Fighting with the scale

I have, quite literally, been walking my ass off the past few months.

My previous post about walking 25 miles over the course of a weekend, while I find it super impressive, is just part of what a normal week is for me. This week, for example, I’ve already exceeded 25 miles, and it’s only Thursday, and I’ll be putting on my Reeboks as soon as this post is done and logging another six or seven miles by the time I get home.

According to the first-quarter stat update from Map My Walk, I’ve already done 205 miles in 2014, and the e-mail said I’m “on track to hit 822” by yearend. I love a challenge, so I plan to raise that number by 178 to make it an even 1,000 miles at least.

Having said that and that fact that I’ve been walking my ass off and feeling my jeans get bigger and getting back into some of the clothes that have been shoved into the bottom of a drawer or the back of my closet, the scale has just been an unbudging SOB. In fact, it even went back up five pounds, which I know is a bold-faced lie because 1) I’m wearing those clothes that finally fit again, 2) I definitely see a difference in my face and stomach and 3) I am more often than not eating less than my caloric allowance because of all that damn walking, which is obviously a key to weight loss.

The scale has been giving me NO love lately. (Getty Images photo)

The scale has been giving me NO love lately. (Getty Images photo)

It’s been depressing me, to be honest, and the old me would’ve been derailed by my weekly (or multi-weekly, if I’m being completely honest) weigh-ins ten times over, so what the hell gives? I have never eaten so well, so clean and so good in my life — I mean, I am eating spinach and other veggies and fruits like it’s my damn job, we’ve pretty much cut out everything white and hardly eat a starch with dinner anymore. I actually crave all these good things on a daily basis, and even on the weekends, when we have our one lax day where we might, say, have an Irish breakfast for brunch or indulge in a burger or share a lemon gingerbread cookie at our favorite bakery, it’s usually after one of our mammoth walks so at the end of the day, I still have a ton of calories left over.

So yes, scale, I am having a pretty big beef with you right now. I’ve been chalking it up to the fact that it was the cheapest scale they had at the store when I bought it last year, but c’mon. It’s one of those stupid old non-digital ones, how could you not work properly? Especially after you showed me that 15-pound loss so lovingly just a few weeks back?

Last night, I finally confessed my depression about the whole thing to the fella, and he found it BS, too, saying he knows I’ve been losing because he sees it when he looks at me and knows how well I’ve been doing. He thought maybe it’s because it’s a cheapo scale and that maybe, since he was standing on one of the floorboards that creak in the house because it’s slightly raised, where I’m stepping on in the bedroom might be uneven or something.

With that in mind this morning, when I finally decided to hop back on (it’s been about a week since I last weighed myself because of this whole scale-hating episode), I moved the scale and voila, there was that lower needle that I’ve been looking for, thank the gods of weight loss!

In my years (and years) of trying to lose, I have always read in fitness magazines and on blogs that you should throw your scale out because of the very reason I’m about to mention as the reason I just can’t perform said action. Most women have been trained to think in numbers when it comes to weight, not just “going by how your clothes feel” like those blogs and magazine articles tell us to do.

It’s really hard for me to not track my progress with a scale, and I think that not having one when we first moved to New York, though it was not the sole catalyst for the weight gain I am now battling, I do regret not having one to check in on. I think seeing the number creep up might’ve helped get me in line a lot more than my tightening pants, which is stupid, I know, but I think some of you will agree with me that we sometimes come up with excuses like, “Oh, they were just washed,” and then come home with the button imprint embedded on our bellies.

So what about you? Are you a slave to a scale or a go-by-the-fit-of-my jeans kind of person? I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions!

Nikki

25 miles closer to who I want to be

Ever since I downloaded it, I have been obsessed with Map My Walk. I always knew that I covered a lot of ground walking around the city, but it’s pretty amazing to see just how much it all adds up to.

Take this weekend, for example. From Friday to Sunday, I walked a record (for me) 25 miles around this great island.

My 12-mile journey on Friday took me from 34th Street down to St. Mark’s and the Bowery, to the Village and SoHo, where I met up with the fella after work and we walked uptown on the West Side, stopping to eat before catching a train home at 59th Street. We laid low on Saturday, only logging one mile, when, since I cannot tell a lie, we walked to the neighborhood taco truck for dinner.
It is what it is.

The route of yesterday's 12-mile excursion.

The route of yesterday’s 12-mile excursion.

We more than made up for that yesterday, when we walked from 14th Street all the way home to 149th, which included wandering through Central Park, where we met up with the Girl Child at 81st Street. Thanks to zigzagging blocks here and there and walking through the park, we logged another 12 miles for the day.

It’s invigorating, really, to see how far I go and how my pace varies throughout the course of a walk, and I find it a great motivator to keep going, to best my last mile’s pace or get just one extra block in … which usually turns in to two or five or 10.

Next weekend, if the stupid weather cooperates, we’re planning on doing our biggest walk yet: The whole island of Manhattan, from Inwood down to Battery Park. It should be pretty easy because Manhattan is a little more than 13 miles, which is only one more mile than I’ve already done twice just this weekend.

And looking even further into our fitness future, we plan to add jogging into the mix and start taking part in some of the many 5Ks held in the city. Even if I can’t jog all or part of those races at first, I know I can make those 3.1 miles my bitch pretty easily, especially given the mileage I’ve accomplished this weekend — and this is just the beginning!

Nikki

-15

I hopped on the scale today and was extremely pleased to see the number down 15 pounds!

I’ve been working my tail off with exercising and eating right, and I love seeing it pay off like this.

I’ve continued to be super mindful of tracking my food in My Fitness Pal and all my movements in Map My Walk, and, thanks to the fella and I taking advantage of last weekend’s glorious 50-degree temps, we walked almost 17 miles on Saturday and Sunday combined. On Saturday, we found a new path along the Hudson that led us to The Little Red Lighthouse, and on Sunday, we walked from 43rd, through Central Park and home to 149th. Needless to say, I think my new purple Reeboks are officially broken in!

According to my weekly summary from MMW for March 3-March 9, I did 10 workouts for 8.2 hours, covered 23.5 miles and burned 5,405 calories. Not too shabby I daresay! I think when I’m down 30 pounds, I am going to start incorporating jogging as part of my walks to help ward off any plateaus and to, you know, start putting the “run” back into Run, Nikki, Run!

Hope you have a great Thursday — and an even better weekend!

Nikki

Beating weekend temptations

I find it so easy to be good during the week, especially when I’m in an office setting. But even working from home, I tend to make fairly healthy choices Monday through Friday while also managing to get in some lengthy walks or some time on the Air Climber.

But I’ve always struggled with the celebratory nature of weekends.
* At first, it was letting loose with my friends because, well, that’s just what you sometimes do on Fridays and Saturdays.
* Then it was finding weekend traditions with the fella and the Boy and Girl Childs.
* Then there was that year the fella and I did the long-distance thing and crammed all of our time together into two days.
* That was followed by our move to the city and two demanding and exhausting jobs and subway time that amounted into much, much more than 40-hours a week, so a lot of weekends were spent just trying to recharge ourselves inside our tiny railroad apartment that we didn’t get to see too much of during the week.
* After a year of that, we moved to a new place that had ample room for me to spread my exercise wings again, the GC moved in with us, I started freelancing, and the fella got a job he loves. Weekends became his time to be in the apartment we all love so much, but after being at home all week, I was itchy to get out and explore together instead of solo like I do during my off time during the week.

Sure, there were some struggles as I tried to let him have some couch time and he begrudgingly gave in when I’d start saying, “Let’s go for a walk! Wanna take a walk?” in the same voice I’d ask a dog.
You should know it’s also my Talking-to-Children voice.

Since starting this healthier lifestyle together, though, getting exercise in is just something that we now do on autopilot.

Take yesterday, for example. We needed groceries, but instead of just heading to the store four blocks away and coming back, we did a three-mile walk around our neighborhood. And up here in Harlem, that means we walked up more than a few steep hills. And on Saturday, we walked from the restaurant on 41st where we had dinner to our beloved bakery on Bleecker two-plus miles away to share our weekly treat, a lemon gingerbread cookie.

So today, when I stepped on the scale, for the first time in a really, really long time, my weight didn’t go up over the weekend. It stayed where it had been on Friday, and it was empowering. Of course, it would’ve been better if I’d lost weight over the weekend, but I’m not going to knock this maintain one little bit, especially given my indulgent weekends in the past. There will be time for that as we continue on this path.

We’re thinking our food through now, like only stealing a few fries from the kids instead of having our own plates at The Counter burger joint Saturday or making a killer meal of bacon-wrapped scallops and whole wheat pizza with spinach, olives and fresh mozzarella last night or savoring our nightly desserts.

Yes, they were both just as good as they look.

Yes, they were both just as good as they look.

I appreciate food so much more now that I’m not shoveling it in as fast as I can. I don’t eat as much, and it tastes so much better. My mom always accused me of “living to eat” instead of “eating to live,” and I own up to that. I love food, and I will always love food, but I think I’ve melded those two sayings into something good for me at last.

What about you? Do you “live to eat,” “eat to live” or a delicious combo of both like me? How do you survive weekend temptations?

Nikki 

Walking on air again

When my mom gave me an Amazon gift card for Christmas, the plan was to use it to get Kindle books. But with receiving a bunch of book gifts, a winter that’s actually, well, been winter and the recent addition of HBO Go to our TV (which gives me unlimited access to “Sex and the City,” aka My Favorite Show to Watch Whilst Exercising), I knew there was something much better for me that that gift card could go toward.

So I  went ahead and ordered a new Air Climber.

Hello, old friend. I've missed you.

Hello, old friend. I’ve missed you.

It sure has been a long time since I’ve written about my beloved AC (two years, to be exact!), but now that we live in an apartment that actually has consistent heat (as opposed to our apartment back in Pennsylvania which was so frigid it caused the AC’s billows to crack) and room for me to step (which our first New York apartment decidedly did not have), it’s high time I got back on the red and black contraption that could always be counted on to give me good results.

So when it arrived last week, I couldn’t wait to hop on and actually get to wear my brand-new Reeboks, which I thought I’d have to wait until spring to break in. I was reminded very quickly how hardcore the AC is. Fifteen minutes in, I thought my legs were going to give out, which was surprising because you and I both know I walk a lot, but man, this just — ahem — steps up the cardio to a whole different level.

I lost four pounds since last week already, which pleases me greatly. So while it may take me a few weeks to get back to making it through a whole “SATC” episode like I used to on the AC, at least I’m taking a — cough, cough — step in the right direction.
OK, I’m done with the puns, promise. Well, in this post at least.

Nikki

Get up and go

Just as I was getting balls deep into a week-plus cycle of sleeping through the night, I was wide awake this morning at 2 a.m. and stayed that way until almost 6 a.m.

Since I was up, I did what any good girl would do while the rest of the house and building slumbered and took to Netflix, where I  continued my recent tear of watching fabulous documentaries about fabulous New Yorky people, like the Kennedys and Diana Vreeland (can I just pause to mention how frigging fantastic she was?? Such style! Such great vision! Watching it made me realize that even though I work from home, there’s no reason I shouldn’t dress up or not wear lipstick around the house on a daily basis because why the hell not? I just might be wearing my best red lips right now if you must know. It goes fantastically with my black yoga pants!).

Last night started with a program about Candy Darling, one of Andy Warhol’s Superstars. She was so beautiful and tragic, and it’s kind of BS that she, who was born as a man, had better cheekbones than I do. I also tried to watch a doc about Halston, but the interviewer was so unprofessional and stupid I had to turn it off after 10 minutes. But I watched enough of it to see some of Liza Minnelli’s fantabulous apartment and have decided that I would like to have that be my “downtown” pad, so don’t be surprised if you hear a ding-dong one of these days, “Lucille 2.”

MMWAnyway, now that that’s all out of my system, even though I super-cleaned the apartment and did some work, all day I felt sluggish and on the verge of a binge. I know  it was definitely because I was so tired mixed with the fact that I know for a fact I haven’t been drinking as much water as I should lately (for shame!). It wasn’t until I took the garbage outside that I realized how nice it was here in New York today — like, almost 40 degrees nice! — so I came back upstairs, put on some workout clothes, downloaded a new pedometer app that works with My Fitness Pal called Map My Walk and out the door I went.

The fella had gone to a nutritionist last night, and she gave him a meal plan that the two of us are going to put into practice ASAP. Some of the stuff, like cutting out white foods and most of the processed junk in our lives and adding some more fish and protein-rich foods into our diets we’ve actually done in recent weeks, so hopefully this will be an easy transition and lifestyle change.

We’re both pretty excited and hopeful that this will be the thing that sticks, finally. If you’ve been reading RNR for any amount of time, you know I’ve fallen off and gotten back on the exercise/healthy-eating wagon more times than Chris Christie has been in the news in recent weeks. Sad but true, but I know that us doing this together is a key to success. And a little — OK, a lot of — competition between the two of us is sure to kick things up a notch, especially because the bastard males of the species lose weight so much faster than women. Hmmph.

Now that I logged a brisk almost two-mile walk this evening, I feel better, less on-the-verge-of-binging and more quiet inside my head. I tell ya, they were onto something with this thing called exercise …

So are any of you on Map My Walk? What do you think about it?

Nikki

‘I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers’

The sound of leaves crunching underfoot is one of the best sounds ever in my book.

The sound of leaves crunching underfoot is one of the best sounds ever in my book.

Oh my galoshes, it seems that autumn is upon us in New York at long last, especially after the weird summerish heat we’ve had the past week or so. I can finally agree with the headline quote from L.M. Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables” that I’ve been seeing pop up all over Facebook.

I’ve been laying pretty low the past few days because I felt like I was getting a cold, so I haven’t exercised since late last week as I battled the utter sluggishness that comes with heat and feeling sick, and I’ve really felt the effects of not moving.

I felt down in the dumps and not good about myself at all, so today, I vowed to make the effort. Eating right as we’ve been doing is simply not enough, not for me. So today, when I needed to add some items to our vegetarian arsenal to finish out the rest of the week, I decided to walk the 52 blocks to Whole Foods instead of taking the subway.

It was gorgeous going as I walked “downtown” past City College and Columbia along Amsterdam, then along the top of Morningside Park to where it becomes Columbus Avenue. There was a crispness to the air that I found addicting and comforting, even as I walked up (what I call) the “enormous” hill leading up to Columbia — I look at it as more calories burned.

I made my way through Whole Foods, picking up lots of goodies, including the fixings for the miso soup I so love and have been craving like crazy lately. Instead of walking to the closest subway station with my heavy bag, I walked to the next one six blocks away.

For the first time in days, my mind feels clear and happy, and I feel good about myself — and about my sore legs. I can’t wait to get back out tomorrow, especially since  it’s supposed to be just as gorgeous as today.

Happy fall, y’all!

Nikki

Country walking

I went off the grid a bit this past week (and, let’s face it, my vegetarian diet) when I went home to Northeastern Pennsylvania to celebrate my parents’ 30th anniversary. The big 3-0 also let me see my beloved brother for the first time in a year, so the week definitely featured copious amounts of family time, booze and food (we’re Italian after all!), and it was everything this gal needed.

Even though I’m a total night owl, I am also an early riser (which is both a blessing and a curse because I like to get up and putz around in the quiet of the morning, but I’d also really like to sleep in once in a while, arrgh). So while everyone else was sleeping a few days this past week, I took myself for a few walks.

The area surrounding my childhood home is truly beautiful. My parents live on a dusty road next to a big pond and amid lots of green fields and quiet woods. While I loved going to stay with friends growing up, friends who lived on paved roads in developments with other friends and close to fun places we used to walk to from their houses, I wouldn’t trade growing up “on the country side of town” for anything. I think growing up with not a lot of neighbors have helped me enjoy the quiet (such as all these mornings I love to take advantage of) and entertain myself. I don’t need the TV on constantly, I love to just cuddle up and read or write (obvs!) and can be just as content in solitude as I am with my loved ones.

Growing up surrounded by woods also makes for beautiful pictures, especially this time of year, so here’s a few of my favorite photos I took on my walks “around the block” — which happens to be about a 2.5 mile jaunt. Autumn in New York is, for sure, my favorite season, but autumn back home is truly majestic.


Nikki

Stairway to huffing

The fella and I were displaced from our apartment most of yesterday because it was finally getting painted, so we walked pretty much all over upper Manhattan.

Throughout the day, we hit Riverbank State Park again, walked up Riverside Drive to Columbia University Hospital and even had time to see a movie at our favorite theater on 84th Street.
We saw “The Family,” it was meh, but DeNiro is always DeNiro, so at least there was that. 

One of the worst — but best, I guess, for our get-fit goals — was having to trek up the steps to get atop the 155th Street Bridge. We had walked along Jackie Robinson Park, thinking that we could just cut up 155th Street to get home, but imagine our surprise to find a dead-end and a high set of steps menacingly taunting us.
This was worse then when we had to walk up the steps in Jackie Robinson Park with a week’s worth of groceries the other day because we didn’t realize the park ran for 10 blocks.

I suggested that we go back down to 145th Street and walk up that to get around, but the fella gave me a look that clearly said, “That is not an option,” so up we went. I took off and lost momentum at step No. 75.
Yes, I counted. I count all steps I walk up, actually; it’s part of my OCD charm thankyouverymuch. 

2013-09-13 11.28.10There must’ve been 100 steps in total, which really isn’t all that bad considering we go up about 70 to get out of the subway at 145th Street, but there at least are landings and flat areas between the stairs, it’s not just one straight shot.

As I paused to catch my breath on No. 75, a guy peered down from above and asked me where the subway was. All I could do was point because I was too busy breathing like a pug dog who’d been playing too long. We made it the rest of the way up, both of us pretty red-faced and huffy … and maybe a little bit shaky in the legs.

A super-buff guy walked past us and joked around saying that “It’s not so bad” as our faces and profuse sweating made it out to be, and that “it’ll get easier, just keep going,” that we did a good thing. Maybe not our finest hour, but now that that moment is behind us (and never to be repeated again, I hope), I’m glad we did it because I do feel amazing from all our walking yesterday.

We still have a long way to go, but the fact that we’re doing something about it — like all our walking plus eating a hell of a lot healthier than we have pretty much ever — is half the battle.

I’m glad we took those baby steps that were nothing like baby steps at all.

Nikki

Jump to it

Inside the JumpLife studio (photo from jump-life.com)

Inside the JumpLife studio (photo from jump-life.com)

Tuesday night, with a bit of trepidation, I walked into 404 Broadway in TriBeCa and up two flights of stairs to a room filled with trampolines.

It was my first fitness class at JumpLife, which I signed up for via a LivingSocial deal in January. Because of the old foot problem chestnut, I needed a workout that was low impact, yet I still wanted something that would kick my ass.

JumpLife did just that.
Actually, I guess you could say JumpLife bounced my ass.

There are two types of classes at JumpLife, Jump Dance and Jump Gym. My first class was Jump Gym, and we were encouraged by our friendly instructor to grab some dumbbells, but to choose lightly because we were in for a lot of reps. I grabbed a set of two-pounders, smiled shyly at a girl who looked as nervous as I felt (which probably means I looked just as nervous, too), and tentatively stepped on the large, octagon-shaped trampoline, gripping the attached handlebars to get my bearings.

The music started to blast, and we began jumping up and down, side to side, doing various arm moves at the same time. Being a non-coordinated person when I’m standing still, I won’t lie and say I didn’t have a problem keeping up with the class because I did, but I was able to follow along at my own pace, and the sweat still poured off me five minutes in, and isn’t that all that matters?
Never you mind that I was constantly going left when everyone else was going right, or had to hold on to the bars more often than not.

It was fun. Like really, really fun. And it was darker than most fitness classes I’ve been to, so there wasn’t that, “Oh, God, everyone is seeing my jiggle.” I’m sure they could still see it, but they, too, were too busy huffing and puffing – and bouncing, of course.

We soon dropped the weights, and did many series of leg kicks and side-to-side jumps. When my foot started to hurt, I’d slow myself down or just jump up and down, feeling like a kid again (but  thankfully not hitting the drop ceiling in our family room like I did jumping on our little trampoline when I was young), and feeling in my core that I was doing something good for myself and my body.

My favorite move was when we pretended to be on a spin bike, where we sort of ran in place like Jennifer Beals in “Flashdance” (remember that scene? “She’s a maniac, maniac on the floor …” OK, sorry). We moved all around the trampoline like that, and our instructor kept urging us to go faster, faster, faster, and it was so exhausting, yet so invigorating, and I loved every single second.

Before I knew it, we were told to lay on the trampoline to do our ab exercises, which were killer, and then we did some stretches laying down, and then stood up to do the last batch of stretches. I really couldn’t believe how fast the 45-minute class went by.

I was sore leaving the studio – and thirsty as hell, which is why I’m glad I listened and brought a huge bottle of water as instructed when I called to sign up. Going down and up the subway steps on the way home were slower than normal, and getting out of bed the next morning was … interesting … but it was also empowering because I felt amazing. And still do.

JumpLife was so much fun – and I can’t wait to go back on Sunday afternoon to try out the Jump Dance version.
And report back, of course!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to … ahem … bounce.

Nikki