What's with the name?

What's with the name? In my mid-twenties, I had essentially gone through one kind of life and am starting to enter another. The people that are probably going to read this blog know exactly what I'm talking about - but for those who don't know, here's a brief rundown . Cheers to Chapter 2! A journey in health in many ways, and to be the best version of myself I can possibly be. I am also a blogger for GreenMommas.com. This is my blog.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 in Numbers

It's the end of 2012. A year in which I finally met some resolutions I had been trying to in so many other years. My first goal was to lose 60lbs - I did just that, ending the year -63 lbs lighter than I was in March. A goal I set in October was to run a 5k, I checked that off my goal list within the first few days of December. I was inspired to try to put my year in to a list of numbers, like my company did at a recent meeting. This year flew by, so I think it would be neat to list it out this way, so I can see what I did really accomplish this year. 2012 was 'my year' in many ways, both in my personal and professional life.

182 Fitness Classes

137.8 miles tracked on RunKeeper (mostly runs and one bike ride)

63 pounds lost

52 gallons Raw Milk

28 varieties of Veggies/Fruits organically grown

25 Blog Posts

16 Chemical products replaced (household & beauty) with 100% natural ones

5 pant sizes down

2 mountains climbed

1 5k Race

When writing it down like this, it looks like a huge accomplishment - which it was. Honestly, I feel like a different person than I did at the beginning of this year, but more importantly I feel highly-equipped to live a long and chronic-disease free life. This list was compiled by making small changes and decisions, one at a time, with the common goal of being a healthier person and having a healthier family.

I think I'm ready to set some goals for 2013 as I've really found out what I am capable of this year. I want to run at least 5 more races next year. Sounds like a lot, huh? Well, I've already signed myself up for the Maple Streek 5k running series, which is 4 races over 4 weeks in May. Then maybe we'll throw in that Santa 5k at the the end of 2013 as well. For time - May I'm setting a goal of under 30 min. I would really like to get my time down to 26/27 minutes by the end of the year. I'm sure I can do it.

I've also got another 50lbs to lose! I'm more than halfway to my goal in 10 months so this should be a breeze, maybe I'll hit it by the time summer starts. I really want to be in the best shape of my life by the time I hit the big 3-0, but that's still a year and a half away, so completely possible.

Are you ready for a photo montage?

Here's some 'BEFORE' pics from XMas 2011, and then March 2012:

And this one I can't get over : June 2012 vs. December 2012 (so proud of him too!):

And here is the 2012 Before/After shot:

Bring on 2013, I'm ready!

Cheers to a fantastic New Year!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Firsts: Exercising on Thanksgiving and 5k!

November Progress : 
-6lbs / -58 total

Turkey day has come and gone, and while there was some indulgence, I lived through Thanksgiving week and managed to lose a pound. How? I did my research, I guess. I packed my gym bag along with my other necessities for a two day trip south of Boston. While we got in late Wednesday night, we (my lovely sis/fellow road-tripper) were greeted by takeout my dad had picked up for us at the local Italian joint. I chose chicken and broccoli - safe enough, no? Oh, I wasn't aware it was going to come with nearly a pound of penne! I ate all my protein and veggies first, and munched on a few pieces of the Italian pasta goodness, but finished with about 3/4 of the pasta still left in the dish. Win #1. I kid you not, that took some serious self control, I LOVE pasta.

Thursday morning. The night before I used my maps app to figure out that there was a park right across from the hotel. I convinced my sis to come with me for a pre-turkey run. Wide awake at 8:30, we made it to the park by 9, running a few laps in the park (and I should mention my fastest mile ever since I have been tracking them). Win #2 - but this was a significant one. I have NEVER exercised on this holiday. I nearly always travel to Boston, but I have never used the hotel's gym. I made it a point this time to plan ahead and just get it done. This made it easier to eat healthy as we headed over to my aunt's for the giant meal.

I passed on stuffing, crackers, pumpkin bread, wheat sheaths (basically a large pan full of egg-washed bread). On my plate were green beans, a slice of turkey and a small serving of mashed potatoes. Instead of having pre-meal snacks that are more like a meal in themselves, I munched on a few shrimp, holding my hunger adequately until mealtime. This thanksgiving (although taken with a few glasses of white wine) was surely different. No seconds, no breads, no pie. But I didn't need or miss them. My buzzed self had a bite or two of leftover cannoli back at the hotel (ya, did I mention that Italian takeout included cannoli, too?). But all in all, I controlled myself. Sitting across from my ballerina step-sister at dinner, who made similar food choices made it easier, as well.

Of course, the holiday was laced with it's share of compliments like "Jessie, where did you go?" and "you are looking so thin" (I don't know if this was a compliment, healthy would've been a more appropriate adjective), and relatives inquiring about my exercise routine and my upcoming 5k. But, for the first time in a long time, I braved several camera shots of myself and my family. I wasn't afraid of being shocked at what I looked like in the photos; in fact, I actually really liked some of the photos taken.

This week's workout :

Monday : Spin & Sculpt = 440 calories

Tuesday : Bodypump + 5 min run = 480 calories

Wednesday : Short walk (1.5 miles) = 210 calories

Thursday : 3 mile run in Quincy! = 340 calories

Saturday : 3.1 mile run = 480 calories

This Week's Workout :

Monday : 3.1 mile treadmill run = 450 calories

Tuesday : Bodypump = 410 calories

Wednesday : Spin & Sculpt =490 calories

Friday : Cyctone = 520 calories

Sunday = Santa 5k! + 2 mile walk = 720 calories

So, the Santa 5k. There is nothing quite like being all dressed in red, in a sea of red. Over 2000 Santas raced and in short, it was joyfully incredible. I had never run the actual route before but had made sure to do a 5k run about once a week for the month of November. The race stated and I was pretty pumped. I got my stride pretty early, weaving in and out of people and pushing myself to run up the massive hill that was Battery Street (wowsers!). I thought for sure because of that hill I was not going to meet my goal of under 35 min. I stopped to lower my heart rate twice, I think, for not more than 15 seconds after I got up the whole hill section. Racing is a completely different atmosphere than just running by myself. It was easier to pick up the pace, turning corners and seeing everyone cheer you on. The home stretch up Church street was the hardest part, I think. Slightly uphill but really pushing myself to finish strong. When I stopped at the end I was pretty glad I hadn't eaten breakfast because I'm pretty sure my stomach nearly turned upside down. Maybe I pushed myself a little too hard but that's my style, I guess. And my time : officially 33 min, 39 seconds. I am so proud of myself. That's nearly 13 minutes faster then when I first attempted it early this year. What a rush the entire race was, can't wait for another one (although there might not be one as cool as this one). Here's some pics from the event :

I'm in the snowflake pants in the top photo. It's all of the Dealer.com racers (ya, I was a racer!). But I think I finally understand what running a race is all about. A little competitiveness, an adrenaline high and a great reason to get your body moving. I checked a goal off my list before the end of the year, as well. Consider me hooked.

Before I sign of on this post, it's end of month so I guess I should wrap up with stats! November I lost six pounds, down 58 total! Another inch off my waist, and one off my hips. I've learned not to let the scale dictate my progress so much. How I feel has become increasingly more important to me, and I'm liking what I see in the mirror more & more. I'll even pose for pictures now. Changes, indeed, in the best possible ways. I get you all another pic at -60, not so far away now!

Sorry, this was a long one. So much to share :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bruised knees & back pain is a good thing...Seriously

Oh, November. You're dark and cold. I'd like to get up and run in the mornings sometimes, but when I wake up at 6am and it's completely black outside with frost on the ground, it's hard to get motivated. Even though for most of last week I had a cold sticking around - you know, they kind that likes to flare up just enough at night so you can't really get decent sleep - it was a good couple of weeks. The scale is my friend again. I've been steadily dropping weight every few days. I've figured out that I can have about 200 calories worth of something after dinner each night - either a glass of raw milk or a few glasses of wine (I don't drink towards the beginning of the week), but not both. Having both a few days week is what was causing my weight to stand still. So, I pick and choose my indulgences every day so I still feel like I'm not so restricted and am able to keep the weight loss progress.

It's been sort of a weird month. It seems like every time I get mad because the scale isn't budging, I start getting more compliments about how good I look. It's odd how things come in to alignment like that...it seems as if the world keeps giving me more reasons to hang in there and move forward, even when I feel like I'm standing still in this battle.

CrossFit continues to be my greatest love/nemesis. It hurts, [literally] but it's a ton of fun. Thursday's class was a kettle bell back workout and boy did I feel it the day after, no wait - four days after!. My lower back muscles were so sore [in a good way] that I had to mentally prepare myself for standing up, sitting down or bending forward in general. It's four days later, and I still feel like it's a bit of a challenge to stand up straight. But I still hobbled my way in to Friday's CrossFit class, which made me forget about what muscle group was sore in the first place [sit ups!!!]. With it's high competitiveness [against yourself], that class is definitely what I need to keep moving forward and progressing, even with getting a nasty bruise on my knee from burpees. I don't care. Sore feels good. I had someone ask me why would I enjoy such an intense class that leaves me so sore [let's be honest, nearly immobile] the next day. It was an easy answer. You can allow your mind to triumph over your body to make it do what you thought it never could before. So, soreness is not unlike getting reward or praise from you body, it's the actual physical feeling that you accomplished something above and beyond your normal fitness realm.

Workout This Week:

Monday : Spin & Sculpt = 510 calories

Tuesday : 3.1 mile treadmill run = 472 calories

Thursday : Bodypump + 10 mile run = 462 calories

Friday : Cyc[Psycho]Tone = 570 calories

Workout this week :

Monday : 3.1 mile treadmill run = 470 calories

Tuesday : Spin circuit = 520 calories

Wednesday : Spin & Sculpt = 450 calories

Thursday : CrossFit = 520 calories

Friday : CrossFit + 10 min treadmill run = 484 calories

Last two weeks down another 2lbs - about 56 total. Cool thing, took in one of my shirts this week; about an inch and a half off each side - this shirt was snug on me in September when I bought it. Yay for sewing machines and extending the life of something I literally just bought. I figured out if I have a day that I'm feeling kind of big, it's probably because the clothes I'm wearing are a little to big for me. Five minutes on the sewing machine and a glance in a mirror gets me back to the 'hey, I look pretty good' mindset.

I'm pretty exited to be where I am now. I ordered a few dresses for a friend's wedding last week, both 14 dress size. One was pretty huge, the other was snug but fit. But hey, I'm in REGULAR size now, not plus! Let's flash back for a minute. The last dress I ordered was a 22 plus size. The dress I wore when I got married six years ago was a 20 plus size (and it had a corset back which gave me more room). 14 regular size is pretty damn good. Unfortunately I didn't like either of them, so I ordered another. The dress selection around Vermont is not too stellar so I'd rather try the hit & miss approach with online shopping.

I hope everyone has a happy, healthy Turkey day. I look forward to not making it an excuse to misbehave. Mine will most likely be pie-less and stuffing-less. Bring on the turkey, veggies and mashed potatoes, though! I have plans to do a treadmill run Thursday morning so a little bit more of a 'hearty' (not over-indulgent) meal will be fitting. My Boston family hasn't seen me since last Thanksgiving, like almost 60lbs ago. I'm exited for them to see all the hard work I've been doing!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Week 'Who Knows' Recap : I've Never Been a Runner, But...

Trying to figure out what week I'm actually on is getting a little confusing and sometimes depressing (as it's nearing or in to the 40's now). So, I'll just write an update when I feel like I have something to say. Must remember this is a journey, a lifestyle, and not a race to the end. I must look at how far I've come, and keep making steps in the right direction.

Last week, as I promised myself I would do before the end of 2012, I signed up for my first 5k race! On December 2nd my mom and I (as well as many other coworkers and friends) will be running in the Santa 5k - dressed in Santa suits. I'm pretty exited about it, it should be fun. It's definitely motivating me to do some more running - Sunday morning I was up and out the door at 7:45am in 37 degree weather for a run. Got about 3 miles done in 34.5 minutes, I am hoping for my first 5k I can run the 3.1 in under 35 minutes. It's going to take a bit of work and some more practice but I don't see any reason I can't to it. I've been fitting in a little extra treadmill time when I can. For the shorter CrossFit classes, I'll go up and run until I've burned over 500 calories total for the workout. Today (Tuesday) I ran 3.1 miles on the treadmill in 35 minutes 12 seconds! I really pushed myself and gave it my all, setting specific time goals per mile. I'm no doubt the fastest I've ever been.

I've never been a runner, quite honestly I've pretty much always hated it. I think that's because it's always been hard for me. I am learning to love it, though, as it's becoming a great testament to my increasing improvement in health. I've shaved at least 10 minutes of my 'starting' 5k time of 46 minutes in a little over eight months. I progress every month, even if I haven't been consistently running. It makes sense - less mass for my legs to move means I can move my own weight faster. Increasing leg strength means it's easier to propel myself forward at a faster pace. I don't consider it hard now, but a challenge that enables me to set measurable goals. Maybe I will be a runner someday.

Workout this week: 

Monday : Spin & Sculpt = 470 calories

Tuesday : My own 'at home' CrossFit workout = 260 calories

Wednesday : Spin & Sculpt = 515 calories

Thursday : CrossFit + 10 min treadmill run = 537 calories

Friday : CrossFit + 5 min treadill run = 507 calories

Sunday : 3 mile run = 488 calories

Overall it was a good workout week. Cut back my gluten intake again (I had a piece of bread at Noah's birthday dinner on Friday night, but that's OK). Going gluten-free entirely is still proving hard, but I am having less and less over each week. This has been an effective way for me to cut anything out of my diet, and leaves me feeling less deprived of foods. Instead of cutting things out completely (which sets me, personally, up for failure), gradually reducing them until they're nearly eliminated has worked better.

Lost another pound, hooray! -53.5 total. I'm five pounds away from my halfway mark, but still 16 lbs away from my year-end goal. I may make it, I may not. But if I don't, I'll be close. How about this Pinspiration, seems fitting for me right now :

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Month 8 Recap : Waging war on a plateau

October [Month 8] Progress
-4lbs/-52 total
(Updated pics at the bottom of the post)

Hey, over 1000 page views! Thanks guys :)

The first half of this month was frustrating. I watched the scale pretty much do nothing. I was weighing myself nearly everyday (which I probably shouldn't have been doing in the first place) and would watch it go down a few pounds then come up a few pounds so I was pretty much breaking even for the first two weeks of October. This was a battleground, a real fight my body was giving me. It was taunting me perhaps saying 'you need to do something different or we're going to get comfy right here'. I had liked see that neat little graph on MyFitnessPal app go down and to the right nicely for so long, I was not about to watch it flat line. This, my friends, was war...

It was around mid-month when I really decided to start changing my diet and try two words I had sort of been dreading since I started this journey months ago : gluten-free. While I am pretty educated on how to make my diet gluten-free I didn't really think it was all the necessary for me, until now. Nothing was happening so I needed to do something [I am a sucker for ongoing progress!] The third week of October I started to cut out the gluten completely and any calorie extras I could. I gave up my morning [yummy] caramel latte which was pretty sad. I replaced it with black coffee with just a splash of raw [yup, unpasteurized] milk. Doing the math this change alone was cutting 500 calories for me a week, or 2150 a month. By the third day of no gluten while I found I had plenty of filling options, the time frame after dinner until I went to bed it became a struggle to convince myself I wasn't hungry. Not to say I was really hungry, but I didn't get that 'full' feeling. In the first two days I dropped three pounds, which, needless to say, really encouraged me to keep going.

Here's what I ate today, so you can see how delicious life can be without the wheat & barley
Breakfast : 2 hard boiled eggs, a banana, coffee with raw milk
Lunch : Pulled pork confit, potato gnocchi with peas & a nice helping of broccoli
Snack (sort of): 10oz coconut milk (delish!)
Dinner : White fish fillets with herb butter, rice & kale

Sounds like a gourmet lunch, huh? Well it is - from our incredible cafe, all organic and everything labeled with a nice gluten-free magnet which makes it easy for me. But damn, why do they have to have that gluten-free chocolate raspberry cake that looks so tasty?!? [I didn't need the extra calories even though it was wheat-less].

The gluten-free initiative proved hard to stick to last weekend when we took our trip to Boston - had a few bread products at dinner, and on Sunday - but the scale reminded me Monday morning when that three pounds appeared again. Cutting the gluten out again that day it disappeared the next morning - weird. I guess I should stick to gluten-free huh?

Workout last week :

Monday : Spin & Sculpt = 512 calories

Tuesday : Bodypump = 480 calories

Wednesday : Spin & Sculpt = 501 calories

Thursday = 2.5 mile walk [320] + 3 mile run [410] = 730 calories burned

Workout this week:

Monday : Spin & Sculpt [510], 3 mile bike ride [150] = 660 calories

Tuesday : Bodypump = 475 calories

Wednesday : Spin & Sculpt = 527 calories

Thursday : CrossFit = 450 calories

Friday : 5 mile walk around Boston = 620 calories (estimate)

The last two weeks of October, I lost 4lbs, so 4lbs total for the month which is a little hard for me to swallow. I took my measurements again too - another inch gone off my waist and an inch off my hips. I have to remember that I increased my weights in bodypump this month and started CrossFit [I was sore for four days after last week's class]. I know I'm stronger this month than I was last month which means more muscle mass.  It is a constant battle, but one I'm not willing to lose. So I'll keep trying, keep giving it my all and hope for results.

Side note: I'm really starting not to recognize myself in mirrors, I do [finally] notice the physical difference. When we were walking in to the hotel in Boston I recall thinking how all the mirrors looked like 'skinny mirrors'. You know, those mirrors that make you look thinner than you are [you know what I'm talking about Old Navy!]. Then I thought how all the mirrors couldn't possibly be 'skinny mirrors' - I was just thinner than I was used to seeing myself. Cool. And I guess my thoughts are kind of validated; here's a pic showing the start, at 5 months (-40lbs) and 8 months (-52lbs). Sorry I need to stop taking crappy cell pics...

But you see the difference, right? This month I notice my hips are much smaller and my arms are trimmer for sure - must be all that bodypump. Although I may complain that this is slow-going sometimes, there is something to be said for enjoying the progression & the journey. It gives me more time to reflect on why I'm doing this, and remember the hard work, time and effort it took for me to get to each milestone. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Week 32 Recap : Lesson in Discipline

This week, as I mentioned in my last post, I really zeroed in on my diet. I started using my handy calorie counter app again as well because although I have pretty much learned what I can / can't / shouldn't eat logging everything helps. I ate less grains (any starch I did eat was limited it one serving on rice or potato a day, minimal processed stuff) which was a little harder than I thought. Instead of my lunchtime sandwich a few days a week, I did what I said and stuck to protein and veggies.

But here is where I know I can improve - the weekends. Friday & Saturday I was not on par with my eating or drinking. Although we walked a bit Saturday doing the tourist thing in Stowe, I still did a wine tasting and had a few martinis both Friday & Saturday night. Still, I really can't beat myself up about the weekend because I resisted both cider donuts and Ben & Jerry's ice cream (win, win!). I feel I can definitely eliminate some (but not all) of my booze intake and that will help me out. But really other than that, it was a good nutritional week for me. I lost a pound and a half (the ticker is rounding 49.5 up to 50, and I'll take it!).

The last few weeks have been pretty frustrating though. I haven't dropped as much per week as I'm used to. During this journey I knew during this journey I was bound to hit a few walls. So, I could choose to just let the wall block me or find a way to climb over the damn thing even though it might take me time and more energy. Not getting discouraged. Trying new workouts the last two weeks is definitely a step in the right direction.

Workout This Week :

Monday : Spin & Sculpt = 480 calories

Tuesday : Bodypump = 401 calories

Wednesday : Spin & Sculpt = 460 calories

Thursday : 2.5 mile walk = 350 calories

Friday : CrossFit = 550 calories

Monday, October 8, 2012

Week 31 Recap : Something is Happening

People are really starting to notice me changing, and not because I blog about it. Yesterday, an 'acquaintance' (some girl I may have seen a few times walking down the hallway) stopped me and said that I looked great like I had lost a lot of weight. She didn't even know my name, and I didn't know hers, but the change must have been that noticeable. I was also told at some point this week that I have a chin! Another comment on positive changes I am making. I feel like I have gotten so many compliments over the last two weeks, thank you blog readers, friends and coworkers so much for that, you keep me motivated to stay on track.

Now here is the important thing and the point of this post. Right here, right now, is the part where I get comfortable. I feel more accepting of my looks, people are saying I look great, I am comfortable in my own skin. This point - right here, right now - is where, in the past, I have seen myself start to try less, stay at one size for a little while and let the weight slowly creep back on. This is the turning point. A moment in time where I can say 'try harder' or 'you look pretty good you don't need to try so hard anymore'. I have chosen. I refuse to turn back. The only way to go is forward. In fact, I think it's time to set an aggressive goal and be completely honest with with the actual number on the scale, which is something I haven't disclosed on the blog before. Even though I am right in the middle of where I was and where I want to be, my weight (209 now) is something I am no longer embarrassed of. I am proud. I worked so hard to get here. You can do the math if you want, but I started much heavier and I am so close to seeing a '1' at the start of my weight for the first time since high school - 10 years.

Now that we're in the third quarter of the year, I feel it's fitting to set a goal for the end of the year. Something acheivable, yet challenging. We'll set that goal to be to lose another 22 lbs by January 1st, 2013. If I meet it, I will have lost 70lbs total and weigh in around 187. That puts me on target to hit my ultimate goal by the summer of 2013. In fact, let's set another. I'm going to run a 5k race by the end of the year too.

Workout this Week :

Monday : Spin & Sculpt = 500 calories

Tuesday : Bodypump = 340 calories

Wednesday : Spin & Sculpt = 475 calories

Thursday : Cardio Kickboxing = 440 calories

Friday : Trail Hike 3 miles = 330 calories

I'm happy with my consistency this week - 5 really good workouts. Cardio kickboxing was fun and this week I'm signed up for it again along with another new class [new for me] on Friday : CrossFit. Now I have seen and heard a lot about CrossFit and for now I'll peg it as sort of a bootcamp-type class, but I have a pretty good feeling it's going to be much more than that. I'm at the point where I'm not afraid to try anything and everything to get stronger and leaner. I believe in myself. I know I'm strong. I may not be the best in the class, but I will finish it the best I can.

This week I didn't lose anything. Honestly, I expected that after taking a week off (which can cause muscle weight loss) and then a week back on (back in to strength training, added a different workout). My focus this week is to really hone in on what I'm eating and drinking. I haven't been as strict with this the past few months as I should have been, so it's time to review my diet again. I'm going to try to eat as clean as I can with very few grains or refined foods. I started the week off right by making my breakfasts ahead of time for the week (fruit & hard boiled eggs, my favorite!). Instead of getting sandwiches every once in awhile from the Cafe at work, I'll stick to protein and veggies. I really need to limit my drinking and stick to wine if I do drink. The pomegranate martinis Friday night probably did not help my cause much. Time to refocus, re-engergize and get back at it!


Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Recap [Month 7] : Effort = Reward

September [Month 7] Progress

 -6lbs / -48 total

I'm playing catch up - figure I might as well combine my last two weeks and end of month post in one, long post. Here it is.

I've always been raised to believe that you can literally do anything if you put your mind to it. If you try really hard and focus on what you're doing, you'll get what you seek in time. I believe that still to this day and it's something I'm trying to teach my five year old.

So naturally, I wanted to apply this to my fitness routine, starting last week. I know some of you are probably thinking 'aren't you trying hard enough already' to which I reply 'I can always do better'! Pushing boundaries was my game plan this week, in any way I could. My muscles haven't been sore for a long time and my calorie burn for workouts was dropping as my body was getting used to what I was doing. Last Tuesday, I shocked it by upping my weights in nearly all of the bodypump 'tracks'. Let me explain a little bit about bodypump. You use a bar and add weights on to it to do different music tracks. There is a track for each muscle group - legs (squat track), chest, bicep, tricep, abs and a lunge track (more legs!). There are three sizes of circular weights to add on to the bar : small (1kg), medium (2.5kg) and large (5kg). From where I started over six months ago, I have nearly doubled (or more than doubled) my weight on each track. Probably the cooler thing (at least for me) is I am out-lifting most of the boys in the class, and in some cases the instructor! I added on a little more weight, this week and last and it seems to really be helping my calorie burn in all classes. Because it's always in the back of my head if I don't keep upping the anti, I'll never get to where I want to. Here is a quick video of the latest bodypump class [82]:

Now I have probably about twice the weight for most tracks as the instructors in the video do. And that makes me feel powerful! BTW this is not the class here, but I want to know where I can do bodypump with the club lighting they have going on there.

Also, my son was resting on my shoulder this last weekend and said "mommy, your arms are big!". So naturally I asked "what do you mean buddy, like big and squishy". My lovely child replies "no, there is a big hard bump here" [points to my tricep]. I had to feel it myself, and it's in there - a strong and wonderful muscle waiting to be revealed as I keep losing weight.

Workout last week :

Monday : Spin & Sculpt = 483 calories

Tuesday : Bodypump = 501 calories

Wednesday : Spin & Sculpt = 501 calories

Thursday : 2.8 mile walk = 330 calories

Saturday : Short Pinterest strength workout = 200 calories (for 30 min)

Workout this week : 

Tuesday : Bodypump = 525 calories

Wednesday : Spin & Sculpt = 480 calories

This week I tried to give myself an off week. I really tried hard given advice from some of my instructors. When you're training, you're supposed to give yourself a rest week to let your body and muscles recover, ideally you should do this every 8 weeks or so. Considering it's been 30 weeks with no break really for me (actually maybe one in June when we went to the Cape) I figured it was time for another one. I hadn't actually planned for a rest week, the crap weather and crazy week at work allowed me to take the week off. It was hard not working out, and I won't lie I feel like a blob right now. I realize that it's only been three days since I've worked out, but I don't like how I feel right now. Although on the bright side, I feel pretty rested. I got to sleep in Friday, and honestly spent a good portion of Saturday in bed catching up on Netflix, hoping the overcast and rain would clear so I could do something, ANYTHING active. But it didn't, so I didn't. I know I needed this break, but I'm ready to dive in and make a plan for next week. I've signed up for cardio kickboxing on Thurday instead of letting it be my day off. When I lost weight in highschool I absolutely loved kickboxing. Now that it's offered at work, I'm really thrilled to try it again.

It's the end of month 7 and I've lost 6 lbs this month. I think that is pretty good given I took a rest week and I upped my weights in bodypump the last two weeks (muscle weighs more than fat). Taking out the measuring tape, I lost 2.5" off my waist this month [!!!] and another inch off my hips. Man, wish I had been doing measurements all along.

Wow. Down 48lbs total. Which means next month will be the 50lb mark. I'm almost half way there. Here's how that looks. I took this pic two weeks ago because I was too lazy to do another. I'll get a good one at -50.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Week 29 Recap : The Hunt for a Fall Wardrobe

Shopping. For. Clothes. Three words that I have a love/hate relationship right now. As soon as I stepped foot in store this week - cash in pocket and ready to spend some dough - I instantly realized why I had not done this so long. Aside from being entirely time consuming, the amount of options was overwhelming. I mean, how do I dress now? At 28, there is a fine line between dressing my age and looking like and old women (or a too-old women dressed in too-young clothes). The clothes in the teen-geared stores are certainly not appropriate (not to mention I can't quite squeeze in to those anyway) but how do I still look trendy? How do I still set myself apart from everyone else by the way I dress? How do I find my new style? Walking in through the double glass doors, under fluorescent lighting and standing in front of literally hundreds of racks of clothing, I took a deep breath and dived in.

The time it takes for me to find pieces I like enough to spend money on is unreal. In the first store I visited (TJ Maxx) I walked in to the dressing room with 10 pieces. I braced myself as I had literally guessed on the sizing, hoping for the best but admitting to myself that none of these things may actually fit me. And then something happened - they fit. Not many things slimmed my figure or fit me properly, I'll add, but they did fit. After more than an hour in the first store I managed to purchase a top, jeans and a pair of shoes. I realized that this wasn't something that could be done at one stop, in one hour.

So the next day, I tried somewhere else. With even more options (a full on department store) but knowing sort of where I was size-wise, I was a little more encouraged. Time consuming, still. I had to try on everything and go back for different sizes multiple times. By some sort of magic coincidence, I ended up with two sweaters that were a  'Medium' size [I am sure they were cut large or something, I'm not a Medium]. There I bought two sweaters, a blazer, a sparkly tank and a belt. I bought as many non-stretch pieces as I could, because I could.

I still need to find some accessories, shoes and a cute top to go with the blazer but I'm almost there! I'm happy with my purchases and I even bought a dress that fit but was maybe just a hair too small. It was so adorable I couldn't resist. Just another reason to help motivate me to the next 10lb milestone! Oh, and here is one of my outfits. I call this look 'I haz waist!'

Workout this week :

Monday : Spin and Sculpt = 480 calories

Tuesday : Bodypump = 370 calories

Wednesday : Spin & Sculpt = 470 calories

Thursday : Bootcamp = 480 calories

Friday : Short Walk 1.6 miles = 200 calories

Lost another two pounds this week, which is surprising to me. I have been pretty exhausted the last two weeks, and I thought it would show more on the scale. Getting up 1.5 hours earlier means no time for morning workouts, more coffee, less water. It's been a challenge, but just another hurdle I need to overcome. I need to get more rest and get back to two workout days.

I'm glad I made it to bootcamp this week though, it was one of the first workouts I've done in a long time where I thought the rest of my lunch may come up. It was a challenge class, she called it. The name was fitting. There was a seemingly harmless orange cone at the top of the hill. Simple instructions really. A circuit workout - carry two tires up the hill back down, bear crawl (on all fours) up the hill and back down. Lunges with a medicine ball up the hill and back down. A squat jump that propels you forward, up the hill then down. Then a short break with 10 sit ups (your legs going up the hill) and 10 pushups with your legs also up on the hill. Oh, and when you're done all of that you do a nice lap the length of the hill and back. For 40 minutes you tried to complete this circuit as many times as you could. We did it four and a half times, I was barely breathing or moving by the end, drenched in my own sweat. Sounds fun right? The odd part was, I actually thought it was fun, the challenge was fun. Recently I found myself hoping to get back on my bike again, I'm exited for the next ride. How things (and thoughts) have changed for the better. Thirteen more days left in September, hoping to lose four more pounds by then!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week 28 Recap : No reason to turn back

I'm sitting here wearing the smallest-sized jeans I've worn in  5 years [maybe more] and I feel good. Really good. This weekend I went through my entire wardrobe and made a giant pile of [giant] clothes to donate. The criterion for eviction from my closet were a) anything that had an "X" in the size or was larger than a 14 and b) if you have holes, you must go. This effectively eliminated 80% of my wearable, day-to-day wardrobe [I still have an ample exercise/pajama wardrobe!!!]. It was a little sad to see dresses I've worn maybe once or twice leave their hangers, but empowering holding them up to my smaller figure and finding it hard to believe that they fit me snugly 6 months ago. Now I could probably make two dresses out of them. My newly-bare closet boasts a small handful of tops, three sundresses that still sort of fit me and one pair of jeans. The sundresses are going to be unwearable shortly (and today with a starting temp of 51 degrees) so you know what that means - SHOPPING! It's time to indulge a little. Mostly because I have to unless I want to do laundry every night during the cold months. Even though I love clothes, shopping is a little scary to me. Even when I was bigger, I always took pride in looking 'pulled together'. With my new shape, I have no idea what is going to look good on me.. I really don't even know where to start to shop in the realm of normal-sized clothing. I have been a plus-sized girl for a long time, but am not any longer. I'm confident given a few hours in a mall, I can find a few pieces to get me through until I have to buy even smaller clothes.

I also pulled out my 200 dollar LL Bean down jacket, which I love(d). Sigh. It too is huge. Naturally I moved on to my only other winter jacket - my one-size smaller peacoat which I bought maybe four years ago. It was so form-fitting and flattering, four years ago. It fit me like a large, draped rectangle. Ya, time for a new winter jacket as well. This is getting expensive.

Now, with my former wardrobe in a bag, there is no reason to go back to my old ways (or my old size). Good bye, old friends. Your bounty of fabric and strategically-structured design helped me hide my body for a long, long time - but no longer do you have a place in my life.

Workout this week :

Tuesday : Bodypump = 470 calories

Wednesday : Spin & Sculpt = 490 calories

Thursday : 2.6 mile walk = 320 calories

Friday : 10.25 mile bike ride = 550 calories

I wish I would've done more this week for workout. Monday was Labor Day so no spin class. I have been getting up at 5:30 to get ready and get Landon on the bus for 7:30, picking him up off the bus at 4 every day and we're both exhausted by that time. Last week was not normal for me; I had Landon the whole week because his dad injured his ankle. No bootcamp, no two workout days. It made me sad in one way, but happy I got to spend some time with my son. This week will be different. I'll chalk last week up to trying to get in to a new routine with the school year here.

I lost a pound this week, still progress so I can't be disappointed.

Monday, September 3, 2012

August / 6 month recap

August Progress : 

-6.5lbs / -42.5lbs total

Still rolling right through. This month was pretty good, I'm happy with the 6.5lbs. In fact, this month I tried three completely different things that I incorporated in to my routine. Again, I think the variety in my exercise is really helping my momentum remain strong, month after month

I started bootcamp classes on Wednesday nights [most of the time after I had already done a lunchtime spin class]. The classes are set up outside in a circuit format - pretty much anything you could do with a tire (pulling, flipping, push-ups on one), lifting sledge hammers, running, bear crawls up a hill. It's definitely a nice change from being in a studio or a gym. And it's a crazy calorie burner - I burn an average of 550 calories burned per hour class. I finally got around to borrowing a bike from my mom, since I have been enjoying spinning so much. Last week I picked up a helmet and we rode down to the garden and back this weekend. Round trip it was about 6 miles but it felt pretty good to be on a real bike. I definitely have to learn my hand signals, I almost got hit a few times by drivers not paying attention when I was crossing the road. Now I know what those 'share the road' stickers are all about. At least I have a helmet to protect me, I wouldn't dream of riding without one given the technology distractions driver's have these days [did I sound old there or what?]. Whatever, still stylin' with the helmet :


I also started regularly hiking - 'tis the season in beautiful VT after all. This month, I did a short loop around Indian Brook twice, a few hours on the Catamount trail and Mt Philo. Some sort of trail every weekend. I was so proud of Landon he did Mt Philo with us - on the hiking trail, not the paved path. Here's a shot from the Catamount trail : 

The great part is that these activities are all highly-enjoyable. I have noticed the improvement in my stamina on hikes. Last year we did the hiking trail on Mt Philo and I had to stop at multiple points to catch my breath. This year it was pretty easy, and I wasn't out of breath. 

So, you're probably wondering how 'Ab Challenge August' went. Well, I'll be the first to admit that I did not do the routine from Pinterest as much as I wanted, maybe a total of 10 times this month. I found that it wasn't practical to do it 3 times a week with everything else I was doing. Plus there a good ab routine in both the bodypump and boot camp clases. I was definitely getting a decent ab workout every week, though, rest assured. Measuring myself today I lost 1" around my waist and 1.5" around my hips this month. Hey, that's not too bad. I probably should've been doing measurements since the start in March, it's another indicator of progress I would've liked to see. I think I'll keep doing it. 

I did want to point out this month was crazy. With Landon's birthday, both of my siblings' birthdays and getting ready Landon ready for kindergarten, there was little downtime for me. But again, I made the time. It's part of my lifestyle now. In six months, I've lost nearly 43 lbs. I'm 36% of the way to my ultimate weight loss goal. I'm realizing that realistically, it may take me more than a year to get to the goal, but I'm ok with that. After all, the last six months have been awesome to say the least. I'm continuing to enjoy every moment of this journey, feeling better and stronger each week, which makes it easy to keep going...so that's what I'll do.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Week 26 Recap : Overcoming a funk

I've been in a bit of a funk this week. I've been this way before. I over-criticize myself and even though I know I've come a long way and have worked hard, sometimes I can't get over my own self image. Tuesday I tried on four different outfit combinations and couldn't figure out anything [in my mind] that I actually looked good in. This week I had a really hard time getting past the 'fat' that was still left and seeing the actual progress I've made. At multiple times I looked at my profile image and thought that I still looked really big, which I know I don't, but my mind tells me I do. This had a pretty good effect on my workouts this week - as a motivator to try harder - but I KNOW it's not good to think of myself in such a negative way.

I decided it was time for some 'me' time - and not the crazy workout kind. The fact is, at this point I am swimming in a lot of my clothes and still wearing the same clothes as I was 41 pounds ago is not helping my self image. I think this is what is making me see the same person I was almost six months ago. The clothes I am wearing are big and old - most of them over three years. I figure I had done so much work on the physical me, and spiritual me, why not go superficial with it? After all, with all this work I've done so far I deserve a treat, no? Now, here is another reminder that I should get at, and stay at a healthy weight. It is expensive to lose a lot of weight [also to gain a lot of weight]. Now I need to buy clothes, but not too many because I am hoping I'll be swimming in the new clothes I purchase a few months down the road. Buying a new wardrobe every few months is not in my budget by any means. So I decided to spend $5 in clothes for every pound I lose. As soon as the weather gets a little cooler, I'll invest in my outer image a little bit more.

Workout this week :

Monday : Spin & Sculpt [450 cal]/20 min treadmill run [177 cal] = 627 calories

Tuesday : Bodypump = 400 calories

Wednesday : Spin & Sculpt [430 calories]/Bootcamp [575 cal] = 1005 calories

Thursday : Walk 2.6 miles = 320 calories

Sunday : Mt Philo Hike = 488 calories

I did a little less activity than I would've liked to this week. Friday was a bit of a bust - I should've run before work in the morning and I ended up missing the Cyctone class because of a haircut appointment. Although, the haircut was surely needed, and helped with a slight boost in my self confidence.

I lost a pound last week, I am still averaging 1.5lbs/week which is really good. Actually, I'm quite surprised it's kept us this long but I think it's because I keep a large variety of different workouts in my weekly routine so my body doesn't get used to one thing. This week is going to be a bit of a challenge trying to fit my workouts in. I'll be running around trying to get my little one ready for kindergarten! I keep finding reasons to keep going strong - this week an invite to my 10 year high school reunion came around. It's not until next summer, which means not only could I be at my goal weight, I could be in the best shape of my life, better than I was in high school!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Week 25 Recap : The New Normal

This week, I was presented with the opportunity (on more than one occasion) not to work out. When I think about that sentence, not working out is really not an opportunity, I guess. Let me explain. As most know, I am very lucky to have all the fitness resources I could dream of, for free. I am so thankful that I can get up from my desk and have a great workout during lunch, choosing from a variety of fitness classes provided by my employer. Therefore, I have gotten myself in to a schedule over the last five months to get up at lunch, and complete a class that I really enjoy. Coming in to work Tuesday morning, my strength training class was canceled for a company meeting. Then Friday, a meeting was called at the same time as my cyctone class. I had an option here - just scratch my workout for these days or find a plan B. Although I don't enjoy it as much, I did have the option of running after work, which is exactly what I did. I ran a 5k on the treadmill both days. On Friday I gave myself an added challenge of shaving a minute off the previous 5k time of 39.5 minutes that I had done at the end of June. I didn't do it - instead of 1 min, I shaved 2 min off my previous time and got to the 3.1 mile mark at 37.5 minutes. I am proud and although for some that would be a considerably slow time, I'm still improving and am much faster than I used to be. It felt really good.

Finally got around to the down 40lbs pics. I even did a side view this time, and not a crappy cell phone pic since I finally figured out how to do continuous photos with my Nikon digital on a 30 second timer. Click...30 seconds...pose...30 seconds...pose. Here they are:

The most noticeable difference for me is in my face. I guess the smaller waist is there too, although I am not seeing a ton of difference in the side view, which is a little frustrating. I did actually get a compliment the other day on my 'slimmer profile', though, so maybe I have the proportions off a little. Sigh. Pics are always a great reminder not only of how far I've come, but how far I have to go. 

After nearly six months at this, I believe I have finally settled in to a new normal way of doing things. My lifestyle has been adjusted significantly, but I still live a little. I really LOVE to LIVE. Friday we went out for some drinks and a bite to eat. I am privileged to live in [what I consider to be] a mecca of local and delicious food - VT! Just in Burlington there are so many options for delicious food that is sourced locally. If you are limiting yourself to those mediocre chain restaurants and you're living in the green mountain state, branch out! We have excellent food here for reasonable prices. We ventured out to try a new place - Pizzeria Verita, the former spot of 156 Bistro. Now, I've had my bad experiences with 156 so I was pretty exited to see it go in lieu of some fresh perspective on flatbread. I was thinking probably what a lot of you are : does BTV really need another pizza place? Eat here once, and your answer will indisputably be yes. This is a pizza of a whole different kind, folks. Starting with a small plate of foccacia, warm goat cheese and cured meats that rival some of the best I've ever had (in Italy), we ordered the Mais pizza to split (portion is meant for one person). The Mais pizza was, for lack of a better word, incredible. A cooked-to-perfection white pizza with delightfully salty prosciutto, sweet corn and basil. This is no American Flatbread. The crust had a earthy wooded taste, more like a grilled pizza, not too crunchy, but nicely chewy - puffed perfection. Delicioso!

Foodie spiel aside, I want to be clear that this is a manageable lifestyle I am trying to implement. I enjoy incredible food, wine and cocktails as I see fit - and then go for a nice elevation hike the next day :). It's all about balance and not overdoing it. I still want to enjoy everything life has to offer and not limit myself so much that I am bitter when I see someone take a bite of cake or pizza.

Now, as you may have noticed above, I hit the 40lb mark this week - and passed it. August totals : -5lbs / -41 total, which means another two pounds lost this week. I expected the 2lbs given the amount of work I put in.

Workout this week:

Monday : Spin & Sculpt (520 cal)/Treadmill run 2 miles (248 cal) = 768 calories burned

Tuesday : Treadmill 5k = 480 calories burned

Wednesday : Spin & sculpt (500 cal)/Bootcamp!(526 cal) = 1026 calories burned

Thursday : 2.6 mile walk = 300 calories burned

Friday : treadmill 5k = 490 calories

Saturday : Catamount trail hike 2 hrs 40 min : 1032 calories [new record!!!]

Now, if we do some quick math here - I actually burned 4144 calories this week just with my workouts. That's 1.2ish pounds, which is pretty amazing. I put some seriously hard work in this week with two double workout days plus a long hike on Saturday.

I really took a moment today to thank myself for all the hard work I've done in the last 5.5 months. In my brain it sounds something like this : "hey me, I know you started this journey at the beginning of a long road that seemingly had no end. But thanks for taking the time. I feel awesome, thanks to you." Although I may be only a little over 1/3 of the way through toward my ultimate goal, 41lbs is a lot of weight lost. I'm thankful for every rep, walk, run and drop of sweat that it took to get me here.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Week 24 Recap : Three Golden Rules

I had a bit of blogger's block this week thinking about what I should write about for this recap. Usually I can just start typing on the page and it comes to me. Well, not this week. I thought about blogging about a recipe or new workout but I wanted to dig a little bit deeper. Then today, someone asked me how I keep my motivation and the idea came to me. I [hope] I'm about to write a really insightful post here about how to get and stay inspired. Without further ado, I present to you my three golden rules about how to get started and stay on a 'health' plan.

1. Identify your weakness

I'm not talking about chocolate cake, macaroni and cheese or the fact that you don't have a gym membership. Those things can all be overcome as long as you are in the right mindset. What I'm alluding to here is what in your mind in getting in the way of starting, or continuing a fitness/weight loss plan. Do you not think you're worth it? Do you think it's going to be too hard? Do you keep making excuses? I'm not trying to sound like a self help book here, but I've identified that being successful at this is mostly about your mindset (I would say 90% mindset, 10% nutrition and hard work). No, really. If you are not in that frame of mind to push farther, eat healthy and give the whole thing 110% you might as well throw in the proverbial towel from the start. My discovery about myself was that I was not holding myself accountable for my [lack of] actions - I made constant excuses to myself about why rarely working out and eating empty calories was ok.

2. Plan and implement real world solutions to overcome your weakness

This is also very key. I can't tell you how to do this except to tell you what I have done. Having a lack of accountability to myself, I had to find a solution so that I would be accountable. Enter real world solution : A weight loss contest. This works for many people for one reason or another. But for me, I know I perform my best in a competition environment [that's the Leo in me], where someone is watching my every move. Having 80 other contestants and someone weigh me in every month for four months forced me to be accountable. It also stopped me from making excuses because if I did, I would have to answer to someone else at the first of the month. Making this four month commitment helped me learn to be accountable for my own actions when it came to getting healthy. Which leads me to step 3.

3. Find allies

I was again faced with the challenge of how I was going to continue to hold myself accountable and keep up the great results after the weight loss competition was over. So I started blogging, and posting my blogs - everywhere. I shared the blogs on a variety of social media sites (FB, Pinterest) so pretty much anyone that knew me or was 'friends' with me is well aware of what I am doing. Blog reader, you are my ally in this journey. I found out quickly that if I let the world know what I was doing and where I was trying to go people would ask me about it - it became expected of me to keep up the results. It also helps if you have family and friends that are entirely on board with your plan - I am very lucky in this way. My mom goes to nearly all fitness classes I attend and I have a person in my life that cooks and plans healthy meals, goes hiking and is going to do boot camp classes with me. Also, the person that was weighing me in once a month for the weight loss competition happens to be the instructor for nearly all my fitness classes. I planned it this way. She expects to see me there, and will ask why I wasn't there if I didn't show up (that hasn't happened yet). I have a lot of allies in this health journey, and I feel looking better and pushing myself farther is, in large part, because of these people. It is also what keeps me motivated and in the appropriate mindset for success.

So there it is. I believe once you think you can do it, you will. Once your brain is in 'go' mode, overcoming other obstacles becomes significantly easier. 

Workout this week : 

Monday : Spin & Sculpt [501 cal]/30 min treadmill run & hike [320 cal] = 821 calories!

Tuesday : Bodypump = 360 calories

Wednesday : Spin & Sculpt = 450 calories

Thursday : 2.5 mile walk = 300 calories

Friday : Crazy shopping day!

This week was pretty crazy but I still got 5 legit workouts in [I'm not counting the shopping day]. I still have to try and make time for my ab routine, I only did it twice this week, but I completed the whole thing. This week was Landon's birthday and I still behaved ok in the face of massive amounts of sugar! I did have a piece of cake and some relatively low-cal ice cream, which I didn't even have for my own birthday but I didn't think I overdid it this weekend. I really would've like to get to a spin class Friday but it was a super crazy day, driving around and shopping the whole day. Lost another pound this week which is fine, still progress. Two would've been better but I'm going to go full throttle this week and get it done! Next week I WILL hit the 40lb mark!

Another cool thing - I have been stashing away two pairs of the smallest jeans I own. Mostly because I bought them, they were always too small but I couldn't bear to get rid of them. These jeans are new, but three years old. Well, this weekend I finally pulled them out. Now, for a person who had sworn off any sort of sized pants for the last two years this moment was certainly intimidating. I realize I have been walking around in stretchy leggings and dresses through the cold months, and forgiving sundresses in the warm ones. But it has been a long time since I've worn jeans. I was literally crossing my fingers as I slid the first pair on - and it buttoned and zipped with no muffin-top action! I remember about six months ago I tried them on just for the heck of it and was so upset when I could not even get them up over my lower hips. They would get to the top of my legs and that was it. An even cooler surprise, I managed to catch a glimpse of the size tag taking them off - I swore they were a 16, but no, they were a 14!!!!. Another 10lbs and I will really be exited to be shopping for fall clothes! Considering the last sized thing I bought was a 22 (dress, not pants), this was a pretty incredible moment for me. I love that there are going to be more moments like this one, when I can physically see the size difference, in the near future. Oh ya, and the other pair was too big, it was a 16....

It's Monday and I'm going to give it all I have this week. I feel rested and ready to take it on, really push myself. As soon as I hit that 40lb mark another pic to come!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Week 23 Recap - New Look!

As you may have noticed, the blog has a new look, and a fancy weight loss ticker [thanks again, MyFitnessPal!]. A little more simple, less disco multi-color. I tried to make it look nature-y but I could't stand the cheese of leaves/bamboo/mountains as the blog backdrop. So I chose a backdrop the reflects my current state of mind (not just today, recently) - sparkles! lights! sweat drops! I really don't know what they are but as I continue to lose weight and become healthier I feel like I've taken on some sort of sparkle. It is probably because of my increasing confidence and feeling better about the way I look in the mirror.

I'm sitting here eating a slice of chicken alfredo pizza and wow, can't tell you how delicious pizza tastes! It's been awhile since a baked piece of triangular, bread goodness covered in cheese has graced my mouth. Wait, what! I'm eating pizza??? Why yes, I am. Oh, you thought people only lose weight by eating salad? Mark my words, this slice o' heaven is probably more nutritious. The crust is wheat and gluten-free, whole milk cheese, creamy tomato sauce, grilled chicken, lots of spinach and fresh chunks of tomatoes. AND I have a side of kale on my plate as well. Ya, it's pizza, but pretty good for you, no? I'm having one slice as well. I remember not too long ago where I could get down three or four slices of that pizza-in-a-box and not think twice about it. It's all about moderation, and a sum of small, good choices that will help you get to where you want to go. In this case, I choose to have pizza in it's finest form. Fresh ingredients, no gluten and a good amount of protein and veggies on it. Oh, and it's GOOD.

While we're here let's talk about take-out. Chinese food or take-out pizza used to be a weekly staple for me - I'd indulge once a week in either of the two. But then I listened. Pizza talks. I listened to what my body was telling me. For example, have you ever eaten fried rice, general tsos chicken, egg rolls and crab rangoon and then thought; wow, I feel great right now - I have much more energy? My guess is no. While it may be tasty, if you listen to what you're body is telling you, you will probably figure out quickly what kinds of foods are good for you - what kind of food your body needs. Do I miss the taste of take-out? Yes. Do I miss the way I feel after I eat it? No. So anytime I feel like it, I think about this: the taste is momentary but the post-indulgence feeling last a while, perhaps a day for me. In all consideration, it's just not worth it.

This was my first full week with the heart rate monitor and I'm definitely loving it.

Workout this week:
Sunday : 3 mile hike at Indian Brook Res. = 350 calories burned

Monday : Energy Spin [440 cal]/20 min treadmill run and hike [255 cal] = 695 calories burned

Tuesday : Bodypump = 440 calories burned

Wednesday : Ab Challenge workout/Spin & Sculpt = 490 calories burned !RECORD!

Thursday : 3 mile walk = 320 calories burned

Friday : Zumba = 325 calories burned

Saturday : Trail hike = 290 calories burned

Wow, that is 8 workouts. I'm impressed with myself. I only did the Ab Challenge workout twice this week, but August started Wednesday, so I think that's excusable. I was pretty sore the next day even though I didn't complete the entire thing either time, it's tough!

Also : -2lbs last week, BAM! Which means, down 38lbs and just a week, maybe 2 away from the big 4-0! I'll have to have someone take a real comparison pic when I hit that mark - taking pics of yourself with a cell phone in front of a full-length mirror doesn't work all that well!

Resting today, I am pretty beat from this week, hoping for another great week!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Welcome to Ab Challenge August [has it really been 5 months already?]

July Progress: -8 lbs / -36 lbs total

8 spin classes
5 Bodypump classes
25 miles tracked on RunKeeper (walk/run/hike combined)

As month five of my health quest comes to a close, I'm starting to realize how many great new habits I am forming and how my mindset has really changed. Case and point : I packed my gym bag for Monday morning with two t-shirts and no workout pants! I was mid-change in the locker room as was completely bummed that I wasn't going to be able to do my spin class. But hey, no excuses right? Don't worry, I did not do a spin class with no pants! I thought of ways to overcome this mini 'challenge', though. There was another spin class at 1 (I had signed up for the noon class) so what could I do to make it to that one? I thought about just going back to my desk but the idea of not getting my Monday workout in was just not acceptable. So this is what I did - I took the world's shortest shopping trip to TJ Maxx up on Shelburne rd. I darted in there, grabbed a pair of $7.99 workout capris and headed back in to work - I did this all in 10 minutes. I completed the 1pm spin class. That's some hard-core dedication if I do say so myself :). I mean, it's not like I didn't need some more workout clothes anyway, right? I'm at the point where no excuse is acceptable anymore. In fact, I realize how great I feel when I get a good workout that I get pretty upset if I'm going to go a day without it. Five months ago, I would've really enjoyed just hanging out on the couch on a Sunday, relaxing. But on Sunday we did a 3 mile trail hike with Landon, which I definitely enjoyed.

July was a pretty good month. I'm back on the weight loss train! Not like I was ever off but I pulled a pretty high loss this month of 8lbs. I was on point with my workouts - I even had a few weeks where I did more than five workouts, my eating was great. I would've like to have done more like 10 spin classes, however the studio was closed 1/2 of last week so I got more running in than I planned. I did splurge for the first time in a long time during my birthday weekend. The drinks were going down smooth and I did have some mac & cheese (gasp!) for the first time since March. Once every four months having pasta and delicious cheese is really not going to throw me off track. It's a manageable healthy lifestyle [with very planned indulgences]. So here we go, in to August. I really wanted to set some goals in stone [on the blog] to work towards. Seeing how I am obsessed with Pinterest these days, the idea came pretty quickly : Ab Challenge August! YES!

This is the Ab Challenge I'm doing. I'm shooting for three times a week on top of my normal routine. Why Abs, you ask? Now, we all know I am light years away from a six pack. This is more about strengthening my core to aid the fat-burning process in that whole stomach area [that is a massive trouble area for me!]. Plus, between bodypump and the spin & sculpt classes I feel like I am getting plenty of arm/back/leg strength training. A great core workout is what I'm lacking in my training plan [that's what I'm going to call it from now on]. I did a trial run of this ab routine, I barely made it half-way through without stopping from fatigue, so it will be quite a challenge indeed. I will be tracking my stomach and hip inches to see if I actually make an improvement with this strategy.

August Fitness Goals [July plan with the Ab Challenge added]:
Ab Challenge workout 3X/week
Spin 2-3X/week
Bodypump - once a week
Quick 30min run 1-2X/week
Long walk once a week

Weight loss goal :
-7.5 lbs [-43 total] Who's hitting the the 40lb mark this month? ME!

Nutrition Goals:
Keep on course - less booze!

Please follow along, or feel free to do the Ab Challenge with me so I have someone to complain to about how sore I am! Oh, and feel free to check out my Workout playlist on Spotify. I'm always updating!

Pinspiration for August : 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Week 22 Recap

Before I get to the recap, let's have a moment of silence for all those people who take shortcuts with their weight loss - you know, like magic pills, diet fads, etc., etc. They somehow lose weight by seemingly not changing their lifestyle. I don't know about you, but when I get the body I dream of, that I know is hidden inside me somewhere (and it's not a matter of 'if', just 'when', because it WILL happen) I think that people will probably inquire about how I did it. Maybe they'll ask me my 'secret'. And this is what I will say : I changed my lifestyle, made sacrifices and healthy decisions not once in awhile, but EVERY day. I pushed myself and sweat like crazy working hard a minimum of 5 days a week, sometimes more than that. I MADE the time, I MADE myself a priority. I researched the right foods to eat, I adjusted my food intake based on what my body was telling me. Because when (and not if) I get to the top of this fitness/health mountain I am climbing, I want to know that I created this body of mine, just me. It was my own doing and hard work, not because of shortcuts or doctors or dangerous extremes. Enough about that....

Week 22 aka my birthday week hooray! Since I have started losing weight, I have been trying to hold myself back from buying any new clothes. However, soon it's going to be necessary. Enter a good reason to spend a little dough on myself : birthday cash. I've ordered a cute dress for my birthday night, four sizes smaller than  the last 'sized' dress I bought (numbers, not letters). It's the smallest I've been in about 3 years. It was delivered to me on Wednesday, and I immediately pulled it out of the box. I actually slipped it over the dress I was wearing, without even unzipping the side - and it FIT! This was not a stretchy material either, sort of chiffon-like. Not only that, it was a little big, I probably could have ordered another size smaller. WHAT!?! - so exiting. First new item of clothing I purchased since I have been losing weight and it was kind of big. It's a pretty rare occasion where I over estimate the size I am. I digress...back to the recap.

This week I had fun working out! I received a Polar heart rate monitor as a birthday gift, which allows me to see a) my heart rate at all times and b) calories burned in a workout. I've been sort of guessing the calorie burn (based on time input and my current weight on MyFitnessPal app). Now I have a much more accurate number. I also was given a 10 class pass for boot camp! Hoping to start that soon.

Workout this week:
Monday : Spin & Sculpt class/20 min. on the elliptical

Tuesday: Bodypump (burned 325 cal)/Treadmill jog hike (361 cal) = 686 calories burned!

Wednesday : Lunch walk 2.8 miles (280 cal)/evening walk 2.2 miles (280 cal) = 560 calories burned!

Thursday : Bodypump (465 cal)

Friday : Day off

This was an extraordinary cool experiment. The two bodypump classes were the same this week, but at Thursday's class I made it an absolute point to push myself.  I found, somewhere, the athlete in me. During the lunge track (towards the end of the class) I actually caught myself smiling during the last set of squat jumps, realizing the pure power my legs had. If you don't know what squat jumps are, they are exactly what they sound like, a squat and a jump, then back in to the squat, and so on, and so on. I jumped higher and squatted deeper with each rep, sweat pouring in to my eyes and my legs burning. I kept telling myself : turn the pain in to strength, and I did it. I forgot about the pain and found my stride. While others in the class were stopping, I jumped higher and let my muscles catapult me in to the air. I may have only jumped a foot off the ground but it felt like five. My hard work was rewarded with 145 extra calories burned than the class on Tuesday. A heart rate monitor was a brilliant idea as a gift. I can't wait to try it with the spin classes so I know which burns the most!

Instead of telling you about the food I'm eating this week, I'll just show you a picture of my fridge:

Now in case you can't see it (I know it's a crappy pic) -

Top Shelf: Blackberries/Strawberries, tomatoes from the garden, broccoli from the garden, OJ (for Landon), pickles (made with cukes from the garden), Raw milk from Family Cow Farmstand (YUM!)
Middle shelf: Butter (you sure as heck won't catch margarine in my fridge), chard, kale, cukes and beans (all from the garden)
Bottom shelf: Hard boiled eggs, light bread (35 cal/slice), sour cream, pork/steak
Drawers: Squash (from the garden), garlic scapes (from the farmer's market).

Let's just forget about those frappaccinos - I got them for camping, had one, and haven't touched them since. From this picture I can say about 90% of the food in here is local, fresh and organic. My breakfast, lunch and dinner will all have food from this stash this week. I rarely eat anything out of the cabinet - if I do it's organic rice. This is a fridge I am proud of, with many things that were grown by us! Also you may notice there is nothing 'low-fat' or lean protein. Never fear! I have shrimp in the freezer and usually have some sort of poultry for lunch from the cafe. But remember, the fat content of the meal is actually what keeps you full. So no, I don't eat bone-dry chicken breast all the time. I'll take a steak or some pork any day of the week! Fat is good, as a country we absolutely need to get over making everything low fat - it's not natural, and definitely not as tasty.

So, has my hard work paid off this month? On the scale this morning I was down another 2lbs this week, 7.5 total for July! That's 35.5 total! My official weigh in day isn't until Monday and I'll finish off the month with a progress post.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Week 21 Recap

Alright, so I'm going to try and start doing some weekly recaps on my fitness/food for the week. Perhaps you'll be annoyed by it or maybe inspired, I'm not sure. But this is really for me - so I can pinpoint what's working (or the less desirable - what's not).

This week I did three spin classes (two spin & sculpt and one crazy hour of cyctone), a bodypump class and ran/walked a total of 8 1/2 miles over three different days. Wow that sounds like a lot, doesn't it? Now, the spin classes each have at least 15 min of strength training in the routine, and bodypump is pretty much 50 minutes of strength training. If you're wondering what the day spread it looks like this :

Monday : 3.25 mile run in the morning/Spin at lunchtime
Tuesday : Bodypump at lunchtime
Wednesday : 2.6 mile run in the morning/Spin at lunchtime
Thursday : Usually my day 'off' and I do a walk at lunchtime - this week 2.6 miles
Friday : My favorite calorie burning, super-intense class cyctone!

This week I found I really needed that 'day off'. My run on Wednesday morning was not the best, I was pretty sore - but, whatever, I still did it. Probably too much working out but I'm in it for the results people! I tend to work out more so I can drink a few extra glasses of wine, you know? This week especially when I had plans to meet up with three of my good friend separately, for drinks. Trust me when I tell you those extra workouts are going to be handy.

I feel pretty good about what I ate this week. I stuck to the old standby of two hard-boiled eggs  and a cup of berries for breakfast, some sort of light protein and veggie for lunch (except for Thursday I had a 1/2 buffalo chicken sandwich which was crazy good - still only half a sandwich so maybe 300 calories). Sometimes I have a starch with lunch like potatoes or rice, but I'll only do this if I had just completed a workout - your body burns carbs best right after! Dinner - again - protein & veggie. This week it was ham, pork chops, meatballs with a garden-fresh veggie. Although I DID go out last night to wish my dear friend Jackie farewell, as she's moving to Scotland, and had a couple gravy fries & fried shrimp. YUP. Not much, but tasty indeed!

Here's where the workouts were handy - I  had maybe 6 glasses of wine this week, and a Woodchuck. But, with the two extra runs I did this week I can almost forget I had those, you see how that works?

Hopefully there will be great results when I weigh in on Monday, then I'll update the post! I weigh myself on Mondays because I take a two day break from any sort of strength training (which can sometimes make me appear to weigh more the day after!)

In other news, I do believe I have found the perfect homemade deodorant solution - finally! If you've been reading the blogs I have tried lemon juice. However I had to make sure I put in on a while before my clothes, it did end up lightening some of the fabrics. It worked OK, but didn't really hold up to an intense workout. Next, I tried witch hazel and lemon essential oil. Kind of the same deal, just didn't lighten my clothes. Now - to the solution, and again I have only Crunchbetty.com to thank for this one!

Here's what I mixed up last night:
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup cornstarch
5 tb coconut oil (you'll have to warm it up to get it to liquid form)
Essential oils (I put about 8 drops orange & 8 drops lemon in my mix)

Let me tell you this was sooo easy to make, it took me all of 2 minutes, and it's super cheap, so now you have no excuses not to try it. I put mine in a recycled container and applied just a pea-sized amount of it this morning. This formula is cyctone tested! Meaning it held up nicely to a really hard-core workout. I wasn't smelly or drenched! It probably works better, at least for me, then those 'clincal strength' formulas in the store that are like $10 - I kid you not. If only I could find an empty deodorant container to put it in so I can put it on without having to use my fingers. Now I can use my neat little witch hazel/lemon essential oil blend to carry in my gym bag and just use a a deodorant 'refresher' after working out - genius!

Stay tuned, week 21 weigh in is imminent. UPDATE: Week 21 weigh in - 1.5 lb lost last week, 5.5lbs in July, 33.1 lbs total lost since March!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Remember, Enjoy, Think About

If I ask my self ever
If I can go on any further
If I can push any harder
If I really should eat or drink that
If the work is worth it

Remember stretching out my clothes so they would fit
Remember looking in the mirror and wanting to look away
Remember that before shot staring back at me
Remember un-tagging awful pictures
Remember thinking I was pretty only from the neck up
Remember getting on a spin bike thinking I was going to break it
Remember being uncomfortable in my own skin, everywhere.

Enjoy how far I've come
Enjoy the journey, the sweat, the work
Enjoy how much stronger I am
Enjoy lifting more weight than the guy in the class next to me
Enjoy a redefined face with a chin an cheek bones
Enjoy that slimmer profile view
Enjoy sore - the physical feeling of accomplishment

Think about how much I want this
Think about single digit pant sizes
Think about being that hot mommy
Think about shopping in whatever store I want
Think about the people I can inspire
Think about hearing 'you look great'
Think of being proud of the body I've created....

Pick up the pace. Push harder. Lift more. Get up early. Put that 'treat' down. Eat well. Make the time.

The reasons are endless. The reward is great.

Monday, July 16, 2012

An experiment in variety [Stepping it up a notch]

Let's start with a recap of this weekend, so you all know I am far from perfect when it comes to my weight loss plan. We went camping this weekend, packed the cooler and forgot to bring any vegetables. My diet this entire weekend consisted of bread, meat and Woodchuck hard cider (there was one banana and a few hard-boiled eggs in there). I had a s'more and a half, and a few extra marshmallows. I'm not perfect. But, I didn't feel all that crappy about my eating this weekend. We walked a lot. Setting up and breaking down camp took some [sweaty] effort. I swam for probably about 3 hours and have the sunburn to prove it. You see, it's all about balance and you have to allow yourself to indulge (in six 200 calorie Woodchucks) once in a grand while. But I still got some exercise in. Another two pounds down this week (four total this month). The scale was nice to me this week again - maybe I just sweat off a lot this weekend in mid-90s heat, not sure, but I'll assume it's fat loss!

This week, I'm trying to challenge myself again with a few '2 workout' days just like I was doing in month two of my weight-loss competition. This morning, after weeks of swearing to myself I was going to get up early and run, I actually did. My alarm went off at 6am, and 10 min later I was out the door, in 90% humidity, head phones cranked up and ready to go. I was going to do a 'quick run' but I was going strong and not in pain after finishing the first mile in 11 minutes. So, I kept going for 3.25 miles...in 41 minutes. Geez, I am so much faster than I used to be. The second half of the run was much more of a run/walk and I really had to talk myself through it. Around mile 2 the left side of my headphones died, probably from a ton of sweat (could be that they're seven years old, as well). Without the music blasting in my ear it was hard to get motivated. But I did. And the last half mile I averaged a 7.0 mph speed. Even my neighbors gave me a strange look when I was running back to my door, dripping with sweat and frizzed-out hair at 7am. Ya, I know guys, I should probably run more. But it was a really good run, I got sweaty like a man and boy did that cold shower feel extra good this morning. But it felt GOOD. I have to pinpoint what helped me pull myself out of bed, out of the air conditioning and into the mugginess this morning. I HAVE to do that again this week, if not two more times. Also made it to my usual lunchtime spin class today. More sweat, lots of it.

I'm hoping the extra effort will really help me lose double digits in a month. That's what I really want. So far it's been 9 - 8 - 7 - 4. I did go on vacation in month four, but still, that's not a good direction to go in. I need to give it more effort this month. I'm hoping adding in the cardio variety of running on top of my spin classes will really make that scale budge! Or maybe I need to do more strength training. The experiment continues...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The visuals : 4 months before/after photos

Lucky for me I convinced myself to do a 'before' photo at the start of our weight-loss competition. Once I received the 'before' photo in my inbox, I stared at it, I was mad. Surely the photo must have been accidentally stretched horizontally? No, it wasn't. I was angry. I closed it after about 30 seconds vowing it would be my motivator.

This morning (Day 133) I thought I was looking kind of cute before I left for work, so I said why not take a picture of myself in my full-length mirror. The picture I took this morning didn't look too bad, but I thought it wouldn't be a lot different than my starting photo. After all, I'm only about 30% through with my journey. I put the two photos side-by-side and got this:

Look! I have a chin and a neck! And a much smaller tummy. Seeing these two photos side by side made me, well, really proud. Sometimes I don't notice the little changes and get frustrated that I'm not seeing more results. Well, this is results people. The hard evidence : photos. I still am not entirely a fan of the way I look and know I have much farther to go, but honestly, look what I've done in 133 days! LOOK! [Starting to tear up a little right now]. And just for the record, I am still angry about that before photo. Super mad. But I started there, and committed to myself and look what happened. 

I promise there will be more progress photos to come!

Friday, July 6, 2012

When kale becomes your new favorite thing [A Reflection - 4 months in]

I had my final weigh-in of our weight loss [Slim it to win it] competition on Monday. Although I only lost 4 pounds in June, I lost 28 total - in four months! I was stuck on the four pounds though - I had been losing twice that in a months' time in the previous three months. When I start not to see the results I want, that's when I tend to waiver in my fitness/nutrition plan. I get frustrated too easily.

In attempt to shake off my frustration with my 'measly' four pounds, I tried to focus on other accomplishments. What could I do today that I couldn't four months ago? The list started forming quickly. I had jogged a 5k in the last week of June in under 40 minutes (thats about 6 min shorter than when I first tried to attempt it earlier this year in much more of a walk/slow jog style). Ok. Well, that's pretty good. I can tackle a full set of tricep dips - actually lifting most of my body weight up and down with that muscle group in stead of resting my butt on the step and just pretending because I was too heavy to lift the weight, and not strong enough. Hmmm, better. I can hold my own weight up in a wall sit for a minute even with a 10lb weight on my lap. Without going on and on, you get the point here. I am very noticeably STRONGER. Which means I have not only lost pounds of fat, but in that four months had gained a ton [not literally] of muscle. That IS an accomplishment. I try not to focus on the number so much, the scale can definitely be one of my best friends or my worst enemy depending on the day.

Back on the scale this morning - already down another 2lbs this week - which means - 30lbs!!!@@@!!! Pretty cool. This afternoon I went to get lunch and saw the kale at the cafe. My brain had this reaction that told my stomach 'kale sounds delicious'. Decadent, almost. I had to chuckle a little at this though, my body is actually craving good healthy food. Yes, it still sometimes craves junk. Kale (fresh from our garden) is probably one of my favorite things to eat right now.

A lot has happened in four months, and it went by fast. I have to remember this as I continue on (hoping to meet my ultimate goal by March 2013). A little bragging here - I was #5 out of 81 people in our weight loss competition. I didn't win, but I felt like I did, and that's what matters.

A few weeks ago, I made laundry soap for the first time. It was SO easy, and cheap. Washing soda, borax, castile soap, water. That's it. It cleans clothes so well! You won't even need dryer sheets - the static is non-existent. If you want (like I did), you can add a few drops of essential oil(s), but I found you won't smell it on your clothes anyway. Here's the recipe I used if you're interested:

Melt 1 cup castile soap shavings in 16oz of water in a large pot
Add 1 cup borax and 1 cup washing soda
Add 1 gallon water to the pot, heat until everything is incorporated
Let cool completely then add 5-10 drops essential oils if you like)

This was actually a half batch, I couldn't commit to 2+ gallons of laundry soap nor did I have a place to store it. My first batch was a little chunky because I put a whole bar of soap in it and not a cup like the recipe called for, but it works just fine, you just have to shake it up a bit before adding it to your load of wash. This is about $4 to make over a gallon, which is about 5 cents a load if you're curious. You can buy almost all the ingredients at a grocery store in the cleaning isle. Dr. Bronners castile soap bars are $2.99 at City Market in Burlington - cheap! I finally found some glycerin to make liquid hand soap (also at City Market), but still on the hunt for citric acid for my dishwasher soap. May have to order that, but I hear it's a super great shower cleaner as well!

Just something before I end this post : if you're trying to lose weight, realize that it's going to take lots of time, effort, sweat, and changing of habits. I am surely no expert on the matter, and I've tried time and time again but what has changed this time is the commitment. I find all the work has been worth it. Grabbing that dress from the back of your closet that you couldn't wear in years because it was way too small, then slipping it on and realizing it fits again - is a great feeling. You'll forget about all the work and the soreness. YOU are absolutely worth the effort.