Monday, August 17, 2009

Lifting and Losing

I was feeling pretty adventurous this morning after getting up (a whopping 4 minutes) before my alarm went off. Poor Andrew begs me every morning to come spend 10 minutes with him drinking some coffee and I (almost) always choose the 15 more minutes of sleep (I'm not a morning person, what can I say?)

But today I did not. And so I decided to go all out and step on the scale, too! I haven't weighed myself in several weeks because it was starting to upset me that I was lifting weights (and still doing cardio, of course) and not losing weight very quickly (if at all). I promised myself that no matter what the scale said, I would be okay with it since someone just told me on Thursday that I was looking like I was losing weight and that was more important than the numbers.
So I stepped on aaand, low and behold, I've lost 3 pounds since the past time I was on it! HOO RAH! Since I have started weight training four months ago, I have lost 13 pounds, which doesn't seem like much. But I keep reminding myself that the slower it comes off, the longer it STAYS off. Not to mention, I am totally loving weight training. So weight loss or not, getting into (and staying in) good shape is actually enjoyable. Who'd have thought?

This picture is old but you can still tell how hardcore I am ;-)

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Can't Help It....

Okay. I have some things to say about the Eagles signing Michael Vick. And this is my blog so I'm going to say them here. I will admit that when I first heard the news, I was less than excited. But I have been mulling over the decision for the past 12 hours or so and here's my opinion:

First of all: Yes, Michael Vick is a HUGE douche. He did a REEEALLY shitty and disgusting thing and was punished for it. Some people may argue that he wasn't punished appropriately, but (as someone who knows first hand what prison can do to a person and their family) I can assure you that shame, ridicule, and regret will follow him wherever he goes for many, many, many years to come. He lost his job and the respect and admiration of the people who loved him. That is a HUGE price to pay, for anyone.
Second of all: I am a HUGE animal lover. At any given time there are 3-6 cats and dogs wandering around my (very small) rowhome. Andrew and I have fostered many a dog and kitten, including the 100 pounds of clumsy pitbull love we called Summer. (I just want to make sure that's out there should anyone accuse me of being an animal hater in what I'm about to say).

Philly, CHILL OUT! We are notoriously fickle as fans. So we're pissed that we got stuck with Vick and now angry fans are selling their season tickets on craiglist as if they've all been dipped in anthrax. Mark my words: if Vick starts winning some games, they'll all be crying to get them back. Win games=happy Philly fans. Lose games and/or have shitty attitude=angry, bitter fans. We stick by the team that wins, that's just how we roll.
Vick has something to prove, both personally and professionally, and I won't be surprised at all if he gets on that field and wows the shit out of everyone. And I'm willing to bet he'll play with class (ahem, T.O.)

PETA, CHILL OUT! Maybe you could approach Vick about doing a campaign to help support your cause instead of picketing and rioting everytime his name is even mentioned. There is an amazing opportunity there, use it for good instead of fostering more hate. Please? Maybe?

Another thing that gets me is the standards to which we hold these professional athletes versus other public figures. They throw balls around and we hold them to this god-like esteem. The Linc holds over 76,000 seats and you'd be hard pressed to find a single ticket during the regular season for less than a few hundred bucks. Meanwhile, in the last election in Philadelphia, voter turnout was less than 13%, the lowest in 23 years. These people we're (barely) electing RUN OUR CITY AND COUNTRY and we care less about them than we do our football players? Really, Philly?!
I would be willing to bet that if we held Congress to the same standards of behavior and ethics that we hold our professional athletes, about 2/3 of Congress would be suspended indefinitely.

I must also point out that the irony of the Birds signing a huge, violent douchebag is not lost on me. This is a city who's fans beat each other to death in the staduim parking lots and shoot each other over an ipod. He killed dogs. We kill each other. Brotherly love, my ass. Get over yourselves, Philly, we're not any better than Vick. At least he's willing to admit his crimes and atone for the mistakes he's made. We turn a blind eye and pretend that because it wasn't OUR friend, or OUR neighbor that we are somehow exempt from responsibility. This is OUR city. We are ALL responsible. And until we get that, and actually start fighting back against the violence and hatefulness that is the pulse of this city, we aren't in any position to point fingers at anyone, including Vick.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Random Musings: Family Time & Skinny Fat

So far August has been a really fantastic month!
I have had visits from my dad, my brother (twice!), my sister, my most gorgeous and adorable niece, and my favorite Monkey! I truly feel so happy and blessed to have such wonderful peeps in my life!
Visits are great for fun but very, very bad for good, clean eating. I mean, you can't have someone visit you in Philly and NOT take them to get a cheesesteak, right?! August(so far) has been filled with the occasional hoagie, the discovery of a new pizza place in our 'hood, Flying Monkey cupcakes, wine, cheap champagne and, plenty of River Horse (probably one of the best things that has ever come out of Jersey).
Aaaand I also had the pleasure of some delicious dining out, where I can assure you that even though I probably ate too much bread, my dined in moderation. Some of the places I went were:

Tasty! I'm spoiled! But we have also done lots and lots of walking around the city.

Last Friday, my niece Grace turned 1!! She had a blast eating her first cupcake and then was pretty much up the entire night. Yay for sugar!
Then on Saturday we took her to the Please Touch Museum! I'm pretty sure all of us "adults" liked it just as much (if not more than) she did.

Learning to garden like Uncle Andrew!

Aye, Captain!

I just loved every minute with Grace! She is so well behaved and happy. I think the cats were less than enthused with her (she REEEALLY liked them a LOT), but they did appreciate the remains of her birthday present

This week and last I have been back on the low weight, high rep resistance training routine with my trainer. It is more of a mental challenge than a physical one, but I my muscles are definitely burned out when we're done. Next week, we go back to heavy lifting, which I LOVE. It makes me feel really hardcore and reminds me of when I was in college and lifting almost everyday.
The week before last, I leg pressed 355 pounds! I was really proud of myself! That was more than I ever leg pressed in college, for sure!
Sometimes I get a little frustrated because I don't think I'm seeing physical results as fast as I think I should be. But when I do something like that, I don't even care what the mirror says. I just know that I am strong and I remember how amazing my body is (even if my stomach is a little flabby). I can FEEL the difference in my body; my runs are faster and stronger, my arms don't have any flab on them(!) and I can hustle up and down the stairs with ease. I personally think those little things are what make the biggest difference. Sure, its nice to look in the mirror and notice that you're 20 pounds thinner; but looking 20 pounds thinner doesn't mean I'm any stronger or healthier.

Lately, I've heard the term "skinny fat" used. I'm still not sure what to make of it. I can't tell if its something heavier in shape people invented to make themselves feel better, or if it really is a genuine health risk, like some have suggested.
The idea of "skinny fat" is twofold: the first is that there are those people who are naturally thin, look great in clothes and once clothes are removed, are either flabby and not so trim. The other refers to those who are thin, look thin but store their fat around their organs instead of their extremities and are, therefore, in danger of heart disease and other health problems because the fat stored around organs is known as "visceral" and is far more dangerous than fat stored near the skin's surface.
I think the latter is a valid health concern that should be addressed, and the first is probably more like tabloid BS. But this label of skinny fat raises two issues, as far as I can tell: first, who is genuinely at risk and second, how do we enroll skinny people (skinny fat or otherwise) in the benefits of exercise?
Now, I know that most of us who read health magazines and food blogs know about the benefits of exercise. But, let's be honest, if you were skinny (healthy weight skinny, not emaciated) would you still work out? Seriously. I want to know. I feel like, if asked, we would all say "of course we would!" but I feel pretty confident that if I were thin, my workouts would be a lot less intense. Sure, I would DO them, but I wonder how hard I would really push myself. See, when I workout now I'm not just thinking about being able to run my next 5k or chase after my kids or play in a soccer mom soccer league, I've still got my eye on the prize: that 20 pounds. I may or may not ever lose all of it, but the idea of the loss keeps me far more motivated than my other more long-term goals. If I didn't have to work so hard for that goal, I wonder if I would really give it my all. What do you think?
The other thing that concerns me is are we getting the correct message out there to those who ARE at risk for the kind of health related problems associated with visceral fat? Is the medical community even addressing it? I, for one, see a hell of a lot more information out there geared towards heavy people, BMI's and obesity but very little about less visible fat-related dangers. Just some food for thought...

On another unrelated note (this post is really all over the place, sorry): Andrew and I are still waiting on the final results of the City Garden Contest! Final judging was on Saturday! I am SO proud of Andrew, he really has made the garden his labor of love and it is creative, beautiful and sustainable all at once. He's first place in my book!

You can all go excuse yourselves to throw up now. I'm done.