Wednesday, October 17, 2007

mmmmm, sugar...

Er...I have a confession to make. I broke my 40-day junk food fast right around day 23, and I've been eating "whatever" for the last week or so. Which kind of sucks because if I'd kept at it, I'd be at day 30 now. Whatever.

Good news is, I've realized that I feel and look much better when I'm not eating junk food all the time. (Revelation!! And there was a light shining from the heavens with much angels rejoicing...) Hey I never said I was bright. ;) So I'm making a deal with my family: I am not buying junk food from the grocery store anymore. No cookies for school snack. No fruit roll-ups. No juice. No after-dinner ice cream. And in exchange, I will take the family out once a week for a treat of some sort.

I don't really want to have to do this. I'd much rather be able to have the junk in the house for a sometime-treat. But when it's here, it's the easiest thing to grab. And it's being grabbed way too often, and not just by me.

I expect something of a rebellion. My dear, sweet hubby grew up on crap and I know he's not going to take this well. Especially about the juice. "What's wrong with juice?" he says. Nothing--unless the kids are drinking it all the time when they should be drinking water.

This is a really hard decision for me. The way I grew up was much like hubby. We always had cookies and ice cream and juice in the house. And additional treats were how we socialized--ice cream cones with dad, coffee and donuts at the mall with mom, cake for special occasions. Even now when my sister, brother, and I get together, it's always over food. Food = love in my experience, so saying "no" to having this stuff around feels like I'm denying my family something they enjoy. But really, loving them means keeping them healthy and teaching them healthy habits. I wish we could just keep treats in the house as part of our normal eating habits, but since we can't...I'm thinking this is the way to go.

The other thing that helped me with this decision is that I can't afford all the healthy food--fruit, salad, fresh chicken, all that good stuff--on top of the junk. Either I buy all good food, or I buy junk and we end up eating Chef Boyardee for dinner. Something's gotta give. We're straining our budget to the limit with the groceries lately, and I need a way out.

That's the reasoning I'm feeding my budget-minded hubby the next time he grumps about no Coke in the fridge, anyway...


In other news...I got my new dance sneakers in the mail today!!! I got them off ebay and only paid for them two days ago, and I wasn't expecting them for another week. But now I'll have them for class tomorrow! YAY! ;)

Here they are, in the picture I stole from the ebay guy just to show you:

They are Nike Shox O-Drive dance sneakers. I wanted white but now that they're here I love them. They're a little lighter than they look in the picture--I thought they were black and hot pink but really there more like charcoal and medium pink. Still cute though. And comfy!

Monday, October 15, 2007

sorry, can't talk now...

...I'm practicing the new zumba choreography I just got in the mail. But! You have to click here and check out the coverage of Zumba on the Today show!!! with Beto, Tanya, and Gina--who all look fantastic by the way. And I want those boots. ;)

Just follow the link and scroll through the featured videos until you come to the Zumba one. Enjoy! But oh, you might want to stay away from the Zumba website today. Apparently everyone went straight from the Today show to their computers, and the website is slow as all getout. But, yay!!

Friday, October 05, 2007

"So...what IS Zumba, exactly?"

I get asked this question a lot.

Here's the boxed-up answer: "ZUMBA is a fusion of Latin and International music - dance themes that create a dynamic, exciting, effective fitness system!" But that doesn't really begin to explain it.

Zumba is...a PARTY! It's rockin music, thumpin rhythms, dancing, jumping, sweating, and totally forgetting you're getting exercise. Doing Zumba, you'll reshape your whole body without even realizing it!

I'm not just talking the talk here--I'm walking the walk, people. A year ago I was a total couch potato. At 5-foot-2 and 185 pounds, I was obese. And how that word scared me! I was tired all the time, depressed, and never had energy to play with my kids or get together with friends, or do anything else that wasn't sitting on the couch in front of the TV eating junk food. I would go to the gym for a couple of weeks here and there but it never stuck.

Then in the fall of 2006 my YMCA introduced a Zumba class once a week. My sister had raved about Zumba to me in the past, and I was friendly with the instructor teaching it, so I decided to go.

The morning of the class I was so nervous. I was scared of how I would look shakin my boo-tay in front of what I figured would be a class of mostly thin, fit, pretty girls. But my girls were taking gymnastics for the first time that week, and the way they just jumped into it, without worrying about if they fell or didn't know something, and how they just had fun, gave me the courage to go anyway, no matter what other people might think.

From the first class, I was hooked. I wasn't the only one! Our classes every week were so big, we had to move them to the gymnasium, and eventually the Y added a bunch more classes. I went to every class I could. I bought the DVDs so I could practice at home. I played the music in the car--and I've been a cardancer ever since! I just couldn't get enough.

I quickly took off 10 pounds, going from a size 18 to a 16. The next five pounds have been more stubborn, coming off only recently when I started avoiding the junk food I love so much. But even while the scale wouldn't budge, my size was still dwindling, and in about 10 months I got down to a size 14. That's before I made any lasting change to my diet!

At some point the thought of teaching Zumba myself occurred to me, but I was too hung up on my size. I thought, "No one will want to take classes from a fat girl. Heck, no one would hire a fat girl to teach, anyway." And when the classes moved from the gym back into the studio and I got to watch myself Zumba in front of the mirrors? Oh heck no. "That's what I look like?!"

Over time other Zumba students started telling me I was really good at it, and some people asked me if I taught it, or if I'd been taking dancing. The seed of maybe teaching grew. Finally I heard about a certification workshop in my area and said, "To heck with it. I'll just take the certification and maybe no one will hire me until I lose weight but at least I'll be certified already." So I went. And came home. And it got out at my Y that I went. Suddenly the fitness director wanted me to apply for a job!

So now here I am, Zumba instructor, when a year later the very thought would have made me laugh so hard I'd snort ice cream out of my nose and onto the couch cushions. And the TV remote!

I always say that if Zumba could get me off the couch, you have got to try it. Just give it three classes--enough time that you can get used to the idea of party-as-workout, and get the moves down a little.

You will not regret it!

interesting article

I got this from the Gold's Gym website:

Exercising in Segments Helps Burn Fat

Study finds benefit in 20-minute rest between half-hour workouts


Sitting for 20 minutes between 30-minute workout sessions burns fat faster than exercising without a break, Japanese researchers are reporting.

The researchers tested the blood of seven men -- average age 25 -- during and after exercise on a stationary cycle. The men participated in three different activities: one hour of exercise and one hour of rest afterward; 30 minutes of exercise followed by a 20-minute rest and then a second 30-minute workout followed by an hour of rest; and an hour of rest without exercise. The men sat in a chair during the rest period.

The workout that was broken into two half-hour segments resulted in more fat breakdown than the other two activities, the researchers report in the June issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology. The second half-hour workout also showed a greater boost of epinephrine and a rapid decrease in insulin as a result of lower plasma glucose. The researchers theorized that these chemical events contribute to the fat breakdown.

The researchers noted that the American College of Sports Medicine recommends moderate exercise for 45 to 60 minutes to burn fat. However, the researchers argue that their results show the benefit of a rest period during the workout.

"Many people believe prolonged exercise will be optimal in order to reduce body fat, but our study has shown that repetitions of shorter exercise may cause enhancements of fat mobilization and utilization during and after the exercise. These findings will be informative about the design of [future] exercise regimens," lead researcher Kazushige Goto, of the University of Tokyo, said in a prepared statement. "Most people are reluctant to perform a single bout of prolonged exercise. The repeated exercise with shorter bouts of exercise will be a great help [in keeping up with fitness]."

Article written by Madeline Vann
Originally published at Healthday News

More information
To learn more about exercise, visit the American College of Sports Medicine.

SOURCE: American Physiological Society, news release, July 18, 2007

Interesting, right? Gee, maybe I have to change my class to an 80-minute class so we can have a rest in between. :)

drink more water!

Ugh...I have a Zumba hangover today.

You'd think by my fifth class (fifth? I think so...) I'd remember to drink water all day.


So now I have that stiff-neck, vise-grip-around-the-temples hangover headache.

But hey! Class was superfun! :)

And I have great news, thanks to my pal and fellow zumba instructor Lee--she pointed out that, according to our messageboard, my favoritest Zumbadora, Tanya B. (she of the video I posted a while back) choreographed our next ZIN (Zumba Instructors Network) DVD.

So that means it's totally gonna rock! I'm so excited! But yet, still so hungover! So, I'm excited on the inside, while remaining as still as possible on the outside.


What was I saying? Yeah, so class was fun. A really good workout. You know, all you people out there looking for a workout? Especially you--you who do not like to work out but know you should? I dare you to try Zumba. Go to the Zumba website and use the Geolocator to find an insructor near you. And if there aren't any, click on "products" (or on ebay) and order the DVDs.

Oh! That reminds me! There is going to be a new DVD set soon! With new infomercials!! Now, I am not a huge infomercial fan, but I AM a huge Zumba fan, so I'll make an exception and watch the new infomercials when they come out. I hope they are on at decent times, and not just at 3am when you're supposed to be sleeping but you can't so you get up and turn on the tube and vege in front of it and then buy whatever is on there because your sleep-deprived brain can't perform higher decision-making skills so you just grab the credit card and the phone and when they say "would you also like to order such-and-such for three payments of $99.99?" you say "Sure!"


I'm going to bed.

PS...It is now junk food fast day seventeen. Only 23 days to go. I'm praying it won't even matter by then.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

junk-food fast: day frikkin 12 or something

It's almost 1:30 am, and I'm still wide awake.

Diet Rockstar. You drink that stuff, you can go 3, maybe 4 days straight. Freakin crazy.

Anyway...I am getting very frustrated.

We have a very strict budget here in the If Not Now household. We're paying off debt, saving for a house, all that good stuff, so it's all for a good cause. But it makes grocery shopping a royal PIA. Seriously! You try buying for a husband who refuses to eat any kind of health food, three kids who eat like kids and need school snacks, juice boxes, and the occasional treat, and yourself, especially when you're trying to lose weight, and you do it on a budget, and I swear your sanity will start to ebb.

I don't really know what else to say about that. (Hey, gimme a break, it's way past bedtime here.) How do you save on groceries? And don't give me the grocery game crap--I have no time or patience for any of that. You know what I mean--those people who clip coupons and pour over the sales fliers so they can match the coupons to the sales, then buy up the entire stock so the next, normal, person to shop can't get a single one. I always love hearing about the people who walk out of the grocery store with a cartful of stuff for 20 bucks but that would never be me, right?!

I mean, I guess on one hand, I'm not eating as much so I don't really spend money on my food. But I have to buy the kids' school snacks in pre-portioned bags--no ziploc baggies here!--so the teachers can make sure nobody brings contraband peanut-contaminated food, and that's expensive! And hubby needs lunchmeat but I would like him to stick around for a few years so I try to buy the healthier (more expensive!!) stuff as opposed to, say, pimento loaf. And snacks. And treats. And meat for dinner, because you know, it's not dinner if there isn't some kind of meat. And holy crap three kids eat a lot of dinner! Oh and apparently because I want to do so much crazy Zumbando and not go into starvation mode (another possible reason I've been so worn out lately) I should be taking some kind of protein shakes twice a day on top of my meals and if you want the stuff that isn't loaded with sugar you're going to payyyyy for it. I practically have to buy one set of groceries for hubby and kids, and one for me because while I think this stuff is healthy and yummy and wholesome, my family just thinks it's inedible to an extent practically bordering on unAmerican.

Some weeks we need a lot of "other" stuff that still has to come out of that grocery money, like laundry detergent and deodorant and shampoo and whatnot. So those weeks we have less fruit, less chicken, less fresh veggies, and more spaghetti, mac n cheese, chicken nuggets, and hamburgers. Tell me how I'm supposed to raise a healthy family like this?!

OK whatever, I'm done talking about that.

I measured myself the other day and nearly choked when I saw what it said. In a good way. My hips are now down to what they were four years ago--for the first time. I'm still not fitting into some of my old clothes from back then, so I guess I'm carrying the weight a little differently (the joy of having kids and getting older, yay!) but still, I couldn't believe it. So exciting! And the other day at work a girl seemed to be jealous of me for her husband! That was really weird.

We should get a new Zumba set--music CD and choreography DVD--soon, woohoo!! I can't wait, although the thought of trading out some of my stuff from the last one just doesn't compute. I really need to get some more classes just so I can play all my favorite music. Every song that comes on, I say, "You'll love this one, it's fun!!" Haha, I'm such a dork!

My brain is staring to fuzz out so I'm headed back to bed. More Zumba tomorrow after bible study, and on Wednesday I'm thinking of skipping the mothers' group that I do the newsletter for just so I can try out another instructor's class. Did I mention her before?? I might have--she was at the Master Class I went to at a nearby Y and she had a really high-intensity, nonstop, fun routine so I wanna go. Plus I ran into a fellow Zumbadora in the grocery store last week and she said the class rocks. Plus my mothers' group is spending that meeting talking about how to cook once for the whole month and freeze it all--boring!! Although maybe it will give me some insight into the grocery dilemma.

Gee, the things I never thought I'd be concerned about before I had kids and became all domesticated and stuff. Gag. ;)