Tuesday, April 29, 2008

BAD cycling story

Minneapolis is the second most popular city in the country for bike commuters, and the furthest north for those who do it year round. Not surprising, then, that there would be a story in the local media about bike commuting, cycling in traffic, etc. as spring rolls into the area. I would normally look forward to watching such stories on the news, but this time it just pissed me off. CLICK HERE to read what our local ABC affiliate, KSTP 5, had to say about cyclists in the Twin Cities.

VERY one-sided presentation, slanted WAY in the direction of vehicle drivers. They spent the whole time talking about how dangerous cyclists blow through stop signs (nobody coming) and red lights (umm...not big enough to trip the light cycle) and spent no time at all talking about how asshole drivers like to ride up next to you and honk, yell, and throw stuff...whatever they can do to scare you and try to make you wreck. HINT: If you're going to do stupid stuff like that, DON'T drive the company truck. I know exactly which landscaping and auto glass companies I WON'T be using now.

Never mind the idiotic bitch who literally came within INCHES of my back tire on Xerxes Ave back in January, when she couldn't be bothered with her OWN stop sign. Unfortunately, the Law of Gross Tonnage doesn't care who has the right of way. I sobbed when I finally made it the last few blocks to work that day.

Anyway...If the Channel 5 article ticks you off as much as it did me, I encourage you to follow their links to send them feedback. I would at least like to see equal time...Maybe a helmet mounted camera on a regular bike commuter? Sign me up.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A low point, but not really

Ok...So after 3 weeks on the SSHE program, I finally had a meal I didn't like and don't care if I ever have again. It started with some seriously bland, flavorless vegetable soup. I've never really been a fan of vegetable soup in general, but there are ways to make it palatable. SSHE missed the mark this time. The rest of the meal was a slice of not-so-tasty, kind of dry bread with some peanut butter & apricot spread, but thankfully I replaced that with a real PB&J this morning, which I could justify because I'm supplementing up to 1500-1700 calories per day from the 1200 provided by the program. Ok, so I also had one of those Toasted Wraps from KFC, but it's only got one chicken strip in it and I did go for a nice, hour long bike ride on the Taco after work.

Better luck with dinner. New food delivered this afternoon, so tonight I had Polish Pierogies & Sauerkraut with Veggie Sausage. After doctoring the kraut with sea salt, pepper, & crushed red flakes, it was pretty tasty...Also one of the more filling meals I've had so far. You do end up adding spices to taste, because some of it comes out a little bland because the menu is sodium restricted and also toned down due to some people's wimpy taste buds.

Which reminds me...What is it with Minnesotans not being able to take spicy food? It's sad, really. I remember a waitress we had right after moving up here 3 years ago. I ordered something relatively normal from the menu (don't remember what) and she said {insert upper midwest accent here} "Ya know, dat's really spicy, don't ya?" I kind of snickered and said I'd be fine. These people would get along great with British folks & their version of sausage, which is really more of a flavorless hot dog. God forbid either of them ever get hold of some spicy Jimmy Dean, LOL.

I better go to bed before I get off on a tangent of complaining about the ungodly grip winter has on us up here.

Remember...Get off the couch and
Pedal Your Fat Ass Off

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Weekly Ticker Update

Slowly but surely wins the race, right? That's what I keep telling myself. I lost 1.5 lbs this week which, considering that I was trapped at the front desk of my old dental clinic all week and had crappy riding weather, should be counted as pretty darn good. I also had a drink from Caribou Coffee every morning, but I rationalized that by saying that it was made with decaf & skim milk, and besides....I AM supposed to drink two glasses of skim milk every day on this plan. That's what I really like about this SSHE program...The food is good, but with the portion control you can still get away with having reasonable treats, so you're living normally without feeling deprived. I think it keeps me from truly going on a bender, and I'm making healthier choices for myself.

So anyway...Here are the new tickers for the week:

Not so great on the mileage this week. Only got to ride once after work, then the weather turned to crap. Winter has gone on LONG ENOUGH.

Remember...Get off the couch and
Pedal Your Fat Ass Off

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Brussels Sprouts...Shrunken Heads, or Tasty Little Vegetable?

My childhood experience with brussels sprouts was NOT good. I don't know if it was just me being picky or if my Mom did something to them, but I recall doing everything possible to avoid eating those things. Don't get me wrong...My mom is an excellent cook, but there are just a couple of things that didn't work well...Salmon patties and sloppy joes with mustard-based BBQ sauce are two that I can name right now. When it came to brussels sprouts, they would languish on my plate until everyone else had left the room and my parents made me sit there until I finished everything. Fortunately for me, however, they weren't smart enough to remove the trash can from the dining room when they left me there, so as soon as I was alone, in the bin they went. My parents thought their tactic of leaving me in the dining room was working, and I didn't actually have to eat what I thought resembled little shrunken heads, so I guess it was a win-win situation all around. I'm honestly not sure Mom ever figured out what I was doing.

Anyway...This evening's dinner on the SSHE plan was cheese lasagna, spiced pears, and...you guessed it...brussels sprouts. Stuffing back screams of bad childhood food memories and in keeping with my commitment to at least try everything I'm given on this plan (ok, except the plain cooked spinach), I spritzed the little bastards with some I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray, added a little pepper & garlic salt, and dug in. I was surprised that they really weren't all that bad. I might even look forward to them the next time this meal comes around in the rotation.

Nice way to cap off a decent day at work and an awesome evening bike ride on the Pink Taco.

Remember, get off the couch and
Pedal Your Fat Ass Off

Sunday, April 20, 2008

3 Years of Unparalleled Hell

Well, no...not even close, actually. Uber-Hubby and I celebrated our 3rd church-iversary this weekend. The legal-versary was back in December, but that was just the quickie thing for health care coverage purposes. April 23rd is the "real" one, as far as I'm concerned. We usually pick a nice hotel in the city (downtown St Paul or Minneapolis), catch whatever's interesting at one of the many theaters, and have a really decadent dinner with expensive wine and all that good stuff. It's generally the one time a year I can get Tom to take me to the theater, so I take advantage of it.

We saw Triple Espresso: A Highly Caffeinated Comedy, which has been playing in Minneapolis for the last 12 years or so, but is closing this month. It was a good laugh...nothing that made my sides hurt, but a good laugh nonetheless. One of my favorite parts was how they had a little audience participation, and this elderly couple right in front of us was picked to be the parents of one of the characters. They really got into it, and it was fun just watching them enjoy themselves.

So...This year we stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Minneapolis. VERY nice place, we've stayed there before, and it also happens to house the restaurant I wanted to try, The Oceanaire Seafood Room. The food was amazing, the service was excellent, and were it not so bloody expensive I'd love to eat there all the time. As usual, Tom had his camera along for the ride:
The first thing we noticed was that they actually personalized our menu!
I just thought that was a really nice touch. Here's me with our awesome waiter, Chad:This guy was just great. Funny, really knowledgeable about the menu without coming across as pretentious. The pic was actually taken closer to the end of the evening, after I'd had more than half a bottle of this:At $60 for the bottle, it's probably the most expensive wine I've personally ever had, but it was worth every penny. Here's me enjoying another glass:The manager stopped by to wish us a Happy Anniversary, and I was glad to have the chance to tell her how much we appreciated the service Chad was providing. Those folks don't get enough GOOD comments...just bad ones on the occasions they screw up or get stuck with a cranky customer. Anyway, to cap off the evening, they surprised us with Baked Alaska for dessert:
It had some lovely butter brickle ice cream inside, but we were so full by this point that I was barely able to finish a slice. Thankfully, we didn't have far to go to get back to our room, because neither of us was in any condition to do more than walk a little bit. We got up this morning and went to breakfast at Hell's Kitchen before picking up the dog from his little mini-vacation at the kennel (Woof Dah) and heading back home.

I even made time this evening for a nice little ride on the Pink Taco, my obnoxiously pink fixed gear bike. Everything is pink on this bike, and if you've seen the movie Van Wilder, you'll understand the name. Though this pic was taken last summer, I looked pretty much like this as I tooled around the park trail:
So...Even though I had several meals this weekend that weren't exactly on the SSHE plan, I still managed to get some riding in. Work is making me go to a different location this coming week, so my opportunities to ride to and from will be somewhat limited. I'll have to take walks on my lunch break and hop on the bike after I get home or something to make up the miles.

Remember...Get off the couch and
Pedal Your Fat Ass Off

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Weekly Ticker Update

Well...Not an overwhelming success in terms of net poundage off the body, but in a week of multiple reasons for water retention, ANY loss can be considered a victory:

Net loss this week is only half a pound, but I'll take it. I rode my bike 40+ miles 4 different times this week, so my leg muscles had a lot of repairing to do, and then there's good old A.F. I've stuck to the SSHE plan pretty well, and only gave in to monthly chocolate cravings once or twice. Here's the mileage update:

I'll have to do some good weekend rides to make up what I missed by not being able to ride last week, but I'm getting there!

Remember...get off the couch and
Pedal Your Fat Ass Off

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Water retention sucks.

Ok...I know some people say that you should only weigh yourself once a week rather than every day, but I'm about to tell you how daily weigh ins have saved my sanity. After losing two pounds on my first week of SSHE, this week (so far) I seem to have gained it back, despite riding 40+ miles on Sunday, Monday, AND Tuesday. Here's what I think is going on:
1) I know from my marathon days that I tend to hold on to 2-3 lbs of water after running more than about 6 miles or so, as my leg muscles repair themselves. By the middle of the week following such a run, I'm in the bathroom more often than I should be and it's all gone. I know this because I weigh every day. I'm starting to think that this same thing applies to riding my bike alot, but I don't have the threshold nailed down because I'm just getting started with the PYFAO program.
2) Aunt Flo will be arriving in town imminently. That bitch is making me crabby and is making me doubt myself on the scale. I hate her, but I DO enjoy that monthly reassurance that I'm not knocked up.
3) I'm not drinking enough water. It's a scientifically documented fact that if you are dehydrated, your body will seriously suck back the fluids to protect itself. I found this article to be helpful. 8 glasses (8 ounces each) is the MINIMUM you should have, more when you're exercising. My goal is half my body weight in ounces every day (e.g. A 200 lb person would drink 100 ounces of water), and right now that's about 12 glasses for me. I've not been doing a good job of that this week, but doing this little bit of internet research about water retention has drawn my attention back to it.

Well...I have my women's open hockey session tonight, so that should be good for helping me sweat off some of this. I also take a 32 ounce bottle with me and make sure I finish it before getting back home.

BTW...A fairly enjoyable ride home yesterday, really nice tailwind. Uber-Hubby came down to ride home with me (I love it when he does that, even though he says it's because he thinks I'll wimp out & get the bus home at the halfway point). Changing my second flat in 3 days did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm. :-)

If you're reading this, DRINK SOME WATER.....NOW.

Remember, get off the couch and
Pedal Your Fat Ass Off

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ever wonder who makes Klan robes?

I have to admit that I didn't, but I still found this photo set to be both interesting and disturbing at the same time. Kind of brings back memories of my childhood, when I lived next door to a KKK member & sat in my upstairs bathroom watching him & his white robed cohorts burn a massive cross in their backyard. Turns my stomach just thinking about it.

On a lighter note...Excellent ride home today, tailwind nearly all the way. :-)

Remember, get off the couch and
Pedal Your Fat Ass Off

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mileage Ticker Unveiled

Well...I don't plan to make it a habit to post twice in a day, but I wanted to share my new mileage ticker. Uber-Hubby & I just got home from a tough ride to St. Paul and back, a total of 48.3 miles in 3 hrs 50 min. Weather is looking good for riding to work several days this coming week, which is good because I've got some miles to make up from not being able to ride this past week (thank you, crappily uncooperative Minnesota April weather). Anyway...I'm off to figure out what else I can snarf, because I burned off WAY more than my daily calorie intake just on this ride, never mind what I did the rest of the day with my basic metabolism.

Remember, get off the couch and
Pedal Your Fat Ass Off

Semper Fi

Uber-Hubby forwarded me this article about a Marine who suffered an amputated leg after being shot in the knee while on patrol in Iraq. His speedy recovery, mastery of his high tech prosthetic leg, and subsequent insistence that he be allowed to return to Iraq are nothing short of amazing. Regardless of how you feel about the war or military people in general, it's a very moving & inspirational story.

So...The next time you're feeling sorry for yourself with all the seemingly insurmountable problems you think you have, think about this guy. Remember what he's been through, get off the couch, and

Pedal Your Fat Ass Off

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Official Weigh-In Day

Okay, kids. Saturday is my Official Weigh-In Day. I actually weigh myself daily (buck naked, empty stomach, empty bladder, first thing in the morning) because it helps me deal with water retention & getting back on track with food if I fell off the wagon the day before, but it's a hold over from my days on eDiets that the Saturday morning thing is where I say "I've lost xx lbs this week."

Sidebar: Quick shout out to my old friends from the Triumphant Titans team from the eDiets Life's Odyssey Challenge. I'm sorry that eDiets hosed up their website so much that many of us left, but to be honest I was ready to go anyway. I needed a big change to kickstart the PYFAO program, but the site problems made that decision much easier. Anyway...Sheryl, Donna, Dawn, Lori, etc...Hope to see you ladies on here & keeping in touch via email.

It's also good to see/hear from Christina & Adrienne, both of whom I haven't talked to in ages. You're right, Adrienne....I DO miss our Challenge Walk training at the Noland Trail.

So anyway...(wish I had a sound clip for a drum roll)...
I lost 2 pounds this week! Current weight = 190.5
Not bad, especially when you consider that the weather prevented me from doing any riding at all this week. I was generally able to get outside and walk around the lake during my lunch break because whatever crappy precipitation thing was going on usually stopped by then, but the early morning and then the evening times were terrible. Things are definitely looking up for next week...Sunny & in the 60's on Monday...Woo hoo!

Gotta go finish panic cleaning the house...Landlord coming over...eeek.

Remember...Get of the couch and
Pedal Your Fat Ass Off

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just F-ing Nasty

By now, I'm sure you've heard of that creepy polygamist sect in West Texas where authorities recently removed over 400 children after a teenage girl made secret cell phone calls to a battered women's shelter. Sadly, authorities are supposedly unable to figure out just where that particular girl is now, because her name isn't on the list of those currently in protective custody. I can only hope that they're really just trying to hide her for her own protection. Another 140 or so women voluntarily left the compound & are being housed with the children.

The current gross, disturbing discovery in this story is this...During their search of the compound, authorities recently found some kind of ritualistic marriage bed IN THE CHURCH. Apparently the creepy old men just couldn't wait until they got home before they deflowered their juvenile brides.

It's bad enough that this group exists at all, but that they're doing it in the name of Christ makes it even worse. It frightens me to think of what else goes on behind church doors that we don't know about yet. More fodder for those not in favor of organized religion. Can't we all just have a covered dish supper & get along?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

So far, so good

Ok, so I've had a couple of days on the program, and things are going pretty well, I must say. This morning I was down TWO pounds already, which I know is only water weight but it's still good for the motivation. Standby for my weekly "official" weigh in every Saturday.

Good news... I found a soft sided cooler in the laundry room that is PERFECT for carrying up to two meals worth of SSHE food, plus snacks. Funny thing is, it's the BEER cooler that Uber-Hubby got from Old Chicago as some prize in the World Beer Tour. So yes, I am now hauling my healthy food around in a beer cooler. :-) The major victory at this point is that I wasn't at home for dinner last night, but planned ahead & picked one of the meals that is made to be eaten cold, so no microwave access required. VERY tasty, actually...Gazpacho, carrots with spinach dip (lots of it...actually needed the extra carrots I packed), and chocolate pudding. Yes, folks, I got chocolate pudding on my healthy food plan...Woo hoo! Tonight's dinner was turkey meatballs in sour cream sauce, red skin potatoes au gratin, seasoned green peas, and acorn squash. To steal a phrase from Rachael Ray, YUM-O!

Other good news... Found a place to live for when we move to Mankato this summer, plus scored some good info on joining the local YMCA down there. I can't wait to get on with that phase of our lives, but it's hard to believe that Uber-Hubby will graduate from the perio program at the UofM in just over a MONTH...wow.

Off to walk the pooch before I go to my women's open hockey session.

Remember...Get off the couch and
Pedal Your Fat Ass Off

Monday, April 7, 2008

Seattle Sutton's, Day 1

I'm sooo glad today FINALLY arrived! I got to go pick up my first set of meals from Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating, about which I am very happy. The first half of the week starts with Monday's dinner, and the second half starts with Thursday's dinner. You either go to the distributor for pick up between 3-7pm on those days or pay extra for home delivery. I'm leaning towards home delivery for the future so that I'm not giving up bike commuting.

Anyway...Today's dinner was chicken linguini with red sauce, with slices of zucchini & yellow squash on the side. How lucky is that? See, I love squash but Tom HATES it, so I never get to eat it unless we go to Outback or something. {sidenote: You can get their steamed veggies & specify only the ones you like.}

So all my little meal containers are stacked neatly in the fridge, ready to set me on my way to better health and a smaller butt. I'm hoping to be able to ride to work by Friday, weather permitting.

Remember....get off the couch and
Pedal Your Fat Ass Off

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Large Fella on a Bike

This guy is truly inspiring. He started off over 3 years ago at over 500 lbs. He lived on the East Coast, found a bike shop here in Minneapolis that would work with him to build a specially reinforced bike, and gradually pedaled his fat ass off, one city block at a time. He even moved his family all the way here to the Twin Cities in order to live in a more bike friendly place. Click over to his blog to read more.

RIP Charlton Heston

Charlton Heston died last night. He was 84 and suffered from Alzheimer's, but I remember him best as the Best Actor Oscar winner from 1959, when he played Ben Hur. That's one of my favorite movies ever, and I don't care if he did turn into some ultra conservative, gun toting, Republican. He will be missed. RIP, Chuck.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Getting started

Well, the title of this blog pretty much explains everything. I am, quite literally, about to pedal my fat ass off.

Wait...giving credit where it's due, I can't claim to have coined that phrase. Mad props to the guys at www.1lesscar.com, who sell cool stickers and t-shirts out of their apartment, one of which depicts a fat guy pedaling a bike and says Pedal Your Fat Ass Off in big white letters. I have them on the frame of each bike that I own, and I truly believe that it's a diet plan for a new generation. You just have to eat less and move more.

As I sit here, my current weight is 192.5 lbs. That doesn't look good on a chick who's only 5'6" tall, no matter how athletic you think you are. My goal weight is 140 lbs. I know it can be done, because I've done it before. Here's what I looked like at that weight, on my wedding day in April 2005, and a slightly more athletic version of me at the Rock & Roll Half Marathon:

Tom and I look good, don't we? Thank you...I agree. :-) That's my point....I want to get there again. I'm tired of feeling fat, slovenly, and generally unattractive. I'm tired of being ashamed to look in the mirror. I'm tired of worrying about my cholesterol, which I was told back in November 2007 had more than DOUBLED since my previous annual doctor visit. Family history is a big factor there, but I refuse to let it take over my life. I am very fortunate to have a husband like Tom, who for whatever reason loves me to distraction no matter what weight I am. Let me make it perfectly clear...I am NOT doing this because he makes me feel fat and nasty. That image is in my own messed up head. Yes, he pushes me and doesn't tolerate my occasional fits of whining and excuses, but he's not one of those people who says "I'm not attracted to you anymore since you got fat." Quite the opposite, in fact. Let's face it...He loves all my pieces parts, and I do mean ALL....'nuff said. He supports me in whatever I try to do, so I'm doing this because I want to be healthier, more self-confident, and proud of how I look when we go out together.

So...Here is my Official Before Photo, taken moments ago. Small children and anyone using a pacemaker should leave the room immediately.

Clearly, not my finest moment. I will update this blog with new pix of myself at least monthly, more for ME to realize the changes than anything else. I see myself every day, and it's hard to notice what's different unless you have something to compare it against.

What's the plan, you ask? As I said before, it's all about eating less and moving more:

1) Eating less: Portion control is everything, and I haven't been doing a good job of it lately. I also eat out at restaurants entirely too much. I have therefore signed up for Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating, which will provide me with 1200 calories a day of freshly made food so that I don't have to worry about counting calories or anything else. That's not enough to keep a bird alive and I know from experience that I can effectively lose weight on 1500-1700 calories per day, so I plan to supplement the SSHE meals with healthy snacks like carrot sticks and fat free yogurt. I pick up my first set of meals this coming Monday, in time for dinner. One reason I'm looking forward to it is that the menu says I get zucchini on the first night, which I love but never get anymore because Tom hates it. :-)

2) Moving more: Back to the blog title...Pedal Your Fat Ass Off. The cornerstone of my exercise plan is cycling. Minnesota has great bike paths, especially here in the Twin Cities. It is the second most popular city in the country for bike commuting to work, and the furthest north for people who do it year round. Thanks to the Uber-Hubby (the aforementioned Tom), I have gotten more involved in cycling over the past 4 years, and recently began riding my bike to work...a 21.6 mile trip each way. Not only does it save a lot of money in gas, but it will also help get me in shape for our European cycling trip at the end of May. Bike commuting also burns off an ass-ton of calories...According to my GPS watch, I burn over 1200 calories EACH WAY. Woo hoo! Uber-Hubby says it's important to publicly state your goals, so here it is: I will log 1500 miles on my bike before we leave for our trip on May 23rd, and I will reach 4200 miles by the end of September 2008. That's about when the weather stops cooperating for consistent daily cycling anyway. With my current total of about 466 miles, that means I'll need to log about 150 miles per week from now until then. Not too bad when you consider my commute to work, but I'll need to suck it up and do it 3-4 days per week or else ride a lot on the weekends.

My other activities include ice hockey (yes, even women in their 30's play too), weight training (during lunch in the fitness center at my job), and long walks to get ready for this year's MS Challenge Walk. I may even throw in the occasional jog.

That should do it for now. Remember...get off the couch and

Pedal Your Fat Ass Off