An 8 to celebrate

“You’ve lost weight,” the fella commented after hugging me when he got home from work the other night.

I scoffed, having been on the tail-end of one of those “fat days” when I just wasn’t feeling the outfit I chose to wear to work that morning.
Can you relate to a day like that, when your clothes just don’t feel comfortable, so you’re constantly tugging at them? Ugh. 

“Obviously you know you have,” the fella said, rolling his eyes before reminding me that I’d told him a few days before that my jeans were starting to feel baggy.

To find out for sure, I hopped on the scale the next day and saw that I’d dropped eight pounds since mid-August when I started this latest “eat-better-and-walk-more” regime.

But I cannot tell a lie. The new regime was one part me knowing I needed to make a change, especially after my summer of inactivity due to the endless heatwave we had … and one part my doctor telling me a few weeks back that I am pre-diabetic because of my weight.

It certainly didn’t come as a shock, especially since my grandmother had severe diabetes and both of my parents were diagnosed with it late in life. I knew it was coming; it had to, considering my eating habits and lifestyle, but hearing the doctor say it was quite the wake-up call.
Funny how those things work, hmm? 

I promptly made an appointment with a nutritionist he recommended, and put many of her suggestions into practices ASAP. And it seems to be paying off, according to Mr. Scale.

Plus, I’ve been getting off at a different subway station most days instead of the one at the end of my work block just to get in an extra walk and aiming for an even further station after work, so that’s been a big help, too, in ensuring that I’m meeting my daily step goal.

In fact, adding that little effort paid off big time as I won this week’s Workweek Challenge on Fitbit, my first win of this particular challenge in quite some time.

workweek

It was such a good feeling … one that was almost as good as seeing those eight pounds not on the scale.

Nikki

Walking with Gojira

Despite not moving my ass (or my legs, for that matter) this summer, I somehow walked enough to earn another one of Fitbit’s super-cute badges, and this one, the Japan badge, is, hands down, my favorite.

I mean, just LOOK at it:

japan badge

I love love love all things Godzilla, or Gojira as I like to say because that’s how the fantastic green monster is known in Japan. I wish this was a tangible badge because I would wear it proudly every dang day. And those of you who know me know that is totally true.

Anyhoo, I got this badge yesterday because I’ve now walked 1,869 total miles — equivalent to the full length of Japan — with my trusty ole Fitbit.

I’ve taken a few quick little walks and one big one since I wrote about my summer of inactivity, and we recently rearranged our living room and bedroom so I now have better space to use my Air Climber on those days when going out into the Sahara-like temperatures of Manhattan just aren’t going to happen, which seems like it might be just about every day as this heatwave just. will. not. let. up. Heard tell we might just go straight from sweltering to frozen this year, and I totally believe it.

I’d be OK with that, though — I love bundling up and walking on cold (and blessedly empty!) sidewalks, so the sooner that happens, the better if you ask me.

Nikki

My summer of inactivity

(Pinterrist photo)

(Pinterest photo)

It wasn’t supposed to be like this, but it just sorta happened, “it” being my summer of inactivity.

I know it’ll sound like a cop-out, and it probably most definitely is, but, man, I just could not handle the astronomical heat we had this summer in New York City.

I remember last summer being hot as F as well, but still the fella and I did go chasing pavement all the same, but this year? No way, Jose. That pavement seemed to be made of solid lava this summer, and I wanted nothing to do with it.

There were very few times I walked from Wall Street up Broadway to the fella’s office just below Houston, and that dedication to take lengthy walks all around Manhattan and Central Park of yore must’ve melted out in all our sweat just from walking to and fro the subway stations.

Then I started having some health issues, and soon after, the fella hurt his foot and was ordered to stay off it as much as possible, so off came his Fitbit. And thus we entered our Couch Potato Phase. There’ve even been days where I didn’t put my own Fitbit on, and I hate myself for that.

My Fitbit has been such a dear friend and motivator for more than a year now, and I just cast it aside like a jerk, like someone who fell off the wagon. I stopped checking my daily step count, stopped joining challenges and began eating even crappier than usual and, when I started to notice the not-for-the-better changes in my body, temperament and health, I stupidly wondered why I was feeling and looking this way.

Oh, it’s because of my summer of inactivity.
Oh, it’s because I’m weak and without willpower.
Oh, it’s because I hate — like really, really hate — being hot and sweaty.

But I can’t wait it out until fall’s cool, crisp air descends upon the city, which is maybe what I subconsciously was doing. No, I am not that kind of person, nor do I have that kind of body/metabolism to take even a few days off from doing some sort of physical activity. I have too damn far to go, and I know I don’t deserve a respite because I don’t take care of the body I have been given.

So this week, the Fitbit got charged for the first time in weeks and out the door I went. While I didn’t break 10,000 steps on the two big walks I took (nor have I broken 10k since July 16, shame on me), being out in my city again felt good. Sweaty and miserable, of course, but good; good to feel that hot, hot sun on my face and arms, good to breathe fresh air, good to get out of my head in a way that only walking allows me to be.

My body almost didn’t know what to do, so I had some aches and pains, but I pushed through them and felt proud of myself for finally deciding to stand up to my laziness and get moving.

Today, I took a deep breath and got back on the scale (that I almost wrote was a bitch, but it’s not her fault, its mine) to see just how far I’ve fallen off the wagon and was shocked — but happy! — to see I’ve “only” gained two pounds since I last weighed myself in April.

I’ve started picking up some more fresh fruits and veggies on my past few trips to the store and have been making a conscious effort to hit them up first when I feel a crave coming on. Plus, we have a coupon for Blue Apron meal-delivery service that we’re going to cash in next week that will give us a free week of meals, so I’m looking forward to the healthy and yummy-sounding options that’ll provide, which I’ll be sure to write about once we start.

Even after only two days of walking, which don’t even come close to the lengthy constitutionals I used to take on the reg, I see such a difference in my mood. So, yeah, you’re way past your sell-by date, summer of inactivity. Be gone with you!

Nikki

Oh, Hello, Great Barrier Reef — and The Next 40

No, I’m not writing this blog (my first on this site in more months than I care to admit) aboard a boat off the northeast coast of Australia (though, of course, I wish I were!).

Instead, I’m hunkered down in front of the AC in my New York apartment excited to report that I just received my latest — and best — Fitbit badge, the Great Barrier Reef badge.

badge_lifetime_miles1600

My best Fitbit badge yet!

 

Since strapping on my Fitbit exactly one year ago this week, I’ve now walked 1,600 miles with it, which is the length of the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system.

You’d think I’d be a skinny Minnie by now what with all that walking, but alas I’m not. Alas I’m still struggling with the whole eating-healthy thing. Alas, that’s why you’ve not heard a peep from me on this blog since January.

But as I am nearly two years out from the big 4-0, I know I need to make some changes — and how — before the diabetes that runs in my family takes me over as it did my parents in their later years, before my body gives out and can’t walk another 1,600 miles, before it’s too late to be the captain of my ship (even though I know I’ve been doing a shitty job of captaining thus far).

I see my mom in so much pain and poor health, just as her mom was before her, that I’m going to be in big, big trouble if I don’t do this for real starting now.

I’m going to transition Run, Nikki, Run into something more suitable to the Nikki that I am and the one that’s on the horizon because, let’s face it, this Nikki is never going to be a runner. Maybe a jogger with a soft J on occasion, but a runner, nope.

yogging

But I will tell you that before I turn 40 in 2017, I will be healthier and happier because of it — I’ll stay that way through The Next 40, which I just changed the name of this blog (but not the URL) to.

Join me on this journey, won’t you?

Nikki

Killing my Nikes and other thoughts on resolutions

I know, I know.
“Here she comes out of the woodwork with the rest of the bandwagon resolution makers.” 
Well, kinda, but not really.

I’ve changed, you see, since I last wrote back in September and even more so since my last annual resolutions post a year ago today. You see, I feel like I’ve finally come into who I am in, like, who I really am.

I’m never going to be 17-year-old Nikki ever again.
Nope, I’ll never be the 130-pound Nikki who wore her super-long, super-curly hair on top of her head in a big fat bun all the time.

The hair doesn’t grow as fast, and the weight, well, it doesn’t come off so fast these days, and while there will, I’m sure, always be part of me who’ll yearn to be the size of that skinny and sparkling teenager again with that fabulous hair, the Nikki I am today, 20 years later isn’t half bad, even though she has some — OK, a lot — of extra baggage.

But luckily, I have a fella and a family that loves me, just as I am. And I’ve finally realized that that’s enough.

Oh, Mr. Darcy. Le sigh. (Credit)

Oh, Mr. Darcy. Le sigh. (Credit)

But, having said that, that doesn’t mean I’m going to just rest on my laurels until I have to be moved out of our fabulous apartment by a forklift amid the rustling of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup wrappers and takeout burger-and-fry containers from our corner bodega. No. Oh, no, no, no.

You see, I’m still going to try and be healthy not just because I need to or because I should. No. I’m going to still pull on those workout clothes or, even if I’ve had a hellishly busy day, I’m still going to walk from my office to the fella’s after work most nights because I want to.

2015-01-03 14.54.52

I know I won’t be able to wear you for a few weeks, but your days are numbered, Nikes.

I want to kill my new Tiffany-blue Nikes, you see. I want them to smell and rip and tear just like my beloved purple Reeboks did this year because then I’ll know, I’ll really, really know, that I moved. That I made the New York pavement and wherever else these sneakers will tread upon this year my bitch. That I breathed and lived and walked and was happy.

Those Reeboks took me all around this island of Manhattan, on the country roads of Northeastern Pennsylvania, to Ireland and everywhere in between. By the end of the 2014, I had walked more than 950 miles with my Fitbit, plus another 400-plus miles using Map My Walk before I started using the Fitbit, so I think it’s safe to say that these feet of mine walked at least 1,400 miles in ’14. Wow. Wow.

My favorite moment of 2014 was actually almost an entire day. A day that was just a moment in a year’s worth of days, but when I was in it, basking in the sunshine, in the fresh blend of Irish air mixed with an Atlantic breeze with my family, I knew that this was the moment that would define my entire year, define my very existence.

Standing in the middle of a country lane on the Aran Island of Inishmore that was buzzing with crazy tour-bus drivers, polite bikers (who could teach New York bikers a thing or 10) and more cows than tourists like us as my family and I took photos and reveled in beauty the likes of which I’d never seen before, I knew that as long as I had the fella and my family beside me and comfortable sneakers on my feet, that’s all I’d really need in this world — to make the best of this world.

So, that’s my resolution: Walk. Live. Breathe. Take it all in. Exist. Kill my Nikes … and any other pair of sneakers that may follow.

Nikki

Walking California (almost)

On May 26, I started using my Fitbit. And now, four months later, like, just four months later, I hit a huge milestone with this fantastic fitness gadget.

Fit Bit 750 miles

I’ve walked 750 miles — in four months.
That’s just 50 miles short of the length of California.

And oh, what wonderful miles they were, through the streets of New York, the beautiful landscapes of Ireland and anywhere and everywhere in between. The soles of my Reeboks have worn away, same thing for the gray Skechers GoWalk I usually wore to and from work during the week; the latter are now retired and replaced by an obnoxious neon yellow pair, while I’m in desperate need of replacing the Reebok RealFlexes I fell in love with two years ago and am on my second pair of.

Now, had I been eating the way I should, or the way I did when I lost 20-plus pounds earlier this year, I should probably be skin and bones right now. However, that wasn’t the case. I’ve been weak. Like, real, real weak. Luckily, though, with all this walking, and logging more than my required 10,000 steps a day, I’ve not gained anything, so at least there’s that.

But I can do better. I know I can. And, much more importantly, I know I have to, so I’m making a pact with myself to lose at least 10 pounds by Christmas. That’s 10 pounds in three months, which really is nothing, but it’s not too large a number to make me quit when the going (read: temptations) gets tough, as it oh-so-often does.

So, here’s to the next three months — and the next 750 miles. I have to walk back up California, you know!

Nikki

The first 250

On Friday, there was an alert in my in box from Fitbit that told me I’ve hit the 250-mile mark with the device, after having it for just under two months.

250 fitbit

Two-hundred and fifty miles in less than two months? Surely, that’s some kind of Superwoman record, right?

Well, that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself as I pat myself on the back. Here’s to the next 250!

Nikki

100K with Fitbit

2014-06-30 21.51.42It’s not just the fact that, for the first time, I’m killing the fella on Fitbit … OK, it kinda is since we’re so highly competitive and motivating toward each other.

But either way, even if I did come in second, which, as you can see I most certainly did not, yesterday I broke 100,000 steps for the current seven-day period. One hundred thousand steps. In a single week.

You have no idea how good this feels, and how much my love for the FitBit has grown. If you don’t have one, get it. Stat. It’s a life changer. Now let’s keep the momentum going, self!

Nikki

Getting fit with Fitbit

A lot sure has changed since my last post.

For starters, I’ve gone back to work full-time, which has been really, really great. And with that, of course, there’s been some bad.

My foot started acting up soon after I started, so in addition to not being able to log those five-plus mile walks every day like I’d been doing prior to getting hired, I wasn’t even able to do much more than walk — more like painfully limp, actually — to and from the subway to work and home.

It killed me, it really did, going from being so active to just doing the bare minimum. I know I’ve changed, and I like the body that all that walking over the past several months has given me. It’s not my best, nor my goal, but it’s better than it was when I started this journey, and that’s all that matters to me.

Luckily, my foot seems to be getting better (knock wood!), so the fella and I took a decent walk last Monday before doing our grocery shopping. And I cannot tell a lie: This came after a horrible, horrible weekend of eating. We’d gone back to my parents’ for the holiday weekend, and, like I’d written the month before, the food was plentiful — and not very good for us.

Wings and beer at our favorite place. A secret hot dog run. The biggest grilled steak I ever did see (and eat). A nice, big slice of an amazing early birthday cake and then an absolute massacre of a NEPA delicacy: Victory Pig pizza, which we bought frozen and ate when we got home Sunday. All 12 cuts. Gone. In one sitting.

We felt disgusting the morning after, so Monday was a total detox day, which gave a really great start to our mindset for the rest of the week. I’m happy to report that, by Friday, I lost the pounds I gained on our “Lost Weekend.” Most of it was thanks in part to being able to walk more — and the latest addition in our fitness regime: the Fitbit Flex band, which the fella’s parents gave us both as an early birthday for me and Father’s Day for him gifts.

In case you’re not familiar, Fitbit is a rubber bracelet-like device that wirelessly tracks the number of steps you take, sleep patterns, calorie burning, etc. While ours are black, the device comes in several colors, so it can be changed up to be more of an accessory to your outfits. Getting Fitbit was the fella’s idea, and he was almost to the point of annoying with how excited he was about getting one. I, on the other hand, took some convincing.

Photo from techgirl.co.za

Photo from techgirl.co.za

I’m not a big wrist-jewelry wearer. I loathe watches and have one bracelet I’ve worn for years now, so I’m used to it, and I love it … but, I take it off the second I get home because I can’t sleep in any jewelry. When the fella snapped the Fitbit on me the first time, I immediately felt constricted. Compared to my bracelet, the Fitbit was ginormous. Bulky. Uncomfortable, especially to sleep in. Every time I moved, I felt it. Worried that I would turn it off or screw it up. So that first night, I didn’t sleep very well.
Plus, it’s always with me. Sleeping, in the shower, should I ever find myself swimming in a pool or ocean, there it will be. That’s a commitment I don’t even make with what little jewelry I do wear, and they’re Tiffany pieces for God’s sake!

I grumbled about it the next day, tried wearing my bracelet on my left wrist since the Fitbit had to be on my non-dominant hand and felt so off-kilter I could’ve screamed. I’ve since put the bracelet back on my right wrist with the Fitbit and feel much better, thankyouverymuch.

As the week wore on, and my foot felt well enough to walk up to the fella’s work after I got out as well as some lunchtime strolls and I started looking at my Fitbit dashboard online and on the app, I started to come around. It got easier to sleep with, and the first time my wrist vibrated because I met my daily step goal, I first jumped because it startled me, and then I felt very accomplished.

Then a funny thing happened, which is what makes the product so great: I got competitive with myself. Each day I wanted to — I needed to — beat my step count from the day before and/or beat the fella, who sent me a taunt on the app, which looks similar to a Mr. Yuk sticker.
Oh, hell no, fella. Hell. No. 

Though I am still getting used to wearing the Fitbit, which really isn’t as bulky as I made it out to be with my set-in-my-ways way, I really think it’s revolutionized the way the fella and I look at fitness. We’re still using My Fitness Pal to track our calories (Fitbit syncs with MFP, which has been great), but after having some issues with Map My Walk, which told me on several different occasions that I walked two miles in two seconds (even though the distance from the subway to work is less than a mile and takes about five minutes), it’s been awesome to see a much more accurate measure of distance. I chalk some of my issues with MMW up to me being back in the Financial District, which, despite being the center of the financial world, is a huge reception dead zone most of the time.

While I do miss the mapping MMW did, I don’t miss having to end a workout before I go down into the subway station, meaning that the many steps I take underground through stations and on platforms go uncounted. The Fitbit counts them all, and its accuracy showed me that I really wasn’t burning as much as I thought I was, as much as MMW led me to think I was — which might finally start showing me some substantial loss on the scale now that I know my true caloric burn.

If you’re looking for something that could take your fitness/health goals to the next level, you might want to look into a Fitbit. I’m not being paid for this little write up (though if the company wants to, I won’t object, haha). I’m just a girl looking to be her healthiest self and using a product that I think makes a big difference in my life. We all know we should aim for 10,000 steps a day, and this product is helping me blow that minimum away — and helping me become the thinner, fitter person who’s getting closer and closer every day.

Nikki

-20 and surviving a carb fest

I figured I would hop on the scale Friday before I headed home to visit my parents for the weekend. If I was down a bit, I’d keep that top of mind when I got to the place where food was always the sixth member of our family (after the parents, the brother, me and our beloved late Lab, Zakk).

I was pleasantly surprised to find I was down a full 20 pounds — it felt like it was a long time coming, but I’m glad I finally hit this major milestone. So excited by that number — and the fact that I was running extremely late to catch the 11 a.m. out of Port Authority — I didn’t have time to eat or grab a snack to take on the bus with me before I left the house.

Needless to say, by the time I got of the bus more than three hours later and after a grocery-store trip where we got about three bags full of carbs (think three different kinds of chips, two different kinds of pretzels, a loaf of bread, hamburger buns and this super-yummy baked oatmeal from the bakery department), I was famished. And bordering on hangry. So I opened one of the bag of pretzels and ate a few handfuls as I drove.

We picked up some Wendy’s salads, and I’m proud to say that my hunger didn’t force me to weaken and get the crispy chicken sandwich and fries I really wanted. I got a salad, and after I ate it when we got home, it just wasn’t hitting the spot. I went back to the pretzels I opened in the car. Then I dipped into the baked oatmeal. I went back to the pretzels and then I just felt sick. And ashamed of myself.

But that didn’t stop us from going out to a nice dinner later on that night. I had soup and ahi tuna, so my dinner wasn’t that bad, but I still felt awful, both because I knew I had eaten way, way too much and because I was severely disappointed in myself.

I woke up Saturday determined to be better. I decided to go for a walk, but since my folks live on a dirt road, and it had rained so it was all mud, I headed to the track at my old high school. I love walking on those rubbery tracks, but my God, they are so boring compared to walking the city streets or the woods surrounding my parents’ where I really wanted to walk, so after I hit the two-mile mark, I told myself I’d do another half mile and head home.

Just as I started the final two laps, a woman who had continually outpaced me — and I was walking “very brisk,” according to Map My Walk — passed me again, but this time she said hello and commented on how nice the day was so far. We started walking together and talking about walking, health and we even shared weight-loss tips with each other.

Before we knew it, we both exceeded our walking goals — by two and a half miles! It was great to have someone to pass the time with, and Denise and I exchanged numbers to continue sharing tips and walk the next time I’m back in Dallas. It was such a pleasant surprise, one that doesn’t really happen here in the city, where you just start chatting with a stranger.

I was so glad our walking paths crossed, and her pushing me to go those extra miles was instrumental in keeping me on the straight and narrow the rest of my time at home. Of course I ate Mom’s famous whimpies, but I only had one with a bun and just a small follow-up scoop of the meat, and when I still felt hungry, I had grilled chicken with spinach and balsamic. While I treated myself to some chips, I didn’t house most of the bag like I used to do.

I stayed pretty good on Sunday, and when I weighed myself Monday morning — just as a check up, not because I have an obsession with the scale — I had maintained Friday’s weight, which had always been unheard of after a weekend at home.

I knew going home to my parents, who used to own a restaurant and always had the best food around the house, would be a huge test to the willpower I’ve been building the past few months, but I daresay I passed with flying colors.

Now onto the next challenge, whatever that may be!

Nikki