Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Lifelong Question

This is Schischter's entry for Part 1 of The Assignment

What I don't like about myself: in general. That is a lifelong question. Since puberty hit, I have never been skinny. People always say, "I wish I was the same size I was in high school." That, for me, would not be much of a difference. I have maintained my current weight for nearly 15 years, and that is including two pregnancies. I usually prefer to be the one behind the camera lens, not in front of it. I don't shy away from having my picture taken, but I will shy away from actually LOOKING at those photos. My husband is tall and thin, and I look like a bloated whale next to him. That does "wonders" for my feelings about myself.

What I don't like about myself: at this point in my life, I have very little energy to enjoy spending time with my kids, and nieces and nephews. I have to buy 2X clothes, and those are starting to get snug. I wheeze when I bend over to tie my shoes or trim my toenails. My lower back is in almost constant pain (alleviated recently by regular visits to the chiropractor) I still need a bit of coaxing to get out and exercise, even though I know I need it.

What I don't like about myself: at my doctor's office. The scale doesn't lie. I hate that the doctor has to push so hard to get a good feel of the internal organs. I feel healthy, and my blood tests have always been within normal limits (with the exception of a SLIGHTLY high cholesterol level) and yet I know, deep down, I am not truly "healthy." I've asked the doctors what to do about my weight and they all say the same thing: diet and exercise. (DUH, as if I didn't know THAT) I say I am not looking for a miracle cure, but I am. I know that, at this weight, I am at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes (especially since there is a strong family history) as well as other health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, arthritis, etc.

I want to be at a healthier weight and body shape. I want to be able to shop in the "misses" department, not the WOMENS section (even if it is the largest size in the section, it's better than the smallest size in womens.) I want to be an example for my children and stop the generational obesity habits. I want to have more energy. I want to be able to bend over without having to hold my breath, or feel lunch creeping back up my esophagus. I want to feel good wearing sexy lingerie for my hubby. I want to feel good wearing a swim suit in public. I want people to stop asking me "When is the baby due?" - my husband got "snipped" over 2 years ago. You get the drift.

I needed this smackdown challenge to kick my (ample) butt into gear.

Monday, January 29, 2007

That Of Which I'm Tired

This is Renn's entry for Part 1 of The Assignment

I am tired of being the fat one in the family. I am tired of not being able to keep up with my six year old, and wanting to take a nap after walking up the hall. I have no desire to be a super model, or super thin. I just want to be healthy, and not crave food when I am tired, upset or bored. This is an addiction, and it is getting out of hand.

I don't want to go cold turkey or diet any more. That just seems to make things worse. I have been on pretty much every diet imaginable; I have "dieted" since I was ten. So no more. I am pulling the plug on the weight issue. I will weigh in once a week. I will not feel guilty if I eat fast food, but I won't have three helpings either.

This weight didn't go on overnight. It won't come off that way, either. I am taking it one step at a time, one meal at a time. For the first time in my life, I am doing this for the right reasons. This isn't to fit into a new pair of pants, or to look better for an event. This is to feel better. I also want to be around to see my daughter graduate.

If I don't work to get this under control now, I will end up pouring my heart out to Richard Simmons in his next TV special... and nobody needs that.

Week Five Report

This week may be one of our plateaus, or it may just be a pause before the big plunge. At any rate, with most of our players reporting, here are the results:

Biff Spiffy, Tiff, Renn: No change from last week

Mrs. Spiffy: +2

Marisol: +3

Girl, Schischter: -1 (3% of goal) Way to go!

Joe Shmoe: -2 (5% of goal) This week's Champion! Good job!

We're smack in the middle, the part that would make lesser warriors waver in their commitment. Not so for you, because your word means action and your goal will submit willingly like a timid little puppy dog, wagging its tail at you and NOT piddling on the carpet.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Basic Rundown

This is Tiff's entry for Part 1 of The Assignment

Here's a basic rundown of why I now HATE the weight I've put on over the past several years.

1) It is a physical manifestation of a period of much anxiety in my life, in which I wanted to avoid emotional closeness and so ate and drank my way into unattractive padding, which I thought would shield me from unwanted attention. That's a move that backfired, and left me feeling terrible about myself.

2) I still think of myself as average size, and yet the camera doesn't lie. I have never ever ever liked having my picture taken, and the extra weight doesn't help my attitude any. Combine the fat with the effects of aging, and I can almost not stand to look at myself in the mirror some days. This is sheer vanity, I know, yet there it is.

3) Extra weight sequesters estrogen. The extra estrogen can set the scene for breast cancer to grow. This, as anyone can tell you, is not good.

4) Extra weight predisposes anyone to developing type 2 diabetes, particularly as one ages. I am nearly 45. I am overweight. There's not much math needed to figure out that I am just asking for diabetes. I do not want diabetes. My grandfather died of diabetes. Diabetes is bad.

5) There are hosts of other reasons I hate the extra weight. I don't feel attractive. I don't feel sexy. I have muffin tops the size of hoagies. My thighs are dimpled, and that's not cute at all. My upper arms sway, and hot shit nobody wants to see THAT. My chin is birthing a twin, and ruining my profile. I want my old body back, or as close as I can get to it. I want that so badly that I'm excited about losing weight this time.

Lots and lots of reasons I hate hate hate the extra weight. So, instead of spending any more time writing about it, I'm going to go work out, then drink a bunch of water, and take a long hot shower as my reward.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

What I Don't Want

This is Biff Spiffy's entry for Part 1 of The Assignment

Why am I doing this? I won’t miss 35, 45, or maybe even 70 lbs. The first 35 is just to get started. Those are the pounds and pounds of fat cells that cling to my belly, my chin, my back, shoulders, and butt. They shake when I do jumping jacks and continue twirling left when I want to twirl right. They make it hard to get down an airplane aisle, between party guests in the kitchen, and to touch my toes. That is the worst; when my own gut sprawls uncomfortably on my lap when I untie my shoes.

I’m not cameraphobic; generally I don’t mind posing for friends and family, because photos are so valuable to memories. However, I don’t like to look too closely, for I may find my belly in a relaxed state or a chin not pulled sufficiently tight. I will draw the line at swimming pictures, because frankly, nobody wants to see manboobs.

This winter I’ve pulled on favorite sweaters and felt like a giant fuzzy sack of leaves, with plump little arms sticking out. A coworker emphatically told me never to wear one outfit again, as it made my normally large head look unusually tiny. This should not happen.

There was a time when I would run for miles, stretch out on the floor until my nose touched my knees, and lift incredible amounts of weight. Those activities are half a lifetime ago, and I will no longer live as though my best days are behind me. Damn the remote, I’m going running.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

An Assignment

You didn't think you'd be able to fit into a different wardrobe without DOING something, did you? Of course not, for you are intelligent and sensible. We Shrinkers are an ambitious bunch, and to get rid of the mass of ME and then some, it will take some effort.

We all know that the mental effort is as important as the physical effort. Therefore, in order to help align your brain and body, I propose the following assignment in TWO PARTS.

Part One will focus on what we don't want. Part Two will give us a goal, a vision to aim for - details on that when Part One is done. Tiff has already touched on this, and I found it very inspiring to look at the details of why we're doing this little challenge. Be inspired, and then turn in your homework:

As Soon As Possible (right now, you ambitious and energetic Accomplisher of Things) submit to my email an essay. One to four paragraphs in length, as thoroughly as you can stand, the subject: What you don't like about your extra weight. Describe how it affects your life, your mood, your feelings and actions. I will post them as they roll in and we can share in your experience.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It's harder than it looks.

Remember - no rolly chairs for this one!


Begin sitting on a step or chair with hands next to thighs. Balance on your arms, moving backside in front of the step with legs straight (harder) or bent (easier). Bend the elbows and lower body a few inches, keeping the shoulders down and the elbows parallel to one another and at 90 degrees. Push back up to starting position and repeat.

Tomorrow - say "ow" as the muscles you forgot you had speak their mind. Do another set of chair dips and smile, because you are in control.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Week Four Report

Well, with half of our precincts reporting (c'mon, you slackers - you know who you are), here are the new standings since last week:

Biff Spiffy: -1, total -14 (40% of goal)
Tiff: -2, total -4 (11% of goal)
Renn: -4 (17% of goal) New this week! Congratulations!
Joe Shmoe: No change - New this week!
Mrs. Spiffy: No change

Will post Slacker Piggies when the results come in.
Schischter: -2 (6% of goal) New this week! Way to go!
Not Missy: -2 (6% of goal) New this week! Grin!

Well done - looking forward to our progress!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Straight From The Inbox

LadyJane Scarlett sent me this cool site this morning. You can login and then start tracking your workouts. Cardio stuff, weight training stuff, it's all good.

I'm going there to sign up. Look for Tiff in the public record fairly soon. Biff and all y'all others?


Originally posted by Tiff
Edited for naughty language and reposted

Monday, January 15, 2007

Week 3

Okay, this contest is off to a rocketing start. We have 6 contestants (joiners welcome) who have finally weighed in and committed with their goals.

We're going for a collective ditching of 175 pounds - the mass of an entire adult male will disappear by hot dog season. I hope the feds don't get suspicious. Anyway, that's a 16% reduction among the six of us - yay!

I know my changing habits have made a difference. I'm getting up earlier, spending about 30 minutes with the exerball (DB) doing pushups, crunches, stretches, and leg things. About thrice a week I'm wogging or walking at least one mile. And, I'm eating less - not drastically so, but just stopping at 'firsts' and taking smaller portions. It's been surprisingly easy to get used to. We stopped by Wendy's over the weekend, and I ordered my beloved Single With Cheese, Medium Size Combo. I was uncomfortably full before I ate half my fries - that has never happened before. I'm getting excited.

Here are this week's starting stats:
Biff Spiffy: -13 (37% of goal)
Tiff: -2 (6% of goal)
Not Missy: New contestant
Marisol: New contestant
Mrs. Spiffy: New contestant
Girl: New contestant

Friday, January 12, 2007

How To Make Your Belly Hate You Like You Hate It

This was stolen shamelessly from MSN Health. If any copyright lawyers want to pick a fight, send all your complaints over to Tiff. She's good at getting out of trouble.


Best Exercise: Seated knee lift. This exercise not only tones your abs, but you can do it in a skirt and heels—without getting on the floor, says Willibald Nagler, MD, physiatrist-in-chief at New York Hospital's Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City.

How it's done: Sit up straight in a firm, armless chair. Grab the chair's edges just in front of your hips. While supporting yourself with your hands, slowly draw your knees up toward your chest while breathing out, keeping your lower back pressed against the chair. Hold, then slowly lower.

Worst Exercise:

Reaching for the candy bars in the bottom drawer.

Number of Reps

Best: Take this test to find out. Do as many perfect crunches as you can: feet flat, knees bent, elbows out, slow movement (3 seconds up, hold for 1 second, 3 seconds down), your upper back about 3 inches off the ground. If you can do between 1 and 5 perfect crunches, subtract 1 from that number; between 6 and 10, subtract 2; between 11 and 15, subtract 3; and for 16 or more crunches, subtract 4.

This is the number of reps that you should do for each set. (For example, if you can do 10 perfect crunches, you should be doing sets of 8 reps each.) Do three sets, with 60-second breaks in between. Retest yourself regularly to update your workout. Crunches with your legs up or on a decline bench are more difficult, so you may not be able to do as many in the beginning, but that's OK. Do as many as you comfortably can. As your abs get stronger, you'll be able to do more.


More than 50. And if you're not seeing results from 50 reps, 100 or 200 won't help either! Quality, not quantity, firms your midsection. Ten well-executed crunches are better than 50 sloppy ones. To stay challenged without adding reps, you should switch to a different kind of ab exercise every 6 weeks.


Best Exercise: Legs-up crunch. Keeping your legs on a chair or bed or in the air helps to make a basic crunch more difficult—and more effective. It makes your abs, particularly the upper portion, do all the work because your hip and leg muscles are unable to provide assistance.

How it's done: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your lower legs placed horizontally on top of a chair. Your thighs should be vertical, your hips close to the chair. Curl up slowly, with your upper back about 30 degrees off the floor, and hold. Slowly return to the floor. For a more challenging workout, hold your legs straight up in the air.

Worst Exercise:

Fast, old-fashioned situps. These work your hip muscles; your abs do very little. It also doesn't help that you're more likely to use momentum, especially if your arms are straight overhead or pulling on your head, explains


advisor Wayne Westcott, PhD, fitness research director for the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Mass. This move also places lots of stress on the lower back.


Best Exercise: Crossover crunch. This exercise hits the obliques, which wrap around your sides and are key to creating a wispy waistline.

How it's done: Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, and place your left ankle on your right knee. Put your hands behind your head, with your elbows pointing out. Slowly raise your right shoulder toward your left knee, lifting your upper back and twisting slightly. Keep your elbow in line with your ear, not in front of you. Don't pull on your head or neck. Hold, then slowly lower. Repeat to the other side.

Worst Exercise: Twists with a broomstick. There's no resistance, so your abs won't get stronger or firmer. The only thing this will do is stretch and warm up your trunk muscles.

Lower Belly

Best Exercise: Reverse curl. This move works the lower portion of the abs, targeting that bulge below your belt.

How it's done: Lie on your back and place your hands, palms down, alongside your thighs. Bend your hips and knees to form a 90-degree angle: thighs vertical, lower legs horizontal. Now slowly contract your abdominal muscles, lifting your hips about 2 to 4 inches off the floor. Keep your upper body and arms relaxed. Hold, then slowly lower.

Worst Exercise: Straight leg lift. Your legs and back are doing most of the work, so you'll see few results in your midriff. And this move puts tremendous stress on the lower back, increasing your chances of injury.


We're at the end of Week 2 of our big smackdown. There will be more to come. Oh yes. Charts, graphs, motivational bits and photos. Not of us, are you nuts? No, maybe after we're at maximum sexiness will you get a glimpse of success.