November 26, 2010-present weight loss

2012 weight loss

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Happy Birthday To ME!!!

Happy Birthday Tweety Bird

Today is my birthday.  I am now 33 years old.  I woke up to the cutest birthday card and a new Salvatore Ferragamo scarf.  I've become a bit of a scarf gal, and Kenny is happy to purchase these wonderful pieces of silk for me!

Kenny wrote that he knew Muldoon, mom's dog, would want to
say Happy Birthday, so he picked this card:)

I completed my normal Tuesday gym routine and got LOADS of Happy Birthdays from my gym ladies.  I love that I have become part of such a great community!  Upon returning to the flat, I was greeted by these fabulous flowers-- courtesy of my mother:)

Tonight we are celebrating my triple threes over a tasting menu at a Michelin-starred restaurant in town.  My real birthday celebration was in Prague, but I am never one to say NO to an evening out with Kenny.  I will post about Prague separately in the next few days. 

I thought a nice way to end my birthday post would be to show some pictures of how I looked in past birthdays.  Kenny started a tradition of bringing me away for my birthday when we moved to London, so here we go...

Dubai 2010- 31st birthday

Sevilla 2011- 32nd birthday

Prague 2012- 33rd birthday

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Quick Update

Ahh, I have been absent for too long.  Sorry Blogland.  My schedule has just been hectic, and I took a blogging break.  I also don't have much to report.  I am off to Prague in 40 minutes and am (almost) packed, so here is a little update from me. 

Last weekend I was lucky enough to meet up with Lap Band Gal during her visit to London.  We had a great time catching up over coffee/tea, and I was thrilled to meet such a successful bandster (NOTE, Lap Band Gal is also an amazingly enjoyable person to spend time with)!  Thanks for carving some time out of your very busy weekend to see me:)

That evening Kenny cooked me Valentine's Day dinner.  He has about ZERO ability in the kitchen, so I was pleasantly surprised that he prepared a wonderful meal-- cheese and crackers to start, a Greek salad, seared swordfish, sauteed spinach, and Whole Foods desserts.  Good job Kenny:)

This week I have been gymming a lot, but my weight is still all over the place.  Part of it has to do with the fact that I was a bottomless pit last week.  Part of it is probably due to the muscle I am building with Body Pump and Spin.  Still, if this eating keeps up, I will certainly be visiting Dr. K next month.  I don't use my band to control my portions, but I do think I am feeling hungry before I should.  Oh well... I have until March 16 to figure that out. 

Have a good weekend!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Coolest Thing Happened At Spin

On Saturday I did my triple spin.  Only a few of us stay for all three classes, so I get to see everyone filter in and out of the sessions.  For the first time, I wasn't the chunkiest lady in at least one of the classes.  Two other ladies were much thicker than I.  Their arms were round and fat where mine have definition, and they were generally more puffy than I am.  I am not saying that I wasn't the heaviest, as they were both shorter than I (and I am bad at using visual clues to figure out what people weigh).  Regardless, it was so nice to not be the biggest woman in the room for one day!     

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cardio Comparison, Etc...

I started using my Polar monitor on January 3rd.  I performed the Polar fitness test, which measures my VO2max and determines my aerobic fitness, before my first workout.  From there I can compare my results to others of the same age/gender to see whether my results are very low, low, fair, moderate, good, very good or elite.  My first VO2max number was 31, meaning that my aerobic fitness was in the 'fair' category.  I re-ran the test on February 13th, and my number shot up to a 47.  My aerobic fitness is now ELITE, the highest possible level in the Polar manual.  I might still be obese, but I am heading in the right direction!

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, or, as I call it, the most overrated day of the year.  People who almost never go out feel like they just HAVE TO go out to a (frequently overpriced) meal and sit with a lot of other people who are in the same boat.  Men are pushed into spending a fortune on roses to make their wives/girlfriends feel 'special'-- even though the same roses are available every day of the year.  Sorry to be the Debbie Downer of blogland, but I just don't get it.  Wouldn't it be better to receive flowers on a random evening just because your partner wants to give them to you... or go out to dinner as a surprise rather than because social convention mandates it? 

Because neither of us feel strongly about Valentine's Day, we avoid going out to dinner.  I met Kenny for a quick sushi lunch near his office between his meetings.  In order to make it to sushi and prepare dinner, I woke up at 5:30 to hit the 7am spin class and do some additional cardio work.  I hate waking up early, but it was nice to be showering off by 10am!

After our 35-minute lunch, I went up to Whole Foods to pick up the lobsters I had ordered for our appetizer, Lobster Newburg.  The fishmonger forgot to set my lobsters aside, and (my luck) Whole Foods was out of lobsters by the time I got there.  Luckily the manager was working at the time and did his best to help me out.  He gave me a ton of crab legs and 500 grams (just over a pound) of crabmeat.  I would have preferred my lobster, but getting over $100 of crab for FREE made me a bit less annoyed.  It pays to be a good customer sometimes:)

So our Lobster Newburg turned into Crab Newburg--
 Kenny's plate

 My plate-- I only ate a few bites
but still wanted a nice, full
plate to look at:)
For our dinner I made Veal Cordon Bleu and roasted asparagus.  I cook so much fish that I felt the need to make something rich and meat-based.  The dish was more work than I had expected, but the effort was worthwhile in the end.  The veal was fantastic-- and none of the stuffing exploded in the frying pan:)

Lastly, I made a mango and almond cake for dessert.  I was very nervous to attempt this cake.  My mom is an amazing baker, but I had never tried baking on my own before.  I love cooking things that I can do by taste, but baking is just a chemical reaction-- and chemisty is not my thing.  Also, this recipe is from a healthy cookbook, and I was worried that the thing would taste like sawdust.  It wound up being VERY good.   

And last but not least, we are not complete anti-Valentine's Day.  I do get flowers, and we do exchange gifts.  I just make Kenny promise me that the flowers won't be roses:)


Friday, February 10, 2012

She Couldn't Do What You And I Do...

I love my gym ladies.  They are so great at providing support and motivation, and the crazy thing is that I actually provide the same to them.  One pushes me to try the back-to-back spin classes, I nudge another to do cardio before Spin when all she wants is to sit in the cafe with a juice and the morning paper and then she screams NORA across the gym to make sure I don't skip out on our abs class.  So far we are really good for each other.  At this point just about everyone who works out daily knows how much weight I have lost.  We discuss what we all eat, what our favorite cheat foods are, how our workouts are going, and so on and so on.  Still, the Lap Band remains my secret. 

One of my gym girlfriends and I were chatting earlier this week, and she said, 'I just cannot see you like that' when discussing my highest weight.  She only knows me as a healthy gym rat, so picturing me at 300+ just doesn't work for her.  She wound up telling me about a girlfriend of hers who had gastric bypass.  The girlfriend is not having much success losing weight, mostly because she still eats all of the heavy Middle Eastern food she ate pre-surgery.  Because of her poor eating habits, she spends a lot of time throwing up.  My girlfriend was concerned about her friend and a bit annoyed that she wasn't making the changes necessary to lose weight.  She looked at me and said that her girlfriend 'couldn't do what you and I do' regarding working out 5-6 times a week. 

Her friend seems to be stuck with one of the main problems WLS patients suffer from-- a brain that it is not dealing with reality.  From what my girlfriend told me, her friend expects to rely on the surgery for everything.  Why eat differently?  Why go to the gym?  Didn't she have this surgery to make losing weight a breeze?  Even with WLS, losing weight is not easy.  We need to work for it.  My gym girlfriends are fit and trim, and even they work out 5-6 days a week.  If these women work out like this when they don't have to lose weight, then certainly those of us who are still overweight should be doing the same.  I know it is preachy, but exercise and diet are the keys to success-- NOT focusing on the fact that we all underwent some sort of WLS.  

Part of me thought that I was a bit of a fraud for not fessing up about my little helper, but then I thought better of it.  At this point I am losing weight because I am eating well and working out more than religiously.  Between January 3 and today, I have worked out for 64 hours 4 minutes-- that is 3844 minutes in 39 days!  Yes, the Band helps me control my portions, but this just puts me on a level playing field with everyone else.  If I chose to eat chips and sweets, the Band would be useless.  It is only an aid for me because I am doing my best to use it correctly.  I don't rely on it to police what I eat, as this is not the job of the Band.  More importantly, I am working out intensely and consistently.

Tomorrow I have another triple Spin session.  I just bought Spin shoes and clips today, and everyone I speak with says they will make a huge difference with my sessions.  Very exciting! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Snowpocalypse- London Style

It doesn't take too much for London to all but shut down.  A bad rain storm can stop the entire Underground, and the effects of snow on the city are much, much worse.  I don't have much to report, but we did have a whopping three inches of snow on Saturday evening.  Luckily I booked dinner within walking distance from our flat, so we didn't have to deal with the annoyance of finding a taxi.
Down the street from our flat 
My favorite hat, Boris. 
Dad gave him to me for Christmas years ago,
and the only good thing about this weather is getting
to take him out on the town:)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

One Month In And A Spinathon

I am very happy with my 2012 progress.  I am on a pretty amazing gym schedule and am making good food choices.  Shockingly, I am having a fantastic time at the gym.  I have become friendly with a little group of women who frequently work out at the same time and take similar classes.  We chat in the locker room and stand/bike in the same area during classes.  I really like The American (TA) who helped me with my first Body Pump class.  She pushes me to take additional classes, and we even text in the evenings to psych each other up for the following day's schedule. 
Last week she mentioned that she attends three back-to-back Spin classes on Saturday mornings.  I did not go last weekend, and on Monday morning she said that she missed me at the Spinathon.  Even though I work out for 2+ hours a day, I was concerned that I could not make it through three classes.  She promised me that if I make it through two classes, I CAN make it through the third.  So... I signed up for and COMPLETED all three classes this morning!  It was so much fun.  We both arrived early to get 'our' bikes and were the only two lunatics who did all three classes.
TA knows all of the instructors and told ours that she and I were both staying for all sessions.  He almost turned a ghostly white when he saw me.  I looked at TA, said that his reaction was not all that encouraging and laughed it off.  After the first class the instructor saw me eating two wedges of a peeled orange, and I think he understood at that point that I DO actually work out.  We looked at each other and laughed as he decimated his banana and I sucked on my orange.  His laugh was also probably a bit of a Holy $&*%, this gal is actually staying for a second class! 
In the middle of the second class TA tapped me on the arm and mouthed that we only have one more hour left.  The countdown had started!  Most people left after the second class, but we remained.  A few minutes into the third session we were listening to the same B.r.i.t.n.e.y.S.p.e.a.r.s. song that we use for our Body Pump triceps routine.  It was my time to tap her, and I acted like I was working out my triceps, with my hands coming to my forehead.  A few seconds later we looked at each other and said SINGLES, mimicked the triceps routine and burst out laughing (I realize that this is probably only funny for some of you who do Body Pump).  The instructor thought we had lost it, but it just helped keep us going. 

The best thing happened at the end of the class.  Because our gym has wireless receivers for Spin, the studio is not at all loud.  We just plug our headsets into the receivers and adjust our individual volumes.  We had finished our last climb and were cooling down.  The instructor looked directly at me, nodded and said 'good job'.  TA and I left the studio with the instructor who again said that I did really well.  I joked that he didn't look all that convinced that I would make it in the beginning, and he just laughed.  Getting a compliment from this guy was very gratifying!  
I am learning that having a gym buddy is SO important as long as that gym buddy is really serious with his/her workouts.  Another girlfriend flits in and out of the gym and only comes if it easily fits into her schedule.  That is fine for her but doesn't work for me.  I will stick with TA and the other women for my gymming. 
Lastly, here is my January vs. February comparison picture.  It is hard to see much difference, but I think my thighs and waist have come in a bit.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My First Lulu

The wonderful Catherine gave me one of her old (and much too big for her) Lululemon shirts over the summer. I knew it would be small at the time but was amazed that it looked like black sausage casing on me. Not a good look! It was not even close to being wearable. I threw Little Lulu into my gym drawer and accepted that it would be quite some time before it would ever see the light of day.   
Today the shirt saw light and experienced more sweat than it could have possibly been ready for given how long it had been relaxing in my bedroom. I think it looks cute, and I am very excited that I am finally small enough to wear some of the more boutique gym brands:)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Finally A Cool Kid

Today is my first day in ONEDERLAND!!! Very exciting I must say. So I am now with the cool kids on the better side of 200lbs:)
I also felt like a bit of a cool kid last night. My Dubai friend and I met at his hotel for wine and then spent the the remainder of the evening, night and early hours of the morning clubbing. No, that was not a typo- Nora went clubbing. I actually enjoyed clubbing in my younger, single days, but Kenny flat out hates it. The last time I had a clubbing night was two years ago... in Dubai with the same Mr. Dubai.
When he saw me he very matter-of-factly looked me up and down and said 'You've lost A LOT of weight' just like that. So many friends really dance around the subject of weight, and it was quite refreshing for someone to be rather blunt. It probably helps that he is appearance conscious, body conscious and generally on the vain side. I don't mean that as a criticism, merely some added context. Because image is important to him, he really analyzes these things in other people. Knowing this, I wanted to make sure that I looked as good as possible. He hadn't seen me since February 2010, and he deserved to see the new and improved Nora. I think he was impressed.
After drinks at the hotel we hit the first club. Then we made it to the second. Then we went to the third. The third was a popular Mayfair club, known for snooty people working the door. It is more like multiple layers of people working the door, sigh. The people in front of us were turned away and I thought, oh crap, we aren't going to get in. How embarrassing. Mr. Dubai dealt with the door people, who obviously looked us up and down (and then down and up) to determine whether we 'fit'. Apparently we did, and in we went. There is absolutely NO way I would have been allowed in even a few months ago. Even though the opinion of door women is something I would typically not care about at all, I liked the endorsement!
We stayed at this club for an hour or two-- long enough that my ears only stopped ringing when I started typing this post. Men were very nice to me, and the club's promoter even gave me his details so he can invite me to a club opening. Not like I will go, but again I liked the endorsement. Mr. Dubai got way too drunk, and I decided that it was time for me to leave. I finally got here at about 3. Impressively, I still got up at 7:30 and was at the gym before 9:)
My night with Mr. Dubai was really enjoyable, but it made me appreciate my life a little more. Going out and being part of that scene is fun once in a blue moon. When I haven't been out I miss it and can envy my friends, such as Mr. Dubai, who are single and free-- who can just do what they want when they want and party like it's 1999. I know that I won't need another night out like this for quite some time. More importantly, it reminds me that my life is great and that I wouldn't trade my relationship and my stability (albeit boring at times) for the flexibility to go back into Party Mode. It only took a little dose of actually experiencing my former life to remember all of this!