Belly Fat is Deadly

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If you've even the slightest interest in fitness, health and dieting the chances are good that by now you've heard about "omentum." You have probably even seen Dr. Oz on Oprah showing the world what this . (Myinnerathlete.com even did a podcast about omentum in 2006.) We all know that omentum isn't good but in a recent study it turns out that omentum can be deadly, especially in older Americans and even if you aren't considered overweight by any other standards.

(Read the full article on the article about belly fat .) According to the article cited, if a woman's waist is greater than 35 inches (40 inches for a man) are deemed to be at high risk for weight-related illness. The study focuses on the increasing risk as people age. My guess is that this increase in waist circumference is at least partly due to not using those abdominal muscles as much as younger people might.

So here's a reminder to engage your abdomen. You can use those muscles while climbing stairs, jogging and even just by using proper posture.

Need to get motivated

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I am so not motivated to get back to Jazzercise or even walk.  This cloudy, dreary weather is really dragging me down.  I have not stepped on a scale in 3 weeks, but I do think I have lost something because my pants are no longer cutting off my circulation.  However, my young pre-K daughter saw some bulge hanging over my pants and said, "your tummy is soft and squishy."  Well, if that doesn't speak volumes I don't know what does!  I have got to get back to the basics and build from there.  No more excuses!

End of Week 4

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So this is a little late but I lost 2 more pounds - down 13 total. This is great and all, but this lifestyle change is starting to be the pits. I've said this a thousand times, but I really miss cheese! And I miss lots of other things that got me where I am and I have found myself focusing more on the negatives... the things I feel deprived of, and how much this sucks. That is going to stop. Instead, I will focus on what I am gaining from this phase of my weight loss. So.... some positive things that happened this week....

1) I got into 1 pair of jeans and 2 shirts I haven't been able to wear in a long time.
2) I had a friend notice that I've lost weight
3) I walked up the stairs at work without much effort (just one month ago I got so winded from taking the stairs - it was ridiculous)
4) I still lost 2 pounds despite my TOM.

Coming up - a long weekend in upstate NY for a family wedding. I will be at the mercy of what is served at the rehearsal dinner and wedding buffet. BUFFET. Lord, give me strength to stay focused, this time on the positives!

Trek Tri day in NYC

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2:00AM - I wake up thinking it's time only to find out that I have a good two hours of sleep available to me. I have a weird headache. Thinking I'm dehydrated I drink some water and go back to bed. As much fun as the expo is I didn't plan nutrition very well. I did have a good oatmeal breakfast but didn't have another significant meal until our team dinner at 6pm. Thank god for and yogurt (two of the sponsors of the tri). They fed me with yogurt and cheese samples which saved my day food-wise. I go back to bed. Miraculously I fall back to sleep.

4:15AM - Multiple alarms go off (It never hurts to be sure when you are night owl getting up as early as you've been known to go to bed.) Thankfully my 2am headache is gone. I dress, fill my water bottles, make some tea and try to figure out how I'm going to get my bike, gear and tea out of my hotel room and downstairs.

4:45AM - I'm downstairs to meet my ride. Heartzones coach Marty has graciously agreed to take me and another pal, Caroline, to the site so that neither of us have to ride our bikes on a highway in the dark of night. Sadly, I have spilled my tea on the lovely marble floor next to the lobby elevator. I am mad. Hauling my gear plus my bike plus a cup of tea in and out of an elevator is difficult. It took me two tries just to get into the elevator before it shut the doors on me. The cup was flimsy and the cap didn't fit. ARGHH! This is going to be the Worst Tri Ever!!!

4:46AM - Ever serene and lovely Caroline convinces me to leave my in the lobby with her and go up and make another cup of tea. Marty isn't quite there yet and Caroline swears I have time. I go up, make another cup of tea and get down to the lobby in time to help load up the car with our gear and bikes. This will no longer be the Worst Tri Ever. 

5:00AM - We're in the parking lot of the race site. It's dark and mysterious and almost no one is there. (It's always better to be early especially for big races where alot of women are looking to set up their tri gear.)  Marty, Caroline and I air up the tires of mine and Caroline's bike. We also ride the bikes a bit in the parking lot. It's IMPERATIVE to give your bike a test ride and check the gears when it's been traveling. Bikes feel great and everything is in working order.

Tri Morning.jpg5:30AM - I make it to the transition area, find my assigned rack and park my bike in the best spot available. My rack is in a good spot in the middle so I'm pretty close to all of the entrances exits (swim exit, bike entrance/exit, run entrance). This will hopefully give me a jump on better transition times when can really eat into an athlete's overall time. I eat my Oikos yogurt with Honey. People slowly start to arrive. There is an air of excitement and nervousness and a little bit of anticipatory fear. I'm trying not to think about how little I've trained this year.

6:00AM - My transition area is set up. We triathletes are treated to a spectacular sun rise. I end up body-marking a good deal of the participants because I brought my own sharpies. Body-marking is literally marking your body with a big black marker. You have to write your race number on your arms so that the race personnel and photographers can identify you. It's really the only way to identify you in the water. I really like the body marking bit. Some races also encourage you to include your age on your calf. There's nothing like seeing someone in your age range just ahead of you to give you that extra burst of energy. I include my race number on both arms, my age on my calf and also different designs and slogans if I can figure out how to do it (writing on your own back is difficult).

swimTrek.jpg6:50AM - Swim cap, racing chip and body marking is on. The swim portion of the Trek New York City triathlon is in the gorgeous Because we are in this facility I am able to do a few warm up laps in the smaller pool (which is really larger than most pools in the New York City area). We have a specific start time and the triathlon is running a bit late. I expected this as it's the first time the race has been in this location. I'm a little nervous but then I think of the fish in Finding Nemo. If I just keep swimming I'll eventually be at the end. Many of the swimmers are discussing the swim exit. The pool is at least 15 feet deep at all points so are choices are to heave ourselves up or swim an additional 2 or 3 meters to the ladder. I am certain I will be using the ladder. I didn't train for that sort of heave up exit so I'm not going to even mess with it. I'm a big fan of staying true to your race plan.

7:05AM - I am in the pool. I think my first lap is pretty good. I'm trying to think slow and graceful with extension of the body instead of just trying to go fast fast fast. Because I haven't trained that much it takes me a few laps to figure out how to push off correctly. Pushing off is one of the boons of doing a race in the pool and I love pushing off. I do a pretty good job of regulating my breath so I can hold it for quite a bit which allows me to glide pretty well on a really good push off. It takes me at least 3 laps to remember that you push off on your back. Ahh yes! As I'm swimming it's both disconcerting and intriguing to see the pool below me. It looks pretty deep at every point and the lines are pretty intricate. I see at least one Trek swim cap on the water below me. I love swimming because it's low impact and it gives your mind permission to wander to interesting places. It feels like I'm in the water for ever but then all of the sudden I'm in the last lap and I'm wondering if I somehow managed to skip one...

7:18AM (ish)- The swim to bike transition is awesome because it's no more than a few dozen meters. I'm in transition and certain that I'm taking too much time but I just can't help myself. I'm so prepared (at least organization-wise) that I'm convinced I've forgotten something. I double and triple check (helmet-check, bike shoes-check, sunglasses-check, water-check and already on the bike) so I'm off for the bike.
 
7:20-8:00 (ish) - The coarse is a flat multiple loop course. We have to circle the course 4 times. Knowing me as I do (virtually longer than anybody) I realize I am really likely to lose track of the number of times I've been on the course. I really don't want to go too few, but I really don't want to go too many either. Fortunately one of our Heartzones New York teammates, "M" came up with a solution; stick four bits of post-its on your handlebars and take one off for each loop you complete. I love this idea espeially since M has enough post-its to share with everybody. I've been doing triathlons on my trusty bike. I love this bike and can't imagine ever selling it but it's built for day-tripping and not racing. One day I dream of getting a bike. Sigh. One day. Until then I will love my hybrid bike and get as much as I can. It's a bit overcast and the third and fourth loop are not as easy as I would like for a 9 mile jaunt, but I try to let all that gloom pass and enjoy the ride. I drink almost both of my water bottles. I suspect I was dehydrated last night and that may have added a bit to my sluggishness.

8:05-8:50 AM (ish) - I finish the bike and make way for the run. The run is typically my least favorite of the three. I've never been a good runner. I remember feeling like I was going to die every Wednesday in 7th grade when Coach Carroll used to make us run a mile. It was slow and painful. I know people (including probably the coach) thought it was because I was fat. It turns out it was because I had asthma. I wonder if I would have had a better attitude about sports and fitness if my asthma had been diagnosed earlier? Now that I've managed my "mild persistent asthma" for decades I don't mind running so much. I actually feel the release of the endorphins and get a kick out of it. Now, ironically, I hate running because I'm fat. Hauling this weight around really takes its toll.

I would really like to finish this run with a decent time. I also want to stay true to my race plan. I'm committed to staying at the top of my Zone 3/ bottom of my Zone 4 for the entirety of the race. So that means my time might suffer as I've not trained so much. I do find that while I hit my top number (middle of Zone 4) pretty quickly I also recover pretty quickly. This means I run for a bit slow down for a bit, run for a bit, slow down for a bit and so on and so on. I'm also convinced that the water stations aren't every mile as promised but further away with the final "mile" being really short but the first mile being really long. Maybe it's just me.


The weather has turned and is absolutely gorgeous. The run course is a series of twists and turns in picturesque Eisenhower Park. It's a good day to do a triathlon.

FinishLine.jpg9:00AM (ish) - The Finish Line! Triathlon # 6 is in the history books for me. And the jewelry is lovely. (I'll try to post a pic of my newest medal soon.) It's a gorgeous day and I'm heartened to know I can do something like this with little training.

The finish line is a really cool place to hang out as well. There's food and water and the sponsors who sponsor the tri are also there to cheer on our victories. Now we wait for the Final Finisher. In a Sally Edwards supported triathlon, the Final Finisher is the most exulted. She's the one that likely had the most difficult race, the toughest hills to climb. I'm proud to share that this year's Final Finisher is part of our team. I'm even prouder to share our entire team went out to finish the race with her.
 
TriTeamNYC.jpg 
10:00AM - Another great year, another great triathlon. I wish I were faster but I also realize I did really well for my lack of training this year. While I trained a little bit, it was not near enough to impact my time for the distances at hand. Having done 5 triathlons before this one gave me the background and strength to complete this one with little training. While on one level that's kind of neat, it's also foolhardy. More importantly, it also means I have to kick it up a notch to keep challenging myself and to achieve my fitness goals. I'm ready to look into the next distance, the Olympic distance, which is 1 mile swim, 25 mile bike, and a 10K run. The NYC triathlon is calling me...and I will absolutetly have to train for this one!!

Expo day of the Trek Tri

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ChipCheck.jpgI love Expo days...you get to play with some of the best equipment out there, sample some fun stuff and hang out with all of the people you've been training with during the summer. You also get to meet some new people who are also in the triathlon. My first expo back in '05, I was full of nerves. This year, while I was a little concerned about how well I would do in the tri because of my sparse training, I had no worries that I wouldn't finish and thus my nerves were more excitement then actual nerves. I knew I would finish...it was just a question of how slow I would be.


My first year, my head was swimming with question marks, the biggest one being "would I be able to finish the race". This is the big question for many first-timers; especially first timers who are women. As a first timer I was lucky; my sister had already done a sprint triathlon, even my mom had done one. There was no question amongst my friends and family that I could finish it. And while my nerves had that big question mark swimming in my head, my heart knew that I had trained well that year and that I would do it one step at a time.


Others are not so lucky. When you've never done something like a sprint triathlon, when your friends and family laugh at you for even trying, when they tell you you'll never be able to do it, it becomes a battle of epic proportions to show up on Tri-morning and even try to do the triathlon. I am always impressed by the number of first-timers who show up to do the triathlon because I know that many of them have had to overcome a great deal of fear and anxiety (both their own and others). I can personally attest that a number of women deal with this as I've met more than a few during my subsequent years of leading workouts for triathlon training. I am always a little appalled at the awful things that "loved ones" will say and do when a woman is trying to do something like a triathlon for the first time. Some women it seems are still fighting to break out the "the little boxes" others keep them in. But break out of them they do and we see many of them at a sprint triathlon.


The expo helps ease you into the race while filling a room with compatriots who are either scared, like you, or have done a race and lived to tell the tale. In an all-women's triathlon there is only support and encouragement.  This year's Trek expo was no exception.

WomenRide.jpg
is the above the title sponsor of the triathlon. The most vocal advocates of Women Specific Bikes (would you wear a man's shoe to do a marathon?), Trek is a huge supporter of women in sports. Plus, their bikes are fantastic. One of the first stops at the expo is to chat with Chris at the Trek station and test drive one of the WSD bikes built specifically for women. They also have a special club that you can join for special discounts and opportunities.


Cycling is probably the most intimidating aspect of triathlons for women. Nothing empowers a girl like changing her own bicycle tire. With Trek putting such an emphasis on women in the sport, going to the local cycling shop and asking questions is not as daunting a task as it used to be. On expo day and on race day, the Trek station is available to answer any and every question you might have about your (or their) bikes.
 

oikos.jpgI also fell in love at this year's Tri Expo. I've always been a fan of Greek men. Now I'm in love with Greek yogurt. has got to be some of the best yogurt I've ever tasted. Seriously, it's brilliant and smooth and yummy. I had the honey flavor and it was like heaven in a little plastic cup. Other favorite foods represented at the Expo included , and Sports Beans. There was also this cool little race belt called that serves as both a racebelt and little pocket for  must haves on the race. The one I bought was also reflective. I carried my cell phone and keys in it on the run portion of triathlon the next day.   

is another sponsor of the race. I've been using heartzones from the moment I started doing triathlons and the knowledge I've gain has empowered me in so many ways. Triathlon Hall of Fame Member, Sally Edwards is the founder of Heartzones as well as the National Spokesperson for Trek Triathlon. Her "First-Timers" talk is one of the highlights at the expo and a much needed salve for overwrought nerves. This year, I got to be her "assistant" in the talk. It was a blast!


SallyEdwardsPepTalk.jpgAfter the Expo, all that remains is race day. This year I was staying in a hotel virtually across the street from the race site so I was hoping to get to bed pretty early. My team-mates and I went to dinner for a good meal pre-race and commiseration and I was in my hotel room at 8pm. Going to bed before race day is harder than you'd expect. I'd be getting up at 4:30am the next morning to get to the site and set up my gear so it's imperative to go to bed as early as possible.

I managed to be in bed by 10pm which for me is pretty good, but still only left 6 hours for sleeping. I set my multiple alarms (cell phone, alarm clock, concierge wake-up  call), organized and checked all of my race gear, laid out my clothes and showered. The only thing left is Race Day.

End of Week 3

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Due to the holiday weekend, I weighed in a little early on Saturday and lost 3 more pounds this week for a total of 10.8 pounds! I feel great about the loss and hope to lose another 10 by my birthday on Oct 2.

Overall, this week was a little harder. I felt really hungry a couple of days and seemed to get all of my energy sucked out at 4pm. Except for a 10 minute attempt at yoga, and a walk Saturday night, I have not exercised this week. I am going to focus on exercising 3 times this coming week and see if the energy level picks up.

The weekend was a bit challenging. We went out of town to celebrate our niece's 30th birthday. We stuck to the plan with the exception of the birthday meal itself, which was fairly healthy - grilled steaks, grilled veggies, salads... but it was "off plan", especially the corn on the cob and 3 bites of birthday cake I ate. It could have much worse so I'm not beating myself up over it. I don't think anyone does this weight loss thing perfectly, but I have been that person that used every occasion as an excuse to blow it. And keep blowing it until Monday, or until I go back to the grocery store, or until after so & so's party next week. So far, this has been a most unusual experience for me in that I've stuck with it for so long, even after blowing it a little.

56.2 lbs to go!

So it's a week before the Trek Women's sprint triathlon in New York City. I had registered for the tri months ago and even begun the training season as a workout leader with my local group. It was all set to be a great year with a new tri and new goals...and then I got the word that a work conflict was to be held on the exact same day that I was to do the Trek tri.

Demoralized and despondent, I slowly let it sink in that this would be the first summer in 5 years in which I would not be doing a triathlon. Thinking to defer my entry for a year, and struggling with being a workout leader for a triathlon I wouldn't get to do, I slowly let my own training lapse and then disappear. Then I discovered that my work conflict had been rescheduled. Here I was with a Trek Triathlon registration, my USAT membership status covering my insurance, a free Sunday and little or no training for the season. I've decided to give it a go.

The is a women's specific sprint triathlon. The one which I'd registered for was in New York City and featured a 440 yard swim, a 9 mile bike ride and a 5k run. While I had not trained very much this season, I had completed a few in previous years. So do I try it or no?

I've decided to try the Trek Tri. I've got to get my fitness kicked up a notch and if I don't take this opportunity I'm afraid I'll suffer in the winter when training is much more difficult. So I'm doing it...it's on September 13th. Wish me Luck ! 

My LDL is not so hot but...

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I like the way the scale is moving and it is keeping me motivated. I lost 3.2 lbs this week - for a total of 7.8 lbs in 2 weeks! The feeling of accomplishment is a good one, and a foreign one to me in the area of weight loss. This week's loss is significant because...

- I am now out of the 200's, which unless I'm pregnant with triplets, I hope to never see again.

- Instead of having a goal to lose 67 lbs, it is now in the 50's (59.2 to be exact=).

- I still weigh less than my husband, although he is closing in oh-so fast (I don't know why this bothers me so much.... maybe its a southern thing, as if weighing more than your husband makes you less 'delicate' or something).

Also this week, I have a new source of motivation. A few days ago I received my lab results from my yearly physical. My LDL/bad cholesterol was high at 124. My whole life I have been a "healthy fat person". Many use their health issues to push them to lose weight - I never had that until now. So no longer do I only care about looking hot in heels.

Overall, it was a very good week: one of trying something new by taking zumba (twice), falling off the wagon and getting back on again (twice), and staying focused on the prize - a healthier, thinner mom to 2 energetic little girls. Who happens to look hot in heels.

Keeping friends while keeping my diet

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I knew that socializing would be a challenge. A huge part of me would prefer to be a hermit in my home until I reach goal. Realistically, I just have to make better choices and keep living.

DH and I are in a dinner club with a group of friends. We meet for dinner and drinks the last Saturday of each month, with each couple taking turns choosing the location. August, of all months, was ours. Before we started our diet, we had arranged this month's Dinner Out at Joe T Garcia's in Ft Worth. Superb Mexican food and excellent margaritas. I wanted to cancel and just explain to everyone why we couldn't make it. DH thought we needed to go - we hadn't been in months, we already planned it, it would be fine. UGH! I decided he was right, and started salivating over the thought of cheese enchiladas. I spoke to my weight loss counselor, told her we were going, and she suggested a big increase in water to flush out the sodium. The fat and calories from one meal wouldn't make us gain weight, but it was the sodium that would make our bodies retain fluid, and pounds. Then DH tells me we should split the chicken fajitas on corn tortillas, pass on the rice and beans and chips. That is not how I roll. If he was going to make me go, I was going to enjoy it. Yes, I was worried that I would get carried away - that I would devour it so that I had enchilada sauce dripping from my hair... not pretty, but I would enjoy it, no question.

So, we met our friends last night - I had a vodka tonic, which I've been told is what you should drink if you're going to drink while dieting. I squeezed lime in it and tried to pretend it was a 500 calorie margarita. DH had water but split the enchilada dinner with me! It was delicious. We ate slowly and savored the entire meal. It was just enough that we were both satisfied but not stuffed, and even left a little on our plates. Our friends were supportive and understanding and there was no pressure to order more drinks or dessert. It was a really nice time and I am glad we went.

This morning, the scale did not punish me, not yet anyway. BUT... I went off plan again! My defenses were down, and I ate 3 bites of my daughter's french toast. The effects of last night's meal are still lingering into today - that was the strongest sugar craving I've had since being on the plan! I just popped those 3 bites into my mouth like they were owed to me. Darn it, I knew that once I took the first forbidden bite, it would be easier to do it the second time. If it happens a third time today, I'm in big trouble. So starting right now, I am re-committing myself to NO MORE CHEAT BITES for this week.

Mom-Mia Zumbas

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I don't like to exercise, in fact I'd rather clean the bathrooms than "exercise". I used to work out quite a bit and liked how I felt after, but getting to the gym was like pulling teeth. I wish I could be one of those people who genuinely likes to work out, so I'm working on my work-out attitude.

I weighed again today and am now down 6 lbs. I actually have a little bit of energy now and decided to test it out at the Y. I've heard some of my girlfriends talk about 'zumba' so I went to my first class this morning. I've been to the 'streetbeat' class which is a hip-hop dance class - lots of fun - so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Holy cow - what a workout!!! Zumba is very fast-paced, latin-styled dancing. Lots of hip shaking and gyrating and fast foot movements. I was ready to pass out half-way through but kept trudging along. My legs and feet had a very hard time keeping up with the pace, but they sure tried hard! When class was over, I felt great... light-headed and slightly nauseous physically, but psychologically I was pumped and felt I achieved something. The tiny dancer inside me is ready to bust out of this fat-suit. I'm going back on Friday to help her.
My explanation here

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