This blog officially publishes at Singing for a Smaller Me at Wordpress, and is backed up here. In order to comment please follow the link listed above. Thanks!!! Zan.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It took me a long time to realize that going to the gym wasn't really my forte (at least, not yet). If I could get back all the cash I wasted on gym memberships I didn't/wouldn't use, I'd have a considerable wad of cash in my pocket. And I'm not much of a "let's get outside and go for walks" kind of girl (especially with the biting wind outside). That leaves me with essentially one option: working out at home. Until we get rid of a whole lot of stuff, I will not be acquiring either (a) an elliptical machine or (b) a treadmill. Okay, that leaves one "at-home" option: workout DVDs.

This is my current workout DVD collection (sans the two I picked up a couple of nights back and one or two that are elsewhere):

At this moment, I own approximately 20 workout DVDs, and can't keep myself from wanting more as I mentioned in my last post (and yes, you will notice I alphabetized them. Ah, the wonders of OCD).

My collection started off innocently enough - one DVD from Weight Watchers that had three workouts, "Weight Watchers: Get in Shape". For a long time, that's all there was, just one sad, lonely disc among the many DVDs we own.

Over the past two or so years, I added a couple more videos to mix it up (under the delusion that I would just start working out, but that's another story) - two hula based videos and one Bollywood dance style video; still, it stayed fairly even around five discs. I'll admit I had one thing correct: variety is key to keeping at it, but I never let myself get into the routine.

Since beginning down this weight loss path again, however, that has changed. I don't find it unusual now to wake up at 5:30 in the morning, toss on my workout clothes, grab water, coffee, and head out to the family room to pop on a DVD. It didn't take me long to realize, though, I would quickly get bored with that first DVD, and upon reviewing the others knew I needed some more cardio based workouts (and, call me crazy, but I love interval training), so I picked up another one at the next Weight Watchers meeting. From there, I picked up a couple online, bought a few at the store, received a couple as gifts, and before you know it I'm working on a shelf full of videos.

Side note: Collage Video hasn't helped much either. Check them out, they have the most comprehensive collection of workout DVDs I've seen for sale, and great reviews! I don't think about buying a new DVD without first consulting their site.

It's been a while since I popped on that first DVD (the WW one) at 5:30 in the morning, and many sweat-dripping workout sessions. This morning I figured I'd go back to it. A few minutes into the warm-up on the moderate intensity workout and I realized that it wasn't as difficult as I remembered. If memory serves me the last time I did that particular workout I sweated like a pig, but as the workout progressed I felt pretty comfortable. Go figure. For giggles, I switched over to the last two circuits of the high intensity workout (which I tried once before and it kicked my butt) before I cooled down. Yeah, it was more difficult, but I was keeping up, and finally sweating! Guess the next time I use this one, I'll do both the moderate intensity and the high intensity workout.

Believe it or not, but I'm actually getting more fit! I was incredulous when I read that workouts that seemed hard at first would get easier, but there's my proof. If I can't see it, I can feel it, and that is what really matters.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

In case you haven't tried them, these are an absolute must have for chocolate lovers out there:

They're called Fling, and I found them at Target based on the recommendation from a lady at my Weight Watchers meeting. These particular ones are Fling Dark Chocolate.

Now, the nitty gritty:

One bar is 80 calories, 5 grams of fat and 1 gram of fiber, or 2 Points (ans two bars are 3.5 Points!!)

There's ten bars (or fingers as they call 'em), and as a former Twix lover, these are like Twix all grown up.

On another note, I started my holiday baking last night. Made three batches of chocolate chip cookies, and as a thank you to my food pushing coworkers brought one batch to work. Tonight is ginger snap cookies.

And as a note to myself and the world, I'm developing a slight addiction for workout DVDs. I already own twenty or so, yet every time I'm at Target I can't help but look at new ones.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Surprise, Surprise

Would it surprise you if I said we had a holiday party at work? What's that you say? No? No, it wouldn't? Well, in that case, without further adieu, and in the grand tradition of "my coworkers are evil food pushers", I give you the following:

Apple Crisps:

Oh, yes, I said crisps. As in more than one apple crisp.

The cupcake platter:
Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Yeah, the cookie pusher made these. She took a cake decorating class, hence the pretty frosting (yeah, and she brings in cakes and cupcakes *all* the time). Oooo, look: little mini cupcakes. Well, I guess I can have just one.

The Cookie Platters:
Joy. Chocolate covered macaroons. Evil cookie pusher lady again. Okay, I can pass on this one.
Oh, wait: peanut butter cookies with eeee-vil peanut butter cups in them.
Great. Just what I need. A peanut butter cookie with chocolate in it. Those other ones are pecan sandies and something called "chocolate indulgence". Joy. Whatev. Peeeanut Butterrrrrrr!!!

Okay, I didn't do too bad actually. One eeeee-vil peanut butter and peanut butter cup cookie and one mini pumpkin muffin. Total point value: approx. 6 or 7.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

When I began this journey I was insistent I could go it alone. Great. So I lost ten pounds, then I put five pounds on, and lost them again, and put them on again, and . . . you get the picture. I was online all the time, but couldn't find that place in myself which would let me stick to it if someone else wasn't weighing me in. Nine weeks ago, I gave up the ghost and went back to Weight Watchers. I've likely mentioned it in passing, but have never really talked much about it.

Weight Watchers. I've followed the Weight Watchers programs multiple times with varying degrees of success. When I had successes I loved it, and when I had failures I hated it. For a long time I blamed Weight Watchers - after all I was following their program, wasn't I? Right? Um, no, actually, I wasn't.

The main guideline of almost every weight loss program is food tracking. If you don't do it, you don't know how much you eat, and if you don't know how much you're eating, you won't lose the weight. I've never been the type of person that can just monitor how much I'm eating by how I feel. Nope. No Way.

Back to Weight Watchers. I love the Points system, and I love that they combined it with the Core program to come up with their Turnaround/Momentum programs. My biggest weight loss successes were with WW Points. My main issue has always been food tracking. Keeping paper logs never worked for me and you need to carry your food tracker with you all the time.

So what's the big difference this time you might ask? This time, the one thing that has made a world of difference is the Weight Watchers iPhone app. I mean, come on, I carry my phone with me all the time. Now I can open an application, search for food via their online database, and log it all in one place. No books? No paper tracker? Obviously, I'm a fan, and tracking has never been easier. Yay!

But, finally, to the main point of this entry - my good news!!!!

I reached my 5% goal at last night's meeting which means going over 14.5 lbs lost. To be exact: it was a total of 16.8 lbs lost. Woot! (If you add in the five pounds I lost before starting WW, I'm actually over 20 lbs down, but I'm sticking with my WW Weight Tracker). So where does this put me? Comfortably back into the 270s and heading for the 260s.

Feeling pretty good about myself this morning, I decided I should try on the last pair of jeans I bought before having to buy the next size up. Surprise! They fit. Not too tight, not too short, and comfortable. It's been nearly eight months since I last fit into them without looking like a sausage, and they're relatively new (I maybe wore them six times).

Okay, I'm excited, really, really, really, really excited. What is it they say about success? That it breeds more success? And I'm off to a running start for the new week.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Looking back at the entries I've written in the past I realized something was missing. Obviously, the title of my blog is "Singing for a Smaller Me", but I've never really addressed my passion for music.

I haven't talked much about singing here because I made a conscious decision to focus my attention on these weight loss efforts. Setting up good habits now will help me more with my singing/acting career in the long run than allowing bad habits to creep in by spreading my focus too thin.

I come from a reasonably musical background: my dad plays and teachs piano, my great grandfather was in the New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus, and my great grandmother - so I've been told - had an amazing coloratura soprano voice.

Since I can remember my dad was at the piano playing classical music, improvising jazz solos, and regularly teaching piano lessons. I don't remember a time in my life when there wasn't music.

At eight years old I expressed an interest in playing the piano and it was my good fortune we had a built in teacher. On and off I played for a few years, learning the basics, but never really applying myself - piano practice was not my forte. By the time I was twelve the piano lessons had stopped, but I developed a deep and abiding love of music, and regularly twiddled around a bit on the piano.

Over the years, performing in one way or another was a constant. For a long time it was dance lessons, then it was piano, however, around twelve or thirteen years old I found my real passion: singing. Musical theatre, classical, jazz, you name it. Oh, and acting too.

It all fit together pretty well: My dad and I would sit at the piano for hours as I sang and played. And as it turns out I had a pretty natural talent for it, and a naturally pleasant sounding singing voice.

My vocal epiphany also came at the same time I slowly began putting on weight. It wasn't much of an issue in middle school or high school - they still cast me in just about every part for which I auditioned. But as I got older and continued to put on weight, I was regularly getting passed up by less talented but better looking girls. Still, I continued to perform and went to college to study opera.

My response to those who told me to lose weight was that it didn't matter in opera. Yeah, right. In this day and age, unless you have a phenomenal talent or are one of the lucky ones that has a very rare vocal type, it matters. Modern audiences don't want to see a 250 lb woman playing the soprano who's dying of consumption. They want a Salome that can do the Dance of the Seven Veils, and petite geisha girls as Madame Butterfly.

But I digress . . .

It wasn't until after college when I was auditioning for professional companies that it finally hit me. I wasn't being passed up for parts because I wasn't good enough (although there are plenty out there just as good or better than me), my weight was working against me. Talent only takes you so far, and as a soprano struggling to make a name for herself, I need to stand out in every possible way.

Now, I know that losing weight won't magically make directors cast me in every show. Still, it is one reason out of many that I keep chugging along.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Normally, I avoid writing about holidays/birthdays/functions, etc. It usually comes out a boring step by step breakdown of each day, and no one wants to read that. And then within several weeks, I've forgotten all about it, and any planned blog post is never forthcoming. This year, I let it sit for a couple of weeks so I could move past the boring details and only hit the highlights.

First, however, ponder this: Thanksgiving and my birthday almost always fall within a week of each other. I can't tell you how many Thanksgiving birthday parties I've celebrated. Let's say that it got to the point where I decided I didn't like turkey just for the principle of the matter. Yep, you heard me right - I don't like turkey.

Anyhow . . .

  1. My parents came into town for Thanksgiving at my in-laws and stayed with us from Wednesday evening to Sunday morning. This is a tiny victory. I proved to myself I could do it, even if my mom and I sniped at each other a bit and got into a fight Saturday morning (don't get me wrong, I love my mom dearly, her and I just know how to push each other's buttons). We managed to move on and still have a good time the rest of the day. We also celebrated my birthday on Thanksgiving (couldn't be helped) and she gave me some great workout DVDs: The Firm Cardio Overdrive, The Firm Hi-Def Sculpt, Jillian Michaels' Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism, and the Biggest Loser Workout. Go Mom!

  2. The Monday after Thanksgiving was my thirtieth birthday. The world didn't come to an end! Yay! My body didn't fall apart! Yay! On the other hand, I had to go to work. Boo! But they threw me a great birthday potluck (soup and salad bar!), sang happy birthday, and had cake. I had a very small slice of plain cheesecake and enjoyed myself thoroughly.

  3. Wednesday night, after the Thanksgiving and Birthday celebrations, was my Weight Watchers meeting. Imagine my surprise when the scale showed a loss of 2.4 lbs! Woot! What a great birthday surprise.

  4. For my big birthday present, I took Friday off work and the hubby, our friend Cassie, and I flew down to Southern California Thursday night for a trip to Disneyland. Disneyland, if I haven't mentioned it, is one of my favorite places in the world. If you haven't seen Disneyland and/or Disney World during the holidays, make a point of getting there. It's just too magical. Wasn't too thrilled with the whole flying part (we usually drive and I really dislike flying), but what a fab time we had! Foodwise, I couldn't keep track, but I tried to make better choices and stayed away from the Monte Cristo sandwiches (Dave's favorite - a little too fried for me), the ice cream (god, I miss those gigantic, chocolate covered ice cream cones), and the popcorn (which calls my name every time I pass the stand). I, however, could *not* pass up the chimichangas or the holiday mocha. The end of the weekend came much too fast for me.

It was back to work Monday, but not back to my regular eating habits. Neither one of us were ready to be off of vacation, so cooking was off the menu. Cue up the pizza delivery! Tuesday, though, it was back to tracking and staying on plan.

I wasn't too surprised on Wednesday when I showed a gain of a pound. Such is life.

Still, I'm proud of myself. I had a great time, indulged a little, not a lot, and made my way back on plan. I really feel like this lifestyle change is starting to sink in.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Portrait of a Girl

I am flawed. This is something I have grown to accept. I will never be perfect no matter how hard I try. There will be days I fall off the wagon, days I don't want to exercise, and days that I don't want to and won't log every bite of food I eat.

I get depressed. There are times when I get depressed and can't see my way clear to eat anything, and times when I get depressed and want to eat everything in sight.

I get angry. Angry at myself, angry at the world, angry at people who know how to eat. I get angry that I can't always eat what I want to eat when I want go eat it, and angry that I have to wake up at the buttcrack of dawn to sweat my ass off. But mostly, I'm angry at myself for letting my weight get this bad.

I am jealous. Jealous of people who know how to eat, and people who have taken the weight off and kept it off.

I am afraid. Afraid that when I lose the weight I'll somehow screw it up, and will wind up even worse than I am now.

I'm tired. Tired of people telling me how I should lose my weight, and giving me their "good" advice.

I'm introspective. When all else fails, I disappear into myself to figure out what's wrong. Today is an introspective day. I'm moody and have already cried once today for no good reason. Guess it's time to tune out for a couple of hours and figure out what's wrong.


Small goals are the key to success or so I've been told. To kick off my weight loss journey I wanted to give myself a visual tool to see how my progress is going. For your viewing pleasure, the ticker for my first goal of losing 20 pounds: