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?

Follow Up Friday – 2/25/2011

TGIF!  I weighed in on Monday after 2 weeks on Weight Watchers and dropped 2.4 lbs.  Good for me.  I am hopeful I’ll have another loss this week of at least 1 pound.  I’m remembering to log my food and count points 75% of the time.  I need to work on that. 

I’ve finished two full weeks of the Couch to 5k program and after my run today I will have completed the third week.  I love the way this program is set up.  It breaks the run into walking and running sessions of different time intervals.  I’m up to running 3 minutes at a time, which might not seem like a lot, but considering I haven’t really run in a year…it’s a lot.  The first week was 60 seconds running, 90 seconds walking for a total of 30 minutes.  The second week was 90 seconds running, 2 minutes walking for a total of 30 minutes.  This week it’s 90 seconds running/90 seconds walking followed by 3 minutes running/3 minutes walking for a total of 28 minutes.  Next week will be challenging.  The routine is 3 minute run, 90 second walk, 5 minute run, 2.5 minute walk, 3 minute run, 90 second walk, 5 minute run for a total of 32 minutes.  It’s going to be a struggle the first day, but I haven’t quit yet!  I’ll be crossing that finish line on April 9th no worries!  In addition to my 3 days of running, I’ve been strength training with Leigh twice a week and getting in an elliptical workout on Saturdays.

I finally got to participate in our long distance book group this week too.  A group of us are reading Bring on the Joy by Jen Yost, MS ED.  It’s a great book.  We read a section before each call and then discuss how the exercises are helping us find our joy.  It’s so inspiring to hear how the group is experiencing the book.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the author will call in for one of our sessions.  I am so thankful that my friend Jen sent me this book.

I hope everyone has been well and more than anything I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Troublesome Tuesday Tips – Weekends

Weekends have always been a weak spot for me and eating healthy. It never matters how diligent I am Monday to Friday, the weekends just set me back. I had a really great weight loss of -3 pounds from Monday – Friday of last week and by the next Monday I was back at my starting weight from the week before. I can not tell you how tired I am of losing the same stupid 3-5 pounds each week. There has to be a better way.

I told you I joined Weight Watchers last week so I’ve decided to take 5 minutes each day to read one of their online articles. Last night I did a search on weekends and stumbled on an article with tips and tricks to a successful weekend. Here is what I discovered I am doing wrong:

– I don’t exercise first thing in the morning on the weekends. I have every intention of getting to the gym, but the day gets started and before I know it I am out of time.

– I don’t plan ahead. I’m a very spontaneous person on the weekends so I usually end up eating on the run and making poor choices because I’m hungry.

– I enjoy a few too many adult beverages

Here are my strategies for next weekend and every weekend after that:

– Get to the gym before 10am on Saturday. Sunday will continue to be my rest day. Perhaps if I get to the gym before I start my day I won’t be as tempted to ruin my progress by making bad food choices.

– Keep a bag of healthy snack food in my purse at all times. Whole grain crackers, a protein bar, a banana or freeze-dried fruit.

– I just need to limit my drinks and realize they are a significant amount of points. My plan here is to start with a glass of water if I have to go to happy hour. If I start with water and take my time I may end up getting out of happy hour without actually having a drink. I will also avoid the mixed drinks with fruit juice which are loaded with sugars.

What are your tips and tricks for staying on track over the weekend?

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.

Let’s talk Vitamins & Supplements

I will be the first to admit that I resisted the benefits of vitamins for a very long time.  Let’s face it, I was 65 pounds overweight and obviously not too concerned about my health.  The decision to lose weight was a personal one and a very well planned one at that.  I knew that I needed to make lifestyle changes and not just drop the pounds by starving myself.  I was getting sick on  a regular basis when I was at my heaviest and I was eating all the wrong foods.  I knew that a change in my diet was going to be a shock to my system and my immune system was already weak so I talked to my doctor and did a lot of reading on vitamins.  In the beginning I was taking a multi-vitamin, Fish Oil, CoQ10, Fiber and Echinacea and I was buying whatever was on sale without much research on the product.   I was making better food choices, exercising and losing weight.  I was feeling great.

When I made the move to a vegetarian diet six months ago everyone was worried that I was going to be missing vital nutrients like protein, calcium, B12 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids.   I’ll admit that I did get a very bad cold during the first month of my vegetarian diet, but I expected my body to react that way.  I was shocking my system again and it was ridding itself of all the animal toxins.  After two months I really started to see the difference in how I felt and looked.  My skin was clearer, my hair was stronger and I wasn’t suffering from those nagging digestive issues.  I want to be truthful and tell you that the first 3 months I was very strict about not eating much dairy or eggs, but in the past two months I got lazy and have eaten more dairy.  The results are clear that I need to continue to limit dairy and egg products.  In the two months I’ve been adding more of these products to my diet I’ve had numerous stomach issues and had gained two pounds.  YUCK!

So how does this tie in to vitamins and supplements?  I know…get to the point Carrie!  A strict vegetarian or vegan diet may cause deficiencies in your intake of protein, calcium, B12, Iron, Zinc, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Iodine and Riboflavin.  It takes careful planning in the variety of foods you eat and how you consume them.  I’m still learning all of the ways in which I should combine greens, beans, fruits,etc.. to maximize my nutrient intake, so I take a vegetarian dietary supplement from GNC.  The Maximum Greens Vitapak provides me with all the important nutrients that I might be deficient in except protein.  I get my protein from soy, legumes and occasionally I use a brown  rice protein powder.

I’m confident that my current vitamin regimen is giving me what I need…are you?  What vitamins do you take and how do you decide which products are right for you.

Natural Cholesterol Management – Kardea

Several weeks ago I received a sample pack of Kardea Nutrition Bars.  The sample pack included Banana Walnut, Chai Spice, Cranberry Almond and Lemon Ginger.  The bars are vegetarian and two of them are even vegan.  I reviewed the ingredient list and nutritional facts and gave them a try.  The Lemon Ginger was my favorite, which is funny because I didn’t like the sound of the combination and saved it for last.  I love the fact that they use brown rice syrup as a sweetener rather than processed sugar.  The texture was very nice and they all tasted good.  I was actually surprised by this.  How many companies hit on all of their flavors?  I love Lara Bars, but some of the flavors are just way too sweet for me.

Three years ago I was diagnosed with high cholesterol and high triglycerides.  My numbers were not so high that I had to go on medication, but given my family history of heart disease I was determined to get back into healthy range.  I started exercising and adding more fiber to my diet.  I very carefully monitored my fat and cholesterol intake.  I lost 45 pounds and had the blood work done again after 18 months.  I am happy to report that my numbers are now in the healthy range and I am no longer considered obese.

I wish I had know about these bars 2 years ago.  It would have been great to incorporate these into my breakfast choices.  Oatmeal gets a bit old every day no matter how many things you add to it.  So what’s the science behind Kardea?  The following is taken from their website www.kardeanutrition.com:

Nutrition can play one of three roles in regards to cholesterol levels:

  1. Positive Nutrition actively reduces LDLs, VLDLs and triglycerides. It also can increase HDLs. Positive nutrients include plant sterols, viscous soluble fibers, good fats such as monounsaturated fats and Omega-3s, and niacin from nicotinic acid.
  2. Negative Nutrition actively raises LDLs and triglycerides, or decreases HDLs. Known negative nutrients are trans fat and saturated fat. A high level of processed carbohydrates also has been shown to negatively affect your HDL cholesterol levels.
  3. Neutral Nutrition neither positively nor negatively affects cholesterol levels.

At Kardea, we focus on developing natural foods and dietary supplements that provide meaningful levels of positive nutrients while minimizing the negative ones. We classify these nutrients in terms of level of scientific support.

Tier One nutrients are defined as those for which there is significant scientific agreement resulting in a broad consensus within the medical community. For cholesterol management, this consensus is embodied in the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) “Treatment Panel III” of the National Institutes of Health.

How do these potential results compare with many of the cholesterol medications now being prescribed? According to the NCEP, “The amount of LDL cholesterol reduction compares well with many cholesterol lowering drugs.”

Participants in the NCEP include the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, American Dietetic Association, National Institutes of Health, Food & Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Click here to view NCEP report “Lowering Your Cholesterol with TLC”).

Tier Two nutrients are based on strong and extensive scientific evidence, but the very broad consensus defined by the NCEP has not yet developed.

*Higher doses of niacin from nicotinic acid can raise HDLs by 35% while significantly lowering LDLs. Consult with your physician if considering these higher levels.

I want to thank Kardea for sending me the sample pack and I plan on ordering some more bars to incorporate into my diet.

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me.  At times I do accept and keep free products, services, travel, event tickets, and other forms of compensation from companies and organizations.   The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog.  I am not compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely mine. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

Taking Inventory

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about why my weight loss efforts have stalled and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been trying to do too many things at once.  I’ve set so many goals for myself that there is no way I can accomplish everything I’ve set out to do.  Basically, I’ve been setting myself up to fail.  Why would I do this?  I deserve success.  I’ve earned it.  So I’m taking inventory of what’s most important to me and focusing on those things first.   Makes sense right?  Not so much.  There are so many things I believe are important that it’s difficult to eliminate some of them.  New direction….figure out what is least important to me.  Numero uno……running.  I’m going to confess something here…I hate training for a race.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy when I’m running on the treadmill at the gym and the awesome workout I get from it, but I do not enjoy the pressure of training for a race.  I haven’t run for 2 weeks and I know it’s because I’m not looking at it as a stress relief anymore.  This 10k looming is making me stress even more.  No more race training.  I will continue to run at my leisure and a pace that works for me.  If I feel like running that 10k in September I’ll run it and if not….so what.  OMG I feel better already.

Number two on my list of what is least important……the scale.  I’ve been obsessing about what those numbers say every time I weigh myself, which is entirely too often.  I feel good in my skin for the first time in a long time.  I can buy clothing in non-plus sizes and I’m getting compliments every day at work.  I still have a weight goal, but I’m not going to worry at this moment if the scale is going down every week.  I’m going to keep on eating right and exercising and eventually my body will get on board and drop these last 20 pounds.

The last thing I’m going to eliminate or reduce are magazine subscriptions.  I’ve got so many magazines that I haven’t touched in months.  It stresses me out just looking at the stack.  I’m going to file them and make a list of which ones I still need to read.  I’ll get to them when I can.  I will be sure to read the futures mags within a week of getting them.  No more excuses.

Am I alone in my anti-goals?  What do you do when you’ve realized that your efforts in self-improvement have backfired?

33 days and counting

Well, if you read this blog occasionally, you know that I am taking my first cruise at the end of August.  You also know that my goal was to be in the normal weight range by this time.  Not going to happen my friends.  I haven’t been to the gym in 2 weeks and I’m making all the wrong food choices.   I don’t know how many times I can tell you that I’m going to start focusing right now, but here I am about to tell you that again. 

I wish I could be harder on myself, but I’ve accomplished quite a bit in the past 12 months.  I’ve lost 40 pounds, up until two weeks ago I was at the gym at least 3 days a week, if not 4 and I’m now a vegetarian.  So what’s my problem?  I wish I could tell you.  I’m just in a slump I guess.  Hopefully that will be changing tonight.

My mom and I set out for Weight Watchers on Saturday, but ended up in the Jenny Craig center instead.  We both have appointments at 6pm tonight for our initial consultation.  I know you are probably thinking “What the heck are you going to Jenny Craig for?”  I know I’ve lost 2/3 of the weight on my own, but I’ve stopped being diligent about portion size again.  I’ve been maintaining my weight for the past 3 months, so I know that I can do that.  I just need that little extra help to shed the last 20-25 pounds.  I’m not ashamed to admit I need more help than I can give myself.  I’m also really excited to be supporting my mom in her efforts and I think together we are going to accomplish great weight loss success.

My face has finally healed and I feel comfortable going to the gym and having a good sweat again.  I am considering switching from my small local gym to L.A. Fitness.  My mom has been looking for a gym with a pool and L.A. Fitness has one.  They also have many more cardio machines than my gym and a lot of other amenities for the same monthly fee I currently pay.  It’s a bit more of a drive than my current gym, but only by maybe 5-10 minutes.  They also have shower facilities which my gym does not have.

Hopefully this week will be one of wellness and progress.  I’m forced to set a new goal for my cruise and that is to lose 10 pounds before we leave.  If I am really good and can lose 15 pounds in the next 33 days I would be at a BMI of 24.4 which would get me out of the overweight category.

I am sorry for the silence this past week, but let’s hope I have some good news to report same time next week.

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