Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Twelve Weeks Later...

I feel like Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic - "I'm king of the world!" Yes, blog-peeps, today I completed my first Twelve Week Fitness Challenge and I am shouting it from the mountain tops (ok, hilltops are more like it here in Texas) - I DID IT!!! I seriously cannot believe that I actually completed something like this! The old me would have bailed on this long ago..."it's hard, I have to get up early in the morning, my muscles are sore," blah blah blah, excuse after excuse...but I stayed with it, went to every session (and even added a third session for months 2 and 3) and boy do I feel GREAT about myself!!!

When I re-read my post about the first week, I had to laugh because I don't think I've touched the 6 and 8 pound weights since then. It's more like 10, 12, 15 and 20 - depending on the exercise. I can do 100 crunches with no problem, and the amount of squats, push ups and other crazy things have vastly improved. I can run for minutes at a time on the treadmill (Who me? Running?!?), and my endurance in the cardio room has gotten so much better - I am really shocked and happy (shappy - anybody remember that Family Ties episode?) at what I can do.'s the numbers details: I lost about 18 pounds since I started, which is less than I wanted, but it breaks down to about 1.5 pounds/week...which is actually pretty good. Not sure what I was really expecting (beyond a miracle), but I'll take it. I've lost about 8 inches overall, with the most coming off my waist. After looking over my food logs with Brad and Linda, it seems that I'm not eating enough. I'll wait for the hoardes of you to finish nodding your heads with an "I told you so." Fine, fine, I get it now. The plan is to bump up the calories, mostly with protein. I'll shoot for about 1500 on my workout days, and 1200 - 1300 on the others. It will be interesting to see if that revs up my metabolism so I can get the rest of this weight off in a timely manner.

Have I mentioned that I signed up for another twelve weeks? Oh yeah - can't let these muscles disappear now! Bring it on!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ladies Only...Men Please Vacate the Blog Now

Yes, it's time for another Ladies Only post!

So...I had my annual mammogram today - oh the joy of being in your 40's! If you've ever had one, you know that after the technician is finished, you have to sit in the waiting room while they check the films to make sure that they are clear enough for the radiologist to read. And if you've never had one, well, now you know! Anyway, the tech came out and told me that the films were fine...but then she asked me if I'd lost weight. I said that I had. She got this relieved look on her face and said that my breasts were so much smaller than last year's films she was worried that there had been an identity mix-up! How 'bout that for a weirdly interesting non-scale victory?!?

And now on to part 2 of today's mammo story. After the shock and trauma of my first one, when I was 40, I decided to treat myself to ice cream every time I had to go through this. Yes, I know it's part of being a grown-up and taking care of my health, but I still don't like it - a treat was definitely in order.

In years past, I've headed from the mammo appointment straight to Coldstone Creamery, where I would get a "Founder's Favorite" in the Love It size. I would sit in my car and enjoy my ice cream. Notice I did not sit in the store and eat it - that would be embarrassing; the lone chubby woman chowing down on a treat that she obviously did not need.

Today, I still planned on having my ice cream treat, but after checking the calorie count of the Founder's Favorite (eek!), I decided to find an alternative. I went to our new Baskin Robbins and had a 4 oz. serving of Lemon Sorbet for 130 calories and I loved it! Ben and Jerry's is much closer to our house, so when I've wanted a treat I've gotten their child-sized Lemon Sorbet for 100 calories and was satisfied. But I have to say that BR beats B&J hands-down in taste for the Battle of the Lemon Sorbets (didn't know one was brewing, did ya?)!

Oh, and I sat at a little table in the store, all by myself, and ate my ice cream - with absolutely no embarrassment! That, to me, is another non-scale victory!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Follow Up on the Random Stuff - And Some Whining...

Well, I haven't been able to get back to the store, but even if the outfit is gone, I will look for something like it. Those floral skirts are in all my favorite stores (TJ Maxx, Steinmart and of course, Kohl's) now, so I'll spend some time early next week trying some on. I'm excited that I can wear something so fun and flirty! Hopefully I will find something before May 7, which is our next big reception at work.

Thanks for all the suggestions and comments regarding the smoothies. I agree with Hotch Potchery - I do like to chew my food, so I probably won't be making these on a regular basis, but it will be something different to try. Plus, as a couple of you pointed out, I could add ground flax seeds it. I bought a bag of ground flax a few weeks ago and I'm not too fond of the taste - I was expecting "nutty" but got "bitter" so this would help hide that flavor.

You know, I hate to complain about my job when so many others are losing their jobs in this lovely economy, but I'm gonna. I am getting tired of working on Saturdays. Next month will be two years that I've been here, and frankly, this Saturday business is really messing with things that I want to be doing. For example, there are a lot of 5K walks based right out of the park where I work, and it would be fun to finally walk in one. But of course, they are all on Saturday mornings. And we were invited to a wedding - the bride is a good friend of my son, Sam, and he is a groomsman - but of course, it's at 11:00 am on a Saturday. This is getting old. I mean really, in five years' time, will I remember that I worked on May 30, 2009, or will I remember seeing a sweet couple get married? Unfortunately, it will be the stupid work.

I'm lucky that I have a nice part-time job, and I do need to work (hello, two kids in college PLUS a slightly expensive exercise habit) - but it's aggravating. Oh, and the atmosphere here has been pretty crummy for about six months now. It's tough to be a non-profit in this day - donations are down, and morale is low. People are tense and stupid things that shouldn't bother anyone do. Ugh. It's getting so that I dread being at work. Which is NOT what it used to be like.

Hmmm. In writing this, I'm thinking it's time to start looking for another job. Because a part-time job shouldn't make me feel this way, which is low, sad and demoralized.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Just a Bunch of Random Stuff...

Smoothies: I'm thinking about trying them. I know, big news, eh? Because I'm too lazy to go back and find the posts about who puts what in their smoothies, I thought I'd see what y'all think about these combos.

  1. Banana, PB2 w/chocolate, Fage 0% plain yogurt
  2. Same as above, add fresh spinach
  3. Frozen berries, Fage, fresh spinach (I believe this would be a "Shrek Shake" ala MizFit
  4. Leftover NutriMed 420 Chocolate powder, frozen strawberries, Fage (?)
Do you need to add ice or any other liquid to these? Will I really not taste the spinach? Is it worth the blender clean up to try a smoothie? What say you, blog-friends?

I went shopping at Kohl's yesterday (really, I don't own stock in this store; it's just clean, bright and easy to get to) and tried on this skirt and this top (in the blue color) and I actually TUCKED THE TOP IN (which has not happened in this century!) and it looked pretty cute! But I wasn't looking for an outfit like that so I didn't buy it - in fact, I didn't even check the prices. Then my mom called and got me all excited about it so I went online and the darn skirt is on sale for $19.99 and the top for $13.99 and now I'm regretting my tunnel vision (get a top for jeans) today at the store. Wonder if it'll still be there tomorrow after 6:00 pm?

My trainer, Linda, called me today after I posted a status update on Facebook that said "Shelley is still on an exercise long do those endorphins last, anyway?!" and told me to go running if I still felt like that - she cracks me up! Actually, it is so cool how much she cares about how I'm doing with the workouts. This experience has been so positive for me - the entire group has really made me feel like I belong there. Next week is the last week for the twelve-week workout, and we will take measurements again. I'm hoping to see some more inches gone - I don't think the weight has changed very much lately, but we'll see. My diet may need tweaking. Oh, and I've signed up for another twelve-week challange - got to keep this going, dontcha know!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Tide Has Turned

I don't know what did it...maybe the fact that it's finally Spring weather here? After heavy rains complete with thunder and lightening on Friday and Saturday, it is gorgeous now. So nice that on Sunday afternoon I grabbed Jeff and ran to Lowe's to buy some bedding plants - it doesn't look like much now, but just wait - in a mere matter of weeks there will be a RIOT of color in front of my house!
Portulaca and Lily of the Nile - this will be so pretty!

Anyway, when I woke up on Monday morning, it was light outside! And before you think well of course it was light outside, it was 10:00 am (ha!), it was 6:55 am - yes, Daylight Savings Time, we have beaten your dark mornings!

I'm assuming that this is why I had such great energy during my 8:00 am workout - I was running on the treadmill, ripping the rower and even stepping on that dreaded stepper like crazy! Then we went to the strength-training room, where I did the T-Bar rows super fast, while thinking "Samantha Harris arms, Samantha Harris arms" over and over. Blasted through the ball slams in record (for me) time - man, I was pumped! Ab crunches on the Bosu - no problem! It was great!

Then I came home and attack-cleaned my house and let me just tell you, it looks and smells nice! I love the smell of Swiffer floor cleaner - combine that with Pledge, Clorox wipes and 409 and that was my perfume of the day!

I just wish I could bottle this energy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

SoBe lifewater Review!

Last week I received samples of SoBe lifewater's new zero calorie naturally sweetened, vitamin enhanced water beverages (whew!) to try - what a fun perk of blogging! Please keep in mind that the opinions expressed are mine, and that your mileage may vary.

I have to say that I don't like to drink my calories, so when I heard about these, I was intrigued. However, my beverage of choice is unsweetened iced tea, so I may not be the best person to rate a sweet drink.

First impression upon opening the cool tube that they came in - what fun colors! The label on each bottle starts out white at the top and goes down in a gradient color depending on the color of the drink - very pretty, plus with the SoBe lizard on the front, they are like little works of art!

The first flavor I tried was the Fuji Apple Pear, which was by far my favorite. It was a lightly sweet drink, and I liked the apple/pear flavor combination. There was no aftertaste - I would definitely buy this. It would be fun to have in a social situation where emphasis is on the drink - something different from say, club soda with lime, which is what I normally choose when I'm at a party.

I tried the Blue and Black Berry next. It tasted too much like grape juice to me. And I'm not a big fan of grape juice. But if you are, then you would probably like this flavor.

The last bottle was Yumberry Pomegranate, and I did not like this one at all - in fact I didn't finish it. It does not taste like pomegranates; there was no "yum" involved with this flavor. The only word I could come up with to describe it is "bitter" - they really need to go back to the drawing board with this one.

These beverages contain 100% Vitamin C, 20% Vitamin E, and 10% Niacin, Vitamins B6 and B12 and Pantothenic Acid (aka Vitamin B5). The are sweetened with Erythritol, which is in the Stevia/Truvia family.

If you would like to try SoBe lifewater, there is a buy one, get one free coupon available here. Due to a mix up, I didn't get any extras for a giveaway, but Lori over at Finding Radiance has one here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Warning: Mood Swings Ahead...

Look what I won from MizFit! I am so excited - I loved Hungry Girl's first cookbook, and I cannot wait to see what she has in her new one! Thank you, Carla and Lisa!

I have to tell you, this could not have come at a better time. I really needed a boost. You might have noticed that I haven't posted anything since Sunday...I have been in a bit of a bad mood. You see, I'm getting impatient. Restless. Irritable. Discontent. Not with my diet, although to call it a diet feels kind of odd now. It's the way I eat. And I'm fine with it, this healthy, mostly-clean eating. I feel good and I've lost the desire to eat Taco Bell and other formerly delicious junk.

I'm just feeling pissy that this is taking so long! I'm coming up on a year since I started this journey, and while I have come a long way during this time, I still have a long way to go.

I'm loving my workouts, and yet at the same time, I'm getting mad at myself because my muscles aren't showing. I was watching Dancing with the Stars on Monday night (what can I say, it's my guilty pleasure) and the co-host, Samantha Harris, was in a halter dress that showed her upper arms and shoulders and damned if her muscles didn't look so nice and defined and I want that for me NOW! While I can feel my muscles growing, I can barely see them because there is still so much flab covering them. Yes, I am having a temper tantrum. It's not fair! ::stomps foot, slams door, pouts:: Logically, I know that there is not much else I can be doing. As the weight comes off, the muscles will eventually appear. But this just sucks right now.

Oh, and Jen at Prior Fat Girl is giving away granola - go here and enter!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sealed...For MY Protection

Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Happy Sunday!

The boys came home for the weekend and as usual, it's been fun. They make me laugh so much!

Because they were planning on leaving fairly early today, we had our Easter dinner last night. Instead of the usual spiral-sliced honey-glazed ham, sweet potato casserole and green bean casserole, I grilled a pork tenderloin and served it with oven-roasted herb-seasoned red potatoes and steamed asparagus. The meal was so good! I made a fruit salad for dessert (strawberries, cantaloupe and blackberries) and served it in my water goblets, which was both colorful and Martha Stewart-ish! We really enjoyed our dinner and I didn't hear any complaints about the healthier menu. I felt much better after this dinner than I usually do after our heavy, salt-laden traditional dinner. I'm liking the changes!

Even though the boys are 19 and 22, they still like getting an Easter basket (seriously, who doesn't?) and I enjoy putting them together. So while I've been good about not eating all the Easter candy that has been everywhere (boss-man set a bowl of mini Cadbury chocolate eggs on my counter in February and kept refilling it!), I didn't want to tempt myself by doing the usual "two for them, one for me" way I normally fill their baskets. I ended up getting candy in sealed packages and I think they came out great! Plus, this is actually a lot less candy than I normally put in - I guess since I wasn't buying bags and bags of candy it was easier not to go overboard.

I've made it through this Easter season with nary a Cadbury Creme Egg touching my lips (or hips!). Sure, I could have worked one into my daily calorie-count, but I'm still trying to get the weight off. And really? I'm pretty sure they will be around next year.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ghrelins and Leptins and Omentum, Oh My!

What I learned from You: On A Diet...

I am doing something right! Yay instincts! Dr. Oz recommends that you pick a meal and eat the same thing every day (hello, Fage yogurt, Kashi Golean Crunch cereal and fresh strawberries). He says that by "automating" the meal that you rush through the most, you'll lose more weight; "...decrease your food choices and you'll automatically decrease your appetite and waist size."

I agree with him on this (and not just because I happen to already be doing it, haha) - as long as I ensure that the ingredients for my favorite breakfast are on hand, I'm not opening and closing the fridge and pantry doors, trying to figure out what to eat. Which, in my case, can lead to grazing, or having a much bigger breakfast than I need.

I liked this book, but I have to say that there were a lot of big words in it! Even with the fun drawings illustrations, I had a hard time following the ghrelins and leptins and omentum and most everything else that makes us eat, not eat and overeat. However, the plan outlined in the book makes a lot of sense, and Dr. Oz makes several great points for exercising.

Oh! Speaking of exercising - two things. One: I ran on the treadmill yesterday! I have not attempted to run (except for chasing wayward toddlers) since the 70's (before the invention of the jogbra - need I say more?). But Will was having everyone run a bit, so I tried it. I was pretty shocked at myself - me??? Running?!? I did experience a strange sensation, though. There was um...bouncing - but not the parts you might booty was jiggling away! I did not expect that!

The other thing about exercising is that Crabby McSlacker over at Cranky Fitness wrote about my post on muscle soreness! I am so honored and touched by this! I was floating on air this morning when I first read her post! If you are not familiar with Cranky Fitness, you are missing out on some good information and great humor, not to mention funny pictures!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This and That...

So last night as I was lying in bed watching Dancing with the Stars (DVR'd, of course...too many commercials otherwise), I realized that I wasn't very sore from my workout that morning. And I started going over in my head what we had done - yes, there were some new things (kettlebell swings, box jumps, bouncy chin-ups), and I had worked up a red-faced sweat during cardio, but hmmm, maybe I was getting used to this? And might need to step it up a notch? But really, I don't see how I could do that as I just about died while trying to get through some of the sets. Anyway, I went to sleep feeling kind of uneasy about what I got out of the workout.

Apparently I had a delayed onset of muscle soreness...because this morning my arms hurt before I got out of bed! Yes, TODAY I am feeling the kettlebell swings big time! Does anyone else worry that if they are not appropriately sore, they didn't get enough out of their workout? Or am I just trying to compare how it was when I started and absolutely everything hurt to now, when I have built up a little bit of muscle?

In related news...someone asked me in a comment last week if I could do a chin-up. I commented back that I didn't know as we had not done them yet. Well, I found out yesterday that NO, I cannot do a chin-up - even if I started off bouncing off a tire! I guess that's good to know and now I have a goal - to do one (1) chin-up.

I did my one minute 30 second plank hold three times last night, and while I was down on the floor threw in 10 push ups for good measure. Interesting observations about doing plank holds at home vs. the gym:
  1. Harder to keep going because I had to time myself; at the gym, I don't know how long I've been holding until there's maybe 10 - 15 seconds left and I start shaking like crazy and that's when Brad or Linda tell me what I've got left.
  2. I did it in front of the closet door mirrors so I could check my form, which was helpful.
  3. My cat Henry was very curious about the whole thing and kept checking me out up close - at one point I thought he was going to crawl under me!
  4. Even with the cat for entertainment, exercising at the gym is still more fun than at home.

There are two blogs you should definitely check out today: Chunky Monkey Mama's post about what happened to her while doing Jillian's Shred is so funny (but do not eat or drink anything while you are reading it or you will need to clean your monitor!); and Happy Texans is giving away Carb Check bagels - go here to check it out!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Turn Off The Lights, The Party's Over

Well, I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only person who used to plan a free weekend around food! Thanks for all the comments - you guys get me, and I love that!

So, I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend. I read, watched TV, ran around in the front yard with Paco the wonder dog and I even made a trip out to the new "health food" store. Which is really an old crappy grocery store that was bought out and the new owners are touting it as a health food place, which in actuality is still the same old crappy store but with a slightly bigger selection of, say, peanut butters. Oh and they have a ton of gluten-free stuff, which would be awesome were I in need of those types of products. But I am not.

I ended up buying 2 avocados (at the low, low price of .44/ea), a huge head of romaine lettuce (.99!), some craisins, gorgonzola and a packet of Simply Organic Pineapple and Cilantro salad dressing mix. You just mix it with water and some white vinegar (package says white wine, but I'll be using rice vinegar because that's what is in my pantry) - no oil, so it's low low in calories. Hopefully it's high high in taste! I have some marinated asparagus, garbanzo beans and toasted pecans to add to - you guessed it - a huge salad that I'll have for dinner tonight. Yum! Usually, I'm not thrilled with how my salads come out - my mom makes the best salads, hands down, and most of the time mine are missing something. Or have too much of something. So I'm hoping for a winner, or at least a first runner-up with this salad. I'll let you know.

This post has gotten away from me! I meant to write about what I've learned from Dr. Oz but will save that for another day.

Let me leave you with one very public commitment: After feeling like a slug during my workout this morning, I talked with Linda about doing something at home, and for the next week, I'm going to do a one-minute plank hold, working on getting my form correct, twice an evening. It may not sound like much, but it is for me, and I am all about the baby steps!

Edited to add: Go here for a Fage yogurt giveaway! Just looking at all the Fage on The Hungry Yogini's page is making my mouth water!

Friday, April 3, 2009

I'm Free..........

Free as a bird this weekend! My husband has flown the coop (literally) - he's gone to California for his Grandma's 100th birthday party (you go, Grandma!) and except for working 10 - 2 on Saturday (which will be very quiet - I'm bringing a book) there is nothing that I have to do and no one to answer to!

Now, I feel pretty confident that I will behave myself eating-wise this weekend, but that was not always the case. Previous "free" weekends guaranteed me stopping at the grocery store on Friday after work to stock up on junk food, and then hitting either Taco Bell, McDonald's or some other fast food place for a bag o', dinner. I would eat myself silly, sleep horribly, wake up full of regret...and do it all over again on Saturday. Except that I would usually order a pizza for delivery - why bother leaving the house?

Those of you who can relate to this know that I would have had to dispose of all the food and wrappers before any sane human returned home - thus I always got a big garbage bag and threw in all of the evidence, plus I emptied every trash can in the house into it - oh, and cleaned the cat box as well. I looked very industrious, when in reality I had spent the weekend eating myself into a food coma!

I'm not going to do that to myself this weekend. Instead, the ideas swirling in my head include: making a faux McMuffin for dinner using an egg ring and a real egg (I know...exciting!), reading the latest issue of Cooking Light magazine, doing some crunches with my Swiss ball (but only on Friday and Saturday - I don't dare do them on Sunday for fear that I won't be able to keep up with my workout on Monday), race Paco around the street on my bike, clean out my closet of yet even more clothes that are too big for me, and read Dr. Oz's "You Shut Your PieholeOn a Diet" that I bought earlier this week.

Why am I so motivated to stay on this healthy living path? Well, let's see. I've been seeing results - I am wearing smaller sizes and it's fun to get dressed in the morning! I feel good - I was not sick AT ALL this winter which is a first for me! No stomach troubles, either, because I am not putting junk into my system. I like feeling this way. I can laze around because I want to, not because I don't have the energy to get up and do anything. More often, though, I am up and doing stuff. What can I is good!

And hey, check out these giveaways: Jen from Prior Fat Girl is having a Popchips contest - click here to enter! And Biz at Biggest Diabetic Loser is holding her monthly contest - click here to enter.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Meet My Peeps!

No, not the Easter workout peeps!

First off, this here is Brad. He owns the joint. He does the strength training. See that smile? He's always smiling. Even when he's telling you to do something horrible like 50 Indo Board pushups in two minutes, he's just smiling away. It's hard to hate the guy when he has such a nice smile. I think that's part of his strategy - he's so upbeat, you just have to keep going. Next he'll have us whitewashing his picket fence!

Disclaimer: Brad doesn't really have a picket fence. But he is considering putting in a swimming pool and I would not be surprised if he has us all digging the hole one of these days...and we will, happily!

This is Linda. Isn't she cute?! I just love her, so much so that I let her drive me into a puddle of sweat on Mondays and Tuesdays in the cardio room. Plus she tells fun stories about her kids and horse to distract us from the time not moving fast enough during our workouts. But beware - if she feels like she overate on the weekend, we all are gonna pay with an even higher intensity workout!

Disclaimer: Linda cannot possibly overeat. Look at her picture! She has a waist that rivals Scarlett O'Hara!

And here's Will. Doesn't he look sweet? But look deeper into his eyes...those are the eyes that get this evil squint when he's thinking of ways to torture us on Wednesdays in the cardio room.

Disclaimer: Will is not really evil. He's a nice young man. But he needs to remove the word "burpee" from his vocabulary.

It's been eight weeks since I started working out with my peeps. I have seen great results in the form of fitting into smaller clothes, 12 pounds lost and, oh yeah, strength, endurance and nice muscle tone. It's crazy how much I like doing this! Even on my worst days (suspended chain push ups, anyone?) when I'm struggling to get through a set, the encouragement I get from Brad, Linda and Will helps me so much. And I'm always glad I did the workout - it's kind of like forget the worst of the pain and enjoy the reward. Only in this case, I don't have to change any diapers ::grin::