Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Iron Maiden

It's been a while since I've had a FO.  So long, in fact, that you probably forgot what FO stands for!  That's finished object in knitterspace-verse.  Ha!  

I was so excited to knit this pattern with such a lovely yarn.  I bought this stuff two years ago at a Fiber Fest and it's gorgeous and super soft.  The color is amazing - purples, pinks, yellows, and dashes of bright red and bright purple.  Love it!  

Pattern: Iron Maiden by Marisa Hernandez
Yarn: Dye2Spin 50/50 SW Merino Silk Fingering

Needles: US 7 circs
Made for: me
Time to completion: 7 months

This project is the beginning of a new quest for my knitting self.  I can't do lace.  There are so many mistakes in this thing, you only get to see the part that looks okay.  By the end of this project, I was disgusted with myself and my knitting.  So, a break from lace.  Until then, I'm going to google every stitch that I read before making it (except knit, purl).   I'm that annoyed with my lack of knowledge. Things I thought I knew how to do, I obviously don't.  Ugh!

So!  Watch for more knitting talk and, hopefully, more FOs, as I begin my quest to become a better knitter.  

Monday, April 24, 2017

Cathe Challenge: Week Five

I'm trying to stay positive about my thyroid - but that's easier said than done.  

Thankfully, I'm enjoying Cathe's workouts and how different they are from my normal Michelle Dozois/Peak 10.  

This week is a little messed up due to not working out last Saturday but hey - changing things up is good, right!?

Monday: Cathe's Cardio Mish Mosh + walk + YWA

This week, I'll be doing weights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday.  So, today, I tuned into Cardio Mish Mosh, which is 95% cardio and 5% weights.  I added on a few extra minutes of weights at the end to feel like I did some work.  Cathe's cardio is typically the same so I was happy to see some different moves in this workout.  At lunch, I walked outside for 25 minutes since it was a nice day.  Then thunderstorms rolled in, cutting our internet at home, which meant I did a downloaded YWA from Yoga Revolution.  It was nice and - gentle!

Tuesday: Cathe's High Energy Kickboxing + YWA

Kickboxing day - my second favorite day of the week (after my rest day!).  This workout was fun - it focused on kickboxing instead of straight cardio.  So, I jumped a bit less than usual, which was nice.  Cathe also did more kicking than usual - also a nice change.  I'll definitely have to do this workout again!  After work, I did a lovely YWA.  For quite a while, Adriene forced me to stand straight, with my legs far apart - do you know how difficult this is to do properly?  Dang!  My legs were shaking!

Wednesday:  The Gymbox's Cardio Dance + weights + YWA

A low-impact day today - yay!  I tuned into this Cardio Dance with Jodi, for the second time. And it may be the last time.  It's a little too light.  I tell you, I really miss Ilyse Baker's Glo workouts.  Sigh.  Nothing, so far, can compare to her.  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center.  There was one scary moment when I felt like my shoulder displaced - yikes!  Thankfully, I corrected it and kept lifting.  After work, this YWA for hamstrings was very nice!

Thursday:  Dozois' Body Fit 360 + walk

Today is my light day (instead of Friday) so it was fun to do the original Body Fit with Michelle.  Though I call it "light," you work hard in these videos!  I didn't do all the cardio so I could finish the full stretch, but it was still a great workout!  At lunch, I walked outside for 20 minutes.

Friday:  Cathe's Boot Camp Blast Off + YWA

Time for weights today!  Cathe's Boot Camp was great!  This is one of my favorite Cathe workouts so far!  This workout had six segments.  Each segment contained one (or two) cardio moves followed by three weighted moves.  The compound exercises were really nice and it was a great workout!  Yay, Cathe!  After work, I did this nice YWA to aid digestion - only because it was the right length of time for today.

Saturday: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn - Fat Blaster

Today was an awful day.  I'm lucky I got to work out.  And it was a struggle to get through this CIB because I was exhausted and achy when I did it - at 2pm.  But I love this workout.  And as I was doing it, I remembered reading a scathing review which criticized the overly complicated choreography.  Yes, it's more complicated but on the third try, it's a lot easier.  Michelle evolves a lot in her workouts; she has become more innovative.  I really appreciate this after doing so many similar Cathe workouts.  I added on 5 minutes of my own cardio to get a full hour of work in - then ab work and a stretch.

Sunday:  Peak 10 Cardio Strength Remix + The Gymbox's EDI: Walking + weights

I wasn't really looking forward to this workout because my body was super sore.  But I got through it, doing all the peaks and all the weighted moves.  Yay!  I like it when I do something 100%!  After that 50 minutes, I tuned into an easy walking workout by Dana on The Gymbox for 10 minutes.  I really upped the moves to make them more dynamic but still low-impact.  After that, five minutes with the 12-pound weights followed by a stretch.

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1161
Tuesday - 1161
Wednesday - 1140
Thursday - 1316
Friday - 1155
Saturday - bad
Sunday - 1188

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Synthetic vs. Desiccated

I mentioned recently that I was having my cortisol levels checked, desperate to figure out why I can't lose any weight.  It turns out my cortisol is fine, according to the easiest, most inaccurate (and cheapest) test.  So, moving on....

My doctor - bless her heart - is actually willing to prescribe a desiccated thyroid hormone.  Few doctors will.  Why?  Well...

Synthroid, the typical synthetic thyroid hormone that most hypothyroid patients get put on, is easy to prescribe. And if you're hypothyroid because you have no thyroid, it's super easy to prescribe, based on your weight.  But Synthroid contains only one of two thyroid hormones and some patients don't naturally convert that one hormone to the two you need for your metabolism to work properly.

But there's an alternative that is controversial for a few reasons (none of which bother me): desiccated thyroid, which is made from pigs.  That freaks some people out.  But because it's natural - from pigs - it contains both thyroid hormones and other natural ingredients that help the thyroid.  The other reason - besides the pig factor - doctors are hesitant to prescribe it is because the dosing is very different from synthetic hormones.  That means it takes a while to figure out the right dosage, which means blood tests until it's accurate.

They can have all my blood if they can get my hormones right!  So, I'm now on the desiccated hormones.  I'm hoping to actually have some energy (which has been decidedly lacking) and lose the bit of "thyroid weight" I've put on.  Those are my two goals.  So far, so good - I think I have a bit more energy.

I'll let you know how I progress!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Cathe Challenge: Week Four

This Cathe workout challenge has been fun - and challenging!  Cathe's workouts are very different from the others I do, so it's a good change.  Maybe I'll see some good results after it's all said and done.

Monday: Cathe's Sweat, Jump, and Pump + YWA

I was at home today because of a family medical issue.  That gave me time to work out for  bit longer.  Cathy's Sweat, Jump, and Pump is half strength, using weights.  Since I'd done weights yesterday, I didn't touch them for this workout.  When I couldn't modify the strength moves (there were plenty of squats and lunges), I did cardio instead.  I worked for a full hour.  Whew!  Then, I did Adriene's 21-minute yoga stretch, which was lovely after a hard workout.

Tuesday: Cathe's Kick Punch Cardio + weights + YWA

After three days of high intensity workouts, I needed something a bit lighter today.  (And my legs were killing me after yesterday's workout.)  Cathe's kickboxing workouts are usually a bit lighter than her straight cardio because there's less jumping.  Today, I took ALL the jumping out of her Kick Punch Cardio to keep it low-impact.  I still got a great workout and enjoyed all the kicking and punching.  Ha!  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center. So glad for that to be over for the week.  I did this YWA for digestion because it looked a bit challenging - and it was.  So many twists, whenever you talk about digestion in yoga.  

Wednesday: Cathe's Cross Fire Quick Fix + Quick Fix Kickboxing + walk + YWA

So this Cross Fire was tough - so much cardio!  And Cathe's cardio is more strength-centric than other workouts.  In other words, you're doing squats and leg work like crazy.  But Cathe has great legs so I'll try to keep up!  After the first workout ended - 30 minutes later (hence, quick) - I tuned into the Kickboxing workout, doing that for 15 minutes.  It was good - more jumping!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center and then did ab work.  YWA's healthy posture practice was a good thing, after sitting at my desk all day.

Thursday: Cathe's Cardio Circuit Challenge Express + YWA

I needed weights this morning and this workout was surprisingly enjoyable.   It alternates cardio blasts and weights - thankfully some of the blasts are not squat related.  Yay!  But this one was good.  I generally like Cathe's compound weighted exercises - they're good and not too painful!  After work, I only had time for a short YWA but this one was good!

Friday:  The Gymbox's Extreme Cardio + YWA

Today I was off from work but still got up at my normal time - with Mr. Higgins, who had to work - to get my work out in before lots of fun chores.  I did Dana's Extreme Cardio class and it was tough - she's a lot like Ashli, who I also like - because you just keep going and going and going....  Like the Energizer Bunny.  It was grueling but I was glad to get a good workout today.  After that 45 minutes, I did a 19-minute YWA - Feel Good Flow.  It was nice after a tough workout!

Saturday: REST

Sunday:  Cathe's Boxing, HIIT Blasts, and Core + The Gymbox's Extreme Cardio

Back from my parents' house today - and after eating too much for Easter - I tuned into Cathe's cardio workout.  Thankfully, she started with boxing to help ease me into the thing.  After about 20 minutes of boxing, she did 15 minutes of HIIT.  Wow.  After that, I tuned into Ashli's Extreme Cardio....which was very much like Dana's workout on Friday.  I jumped and jogged and jacking and hopped and leaped and.....  Sigh.  After five minutes of abs with Cathe, I stretched.  

Calorie Counts:

This was NOT a good week.  But when I weighed on Friday - before all the bad eating, I was the same as last Friday, after not eating great last weekend.  So at least there's that.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Birds of a Feather

I enjoyed the first Maisie Dobbs novel last year and was excited to be given the second book in the series as a gift.  Here's my review of Birds of a Feather....

The second Maisie Dobbs novel was similar to the first, without the glimpses into Maisie's past. There's a new mystery to solve, which leads to another mystery. Maisie, however, is up to the task and manages to solve what the police could not.

I missed the glimpses into Maisie's past in the novel. I'm not sure how much I like Maisie, the person. She seems very hypocritical and quick-to-judge, despite her training to be open-minded. But I'm still curious about Maisie's past and that's what makes her character so intriguing - what shaped her into the investigator.

And so I'll have to read another Maisie Hobbs novel, in hopes of better understanding - and liking - this character.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Cathe Challenge: Week Three

Two weeks down, six to go.  And six weeks until our next cruise.  Eek!

My weight is way, way too high.  I'm getting a bit desperate.  Thankfully, I have a great workout resource at my fingertips: Cathe Live!

Monday: Cathe's Old School Cardio Plus Kickboxing + YWA

I didn't quite see how this Old School workout was any different than Cathe's other cardio workouts.  I think she is just old school - and that's perfectly okay!  As always, this workout was intense - as in non-stop.  Dang!  These really get to be exhausting when you do them almost every day of the week!  After work, I did this YWA - which focused on breathing and the foundations of yoga.  Very good!

Tuesday:  Cathe's Hi-Lo Cardio and Core + walk + YWA

So I kind of got my workouts mixed up in the wee hours this morning.  I thought I was doing one with weights but this was all cardio.  So, I did my own weights throughout to take a break from Cathe's non-stop cardio.  Oy.  At lunch, I walked at the rec center and then did some core work.  And at the end of the day, I did this rainy day YWA.  No, it wasn't rainy but it seemed to suit my very tired mood.

Wednesday: Cathe's Bun Burners Barre and Ball + walk + YWA

In the spirit of low-intensity, I tuned into Cathe's lower body workout today.  This had no jumping, no "cardio" - just body weight exercises for legs.  If that doesn't sound painful, then you don't work out.  Dang!  I made it through the standing work with minimal pain - but still some pain - but the barre was almost torture.  Actually, it may have been honest-to-goodness torture.  And my masochistic self loved it.  I stopped there - I don't own a stability ball.  At lunch, I walked outside for 25 minutes, enjoying the short Texas spring while I can.  After work, I tuned into this YWA - though I'm nowhere near to being able to do crow.

Thursday: The Gymbox's Extreme Cardio + weights

This morning, I did an extreme cardio workout that was led by Ashli.  I really like her but she's tough.  You never stop in her workouts and I didn't today.  This workout consisted of HIIT bursts but in between you're jumping and jacking.  Whew!  I didn't do the tuck jumps that she performed - but I still jumped.  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center.  I'm going to feel these tomorrow.

Friday: The Gymbox's Advanced Power Yoga + walk

I wanted yoga today but I wanted a break from Adriene.  I love YWA but I wanted to test my yoga skills with other instructors.  The Gymbox's Chrissy was okay.  This practice was for hip openers, in the hopes of getting to the splits.  I'm so close to the splits!  Arg!  This was a good practice and tested me in new ways.  At lunch, I walked outside for 20 minutes.

Saturday:  Cathe's Cardio Boxing + The Gymbox's Extreme Cardio

Time for cardio and more cardio.  I did the first 30 minutes of Cathe's boxing workout, until she started with weights.  But that 30 minutes was good; I like Cathe's boxing workouts, I think!  After that, I tuned into Ashli's workout on The Gymbox.  This workout was very similar to the one I did on Thursday - non-stop jumping.  Whew!  But it was a good workout.  After all that, I did some ab work and then stretched.

Sunday:  Peak 10 More Cardio Strength + weights

I was not looking forward to Michelle's toughest CS this morning.  This one goes to the floor so much - it's just so tiring.  Somehow, I made it through, but I don't know how.  I added on 10 minutes of my own cardio to get a full 60 minutes of work in. Then, five minutes with the heavier weights.  After all that, it was good to stretch.

Calorie Counts

Between Monday and Thursday, I dropped five pounds.  On Tuesday, I ate all of 900 calories.  That may have had something to do with it.  But then I ate horribly on Friday and Saturday, likely negating any poundage lost.  Ugh.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Cortisol and the Thyroid

Almost three weeks into my Cathe Challenge and I'm already reflecting on things...

My weight is quickly getting out of control, despite working out like crazy (all that Cathe HIIT) and eating 1200-1300 calories a day.  

And this may actually be my problem.  My body may be producing too much cortisol because I'm stressing it out.  Too much cortisol limits the amount of thyroid hormone your body processes which means you gain weight.  If you ever need help with the aftermath of your thyroidectomy or with hypothyroidism, come to me.  I'm becoming an expert!

As a result of this cortisol build-up, people with thyroid issues are generally told to not work out at high intensities or for long periods.  Um, great.  That means I'm doing way too much high intensity cardio.  

Sigh.  I'm going to get my cortisol tested soon and my lovely endocrinologist is even willing to change my thyroid meds - from synthetic to desiccated.  (More on that later.)   We'll see, after all this labwork.

In the meantime, if you have a weight loss or working out question, or if you just like knowing about fitness in general, check out Cathe's blog.  It's great and has a wealth of information on anything related to fitness.  Just try searching for thyroid - dang!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Cathe Challenge: Week Two

I've gone six days without a workout break....and I won't get one until Friday.  Eek!
But I'm enjoying the different workouts that Cathe has to offer through her streaming site.  She's still not my favorite instructor (ahem, Michelle Dozois), but she's a nice change.  

Monday: Cathe's 80s Style Cardio with Low Impact Blasts Live + walk + YWA

I have no idea why I thought this 80s Style Cardio would be less intense....but it wasn't.  It caught me off guard!  I made a bit of it low-impact, just to have a break from all the jumping.  Dang!  Cathe definitely works you hard, no question!  At lunch, it was gorgeous outside, so I walked for 25 minutes.  Traffic was awful going home, which cut into my YWA schedule for the day.  I ended up doing this practice, to help with anxiety.  Appropriate.

Tuesday: Cathe's For the Love of Cardio + weights

I hate not knowing what I'm getting in to with these Cathe workouts.  This one was very similar to yesterday's 80s style....if not the tiniest bit less intense.  My only complaint so far: she does so many moves, over and over, in every single workout.  I like variety.  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center.  Yay!  That always makes me feel good - when it's over.  

Wednesday:  Cathe's Hi-Lo Cardio Kickboxing + walk + YWA

So after all these Cathe workouts, I'm getting tired.  Thankfully, this kickboxing workout had less jumping than my previous workouts this week.  Hallelujah.  And I'm finding that I like Cathe's kickboxing.  For some reason, my FitBit tells me that my heart rate is higher with this than with straight cardio, like I did on Monday and Tuesday.  No idea.  At lunch, I walked outside for 25 minutes.  It was another gorgeous day out (after horrible storms last night).  I did a good YWA today - it was nice and flow-y.

Thursday: Cathe’s Cardio Circuit Mashup + YWA

This was a good workout that alternated one cardio move and one weighted move - usually.  I kept it all low-impact, needing the break.  To be honest, Cathe’s cardio moves are difficult to make low impact - but I managed.  It was a good workout.  My one complaint is that sometimes, Cathe does the weighted moves too fast.  I can move fast and I’m familiar with compound exercises - but these are very difficult for me.  This YWA was a short bedtime yoga.  Nice!

Friday: YWA + YWA

Finally!  A rest day!  I needed this.  My morning started with Adriene’s healthy energy flow.  I thought it’d be harder than it was - but I really enjoyed this one.  I got a good enough workout without feeling like it was too much on my rest day.  Honestly, I’m loving the effect that yoga is having on my body.   In the evening, I did Adriene’s 20-minute bedtime yoga - it was definitely relaxing.  

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn RemixYWA

I didn’t know how this CIB would go but it was great!  I needed a good workout after two lighter days.  And this one is definitely a good workout.  After all the Cathe workouts, this one reminded me of just how much I love Michelle.  I have a newfound love for her, actually.  Ha!  Cathe is very limited in her moves so Michelle’s were so refreshing today!  After that 55 minute workout, I added on 15 minutes of my own cardio to get a longer workout.  Later in the day, I wanted some good yoga so I tuned into this one - day 27 from Yoga Revolution (my January Challenge).  It’s a good one!

Sunday:  Cathe's Solid Cardio Plus HIIT + The Gymbox's Extreme Cardio + weights

Today, I was back to Cathe.  This was a good, solid (ha!) cardio workout that did not have much of a dread factor (I found out, after the fact).  This one may be my favorite so far!  Amazing!  After that 45 minutes, I tuned into Dana's workout on the Gymbox.  It was kickboxing and HIIT.  I took some breaks from her cardio to do some weights.  Then, after 20 minutes of that, I did the 12-pound weights for five minutes.  And then a nice stretch and sit-ups.

Calorie Counts

We just won't go there this week.