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Posts Tagged ‘Weight Loss

Me as Hobbit looking to graduate to Middle Earth (also known as graduating to high school)

Me as Hobbit looking to graduate to Middle Earth (also known as graduating to high school)

When a wonderful friend asked, “Hey – want to run a half marathon?”   I thought, there is a list of things that sound good in theory: smiley face icons, strapless bras, Brazilian sugar waxing, going from my couch to running 13.1 miles.  I love things that sound good in theory.  Who doesn’t?  So of course I said, “Sure.  Awesome.”   Since being part of the first DC Nike Women Half Marathon was contingent on a lottery selection, it was very much an “in theory” scenario.

The reality: training for a half marathon is far more difficult than I imagined…and so is Brazilian sugar waxing.  Once a year in high school we were required to run a mile. During my freshman year I was comfortable being the stereotypical overweight funny girl.  About half way thought the “run” my chest started to tighten and I began to have an asthmatic attack.  I was not asthmatic, just out of shape.  I spent the second half of that mile walking with my hands raised in the air alongside the gym teacher.  It took almost 30 minutes to finish that one-mile.

I’ve shed a few of those pounds and instead of my gym teacher I now have my cousin.  Ever since she became a mother it is increasingly difficult for us to spend some one on one girl time, so training together gave us a nice excuse to talk and then eat everything in sight.  Our training program consisted of working out separately through the week and then meeting on Sunday to clock in the big miles.  On a cold Sunday afternoon in Central Park we met for our first 8-mile run.  I’ve never ran more than 6 before I started training, so every week is a new challenge.  I didn’t know what I was expecting having her by my side until every other step I was met with – “So what are you listening to right now?”  “What are you thinking about?”  “Are you getting tired?”  “Relax.”  “Being first clarinet in band I had to make sure our line was straight and our chest was up.”  “Picture a string is holding you up by your head.”  “Snoop is not the best running music.”  I looked at her like she was crazy as I huffed and puffed up a hill, through the sweat, staring blankly at the runners ahead, all I could think about was the 8 miles – how fast I was going – how tired I was – how crazy it is to run this much.

I was pretty quiet (which I never am) until, “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to run the entire time.  I’ll probably need to walk at least a little every mile.”  As the words left my lips, not breaking her stride my cousin put it simply, “You should try not to stop.”  After she could see the anguish in my face, she followed up with, “Slow down, relax, re-focus but you should try to just run it.  Fast or slow, just run.  Momentum is hard to build up if you lose it…and smile.  You can do it Marisa.”

Not exactly Eminem...or Detroit

Not exactly Eminem

We continued the run.  Even though she could run faster, she would double back to make sure she was never too far away.  She pointed to the first New York apartment we moved to 10 years ago, where we use to have football games for our birthday, where I took pictures with my ex-boyfriend,  she pointed out all the cute boys that ran past, where we saw the Dali Lama and Richard Gere, that great picnic spot on that perfect day with our make shift New York family, how we wished that our wonderful friend that got us into this whole half marathon thing didn’t move back to California, and the hospital where she brought the most amazing person into this world.

Running for long periods of time you learn a lot about yourself.  I doubted that I could run 8 miles almost every other step.  Every time I wanted to stop I looked to my cousin and just kept running.  “Marisa, you can do this.”  And I did.  I never walked.  I ran all 8 miles.  And last Sunday, I ran all 9.  Like in running, in life I always think I can’t before I think I can.  My cousin just knows she can.   It’s nice to have someone faster, stronger, smarter to be there every step of the way – reminding me of all the steps it takes to get there, reminding me  “you can do this”.

Join me in helping with this Nike Half Marathon race to beat Leukemia and Lymphoma by making a donation, so we can help kids beat blood cancers.  We can do this.

All Donations Appreciated

All Donations Appreciated

Part 3

Do you enjoy Latin beats? Dancing? Shaking your booty?  Slightly awkward accents? Then you’ll enjoy Zumba with Beto.  My opinion is strictly based on the $64.95 I spent with and not the live classes.  I hear there is a huge difference, but with most classes going for at least $15 a session, I will have to stick with pressing the replay button.

Many of the moves remind me of salsa class and dancing at my families’ Big Fat Filipino Weddings.   Most of the moves are fairly easy and a lot of fun to do.  While they are meant to make you feel sexy, “letting the rhythm move you” – DO NOT LOOK IN THE MIRROR WHILE PERFORMING THESE MOVES.  It might just be me, but I never thought I could look that disjointed while shaking my own ass.  And like Zoolander, I found out I am not a ambi-turner. Every time I tried to shake my ass, hold my arm out and turn left, it proved to taxing for my hips to twist while stepping to the beat.  Regardless of such hardships as not knowing my left from my right, the workout always made me sweat and I look forward to working out.

Quirky things about this workout, mind you I have only been doing it for a little over a week now, but there isn’t much variety in the DVD’s.  There are only four of them and many repeat the same moves.  The Cardio Party disc has the most amount of material with a lot of variety, but if you are doing the “10 Day Drop a Dress Size” challenge, you do that particular workout 5 times alternating with the Sculpt Tone disc with Abs disc.  You don’t have the option to turn off the instructions so when Beto, the creator, encourages you for the umpteenth time in a lilted Brazilian accent saying, “You can do it” – you know he’s just dialing it in.  The other instructor, Tanya, who does most of the instruction, is a little more direct but what she says becomes obsolete after the 3rd time doing it.  The music is much lower than the instruction, so the repetitiveness becomes far more apparent and additionally annoying when they start singing along.  Also I am constantly made to feel uncomfortable by the very curly red-head in all black who seems to be seducing me; either that or she had a very familiar relationship with the cameraman to get that much face time.  I find myself envying Gina, her body, the way she moves – that envy however motivates me more.  Then there is the random guest appearance by Flaviana “the International Pop Sensation”, can you call someone international when they are only known in Brazil.  I thought Flaviana was the crappy instant coffee served in offices.  She immediately grades on the nerves with her tiny waste, perfectly wavy blond hair, huge breasts, and the fake and bake that accentuates the G-string tan she has going on.  Now with all that cattiness, I still am moved when she points out that I should keep my shoulders up and suddenly we are friends.

Getting up and moving is the main issue here.  Right now I’m not turning them off or running back to Tony and his grueling twisting and contorting, so for those of you who like breakdowns, here is a pro/con list:



–         Very Fun

–         Relatively Easy (Except for the crazy jumping bean workout from Mexico)

–         Easy enough to stick with every day

–         The girls are great eye candy (boys you can just fast forward and watch Flaviana over and over)

–         Makes you sweat



–         It is not as challenging as P90X so it might not make a huge difference on people who are fairly fit

–         You can’t turn off the instructions

–         The batter between instructors is awkward and totally campy

–         The music is fun but is two low

–         There isn’t much variety in the workout

All this said, I am sticking with Zumba.  Because it is lower impact and I want to get back to my P90X body without using P90X, I have supplemented my workout with Kettlenetics with Michelle Khai.  I don’t feel I’m getting enough strength training and muscle building, so the kettle bell workout will help with that.  I’ll talk about Ms. Khai in my next blog.  In just 7 days, using both, I have lost 4 pounds and my jeans are already feeling better.  I guess the best part of waking up, is Flaviana in my cup.


Part 1

Seriously, who looks this good at the gym?

Losing weight, getting in shape and trying not to hate yourself or the process is a major challenge for anyone, especially when your chosen field requires being looked at and judged.  I can not afford Equinox or the fancy celebrity Reebok gym or the freaky demonic/vampire boudoir /club like gyms that the Kardashians belong to.  The alternative, going to the over packed slightly funky smelling Planet Fitness or no gym at all.  You reach a plateau with working out at gyms on the same equipment over and over so it is time for something completely different. 

I have always had to struggle with my weight.  Like many teenage girls I indulged in everything fried, I swore that the Dairy Queen Chicken Finger Country Basket was calling to me.  Eating an excess of fast food and rice with every home cooked meal earned me the label of “heavy set” or “big boned”.  I was neither – just unhealthy and fat.  Call a spade a spade, or in my case, a heart set on top of a spade.  When I got to college I started dropping a small amount of weight being away from home and running around in my new surroundings.  I was still very aware of the extra love around my midsection when I was cast in the musical Pippin my senior year.  The show was about discovering a more grown up world of sexuality and mysticism.  The costumes were ornate yet transparent and skimpy.  Half the cast was half naked.  The costume designer described my outfit as a “Valkyrie Brittany Spears”.  I wore a bra with a skirt sewn into it that barely covered my butt.  The bra was made to look like coiled up snakes and the free flowing skirt look like a bubble gum disco ball – it was actually pretty awesome.  There was a lot of skin showing and I felt like I had too much skin to show. 

I decided I was going to change how I looked and did it in the unhealthiest way possible.  I lost 30 lbs in 2 months.  Eating next to nothing and exercising a minimum of 6 hours a day while maintaining going to class.   My friends took note and tried to have an intervention, but I brushed it off saying I ate more when they weren’t around.  The concern was as real as my weight loss.  Vanity is what got me to that unhealthy place and vanity is what saved me from continuing down that unhealthy path.  Because I didn’t want straps of a modern bra to clash with my snake bra, I went to Victoria Secret for a strapless.  The sales woman approached with her measuring tape in hand floating towards me in her black smock doctor’s coat uniform, looking very official for our second base encounter.  “You’re an A cup.”  I was perplexed by the words coming out of her mouth – I had been a D since I had breasts.  I went from bug bites to boulders overnight when I hit puberty.  I was lost.  She looked confused as well, since I was wearing an ill fitting D sized bra at the time.  When I got home I finally saw what I was doing to my body.  I stared at the mirror, my deflated memories begged for a sandwich.  When I was heavy I felt my best physical feature was my love lumps, the girls, Breast 1 and Breast 2 (I actually put name tags on them my sophomore year to greet the incoming class of freshmen into the theater department).  I loved my boobs and I was starving them. I ate a sandwich. 

101 USES For an Empty Bra

Years later my breasts have bounced back, but it took me awhile to not slip back into those bad habits and the fears that consumed me.  I still often see the 40 pound heavier 18 year old when I look in the mirror, but then my boyfriend wraps his arms around me with a kind compliment about my ass and the image dissipates.  Now it is not about losing weight but feeling healthy and wanting to wear a bikini for the first time in 30 years.  To do it in a healthy way is the challenge.  The gyms are no longer my friend so I have ventured into the wonderful world of home videos.  Mainly because they focus on strength training to help you build muscle and I can look like a fool at home.  And trust me, I look like a fool.  There is nothing pretty about home video workouts.  You never look like the happy people bouncing in unison on the screen.  No one ever looked good Sweating to the Oldies.  The days of sweat band wearing Richard Simmons are over and now it is all about a sexually ambiguous meathead, Latin booty shaking, an uncomfortably flexible man, and a hot Asian aunt.

This is a 5 part series exploring the wonders of dvd workouts in all it’s glories, triumphs and the comfort of being at home when particular digestive postures really work.

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  • Jessica: LMFAO.. How ever, Flavianas ass is REAL! shes from Brazil they are ALL genetically mutated that way... and Beto, he is from brazillian ac
  • mia: Hi, cracked up! flaviana does appear randomly and knows how to hog the camera....but i must say she did have her "15 minutes of fame" in Latin America