Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I am not sure if I can properly express the gratitude I feel for the support this blogging community has given me - and I am humbled by how many people "come to the rescue" at a time when you really need it most. This was never more apparent to me than it was yesterday.

As I am sure most of you already gathered, yesterday morning I had been feeling pretty low and my post certainly reflected that.  There was an incredible amount of self-doubt and disappointment I was allowing to grow inside of me, and I knew it was affecting my whole way of thinking about losing weight. But I wanted to be honest with everyone about how I felt (at that moment) in terms of where I am both physically and mentally in this journey. One thing I never want to do here is lay down some BS that has everyone thinking my weight loss journey is all rainbows and bluebirds and pots of gold when in reality, it's the exact opposite. That does me absolutely no good, and it would defeat the purpose of blogging entirely.  I pretty much wear my emotions and thoughts on my sleeve, or in this case, on my computer screen, so rest assured, you'll always know "the real skinny" about what's going on here in Fatville, NJ.

With that said, I never expected so many supportive, inspiring and motivating comments to come out of such a "downer" post - but I am extremely grateful to those who replied because it made a world of difference for my psyche both yesterday afternoon and today (the replies are still coming in!).

What I love best is that many of you gave me the tough love I so desperately needed - but you also did so with a kindness and compassion that I don't ever recall getting from people I have never met in the flesh (or even family members when it came to my weight issues - my cousin Andrea excluded - she is an awesome cheerleader!!!). You all told me what works for you (which I asked for), you gave me great suggestions on how to better organize my eating plan so that failure isn't an option, you gave me online tools I can use to help track what I eat, you gave me the offer of one on one support if I needed it, you confirmed that this is NOT an easy ride and that you understand what this is like and why it's important to take control, and overall all, you just showed me that you care and are invested in my success too. And a few of you even asked me some very tough questions I have been too afraid to ask myself. Michele at Ruminations and Uncovering: Toward a New Me grabbed me with this particular question: If not now, when?

I stared at those words for a little while and repeated them to myself aloud. If not now, when? When I think of the magnitude of that question, it really blows my socks off and I'll tell you why. When I was a teenager, I told myself by the time I was 20, I would have my weight under control. When I hit 20 and my weight continued to balloon, I thought age 25 would be the magic number and I would finally look and feel the way I wanted. When I turned 25, and nothing had changed, I was sure by my 30th birthday I could beat this problem. Age 30 came and went and so did 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38 and 39. I am now just about 3 months from my 40th birthday, weighing 229 pounds, which is about 6 pounds less than my highest weight ever.  If not now, when?????

Time stands still for no one - I have learned this the hard way. I am so tired of playing the "weighting" game with myself that I know the answer to Michele's question is this: The time IS now. All of those "if not now, when?" moments have come and gone....I have no more time to spare. I'm am doing this NOW.

There is so much more I could write about this, but I am not dwelling on the past, because it gets me nowhere. I just wanted you all to know that your comments are not in vain - I have gained valuable gems from them and am thankful you gave the time to stop by and offer your support.

And just so you know I am true to my word, I DID jump back into the Shred yesterday, and I was right - it was hard. Not as hard as Day 1 though. Apparently it takes more than 3 days for your body to go completely back to hell.  I got up an did it again this morning, followed by an hour walk with my husband and the dogs.

I feel like a new woman today.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Ugh....is it Monday already?????
It's been a doozie of a weekend, folks. And I don't mean in a good way....or maybe I just mean, not in a good way for weight loss. More on that later....

I know I've been missing from my blog for a few days and that's because if I WAS sitting at my computer these past few days, it was for the sole purpose of doing homework. I had a paper and lesson plan to tackle and so if anything at all was going to get typed by these little sausage fingers, I felt those two things took precedence. I still have some tweaking to do on both projects before I go to class this evening, but decided to first spend a couple of minutes playing catch up in Blogland.

So, Monday is the Christmas Dress Challenge Update Day where we share our (a-hem) progress....
What can I tell you other than I continue to struggle daily with weight loss. Something in my head has not clicked the way it is supposed to. I don't know if this is because it's the umpteenth million time I have tried to do this, or if I just am focused on other things right now. What I do know is that my heart and soul has not been 100% into the game. And that is just the truth. I continue to write about it and keep this blog because I feel it helps me in some respect, but part of me has to ask, "What's it all for if you aren't going to commit yourself fully???? People do not want to hear about your failed attempts."

I was on a kick-ass streak with the 30 Day Shred but it has been three, yes THREE days since I have done the workout. I know when I go to do it today (and I will), it will feel like Day 1. But I am going to do it!

Although I have not Shredded for 3 days, I have taken walks with my husband and the dogs (usually close to 60 min a pop) - so I have not been a sloth on the couch all weekend either. Water consumption (64 oz) was on track until yesterday....I only got in about half of that. (And thanks to everyone commenting about the pee thing, by the way! Who knew it was such a popular topic?? Ha!).

The real trouble I am having is with tracking food....it is the thing I need to be MOST accountable for, and yet, it is really where I hit a wall. I thought that hopping back on the WW train was the way to go, but I am not so sure now. Each day as I lose track of what I eat, I feel like a huge failure.  I have always faltered when I had to write down absolutely everything I eat....Yeah, you read this correctly, and so many of you are probably ready to slap me through your computer screen while screaming, "Duh!!!" I realize what I just wrote is the dieter's #1 golden rule. Know exactly what you are putting in your mouth and how much it's going to "cost you." Here is where I should be having that "A-ha", or as I like to call it, "No Shit!" Moment where I say to myself - "Well, this is why you haven't lost any weight! You MUST be held accountable for what you eat." And I know this....really, I do.

So, my question today is this: For those of you that are religious about tracking your food - do you count calories or do WW points? Tell me what you like best about your method of keeping your food portions/intake "in check" and how you approach this each day.

My problem isn't necessarily that I don't know how to do these things....it's simply that I am doing them a bit half assed at the moment and it shows in the lack of weight loss I have had for months now. This past Friday (which is technically my official weigh day), the scale didn't budge from last week (holding steady at 229.25), despite my commitment to the Shred. So on Friday, I think I weighed in, got frustrated, wallowed a bit and then went off the rails....completely. There may or may not have been alcohol and Oreos involved.

What amazes me is how I can fall so quickly. I can be a powerhouse for days, feeling great, working hard at keeping things on the up and up - and then BOOM. I get lazy, and let things slide. Again, I know this is no way to conduct myself or handle this beast within.....I feel like for the past few days I have let "it" get the best of me, and I don't know why. Every time this happens (you get that this is not an uncommon occurrance, right?), it's like I am saying to the universe I really don't give a rat's ass about myself. And while I know in my heart of hearts that's not true, the actions say otherwise.

So that's what has been going on with me these past few days (aren't you glad you asked?).....just here fighting some familiar demons and hoping that eventually I will find my way back to a better mind set - because this one??? Totally not working for me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

With This Pee, I Thee Shed?

Hello peeps!
I'm supposed to be writing a paper for one of my classes but am finding it difficult to really get into it (what's new?). I know it has to be done, and I have a lesson plan that is next in line once the paper is complete - yet here I am futzing around on the computer doing anything but what I am supposed to be doing. Oh Lord, if you only knew just how typical that was of me. My friend (who happens to be a special ed teacher and is therefore quite familiar with the subject) confirmed my self-diagnoses for having Adult ADD. I swear, my ability to stay focused sometimes (as in a lot of the time) SUCKS.

Adding to my issues of not being able to stay focused is all this damn water I have been drinking. For those of you that regularly drink upward of 80 - 100 oz a day, how do you do it? I am CONSTANTLY up and down from my chair, back and forth to the bathroom because I have to pee. Like we're talking waterfalls of pee that I cannot believe my bladder can even hold....Please tell me this stops after a while. I mean, I am willing to pee my brains out if it means shedding some weight - but holy smokes is it inconvenient!

I'm sticking to my challenge goals, though - despite my raging desire to throw on a pair of Depends so that I can stay put in my chair for longer than a 30 minute stretch. I'm guzzling 64 oz of pure water - plus more liquids throughout the day - primarily in the form of coffee, but hey - that counts, right? I'm also tracking WW points, and getting in my 30 minutes of exercise. Yesterday it was the Shred and an additional walk, today it is the Shred and I promise, I will walk again a little later.

Speaking of the Shred, I'm still trudging through! Monday I did not do the DVD because my back was acting up (disc issues - so not fun) but I figured out that it was mainly the bicycle crunches that were causing me pain for whatever reason. Not to be deterred, I got back on the horse yesterday so for the past 2 workouts (Tues & today)  I just did a regular crunch combined with a reverse crunch during that last abs segment which seemed to alleviate the pain a bit (or at least not intensify it, anyway). What is encouraging to me is the difference I notice in myself (endurance-wise) now that I have completed Day 12 versus my struggles in the beginning. Even the jumping jacks are getting easier. And I NEVER thought I'd say that.

Technically this is supposed to be the last day for Level 1, but I am not sure I am ready to move on (mentally or physically) - however, I am willing to try if others who are doing the challenge are also sticking to the proposed schedule. Give me a shout and let me know how you are doing!! I am willing to suffer along and call Jillian even more harsh names in Level 2 if you are!

That's about it...just a wee little update (no pun intended). I'm sending good vibes out to everyone else to kick some butt and stick with your goals. I also want to thank everyone for their comments and support. You guys make this weight loss thing (*almost*) enjoyable - LOL.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Christmas Dress Challenge - Goals & Dresses

Ok, I realize I am just getting my post in for the Christmas Dress Challenge by the skin of my teeth, but I'm here and I have my info and pics, as promised.

I have given some serious thought to goals and what I'd like to accomplish in the next three months and how I am going to achieve these changes. Because this challenge runs simultaneously with the 30 Day Shred Challenge (until mid Oct) I am combining some of my goals I set for that along with this challenge.

I like the fact that this particular challenge is 3 months long, taking us through what I consider to be the hardest time of the year for weight loss. It's what I call the Triple Threat and it starts with Halloween, which will be here before we all know it. Boo, indeed!

Ok, so here are the dresses:
Looks so much better on the hangar than hanging on my body.

 This dress I bought last year in Oct as a possible rehearsal dinner dress but didn't end up wearing it. I thought I could wear it for our honeymoon in Dec, but by then I didn't feel comfortable in it. Rest assured, it's not a maternity dress, but it sure as hell looks like one on me (see pic below). The goal here is to wear this dress without someone asking me when I'm due.
It is size 16W. I'm currently riding the 1X, 18W or 18/20W train depending on the style/cut.
As a matter of fact, no, I'm not expecting. But thanks for asking.

The next dress I selected I have had in my closet for a few years. It's an XL (probably not accurate sizing but that's the manufacturer's fault, not mine) and I have always envisioned myself wearing this with some sexy knee-high patent leather boots. I bought it when I was probably close to 205 - 210 pounds but it never really fit that well. I thought with the magic of Spanx it would look OK, but my confidence must have taken a nose dive because I never wore it. I don't think that by Dec 18 this dress is going to look perfect on me by a long shot, but the goal for this dress isn't to have it fit perfect, but more so to have some of my body lumps and bumps smoothed out so the design doesn't look so ripply. I'm sure I'll continue to work on the "wearability" of this dress long after the challenge is over.

Goal: Make those lines on the waist STRAIGHT!
As for the meaty goals for this challenge, here they are:

1) I have made a BIG decision to do WW online and try tracking points (again). This is not something I had originally planned but after some heavy consideration, I am going to give it 3 solid months of effort and see if it gives me some decent results. I need accountability. Desperately.

2) I also will make sure to get in 30 minutes of exercise in 5 days a week. In one little secret corner of my brain, I am hoping for 7 days a week but this may be difficult and I want to make sure I am setting realistic goals. Let's face it, sometimes life gets in the way.

3) I will drink 64 oz of water a day. I have been BAD with getting in my H2O, so this is something I really want to do! 

4) Weight loss goal - 20 lbs. Enough said.

My measurements can be found on my 30 Day Shred page. They were just taken a few days ago, so I consider them valid for this challenge as well. More than likely, I'll post weekly weigh ins and monthly measurement updates.

That's about it for now....
Hope we all end up on Santa's Nice list by sticking to our goals this year!
Merry Challenge Everyone!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

If You're Shredding And You Know It, Clap Your Hands!

Hello friends!

It's a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon here in NJ and I've got some Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup from  Skinnytaste.com simmering on the stove and have sent my hubby off to the grocery store for a whole chicken I plan to roast to compliment the soup and roasted balsamic cauliflower already planned for dinner. Rachellabelle at My Hips Don't Lie had posted the yummy sounding soup recipe a short while ago on her blog, and I immediately snagged it and printed it so I could make it once some cooler temps kicked in here. Well, the temperatures sort of cooperated, although it's not quite as brisk a day as originally planned for eating this kind of (healthy) comfort food - but, no matter, I'm making that soup anyway!

For those of you that have never visited skinnytaste.com, you really need to. Sooner rather than later! I'm not trying to go all 'high school peer pressure' on you or anything, but trust me, when you are having your first foodgasm over one of her recipes, you'll know what I am talking about. This website is awesome, especially if you are following Weight Watchers because Gina (the culinary goddess behind the recipes) has done all the hard work for you. Everything has been calculated out in both the old points system, as well as the new points plus system. Hey, I bet Jennifer Hudson is a fan! I personally am not doing WW, but sometimes I think I should, just because this website makes it so damn easy - no guesswork! :-) I like that.

So - you know I am not doing WW, but can I tell you about what I am doing? For starters, I'm still kicking ass and taking names with the 30 Day Shred Challenge. It's Day 10 for me!!!
Yeah - get up off the floor - I'm just as surprised as you are that I have stuck with this.

And not only have a I stuck with it - but I am beginning to (gulp)... even like it....a little. My biggest *holy shit* moment was yesterday when my commitment to this thing became glaringly apparent.  I opted for getting up early and getting in my workout before I had to leave to take my Praxis Exam, over sleeping in.  I chose to set my alarm for 6:00 on a Saturday and sweat via exercise before I had to sweat through taking my exam...(BTW - I think I did OK on the test, but I won't get my score back for 4 weeks - so stay tuned). Since most of you guys only know me through the blogosphere, you may not grasp the importance of this NSV - but sadly - this is not something I would have ever imagined I would have done in the past - and we are talking the relatively recent past. In the untimely words of the United States Vice President Joe Biden, "This is a big f*cking deal." (I posted the link of our VP's verbal faux pas here if you have never seen it). Better yet, I kept the promise to myself that I would get some additional exercise in, beyond the Shred, to kick up the calorie burn. Granted, the other exercise (an hour walk with my hubs and the dogs) was done in the early evening, long after the Shred was completed, but I got it done nonetheless.

This morning when I got up, it was my husband's turn to surprise me when he said he wanted to join me in doing the Shred. He had just returned from a mile run (he's easing back into running after going through a year long issue with an broken ankle that didn't heal properly) so I was impressed that he even entertaining the idea. Usually I am not a "share my workout with others" type of person. I like to work out alone. When I used to go to the gym in NY, I never wanted to talk to anybody while I was there. My thinking was this: I had one purpose for me being there and that was to grunt, sweat like a wild boar in heat, and look about as unattractive as possible while making my body do things it was uncomfortable doing - I was not there to make friends. But since my husband has already seen me at my best and worst, I made a concession and allowed him to join me, Jillian and her 2 workout cronies for our daily shred. I figured at the very least he'd get a real kick out of watching my boobs hit my eyebrows as I did the jumping jack segment. Isn't that every guy's biggest fantasy? Uh, Not.

Well, today the crazy workout junkie in me emerged. I really kicked it into high gear. Maybe it was the show off in me, maybe it was because I really feel like I want to up my game - but either way, I really made my body work today under Jillian's command. I started to incorporate some real push ups into the work out instead of just the girly ones (5 total today!!) and I only took ONE 3 second break. I did *real* jumping jacks the whole time but am still modifying the jump rope move slightly ( I sort of jog in place now). All in all, I feel some good progress being made which is encouraging. It also felt good to know the workout kicked my husband's ass too, so I think he may have gained a whole new appreciation for me taking on this challenge. After finishing the Shred, we went on another hour and 10 minute walk. It feels so great not breaking that promise to myself to get in the extra exercise. I have done that kind of promise-breaking self-sabotage crap so often that I am trained to think it's the norm. It's what I have come to expect of myself. But these past 2 weeks have taught me that I CAN stick with something - and the expectations I set for myself should be so much higher.

That's about it for today. Goals met! Happy with my progress! Content with this new way of thinking! I'm trying to get the eating thing under control too (and I definitely need to start drinking more water)....maybe I shouldn't be so cavalier with dismissing the WW idea....I know so many people that are rocking it right now. Could I? Should I?

Tomorrow I will post about my goals for the Christmas Dress Challenge being hosted by Thursday's Child. I have to dig out my dress, take a pic, see how badly it doesn't fit, and think a little bit more about the goals I want to set for this challenge.
I'm feeling unstoppable today....Damn, I hope it lasts!

Friday, September 16, 2011

I Am Not A Leper - I DO NOT Have Malware!

Hello peeps!
I am having an issue (that actually has nothing to do with weight loss believe it or not).
I am not sure what is going on with my blog and I'm a little concerned. I received a troubling comment from Thursday's Child that there is a message when you try to view my blog that says I have Malware and it could be preventing folks from reading it. I am pretty sure I don't have any type of Malware attached to my blog or computer and checked through Google diagnostic which confirmed that my site was A-OK. When I tried to access my blog from my husband's computer, I did not get any message pop up indicating I had it so I have no clue what is going on. I have a Mac that is relatively safe from this type of thing.....yet I can't help but wonder if others receive this message when trying to get to my blog? I know that I got the message when I tried to get to view Katie J's Weight Loss Journey and Watch My Butt Shrink - but I never opened their blogs pages for fear there was something bad lurking out there. 
I am sooooo not a techie so I really am frustrated about this. If anyone knows of how to properly check to see if this is really happening to my blog, I'm all ears. You can send me an e-mail at dirtymartini34@yahoo.com

Now on to other news (for those of you that can still read me here without fear of my blog imploding your computer): I was awarded a my very first blog award yesterday by Becca at Size 24 No More. I was very flattered to receive this, as I haven't exactly been setting the world on fire with my weight loss. But I am tickled that she nominated me and gave a shout out to the fact that I am kicking ass in the 30 Day Shred....(will get to that later). 
Anyway - Becca has given me the Liebster Blog Award!

"Liebster" means "favorite" or "beloved" in German. 
This award is for bloggers who have under 200 followers (that's me, for sure).

So now I get to spread the love and award this to 4 of my favorite bloggers! Go check out their blogs and read their story. They promise to inspire you, make you laugh, make you think and get you motivated!
Here goes:

First I award Rachellabelle at My Hips Don't Lie because she is out there making WW her b*tch! She has dropped over 40 pounds in about 21 weeks and is looking gorgeous! She just hit a plateau so for any of you with experience with how to kick start weight loss when the pounds won't budge, no matter how hard you're working, go visit her blog and give her a pep talk and some good advice!

My second award goes to Shala at Follow Me Down. She and I are riding similar weight rollercoasters at the moment - we are both hovering around the same weight and like to cheer each other on with "Let's Just Do This Thing Already." I love her blog because I relate to her down to earth sensibilities and approach to weight loss. 

My third award goes to Liz at The Feel Better Project who has vowed to workout everyday for at least 30 minutes over the course of one year. You know how easy it is for life to get in the way of working out sometimes so this commitment is no joke. This girl may not have have the type of junk in her trunk that you or I are trying to lose but she does have dedication and determination and I like her approach to working out. JUST DO IT! And she has a great writing style and is funny, so - win/win!

My last (but not least) award goes to MB at Why The Weight. This woman has truly been instrumental in allowing me to adjust my thinking in terms of how I approach weight loss. She has lost almost 100 pounds through a very sensible "slow and stead wins the race" approach and is still striving to hit that goal of 101 pounds lost. She is inspiring, enlightening and gives me hope that I can beat this fat demon too...I just love her.

That's it....those are the peeps I bow to this week. You all deserve props - so I'm giving them.

In other news - just a quick update on the weigh-in (it is Friday, after all) and 30 Day Shred Challenge.
Today I completed Day 8 of the Shred!! Yey, me! I have to tell you that yesterday was a struggle to get through it and I totally said "F*#@ it" when it came to the last round of ab exercises (those bicycle crunch suckers are the devil - and my herniated disc REALLY doesn't like them). Today's workout, although better than yesterday by a mile, still kicked my ass sideways. I think having "The Curse" right now has a lot to do with it. Working out while there's an exorcism going on in your uterus and your body feels about as inflated as a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon isn't the most ideal of situations for Jillian to pound you into submission - but I am proud of myself for plugging on through....(seriously, did I just say plug?)

However, even with The Curse, I am happy to say that i am still showing a loss for the week. Happy Days are here again, as the scale makes its way in the right direction this week. Granted it's only 1.75 pounds, but beggars can't be choosers - so I'm good with it. Hell, I am better than good with it. I'm thrilled. It could have been worse.

Anyhoo - hope the rest of you 30 Day Shredders are feeling the burn! I have to go study for my Praxis Exam that I am taking tomorrow morning....I haven't really stuck to my study schedule as I had planned. Wish me luck I pass this thing (it is crucial)!!!

Until tomorrow......

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

5 Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

I have just one thing to say about Jillian Michaels.
She does not take kindly to people who take days off from her Shred workout. And dissing it 2 days in a row? Hmmm... that may be punishable by death in her book.
I think I may be dead meat.

So, let me give you the scoop on what's been going on with me and the 30 Day Shred Challenge....I was busting ass like a rock star with it for 5 full days BEFORE the official challenge even started. I was feeling awesome and the workout was becoming less of a dread and more of, well, just a challenge. I felt my mindset changing - I wanted to push myself - I wanted to prove once and for all that I was capable of doing something that in the past would have scared the bejesus out of me. I listened to Jillian encouraging me through the TV and I did what she told me to do. Don't give up. Keep pushing. In the words of the Biggest Loser theme song, I was starting to really feel that there was something I had done today to make me feel proud.

Then, on the day I was SUPPOSED to officially begin (Sept 12), I fumbled - big time (enter loud BOOO-HISSSSS here). I like to do this workout in the AM because it gets me moving and I feel good knowing I have that bit of exercise, at the very least, under my belt for the day. But on Monday morning I knew my in-laws would be coming by to drop their rather rambunctious 4 year old golden retriever mix off at our house so they could head to Rochester, NY for a funeral. I spent the morning trying to frantically clean the house up, do dishes, vacuum, clean the bathroom - all things that could have been put on the back burner for the morning until after my workout - but I wanted to make sure I had time to get it all done before they arrived. I didn't want my MIL to think I don't know how to properly "keep house" (It's such a 50's mentality but I can't help it). Suffice it to say, the place looks pretty good right now!

By the time they arrived, I had already done a full "housewife workout" and was literally sweating my ass off. My MIL even asked me if I had been exercising! "Ugh, no, not exactly. Just trying to prevent you from seeing that I may not be the world's biggest neat nick. P.S. - Neither is your son, by the way. I think you know this about us already, but at times, we do like to keep up the illusion for you."
By the time Henry (their dog) and our three furry babies got reacquainted it was quite the dog-fest, a literal canine carnival if you will, right in our living room (aka my workout space) until they finally got settled. Since they arrived right about the time I would normally be getting ready to pop in my DVD, I could tell my opportunity to do my workout was going to hell in a hand basket in a wicked hurry And it did. In the back of my mind, I knew I had other (not necessarily bigger) fish to fry. I had a ton of school work these past two days so that unfortunately took precedence over everything else. Even yesterday, while there was no major doggie diversion to get in my way, I woke up at 5:30 and immediately began working on school stuff and didn't stop until about 3:00 when it was time to get ready for class. Another day of working out, down the drain.

Well, I am here to say - No More! I know that this challenge is important and I need to treat it, and my weight loss goals, with the respect that they deserve. Because to me, this is not just a fun little challenge that I am doing simply for the hell of it. I realized that today as I got back into the work out (technically Day 6 for me with a 2 day break in between Days 5 and 6). I am doing this because I NEED to. This is no joke.

I am curious how many of you have taken full body shots of yourselves lately? I know many of you do, but some might not. And some might take them but not post online. It's a personal choice - I totally understand. For me, taking these pictures are real eye openers (that admittedly make me want to quickly shut my eyes tightly closed again). I took some again today (and measurements too, because I was feeling particularly self-depreciating this morning) that I uploaded, post-workout and my God, they just never fail to horrify me. These pictures remind me that I have some serious - no I mean F*%#@!G SERIOUS -  work to do. They remind me that this 30 day Shred Challenge is just the tiniest, teeniest tip of my big, fat iceberg. They remind me that I still need to do so much MORE than this DVD, and I'm working on that, too. My goal for this challenge is to get an additional 60 or more minutes of exercise in - whether it is at my college gym (I found out they have showers - YEY!!!), a walk in town, working out on my elliptical here at home, another workout DVD (I may actually be starting to really enjoy these things) or a combination of those. It just needs to be done. End of story.

It's going to mean getting up early. And it's going to mean finding an eating solution that makes sense and works for me. I think I need to get back to calorie counting as much as I hate to admit it. I am not eating horribly, but I still need to work on those portions. This is all still such a work in progress.
Anyway, that's my update. I'm back in the saddle and did Day 6 of Level One. It was admittedly harder today. I'm serious when I say it doesn't pay to take time off from this thing. I swear Jillian has a way of knowing.

Hope everyone else is kicking some ass today. I'm off to the grocery store to load up on some good eats for the week. See you all looking slimmer and feeling better at the end of this 30 days!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Noticing A Difference - Day 5 of The Shred

I don't have a tremendous amount of time to blog today because even as I sit here for these few delicious moments, savoring my coffee, I have a to-be-done list a mile long swirling through my brain. Mounds of laundry aside, I know I should be working on school work first and foremost. I have a lesson plan I need to finish today plus some wonderfully boring textbook reading for tomorrow's class. AND I have to hit up Barnes and Noble for a Praxis Exam study guide so can pass my test on Saturday. I'm waaaaaaaaaay behind on studying for this exam and absolutely, positively HAVE to pass for my teaching certification, so just a warning -  if you don't hear much from me in the next week, this is why. I will have my head buried in a book from now until about 2PM next Saturday.

But - I will promise you that I will continue to keep doing the Shred - even if it means more 5:45 AM bird chirping wake up calls. I'm Ok with it. I feel much better knowing I get that part of my workout in early in the day. Miss April @ 30 Before 30 had asked me if I am supplementing the Shred workout with any other means of exercise and the answer is, until now, no - not really. I had taken a walk around town the second day of doing the Shred but haven't done much else since and I know that I have to....the first few days left me so sore that it was difficult to even THINK about doing anything else, but after today my body is telling me I am ready to keep progressing, and I need to start doing more than just shredding it.

Anyhoo - here's a brief recap of Day 5:
I am beginning to notice a difference in both increased endurance and strength and far less soreness (yey!). I even did some REAL jumping jacks, butt kicks (which is similar to jogging in place) and jumping in place for the jump rope assimilation. I also took barely any breaks (breathers) in my arm/shoulder exercises - I really felt myself pushing past the feeling of shoulder discomfort and fatigue and just doing the reps that Jillian expected of me. Basically I probably skipped all told only 3 reps through the entire workout - and for me that is good.  I have also noticed there is far less cursing going on! Ha!
I will say that the last portion of abs work, which is a solid minute of bicycle crunches, is very difficult for me, though. I have a herniated disc in my back so there is something in that move that puts some strain on me that doesn't always feel so great. I have to be careful with it - so I will admit that it takes me about 2 minutes to get through Jillian's one minute of abs because I do take some breaks during that last part (however - again, I notice a significant change today versus Day 1 - so I am getting there). I kind of end up doing my stretching about a minute after she does hers - but that's OK...

So, that's pretty much it, except I STILL haven't taken my measurements! Can you tell I'm not that thrilled about knowing what the actual numbers are? I have enough issues with the scale number let alone the actual dimensions of my ample body parts. Ugh. However, I do want to do it before I go any further with "The Shred" because most people that have done the workout before say the noticeable changes are in inches versus pounds - and I can definitely understand that. Perhaps tonight I'll dig out the tape measure. I know that seeing results is motivating - so what am I waiting for? I'm already 5 days in! 

That's about it...hope you are all enjoying the weekend and sticking with your plans of action, whatever they may entail! Tomorrow marks the OFFICIAL starting day of the 30 Day Shred Challenge - so good luck to all who are involved! This challenge is going to be a real ass-kicker!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Day 4 of the Shred - Got 'er Done!

This morning when my alarm went off at 5:35 AM, I had a good mind to throw my iPhone out the window.  It seems I was wrong in naively thinking that by setting the alarm wake sound to the soothing coo of "chirping birds", I might be more inclined to getting up at the ass crack of dawn to do Day 4 of the Shred. Guess what? Not so. If anything, the damn alarm just made me hate birds.

The problem du jour was that I knew I had limited time to work out this morning, so there was no option to hit snooze or dawdle around in my usual manner. I had a baby shower to go to that was starting at 10 AM of all times (tell me, who does that???) AND it was in New York City, so, according to my dear husband, we would have to leave here at 8 AM because even though he was acting simply as my chauffeur, he is never one to be late. As a matter of fact, his mojo is usually to give himself such a huge window of time to get where he's going that usually he arrives an hour early to most appointments/events - (or at least he did until he met me, the woman who practically invented the term "fashionably late"). Factoring in working out, showering, getting ready, ironing my pants, and having coffee, I knew those birds meant business. I turned the alarm off and got my ample arse out of bed.

So - what can I tell you about Day 4 of the Shred? I am still sore, but happily, the feeling that my body was used as Mike Tyson's personal punching bag is subsiding. I can walk down the stairs normally and am not walking around like I have just given birth to octuplets. Meaning, my thighs are feeling better....oh, but those ARMS and SHOULDERS!!! They are another story.
I think the toughest part about Level one is definitely the arm/shoulder work. I'm only using 3 pound weights but damn - those repetitive arm exercises are killer. I am waiting for the day when I don't need the to take a break during those exercises - then I will know I am making major headway. I'm still modifying movements and think that I will have to continue to do so for a little while yet, but that's OK. For now, I am feeling good about the simple fact that I am sticking with it. Trust me - today would have been VERY easy just to say screw it - and in the past, I probably would have. But the important thing is that I didn't. And that, my friends, is progress.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 3 of Shreddin' - In The Bag

Happy Friday everybody!

Well, I'm happy to report that I have survived Day 3 of the Shred. But I will admit - today was HARD.
I found myself having less breather-breaks today, but I did end up modifying my moves quite a bit - especially those movements that require demands on the knee, such as the jumping jacks, jump rope, and butt kicks. My knees are not ready for any kind of pounding just yet and they are letting me know it.
C-R-E-A-K....C-R-A-C-K!! (ouch!)

So, to avoid injury and ensure I will be able to continue with the workouts, I do the regular arm motions for the jumping jacks while doing a deep march (knees up high) as opposed to the scissor jump. And for the jump rope, I sort of do a side to side step while doing the correct arm motions. For the butt kicks, to ease the impact, I just side-step and pull my leg back to my butt as quickly as I can - it is sort of less like running, but more like a lunge with one leg, and then kick my opposite foot back to my butt. It works - I am definitely feeling it! While it may not be the exact prescribed moves by Jillian, I don't think I am "phoning it in" either, to use her phraseology. If the sweat pouring off of my face at the end of each workout means anything at all - my heart rate is up and I am not slacking off. According to Jillian, I should notice a big change in my endurance on Day 5, 6 and 7. We shall see!

Today is also weigh day - and while there is no great change on the poundage front, I am not fretting. I'm only down a quarter of a pound, but I think there are a few factors that could be affecting the weigh in today. First of all, I weighed myself before, well, you know, I hadn't had a chance to, well, uh - you know (TMI?? sorry!). And I did drink a TON of water yesterday (starting to get back on the hydration bandwagon) and I am two seconds from "The Curse" arriving for the week. Not to mention my dinner last night involved noodles. It was pretty carb-rich and not in a good way - plus I had a glass of wine to boot. In other words, could I sabotage my weigh in a little more? Hardly! SO - I know what I need to do - and I will get there. I am confident next Friday I am going to have a much better report.

I will say that this working out thing has me seeing things a little clearer - even in three days time. I am aware I have but only one life to live (insert soap opera music here) and I'm not going to spend the rest of it feeling like a prisoner in my own body. And that is how I feel sometimes - almost like my brain belongs to someone else and this body somehow mistakenly was given to me and now I have to figure out how to live with it - but I don't really want to. It has made me bitter at times, but I know that getting angry really isn't the answer either. Sweating is. Getting back to whole, unprocessed foods is. Reminding myself that I CAN and WILL do this is.

It literally is one step, one choice at a time. I'm happy to be making the choice to exercise, and I do think it will be easier now to follow suit with the eating. Once I start seeing the results, I know I will be hooked.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Even My Armpits Hurt...

Every fiber of my body feels like Jillian Michael's tiny little sneakered feet have stomped all over it. And in her own special way, she kind of did.
I have just completed Day 2 of the 30 Day Shred. And let me tell you, I am feelin' it.
In a word, if my muscles could talk, I think they might say something like this - "Ooofa..."

As I laid in bed last night, feeling the onset of effects from yesterday's workout, I turned to my husband and said in all seriousness, "Jeez, I hope I can do my workout tomorrow. I'm really sore." He simply laughed at me, no doubt waiting for the list of excuses he figured he'd soon hear as to why I couldn't/wouldn't/shouldn't continue with this working-out thing upon which I had literally just embarked. You see, he's heard it/seen it all before - my initial over-the-top enthusiasm for working out and committing to a diet - yadda yadda yadda -  only to witness me drop it all like hot potato - slathered with butter and sour cream, of course. While I was very committed to losing weight last year prior to my wedding, this year has been  one massive struggle to get back on track, so in my husband's defense, his reaction was understandable. But it did get my wheels turning in regard to my behaviors of yore....

This morning, my husband took our car in for service and called me at 7:30 to let me know he'd be a little longer than expected, because our oil filter was leaking and they had to change some gasket thingy. When I  picked up the phone, I guess it was more than a little obvious I was still in bed (hey, blame it on the rain) so before he hung up, he gently reminded me not to forget that I needed to let Jillian "shred me" today, preferably before he got home. He uses our living room as a home office so I knew that if there was snowball's chance in hell for me to do my workout today, I best bust a move and do it quickly.

I won't lie - I didn't exactly hop right to it (old habits die hard). I putzed around first, telling myself I couldn't work out without a dose of caffeine, so I drank half a cup of coffee first and then watched the weather (we are under flood warnings right now, so I felt this particular stalling tactic was perfectly justified). I also sat and contemplated how the hell my body was going to actually do jumping jacks, given that my whole body was still reeling from yesterday's jump-fest. But I was committed to finding out.

I've made a choice -  I have no desire to let myself down any longer. And I certainly don't want my husband to be right with his thinking that I probably won't stick with this (even though he hasn't said it aloud). I have done that so many times this past year that frankly it's become laughable. Or maybe pathetic is a better word choice. Whatever the case may be, I'm changing my course of action for the good.

What's more is, I really surprised myself by how good it felt doing the workout today. Yes, I cursed through it quite a bit, but I stuck with it. I'm not saying my form was perfect or that I didn't stop for a 5 second breather here and there, but I did get through it. And funny as it sounds, when I heard Jillian's voice booming from the TV, telling me I can do it and that those last reps, when I feel like I can't keep going, are the ones that count the most - I felt myself pushing harder. I can't wait to take my measurements tomorrow and see the changes at the end of the challenge.

My only complaint with this exercise regime thus far is that my 3 dogs like to hang out in the room with me while I am working out....do you know how difficult it is to do bicycle crunches with an 85 pound chocolate lab licking your face?

They only look innocent...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hello Sweat, It's Been A While...

Sweet Mary and Joseph.....Jillian Michaels really IS the devil.
I now know this to be true, first hand.

As you may be aware from yesterday's post, I had decided I wanted to participate in the 30 Day Shred Challenge starting Sept 12, along with a few fellow weight loss bloggers. There really aren't any major rules to the challenge, other than the date we start and the dates we are meant to progress from one level to the next. I decided that before I begin, I want to take measurements and post a start weight and I will more than likely do a weekly bitch session update about it to share how I am doing/feeling while being tortured by the likes of Ms. Michaels herself, even if it is only by way of my DVD player.

Because it has been so long since I have done any major work out in a gym or participated in a cardio session other than sporadic dates with my elliptical machine or walks with my hubs and the dogs, I was feeling a little worried about what might be in store for me next week. I've watched the Biggest Loser so I am fully aware that Jillian is a "take no shit/no excuses" kind of gal. I was in no way, shape or form, under any impression that this workout was going to be easy. So yesterday, making good on my promise to my fellow challengers and myself,  I stopped at Target before my class to purchase a copy of the 30 Day Shred DVD. Admittedly, I was looking for the disclaimer that would tell me that 230+ pound women might be better suited for a lower intensity workout, but alas, it was nowhere to be found. So I did what I set out to do and I bought the thing, wondering all the while if I'd still be alive after the 30 days of this challenge was over.

Since I'm not the type of person who really cares for surprises, this afternoon I thought I'd maybe take a sneak peek at the DVD to see exactly what I was going to be up against. I put the DVD in the player and watched as Jillian introduced me to her two buddies and explained that in no uncertain terms she was here to kick my ass and I may not like it at first, but I would most certainly be thanking her later. I sat ON MY COUCH as I watched her do her warm up arm swings, hip circles and knee circles. Then I watched her and her cronies get into the jumping jacks, jump rope and squat lifts with weights. Then I think she went on to do some butt kicks and maybe some ab stuff.....And then I thought to myself, "What the fuck are you doing sitting here on your ass? Do you think you are burning freaking calories through osmosis?????" 
And then I got the hell up, restarted the DVD and DID THE DAMN WORKOUT.

I know I am 5 or 6 days early on the challenge, and I apologize for that, but something inside me realized that today is the day I need to start, and I cannot look back. I have spent far too long making excuses as to why I can't work out that I certainly don't want to deny myself the chance to when the spirit actually moves me. I'm still a part of the challenge - but I wanted to come clean. Lord knows I need the head start anyway; my body needs to get used to moving again. If today was any indication, progressing from level 1 to level 2 won't be a picnic - but I will try to keep on schedule with the rest of the girls going forward.

Anyway, that is about it....I feel a sense of renewal today. This was just what I needed. Now I'm off to go take a hot shower (I feel my muscles starting to get sore already) and start prepping dinner....
Here is what we are having tonight....Lemon Garlic and Basil Slow Roasted Chicken. I cannot wait to try it! I'm also making steamed carrots and pan roasted broccoli on the side. Back to healthy eating.
Hope everyone else is having a good day.
Has anyone else done something today that they didn't expect to do?

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Big Thank You For My Virtual Ass-Kicking!

I'm staring out my window at a steady downpour and a sky so gloomy it practically demands an afternoon nap. I just have to ask...is this any way to spend the unofficial last day of summer? I think not.
Yet, here I am inside, working on (ugh!) homework and watching the rain, wishing I was doing anything but the afore mentioned activities.

I'd be lying if I didn't admit that the grey gloom of the weather kind of mirrors the mood I have been in for the past couple of days. One look at my "Chub Reduction Meter" to the right of my blog, and you can probably guess why. Maybe I should re-title it to read Chub Induction Meter???? With yet another pound added to my ass for this week, I'm thinking I'm less suited for writing a weight loss blog, but maybe the Paula Dean Fan Club would be happy to have me?

I'm not here to sugar coat things (maybe Splenda-coat is more apropos for our group?) - I've been on a roll around here (pun intended - I think it's a hot dog roll to be exact). It isn't pretty, friends. I'm not sure exactly what it was that sent me over the edge (School starting? Hurricane Irene?? My dwindling bank account??? My mentor teacher backing out of our agreement for my last 30 hours of observation at the last minute????) but without a doubt, I seem to have found myself in some kind of evil place that forced me to leave my better judgement at the door and feed my panic and stress with things that aren't exactly on anyone's "healthy eating list".

Yesterday was the first day I didn't feel akin to Alice falling down the rabbit hole, and realized that in the light of day, strawberry cream pie is not the answer to my stress, and that I need to get a grip, and get refocused. I must say that all of the comments I received from Thursday's post helped TREMENDOUSLY! Thank you from the bottom of my (no doubt artery clogged) heart. I asked for some ass kicking, and I got it - in a gentle, supportive way. I see all of you working so hard to meet your goals and I know that if I want to remain a viable member of this blogging community, I best start showing up to the game, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

The funny thing is, that even with the less than stellar eating, I HAVE been walking - quite a bit actually. Today is the first day I have missed a morning walk since last Tues or Wed. So, yes, some calories have been burned - but they have also been consumed. Oh, yeah they have. And so I have been giving the Fall Challenge a bit more thought. I'm sort of doing the Amp challenge (I think), in that each day I have met my 3 miles (except today, which I can still do on the treadmill) - but I haven't been timing myself or doing anything else other than logging distance - and I haven't been officially posting anything about it because I guess I don't know the exact details of the challenge or what I should be doing. Still, a three mile walk, is a three mile walk - so I won't discount my exercise - even if it's not following official challenge rules.

I still fear Jillian like she is the devil herself - and although I am not sure of the exact details of her workouts, if the Biggest Loser is any indication, I am pretty sure squats, jumps and other demands-of-the-knee-type exercises are a part of it. My biggest fear is that my knees may not accommodate those types of exercises, if the clicking and cracking mean anything. But after reading the reviews of the DVD, I have decided I need to go balls to the wall, and in the words of Nike and Rachellabelle at My Hips Don't Lie, "Just Do It!!!" With that said, I am going to join Taryn at Fat Girl in a Skinny World and Miss April at 30 Before 30 in the 30 Day Shred Challenge starting September 12. Wish me luck.

Taryn, if you're reading this, I WILL be e-mailing you for details!!!

So that's really it in a nut shell - I'm trying to take the advice of those that have paved the "weigh" before me and have shown me that my choices dictate my success. I'm sending a special shout out to MB at Why The Weight? for being especially inspiring and encouraging. She has taught me to take a moment to ask myself if the choices I am making will benefit me in reaching my goal. One decision, one choice at a time. I can honestly say, since the end of July, I had not been asking myself that question - and it shows on the scale. So, thank you for the virtual ass kicking - Lord knows I needed it!
And really, thank you to EVERYONE who takes the time to read my blog and leave a comment - your words means more than you know!

Ok - whew - feeling better already. (Amazing what a little cyber-therapy can do for a gal).
Let's get this fat-shedding party started for good!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Beast of Burden...

I realize the calendar SAYS it's September 1st, but I really am having a hard time believing it's so. However, if my rampant sneezing, watery eyes and itchy face don't deceive me, then yes, it's true - we are barreling head first into the fall season. And there isn't a damn thing I can do about it. Bring on the Allegra!
While I absolutely LOVE fall (this year especially since I am relishing the fact we will have a fireplace to cozy up to on chilly nights), I'm always so sad to see summer fade away. I start thinking about how long it will be before I get my next whiff of Coppertone or how many days I have left to wear my white shorts before it's their turn to get packed away in the attic for another year. I dread the thought of having to relinquish wearing flips flops everyday and prepare myself for the inevitable fade of my skin tone from glowing tan to pasty white. Sigh...
Not all is lost, however! Fall brings it's own sense of magic and wonder....from spicy smells, to cooler morning walks, crisp apples, falling leaves, and beautiful scenery and best of all - Halloween!!!....but, on the flip side, I also associate fall with comfort foods and baked goods and those types of things that helped me pack on the pounds over the years. Fall also means the beginning of school (my last semester of classes before I student teach in the spring!) and a guaranteed crazy work load that, historically speaking, has been known to send me running into the arms of my nemesis, The Sugar Beast, when times get tough.
This particular onset of fall has also brought me to a new level of disappointment in myself that I have been trying to avoid talking about, until now. All of the goals I set for myself this summer have been sadly ignored. I had such good intentions in July after my summer classes were over, but my firm dedication to them has not been, well....the best. I have been sporadic in my exercise and in the last few weeks, even my eating has gotten off track. I know I 'm not losing weight....and believe me, it feel like hell knowing I am being my own worst enemy. The worst part is, I think about weight loss CONSTANTLY....as if thinking about it will magically make it happen. Ha - if only!
So, I'm plaguing myself with this question - How do I find my way back to Motivationland?
I have started walking with my husband again (two days so far) which does lift my spirits in the morning, and gets me moving in the right direction. I have checked out the gym at school and feel it is doable to get in a work out before class, no sweat (figuratively, of course! I know I need to sweat!). I just have been feeling like I need a major jump start that will provide me with results to get me going again.
WANTED: One Swift Kick in the Ass!!! Pronto.....
I realize I may need a little help here, so, I ask you: Have any of you ever had a hard time getting started? Is there anything you've tried that worked to kick start your diet/exercise regimen? 
Also - is anyone interested in doing a Fall Challenge? I'm game if you are!