be nicer and I should be more appreciative.

And you? You should keep doing what you’re doing. I hope I haven’t scared you away.


Conversations at dinner

Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 11:02 pm

One of the people at dinner tonight was a fitness instructor at Good Life, and the issue of why she doesn’t do personal training came up. She knew I did personal training and she didn’t want to say, because she didn’t want to insult me, but I figured I’m probably not a typical personal training client, so it probably wouldn’t apply to me.

She says she prefers to deal with the people who come to classes, because they’re self-motivated, while the people who get trainers need the external motivation and she didn’t like dealing with those people.

So, I guess that is me.

I’m just not sure I agree with her value judgment. It was tempting to just point out that if she could only handle teaching people who already exercise and enjoy it to exercise, she must not be much of a teacher, but I don’t think that would have been a fair value judgment on her, either.

So, yeah. I need the external motivation, the external accountability. It’s why I have a trainer. It’s why I have this blog, and my food diary, and my weight tracker and everything else. I can’t trust myself to push through the ‘do not want’ to ‘doing it anyway’. But with a little help from my friends (even the ones I pay $50 an hour), I can make that leap.

So I’m not having fun. At least I’m doing it.


Update Revisited

Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 12:04 pm

The one thing I forgot to mention about my trip home:

I had to buy a belt until my mother took in the waist bands on my pants.


An Update

Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 9:27 pm

Contrary to the usual wisdom that someone who isn’t keeping their diet blog also isn’t keeping their diet, I actually am keeping my diet for the most part (just ignore those days last week when I was drinking). It’s just that ‘Ayep, I kept my diet again today’ doesn’t exactly make for exciting blog posts, you know?

So, some comments from my vacation, some of which have already been mentioned in status updates, but which I’m recording for posterity anyway.

I missed a few days of exercising while I was away because a) my mother only goes to the pool during the week and b) I had the cold from hell for the first week. That said, I came home 7 pounds lighter than when I went out west 10 days prior, so I’ll take it. I wonder how much of that weightloss was from my body trying to keep itself warm while I was watching curling, but I don’t really care. I’ll take the pounds however they want to come off.

I also managed to come home almost completely free of jetlag. As it turns out, my mother basically lives on my schedule except that it’s 3 hours earlier her time. While I’m in my 9:30 aquafit class, she’s in her 6:30 aquafit class. The only thing is that going to bed at 10pm vs. midnight means an hour less sleep and a lot more exhaustion.

Easily the best moment while I was away was when my mother told me she didn’t think I would be able to swim laps in the 50 meter pool. Admittedly, I had my own doubts on that subject, but hell if I was going to let her be right about something like that. So I swam 10 laps / 20 lengths, just to make a point. Then, in a truly classy move, I rubbed it in all that day and part of the next.

I did try swimming laps with fins while I was there, as well, but man, that was hard. I don’t normally use my legs a lot when I swim and bringing them into play was more tiring. Plus, I had to slow my arm stroke down to match my leg stroke, which meant breathing less. I was moving faster, so 8 laps only took about 1/2 an hour, vs an hour for 10. But by the time I had finished those 8 laps, I was exhausted and had to stop. That, and I butchered my left ankle with the fins, something that took about 5 days to fully recover.

One interesting aspect of getting back was all the comments I got at the gym about having been away. It’s nice to have established enough regularity that my absence was noticed. Plus, on my first morning back at training, someone told me I was ‘really working’ on the treadmill. Given that I was only warming up at the time, I can only assume she doesn’t know what really working a treadmill looks like, but I’m trying to take that as a non-delusional compliment.



Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 10:00 pm

I have some bits and pieces I’ve been meaning to post but haven’t had time for, but I wanted to make a general update on the aquafit situation.

Thursday aquafit instructor is apparently being moved to Wednesday and someone else will be teaching on Thursday instead. It’s not clear whether someone else is teaching at 9:30 or 9:45 yet, but hopefully whenever the class starts, they will be punctual.

Thus concludes the saga with a sort of non-victory for anyone.



Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 5:20 pm

So, I was going to the gym 7 days a week, and that was working out okay, except that I was pretty tired much of the time.

So then, the doctor suggested I take at least one day a week off, and Katya agreed that would be not a bad idea. It concerned me a little because I do need the gym to be just something I have to do, and not something where I “decide” if I’m going or not, because let me tell you, if I have to decide every day, I’m not going. But between the tiredness and a lot of achey muscles, it seems like a good idea.

But then cut to yesterday, when I didn’t go the gym, and also didn’t sleep all night. I can’t help but wonder whether if I had gone, I would have gotten tired and fallen asleep instead of staying up until 2AM and then tossing and turning until 4AM.

A friend suggested I could go to the gym on the 7th day anyway, to keep up the habit, but just walk slowly on the treadmill instead of really working out. That would possible solve the habit issue, and the ‘being tired all the time’ issue, but possibly not the ‘not tired enough to sleep’ issue. Which may in fact be mutually unsolvable with the tired all the time issue, unless of course I just indulge my TylenolPM habit.

So, all in all, I dunno. Is it better or worse to take a day off? What about a slack day instead of a day off? Anyone else have any thoughts?

Practice Makes Perfect

Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 12:24 pm

Ha, Katya wanted me to support myself on my elbows and toes above the floor as long as I possibly could today. She was not expecting good things, I gathered, by the fact that she suggested that ‘even if it’s only 2 or 3 seconds, that’s okay’.

Little does she know that that was the rest position for one of the exercises I was doing while I was walking. Of course, I never mastered those actual exercises — but the rest position, I figured out.

She was more than slightly surprised when I could hold it for 30 seconds.


Conversations from the change room…

Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 1:32 pm

Person #1: You look relaxed.

Easy: Are you sure I don’t look exhausted?

Person #1: Well, yes, it could be that.

Easy: That was the most cardiorriffic of any aquafit class we’ve had since I started.

Person #2: No! You think? She’s okay, but Stephanie is more.

Easy: I thought today was really hard.

Person #1: No, I think Stephanie is harder.

Easy (in her mind): That’s because a) you can 15 minutes late to class so you missed half of it and b) Stephanie makes you shut up and actually do exercises while Ashley doesn’t care if you work or not as long as you don’t get in the way of people who are working. If either of you were actually doing any of the things you were supposed to, with anything resembling good form, you would have found them hard.

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