Sunday, September 2, 2012

Link for SSSDC and a Dash to the Farmer's Market

Good Morning Bloggy Friends, Well it's Sunday and 'round here that means many things - first and foremost, it's Update Day. This particular Sunday is especially significant because it is the grande finale of the Summer Sizzle Slim Down Challenge. Sundays also mean it's Farmer's Market Day here in Belvidere. Last week's market was a big success and we anticipate more vendors joining our market this week, which is very exciting. It means we must be doing something right! But the market starts early (it's 8:00 now and my husband has been there since 6:30) so I am going to post the link for the SSSDC Challenge here for everyone and then write my update a little later. I'll expand more on this sentiment when I do my official post, but I'd just like to say how proud I am of everyone who toughed this out until the end and kept a great spirit abut the challenge, even on weeks when the the diet gods seemed to not be smiling upon you. There is so much I'd like to write but since I have to hustle, I will save the bulk of my words of appreciation for later. I hope everyone is having a splendid Labor Day weekend!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Embarrassingly Late SSSDC Update

Well, it's pretty sad that as the host of the Summer Sizzle Slim Down Challenge, I am super late (like as is 3 days late) posting my update for Week 12.  I know I checked in for a nanosecond on Sunday to put up the link and then scurried off to the Farmers' Market, which was a huge success by the way. It ran until about 2:00, then we had to help the vendors breakdown and pack up and by the time I got home, I had about 45 minutes to decompress before jumping in the shower to get ready for my "Yey, I got a job" celebratory dinner with my husband. Long story short, it was a busy day with little time for blogging.

Monday was no better, as I had to go shopping for stuff for work (it feels so good to shop for clothes again - not only do I have occasion to dress nicely again, but clothes are fitting much better these days!!). I also went to spend some time with my 97 year old Gram at the nursing home where she lives and we ended up going out to dinner.

YES - that's right I said out to dinner - so you can imagine how great I am doing this week already. Strike 1!!

But I'll not discuss my week 13 before I get to details about week 12,  where we were suppose to surpass out fitness and weight goals from week 10. I should know my body well enough by now to realize that losing 3 lbs after a week where I lost 3.25 is a lofty goal. Yet I thought I could do it - but alas I did not. Nor did I meet my fitness challenge to complete week 4 of C25K. I got started, then had a training session on Wednesday which literally incapacitated me for 2 days after. We did a TREMENDOUS amount of lunges and squats and my legs were useless until Friday evening. There was no running to be had,  that was for sure. But I HAVE to get back to the program because the 5K in November will be here before I know it and I don't want to walk it. Time to kick it into gear.

Not all was a wash for the week. On Friday I weighed in at 210.75, so a pound loss for me last week (small cheer of victory). I'll take it. This week the low carb thing should be Ok, as long as I plan lunches for school that are leafy and green. We had a luncheon today and it wasn't "on plan" planning good lunches will be essential to continue losing weight while adjusting to my new job.

I promise I will make the rounds  to see how you all did, but it may not be for a day or two. I got my hair cut and colored tonight so I got home late and have now been asked by my dear husband to make a sign for this coming Sunday's farmers' market (it is running through October). Then I have to get ready for bed because frankly, I'm tired.

Good luck this week to all of you!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Link for SSSDC Week 12 Updates

Hi Ladies
I am quickly posting the link for updates for week 12 of the Summer Sizzle Slim Down Challenge.

I have to head out early this AM to go volunteer at our town's Farmers' Market (this is the first day ever and my hubs has been largely instrumental in putting it all together) I will be giving my update later.

Just wanted to get the link up so anyone that is ready to post this morning can do it!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Careful What You Say...

This is no joke.

I am sure that in past posts I have declared how much lunges are the devil. Well, let me just say it again - LUNGES ARE THE FREAKING DEVIL!!!!!!!

Can you tell I had a training session yesterday?????

I woke up this morning feeling like someone snuck into my room in the middle of the night and replaced my thigh and ass muscles with bags of rocks. They hurt something fierce and prevented me from even walking this morning with my husband and the dogs. Yeah, we are talking crippling pain here.

So what brought on this mega dose of OUCH, you ask? Well, allow me to share!

First, I started with one legged lunges with my other foot on a step while doing shoulder presses with hand weights.
Like this (except my weights were positioned at my shoulders and I had to lift them to the sky with each leg dip):
Insert whimpering here, and I was just getting started...

Then I did lunges with a twist, while holding a medicine ball.  Like this:
I'm sure my abs (once they recover), benefited from this in some way.

If my trainer had stopped here,  at these heinous lunges, I might not be so incredibly whiny on my blog today, but NO - she didn't stop there. I did squats galore, too - and frankly, they are nothing other than Lunge's evil twin sister, as far as I'm concerned.

I also did barbell rows:
Do I LOOK like Arnold Schwarzenegger?

And I did kettlebell rows, too.....heavy.....freaking.....kettlebells.
The sweat was just dripping into my eyes at this point. Sting!

And those things are just the tip of yesterday's workout iceberg. I'm feeling muscles I didn't know exist. My lats and back are screaming, "WTF, lady???" It's as if I never worked out in my life. And maybe that's because as soon as I met up with Linda, I enthusiastically, albeit idiotically, said, "Hey, I'm up for whatever you want today!" Big mistake, I tell you....B-I-G.

I'm thinking it's possible she didn't like the fact that when she asked me how I felt after our last workout, I replied, "Actually, not too bad." To a trainer, that must translate into something like, "Seriously, you need to bust my ass harder. I want pain. Make me beg for mercy this time." Oh, and she did.

Unfortunately, today is a scheduled C25K run day (with 5 minute running intervals) and guess what? There's no way on God's green earth that that's happening. I am hoping with enough easy movement around the house today, I can loosen up and get out for at least a 5K walk since it didn't pan out this morning. However, I am rather confident my thighs will not tolerate running today, even if I were being chased by a swarm of killer bees or brain eating zombies. Naturally, I have piles of laundry that need tackling today and that requires me to go up and down, up and down, up and doooooown the basement stairs. Maneuvering the stairs alone can send my face into many unattractive contortions. So you can easily see why I'm putting if off by typing a post versus making fast friends with my washer and dryer. Ha!

In other news, I did receive confirmation about the new job! I'm going to be a paraprofessional working with the learning support teachers and special education/learning support students at a great elementary school in PA.  It's in one of the more coveted districts so I am happy that even though it isn't a teaching position, I'm getting my foot in the door at an awesome school and will be working with people with whom I am already familiar. I actually student taught 1st grade at this particular school from March through May of this year, and I'm overjoyed to have been given an opportunity to go back and actually work there!

When I lost my job in March of 2009, I had no idea I would be out of work this long. Granted, I completely changed careers and went back to school to get my masters degree in education - but it feels weird knowing I will be back in the working world as of this coming Tuesday. Of course I'm thrilled about the aspect of receiving a paycheck again, as well as getting back to having a routine, but I will miss being at home with my husband and living the good life. But as with all things, I keep reminding myself that change is good. I'm on my way to bigger and better things.

Anyway, I guess that's about all for now...I need to motivate this body and get off of my chair (after I finish my cuppa joe, of course) and get that laundry done. Tonight I am heading to a Stella and Dot party being hosted by my 5th grade student teaching mentor teacher. I already know she's going to have cookies at this party so I will be practicing some mind-blowing willpower this evening, especially if I want to reach my 3 lbs goal this week. Not sure if I will hit it but I am trying hard! (The no running thing today is a real bummer because it's such a good calorie burn)....Oh well! I'll just tell myself the cookies are tasteless and filled with nasty bugs...that'll do the trick. LOL

Hope everyone is having a good week and enjoying these gorgeous end of summer days...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tick Tock

Time passes so slowly when you are waiting on something good to happen...

I have never been good at the waiting game.  But it seems more and more I find myself playing it, even though I'd rather not.

Today I am waiting to find out if a job that was (I thought) offered to me yesterday is "official." I was pretty sure it was a sure thing yesterday morning, but after calling the principal this morning to firmly accept, he said he was going to call administration to verify it was all "a go". Ugh. So frustrating! Maybe I'm being paranoid, but I have learned over time to never count my chickens before they hatch. This is no exception.

So while I sit here all paranoid and unable to concentrate, I figured I'd write a quickie post. I don't have much to talk about today (the job is really the big news here) but I will share something that I did on Sunday late afternoon that I am extremely proud of.

Many of you read Michele's blog Ruminations and Uncovering: Toward a New Me and know that she is an avid bicyclist and is participating in the upcoming Venus de Miles race which involves a 60 mile bike ride through Boulder, CO. Sarah at Thinfluenced is another blogger and biking trailblazer and is doing a 100 mile ride in less than 3 weeks in support of her son Cole, who has cancer. I read both of these ladies' blogs regularly and am always inspired and amazed at both their stamina on the bike, and at their perseverance in their quests to get fit and healthy. They often post descriptions of their rides and have pictures of the scenic views they are awarded as they pedal their way toward being fitter and healthier women. They make it look so fun, in fact, that on Sunday I thought I'd give it a whirl myself.

Now I love my bike - but the only terrain the poor thing has ever seen is the flat streets of our little quaint town in NJ and the even flatter streets of our annual vacation spot, which is a Delaware beach resort town. I have never taken any "serious" rides. My maximum distance was probably 8 miles which I did one day around our town. Mainly, I take 3-4 mile jaunts here and there. Nothing too strenuous, and certainly nothing worth writing home about. My little blue cruiser is meant for just that - cruising around town. Well, until Sunday that is.

The hubby and I decided to take a ride and I was leading. He had told me about an 11 mile ride he took the previous day and on our way back from the grocery store, he drove the same route so I could see where he had gone. It was a nice ride, which ended up along the Delaware River on some wonderfully hilly back roads, passing horse farms and sheep farms and corn fields galore. It was a beautiful 11 miles of sunny scenery (by car anyway) but I still wasn't convinced I could do the ride on my own, on my little cruiser bike that had never ever been introduced to hill in its short lifetime.

But that same evening, we ventured out on our wheels and about 3 miles in, I decided I was going to go for it. We were already headed in the right direction and I asked my husband if he thought I could do it. Without hesitation, he said "Of course. You can do anything!" I can't tell you what that small, unwavering bit of support and encouragement did for me. I decided then and there I was going to tackle those 11 miles, come hell or high water.

It was an amazing ride! There was only one hill that got the better of me, but other than that I shifted gears like a pro and made it up and down hills and got my calorie burn on, proper! Any self-doubt I had before the ride is now gone. I think I may have found a new exercise love!

I have said before, and will say again,  that support is everything. If my husband had faltered even a little bit in his response to my question, I probably wouldn't have had the courage to go that far. 11 miles may not seem far, but for a gal who didn't think she had the guts to go that distance, it was huge. Having someone that believes in you implicitly, and believes that you can do anything you set your mind to, is the best motivation tool you can have. My husband is my lifesaver. We all need someone like that in our lives - someone who believes you can do great things, even if you, yourself, may not think you can.

Anyway, I've typed this whole post and I'm still waiting on my phone call from the administration office at the school where my potential job may be. Guess I'll have to keep waiting for them to call...
I'm just happy I didn't wait any longer to take these steps towards getting healthier. I already wasted too much time not being proactive in that department.....but no more.

Times, my friends - they are a changin'.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

SSSDC - Week 11 recap and Details for Week 12

Greetings Bloggerlings!
It's Sunday morning and feeling like fall more than ever today. Last night was the first night we were able to sleep with the bedroom windows open versus having the AC on at full blast and it was heavenly! I'm ready for a few more nights like that, even if I am NOT really ready for the fall season to kick in 100%.

We are wrapping up Week 11 of the Summer Sizzle Slim Down Challenge, just in time for the sizzle of summer to wind itself down as well, I guess. This week the goal was to just talk about how we are feeling right now in our weight loss journey and what we have learned thus far (if anything) from doing the challenge. I shared a few thoughts on my previous post this week about what I have learned and I have to say that each day I gain a little bit more knowledge about myself and what I am capable of as I continue on. I keep surprising myself when i realize that I am no longer so caught up in the idea of eating enough (ie: to the extent of fullness), and having certain foods (and I don't mean the healthy ones).  I used to think I had to have certain things, and had a sense of panic when those things (usually sweets) would not be available to me. I do know that I really had a bad issue with sugar and carbs - and although I haven't eliminated them from my diet by any means, I have learned to eat them in moderation, and have increased the amount of fruits and veggies in my diet tremendously. The feeling of needing sweets (and let's face it, bread) is no longer part of my daily existence, and it feels good being free of that grip that those certain foods had on me. I wish I could explain what I mean far more eloquently than how I am at the moment, but if you have ever been under the control of food the way I suspect I have been over the years,  you know exactly what I am talking about.

Anyway - Once again, I'm incredibly late on posting my photos and measurements, since I didn't do them while on vacation  - but I do have them for you today, as well as a picture of my weight loss as represented in food pounds. Ready???

Here are my stats for Week 11.

Beginning weight (start of SSSDC) - 232
Last week's weight - 215
This week's weight - 211.75
I lost 3.25 lbs this week WITH Aunt Flo visiting. This is nothing short of a miracle, I tell you. Just goes to show what a little sweat equity will buy you.

That makes my challenge weight loss thus far to be 20.25 lbs. Yep - I met my goal! :-)
In food that looks like this:
So far I've lost 6 bell peppers, 11 bananas, a 10 lb bag of rice and a bottle of wine. Not too shabby!

As for my body shots, I'm looking like this these days (in blue):
Aug 19, 2012 - 211.25 lbs
June 3, 2012 - 232 lbs
Aug 19, 2012 - 211.75 lbs
June 3, 2012 - 232 lbs

Aug 19, 2012 - 211.75 lbs
June 3, 2012 - 232 lbs

Aug 19, 2012 - 211.75 lbs
June 3, 2012 - 232 lbs
 I still have a long way to go, but I do see some changes in this round of pictures (when compared to my very first shots), especially in my face, waist and even my arms a small bit (maybe a wee bit more toned). My measurements have changed a bit, too (although I have to tell you, it is hard to measure yourself. I am going to ask my trainer to measure me at the end of the challenge to get more accurate readings - I could be way off):

Starting              Previous         Current
Neck - n/a            15 3/4             15 3/4
Bust - 48              46 1/2              46
Waist - 43 1/2      41 3/4              40 1/2
Hips - 52 1/2        50 3/4             49 3/4
Thigh - 27 1/2      27 1/4             26 3/4
Upper Arm - n/a   15 3/4            15 1/2
Calf - n/a              18 3/4             18 1/2

That's about it. We are now into Week 12 (only 2 weeks to go!)
Simple enough. Remind us what your goals were for week 10. Now go and beat them into submission!!!!

My goal is to lose 3 lbs this week and finish week 4 of the C25K strong (no week repeat). Fingers and toes crossed!

What are your goals this week? 

Friday, August 17, 2012

What I've Learned So Far...

Happy Friday All! Hope everyone is having a good week. I meant to get on here to post earlier in the week but we just returned from vacation Monday night and ever since, I have been eyeball deep in the job hunting process. Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. Ugh. Not a fun activity to say the least. But certainly a necessary one. This mama needs a paycheck. Stat.

Other than experiencing the 7th level of hell while applying for teaching positions, not much else has been going on. It's been kind of a quiet week 'round these parts, aside from the racket the cicadas are making that is pretty much a constant noise these days. Summer is just about winding down (big wah!) and even though I know realistically the temperatures can stay well into the 80's into September, I have begun thinking about what fall will look like for me and how I plan to keep trucking along with my weight loss. It seems cooler temps and with them, the desire to bake, are looming largely ahead. Uh oh.

Fall is one of my favorite seasons and I have always found myself caught up in the "feeling" of the season. I embrace it like a warm blanket, or a warm cinnamon bun, depending on your preference. Nothing gets me me more jazzed about fall than the approach of Halloween, and all things pumpkin-y (pies, bread, muffins) and ghoul-y and well, yeah, trick or treat-y. I have been known to fall off the WLW (weight loss wagon) HARD during this time of the year, and so although it may be the hay fever talking, (I know it seems a tad early to be discussing this already), I feel like have to really get my game plan on if I expect to keep going in the right direction. And that direction is down, my in the number on the scale, to be precise.

Since part of this week's challenge is to talk about what we've learned during our journey thus far, I figured I'd share a few things I have noticed about my weight loss attempts this time around that maybe haven't been part of my 'Operation Shrink Rochelle' process before. First off, this summer I have "celebrated" the season far less than I have in the past. What does that mean exactly??? Well, I'm a girl who likes to get her party and entertainment on, so normally I'll find any excuse to have a get together or celebration or dinner out which involves food and libations that aren't necessarily health conscious. Traditionally summertime involved weekly indulgences of drinks on the patio, fruit pies and ice cream, hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. THIS summer???....Not so much. Alcohol consumption has been the lowest it's ever been (even at the beach!) and I haven't had a hot dog all summer (say wha---??). As a matter of fact, I've only had 2 hamburgers during this season of sizzle and seriously, if you knew me prior to this summer,  you would understand just how freaking amazeballs that is because, ladies - I LOVE me some cow meat like you wouldn't believe. MOO.

So what have I learned this summer? Well, since the end of May, I learned that it takes a lot of hard work to lose weight. Now before you go rolling your eyes and whispering, "Well, no DUH!" under your breath, hear me out. We all know about the physical work it takes. I am learning the true meaning of calories in, calories out like I never have before. But I am talking about the mental hard work which I sometimes feel is the greater of the two evils. I have had to talk myself out of countless food items and drinks over the course of the last 3 months, and although it was tough in the beginning it is getting easier. Yes, I still have conversations with myself (sometimes out loud) in front of the pie display at Wegmans. I have had a large bottle of Belgian beer in my fridge that I bought as a celebratory beverage for my graduation in May that begs the question, "When the hell am I going to crack it open?" I have to talk myself out of doing it every damn time I go to the fridge. The battles are constantly happening all around me. But winning them is becoming more the norm, versus giving into them.

When I first began this challenge, even I didn't know if I was fully "on board." Maybe being at the helm of the challenge made me feel more responsible to do what I was asking others to do, but whatever the case may be, I have grown to understand that accountability is everything. Not that I have followed this challenge to the letter. That's not what the challenge is about. It is about testing yourself, but it also about making yourself more aware of what you do, what you eat, how you feel. When I look back on the past 3 months, I can honestly say I have done this more than I have in my previous attempts at weight loss (I rarely ever kept a food journal before, save for when I was on WW, and even then I did it half-assed. Here I am nearly three months into this challenge and I am still logging my food!). I'm now viewing this weight loss journey as something I can do long term, versus it being a "get it done quick so I can resort to my old ways" type of thing. That is huge.

I have also learned to be more patient with myself. Even though the weight loss has been relatively consistent, in that I have lost most weeks during the challenge, I am OK when even weight loss doesn't happen. Sure, I get disappointed, but I understand more about WHY it's happening (salt, less exercise, alcohol, etc.) so I don't just throw up my hands and say, "Well,  this obviously isn't working for me." I don't have that defeatist attitude anymore when the scale doesn't do what I want it to do. I know that most likely, next week will be better. Throwing in the towel is not an option. And furthermore, I do expect that somewhere along the line I will hit a dreaded plateau and it won't be fun. I hope that doesn't happen anytime soon, but if it does, I will be prepared. I will understand that this happens to everyone and the important thing is to not give up. For the first time I think I can actually DO this thing all the way.

I hope that all of you have taken some time in your week to think about your journey. If you are doing well and feeling accomplished, think about the things that are enabling you to reach your weekly goals. If you are struggling, think about one small way you might be able to change what you re doing to make a difference and bring you closer to your goals.

It's been a good week so far and although I know I am a week behind of my pictures, I will be posting them on Sunday. Until then, enjoy your weekend and stay strong!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

SSSDC Week 10 Update and Details for Week 11

Well,  here we are again. Another week down, another week closer to fall. I'm trying to live the good life here at the beach for as long as possible, but tomorrow evening I'll be heading back home, feeling those post-vacation blues and thinking about the next time I'll be able to squish my toes in the sand.
I love being here, no matter what the weather, but this week Mother Nature wasn't on our side. Rain at the beach usually doesn't bother me, but this week it was a little too wet for my liking - especially since so many of my fitness plans involved being outdoors. My sister and her family joined us for a few days and during their stay, it rained quite a bit. We only were able to get on the beach with them for one day, and even that day we were chased off the beach due to rumbling thunder and lightning.

Needless to say, when you plan on biking, walking and kayaking, thunderstorms kind of put the kibosh on all of those plans. So does getting sick smack dab in the middle of the week. I have no idea if it's allergies or a cold - but I DO know that I feel miserable and my energy level is extremely low. I definitely didn't get in the amount of exercise I had planned on here, and that bums me out tremendously. Partly because this is such a great place to exercise (and doesn't even feel like exercise because it's FUN stuff) and partly because my food intake was much more strict than I thought it would have to be on this vacation because of the lack of calorie burn.

In between rain storms we did manage a few good bike rides and walks, but we didn't get to kayak and I didn't run because of my cold. I just felt wiped out. I know when I get home, I will probably start week 2 again of the C25K because I'm sure I've lost some of my stamina, even though it's only been a week.

As for weight loss, I was lucky enough to drop one pound. The WW scale we brought down with us read 215 on Friday (my husband claims that this scale reads a pound higher than our scale at home, but I'm sticking with what it gives me here - I'll confirm if that's the case when I get home). I'm disappointed that it isn't more, but happy that even though the exercise wasn't anything to write home about, I still didn't blow it. I'm learning how to handle my eating away from home and also how to monitor/conserve calories when I'm not burning them as much as I anticipate. I'm not going crazy as I did in the past. Being aware seems to be the key to success. At least for me.

My stats:
Starting weight @ beginning of challenge: 232
Last week's weight: 216
This week's weight: 215
Loss this week: 1 lb
Loss for challenge thus far: 17 lbs

Inching ever closer....

SO...this week we have an easy challenge.....

This week focuses on how each of us are doing and what we have learned about ourselves so far during this challenge. Hopefully we will all have new insight on what our bodies are capable of and how we have held ourselves accountable these past months. Also - as a fun side bar, let's show our weight loss in food. The idea is to take a picture of how much weight you've lost on the challenge so far - but in food pounds. So if you've lost 10 lbs, show us a picture of 2 (5lb) bags of sugar or a 10lb sack of potatoes. Get the picture? 

I'll do this at the end of the week when I get home. I also owe pics of my progress which I haven't done because I have looked/felt horrible and was not feeling, well, very photogenic - LOL. But I'll get those up, too.

Hope everyone else had a good week! I know I owe lots of check ins this week - maybe even from last week, but I tried to get to many of you early on...if I didn't, I apologize and will catch up with your posts this week. 

Let's keep on, keeping on...3 weeks left!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Late SSSDC Update due to Technical Difficulties

Apparently,  the wireless router decided to take one, too.

Hello Challengers!
Sorry for the delay in getting the link up today. We had major technical difficulties with the wireless router here at the beach. Thankfully my Mr. Fix It has it up and running for the time being - but who knows for how long!

So I thought while it's still functioning, I'd hop on and get the link up for the Week 9 updates.

How did everyone do?

This week was tough for me for the reasons I stated in my posts this week. Strict denial acted as some kind of weird trigger for cravings to things I haven't cared about or really thought about in weeks. I guess because in the back of my mind, I knew I could really have them if I wanted to - I just opted not to. BUT once I said I couldn't have them, my brain told me I HAD to have them.

I'm happy to say I remained faithful to the challenge. With the exception of Splenda in my coffee, my sugar intake was primarily fructose from fruits. Processed foods that have sugar were avoided - even my sugar free fudge bars (which I guess I could have had), I avoided.

Weight wise, this week is a little disappointing because I did hit 215 earlier in the week (which brought me to my 20 lbs loss and challenge goal met) however, Friday's weigh-in showed I had bounced back to 216 again - so for the week, my "official" weight technically stayed the same from last week. So much for losing 5 lbs before my vacation...Cest la vie!

Overall, I'm all right with the result from this week. No gain - I just didn't lose. I had two days that my calories were over my allotted 1270 and my sodium was probably on the high side (my ankles & feet are the first to tell me when I have had too much salt). I'm still plugging along and know that weeks like this are to be expected. The important thing is to keep going, stay focused, and rev up the exercise this week so that I can get that number on the scale moving downward again!

As I mentioned, we are on vacation (yey!) so getting in exercise will not be a problem. I lost 2.5 lbs during our last vacation down here in July, so I am confident that I can do it again. Which brings me to this week's challenge:

Week 10 - (begin August 5) - SET A FITNESS/WEIGHT LOSS GOAL FOR YOURSELF (and post pics/measurements if doing so)
Let's surprise ourselves....we can do more than we think. This week is about telling each other what fitness goals we have for ourselves, because in a week or two I'll be asking everyone (myself included) to aim to surpass those goals. Same goes for weight loss. What do you want to lose this week (think outside the box - maybe it's not just weight)? And tell us why!

Since I'm on vacay, I didn't get my picture or measurements done yet, but I will in the next day or two.

My fitness and weight loss goals for this week are as follows:

Weight Loss Goal:
  • 2 lbs (I want to lose this because I need to continue to teach myself that just because I am on vacation, doesn't mean I get to take a vacation from my weight loss efforts. Having the mindset that I can be on vacation and still eat healthy will be imperative for me to maintain my loss in the future).
Fitness Goals:
  • Complete Week 3 AND 4 of C25K (need to keep plugging away at this, no matter how hard it gets).
  • In addition to swimming in the ocean, do at least 1 1/2 hours of additional exercise - either fitness center, running, walking, kayaking or biking, or combo of activities. (I need to also teach myself that being on vacation doesn't mean I get a free pass to be lazy. The beach is a great place to be active - I'm taking advantage of it!
That's it for now - but I might think of more. Stay tuned!

Pics and measurements will be posted soon, too - I promise!

Hope everyone had a good week and has set some challenging goals for themselves this week! I'll be checking in soon! (providing we don't have anymore internet connection disasters here).

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Couple of Things...

I can't get here soon enough....

I thought I would write a quick post tonight since posts over the next 10 days might be spotty while I am on vacation.

Yeah - how happy am I that this no sugar rule will be ending on Sunday??? Uh, very. Not that I plan on going ape-wild at the beach - but if I want to have an ice cream while on vacation, I'd rather not have to feel insanely guilty about not sticking to the mini-challenge. As I mentioned in my last post,  the denial of sugar had me craving it more than normal this week. I feel like I am over the hump,  thankfully - but it was touch and go there for a while.

Someone had suggested that I might be sabotaging myself by allowing artificial sugars into my regular diet. I'll admit, I'm a BIG Splenda fan....and I can't really see myself giving that up. I know that artificial sweeteners get a bad rap, and there are those that believe they are as evil as sugar itself. I'm not convinced either way, and right now, dieting, or changing my lifestyle, or whatever the PC definition is of trying to lose weight - it's hard enough without eliminating absolutely EVERY bit of sweetness from my for now, I'm OK with keeping those little yellow packets in my life. So far, no harm, no foul. I'm still losing weight - Splenda hasn't hindered that yet.

In other news, I continue to plug along with the C25K program - or the 5K Runner which is what my actual phone app says. I began Week 3, Day 1 yesterday, but for the first time, I did not run outdoors. I think I have mentioned that when it comes to running, and let's face it, working out in general, I'm more of a keep-to-myself kind of girl. I don't like people watching me, or really even around me - maybe with the exception of my husband and my trainer. I've gotten over this issue at the gym since, well, I don't own the place and there are always people around. Of course I can't exactly tell them to scram from the machine next to me just because I prefer a solitary workout. However, if I am running at the track, I really get self-conscious if there are too many people milling about. Usually it's just the girl's soccer team practicing in the field next to the track - and I am Ok with that (sort of). However yesterday, not only were they there, but the girls track team was running on the track and there was a some kind of game training going on on the field in the center of the track. One look at at all those people and I said a profound "Hell no," and turned my bike around and rode home.

I knew once I got home 15 minutes after I had just left and Josh would know that I didn't do my run. It's kind of nice feeling like I not only have to be accountable to myself, but also that my husband will call me on my shit if I try to punk out (which I was sort of thinking about doing yesterday, if I'm being honest). So after some hemming and hawing, I decided to go to the gym. NOT to do the C25K, but just to work out. When I got there, I saw a man named Bob that lives in town that knows I have just begun running (or whatever it is I do - that has yet to be determined - it just sounds cool to say run - LOL). It's funny how when you are feeling low, someone can say something to you that really perks you up and makes you believe in yourself again. That's what Bob did for me. On his way out of the gym, he stopped by the treadmill I had just hopped on and told me I was doing great and that I should just stick with the running, and be relentless about it. He was so encouraging and kind, and just what I needed at that very moment to make me feel like I COULD do the workout and that I SHOULD do the workout, even though I might not want to or think I could.

Long story short, I completed Week 3, Day 1 on the treadmill and I have to say - holy crud is it so much easier to run on a treadmill versus outside! It's kind of what I was afraid of. I don't want to get into the habit because as we all know,  the 5K is outside so I kind of feel like that is where I should be training. Do you guys have any thoughts on that?  Should I be concerned about running outside versus the treadmill when completing this program?

Anyway - it felt fantastic and after was all said and done and I completed my 30 mins of training, I went on to do 30 mins on the elliptical and then another 30 mins of weight machines. I was a calorie burning maniac yesterday. However, today when I stepped on the scale? A gain! Grrr - so frustrating!

Anyway, it just adds fuel to my fire and gets me psyched to be active while we are at the beach. We have a lot of great things lined up, like a lot of walking, swimming, kayaking and I plan on continuing the C25K training also while down there. They have a great path that goes all around the complex so I'm good to go. And if it rains, there is always the fitness center! I literally have no excuses! Hey - It's a good thing!

Hope you all enjoy your weekend as much as I plan on enjoying mine. I'll be posting again on Sunday with the SSSDC recap for week 9 and the deets for week 10. Are we really approaching week 10 already??? Yikes!

Well,  I'm off to go watch a movie in our town square. King King from the 1930's....should be fun! Have a great night, everyone!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sweet Musings...

I know it is...but DAMN!!!!

I kind of figured the second the "no sugar" mini-challenge came into play, suddenly I'd be craving it like a wild woman. It's kind of funny how the human mind works. For weeks I have been sticking to a great eating plan, limiting sugar like I never have before, avoiding temptations, and indulging in only "safe desserts" like sugar free fudge bars or fruit. Come to think of it, since this challenge began, I probably have only really indulged in dessert-y type things like cake, pie, or real ice cream maybe a total of 4 or 5 times TOPS (I think) which is pretty damn crazy good considering how much sugary shit I used to consume before this challenge began.

So why am I craving it now like a junk-food junkie that needs mega-fix? Let me be my own psychotherapist for a moment, ok? I don't think I'm going too far out on a limb here to say that this incessant gnawing and nagging sugar-craving I am feeling is because for the first time during this whole "diet", I have made it a rule that I COULD NOT have it. I have put sugar on the "Do Not Fly" list in the official sense and upon doing so, I apparently poked a sleeping friggin' bear.

Over the past weeks, I have given up my sugar indulgence happily knowing that in doing so, my body would be given optimal chance for weight reduction. There were moments along the way where yes, I did have an ice cream cone (like on vacation), a few cookies (that were left after our block party planning meeting), or a slice of cake (like during a recent birthday celebration for my mom). But compared to my habits of the past, these indulgences are a drop in the sugar bucket so to speak. And each time I partook in eating those treats (and that's what I considered them - treats), I went right back to my good eating habits, and didn't obsess over when the next time would be for me to eat something "bad" like that again.

Until now...

This week (and especially today for some reason) it seems I have placed a dangerous focus on sugar, and how much I miss it. I am not sure what the devil is happening to me and it's the first time since our challenge began that I feel like I am seriously being denied something. Maybe it's hormonal, but I don't think so since Aunt Flo isn't anywhere near the vicinity. I'm pretty sure it's all mental. I've done the one thing I haven't done to myself in the past 8 weeks and it's backfired on me. I've said no to something that until this week, I really was ok with avoiding, or having in small amounts, on infrequent occasions. But now, it's off limits - and I just realize that the deprivation thing doesn't work for me. Even if it is presented as a simple little ol' challenge that only lasts a week.

Don't worry -  I haven't held up a Dunkin' Donuts or purchased frosting by the case at my grocery store and sat in my car eating it with a spoon. It hasn't gone anywhere past the craving stage - but I will admit, I am craving it hard. I really hate this feeling. And yes, I've tried distracting myself in all ways possible, eating something healthy, drinking lots of water, trying to satisfy the craving with fruit, all to no avail. I have a feeling I'll be feeling this until Sunday.

And if that happens, so be it. I'm still committed to this week's mini-challenge and so far haven't faltered - but I don't feel good about it this week for whatever messed up reason. And ironically enough, today I hit my 20 lb goal - go figure. That should be motivation enough to want to stay far, far away from anything sweet, but no - I could eat a brownie the size of my head right now and not care. Seriously - the craving is intense.

Anyway - it's just about dinner time so I am hoping that after I'm done, some of this feeling subsides. A girl can hope, anyway.

How is everyone else doing this week? Anyone else finding this mini-challenge to be a real pain in the butt?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Goal Without A Plan Is Just a Wish

My daily lament...

How many of you have ever had a "skinny" stage of your life?

I don't think I ever have. Ok - so maybe I wasn't an "obese" child, but I do know that I always felt like I was bigger than I should have been, even as a kid. In my teens, I strained to fit into clothes that my sister wore - and she is 4 1/2 years older than me. I always wore sizes that were much larger than my friends and by high school, I believe I tipped the scale at roughly 190 lbs, give or take a few. From the time girls start to really focus on their body images, I can distinctly recall feeling abnormal, over weight, and uncomfortable in my own skin. I remember being so angry at myself over why I let myself "get that way"....why did it seem to be a non-issue with my friends? Why could they eat what they wanted and not gain an ounce??? I'm not sure I ever really got my answer.

While I may not have ever had a memorable thin stage, I HAVE had stages in my adult life where I have weighed less than I do now. Some numbers stick out at me. 202. 212. 223. And during those lower weight periods, I remember the panic at THAT point, thinking it was the absolute highest I would ever let myself get. And yet somehow I ended up weighing 236. That was my highest weight ever, and I only just hit it this year.

I'm down to 215.5 as of today and feeling good about taking control of my health again and working with an eating plan that I feel I can stick with and maintain for the long run. But I often wonder what life would be like had I turned my life around when I weighed less - when I realized that I was on a fast train to being even heavier, and feeling like absolute hell. Because I do remember feeling bad about my weight at 212...I thought is was an absolute atrocity that I weighed that much. Today, I'd give my eye teeth to be there. But at my heaviest, in order to reach that goal, that meant I had to drop 24 pounds. The work to take it off is always much harder than the work it takes to put it on.

I'm really close to 212 now, and with that mini goal in close sight (it meets my challenge goal of losing 20 lbs), I hope that I never see that number again. I honestly feel that this IS the time I let it go, and keep going down, down, down...I finally feel stronger than the cravings and temptations and bad habits that I gave into for so many, many years. Yes, it's a battle each day - but with each battle won (whether it's a ignoring a cream-filled donut calling my name at the grocery store, or measuring every stinking thing for every stinking meal, or skipping dessert, even if it's an 80 calorie sugar free fudge bar), I feel more and more liberated.

I know I have said a GAGILLION times that Michele from Ruminations truly lit a spark that caught and smoldered in me for a long while until this year when I firmly grabbed the reigns and decided it was MY time. Her simple question: "If not now, when?" resonated with me so profoundly that I knew eventually my "now" would come. Well, it's here, my friends, and I am so happy to finally recognize it.

Weight loss is difficult. We all know this. If it were just about the food and nothing else, it would be easy-peasy. Or at least easier. But the emotional aspect of losing weight is what makes it tough. It can be lonely, especially if you are the token "fat friend" or "fat spouse" that feels out of place. Luckily for me, my husband has decided to lose with me and it makes this journey much better than trying to doing it solo. But even in addition to the support my husband provides, this blogging community has played a tremendous part in keeping me grounded, and truly inspiring me (on a daily basis) to one day have my own success story. And I know I will, and it will be so worth the work.

I guess I'm writing this today because I know of so many people that are out there that have or are feeling the way I felt when I stared at those old numbers on the scale, praying the number would never get any higher. But I didn't do anything about it for a long time, and guess what? The number did get higher - and higher until it hit a number that scared me into action. I understood that the only way I was ever going to get the numbers to decrease was by taking control, and I firmly believe that we all have the capability of doing that. I did - even a long time ago. But I think they key ingredient to the weight loss recipe was having the willingness to make a change, no matter how unpleasant it might be at first, and furthermore, be consistent with those changes. At least that has been my own experience over the past 8 weeks.

So far, I'm happy with my progress and feel like no matter how much I may bitch and moan about working out or miss the excess of certain foods, I honestly do feel in my heart of hearts that it is, in fact, worth it all. I wish the best for all of my fellow bloggers and want to thank them for all of their support, too. And to Michele - thanks for those words of encouragement regarding weight loss, even back when I wasn't doing anything about it. But thank you mostly for that very powerful question that started it all!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

SSSDC - Week 8 Update and Details for Week 9

Wow - are we really through Week 8 already?????????
I'm totally, totally, T-O-T-A-L-L-Y in denial that the end of July is here and that we are much, much closer to Labor Day than we are to Memorial Day. Wah! I despise the feeling that summer is slipping away. And even though I have another beach vacation looming in the near future (Ahhh), I just know that each passing week brings us closer and closer to cold weather. (Boo hiss).

Now some of you may be doing a silent (or not so silent) "Hooray" at the thought of cooler temps (Pam and Shannon, I know you both are!) but since this is the most active summer I have had to date, I guess I am not ready to kiss it good bye just yet. Josh and I actually just returned from walking a 5K on this gross and humid morning, and while I might complain about the sweat, I won't complain about the 350 calories I burned.

To fulfill Julie's virtual 5K requirement this week, we had to walk, run or bike a 5K just for the sake of doing it. I'm happy to report that I completed four,yes, FOUR 5Ks this week - 3 walking and 1 biking. And that's not all I did for exercise. Overall, it was an active week for me - walking, jogging with my C25K training, biking and swimming. Yes,  the weather was disgusting, but for the first time in my life I didn't use that as an excuse not to get my ass outside and hustle! And THAT is progress, my friends, because I used to be the Queen of Excuses. You name it and I had an excuse for it! Something snapped in me this week that made me realize that the only person who really suffered from my lame-ass excuses was me. Humidity and heat do not excuse one from being active...there are ways around it (like doing stuff inside or at a gym) OR you can just embrace it and sweat your arse off like I did.

While I was great on the activity front, I feel like I failed my own mini-challenge this week. We were supposed to embrace a fitness fear and I was going to finally tackle the Zumba Zombie that I have been yammering on about for freaking ever. I talk about Zumba all of the time and really wanted to try it (but have been afraid to do so) and this week was the perfect opportunity to git 'er done. Well, ladies, I hate to say it but your faithful challenge leader had an epic fail on this one, this week. Confession: I didn't take a Zumba class at all. I'm more than a little embarrassed to admit I bombed my own mini-challenge, in the sense that I didn't complete the goal that I had set for myself. I'm not proud of this admission at all.

But, with that said, I have been talking about the running thing, and how that has also been a fear of mine, and THAT fear I have embraced by doing my 5K Runner program. I've completed 5 days so far - tomorrow will be Week 2, Day 3 for me. Each day I take on the training, I feel like I face a major fear in the eye. I have told myself countless times that I cannot run and each week as I look ahead to see what this 5K program expects of me, I seriously doubt my capability to do it. Yet I have done 5 days now and have not faltered on the program. Yes, I know I am in the honeymoon stage of the running and next week I think it gets kind of ugly. Do you know how scary it is to think I have to run 3 minutes several times in one training session? It may seem like nothing to some of you, but I can tell you, the thought makes me weak in the knees. It is very hard to wipe out the "I can't" and replace it with "I can." It takes time and practice, and moments of proving that, in fact, I most definitely CAN.

So, I apologize for not embracing my Zumba fear this week, but I am still proud of tackling my running fear and will continue to do so for the next 6 weeks until I reach my 5K running goal. That's a promise.

And not all is a bust this week, because my weight loss was excellent! I lost 3 lbs this week! Yeah, told you it was good.
Weight Stats:
Challenge Starting Weight: 232
Last week's weight: 219
This week's weight: 216
Total loss for Challenge so far: 16 lbs.

I'm 4 lbs from my challenge goal of 20 lbs and I have no doubt I will make that within the next few weeks, God willing.

This week we face a whole new kind of demon that I struggle with - SUGAR and AFTER DINNER SNACKING. Although I have to admit that I have been staving off the sugar beast quite a bit since the beginning of the challenge, I have allowed it here and there - most recently this past week in the form of cake to celebrate my mom's b-day. This week will be rough because now I KNOW I can't have it, which to me is different from just choosing not to have it, but knowing you can if you really want to. Luckily, I just haven't wanted to lately - but now that I know I can't, I'll probably crave it like the dickens. It will be interesting to see how this pans out for all of us. Some of us have a real sweet tooth while others couldn't care less about desserts (and those people are CA-RAY-ZEE)....As for me, I'm happy to have recently purchased an abundance of fruit that I can have in a pinch if I am feeling like I need a "fix." Although nothing "fixes" quite like chocolate can - and that's just a fact.

Not eating after dinner will also be a big challenge because lately I have been enjoying a sugar-free fudge bar every other night around 8PM. I look forward to it and now I won't be able to have it. I must be an idiot to have suggested this additional goal. LOL

Anyhoo - Deets are below for this week's mini-challenge:

Week 9 - (begin July 29) - NO SUGAR (unless it's all natural) AND NO SNACKING AFTER DINNER
I figured I may as well put these two challenges together since sometimes snacks can be less than healthy. I am so guilty of feeling like I need to have "dessert" all of the time. Guess what? I DON'T! If I was the type of person that reached for fruit as a snack, maybe I wouldn't be so inclined to add this challenge, but since cake, pies and ice cream are my go-to desserts, I need to get a grip on this.
If we can eliminate those nasty calories we consume after dinner, my money is on weight loss for the next week.

Hope you all have a great week and I'll be checking in through out to see how everyone is doing.
Best wishes for a a healthy week ahead!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gender "Rolls" of Dieting

Have any of you ever dieted with a man?

If you have, you already know that you really need to be a strong woman to do so, especially if your man is as hard core about dieting and exercise as mine has become. Make no mistake - I am extremely overjoyed and proud that my husband agreeably hopped on board the weight loss train with me and has embraced it whole-heartedly. When we began this particular weight loss effort back in late May/early June, he was rounding out at a dangerous 324 lbs and wanted to lose about as much as I did - roughly 100 - 110 lbs. When our goals are met, we'll still be more than 100 lbs different in our weights, but with him measuring nearly 6'4" and me being 5'0", that seems about right - give or take. In my mind, as we started our journey to better health, I figured we'd both be doing the slow and steady wins the race approach. You know, 2 lbs a week....doable, and most importantly, maintainable in the long run. Nothing too overzealous. My biggest concern was being all hyped up in the beginning and then burning out a few weeks later.

WELL....Over the course of the last couple of months, my better half has become a calorie-counting and exercise-obsessed freakazoid (I mean this in the best possible way) and is now down to about 265 lbs, which means he has blown the doors off of the 50 lbs mark and is staring nearly 60 lbs down right in the fat freaking eye. As for myself, since May 30, I have lost a modest 17.75 lbs (as of this morning's weight-check)...not shabby, but not 60 lbs either.

I bring this up today for the simple reason that although dieting with a partner is easier than doing it without, when you diet with a man you can get easily discouraged at the drastic difference in weight loss - hence the 41.75 lb difference between what the two of us have lost thus far. I'll be the first to admit that I am nowhere near as rigid or strict as he is about eating and exercise. While I have made a true concerted effort to change my lifestyle and my eating habits, I still believe that life is meant to be lived and that life does call for chocolate cake every now and again (despite the fact I have not had any cake since the end of May) and martinis even more regularly. Even with my occasional "indulgences" I AM making progress - and it is what I would consider to be good progress - IF I don't compare myself to my husband's success. So I do my best not to.

And I know, I know, I KNOW that men and women lose weight differently. This isn't new news to me at all. And it's why I am not crying a big blubbery river or feeling like I have failed in some way because at the end of the day, I know I haven't. I do get that being 40 and having a uterus are two strikes against me for this road to slim and trim to be considered "easy". I know it won't be. But then again, nothing worth fighting for ever is. I just need to focus on my own thing and be a cheerleader to my husband as he focuses on his own thing, too.

In the end, this journey is not only about me losing weight. It has taken me quite a while to really figure that out. It is also about challenging myself to do things I have never done before and also learn how to stop comparing myself with others and their successes or failures. I am genuinely thrilled that my husband has taken command of his health and is doing it in a way that he is comfortable with and hopefully can maintain. When I married him I knew that we were complete opposites in most ways, so it make sense that even in the game of weight loss, we approach it differently. Hey, opposites attract, right?

In many ways, Josh acts as a true motivator for me. If it weren't for him, I know I would not be inclined to train to run a 5K. But I was tired of sitting by while he ran, thinking about how I wished I could do it too. Well, duh - I can do it. And I am. So now when he runs, I don't have to face the green-eyed monster anymore. I know that I have the power to build up my stamina and run, too. And while that may not be my most favorite form of exercise (I think I cuss a lot under my breath as I am doing it), at least I know that the choice is mine. It isn't someone else's. I can't be pissed at my husband for choosing to run when I have two able legs and feet to do it for myself.

Today my trainer had me do a grueling upper body workout, rounded out by two reps of push ups to the point of muscle failure. I don't know how many of you have ever done anything to the point of muscle failure (let alone twice) but let me tell you what an ugly, scary and yet, awesome feeling it is. I felt completely spent. It was as if I was having my own Biggest Loser moment as I collapsed on myself on the push up mat, sweat dripping from my face. My trainer told me that it was "really, really great" and that she was very impressed with how hard I pushed myself. I wasn't so sure how dropping on my face could be really, really great, but she's the professional so I'll take her word for it.

I'm telling you this, because even though I'm losing slowly while my partner plows ahead, I know that I am going to be OK.  My pace is working for me. I feel stronger and happier and prouder than I have in a long time. I know that my husband and I are going to benefit tremendously from what we are both doing. He supports me, as I do him. We lift each other up. This is a partnership in its truest sense. I am one very lucky woman.

Monday, July 23, 2012

SSSDC - Week 7 Update & Goals for Week 8

Uh, an electron and a proton do what again, exactly????

Well, I survived the NJ Praxis Exam!!!
Considering I began studying one day prior to the test (and did a bit of reviewing again this morning), I feel I did OK. You need a score of 141 to pass and I received a score of 178. Yeah, I'll take it!
Thankfully this test was similar to those I have taken for PA, so the question format was familiar - but I have to say, I don't remember much about elementary school science or social studies which is where I performed the weakest on the test. I'm sure I made quite a few lucky guesses, but at the end of the day,  the test is DONE and now I just need to file all of my other paperwork so I can start looking for work in NJ. Whew!

Anyway - I know I am late in getting my update to you, so without further ado, allow me to share my week in review.

As for my weight, it was a rollercoaster week, as Aunt Flo was in town and wreaking her usual havoc on my body with things like bloat and chocolate cravings. My weight was all over the place this week - as low as 218 and as high as 219.75, but as of Friday which is my official weigh in day, I was at 219.

So updated stats are as follows:
Starting weight: 232
Weight last week: 219.75
Weight this week: 219
Loss for this week: .75 lbs
Total loss for challenge thus far: 13 lbs

The mini-challenge for this past week was to commit to (and sign up for) a 5K (if possible). Josh and I have decided to run the Career and Life Transitions Autumnfest 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, November 4th in Hackettstown, NJ. I could not find any current info on our own town's Fall Foilage 5K that they usually do each year, so we decided to enter a 5K elsewhere. If the Fall Foilage Run gets coordinated eventually, I may opt to sign up for that one, too (ambitious, I know). But for now, at least I am signed up for the November date and that gives me PLENTY of time to get my rear in gear to run the entire thing. Dear knees, don't fail me now! I'm also doing Julie's virtual 5K on July 27th but will probably be doing a combo jog/walk because Lord knows I am not ready to do any major distance just yet. I'm still in my running infancy, if you even want to call it that. I'm thinking it's more like my running embryonic stage...

And, since I'm on the subject -  just to update you on my progress with the 5K training, I realized yesterday that the app I downloaded to help me train isn't the official Couch to 5K program. It's something called 5K Runner and the program actually is only 8 weeks long instead of 9. It seems like the running parts are longer from the get-go (or maybe it just feels that way), and the workout is a bit longer - 30 mins -  as opposed to 20 - although that does include a 5 minute warm up and cool down. I've opted to do my training outside since the 5K will be outside (no duh!) and I feel like it's harder to run outdoors, so this gives me a leg up on when I will have to do it "for real" for the event. Right now I am "running" on our crappy high school track (I use the term "running" loosely, mind you - I am not really sure what you would call what I am doing, to be honest - but I'm no Jackie-Joyner Kersee,  that's for sure) and would eventually like to venture out on the street - but not yet. Maybe once I work up to a mile, I'll feel more confident about shlepping around the town - but for now, I'm staying off the beaten path and running in relative privacy, except for my exposure to the field hockey team that, no doubt, gets a good laugh at my expense when they have their morning practice.

So far I have completed my first week and tomorrow I begin Week 2, Day 1. I had a 2 day break while my niece was here but she did run with us on Sunday as I completed Week 1, Day 3. Tomorrow should prove interesting as the runs get a wee bit longer. I'm sure I'll be whining to Josh just a wee bit more as a result.

This week,  the mini-challenge is to embrace a fitness fear. Running is technically a huge fitness fear of mine, so I feel like I started addressing the fitness monster hiding under my bed a week early. However, I have a number of fitness fears I long to conquer - Zumba being one of the biggies - so that is what my fear focus will be this week. I'm going to take a Zumba class come hell or high water and see if I don't die of either a heart attack or sheer embarrassment - or quite possibly both. Stay tuned for tales from Zumba Hell later this week.

That's really all I have to report. This week I have to put a serious dent in job applications for subbing jobs. I have a lot I need to do before we leave for vacation in August. Both professionally and physically. I'd like to be at least another 5lbs down by the time we leave August 3. Lofty but doable if I stay seriously focused. (Let's just say I am thrilled my homemade peanut butter chocolate chip cookies I made for last week's block planning party are finally gone...they really killed me this week).

For all that are still hanging on in this challenge, let me say thank you for sticking with it and rooting on your fellow challengers! I am so proud of the dedication and progress you are all making - and that includes admitting when times are tough and pushing past those obstacles to continue on your weight loss and fitness journeys. You are all fantastic women that are each inspiring in your own is a real pleasure to be doing this "alongside" of all of you!

Until next time - Much Sweat and No Regret!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Link is Up...

Hi All
Sorry about the very late post on SSSDC Check-in Day!
I had my niece visiting all weekend and after dropping her off this afternoon, I had to dive right into studying for my NJ Praxis exam that I am taking tomorrow. I'm feeling really unprepared. I had zero time over the past few days to study, and this isn't a test you can cram for so.....
I have already taken the 3 Praxis requirements for PA, so I am hoping that the test for New Jersey isn't too different from those.
I'm looking to get a good night's rest (something that didn't happen with my niece here), so this is short and sweet -  just a quickie post to get the link up for everyone for their update, and you'll get my full report tomorrow - after I get home from taking my test @ 1:30.
Wish me luck!
I apologize for this delay, but it's been a busy week.....more on that tomorrow!!!

Reminder that this coming week's challenge is as follows:

Week 8 - (begin July 22) - EMBRACE A FITNESS FEAR
Is there something you have always wanted to do that you are too afraid to try? Some irrational fear holds you back? For me, it's trying Zumba and Spinning....I long to do them but I am scared. Scared of only being able to do the activity for 2 minutes. Afraid to look like a jackass in front of people who do these activities all of the time and know the drill - and have STAMINA.
My thought is that by this time, hopefully we have been working on the stamina thing. We are ready to take on something new and maybe a little scary. Maybe it's running, or maybe it's kickboxing. Whatever your fear, this week the goal is to stare it in the eye, and then make it your bitch.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Little Bit Of This, And A Little Bit Of That...

My "look" for this entire summer.

It's 8:15 AM on what appears to be another muggy, sweltering, sweat-drenched, summer day here in northwestern New Jersey. Josh and I just returned from a 75 minute walk and we were both dragging this morning.  Somedays I am up and at 'em - but today, I could have used a few more zzzz's and skipped the walk completely. Thankfully, I didn't....but the desire was certainly there to do so.

I'm finally recouping from the beat down I took at the gym on Tuesday. My lats, upper arms (both my bi/tri-ceps), shoulders and back felt like royal hell yesterday. Sure I could move, but not without a steady stream of whining and moaning over the soreness I felt. Sometimes I think I'm a total sissy when it comes to pain. In addition to the pain inflicted on me by my trainer, the running (even though it's such a small amount right now) is not being a friend to my knees, either. I'm so afraid that the arthritis I have in them is going to deter me from running. I need to do a bit of research as to what I should be doing with my condition. Of course the doctor that gave me the MRI's after my wedding told me I should NEVER run....too much impact on my joints. But I'm choosing to ignore that advice for now. If my knees should start to scream out, then I'll decide what I need to do - but for now, I'm going to trudge forward.

I don't have too much going on today except grocery shopping, cleaning and cooking. Ah, time to channel my inner Domestic Goddess! We are having a block party planning committee meeting tonight at our house and a few of our neighbors are coming over, so I need to make some snacks for them. Last night I baked peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and yes, (don't judge) I had one - because you certainly don't serve your guests something you've not tasted, right?????
Verdict: It was good - but not good enough for me to feel obsessed about wanting more, which is what I was afraid was going to happen when I made them. Thankfully,  that one little indulgence didn't have me spiraling out of control. And, if you must know, Aunt Flo is visiting, so the fact that I'm NOT inhaling those cookies right now is nothing short of a freaking miracle.

I need to come up with a couple of other healthier options for tonight's meeting. I'm thinking homemade pita chips and crudite with white bean/garlic dip and maybe some petite toasts with chive/dill cream cheese and smoked salmon. Cookies for dessert, maybe a fruit tart if I get really ambitious...and coffee. My husband keeps reminding me that people aren't coming over for a dinner party...but the entertainer in me kind of wishes they were.

I'm up on on my weight today by 3/4 of a pound. Not surprising with the arrival of Aunt Flo and a rather carb-heavy day yesterday. I was still within my calories and I burned over 600 calories yesterday, but I guess my body is just hanging onto something. I'm not stressed over it at all. I'm still down on the week over all, weight-wise and I am finally comfortable with fluctuations in my weight from day to day (although recently I have been steadily losing each day so on days like today I do tend to grumble when I see the scale). I know that for the first time in a long time I am doing this weight loss thing the correct way, and I'm not in a big race to the finish. I take each day as it comes and am trying to be mindful each day of what I eat and how much. My food scale and have been constant companions and I credit them with helping me be honest and accountable for what I am consuming. I'm finally Ok with this new lifestyle....I know I can do this for life.

Before I sign off here, I want to thank those who have been leaving me words of encouragement on my blog - especially where the running/ C25K is concerned. It is so nice to have others share their personal experiences with the program and provide inspiration for those of us just embarking on this new exercise path. Those comments go a long way in terms of providing me with belief in myself and motivation to push past those "you can't do it" walls that I have built up over the years. It is comforting knowing that others have trudged this path before me, have felt what I am feeling, and have proven that it does in fact, get easier - as long as I stay committed and persevere!

That's all for today. Kind of a hodge podge of thoughts if you will. Time for another cup 'o' joe and a quick breakfast....then this house needs some serious TLC.

Hope everyone has a good day.....stay cool!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jello Arms and Machines That Lie

What my arms are apparently made of...

I'm doing  a quick post today and then I think I'm going to haul my hot ass (temperature-wise hot, not sexy hot) to the pool because it is blazing outside again and frankly, I am tired of being drenched due to sweating - and not anything fun. Bring on the chlorinated water! Time to swim!

About 30 minutes ago, I returned home from the gym and just wanted to fall into a lumpy heap on the floor. Yes, I had another training session today. And since I never am quite sure what type of torture Linda has in store for me, I'm always careful to reveal if my back or knees are bothering me, lest she unleash some hellish routine on me that will lay me out flat for the next week and a half. Today, I mentioned that I began the C25K program yesterday and told her that my back was twinging just a little (I was diagnosed with a herniated disc back in college, and it acts up from time to time), and also my legs and knees were a little weak from yesterday's jog or more accurately, yesterday's "schlog" (which frankly, is a little sad if you ask me but it's the truth). She asked if running a 5K was a goal of mine and I said that yes, it was. She seemed happy that I am setting fitness goals for myself - frankly I'm not sure if she knows quite what to make of me yet. I am really bad with filling in my fitness book that they gave to me; all it has in it are the workouts I do with her. I'm supposed to list all of the other fitness activity I do inside the gym and out, AND I'm supposed to log all of my foods in there, too. Since I'm doing all of that through Calorie Count, I chose not to duplicate (it's tough enough to remember to do it in one place versus having multiple records), so maybe to her eyes it seems like I am not doing much at all.....

Anyway, I hope she knows I am not just lying around eating bon bons in between my workouts with her. I feel like we had a good workout today. I asked to do an upper body routine today and I swear I will probably not be able to use my arms tomorrow. It's even tough to type now- I feel all weak and wiggly. You know the feeling - Jello arms. I guess I asked for it, right?

In addition to the training session I completed 35 minutes on the elliptical. I've been meaning to post about the inaccuracies of the calorie burn that the gym machines provide ever since I got my HRM, but haven't....until today. I know that when I started going to the gym (pre-HRM purchase), I was so jazzed about the mega-burn I THOUGHT I was doing on the machine, and then was completely crushed to learn just how "off" the numbers were once I used my HRM. Today, for example,  the elliptical told me I burned 392 calories in 35 mins, completing a bit over 2.5 miles. In reality, according to my HRM, I only burned 268 calories...Now I don't profess to be a math whiz, but even I know that's a major discrepancy! That's 124 calories I didn't burn that the lying sack of crud machine said I did. I wish the machine was right and my HRM was wrong, but from what I have read, the HRM monitor is the most accurate reading, so (big sigh) I will trust the number it spits at me, even if I like the deceitful elliptical machine's number better.

In addition to the 264 on the elliptical, I burned 174 calories with my trainer. It always seems like I should be burning 5,000 calories with her,  but sadly, no...just the 174. For all the pain I am sure to endure over the next few days, I kind of feel like I've been jipped.

Overall, it's not a bad day for burning calories, especially if I do get my butt to the pool and swim too. Unfortunately I can't wear my HRM in the pool so I will just have to go by what Calorie Count tells me I burn,  even though they too, are inaccurate. Jeez - maybe getting this HRM was a curse. I've become so dependent on it.

Anyway - that's it for now. Hope you are all having a great week. Stay cool, my friends!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself

Well, I have to tell you, the C25K program scares me shitless.
And even that may be an understatement.

As part of this week's challenge to commit to a 5K, I professed that I would also begin the oft dreaded C25K program as a way to train for my chosen 5K event in the fall. I have been doing some research with my husband and, barring any physical catastrophes, I think I should be ready to run an actual race by late September or October...maybe November if I really suck at it and I have to do each week of the program twice...
One just never knows....

Today was Day 1, Week 1 of the program and last night as I was desperately trying to psych myself up for it, I realized just how afraid I am of running. And maybe it's not even the fear of running so much as it is the fear of being required to push way, and I mean waaaaaay past my comfort zone and do something that I have always said my body cannot do. You see, I set limitations up regarding my capabilities a long time ago, and it wasn't until only very recently that I have begun to disprove my theories of what I actually can and cannot do.

I always said that losing weight was 90 - 95% mental, and I still believe that. So much of what we do or don't do is because of what we think about or don't think about. For example, when I was cruising through my year of denial about why I wasn't losing weight last year (just look at my July '11 to May '12 weight log - it's quite sad), if I thought about it long and hard enough, I would have realized I wasn't shedding a damn thing because I wasn't using my head. I definitely wasn't logging my food. I didn't THINK about how those tortilla chips, cheese, pies, triple portions of cereal, alcoholic drinks, and a plethora of other foods were adding up...I didn't think about the fact that if I ate pizza for dinner (and I don't mean a slice - I mean at least 3 or 4 slices) and didn't burn any calories for the day that I was going to be WAY over my daily calorie allotment in JUST ONE MEAL. Hell, I didn't even KNOW what my calorie allotment should be for that matter. In addition, I was incredibly clueless about how many calories were burned during exercise, which I have to say, has been a HUGE revelation. In the days of yore, I simply told myself my body was obviously incapable of losing pounds (even though I had lost some weight in the past - so basically I was just lying to myself). The point is, I never did my math.

Believe it or not, before this year (June to be precise), I never, ever, ever counted calories. Points, yes. Calories, no. To me, counting calories seemed like a very 80's mentality for losing know, drink Tab, count calories, use the Thigh Master, blah, blah, blah - yeah, 80's. I HAVE however, tried every other dieting method under the sun....South Beach, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Susan Powter (remember Stop the Insanity?), and the list goes on. Had I known what kind of success I would have had by simply budgeting my calories (and it is very much like balancing a budget), I would have done this ages ago..... Or maybe not....I do think you have to be in the proper mind set to lose weight though, and you really can't half-ass it. I should know, because half-assing it was my approach many, many times over the years.

This time around, however, I feel a sense of calm and peace with my weight loss journey that I have never experienced before. It actually seems DOABLE! It isn't a race. There is no wedding dress I need to fit into, no upcoming event that requires me to be 100 lbs thinner, no future trip that I "need" to look good for. Just life - that's it. I want to live a healthier, more balanced, life, and feel good in the process. (sigh).

So, getting back to the C25K....I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I was rather nervous about starting. Probably more than I should have been. And I still have fear. Fear of failure. Fear that I will not complete this and therefore not complete a 5K, which for some reason, I REALLY feel like I want, and need to do. I'm working on those fears, and I am lucky to have such a supportive partner in my husband who is running along side of me, encouraging me to keep going. Without him, I doubt I would. It is too easy to give up. Something he said to me this morning was rather poignant; he said  that fear is more crippling than pain. I would tend to agree. Too many times, I have given up before even really trying, mainly because I was afraid I could not do something. This time, I have a new mind-set. Was today hard? You bet your ass it was. But you know what? After watching the IronMan yesterday and seeing how hard THOSE athletes pushed themselves despite obstacles like cancer, and loss of limbs, I think I can push myself to run a little ol' 5K, can't I?

Granted, my maximum heart rate was 192 today....I really did feel like I was dying. But I didn't, and I won't. Will it get better? I sure as hell hope so and am banking on the belief that if I stick to this, I will be rewarded in the end. Blog Wobble , who has totally rocked the C25K program and is continuing to kick major ass on the Bridge to 10K program gave me some great advice. She said the key to success on C25K is persistence, and I wholeheartedly believe her. This is not a program that you can do willy-nilly and walk away from and come back to when you feel like it and expect to progress through it. It is designed to build stamina, and the only way that happens is by sticking with it. My goal is to do it Mon, Wed and Fri or each week, so I'll be sure to keep you posted on my bitch-fest, ahem, progress.

Until then....hope everyone has a great week! Remember: You only get out of it what you put into it!