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Spinning and bagels, but not spinning bagels

My YMCA is so shiny. There’s so much stainless steel that I feel like I’ve been dropped into a silverware drawer. There’s even a shiny, silver grill over the free-weights area that seems to serve no other purpose than to be glittery and to trap Frisbees. Joining the Y is the best decision I’ve made all year. While that only includes 22 days so far, I think it’ll be sitting in the top spot for awhile.

Last night I went to my first spinning class. I spun! For almost an hour. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew the music the instructor selected would define whether I liked the class or not. I’ve read stories of other bloggers who abandoned classes filled with too much hard rock or disco music. When the opening palpitations of “Baba O’Reilly” by The Who came on, I knew I was in the right place. The instructor had a playlist of mostly rock music and some 90’s music that gave me flashbacks to MTV. I dug it. I also appreciated the irony of the song that included lyrics like “I feel like I want to die” when I turned up the tension on my bike and stood up to pedal up an imaginary hill. The instructor was just a little bit mean…and I think I liked it. I evidently like a bit of taskmaster in my trainers. “Mean” is probably the wrong word. She was tough, telling us we were responsible for turning up the tension on our bikes when we didn’t feel like it and not to slow down. And she’s right. You only cheat yourself by wimping out. She also warned me that my butt will hurt for the next couple days, so that’s something to look forward to.

Spinning was very low impact, which is good because my left foot has been hurting slightly. I think I might have aggravated my old Achilles tendonitis, though I thought that would be healed after three and a half months. So, even though I’m supposed to do some running this week for my half-marathon training, I’m going to cross-train instead so I don’t hurt myself. I WILL run the mini-marathon. I WILL NOT reinjure my foot by overtraining it this week. Okay, self? Please listen to the smarter half of your nature here. This is hard for me to do because I really want to get out there and run and start working my training program and not fall behind. But if I screw up my foot, I might not be able to run the half-marathon at all, and I might actually cry snotty little tears if that happens.

The best news? I totally have my groove back. January’s been tough. These last couple of weeks have been trying, but for the past week I’m feeling that exercise high again. I feel more driven to workout and avoid all those crap foods that make me feel like crap. I went out of my way to get some fruit as a snack yesterday when it would have been much easier and convenient to grab a free cookie and some chips. January has been hard-going though. Two weeks ago I started to get back in the groove. I went two or three days eating healthy foods, chomping on salads and veggies. I even thought to myself, “This healthy eating stuff is easy. What did I find so hard about this?”

Then the bagels appeared on my desk. Literally, on my desk.

On the last day of the contract job I’d been working, a coworker brought in a 12-pack of Einstein Brothers bagels. Bagels are bread. Long-time readers of this blog will know that bread is my Kryptonite. Not only that, but with the bagels came with a tub of plain whipped cream cheese and tub of whipped maple raisin and walnut cream cheese. I held out for an hour, looking at my computer screen, diligently trying to avoid the tasty blueberry bagels and cinnamon raisin bagels and cheese bagels mere feet away from me. Then I finally decided to try the maple cream cheese and – OMG – it was like the candy filling of a chocolate treat. It was beyond good. It was like doing heroin, really enjoying it, and now having to live the rest of my life knowing something so pleasurable is basically off limits. I told myself I would just eat 1/4 of a bagel. And then I ate another 1/4. And then it seemed wrong to eat only half a bagel, so I finished if off. And had another half of a bagel. And finally someone moved the bagels off of my desk already.

And then I went kra-zee. I was mad with hunger for the rest of the afternoon. White flour screws me up. It makes me want to eat, and eat I did.

But, I got back on track and did pretty well the next couple days. Until Wednesday, when I walked into my new place of employment and there on the kitchen table was….can you guess? Another box of Einstein Bagels. With what kind of cream cheese? WRONG! It was honey almond this time. Not quite as good as maple raisin and walnut, but damn good. And then I went kra-zee again and ate and ate and ate. So, the lesson of this story? I cannot eat bagels. They make me go mad.

The whole thing was bizarre. Previous to this week, I hadn’t even known these bagel boxes and their delectable cream cheese existed, and then twice in one week they appeared. Anyway, my eating is back to “good” levels now. I’m going back to snacking more often, which was more difficult to do at my old job. I’m also trying harder to get a mix of protein, carbs, and fat with each meal. I’ve been eating some heavy carb meals lately, but I’ll sneak some protein in there somehow. Cottage cheese, eggs, meats – protein powder if need be. I’m spinning and hanging out at the YMCA, which thankfully is not next to an Einstein Bagels joint.

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barbara • January 22, 2008 at 8:12 am

Hi PQ,

Glad to hear you’ve got your groove back! I’m struggling these days but your blog helps give me inspiration.

I took up spinning last year and it really is a great workout. I bet it will help with your running, because it helps build endurance. You mentioned your achilles tendon injury; I want to suggest (strongly) that you talk to your spin instructor or go to a good sporting goods store and talk to a shoe person, about getting special shoes for spinning. Yes, they cost some money (anywhere from $85 to $125, depending on what you choose), but they are much firmer than regular running shoes or crosstrainers, and they really do protect your feet/ankles in ways that soft sneaker-type shoes do not. They are worth the money, I think, especially if you’re concerned about injuries (and I think they help you spin “spinnier,” too). Good luck!


K • January 22, 2008 at 8:40 am

To add to what Barbara said, if it doesn’t heal with the proper shoes, see an orthopedist! Quickly! I’ve had some problems with my achilles since May, and it never really went away. An annoying pain can quickly turn into “unable to wear any shoes with any heel and can’t walk”. Turns out that my insanely high arches actually prevent my achilles from healing without orthopedic help. Feet are weird things… A month after my visit, I feel great and am just waiting for my follow up to ok me for running again.


Curvyjones • January 22, 2008 at 8:49 am

ooohhh. That stuff is like crack. When people tell me there are bagels n’ schmear in the kitchen I hide in my office until it’s been sitting out too long to still be appealing. I feel your pain!


Melsky • January 22, 2008 at 8:53 am

I’m lucky I don’t like bread or bagels that much. I just want to eat sweets, fatty meat and potatoes.

It’s funny what you said about there not being a bagel place next to the Y. I used to deliver gourmet cookies for a bakery and our biggest customer was a cafe next to a Jenny Craig. I always wondered if there was a connection.


Olivia • January 22, 2008 at 8:54 am

Bagels are food of the devil. Monday’s are bagel day in my office, and I’m usually able to resist as long as I ate breakfast at home. But, there are time I can be found sniffing the box longingly.


Sarah • January 22, 2008 at 8:55 am

Oooh bread. I hear you. My mother gave me a breadmaker for Christmas… she is plotting against me!!!


wilma • January 22, 2008 at 9:02 am

how’s the new job?

re the achilles, sometimes that last bit of scar tissue/crunchy stuff will never go away without a few physio appointments. painful (i cried during mine, to be honest), but it definitely worked.


Marla • January 22, 2008 at 9:23 am

I’ve got the same issue with white flour and sugar – it makes me STARVING. So then it seems like a good idea to have another piece because I’m so hungry. Hmmm, I sense a trend here…


psychsarah • January 22, 2008 at 9:47 am

Glad to hear you’ve got your groove back. I feel mine coming, but its not quite there yet! I feel like I’m on the cusp of giving up (again) or plugging through and moving on. It can be a day to day or hour to hour battle, but I’ll try to keep on fighting it. You continue to inspire me to fight on!

BTW, I love spinning, but really, only with my favourite instructor. The music really does make it or break it. I went to a new class last night, because the new schedule at my gym has my instructor at a time I can’t attend (damn it!) and I wanted to leave half way through because the music was driving me insane! I hope you continue to enjoy it. It has been the best way to get intense cardio, since my knee won’t let me run. My class used to be the highlight of my exercise for the week, and now I’m actually contemplating rearranging a bunch of other commitments so that I can go back to my favourite instructor!


Dyan • January 22, 2008 at 10:19 am

My treadmill arrived yesterday!!!

My treadmill arrived yesterday!!!

Thanks for being an inspiration J, but you are killing me with the bagel story! I love sourdough bread and have to go to San Fran next week on business! San Francisco, home of the sourdough bread GOD!


Courtney • January 22, 2008 at 10:30 am

I agree with the spinning shoes. Here in Colorado you can even get a pair for as cheap as $50. The stiffer the sole, the better.

Also, if you find that your bum is hurting too much, you can get a special pair of spinning shorts, that are padded down there and really help. I love mine.

Welcome to spinning. I’ve been doing it since August, and I’m in love!


Comrade GoGo • January 22, 2008 at 10:49 am

Oh god, we have boxes of Einstein’s bagels HERE too. Like clockwork, every week before the staff meeting. I have not been partaking the last few weeks and it ain’t always easy, that’s for sure.

I’m intrigued by spinning but got traumatized by the single class I took back in NYC, in which I should have probably spoken up and said I was new but instead tried to tough it out. Bad idea!


dietgirl • January 22, 2008 at 11:05 am

holy moly those bagels sound good. but SPINNNnnnnnnnnnning! I am so glad you liked it. it is strangely addictive. the music at your class sounds absolutely brilliant…


AW • January 22, 2008 at 11:16 am

what bagels are to you, chocolate is to me. last weekend i made a “brownie pizza” as seen on Paula Deen’s show. i had a few friends over for dinner/dessert and i was slightly excited inside when they left so much brownie in the pan. more for me to indulge in the rest of the weekend!

it was bad….haha!


Kyle • January 22, 2008 at 12:10 pm

PQ, that’s just another reason for you to move to Chile (ok, or at least come for an extended visit)…no bagels here! Imagine, you’d get super skinny in Chile :)


coraspartan • January 22, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Ah, God, Einstein Bagels! It is not the bagels that suck me in (although they are good too)–it’s their potato salad. I’m not even the world’s biggest potato salad fan, but theirs is super creamy and delcious, and therefore I’m unable to resist it!

Thankfully, there are no Einstein Bagels anywhere near my work or home so I don’t have to resist temptation very often.

Glad to hear you are enjoying the YMCA; I decided yesterday that I am sick of my same old routine of rotating between the elliptical, treadmill, stationary bike, summit climber and weight machines. So, to shake things up, I am going to swim today, and am thinking of starting a spinning class next week. The instructor who teaches it also teaches my yoga/pilates class, so I think I won’t hate it as much as the class I took previously; we will see!


Happy • January 22, 2008 at 12:34 pm

Mmmmmm bagels. Bagels = crack. Beware the bagels. Well, at least of the einstein variety. I found some at the groc shop that are around 110 calories or so that I quite like and that don’t send me off into a bagel eating frenzy.

I covet your back-on-trackness. Good for you!


Lora Ramirez • January 22, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Hi, PQ!

I haven’t gone to a spin class in years. I find more enjoyment in riding my bike outdoors. My fiance’ and I rode 34 miles round trip one summer afternoon last year. We never thought we’d make it back home! LOL I loved it! Oh, my butt!!

As for those bagels, I hear you! Deadly! Next time, say, “Thank you”, and walk away, fast!!


BrightAngel • January 22, 2008 at 1:45 pm

You are doing Great.

Your Bagel story reflects a large part of my life.

That is something I’ve done again and again.

Yes, it IS possible to have occasional slip-ups and still maintain a large weight-loss.

Re- the January Groove…hope I’ve finally fallen into mine.

Fat-loss is slow and hard,

while Fat-gain is fast and easy.

It’s clear that I didn’t get to make the rules.


Janice • January 22, 2008 at 2:00 pm

You have inspired me to try spinning classes, thanks!


Sally Parrott Ashbrook • January 22, 2008 at 3:11 pm

One of the upsides to major food allergies is when you look at that box of nummy bagels with the super-nummy cream cheese, you know if you eat some your head and stomach will both explode with pain. And that’s a very solid reason for avoidance.


Donna • January 22, 2008 at 3:17 pm

Spinning sounds awesome – hopefully I will get fit enough in 2008 to try it. Re: Einsteins – they just closed the one near us and replaced it with… what else? A Starbucks. My sons were totally bummed but I was more than a little relieved.


AndrewE • January 22, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Oh I feel your pain. Bread is my kryptonite as well. I can be going along quite nicely then someone brings bread and I think one piece won’t hurt…6 weeks later…ouch.


Christina • January 22, 2008 at 4:01 pm

My running schedule (for beginners) is currently derailed cuz of an ache in my lower left leg. But I haven’t been doing the cross-training I promised I would do this week yet. And I just finished a mini binge. Oy.

Good on you for spinning. I loved it when I had a gym membership, but right now I’m a bit strapped for cash, so it’s just me, my running shoes, my cardio DVDs and two-5lb weights. Better than nothing, that’s for sure. :)


KateG • January 22, 2008 at 5:05 pm

I definitely feel your pain on the bread, simple carbs, and them making you hungry. They are the reason I gained back some weight recently! Congrats on doing a spinning class. More than one person has told me how challenging they are, so good for you. Hope your foot feels better soon.


K • January 22, 2008 at 6:42 pm

How rubbish about the bagels. Although they sound delicious.

I would second the suggestion that you see a doctor if your feet keep playing up (unless they only do it when you’ve been doing something really extraordinary). I am currently banned from running because I didn’t do this… (Only while I wait to be seen by the orthopaedist, I hope!)


Bella • January 22, 2008 at 9:12 pm

Spinning sounds fun, but I’m wondering how it would be for the more out of shape among us, namely me? I know you said that your instructor said that each person in the class is responsible for moving the tension on the bikes, so does that mean that you can customize it to your level? It’s something I’d like to try, but I’m not sure if I have the stamina for it yet. Any advice would be great.

I love bagels too and am sort of sad that I can’t really have them anymore. I wonder if whole wheat bagels would be terrible as an occasional treat?

PQ – There was a kind of fat lady on the bike next to me and she did fine. In spinning class you get to set your own tension on the bike, so you can find a resistance level that works for you. Also, my instructor was giving out commands like “Sprint as fast as you can!” and different people were sprinting at different speeds. So I think the experience can definitely be tailored to your own fitness level. You might not be pedaling as fast as everyone else, but you’re not really going anywhere anyway, so who cares? And if it gets to tough, there is no shame in taking a break and just slowly pedaling during certain sections. Good luck with spinning if you decide to try it!


Donna B • January 22, 2008 at 9:44 pm

Good for you for getting back on track. I think each one of us individually has a food that “calls out to us” like the bagels called out to you. I know right now I can’t control alot of foods that I thought I could in the past. That caused me to gain any weight back that I had previously lost. It just takes time. Hopefully one day I will be able to enjoy some of these foods in moderation.


vickie • January 23, 2008 at 2:00 am

In addition to padded spin shorts – get a padded seat cover. You have to remember to take it OFF at the end of class – but they make a BIG difference on soreness. I echo the ortho doctor thing. I have custom inserts to correct foot position and they have made a big difference in legs, knees, back, neck and pain is gone.


Sue • January 23, 2008 at 5:31 am

OMG!!!Maple raisin and walnut!?!MAPLERAISINANDWALNUT!!! Dear Lord, why did I ever move to England!! We don’t have anything near as good as that here. I actually think I’m tearing up a bit!


Cindy • January 23, 2008 at 6:34 am

Spin classes sound too intense/scary to me, just yet, but you’re in a different category from me. You’ve moved into “athlete” status, where I am in “active person” mode (which is good, mind you… its just not “athlete!”). Still, your perseverance is inspiring and leads the way to the possibilities for the rest of us, and I thank you for that. Have fun with you spin class—and keep us posted.


psychsarah • January 23, 2008 at 8:53 am

Just another note to those who sound hesitant to try spinning because it sounds too tough-first off, there are beginners classes that aren’t too bad, secondly, unlike other aerobics classes where it might be obvious if you don’t get the choreography, no one in the room will know how much tension you’re using or how hard you’re working, so it’s not so bad. Also, about the butt soreness, I noticed it on my first one or two classes, but it quickly subsided and hasn’t returned.


Lynne • January 23, 2008 at 8:55 am

Spinning is AWESOME! It is the one class I never tire of…. If you don’t have bike shoes with clips I would HIGHLY recommend them. It keeps your toes from falling asleep and prevents the dreaded plantar facitis (sp) which would totally put a kink in your running !


eva • January 23, 2008 at 9:31 am

Sounds like 2008 is your year! Congrats on getting your groove back…even if it came with a side of boiled bread and whipped cheese…I have to avoid bagels like the plague. They could be the most addictive thing on the whole darn planet.


MB • January 23, 2008 at 10:45 am

Mmmmmm … bagels … mmmmmmm. My office treats everyone to breakfast every Thursday which includes fruit, pastries and the most amazing assortment of bagels from Finagle a Bagel. It takes every ounce of willpower I have to go in the kitchen and get the fruit without digging into the fresh hot bagels. I could live off of bread alone but know that the first bite will turn into a binge so I do my best to keep away from the Kryptonite.


RuralGurl • January 23, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Spinning class is a wee bit to intense for me right now, but I’ve found my own groove this month. Playing badminton everyday Mon-Fri and taking a Pilates type class, which is awesome. My problem is my knees are KILLING me. I have to admit they are better this week but still not great. Maybe it’s just going to take some time to get used to the workouts. Any advice out there for my ol’ creaky knees.

Bagels…hhmmmm I love Bagels, but my real weakness is donuts. You know us Canadians and our Tim Horton’s on every corner…even when you live in the country.


chris • January 23, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Brownies or anything else chocolate or sweet (like granola bars) are my bagels. I bought some of those sweet & salty granola bars yesterday…they were gone by this morning. Arrgh.


myskinnyfiles • January 23, 2008 at 11:27 pm

After reading your spinning experience at the Y… I decided to go to mine and try it out too. :-P

The hour went by…surprisingly quickly. The instructor was so enthusastic (really fit guy in his 60’s). He made us all sing together….the song…from Fragma “I need a miracle” Hahaha. It was hilarious and fun…I’ll definitely go to the class again. :-D

Thanks for the motivation.

I have your love for bagels as I do have my love for chocolate. It’s very very hard not to buy chocolate when all the AMAZING chocolates are on sale everywhere from christmas time. Uh…I have about a dozen boxes unopened, and a dozen boxes opened….totalling 10lbs of chocolate.

Yikes….but they are sooooo heavenly…. what do I do? (And no… I don’t want to share.) :-P


Laura • January 24, 2008 at 12:16 pm

Congrats on the new job. Hope the bagel madness isn’t a regular thing around there, though, and it was an anomaly. Trigger foods are a bitch, aren’t they? I’m like that with ice cream. Thankfully that’s not a regular office treat around here.

Great idea to cross train if you’re feeling a little week in the foot. Glad to hear you love your Y.

And on your previous post about your freezing cold run–good on you! I’ve not run in anything below 35*, and I am OK with the treadmill enough that I probably won’t be changing that any time soon.


MamaMaven • January 24, 2008 at 3:10 pm

I love spin class and the music can totally make or brake it. The worst for me is techno music–I need words to latch onto when the going gets rough!


Elastic Waist • January 28, 2008 at 5:45 pm

Totally into spinning, but you are so right that the music can make or break a class. That’s why I like the one where there’s lots of Michael Jackson and Taylor Dayne. :)


judy • May 14, 2009 at 10:42 am

Love your blog! Recipe alert!

I found this on GroupRecipes.com Maple Walnut Spread or Dip Recipe

1, 8 oz. pack of cream cheese at room temperature

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup dried cranberries or golden raisins

1/4 cup maple syrup

Mix all of the ingredients together and serve.

How I changed the recipe to be a little more low carb : 1. Use only a 1/4 cup of raisins or cranberries but CHOP them up. It spreads the flavor around. 2. Use 1/8 to 1/4 tsp maple extract and your sweetener of choice. I use a pinch of Stevia. I saw a recipe that only used 2 TBSP each of walnut and raisins but I like the extra nuts and fruit. NO BAGELS!!!! Use celery sticks or serve with fruit.


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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