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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

diet, day 9

Sometimes, you wish all you had to do was meditate on it, nomsayin?

The last time I was dieting, kids, I was a lot fatter to start with. This led to possibly a bit more motivation. It certainly led to the fat seeming to melt off effortlessly. I was also in ketosis. People like to hate on low carb, ketogenic diets but, holy crap, do they suppress your appetite. Right now my appetite, being not in the least suppressed, is leading me to do things like put theoretical foods for the day into my fitday log so I can see just how many good things I want to eat I can sneak in under my calorie ceiling while also meeting those pesky protein requirements. If I was obsessed by food and counting and numbers while I was bulking, it at least didn't have the wistful fantasy component this does.

Not that I'm meaning to complain. Not at all. This is my choice. And I'm doing pretty well. Unlike the bulking which is/was a whole new experience, I KNOW how to diet. I've been doing it on and off since I was 10 and hit puberty. (Don't worry, when I did it when I was ten, it lasted a day or two until one of my little friends wanted to go to the Dairy Queen. I didn't have some kind of middle-school eating disorder.) I know what it feels like to be hungry but put that feeling aside and not eat. I know how to say "no" to things that look and smell delicious and tempting. I know how to get off on my own self-discipline and find a certain masochistic satisfaction in it.

Like that only very tangentially related man candy? You're welcome. You really don't want to google image search "hurts so good" at work without the safe search on. You're welcome for that little life tip, too. Full service blog!

To get back to my point, dieting sucks, but it sucks in a familiar, almost comforting way, and past experience tells me that it never doesn't eventually work if I keep at it. New underwear pictures December 18ish. We'll see what happens between now and then.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

the scale's a lying liar

My bulk having come to its end, at least for awhile, I spent the past weekend, Friday through Sunday, not counting anything. It was my birthday weekend and I wanted to eat mass amounts of carbs, very little protein, and however many calories passed my lips, no less, no more. It's been a long time since I've eaten whatever I wanted without regard to its nutritional values, macros, or calorie count for several consecutive days (18 months to be exact). It felt wonderful. It was a prelude, however, to the next four weeks of dieting***. My plan is to diet until the week before Christmas, get off the bulk bloat and whatever fat I've put on, and see if I actually did grow any new muscles under there. In order to have a starting point, a reference number, I felt I had to weigh myself yesterday morning.

Well. After my weekend of just eating "whatever"--in particular, high carb "whatever"--I weighed in at a whopping 125. This may have horrified me had I not been well aware that I am still fitting into all my size 0 and 2 clothes, and the last time I weighed 125, I was a solid size 4. In other words, I *knew* that 125 was a bogus number, all water weight gain and muscles full of glycogen. After one day of eating low calorie, high protein, and moderate carbs, drinking a ton of green tea, and peeing like the proverbial racehorse, I weighed in this morning at 122. See that? Three pounds of ugly fat gone overnight! Oh, the lulz.

I can laugh about this, but in my tenure of reading weight loss and fitness forums on the internet I have seen SO MANY PEOPLE who live and die by the scale and who, against all the known laws of physics, think that they really can gain three pounds of fat from one day of overeating or that those six pounds they lost their first week of dieting was adipose. I have seen people in all seriousness say "I ate [dairy/artificial sweetener/carrots] yesterday and I was up a pound this morning, so obviously that's a 'staller' and I can never eat that." I always want to tell them to go take a poop, weigh themselves again, and add the dairy back into their diet. I have seen people absolutely freak over situations like mine: their clothes fit fine, they look fine in the mirror, but ZOMG! the number on the scale is higher than their "perfect" weight! And perhaps saddest and most nonsensical of all, I have seen (mostly female) people who are attempting to get thinner who refuse to exercise because it will make their scale weight go up temporarily.

Even I, who ostensibly know better, got incredibly frustrated at the scale number not going up during my bulk, even though I had to admit to my weightlifting friends that they were right when they pointed out I was making continuous strength gains and it's impossible to do that without gaining at least some muscle. I didn't care. I wanted the number on the scale to confirm it for me, even as I was rolling my eyes, cursing, and saying that number on the scale meant nothing.

Of course, if there was an easy, inexpensive, and accurate way to measure one's bodyfat percentage****, we'd all be able to more reasonably obsess about that. We'd see that our weekend of birthday celebrating, our adding a different food to our menu, our starting a new exercise program really hasn't made us fatter no matter what we weigh on a particular morning. Unfortunately, most at-home, or in the gym, methods of measuring body fat are inaccurate to the point of being completely worthless. In fact, sometimes they lie worse than the scale does. So, no help there.

I don't know what the answer to this conundrum is other than to obtain the knowledge that your weight will fluctuate from day to day and that only long term trends mean anything and then to not be crazy over it. Obviously, one part of that sentence is easier to implement than the other.


***Yeah, I know. Starting a diet the week of Thanksgiving! Bloody brilliant!

****Um, the ol' buttoning-your-pants kinda actually works for this, but since there's no numerical value to that, it seems woefully inadequate to a lot of people.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

all butt, all the time

If you've been following along, you'll know that I, like many women my age, am infected with the dreaded SOWWA (sagging old-white-woman's ass.) When I was a young girl, my butt was a work of art--not that I appreciated it at the time. But somehow, somewhere along the way, it all went horribly wrong. This reached its apex last winter when, having lost probably a little too much weight, I realized I was not filling out the back of my jeans anymore. As I like to say whenever I reference this, TRAGIC.

That was part of the impetus to bulk. Build some glutes, yo! It's been coming along, I think. The jeans are snugger in the right places these days. Squatting helps. But, of course, there are always other things one can do. Bret Contreras, aka The Glute Guy, is a big proponent of the weighted glute bridge or hip thruster.

Believe me, I have tried to find a way to do these in the gym. It's not like I myself have any shame. SLDLs (or RDLs***) with my back to the rest of the male-dominated gym****? No problem. Yoga hip openers that occasionally look like something out of the kama sutra in the stretching area? No problem. Why would lying on my back on the floor thrusting my pelvis up embarrass me? C'mon now. The problem is that there's no room in our weight room to do these with a barbell, I can't really figure out how to get the bar all the way down and get under it in our (apparently mutant) Smith machine, and every other solution (plates or kettlebells on my pelvis) isn't enough weight for me to feel like I am doing anything. My glutes may be a shadow of their former selves, but they're actually still pretty strong. It's a thick group of muscles!

Well, let me tell you. A couple weeks ago while I was walking around the entire periphery of the weight and cardio and stretching areas doing my farmer's walks, I saw a woman using a machine that I had never realized we even had. In my defense, it's near the Bad Girl machine, and while I have no shame, I do have enough dignity not to go near that. (Besides, I pretty much "sumo" everything. My adductors need no additional help, thanks.) The machine the lady was using was a glute press. "Oh!" I said to myself, "These dumbbells I'm carrying around are friggin' heavy." No, no, no. Actually I said to myself, "Oh! I wanna try that!" And since I have, it's become my new favorite thing. I can barely restrain myself to using it only two times a week on leg days.

I looked at a lot of video online trying to find one that looks exactly like our glute press and I couldn't. Apparently, it is as mutant as our Smith machine. But this comes pretty close.

The other day I did a couple sets at 100 lbs after squatting and I felt pretty close to puking. Good times! I am, however, convinced that, contrary to my previous post, this contraption and its judicious application will overcome time, my genetics, (and possibly the laws of physics) and give me Ines Sainz's ass. Please don't disillusion me.


***I still have no idea whether the exercise I am doing is an SLDL or an RDL. Liz taught it to me as a stifflegged deadlift but some things I've read online disagree and call it a Romanian deadlift. I start at the top and don't go all the way to the ground. Whatever that is really called, that's what I'm doing.

****When Liz first taught me these (with 20lb dumbbells...awwww), she said that when taking her personal training course in order to get Y certified, she had to "teach" two different exercises and this was one that she picked. Apparently the instructor, while fine with her technique and coaching, cautioned her that some women would be uncomfortable doing these because it involved bending over in front of other people (i.e. maybe guys.) Oh, we laughed and laughed.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

ch-ch-changes, part 2

Or, more on accepting your own body type, with celeb pictures.

Yesterday on, one of my favorite websites, they posted the following picture of JLo Hewitt.

They posted it to illustrate that the woman is always photographed in bandage dresses, and that she needs to switch up her wardrobe choices. They asked that readers weigh in on what they would like to see her wearing instead. To my particular chagrin, seemingly half the comments focused instead on the fact that she had "fat" legs or "ugly" legs or "cankles." Someone opined that she should stick to wearing pants at all times.

Cankles? She has tiny little ankles in that picture. She's also a short little woman with some calf muscle, much like, oh, I dunno, me? My immediate thought in reading those comments was, OMG, people are looking at my legs every time I wear a skirt and thinking I should put those things away. Which is not a thought I have ever much had before. In fact, I have always considered my lower legs to be one of my better physical features. IN FACT, one of my exes, the first time we were, um, intimate, actually told me my calf muscles were beautiful, which only reinforced my prior lurve for them. It's only in very recent days, since I've been doing calf raises that I really probably don't need to be doing, that I've even questioned whether my calves might be becoming *too* muscular. But even so, I would never consider them fat or canklish.

But compare this picture of Amanda Seyfried, also on gofugyourself yesterday.

That is, presumably, the socially acceptable lower leg? I mean, to me, they look like you could snap them like twigs, but I suppose if that is the beauty ideal, JLo Hewitt and I do have hideous "cankles" and should hide them under full length jeans at all times so as not to frighten the populace. Sigh.

The thing is, I could never look like Ms Seyfried. My calves were more muscular than that when I was 12 years old. If I were a drumstick, you'd be getting a full meal, is all I'm sayin'. So I'm better off believing what I think when I look in the mirror: that short muscular legs are just fine. Or even what my suitor said: that they're beautiful. Because I ain't ever gonna make them into what they genetically are not, and I don't intend to wear long pants every day of the rest of my natural life.


Friday, November 4, 2011


You know I'll take any excuse to post Bowie video, because me n' David are like this: X.

But what I would really like to talk about today is changing your body. Often when people are losing weight or beginning to work out, they have in their head (or posted on their refrigerator) a goal body. The idea is that if you just have enough discipline and work diligently enough, you will end up looking like Megan Fox.

Or Jamie Eason.

Or Jennifer Lopez.

Or Dana Linn Bailey.

Or Tracy Anderson.

Or maybe all you have to do is wear something that barely covers your butt and give a fierce, sultry look over your shoulder at the camera. Let's all try that and post our results! Um you go first.

As my friends know, my original (joking) goal was to look like Ines Sainz.

Alas, all my dieting and all my working out have not made my body look anything like Ms Sainz's. Squatting has not given me that butt, nor have lat pulldowns given me that width in my upper back. However, I have way more definition in my arms and shoulders than she does. I'm not going to end up with her body, kids. I'm just going to end up with a different version of my own.

And in the spirit of that, I would like also to discuss some of the changes that I have seen lately. Unfortunately, I have no "smouldering at the camera" shots to illustrate, so you are going to just have to take my word that I'm not lyin'.

For years and years and years, I would see women's magazines in which some probably-made-up reader would ask, "Are there exercises that will make my breasts bigger?" and the answer would always be, "No! But if you do chest exercises for your pecs, your breats will look higher and perkier." And for years and years and years, I thought that was a load of bullshit, designed to placate all those boob-dissatisfied girls. Well. In the last year, I have been working my pecs a lot. DB bench has been one of my better lifts, and I would always joke to Liz that I probably have really nice pecs, but I can't prove it, because they're covered with boobs. But just recently, when I've gotten out of the shower and caught a glimpse of myself drying off or whatever, it's occurred to me that, holy shit, my breasts really are sitting up higher on my chest than they used to. I never, ever believed that could happen, but it has. Woohoo! And a hearty eff you to gravity. On the downside--and some of you all have probably already heard me complain about this--all the squatting and deadlifting and rack pulls I've been doing have built up my core like whoa, which is great for my overall health and fitness, but I'm pretty sure it's making my waist wider. Even though I *do* stubbornly refuse to ever do targeted oblique work. But my lower erectors, my abs, and my QLs are all thick now. I can feel the thickness of the muscle in there. It's making me not quite as dainty as I used to be. Higher boobs, pretty flat stomach, but no tiny waist. You take the bad with the good, I suppose! But if you think you can plan exactly how you're gonna look, you will be sadly disappointed.

That's today's life lesson. But I gave you Bowie video and pretty pictures, so don't complain.