Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday Workout Update - Boring Edition

This week I am on my own for working out - my trainer and his gym, like many businesses in our community, are closed this week for some much-needed R&R.

Let me just get this out of the way first: I NEVER, EVER, IN A MILLION YEARS, thought that I would miss my regular workouts. But it's true and I do. Let me also state that it is rather boring doing weights and other strengthening exercises by myself. I am terrible company! I realize that I have become rather spoiled, being able to go to my little classes with a great group of people, and doing a workout based on whatever my trainer has designed for that day or week. I miss the camaraderie, and I miss the accountability and encouragement. Having this time off has made me really grateful that we are able to fit the cost of my workouts into our budget. I am not very happy doing this on my own. Monday, January 4th can't come soon enough for me!

That said, I am not really behind in my workouts. To recap, last week I did my regular M/T/W workouts with Brad, took Thursday and Friday off (like I always do, as I work those days, although I was off for the holiday), then got all motivated to go running (thanks to my new gear) on Saturday. So my exercise has gone like this:
  • Saturday - Running about a mile
  • Sunday - Running about a mile and a half, plus walking at least another mile
  • Monday - Off (my legs were surprisingly sore)
  • Tuesday - Jump rope, push ups, MizFit's plie squats, chest press and Arnold curls using old weights and weight bench in our very cold garage
  • Wednesday - Similar to Tuesday, unless the rain stops...then maybe a run or bike ride
  • Thursday - Run?
  • Friday - Run?
It's not bad, and I'm feeling a little soreness in my arms, which means to me that I pushed myself enough doing the weights. But except for running with Max (who jogs backwards, talks to me, leaps around and does crazy things to keep me going), my exercise has been bo-ring! Oh well. At least I'm doing it, which is really amazing, considering this is ME, sloth of all sloths, after all!

Monday, December 28, 2009


My new URL, domain, whatever you call it - my blog is officially a dot com now, thanks to Sam and Max - this was their Christmas present to me! I think everything will stay the same for you readers as far as however you come here (bookmark, follower, feed <----I actually have no idea how that works), but you can now find me at Much, much easier to say than my previous URL, which is why, when people would ask me how to find my blog, I'd usually tell them to google me. I know, how lame. Just in case, you might want to update your bookmarks.

So coming up with the name proved to be a challenge, as I obviously wanted something a little easier to say. Using my first name wouldn't work, as it's often misspelled (Shelley, not Shelly), and a lot of the ideas we had were already taken ("Fit and Happy" was taken, but "Fit and Sad" was available - and yes, this is one of the suggestions Blogger came up with!). Eventually we came up with my journey to fit, and I have to say that I love it, as it embodies what my ultimate goal is - not necessarily to be skinny, but to be healthy and fit.

It was also funny that pretty much everything I received for Christmas had to do with my "new" lifestyle! Jeff gave me a detachable wire basket for the handlebars of my bicycle - now I can take my water bottle with me, and perhaps one day ride to the store and carry home a few groceries! He also got me a cute purple fleece pullover in a size medium, as the one I have been wearing for warmth after working out is so big that I can feel a breeze when it's on! And the last thing he gave me was a Timex Ironman (Ironwoman? It's pink, after all) watch so I can time myself when I run!

My mom (and dad by proxy - you know who really chooses the gifts) gave me a bright green Under Armour short-sleeved shirt and a purple Asics long-sleeved pullover - which I love! I have to admit that when I first held it up, I thought "there is no way this will fit me" even though it's a medium. But happily, it does! And on Saturday, I put on my new tops, laced up my still new running shoes, strapped on my watch, grabbed Max, and went running in my neighborhood! During daylight hours!! With my neighbors outside!!! I did not die of embarrassment, but there were a couple of times when I thought I might keel over - I need to work on doing the same steady pace outside that I do inside when I'm on the treadmill. I had a much better run on Sunday (I know, two days in a row!) - you wouldn't think there is so much involved in running other than, um...running - but apparently there is!
I was sucking in my stomach for this picture - dang, I wish I looked like this all the time! I have no idea why Max struck that pose, other than he's Max, lol!

The other Christmas gift I received that ties in to my whole lifestyle change was this picture frame, with a photo of me in my sweater dress in it, from my friend T. As someone who has ridden the blasted scale up and down several times in her life, she knows all-too-well how easy it is to fall back into the old way of doing things, and is really trying to help me remember to stay in the now. I think she did it perfectly with what is written on the frame, and I have it right by my computer, where I see it on a daily basis.
The wording on the frame says: "Live in the present and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering" - says a lot, doesn't it? (You can also see my new pink watch in the shot!)

Let me know if you are having any issues with accessing my blog and I'll get my crack team of experts (i.e. my sons) on it right away. Or whenever they wake up - they are on winter vacation, after all!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Recap

It was fun, I ate too much (but less than I would have a couple of years ago, so that's progress, right?) and everybody had a good time. P.S. The paper crowns come from the English Christmas Crackers, which oddly enough do not contain any crackers but rather the crown, a fortune and a small toy. Tradition in my household for decades!
Max and I.
Sam and my Uncle Phil, who was visiting from Florida. Sam is blowing the horn that came with his cracker - very appropriate, as he was a trumpet player in school!
Jeff trying to make some music with the harmonica that came with his cracker while Max waits for his turn.
My dinner, and look - the edge of the plate is showing!

I just wish I could get myself out of the mindset of a "blown" day of eating when I have things that are not normally on my menu. For example, starting the day with two small pieces of Christmas Breakfast Casserole, which had eggs, white bread, skim milk, cheddar cheese, Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, onions and red and green peppers - nothing horrible except for the white bread and sausage, and really, not bad considering I only have it once a year. And our dinner wasn't awful in the way of healthy eating, either - spiral-sliced ham, hash brown casserole, sweet potato casserole and steamed broccoli, with pumpkin pie for dessert. So why do I feel like the day is a lost cause, diet-wise, when I eat this way? One day is not going to make me regain all of the weight that I've lost. I sometimes wonder when my mind will realize this!

As for the presents - everyone got some, including Paco the Wonder Dog. While he loved his new toy and giant cookie, I think is favorite thing was playing tug-of-war with the ribbon!
All the shredded paper is from Paco unwrapping his new toy (the thing with the orange middle).
Sam and Henry, crashed out...I'd say it was a busy day, but not really - they just got up too early!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Busy Christmas Eve = Relaxing Christmas Day!

The gingerbread houses have been picked over - note the teeth marks in the icing on the roof of the house on the left...that would be Max's two front teeth!

I learned years ago that if I wanted to have a relaxing day on Christmas, I would have to do a lot of prep work the day before...but it's so worth it to pretty much just have to shove pans into the oven at various times on Christmas day and end up with a couple of good meals that my family loves. So today I made our traditional Christmas Breakfast Casserole (pretty much a strata with a fancy name), hash brown casserole, sweet potato casserole and two pumpkin pies (can you believe Sam's Club was completely OUT of pumpkin pies?!? I had to go all retro and actually make mine from scratch!).

The kitchen is clean - for now - and my house smells like pumpkin pie, so that's good. Gifts are all wrapped and under the tree - and to answer, the tree skirt was not put back as I was too lazy to move all of the presents. It'll be back under the tree sometime tomorrow once we have the grand unwrapping!

I have to say that once again, I am finding myself snacking a bit now that the boys are home. Must.stop.myself. Nothing too bad, but more than I normally eat. By the way, did you know a mini-candycane has 15 calories?

I hope those of you who celebrate Christmas have a wonderful day tomorrow...and those of you who don't have an equally wonderful Friday!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wednesday Workout Update - Early Edition

I know you are all dying to know what my costume was...well, thanks to Roxie who said "I think you should take a page from Aunt Bernice of Sugarbaker's fame and wear your Tree Skirt" - I took that suggestion and RAN with it!
Why no, I have NO shame!

I wore the Christmas tree skirt that my mother made for us many, many years ago (had to move the presents that were under the tree, but that's ok), along with a green t-shirt that I decorated with red ribbon, wood ornaments that my Grandmother painted a long time ago and battery-operated lights (had to de-decorate the hanging lamp, but that's ok). My pièce de résistance was the star - I glued a big gold star onto a 25-cent "Happy New Year" tiara. I held it in place with the sweatband that I always wear to workout in and can you believe that it didn't move during the entire workout?!?
Brad explaining our special workout - please note that he's pointing to "burpees" and SMILING!
Doing the First Day of Christmas - a plank row narrow push up (although my "skirt" is hiding them, I am on my toes)
Taking a quick break before doing the Tenth Day of Christmas - twisting crunches (Brad was standing on the highest box jump while taking this picture)
Finished! I think it took me around 45 minutes to complete this workout - the outfit may have slowed me down a bit. I'll find out for reals when I do it AGAIN this afternoon at 4:00 pm!

When I started my workouts in February, there is no way I could have envisioned that by December, I would willingly don a Christmas tree costume and do an entire workout in it...although I was the only one in our group to have made a fool of herself gotten into the Christmas spirit, I had fun and am glad I did this - and believe me, this is something I never would have done a hundred pounds ago! Call attention to myself? No way! This was going a bit (ok, a lot) outside my comfort zone. But now I'm just embarrassing myself for me, not for my fatness. And that's ok.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Our First Annual Gingerbread House Decorating Contest!

Team Awesome vs. Team Hug It Out, Bitch. Bought the houses already made because let's face it, this probably would have been an entirely different post about houses collapsing had we tried to build them from scratch.

We had a great time, although with Max on my team, I was a little concerned as to what he would want to use for decorations...when he was younger, his Halloween pumpkins were carved and then impaled with nails - yes, real nails from Jeff's toolbench! This boy has an imagination, I'm telling you! As it turned out, he should have been worried about having me as his teammate because my piping skills are pretty bad. So bad that I tried to do the outline of one window and he took it over from me and did the rest of the house. I did get to put the candy on - and in the process, ate some of the mint M&M's and a couple of mini candy canes. Truthfully, I felt a little sick after all that sugar. But you know what? Munching on some of the candy was part of the fun and I don't regret it at all.
BeforeTeam Awesome (Max and me)Team Hug It Out, Bitch (Sam (Mr. Incognito) and Jeff)
Finished - Team Awesome on the left, Team HIOB on the right. Guess which team was declared the winner? Hint: Not Team Awesome. :(
Other view - note that Team HIOB had enough extra time to build a gun turret and a casket for a dead Christmas tree (have I mentioned how much fun it is having boys?!?)
Team Awesome's very awesome scene on the back, complete with a man, woman and cat (started out as a dog, but everyone thought it looked like a cat...) - and again, can you tell I have boys?!?

I have to say that except for some candy on Sunday, my eating so far, with the boys being home, has been right on track. I do have to be a little more mindful of not eating just because I see them having a snack. It's their vacation, not mine, and I need to remember that. But I have good meals planned out for the next week, and all of my healthy foods are in-house, so cross your fingers for me that I will stay in control - I want to end this year on a good note and hopefully with a loss for December.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow for pictures of my Christmas workout costume...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Wrap Up

First of all, thank you for the GREAT costume suggestions! I loved them! From Sunny's use of a "boatload" of cotton balls and going as snow (giggle), to Camevil's pink bunny suit ala A Christmas Story, to Steelers6 idea of putting a pillow in my workout top and going as Mary, about to give birth to Jesus (double giggle), y'all just cracked me up! Several of you had the candy cane idea, and Rudolph, as well as a Christmas tree. I am going as one of your ideas - actually, a combination of what a couple of you suggested. I got all inspired on Wednesday afternoon after I read the comments and put my outfit together...not going to ruin the surprise - you'll just have to wait until next week when I post the picture of my awesome costume. I just hope I'm not the only one in my group who dresses up - Jenny, Kathleen - are you listening? Don't let me down, ladies!!!

Ok, remember how impressed I was with myself for doing those chest curls using 20 pound dumbbells? Well, in a conversation Thursday evening, my 69 year old coworker let it be known that she does chest presses using 40 pound dumbbells! Of course she tried to be nice about it by saying that she only does three sets of fifteen, not one hundred like me...but heck, that's almost half of one hundred at twice the weight! My bubble is burst. I have a long way to go, apparently. Sigh.

And now, on to another salad - this one had such potential - it had clementines, dried cranberries, broccoli, lots of (don't look, Biz) green onions, cucumber, mushrooms, avocado and of course lettuce - I used my favorite Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette for the dressing...but it didn't quite come together. It was almost too "squeaky" if you know what I mean. Any suggestions?
It looked pretty, anyway...

I am happy to report that I made it through last night's annual work event that tripped me up so badly last year. This is a huge Christmas party with tons and tons of sweets and savories - and last year I got started on the food and never fact, I actually took some of the super delicious sugar cookies that night and put them in my desk drawer for the next day! It was B-A-D bad, people. But this year, knowing how far off the deep end I was capable of going, I had an apple and a couple of clementines as a late afternoon snack, and then eventually had two tiny meatballs, something that was herbs and cheese, baked into little squares (one square for me), a bit of bruschetta tomato mixture on two little pieces of garlic bread, one peanut butter/Hershey's Kiss cookie and one coconut macaroon. That was it! I consider that a victory compared to last year. Controlling myself around that much food was much easier this year - I don't know...maybe I've had more practice?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday Workout Update and Please Help Me With a Costume!

On Tuesday Brad had a *special* workout just for me...I got to do 100 incline push ups and 100 chest presses, which is pictured above. Can you believe he wanted me to do that with 20 pound dumbbells?!? Can you believe that I actually managed to do them with 20 pound dumbbells? It took me a while - I did a set of 38, then 13, then 12...and on and on until I finally reached 100 - I was shaking so much toward the last 30 reps or so that he had to steady my arms to make sure I didn't drop the weights onto my face! This was wild - I never thought I was ready for such a heavy workout, but that's why I go to Brad, because he knows more than I do what I'm capable of doing. I will say that when I got home and went to pull my sweat-soaked shirt over my head my arms weren't quite working properly...but I was surprised that putting on my sports bra and shirt this morning didn't kill me. Of course, there were more upper body sets on the menu today, including a tricep press that looks similar to the chest press...I only managed two sets of 11 of them. My arms are screaming at me now! Ah well. This is what I want. Really!

Ok, now I need your help - Brad has thrown down the gauntlet. If we come to our Monday workout dressed in a Christmas costume, we can choose one exercise to be exempt from for the entire month of January; of course you know I would choose to not do those dastardly burpees! So the outfit has to be something that I can workout in - which rules out my first idea, a Christmas gift (picture a big gift-wrapped box around my torso with my arms and legs sticking out) - and it can't just be a Santa hat. Plus I don't want to spend much, if any, cash on, that said, do y'all have any ideas?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Food, Glorious Food!

I haven't done a food post in a while so I thought I'd update y'all on what I have been loving lately.

First up is the delicious combo of Fage 0% plain yogurt, 1/4 C. Craisins and 2/3 C. Kashi Golean Crunch, topped with a hearty sprinkle of *pumpkin pie spice. This is so good! The seasonal flavors of cranberries mixed with pumpkin make me happy every time I eat this! This meal, which I rotate between breakfast and lunch, clocks in at 313 calories and is the yum!
All ingredients ready for assembly...A thing of beauty! I sprinkle the pumpkin pie spice on the yogurt and then again on top of the Craisins and MUST try this!

Next, I have been eating peanut butter almost every day - either on Orowheat Sandwich Thins as a pb&j, or having a tablespoon of it with a sliced apple as an afternoon snack, which really seems to hold me quite a while - must be the combination of fiber and fat? Any case, until recently I've never had peanut butter and fruit (really, in my old way of thinking the only other combination besides jelly for peanut butter was chocolate!) but I have to say that I really like it. And although I was raised on (and raised my kids on) Jif (yes I am a choosy mom!), in the interest of making it as healthy as I can, I'm using MaraNatha Organic peanut butter - which, I'm surprised to say, I really like. Never thought I would tolerate anything except Jif...but my tastes have changed apparently.
Does anyone else slice their apples pretty thin to in order to make it seem like you are getting a lot to eat, or is it just me that employs such trickery?

This next item isn't really food, but I thought I would update you on the fish oil caplets that I've been taking for a couple of weeks now. The odorless fish oil caplets? Well, most days they are odorless. However, once in a while I get one that gives me the worst fish burps - and I loathe fish. And nothing, not even chocolate, can cover up the smell. I may rethink the benefits (Omega 3's, good for your joints) vs. negatives (the aforementioned burps) before I buy these again!

Ok, back to food. Yes, I know it's winter, but we are still loving my salads. Jeff thinks they are better than any restaurant salad, and while I mostly agree, I still say that anything that someone else makes for me tastes pretty darn good! The most recent ingredient list includes romaine lettuce, English cucumber, sliced mushrooms, green onions, garbanzo beans, little broccoli florets, diced avocado, **toasted chopped walnuts or pecans, Gorgonzola cheese, dried cherries and Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing. Jeff sometimes always wants some chicken on his, so I've been buying already seasoned and cooked chicken breasts that come individually frozen - just toss one in the microwave, slice and throw on top of his salad. As I only add up the "real" calories (I don't bother with the lettuce, cucumber, mushrooms, broccoli or onions - too little to count, really), these salads come in around 370 - with "good" fats coming from the avocado and walnuts. When strawberries come into season again I'll swap out the dried cherries for the fresh strawberries, which would lower the calorie count quite a bit. These salads, while a little labor intensive, are so tasty! I really encourage y'all to experiment with different salad combinations (and let me know what you think is good)!
Forgot to add garbanzo beans to this one...and yes, there is lettuce under all of the toppings!
Hunkering down with my salad - now that the kids are gone, we mostly eat in front of the TV (something I rarely allowed when my kids were little) - HGTV's House Hunters is a favorite dinnertime show! Please note my everpresent Camelbak 24 oz. water bottle - I drink several of these each day. Please do not note the lack of makeup, oversized sweatshirt and Crocs...sometimes comfy and warm does not always equal stylish!

On the pure veggie front, going from one of Biz's ideas, I've been ***julienning zucchini (using a peeler, but a mandolin would be much quicker), steaming it, and tossing it with salt and pepper - it's like zucchini pasta! I tried sprinkling some Parmesan cheese on it, but found that we needed quite a bit to actually taste it, so I just leave that off now. This is a great side dish.

Broccoli is another veggie that I've been eating a lot lately. The other day, I had a ton of broccoli florets remaining from a three-pound bag (and this was after serving it twice over the Thanksgiving weekend). At the suggestion of my best friend, Barbara, I made broccoli soup. I diced and sauteed a huge onion in a tablespoon of butter (I couldn't resist!), added some garlic, then poured in a box and a quarter (what was left over from T-day) of chicken broth, brought it to a boil, and added eight cups of broccoli (told ya I had a lot left over). Simmered that for a while - until the broccoli was pretty tender - then used my immersion blender very carefully (caution: hot soup!) and blended all the broccoli and onions together. Added some salt and pepper and that was it! It was nice and thick and tasted great! Best part was that I didn't add any milk or cream, so again, this was incredibly low-calorie, yet very good-for-you (thanks, broccoli!). You can also add a little shredded cheddar to your individual bowl for fun, and if I'd have had some fresh pico de gallo on hand, I would have added that to the top of my soup as well.

Finally, thanks to Lynn's post, I have been dying to try some hot teas - specifically Celestial Seasoning's Candy Cane Lane and Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride flavors. Well. Apparently they aren't huge in my town...I checked every grocery and natural food store around here, and only came up with a box of the Candy Cane Lane tea. I finally thought to check their website, where you can enter your zip code to find which stores in your area have the specific tea. Would you believe Dollar General was the only store that came up?!? I never in a million years would have thought of looking for "specialty" tea at a dollar store! Anyway, Jeff went out and found one box of SCSR tea, and also a box of Gingerbread Spice. I am surprised at how much I like the flavored hot teas - as I am not a fan of those fruit-flavored iced teas that have become popular lately. But dang, these are good! So far the Candy Cane Lane is my actually has some substance to it, which surprises me considering there's zero calories, no caffeine and no artificial flavors in it.
Tea - who knew?!?

After reading this incredibly long post, if you still need some ideas for good food, has recipes online from the authors of "Cook Yourself Thin" - they have been releasing new recipes every week in anticipation of their newest cookbook, "Cook Yourself Thin Faster," that comes out on December 29th. You can enter to win a cookbook - click here - and also check back with me in a couple of weeks, because I should have one to give away around the new year!
*This idea comes courtesy of Lynn!

**Did you know that you can toast nuts in the microwave? I heard about this from Lori - I just fold a paper towel on a little plate, put a handful of nuts on the towel, and microwave for about 90 seconds. So easy! If I've forgotten to do this earlier in the day, then I put the plate in the freezer while I'm preparing the salads so I'm not adding hot nuts. Important thing to remember is to get them out of the freezer...a couple of times I've been halfway through my salad and pulled a Homer Doh!

***Biz actually sauteed her zucchini in olive oil, which sounded great, but I like the ease of steaming (I'm not quite the chef that she is, lol!).

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pants Panic

True confession time. I still am fearful of pulling on a pair of pants that I haven't worn in a few weeks - what if they won't fit? I know this sounds crazy, but believe me, after living with this for years and years, the old "pants panic" still comes back to haunt me like it did Thursday morning.

Backtracking: In order to have my morning run smoothly and get to work on time, I like to put my outfit together the night before...and Wednesday evening I chose a pair of black pants, size 10, that I bought in September, along with a black long-sleeved t-shirt and a short-sleeved purple top to layer over (it's cold here), along with coordinating jewelry - why yes, I do have fun with this! Anyway, getting back to the pants - on Thursday morning as I was taking them off of the hanger to put on, I had a moment of panic, coupled with that horrible, pit-of-the-stomach sick feeling, that the pants wouldn't fit. Logically, I knew that they would fit - I have lost weight since I bought them, so there is no way that they wouldn't fit. But the panic was still there, and I hate that.

Looking deeper into the cause of these feelings, I can see that it stems from the fact that whenever I've lost weight in the past and bought new clothes, they never fit me for long because I inevitably started regaining my weight back rather quickly. This is the first time in my life that I have lost weight, kept it off, and continued to lose more weight. I'm charting new territory here, and it's scary sometimes. Obviously I have not let go of the old me, the way I used to seesaw on the scales (more see than saw), and the constant threat I lived under of having my clothes not fit because I had gone up yet another size. I guess that even though I know I'm doing what I should to keep my new body, I still don't trust myself. I wonder if I ever will.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday Workout Update

If it's Wednesday than this must mean that I've made it through another week of workouts - go me! But before I get to my recap, I have to tell you about this "doh!" moment I had a couple of weeks ago...remember the day after Thanksgiving, when I met one of my workout friends at a gym (she had free passes) so we could get some exercise in? Well, I was excited because all of the cardio equipment at that gym has individual televisions and I was looking forward to having something to distract myself while I jogged on the treadmill. So I got all set up, found the control for the TV, clicked to HGTV, got the treadmill started, and turned up the volume on the TV. Huh. I could see the little bars on the screen move, but no sound. So I watched the TV in silence. Now, to my credit, my friend and I were the only ones on the cardio equipment at that early hour of the morning, so it wasn't like we could see what other people were doing. But later on, as more people trickled into the gym, I realized that they brought their own headphones...and oh, whaddya know - there's a place to plug them in so you can hear the TV! Homer "doh!" to the max!

I know I sound like a real dodo-head, considering I've been working out since February, but the gym that I go to has a small cardio room, and while there is a TV in the room, we mostly don't pay much attention to it since we are doing small group workouts. So now I know. And I hope you've gotten your laugh for the day!

Ok, onto the recap. Monday was the Dirty Thirty in the gym - 30 reps of 10 exercises as fast as you can. I improved my time from 40 minutes in September to 24 minutes...but please know that box jumps are one of the 10 exercises, and I spent a lot of time in that 40 minute set trying to do one damn box jump. This go round, I just did step-ups on the box, which was 18 inches high...I am still in awe of anyone who can actually do box jumps, and there were a couple of ladies in my group who managed to do them!

The other fun thing about Monday's workout was that in the cardio room, we did six minute sets on a piece of equipment, with all three trainers (Brad, Andreas and Ellie, our newest cardio guy) posing questions that, if answered correctly, would buy us some easier time on the equipment...if we answered wrong, we got 30 seconds of really intense burn. The questions ranged from "what country produces the most vanilla?" (Madagascar, not Mexico like I answered) to German-born Andreas' "who is the chancellor of Germany?" (Merkel, not Kohl like I answered) to "what is Brad's favorite cartoon character?" (Batman, not Spiderman like we all thought) to "what was the final score of the U.T. vs. Nebraska game?" (13 - 12 - I should have known this as I watched the game!). Anyway, we all had a good time and agreed that the thirty minutes of cardio went by really fast!

Apparently I've blanked out whatever we did on Tuesday, so I'll move on to today - we did a 3-6-9 workout in the gym: 3 squat thrusters holding dumbbells (I had 12 lbs.), 6 push ups (from the toes) and 9 squats - do as many sets as you can in three minutes, rest for one minute, and do it again...and again...and again - for a total of five times. I held steady on five sets per three minutes, which was an improvement from the last time we did these, so I was happy. Brad keeps records of these crazy workouts and it was nice to see that my endurance is getting better - I had some several sets of fours and a couple of fives last time.

Now, you've probably gotten the idea that the whole "group dynamic" thing is a pretty big deal at the place where I go for my workouts. Most of the time we are either working as a whole or in pairs - and I have to say that this really motivates me, especially when I have a partner. Today in the cardio room, Brad had teamed up two people (Hi Jenny! Hi Kathleen!) for a 10-minute workout on the stepper - one person on the stepper, holding the 16 pound ball, which makes you use your core to balance. That person stays on the stepper for as long as they can, and then they switch...but the catch is that every time you switch, Brad increased the intensity of the stepper.

I watched them do this, knowing that I would be next...and quite frankly, was not looking forward to it as I really don't like the stepper very much. But, this is WHY I go to my workout do these crazy things that I would never do on my own. Trust me, after doing this for nearly a year, I know how far I will push myself, and how much further I will let my trainers push me. And there is a huuuuugggggeeee difference! It's worth every penny to me for what I get out of these workouts.

And that's why I was shocked today when the woman that I was paired up with for the stepper workout threw the ball away as soon as Brad handed it to her. He then picked up the six pound ball and that one to her...and she knocked it out of his hands as soon as he offered it up. What??? Why would you come to a place like this and not do what your trainer is telling you to do?!? Color me shocked! So Brad told her if she wasn't going to do the exercise correctly then she wasn't going to do it as all. He sent her off to the rower, and I got on that stepper and stepped like no one's business! Let's just say that I was more than a little motivated to do well after that little scene...I surprised myself with seven minutes before I took a break and handed it over to a different woman, who finished out the set.

I don't know where this woman is with regard to her workouts. I do know that I've tried to make conversation with her over the past six weeks that she's been coming, and have been either shut down or dismissed enough that I pretty much keep it to "good morning" now. So I wonder - why does she bother?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cookies and Clothes

You can probably tell by my size in my "before" pictures that there was a time when I had given up watching what I ate and just accepted that I was a big person. Ahh, good least when it came to eating. Because once I went with that attitude, life was great, especially this time of year! I never worried about how many homemade treats I was eating. Cookies, pumpkin bread, peanut brittle, See's Candies, Harry and David treats - you name it, I ate it...and LOTS of it! It really was fun to eat with no restraint and very little remorse. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed being able to have my cake and pie and eat them, too.

Now, I will admit that there were some, shall we say, consequences that came along with my "eating with abandon" plan. Of course there were the medical issues, like high blood pressure, and severe heartburn and acid reflux, but there were pills for that, right? The main thing that I hated having to face was the clothing issue. Because let's face it - you can be big, you can be happy, but when you are under 5' 2" tall, and 100-plus pounds overweight, you are very roly-poly. And you pretty much look like crap in clothes. I know I've written before about the trick mirrors in the Lane Bryant dressing rooms - you know, the ones where you are trying on size 24 pants and tops and you look in the mirror and think, "hey, that doesn't look too bad" and then you buy said clothes, bring them home, all happy and hopeful that you found a cute outfit...and then harsh reality hits when you go to wear the outfit and get a look at yourself in your own mirror and wonder what the hell happened to that cute outfit?!? Yeah...that was one of the least fun things about my plan.

For the longest time, I owned black pants, black capris, wildly-printed tops (because that would make my size blend in, right?) and a few tunic-length sweaters. That was it - no dresses, no skirts...nothing fun or dressy or "just right" for that certain occasion. I made do with what I had, and in fact, dreaded social events because I never had the appropriate outfit. Of course, one reason why is that I didn't want to spend money on clothes that I might only wear once or twice before changing sizes (which I was doing on a pretty consistent basis...and the sizes weren't exactly going down, if you know what I mean).

I guess I wanted to say all of this because I know it seems like I'm always posting about new outfits and such. It's like I'm a kid in a candy store when it comes to clothes right now (sorry, bad analogy!). But for me, the clothes are part of a trade-off. This holiday season, I am making a lot of conscious decisions to NOT EAT the homemade goodies that are popping up at work. It isn't easy and it isn't automatic. And I will admit that it's getting harder and harder to keep turning the stuff down - with so much yummy-looking food at work, some days I am just going hour-by-hour in making those decisions. A couple of things are helping: For one, I remember what happened last started with a few cookies and before I knew it, three weeks had gone by where I had indulged over and over, and not only did I gain weight, but it was really hard to stop those sugar cravings. I don't want to go through that again this year!

The other thing that is helping to remind me that I don't eat like that anymore are clothes - I have clothes, people! And I enjoy getting dressed every day! It's fun to put outfits together...I finally have a nice selection to choose from, and I like how I look when I put them on! No magic Lane Bryant mirrors needed - my clothes look as good at home as they did in the dressing room! And I really like going shopping and trying on clothes now. Get this: clothes fit - more often than not! I have choices now. It's fun to drop by my local TJ Maxx once a week and see what new things they've gotten in and grab a few items to try on. Sometimes I buy something; most of the time, I don't - but when I do, I absolutely love it, as that is my "new" rule of shopping. You see, before, if something actually fit, I bought it, because it was such a rare occurrence. But now, most everything fits, and since, like most of us, money is tight, I have to really really love whatever I'm considering buying.

So, without further ado, I present to you my newest acquisition - a sweater dress. Yes, a sweater dress - something that is unforgiving when it comes to the lumps and bumps on a body - I actually bought a sweater dress! Can you say woohoo? Because I sure did in the dressing room!
I have loved and coveted sweater dresses for years, and even though Lane Bryant carried them in my ever-expanding size, let's just say that for once, their magic mirrors did not work when I tried them on. Oog, it was bad! So when I saw this at TJ Maxx the other day, I had to try it on...and darned if it didn't fit! I loved how I looked in it from all angles - a first for me! I knew it would be perfect with black tights and my 100-pound boots...and Saturday night, I wore it to a nice dinner with my co-workers and ex-boss. I felt like being able to wear this dress was a great reward for turning down all those cookies! And I will remember how I felt in this dress over the next few weeks, when more and more goodies will, no doubt, tempt me.

P.S. Please excuse the lack of ornaments on the tree - we finally got it decorated on Sunday!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Catch Up

I forgot to mention in my Thanksgiving post that when my sons walked through the door, seeing me in person for the first time since July (not August as I'd originally thought), they were shocked, amazed and dare I say it...proud at seeing how much weight I'd lost! That was fun! In fact, while I was talking to my older son, Sam, he interrupted me and said "Your glasses are huge on you now!" - confirming what I pretty much already knew, although in his frame of reference, I looked like Rita Skeeter from Harry Potter.
Really Sam? Rita Skeeter? Whatevs, dude.

On Sunday, I was telling my mom about their reactions and she brought up an interesting point: they have never seen me this thin. In their entire lives. HOW FREAKIN' SAD IS THAT?!? You know, I could really go down a self-recriminating road thinking about this...but I won't, because what can I do about the past? Absolutely nothing. Well, except learn from it. So I may not have been fit and thin when they were kids, but by god I will look good in their wedding pictures! Not that that's happening any time soon...but better I said that than "in pictures with my grandchildren," right? TOO SOON! (Says the woman who made her own mother a grandmother at the age of 45, hehe!).

The other interesting thing that happened on Thanksgiving is that while I spent the same amount of time on my feet in the kitchen as I have in years past, my feet didn't hurt! I always blamed the sore feet on my tile floor, but I may have to rethink that (and replace the blame) - chalk up another bonus for taking off major poundage!

When I posted this cryptic entry, Camevil commented that she had balloons and male strippers on standby, and I called her out on that in this post. Well, color me red-faced, surprised and inordinately pleased when I found THIS on her blog! Thanks, Cam - you are so sweet!

If you look on my sidebar, you can see a new award there - the Atta Girl, given to me by Diane! Thank you, Diane - I really appreciate it! Click on the award to see where it all originated.

And now, my hair. I went to my regular gal, Mika, to get my hair cut on Wednesday. I kinda thought she was doing something a little different while she was cutting it, but as I always like what she does, I just waited to see how it would turn out. Well, not only did I love it, but the funny thing is that I had cut a picture out of the newspaper last week of a hairstyle I really liked, but didn't bring it to show Mika - I don't know why, exactly...just thought I wasn't ready for it. So here's the picture that I cut out:
While I can't wear bangs like this lady's (too many wayward cowlicks), I loved how the sides flip out!

And this is what I ended up with - again, all without saying anything to my hairdresser!
Please excuse my washed-out look - this is me with no make up. This should serve as a reminder to me to NOT leave the house without putting some make up on!

How funny is that? She said that since my face is so thin (!!!) now, I needed to have the length hit where it wasn't "pulling my face down" - I think it's hilarious that I ended up with the hairstyle I had been secretly considering! She's good, I'm telling ya!

Alright, I think I'm all caught up - hope y'all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday Workout Update

First things first. LINDA CAME BACK TODAY!!!!! Ahhh - all is right in my little corner of the world! Her mom is tolerating chemo very well, so Linda is easing her way back by working one day a week - Wednesdays just became my happy day! Not only are we friends, but she knows me and my limits (and how far I actually *can* go) and she really pushes me to do my absolute best in the cardio room, even when I am thinking "there is no way I can do this" - but guess what? I can.

Today, because Linda knows I would like to run a 5K someday (she thinks I am a lot closer to being able to run it than I do), the treadmill was all mine. Can you believe that I jogged for 14 minutes?!? That's how long it took me to hit a mile (apparently I need to up the pace just a bit) - I haven't run a mile since early October, before we left for our vacation and Linda left to care for her mother. She says that when we run together outdoors, my pace is faster (my last mile came in around 11 minutes). I am really surprised that I had it in me - and this was after the gym workout, no less! So yeah, feeling pretty good about this.

The other cool thing I did this week was a circuit workout - Monday and Tuesday concentrated on the lower body and today worked the upper body. I don't know why, but I like doing the upper body stuff a lot! I did a ton of triceps dips, chest presses, curls...all sorts of fun things. And I felt so strong while doing them - it really is empowering to me. After a workout like I had today, I feel ready to conquer the world!

Ok, see these cool new running shoes? I bought them in October when we were visiting my parents before we went to Maui. They have the greatest outdoor/fitness/shoe store in their little town, where the owners measure your feet nine ways to Sunday and then choose the shoe for you - there is no "oooh, that one looks cute, let me try it on" in this store, lol! But I have gotten several pairs of shoes over the years from this store and they all have been supercomfortable, so I don't mind.

Well, I bought these shoes for running. They have a solid sole and while I tried wearing them one time to my workout, they didn't have enough flexibility for all of the crazy things Brad has us do, so I went back to my Asics for those days. And with Linda being gone, running wasn't stressed as much as it is when she's in charge of cardio. So the new shoes have stayed in my closet.

What I want to know is why the heck haven't I put the darn things on and gone for a run in my neighborhood? Why can't I get myself to (apologies to Nike) JUST DO IT?!? I am reminded of myself in the very early days of my diet, when exercising consisted of riding my bike a couple of laps around my very long cul-de-sac. It took so much mental preparation to actually get on the bike - I had to psych myself out of the thoughts that my neighbors were watching, judging and criticizing me. I was so embarrassed to be seen exercising - I just knew that people were thinking "who does that fat woman think she's kidding - a couple of laps isn't going to help" (why yes, I am very good at putting words into other people's mouths, tyvm). And I kind of feel like that with regard to running in public - I'm not fast, I end up taking walking breaks, I'm panting like a dog on a hot day, and I still look all jiggly-like when I run. I just wish I could break out of the self-conscious trap I let myself get stuck in and go for a run. Any suggestions (besides the obvious "go for a freakin' run, already!")?