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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Easy Way

I'm the kind of gal who likes to find the easy way.  For just about anything.  In my earlier "Lazy Girl's Guide to Groceries" I showed you how to buy pre-chopped and diced and ready to eat things that are good for you but don't require any effort.  On the job, I have won monetary awards in the past for finding effecient ways of doing things.  Some would call that innovative.  I call it kind of the "Lazy Girl's Guide to Working."  hehe

So in looking at exercise, wouldn't you know I'd glom onto something that looks like an easier way?  Well yes, yes I would.  It's Doctor Mercola's Peak 8 system for optimum results.  He claims that if you work out in 8 cycles that include bursts of maximum effort you will achieve great results in less time.  He also claims you will produce some kind of growth hormone that will be a kind of muscular fountain of youth.  Here's the link and I'll let y'all do your own research.  I found the whole thing fascinating and I have bookmarked it. 

DR. MERCOLA'S INTENSE PEAK 8 FITNESS CONCEPTS

I highly recommend you read it.  He offerS some good and interesting information.  I am going to keep his concepts in mind while moving forward, but I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing, largely because it is working.

So I will continue on, working out, hitting the treadmill, doing the weight training, moving along with Jillian Michaels, Walking with Leslie Sansone, using the Ab Lounge 2, riding my bike, working on the Couch to 5K plan, enjoying all the variety of movement and the progress I am making.

I have always felt like a non-famous nerdy white version of Oprah Winfrey.  This quote reinforces that for me:
"There's no easy way out. If there were, I would have bought it. And believe me, it would be one of my favorite things!" ~ Oprah Winfrey
I think if there was an easy way, Oprah really would have bought it by now.  She's the wealthiest woman on the planet.  For some things in life, there is no "easy way."  You just have to walk right on through to the other side.


♥♥♥

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer

First, a little mood music.....(click below for the youtube song)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kL6f35nsSow




Ok, the stage has been set. :-)  I'm not  a Phillies fan, but I am most certainly a baseball fan. Goooooo Red Sox.  Gooooooo Orioles!  w00t!

Spring and Summer are rolling in!  That means trips to Camden Yards and day trips, amusement parks and swimming pools, vacations and boating, and cookouts! Oh the cookouts!  It also means a lot of temptation!

In years past, I would either eat anything I wanted and not even consider guilt because I was so over-the-top out of control, or not have anything I really wanted, and then resent it.  There was also a middle ground for me...eat what I wanted AND beat myself up over it.

None of those approaches worked for me.  So how about I try something new this year? How about....I just kind of keep track of what I'm doing and where I stand on a daily/weekly basis, and if I go to a ball game and I want a ballpark frank and fries, I go ahead and have them, and plan the rest of the day with lots more veggies and healthy foods?

What if I go to the family cookout and enjoy my favorite burger with cheese and on a toasted all-white hamburger bun, but maybe pass on the potato salad and opt for some veggies instead...and feel happy and satisfied with the compromise?

Is that what normal people do? I have no idea, but what I do know is I'm not going into "deprivation" mode ever again.  That kind of dieting doesn't work for me.  This is a lifestyle change and that means in the summer I'm going to want a burger or maybe a soft serve ice cream cone once in a great while.  That has to be okay.  I have to make sure it is planned for, accounted for, and that it's neither a "reward" nor a reason for "punishment."

I already started to live this way to some degree.  If I wanted french fries today, I'd have them and account for them.  Funny thing is, I am really reluctant to put anything in my body that doesn't have nutritional value that the body can use for good fuel.  Even when I have the extra weight watchers points, I'd rather have some almond butter on whole grain bread than ice cream.  And I don't feel sad or deprived.  In fact, I don't think much of it at all.  Weird.

Anyway...I bought some Bubba Burgers (my favorite "at home" burger) and I'm going to have a cookout soon to celebrate spring.  And I'm going to have a bubba burger and will probably make some potato salad.  And I'll have ONE burger and I'll measure the potato salad and I'll be pretty freaking happy that I am learning how to manage my food rather than being controlled by it.

Now if I could just get a volunteer to come run the grill........

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Purging Your Life

"Jolene", my organizer, gets a little worried when I get into a "purging" mode.  She said with most people, they hang on to too much stuff.  With me, she said I scare her because when I want to purge, I REALLY want to purge.  If I don't like the couch, I'll want to get rid of it.  Or all my clothes.  Or.....whatever.

I think there's something incredibly therapeutic about purging out of your life those things that you don't like, the things that are holding you back or weighing you down.  Logic has nothing to do with it.  Being practical has nothing to do with it.  In fact, the "logic" of hanging onto "stuff" can sap my energy and deplete my creativity!!!

I've held onto "things" because I "should" ('should' is a life-sucking word) for far too long.  I'm purging my body of the fat I've held onto which is literally weighing me down and I'm on a mission to purge my house of anything I've held onto that is also figuratively weighing me down.  If I walk into a room and there are visible things that I really don't like, it brings me down and sucks a little life out of me.

For example, a had a piano for a few years that I liked when I first got it.  It was a huge dark brown, scuffed up student piano (probably came from a school) and after I divorced it brought some music into my life.  It was good.  But since I moved into this tiny little ranch-style home, I haven't found a place for it that doesn't make me cringe.  It's too big, too old, too dark brown, and frankly last fall when I had a few mice in the house I saw one come out from underneath it and I haven't gone near the piano since.  (Silly, maybe, but it's true.)  I came to really dislike the piano and every day when I came home I saw it the moment I walked in the door!  Seeing it literally made me cringe.  But I held on to it because I felt I "should."

I put it up on Craigslist last week and it was gone the next day.  What a relief!  It brought freedom!  I don't need to hold on to "stuff."  It's just STUFF!  I'll get another piano one day.  Something small, and cute, and I will love it.  I want to love what I have and not just have it because it was given to me, or because I feel I "should" keep it.

Life is way too short to let anything bring us down.  I want to release everything that holds me back or brings me down.  That includes bad habits, my weight, my attitudes, tightly held but wrong beliefs, and STUFF.  I want to walk into a lighter life, if that makes sense.

Well, it does to me.  ♥♥♥


btw: There is a company that helps you purge clutter, organize your stuff, and help get it under control.  CLUTTERBUSTERS is great for reorganizing closets, rooms, repurposing rooms, tackling the garage, purging for a move, etc.  I use an organizer a couple of times a year because I was NOT born with an organizing gene whatsoever and it's OKAY to ask for HELP!  Just sayin'.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Shrinkage!

Holy Toledo!  I knew my clothes were getting too big for me to be attractive.  Pants have been pretty baggy but then, I do kind of like hiding under there.

This weekend I went through most of my clothes and discovered that a whole lot of them are ridiculously big.  Like - there's-no-way-on-earth-I-could-possibly-wear-them big!

Last summer I bought a bunch of (so embarrassed to tell you this) 5x outfits in Maine when I was up there for my nephew's wedding.  I was mortified, but hey, it was either that or go naked to the wedding.  I opted for the 5x's.  Yesterday, all the 5x's went to Goodwill.


At Christmas this year, my friend Chrissy took my son out Christmas shopping for me and they bought me some lovely blouses and sweaters...all 4x.  The 4x's were so huge when I tried them on yesterday that they fell off of me.  They had to go to Goodwill, too.

I had many 3x's from previous years.  I remember being so upset when I outgrew them.  When I tried them on yesterday, many were too big and had to go!  I did keep some because "roomy" is also "comfy".

I went to Fashion Bug on Saturday and bought a blouse and skirt,  I might add I haven't worn a dress or skirt in a couple of years.  For some reason when I gained all that weight I just hated the idea of a skirt.  So just the act of buying a skirt is very telling about this whole process.  Anyway, the size is...drumroll.....2X.

I haven't worn a 2x in a very long time.  Confidence up.  Scale down.  And I'm down with that!  Baby steps, next right choices, one day at a time ADDS UP!  WOOHOO!!!!

♥♥♥

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Highlights of my Day

This whole "Living Out Loud" and "The Year of Me" is about the esoteric, the outward, the superficial, the gradual makeover from this to that. I was going to wait until the end to experiment with hair, makeup, clothing changes, etc., until I had lost a substantial amount of weight, and then changed my mind. Why wait to have fun? Why put off the playful, adventurous stuff? Must I "earn" it? Heh, I've paid that price several times over in advance, thank you very much.

For the past month, each and every day, I have been painfully aware of my graying hair. Granted, it's not a lot of gray, but it's highly visible (to me.) I made this my Facebook profile pic last month and while folks were all "nice pic" and "you look so young," every time I looked at it all I could see was the silver screaming at me.  

So yesterday I went to Bella Via Salon down in Edgewater, MD and decided to take the plunge into the world of hair color and highlights. For those of you who have been doing this for years for fun (not to cover gray, but just for the fun of it) OMG are you NUTS? You do this to yourself on purpose for fun? Well, there were parts I liked. The coffee was tasty. The conversation was nice. And I really liked the "unveiling." But between arrival and departure there was quite a process! If you've never experienced this, let me share my experience with you.

I arrived to a warm welcome complete with pastries and gourmet coffee.  (I didn't eat the yummy cake though.) Then I was seated, and Chrissy, who is awesome, began the process of foiling little strands of the hair to create highlights of caramel.

After I was properly highlighted, she put in an all-over rinse called "Shades" which is not permanent (less damage to the hair) and which makes it so I won't have roots showing. This was to cover up any little grays not covered by the highlights. 

Then she put a shower cap thingy over my head and sent me over to the extra terrestrial space center to beam me up to the mothership. It was pretty darned hot on my head, I guess because the foil is a conductor. Either that or they were trying to exfiltrate all my knowledge'n stuff.

After that, they took the foil out and the shampooer shampooed. I think that's my favorite part. A nice head massage with the warm water. I could have taken a nap there!

Finally, Chrissy cut off about 3 to 3 1/2 inches to give me a little bounce. My hair really was too long. I was on a mission to get "hair down to my a$$" then decided that at 45 years old, that window may have already slammed shut.  ;-)

So a cut and a blow dry, and out the door I went.....sporting some sexy new highlights and a whole lotta attitude!!!  I think I gave myself whiplash tossing my hair back with my neck muscles all afternoon (hehe). I love the highlights, for sure. They are subtle and fun. But what I love even more is:

1. That I really believed I was worth "allowing" myself to do this, and
2. How I FEEL with the little bits of gray gone.


If you're on the fence, whether male or female, about "washing the gray right outta your hair" I'd said buy one of those at home temporary rinses and try it. You might love it so much you get it done "for real" like I just did! I'm going to play with my hair, and cut, and color, all year until I find the perfect cut and color.  Because I can.  ♥♥♥

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Couch Potato Update

I found some free podcasts for the Couch-to-5k program.  These can be put on any mp3 player or iPod and can be downloaded by this link (look on the right when you click on the link and you'll see a place for downloading) or you can search for "couch to 5k" in the iTunes store under "podcasts," also free:

 http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/couch-to-5k.aspx

There seem to be two versions when you Google around.  This link is for a British female voice which I happen to like.  The other is a male voice.

She tells you when to start your brisk walk, when to switch to a light jog, when to slow down and recover for 90 seconds walking again, when to jog, etc.  Fabulous!

So this program is intended for you to stay at one level, three times a week, and then upgrade to the next level the following week, for a nine week total program.  I plan on doubling that and when I am struggling with the level I'll triple it.  My 5k isn't until October 29, 2011 so I have plenty of time!

I listened to Week 1 and it seemed very doable.  Heh heh...yeah, I sat on my butt listening to it thinking "this seems pretty easy."  What a dork.  I'll come back and update this blog once I've actually done the thing.

My plan is to do this on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

I work out (weight training/trainer) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

I think I will leave Sunday as my day of rest.  ♥♥♥

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dessert Alert!

They say "Necessity is the mother of desperately wanting a bigtime cheat like cheesecake invention."  They are right!

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The Craving:  Cheesecake

The Solution:  Faux Whipped Cheesecake Delight

Ingredients:


  • Fruit (I had raspberries.  Strawberries would be mighty tasty.)
  • Fat Free Whipped Topping
  • 1/3 Reduced Fat Cream Cheese (2 Tbps.  What I had were little baby tubs.  It's 1.25 oz.)
  • 1 packet of Stevia in the Raw


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  1. Cream together room temperature cream cheese and Stevia.  And by cream together, I mean smoosh it up and stir vigorously with a spoon until creamy.
  2. Lick spoon.
  3. Stir in about 4 tbsp. whipped topping. 
  4. Take one extra spoonful and eat it.  Be sure to lick spoon clean.
  5. Add fruit and stir again.
  6. Could refrigerate for an hour or two to make it more solid and the flavors would gel.  Or you can sit and eat it immediately.  Less tasty but keeps you from raiding the refrigerator looking for a lil sumpin' sumpin'.  ;-)

Turns out even with the extra whipped topping it's a Weight Watchers 4 pointer. Mmmmmmm.  Cheesey Goodness.  Okay.  It's NOT cheesecake and maybe not even a great runner up.  But it kept me well within my points for the day and hey!  I got in another fruit!  Yay!

♥♥♥

Willingness

The assistance you need will be provided by the universe as soon as you convert your readiness to willingness.
                                                                ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer


What are your goals, wants, needs, desires?  Where are you heading?  Do you really want to do whatever it takes to get there?

When I wanted to quit smoking, and I'm talking about decades' worth of "wanting to quit smoking," I kept praying over and over for God to remove my desire to smoke.  I was so entirely ready to have Him relieve me of that nasty destructive habit.  But you see, I wasn't WILLING to go through the discomfort, or do the work, or experience the process.  I really was ready to stop smoking.  And I really wasn't willing to pay the price to get there.

I have spent the better part of my entire life wanting to master food, diet, exercise and become "normal."  That was my goal...I wanted to be "normal."  (I learned later in life, normal is just a setting on the dryer and not a real human state.) Please God, please make me not want to eat junk food.  Please make it so I don't even like pasta.  Please God, make me thin.  What I was really wanting was a magician to work up a spell, or a genie in a bottle to grant my wish.  And I really, really was ready to be thin.  Or so I thought.  But I wasn't willing to make the necessary changes - delaying gratification from today's cookies to invest in tomorrow's health - saying "no" to today's nap instead of getting up and walking for tomorrow's fitness.  I had no willingness to do whatever it takes to make it happen.  I couldn't let go of the way I knew and face the unknown.


I'm not saying there aren't reasons for this unwillingness.  I had a boatload of genuine reasons and several not so genuine excuses.  I had to make many "next right choices" over the past few years that have paved the way for me to become truly willing to release this fat and let it go.  And "willingness" is the keyword that is allowing it to happen.

I am ready.  And I am willing to walk away from the dessert tray.  I am willing to get up and hit the treadmill.  I am willing to invest in my health and fitness and I am willing to do whatever it takes to stay the course.  There's no magic involved.  Just a firm core belief that I am worth the effort.  And that is a whole 'nuther blog post.  :-)

♥♥♥

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

5k Run in October 2011

Let me start by saying I have NO aspirations to become a "runner." I have never been a runner. I have never wanted to be a runner. I don't want to be a runner now. In junior high I played field hockey and basketball and we had to run laps. I never looked forward to that part of practice. And I always was last. So I'm not going to turn a lifetime of avoiding running to become some marathon runner today. Nope.

But.

I like to have goals and a reason to get off my butt to do something. I do the weights because I have goals to see my muscles become toned and defined. I do cardio so I can melt fat. I do the treadmill because it's a way to get in the cardio.

Now that nice weather is here, my son is very active outside so most nights there is an opportunity for walking and/or jogging. The baseball fields where he plays offer great places to bring the iPod and get moving. I'm becoming quite the opportunist when it comes to finding places to get in some activitiy!

So if I'm going to be moving outside...walking....why not kick it up a notch? Why not make a goal to work toward? A 5K Run is 3.1 miles. How bad can that be? Okay, it can be really bad. So I need to start somewhere and build up to it. I found a PERFECT website to help get me ready, too. I have copied part of it below and give FULL credit to the site:


The Couch-to-5K ® Running Plan
Our beginner's running schedule has helped thousands of new runners get off the couch and onto the roads, running 3 miles in just two months.


The Couch-to-5K ® Running Plan

Our beginner's running schedule has helped thousands of new runners get started.


e-mail E-mail this page
print Printer-friendly page

Related info:
Download Couch-to-5K ® Training Plan Online | ActiveTrainer
By Josh Clark
Too many people have been turned off of running simply by trying to start off too fast. Their bodies rebel, and they wind up miserable, wondering why anyone would possibly want to do this to themselves.
You should ease into your running program gradually. In fact, the beginners' program we outline here is less of a running regimen than a walking and jogging program. The idea is to transform you from couch potato to runner, getting you running three miles (or 5K) on a regular basis in just two months.
It's easy to get impatient, and you may feel tempted to skip ahead in the program, but hold yourself back. Don't try to do more, even if you feel you can. If, on the other hand, you find the program too strenuous, just stretch it out. Don't feel pressured to continue faster than you're able. Repeat weeks if needed and move ahead only when you feel you're ready.

A few minutes each week
Each session should take about 20 or 30 minutes, three times a week. That just happens to be the same amount of moderate exercise recommended by numerous studies for optimum fitness. This program will get you fit. (Runners who do more than this amount are doing it for more than fitness, and before long you might find yourself doing the same as well).
Be sure to space out these three days throughout the week to give yourself a chance to rest and recover between efforts. And don't worry about how fast you're going. Running faster can wait until your bones are stronger and your body is fitter. For now focus on gradually increasing the time or distance you run.

Run for time, or run for distance
There are two ways to follow this program, to measure your runs by time or by distance. Either one works just as well, choose the option that seems easiest for you to keep track of. If you go with the distance option, and you are not using a track to measure the distances, just estimate. It's not important to have the distances absolutely exact.
Before setting out, make sure to precede each session with a five-minute warmup walk or jog. Be sure to stretch both before and after. Read "Stay Loose" for some suggestions.
Cool Running’s Couch-to-5K ® Program is available for purchase online through ActiveTrainer.com. This online version allows you to easily track your progress online, access a host of easy-to-use training tools, receive daily email reminders & more!
Download Couch-to-5K ® Training Plan Online | ActiveTrainer

The schedule
Bookmark this page so that you can easily return to check on your progress.

WeekWorkout 1Workout 2Workout 3
1Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
2Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
3Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
4Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
5Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog two miles (or 20 minutes) with no walking.
6Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2-1/4 miles (or 25 minutes) with no walking.
7Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).
8Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).
9Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).The final workout! Congratulations! Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).

http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml
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I have until October 29th till this 5K Run I have chosen, and I have a lot of other things going on, like weight training 3 times per week, being a single mom, working, commuting, etc. and I hope to start taking another college course soon, so I am going to double or triple their recommendations...do each thing for 2 or 3 weeks before moving up to the next level.

For pete's sake, I'm starting as "severely obese." It's not like I'm a garden variety couch potato. I'm a big spud! hehe  I have a couple of coworkers that are going to enter with me.  YAY!!!!

Anyway, that's today's new goal. Subject to change at any time without notice, of course. ;-)

♥♥♥

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kettlebells, free weights and bars, Oh My!

It's not that I'm impatient or anything......

Okay.  I wasn't born with the "patience" gene.  But still, even my trainer says I should be and could be doing more to achieve the results I want faster.  So she's given me a schedule of what I should be working on weights-wise when she's not here.  In order to accomplish this, I added a few items to the "home gym."  Some of these items can be found at "Play It Again Sports" (a second hand sporting goods shop in Maryland.  You may want to investigate if you have something like that in your area.)


From left to right in the back row:  free weights, a flexibility strap, different 'strength' resistance bands, a 6 lb. medicine ball.

From left to right in middle row:  perfect pushup contraptions, 5, 8 and 10 lb. free weights, and 10, 15 and 20 lb. kettlebells.

In the front:  a curved weight lifting bar and a 15 lb. padded bar to hold while doing lunges, dead man lifts, etc.

When Cruella comes, she uses whatever I have and makes "circuits" or stations for me.  Of all the things she does, I feel those circuits seem to help the most because they go faster and are continuous motion.  I, of course, have no motivation to do those myself when she's not here.  Gack.  I am constantly fighting myself between what I want long term and what I want this minute (which is to sit down and eat a plate of pasta or some fresh baked bread mmmmmmm).

Yesterday I got in 15 minutes on the treadmill, an hour with Nina on weights and abs, and then last night a full 40 minutes of fast walking around the park while my son played basketball.  All in all, it was an AWESOME day.  Coincidentally I got on the scale and not only was the 3 pounds I had managed to gain last week gone, but I'm down another pound on top of that, for a full 4 pound loss this week.

Yay me!
♥♥♥

Monday, March 21, 2011

Redefining Myself

Oh how I love words!  And "redefining myself" is a great double entendre!

Before starting this whole "Carly Project," I was a non-descript blob.  Okay, I did have a charming personality and wicked sense of humor (humble, aren't I?) but my body was just...well, very UNdefined.  Even though I have still (only?) lost 44 pounds so far, my body is really starting to take a shape other than "round."

I can see muscles where there was once only mass.  I can even feel those muscles moving as I move. In fact, I can WATCH the muscles kind of "ripple" while looking in the mirror.  You know that trick your dad or crazy uncle used to do - flexing the chest muscles and moving each pectoral muscle, one at a time to make them rise and fall individually?  Ha.  You ain't seen nothing until you see a 44DD doing it.  LOL  Yes, yes I can do it.

Anyway, I can't tell how I'm shaping up without a camera (it's hard to look at yourself and "see") so I snapped a shot of my arm as it is coming into focus.  It's still very big and Lord knows there's probably going to be skin to remove when all is said and done, but here's what it looked like this weekend.

I have a defined shoulder.  Me.  Defined.  For the first time in current memory, I can actually carry a pocketbook over the shoulder without it sliding off because there was nothing for it to hang on - just a big 'ole blob.  Now look.  There's a SHAPE there.  Holy Moly.

Cruella was pretty excited this morning.  She's pumped.  (She's my trainer, Nina.  Cruella is just my affectionate name for her.)  She said she can see the definition coming into focus in my back and along the obliques, too.  I think it's pretty freaking cool that I even know what my obliques are nowadays!  And I can feel them as they move.  Ha!

So my body is being molded, sculpted.....defined.  And I love it.  Now that I can start to see visible, tangible results, I'm all the more excited and energized to keep going.

And this whole process is also redefining many parts of who Carly is.  My thoughts around food, fitness, body image, acceptance, and goals are being redefined continually.  My understanding of family, family time, family activities....are being redefined.  Family time used to mean sitting in the same room on separate computers.  :-)  Now my son and I are getting on our bikes EVERY day, or going for walks, or playing board games.  Our relationship is being redefined.  In fact, I'd say *I* am being redefined.

And I like it.

♥♥♥

Sunday, March 20, 2011

On Balance

I signed on to http://quitnet.com this morning and read the "Daily Motivation" that one member posts every day. It really spoke to me and I want to share it:

AGAIN AND AGAIN
A large single effort can rarely match the power and influence of a small effort that is repeated over and over again. The more you repeat your thoughts and actions, the stronger they become.
Even the smallest effort, if it is performed consistently for a long enough time, can make an enormous difference. Lasting success and achievement are built one step at a time, over time -- not in a one-shot attempt. If you desire to win big, then the surest way to do it is to win little, over and over again.
If you think you're short on resources, or skill, or opportunity, think again. Do what you can, with what you have, as often as you can. Though the single efforts may be small, they add up to an enormous influence.
Make time your friend. Make time work for you by using it to multiply your effectiveness. Keep going. Keep working. Keep making the effort, again and again. Keep it up for as long as necessary and you'll get exactly where you wish to go.
-- Ralph Marston

This is the key, in my life, for achieving the elusive "balance"  about which I hear people speak. Doing a little, each day, consistently, toward the goal, seems to bring achieving the goals within reach and in a balanced way.

The down side to doing a little each day toward a goal, slow and steady, like clockwork, is it leaves very little room for the big grandiosity that has become my signature stamp.  You know what I'm talking about.  "I'm going on a diet"....so I run out and sign a year's contract at the gym, buy 7 brand new outfits, one for each day, purge everything from my kitchen and replace it with 100% "fit" and "healthy" food and drink, announce to the world I'm officially "doing it", neglect everything else for a couple of weeks, then crash hard....all the veggies in the fridge turn to mush while I'm popping bon bons on the couch, deflated and demoralized.  Of course, that's all made up, right?  I wouldn't actually do that, right?  Pffffffffffffft.  Repeatedly.


This time around, I'm shooting for balance.  I really really am.  Okay, so there's the whole "announce it to the Internet" thing, and the "go get a treadmill" thing, and the "do a whole room makeover thing" and the "get a personal trainer thing" .... but believe it or not, this IS balance.  I work out in the morning, then if time permits, write the blog (sometimes I do that at night.)  Then get my arse to work.  Then do whatever needs done.  Maybe a little dust mopping?  Or dishes?  Maybe run the vacuum?  My house is typically presentable, or could be made presentable in 10 minutes.  Those of you who know me understand this is pretty freaking cool and indicative of a new kind of balance for me!

Slow and steady.  Do a little workout.  Do a little housekeeping.  Pay one bill today, another tomorrow.  I don't want to jinx myself, but by golly I think through making small next right choices each day on what to eat, when to get moving, when to get cleaning, etc., I am so very close to making balance the norm.  Heck, I might even stop creating major crises for myself if I keep this up.  That's a little scary.  :-)

♥♥♥

Saturday, March 19, 2011

One Ringy Dingy (NSV)

Yesterday I celebrated an accidental "Non Scale Victory" (NSV) which happened to me out of the blue. I love it when that happens!

My son was looking for a special tool to adjust his bike seat and somehow or another he ended up knocking over a basket I had on my mantle. (I am queen of "just hide stuff in baskets"). Anyway, when he knocked it over, all kinds of things scattered on the floor, including a ring that my mother gave me several years ago. I loved this ring! I was also very sad when the ring no longer fit on my finger because I had gained so much weight. :-(

So I picked it up and just kind of looked at it for a while, debating on whether I wanted to try to wear it or not. There's very little as deflating as trying something on - anything - thinking it might fit, only to find out it doesn't. Still, I really loved this ring and thought I'd give it a try.  It's a combination of white gold and regular gold which is great so it matches anything.  And..........................it fit!



I haven't dared to mention my actual weight or actual size yet (I will...when I'm at least halfway to my goal I'll tell all!) but in another "non scale victory" I will tell you I tried on clothes at The Avenue (love that store) the other day that are a full TWO sizes smaller and I could get them on without any trouble.  They felt a bit snug so I'm not buying any YET...but in a couple of weeks I will!  WOOHOO!!!

These non scale victories are pretty important.  It's really not all about some number on a scale.  It really is about living every day making my next right small daily choices and LIVING LIFE while I do it, and then enjoying the positive consequences of those choices.  w00t!

♥♥♥

Friday, March 18, 2011

Look Ma, No Hands! 3/18/2011



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5iCpvWJ9Mc

(Gotta watch the video....)


I haven't actually had this much fun on a bicycle in DECADES. My son and I rode all over the neighborhood tonight after work. He started riding no hands and I told him I used to do that. In fact, I SHOWED him I used to do that! I couldn't believe I could still do it! LOL

I'm telling you, that was a blast. I am so glad I got the bike. I have goals for it.

There is a bike trail very close to my house and it's 13 miles down the trail from my house to a beach in Annapolis, MD. My goal now is to build up the stamina and butt callouses (hehe) necessary so that by the end of this season my son and I can bike down there, have a picnic, and come back, for a total of 26 miles.

Whaddya think? Think I can do it?

♥♥♥

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Momentum

Sometimes it is hard to maintain momentum.  It is SO easy to get discouraged.  And as much love and support I get here and on Facebook, I don't have anyone at home cheering me on or appreciating the effort that is going into this Carly Project.

So I have to find ways to boost myself up.

Earlier today I revisited the weight and size goals I have set for myself for this summer.  It's daunting.  It's "biggest loser" daunting.  And what I felt like doing was coming home and just eating everything in sight and saying to hell with it.  But I know that would just make me sad and angry.  So instead I went looking for some before pics I took the same week I started this blog.  

I didn't post them because I was mortified, frankly.  I have others like them that I'll show later on as I get closer to my goal.  But these are significant.  Earlier this week I posed in the same place at work so I could compare and then I forgot about doing that.  Holy Moly.



I can't ever see a difference in myself looking in the mirror.  To me it's the same me I saw a couple of months ago.  But when I step back and see the photos side by side?  I'm thrilled.  And I'm barely into the process...there IS a long long way to go.  In fact, I'm not so sure I'll reach my goal by December 31, 2011.  Even so, I'm so happy tonight to see a visible difference.  Coworkers have said they see it and of course my clothes are getting baggy, but I don't SEE IT myself.  In these photos, I do.

Well, isn't that a little shot in the arm?

Momentum restored.  Off to do 30 minutes on the treadmill.  Yay!

♥♥♥

Kim's Magic Pop

I love sandwiches.  I don't know if it's the convenience aspect, the part where there are basically no dishes to wash when you have a sandwich, or if I just like fondling my food whilst eating it.  I especially love tuna salad, chicken salad, and egg salad sandwiches.  What I don't love, however, is all the calories and carbs found in bread.

I used to be a rice cake lover.  I do still like them, but I found something that is, to me, even better:  Kim's Magic Pop. They are flat discs almost the size of a paper plate.  They are pretty sturdy and crunchy and can hold tuna or egg salad pretty well.  Have also put almond butter on them and they held up.


The ingredients for Kim's Magic Pop, Original Flavor are: 

wheat flour, rice flour, tapicoa starch, white corn flour, water, sugar, brown rice, rice powder, salt, soybean oil, natural flavor and stevia.

 Each pop is about the size of a tortilla. One serving has 15 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 g protein, 0 g sugar, 4 g carbs and 20 mg sodium.


I found them originally at Whole Foods market where they actually make them "live" while you watch.  But the other day I found them at the regular supermarket.  At ZERO Weight Watchers points, I would say they are well worth finding!  Nom nom nom crunch nom nom.....


♥♥♥

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hirsutism (Unwanted facial hair)

Okay, so this "living out loud" this year isn't always fun and exciting. Sometimes, it's downright embarrassing. But I'm committed to doing this whole transformation on this blog, and that means sometimes either you or I am going to end up cringing. Today it may be both.  :-)

Today's topic is Hirsutism, also affectionately known in some circles as Brillo Chin (thanks to my friend Nancy for that term). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines it this way:

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Excessive or unwanted hair in women
The normal amount of body hair varies widely among women. Usually, a woman will only grow fine hair (peach fuzz) on her lips, chin, chest, abdomen, or back. When women grow coarse, dark hairs in these areas, the condition is called hirsutism. This pattern of hair growth is more typical of men.


Causes
All women normally produce low levels of male hormones (androgens). Unwanted hair growth (hirsutism) in women may occur when the body makes too much male hormone.


In most cases, the exact cause is never identified. It tends to run in families. In general, hirsutism is a harmless condition. But many women find it bothersome, or even embarrassing.


A common cause is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Women with PCOS and other hormone conditions that cause unwanted hair growth may also have acne, problems with menstrual periods, trouble losing weight, a deeper voice similar to that of men, and diabetes. If these symptoms start suddenly, there may be a tumor that releases male hormones.


The following other causes of unwanted hair growth are rare:


  • Tumor or cancer of the adrenal gland
  • Tumor or cancer of the ovary
  • Cushing's syndrome
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Hyperthecosis (a condition in which the ovaries produce too much male hormones)
  • Medications (testosterone, danazol, anabolic steroids, glucocorticoids, cyclosporine, minoxidil, phenytoin)


Rarely a woman with hirsutism will have normal levels of male hormones, and the specific cause of the unwanted hair growth cannot be identified.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I think they forget to mention that this happens to a LOT of women also after menopause, because the body stops producing estrogen like in it's heyday. I had a full hysterectomy in 2001 which seemed to launch my little problem into epic proportions. 

So I have spent the better part of a decade embarrassed and often humiliated by this 'beard' of sorts.  Brillo chin. Hairs that hide until you look and realize you have one that's 2 freaking inches long that came out of nowhere. Or I'd let it grow (that was attractive, a nice little goatee) so I could have it waxed. That would only last a week or so before stubble would come back.

So my two real options to get rid of it were electrolysis or laser hair removal. Electrolysis is permanent, but can cause permanent scarring and swelling in the affected area. Laser hair removal only lasts about 6 months and then can be maintained with "booster shots." Last fall I opted for the laser hair removal and had AMAZING results.It took 3 monthly visits to get the results I needed and now I'm on the "every 6 months" booster phase.

Today it's time for a treatment as the hair is starting to come back.

The process is pretty simple.
  1. Let the hair grow without waxing it for a good month or longer before the procedure. You need the roots there! So they recommend you <gulp> shave for a month. Yuck.
  2. For treatment day, get a prescription numbing cream and put it on your face for an hour before the procedure. The hard part of this is finding some clever way to keep the cream on. The laser center recommended saran wrap and tape. I used 'press'n peel' wrap and electrical tape. 
  3. I HIGHLY recommend taking some motrin about 30 minutes before going. The process is quick but feels like someone is snapping (HARD) rubber bands all over the affected area. It stings.
  4. Wipe the cream off at the laser treatment place, lay back, and in a few minutes it will be over.
  5. Leave, hairless, knowing you won't have to hide, shave, wax, etc. for 6 months. YAY!
I spent 10 years hating to interact with people because I had a hard time hiding this problem. If I shaved it, I got stubble just like a guy. In order to wax, it meant going for many days doing nothing so the hair could grow out long enough to wax. After a while I took a "skaroo it" approach and tried to ignore it. All those methods left my esteem in the toilet.

The laser solution is neither permanent nor cheap. I put this on the "Care Credit" credit card (http://carecredit.com) and it's interest free for 18 months.  

Laser treatments............$350 per visit
Numbing cream............$15.00
Motrin..........................$5.00

Walking around with my head held high without embarrassment and humiliation?..............Priceless.

-----------
Update 3/14/11 @ 8 pm

Here's what it looked like within a couple of minutes of the procedure (it looks worse than it felt, kind of):


And here's what it looked like about an hour later (bumps almost gone and NO HAIR woohoo!):


This should last now for another 6 months.  YAY!

♥♥♥

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Scale, My Legs, and some BMI info

I stepped on the scale this morning.  And I am UP three pounds.

I have to consider the week, and remember that not every week is going to bring a big scale victory.

I have to know that muscle is denser and heavier than fat, and be comfortable in the fact that I worked out really hard this week.

I have to move past the scale and look at NON scale victories I enjoyed this week:


  • I started doing more cardio
  • I was able to navigate some restaurants making really healthy choices
  • I was able to keep my emotions pretty steady this week
  • I was super focused and productive at work, probably in part because of the exercise and excellent food choices
  • My clothes are literally falling off of me.  In fact, I'll post a pic or two below to show the pant legs.  It's funny, really.

    Okay.  So the scale is a bit rebellious.  Maybe it's like the rest of my life modus operandi:  Backing up to get a running headstart?  Regardless, I need to stop stepping on the scale every morning.  I don't need something to emotionally derail me when I have been doing so freaking awesome!


    I'm going to blast this song right now and go hit treadmill for an extra 15-20 minutes on 4 (that's a super fast walk/slow jog for me).  I'll beat that scale into submission for next time I get on it!


    And something to make me feel like I really AM making progress - here are some leg shots, both in and out of the pants.  This will motivate me to keep going, even if the scale has betrayed me today.:

    No trick photography.  These really are my legs!
    The pant-legs are almost twice as big as my legs!



    Final note:  When I started this whole thing, my BMI was 45.9, which by some accounts put me in the "Super Obese" category.  I have now passed through the next category "Morbidly Obese" and am at a BMI that puts me in the "severely" obese category.  Ha..I'll take it.  At least I'm not morbidly obese anymore.  (Morbidly doesn't mean grotesque, like many of you might think.  It means at great risk of death).

    You know what?  I've got great legs for a freaking severely obese woman.  (Being 5' 10" has its advantages.)  If I keep up this pace, I will be teetering on the line between "regular obese" and "overweight" by the end of summer.  Woohoo.  That's my big goal right now.  To just be regular overweight like the rest of America.  LOL

    Come on scale, don't fail me now!!!!!

    ♥♥♥

    Saturday, March 12, 2011

    Codependency and Addiction


    Codependency
    If at your core is shame, (a belief that there is something inherently wrong with who you are), then you spend a lifetime seeking external validation that you are okay, that you are acceptable, maybe even likeable.  You may twist yourself into a pretzel to get people to like you.  You may put others' needs before your own in such a way that you are really not taking good care of yourself.  Or maybe you do things for others so that they will keep you around...you are useful.  For me, codependency meant constantly worrying about what others think about me and going to great lengths to please them, oftentimes to my own detriment.  That is a huge burden, because no amount of external validation in the world can ever make us love ourselves.  It's a bandaid approach to a big gaping wound.  Or trying to fill an endless hole in your soul.

    Addiction
    If you have this kind of hole in your soul, a need for acceptance and belonging from outside of yourself, and you find that no matter how many muscles you pull trying to be everything to everybody it just doesn't work, you may seek other means of feeding the emotional tapeworm inside.  For me that came in the form of nicotine addiction and food addiction.  Seeking comfort, companionship and belonging in the forms of soothing or numbing or pain relieving substances.  Your mileage may vary.  Maybe gambling or alcohol, hard drugs or sex addiction were your addictions.  Or compulsive shopping.  Or Internet addiction.  I believe they all stem from the same root - a core of shame, of not believing we are good, and good enough, and lovable exactly as we are.

    These ideas (codependency and addiction) are books in themselves and would take hundreds of pages to explore how they affect me.  I just want to say I am ready to have these things removed because I really do believe I'm okay at my core.  I really do believe I am loved.  I really do believe some people will like me, some will love me, some will hate me, and I'm really okay with that today.

    Fear
    One fear that blocked me in the past was that if I was fat and unloved, I could hide behind that, maybe even blame it.  But if I became thin and unloved, I would feel very exposed since I didn't have a strong sense of self and a thick emotional skin.  It might mean that there really was something wrong with me that made me unlovable.  So I ate, and hid, and tried to sustain myself on external validation that I was "okay." 

    One way to combat codependency is to try to find SELF validation.  I find that when I am faced with a choice between A and B, one of them is always more in line with who I am and what I want or know to be right and if I choose that, I am validating myself.  The more "next right choices" I make, the stronger I become in "who I am", and the less I need people "out there" to build my ego.  That's pretty shaky ground, putting your happiness in everyone else's hands!  So the choices i made have to be right for ME, so that I am honoring myself.

    One way to combat addiction is to allow myself the feelings of discomfort that accompany the absence of the addictive substance.  If I want to run to the kitchen to soothe a tear, I'm finding it's okay to just cry and feel the tears.  It's okay to have strong emotions.  It's okay to accept the way things are today and make plans for a better tomorrow.   

    One way to combat fear is to accept a little discomfort and move forward anyway:
    If you are willing to accept discomfort in the pursuit of happiness, you will never be a slave to fear again. -M. Beck
    Wrap-up
    It's all so complicated and all so simple at the same time.  The bottom line is that while shedding the physical weight, I have to stay vigilant to honor who I am.  To make good next right choices in my life.  To know that giving in to the food will leave me feeling horrible, that twisting myself to please everyone else will leave me feeling lost and empty, and that being true to myself and choosing health, fitness and self care will bring me peace and love.

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Walk Away The Pounds

    The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance," 1841


    I love Emerson and he's right.  For many of us, the walking we do consists of a few steps from our door to our car.  Then we circle around trying to find the closest parking spot possible at the store, because heaven forbid we walk those extra 15 steps!  That was me, for sure, for years.


    That's slowly changing.


    Now that I've lost 44 pounds since this summer, I find I am able to move more, and for longer periods of time.  I have been getting on the treadmill frequently, but that gets a little boring.  Because I do it so early in the morning (like 5:00 a.m. sometimes) I can't go out around the neighborhood and leave my son home, so I decided to try the Leslie Sansone DVD's on "walking away the pounds."


    Yesterday I tried "Walk the Walk" which includes two workouts:  1 mile and 2 miles.  Even as long as it's been since I've done any kind of cardio, I felt the 1 mile workout was really weak.  Maybe I'm too used to the Drill Sergeant pushing me, but this felt way too easy.  


    Next up will be the 5 Day Slim down.  Starting Monday I'm going to do a mile each day as she suggests, with each workout focused on a different target area (arms, abs, legs, etc.)  I'll let you know how I like them once I've tried the whole thing.  The reviews are really good, so I am hopeful.


    Now that I can move more, I can and should step up the exercising in between personal trainer workouts.  I want to melt this darned fat away.  All the muscle in the world is of no value to me if it's surrounded by fat anyway!  The only way to burn fat is to get moving, do cardio, at least 30 minutes a day.  My goal is, starting Sunday, to accomplish this 5 days per week, no matter what.  


    I think I'm going to make a chart and hang it somewhere nearby and write down each day I do the cardio.  By writing it down and displaying it, I can't deceive myself about my progress.    Remember, my goal is to fail-proof these things so I can't sabotage myself!


    :-)


    ♥♥♥

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