Thursday, July 30, 2009

Food, Glorious Food!

Check out the detail and clarity in this picture - I think I'm getting the hang of the Macro setting on my camera!

Look what I found at Sam's Club the other day - single servings of Biz's favorite cheese! I have to say, this cheese is really good and does not taste low fat at all! I was excited to see these little packets - they will be fun to have for a snack at work, and how easy is this? Just toss a couple of them in my lunch bag...finally something I don't have to prepare!

Speaking of preparing food, I also found Orowheat Multi-grain Sandwich Thins at Sam's - got a 16 pack for $4.23! I hadn't tried them, but of course had read about them over and over in blogland, so they came home with me. While I don't think they beat a good slice of bakery multi-grain bread, they are pretty tasty, and a nice size. I made a great turkey/pepperjack cheese sandwich, piled high with lettuce, tomato and spicy brown mustard - YUM! I think they will be great to use as buns when I make my Blackbean Chipotle Gardenburger...I think I know what's for dinner this weekend!

I know I'm not buying organic, or even local (not that there's a huge option for that around here), but you can't beat Sam's Club on their produce prices. I do try to get food grown in the U.S., however. Thanks to all the abundant fruits available this time of year, my fridge looks like a fruit stand at the moment - it's filled with strawberries, nectarines, cherries, apples, and watermelon! Plus lettuce, mushrooms, cucumbers and avocados for salads - I love that I have all this food in my fridge and that I'm not letting it go to waste - we are actually eating everything we buy instead of finding some yucky, slimey veggie in the "rotter" (which is what we called the crisper for years).

It feels like I am spending a lot on groceries, but in actuality my overall food bill is way down each month. We hardly ever eat out, we never pick up fast food anymore, and we don't buy much in the way of convenience foods - about the only thing I buy already prepared is pico de gallo, and that's because our local grocery store makes it great, cheap and hey, if my eyes don't have to burn from chopping up onions and jalapenos, then I am all for it! I'm shopping a lot more often, but this time of year, I hardly put anything in my pantry - most everything is fresh and goes straight to the fridge. What an evolution - and in just over a year's time. You couldn't have told me that I would be eating like this a year ago...I didn't think I had it in me. But I did, and do - and I like fruit! Who knew?!?


A big thank you to everyone for weighing in (haha) on my jewelry options - it was funny, because while I was trying on those shoes, I thought about necklace #3 (my Grandmother's beads) and was all set to go with them...until I got home and saw the other necklaces hanging there. I wore set #2 - it won by a wide margin. But the next time I wear that outfit, I'll probably wear #3. I also liked Camevil's suggestion of pairing the shoes with something brown - I have a pair of brown capris so I'll figure out a top and bam - another fun outfit! Have I mentioned how much I'm enjoying dressing these days? Lose weight and like clothes much more - who knew?!?

I wasn't able to get a full-length picture taken at the reception today - there was a huge chemical fire just north of us and our neighboring town was being evacuated south - to our town. It was a crazy day, and we went ahead with the reception, but it was not as well attended as it would have been had the chaos not been happening. Oh well. No one was hurt in the fire and that's what is important. Anyway, here's a picture of me at my desk so you can see the necklace and earrings combo that won.

Before I put on a sweater (turquoise, natch) because our building is over air-conditioned!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday Workout Update AND Help Me Put Together My Outfit (Pretty Please)!

I am celebrating! Not only did I go back to my workout 12 days after gallbladder surgery, I managed to go all three days! I definitely took it easy on Monday, but pushed a little bit harder on Tuesday during strength training - it was upper body isolations, and there was only one thing that pulled on my stomach so I substituted a different exercise for it. Funny thing - later that evening, the endorphins must have kicked in (not too much later, as I go from 4-5pm) and while I was laying on my bed watching Big Brother (now you know my shameful secret - reality tv), I was all revved up and though "I want to run tomorrow!" So during today's workout, I did - well, jogged - but woohoo, I did it and it felt great!!!

I will cop to feeling a tiny bit sore in the stomach area, but hey, that's what rest periods are for. I'll ride my bike tonight baring any thunderstorms, and again on F/S/S and by Monday I should be good to go for working out again. Can you tell that the post-workout endorphins are still in full gear right now?!? I'm so glad to be feeling this energetic and GOOD again! Now, what I did probably isn't for everyone who has surgery, but it felt right for me. So don't feel bad if you aren't quite up to speed after an illness or surgery - this just how it worked out for me. Oh, and I got my surgeon's OK to resume exercise, um...yesterday.

And now...on to my outfit. I decided to reward myself for working out by taking a little trip to one of my favorite stores, Kohl's. I tried on a bunch of cute tops that fit (yay!) but only bought one (see, I have some restraint), plus a pullover sports bra that I plan on wearing over my other sports bra - hoping to reduce the bounce factor when I run. But the most fun thing I bought was this cute pair of patent-leather turquoise sandals:
And now this is where you come in...I'm trying to put together an outfit for work tomorrow. We have an artist's reception (we have at least one a month - I think this is our third, no joke, for July) and I'm going to wear my little black dress (actually it's just a jersey knit bought a while back for dirt-cheap from you-know-where), the new shoes, and some sort of necklace/earrings combo. What's crazy is that I have three options to choose from...but if you knew me, you'd know that I love jewelry and have quite a collection. And, when you are plus-sized, jewelry almost always fits!

Here are the choices - and it goes without saying that I do not have a lot of photographic skills (ironic since I worked for a photographer for four years) and am just now figuring out the "macro" setting on my camera:

(interesting fact: a former co-worker bought me these earrings at the Princess Diana exhibition in Houston a few years ago)
(interesting fact: the beads belonged to my Grandmother and I used to play dress up with them when I was little)

So...which combo would you choose? Leave me a comment by 8:00 am Thursday with your favorite - majority rules!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Num Num Num Nectarines!

Hey look - I actually fit a serving of fruit in my Fiestaware fruit dish (which is really tiny, if you ask me!)

I decided to branch out with my fruit and bought a bag of nectarines the other day - and boy are they good! I literally kept thinking "num num num" as I was eating this one! At around 60 calories, it's a great snack...especially if you happen to eat more than one (Who, me? Num!).

I went back to my workouts today! It was so good to see Brad, Linda and the ladies in my class. I took it very easy in cardio and went at my own pace just to see how I would do. Walked on the treadmill at 3.0, did the dreaded stepper at a level two (loved it!), and rode the exercise bike at a decent pace, but I didn't use the "arms" on it. Strength was all leg isolations, and it felt good to tire my legs out for a change. On one exercise I did feel it a bit in my stomach so I took it easy with that. Overall I'm feeling really good - didn't overdo it at all, so hopefully tomorrow afternoon I can continue to build on this.

One nice thing happened in class - both Brad and Linda said at separate times to me "you've lost weight" - how cool that they could tell a difference! I am really feeling motivated to get the final poundage off...and I'm approaching a MAJOR MILESTONE in my weight loss, so I just have to keep up the momentum!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

New Toy!

Well, after more than a year of dieting, I finally have a food scale - thanks, Mom! This is the last item in my "healthy kitchen arsenal" - I have two sets of measuring cups and a cool magnetic set of measuring spoons, along with a couple of extra tablespoons, but I never got around to buying a scale. I like this one - you can put a plate or bowl on it, press the "tare" button, and it resets to zero so when you add your food item it gives you a true measurement. Plus it's pretty small so it was easy to find a place for it in my kitchen cabinet - I don't like a lot of things on my counters when I'm not using them.

In the past, I have tried to estimate a portion of meat by visualizing the "deck of cards" image, but I always wondered how close I actually was. Tonight, after we grilled pork chops I weighed one - it was 6.6 oz. Then I sliced some off, trying to get to 4 oz. and came close - it was 4.4 oz. Not too bad for my first time!
A bit too much!

Just about right!

I think this will really come in handy with meats, pasta, potatoes and cheese. For example, I have a great Cooking Light bowtie pasta recipe that calls for 6 oz. of dried pasta - and the package I bought had 16 oz. - hard to measure accurately, because the amount I needed was less than half. At this point in my diet, I'm eating small portions of whole wheat pasta or red potatoes on occasion, but I am still pretty cautious about portion size - moreso than with fruit and veggies, which I eat as much as I want.

This is something I probably should have had a long time ago, and would recommend that anyone who is serious about watching their calories get one. This particular scale was $24.95 from Amazon - not cheap, but I think definitely worth it!

And in other news, I rode my bike tonight for the first time since my surgery! I started out slow, but everything felt good so I ended up riding for four miles - not bad for someone who hasn't exercised in nearly two weeks! I will go back to my workout on Monday, and believe me, I can't wait! Yes, I will be careful in what I do...but really? I just want to get back into my routine. So any exercise is better than no exercise, and no, I can't believe I just typed that! Oh how I've changed in the past year!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Losing Weight and Feeling...Guilty?

I know this is going to sound strange...but since my June 1st weigh in for Ang's Summer Challenge, I have lost A LOT of weight without having to work all that hard at it. Like 15 pounds. And I feel kind of guilty. It shouldn't be this easy. Shoot, it HASN'T been this easy for over a year! But weirdly, the pounds are disappearing without a lot of effort, struggle and pain...everything that I am accustomed to when it comes to weight loss!

Don't get me wrong - I am happy to see such a huge change in my size and on the scale. But it freaks me out at the same time - like I don't deserve to see such a big loss since I haven't been starving myself, or working out to excess. I've said it before and I'll say it again - with me, losing weight is mostly a mental thing. It was when I was in high school and starved myself down to 82 pounds, and it is today when I choose to feed my body healthy food.

So what have I been doing different since the beginning of June? Well, obviously my gall bladder attacks and subsequent trying to prevent further attacks have changed my eating a bit. I have avoided grease like it's the plague! I haven't had red meat (not even a hamburger, which I was enjoying about once a month) - and except for some pork tenderloin on our anniversary, I've only eaten chicken.

I pretty much have a big salad for dinner every night filled with all kinds of veggies, fruit, nuts and half an avocado, along with some grilled chicken on top.

I stopped limiting myself on the amount of fruit I eat per day, and went through a ton of fresh cherries, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon - really, whatever looked good at the store, I bought and ate it. I've even perfected my fruit smoothie - 2 cups of frozen fruit to 1 cup of water, blended - yum!

I still eat my Fage/berries/Kashi Golean Crunch for breakfast just about every day. Sometimes I'll have a Luna bar and fruit for lunch, sometimes I'll make a fancier version of my faux egg mcmuffin (using a real egg and 1/2 a slice of pepperjack cheese instead of eggbeaters and fat-free American cheese) if I'm really hungry. I snack on raw almonds. And I have two(!) Dove dark chocolate Promises almost every night after dinner.

Except for the past week, I've worked out three days each week with Brad and Linda, and usually got in a good bike ride 3 - 4 evenings every week.

I just realized something. This is what I DO. Without really thinking, planning (ok, I have to plan some in order to have fresh food in the house and clean clothes to wear to workout), putting it off or fighting it. I think I unconsciously declared a "cease-fire" with myself without realizing it until today. Wow. This has been a really enlightening post to write. Thanks for coming along for the ride with me!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wild Texas Storm Tonight!

Jeff holding a handful of hail about an hour after it had stopped falling.

Backyard - there IS a patio somewhere under all the shredded leaves and hail!

View from our driveway - the water-filled pond is normally a grassy area, but tonight it served its purpose, which is to provide drainage for our street! I've never seen water cover the concrete drains, though.

...and to think I was going to take a leisurely bike ride around my street after dinner this evening!

It started raining around 7 pm tonight, and then the hail came. We actually went into the garage and watched it fall - it got bigger and bigger until it was the proverbial "golf ball" size - at which point we closed the garage door and headed see the trees in the backyard blowing like crazy, with rain crashing down alongside heavy thunder and lightening. Then our local weatherman came on with a tornado warning! Jeff and I grabbed the animals and headed into my closet, which is the biggest indoor room in the house. The imminent danger went south within a few minutes, so we were back to watching the storm...and then it turned around and headed back our way! Crazy times, I'm telling ya!

We'll have to see tomorrow when it dries out if there has been any damage to our roof - frankly, I'm amazed that we didn't have any windows break from the huge hailstones hitting them! I know this is probably going to sound strange to many of you, but I much prefer earthquakes - they just happen. No long lasting storm, no warnings...BOOM and it's done.

I'll leave you with one last picture...I believe the caption says it all.

A fool and his dog.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Today is my fourth day post-op and I'm feeling really good. I didn't take any of my prescription pain pills yesterday, which was my goal because three days of feeling woozy due to druuuugs was enough for me, thank you very much! I'm definitely sore, and my stomach muscles are very tender and let me know if I start overdoing it (like bending down to get clothes out of the dryer, etc.). Mostly I'm walking around - we even went out for a couple of hours yesterday. I wandered through PetSmart and played with the kitties that were up for adoption, but happily left with only some dog and cat treats for the current menagerie. Which, if you knew me, you would know is something of a miracle!

I have at least a week before I will go back to my workouts - and then I'll concentrate on the treadmill and bike. My surgeon said no lifting for 2 - 3 weeks...sigh. How will I EVER get my Samantha Harris arms?!? Oh well. I'm going to do what he said - I don't want to cause any problems that might delay my recovery.

As for body image, I'm doing my best to ignore my HUGELY BLOATED stomach right now. Logically I know it's a result of the air that they used to inflate it, and the swelling caused by the actual surgery itself. But it's hard to see after all the time and effort I've put into shrinking my body...time, hopefully not too much, will bring it back to normal soon.

Thanks so much for all of the encouragement and support - it has really meant a lot to me!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Do Not Adjust Your Monitor...

Yes, I'm hopped up on pain pills so now is the perfect time to redo my blog, right? I'll be back to check this in the morning to see if everything looks ok!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Honey, I'm Home!

Flowers sent by my workplace - they know me so well - I love purples and pinks and especially mini-carnations!

Well, the surgery is over and I am now minus one gallbladder, which was full of stones! Everything went well, and while I am in pain, it's being managed pretty good thanks to some Darvocet. One thing I didn't expect was to hurt near my collarbones, going toward my shoulders...apparently that is the result of the air they pump into you in order to see everything laparoscopically. It is about on par with the incision pain! But I've eaten and had lots of water and moved around the house a bit between naps, so that's good. According to the doctor, I will probably hurt worse tomorrow - so we'll see. I have my meds, my TV remote, and computer access when I can drag myself out of bed (which I should be doing periodically), so hopefully I'll be able to weather whatever my body throws at me.

Thanks again for all the well-wishes!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fiestaware Makes Me Happy...

...and other random thoughts!

My dishes. New pedestal bowls are on top shelf - peacock and shamrock.

First off: I love dishes. If I were rich and had a huge kitchen in which to store them, I would own a bunch of different place settings. Alas, I am not, but about five years ago I changed my dishes to Fiestaware, which is relatively cheap (around $20 on sale) for a place setting. Between birthdays and Christmases past, I now have a gorgeous rainbow of dishes in my cupboard that I love to look at. Some day I would love to have one of those vertical plate holders in my kitchen and also some (not all, as I'm not that neat and organized) open cupboards so I could see my dishes whenever I'm in the kitchen.

You know how sometimes when you order a "main meal" salad at a restaurant, they serve it in really big bowls? Panera Bread does this, and I love it. Well, we've been eating huge salads for dinner a lot lately, and I had the *brilliant* idea to see if Fiestaware made any big bowls that would work for our salads, so yesterday afternoon we were off to an antique consignment shop that carries Fiestaware seconds - and I found these pedestal bowls, which are perfect for my ginormous salads! I admit, I drooled over many other items (square and rectangular bakers? I need them!), but except for a couple of extra small cereal bowls, I didn't splurge on anything else. Here's how tonight's salad looked in my new bowl - and I have to admit, it seemed to taste better!

Another delicious salad in my new bowl - this one had blueberries, dried papaya, English cucumber, green onions, sliced mushrooms, grape tomatoes, chicken, avocado, walnuts, romaine and Newman's Own Light Balsamic Dressing - and yes, this is a serving for one very hungry person who did not manage to finish it (eyes are still bigger than stomach, it seems).

In other news: We saw Bruno today and all I can say is Oh.My.God. It was wild!!! Just a word of warning...don't go if you are not comfortable with male nudity. I'm just sayin'.

Three days to go until my surgery, so what would be a good thing (yes I'm being sarcastic) to happen right about now? Gold star to everyone who guessed a visit from my least-favorite Aunt, along with cramps. Yay me? And the funny thing is that I have to go tomorrow to have blood drawn for a pregnancy test - it's part of their anesthesia protocal - and although I'm going to call the pre-op nurse tomorrow morning to be sure, I suspect I'll still have to do it.

Thanks to everyone who left comments regarding the surgery and my worries about getting back to exercising. What I'm planning on doing is going back to the actual workouts on Monday, July 27 - even if it's just doing some light treadmill/bicycle/rower work and maybe a little something in the strength room. I figure it will be good to get back into the mindset of exercising, even if I'm taking it easy. Of course, I'll start out walking around my neighborhood before then...and who knows, maybe even do a leisurely bike ride! Obviously I am planning on everything going well and me having a quick and easy recovery. I guess there's two ways it could go, so I'll plan for the best - why not, eh?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

New Year's Goals - Review and Revisions

OK, so it's a little past the half-way point of this, better late than never?

Here are the New Year Goals I listed on Dec. 31, 2008 - first is the goal, then my one-month check in is in bold, and finally my half-way check in is in purple:

· Meet with a nutritionist (I believe I can do this through my health plan) and go over my food intake, which leads to: My health plan no longer employs a nutritionist, so any nutritional counseling would have to come from my regular family practitioner – and as dieting doesn’t seem to be his “thing” I don’t think I will bother with him. I no longer feel the need to check with a nutritionist - what with all of the reading I've done via books, magazines and blogs, I think I have a pretty good handle on my food. This one is DONE.

· Track my food intake and keep daily calories to 800 - 1000, with emphasis on protein and fiber (unless the nutritionist recommends otherwise). I’ve been pretty successful with this – some days I’ve gone as high as 1,200 to 1,400 calories, but overall it’s been right around 1,000. When I last tracked (about 5 weeks ago), my caloric intake was around 1,200 most days. I'm trying to eat intuitively, and I'm not tracking. So far I've lost weight. I'll have to revisit this one later in the year to see if it's still working for me.

· "Shake It Thursdays" - this means that I will drink my NutriMed 420 shakes and have my favorite 300 calorie garden veggie pita from Pita Pit for lunch, for a total intake on this day only of approx. 620 calories. Thursdays are my crazy busy days - I work from 9 to 6, then go to a meeting at 7:30, and I finally make it home for the night around 9 pm. It's just easier to not have to mess with trying to eat full meals on this day. This has worked well for me; I’ll continue doing it for the next month. Haven't done this in months - although I will admit to having a protein bar now and then for lunch when I'm super busy...but I usually have had a good breakfast and end up eating some fruit and almonds for a snack later on. I'm gonna call this one over - I'm done with relying on shakes for meal replacements.

· I will not eat baked goods - I have too many opportunities at work (hellooo, cakelady!) with receptions, open houses and fundraisers, and if I just mentally know that these are not an option, then there will be no opportunity for overindulgence. Excellent policy to have – we had one reception, one open house, one staff birthday party and two meetings with treats. I’m going to try and keep with this until my birthday in June. This worked great for me - and in June, I did have cake for my birthday and anniversary...and a couple of cookies as well, which I do believe was the direct result of starting that sugar craving back up after the cake(s). I am back on my "no baked goods" policy - it works for me, and helps to curb the mindless "just a bite" snacking that I am prone to.

· Get back to taking a multi-vitamin every day. Yep – I even had to buy a new bottle as I finally finished my old one. Still doing this!

· Increase my exercise, which won't be hard at this point, seeing as I have not been doing my Wii Fit or riding my bike lately, which also leads to: Not so much. Very little bike riding – it’s just been too cold for me. Very little Wii Fit as well. Must work harder at this for February. Well, I work out three days a week with Brad and Linda, and in late Spring I started riding my bike 4 - 5 evenings a week for a good five miles. I'm happy with the amount of exercise that I'm getting now - although if I never had to do box jumps or burpees ever again, that would be ok with me!

· Choosing a tiny bit of exercise (walking) over a great parking space. Yes – it’s funny how proud of myself I am when I park and walk a bit to a store! Still doing this - even when it's 105 degrees and the parking lot is burning hot! I look at it as not only exercise, but I get to work on my "parking lot tan."

· Read "Refuse to Regain" this month - even though I'm not at my goal weight, I don't want to go backwards at this point...which also leads to: Haven’t read it yet – got caught up in Dietgirl and other library books. I will read it this month. Done - great book, lots of motivation to stay at my goal weight (whenever I get there!).

· Get to my goal weight by my birthday (June 2) - oh, and finally figure out what my goal weight is...150? 130? I really don't know right now. I’m losing, so that is good. But I still don’t have a goal weight. Do I really need one at this point? Or can I just see how I feel when I weigh 150? Not there yet...although I still don't know where "there" is. I think I'm about 35 pounds away from being in the vicinity. I do think I will use the "favorite jeans" method of MizFit to stay at my right size, as opposed to a number on a scale. Or I might choose a range to stay in on the scale. But to do that, I'd have to *gulp* buy a scale! Will address this later on - no need to fret about it now.

This has been kind of fun to see where my mind was six months ago, and where it is now. Onward and downward!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Keepin' It Real, Yo

Yesterday during my workout, I cried. Out of fear - I had to face an activity that freaks me out, scares me and makes me think I'm going to hurt myself. Here's what happened...

We were doing the "Filthy Fifty"* - 50 reps each of "boy" pushups, butterfly situps, Superman abs, 10-pound curls/presses, ball slams, kettlebell swings, jumping pull ups, high knees, um...something else that I can't remember, and box jumps.

Now box jumps scare me. A lot. Brad uses a stepper, like this one, on five risers. Did you get that? FIVE risers - which makes that thing TOWER in the air. Actually, I just looked up the dimensions, and all totaled it was about 14 inches high. Which is really tall, especially considering that I'm pretty darn short - 5' 1". I am very intimidated by this exercise - in fact, I've only done it one time previously, and that was using two risers. And it was scary and hard then!

So I was nervous, knowing that I had to face the dreaded box jump. I put it off as long as I could, and then I had to do it. I was petrified - it took me several false starts to do my first jump - and I barely managed to get my toes on the box. It's like you are jumping from the very bottom of your feet straight up in the air - and in my book, the only person who can do this is Steve Austin, aka the Six-Million-Dollar-Man.

And I was supposed to do fifty of these???

I was freaking out, internally - and then I tried again, and didn't make it. And I tried again and barely got on the box. And then the tears came. I hate being so afraid of something! I really didn't think I could do it - this was the thing that I could not conquer. My body was not strong enough to do this. I took a couple of minutes to duck into the restroom and try and compose myself - oh yeah, have I mentioned how much I hate crying in public? And yet I am a crier, so unfortunately many people have gotten to see me in tears.

I went back out to the dreaded box step, where Brad gave me a hug and suggested removing one set of risers so I could build up my confidence. Believe me, I still wasn't confident that I could do this. But this is why I am going there - to do things that my trainers tell me to do, because I know that I won't push myself the way they push me.

So I jumped again. And landed on the box. Both Brad and Linda cheered me on. And I kept doing it - and you know what? It never got easier. I was still freaking out, and had several more false starts. Linda sat next to the box step and talked me through it - and I finally got my fifty in. Damn, that was hard. Mentally and physically. I don't want to face that again for a long, long time.

But I got through it.

*Brad likes to name his crazy workouts - there's the Filthy Fifty, the Three-Fifty, the Bottom-to-Bottom Tabata, the Forever Tabata...and many others - most of which I block out of my mind the instant we are finished!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

At Last, A Date!

I finally met with my surgeon yesterday and got my gallbladder surgery scheduled for next Wednesday, July 15. It will be outpatient, and done laparoscopically...unless there is a problem once he begins. Since 95% of the gallbladder surgeries are done by laparoscopy, I have a lot of hope that mine will fall into that category. Just in case, cross your fingers for me on the 15th, ok?

I have to say that I can't wait to get this over with and get on with life. It's been a challenge, being very careful with what I eat and yet still having to deal with stabbing pains after pretty much every meal. At least I haven't had another attack, but I'm always worried that one is imminent. From reading the literature the surgeon gave me, it may take a few weeks for my digestive system to adjust to life without a gallbladder. That sounds like fun - NOT. I have a feeling I may be sticking close to home for a while!

I am concerned with my workouts and when I will be able to go back to them. I don't want to lose the exercise mindset that I've worked so hard to get to - after all, deep down inside of me is a lazy woman who has been biding her time, waiting to stage a coup and bring me back to my former inert self. That woman needs to stay locked up for good!

The surgeon said I probably wouldn't feel like doing anything for about a week, but recommended that once I feel ok, to start out with walking and bike riding. He also cautioned me about using weights once I go back...said I should use fairly light ones and be careful not to strain my stomach. I am irritated by all of this because in the last month or so, my endurance has really increased and I have been powering through my workouts. Argh! I hate to backslide.

I guess there will be roadblocks periodically in my path to a healthy, fit me. The thing I need to remember is that I don't have to stay stopped forever - remind me of this in a couple of weeks, would ya?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Caution: Rant Ahead

You know, I am generally a live-and-let-live person. Seriously, who's to say what is right or wrong (aside from the usual baddies - murder, abuse, etc.). But recently I had a conversation with a woman - someone I know from a program that we are both in - not a friend per se, but still in all, someone whom I would like to see happy. She was telling me, in an ashamed/confessional way, that she is scheduled for "mommy makeover" - aka a tummy tuck - at the end of this month.

Now, she has gained quite a bit of weight over the last year and is probably 40-50 pounds overweight. But she is hyper-focusing on her lower abdomen and that lovely flap of extra skin and flab that a lot of us ended up with after having children...and gaining weight. Here's the thing: her upper stomach is big, as is her face and arms - I mean, that's what you look like when you are overweight! But she has fallen for the pitch of a local plastic surgeon who markets his "mommy makeovers" to these insecure mothers of young children. I am just sickened by her trust in this doctor - she honestly believes he has her best interest at heart! Come on - she can't just get a tummy tuck and look good - she will still be fat in other areas of her body! And the capper? When I asked her why she doesn't just try oh, I don't know, say dieting and exercise, her response was that she wants to look good NOW. Well, don't.we.all. When I pointed out that without changing her eating habits, she will regain the fat that the surgeon has removed, she said that she would change the way she eats after the surgery. Riiight. Sorry, but knowing how hard it is to make those changes, I don't buy that.

I'm just so frustrated by this - the woman, who is going for the "quick fix" and not bothering to look at the issues INSIDE that obviously need addressing, and the doctor, who runs the ads in our local newspaper and on TV, preying on the vulnerabilities of women, making them feel less than perfect because their bodies are not the same as before they had children.

Body acceptance is a tricky thing. I mean, if we fully accepted our bodies as they were, probably most of us wouldn't have bothered to try and lose weight - we would have been happy with ourselves, fat and all. So being dissatisfied with our overweight selves and doing something about it is a good thing. As long as what you choose to do is reasonable and healthy. Now, this is coming from someone who, after losing more than 85 pounds, still has saggy baggy upper arms, jiggly thighs and a stomach that is far from flat. I have somewhere in the area of 35 pounds left to lose - and at this point I don't know if losing the rest of the weight will make a difference in my "trouble areas" - but am I willing to go under the knife to "fix" them? NO. You see, I have two shining examples of healthy women who are my inspiration - both Lynn and Lori have lost over 100 pounds, eat healthy, exercise regularly and look fan-freaking-tastic. The acceptance and love that these women have for their bodies is something that I aspire to - after all, it's the only one I have, and it's done all right by me for 46 years now.

I just wish that I could get this across to that woman.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Oh! Nuts - The Winner!!!

Thanks, everyone, for entering my very first giveaway - it was so fun to see what you all would choose from the Oh! Nuts website! I wish each and every one of you could win, but alas, there can be only one...and that one is:

Woohoo, congratulations!!! Send me your info and I'll forward it on to the nice people at Oh! Nuts - enjoy your dried blueberries!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Shocking Picture

Just over a year ago, I became the proud owner of a pink Hawaiian Electra Cruiser bicycle. Longtime readers may remember the pink bicycle saga, chronicled here, here, here and here. Yes, I might have been a bit obsessive over it, what can I say?!?

At the time, I had been on my diet for about five weeks and had lost a decent amount of weight - close to 20 pounds. I remember being so excited when the bike finally came in, and I had my husband take pictures of me standing proudly with my sweet new bike. I uploaded them to the computer, fully intending to post them on my blog. And then I got the shock of my life - I was huge! Still! But how could that be - I had lost nearly 20 pounds! I was wearing new, smaller clothes - a 2X top and size 22 capris - how in the world could I look so ginormous?!?

Let me tell you, it was a tad depressing to see just how big I was and to realize that I had a long, long way to go. But I'm here to tell you, change can happen. It may not be quick, and it may not be easy, but making those lifestyle changes - eating healthy foods in moderate portions and adding exercise to your life - will eventually make a difference. I'm ready to show you the picture from June 2008 now...

And for comparison, here I am just over a year later - still not "there" yet, but a hell of a lot closer! Wearing a size M top and size 12 capris - and feeling pretty good about myself!

To everyone out there, no matter how much you have to lose, how big you are...YOU CAN DO IT!!!