Take stock Tuesday

Three months ago I started to read 52 Weeks of Conscious Contact,  a book by Melody Beattie which takes you through daily exercises to help the reader be in the moment and live mindfully.  As usual, I lost focus and allowed myself to be distracted by life…so typical.  I don’t know why, but I grabbed the book as I was running out of the house yesterday.  Three months since I started and I’m only on week 4, but what a good week to pick up where I left off.

Week 4 is about challenges, the ones we set for ourselves and the ones that are thrust upon us.  Lately I find I’m a teeny bit overwhelmed by both kinds.  So after reading week 4 this is what I know and my immediate action plan:

  1. Make a list of what challenges me
  2. Examine the value of each challenge
  3. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize
  4. Leave a little room for the unexpected
  5. Always remember there is a fine line between challenging yourself enough to grow and putting so much pressure on yourself that you cave to the pressure

My Challenges…..The BIG Picture

  1. My weight, eating habits and overall health:  I’ve been slacking on all fronts because I keep making excuses.  I need to get down to a healthier weight and I need to STOP putting junk into my body.  Doing both these will improve my overall health and that is my number one priority.
  2. Work/Life Balance:  I started a new job last month and I’m still learning my way through a whole new set of rules and standards.  I know I can do it and I’m just slightly frustrated because it’s taking me a little longer to get these done.  I have to accept that the first six months will probably mean more hours in the office so I have to make the time at home worth every minute.
  3. My marriage – I won’t get to personal on this front, but I want everyone to know that I love my husband very much.  We’ve been through quite a bit together and are working our way back to trust.  I have trust issues in general and I know that if I don’t learn how to trust people, my life will be much more complicated than it needs to be.

All the other stuff is background chatter that, quite frankly, just isn’t worth freaking out over.  What are your challenges and how do prioritize?

Getting organized…..

I’ve been struggling a bit with a good format for my blog.  I feel like it’s just been random posts lately.  When I started this blog I had so many ideas and couldn’t wait to get writing and sharing.  I’m not sure what happened.  Well, I guess life happened and things started getting crazier than normal.  I wanted to build a community here and I feel like I started to do that, but let’s be honest, I wouldn’t keep coming back if there was nothing new to read.  I don’t even know if I’m a good writer or if I have anything interesting to say half the time.  

In the beginning I had assigned topics for certain days of the week and I liked that idea so I’m going back to that idea.  These are my thoughts so far, but I would really like your input.  You are reading this and I want to discuss topics that not only help me, but help you too.  That’s what community is all about right?  I can’t promise to post every day of the week, but I think if I have topics to think about I will post a little more often.  My thoughts: 

Movin’ Mondays:  Exercise or general fitness talk (maybe I’ll get Leigh to give us some tips from the personal trainer…hint hint) 

Troublesome Tuesdays:   Discussion on something I’ve struggled with during my journey to wellness 

Weight Watchers Wednesdays:  Discussion about my experience with Weight Watchers and any good tips I’ve found on the program, recipe share, etc. 

Track Talk Thursday:  General discuss on my 5k training 

Follow Up Friday:  I’ll use Fridays to recap my weeks progress on running, eating, weight, etc. 

Wordless Weekends:  I’ll use the weekends to post photos I’ve taken or seen that have inspired me or mean something to me. 

Those are my initial thoughts.  Do you have anything you would like to read about?

Happy 2011?

Hell yeah it’s going to be a happy 2011, not to mention a productive 2011.  I keep a fairly detailed daily calendar and the first week of every year I take a look back and reflect on the prior year.  It’s interesting to see how I change focus so frequently.  At the beginning of the year I was writing my exercise goals for the week and logging my daily caloric intake.  By May I was just tracking my weight and miles per week.  By August I was just charting my personal training appointments.  It was very eye-opening to see that my weight on 1/1/2010 was exactly the same as 1/1/2011.  Some people might read this and say “Congrats on maintaining”, but I’m not at my goal weight yet.  I need to lose, not maintain.  I guess what I need to take from the past year is that I have learned how to maintain.  In the past, I have lost weight and after about six months I have gained it all back and then some.  I am pledging to myself and to all of you that next year at this time I will be 40 pounds lighter!

2010 was a good year for me in many ways.  I reconnected with two childhood friends, I made a great new friend, I got over my fear of sweating and making a fool of myself and I made a big lifestyle change in becoming a vegetarian.   It was a year of healing in many respects and I could not have gotten through it without the strength of my family and friends.   I was able to put a lot of baggage away…permantly in 2010. 

What are my goals for 2011? 

1.  Most importantly I want to reach my fitness and weight goals.  I’m starting the year off right with 3 training sessions this week and tomorrow I weigh in with Leigh and take all my measurements.  We are wiping the slate clean and starting fresh.   I feel myself getting stronger with each session and I’m starting to see and feel muscle development.  This is really exciting to me.

2.  I want to start doing more outside.  Explore my home state and see all that PA has to offer. 

3.  LOG MY FOOD.  I did so much better with my weight loss when I did this. 

4.  Bring on the  joy!  Jen and I are going to do a long distance book club with a book her friend just published called Bring on the Joy.  I can’t wait to get started.

5.  Blog more!  I know this one makes all of you happy.  Hehehehe

What are your goals, intentions or resolutions?

Biggest Loser…spoiler alert

Is it just me or does there seem to be much more game play on this season of The Biggest Loser?  I’ve always had some issue with the concept of the show and the speedy weight loss, but I trust that all of the participants are thoroughly examined before, during and after the workouts.  Good grief, I spent 30 minutes with my trainer last night and felt sick to my stomach.  I can’t imagine working out for 5-6 hours a day.

My biggest problem with the show is how they eliminate participants.  It’s a weight loss show, so why isn’t the person who loses the lowest percentage of weight sent home each week?  Adam didn’t deserve to go home last night.  He worked hard and motivated his team members.  Is the prize money really worth their integrity when they chose to eliminate someone because they are a strong competitor?  Wouldn’t they rather win by competing against strong players?  I guess not.

What are your thoughts on this season? On last night’s elimination? 

And what is with all of the product pitching this year?  Let the commercials do the advertising and stick to the weight loss tips and strategies please.

Friendship and Pride

Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great.– Mark Twain

I know this blog is supposed to be about my journey to a healthy weight, but that journey really got started with the help of my friend Vicki.  My journey would not be as successful without many of my friends including Vicki, Jen, Linda and Dawn, but today I’m especially proud of Vicki.   Vicki is an exceptional woman on many levels, and I wanted share with you her first work for Keppler Speakers.  It’s a fitting piece about Chef Jeff and how he overcame adversity by developing a healthy relationship with food.  Enjoy and hooray Vicki


My fun ship awaits

I promised to tell you about my cruise last week, but before I do that I wanted to let you know that I lost another 2 pounds as of yesterday.  Felt that was important to tell you since this blog is supposed to be about my healthy weight journey. (And I love getting your comments telling me how great I’m doing.  hint hint)

My cruise is fast approaching and I get that much more excited with each passing day.  I love hearing people’s stories about how they didn’t think they would like taking a cruise and were pleasantly surprised by how much they actually enjoyed it.  This is my first cruise and I’ve never really had the desire to take one, but I listened to Vicki’s stories about how she loved them and wanted to give it a try.  I booked the cruise back in February and since then I’ve obtained my passport, travelers cheques, bathing suits, sandles, flip flops, luggage, you name it…I’m prepared!  The most challenging task has been deciding on our shore excursions.  There are so many to choose from and then do you buy them through the cruise line or on your own.  I was quickly getting stressed over this.

Our cruise is a 7 day exotic Caribbean cruise.  Our itinerary is Tampa, day at sea, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Isla Roatan, Belize, day at sea, Tampa.  Honestly, I’m most excited about Belize, but I’m looking forward to all the islands.  After much consideration and expense, we have decided on the following excursions:

Grand Cayman – Guided island tour by van with stops at 7 mile beach, West Bay, Turtle Farm, Tortuga and George Town.  (Rum cake…yum)

Cozumel – Mini Jeep (ATV) outing through the jungle over to the east side of the island to snorkel

Isla Roatan – Beach day and shopping

Belize – Under ground cave tubbing and walk through the jungle

The cave tubbing was my must do and the ATV deal was Aaron’s.   We tried to mindful of each other’s interest and split the adventure excursions with a couple of relaxing excursions too.  I think we made some great choices.  I need to research underwater camera’s next. 

Have you cruised before?  Any tips or advice for the first time cruisers?

What’s Up?

Not my weight!  I am happy to report that after one week on Jenny Craig I lost 4 pounds and I’m back at the gym.  Last week was definitely a week of change for me.  New eating plan, new gym and a new phone.  I was a busy girl.

I joined Jenny Craig about 15 years ago and lost a significant amount of weight while on the program, but then I moved and started a new job and started stress eating again.  I guess I was so focused on the ease of the prepackaged meals and not so much on how to monitor my own portions that I put all the weight AND MORE back on.  I really liked the food though, for the most part.  When my mom asked about Jenny Craig a couple of weeks ago I thought about it and figured why not.  I lost 40 pounds on my own, so I know I can control what I eat and how much of it.  This time I plan on using Jenny to get me through this plateau and then get back to preparing my own meals.  The thing I like least about Jenny Craig is the lack of vegetarian options.  Most of the breakfast meals are vegetarian, but they only have 4 lunches and 7 dinners, so I’ll be eating the same meals A LOT.  I don’t think I’ll be liking it too much after a month.  My lunch choices are mainly pizzas and my dinner choices are all pasta.  I think Jenny needs to get on board with the vegetarian lifestyle and create some meals focused on veggies and whole grains.

I’ve worked out at L.A. Fitness three times now.  I LOVE IT!  I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on this for the past year.  Who knew they had machines with fans on them.  Oh I still work up a sweat, but at least the air around me is circulating.  I had a free session with a personal trainer on Saturday and signed up for 2 sessions a week.  I start those on Tuesday of next week.  I expect to be pretty sore the first few weeks, but who cares right.  The downside is that it’s a new gym in a new strip mall so it’s packed most of the time.  Last night I couldn’t get a treadmill so I had to wait in line for an elliptical.  I only waited 5 minutes, but the fact that you can use the machines as long as you want means I could have been waiting a lot longer. 

Last week my iPhone fell from the end table onto the floor.  The right corner of the screen splintered even though I had a cover on it.  UGH!  I was due for an upgrade, but wasn’t sold on spending $200 on the iPhone 4, so I switch to the HTC Tilt 2.  It is nowhere near as easy to use as the iPhone, but it is supposed to have most of the same features once I can figure it out.  The best part is that it has a slide out keyboard for texting, which is primarily what I use it for anyway. I still need to figure out how to load twitter and google reader, but all in good time.

So that’s been my week.  I feel energized and focused on my goals again.  I want to make good progress before our cruise so I can keep up the momentum.  Speaking of cruise wait til you hear all of the great shore exclusions I have planned……

Awesome by August and such…

I had my first weigh in today for the Awesome by August challenge.  I lost, but just a measly 1/2 pound.  Hey it’s a step in the right direction.  I’m anxious to see everyone else’s results and hope that it will be the kick in the rear that I need.  It’s just so amazing to me that there is this great big support community out there.  Some of them I may meet at blogging conventions and others I may never have the opportunity to see in person, but it helps to know that I’m not alone on this journey. 

I had a minor set back in the exercise and diet department this week.  Some day I will write a complete post on my struggle with PCOS, but not today.  Several years back I started getting facial acne cysts and the first two actually landed me in the hospital for 4 days each time on IV antibiotics.  That’s when they really focused on my PCOS and treating it.  I still developed the occasional cyst over the next few months, but once the meds really got those old hormones under control they basically stopped.  I was so happy to be rid of these ugly sores.  The dermatologist did say that I needed to be very diligent in washing my face and especially cleaning any sweat off my face as soon as possible. 

Why am I telling you this now.  You guessed it…THEY’RE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday morning I noticed a hard bump on my chin. I know better than to poke and push at them now but I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty by the end of the day.  Within 8 hours the tiny bump had morphed into a lump the size of a marble and hurt worse than I remembered.  I called the doctor and he immediately started me on Bactrim.  Well it’s 36 hours later and the bump is now the size of a pea so we are heading in the right direction.    I hope this is not the start of another round with these buggers.

Now I am afraid to sweat, which means I’m terrified of going to the gym.  This is not good.  I need the gym.  I need to exercise.  I guess I will just wait until the cyst has vanished and start working out again.  I’m just going to have to make sure I get the sweat off my face as quickly as possible after the workout. 

I’ve been pretty depressed about all this since it started on Wednesday and my healthy eating has been nonexistent.  It’s the exact opposite of what I should be doing.  I should be filling up with healthy foods loaded with vitamins, minerals and all that good stuff, but instead I wallow in my self-pity and eat Nutty Bars and Vienna Fingers. 

I thought this self loathing related eating was behind me.  I guess I wasn’t prepared for the embarrassment of walking around work with a zit the size of Australia on my chin.  I need to “woman” up and get over it.  There are far worse things that could be happening to my body.

I’m off to my sister’s for the weekend with my mom.  There will be more to follow on Monday.  Enjoy your weekend.

Having Fun In The Sun

Summer is not my favorite season, but it does have it’s good points, such as:

  • No school buses on the road during the morning rush hour
  • Most employers allow for summer hours
  • Annual summer vacation
  • Numerous picnics and outdoor celebrations
  • Plenty of local fruits and veggies are readily available
  • Gardening

Summer is one of those seasons that you want to cram so much into that it flies by way too fast and before you know it we are dealing with snow and last minute Christmas shopping.    I don’t know about you, but I’m always feeling a little blue when summer ends because I don’t feel like I accomplished very much.  I’m going to try and make that different this year.  I have created  my “summer bucket list”!  I don’t like the idea of a bucket list in the sense that you are making a list of things to do before you die, so this bucket consists of  the things I want to will do before the summer is over.

  • Visit Falling Water with my mom
  • White water raft down the river and picnicing with Aaron at Ohiopyle
  • Take in an outdoor movie at one of Pittsburgh’s City Parks
  • Walk the trails and spend an afternoon on the beach at Moraine State Park
  • Read an entire book while sitting in my backyard.  Not all in one sitting.  I need to go outside more.
  • Reach my goal weight (27 more pounds to go)
  • Start & finish our front patio project

I know that last one is an ambitious project, but I think if we work on it in small projects we can get it done.

What are your plans for the summer?  What can you finally commit to doing this year that you’ve wanted to do forever?

Sowing a new seed?

I would be the first to tell anyone that would listen to me that I’m the worst gardener there is.  My gardening experiences have been nothing like Rabbit’s.  I hate weeding and getting dirt under my fingernails and the bugs.  I’m getting the heeby jeebies just thinking about it.  Something has made me want to try this gardening thing again.  Actually, many things have made me start thinking about this again.  I guess if I’m going vegan I should do my part and plant a garden.  Nothing fancy at first, just some herbs and maybe a salad garden.  A couple of years ago we planted tomatoes, peppers and herbs and they took over the gardens.  I’m sure if I had paid attention and trimmed and weeded on a regular basis I would not have gotten so overwhelmed in the end.    Let’s face it folks, two years ago I was lazy and ready to pull out one of the 25 take-out menus before I would pull out a pot to cook dinner.  So much has changed.

I’ve been sick the past couple of days and had a lot of time at home to think about this.  I’ve done my research and I’m ready to prep my gardens.  We have 3 small gardens along the garage wall that would be perfect for some lettuce and small tomatoes.  I have one garden that continues to grow mint and oregano every year.  I guess I’ll get that one prepped for some additional herbage as well.  Yesterday I spent some time researching how to start a garden and this weekend I will be weeding out the beds and adding some organic compost.  Did you know that you are supposed to let the bed “rest” for 3 weeks and watch it to see what, if any, weeds pop up.  The key is to get the weeds out as you see them so hopefully within 3 weeks you will have removed all the weeds.  Wish me luck.

So anyone have any suggestions on lettuce varieties that are somewhat easy to grow?  What are your favorite herbs to grow?  Any and all suggestions are welcome.

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