A sometimes serious, sometimes tongue-in-cheek look at work, life, dieting, losing weight, getting in shape, getting bent out of shape and getting over it with a dose of humor.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

2nd Week Results

I was sick most of this week. Chills, fever, nausea. Yay! Not sure if it was the workouts or the diet or the new medicine. Looking back, I didn't do too bad despite it. A few missed shakes and berries but didn't go off the plan and I did get my exercise in.

This week's workout

  • Sun - 40 min cardio (bike, treadmill & elliptical circuit)

  • Mon - 40 min cardio (bike)

  • Tue - 40 min cardio (bike) + weight machines (lower body + chest)

  • Wed - rest/support group

  • Thu - 40 min cardio (bike) + core + new stretches

  • Fri - rest

  • Sat - 40 min cardio (bike, elliptical) + 3 weight machines (upper body)

At the dietician's

(-2.6 lbs.)

At the dietician's this week I was rewarded, clearly, for my perseverance although I am a little confused as to how I lost more weight this week than last since my calories were higher this week. Actually, the scale showed a loss of 3.6 lbs but I suspect at least a part of that had to do something with my being sick so I am only counting 2.6 lbs. It's still more than I expected to lose and I am puzzled but, as the saying goes, why look a gift horse in the mouth. My workouts were more intense. Maybe that helped. Last week I could only lift 22 lbs on the bicep curls. This week I was lifting 28. Me Tarzan! Well, ok, a wimpy one. But hey, it's progress.

Next Week

Same as week 2 + 1-2 servings of yogurt (Cascade Fresh, nonfat) or skim, 1% or soy milk as shake substitute. I also get to go to 2 tablets of Metformin a day from the 1 for week 1. Lucky me.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Shaking The Blues

Ok, I lied. It's not slightly disappointing, it's a lot disappointing. Most people lose 4 .. 8 .. 10 lbs on their first week. I lost 1.2. Work didn't help either. Every life has its ups and downs but overall the last few years my life has been a little more consistently down than up. And today reminded me that I am not quite out of it yet. I feel depressed - about the slow weightloss, work, life in general. It sucks to feel this way. Rationally, I know I shouldn't feel this way. I am more than a number on a scale. I am the sum of my accomplishments and if I put all my achievements together I would be one of life's success story. And yet, I can't help the way I feel. There is no place for logic when it comes to emotions. And it sucks.

Some people are good at being miserable. It fits them like a glove, shrouds them in an aura of mystery and glamour. I would like to make a study of them one day to understand what's their secret. Me? Not so much. When I am sad I get even more sad that I am sad. Which is kind of sad when you think about it, no pun intended.

To take my mind off things I decided to drive up to Issaquah to check on my new condo. That was a mood booster! Drove 16 miles to see that practically nothing has happened since my last trip a month ago. Not even the first floor is complete. I shudder to think when I will get final possession at this rate. It did kind of help focus my energy though. I am always looking forward to the future or backward at the past. Things I have done, things I will do. And in so doing I often overlook the present. What about right now? What could I be doing, should I be doing? Right this moment.

Some good things did happen today. I scheduled my initial appointment for a sleep evaluation. I have a pretty bad case of insomnia among other things. My doctor has been bugging me to go for the sleep clinic for a while but I really didn't want to add another official diagnosis to my current list of ailments. But it's not like it's going to go away if I ignore it, is it? Finally made the call today. I also called up Pro Club and set up a Pilates Reformer private session (Oct 2nd, 6 pm). It's a prereq for the group classes I have been wanting to take.

As Andy said in Shawshank Redemption, "It's time to get busy living, or get busy dying." Which do you think I chose?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

1st Week Results

It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Turns out I have more self control than I realize. There were the usual attractions - chocolate, cheesecake and coworkers with brownies, but barring one moment next to the ice cream aisle during mid-week grocery shopping I didn't even feel tempted. I had already started cutting out soda, caffein and desserts two weeks before I officially started on the program which may have helped. Exercise was the easy part. Not necessarily physically easy but fun. After I workout I am already looking forward to the next session.

This week's workout

  • Mon - 30 min cardio (bike)
  • Tue - 47 min cardio (1st session with personal trainer; various cardio machines)
  • Wed - rest
  • Thu - 50 min cardio (bike) + 5 weight machines (lower body + chest)
  • Fri - 40 min cardio (more bike + elliptical)
  • Sat - 40 min cardio (bike) + 3 weight machines (upper body)

At the dietician's

(-1.2 lbs.)

A slightly disappointing start to weightloss. At the dietician's yesterday I found that I had only lost 1.2 lbs. I also learned on Monday that I have officially crossed the threshold between pre-diabetes and diabetes. So, good week for effort but not so good for results. Still. I had hoped to do at least 30 minutes of cardio 5 times this week + the weight machines and I exceeded my goal so I am pretty thrilled about that.

Next Week

More shakes & berries, lean protein + 2 servings of non-starchy veggies added to each main meal (lunch & dinner) & some shake substitutes. Both my doctor and the program dietician asked me to get started on the Metformin (diabetes & PCOS medication) so I will be adding that as well. I am hoping by the end of the program I won't need it anymore.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Yesterday was my first workout with my 20/20 personal trainer. We didn't do anything very strenuous. It was mostly lots of questions to gauge my habits, health and fitness. I have some previous running injuries and she asked me a lot of questions about them. Then she put me on a bunch of cardio machines - elliptical, treadmill, bike - and gave me a general tour of the fitness center and its more glamorous twin, the cardio theater.

The cardio theater has dim lighting, fast music and big screens of something - probably TV channels but I was so taken with the dim lighting and the general movie theater ambiance that I didn't notice. I think it might become my destination of choice on days I am working out on my own. For our first session together though we didn't spend much time in there. A quick tour and 5 minutes on the bike later we headed back up to the fitness center where she put me on an exercise bike to watch a 20/20 intro video. By the time I was done I had still clocked a total of 47 minutes of cardio and it had been fun.

What happened next was a bit of a comedy of errors. This was my first real visit to the gym and I went up to the concierge desk in the fitness center to ask how to work the women's room lockers. The guy there thought I was asking for directions and was quite ready to accompany me there (or so it seemed) but when I repeated my question suddenly looked completely freaked. Am I that scary? Maybe he had had a bad experience with a locker in the past. Anyway, I finally just marched into the locker room figuring I will work something out. Thankfully, a woman who had overheard me came to my rescue.

On the drive home I started thinking about one of the conversations I had with the trainer. She had asked me why I was doing this and I had replied that I wanted to get back to an active lifestyle. The more I thought about it the more I realized how true that was. Generally, when I try to lose weight that's all I focus on but because of my PCOS and insulin resistance it's hard for me to lose weight and when that's all I focus on I get discouraged easily. But somewhat to my surprise what I miss most, what I miss even more than fitting into my skinny jeans, is being active. That's a good thing to focus on for a change.

So, in honor of this newfound sense of enlightenment and before I forget it, here are my top 10 reasons for doing this program:
  1. Run a 5k
  2. Swim
  3. Play tennis
  4. Improve strength
  5. Improve flexibility
  6. Take the stairs to my office
  7. Take skiing lessons
  8. Lower my resting heart rate
  9. Go hiking/glacier trekking
  10. Try a new sport

I can't wait!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I am a numbers girl. I have always loved math. Well, except for 6th grade when I had to take algebra and almost flunked the first test. But I got the highest score in the next one and the one after that and Math and I have been best friends ever since. Besides, numbers are impersonal and a good way to keep track of one's progress without getting weighed down by emotions. So, here are the starting numbers from my Polar fitness test:

Start Weight: 189.4 lbs
Lean Body Mass: 108 lbs
BMI: 33.7
Body Fat: 43.6%
Ideal Weight: 130 - 140 lbs
Goal Weight: 160, then 140 (22.8% body fat)
Chronological Age: Early-thirties
Biological Age: 50 (No wonder I feel so tired)
Attainable Age: 18
Bicep Max Strength: 22 lbs
Flexibility: 5.2 inches
Lung Function: Normal

Some more numbers:

Program length: 15 weeks
Start date: 9/15/2006
Meet with dietician: 1x week
Workout with personal trainer: 3x week
Meet with support group: 1x every week
Calories: 1200 - 1400 initially, to be increased later

Program Outline

The 20/20 Lifestyles program is a triple whammy of diet, exercise and counseling/support. The program starts with a blood test followed by a complete Polar fitness evaluation which spits out such fascinating data as your biological age and max bicep strength etc. followed by a doctor's appointment. After the doctor's appointment you are pretty much good to go.

It can be expensive if you have to do this on your own but in my case it's an employer-sponsored benefit if you qualify - which I do - so it's not that bad, but at the same time still bad enough that you can't just blow this off and not feel the pinch. Which is a good thing if you ask me because it's a significant commitment.

What's also a significant commitment is the time. You have to commit to working out several times a week either on your own or with your 20/20 personal trainer, meet with your dietician and support group on a weekly basis and come in for fitness evaluations and meetings with your program doctor every 5 weeks. And that's in addition to all the time you will undoubtedly be spending in the kitchen, at least for the first few weeks.

The diet portion of the program starts out by taking away all your food. The first week all you get is shakes & berries and a few servings of very lean protein. Over the course of the next 9-14 weeks different food groups are slowly added back to gauge your metabolic response to them. This is done so as to help the program clients understand how their bodies react to different foods so they can customize their own diet in the real world after the program ends. I am not crazy about the shakes & berries but that sounds pretty cool.

The exercise portion focuses on cross-training major muscle groups with a personal trainer and cardio on your own two other days and the support group I guess works the same as WW or any other support group where you get to meet with other women going through the same thing as you.

And finally, every 5 weeks you take the fitness test or some form of it again to measure your progress in the program until the program ends. That's when you start the real program.

The one that runs the rest of your life.

Getting Started

After some time debating I have decided to start my own blog. My motivation is primarily to keep track of my progress through the 20/20 Lifestyle program as I go through it. For those who do not know it is a structured program for people with a combination of certain health and weight issues to help us over whatever nutrition, fitness and health challenges that ail us. In my case it's a number of things that I won't go into now except to say that I need to make some changes and after years of trying half-heartedly I decided this was the year to finally do them. For one thing, I am getting close to 35 and it's a pretty big milestone. For another, after waiting for a long time for inspiration to strike, for a moment to come that would change my life I realized there was no better moment to do something than right now.

But why a blog? After I decided to join the 20/20 program but before I officially signed up I went online to research other people's weightloss stories. A few blogs in general particularly stood out. I enjoyed reading their stories and learning about their progress. It seemed like a great way to stay accountable and keep myself motivated at the same time. Plus, by blogging and making my results public I am doing this as much for myself as for others like me who may someday need inspiration and courage just like I did. If I can make positive changes in my own life and influence others to do the same, what can be better?

As for the name of my blog, I read somewhere that positive visualization was a great tool in making lasting lifestyle changes. So, I asked myself, who did I want to be at the end of this? What was my future persona? And I always came back to the same words: polished, professional, pulled together and perfectly manicured.

The phrase "perfectly manicured" has a special significance for me. I wasn't always overweight. In fact, I have been thin and I have been fit. But I have never had a manicure. I am a chronic nail biter and have been since early childhood. There were times when I would show exemplary self-restraint and manage to get my nails to grow to a certain length only to mow through them like a lawnmower through the summer grass. A perfect manicure embodies for me something unattainable, something just beyond my reach. As I push myself to work harder towards my goals and break down personal barriers and walls over the next 12 months I couldn't think of a better symbolism to keep reminding myself why I am doing this.

Except, perfectly manicured seemed a bit silly as a title. What would I do if I never got a perfect manicure? Would I stop living? Will the world come to a standstill? Will all my other good work be undone? No. It is a goal and it will stay a goal and someday I will claim that victory but until then I will keep on living and having fun, chipped manicures and all. And thus, (Im)perfectly manicured was born.

Someday I hope to drop the first two letters altogether and just be the ultimate me: polished, professional and perfectly manicured.

Welcome to my blog!