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 ways...it 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 CalorieCount.com 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 weight...you 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!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

SSSDC Week 6 Update and Week 7 Details

Ready for this week's challenge???

Happy Sunday Everyone!
I don't know about you but I'm beginning to feel like these Sunday challenge updates are coming at us faster and faster, and before we know it summer will be all but a distant memory. I always said that once the 4th of July hits, summer picks up its pace 10-fold and in what seems like a flash, we're raking leaves, carving pumpkins, and drinking mulled cider and experiencing all that other good autumny stuff. But this year, I'd like to put the brakes on the arrival of fall. I really want to milk summer for all it's worth - I am not ready to surrender to the falling of leaves and chill in the air just yet. There is plenty more fun in the sun to be had.

However, I cannot deny that today is Sunday and that means it is time to check in and give my challenge update. If you popped by my blog this week, you know that Vegetarian Week found me in a meaty predicament that I couldn't escape, so yes, I did have one indiscretion during my time at attempted meatlessness. It stinks because I thought this week would be so simple - and it was, except for the family funeral curveball that was thrown. I've decided to continue the meatless challenge for a few more days, partially because I am really enjoying it, but mostly because we have a boatload of veggies in the house that need to be eaten!

In terms of actual eating this week, I kept it pretty simple. The shrimp stuffed poblanos and caramelized onion lasagana were by far the most labor intensive dishes I made, but mostly Josh and I stuck to grilled veggies, veggie burgers, salad, corn on the cob and fruit. There wasn't a lot of over thinking regarding our meals which was kind of liberating. I felt like my eating was probably the cleanest it's been in a long time. A plus!

It was a decent week for weight loss too! I'm finally in the 2teens, just barely! My Friday weigh-in revealed 219.75. I'm more motivated than ever to get to 212 and hit that 20 lb goal. I feel like it is very realistically in reach within the next few weeks.

So, the stats for this week are:
Starting Challenge Weight - 232
Last week's weigh-in - 222.4
This week's weigh-in - 219.75
Weight loss for this week - 2.65
Total loss for challenge so far - 12.25 lbs

I'm not setting any world records for weight loss of course, but my losses have been relatively steady and averaging roughly 2 lbs a week, which is healthy, so I am happy. At this pace, I feel good about my ability to progress and don't feel like I am being deprived or living a life that is not sustainable in the long run. I feel like I am finally getting, at the very least, a loose grip on the whole idea behind eating to live, not living to eat.

THIS week, we have a lofty challenge ahead of us (well, it might be a piece of cake for those runners in the challenge, but it's lofty for me):

Week 7 - (begin July 15) - COMMIT TO AND SIGN UP FOR A 5K
Make it official - let's commit ourselves to a 5K and go in not caring if we have to walk it, jog it or crawl it - just so long as we complete it. For those that are truly inspired to run, this week can begin the C25K running program or another 5K training system of your choice. I already know I can walk a 5K, so jogging will be my goal for this. The 5K can be anytime up through to the fall, but preferably we can complete one by the end of the summer. Just let us know you have committed and registered for it. Hopefully we can all come back after we have completed them and give a recap!

Josh and I spent a little time this morning looking up upcoming 5K's in NJ. I believe there is a Fall Foilage run in our town at the end of September and a few others that are near us in either late August (which sounds like a horrible time to run) or mid-fall. Truth be told, the mere thought of running a 5K scares the ever-living crap out of me. Running in general is not my friend and I am petrified of what it means when I finally sign up this week to participate in an event.

That is why this week, as an addition to the challenge of simply signing up for the 5K, I am beginning the C25K program. And ladies, I just have to warn you, I have a strong suspicion I am going to suck royally at it. Granted, I have no problem walking a 5K (it's what we do in the morning with the dogs), but running is a whole other nasty ball of wax, my friends, and I have to tell you, major dread creeps in every fiber of my being when I think about it. BUT I have been reading so many stories about people overcoming their running fears and describing how kick ass it feels to cross that finish line, that I yearn to experience the same thing for myself. If I don't die trying first.

I'll keep you posted this week and let you know how it goes. I gotta tell you, I know next week the challenge is to embrace a fitness fear, but I kind of feel like I am tackling that a week early with this running thing. I'm bad with pushing myself if a trainer isn't making me do it. We'll see how it goes....Josh said he'd train with me, even though he is already up to running over 2 miles on his own every morning. He might get sick of my bitching and moaning when I actually attempt it and change his mind. Ha!

I hope everyone has a great week! I'll be checking in throughout the week with you all and rooting you on! Just remember we are on the back slide of this challenge already - let's finish up the last half good and strong!!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

"Meating" Certain Expectations

Me, on Wednesday.

It's Friday early evening and I thought I'd take a break from the hell that is the humidity and heat outside and do a little blogging instead. The plan was that I'd get out for a bike ride before dinner but there are some rather threatening clouds out there that have me believing I'd be turning my bike around faster than you can say "fatgalonabike"as soon as I'd get out there...so I'm staying inside for the moment. I walked my 3K this morning so I'm Ok with skipping the evening exercise tonight....as Annie says, "there's always tomorrow."

So, how is everyone doing this week? It's vegetarian week, of course, and based on the pictures from my "vegtastic" post on Monday, I was in great shape to stick to my veggie eating guns this week and let me tell you, I rocked the hell out of Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday....but the real kicker is what happened on Wednesday. Let's just say, it involved meat. And absolutely no way to say no.

Allow me to provide you with a little background knowledge before you start hurling rotten tomatoes at me....

On July 4th my husband's grandmother passed away after a 7-year battle with dementia.  She was cremated, but the following Saturday we attended a church service in her memory in Wilmington, DE. However, this church was not her final resting place. Her husband was buried in Naticoke, PA and so this past Wed there was a small family service there so that her urn could be buried next to him. My mother-in-law's aunt and cousin who live in Nanticoke came to the service and graciously invited everyone to come to their home (which incidentally was my MIL's grandmother's old house) after the burial. I think her exact worlds were, "I got up early and I made a lot of food."

There was no turning that down, and I instantly knew I might find myself in a bit of a pickle because we wouldn't be going to a restaurant -  as planned, where I could select a vegetarian entree - as planned. I had no idea what my MIL's aunt had prepared but all I knew was that whatever it was, meat or no meat, I was going to have to either eat it or look like the world's biggest ingrate.

As it turned out, the food offered turned out to be homemade Polish halupkies which, if your not familiar, contain a beef and rice mixture formed into a ball, surrounded by wilted cabbage, covered in a thin tomato sauce. They look like this:
The evil was lurking inside....
These were served with slices of rye bread. And that's it. Choices were virtually non-existent.

Trust me when I say, I surveyed the situation and really thought long and hard about what I could/should/would do, but please understand these were relatives from my husband's side of the family that I do not know well at all and I would have felt terribly rude not eating anything while everyone else was chowing down and frankly, I didn't think anyone there would give a rat's ass to hear, or even understand what it meant that I was violating the rules of my own blogging challenge (can you imagine THAT conversation?)...Try explaining that to an old Polish woman who just told you she got up at 4 AM to make a truckload of these time consuming little bundles of stuffed cabbages. I think I would have been banished from the family right then and there.

SO - I did what any good daughter-in-law would do and I took the smallest possible halupkie and ate it along with a piece of rye bread with a small schmear of Smart Balance (I was freaking STARVING), all the while thinking how in the hell I would explain to my fellow dedicated challengers that I FRIGGING ATE MEAT DURING VEGETARIAN WEEK!!!???

I'm kind of chuckling as I write this, only because, seriously - who would have thought this would ever had presented itself this week?? But I honestly think I did the right thing, and please be assured that this was my one and ONLY discretion this week - and that I plan on sticking with the vegetarian thing at LEAST one extra day, to make up for my meat-inclusive meal - even though it was consumed only due to my precarious position between that horrible rock and a hard place.

Tomorrow I'm headed to my friend's house for dinner, but this time there will be no surprises, as I am making, and taking along a pan of caramelized onion lasagna. I found the recipe in my "The Simple Art of Eating Well" cookbook and I gotta tell you, it sounds over-the-top delicious. Best of all, it calls for 2 oz. gorgonzola cheese and chopped walnuts which I am leaving out (blech!). I'll be subbing with  2 oz goat cheese, which saves me 30 cals in cheese and 264 calories in walnuts alone! Total cals for one piece in 354 versus 387 on the original recipe. I'll be sure to post pics and confirm if it is indeed as fine tasting as it sounds once I get it made.

Well,  that's about it....my confession of the week. I guess it could be worse...at least I didn't hijack a Good Humor truck or anything. Then again,  the week's not over.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I'm Late, I'm Late!

Well, I know I am incredibly late on my picture and measurement post for this month, but as they say, better late than pregnant, right? Here they are as promised. I tried my damndest to get the June 3 pics next to the July 10 pics, but either I am complete and utterly technologically-dim witted or... well, uh, yes, let's just leave it at that, shall we? You may have to do some scrolling for comparisons, but it's all I've got, folks.

Oh, and here's a disclaimer on the jacked-up hairdo and complete lack of make-up....these pics were taken post-gym workout which was hell. More on that tomorrow.

Based on the pics below, I honestly can't see much of a change, unless you count my Hawaiian Tropic tan and maybe, if I had to pick something,  I'd say I'm a tad thinner in the face??? Perhaps there's a little smoother line on the "upper belly" maybe (not so roller-coaster hill looking...), not to mention how difficult it is to see exactly what the hell is going on when I'm wearing all black (methinks I will alter my get-up for the next set of pictures). But other than those small changes, I feel I pretty much look the same. And that's OK - I really don't think weight loss is all that noticeable until you hit the 20 lb mark. As of today I am 8.25 lbs away from that, and then maybe I will notice some shifts here and there. I also think the way you exercise makes a huge difference in the way your body shows weight loss and over the past 2 weeks, I feel like my weight reduction has been mainly through calorie cutting and not an overt amount of "sculpting" exercise.

My measurements, however have changed a bit and I do notice this in some of my clothes. As in some of my shorts are no longer cutting off my circulation... Ha!
 SO - Here are the stats:

Previous              Current
Neck - n/a            15 3/4
Bust - 48              46 1/2 - minus  1 1/2"
Waist - 43 1/2      41 3/4 - minus 1 3/4"
Hips - 52 1/2        50 3/4 - minus 1 3/4"
Thigh - 27 1/2      27 1/4 - minus 1/4"
Upper Arm - n/a   15 3/4
Calf - n/a              18 3/4 (Holy cow, no wonder I can't find boots that fit!)    

July 10, 2012 - 220.75 lbs
June 3, 2012 - 232 lbs
July 10, 2012 - 220.75 lbs
June 3, 2012 - 232 lbs
July 10, 2012 - 220.75 lbs
June 3, 2012 - 232 lbs

July 10, 2012 - 220.75 lbs
June 3, 2012 - 232 lbs

So while these pictures don't generate any oohs and aahs in terms of radical change, I am starting to feel lighter in my skin and better overall - and that's a good thing. For the first time in a long time, I know I am in this for the long haul. Better pictures WILL come because I plan on seeing this through to my goal and beyond.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Just Vegging Out!

Happy Veggie Week, everyone.
In preparation for the mini-challenge to do a week without meat, we took a mega-shopping trip yesterday and I am pretty sure we left no vegetable unturned. We shop at Wegmans and after yesterday's grocery load, I'm thinking we either need to find a cheaper place to get our produce or I need to sell a kidney or something. We spent a small fortune on all things healthy, and while I am grateful for the benefits that eating like this provides for my body, I am less enthusiastic with the rape and pillaging our wallet takes at the check-out counter. I've vowed to do some price comparisons this week at the local farmer stands we have scattered about our area, but I don't think they are much of a bargain either (although the produce is mostly organic, so that's a plus, yes?).

Anyway,  here is our "Vegtastic" haul for the week (bear with me - I just love the way all of the veggies look grouped together):
Talk about "vegging out!"

Loads of color!

Eggplant has become a new favorite!

Summer cherries are the best!

We even have a few home grown cherry tomatoes to add to the bounty!

Have we missed anything???

As you can see, all colors of the rainbow are pretty much represented. It's like ROYGBIV threw up right on my kitchen island! But in all honesty, I think it's really quite beautiful to behold! I've been rummaging through my cookbooks for interesting recipes and have found a few attention grabbers.

Since I have opted to include eating fish/seafood this week, I decided to make shrimp stuffed poblanos last night. What heaven!
Shrimp stuffed deliciousness.

Here is the recipe for anyone who is interested:

Shrimp Stuffed Poblanos

4 or 5 Poblano Peppers
10 oz thawed pre-cooked large shrimp, chopped into small pieces
1 cup brown rice (I used Uncle Bens 90 second rice in a bag - easy to microwave)
1 cup canned whole kernel corn - drained
1/2 red pepper chopped
1 jalapeno pepper seeded and finely diced
1/2 onion finely chopped
3 oz finely shredded colby jack or pepper jack cheese (I mixed the two kinds)
juice of 1 lime

Cut off top off peppers and de-seed them (the seeds are the hot part - so if you want some heat, keep a few seeds in the pepper).

Put peppers in boiling water for 3 mins and then blanch them in a bowl of ice water for 3 mins.
Remove from water and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients, except the poblanos. Season with salt, pepper and cumin to taste. You can also add cilantro to your taste. Juice the lime and mix all ingredients together.

Cut Poblanos in half and lay on a foil lined baking sheet.

Stuff each half pepper with the mixture. Shred just a wee bit more cheese to sprinkle on top of each pepper half.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-18 mins.


Nutritional Info:
Each stuffed pepper half is only 104 calories, or a smidge more depending how much cheese you put on top. Also - only 3.4 grams of fat! They really were scrumptious. A lot of flavor and satisfaction bang for your calorie buck! You can have 3 of these and not feel guilty!

I'll be posting more recipes as I find them and make them. Hope everyone is having a good start to the week and enjoys vegging out!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

SSSDC - Week 5 Update & Details for Week 6

Good Morning!
Another summer week has flown right by and we are now entering week #6 (yikes!) of the Summer Sizzle Slim Down Challenge. We are nearing the half way point of the challenge and while I certainly don't want to rush summer, I am excited to see how everyone has fared at the end of this 13 week journey. So many of you are doing an awesome job meeting or getting very close to meeting the weekly mini challenges, along with tackling a few of your own personal challenges. It's great to read so many inspirational posts!

Some of you know I was on vacation at the beach last week, so if I didn't visit your blog to comment last week, I will get there - I promise. I'm not ignoring you; I just didn't spend very much time in front of the lap top during my time at the seaside.  Can you blame me? It was 100 degrees and all I wanted to do was be submerged in a body of water...not for nothing, but it's kind of difficult to type while you're swimming. Plus lap tops don't take too kindly to getting wet.

Last week's goal was to lose 2 lbs, despite the fact that those residing in the US had a holiday hurdle to jump mid-week. Dieting is hard, and dieting during a time when picnics and food events and hot summer days call for indulgences of both the food and drink variety to emerge is even harder. For me, being on VACATION during the holiday week made it all the more difficult - for obvious reasons. I mean, who ever goes on vacation thinking they'll lose weight? I can assure you, it was never on my vacation agenda prior to this past week. N.E.V.E.R.

With that being said, I am prouder than usual this week to have not only surpassed the weight-loss goal but also to feel as though I understand what it is that helped me get there. Even though I had cravings and would have liked to indulge more, I didn't - something in my head has finally convinced me that I can do this. There is nothing to stop me from meeting my goal this time.

When I weighed in last week the scale was at 224.8. I was kind of pissed about my gain but knew that the week leading up to weigh-in was peppered with some not-so-great moments of eating and drinking, so there was really no surprise surrounding the scale's bad news. This week, I tried to really switch gears and be more mindful of not only what was going down my gullet but also how much. I've been religiously tracking since week one of the challenge and this tool is the one that I think really helped me stay in control again this week. When you're on vacation it is easy as pie (pun intended) to go way over your calorie allotment  for the day, and I knew that if I didn't keep track,  there was no way I could lose weight. Too many temptations. Too many opportunities to consume portions that were double or triple what I should have...

The best part about this week was my lack of feeling deprived. I even got to have this while on vacation and STILL manged to lose 2.4 lbs!

Rehoboth Beach's famous Louie's Cheeseburger Grinder. This is a half portion. I have loved these since my early childhood!

I also had one cone of Kohr's Bros. custard but that was pretty much it in terms of dessert or "bad" foods. Ok, ok - maybe I had a few fries, but really, nothing else. Really. Because if I had I wouldn't have this to report:

SSSDC Challenge Weight Stats:
Starting Weight: 232
Last week's Weight: 224.8
This week's Weigh-In: 222.4
Loss this week: 2.4 lbs
Total loss for challenge so far: 9.6 lbs

Forgive the desperate need of a pedicure!

And because this is not the normal scale I weigh in on, I did weigh myself on the scale at home this AM and am happy to report my weight as of today is even lower! 221.75!!!
I'm thrilled with my progress and feel totally pumped about the upcoming week!

Speaking of which...here we go - a reminder of what this week is all about!

Week 6 - (begin July 8) - VEGETARIAN WEEK
I've added this challenge simply because I'd like to see if I can do it. Maybe you too have always wondered what a vegetarian diet might be like? I know I love meat way too much to give it up for good, but I am willing to try for a week and see how I do and if I feel any different.
No meat of any kind. Seafood optional.

Also - just to be clear - you decide to what level of vegetarianism you'd like to aspire to this week. I'm cool with eggs, dairy and seafood - but if you want to cut any of that out, feel free. The goal is to really get in the veggies and fruit this week and maybe try making a few meals that you used to eat with meat, without. 

Best of luck to everyone! My pics and measurements will be posted this evening. But right now I have to shower and get to the store to load up on my good stuffs for the week.
I'll be popping by later to check in on everyone!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Celebrating Independence - In More Ways Than One!

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!
I'm typing this from the deck of my in-laws place at the beach. I've come down here every 4th of July since meeting my husband and it's one of my most favorite places in the world. Part of me thinks I may have some sea creature DNA. I love the ocean and the beach - it is truly my happy place.

I know I STILL need to get my pics and measurements posted for this week - I haven't forgotten. We've just been busy being a wee bit lazy, laying on the sand and playing in the surf. Josh did run to CVS for me yesterday and picked up the measurement tape though, so I can do that today and then pose for a lovely full body shot, and face shot later.  I doubt there is much of a difference, but I'll admit I'm kind of curious, especially about the measurements since I've swapped my couch potato ways for a much more active lifestyle lately. I'm not expecting miracles or anything - but hey, a girl can dream.

The only downside about being away from home right now is not having our "go-to scale" here. We use a doctor's scale at home for weigh-ins and we had to bring my old, weird, finicky, never-give-you-the-same-reading-twice-in-a-row, digital scale along for when we are staying down here. I'm not quite sure how accurate or inaccurate the damn thing is and it's frustrating, especially when the goal this week is to drop two stinking pounds!
My husband told me that he weighed himself at home, right before we left to come down here and then right when we got here, on that scale - and he said I should subtract 1 1/2 lbs from what the scale actually reads. But the thing is so whackadoodle I am not sure if I buy that - so I'm sticking to whatever number it spits at me while I'm down here and will face the real music when I get home.

If I DID do the subtraction that my husband suggested, I'd be VERY happy! However, I'm an extremely cautious skeptic, and I don't want to be disappointed when I get home, so I'll just deal with the numbers I'm seeing here. According to today's weight, I have two days to drop about .5 lbs in order to meet the goal (I weigh in on Fridays). I must admit that in years past I would have said that would be impossible, given the holiday gluttony I knew I would be rolling in. But this year is extremely different. Never in my life have I come to the beach and eaten so healthy! It's a completely different experience.

Believe it or not, I haven't had ice cream once since I've been here and that is no small feat, I can assure you. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, Kohrs Brothers soft serve and usually have it a few times during any given vacation. But not this time. THIS time, we have loaded up on great stuff from the Bethany Beach Farmer's Market. Dessert has become peaches and grapes and apples with natural peanut butter. We have roasted a ton of veggies and have been eating seared tuna steaks and that healthy chicken salad recipe I posted on Sunday. Salad is a staple, as is low-calorie cereals loaded with fresh blueberries. Trust me when I say this is a far cry from any semblance of meals I have had here in the past. Not that I always ate unhealthy here before - because I didn't. But this is a whole new level of conscious eating that I have not done before - and it feels pretty dang good!

Despite the positive changes in my eating this time around, I'm not going to go all "I Am Healthy, Hear Me Roar" however - because I would be lying if I said I didn't still miss some of the "bad" foods I used to eat here. Yesterday, I had the most intense craving for an iced orange roll from a bakery in the neighboring beach town (think soft and squishy - like the perfect marriage between a doughnut and a soft roll delicately infused with the zest of an orange and iced with a slather of sugary white butter-creamy taste of friggin' heaven). Thank the LORD it's a 12 mile drive and there was no way to indulge my fantasy of strapping on a feed bag filled with a dozen of those rolls and devouring them one by one. But I sure thought about it.

I guess I'm learning how to manage those cravings and the few food stuffs I have been able to turn away (there is still a blueberry pie hanging out on the counter I have not touched) proves I am stronger than my desires for the bad stuff. In a way, I'm celebrating the independence of more than just my awesome country today - but I also feel like I've declared my own independence against all that has been holding me back in the past. How great is that?

Anyway,  the beach beckons! Hope you all have a wonderful holiday - and if you're not celebrating the 4th, then just have a wonderful day in general! How's that?

I'll leave you with some pics of the fabulous farmers market!

So fresh looking!
We got some!
We look forward to this every summer!
Take a peach to the beach!
Look at the gorgeous colors!
The flower vendors were amazing.
What says "summer" more than corn on the cob?

The corn was to die for!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

SSSDC Week 4 Update and Details for Week 5

Good Morning everyone!

Well, it's another check in day for the Summer Sizzle Slim Down Challenge and I for one, had a bit of an up and down week as far as meeting my goals. I thought this week was going to be a breeze in terms of getting in my water, posting lots of healthy recipes and losing weight....boy, was I wrong.

I'll start by saying, I began the week with a bang. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday went by without a glitch - got in the exercise, got in the water and was peeing like it was my job. I felt like the weight was just going to melt off of me. With each flush of the toilet, I kept thinking, goodbye you miserable fat...off to the sewer you go! I'm a "weigh everyday" type of gal, so in the earlier part of the week, the outlook was good. I was down a pound by Tuesday and thought there was no stopping me. Let me just say that overconfidence can really put you in your place if you don't watch it.

Fats forward to Thursday (that's not a typo)...I met up with a friend who was visiting from out of town. We had a lovely girls' day so she could have a day without her kids, have adult conversation AND adult drinks and let's just say, we imbibed, we ate, we laughed - we ENJOYED the day.... a lot.

I'd love to say, no harm, no foul - BUT I'm no fool. I do realize that indulgent days such as these don't come without a price tag...and that price is high. It's called weight gain and it's ugly. I'd rather just pay 20 bucks and call it a day but my body demands payment on the scale. In POUNDS. This week, for my frivolity, I paid .8 lbs to be precise.

Granted,  it's less than a pound so I'm having a cow or anything, but frankly, I'm lucky. I made a few good decisions along with the bad ones and maybe they balanced out a little but the fact remains that I didn't see a loss and am at 224.8 this week. It makes me mad, but not to the point where I feel I need to beat myself up. I'm still seeing progress in my willingness to exercise and get in more water. Did I hit those goals everyday? No - I didn't. But I tried very hard on most days to get there....this is progress. In the days of yore, I would have thrown in the towel and had that self-defeatist attitude, thinking I could NEVER lose weight and I was just predestined to be a total fat-so my entire life. No more. I do know that I may not have made ALL wise choices this week, but that does not dictate the choices I make this week. I am moving forward, and leaving any and all "oopses" from the past in the past.

 SO - are you all ready for this week's challenge???
Week 5 - (begin July 1) - LOSE 2 lbs THIS WEEK (and post pics/measurements if doing so)
Yep, holiday and all - this is the goal.
Don't question it - just do it. The reason this is the goal this week is to help us remember that the 4th of July doesn't give us free license to abandon all our diet and fitness goals. Yes, it's a holiday - but it's not a holiday meant to celebrate how many hot dogs and hamburgers our bodies can consume. This week will hopefully redirect us a bit - knowing the goal is a 2 pound loss, maybe we can steer clear of old habits of overindulgence during the holiday and make good on our promise to ourselves for better health ALL 365 days of the year!

Adding to this week's challenge, however, is the fact that Josh and I are at the beach all week and this place is historically a weight gain mecca, but I am determined to let it not be so this year! I'm happy to report that last night's NSV was refusing the delicious looking blueberry pie my MIL offered me. It was hard, but I had already marked my day complete on Calorie Count so the choice was made for me. I'm not into the self-sabotage business anymore.

I will have to post measurements and pics later tonight or tomorrow because I have to go buy a measuring tape - I forgot to bring mine with me on vacation. I had visions of sun and sand on my mind, not the current condition and circumference of my thighs, I guess!

But for now I leave you with at least my weigh stats for the challenge and my goals for this week:

Starting Weight: 232
Last week's weight: 224
This week's weight: 224.8
Gain: + .8 lbs (Boo hiss!)

This week's GOALS:
Lose 2 lbs
Only have dessert twice this week
Exercise for an hour each day (beyond swimming in the ocean - either bike, walk or fitness center)
Stick to tracking
GET In that water - I'll be happy with 64 oz minimum
Have fun and remember that this is not a diet - it's for life.

Can't wait to hear about everyone else's progress. Hope you had a great week!

Healthy Chicken Salad Recipe

Well, I'm about a day late and a dollar short getting this recipe to you BUT here it is anyway!
A great chicken salad that is pleasant tasting without all of that fattening mayo!
This is a recipe my husband found and has been a great go-to lunch for us. I wish I had a picture of it!
We're making it again this week so I will take one then.
I imagine you could  use different herbs, like dill, parsley, or whatever floats your boat. My mom doesn't care for tarragon and she tried it with dill and loved it.
Don't be afraid to experiment!
I personally love the fruit with the chicken - to me, it's a very satisfying summery lunch.
You can put this on bread (which is the regular serving suggestion) but I eat it plain. If you do ad bread or crackers,  you have to up the calories accordingly.

Healthy Chicken Salad

Calories per serving: 198
Fat per serving: 3
Fiber: 3 g
Cholesterol: 65g
Sodium: 509g
Carbs: 17.2g
Sugars: 13.2g
Protein: 25.8g

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound (2 small whole breasts) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
1 tablespoon freshly chopped tarragon
1 Granny Smith apple
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup finely diced fennel (the bulb, not the seed!!)
1/2 cup finely diced celery
2 cups red seedless grapes, cut in half
Olive-oil cooking spray

Combine salt and pepper in a bowl. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken with some of the salt mixture; place in saute pan. Reduce heat to medium; cover. Cook until chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes (flip halfway through cooking time). Remove from pan; set aside.

In a bowl, combine yogurt, mustard, chives, tarragon, and remaining salt mixture. Core the apple, and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Place in a medium bowl with lemon juice, and toss to combine. Add fennel, celery, and grapes. Cut reserved chicken into 1/2-inch pieces. Add to salad with yogurt dressing; stir to combine.