Progress Pics

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Babbling Barbie

Greetings everyone. Before I launch into today's post-- I want to thank you all.......... for visiting my blog-- it means a lot to me. And for keeping your own blogs. We overweight people have suffered discomforts, humiliations and limitations of a nature that everyone else is blissfully unaware of. It takes a lot of courage to be so public with our struggles and frustrations.

Many of you, in the coming months, will leave the fat behind and become athletes (some of you already have) -- so for all of you would-be runners, power walkers, body builders, bikers and swimmers---thank you. Thank you for the honor of witnessing your transformation and the ups and downs that go with it. It means more to me than I can express and helps me with my own issues far more than I have the time or ability to analyze here.

I don't always leave a comment as I read a lot of blogs every day and if I left even a brief comment in each I'd never get anything else done. But I do read everyday and wanted to take a minute to thank you all for putting yourselves out there.

About 2 months ago, on one of the body building boards a guy was raving about the new Hellmann's Olive Oil Mayo. I looked for it in my local stores but no one had it. I finally gave up and forgot about it, but lo and behold, I was walking through Stop and Shop a week or two ago and there it was!

I am trying to keep condiments at a minimum as it's a way I consume a lot of unnecessary calories. But I had to try this, and it is not bad. It has less calories than regular Hellmann's mayo (I believe 20 calories less per serving). It has slightly more calories than the "light" mayo--- but it doesn't have the sugar and chemicals of the "light" versions. Then there's the benefits of the Olive Oil. So, just thought I'd include this in a blog in case any of you don't know about it and might want to try it.

My friend Barbara was visiting last night. She has this tendency to blurt out random thoughts that pop into her head without thinking about the impact that the remark might have on others in the room. I told her she should dip all of her shoes in chocolate-- since she puts her foot in her mouth so much-- at least it would be tasty.

Anyway, we had been talking about my weight loss and there was a pause in the conversation. After a few minutes of the comfortable silence that can exist between old friends, she suddenly ruined the moment by blurting out, "If I could look like you do when you're fit, I would never allow myself to get fat."

Someone with thin skin or someone who didn't know her well would have been hurt or offended by this remark--- but I used to weigh over 400-- so I have heard and overheard far worse. But I could tell by the look on her face that she regretted saying it, and was studying my face for the dreaded reaction. LOL

I've known her since I was 20 and she has always had this fascination with my legs. I am 6'3" so I have seriously long legs.

During my thinner periods, if Barbie were with me while I was shopping, she'd always look for the shortest skirt that could be found and try to convince me to buy it. We're talking skirts that barely cover the butt cheeks.

Think about it, if a skirt is made for a woman of average height and it is meant to be short-- well, when Ms. 6'3" puts it on it is now obscenely short. Something from Walmart that would look cute and flirty on most women will make me look like a street walker. If Barbie had her way, I'd have been walking around looking like the cover of the latest Frederick's of Hollywood catalog.

ANYWAY, after her remark, and remembering the shopping trips and other fun times with her, I was sitting there realizing how LITTLE I ever appreciated my own body or had fun with it or dressed it up or flirted with it.

And I sat there wishing that just once I had taken her advice and bought the skirt and had been, even for a day, the gal who was 6'3" and proud and really taking the leggy thing too far and dressing over the top and............ Just once.........

I've been sitting with this ever since and I am going to devote a whole post to more on this topic very soon. Suffice it to say for day I will reach my goals and I will post pics of a shopping spree with Barbie, and you people aren't going to believe what I end up buying and actually wearing in public. he he he

To be continued................

Be good to you today...........

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Making Some Changes

When I first started this journey I was doing an "Atkins" or "Caveman Diet" type of program and I gradually began adding carbs in -mainly because I was bored out of my mind.

Anywho, lately I feel like my weight loss has slowed down a bit. If you're a regular reader, you may be wondering how I know that my weight loss has slowed down, since I don't weigh myself.

I dunno, actually. It is hard to explain and may sound a bit weird or new agey to some folks but I can actually "feel" it when my body is actively losing weight. I don't know how I do this. I just do.

If I WERE weighing myself right now I bet I'd be going mental over a 1/2 pound to a pound loss per week for the past two weeks, at the most. Please don 't say I should be happy with that. I'm not. I have another 100 pounds or more to go and I don't want to be assing around here for the next 2-3 years trying to get it done. I'm traveling to South Dakota again this coming summer and I'll be damned if I'm gonna sit on an airplane with a 100 pound gut sitting on my lap and once again suffer all the discomforts and public humiliations of the morbidly obese traveler.

Not just no, but HELL NO.

Anyway, I decided yesterday to cut back on the carbs. Every day, for my mid-morning meal, I've been eating a double serving of wheat germ with fruit and either yogurt or non-fat milk. I cut the wheat germ in half and the fruit in half and I will no longer have starchy carbs with dinner.

I think that this change, coupled with a few enthusiastic cardio sessions this week should get things moving again. Ya know, in the past, when I made a pledge to "go on a diet," if what I was doing stopped working for me in any respect, I viewed making changes as a form of failure. I can't say why, it seems to be the "fat head" way of thinking.

Now I am just trying to see this as a process and accept that I'll probably have to make changes here and there as I go along to keep things moving in the direction that I want. Overall, in the long run, I think I am going to be one of those people who MUST stay away from processed foods and keep healthy carbs at the minimum, otherwise I will gain weight and feel like crap.

In addition to cutting back on the carbs, I also reduced my calories by about 200 per day. We'll see how things go. Soon, it'll be time for my monthly progress report and pics and I'm trying to get it together to have some really good pics for ya.

Yesterday, I was looking at the skirts I wore to South Dakota in July and I am positive that another person (and not a small one either) could wear one of these skirts with me, and I'm thinking that it would be a cool pic-- especially with another pic of me wearing the skirt myself back in July.

I have to see who ventures over to my house in the next week or two that I can convince to take part in this...........

Over the weekend and up until today, my exercise schedule really sucked ass. I was suffering a whopper of a headache on Friday so just barely went through the motions of exercise. Saturday is my optional day off and as I was still headachey, I took it and just putzed around the house doing chores and paperwork that I've put off for weeks. Sunday, DH and I planned on a long hike but it rained buckets all day. Then he got called into work which made going to the gym impossible.

Yeah, I could have talked myself into doing one of my cardio DVDs, but I didn't. My self-motivating abilities seemed on the weak side. I kept trying to give myself pep talks -- I didn't exercise, but I did smile at one point as all of the pep talk stuff gave me the image of my former 400 pound body wedged into a cheerleading outfit-- geeez, what an image. For the love of all that's holy, why do things like this come into our minds? LOL

Yesterday, I walked a half mile and did nothing else. But, I got myself back on track today with a long walk on the beach first thing this morning. I am doing the Chalean Extreme program this afternoon and going to the gym with Jeff tonight, so I am back in the swing of things.

Today, I don't have a headache for the first time since I can't remember when and I feel less hungry. The less carbs I eat, the less hungry I am and the easier it is for me to keep the portions where they need to be and avoid the snacking.

This is it for today......... be good to you and have a great day!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fat??? Who me???

Happy Monday everyone! I totally changed my mind about the topic of today's post because of a study I read that really has kept my wheels spinning all weekend.

In the study, clinically obese people were asked a series of questions about their weight, body style and health habits. Here's the kicker ---- 3 out of 4 obese people DO NOT describe themselves as obese when asked about their body type. Also, 52% of them describe their diet as "healthy."

Hello!!! I look in the mirror at my pendulous gut, triceps fat and double chin, and if anything, I am HYPER aware of them. At least I am right now.....

When I first read this study, I thought, "How can anyone have more rolls than an Italian bakery and NOT see it? How can they have more chins than a Chinese phone book and believe that their diet is healthy?"

Then I realized, I started at over 400 pounds, and didn't I ignore THAT for many years? We look at ourselves from the neck up, don't we? For years, my body was nothing but transportation for my head.

When we finally stop and look, I mean really look, at what we have done to ourselves and what it has meant to the quality of our lives -- the pain is excruciating. Trust me, I have been through a lot in life -- having become a widowed mom in my twenties and having it go downhill from there for many years-- but nothing that life hands us hurts more than what we do to ourselves.

I think what is WORSE for me than the actual fat is having to own the actions that put it there. Yeah, there's genetics and the habits from upbringing, but in the end, it is me who decides to eat something or not eat it. Genetics may provide the gun, childhood environment may provide the bullets, but it's us who load the guns and fire them.

It hurt and was so incredibly overwhelming the day I looked in the mirror at the 400 pounds of sagging flesh and became consciously aware that I am not a victim of anything except my own bad choices. Fat did not happen to me against my will, like bad weather falling out of the sky. I put it there, it did not land on me like rain.

So, I can understand those 3 out of 4 obese people who when asked, say they are not fat. It's not just the fat and all of the pain, limitations and embarrassments that they are denying---but the responsibility for the fat.

Yeah, as long as you either deny that fat exists or act like you are the victim of fat, it politely relieves you of the responsibility of having to deal with it -- at least in our own minds. That is, until something happens that drives home how huge the problem has become.

Some of the WORST habits that we fat people have are denial, playing the victim and procrastination. Lord knows, there are plenty of others that we can name. I personally don't believe that we can improve our health and change our bodies for good until we deal with this inner stuff first.

Hey, I am not trying to depress people here but to offer hope. The sooner we own the actions that put us in this boat, the sooner we can own the process of change. We did it, we can undo it.

I am trying to remain "connected" and responsible for each choice I make regarding my health and fitness. And more and more, I am trying to be careful about the words that I use with regards to food, eating, exercise and this whole journey I am on. I asked my DH to help me by pointing it out if he hears any "victim speak" coming out of my mouth.

I had this habit of referring to my fat as the dragon I must slay and would talk about being my own hero. My DH pointed out that calling it the "dragon" made the fat into some external foe that is attacking me instead of an unhealthy state that I created myself. In calling it the dragon, I am not owning it.

He is right. I stopped calling it the dragon and after all of these months I STILL catch myself using phrases and having feelings that externalize the problem and make me a victim of the fat. Other times, I own the problem and have outright RAGE against myself for letting it go as far as I did -- so self-forgiveness has to be part of the process too.

Let's get this done -- Finally do what we gotta do inside and out to get past this. This is soooo hard, I know. But we can do it one step at a time.

Do something good for you today! Make at least ONE choice that gets you closer to your goal.
You matter. You are beautiful! You can do this!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Week in Review: Fitness Totals

I am having serious time-management issues. Don't worry, this is NOT going to be one of those posts where the fat girl rags about how busy she is and uses that as an excuse to abandon her fitness efforts.

No way!

I am entering into my busy season, work wise. There are MANY priorities in terms of work and fitness and I really suck ass at playing the daily game of trying to prioritize everything appropriately.

So, this week--- walking won the top slot of my exercise routine -- I spent 3 hours and 25 minutes walking. This is the most I have walked so far and I was proud that I pushed myself to do it.

I spent 90 minutes on the ChaLEAN Extreme program at home and did two 40-minute sessions at the gym for a total of 80-minutes of gym time.

So I have a total of 6 hours and 15 minutes spent on exercise this week. Not bad for a former coach potato. But what is lacking are any workouts that are strictly cardio. That's why I mentioned the time management.

With my hilly-ass neighborhood, large portions of my walks are cardio whether I want them to be or not -- so in managing my time, I am making weight training the priority for indoor exercise so that I build muscle and have variety.

Even though I am trying to walk more, I was still hoping to squeeze in an hour or two of indoor cardio every week just to blast away a few more fat cells. It simply didn't happen this week.

Overall, I am satisfied with my week. I walked more this week than I have in years and I am really starting to feel the accumulative affect of the weight training.

When I am working out... I can see and feel the new muscle! I can see cuts in the front of my thighs during lunges, I can see the delts and biceps forming in my arms when I work with dumb bells --- even my weakest area, my gut-- has progress, as in spite of all of the remaining flab, when I am doing squats and lunges I can feel the improved strength and balance in the center of my body.

What gives me "moments" of frustration and impatience is that my muscles are not visible to anyone else yet. I am at that point where I probably exercise more and eat better than the average American (which sadly, isn't so hard to do) yet I don't look the part.

I still have a huge gut, and flab covering the muscles of my arms and legs -- and I am so tired of it. I look in the mirror sometimes and think, "I work and work and work at the exercise and always eat right, so when's the part where I start to look better?"

Hey, don't worry, I'm not gonna let myself feel so funky that I give up. I just have my moments and like every other fat person, I want instant gratification. LOL

Anyway, a short-term goal for this week is to keep up the walking and the weight training and to add in at least one indoor cardio session-- even if it's only 20-minutes.

Let's see how I do.

Hope you guys did well this week and if you didn't, I hope you can dust yourself off and keep going !


Hot 100 - Going Out With A Bang!

Woo hoo! I'm participating in South Beach Steve's Hot 100 Challenge. He's extended the deadline to enter-- so it's not too late for you to get involved! The deadline to enter is before midnight on Monday, September 28th.

Participating is easy! You just need to create some goals, post them, and let Steve know that you're participating before the deadline passes! Give an update at least every 10 days thru the end of the year to remain in the running. The prize is a random drawing for a jar of smokin' hot pickled jalapenos!

Check out the cool logo that participants get to display on their blog! I hope that you'll join in!

My Hot 100 Goals

Exercise a minimum of 5 hours per week

Eat food rich in omega-3s at least 3 times a week

Complete all three months of the ChaLEAN Extreme fitness program

Consume at least 5 fruits and veggies per day

Eat fish a minimum of five times a week

Eat 5-6 small meals per day

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Baby you can drive my car!

Happy Saturday kids!

As I mentioned before, DH and I have one vehicle-- his econoline van. Jeff is a carpenter employed by Yale University School of Medicine and I work from home -- so we help our finances and the Earth by having one vehicle. When I have something to do-- like my dermatology appointment yesterday, I get up early and drive Jeff to work so that I can have the van for the day.

While driving to the dermatologist's yesterday, I suddenly noticed how much easier it is for me to operate and to steer the van. I thought to myself (with PRIDE I might add), "Gee, all of that upper body work at the Gym is paying off. My arms are so strong."

I was glowing over this all day and mentioned it to Jeff the minute I picked him up. He responded by saying, "Er um, steering isn't easier because your biceps are bigger, it's because your belly is no longer pressed against the steering wheel."

OMG, he is right! My gut used to be squished against the steering wheel. Getting in the van used to be so hard! I practically needed a crow bar and a tube of petroleum jelly just to get myself lodged in there. And I used to be OUT OF BREATH by the time I got myself situated.

This isn't as exciting as being able to wear a little black dress with black T-Strap heels, but it's progress, and I'll take every inch of that that I can get right now. Wrap it up, I'll take it! (And I'll be back to buy the dress and shoes later)

I got a lot of contact from people about yesterday's post! I am sitting here having my morning coffee sans aspartame to see how this goes. Honestly, since I switched to fresh, unprocessed foods, I feel so so good. The aspartame has been my hold-out. My diet has been almost ridiculously healthy and clean other than this one thing.

So whether or not giving up chemical sweeteners cures the headaches --- I intend to stay away from them from now on.

Also, just so everyone knows, I DID have my doc check me out over my symptoms. My blood sugar -- which was borderline diabetic back in March, is now on the low side of normal. My EKG showed nothing new or out-of-the-ordinary. Blood work was fine.

I DO have high blood pressure still, although my dose of medicine is cut in half, as my BP HAS reduced. I take Lisinopril 20/25 every day. I used to have to take TWO of those, PLUS 20mg of Furosemide and my BP STILL wasn't normal. That's one of the things that started my journey.

EVERYONE in my family dies of strokes-- almost without exception. And if they don't die of one, they have one or two of them impair their speech and mobility before a heart attack nails them. No thanks!

None of them exercise and none of them eat right. Not one. (Except me). So let's hope it overcomes some of my genetics and that I didn't wait too long to get started .

Everyone have a good weekend!

Move breathe, believe!

Baby you can drive my car
Yes I'm gonna be a star
Baby you can drive my car
And maybe I'll love you
Beep beep'm beep beep yeah

Friday, September 25, 2009

Aspartame & My Headaches?

I found a blog yesterday with a motivational quote that was just what I needed at the time. I will share the quote and a link to the blog for your enjoyment at the end of this post, but first.........

In my attempt to "eat clean" as most of the body builders do, I have been successful in giving up sugar, white flour, white rice, bad fats, etc. I avoid chemical and sugar-laden salad dressings and the like. However.........

One thing I have stubbornly held on to is a morning cup of java with aspartame. I also drink a lot of crystal light. I have been having headaches constantly and I've been attributing it to withdrawal from all the junk I used to eat.

This morning, I had an early appointment with a dermatologist to have some skin tags removed from my eyelids and under my arms. Anyway, I decided to go to the West Haven beach/boardwalk-- which I shared pics of the other day-- and get my walk in early, before the dermatologist. On the way back to the car, I had this tingling in my left arm and I got scared as I know that is a symptom of a pending heart attack.

When I got to the dermatologist's office I was rubbing my arm and debating whether or not to call my primary care doc about the tingling. The receptionist asked if I had a rash on my arm that was bothering me, so I told her what was going on. She then asked if I've had headaches or blurred vision. "YES," I said, amazed that this could have any connection to the tingling in my arm.

She then suggested that I may be having a bad reaction to aspartame and that my symptoms could disappear if I stay away from it. So, I guess I have to conduct an experiment and completely give it up for awhile to see what happens.

Anyway, I can't give up my morning coffee -- I deprive myself in so many other ways, it is one of the little pleasures that I will hold on to -- I'll just have to learn to drink it without chemical sweetener. I will let you know if the headaches and other symptoms go away.

On other fronts, yesterday, I had a huge case of the lazies and was sort of "blah" all day. Thursdays are a day I work out with the ChaLEAN program and I usually try to do it no later than lunch time so that it isn't hanging over my head all day and night.

All day long I messed around............ I lingered at my computer all morning sipping coffee, reading people's blogs, and answering emails. All afternoon I kept finding other things to do besides my workout.

I was back on my computer AGAIN for the umpteenth time and came across the blog of a young man who has lost 80 pounds and has not only become a runner, but a triathlete. His blog entry for September 20th was amazing and jump started my mojo like you wouldn't believe.

At the heading is the following phrase, "Everyone trains hard when they want to. Only the best do it when they don't." Holy crap, talk about just what the doctor ordered! LOL I immediately did my workout and felt great about it. In fact, I felt so great that I couldn't understand why I had avoided it all day.

A few hours later, Jeff (my DH) came home from work and said he wanted to hit the gym before dinner. I am proud to say that I walked to the gym and did an intense, upper body workout once I got there.

Once we got home, we put together a great dinner of grilled salmon, butternut squash, and steamed broccoli with onions, garlic and spices. YUM!

So, I started the day with the enthusiam of a slug on valium and ended up in cheer leader mode ---- all because of what someone wrote in their blog. Don't underestimate the power of your blog to really make a difference for someone! This isn't the first time something like this has happened to me. My fellows bloggers are so important to me.

Anyway, here's a link that should take you to the blog I mentioned. This is a great blog entry about the excuses we make to get out of exercise. I am going to print it and hang it near my desk!

Be good to you today!

Move, breathe, believe!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

EGGstremely Good Breakfast

Here's a pic of what I had for breakfast this morning. This is typical of what I eat first thing every day. I LOVE eggs and have since I was a little girl. Lucky for me, all the latest studies point to a myriad of reasons why eggs are a great friend of anyone trying to lose weight and get healthy.

While there are no "magic pills" or effortless exercises that are going to trim us down, that doesn't mean that we cannot find foods, exercises and information that really work for us. In the "war against fat," eggs have been added to my heavy artillery. They are one of my secret weapons and this post will explain why.

According to new research from the Rochester Centre for Obesity in America, eating eggs for breakfast could help to limit your calorie intake throughout the rest of the day, by more than 400 calories.

In the study, 30 overweight or obese women ate either an egg-based breakfast (2 eggs) or a bagel-based breakfast, containing the same amount of calories and almost identical levels of protein. The researchers recorded the women’s eating habits and found that just before lunch, the women who had eaten eggs for breakfast felt less hungry and ate a smaller lunch as a result. Better still, over the next 36 hours the group eating the egg-containing breakfast consumed, on average, 417 calories less than the bagel-eating group.

So, every morning I scramble one whole egg and four egg whites. Depending on which calorie book you use and how big the chicken's butts are in your area, that's about 160 calories. I sometimes add a few raw spinach leaves or pepper strips to wilt into the mix. I always have 60-100 calories of fruit on the side. The grapes in the pic above are about 60 calories, making this very filling breakfast only about 210 calories, give or take 20 calories either way.

Lest you say that I am not eating enough for a woman who is 6'3" and exercising like a fiend, remember that I eat 5-6 times a day. Just two hours after eating my eggs every day, I eat a bowl of wheat germ with either low-fat Greek yogurt or 1% milk, and have another piece of fruit at that time. If I'm not eating fish that day, I throw in a few walnuts to get some Omega-3s. I am intolerant of being hungry. I don't let myself go there, which leads me to the next thing I wanted to mention.

I confess to being a real sauce and condiment junkie. I NEVER ate anything plain. Never. And this contributed greatly to the 400-plus pound body weight at which I began this journey. When I started eating less and tried to "eat clean" as the body builders do-- I had a really hard time letting go of the sauces and condiments.

At first I tried substituting "low calorie" or "low fat" varieties of things like mayonnaise, salad dressings, spreads, sauces, etc. This "worked" in a sense, as I did lose weight while eating these things. However, even with my 5-6 meals a day, I was often still hungry! And I am not talking about psychological hunger either. I am talking about watching TV with my husband at night and he can hear my stomach growling. Also, these products tend to be high in chemicals and artificial ingredients which simply CAN'T be good for us.

A guy on one of the body building boards that I haunt suggested that for one week, I track how many calories a day I consumed in added sauces, condiments and little "extras." I was to do this without judgement and without trying to consciously consume less of these things than what I had been doing.

What did I find? Can you believe that I was consuming so many calories per day in condiments, sauces and little "extras" that it was equal to eating a plate of scrambled eggs like the one pictured above, but sans the grapes. HELLO! Not only that, but I realized that even though a "serving" might only be 20 calories -- as in ketchup, I was consuming far more than a serving and not being honest about it.

I had a choice. I could continue the way I was going and still lose weight, but be hungry every night. OR, I could cut out the majority of that stuff and add an extra plate of scrambled egg whites to my daily regimen. Given how hungry I was at night, the eggs won out.

Some time has gone by and I don't feel the need to have the second serving of scrambled egg whites every day. But I always have the comfort of knowing it's there for me if I need it. My style of eating has become cleaner and cleaner as I go along............. more fish, more leafy greens, more raw foods, better fats, etc. I have found that, the better I eat, the less I need to eat.

This didn't happen overnight. Back in the beginning, I didn't think I could survive without Weight Watcher's goodies and low-fat ice cream in the house. But, put a low fat brownie next to that plate of eggs... In terms of volume alone, the brownie just doesn't satisfy me. Ignoring the fact that the eggs are better for me, in terms of the practical -- they fill me up more for the same amount of calories as a low-fat brownie -- and since I can't stand being hungry, I go with the healthier option that fills me up more.

My handsome, 6'3" DH, the same height as me by the way, actually has LESS natural muscle than I do. When I'm at my goal weight I look thicker and stronger than he does. Right now, still substantially overweight, the weight that I can lift or pull at the gym is equal or greater than his. For instance, I can pull 135 pounds in the seated row and he can only do 90 pounds.

Yet, he can hose down TWICE the calories that I can in a day and he won't gain weight. His metabolism is such that he can have less muscle than I do, exercise less than I do and eat twice as much.

If life were "fair," I'd be like him and able to eat everything and anything. But life isn't "fair." For people like us who struggle with the weight and for whom every fitness milestone is hard-won, we have certain choices to make if we are to succeed. The eggs vs the condiments is one of those choices for me. For you it might be something else.

It sucks that we have to make choices that other people don't even have to consider. But we have to concentrate on the way things are, not the way we wish them to be, if we are to have success.

If you stay with this long enough, through trial and error and your own research and experiments, you'll find things that work for you. Don't give up. We aren't going to change the bad eating habits of a lifetime in the snap of our fingers.

Be good to you today! Eat well, move, breathe, believe!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Life's a Beach

Both yesterday and today I was able to walk at the West Haven beach/boardwalk, instead of around my hilly-ass neighborhood. The scenery is breathtaking! Having other walkers, runners and bikers--- (all in various stages of fitness)-- exercising around you, is very inspiring

Sorry this pic is a little dark. This is about the hilliest area of the path, the rest is pretty flat. If you walk the entire loop it is about 6-miles. Of course, I can't do that yet but hope to be running here this time next year!

That point that you see in the distance is Bradley Point. The exercise path goes down there and forms a loop with gorgeous flower beds and landscaping all around--- as if the stunning ocean views aren't enough! Spectacular place!

Anyway, I have to drive a few miles to get to this location and since DH and I share a vehicle right now, it isn't always possible for me to walk here. But when I can -- it's so amazing!

In the realm of exercise, I have bragging rights for the effort I put in yesterday! Woo-hoo!!

I started the day with a long-ass walk at the beach and really worked up a sweat. Then, DH had taken the day off from work and wanted to to to the gymn, so I tagged along and really hammered my large muscle groups with heavier weights than what I have at home. I gave my back, thighs and chest a kick-ass workout and, once again, really worked up a sweat as I lifted heavy and did not rest between sets.

THEN, after dinner, DH suggested a quick walk in the woods with the dogs . There is a track of woods in our neighborhood that used to belong to the water company. Different developers have bought the property from each other and no one (so far) has gotten zoning approval to do what they want in there. So, the space remains this beautiful, wooded trek with well-worn paths bordered by ferns and wild flowers. Deer, wild turkeys and other wild life can cross your path at any moment.

Anyway, our hunting dogs, who are both rescues, LOVE to run off-leash and this is the perfect place for it. No one goes in there. So we took the "boys" in there and let them run amuck while we got in a one mile walk.

I came back home and realized it was my day to do the ChaLEAN extreme burn circuit 2 and I hadn't done it. I DON'T want to skip any workouts unless it honestly cannot be avoided. The Biggest Loser was coming on so I had one hour to do my ChaLEAN workout and take my shower before the show started. I did it!! I didn't wanna, but I did it! LOL!

With all of the exercise I put in, I had NO trouble falling asleep last night, believe me. And I felt proud of myself for the effort I put in! So today is a new day to make good choices, work hard and bring myself one day closer to my goals!

Be good to yourself today! Eat real food that is good for you. Move your body. Breathe deeply!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Measuring Up, go figure!

Before I launch into today's post, thought I'd share a pic of last night's veggie that we had with our grilled salmon and baked sweet potatoes -- broccoli rabe sauteed in a bit of olive oil with onions, garlic, mushrooms and grated carrot. OMG--delicious and nutritious! I know that this veggie is an acquired taste because of its bitter tones, but having grown up in an Italian neighborhood, I learned to LOVE it.

At only 20 calories a cup, this is a food you can really chow down on and not worry about messing up your food plan. I always cook extra and throw it in my scrambled egg whites the following day. YUM!

One of the many health benefits of this vegetable is that it is rich in certain phytochemicals, including sulforaphane and indoles. These are chemicals which are proving to protect us against cancer.

Ok-- now that I'm done with my broccoli rabe commercial, on to my post. LOL

If you are familiar with me, you know that I do not own a scale right now, haven't weighed myself in ages, and probably won't be doing so any time in the near future.

You see, having a scale is a way I have sabotaged my weight loss and fitness efforts in the past, and I am actively trying to avoid self-sabotaging behaviors and patterns.

In the past, I'd have a scale and be "on a diet" and I'd tell myself that I would only weigh once a week................... but it never worked out that way. I would be hopping on that scale everyday. Yup, every morning I'd let that scale tell me how I should feel about myself and whether or not my efforts had resulted in "progress," etc., etc..............

And as if that isn't bad enough, I didn't restrict this torture to mornings only, I would be hopping on and off that bad boy day and night, moving it from one room to another or standing different ways to see how it would affect the numbers.................

That's why this time, as part of my quest to do things differently, I refuse to have a scale in my house. If there were a scale here, I'd become a slave to it. Yes, I would become its bitch and in no time flat I'd be letting it have WAY, WAY more influence on my self-perception, self-esteem and indeed my entire life, than a hunk of metal deserves.

It's appropriate that scales are generally kept in the bathroom. After all, they are usually pieces of shit. Ask any overweight person, they'll tell ya! LOL

In striving to get a healthy body and healthy self-perception, a scale is something that I have put aside for awhile until the day comes when I feel that I can keep its numbers in perspective and use it as a tool instead of becoming its bitch.

Anyway, not having a scale, I took my measurements back at the end of July when I joined the gym. I also started an exercise log that runs for 13 weeks and has a page where you can record your weight, measurements and other stats--- so I put my measurements in there.

I planned to only measure myself once a month when I post my progress pics here but........ the other day, I was picking up the house as we were having friends over for dinner, and I came across the tape measure which I had left laying around when I posted my monthly progress report a couple weeks ago.

By coincidence, that day marked my first completed week of the ChaLEAN Extreme program, and I FELT different, and there was the tape measure, and no one was around, so...............

I whipped my shirt off and measured my waist ---- one inch down in ONE week! Holy crap!

So I measured my hips, ANOTHER inch down! My arms measured slightly smaller too!

Wow, ChaLEAN really is extreme!

The good news is - I was and still am amazed by the results I am getting with the ChaLEAN program. The bad news is, I measured myself before my next progress report-- when I promised myself that I wouldn't do that because it has led to obsessive behaviors for me in the past.

There's no point in not having a scale in the house because I become its bitch, only to have a tape measure and do the same thing. This is the first promise to myself that I have broken since I came back from South Dakota in the middle of July and decided to get really serious.

I don't want to break promises to myself. I put the tape measure away until my next progress report with pics in mid-October.

Right now I am trying to practice something else that's hard for me --- self-forgiveness. I broke a promise to myself and that wasn't good. But I can't blow it out of proportion and let that one slip define me as a failure== something I have done in the past. We all know where that leads -- to the nearest fast food drive-up. Can you say super-size it?

And so I put it behind me and this morning treated myself to a nice, long walk at the beach/boardwalk in my town. I am so lucky to have this----it's a gorgeous place to walk, run or bike. It was good to get a break from walking my hilly-ass neighborhood. Since most of the path is flat, I pushed myself to walk as fast as I could and really worked up a sweat.

I followed that up with a quick circuit at the gym to hammer my large muscles with heavier weights than I have available at home. I vibrated my way out of the building as my arms and legs were shaking.

And so, if you've fucked up lately, please forgive yourself and move on. Forgive yourself as you would any friend-- one thing about this getting fit business is that learning how to be a friend to yourself is part of the package-- and there's no way you'll succeed without it.

Do something nice for you today!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thin is NOT Fit

I've been involved with Lakota Indians for many years. A long time ago, an elder told me that when you look at something with your eyes, your vision actually distracts you from what you are really looking at. Another way to express this is that the eyes can make you focus on what you think you see, and stop you from understanding the full story of what you are looking at. Today's post is about an example of that wisdom as it applies to fitness and losing weight.

Over the weekend a friend came over to visit with her daughter who is only 19-years old. They brought dunkin donuts with them and tried to cajole me into eating with them--some how, I was able to say "no" and sip my mint tea and have a few rice cakes.

ANYWAY, the daughter is gorgeous-- as only a 19-year old can be-- perfect body, clear skin, long wavy hair-- and knows how to dress to show off her best ASSets. Yes, she really stays aBREAST of the latest fashion trends. LOL

It would be easy for people like us, who have a lot of weight to lose, to look at this girl and at first glance say, "I wish I could be like her." But let me assure you my friends, you DON'T want to be like her! Read on to find out why!

First of all, she excused herself every 15-minutes to go outside and have a cigarette. There's only one small staircase in the entry to my home and she would be winded each time she came back in. So here's a girl in the prime of her life who doesn't have the aerobic capacity of someone like me-- a fat old lady who is proud to be walking a mile or two a day.

Next, we have a weight bench, barbell and dumb bell sets and other exercise equipment in our sitting room. She asked if my husband lifts weights and was SHOCKED when I told her that I am the one who uses the weights.

She tried to pick up a 20 pound dumb bell and needed two hands to lift it. I do bicep curls with those 20 pound dumb bells and will be increasing the weight soon -- and I've only been doing this for 2 months. She asked me to demonstrate a bicep curl and I could tell that she thought I was full of shit and wouldn't be able to do it. Boy, did I shock her! It was priceless!

I could go on, but you get the idea.

If you started at a high body weight, like I did, and you go for fitness, not just thinness, then I have good news for you--- you will achieve really phenomenal levels of strength, aerobic capacity and endurance LONG before you reach your goal weight.

You may be three or four hundred pounds at the start and not as young as you used to be, but if you watch what you eat and put some honest effort into cardio and weight training, I guaran-freakin-tee ya that within a few months you'll be able to run circles around the average young party animal.

Yeah, it takes a year, give a or take a few months either way, for the average person to lose 100 pounds. But you can be stronger, faster, and more flexible within a few weeks of working out, and LONG before you reach goal you can be fitter than people who are half your age and half your body weight.

This is not only good for your health-- it is great for your self-respect and self-esteem. It gives you something to be proud of while you work on getting the rest of the weight off.

Right now, in spite of the fact that I've lost over 100 pounds since March and have been exercising faithfully since the middle of summer....... the fact is, I still have another 100 pounds to lose and I don't LOOK like someone who is at all fit. I don't look like someone who can walk 2 miles, lift heavy weights, or do squats in proper form -- but I can!

I have 37" legs. Do I want to look good in skirts again? You betcha!! I'd be crazy not to want that. But in the meantime, nurturing the budding athlete within allows me to focus on the positive and to be grateful for what I have already achieved.

Put me beside any thin 20-something and ask people which one is the fit one and they will all say it must be the thin one. LOOKS are deceiving. Don't deceive yourself! If you started at a high weight and have been exercising for awhile, you have already achieved far more than what the mirror or the scale can show you.

Give yourself credit! Thin is not fit. Fashionable does not equal real beauty. There is beauty in a woman who has taken on the goals that we have and who gives her all towards those objectives every day. People who cannot look at you and see that have not learned how to look at things and understand what they are really seeing. They need to go visit the native elders and learn that the eyes don't tell the whole story.

Be good to you today and do at least ONE thing that will get you closer to your goal!

Peace out!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Week in Review: Fitness Totals

Ok kids, it's been seven months since I started losing weight, 2 months since I joined the gym, and one week since I started ChaLEAN Extreme.

Above and beyond starting the ChaLEAN program this week, I made some other changes as well. I signed up for the Biggest Loser Walking challenge at Operation Fat Blaster which GREATLY increased the amount of walking I got in this week.

My weekly totals:

Weight lifting (at gym) -- 30 minutes

Walking aound my hilly-ass neighborhood -- 3 hours and 14 minutes

Weight Training with ChaLEAN -- 2 hours

Cardio -- 55-minutes

My total fitness time for the week is 6 hours and 39 minutes.

As you can see, I spent less time at the gym this past week. My time at home with the ChaLEAN program really kicks my ass. But I DO enjoy going to the gym with my DH so I will go when I have the energy to do some extra work on my legs and abs or to use the cardio equipment there.

The ChaLEAN program is AWESOME. After one week, I just know, I just feel it in my gut (OW, I made a funny, ha, ha, ouch) that I'm going to have awesome results from this program. (More on that in a minute).

Another thing is, although it is weight training, there's not really any rest between sets, so there's a real aerobic quality to the work outs. When I'm done, my head is bathed in sweat and I am out of breath. I always, at the end, have that feeling you get when you give it your all and have nothing left.

That's why I also cut back on those strictly cardio workouts that I had been doing. The ChaLEAN program is VERY aerobic for me as it is, and with the walking that I've added I don't feel the need to ALSO do a cardio workout 3-4 times a week. Once or twice seems sufficient right now. If ChaLEAN's cardio effect on me lessens over time, I'll have to tweak my program. But for now, it looks like the way this week went will be "typical" of my schedule for the next few months.

From now on, what I list as time spent on "cardio" will mean an activity that is strictly cardio, in which I am not holding weights. But for the record, my time spent on the ChaLEAN program is both cardio and weight training at the same time. My walks, also, are very aerobic because of the hills in my neighborhood and the excess weight that I carry.

Now let's talk turkey about my RESULTS. For the hell of it, I measured my problem areas even though I just took my measurements a week ago for my monthly progress report. One week with ChaLEAN and some extra walking and I lost one inch from my waist, one inch from my hips, and 1/4 inch off my upper arms.

When I look at my face, I see an OBVIOUS difference in it and also my neck. My butt and the back of my legs feel tighter and (the best part) underneath the flab of my gut I can "feel" strength developing there and my body trying to uplift that area.

The gut doesn't "look" smaller to me yet, but when I am doing squats and lunges I can feel the power developing and improving inside my body, I can almost feel the calories burning --LOL I NEVER exercised or lifted weights like this-- even when I was younger. I honestly believe that if I continue, I will become stronger and fitter and possibly even LOOK better than I did 20 years ago. I am NOT the sort of person to make comments like that and not really mean it.
I know that I'm on to something here and I am going to ride it for all its worth.

Anyway, it's a new week and I kicked it off with a morning walk through my neighborhood this morning. Be good to yourself!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Excuses are for pussies

This post might also be called "Why many online weight loss support groups may actually impede your progress."

PLEASE.......... allow me to vent!! There will be a happy ending at the end of the venting, but it may take me awhile to get to that point. LOL Before I begin, as a prelude to this story, lemme say that many moons ago, I read a psychological study about support groups for overcoming issues such as alcoholism, obesity, co-dependent issues, and the like.

Basically a bunch of people can start a group with the stated purpose of say, overcoming morbid obesity. At some point, the core or primary members of the group might "give up" inwardly (assuming they were really serious from the beginning), yet outwardly, they keep up the pretence that they are really trying to lose weight.

The core members form an unspoken alliance and an unspoken agreement that they will ENABLE each other to go through the motions of losing weight when they all know that their head and their heart just isn't there.

Heaven help the unsuspecting person who comes along who is really ready to lose weight and put forth the necessary effort. The core members simply can't allow anyone to show examples of hard work, personal sacrifice and actual progress. They can't let anyone upset the status quo, so anyone who does not become a member of the enabling team (or at least ignore it and pretend it isn't happening) will be dealt with swiftly.

What I am venting about here in particular is online support groups such as yahoo groups. When I came back from South Dakota in July I joined half a dozen or so online support groups for those with a lot of weight to lose, and I also reluctantly joined some body building forums as, based on what I've been reading, building a little muscle would greatly aid my weight loss efforts.

Since then, I have unsubscribed from every single "support" group, one at a time, as they were all, without exception, nothing more than havens for enablers. With one group, I unsubscribed within three days after I joined. The people on there did nothing but openly swap recipes for fattening dishes. ( I am not making that up).

In the other groups, people would daily post their excuses for overeating and not exercising and everyone would reinforce that behavior by validating their lame excuses! Hello! Enablers-R-Us, at your service!

Ironically, I was reluctant to join any of the body building forums because many of the people there have never been morbidly obese or really overweight, and those who were are so far from that now. ..... I thought it was important to associate with people who'd understand where I've been and where I was starting from. So I initially thought that the support groups for obesity would be more helpful than the body building forums.

However, as it turns out, I have received more support, better advice and more powerful inspiration from body builders than I ever did from obesity support groups. Although some of the body builders have never been really overweight, they understand what it takes to get a body fit and healthy. They don't all understand where I've been, but they understand exactly where I want to go and what I must do to get there-- because they have all achieved this themselves.

There are a number of body builders on the weight lifting forums who used to be morbidly obese and achieved health through body building. (Most don't hang around the groups for obesity and now I know why). One of them said something to me yesterday that really made something CLICK within me and I will be forever grateful to him.

I told him how I'd finally unsubscribed from the remaining so called weight loss support groups, and about the enabling and such, and we talked for a long time about what has been helpful for him.

The absolute GOLD that he gave me was pointing out how people start diet and exercise programs yet don't feel good about what they are doing. They feel like some fat tub of lard who is struggling to become an athlete.

With the ones who stay at it long enough and who also work on the head stuff, one day, there's a shift, and they stop thinking of themselves as a fat person trying to become an athlete, and instead they start thinking of themselves as an athlete who needs to lose some weight.

Once that shift happens, everything starts improving. They are able to place food in its proper perspective, they are able to make sacrifices and set priorities that support what they want to achieve. And the list goes on.

Basically, what he is saying is that if you think and act like a fit person, your body will eventually fall in line with your thoughts and actions. And he did stress the THINKING part.

I have been experiencing this gradual shift in my thinking and behavior, but might not have been really conscious of it for quite some time if he hadn't pointed this out to me. Staying on my food plan and making exercise a priority have become a routine for me. I do still get occasional urges to eat an unhealthy food, overeat, or skip exercise-- but I am able to talk myself into positive behavior MOST of the time, which is light years away from where I was a short time ago.

So, if you belong to an online support group for weight loss and the members are actually supporting each other in the thinking and actions that will create weight loss -- good for you! I hope that you can stay with it and that the group will be cheering you on your road to success.

But if you check your email every day and read one post after another of EXCUSES and enabling statements, you might want to ask yourself if you are really helping yourself and others by taking part in the group. What is your support group actually supporting?

My ONLY regret is that one or two of the groups that I unsubbed from had a couple of people who seemed to have that spark that's the mark of someone who will find their way eventually; and it would have been great to see them become that fit person they desire to be. I wish them well.

But I can no longer sit here every morning, reading over my emails as I have my morning coffee, and observe groups of people reinforcing for each other all of the lame excuses and justifications for being fat and unfit. As the body builders say, "excuses are for pussies." So I had to move on and put an end to it.

I will remain a member of OFB, as it is run by someone who overcame her obesity with exercise and is now an athlete. The group actually focuses on fitness and athletics. I will also continue with the body building forums where I get great feedback, support and advice. And I will keep reading your blogs and writing in my own -- as this has been really helpful.

Be good to you today and nurture that athlete within!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The hills are alive..............

Thought I'd share some pics of my hilly-ass neighborhood. I took these during this morning's walk. If this hill does not look steep enough for you, then your ass must be a lot smaller than mine. There is a little-known rule of science that the fatter someone's ass is, the steeper a hill is for them. For me, this is practically Mount friggen Everest. It goes on FOREVER. At the top, I am drenched with sweat and struggling to get my breath.
Here's a more level area that's part of the route I do most of the time. A good deal of the streets in my neighborhood are named after counties or towns in Ireland, so the area may have originally been settled by Irish immigrants. This is "cool" for me as I am the grandchild of Irish immigrants, and wondering about the history of the strong, peasant stock that I come from keeps my mind wandering during parts of my walk.

Ahhhhh, finally made it to the top!!! When I get to this part of the loop I am only a few blocks from my street. This is the part where I keep telling myself that I am nearly finished and that since there are no more hills, I should walk a little faster. Some days, I am tired, and the little pep talk doesn't work. On those days , I keep steadily telling myself to "go fuck yourself." If you've never told yourself to "go fuck yourself" and you think this is something that only a crazy person would do -- then I suggest that you go out and walk hills every morning. And when you get to the crest, tell yourself that the worst is over so now you can walk faster. Guaranteed, a lot of the times you'll tell yourself to "go fuck yourself." Even if you normally don't use the "f" word, the hills will cause you to convert.

Is your house ready for autumn?

Pretty, huh? There are SOME benefits to walking.

Look at what I'd miss if I sat in front of my TV eating chips.

The house on the corner from me -- I just loved how this fence looked this morning!

The hills are alive.......... with the sound of my thigh muscles screaming in pain! If you understand that joke then you are either a movie buff or you are as old as the hills -- like me!

Anytime you're having a bad day and you're dying to tell someone to go fuck themselves, feel free to say it to me. I won't mind. I am walking more now because of the walking challenge I am participating in as a member of the OPERATION FAT BLASTER community. Consequently, I've been facing the hills in my neighborhood more, which goes hand-in-hand with the "f" word.

Ok, so I got my walk in and put up a post..... time to stop fucking around and get back to work.....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Walk From Obesity - Please Join me!

All across America, people will be walking to generate awareness of obesity, in particular morbid obesity and childhood obesity. Our walk in CT will take place at Walnut Hill Park in New Britain on Saturday, October 3rd. My DH and I will be there... won't you join us?

Check out this link to get more info and to find a walk in your area:

The walk near me is three weeks away and I'll be using that time to build up my mileage and endurance. Walking hasn't been my primary form of exercise, so I have to prepare. I am hoping that all my friends out in blogging land will find a walk near them and participate!

If you live in CT, look for me there. Just search out the tallest woman you can find and that will be me!

I am REALLY pushing myself to see what sort of result I have at my next monthly progress report! I've been adding more walking and cardio to the weight training. We'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This is HARD!

This won't be a news flash for anyone else who is or has been extremely overweight, but losing weight, becoming fit, and all of the emotional/psychological stuff that comes with the territory is soooooooo dang hard to deal with.

I got married young and had my first kid at age 17. By age 20, I had TRIPLETS who were premature and had all sorts of health probs. When they were three-years old, my husband died suddenly and violently.

Lemme tell ya kids, that was all hard. I really struggled to raise those kids and I am not just talking financially. It was hell. And yet -- the whole issue of my weight is WORSE.

If I think back to all of the hardships of my life, the ups and downs, the challenges and stresses... nothing else has caused as much sadness and heartache as my weight. It has been at the root of almost every humiliating or embarrassing moment of my life. It is a contributing, if not defining cause of all of my health issues, past and present. It has caused insecurities and problems with relationships, sex and intimacy. It has influenced my travel plans and employment opportunities. There is little that I have done or not done where weight and/or body size or the resulting psychology were not at play-- and I don't know about you, but I am so weary of this.

You are probably sitting there nodding your head saying, "I hear ya sister." Let's think about this, not only does the fat take up too much room on the outside, but it takes up too much space inside too. And is there ANYTHING else that we have spent as much thought, time or money on?

After watching the season premier of the BIGGEST LOSER last night, I sat there thinking about all of this. IT HAS TO END. I must move on, must get past this...........

Another thought that I had is............although I have endured poverty, survived the death of loved ones, and disappointments without number............ the reason I could deal with those easier than the weight is because these other things are common to the human experience.

Yes, death, relocation, divorce, money issues --- these affect nearly EVERYONE to one degree or another at some point in their lives. These experiences bring people together as EVERYONE experiences them at some point and can therefore empathize when others go through it.

But being extremely obese is not a part of the human experience for everyone. It is not a misery that everyone else will understand. It can make morbidly obese people feel that they are not a part of the human family--- since the issue that takes up the most room in their lives (inside and out) is not understood by others.

Aren't you sick of this crap? I know that I am. I am not giving up this time. It MUST end. I do not want to end up as some little old lady (well, er um, I am 6'3" so I'll be a tall old lady) who sits around in a state of regret, sadness and bitterness over everything that I did not do because of my body size. I refuse to give up and I hope that you feel the same!

On a positive note -- I totally flattened myself yesterday, exercise-wise! I started my day with a walk around the neighborhood that was just over 1 & 1/2-miles. Since my neighborhood is hilly, that was quite a workout.

Then in the afternoon I did my ChaLEAN extreme workout and put my all into it. When my DH came home from work, he wanted to go to the gym to do a quick circuit before dinner, so, of course, I went along and put in yet another 30-minutes of hard work there. THEN, I took a walk around the building (outside)-- which is only 1/3 of a mile but I really worked it and made it the grand finale of my very busy fitness day.

I woke up today SORE as hell-- we're talking call 911 and ask them to put out the fire in my delts and triceps -- YIKES. But it is all going to be worth it.

It is a new day with new challenges and new opportunities for success. Are you ready?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thoughts on MOMENTUM

Well, as you know, I wasn't happy with my monthly progress pics this past weekend. The gut is my problem area- big time! I was hoping to have taken off more inches there. Anyway, my disappointment turned into a really funky mood and I spent several hours "talking myself off the ledge" so to speak.

For me, that means talking myself out of eating emotionally, be that eating too much or (worse) eating the wrong things. I managed to get through it and today is a new day! My weekend was stressful and full of disappointments on different fronts. Yikes!

I have been thinking a lot about momentum. Do you remember when you were a kid and rode your bike? --- as you would come towards a hill, if you peddled fast and built up your momentum, you could usually make it up the hill -- unless it was especially steep. But if you did not build up your momentum, the hill could simply not be conquered.

If the hill was steep and you couldn't make it at all, since you were young and still had your optimism, you would get off the bike and walk it up the hill until you could pedal again. You did not give up.

Losing weight and getting into shape are like the biker facing a hill -- its only going to be doable with momentum. Every time you break your rhythm with a cheat meal or skip your exercise you put a damper on your momentum, and if it happens frequently enough it will affect your results in a negative way, which could start a downward spiral that we are all too familiar with.

The next thing you know, you stop even pretending that you are still on your program. So let's keep our momentum. If you can't make it up a hill on your "bike" walk as slow as you need to until you can get back on! Take responsibility for your food choices. Every time we make a choice that is good for us and furthers our goals, we make it easier to make the right choice again next time.

This is what kept me from eating like a pig over the weekend. I didn't want to hurt my momentum -- for as hard as it is to keep it going sometimes, it is ten times as hard to let it go and then have to start all over again. And as we all know, everytime we have to start all over, the hill gets bigger and bigger -- for some of us it becomes a mountain!

No f-ing way did I want to spend the next week working like a fiend and counting every calorie, NOT TO MAKE PROGRESS -- But to make up for a weekend of crappy eating and no exercise. The thought of it kept me in control, just barely, I admit, but I pulled it off.

Ok---- so Sunday, yesterday, I started ChaLEAN Extreme and did Burn Circuit one. Today I did her burn intervals and the Ab Burner. I also made some slight changes to my diet that will cut my calories by about 200 per day.

I REALLY want to have good results at next month's progress report. I want to have lost more inches around the middle, to have increased my strength and stamina, and to be able to honestly say that I did my best to get the results that I want.

I signed up for daily mile which tracks the miles you walk, run or bike and the hours you spend weight training or doing cardio. There's a cute little widget on the right that will always tell you the last time I worked out, what I did, and for how long. There's even a little button you can click to motivate me and cheer me on!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Week in Review: Fitness Totals

This was a challenging week on many fronts, including getting in as much exercise as I would have liked. My BFF and I started a non-profit to help Lakota Indians on the Pine Ridge Reservation. We do the pow wow circuit here in New England to promote our efforts and to sell art and craft items made by Lakota children and elders.

ANYWAY, I spent the week preparing for a weekend away at a Pow Wow in Massachusetts put on by the Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness. I was tagging and packing craft items, organizing my camping gear, making sure my dance regalia was in order, printing literature and hand-outs about our work and the families we help, figuring out what I would eat for the weekend, etc.

Consequently, I only got in one 45-minute session of cardio and one 30-minute walk. I did manage 3 weight training sessions of about 50-minutes each. So I only got in about 4 hours of exercise this week.

The real pisser is that, Jeanne (my BFF), picked me up Saturday morning at the ass crack of dawn (5am) and we headed to Massachusetts. We got about 70 miles away from home when the clutch went on her car. Let me spare you the long story of Triple A and towing issues, getting someone to pick us up at the place where we had her car towed, etc.

So I ended up not even doing the pow wow after skimping on my fitness goals to prepare for it. But, I am not upset. Life happens. What can you do? I am sure that this week will be better.

In fact, I already have a jump on it! I did my first ChaLEAN Extreme workout today AND took not one, but two walks. I intend to really go all out this week and do as much as I can! So my totals at the end of this week should be fantastic!

Bring it on!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Monthly Progress Report w/pics

Ok. let me say, first of all, how extremely difficult it is to post these pics. The one on top was taken in the middle of August. The one below was taken today, 4 weeks later. When I look at these I see almost no difference between the two. My DH swears that there's an obvious difference in the gut and boobs. Considering how I work my ass off during exercise I was really hoping to see more obvious progress.
I know that the bigger you are, the more weight you have to lose for it to be noticeable ----- but geez..... I wanted more! So I am posting these but not feeling good about it.

Now on to inches lost and exercise progress........ I have lost 16 & 1/2 inches in the past 6 weeks.

I lost 1 inch from my neck, 7 inches from my chest, 1 inch from my waist, 3 inches off my hips, 1/4" off each arm, and 2 inches off each thigh. Calves and forearms remained the same.

For exercise progress, between the end of July and today, (about 6 weeks) the weights I can lift at the gym progressed as follows:
Bicep curl, started at 10 pounds, now up to 20 pounds
Chest Press, started at 30, now up to 70
Incline press, started at 20, now up to 50
Decline press. started at 10, now up to 30
Flys, started at 10, now up to 30
Triceps pull down with ropes, started at 30, now at 60
Seated leg press, started at around 180, now up to 230
seated row, started at 60, now up to 135
Overhead presses, started at 10, now up to 35

For crunches, I could barely eek out ten 6 weeks ago. Now I can do 100 every other day, but I break them up into 20 at a time and sandwich them between other exercises.

For cardio, I could barely get through a 20 minute "beginners" cardio workout 6 weeks ago, now I can do 45-minute intense workouts with Jillian Michaels and her ilk. I cannot execute all of moves-- when I can't do something, I jog in place until they move on to something that I CAN do. I keep it intense and I'm dripping with sweat at the end of the workout.

Lunges, squats and deadlifts, the bane of my existence, have also become easier to execute. Note that I did not say they are enjoyable now. If they are enjoyable, you are either a masochist or you aren't doing them correctly.

It is just that when I started I was simply too heavy and too out of shape to do those moves properly without risking a fall or otherwise hurting myself. I can now do them and this is real progress as when you weigh 400 you think you're never gonna see the day.

As previously posted, my ChaLEAN Extreme program arrived yesterday and I will be taking my fit test tomorrow and getting started with the work outs either tomorrow or Monday. Oddly enough the timing of the ChaLEAN program occurred so that the end of each 30-day segment will coincide with the timing of my monthly reports.

So next month my progress report will include my first month's experience with ChaLEAN Extreme, as well as fresh pics, measurements and exercise progress.

ChaLEAN Extreme arrived!

ChaLEAN Extreme Arrived!
My ChaLEAN Extreme program arrived via UPS yesterday and I am ecstatic! HOWEVER, my BFF and I are going to Massachusetts for the weekend to attend a Pow Wow, so I won't be able to get started until Monday.

I DID read over the program materials, watched the introductory DVD and also the first work out DVD-- just to get a sense of what the program will be like. Seems great and I can hardly wait to get started!

On Monday I'll give myself the fitness test and do the first work out! I'm going to give this an honest effort as so many have raved about the program to me! In 90-days, I should be kicking ass and taking names!

On other fronts, I am behind in posting my monthly progress pics and stats. My DH and I photograph each other and he has had a lot of overtime at work this week. So it didn't work out this week for me to post the update. I'll see if I can corner him early this week to take the pics.

You should see the amount of food I packed for my weekend at the pow wow. We camp there and there are Indian food vendors -- but fry bread and cheese burgers would be deadly for me right now. Plus even a bottle of water is expensive........

So, I have a cooler of water, tea and fruit. PLUS, rice cakes, spinach salad, grilled chicken pieces, low fat cheese, greek yogurt, and more. I don't want to cheat all weekend so I am arriving there prepared.

Well, my bff should be here any minute to pick me up for our weekend, so I am off. Have a great weekend everyone. Try to stay on program and have some fun at the same time!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

WOW -- This gal lost over 400 pounds

Check out this You Tube video about this woman who used to weigh 575 pounds. HOLY SH*T!
So much for any of us whining about how far we have to go!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Synchronicity.......... Amazing!

Synchronicity........... A word that really applies as of late.

About two weeks ago I noticed that some of the gals at Operation Fat Blaster were using fitness programs put out by

At first I thought that a full-fledged weight lifting/fitness program on DVDs seemed kinda lame and probably ineffective. But a lot of them have had good results so I sort of put it on the back burner as something to consider later. I do get bored easily and like to switch things around here and there.

THEN, (here's where the synchronicity comes in) I ran into a former co-worker who had a serious weight problem the whole time I knew her. She was extremely overweight and had one of those guts that hung down almost to her knees. (Sadly, a gut like mine.....sigh..)

I nearly fainted when I ran into her this past week. She is completely trim and fit -- even the gut! I would not go so far as to say that her tummy is bikini-worthy, but it is MUCH flatter than I ever would have thought possible.

When I asked about her fitness journey, she told me that she used the ChaLEAN Extreme program put out by Beachbody, and a very strict body builder's diet of "clean" foods. (Pretty much the way I am already eating).

So I went back to the beachbody website and watched the video on the ChaLEAN program. After a day or two of thinking about it, I took the plunge and ordered it. This is a 90-day commitment and I understand that the workouts are tough -- but I am looking forward to it!

So , this program should arrive by this weekend and I will get started next week! I am psyched! I've been using the Jillian Michaels DVDs and I think this is a good foundation for the ChaLEAN program.

Jillian combines a lot of moves ------like dumbbell deadlifts with overhead presses, lunges or squats with lateral or anterior raises, crunches with chest presses, etc. When you are done with the 45-minutes your whole body hurts! Yikes -- the be-otch really kills ya. During the ab segment I lay there on the carpet swearing and calling Jillian every name in the book!

Anyway, all of this torture will have been worth it one of these days............ LOL

I will keep you all posted about my experience with ChaLEAN Extreme. Below is a link to a video about it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Week in Review: Fitness Totals

Here's a YUMMY spinach salad I made with strawberries and almonds. For the dressing you mix 1/2 cup non-fat yogurt with 2 tablespoons of orange juice concentrate. OMG-- is this ever good!

Something new I'll be doing is to post my "fitness numbers" at the end of every week to help keep me on track. So for the week of Sunday, August 30 to Saturday, September 5, 2009, my fitness numbers are as follows:

I did 105 minutes of cardio

165 Minutes of weight training

and 80 minutes of walking/hiking

This gives me a total of 5 hours and 50 minutes of exercise for the week.

I was "on program" with my food 7 days out of 7.

I had two rest days.

I will record these numbers every week. To clarify, right now, "cardio" for me will be challenging DVD workouts such as the Biggest Loser Boot Camp, Jillian Michaels DVDs, etc.

My goal is to NOT stay in a comfort zone unless I am honestly fatigued and need a break. Otherwise, the goal is to increase the weights whenever possible and to truly keep my heart rate elevated during the cardio and not be doing it half-ass.

Eventually, I will add running and perhaps a rowing machine bt for now, I will record the exercise as expressed here.

I will be posting my monthly progress pics next week so stay tuned!