Friday, January 29, 2010

The Body Fat Solution Winner and Friday Catch Up

The winner of The Body Fat Solution is:


Congratulations - now you can stop drooling, lol! Email me (40somethingsjourney@gmail.com) your mailing address and I will pass it on to the publisher so they can mail you your book!

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Last week I won a giveaway from Jenn at Slim-Shoppin' (thanks, Jenn!) for a Special K New Years package and I have to say that I loved how they presented everything...the red bowl with the paper shreds, the New Years tiara, lei and noisemaker - how cute is this?!? So far I've had the Fruit Crisps, which taste like thin Pop-Tarts; the multi-grain crackers, which are good and I appreciate that you get a lot for one serving (17 crackers for only 90 calories); and the low-fat Granola, which is tasty as well! I had to make my husband take the fruit crisps with him to work - the calorie count isn't bad (100 for two bars), but I really try not to eat too much processed food like that. I am looking forward to trying the protein shakes next week after my workouts - they will come in handy when I have to run an errand or two right after but still need to get the protein in me to rebuild my muscles. My only issue with these products is the amount of sugar that is in everything, even the multi-grain crackers, which has both sugar and honey. I don't think this is necessary and would be more inclined to buy their products in the future if they would cut the sugar content way down. That said, this was a fun thing to win and I do appreciate the chance to try these products!

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Due to the fact that Blogger is not letting her comment, I've been emailing back and forth with Benita of Basically Benita. She's into fibers and spinning and weaving and knitting...oh, and losing weight...hence the emails. Anyway, she is starting a 10,000 Step Club and since not everyone can or wants to run (this was so me a year ago) here is another way to get involved with a group of like-minded people! Click here to join!

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Recently, I was honored to be the subject of a couple of interviews...if you haven't had enough of me already, here they are:

Monica on the Go featured me in this post - thanks, Monica!
I'm also profiled on thatsfit.com, thanks, Melissa!

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I know I said that last Monday would be the end of the giveaways for a while, but I got the chance to do another one where the winner will get two little pieces of Fiestaware, which I love - so I couldn't resist! Check in on Monday for your chance to win!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Workout Update - Dork Edition

First things first: See this awesome new graphic right over here?->
Tina, of Fat Girl Dives In, made this for me! She is in advertising (and in fact has recently started her own business), and was so nice to create this for me when I asked her - in fact, she had it ready blazingly fast! Thank you, Tina - it's a great commemoration of Blogger Run Day™ which as you all know I hereby declared in this post. There are a lot of bloggers who will be running in various events on March 7th and I wanted to celebrate us! If you are doing a run, or are committing to run on Sunday, March 7th, let me know in the comments and I'll add you to the list.

Regarding my post yesterday, I have to say that I was nervous about actually hitting "publish" on it. And now, I'm blown away by all of the comments - you guys are truly amazing and have made me feel so good. I'm touched that several of you even listed YOUR starting and current weights...this blogging weight-loss community is such a wonderful thing to be a part of and I am so grateful to have you all in my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

OK, on to the Wednesday Workout Update...

I am happy to report that this was simply a normal week with Brad and Linda - we worked out hard, and I am feeling it, but am not questioning why am I putting myself through this, as I was last Wednesday evening...so that's good! We did a "Machine of Destiny" workout on Monday, where the person on the machine - in this case, the leg press - controlled how long everyone else had to do their workouts by how quickly they finished the leg press. I was up first - which I like, because my legs were not worn out by the other exercises. I had to do 100 leg presses at 225 pounds, which went well until I hit 40...then my legs started to shake and it got a little tough. But I did it in six minutes which is a decent enough time for me. Of course, we had the same workout on Tuesday afternoon (I am the only person in that group who works out on Monday, so lucky me, I got to repeat it <----just a little sarcasm there) - but at least I only had to do 75 reps, and the weight was lower, although Brad provided resistance on the last ten. Um, thanks, Brad?

I have been running on the weekends and ran all by myself on Saturday (big step for me) for 30 minutes, without stopping! I covered about 2.5 miles, which makes me feel pretty confident that I can do the 5K in under 45 minutes. I ran in a park, and a dad with a little kid called "good job!" to me as I ran by, which made me feel less alone. On Sunday, I met up with Jeri for a run, but I didn't last as long before having to stop and walk. I'm finding that when I run two days in a row, I don't have nearly the endurance on the second day. I guess I have to build up to that? Or should I run every other day? What say you, fellow runners?

*****Warning - Dork Alert*****

So I finally decided to join the 21st century and not only create a playlist on my iPod Touch, but actually go for a run with it! What inspired me was a comment left on this post - a new blogger, Swimming it Off said that my bruised knees reminded her of this song, and I have to say that I loved it - I felt all "rah rah go girls, we rock!" when I heard it. So one download and several fits and starts later, I had my mixtape playlist. Now, I've never run with headphones and music, but since I was going by myself, which was a huge step for me, I thought I might run longer with some distraction. I was set: my mother had just mailed me a cute little expandable runner's belt thingie that holds everything from ID to a cell phone and more, including my iPod. I got all geared up, and had to laugh at myself as karma once again came back to bite me when I strapped the runner's belt on...you see, I remember teasing Hotch Potchery when she bought a belt that held several bottles of water, so she could stay hydrated on her runs. When will I ever learn?!?

Anyway, I started my music and took off running, only to hear a beep and then have the song change. With.every.step. What the hell?! I stopped and couldn't figure out how to make it keep playing - I even tried holding it in my hand, but every time I shook it, the darn song changed! Very frustrating...I ended up leaving it behind and took off for my run sans music or partner (what a sad lonely figure I made). Once I got home I emailed my technical staff sons and was informed that the "shake and shuffle" feature was turned on, and all I needed to do was to turn it off...and I believe the word "dork" was bandied about. Yeah, I felt like a dork, but really, how was I to know? OK, you all can stop laughing now!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Big Reveal - My Starting and Current Weight

You may have noticed that I've never actually posted my weight on this blog. Oh sure, I've posted how much I've lost over the last twenty months, but my starting weight never made it onto the blog. Why? Well, at first it was because I couldn't believe that I weighed as much as I did. I mean, we were talking linebacker heavy. Bigger than most men. More than twice as much as my mother. So yeah, it was a little hard to face. Truth hurts, ya know what I mean? That day in my doctor's office, when I actually looked at the scale instead of closing my eyes (yes, I literally did this for years - I just didn't want to know) was shocking. And when I faced that number and realized that even if I lost 100 pounds, I would still be overweight - well, I almost quit my diet right then and there, before I even started. But somehow I managed to put that number in the back of my head and concentrate on moving forward and NEVER seeing it on the scale again.

And I haven't. It's been a long process, but I've seen pretty steady movement down the scale...I am definitely the epitome of "slow and steady" to be sure! As the months went by and my weight dropped, I had some issues (that is putting it lightly) weighing in. Sometimes I would be exactly on plan and my weight wouldn't change. Talk about frustration, especially when I would have passed up eating a special meal or dessert! Other times, I would not have been particularly strict with my diet and would get a loss on the scale. And knowing how much it affected me, I tried, with the advice of many experienced losers out there in blogland, to NOT let the number on the scale matter so much. To measure my success in inches lost rather than pounds. To know that even when the scale doesn't move very much, I can fit into smaller clothes, so obviously my body is changing, even though the scale hasn't caught up.

This is why the focus of my blog has not been on a particular number. Heck, even my goal weight is a random number that I pulled from thin air - well, almost...I think it's the highest number that is recommended for someone of my height to weigh. Why did I choose the high number? Easy...I want to not have to starve myself to maintain it. I really have no idea if it will be the right number for me - I'll have to see how I feel once I get there.

One thing that has shocked me is seeing how much I weigh now, combined with what size I fit into. That is directly related to working out - I know that if I had simply lost this weight without all of the exercise, I would be wearing much bigger sizes. I cannot stress the importance of combining exercise - both cardio and strength-training, along with diet. And believe me, this was a hard pill to swallow in the beginning, as I was the couch potato queen! But as I lost the weight, I gained more energy and truly, through reading about other bloggers who were working out, I was inspired to finally get active.

Why reveal the numbers now? Well, I was going to wait until I hit my goal weight, but my blog has been receiving more attention lately and I've done a couple of interview-type things...and I finally listed the numbers on one that should be posted tomorrow. So I felt that it was only fair to let my readers know first. OK, here are the numbers:

Starting weight on May 14, 2008: 256
Today's weight: 152
Goal weight: 138

I started this journey just before my 45th birthday. Today I'm 46 1/2 and in the best shape of my life. But I'm not done yet - I'm still overweight. If I can lose over one hundred pounds, you can lose the weight you need to as well. Join me, won't you?

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Body Fat Solution Review and Giveaway!

If it's Monday, then it must be another review and giveaway, right? I know it feels like that's all I've been doing lately, but with giveaways it seems like it's either feast or famine, and well, we've been feasting this month! This is the last one for a while, though...then we will get back to our regularly-scheduled blogging (i.e. a normal post on Mondays).

I was sent a copy of The Body Fat Solution by Tom Venuto at the same time as Core Performance Woman, which I'm sure you all remember from last Monday's R&G™. I have to say that based on all of the words on the cover, which sent my short attention span into overdrive, I wasn't looking forward to reading it. In fact, I waited until oh, Friday to pick it up...a little late considering I needed to write the review on Sunday, wouldn't you say? That was a mistake. Why? Because I'm finding that this is a really good book and unfortunately I haven't finished it yet! What I can tell you is that this author is really speaking to me - I find myself nodding in agreement and also having a few a ha moments as well.

Here's just a few examples of some things that caught my attention:
  • From page xxvi: The Body Fat Solution is for the layperson who wants simple explanations and practical action strategies to apply in daily life. Perfect - just tell me what to do...no need to get into a bunch of minutia that will have my mind wandering (I also think this is why I get so much out of my workouts with my trainers - I just do what they tell me - easy peasy!)
  • From page 27, talking about reasons why we are susceptible to weight-loss myths (this has to do with the FTC and lawsuits against diet scams): In one highly publicized case, a Los Angeles bodybuilder swore under oath that he was paid to stop working out and eat ice cream and doughnuts to fatten him up three weeks in advance of his "before" photo shoot. Then he used his bodybuilding expertise to get back into his usual top shape for the "after" photos. Ha! I KNEW those guys on the commercials who get the six-pack abs by taking a certain pill or using a certain exercise system were fakers!!!
  • From page 69: If you want to get leaner, you must establish a caloric deficit, which means you're probably going to be hungry sometimes. Accepting this has been a key factor in my weight-loss journey - yes, I may be hungry, but if I've eaten enough good healthy food then I'm not going to starve and in fact I probably will lose some weight!
I also have to say that I kept thinking that Crabby McSlacker from Cranky Fitness would love Chapter Five - Mental Training Solution: Setting Goals and Reprogramming Your Mind for Automatic Success. It's full of information and interesting studies on how your brain works and other cool things that she likes to write about.

This is a cool book - and based on what I've read so far (about 1/3 of it, if you really want to know), I am pretty confident that I will like the rest of it and get some great tips to help me continue my weight-loss journey.

I have a copy of The Body Fat Solution to give to one lucky reader...to enter, just leave me a comment - yes, it's that easy! Contest is open to U.S. residents only and will close at 10:00 pm on Thursday, January 28. I'll use random.org to draw the winner who will be announced on Friday, January 29. Good luck!




FCC Disclaimer: I was given a copy of The Body Fat Solution to read by the publisher, who will also be fulfilling the giveaway.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Book Winner Plus Friday Randomness

First things first. The winner of Core Performance Women is:


Congratulations!! Email me your address (40somethingsjourney@gmail.com) and I'll forward it onto the publisher who will send you your book - enjoy!

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If you read my last post, you know that I had a pretty tough week with my workouts. Some weeks are harder than others, and this one was a doozy! As I lay in bed Wednesday night, in pain, wondering why oh why do I PAY GOOD MONEY to beat my body to a pulp, I decided I'd better stretch so I could walk the next day. Being supremely lazy wanting to conserve my energy, I decided to continue lying down, so I did a hamstring stretch with my legs at a 90 degree angle up toward the ceiling. My jammie pants slid up to reveal that my knees were all bruised up as a result of the crazy things we did this week and I felt very sorry for myself! So of course I had to get my camera and document the evidence - yes I know I choose to do these workouts, but dang, they are hard on this poor old bod!
Supreme ouchiness!

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Did you know that March 7, 2010 is Blogger 5K Day? No? Well, maybe that's because I just declared it to be so...I can do that, right? Anyway, Kelly from Happy Texans and I will be running a 5K here in my town, and Fran will be running one in Holland! It seems to be a popular day for 5K's - is anybody else running one? If you are, let me know - I love the idea of a bunch of us all running on the same day!

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Last but not least, I have been given two awards! The Beautiful Blogger comes from What a Splurge - thank you!
This award dictates that I tell you seven things about me that you might not know, so here goes:
  1. I'm left-handed and so is my husband; our kids are not, no matter how many times I put rattles in their left hands when they were babies;
  2. I was a journalism major in college but did not complete my schooling;
  3. I still don't regret that decision;
  4. I never needed braces as a kid but always wanted them;
  5. I started babysitting at eight and always have had a thing for babies;
  6. My favorite job was working at a photography studio where I got to hold lots of cute babies;
  7. My dream job would be to own a bookstore just so I could read all the new books as soon as they came out.
The next award comes from Katie J - thank you!

For this one, I'm supposed to list ten things that make me happy.
  1. The way my dog greets me with unbridled enthusiasm every time I walk in the door;
  2. My bike - she's a beauty and such a sweet ride;
  3. Shopping for clothes now;
  4. Chocolate;
  5. Babies;
  6. The internet - being able to instantly connect with friends everywhere is fantastic;
  7. My library card;
  8. Fiestaware - I love the bright colors;
  9. My cell phone with unlimited minutes;
  10. My family.
Have a great weekend - come back Monday for one last giveaway - another book!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday Workout Update - Running Update Included!

OK, I think this was the week that Bob and Jillian - er, Brad and Linda were trying to kill us. Monday we did a "split" Filthy Fifty - not only was our group split into two, but the workout, which normally is all done in the weight room was split with half in the cardio room and half in the weight room. My group (Jenny, Kathleen and I) started in the weight room. For those of you lucky enough to not be familiar with the Filthy Fifty, it's ten sets of exercises with 50 reps each. For time. So we wore ourselves out in the weight room doing crazy things like kettlebell halos (hold a 26 lb. kettlebell with both hands and roll it around your head *like a hal0* 50 times), pull ups using a gigantic rubber band, push ups and a whole bunch of other stuff that I've blocked from my memory. THEN we went to the cardio room, where we had to run a half mile on the treadmill, row 50 calories on the rower, do Ab Dolly crunches, ball slams and of course, box jumps. Now you all may remember that just last week I finally was able to DO a box jump - but 50? At the end of a grueling workout?!? Holy moly! Linda liked the determination that showed on my face and grabbed a few shots with her cell phone. Pictures below show that I did do them - I am not fast, as I still have to psych myself up for each one, and I'm not jumping on/off/back on like everyone else in my group...but I knocked those 50 box jumps out!
Step one: Telling myself I can do it. Please note that my arms are not as huge as they look in this picture - they are side-by-side and it's an optical illusion (why yes, I still have some body issues, why do you ask?!?). Please also know that Kathleen has not keeled over - she was merely taking a rest while doing those Ab Dolly crunches!
Step two: Liftoff - flying through the air! Kathleen has now completed her set of Ab Dolly crunches and is slowly regaining her will to live. Please note the PVC pipes in the background, which are not used to beat us with as I first wondered when I started out, but are used when we do the dreaded bottom-to-bottom Tabatas. Also, if you puke during a workout, you get to sign your name and date on one. So far I haven't had to do that!Another view, which is important for a couple of reasons: One, my sweatband has made my hair look like I have a bowl cut - what do you think...can I rock that look or what? Also, you can see Jenny in the background slowly regaining her will to live after running a half-mile on the treadmill. And finally, you can see the clock in the background, which shows it was 9:00 am. We started this workout at 8:00 am. That, my friends, was one loooong hour!

Tuesday's workout was another toughie with a bunch of upper body work - yay, more push ups! And today? After Linda had us do quick (haha) rounds of 60 sets of push ups, lunges, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, high knees and burpees (not me!), along with a one minute plank hold and wall sit, we went to the weight room for ANOTHER Filthy Fifty - only Brad made it a Filthy Forty since we didn't have the entire hour at that point. Hey, guess what? More push ups, box jumps, kettlebell swings...I finished that one in 35 minutes and I am beat down, I'm telling you!!! So looking forward to Thursday and Friday, where all I have to do is go to work - no exercise!!!

And now, on to my running update: My workout friend and running partner, Jeri, met me after I was done with work on Saturday at 2:00 pm. Since my workplace is at the edge of a big park, we started out running from the parking lot to the park, all through it, looping around and eventually ended up back in the parking lot. She carried her iPhone with her that had a running app with time and distance, and guess what? We ran 2.4 miles!!! In about 31 minutes!!! With only a couple of short walking breaks!!! I think we can actually do the 5K in February! Our goal is to run the entire time, so we have to keep up with the practice. Because of that, I went running on Sunday, but it was much harder to get going. I don't know if I was just tired, or the fact that I was alone, but I wanted to quit after about three minutes. I summoned Linda's voice in my head and she "ran" with me the rest of the way - my goal was 20 minutes, and I actually did 22 before I stopped. Probably could have done more but I am a baby when I run by myself, which is something I have got to get over!

Jeri and I have another running date for this Saturday - until then, though, I'm on rest time!

P.S. If you haven't already, click here to enter my giveaway for the book Core Performance Women - it ends Thursday night at 10:00 pm!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Diet

I realized not too long ago that I don't actually talk about my diet here like I used to...in the early months of this blog, food was the main focus. Why isn't it now? Sure, I like to post pictures of my favorite meals, but what has changed? I'm still trying to lose weight - I need to drop about 20 pounds and re-evaluate if that is a good weight for me - but have I become complacent after losing 100 pounds?

The answer to that is sort-of, mixed with a side of moderation and topped with a sprinkle of easy. Yes, I said easy! Don't hate me...it's just that I've been doing this for more than a year and a half and my "new" way of eating has become second nature for the most part and actually, I no longer consider it new. This is just what I do. It has become normal to hit the grocery store or Sam's Club a couple times a week to put fresh fruit and veggies in my fridge. I keep my basics on hand at all times so mealtimes are a breeze, even when I don't have anything planned. I rarely let myself get so hungry that I'm scavenging for food - and I never skip meals anymore. I used to not eat breakfast, be so hungry that I'd eat a huge lunch, and then be too full for dinner at dinnertime, but would end up eating later in the evening. Which would make me not hungry for breakfast, and the whole cycle would repeat itself! Now, I eat breakfast, even on the days that I meet my friend for lunch...the difference is that I have a small lunch - I found out you can do this, even at a restaurant. Did you know you don't have to eat everything they serve you?!? I'm joking a little, but really, I used to be a card-carrying member of the clean plate club at Johnny Carinos! Now, if I'm done, I'm done...no matter what my plate looks like.

As far as moderation goes, I still eat "non-diet" foods like chocolate, and when the occasion merits, I will have whatever special food is being served, as long as it's great. For example, we have an evening artist reception once a month at my work, and most of the time the food, while good, is bought from Sam's...things like pesto for crackers, bruschetta for little slices of sourdough bread, cheese platters, fresh fruit and little cheesecake bites. I make sure I bring something for a healthy and hearty late-in-the-afternoon snack on those days, and rather than mindlessly eat food that isn't all that special, I'll have some fruit and call it done. But if we go out to a nice restaurant, you can believe that I'll be eating things that I wouldn't normally have - but in the correct portion size, for the most part. This way I can partake without feeling stuffed and full of regret afterward.

Now, as for losing that last 20 pounds...I hear it's the hardest, and I wonder if that is really true. I have been doing an excellent job for the last month or so of maintaining my weight, although it's finally started dropping a bit. Is that because of the "last 20" curse? Doubtful. It's more likely due to the fact that I am a slow loser - and while that can be frustrating at times, especially when I compare myself to other bloggers who are dropping weight like nobody's business, I have to acknowledge that I also have not seen the scale see-saw up and down, so there's that. Plus, I will admit that I haven't logged every calorie into my food journal over the last few months. I used to, and it really kept me mindful of everything I put into my mouth. But the flipside is that without doing it, I haven't gained any weight, so my eating has pretty much been on track.

So, what's my plan (gotta have a plan!) for now? Well, with running, I'm working out more, so I'm hoping that will help with the calorie burn. The other thing I am focusing on is eating more...yes, you read that right! It seems that when I am working out a lot (like I did over the summer when we were bike riding 5 - 6 miles an evening), if I don't eat closer to 1500 calories, I don't lose. So I'm adding more protein and fruit to my diet. Honestly, it doesn't take much to go from 1200 calories (what I've been doing) to 1500 - and besides that, I'm hungrier now. I'll check back in on this in a couple of weeks to see if the scale has moved. I'm hoping it will, because I would like to be done with losing by the time my birthday rolls around in June - I've already told my husband that I want a shopping trip to the very nice mall in Austin for my present!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Core Performance Women Book Review and Giveaway!

I was recently sent the book Core Performance Women, by Mark Verstegen and Pete Williams, who are the co-authors of several other Core Performance books. This one, specifically tailored for women, is hot off the presses and full of good information about eating right, putting yourself first and best of all, workouts.

What I liked about the book:
  • It promotes a "non-diet" philosophy with simple nutrition rules to give you more energy throughout the day;
  • It promotes strengthening your core to reduce your risk of injury, while building lean muscle.
  • There was a short summary at the end of each chapter.
What I didn't particularly like about the book:
  • It spent far too much time in each chapter telling you what they were going to do for you - my short attention span really just wanted them to get to the point. I get it, I get it...now tell me what to do already!
What I LOVED about the book:
  • The last third of it was filled with photographs of stretching and recovery exercises, along with a lot of movement, strength and power exercises.
Burpees...you know I had to show this!
Very clear pictures and instructions for each exercise are included.

As I've mentioned a time or two, I have a horrible memory and usually can't remember exactly how to do a certain exercise once I've left the gym. These detailed photographs not only show you what to do, they tell you where you should be feeling it, so you know if you are doing the exercise correctly.

Plus, at the very end of the book they put together a set of workouts based on whether you are doing a strength day, endurance day, or regeneration day, all according to what level you are at.
If I were doing workouts on my own (without my trainer), this is exactly what I would use to get the right variety in each day.

My recommendation? While I found myself skimming the beginning of the book, if you are looking for a detailed workout book, this one is worth purchasing just for the last third. As I was looking through the pictures I recognized a lot of what I've been doing with my trainer, and since I know how well these work with me, I think the authors are right on target with what they are showing to do.

I have a copy of Core Performance Women to give to one lucky reader...to enter, just leave me a comment telling me what exercise you dislike the most. For me, it's the dreaded burpee! Contest is open to U.S. residents only and will close at 10:00 pm on Thursday, January 21. I'll use random.org to draw the winner who will be announced on Friday, January 22. Good luck!




FCC Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Core Performance Women to read by the publisher, who will also be fulfilling the giveaway.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Souper Winner and Randomness...

The winner of the Progresso Soup prize package is:


Email me (40somethingsjourney@gmail.com) with your mailing address and I'll forward it on to the Progresso people - congratulations!!!

And now, on to the random part of this post...

Have you ever had one of those days when you felt like you could gnaw your arm off? Wednesday was like that for me, and I don't know if it was the combination of an intense workout late in the afternoon on Tuesday, plus just barely hitting 1200 calories eaten for the day, and then another hard workout on Wednesday morning, but I was STARVING for most of the day! I started the day with half a protein bar before my workout, then I had my vanilla protein powder blended with some frozen fruit, then a few hours later I had two tablespoons of natural peanut butter on a whole wheat 100 calorie English muffin, then I had my Greek yogurt/cereal/dried cranberries combination, and finally an Attune dark chocolate probiotic bar (basically a healthy candy bar - thanks, Lori, for turning me onto these!). I drank a ton of water throughout all of this eating - you'd think I would have been filled up, but boy did it take me a while! Later on I had half of a big turkey and avocado sandwich and a banana for dinner. Plus my two Dove Promises, which I have back under control, thanks to their car banishment. I felt like I ate all day long.

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I finally broke down and bought myself a new pair of workout pants, after trying on a bunch of them over the last couple of weeks. The pair I liked above and beyond everything was a "slim fit" Nike capri - it really held all of my jiggly bits firmly in place. What was hard was spending that kind of money - Nike ain't cheap - but I rationalized that I wear these things at least three times a week for my workouts, plus a couple of extra times when I go running, so I should get what I really liked. Still, it was hard...especially after repairing my dumb car window. But I didn't spend money on a new sports bra - I tried on pretty much everything in our one sporting goods store and they didn't perform any better than the two-bra layering system I'm currently using. So I'm going to save my money and buy what I consider to quite possibly be the world's ugliest sports bra...the Enell. I hear it really, really works. And shoot, it's not like I will be parading around without a shirt over it, so in the interest of no bouncing I will give it a try. Between the new workout pants which are made of a compression-type fabric and the bra, it would appear I don't like to jiggle. My dream workout outfit would be a total body compression suit - think they make one?

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I am getting excited about running a 5K! There are two coming up in my area and I'm going to do both. I have a date with my running buddy, Jeri, for tomorrow after I am done with work - we have plans to run/walk the 5K distance to see how we do. A bunch of people from my workout place are going to run the second 5K on March 7, and Kelly from Happy Texans is planning on coming up here to run it with us - how fun is that?!? I also found a shirt that would be perfect for me to wear for these races:
All I want to do is finish the 5K - so I think this shirt is says it all!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday Workout Update!

Well, I have to say that stretching really does help when a workout is particularly, hmmm...what's the word? Painful? That doesn't sound right. How about difficult? That's better. Yesterday in the gym I was doing what Brad likes to call "Crazy Quads" and "Crazy Hammies" - basically, four sets of 21 extensions where the first 14 are done normally and the last 7 are done with Brad providing resistance. I have to say that I DREAD these, because I know I will be sore afterwards - heck, I was sore during them! It can be a real mental challenge for me when I start certain exercises, knowing that I will be extremely sore afterward. I tend to not put my all into them because I try to "save" myself so I won't hurt so much later. But that's kind of hard to do when your trainer is standing right there AND providing the resistance...plus duh, Shelley, you're doing this to get stronger, firmer and more toned, so why would you NOT do everything you are supposed to? (Why yes, I do have conversations with myself!)

Anyway, back to the stretching. Halfway through the crazy quads I took a minute or so break to stretch my legs, and did some more stretching when I was done with the set. Did the same thing with the hamstrings, and remembered to stretch once I got home. And again later that evening - of course, it helped that I was watching The Biggest Loser and seeing everyone working out reminded me. Upside of this? Today when I got out of bed I wasn't crippled like I normally am after that workout. Oh, I still felt my quads and hamstrings, but not nearly to the extent that I used to. This makes me very happy because I know that next time we have a difficult workout, I won't hold myself back. So let's hear it for stretching!

One of the things I really like about my workout place is that Brad and Linda try to make it fun for us with little games and team workouts. Before I did the crazy stuff in the gym, Brad had a card game in the cardio room, where each suit equaled an exercise - say diamonds were push ups, spades were jump squats, hearts were duck walks and clubs were burpees. So if a 3 of spades was drawn, we all did three quick jump squats. Face cards had additional exercises. We did the entire deck of cards twice in less than 30 minutes - it was fast-paced and intense! I think we all felt a little silly doing the duck walk (only a few "quacks" were uttered), but as the workout progressed we just concentrated on getting through it. Since I have a burpee exemption for the month of January due to this, I got to do high knees and jumping jacks instead...and I was very happy about that! I had actually forgotten about everything we did in this workout until later on in the evening, when I reached for my water bottle and wondered why my arms were so sore - and then all of the push ups came back to me. Funny how you don't realize just how hard you've worked when it's more of a game than a workout!

I have to also report that I am very proud of my group today - we did cardio last - four sets of fast/slow minutes on the machines for five minutes. The group before us had done some ab work but we didn't get to it since we spent all of our time on the machines. So there we were, sweaty, panting, drinking our water, DONE...and Linda offered to run us through the ab workout if we wanted. First Nancy got on a mat, then I did, and then Kathleen and Jeri followed suit and we did another four minute set of ab work. Woo hoo, extra credit!

If you haven't already entered, don't forget to post a comment on my Progresso Soup Giveaway - it ends tomorrow (Thursday) night at 10:00 pm CST.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What a Monday!

Ever have one of *those* mornings - you know, the kind where you are dead asleep when your alarm goes off? Where you hit the snooze button a couple times, but finally drag yourself out of your nice warm bed, struggle into two, count 'em, two workout bras (not easy when you are half asleep!), throw on the rest of your workout clothes, brush your teeth and hair, put on a warm-up jacket, wool coat and gloves, and brace yourself for the rush of cold air as you go outside to your car? Which is covered in frost and you have to let it warm up to defrost the windows because it's 26 degrees outside and this happens so infrequently that you can't remember if using the windshield wiper fluid would cause the ice to melt faster or refreeze it? And then, after your legs are good and chilled because of course you didn't think you would need to wear your warm-up pants, you hit the automatic button to roll down your passenger door window which is still covered in icy frost so you can see to turn left out of your street and you hear a loud CRACK when the window is all the way down? And the window won't roll up and in fact is making horrible clacking cracking clanging noises? And you are, at this point, going to be late for your workout (when you are normally at least 10 minutes early) and you wonder if you just shouldn't have stayed in bed after all?

Yeah. That was my Monday morning. And I did consider going back inside my house and pouting over the unfortunate series of events that had transpired. But then I remembered that I don't miss my workouts, so I sucked it up and drove to the gym with the side passenger window rolled down in the 26 degree cold cold weather. Because this is my routine, and I'm not going to let anything get in my way if I can help it.

Surprisingly, it didn't take me more than a couple of minutes to get into my groove and forget about the crummy start to my day. Score one for exercise - I think I worked off most of my frustration at something going wrong with my car, so by the time Jeff came home and we took it to the mechanic, I was not having a hissy fit, which I have been known to have over car troubles (this would fall under the "why can't they just work?!?" statement that I am known to have uttered a time or two). Hopefully by the end of day I will have my car back, with a new window mechanism (to the tune of $320, argh!) and all will be right with my world again. Of course, I have been informed that the driver's side window will probably do the same thing pretty soon, so I have the perfect solution...don't roll down the window! You know, if you think about which window should have broken first, the driver's side makes more sense...all those trips through the Taco Bell drive thru gave that window a good work out!

And now I'll leave you with a picture of my pretty yellow Gerber daisies - a bit of sunshine for a dreary post!
Gerber daisies are one of my favorite flowers - the other being ranunculus.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Souper Review, Contest and Giveaway!

Last week a gigantic box arrived on my doorstep containing, among other things, this "wall o' soup" - 15 flavors of Progresso's Light and 100 Calorie soups. Funny thing is that they were all frozen solid due to the extreme cold, but they thawed nicely and over the last few days I've been sampling some soup, which was great considering it's been freakishly cold here in South Texas!

So far I've tried the French Onion (I even topped the soup with a toasted piece of multi-grain bread, complete with some melted Swiss cheese - fancy!) - the collective verdict from my sons and I was that it was ok, but no comparison to Panera's French Onion soup; the Hearty Penne in Chicken Broth, which had a ton of pasta and just a few pieces of carrots and celery; and the Light Beef Pot Roast, which I liked the best so far...but then I am a fan of vegetable beef soups, so that doesn't really surprise me.

Couple of things: I usually stay away from canned soups because of the high sodium content, but these weren't bad and I actually wanted to (but didn't) add some salt to the French Onion soup. At 80 calories/serving, with the entire can being two servings, the calorie counts in these soups are low, so I made a sandwich to go along with the soup when I had it for lunch. By doing this I wasn't ready to devour my arm (or a plateful of whatever I could scrounge up) for a mid-afternoon snack.

Progresso is celebrating the New Year with a "Souper You Debut" contest, which you can enter here. It sounds like fun - three grand prize winners will be awarded a trip for two to New York City from May 21 - 23. The prize includes roundtrip airfare, a two-night stay in a NYC hotel, a full makeover, a $1,000 wardrobe shopping spree and personal consultation at a New York department store! I will definitely be entering - I could use a shopping spree and makeover! When you go to that site (www.progressosoup.com/souperyou) you can also download a $1 off coupon for their soups.
And now for a giveaway - like so many other bloggers, I'm having a giveaway for two cans of soup, the very cool Progresso soup mug, and a digital jump rope. This is open to both U.S. and Canada residents. The prize pack will be fulfilled by Progresso, so if you are chosen as the winner, I'll forward your mailing info onto my contact at Progresso. To enter, just leave me a comment with your favorite kind of soup - doesn't have to be any particular brand, just what you love! Contest ends Thursday night at 10:00 pm CST and winner will be posted on Friday. Good luck!




FCC Disclaimer: Progresso provided me with a case of soup, a mug and a digital jump rope.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cookbook Winner!

The comments on this giveaway post were great! First, let me just say that I alternated between getting the heebie-jeebies when I read about so many of you having issues with bladed items (knives, food processors, cheese graters, garbage disposals and of course, mandolines) ::shiver:: - and laughing at what some of your scariest kitchen appliances are (love that the refrigerator made the list). This was fun, although I don't think I could take reading about any more fingers getting sliced or knuckles getting scraped! ::double shiver::

So without further ado, the winner of the Cook Yourself Thin Faster is:


What's funny is that in her comment, she said "...This is the first time I have made a comment to your blog. I have gotten a lot of inspiration from your story and your posts. I have resolved to stop lurking and start playing this year! Thanks again." How cool that your new resolve has paid off already!

Email me (40somethingsjourney@gmail.com) your address and I will send the book to you!

Stay tuned for another giveaway on Monday...

And now for something weight-loss related: Y'all know how I've been eating two Dove Dark Chocolate Promises every evening for months, right? I was fine with this for the longest time - two and DONE. However, the last few weeks I've been dipping into the desk drawer (conveniently located right next to my computer) and those two Promises have been turning into four or six - ack! After realizing that this was becoming a problem, and remembering my vow to keep my house a safe zone for my diet, I banished those little buggers to my car. I remember reading about another blogger doing the same thing (can't be sure, but I think it was Pasta Queen) and at the time I thought "that will never work - chocolate would melt in our hot Texas temperatures" but since we are experiencing practically Antarctic-like weather, they're safe at the moment. Anyway, it's stopped me from my mindless eating - just the act of having to put on a jacket and shoes to walk outside to my car seems to bring me back to my senses and I am able to only take out my customary two pieces. It may sound silly, but let's face it...sometimes ya gotta do whatever it takes, right? And this way I get to stay on track and have my chocolate, too!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wednesday Workout Update

What a crazy week - getting back into my normal routine has kept me busy! I have tons of ideas to blog about, plus a couple of books to read and review, and another review and giveaway coming up on Monday (hint: it's souper!). I've fallen behind on my blog reading and in order to catch up, had to give myself permission to not comment on every one. That's a hard thing to do, because I know how much I appreciate it when comments are left on my blog and I like to be encouraging to others. But in order to stay sane, sometimes drastic (ha!) measures are needed. Please know that I'm reading your blogs even if you don't see a comment from me. I know some people would say that if I'm so busy I shouldn't spend so much time in blogland, but writing and reading blogs has been a huge factor in my weight-loss success and I can't quit you guys!

Speaking of comments, a huge THANK YOU goes out to everyone who left suggestions on my running post yesterday! You guys are great and I have www.mapmyrun.com and www.mapmywalk.com bookmarked - haven't had time to register yet but will do so soon and then I will have a better idea of my mileage! Also thanks for the pedometer suggestions - I had no idea that they were so advanced now and you can carry them in your pocket or purse! Back in the dark ages, I tried doing that 10,000 steps thing with a pedometer clipped to my waistband, which was a pain when I didn't have it clipped in the exact right spot and therefore didn't register my steps. There was also the added challenge of remembering to remove it before going to the restroom - otherwise *splash* dead pedometer. In the interest of cheapness, I'm going to try mapmyrun first. I do have a nice shopping list compiled now:
  • pedometer
  • heart rate monitor
  • Nike iPod thingie
  • iPod
But since I am being cheap frugal, and I want (and need) some new (smaller!) workout clothes (especially pants/capris - they are starting to fall down), that will come first.

Onto my workout update: Ladies and Gentlemen of Blogland, I have BIG NEWS to tell you! Are you ready? Today I mastered my nemesis and did a box jump!!! Several of them, as a matter of fact! The box jump, which has brought me to tears of frustration over my inability to do it; the box jump, that I've watched the other ladies in my group master; the box jump, that I always end up just stepping on and off - I finally did it! I stood on top of that box jump and cheered!!! Seriously, I don't know if it was because I was on a platform, but I felt the need for a medal to be placed around my neck! I had to settle for the congratulations from the other ladies in my group, plus of course from Brad and Linda - woohoo!!!
Edited to add in this super awesome medal that Tina made for me - thanks, Tina...you are so sweet!

I think what clicked with me was when I got to the gym early yesterday and was messing around by standing next to the box jump and practice-jumping to see if I could get high enough (it's 12 inches high, btw) the air to do it (I couldn't). Brad walked in and watched me, then offered up that I needed to spring from my knees (I'm sure he's never told me this before <----much sarcasm in that remark - obviously I never "got it"), which reminded me that Max kept telling me that same thing while we were running, and I mentioned that to Brad. Later, when I was on the treadmill, Brad kept bumping up the speed and I ended up running half a mile in six minutes, with him telling me to lift my knees higher the entire time. Today, Linda had us going in a circuit...when my turn at the box jump came, she made me try it and HELLO WORLD, I was on top of it!

The other great thing about today's workout? I got brave and really committed myself to running that 5K by asking a woman from my class to be my running partner. She said yes!!! She's about the same height as me, so I figure our strides should be pretty similar. We talked about when and where we could run, and we may get together as soon as this weekend! So yay Jeri - thank you!

I've been keeping track of my running on my desk calendar - still no stickers yet so it's not supercute, but the important thing is that I've been running a lot (for me).

If you haven't already entered, go here to get in the drawing for a free cookbook - contest ends tomorrow (Thursday) evening.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

And We're Off and Running!

The other day, I wanted to run on the high school track so I could actually see how long it took me to run a mile. Max and I drove over there, only to be greeted by locked gates and a sign posted stating that the track was, and I kid you not, "Protected By Laser Alarm" - seriously?!? We sat in the car, staring in bewilderment at the sign, when Max finally said "Well the laser worked as I am stunned." That boy cracks me up!

So anyhow, we ended up at the park near my workplace and ran the paved trail there. After more than 10 minutes of running, I finally saw a 1/4 mile marker, and a little while later saw another one. Later on at home, I found a trail map online and saw that point X to point Y is 2/10ths of a mile, and point Y to point Z is 6/10ths...still not the easiest way to figure out how far you run, because we doubled back most of the way from point Z to point Y - are you confused yet? Well, join the club! I am not a math person; I need things to be very basic or else I tend to blank out on number things. Is it too much to ask for a starting point and some quarter-mile markers at places that are obviously designated for walking/running?

Max and I went running again on Friday - I really wanted to make a statement to myself by getting some good exercise in on the first day of the new year. We went to yet another park near my house with a paved trail - it was nice but my only complaint is that there are no mile markers. According to the website, the trail is an "American Mile" - whatever that means - but it has so many cross-overs that I'm not exactly sure what constitutes a mile on it. Any case, we started off and I told Max my goal was to run for 14 minutes without stopping, since I ran for 13 minutes on our last run. Well, we hit about 11 minutes and I said "let's go for 15" and then when we were close to 15 I just decided that I could do 20 minutes. And we did!

Jeff and Sam were playing Frisbee at the park while we ran, and Paco the Wonder Dog was hanging with them. After Max and I did a cool-down walk, we took Paco for a walk and as we rounded the corner to where the Frisbee players were, I had the bright idea to let Paco run back to them. Now, he was on the leash, and I was holding the leash...and I know this dog can run (that's why Jeff rides his bike to exercise Paco - he's so energetic) but dang! He took off and I was running as fast as I could and let me tell you, I only lasted maybe 20 seconds! Score one for the Paco Sprint, lol!

We went running again on Saturday, but it was later in the day, I was cold the entire run (obviously I didn't have enough layers on, and wearing gloves would have helped my ice cubes hands), and my thighs were a little sore (I know, could I have any more excuses?). I slogged through 15 minutes before finishing the trail with a walk. My pace was soooo slow...and it's slow to begin with, so this was pretty bad. I wonder if I should run every other day to give my body some time to recharge? All I know is that this was not nearly as much fun as the run on Friday. Oh well, I'm still learning about this whole running/yogging (Anchorman - love it!) thing.

So runners, I have a question for you...how do you know the distance you've run? I know that on a street run I could drive it and measure the distance with my car's odometer, but that's not possible with these park trails. And I don't have a Garmin (the only reason I even have an idea of what these are is because so many bloggers got one for Christmas) and that is not in my budget or even on the horizon at the moment. I don't want to invest a lot of money into something unless I know that I'm really going to keep up with it. I am sort-of fine with just running for a certain length of time, but since I want to run a 5K, I guess I'd better know that I can actually run 3.2 miles.

I'm keeping track of the days that I run on my desk calendar - I started off just writing "run" and however many minutes on the day, but then I saw Deb's post about using stickers as a reward (ooh, stickers! cute!!) so I'm going to find some fun stickers and use them as my run markers. I am a little worried that once Max goes back to school I won't keep up with my running - I have to say it's been nice having someone to run with, and he's been very accommodating to run at my pace, which is a *tad* bit slower than his (to say the least). I want to get myself into the habit so I will actually do this on my own, although I still would love to have a running partner.

The other funny thing I've noticed is how much I love my new purple Asics long-sleeved shirt - I feel like such an athlete in it, which just seems to give me the mindset of "I AM AN ATHLETE" - and that is priceless. I'm sure this stems from years and years of not being able to find sporty workout clothes in my size, and hating how I looked in whatever I cribbed together to try and exercise in. I know you can run in anything and you don't need special clothes, but in my case, clothes apparently help to make the runner!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday Morning Giveaway!

Recently, I posted about Lifetime.com's "Cook Yourself Thin" series of recipes and their new cookbook, and now I have the cookbook to give to one lucky reader!

"Cook Yourself Thin Faster" is the follow-up to "Cook Yourself Thin" (natch), which was a New York Times bestseller. While it isn't a "diet" book, the authors do include some good advice, such as counting calories, keeping a food diary, a list of 100-calorie or less healthy snacks, and of course, exercise (you knew that was coming).

The recipes look great - they use real food, just healthier versions (i.e. swapping a full-fat ingredient for a lesser-fat one). I made their Southwestern Slaw (using the scariest kitchen appliance ever, the mandoline) and I liked it...never would have thought of mixing ancho chile powder, honey, lime and orange juices into a cole slaw (actually, I used broccoli slaw), but it worked for me!
This side dish includes julienned jicima, which is what I used the mandoline for. But a regular knife would work pretty well and you probably wouldn't be as afraid as I was of losing a finger!

To enter this giveaway, which is open to U.S. residents only (sorry, international readers!), just leave a comment on this post telling me what kitchen appliance scares you the most. Giveaway ends at 10:00 pm on Thursday, January 7th, and a randomly-drawn winner will be announced on Friday. Good luck to everyone!

**In accordance with the FCC, I hereby disclaim that I received a copy of this cookbook to keep as well as one to give away.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Oh what a difference a year makes...just when I started thinking that I hadn't lost that much weight in 2009, I came across a picture of me, taken December 25, 2008:
Not sure how much I had lost from my starting weight in May, 2008 (I know it was at least 50 pounds), but I was happy with how I looked in this picture at the time - I felt like my hard work was beginning to show!

Compare that picture to the one below, taken on December 26, 2009:
Well. I guess I really have lost more weight. The one thing that I have tried to not stress too much over on my journey is the number on the scale - because weight alone does not define my success. I have never had a specific "goal weight" number in mind because I really don't know what the number will be that I will be comfortable at. I think when my stomach is flatter and my thighs are smaller, that's when I will know that I'm at goal. Right now, I think I'm about 20 pounds away from it. I do know, however, that I weigh more than people think - and that, my friends, is due to working out and making my body more compact. Score one for fitness!

I am so glad I've become a camera whore taken pictures along my journey - I really do forget how far I've come and boy, do the photographs bring it all back!

And now, on to my resolutions and theme (thanks for the idea, Roxie!) for 2010:
  1. I will lose 20 more pounds by June, and reevaluate where I am to see if that is a good goal weight for me;
  2. I will work on losing my belly flab - and this includes actively working to hold in my stomach (or core, if you prefer) during my workouts (I've been pretty lax about doing this);
  3. I will run a 5K and have one in mind for February 26th (it's an evening run);
  4. I will set aside at least $25 each month to go toward another vacation - it will take a while, but we want to go back to Maui;
  5. I will protect my diet by not allowing certain foods (Dove Dark Chocolate Promises, I'm looking at you) to derail my progress; and
  6. I will work on my writing - specifically, I want to get my story out in a book. More on what has inspired this in a later post.
And my theme for 2010, in case you haven't already figured it out, is FITNESS. Right now I am in the best shape of my life, and with putting FITNESS first I can only get better. This means that I will continue to workout with my trainers, putting my goals in their hands and allowing them to push me beyond what I think I am capable of doing, to lead an active lifestyle by walking more and driving less, to exercise more on the days that I don't work out, to caring for myself by making sure I have the right shoes and clothes for my workouts, and to always remember to keep FITNESS in mind throughout my day.

Now...onward and downward...2010 is going to be a great year!


P.S. Jenn over at Slim-Shoppin' has featured me in her "Weight Loss Success Stories" today - go check it out! Thanks, Jenn!