Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm Back!

Although if I could have figured out a way to stay in Maui, believe me - I'd still be there! And yes, I did read the "help wanted" ads in the Maui News every morning...there were several jobs available for me, but the only thing I could find for Jeff was "timeshare salesman" so sadly we had to get on the plane and come home. Can you tell that we had a great time? October in Maui is just gorgeous - lovely weather, and with the exception of a few raindrops on the drive to Hana and the 'Ohe'o Gulch, we experienced sunny, mid-eighties temps every day. It was so pretty there! We went swimming in the ocean every day but one (the Hana day), and also got to play in the whale-shaped swimming pool. Well, swimming is a stretch for me - mostly, I floated. The best $3.49 I ever spent was on a pink (naturally) inflatable ring - this way, I could hang out in the ocean while Jeff went a little ways off to snorkel, and then he would swim back to me and hang on the ring to rest. Why, you may be wondering, was I not snorkeling with Jeff? Well, getting that close to fish and sea turtles (and a manta ray!) creeps me out. So I hung out a little way from Black Rock, where Jeff did most of his communing with sea life.
Black Rock in the early morning during a gorgeous walk on the beach!

One thing that I kept realizing during our trip was that I was DOING things - like hiking up a half mile trail to see a waterfall at 'Ohe'o Gulch (aka the Seven Sacred Pools), and then down a mile to see the actual pools, and then back up a half mile to our car. I didn't have to stop and rest, nor was I out of breath, or sweatier than anybody else on the trails. It was like I was a normal person - I know that sounds weird to say, because you may look at my pictures and see the new me, but in my head, I still see the old me. Case in point: I was walking out of an airport restroom, where they had a huge full-length mirror positioned near the exit. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thought "wow - I look like a normal person" - I wasn't thin, but I also wasn't fat. It was a little surprising to realize something like that.
It was a half-mile hike up to this spot.Where we got to see this awesome waterfall!
A mile hike down from the waterfall brought us to the ocean and sacred pools.

And another thing that I "did" was to not only wear a swim suit, but get used to walking to the beach and the pool wearing it with no cover up. Of course, the only picture I'm going to share with y'all of me in my swim suit involves a cover up, or pareo, which are very popular and can be found everywhere...naturally, I had to get one in pink to match my flip flops! This picture was taken during my self-imposed, mandatory "shade time" - my pale skin can only take so much sun, even with using sunscreen at an SPF of 50!
Showing my bare upper arms for all the world to see!

At the nightly hula show, wearing our crazy cute Hawaiian clothes and the leis we made - our hotel had a lot of fun activities to participate in!

And as this post is getting a little long, I'll leave you with one last picture - I found my beloved bike's cousin in Lahaina Town!

Don't worry - there will be more posts to come on our vacation, including such fascinating topics as food (aka "diet...what diet?"), the interesting characters I met in Maui, and shopping with my mother (aka the "pre-vacation"). Now I'm off to catch up on what all y'all have been up to!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'm Ready!

The bags are packed, the animals are being cared for (how weird is it that I didn't have to make any arrangements for my kids*?!), and the food (pb&j on Oroweat sandwich thins for me, regular bread for my husband, apples, clementines, grapes, almonds, and a Lara Bar, which I have been dying to try) is ready for the 9+ hours we will be traveling today.

I went to the bank a couple of days ago and turned all of this:
into $99.95! (Paco the wonder dog was responsible for the chewed up dollar bills)

I got my hair cut - my stylist knocked 10 bucks off of the price as a "have fun in Hawaii" gift - she is so sweet! Oh, funny thing - when she was washing my hair, she said "even your head has gotten smaller!" So I don't know...do heads shrink when you lose weight?

I got my beach toes done:
...and I think that's it - I'm officially ready for our vacation!

We are flying to Oregon to visit my parents, where we will endure enjoy brisk temperatures and rain, and where my mom and I will shop for clothes - how fun! Then on Monday morning, we are off to sunny Maui to celebrate our 25th Anniversary - I can't wait! I sure hope these next 12 days of eating different food will kick my body into losing weight again - I've been stuck for a couple of weeks now and it's getting frustrating. That said, I will not let what the scale says ruin my vacation!

I'll have computer access while we're at my parent's house, so hopefully I'll be able to get a post up sometime before Monday, but after that, we will be unplugged for a week. It will be weird to go so long without checking on all of my bloggy friends - I may need recaps when I get back!

*Although they will always be kids to me, they are actually in college.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday Workout Update - and Free Yoplait Fiber One Yogurt!

On Monday, Brad paired us up into teams of two and gave us what seemed like an impossible task - each team had to do the following, split however it worked out between the pair:
  • 150 crunches
  • 150 squats
  • 150 calf raises with 30 lb bar on shoulders
  • 100 leg presses
  • 100 tricep presses
  • 100 bicep curls
  • 100 T-bar rows (for shoulders and back)
If we got these done in under 20 minutes, then for Wednesday's workout, we would be doing the "Chief" - which is sets of 3 dumbbell thrusters, 6 push ups and 9 squats - 20 minutes' worth. If we didn't get the Monday workout done within 20 minutes, we would have to do burpees for 20 minutes on Wednesday. Well, my partner Kathleen hates burpees as much as I do, so we set to work and pounded everything out in 17 minutes...amazing how fast you can move when burpees are at stake!

The other team, Jenny and Ashley, finished after us but still within the 20 minute time frame. We were all so happy - no burpees!!! I left feeling victorious, but later on got to thinking...we've done this crazy workout before, but for time - and we have 30 minutes in the gym. Yes, we've finished it, but with water breaks and short rest periods between sets - pretty much taking the entire 30 minutes. I think Brad pulled one of his infamous "Tom Sawyers" on us - by playing the burpee card, he got us to get the workout finished in record time! I'm telling ya, Brad has such an easygoing manner and friendly smile that he could get us to pretty much do anything...and be happy about it!

Speaking of burpees, I have to give props to my girl, Linda - her group had to do them on Tuesday, and she managed to do 214 in 20 minutes!!! And later on that same day, she knocked out a 15 minute, 30 second plank hold!!! She is amazing, and while I know I'll never reach her level of fitness, it's so inspiring to see what she can do!


And now for something fun - a Yoplait Fiber One 50-Calorie Yogurt giveaway for the first 50 people who click this link! (You will receive a coupon for a free 4-pack of yogurt along with tips from the Hungry Girl herself, Lisa Lillien, and a downloadable $1.00 off coupon!)

When Yoplait asked me if I wanted to participate in this promotion, I jumped on it, because although I am pretty much a plain, non-fat Greek yogurt kind of gal, that wasn't always the case. When I first started my diet, I relied on Yoplait Light yogurt, mixed with Grape-Nuts for a healthy breakfast and/or snack. As my eating progressed toward more of the "clean" nature, I eventually phased out the Yoplait in favor of the more natural Greek yogurt. But I will always be grateful that Yoplait was there for me in the beginning. And I figured that some of my readers might like the chance to try this for free!

The new Fiber One 50-Calorie Yogurt has 50 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0% fat, and comes in Strawberry, Vanilla, Key Lime Pie and Peach (which was my favorite flavor of the Yoplait Light). Yoplait is available in grocery stores everywhere, and is Hungry Girl approved!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Plan B

Well, I know you all are wondering what we ended up doing for dinner on Friday - the solution was to split a hamburger and fries at our favorite burger joint. One nice thing is that if you tell them you are splitting the burger when you order, they will do it for you and place the two halves, with fries, in separate baskets. It was good, and I mentioned to my husband when we were leaving that it was nice to walk out feeling pleasantly full, but not stuffed. Even though I've been doing this whole "portion control" thing for well over a year now, I still surprise myself when I manage to do it at a restaurant. I don't know why - I guess it's just years and years of coming away feeling stuffed and regretful over the amount that I ate. Wonder if those feelings will every dissipate?

Speaking of being full, I was a little stuffed from the smoothie I made Sunday night - I used my mixed frozen fruit and some new POM Nectarine that the POM people so nicely sent me. I normally make my smoothies with just water, but I have to say that adding the POM really, really makes them taste great! However, that great taste comes with a price - about 150 extra calories - so I don't plan on doing this in the future. But, wow...it was good!

New POM flavors - Nectarine and Kiwi

It was a cold, rainy, dreary weekend here - and while it dried out enough to go for a bike ride on Saturday evening, it was too cold for me and I ended up cutting it short. The wind went right through my clothes - I will have to investigate some cold-weather exercise gear before my next ride. This snuck up on me, needing clothes like that...I've never had a need for them because, let's face it - if it was cold, the old Shelley wasn't going outside to exercise! I guess I'm still learning who I am - and apparently I am someone who will continue to bike ride in the cold!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Best Laid Plans...

On Wednesday I went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of stuff for salads (keep in mind it was still in the 90s and salad sounded good) - I came home and prepped everything:
  • washed, chopped and spun dry 3 bunches of hearts of romaine lettuce
  • cleaned and sliced a package of mushrooms
  • pretty-peeled and sliced a cucumber
  • sliced a bunch of green onions
  • sliced up some strawberries
  • toasted walnuts
  • marinated two chicken breasts for grilling, to go on the salads
It was a lot of work, but the upside would be a fairly easy assembly for two meals - that night's and tonight's. All that was left was to slice some avocado onto the finished salads and sprinkle some garbanzos - easy peasy. So imagine my surprise when I finally came home last night at 9:00 pm to see a bunch of empty plastic containers - that previously held the salad fixings - drying on the kitchen counter. My husband came out and said "I made the best salad!" - um, yeah...but didn't you notice that there was a lot of lettuce?!? Not to mention all the other toppings. Sigh. He threw everything into the big salad bowl that the lettuce was in - I really think that if he'd actually started making the salad in our regular bowls, which are big enough, he might have realized that he couldn't have fit the lettuce in, much less all the rest of the ingredients! Portion control, anyone?

So onto Plan B for tonight's dinner...which is: I haven't a clue!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday Workout Update - Grumpy Edition

Bah humbug! That pretty much sums up how I'm feeling right about now. I'm getting a little frustrated (ok, maybe more than a little) at how slow my weight is coming off compared to other bloggers. Yes, I know we are all individuals and everyone loses at a different rate, but what can I say - I'm human. And while I'm losing 3 - 4 pounds a month, lots of you are losing 2 - 3 pounds a week. I am so close to a major milestone - but I'm not still not there yet - and to be honest it 's pissing me off. Once I reach said milestone, I'll be about 20 pounds away from what I think will be my goal weight - which would be awesome if I could get this done in, say, the next freakin' millennium!

I don't know what else I could be doing. Brad noticed I was upset this morning (hard not to when tears are falling) and after I explained, he said my exercise is good. He offered to take a look at what I'm eating and see if it's not enough or too much or what. Which I will do, but I'm leaving for our vacation a week from tomorrow, and I'm not going to have complete control over what is available to eat, plus I will be, hello, on vacation and plan on enjoying the lovely foods of Hawaii (and Oregon, for that matter), so this really won't be an option until nearly November. Argh.

Oh, and another thing. I will be missing Linda when I come back from vacation - her mother, Alice, was just diagnosed with ovarian cancer and Linda will be taking time off to help care for her through the upcoming surgery and chemo. I'm sad for her mom, sad for Linda, and sad for me - yes, that's totally selfish, but I don't think I would have gotten so far with these workouts without Linda's encouragement. We've gotten to be friends, which has been a great bonus. And while we will be in touch via phone and Facebook, it's not the same when you see someone several times a week. Anyway, they are in for a rough road ahead, so if you can, please keep Alice in your thoughts.

As for my workouts, this week we were doing skill testing - seeing how far we'd come in the last six weeks on certain things. I went from an 85 pound bench press (one rep max) to 100 pounds, and improved my four minute wall sit to a little over six minutes. My plank hold only improved 30 seconds - up to three minutes thirty seconds (that is such a hard thing for me!)...and my bottom-to-bottom Tabata squats, where you do as many squats as you can for 20 seconds, and then hold the squat for the 10 second "rest" period times eight sets...well, let's just say I'm pretty sure they either stayed the same or went down - I am terrible at these things! I don't mind doing regular squats, but doing them in a Tabata is both a mental and physical nightmare for me. I did those Tuesday afternoon, and in this morning's class, where I was the only one who had already done them, Brad announced the Tabata squat - I swear, I didn't plan this, but the words "Nope, not gonna do them again" came out of my mouth - both Brad and Linda were a little shocked, as I never refuse to do things. What can I say, I was already in a grumpy mood and just wasn't having any of those darn Tabata squats - I did a mountain climber Tabata instead.

Well, if you've made it this far through my whining, congratulations and I'm sorry. Hopefully I'll snap out of this before I blog again!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Book Winner and Weekend Recap

First off, I'd like to thank you all for the nice comments on my post about my Grandmother. It wasn't easy to write - even though it's been nearly three years, I still get pretty emotional when I think about her. Plus, as a good friend helped me realize earlier in the week, thinking about what I was going to write made me feel, and I'm not a always fan of feeling. But I made it through a difficult post, so I guess that's progress, right?

In other news, we have a winner of Thin is the New Happy - KatieJ, the book is yours! Email me with your mailing address and I'll get it sent off. By the way, I was impressed by how many of you would pose nude (or have already - you go, Tina and Penny!) - y'all are way more daring than I could ever be!

And a little weekend recap - it involved popcorn, football, a memorial service, a movie and yet more popcorn. But first, while standing in line at the Walgreen's pharmacy to get my flu shot on Friday morning, I saw myself on their closed-circuit monitor and thought "I look pretty good" - remarkable because while most days I come out of my house thinking I look OK, later on if I catch sight of myself in a mirror, or see my reflection in a window, I don't look as good as I thought. It's like those magic mirrors in the Lane Bryant dressing rooms - I swear, I would try on something in a size 24 and thought I looked good; and then when I wore that outfit and saw myself somewhere else, I would be shocked at how huge I looked. So this was a nice little NSV for me!

Friday night was the Crosstown Showdown - the football game between the two rival high schools in our town, where I splurged and shared a bucket of popcorn with my husband - yum! The game is always a fun event - close to 20,000 people attend the game, which is held at our local university's football stadium. Last year was fun for me because my Consol shirt was loose...this year it was so big it was unwearable! So I rooted our team on in my white t-shirt and orange cardigan, and discovered that the seats are a lot more comfortable when you are a smaller size! Oh, and we won again - the score was 43 - 33...go Tigers!

Saturday brought something I was not looking forward to - a memorial service for a friend's eight-year-old son, who died in early August while visiting family out-of-state. He was doing what every kid does - riding his bike - and unfortunately, was hit by a truck. His funeral and burial were held in the state where the accident happened, as all of their family is there; my friend has been dealing with unimaginable grief ever since. I knew they were planning a memorial service here, but had hoped it would be while we were on vacation so I would have an excuse to not attend. Don't think badly of me, but I have been to enough funerals for kids this year. They are just so hard to get through. Of course, I went - it was a lovely service full of funny stories about the son. And I was glad I was able to support my friend. But ugh...more feeling.

On Sunday, I was ready for some much-needed laughs, so my husband and I went to the movies where we saw The Invention of Lying - and I had yet more popcorn. The movie was great and the popcorn, I think, finished off my craving - prior to this weekend, I probably hadn't had any in at least six months, and I think I'm good for another six months now.

I'm looking forward to a bit of a busy week...and of course, counting down the days until we leave for our vacation to Oregon and Hawaii - still need to pack the sunscreen, but I think we're just about ready!

Friday, October 2, 2009


In honor of both Janell's (POD) and Lance Armstrong's Cancerversary today, I'm writing about how cancer has affected my life.

This is a picture of my Grandmother, Maggie. As a little girl, whenever I visited her she let me play dress up with her clothes, jewelry and makeup - she would even help me put on her false eyelashes! A few years ago she gave me all of the jewelry that I played with as a child, and I love wearing several of the necklaces (although not all at once, like I used to) with my outfits to this day.

She lived in southern California when I was a child and would visit us in northern California quite often. She loved scotch and sodas and had a seltzer bottle, complete with the cartridges, that I was fascinated with. Every afternoon, she'd make her drink and make me one, too - using Nestea powdered iced tea mix in place of the scotch. However, she'd always let me have a taste of her drink - and yes, at that young age, I thought her drink tasted better! Some people have a perfume that reminds them of their Grandmother but for me, it's scotch - to this day, while I don't drink anymore, I love that smell.

As an adult, every once in a while I'd take a break from being a mom and go visit my grandmother for the chance to just be a granddaughter once again. She would spoil me - we'd go out for fantastic meals, shop, shop and shop, and then I'd help re-arrange her furniture. I remember her saying "why not?!" quite often - and bam, off we'd go, ordering dessert, or buying an outfit - life was to be enjoyed, and she certainly did just that.

Grandmother had a sense of adventure - she loved to travel and went all over - with her friend Pearl, they island hopped in small planes all over the Caribbean in 1956, and later went to Europe that same year. She's been to Mexico, Hawaii, Egypt, China, Tibet and Bali, back to Italy, France and England several times, and of course visited all over the U.S.

She was into aerobics - the real deal, not the "sit and be fit" kind, yoga, and while she tried Curves when it first came out, she found it "too easy." She delivered Meals On Wheels for decades (it was funny to hear her refer to delivering food to "old people" who were actually younger than her) and in her later years, she got back into painting watercolors - she had been an art major in college. She left us with some absolutely gorgeous pictures.

In August 2006, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We held a celebration of her life on October 8, 2006, which she attended with great glee, greeting and hugging the many friends and relatives who attended. She died 12 days later. We all believe that had it not been for cancer, she would still be with us today - my Grandmother had more energy than people half her age, including me, and was the picture of health. So this is how cancer has affected my life - it took a very special person away from me. And I miss her.

One last picture, taken at a Christmas dinner - she was the life of the party!