Sunday, July 20, 2014

Busy Busy

I have been busy.

I I told you that I got a job here in OK. Did I mention I got 2 jobs?

At the very tail end of June, I started working at JoAnn’s and at the Fort Sill RecPlex. The RecPlex is a place for Soldiers to hang out. It’s only open in the afternoon and evening, so I’ve been working mornings at JoAnn’s and afternoon/evenings at the RecPlex. This lead to 40+ hour weeks for the past couple weeks.

I decided I will not be staying on at JoAnn’s. I’ll stop working after this week, along with the other temporary employees.

I thought this would set me back on my fitness and weight loss, but I was wrong. I am on my feet all the time at JoAnn’s, and even do some heavy lifting. I get in a run or ride when I can, even made it to the pool for some laps. And I’ve been sticking to the calorie goal that the Wellness Center gave me. I’m down 5 pounds. Go me!

Now to keep this up. In August, I’ll have mornings free to workout. I was researching and looking for programs to follow, because I like having guidance in my strength training, when I remembered that I have a couple friends going to school for that kind of thing. Ok, one going to school and one just finished school. Turns out the one who just finished is looking for some people to personally train so she can build up a client base and reputation.

So I have a personal trainer now! My friend Sasha is going to help me with both fitness and nutrition. She understands my fears about losing it all during the move, since she is also an Army wife and just moved. She has a blog over at

The other day, we talked on the phone about where I am and what I want. We talked about how often I work out, what I like to do, and what kind of things I have access to. We talked about food, what I do and don’t like, and what I struggle with. I’m going to keep a food journal for 5 days (track on myfitnesspal) and send that to her so she can see my habits. From there, she’ll work with me on a nutrition plan and we’ll set up a fitness schedule and exercise recommendations for me to start on. The goal is to get me into a routine that I can keep up during the transition to our next location.

I’m rather excited. I get a personal trainer, that I like, for free. I’ll weigh myself once a week. I also need to get back into the Wellness Center for a body comp test. It’s been a month and a half. That’s ok. Life was rather busy this month.

Here are some “before” pics, taken Saturday morning. Let’s see if I can remember to take new pics after a month or two and compare.

I don't know what I was looking at

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stupid Obstacles…

J and I were having a discussion while running a couple errands this afternoon. I’m on day 2 of a migraine that gave me signs it might be coming for a week.

Yesterday I had a queasy stomach that only felt better when I was eating. It felt worse when I moved around, so I mostly sat on the couch watching old episodes of Supernatural on Netflix.

Today felt better when I woke up, but I could still feel some pressure. I took pup for a walk and went to the farmers’ markets. This afternoon, I started getting pain. J drove for our errands, because I’m having brain fog, too.

So, our discussion—

My migraines are a huge detriment to my fitness. I can’t workout. Sometimes even just walking can trigger a pain spike. And if my heart rate goes up, I swear I can hear my pulse echoing in my head, and feel the whole thing throbbing. Not fun. So I basically can’t workout when I have one. And then I have migraine hangover for at least a day. I can workout, but not too hard. Let’s not even talk about the food issues for now.

J was saying that he doesn’t know how I can overcome this. I said the truth: I can’t. I cannot stop having migraines. There is no magical cure. And with multiple triggers, including weather changes, I can’t just eliminate or limit exposure to my trigger. Sometimes, like with this one, I can’t really pinpoint a single trigger for the migraine. I’m not very stressed, there’s no storm moving in. I just have a migraine.

The reason J worries is that a break in a regular fitness routine or training regimen is a big setback. Whether from injury, sickness, or laziness, once you stop working out, it’s harder to get back to where you were before. You lose fitness faster than you gain fitness. That’s why being fit requires a lifestyle change and not just a “for now” change.

Now, to touch on those food issues. I think I’ve mentioned my usual bottomless pit that replaces my stomach when I have a migraine. I just can’t seem to eat enough. I’m always hungry, and I crave things that aren’t good for me: junk food, especially cake and cookies, chocolate, fast food, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes… yeah. All those.  Other times, I am not hungry and don’t want to eat at all. The thought of food will make me queasy. More rare are days like yesterday, where I’m not so much hungry, but my stomach is upset and only feels better with food, so I nibble all day.

These are all issues that may change with time, since my migraines change as I age. I highly doubt they will ever go away on their own. Instead, I will do all I can to avoid migraines, prevent migraines, and get over them as quickly as I can. This one is welcome to leave any second now.

this guy understands

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A "Death" In The Family, and Health Update

Today was the last test at the Army Wellness Center. I did my VO2 Max. You walk/run on a treadmill for 6-11 minutes, wearing the silly mask and a heart rate monitor, until you reach 85% of your maximum heart rate. This is an accurate estimate – that is, not exact science, but better than other methods of guessing.

Your results are your cardio-respiratory fitness number. I got a 37.6 this time, but had a 41.5 last time. So my cardio healthy has gone down a bit. I also weigh more, and haven’t been doing as steady of a cardio workout. Excuses aside, I can get this back up there. 38.6 is the dividing line between “good” and “excellent.” I want to be excellent. Let’s work on that.

I also did some simple tests for strength and flexibility. First was the hang strength. You just squeeze this large device that measures your force applied. For back strength, you stand on a square that looks like a scale, hold a handle in both hands, and pull up. And flexibility is the dreaded sit-and-reach from grade school PE. Only this time, there was no set number to reach for, you just reach as far as you can.

I got a nice print-out of all my results, and comparisons to previous results that were in the system.

Now all that’s left is to meet with a dietician. I have MyFitnessPal set up and it’s working pretty well. So far. I did not do yesterday’s workout. I ran in the morning (sorta, with pup) and REALLY didn’t want to work out in the afternoon. I did do a half hour yoga session and felt better after that.  I did work out this morning, since today was some squats and a run.

That’s my other news. My phone died. I got his by a rain storm about half-way around the 3 mile track. I was SOAKED. Like, completely. I took my shirt off and wrung it out before getting in the car. Pup was not with me, or my car would still smell like wet dog. Phone was in my armband, which was also quite soaked. My music played the whole time, but I couldn’t swipe to unlock. I figured it was just my wet hands on a wet armband. In the car, I still couldn’t swipe. I tried drying it off with a tissue, but that didn’t do much.

So in the rice it went, soon as I got home. It sat in rice for 7 hours. After my test, I ran a couple errands and was near the Verizon store. In trying the phone, a piece of rice got stuck in the plug in. The Verizon girl got the rice out, but wasn’t able to save the phone. Ugh. She pronounced it dead and told me how to file a claim online. I pay the extra $10 a month for insurance on the phone, but this is my first time using it.

Did you know there’s a deductible? It’s probably different depending on what phone you have. Well for an iPhone 5c, it’s $170. Right now, I’m very glad I used an upgrade-trade-in combo to get this phone, because I had to pay to replace it when it died.

Don’t ask J about it. He might pop a blood vessel.

I’ll update on this again when I get to see a dietician. Until then, I can be found in the usual places. If you use MyFitnessPal, my username is char362. Look me up. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sometimes, It's The Small Things

Today was my “Upping Your Metabolism” class, where I got my metabolic test results.

The good news – my RMR has increased! I went from 1472 back in September to 1711 this month. I learned today that every pound of muscle could increase your RMR by 35-50 calories. So this means the strength training has been paying off, right?

But then there’s my increased weight and body fat. Which probably, in the end, comes down to poor eating habits.

Hello. My name is Charla and I’m a carb addict.

Bread, pasta, potatoes, and don’t forget the cake and ice cream – I love all the stuff that’s bad for me.  I don’t eat enough fruits and veggies. I don’t drink enough water, lately.  As I type, I’m eating a bowl of pasta for lunch.

Let’s focus on the positives. Today’s class felt better than the one I took back in September when I first did all this. The instructor seemed more knowledgeable, and like he actually wanted to be there, teaching us this stuff. He’s a former body builder, so he knows something about the struggle with weight (mentioned an injury as the end to that hobby). He made sci-fi movie references, and used metaphors that made it easy to understand. He wasn’t boring. I like him. I would love to have gotten him as my “personal trainer” for all of this (that’s their term, not mine).

While the dietician wasn’t there today, we received prints of her slides, including the number to call for an appointment. Also, the teacher that was there highly recommended seeing a dietician. He said that the ones to visit the dietician have the highest success rate.

I would like to take a moment to thank the Army for doing this. It’s a great resource and tool for Soldiers, and they didn’t have to make this available to dependents as well. I am so glad they did. It would cost me hundreds of dollars to get all this elsewhere.

I also want to thank my friend Jessica Bergin, who started doing MyFitnessPal and has been simply “liking” the things I do, like workout and complete my tracking for the day. I was rather surprised at how motivating I found it. I may not be good at reciprocating, but I’m going to try. Just knowing that someone else is following it, that someone else cares, has kept me tracking for a few days. I like seeing that she’s on there and paying attention. So thank, Jess, and keep up the awesome work on your own health!

Back to the post. It’s time to go into MyFitnessPal and change the calorie settings for my new recommendations. I’m going to give it a try the way they suggest – just track my food. I might still log exercise, just to see how much I’m burning and make sure I’m getting my weekly goals, but the focus is on the calorie amount they suggest. And it really is a suggestion, not a set number I must reach every day, no give or take.

I’ll head back for the VO2 test in 2 days. I’ll call the dietician office and get an appointment with them. And I start work soon, which will keep me on my feet more.

OH yeah, one last thing. I’m on week 4 of my 6 week challenge. I missed 2 days total: one in week 1 to a 10K run, and one in week 2 to a migraine. I like most of the workouts, and have been doing them in the afternoons, around the time I usually get sleepy. It’s keeping me awake and allows me to do yoga or run with pup in the mornings. So far, so good.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


If you read my blog, you know I struggle with my weight and fitness. I’m struggling right now.

The recent move didn’t go well for me physically speaking. Mentally, I’m doing great. But I put on weight that I had kept off for a while, and now I need to get it back off. To help me accomplish this, I will be using the Army Wellness Center.

You might remember that J and I did a bunch of metabolic and fitness testing last year. This is the same thing. But with pictures.

I went in for the metabolic and body composition tests. The metabolic is easy – you lie there for 15 minutes with a mask on your face and just breathe.  I don’t understand how it determines your metabolism, but it apparently does. I will get my results next week in the required nutrition class. 

sexy, no?

Next comes the dreaded BodPod. This thing looks like an escape pod from a spaceship. You have to wear very little – spandex shorts, no top for guys, sports bra for women, and a little nylon cap, much like a nylon swimcap. To control your hair. They enter your weight and height and you’re ready to go.

that's their test device in there

You sit in this thing, it vacuum seals and pulses a bit, they open it and close it again, and it goes through another round. That’s it. All done. They give you a printout of your results, and you leave feeling fat. At least, I do.

So here are my results. Yes, I’m sharing these online. No shame. First is the breakdown of all my body: fat mass, other mass, etc. Next is their chart of where I should be. When I had this done back at Bliss, I was a level lower than where I am now. Ugh.

Body Mass is my total weight 

this is what I hope to change the most - I want to get to moderately lean

At the nutrition class, there’s supposed to be a dietician I can talk to. I hope to be able to set up a one-on-one to discuss my personal diet struggles and hopefully get some help overcoming them. I’ll also do the VO2 Max test next week, which determines fitness.

I did a little research and found that the BodPod test usually costs about $45, while the metabolic and VO2 testing can cost $100-$200. And I get it all for free, because J is in the Army. If any of my Army/Milspouse friends are reading, you should check out the Wellness Centers. They aren’t everywhere yet, but they are spreading.

Also, here’s a little more info on the VO2/Metabolic testing, from a magazine J actually subscribes to:

And finally, a cute pic of Remy. Just because.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Big News!!

No, I'm not pregnant.

I am, however, EMPLOYED! I applied for a part time sales position at JoAnn's Fabrics, and was hired! Yay!

After 5 years of not working, I'm sticking with a part time, small position. I'm lucky that the JoAnn's here is moving to a new, bigger store, and hiring employees to help with the move and work the new store. I get to work part time at a store that I like, helping people with things I like to do. A large part of their customer base is quilters, so it helps that I quilt and can answer at least some questions.

I don't know how much I'll be working with customers. I could be helping to set up the store and work more "behind the scenes" unless things are busy. I am perfectly OK with that. But I'm not really anxious about working with people, either. It's easier for me to be outgoing when dealing with things I really like, and I really like crafting. Basically, a job in a craft store, shoe store, or bra store would be a good fit for me.

So starting next week, I will train up and be a JoAnn's employee. No, my whole paycheck won't be spent on my employee discount. I don't even know for sure if I get an employee discount. Besides, there are bras and shoes to be purchased! And lunch and coffee dates with Kristy before she leaves, and with Jessica during and after that!

So I am once again a working woman. Yes, yes indeed. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I'm a dork. I'm playing a little bit of catch-up here to get ready for a big news post.

Before we left El Paso, I participated in the Bataan Memorial Death March, for the second time. I tackled the training much like my marathon training. I loaded up my small camel bak backpack and started walking.

The first time I did the Bataan, I took forever and had horrid blisters. This time, I was wearing the same pair of shoes (broken in now) and had much better results. I came in at just under 8 hours, chip time (8.5 hours gun time). I only had a couple blisters, and the worst happened just in the last mile. I felt it, but could feel such fatigue in my legs that I didn't dare stop to bandage it.

I am quite proud of myself this year. I felt much stronger and faster. I even ran a bit! Once you pass halfway, you start some downhill. It was easier on my legs to do a slow run on the downhill portions. Running and walking work the muscles differently, so running a bit made it easier to walk again when I needed to.

I recovered well from the Bataan, doing some short runs the following week. I'm getting good at listening to my body. If I figure out what it wants and needs after a big event, I recover easier and faster. Hot baths are great for my legs, and I'm careful to not overeat, so my stomach/digestive system doesn't get thrown off whack.

After that, we really just got ready for the move. It was very hectic. Packers, movers, empty house. We left El Paso on a Friday afternoon and arrived in Lawton, Oklahoma on Saturday afternoon. Sunday we drove around looking at houses. Monday we went inside some houses and applied for one. Tuesday we had a house. Wednesday we went to Kansas.

Kansas was nice. It felt different having the animals there. Remy did OK. He didn't like being left in the basement suite when we weren't there, and he tried to stalk the neighbor's chickens a few times (they are in a chicken coop). Duke did great, and figured out which chair was the comfiest to nap in. We got lots of nephew time in. Liam is mobile and babbling a lot. It's a fun stage. I can say that because I don't have to care for him everyday.

I didn't get to see one of my Nuns, Sr. Dorothy. She is in Utah taking care of her sister (actual sister, like, by blood) who had surgery a while ago. But I saw Anne and Anita. As much as I want to get an overseas post, I will greatly miss my annual visit with the Nuns.

So that brings me back to Lawton. We have a tiny little house, which means we're purging even more.  It's a cute house, very close to post, in a good neighborhood. There is some great biking in our area, but not much for running. However, it's a short drive to a couple great paved trails we can run on. One on post is 3 miles, the other is a park with a 1.5 mile trail, or 1.8 if you take the extra bit.

We are almost unpacked, just a couple boxes to empty. Still figuring out where to put everything. I finally finished the bedspread I've been working on forever, and it is on my bed. I'm quite proud of it. I love the colors and prints. Now to get set up and finish all my UFOs (unfinished objects).

And with that, I will soon be posting some news. But I'm waiting another day or two. It's good, I promise. We are still waiting on orders to see where we will be next year. I will give a nice post about that when I get the news myself.