Gamer Girl Gets Thin

{September 10, 2010}   Bugging Out!

As anyone who knows me RL is aware, this is one of my two busiest seasons in the year at work. I’m pretty much running non stop and by this time next week, it is likely that I will literally be running. Everywhere I go. This is the second round of this crazy for me (the other one is in March) and I’m honestly looking forward to it.

Personally, I’m really looking forward to the challenge of maintaining a healthy life while I’m so busy. I’ll be surrounded by the types of things I haven’t eaten in months and will be that kind of busy where a trip to the drive thru doesn’t just sound delicious, it sounds perfectly easy enough. I’m not going to give in though. That’s my goal. Keep working toward living life full of healthy and real foods, remember that I feel better when I’m eating well and when I can, hit the gym to de-stress. This is going to be great!

In a really exciting twist, a co-worker just loaned me their old Body Bugg! I am sooo excited. Technology! I’ve only been using it for a couple of days, I’ll let you know what I think when I have a better feel. So far though, I’m stoked!

Have a great weekend, all!

xs and os


{September 7, 2010}   Ambitions

I’m trying to figure out what my long term goals in fitness are. I keep feeling like I need to start thinking beyond weight loss and into what I want in the long-run. The thing is, I don’t have any ideas. Can just being fit and working out be a goal enough in itself? I’m such a goal oriented person that I feel like I need to have some thing I’m working toward.

I think this is magnified by the copious amounts of Sims3 I played over the weekend. My Sims are seriously ambitious people. They keep wanting these crazy goals and one of them wanted this: (It’s a long explanation if you don’t play as to how lifetime wishes are selected but, this Sim wanted this as a lifetime wish so many times that I eventually just set it for him)

Seeking personal perfection through rigorous mental and physical training is a noble goal that guarantees a lifetime of challenge. Your Sim may one day stand on the peak of physical Sim achievement, but not without much sweat and mental strain.

In a dream world, I am this awesome. I have some long term fitness goal of playing a sport or becoming really awesome at something or getting certified to train or or or or….

Realistically? I have no idea. I really don’t like sports (not even college football when I live three blocks away from the University that just won). I don’t really see myself getting into martial arts or running marathons or doing triathalons. It’s just not who I am.

For now, I’m focusing on my current ambition: Keep getting in better shape, get down to a healthy weight/size, enjoy being fit. Beyond that, I have no idea but am open to suggestions!

{August 30, 2010}   Weekend of Extremes

This weekend was totally extremes for me. On Friday I thought “I’m going to go straight from work to the gym and then make myself a healthy dinner!” Instead I went home and ate an entire bag of popcorn. It was delicious. I did make it to the gym- where I did on my toes push-ups on a bench! For even harder pushing up! It was awesome! Then I ate a burrito.

Saturday morning I woke up and thought “Ugh I shouldn’t have eaten that burrito! I know! I’ll go the gym!” So I went to my favorite class where I worked harder than ever and had to use my face towel to dry out my ponytail. It was awesome. Then, because I had worked so hard, I laid on my couch and did nothing for 6 hours.

I didn’t even pretend to be healthy yesterday- I ate pancakes for lunch and Panda Express for dinner. The thing is, I really don’t regret. I stayed within my calorie intake and watched my portions of both things. I don’t eat them regularly (that was the first time I’ve had Panda in well over two years)  and it was nice to just be.

I AM turning into my extremes Sim! Extreme gym! Extreme lazy! Extreme eat things!

Oooh in other news: It’s almost time for some extreme buying new pants! When I was getting ready for work this morning, I pulled my favorite slacks out of the dryer only to find that, even fresh washed, they are far too large. Like the only thing that held them up all day at work was that my undershirt was tucked into them. While it’s sad because I love these slacks and hate having to buy new ones, I can’t think of better Monday news!

{August 25, 2010}   With Thanks to Susan

I’ve been noticing all of these billboards all over my city recently- ads for weight loss support, weight loss surgery, weight loss counseling, etc. Every time I see one, I get a little more frustrated- not only with how slow it can feel to reach my goals but also that those things sort of look like cheats to me. Like if I had all of that at my fingertips, I would be super thin too!

The thing is, getting fit is something people do daily. A lot of the time, it seems like the people I know or hear about who have achieved significant weight loss (and maintained it) just woke up one morning and decided “I’m not going to be fat any more. Today is the day.” And then they changed their patterns, started exercising and eating healthy and they did it.

Sadly, that’s totally not me. The process has been slow and, in a lot of ways, I’ve had to trick myself into this.  I don’t have the discipline or motivation on my own to reach my goals. So what do I have? I have an amazing support system and a huge hate for failing. My answer to this problem was and is to tell absolutely everyone I know that I’m trying to lose weight and get healthy. Really, that’s what prompted me to first begin blogging. If all of my friends, family and co-workers are watching my progress, I’m motivated. Add the potential of the whole internet? I’m SUPER motivated. I’ve never been so motivated. And you know what? It’s totally working.

I had this really sweet moment yesterday where I was chatting with a friend (Hi Susan!) about what I’ll wear during some large meetings we have in the next month at work. I mentioned these slacks I really want to wear but they are just a little too tight- they’re wearable for sure but not super comfortable. I’m still looking at this like it’s old me- the me that might make progress but is more likely to skip gym and eat popcorn instead. My friend though, she only knows the me of recent months so she said “The great thing is that you’ve got three weeks so they’ll fit perfect by then.” She is absolutely confident in my abilities to reach my goals; she’s more confident than I am. (By the way, I love her for this.)

Encouragement is so important in reaching your goals, whatever they are. For me, it’s to reach a healthy weight by January 1. I want to start 2011 fit and working toward something new, instead of the same old resolutions. To get there, though, I have to find a system that works- for me, it’s making sure that everyone I know is included in my process; knowing that they are there to encourage me and that I would hate to disappoint them. Yes, there are a million other pieces parts that go into a process that works and is sustainable. But for me, telling everyone has been such a huge step.

Hey all! As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, my dear friend, Veronica, has a wonderful blog with the most delicious looking food I’ve seen in ages.  Not only that but she’s brilliant, charming and just as nerdy as I am. All of the things I love in a friend. That said, I’ve asked her to guest post over here and, lucky for me, she said yes! She’s sent over a lovely Game Guide about an app Andy mentioned a while ago- Lose It. Check it out!

Lose It the Geek Way
Finding a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle without resorting to deprivation and dieting can sometimes seem like an impossible task. But, thanks to the iPhone app store, for once our geekery can help, rather than hinder.
Meet Lose It!, one of my all time favorite apps. A couple of years ago, a combination of Lose It! and finding the proper meds to treat a chronic condition helped me lose 35lbs in a matter of months. Unfortunately, a pretty severe foot and ankle injury a couple months ago has made it temporarily impossible for me to continue the lifestyle and habits I worked so hard to gain with the help of Lose It! So I’m getting back on the routine for damage control.
How it Works

Lose It! makes tracking your intake and output of calories fun, in a totally geeky, neurotic way. Tell it your current info, such as weight, age, and gender, and your goals, like what you want to weigh and how much you want to lose a week on your way there. After that, just let that geek tenacity take over. You know, that tenacity that forces you to play Zelda for 20 hours straight because you just can’t quit for the day until you finally figure out how to get past that really difficult boss? Well, that tenacity can serve you well outside of video games, too. All it takes is consistency in a task as simple as the most basic data entry.
Track your food
and your exercise,
While keeping an eye on daily goals
and weekly goals.
If you know you want to cut loose on the weekend, create a surplus during the week. If you have a rough Monday, make up for that deficit later on. It’s basic math!
You can also go further on your quest for healthy living. Seeing your daily food intake laid out before you makes it super easy to count your fruit and vegetable servings. It also helps you catch unwanted habits, like showing how much of your daily calories come from unhealthy snack foods or beverages or alcohol or whatever. You can even track personal dietary needs, like carbs, cholesterol, fiber, sodium, or saturated fat. It can be quite insightful to see how you divy up the percentage of your calories amongst the calorie types.
For me, tracking food helped me gain an increase in mindfulness throughout the day. Tracking exercise allowed me more flexibility to splurge now and then with the knowledge that, you know what, that’s totally okay because of my activity level. Anything to alleviate any tendencies toward guilt around the issue of food can only help. Before discovering Lose It!, I tracked my exercise by notations on a calendar of how many miles I walked/ellipticalled every day and every week, gradually upping the goal. Lose It! just made tracking daily and weekly goals easier and more all encompassing.
It’s not about dieting, it’s about mindfulness. Reduce anxiety, reduce guilt, break those habits. Find what works for you. For me, this visual and mathematic breakdown removes worry about the unknown and the factors I can’t control. It allows me to utilize my tendency toward stubbornness, errr, I mean tenacity, for good. And I find that it actually gives me more control and freedom. Personalize your metabolic info, set your own goals, and change those goals as often as you like. Take a day or two off now and then. Push yourself on the days you feel like it, and then feel free to let loose a little on other days. Or stick to your budget as a hard and fast rule, a solid wall that once you reach it, you can’t go any further. Lose It! doesn’t tell you what to do or how to do it; it just let’s you keep track.
While I’m injured, I’ve upped my calorie budget from where I had it set while losing the weight, because I know I can’t maintain the same level of caloric output through exercise in this condition. This takes the pressure off of even trying to do so. I can’t control how fast my injury heals, so I’m doing my best not to blame myself or feel guilt for any unwanted consequences of being injured. I know that, once my body is ready, it’ll be no time before the jeans I was wearing when I fell will fit again. It would be a waste of time and a hindrance to the end goal to allow guilt or shame to get in the way.
Seeing It In Action

Ok, so all this data entry might seem daunting and tedious. Honestly, if you don’t have a somewhat neurotic, tenacious side, this might not be a suitable option for you. But for others, there’s something immensely satisfying about having a visual representation of your hard work. Watching that weight graph steadily going downward and knowing exactly what you’re doing to cause that trend – that’s something to feel proud of, and, conversely, helps you stick with it. Besides, the data entry is a lot easier than it sounds. Lose It! has a built in database with nutritional info on thousands of foods, including market brands and chain restaurant info. And it’s really easy to input anything missing from the database. Google it, or, if you have the packaging, just copy off the label.
Let me show you how this works with one of my many current food projects. I’ve been trying to find a quick, palatable way to make easy, healthy curry for less money than take-out. An almost impossible task, but I like a challenge. To satisfy the “easy” requirement, I’ve been working my way through various jars of pre-made curry at the market, with varying degrees of success. Lose It! helps with the “healthy” part. I often doctor the contents of the jars to overcome the flat, tinny flavor prevalent to the genre. I use Lose It! to track how my doctoring affects the nutritional end result.
My most recent attempt reinforced a basic lesson in nutrition. I prepared a Coconut Vegetable Curry using a jar of Mr. Kook’s sauce over steamed cauliflower, frozen peas, and sauteed mushrooms. I only doctored the sauce with a little additional light coconut milk.
The sharp flavor was barely tolerable even after I cut it with additional coconut milk. I won’t buy this jar again, but it still helps illustrate how Lose It! works.
First, I added the sauce’s nutritional info from the label to my custom foods.
Forevermore, I can use this sauce in any amount and Lose It! will do the math for me.
Then I created a recipe listing all the ingredients and the number of servings it creates.
This info will also be forever available, with the app doing all the heavy lifting of calculations.
So now I can log my meal for analysis and posterity.
Now let’s compare it to one of my more palatable experiments. This one involved a lot more doctoring, this time of a jar of World Food’s Thai Coconut Galangal sauce.
Along with the added vegetables (frozen peas and sauteed mushrooms) and meat (one shredded chicken breast, fresh off the George Foreman), I whipped together peanut butter and coconut milk with a fork until smooth and added it to the sauce as it heated. It improved things greatly, and next time (because it was good enough for a “next time”) I would even add a dash of fish sauce to the mix. Of course, with all these additional ingredients, the caloric content keeps ticking upward. Lose It! keeps track of these alterations for me.
But, surprisingly, the result still ends up calorically less than the Mr. Kook’s.
Which illustrates how Lose It! catches you up on your assumptions. I assumed that my increased doctoring would come out as the deciding factor in the comparison between these two dishes. But, instead, I’m reminded of a more basic rule – read labels carefully. While the two sauces were very nutritionally similar per serving, Mr. Kook’s considers its serving half the size, having eight servings per jar instead of four. That doesn’t mean I’ll eat less of it, just that what I eat suddenly has twice the calories I’d assumed. And these little things do add up. 100 calories/day = 10 lbs a year, approximately. So every 100 calories you don’t eat or burn off means an extra 10 lbs lost, or at least not gained, over the course of a year. Lose It! simply helps you take control by giving you knowledge so that you can decide for yourself where your calories should come and where they should go. Lose It! empowers you to make the choice, rather than leaving it blindly to some unknown variable.
It Works!

And that’s how Lose It! will help me get back into those jeans. It worked once before, and I’m highly confident it will work again. But don’t just take my word for it. In a show of support, the husband man (who gets full geek cred as a comic book and comic art collector, Star Wars fan, sci fi reader, gamer, former game programmer, and current Google programmer) also got really into this app and lost something like 20 or 25 lb, without even exercising.
Fellow geek blogger Chad Austin lost 20 lb in 20 weeks using Lose It! and detailed the process here: Of course, his general philosophy varies from mine, especially in his similarity to my husband in his lack of using the “output” column, but results are results. Proof that even a gamer or other geek, like myself, can get thin.
Veronica R. Lujan
la V en Rose

{August 16, 2010}   Things I Love

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the food I keep in my bags so I thought we were due.

I’ve realized in the last month that I’m perfectly content to eat the same things over and over again. While I really like almost any food, repetition is perfectly fine by me. Especially if it means I don’t have to be trying to create things all the time.

Right now, here’s how my day looks:

Breakfast= Kefir before work. This is my breakfast of choice for a few reasons- it’s quick and easy, it’s got a ton of protein and, most of all, my doc has asked me to be sure I’m drinking/getting probiotics somewhere in my day. So kefir it is.   If I get hungry again, it’s fruit or oatmeal time.

Lunch= I’m totally addicted to cottage cheese right now. Nancy’s happens to be my fave brand for that too (I also love the Nancy’s kefir, as evidenced by the link above). I typically pair that with a piece of toast and some veggies, tomatoes and berries. Yes, I get teased for my lunches and no, I don’t mind. It’s delish.

Dinner= this is where I have variance and really, it’s not that much. The basic rules stay the same; I want whatever I eat to be 2/3 vegetables, I want to make sure I get some protein in and I try to combine that with some sort of whole grain in there for my starch (whole grain pasta, Ezekiel 4:9 tortillas, another piece of toast, etc.).

One of the big things I’ve really been struggling with in terms of food is being sure I get enough protein in. I can pretty easily go the route of vegetarianism. I’m not a huge fan of meat and, more than that, I HATE touching raw meat. Not because I’m worried about cooking it. Touching raw meat is gross and slimy and gross again. Anyway, protein is an issue for me. I was completely flat lined in terms of weight loss for quite a while but, when I changed my diet around to include more protein (hence the obsession with cottage cheese) everything changed and I’m back to dropping a pound a week! Yay protein!

{August 9, 2010}   A Grim Tale

Once upon a time, there was a girl- a girl who enjoyed many a nerdy endeavor and was attempting to work her way toward thin. This girl had been making great progress in her endeavors and was enjoying herself until, one fateful day, she got Extreme Sick. This Extreme Sick initially was greatly beneficial in her quest as she lost a pound and a half from her inability to eat and passion for sleeping during The Sick. Sadly, though, she had no energy to cook for herself healthy things or to continue with her exercise regimen.

On a fine summer day, the girl began to feel better. And with that, began to return to her gym and her beloved exercise routine. Unfortunately, though, it took a full week before she was able to push as hard as she had in the days prior to Extreme Sick. And, during The Sick, she had developed a renewed adoration for all things sodium laden. As a result of this, when she was able to eat again, the girl gained back the weight she had lost during her Extreme Sick.

Upon seeing this gain on the scale, the girl cried bitter tears, rending her clothes and gnashing her teeth in mourning. Then, once she had grieved the gain, she steeled herself with great resolve to being moving forward- not looking back at this lost pound but instead striving to lose it again and more from there.

Will she succeed?! Only time will tell….

{August 2, 2010}   Extreme Napping

I’ve been playing a ton of Sims 3 this weekend. I love the variety of options in this version, especially the personality traits. I decided to make a new family and not use any cheat codes (rare!), just to see how hard it is to build the life you want. In the process, I gave my girl all these traits I don’t have- daredevil, athletic, charismatic (okay, I might have that one), great kisser (and a girl never tells about that one). The result is that my character is seriously like she’s on crack all the time. She just wants to work out and be excited and awesome. And every single thing you have her do, there is an option to do it “extreme.” So you can “Extreme Sleep” and “Extreme Shower Until Extremely Clean” and “Extreme Jogging” and “Extreme Practice Chess.” She is insane.

I sometimes wish that I was like this- that I loved doing everything to the max and didn’t have to just force myself to do some things, even though I might not feel like it. In reality, the forcing myself is developing self discipline which I understand to be a good trait in most grown ups. But the slog back into my food and exercise routine after a week of being sick has felt painful and slow at best. I wish I could Extreme Eat Healthy and Extreme Love the Gym. Unfortunately, my leaning is toward Extreme Eat Popcorn for Dinner, Extreme Watch The Most Roswell and Extreme Sleep. One area my Sim and I are alike!

Since I’m not a Sim (or if I were, my traits would be something like charismatic, loves her couch, great sleeper and likes video games), I can’t choose the extreme option in life. Instead it’s all about discipline. This week’s goal is Extreme Discipline. Or maybe just Moderate Discipline with no eating popcorn for dinner.

{July 28, 2010}   Amazing.

Double Post Wednesday!

But check it, this is so fantastic!

{July 26, 2010}   Return!

I’ve returned to the land of the living, yay! That cold last week was seriously one of the worst I’ve had in a while. If I were a video game character, I would have been covered in some green craze with those little puffs of skull cloud that follow you and going REALLY slow all the time with my hp at half and depleting at twice the normal rate. It was no good, friends. But! I survived and am living to game another day!

One of the things that last week made me realize is the great value of preparation. When we raid, it is absolutely required that everyone come to raid fully prepared- having purchased their flasks from the guild bank, ready with their armor repaired and whatever ammo or reagents they require, free of any disease or other curse and ready to go.

I felt like last week was one of those horrible slog raids. Like running Naxx- you know you’re going to be fine and you go into it with a bit of a cavalier attitude. But then, after the first hour of the run, you realize you would have been better off coming in as prepared as if it were something that mattered and it’s going to be a LONG haul until the end. Such is being sick. We didn’t have any meds, my fridge was mostly empty save bagels and tortilla chips and some weird brown rice noodles (I don’t recommend. Fyi. They are gross.). I managed to drop a pound and a half last week but it was not for healthy eating. It was for being too sick to eat much or to go to the store and purchase more food. By the time we got healthy, all I’ve craved is salad and veggies and fresh things.

Either way, we survived! And next time? I’ll be prepared. When I first feel the tickle, I’ll hit the store for meds and fill my fridge with things that are going to help me get better faster.

This week is back to routine. I’ve been missing my gym!

Happy Monday, all! I hope it’s a wonderful week for you.

et cetera