Repost: A Kick in the Butt

While cleaning out my Google Reader subscriptions in preparation to move to another RSS reader, I came across this post I wrote for the non-extinct Cincinnati Losers blog on July 5, 2013. I went up almost ten pounds from the weight mentioned here, but now I’m almost ten pounds below it. If our Y ever gets their showers completely fixed, I’ll be back in the pool very soon.

Four years ago, I weighed 281 pounds. For the second time, Tom and I began a liquid diet through a local hospital and, by April of the next year, I weighed 221 lbs. for a loss of 60 lbs total. (You can read about our journey on that diet at Diminishing Returns.)

As of this morning, I weigh 303 lbs., 22 lbs. more than when we started the liquid diet four years ago and 82 lbs. more than my lowest on the diet. A lot of things happened between then and now (my mother died, we started blogging about beer, my work stress level got even higher), but it all comes down to me and what I was doing. Or rather, what I wasn’t doing.

In the beginning of 2009, I started training for walking the Flying Pig half marathon in addition to continuing our water aerobics. I got all the way to walking 8.5 miles one Saturday. But, I made the mistake of walking in cold, damp weather with a chest cold. It got much worse and I got to stop training for a while to recuperate. The slide that had already begun got steeper at that point.

Since that point, I have started and re-started SparkPeople more times than I can count. Last year, I was asked to join Cincinnati Losers and I managed to post all of two times. Our trips to our local Y to do water aerobics got so infrequent that we tried taking the months of January and February off this year to see if that would help push us a bit when March arrived.

All this time, I kept thinking something’s going to happen to get me back in the weight loss mode again. I won’t buy new clothes so I’ll have to diet to fit in the ones I have. Yeah, right… That didn’t work. When I go over 300 pounds, it will shock me into losing weight. Well, that happened in last September and I’m still there.

It was a conversation on Twitter that made me think I need something more. As you’ve already read, I’m not shy about sharing my weight unlike most people I know. About a year ago, Leo LaPorte of the TWiT Podcast Network was talking about the Withings Scale on This Week in Tech. This scale can be set up to send your weight directly to SparkPeople or even tweet your weight. In my search for the something that will make me get serious again, I bought one and set up a twitter account for it –!/carlas_scale. I was talking with someone who was interested in the scale and he mentioned being reluctant to tweet his weight. I pointed out that “Not saying the number out loud doesn’t make it not true.”

That phrase kept sticking in my mind. And then, over this past weekend, I realized why certain diets and plans worked for me and others didn’t. I need accountability. Not so much public humiliation, but being held accountable for my actions. So when Shannan asked about creating a Facebook fan page for Cincinnati Losers, I was one of the first to say “YES!” I need that kick in the butt every once in a while that gets me back on track. I need to know that someone is paying attention and someone is watching my journey.

So, I’m asking… both my fellow Cincinnati Losers and those of you following us on Facebook… please ask if I got to the Y this morning. And have I tracked my food on SparkPeople. And did I get my water in today. And, most of all, please kick my butt when the need arrives. My goal is to make it a smaller target to kick as each day goes by. Many thanks in advance!

— Carla

Exercise and Illness / Weight Update

If you are a long time reader of this blog (or went back and read the old posts), you may remember that I was training for the Flying Pig Half Marathon in 2009. The first two months of training went surprisingly well and I posted about looking forward to walking 8.5 miles. But, that turned out to be a mistake. Here’s why.

That very cold and snowy Saturday morning, I had the beginnings of a chest cold. Because I was so set on doing this walk, I didn’t bother to check to see if that was a good idea. I thought I should just suck it up and do it. I figured the adrenaline would get me through and it did to a point. The problem was that I drove that cold even deeper in my chest. It totally wiped me out for three weeks or more and that was even after I got some prescription meds to combat it. And that was pretty much the end of my half marathon training.

So the rule of thumb on exercising when sick is this. If your cold or whatever is affecting you from the neck up, you are okay to exercise. It may even help loosen up your congestion. But, if your illness is from the neck down, don’t exercise. It only makes you feel worse and can, like with me in 2009, makes things worse for your illness too.

I bring this up because I got that cough that’s going around the Cincinnati area lately. At first, I just thought it was a cold and used some over the counter medicine to treat the symptoms. But, about a week into it, the cough got worse and I would go off on coughing jags that wracked my whole body for as much as five minutes at a time. The last time I had that sort of cough, it was allergies so I switched to allergy medication. That helped some, but I still couldn’t sleep at night without the need to cough violently waking me up. After two weeks, it was time to see the doctor. Two prescriptions later and orders to rest all weekend later, I’m finally recuperating.

Through all this, I talked with Lori, my trainer at the Y, and she confirmed the “neck up / neck down” rule. As I’ve been recuperating, I’ve slowly been getting back to the pool at the Y, but I’m taking it easy. I definitely don’t want to have a repeat of 2009.

On the plus side, being under the weather and pushing lots of liquids has helped with my weight loss efforts. Though the Twitter widget on the right hand side seems to be having troubles again, I can say that I’ve lost another two pounds so I’m down 23.4 pounds since mid-July.

Best part? I’m wearing my wedding rings for the first time in months (if not longer). That is a truly wonderful thing!


It’s Free Friend Week at R.C. Durr YMCA Next Week

Do you have a friend who you think would like the YMCA, but would like to try it out first? If so, you’re in luck! Starting this Sunday, it’s FREE FRIEND WEEK at the R.C. Durr YMCA. You can bring a friend to the Y without having to use one of your guest passes. Sounds like a great pre-Halloween treat to me!


P.S. I’m officially down more than 20 pounds! It feels pretty darn good!

Inspiration at the Pool

Unless you are a regular member at the R.C. Durr YMCA, you probably don’t know that it is a designated training and testing site for the Navy SEALs. SEALs, which is short for Sea, Air, and Land Teams, are the Navy’s main special operations force. As you can see from the video on this web site, the training is rigorous and demanding.

Almost every day that we’re working out in the pool, we can see the SEAL wannabes being put through their paces by their military fitness trainer, a petite blonde woman with a pony tail. She is amazing to watch in action. One day, she’ll make them swim the length of the pool and then jump out to do about 50 or so sit-ups. Then, it’s back into the pool to swim back to the other end and then 50 or so push-ups, sometimes with lying on top of them to add more weight to their efforts. Today, she had two of them carrying what seemed to be heavily weighted bags. They had to run with them across their shoulders or do deep lunges down the hall way. Tom saw them on the way and mentioned that they didn’t look very happy about this exercise. I would imagine that some of these SEAL trainees have nightmares about blonde pony tails!

While the SEAL trainees are one type of inspiration, our pool buddy Nancy is another. When Nancy first started coming to the Y, she had to use a walker to get herself around. She couldn’t use the steps to get into the pool, but rather had to be lowered into the pool via a special chair they have for members with mobility issues. She told us that what got her to the pool was an incident where she fell in her home and couldn’t get up. I’ll always remember the look on her face when she told us that it took six firefighters to get her up. That was it. It was time for a change.

Change doesn’t happen over night and it didn’t for Nancy. First, she was able to use the stairs to get into the pool. Then, she was able to switch from the walker to a cane. Now, she doesn’t even need the cane. According to her last weigh-in at her doctor’s office, she lost 80 pounds. And she knows she’s lost more because she has recently needed a smaller size of pants. She’s taking less medication now too.

Change like that isn’t easy. She works out at the Y six days a week. She put her health first and it shows.

Whether it’s a young person training to be a part of one of the most decorated parts of the armed forces or an older person like Nancy (she always calls us “young uns”), there are so many stories at your local Y that will inspire you.

As we say at the R.C. Durr pool, come on in… the water’s fine.



I had great plans for this morning. I was going to let my slightly under-the-weather husband sleep in and I was going to go to the Y to do my first ActivTrax work out. Then, I had a really restless night and was waking up every two hours or so. My mind kept dwelling on things I really knew weren’t worth worrying about, but that didn’t stop my brain from working overload. I managed to get out of bed by 6:00 a.m., but it wasn’t easy.

As I tried to wake up, I started doubting my original plan. I still don’t have the logistics of going to the Y to work out figured out quite yet. I considered going to the pool instead, but I knew I needed some strength training today. That meant walking or using the exercise bike wouldn’t work either. I was about to give up when I remembered that I had a yoga DVD. I dug out my rarely used yoga mat and popped in the disc.

This particular DVD is called “Just My Size Yoga” and it is especially for women who are more well endowed than the average yoga instructor. To be honest, I had only done the warm up in the past, but thought I’d watch the rest of the workout and see how far I got. To my surprise, I did almost the whole thing. The best part is that my overworked brain relaxed a bit and I was ready to face the day.

Was it as good of a work out as what I would have gotten doing the ActivTrax routine? No, but it was better than doing nothing. I think I may start adding the yoga in on the weekends as a way to make sure I really relax on my precious Saturdays and Sundays. Sometimes, wellness means flexibility of body, mind and schedule!


The Power of a Personal Trainer

Unlike the other founding members of Cincinnati Losers, I’ve actually been a member of my local Y for over five years. In fact, part of the reason my husband and I bought our condo is that it is so close to the R.C. Durr location where we are members.

The first two years we were members, we worked out in the pool religiously. When we were really in the groove, we went seven days a week. But, as John Lennon once said, “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” And life happened to us in a big way. We quit eating right and lacked off on our workouts.

Many times during this slide, I considered taking advantage of the personal trainers at the Y. I even went so far as to get the form I needed to fill out and got the name of a personal trainer who was recommended to me. But, I never did anything about it. When the Why The Y project was proposed, I jumped at the chance to work with a trainer finally. And the trainer assigned to me (Lori) is the person I was told to request!

Lori and I met for the first time last Thursday. We went over the ActivTrax program and she gave me a strength test to see where I should start with my workouts. Because of my bad knees, my cardio is going to be mainly in the water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (hopefully with my husband). On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’ll do the workouts that the ActivTrax creates for me. I may add a bit of pool work too on the days when I have time.

To be honest, I was suppose to get in some workouts this weekend, but a weekend of vegging out was just too appealing. But, then I remembered that Lori is going to be checking out my workouts on ActivTrax so I was back at the pool this morning. We ended up only have enough time for 30 minutes of water jogging, but that’s better than nothing!

It’s so nice to know that someone is keeping me accountable as I move forward on this next step of my fitness journey. And that’s one of the many advantages of working with a Y personal trainer!


The Next Step

Things that prove my summer was beyond busy:

1. My TMJ came back with a vengeance.

2. That pile of papers I’ve been meaning to sort was still not sorted.

3. I haven’t blogged here since July 24th.


But, now, it’s almost officially fall and things are looking better. My TMJ is much better since I finished teaching the accelerated classes this summer and my school has officially switched to semesters. The pile of papers has been sorted and organized. Just waiting to file some and shred the rest. On the weight loss side, I gained about two pounds from our weekend trip to Louisville, but lost a bit of that and have kept the other 15 pounds off. Yay me!

But, here’s the big thing. I’m taking this to the next step this week. First of all, we finally started getting to the Y to exercise in the pool again. It felt so good and it’s always nice to see our morning pool friends again. As of August, we’ve been members of the R.C. Durr Y for five years! Wow…

Second, I’m finally going to be working with a YMCA personal trainer for a while. Her name is Lori and we meet for the first time this afternoon. She’s going to set me up with their ActivTrax program and especially help me with strength training and toning. Stepping into an unknown gym or workout area can be both confusing and overwhelming. I’m so glad that I’ll have a personal trainer with me to show me what to so and I’, very excited about the possibilities!

It is totally appropriate that my first session with Lori happens to be the same day as my annual check up with my doctor. It was so nice to be able to tell my plans for getting back in the habit of working out at the Y pool and adding more exercise with Lori’s help. She was also happy to hear that I have a support group like Cincinnati Losers in place to help with this next step.

So, fifteen pounds down… Time to knock out the next fifteen!





Disclosure: The YMCA was kind enough to provide me free use of a personal trainer so that, as a long time Y member, I could experience more of what the Y has has to offer. I’ll be chronicling my efforts here at Diminishing Returns and periodically on our other blog, Hoperatives. You can also follow along on Twitter at the hashtag #WhyTheY

September 12, 2010 – A Day I’ll Always Remember

During the time since we quit the liquid diet, I did try several things to make me want to lose weight again. I bought a Withings scale that send my information to a special Twitter account that the world can see (if they follow it). You can see the latest tweet (weigh-in information) in the box to the right. One of the reasons I signed up for it was that Leo LaPorte of This Week in Tech claimed that a woman wouldn’t do that. Leo’s obviously never met me. It didn’t shame me into losing weight, but it did keep track of my ups (frequent) and downs (not so frequent).

One day was momentous. You see, when I got the scale in March of 2010, I weighed 291.1 pounds. Then, the weight roller coaster started until, on September 12, 2010, I hit a not so good milestone. For the first time in my life, I weighed just over 300 pounds (302 to be exact). I was close to it for a long time, but that was the day I went over. It became a day that will live in infamy (in my life, at least).

Since then, I have been back below 300 a few times, but I never stayed there long. Instead, my so-called “starting” weight continued to go up. I would re-set my goals on SparkPeople and re-set my goal on my Withings scale. First, 298.9 and then 305.8 and then 307.3, 308, 311 and finally 312.5.

So, today, after eight days back on the liquid diet, I stepped on the scale and saw 299.2. Alleuia! I’m back below 300 for the first time in almost a year. And I’m bound and determined to stay there.

Here’s to being healthier at 51 than I was when I turned 50 this past January.


What a Difference Three Years and Five Months Make

Hi there.  Remember us?  We used to blog here about the liquid diet we were on and the weight we lost doing it.  We also blogged about how frustrating it could be.

In the three years and five months since our last blog post, lots of things have happened. We each have different offices, though mine is still at the same place. We started a beer blog focused on Cincinnati. My mom passed away. We took my dad to Disney with us three times. My union went out on strike for a week. And we gained back all the weight we lost. For me, it was thirty pounds more than when we started the liquid diet back in July of 2007.

There were many times in those three years and five months that we talked about losing some weight. But, we would just have another burger and beer.

Then, in May of this year, we lost Tom’s cousin Sharon. She wasn’t just a cousin. She was the sister Tom never had. When we heard her health was failing, we dropped everything to drive to Houston. We didn’t make it in time, but Tom got to talk to Sharon one last time. In fact, he was the last person to talk to her.

When we got to Houston and set about the business of celebrating Sharon’s life with family and friends, something started to change. It was like a switch came on. All of those “you know, some day we should really…” projects became more important. We cleaned up our lower level and really separated our work and play areas. We got the ceilings re-painted that had been damaged by a leaking roof a couple of years ago. We got an estimate for expanding our patio and are just waiting for the HOA board to approve it.

But, most importantly, we decided to really do something about our health. We decided to do a version of the liquid diet like we had done before (and documented here). We found a website online that sells shakes and bars almost exactly like the ones we used before. We set a date – Monday, July 16th (after the Beer Bloggers Conference in Indy). And three days ago, we started.

After re-reading this blog, we are determined to listen to our bodies more and do the things that make them feel better. Don’t eat and drink to excess. Don’t eat or drink because you’re angry. Eat because you’re hungry. Have a beer on occasion, but make it worthwhile. Don’t kill yourself if you don’t make it to the pool every day. We know these first few days (and maybe weeks) will see pounds dropping fairly quickly. But it doesn’t matter if we don’t stay in it for the long haul.

The journey begins again…