Monday, November 30, 2009

Another Benefit to Weight Loss

I cannot believe how much more energy I have now! As of Sunday night my house is decorated for the holidays - and not just a tree and a few santas like I've been doing for years, but my dining table is set for the holidays, my living room is decorated - I even made a cool tree-type thing on my hanging lamp - and my family room is done up to the nines...I swear, I don't think I've ever put out so much stuff in this house, and this is our 10th Christmas here. Plus, after 17 years, we finally retired our icicle lights and bought multi-colored LED lights for the outside of the house - love the colors against our white brick! And several Christmas gifts have been bought and bagged!

This is a first for previous years I would wait to put up the tree until about a week before Christmas, and although Jeff would take down tub after tub from the attic with our Christmas decorations, I would usually only choose a few items to put out. Why? It was a lot of work! No matter that my family liked how the house looked when it was all decorated, pretty much all of it fell on me, and quite frankly I just got tired of doing it - the set up, and then a month later, the take down and packing, and setting up all of the normal things back in their place.

But something clicked in me on Friday, and I actually got excited about decorating! Made a quick trip to a couple of stores for some garland, ribbon and gold ornaments, and I got started. Another interesting thing is that this continued for the next two days - I didn't get one room done and then feel all worn out and just shove all the boxes into a corner for "later." Which, for me, usually never came. And then I felt guilty, and mad at myself for not putting out more effort...which was not a great feeling to have during the holidays. We're supposed to be happy, right?!?

Well, this year I am. And I feel very pleased with what I accomplished over this long weekend - and I know my family will enjoy it, too...all except for cracking their heads on the hanging lamp that I lowered to make the "tree" on - in retrospect, this probably would have worked better on a lamp that was hanging above a dining table, but since I switched my dining and living rooms around, the lamp I needed to use is in the living room.
I got to put my "core" work to the test on Saturday when I leaned back a little too far while I was on the ladder working on this tree - lost my balance, but was able to catch myself, which is what Brad preaches to us as we workout...being able to stop a fall, etc. Another plus for body strengthening exercises!
This is in my entry - note the slightly creepy squirrel - I bought him as a gift for my former boss, but can't bear to part with it, so I ended up back at TJ Maxx getting something similar for ex-boss, whom we will finally be having dinner with on Saturday.
Dining table with an old's getting there, but I need some red napkins and I also need to get my cute elf salt and pepper shakers down from a tall cabinet.

On Sunday afternoon I put my favorite holiday movie, Love Actually, on the DVD player and decorated the family room. I am still amazed that everything is done, except for putting the ornaments on the tree - but that is the most fun, so I'll probably do it in the next day or so.
End table in family room.
Family room - most of the decorations (including the cowboy boot stockings) were made by my mom!Hutch filled with everything - books, photos, kid's art - just a mishmash of fun memories!

I know, I know - this is a weight-loss blog, not "Decorating Cents" - but really, I wanted to share this with y'all because this has not been the norm for me. Hmmm...what might the difference be? Oh, I'd say about 100 pounds - apparently not carrying around that much extra weight makes a huge that I am still noticing! So, to sum it up: lose a ton 0f weight, gain a ton of energy!

One last soon as I was done putting the skirt around the Christmas tree, Kip claimed his place - and slept under the tree all afternoon!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cooking Light Winners - And My Thanksgiving in Pictures!

What great stories about your first pets! I was expecting to just see a name in the comments, but was pleasantly surprised to read so much more about your pets...they are wonderful, aren't they?!? Now, without further ado, I present to you the winners - congratulations Gigi (pet's name: Tiger) and Debby (pet's name: Schatzie) - you've each won a year's subscription to Cooking Light magazine! Please email me ( your full name and address as soon as possible so I can get these ordered for you!

And now, I present to you my Thanksgiving in pictures:
Paco the Wonder Dog resting with Max
Soooo sleepy...
...and he's out!
Never one to play favorites, Paco later bonds with Sam while watching Mythbusters.
Getting the veggie tray (premade from Sam's Club) ready - easypeasy! Note the two casseroles on the counter behind me - one is stuffing and the other is sweet potato casserole (recipe from Cooking Light a few years ago, ironically!)...both will go into the oven when the turkey comes out.
My plate - yes, it's too full, but really, considering it's my Thanksgiving dinner, I'm actually doing good. Turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole (kids love it - why mess with tradition?) and canned cranberry sauce (hey, I grew up on this stuff and still think it's the best!). This year EVERYTHING came out so good! I wish I could guarantee that the meal would always taste this great - some years the gravy is meh, or the turkey is just ok, but this year it all was fantastic!
Max and I - please note my silverware is in the "I'm finished" position on my plate while everyone else was continuing to have more. I am proud of myself for stopping!
Sam and Jeff - it's "No Shave November" and Sam's Amish beard is in full swing! Both boys are looking a little scraggly - it's getting toward the end of the semester and they have been swamped with schoolwork - no time for haircuts!

And in full disclosure, I had a piece of pumpkin pie later on...and then another, much smaller piece. But that was it - in my mind, I am done - back to my regularly-scheduled eating. I am proud to say that I also worked out this morning - I met my workout buddy Kathleen at a local gym where we used a one-day free pass. I did the treadmill for about 25 minutes, walking and running, the elliptical, the stair climber, and we also used some weight machines (mostly for upper body). So four workouts this week vs. one huge meal...I think I'm gonna be ok!

P.S. Sam thinks the pictures above are unflattering to him so to appease the boy I took another picture this morning:
Sam and Paco, ready for the day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday Workout Update, and Why I am Lame (No, It's Not From the Workout!)

On the workout front, I have to say that this was a killer's like Brad knew we would all be overindulging on Thursday and wanted us to "pre-burn" those calories! Um, thanks?

Monday in the gym was tough - we were supposed to do a three-minute set at certain stations - and the twist (there's always a twist with Brad - he likes to keep us guessing) was that for each set, one name would be drawn and that person had to go the entire three minutes without stopping - and IF (when, really) they stopped, the clock would stop and wouldn't restart until that person did. So of course he let me draw first, and I drew my own name - lucky me! I had ring pull ups, which are really tough and there was no way I could go three minute with out taking a rest or three. Finally made it through that one, and because I had been "up" I got to pick the next name - Jenny. Next, I was on the push up station - 10 at an incline and 10 regular...I actually like doing these, because I can see how far I've come since I started (last February I could barely eek out five pushups from the knees). Anyway, when we were done, she got to draw, and somehow picked me - ugh!

So it was all on me again, and of course I took a break - hate having to do that, because it just prolongs the workout for everyone, but it is what it is. Next draw - Jenny. So far, Ashley has escaped being the twist. Wouldn't you know that the next draw was me AGAIN?!? Unbelievable! Looking back, I really should have gone out and bought a lottery ticket with the kind of "luck" I was having on Monday! I was so glad when we were finally arms were literally shaking as I drove home!

Tuesday afternoon, there was an ominous list posted on the white board - things like "turkey - burpees" "stuffing - mountain climbers" "pumpkin pie - squats" ...and yes, it was as bad as you could imagine! Between the cardio room and the gym, we pre-burned our Thanksgiving day meal - one rep equaled one calorie. Can you believe there were more push ups?!? In the last three days I have done over 250 push ups and have the limp noodle arms to prove it!

What made the workout extra hard for me, mentally, was knowing on Tuesday that we would be doing the same thing on Wednesday morning - in fact, midway through the workout this morning I told Brad that it felt like Groundhog Day! At least he let me build on Tuesday's totals, so at the end of the workout today I had pre-burned 1,700 calories. Now I don't know if I actually did burn 1,700 calories (seems a little high to me, even though it was two intense workouts) but I'm going with it.

One nice thing is that I am not feeling the extreme soreness in my legs this week - I think a combination of really good stretching plus a little less focus on just the lower body (we were definitely in full-body mode this week) has helped, and for that I am grateful!

And now, the "Why I'm Lame" part of this post. See my left sidebar? Scroll down and you'll see the pretty awards that have been given to me. I am a complete lame-o because things have gotten away from me and while I've thanked the giver on their blog when they gave me the award, I have not thanked them here, nor passed them on to anyone else. Which is a huge part of the fun! I'm still going to be a lame-o and not pass them on - shoot, just trying to find all the rules to cut and paste in here would take up most of my nap time afternoon! And I'm actually trying to not spend every single minute online - kinda defeats the whole "living life" part of this blog. But please know that I do appreciate the awards and am as thrilled today when I see my blog singled out for one as I was the first time I received one. Much thanks and gratitude to Helen, Sunny, the Orange & Black Kittehs, Jo, Bonnie, Tammy, Amy H., Michelle, Hollie, Dana, Gigi and Kelly! Love you all!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Game Plan...and Giveaway!

A few of weeks ago, Lori suggested coming up with a holiday game plan - and I've been mulling it over in my head ever since. Last year, I did pretty good, diet-wise, during the holidays - I stayed on plan for the most part and continued to see a loss...until mid-December. It started with my work's Christmas dinner, where I lost my head and ordered chicken-fried steak (and ate every last bite!), continued the following week with a holiday event that my workplace hosted where homemade sweets and hors d'oeuvres were plentiful and believe me, I had plenty, to the several batches of homemade fudge that I kept making, the loaves of pumpkin bread...oh, it was bad. I had about three weeks of massive over-indulging, which resulted in a weight gain...and a self-imposed ban on baked goods for the following six months.

So. How is this year going to be different from last year? Well, for one, I figured out that when I eat sugar, it unleashes a craving in me where I just want to eat more and more. Because of that (not to mention the calories they contain), I plan on really limiting my treats. Now that's not to say I won't have any treats - oh, I will - but I am really going to try and make sure that when I have a sugar-laden goodie, it's either with or right after I've had a meal, so hopefully I can enjoy what I'm eating for the taste and not start cramming cookie after cookie into my mouth because I'm hungry.

And I'm going to try and estimate the calories (or look them up if I am able) to make myself aware of what I'm eating...we all know that the first bite of fudge tastes great, but does the second or third piece taste as good? I'm hoping that this will give me a nudge toward a stopping point.

One thing I did do well last year was to keep a veggie tray on hand all the time. It became a habit to take it out of the fridge every day in the late afternoon and everyone (my husband and sons, once they were home from college) would gather round for a healthy snack. I need to get back into the habit of keeping a lot of fresh raw veggies around - this is going on my shopping list as I type!

I'm also going to wear my jeans when I'm at home, and not my stretchy old workout leggings like I usually do, so I can feel if my waistband starts getting tight. I think just the reminder alone will do the trick - all I'm looking for is something to snap me back into the moment so that I realize what I'm eating.

I've worked too hard these past 18 months to have a massive setback over the next five weeks - and believe me, based on previous years, I have it in me to do a lot of damage, weight-wise, in the time spanning Thanksgiving and New Year's. With this week being the beginning of what I consider "eatin' season," I'm gearing up to protect what I've achieved and who knows...maybe even show a loss on the scale come January 1, 2010! Join me, won't you?

Speaking of good eats, this week I have two one-year subscriptions to my favorite "foodie" magazine - Cooking Light - to give away! That's right, two lucky readers will each receive a subscription! Why am I doing this? Well, I'm so thankful for such sweet, supporting comments on my 100 pound post that I wanted to give something back - y'all have really been so wonderful to me on my journey down the scale, so hopefully this will help a couple of you with your trip!
Feel free to ignore (as I reluctantly will) the scrumptious-looking cookies on the cover and proceed to the healthier fare inside this issue!

I have always liked Cooking Light (although I have not always followed their "eating lighter" lifestyle, as evidenced by my "before" pictures, haha) and about a year ago I finally subscribed to the magazine. What I like about it is that they show pictures of every recipe (yes, I am such a visual person that I need an idea of how whatever I'm making is supposed to look), and they include a variety of recipes, from Quick and Easy, to Make Ahead, Kid Friendly and Freezable.

This looks so good! I plan on making it one of the nights my kids are home over the long weekend...and woohoo, it's a 30-minute meal - just my speed!

To enter, just leave a comment stating the name of your first pet...and if you never had a pet (I'm sorry), what you would name one. Winners must have a U.S. address - and be willing to share it with me via email so I can get the subscriptions sent. I'll let draw the winners this Friday - yes, Black Friday, as I won't be out among the crowds! If the winner(s) doesn't contact me by 12/4/09, another name will be drawn. Good luck!

**Legal mumbo jumbo: Just to be clear, these are gift subscriptions that will be paid for by me, not Cooking Light.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My 100 Pound Gift to Myself...

I can't believe it - not only did I actually find a pair of boots that fit over my ginormous muscular calves, but boots that are the style I was looking for - with a low heel and a buckle detail! And the funniest thing is that I wasn't even looking for them - I was just running through Macy's at the mall, on my way to GNC to get my fish oil caplets, when I noticed that they must have had at least 40 pairs of boots on display. I took a little detour, and a very nice young man - I'm talking like fresh-out-of-high school young - asked if he could help me. I blurted out - "Sure - can you help me find some boots that will fit over my fat calves?" (apparently I have no shame anymore) and without batting an eye, he said he could - and brought me out four pairs. Now of course you know that only two of the four would zip, but oh happy day for me, one was exactly what I wanted! And at my el cheapo price point, too! I paid for them and walked on to GNC, hugging my box of boots to my chest, happy as a clam! Seriously, I felt like skipping! So without further ado, I present to you my 100-pound boots:
Note the 1" heel, and a touch of "motorcycle-mama" buckle!
Outfit I threw together for work on Thursday - I would like to pair them with a gray skirt and a purple sweater, but I will have to wait a bit until I can do some more shopping.

P.S. The brand of boots is Baretraps.
P.P.S. The sculpture that I am standing by is called Mesa and is in the courtyard of my workplace. Where I have worked for 2 1/2 years. And have seen the sculpture every time I go to work. So guess what I discovered today, when I went to lean on it for a picture? It's made of metal. All this time I thought it was concrete. Now that's what I call a good paint finish!
P.P.P.S My co-workers laughed at my newfound realization.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday Workout Update

...but first, a word from our sponsor - me! I just wanted to thank you all so much for the comments on my last post. It's been great to share my milestone with so many people. Several of you wrote about me on your blog and that touched me like you wouldn't believe - I am so grateful for the support that y'all give just can't imagine.

To answer a few commenters:
  1. I agree, my glasses are now too big for my face and I will be making an eye appointment in the next couple of months to rectify the situation. Plus, it's past time for bifocals, if ya know what I mean!
  2. My husband, Jeff, is pretty thrilled with my weight loss, although he thinks my boobs have disappeared. Due to the fact that I still have to wear two bras while working out, I tend to disagree with him.
  3. My kids haven't seen me in person since July, so I think they will be pleasantly surprised when they come home for Thanksgiving next least for the first hour - then it will be all about the home cooking!
  4. Camevil, where are the balloons and male strippers?
  5. Fran, I did get myself a gift - stay tuned for Friday's post to see what it is!
And now, we resume our regularly scheduled post:

This Wednesday Workout Update should be subtitled "Why in the Heck Am I Still So Sore?!?" Seriously, I do not understand how I can go for weeks with only minor soreness - you know, the kind that lets you know you worked out, but are not practically crippled when it comes to everyday tasks like standing up or sitting down. Major ouchies again this week! However, I do have some positives to report - I've been running on the treadmill every workout - not as much as I did when Linda was training me, but today I did half a mile with no trouble, so that should be telling me to step it up a notch and get back up to running a mile. Which I haven't done since before Maui...mostly because Linda hasn't been there to spur me on.

On the extremely sore muscles issue, I whined complained spoke to Brad this morning about it, and he said to push the water on my workout days (thought I was but I guess I will try to get more in), eat more protein (yes, this was probably too low) and um, what was that last one...oh yeah, stretch, stretch and stretch (don't know WHY this is such an issue with me - oh right, it's because I'm a baby!). Anyway, I stretched 30 minutes into the workout, and again when I was done. And I felt pretty good, although I'm starting to feel sore again as I type this post...dare I go for a third set of stretches today? Answer: yes!

The other thing I've been dealing with is a bit of knee pain - both of 'em. Really? Now?!? After I've lost so much weight? Don't know what's up with that, but I talked with the Monday cardio trainer, Andreas, about getting some glucosamine, and he recommended fish oil instead for the joints. Then Brad seconded that opinion, and the guy at GNC thirded it - so I have finally started taking the fish oil caplets that I wrote about in the memorable-for-an-earworm post, Fish Heads. I meant to get these earlier, but instead elected to spend that money on coconut gelato in Maui. Oh well, better late than never, right? So we'll see if the knee pain goes away.

Last, guess who I had lunch with today? The one, the only, the much-missed LINDA!!!
Things are finally settling down with regard to her mother - she recovered from her surgery and started chemo this week. Linda was even able to go back to her own workout yesterday, but she was actually moving worse than me, poor thing! I know how she feels! Anyway, it was SO GREAT to see her and catch up - I've been having can't go from seeing someone three times a week for eight months to nothing! Hopefully she will be able to come back to training my group soon - with her encouragement, I feel like I am capable of doing so much and I need that! Plus she is just so much fun to be around - truly a positive person who brightens up my day!

Monday, November 16, 2009

I've Written This Post In My Head Many Times...

And now, I finally get to post it.

I've lost 100 pounds!!!!!

It took me 18 months, but I finally did it! Considering that I had less than 10 pounds to go since the end of July, it feels like it's taken forever to reach this milestone - oh, you have to love those plateaus (much sarcasm there). But changing up what I eat did the trick and I finally saw that magic number on Friday morning...and again on Saturday...and again on Sunday - so I'm calling this for real!

Twenty or twenty-five more pounds left to lose and I think I'll be at a good goal weight...and who knows? By then I might be finally ready to tell y'all just how much I weighed when I started this crazy journey!

Progress photos:
Note jeans are hiding my freakishly large calves, lol!Wearing a shirt with sleeves that don't stretch and buttons down the front that aren't gaping open - it's a miracle!Just for reference - before diet...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Catch Up

Well, I am glad to know that it's not just me who has issues with boots...I received many comments that a lot of you have the same problem, so obviously the boot manufacturers have missed the boat on real women's calf sizes! Plus, Cathy has been trying to find boots for the past couple of weeks and she can't get them to zip over her calves either!

Look at the cute panel that my mom sent me - she enlarged, colored and layered it on coordinating cardstock (my mom never goes halfway!)

I wanted to share with y'all a yummy treat I found in our local "healthy" grocery store - it's called Fruit Pearls, and while similar in concept to Dippin' Dots ice cream, the flavor I tried is only 60 calories for the entire container!

This was very fresh and citrus-y tasting - the container was about the same size of an 8 oz. yogurt, so I felt like I got a lot of bang for my buck. Speaking of bucks, these were a tad on the pricey side - I paid $2.29 - but for a frozen treat, it was definitely worth it!
Nutrition info...Looked kinda funny, but tasted really good!

If you were wondering why I didn't do a Wednesday Workout Update post this week, it's because the entire post would have consisted of "Ow. Ow. Ouchie. Ow ow ow." Word to the wise: when asked by your trainer how things are going, never say you're just a pound and a half away from a major milestone...because your trainer will respond "oh, a couple of good workouts and you'll be there" - hence the ouchies! Well, that and the fact that I am a baby when it comes to stretching my hamstrings and I have paid for that by being practically crippled every morning when I first get out of bed. It gets better as the day goes on, but dang it, when will I learn - stretching after a hard workout is a necessary evil!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Favorite Subject - New Clothes!

Crazy times people. I still can't get it through my head that I am a size medium now - last week I was trying on lined tracksuits (to wear while bike riding in the cold weather) and I couldn't stop myself from bringing two of everything I wanted to try on into the dressing room - both the size medium and size large. I did not need any of the larges - and have to get that through my thick's just so weird, because there were many, many years that I would have loved to have been a size large - and yet, I'm smaller than that now.

What's even funnier is that this shopping trip comes after my best friend, Barbara, sent me a box of her outgrown size 10 pants - she is a tiny size 6 now, thanks to Weight Watchers and working out (go Barbara!). And I actually fit into most of her pants! Including a gorgeous lined pair of black Ann Taylor Loft trousers - the fanciest pants I have ever owned!

I was able to get some shopping in with my mom when we visited my parents in Oregon before we went on to Maui. We went to a huge Talbots store, where I thought we would be finally able to shop in the same section for the first time in oh, decades...but the funny thing was that we were still split - me in the regular size section and my mom in the petites (what is it with these tiny women in my life - both she and Barbara should be shopping together, lol!). Anyway, I ended up getting a red corduroy blazer, a couple of short-sleeved tops to wear under it, several long-sleeved t-shirts, and a lime green outerwear jacket. Plus I stole borrowed another cute jacket and a sweater from her closet - yes, that's right, I can actually wear some of my mother's clothes!

The really great thing about my new size and being able to shop for and fit into clothes is that I don't stress over my wardrobe anymore. If it's cold, I have appropriate clothes. If it's warm, same thing. If I need to dress up for work or an event, I can do that. Casual days? No problem! This is the first time in decades that I've felt like I can be good to go, clothes-wise, for just about any occasion. And I am happy with what I wear, because I like how I look in clothes now!

Even with all of this success, all was not peachy on the clothes front. I have been wanting a pair of black boots for years, but they wouldn't even think of zipping up over my fat calves. Well, I've lost nearly 100 pounds and was excited to go out and look for the perfect pair of boots. Um, apparently I still have ginormous calves and I think I only got one pair of boots zipped up over them. So there was that reality check, and seeing as there is no way I am going to order a pair of "wide-calf" boots at this point, I guess that little dream will not be coming true.

Oh, I do have a NSV (that's non-scale victory) to share with you. When we moved into our current house over nine years ago, I was perplexed as to why the builder had hung the set of double-rods in my closet so funny. Because when I hung my shirts on the lower rod, they touched the floor and got wrinkled - so I ended up hanging them on the upper rod (which was way above my head) and put my pants, folded over, on hangers on the bottom rod. The system didn't seem very efficient to me - I was always craning my neck to see which shirt I wanted to wear, plus I had to stretch to hang them up in the first place. But when we came back from our vacation and I was hanging up all of my new clothes, I had a light bulb moment and tried the new pieces on the lower rod - and they fit just touching the floor at all! So I rearranged my entire closet and now things are the way they were meant to be, with shirts and jackets hanging from the lower rod, where it is very easy to see everything, and my pants hanging from the upper rod. Just for fun, I pulled out the one shirt I've saved from before I started my diet and hung it up on the lower rod...and the bottom of it puddled onto the floor. Huh. At least now I can stop thinking that the builder was a bit cuckoo when he did my closet!

I'll leave you with a picture of me and my mom taken last month - btw, I'm wearing her vest!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More on the Magazine Article

Thank you so much for sharing my excitement via your comments - it means a lot to me that you all are along for the ride!

To answer a question that several of you had:

Yes, I did know about the article ahead of time - Woman's Day emailed me in late September, saying that my blog was going to be mentioned in their December 1st issue, and they "fact checked" a couple of things. I didn't say anything about it, because who knew if it really was going to happen? Things get bumped all the time in publishing, right? But then I got another email a couple of weeks ago, asking for my address so they could send me some advance copies of the issue and that's when I started to get really excited - it was hard to hold it in! And hello - seeing the article was jaw-dropping for me...when they said my blog would be "mentioned" in the magazine, I figured it would be included in a list of weight-loss blogs - never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be singled out with the two other blogs and that they would actually write a little blurb about me!<----Still walking on air, obviously!

I did find out that the issue won't be on newsstands until November 23, although subscribers have been receiving their copies in the mail. And I've already received a comment from a WD reader, so guess what, fellow bloggers? Our little world is opening up to a bunch of new people - get ready, because I'll bet a lot of you will be getting new readers from this article!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Now That's Quite a Shout Out!!!

Holy cow, I am so excited!!! My blog was mentioned in the December 1st issue of Woman's Day magazine!!! It's on page 104 - under the heading "Blog Your Way Skinny" - and if you can't already tell by the number of exclamation points, I'm thrilled!!!

Check it out:
The cover...The article...
Me walking on air Friday night when I came home to find the magazine in my mailbox!!!

Both Cammy and Roni were also featured - I am honored and humbled to be in such great company!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Awww, Look How Pretty!

I was feeling adventurous at the grocery store yesterday and, seeing that Texsun ruby red grapefruit were two for a buck, bought four (I know, you're thinking "four?" Hear me out...if I only bought two and liked them, I'd be mad at myself for not buying more. "But Shelley," you're also thinking, "what if you didn't like them?" Then I'd be ok, because it was only a couple of bucks. Oh, the things that go on in my really don't want to know!).

Ahem, back to the story. I *think* I remember my mom saying that she liked to peel and eat grapefruit like an orange (it may or may not have been her - I suffer from C.R.S. syndrome* really bad). So I thought I'd be brave and try a grapefruit for the third time in my life (really not exaggerating...I haven't found the taste for them). I peeled it, which was much harder than peeling a Clementine (obviously I have been spoiled), and then peeled as much of the white pith off of my little grapefruit ball as I could, then sectioned it and of course made a pretty spiral shape (why yes, I *do* play with my food!) and took a picture. Oh, and then I ate it.

I guess that considering it was such a pretty pinkish/red color, my brain thought it might taste like pink lemonade (well, not really...but something along a sweet, citrus-y line).

It did not.

Nor did it taste like a Clementine, or even an orange. I know, I's a grapefruit! But the sign in the store said they were "unusually sweet" - so I guess I was expecting something better than my previous experiences with grapefruit. So now I have three of these lovelies remaining, and I shall do my best to choke them down eat them. But from now on, I will view what the descriptions say about certain fruits and veggies with a healthy amount of skepticism!

*C.R.S. syndrome, for those of you who don't know, or who are lucky enough to not have to deal with it, is Can't Remember Sh*t. It's hit this 40-something hard, I'm telling ya!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Getting Back to Business mean this isn't a travel blog? Enough with Maui for a few days - I still have some funny (to me, anyway - hopefully to you as well) pictures to post, but I thought I would actually write about dieting for a change!

Once upon a time I decided to lose weight. And I did - sometimes the weight came off quickly and sometimes slowly - but it always came off. Until the month of October. *cue ominous music* From October 1st to the 15th, nothing happened. The scale didn't move down, not one bit. Of course, it didn't move up, either - but that wasn't much consolation! As I was continuing to watch what I ate AND do three killer workouts each week, I grew increasingly frustrated.

I even spoke with my trainer, Brad, about it, and after looking over my food logs, he gave me some good advice. Basically he told me to mix things up a bit - perhaps eating the same thing for breakfast month after month might not be the greatest thing for losing weight, no matter how healthy it was. I have to say that I shed a tear at the thought of not eating my beloved Fage yogurt, Kashi Golean Crunch cereal and fresh sliced strawberries every morning. Brad also thought that I wasn't getting enough good fat in my diet and advised me to cut back on the carbs (including some of the fruit - the horror!) and add in some nuts, olives or natural peanut butter.

Well, as you can imagine, these were some major changes that I needed to wrap my mind around. Luckily, I was leaving for vacation soon and knew that by being out of my normal routine and away from home, I would have no choice but to make some changes. And, as evidenced by the previous post, I ate some very different foods - but hey - I was on vacation!

Cut to my return home from vacation and all the wonders of gelato. Would I be able to get back on track, diet-wise? The (blog)world waits in anticipation...
and the answer is yes! You know why? Because I had the mindset that vacation was for having some fun with food, but being home is where the rubber hits the road. Plus, while realizing that I look like a normal person, I still have about 20 - 25 pounds left to lose...and I want to get on with it! I weighed myself on Saturday, and I was up four pounds, which wasn't unexpected. By Monday morning I was already down 2.5 pounds, and I'm hoping that this downward trend will continue. I know it sounds weird, but I was just glad to see a different number on the scale on Saturday, even though it was higher.

So it looks like mixing things up, starting with the vacation food, might do the trick. What am I doing differently now that I'm home? Well, I have actually had some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (made with 1 tbsp. of Maranatha Organic Peanut Butter, about a tsp. of Smucker's All-Fruit Spread, and an Orowheat Sandwich Thin) for lunch last week - I forgot how good pb&j tastes! The fruit selection in the store has changed and now I'm on to eating apples, clementines, a banana every once in a while, and pomegranates are back - yum! I bought a carton of egg whites and am having a 1 egg plus 1/3 cup egg white scrambled breakfast taco (eggs, fresh pico and corn tortillas at 55 calories each make for a yummy breakfast). And while I can't give up my yogurt breakfast for good, I am trying to not eat it every day. Plus, I'm changing that up a bit by reducing the amount of cereal (down from 1 cup to 2/3 cup) and since strawberries are no longer in season here, I've tried adding 1/4 cup of dried cranberries to the mix. Tasty! I do need to get to our health-food store to see if I can get the dried cranberries without added sugar, but for now the Craisins will do. With those changes, I've dropped nearly 100 calories from that meal alone.

I'm being pretty strict with myself and sticking to 1,200 calories per day. For a while there, I wasn't counting fruit or veggie calories, and while I still won't count the veggie calories (I don't eat high calorie veggies like corn or potatoes), I will count what fruit I eat toward the 1,200. Hopefully with these changes, I can finally get to the end of this journey, and start the next phase - maintenance!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mmmmm, Maui Munchies!

***Warning: This post is all about the food, so if you are feeling tempted, ya might want to avoid reading it.***

The food in Maui was soooo good (as my scale can attest, but that's another post) - the nice thing about visiting the island is that the food is local, and many restaurants would write on a chalkboard where the food was from (i.e. which local farm, etc.). It was a nice change to eat such fresh-tasting restaurant meals!
Fresh flowers decorated each course - so pretty!

On our first night in Maui, we ate at the hotel's Tiki Terrace restaurant - outside, near the stage, where we could watch the nightly Hula show along with listening to the local Hawaiian musicians, which was a charming way to begin our Hawaiian vacation! We opted for the "Native Hawaiian" meal - the picture above is the first course - local greens and veggies in a very light dressing and half a papaya - this one was a strawberry papaya and yes, it did have a hint of strawberry the color was so pretty!

The next course was a boneless, skinless chicken breast and herbs wrapped in some sort of leaf that was tied closed and then steamed - the waitress brought a pair of scissors to our table to cut open the packet. Traditional poi, a slice of taro root (which is what poi is made from) and a slice of a purple potato completed the plate. You were supposed to dip pieces of the chicken into the poi - I did for a couple of bites, but ended up eating the rest of the chicken sans poi. It's an interesting and I'm sure, acquired taste - poi - I'm glad I sampled some, but didn't feel like I had to finish it (unlike my dining companion, lol!).

Slices of fresh pineapple that had been grilled and topped with toasted coconut completed the meal - wow was this good! I don't like coconut and will avoid any food that has it as an ingredient (macaroons are safe from me, as is German chocolate cake) but this toasted coconut was really tasty and apparently opened up my world to the goodness of coconut, as you will see later in this post.

Every morning we ate at the hotel's breakfast buffet - this was part of our vacation package. While the food was good, and I enjoyed having fresh pineapple AND a variety of fresh juices like mango, guava, papaya and of course, pineapple (yes, I drank my calories...hard to pass up the fresh juice), both Jeff and I felt like we overate every morning. Apparently we were not the best at portion control when it came to a buffet...and every morning, we would try and eat a bit less, but pretty much rode the fail boat on this one. The good news was that we really didn't have lunch - mostly we wanted something salty, so I bought a big bag of pretzels, and we snacked on those, plus a some cheese...and later in the week, some chips and salsa that we inherited from another couple who was going home (thanks Nick and Anne!).
Looks like a reasonable amount, no? Sadly, this wasn't his only plate (And what's with getting the yellow plate? They had blue, green and orange, and the pineapple just disappears on this color! Yes I am strange like should see me choose plate colors from my Fiestaware collection based on what we are having for dinner!)

Other memorable meals include a vegetarian pizza made with pesto, eggplant, maui onion and other yummy veggies from the Tiki Grill, a hamburger (split) from the Front St. Grill, a hamburger (split) from the Cool Cat Cafe (voted Maui's best - Jeff had to try it), banana bread, which you could buy all along the way on the drive to Hana - and yes, everyone's was "the best" - it was too funny, seeing all the handmade signs proclaiming it so! Have I mentioned the fresh pineapple that I managed to eat every day? I have? Well, take a look at this picture:
No wonder fresh pineapple is so grows on the side of the road in Maui! We drove by this on the way from Hana to 'Ohe'o Gulch and of course I had Jeff stop the car so I could take a picture (or five) of it!

One place where we did not split our meal was the Aloha Mixed Plate, which came highly recommended by my friend Russell, who lived down the street from me when we were kids AND who was a hotel chef on Maui for a number of years - he said to get the Kalbi ribs - we did, and yum, yum, yum...they were wonderful! I kind of wish we had gone to this restaurant earlier in the week, so we could have gone back a second time - they had a lot of great-sounding things on their menu!
The ribs were served with two scoops of white rice and a scoop of macaroni salad - apparently a tradition in Hawaii - and a little container of sort-of a kimchee-type of spicy zucchini, which was great with the rice.

That restaurant is in Lahaina Town, which was about five miles south of our hotel. We also discovered Ono Gelato, which was so good we went there four times! Well, to be fair, one time was in the town of Paia, where we also had some excellent flatbread pizza at the Flatbread Company (where else?). But getting back to the gelato, I have to say that this stuff is amazingly delicious. It's actually not bad for your diet, per se...although I think having it four times in a week *might* be stretching that concept - but hey, we were on vacation! I meant to take a picture of it, but lost sight of that goal once the gelato was in hand. So anyway, I had mango and coconut, pineapple and coconut, coconut, and coconut. And I don't like coconut...but apparently I do when it's made into gelato. Or a virgin pina-colada. Or into a coconut shortbread cookie, complete with toasted coconut on top. But that's it!

Now, onto the flatbread pizza - a local in Paia recommended this place, and wow - another fabulous meal! We had half a Greek vegetarian, half something else with pesto, Maui onions, homegrown tomatoes, and more good stuff - everything was organic and local. It was so good and I enjoyed every bite!
Now THIS is a pizza!!!

As we had heard that everything in Hawaii was super-spendy, and we didn't have a ton of money to spend on the trip, we were pretty cautious with what and where we ate. Now that I'm home and can see what we spent, it wasn't all that much, and I wish we had splurged a bit more on the food and gotten some more of the gorgeous salads that I saw on many menus - which were priced at around $10 each (we would have gotten one each) - instead of having the hamburgers (which were good, and at $10 made for a very cheap meal since we split them). But better safe than sorry for the old bank account - and we had a great time anyway. Now we know for our next visit...and yes, we are already planning a return trip, we had that great of a time!