Progress Pics

Monday, November 30, 2009

Awards and week in review, with a side of Peppers

I had a SUPER busy week last week and I am woefully behind in things I've been wanting to post about. So I am combining my weekly fitness review with my Hot 100 update and also acknowledging some awards that I received last week. Otherwise, I will be starting the week three posts behind--and since I have another busy week ahead, I don't want to do that. LOL

I also have a MILESTONE to report that I am super happy about, but let me get caught up first before I get into that.

So let's put friendship first and scope out the Deborah Award that I received! Ain't it purdy?

I am honored to have received two awards from my bear friend whose blog you can read here.
The above Deborah Award was originally created by Ces and you can read more about the award at her blog Ces and her Trees.

Steve over at Log My Loss is really great about stopping by various blogs to leave comments and encouragement, and he posts regularly in his own blog to share his journey and offer motivation. These awards are for the gals or Steve would be on the top of my list to receive them.

That said, I would like to pass the Deborah award on to the following women who are so generous in sharing their lives with their online friends and who never seem at a loss to offer words of encouragement. Thank you! Thank you for keeping your hearts open to the world and allowing the rest of us to benefit from your compassion, insight and good old fashioned friendship.

Sandra over at My Travels to Becoming a Better Me


Patsy over at Musings on a 100-Pound Weight Loss Journey

Leslie at Something Brilliant is Brewing

Helen at Doing a 180

Greta at Big Bottom Blogger

The Cilley Girl

Candace at Believing in C, C is me


Kat at Fit Body Mind Spirit

Larkspur at Am I Really that fat

Jo over at 282.5

Becca over at The Finish Line

Angie at who do you choose today

Greta over at Big Bottom Blogger

Some of you may have already received this award from someone else. That just goes to show how wonderful you are! I am sure that I missed many deserving recipients as I am only human. Perhaps in passing this award on, some of you can select a few who have never received an award yet or a few of the regular posters and commenters that I missed.

My Bearfriend also sent me a second award but I would like to think a bit more about whom to pass it along to...........I won't let too much time go by, I promise.

Week in Review
Last week was one of the busiest and stressful weeks that I can recall having in a long time, the result being that my fitness totals for the week really suck ass! I only walked a total of 2 hours and spent 40 minutes at the gym. I never did the ChaLEAN workouts or the Biggest Loser Boot camp DVD.

Luckily, I remained fairly consistent with my food as it wasn't a case of drifting off my path or getting lazy, but of truly being overwhelmed. I walked to the gym last Sunday and put in a good workout-- but it all went downhill from there, exercise wise.

Monday I helped my friend Mandy deliver more pet foods and supplies to some of the local animal shelters. That took all day and involved a lot of heavy lifting. On Tuesday, I went to my new doc and spent 2 1/2 hours there-- then came home to take my new meds and lay down, as I wasn't feeling great-- which is why I went in the first place. Wednesday I spent all morning shopping for Thanksgiving food and preparing whatever I could ahead of time. I also cleaned the lower level of my house.

On turkey day we had to get my 90-year old mother-in-law from her assisted living to our house without letting her fall, plus serve the turkey dinner - all of this is after poor Zeke being attacked by those four dogs during our morning walk.

Friday was the day that I broke down at the gym and was crying all over the place--so Jeff took me home. Saturday I had work obligations all day and I am so behind there I don't know how I'll catch up --LOL. (Don' t know why I'm laughing, it is NOT funny)

So that was my week! Yikes! LOL

This coming week, I have a lot of work to do, but no social obligations--so I should be able to squeeze in more exercise. I am still determined to finish the year out strong! That said, let's move on to the

Hot 100 Update

Food wise, I met my goals last week by eating 5-6 small meals a day and consuming foods rich in omega 3's at least 3 times. But I completely failed with the ChaLEAN goal as I didn't do it even once! I also didn't meet my exercise goal of 5 hours a week for the reasons listed above.

I am disappointed, but not beating myself up as there was a lot going on during a holiday week. Based on my visit to the new doc, I am making a NEW Hot 100 Goal! I want to weigh under 300 when I go back on December 29th. That means I have to lose at least 8 pounds, which I think is do-able. Actually, I'd love it if I could lose 10-15 by then, but I'm not going to stress myself out. 8 pounds is achievable if I focus. It will be GREAT to start the new year in the 200's. Last year, I started the new year at 430 pounds.

By the way, my new blood pressure medication is working out! It took a few days, but I don't wake up with headaches any more. A side effect is it can make you feel tired, but I have noticed that feeling getting less every day as my system adapts. Going to the new doc was the best thing I have done for myself since starting my fitness journey almost a year ago.

Big News - I RAN Yesterday!
Yesterday, (Sunday) we had to attend a birthday party for a family member who turned 100 years old. Yup, 100. Talk about a Hot 100 challenge! LOL! Anyway, Sunday is a gym day for us and being that last week sucked so bad, I wanted to start this week out really strong. I planned to really work my ass off in the gym.

During my walk to the gym, I don't know what came over me, but I decided to try running for a minute and see what would happen. Honestly, I thought I would run 5-6 steps and have to stop. I was completely shocked when I was able to go a distance of about 100 feet.

I walked for awhile, then did it again. Once again,I was totally shocked by how far I went. Yes, it was a very slow jog, not a run. And being 307 pounds I was not moving with grace but with determination-- but I did it! I kept this up the entire 3 miles to the gym.

I named this blog "Amazon Runner" when I created it, because my dream has always been to be able to run again. Even though I have come to love the weight lifting, I want to run. I have never fully believed that I would be able to run again-- until today! Oh, I hoped I would, but didn't know if it would ever really happen. My favorite part of this fitness journey is those moments when you surprise yourself and realize that your dreams are slowly coming true.

I didn't see myself starting a running program until the spring, when I planned to start the couch to 5k program. I am NOT going to officially start that now as I have a ton of other goals I am working on and don't want to overwhelm myself. But I will keep doing this walk/run thing from now on-- putting no pressure whatsoever on myself to run a complete mile by any certain day.

Anyway, I was so excited by this unexpected development and wanted to share! In terms of that Birthday party-- I have great pics from it that I'll post soon and I am proud to say that I did NOT eat cake! I thought about the gut-twisting hunger pains I'd end up with if I ate pasta, bread and cake, so I didn't!

I have a super busy day that I must get on with! You are all in my thoughts and prayers! Be good to you today!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Saga Continues

Thank you all who showed friendship and support after that dog incident yesterday. I was so so so shaken up-- and your amazon runner is not easily shaken.

I have been thinking about this and I don't believe that I can carry a weapon to use against these dogs that would be lethal. Not that I am incapable of using violence to save my dog's life or my own. I am capable. But it would have to be a reaction to the moment. It's the fact that walking around with a lethal weapon would make the violence premeditated for me and I am uncomfortable with that even though I am acting defensively and am not the aggressor.

I believe in the law of attraction and I am afraid that if I prepare too much for violence, the universe will accommodate me and send it. So tomorrow, Jeff is taking me to the army/navy store for pepper spray. I will always carry that and a camera from now on when I walk. Hopefully this will be enough if there is another incident. If I can document it on camera and survive the ordeal, it could be the last time they do it.

I talked with two of the neighbors who've had incidents with the woman with the four dogs. In both cases, these people were on their own property with their own dogs when the vicious pack came by. Although in these two incidents, the pack of four happened to be leashed at the time, once they saw the other dog they struggled to break free and succeeded in both cases. One time, they pulled and knocked their owner on her backside, and dragged her on her butt across the lawn to attack a dog that was minding its own business on its own property.

In both of these cases, the potential victims made it to safety as they were so close to their own front door, so the police were not called. Although the police were told about these other incidents yesterday, they said that unless it was reported at the time, it's like it never happened.

If these neighbors had reported these incidents and I had reported the previous ones that we had, then there would already be a documented pattern established that the woman cannot control the dogs when they are leashed, that she often lets them off-leash knowing they bite, and that they are dangerous. No one wants to call the police on a neighbor and stir up divisive energy in the neighborhood, but this is one case where, in hindsight, I wish we all had.

There are children and elderly people who also walk their dogs in that tract of woods. The kids and teens also go in there to goof around and do dumb kid things. There is no where to go for help in there. One day, something is going to happen in there with those dogs that is more serious- then they'll probably take action but it will be too late. (Sigh, I pray this can be avoided)

Anyway, I got up this morning and walked to the gym. I have to walk right by the house with the four dogs when I take my walks to the gym. I don't have any pepper spray yet and I was nervous, but they weren't around.

It was pouring rain and cold-- so it was a miserable walk, made worse by the fact that I didn't sleep last night. I FINALLY got to the gym and hopped on the chest press machine first. I could not push the 115 pounds that I was able to do the last time I was in there. As I went down the line, it was the same thing on all of the machines. It was like the strength I've built up took a vacation for the day.

Finally, I was on one machine and I don't know what happened but all of a sudden I just started crying and couldn't stop. I had an extremely busy and stressful week capped off by the dog incident. I could not sleep last night as I was still upset and was up until 3am. I am not a woman who cries, so this was a big deal.

DH had been on the rowing machine and he always comes over when he's done to tell me how long he will be in the pool, which he saves for last. When he saw the state I was in, he just took me home.

I mentioned that I ate stuffing and gravy yesterday in moderation. Well, you would not believe how my body has reacted to that. I have not felt right since. I feel like I ate a jar of paste. For months I have been living on high quality protein, organic veggies and a modest amount of whole grains and fruit. No sugar or chemicals. I guess my body is intolerant now of the old way of eating---yikes.

I will not be eating any of the leftovers except for the turkey. I am not upset about how my body reacted to those foods because it will be all the easier for me not to be tempted by them. Next year, I won't be eating the stuffing or the gravy and I doubt very much that I will feel deprived.

We're thinking of taking Zeke somewhere to run tomorrow where he won't be attacked; and try to clear ourselves of the energy of the past week and just move forward. If I can, I will do a chaLEAN or a boot camp work out today, but if I end up not doing so and I don't reach my goal for the week in terms of fitness hours....... oh well.

Thank you all for being here and for listening! I hope you are well.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Attacked by a pack of dogs!! WTF?

My son Tom and his girlfriend Michelle. Yes, he really is towering over the refrigerator. I think he is 6'5". Our youngest, Andrew is 6'8"-- we grow em big around here. LOL

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, when I thought of what today's post would be about........... I figured it would end up being much like the posts of most of my blogging friends-- saying what I am thankful for, describing trying to eat in moderation and being honest about what I splurged on, sharing family pics like the one above.

But the way my day started was completely unexpected, really upsetting, traumatizing actually. It involves me and my dog Zeke, pictured above--he's watching my husband carve up the remaining turkey and hoping for a hand-out.

Gosh dad, can I have one little piece?

Zeke LOVES to run in the woods. There is a tract of woods in our neighborhood and we take him in there to run around while we walk. This morning I thought it would be nice to take Zeke for a morning walk in the woods before I started cooking.

I leashed him up and off we went on our "mother/son" adventure . DH stayed home with our older dog, Beau.

Once we got to the woods, I took the leash off of Zeke to let him run amok, as always. We hadn't gone far, maybe half a mile, when I saw a woman up ahead with a pack of 4 dogs. We have had negative and dangerous experiences with this woman on 2 other occasions. One dog is a Shepard and another a malamute-- these two are vicious and have attacked our dogs without provocation two other times. This isn't just barking-- the four of them surround and the two alphas-- the Shepard and the malamute, actually bite.

They were a distance away of about two city blocks. The minute I saw them, I called Zeke over to releash him and I planned to turn around and get out of the area. It was too late, they spotted us and they weren't leashed. Off they ran right towards us and I KNEW we were in trouble.

I have read that you should not turn your back on an attacking dog, as it incites their hunting instincts and they will pursue you all the more. I wrapped Zeke's leash around my arm and faced the onslaught.

They surrounded us and it was absolutely terrifying. The Shepherd and the malamute took turns biting Zeke. The other two did not bite, but closed in, barking.

Their owner is out-of-shape and was slow to arrive on the scene. I straddled Zeke's body in an effort to protect him and had started swatting the dogs away. The woman had the NERVE to say to me "Don't you dare hurt my dogs." I was surrounded by her wild pack, my dog has been bitten more than once, but she has the audacity to act as if I am the aggressor. HELLO!

She leashed up her dogs and took off without an apology. I called after her and said I was calling the police and that I know where she lives-- but she took off anyway.

To keep this post from being a small book, let me say that she LIED to the police and claimed that her dogs were leashed and that I was passing by her and her dogs managed to pull away and bark. She denied that they bit or were in any way aggressive.

NUMEROUS people in the neighborhood have had altercations with this woman over her dogs but no one ever called the police before, just as we never had. It turns out her dogs are not licensed. They gave her a written warning for allowing her dogs to create a nuisance and for being unlicensed. She has thirty days to license the dogs. Since it is my word against hers that they were unleashed and that they are the ones who bit my dog-- she basically completely got away with it.

The other times this happened, DH was with me and we were able to minimize the damage. I walk both alone and with Zeke all of the time now that I am fitter, so this is bound to happen again. These dogs have attacked and bitten in this neighborhood numerous times and she hasn't changed her habit of letting them run off-leash, so I doubt that she will be deterred this time either.

Let me say that every dog I've ever owned has been a rescue from the pound or a stray that I took in. I love dogs and would never want to cause harm or pain to a dog or any other living being. I am also conscious of the fact that the problem here is an irresponsible owner. If she wants to let the dogs get some exercise by running off-leash (understandable), she should put muzzles on them so if they encounter other dogs or humans they will not be able to bite.

But, I am searching the internet and researching some sort of protection to carry with me. One of these days, I won't be so lucky. If they ever go into a real pack frenzy their owner will not be able to stop them and my dog and/or myself could be mauled, perhaps seriously injured or killed.

Pepper spray is not good. On a windy day it could blow back into my own face. I thought a stun gun would be good-- but CT is one of the few states that restricts their use. You have to have a gun permit to carry a stun gun in this state. (Yes, I looked it up already)

I know that I am going to be anxious and afraid every time I leave this house now for a long time, and I shouldn't have to feel that way. The police won't do shit unless they attack and bite where there are witnesses and that is very unlikely. The owner will not take responsibility so that forces me into the position to have to think about the most effective way for me to be violent should this happen again-- and I HATE that most of all.

I am a big strong person, using a night stick I could probably hit a dog with enough force to crack its skull and stop an attack -- I resent the hell out of the fact that because some stupid "C U Next Tuesday" won't be a responsible dog owner, that I will very likely be put in this position of having to harm, if not kill an animal. I don't want to do this, but I am accepting the fact that I may have to and I am figuring out how to arm myself right now.

So that is how my day started-- all before breakfast! Jeez Louise! We cleaned Zeke up and the two main bites are on his thigh and side. I called my friend Mandy who owns the dog business as she has also been a vet tech, and asked her advice as to calling my vet on a holiday. She said the worst danger is an infection and I should watch the bites for redness and swelling and take him in for antibiotics if I note anything like that.

The bi-otch proved to the cops that her dogs had rabies shots so i am not worried about that. The cops told me that they explained to the woman that if one or more of her dogs ever seriously attacks anyone and it can't be determined which dog did it, that all of her dogs would have to be destroyed. They told her she is putting her dogs at risk every time she lets them off-leash, not to mention the damage they do to others.

Honestly, I don't think she will change. I am preparing for defensive action if and when there is another incident, so any advice as to a portable, effective "weapon" would be appreciated. I am not going to be a pacifist in this situation and let my dog or I be chewed alive by a pack of dogs, so please don't suggest that, because it is not an option.

Anyway, I have to force myself to walk tomorrow and not let my fear over this incident take over.

Now, as to the rest of the day. My mother-in-law ate with us, as well as our son Tom and his girlfriend Michelle. I trimmed the fat and sugar content of some favorite old recipes, but some of the things I used to eat I just can't go near now, period.

If anyone felt "deprived" that the table was not laden with fat and sugar, they didn't voice it. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, oven roasted butternut squash, broccoli, fresh cranberry relish, and yes, I made my famous stuffing and gravy-- and I ate both in moderation.

I was going to skip making the stuffing but DH begged me, pointing out that I only make it once a year. I grow the herbs in my garden every summer and freeze them along with some veggies. Then we eat them on the holidays and give thanks for our garden in winter.

So I made the stuffing and I'm glad I did. Everyone loved it, except for my MIL who has ciliacs disease and cannot eat wheat products. I found gluten-free pie crusts at Whole Foods and made a pumpkin pie that mom could eat too. It is made from brown rice flour. I expected
it to taste nasty. But it was flaky and delicious. If you weren't told that it was made from brown rice, you'd never know. They are pricey but worth every penny.

I thought I would have to struggle not to overeat today, but I didn't. I had one modest plate of food that was protein and veggie dominated, and the worst thing that I ate was the gravy. I felt SO FULL!! I was thinking about how I used to eat and I just can't do it now. In prior years, by now I would have ventured downstairs to have a turkey sandwich and another piece of pie, but I am still full and not even tempted-- thank God. So I feel very relaxed about Christmas now as I know that I can deal with it.

This week my exercise schedule has been totally f*cked. On Monday, I helped my friend Mandy deliver more pet supplies to the local animal shelters and was gone most of the day. Tuesday was my doctor appointment, which took all morning and wiped me out. Wednesday I spent the whole day shopping and cooking for today. And then there was today.............. my interrupted walk today was my first exercise since Sunday's walk to the gym.

So Friday and Saturday I need to go all out to reach my minimum fitness hours for the week and get back on track. The joy will be gone from my walks for awhile as I have to be on alert for attacks. Geez!

This was a long post-- bless your heart if you read the whole thing. Only a true friend would do so!

Hope you had a good day with your family!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Went to Doc - GOT WEIGHED

In addition to getting a new Doc and getting weighed today, I had a totally bizarre experience in the Dr's waiting room-- but I will save that for last!

Ok, I will try to keep this as brief as possible, but still.................... by way of background, I haven't been happy with my primary care doc for quite awhile. For one thing, he is Asian, speaks with a thick accent and it can be hard to understand him.

Secondly, when I tell him something, he'll often "pooh-pooh" it and basically refuse to address what I am talking about. I don't like the medicine I am on for my high blood pressure. It makes my throat swell up and it is hard to breathe or swallow, so I stop taking it and the pressure goes sky-high. He has refused to change my medicine so I stopped taking it.

Lately, I have been having headaches and also waking up in the middle of the night with my head pounding. To make a long story short, I switchd to my husband's doctor, who has an excellent bedside manner and is an excellent dr. I think I waited so long because I was embarrassed about my weight. The headaches have been so bad that I couldn't stand it anymore and would have went if I weighed 800 pounds.

I called yesterday and they fit me in today as a new patient-- pretty good huh? He prescribed a new medicine for my blood pressure-- which was high-- 160/90.

They also weighed me. I was REALLY hoping to be under 300 but I weighed in at 307, which brings my total weight loss to 133 pounds. I have to go back at the end of December to see how my blood pressure is doing and I can weigh again at that time and give you a report. So here's a chance to get weighed periodically without having a scale in my house. (My former doc did not have a scale that would weigh me).

So a new Hot 100 Goal is to lose at least 10 pounds by Dec 29-- which is 5 weeks away. My personal fantasy goal is to weigh about 200 pounds by July 2010, but DH thinks that is an unrealistic weight for me and that 225 is more realistic. I don't know, we'll see.

Either way, if I keep going as I have been, by December 29, if I can get under 300 pounds, I will have LESS than 100 pounds to lose, FINALLY, and I'll be coming down the home stretch.

Now, onto the weird experience in the waiting room. There were two men sitting together, one an older man and the other in his early 30's. The one in his early 30's, the way he was speaking LOUDLY and the things he was saying, at first made me wonder if he were borderline retarded.

Then I realized that he was actually speaking quite intelligently about a variety of subjects and that there was nothing wrong with his intelligence, but something odd about the way he spoke and presented himself and interacted with the world.

Anyway, they had asked for my insurance card when I came in (to make a copy of it) so eventually, the receptionist called me back up to return it to me, on the way back to my seat, the younger, odd guy rises and walks up to me and says, "Miss, you have a magnificant body. I have never seen a woman as tall and strong as you."

He said this LOUDLY-- So that EVERYONE in the waiting room started looking. Then, when I sat down, he sat down next to me! Now he starts squeezing my thigh muscles and my arms and asking questions about how strong I am, how much I can lift, how tall I am, what size are my feet, etc.

Clearly, this man has some sort of mental or psychological condition- and this made me feel even more awkward and unsure of what to do. If he were a "normal" man, I would have reacted right away and in an angry way. I was sitting there hoping his male companion would distract him or something.

I could tell that this guy was honestly unaware of how inappropriate his comments and questions were, not to mention the touching. FINALLY, one of the medical assistants came and took the man into an exam room, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I was about to ask if I could go in back to use the bathroom, where I planned to tell one of the medical asistants what was going on and ask her to move me to the back or something. It turned out that I didn't have to!

I was already feeling a ton of anxiety over seeing a new doc, having to be weighed, worrying about my blood pressure and the headaches........ this odd guy's probing and strange behavior sent my anxiety over the top. It took me hours to calm down. LOL
So that was my day............ I am off to get my Prescription filled. I am glad I finally took action and changed my doctor. I'll let you know how I feel on the new meds.
Be good to you today!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Week in Review Fitness Totals

My goal for the past few months has been to log at least 5 hours of exercise per week. This week, I wanted to exceed that by as much as possible. Wooo baby-- wait till you see these numbers!

Drum roll please................

This week I WALKED a total of 5 hrs and 55 minutes! Cardio, consisting mainly of the Biggest Loser Boot camp and other DVDs totals up to 2 hrs and 30 minutes for the week. Weight lifting comes out at 3 hrs and 10 minutes.

This adds up to a grand total of 11 hrs and 40 minutes of exercise for the week! Yeah baby! I am in awe of myself! A few short months ago a walk around the block was aerobic for me and about all I could manage.

Part of the weight lifting numbers are 10-minute ab sessions that I want to be more regular about including in my routine. I am aiming to do three, 10-minute sessions a week (at the minimum), as this is my biggest problem area.

Also, I have been walking just under 10 miles a week and wanted to increase that. Well, this week, I walked over 19 miles! Yipppeee! A lot of the walks are on hilly terrain and the constant "uphillness" of it makes for a burn in the back of my thighs that you wouldn't believe. I comfort myself and keep myself going with visions of myself in mini skirts and little black cocktail dresses. LOL

The exercise pace that I kept this week was difficult, but not impossible. I had to be careful about managing my time and spent less time on the computer and reading-- two things I do a lot. My muscles are sore, but in a good way. I am ready for week two of really pushing myself. Bring it on!

I had a fantabulous day yesterday! I had to go to our local Post Office and I haven't been in there for MONTHS. The lady who waited on me said, "I can't believe how much weight you've lost." She kept saying it over and over again, then started asking questions about what I eat and how I exercise.

This was a great experience. For someone who rarely sees you, the weight loss can seem dramatic and their reaction can really give you a boost.

DH and I then went on a hike at West Rock park in New Haven. For those who don't know, New Haven is home to Yale University (DH works there) and we live only about 2 miles from the Yale Bowl. We weren't thinking when we left yesterday that it was the annual football game between Harvard and Yale-- which takes place at the Yale Bowl and which creates a level of traffic that you would not believe. And so we left for West Rock Park and found ourselves in the mother of all traffic nightmares, but we persevered.

We have two dogs but one is quite elderly and last time we took him on a hike he was literally splayed out on the ground by the end and couldn't walk. It was SO HARD to do, but we had to leave Beau at home. He just couldn't have done this hike-- not in distance or difficulty.

So we just had Zeke with us and he was lovin' it! He zoomed all around the woods and kept up a steady pace through the whole thing. Zeke is so FIT and loves using his body. Dogs completely and joyfully inhabit their own bodies-- we can learn a lot from them about that.

Jeff carried a back pack with our lunch, so once we made it to the top, we sat on a cliff, enjoying the view and eating tuna sandwiches, clementines and water. It was a great day. We saw some hawks gliding around and they were so magnificent!

This week, tomorrow actually, is Zeke's anniversary. I got him from the dog pound on the Monday of Thanksgiving week five years ago. So tomorrow is a special day for him. I think tomorrow, I'll tell the story of how we got Zeke-- there's an odd, spiritual element to it that's kinda cool.

Hope you were able to enjoy your weekend! Have a good day, and be good to you!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Monthly Progress Report with Pics

This is last month's progress pic, taken around the 3rd week of October

Now here we are on November 20th. I am wearing the exact same clothes! Note that the pants now pull up enough to cover my belly. In a way, this makes me look like I GAINED weight somehow, but I actually lost once again, as you'll see in a minute when I list my inches lost for the month.

The purpose of this pic is to demonstrate that I can FINALLY, once again, not only touch my toes, but place the palms of my hands flat on the floor. My knees are not bent, this is honestly how flexible I am now. When I started, I could barely reach past my knees.

I took this a few days ago, sitting behind the wheel of Jeff's beat up work van. Back in July, my gut was so huge that it would be pressed up against the wheel. I could barely get in and out of the van or drive it.

Okay, now on to inches lost: This month, I lost one inch from my neck, one inch from my chest, one half inch from my waist, one inch from my hips, 1/2 inch from each upper arm, 1/2 inch off each thigh, and 1/2 inch off each calf for a total of 6 and a half inches lost this month.

This brings my total inches lost since July to 32 and 1/2. Not bad, especially when we know that with all of the weight lifting I am doing, there's no way I haven't gained muscle to boot.

I am guesstimating my total weight loss since March to now be about 130-140 pounds. I am sometimes curious about what I weigh, but as the saying goes, "If it's not broken, don't try to fix it." I've been consistently losing at least 6 inches a month and my clothes are getting loser and loser. For now, that's all I need to know.

In the gym department, around the time of last month's report, I was pushing 70 pounds on the chest press, having recently upped it from 50 pounds. I now do 100 pounds on the chest press.
Yeah baby! I increased the weight for cable flies from 50 last month to 70 pounds this month.
I can barely do that 70 pounds, but I really push myself.

I now do squats with a 25 pound weight in each hand and I KNOW I can squat with more, but that is the heaviest weight that I have, so I have "outgrown" the strength training equipment that I have. I cannot make real progress with my squats, dead lifts or lunges until I get heavier weights................. Gotta find the money somehow, Chickzilla needs her Iron!

I've REALLY increased my exercise the past week or two and I am going to try to maintain this pace, as next month will be my final report for 2009 and I want to make it a good one.

I was hoping for more inches lost this month but with having the flu and other stuff going on, for half of the month I either didn't exercise or wasn't able to do it with the sort of intensity I need to see results. I plan to make up for it next month.

Right now, most days I am exercising several hours a day. I won't be able to keep up this pace and intensity forever--eventually, it will wear on me. But in the short term, it is just something I want to do--to really ask a lot of myself for these last few weeks of the year and see what I can accomplish. I'm hoping my efforts will result in bigger losses when I take my measurements next month. This effort is my Christmas present to myself.

DH and I are going on a hike today that is going to be difficult for me--but I'm looking forward to the challenge. I hope that you all have a great day!

A New Challenge, plus a Hot 100 Update

Today is the last day that you can sign up for the Christmas challenge over at the 266 blog. I won't be redundant by laying out the challenge here, as you can be-bop over to her site and read for yourself if you're interested. Suffice it to say, it is simple enough that it won't add additional stress to an already busy time of year-- it is just something to keep you focused during a season where many of us temporarily get off track.

To read about the challenge, check out this page over at 266 and let her know if you're interested in participating.

A lot of you found out too late about Steve's Hot 100 Challenge over at Log My Loss and therefore aren't participating in that. So I thought I'd let you know about the Christmas Challenge!

Tomorrow is the next Hot 100 Challenge Update, but I am posting mine today, a day early and adding on a new challenge for myself!

Anyway, here's how I'm doing with my challenges:

Exercise a minimum of five hours a week: My fitness week runs from Sunday through Saturday and I KNOW that when I total things up tomorrow that I will have far surpassed this goal. I have been a complete and total lunatic with the exercise. Now that the end of the year is in sight and we are coming down the home stretch, I have more wholly committed myself to the spirit and intent of this challenge.

I've been exercising like a woman on fire. I increased my cardio, turned up the heat of my intensity while exercising, upped the weights at the gym, and have been walking more. Logging 2 1/2 to 3 or more hours of exercise a day has been the norm lately and I could almost cry. A short time ago, I simply wouldn't have the stamina for what I am doing now.

Eat Foods rich in Omega 3's at least 3 times a week: As usual, I nailed this one. Thank goodness I love salmon so much!

Complete all three months of the ChaLEAN Extreme Program: Still at it! I am in the second phase, what they call the PUSH PHASE and I am really enjoying it. In this phase, I lift heavier weights for fewer reps. You'd expect a woman who is 6'3" to be strong, but I think that I actually surpass what you'd expect at this point.

There's still enough fat covering my body that you won't be able to see my muscles for awhile yet when I post my pics. But I can feel them and I am in awe of how they are developing. I think the size of my upper arms is going to be surprising in the end.

Consume at least 5 fruits and veggies a day: I did this, but just barely. I'm in this push to lose as many inches as I can by the end of the year, so I cut my carbs again somewhat. So I am not eating as much fruit.

Eat 5-6 small meals a day: I haven't been doing this. I got off track with it when I had the flu and seem to be having trouble going back to it. I am not as hungry as I was before and that is not helping.


If you read my blog regularly, you know that my abs are the bane of my existence and the worst problem area that I have. That being the case, you'd think that I'd focus a lot of exercise in that area, but I haven't to date.

Here and there, I've been grudgingly doing the 10-minute ab burner workout that comes with the ChaLEAN program---but not with any consistency or enthusiasm.
My new goal is that for the remainder of the Hot 100 Challenge, I'll do ab work a minimum of 10 minutes, three times a week. Then, after the first of the year, I'll reevaluate to see what I want to do from there.

On other fronts, in preparation for my monthly progress report, I took my measurements last night. DH had to attend a retirement party at work last night and was too tired to take my photos when he got home. He told me he would do them for me tonight or Saturday morning -- so look for my update over the weekend!

Have a good day!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Going to the dogs

Greetings friends, I was not home all day yesterday. I went on an adventure with my friend and fellow dog lover, Mandy! She runs a pet sitting & dog walking business, and is also involved with a wonderful organization called Presents 4 Pets, a nationwide program designed to collect much-needed pet care items for donation to local animal shelters and rescue groups.

Recently, Mandy organized a fundraising and supply drive event for Presents 4 Pets that was a "HOWL"oween event for dogs and their humans. There was even a Halloween costume contest for the dogs! This event raised a considerable amount of pet supplies and yesterday I went with Mandy to help deliver some of the donated items to one of our local animal shelters.

This shelter has had a plea on the radio every day that they are low on food for the animals. So Mandy decided to start here, where the need is greatest.

I provided the muscle to load up the vehicle. It pays to have an amazon friend!

Mandy's car

Here's Mandy sorting through some leashes and collars.

Mandy speaking with shelter volunteers. This shelter received a considerable amount of pet foods, treats, toys, collars, leashes, dog beds, cat litter and the like through Mandy's efforts.

After this we went out to lunch at a Japanese Restaurant where I had scallops and brown rice! Yummy! A nice break from tuna or scrambled egg whites-- which I have for lunch quite a bit. It was a great girls day out for both of us---which was LONG overdue!

In order to fit in my ChaLEAN Extreme workout, I had to get up early and get it done before Mandy picked me up. It felt strange to be working out so early and part of me resisted it at first. As it is with most things, once I got started I was fine. It felt good to not have the thought haunting me all day that I hadn't done my work out.

When DH got home from work, there was just enough time to take the dogs for a quick walk in the woods before complete dark set in. This was an unexpected treat that Beau and Zeke really appreciated, as did I. What a great day!

On the exercise front, most of you know that I have a commitment to exercise at least 5 hours a week. Well, my fitness week runs from Sunday to Saturday, and looking over my Body Minder journal last night I can see that I ALREADY well surpassed five hours for the week by quite a bit. I am on fire! I have been a fitness lunatic!

For instance, on Tuesday I walked to the gym, did a 30-minute chest and back work out with the maximum weight and reps that I could handle, and then later in the day I did the Jillian Michaels Boost Your Metabolism work out which is 45-minutes of sheer hell.

That night, I was all ready to watch the Biggest Loser and then found out it was delayed by half an hour. Instead of killing that time on the computer (what I would typically do) I plugged in another Jillian Michaels DVD (No more Trouble Zones) and did that for 30-minutes.

And I've pretty much been working at that pace all week---one or two walks a day, cardio DVD just about everyday, heavier and heavier weights when I work out at least every other day. So I know when I total up my fitness hours at the end of the week the number is going to be outrageous! I love it.

Look for my monthly progress report with pics anytime between tomorrow and the end of the weekend. It's just a matter of catching DH at a time when he can do it.

Oh, and one last thing, if you want to see some cute pics of the doggie halloween costume contest from my friend's event, just go to this link and click on the link for the photo gallery. One lady dressed up her two dogs as a cowboy and a horse--the horse costume is awesome--she made it herself.

Have a great day and be good to you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A New Award -- timed perfectly!

Greta over at BigBottomBlogger was kind enough to give me an award that I will pass on to five others in a moment. This couldn't have come at a better time, as I had a difficult day yesterday, not physically, but emotionally and mentally. So this was a nice little treat that made my day.

I have rededicated myself to making the most of my weight loss efforts for the remainder of this year and have been seriously working my ass off. I increased my exercise this past week not only in time spent doing it, but I upped the intensity BIG TIME-- and I intend to continue this way for as long as I can stand it! LOL

On my walks, I have picked up the pace; at the gym I've increased the weight on a lot of the machines; during the ChaLEAN workouts, I really focus on slow, deliberate movement and perfect form; AND I added in the Biggest Loser Boot Camp DVD at least a couple of times a week.

Food wise, I cut back once again on the grainy carbs and dairy as I tend to lose more that way. Physically, I feel great! I feel sore in a good way. Tired at the end of the day, as I am working hard.

And yet, yesterday, as I sat having my coffee, I looked down at the massive gut that I still have sitting in my lap, and felt these waves of discouragement come bubbling up from the depths. Don't get me wrong, my gut is probably half the size it used to be, but it is still proportionately BIG and an obvious problem area.

So I was sitting there drinking my coffee, looked down, saw the gut, and just felt discouraged. It wasn't as bad as it has been in the past. It didn't take over my being. It didn't make me want to give up. But it was a persistent feeling and stayed with me throughout the day--like something that aches in a dull way, but not enough to make you go to the doctor, but enough to make you unfocused and uncomfortable.

When I was having my coffee, I thought, "How the fuck can I have worked so hard since March-- nine months!!!--- and still have this friggen thing on my lap everytime I sit down? Jeez, will this ever freakin' end?"

I didn't let it physically stop me from doing what I needed to do, I took my walk, did the ChaLEAN session, and later did the boot camp workout for good measure! I exercised for 2 1/2 hours yesterday -- hard!

Everytime I walked in the bathroom, I could not resist looking at my profile as I passed the mirror, and every time my subconscious puked out a negative observation, I would say, "Shut the fuck up!" I thought the day would never end.

I cooked a great meal with DH of orange glazed salmon, mashed butternut squash with cinnamon, and broccoli sauteed with onions and garlic. After dinner, my internal weather seemed to be clearing and I was relieved. I checked my email and found a comment notification and found out about this award -- so it REALLY was like a reward instead of just an award. A reward for getting though a tough day and still doing the right things.

And so it is with great joy that I explain the SUPERIOR SCRIBBLER award and pass it on to five others. Here are the rules:

Each recipient must pass the award on to five other deserving bloggers.

Each Superior Scribbler must link back to the author and the name of the blog from whom they received the award.

Each Superior Scribbler must display the award on his or her blog, and link to this post, which explains the award.

Each blogger who wins the Superior Scribbler award must visit the page noted above and add his or her name to the Mr Linky List. That way, the originator of the award will be able to keep track of everyone who receives it.

And finally, each superior scribbler must post these rules on his or her blog.

And the recipients are:

Friend of the Bear

Sandra over at My Travels to becoming a better me

Helen over at Doing a 180

Leslie at Something Brilliant is Brewing

and Kat over at FitMindbodySpirit

Well, DH and I decided to try something new-- we got up at the ass crack of dawn today-- 5am, to do our gym routine, as he has an appointment this evening so we won't be able to squeeze it in before the Biggest Loser as we usually do.

It was weird to be doing my walking in the dark-- but the gym was nice and empty when I got there. DH was one of the few people using the Nautilus machines. I blasted through a chest and back workout and really maxed out the pounds to the maximum that I can lift.

I didn't like getting up so early but at least right now it is only 8am, yet I know that if I do nothing else all day, I would have at least gotten in a 30-minute walk and a 30-minute chest and back workout. But I probably will do the Biggest Loser Boot Camp DVD later today--I'm feeling driven so I'll just go with that for as long as it lasts. LOL

Be good to you today!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Week in Review Fitness Totals

I knew in the middle of the week that I would probably exceed my goals by a good amount this week, and it was a great feeling. It's wonderful to have my mojo back!

Walking is in the top slot for exercise this week, with cardio in second place. This week, my totals are as follows:

Walking: 3 hrs
Cardio: 2 hrs
Weights: 1 hr 50 min

So I exceeded my goals for this week!

DH does NOT work out at home as I do, so he needs more time in the gym than me. So I worked out a system where I walk to the gym, but he drives. I make sure that I walk for at least an hour. When I get there, he is usually done with the weights and doing 20 minutes on the rowing machine, which he follows by swimming a few laps.

The way I time it, I have anywhere from 45-minutes to an hour to work out once I get there. I concentrate on machines and weights where I can go a lot heavier than I do at home. This system has been working out great, but when it starts to get snowy and icey I may have to devise a new plan.

I went to the gym today and took TWO walks, so I already have a good jump on meeting my goals for this coming week! I walked to the gym, worked out, then later we took the dogs for a walk in the woods.

Be good to you!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hot 100 - Getting Caught Up

Steve over at Log My Loss is helping people stay focused and motivated during the remaining days of 2009 with the Hot 100 Challenge. I LOVE his blog-- check him out for Motivation For Monday and Wednesday's word of the day. Great stuff people!

Ya know I had the flu for over a week and then had other issues immediately following, so I was absent in blogging land for two weeks. Pretty sure the Hot 100 challenge requires you to not miss any updates in order to be in the running for the prize at the end.

So, I was initially thinking that I should discontinue my participation. BUT, isn't breaking promises to ourselves how we got ourselves into this obese state to begin with? It doesn't matter if I can't win the jar of hot peppers, that's not why I signed on for it.

I didn't just tell Steve that I would do this, I told ME that I would do this. So, I shall. And if I am hot pepperless at the end, that's fine because I know that my gut will be smaller and I will have the joy of knowing that I fulfilled a promise to myself to go to the end with Steve's challenge.

Anyway, here are the updates on my challenges:

Exercise a minimum of Five Hours a week: Well, I sucked ass on this for about two weeks but came back this week with a vengeance! I'll be posting my fitness totals for the week tomorrow, and if I can throw in another walk sometime today I will pass the ten mile point for the week for what I believe will be the first time!

Eat foods rich in Omega 3's at least 3 times a week: Failed at this while I was sick but did ok on it last week and this past week.

Complete all three months of the ChaLEAN Extreme Program: This is a work in progress. I had just started the second phase, what they call the PUSH phase, when I got the flu, so I opted to start the push phase over last week. In this phase, you lift heavier for fewer reps. I can't convey how much I LOVE this and how impressed I am with my own strength. I have to buy more weights, I don't have enough here to take me to failure on some of the moves. I'll start the final phase in December and be done with it right around the time the Hot 100 challenge is over

Consume at least 5 fruits and Veggies a day: Again, failed while I was sick but I am back into it. I made a HUGE spinach salad with dinner last night. (By the way, try raw spinach with dried cranberries and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Goat cheese is marvelous in this too, just watch the portion.)

Eat 5-6 small meals a day: I have to admit that I have become terrible at this. In the beginning I was ALWAYS hungry and looked forward to my 6 meals a day. Because I am not quite as large and have gotten used to eating better, I just don't feel hungry between meals like I used to. So, most days it's been 3 regular meals and one snack.

I've been told that if I ever get more serious about building muscle, It'll be better to eat smaller amounts more often. So I will keep at this, as I hope to one day pass the goal or losing weight and move on to a new focus of improving my strength and the shape of my muscles.

Yesterday, someone named Sandi posted in my blog and asked what fitness DVDs I used in the beginning. Sandi, there is no link to your blog in your profile so I have no way to get back to you, but I'll post it here in case you return.

It may sound lame to some, but Richard Simmons has fitness DVDs that are great for those with a lot of weight to lose and/or who haven't exercised in awhile. He also doesn't use skinny and perfect models in his videos. They are real people, some of them still fat. This is great for your self-esteem as, if they can do it, so can you. His stuff generally isn't high impact so you won't blow out your knees and back your first week out.

After that, I graduated myself to Denise Austin workouts. It is a bit more challenging than Richard Simmons, yet easy to modify the things you can't do or keep up with. My favorite Denise Austin one is"Burn Fat Fast: Cardio Dance and Sculpt."

If you do the whole thing, it is about 50 minutes. The cardio segment is 20 minutes and I did that every other day for quite awhile. When you can't keep up, just march in place to keep your heart rate up. There is no magic in the dance moves they are doing. With fat burning, the body cares that your heart rate is up, it doesn't care what you do to get there.

Having the DVDs on, even when I cannot do exactly what they do, makes me feel like I am not exercising alone and helps me keep up the tempo. Hope this info helps, Sandi, if you come back here.

Anyway, gotta get on with my day. I will post my fitness totals for the week tomorrow. Yeah baby! Be good to you today!

Sweaty Amazon

Someone sent me this as a joke asking me to make next week's progress photos nude. Hey, not quite there yet! LOL! And please don't shoot the cat.

ANYWAY, here it is not even 10:30 in the morning and I already did a bunch of stuff around the house, AND a 45-minute workout with the Biggest Loser Bootcamp DVD. This workout alternates cardio and weight training for maximum burn. It starts with a 20-minute workout that you do for two weeks, then it gets longer and longer as you progress until you are working out for about an hour.

Instead of using the cardio DVDs that came with the ChaLEAN program, I am going to start using this on the alternate days, as it's a bit more challenging. I will still use the ChaLEAN weight Training and ab burner workouts though. I love that program and want to finish it.

Anyway, when I first started exercising back in April, I bought a bunch of exercise DVDs as I was too embarrassed to join a gym or even to walk around my neighborhood. When I got this BL Boot camp one, I tried it twice at the beginner level and it was so far from my abilities that is was actually depressing and discouraging.

I put it away and started using a Denise Austin one that is 20-minutes and a lot easier. This week, in honor of my renewed commitment to exercise more, put the Biggest Loser Boot camp DVD in to see how I'd do. What a difference a few months can make.

Not long ago, marching in place meant lifting my foot about an inch off the floor. Literally, between the actual weight of my legs, the lack of strength and the lack of aerobic capacity, that was all I could manage- and the effort of even that would leave me winded and sore.

Now I can lift my legs high, I can do a full squat while holding weights and I am talking that I can get into the lowest position possible and come back up again while holding weights. A few months ago, a squat meant bending my knees just a bit and holding 5 pound weights. Right now I hold a 20 pound dumbbell in each hand while I squat. The thing is, I feel like I could squat with more, but those are the heaviest weights that I have--- so I have to buy more. (I keep drooling over those select weights by bow flex and may try saving up for them)

So now I can do this entire Boot camp workout and the only moves I modify are the push up type exercises. I have to be on my knees still or I cannot complete the required amount of reps. Still, I tried the second stage of the Boot Camp today to see if I can do it-- and I can! I did all 45-minutes of level two--so I am feeling sore and sweaty and proud and totally freakin' awesome!

Adding this to the ChaLEAN and the walks should blast off some inches! Time will tell!

To clarify yesterday's post---- I am cutting back on my online time everywhere EXCEPT here. I love my blog and this blogging community. It's all the OTHER things I was doing online that I will either discontinue or scale back on quite a bit.

I can't promise to post daily, especially between now and Christmas, as it is my busy season with the Lakota. But I will certainly try to post every other day at least, and I will continue to read all of your blogs and comment as much as time allows.

I'm working on a post now that will be a virtual tour of my garden. I hope to have this posted soon. It involves uploading lots of pics so I work on it whenever I have a minute.

Also, some of you said the settings here made it hard for you to comment. I changed my comment settings so that anyone can comment. Let me know if that helps, and if it doesn't I will try to figure out how to adjust it.

Have a great day-- and be good to you!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hard Work -- Tough to Face it!! LOL

Before I launch into the hard work topic, let me say that I've been examining what I've been doing along the way and looking at things I need to change in order to make additional progress possible.

One thing I am changing is the level of commitments I make that involve typing and being on the computer. When I first started, I figured I needed all sorts of motivation and support, and every tool that I could find to make me accountable. Being over 400 pounds can make you feel that way. LOL

So I started logging my food online, logging my exercise on fitmile, joined all sorts of body building and weight loss message boards and groups. In addition, I have my blog here and committed to posting weekly fitness updates and monthly progress reports and pics.

I started noticing a few things - like how many hours a day I was spending typing and keeping these various online commitments. If you are spending more time online posting about exercise than you are actually exercising-- then you may need to take a second look at how you spend your time. LOL

I have made some decisions...... I love keeping my blog and reading the blogs of weight loss friends I have met here, so giving that up is out of the question. But I will no longer post my food online, nor be as regular with posting on the weight lifting boards.

I keep a body minder journal which I LOVE. A lot of times, when I eat, I am not near a computer, so I write everything down in there. It also has space to record your cardio, gym works outs, mileage for running or walking, etc.

There's no point in my writing everything down and then going online and typing it again. Eating right has gotten to a point where that is not my biggest challenge. I am not saying it is easy, but it certainly isn't the issue it once was.

I will continue to use Fitmile to record my daily exercise. I have the widget for it on here so it enables my friends to see what I did for my last workout. But that's it.

There are two things that brought about this decision to scale back on the computer time. One is, when I was sick with that flu and COULDN'T get out of bed to post on the gazillion things I normally posted on-- I realized how NUMEROUS these daily postings were, how time-consuming. When I was sick and COULDN'T do it, I realized that far from helping my journey, that these things had become too much of a pressure to do things that actually deter me from real activities that actually would further my goals, such as an extra walk or some yard work or housework that would not only get me moving but improve my home life as well.

Too many online support systems can actually have the opposite effect and dilute your focus on yourself. It can be a way of avoiding actual work. And so, it's my blog and the DailyMile for my regular routine. On the body builder sites I will only post monthly updates from now on.

Now onto my original topic that I wanted to get into today -- facing the hard work. I can understand why people with vast amounts of weight to lose often give up before they reach their goals.

At 400-plus pounds, to walk literally only 1/2 a block really knocked me on my ass. I can do 3 miles now without a prob, but of course this takes longer than walking half a block. When you're really heavy, you can put half-ass effort into exercise and so long as the calories are in check, you'll lose weight for sure.

But as time passes and an activity becomes easier, we cannot stay in that comfort zone and expect to continue having the same progress. When it's time to increase the weights we're lifting, or increase the miles we're walking or the speed at which we run-- there's a tendency, especially among those of us coming from a really high weight, to not want to do it.

I'm completely back from the flu and realizing that I have not been working at potential. Both time and intensity-wise, I need to do more! That's one thing that led to the time management stuff I posted about above. I need to spend more time exercising and less time writing about exercising.

I realized months ago that my metabolism isn't what it used to be at age 20 or 30. I WON'T get to goal exercising like I did back then. I have to work harder and eat better than I did back then to weigh what I did back then. Yeah, that really sucks ass!

Anyway, in the beginning, I was working out with the Biggest Loser Boot Camp DVD and some Jillian Michaels DVDs, and when I upped the mileage I was walking and started the ChaLEAN program, I gave myself permission to stop doing the other workouts.

So I started using them again this week, while I continue the walking, the ChaLEAN Extreme, PLUS I still go to the gym two or three times a week. Every time I reach a point where I need to make a change and up the intensity, I seem to go through a sulky period of resentment over how hard I must work and I have a lot of inner resistance to leaving the comfort zone.

If I can push myself through that, then I am able to apply myself and really focus-- that's where I am now and it was so hard to get myself here. The more I lose, the heavier I lift, the farther I walk- the harder it is to push myself to the next level when I start to plateau.

In no time at all we'll be ending 2009 and starting a new year. I really want to work my ass off and end 2009 with as much progress as I can manage to pull off. So this is where I am at. I WILL be posting my weekly fitness numbers at the end of the week and next week it'll be time for the monthly progress report and pics.

Thanks for being here my friends. Reading your blogs helps me and I appreciate all of you putting yourselves out there. Be good to you today!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Motivation, rekindling the fire!

This is a post about rekindling the fire and returning to a place of power and commitment!

I was rooting around in my photo files for something interesting or entertaining to post when I ran across this photo. YIKES! The quite fat woman in the green top is ME back in April of this year. This was taken at a pow wow and the gal in white dancing behind me is my BFF Jeanne.

Holy freakin' crap -- it's hard to believe that I was actually THAT fat not too long ago. If you ever need a reference as to what 70 inch hips look like -- here ya go! See how red my face is? That's not sunburn, it's from the exertion of "walking" around the dance circle-- about all I could muster as a native dance at that time.

I almost didn't post this. I am not so far removed from this as I would like to be, so looking at it is hard. We all know how easily I could be this again if I allowed it. It scares me. In the end, that is WHY I decided to post this.

Besides, as I was MIA for two weeks, I owe you something juicy! LOL

Seriously, I have been very thoughtful these past few days and have been wanting to sit down and make a good post about everything I've been thinking. Then I had this really amazing experience yesterday-- and I'll get to that in a minute.

Before I got sick, I reached a point where (in terms of the fitness) I was not acting out of passion but just going through the motions. I wasn't "cheating," as I was doing the exercise and walking and eating as I should-- but there was no enthusiasm.

I do not know how realistic it is for me to not only succeed, but to do it with joy and passion, to feel enthusiasm about my commitment. I was starting to approach exercise like doing the laundry or the dishes --- something I had to do.

Then I got sick and that brought me even farther away from the "me" that I was a few months ago who was on fire with joy, determination and enthusiasm for losing weight and getting fit. I was finally recovered from the flu when we got the bad news that a friend has cancer and has no more than 6 months to live.

And so these past few days I have been thinking a lot and trying to steer myself back into a good place (inwardly), to be able to keep moving forward on my fitness journey from a place of power and enthusiasm. Two days ago, I sat quietly, almost meditatively, and thought about how I felt when I made my trip out to the Sun dance this past July.

I recalled how difficult it was to walk around the airport and to wait in line at 400 pounds. I relived the humiliation of having to purchase two seats and to have to ask the flight attendant for a seat belt extender. I revisited all the memories of that trip that were difficult and caused by my weight.

I didn't do this to depress myself, but to remind myself of how committed I was to change when I came back from that trip. This week, I put myself back on the sort of carb/calorie/fat controlled way I was eating back in the beginning; and really threw myself into the exercise. I can feel my focus returning more each day, thank heavens.

Then yesterday, I took a walk around my neighborhood and thought about the rez again, but this time, the more positive and empowering aspects of it. I will explain it more fully another time, but, at sun dance, the dancers are isolated from family and friends for four days. They sleep outside and they do not eat or drink.

From sun up to sun down, they dance and pray. They pray for everyone except themselves. This is not something one does for themselves, but for others. Their sacrifices are not "punishment" but offerings to the Great Spirit from the only thing we really have-our own body, heart and soul.

I was one of the supporters, there for my Lakota nephew, Bernie, and sat under the arbor around the dance circle with my friend Jeanne and the locals. As a supporter, you bear witness to the sacrifices of the dancers . The only thing you can give them is the gift of your presence.

One transforms in this atmosphere. There are not words to describe it. Every day I sat there praying for a way back to health and fitness, for myself. (The dancers don't pray for themselves, but the supporters do). Every day I cried and cried. For my own suffering, and for the suffering of the Lakota people, which is very evident while you are there. Everyday, I felt the spiritual power around me growing, as 30 dancers went without food and water, and danced their prayers all day in the intense July heat.

On the fourth day, something happened that let me know my prayers had been heard. Those who do not believe in spiritual things will think I am crazy, but I don't care. Each dancer has a prayer pipe or a medicine pipe (what some would call, in error, a "peace pipe"). Sometimes the dancers wish to honor particular people sitting under the arbors. They send one of the helpers to fetch you at the end of a dance cycle. The helper escorts you to an opening in the dance circle and you and the others who have been chosen, stand across from the dancer who has chosen you. After the drummers and singers do a particular song, the dancer hands you his pipe, which has been packed with prayers in the tobacco. You bring the pipe back to your area and share it with the people around you, releasing the prayers. Afterwards, there is another ceremony to return the pipe.

First of all, it is an honor to be picked for this, so I was in a state of shock that it was happening. When I was standing across from the dancers waiting to be handed the pipe, the energy I felt coming from and around the dancers was nothing short of staggering. There was a woman there from England who had come the year before and was healed of uterine cancer. There were many people and stories there like that, and standing there across from the man holding out his pipe to me, feeling what was in the air, I understood how anything could be possible.

Later, sharing the pipe with those around me, I understood that my prayers had been answered and that the strength and courage and faith of the dancers was available for me as long as I wanted it and acknowledged it and respected it. I KNEW that I had been sent spiritual aid and that NOW is the time to change. I could not reject that blessing and got into serious work on myself the minute I got home.

Right before I got sick two weeks ago, I was starting to forget how I felt at that sun dance. I MUST do this, not only for myself, but for them. I want to return there in July as a new person and be able to say "Look how your prayers helped me!" I want them to know that their sacrifices matter and make a difference.

In any case, I was out walking yesterday and thinking about fitting on the airplane in July so I PUSHED myself like you wouldn't believe. When I got home--- my phone rings and, OMG, it was the holy man who runs the Sun dance that I attend. He was calling to check up on me and give me the dates for this coming summer's dance.

Coincidence? I choose to believe that timing like that is rarely a coincidence. It really blew my mind to hear his voice when I was just out walking and thinking about the sun dance and how much it has meant to me.

Bottom line is that I am on fire again and it's great! I am working my ass off with enthusiasm! My goal is to return to Sun Dance in 2010 as a fit person and I intend to do so!

Anyway. I have a busy day that I must get back to but just felt compelled to share all of this hoping some of you will understand. Be good to you!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Milestones & a recipe from DH

Ok, lately, I have sucked ass as a blogger. LOL

I don't even want to try and get you guys all caught up, suffice it to say a lot has been going on but I think things are settling.

Today was a gym day and I haven't really worked myself at capacity since before I got sick. So today, I walked to the gym and then put in a 90 minute (yes, 90-minute) work-out once I got there.

At the end, I was definitely out of gas but it felt great to be able to really push myself. On the subject of the gym, when I joined I bought a body minder journal and I log my food and exercise in there.

The journal is good for 13 weeks. Today marked the day of beginning a NEW body minder journal. So I completed 13-weeks of going to the gym and did so faithfully other than the week I was sick-- so I am very proud of this milestone.

You have a place to record your measurements and other stats at the beginning and end of each body minder book. In another week or so it will be time to post my monthly progress pics and measurements so I won't go into detail here -- suffice it to say for now that in 13-weeks I have lost over 2 feet of inches off my body! YIKES! That's a lot!

Also, I set two goals 13-weeks ago. One was to be able to lift weights for one hour at a time and the other to be able to walk for 3 miles at a time. I can do both so will have to set some new goals.

Today was a gorgeous day. Here it is November and I was able to walk to the gym in a tank top and spandex capris. It has to get cold eventually, this is New England, after all, so I spent every minute that I could outside today. DH and I raked leaves and puttered around in what remains of our garden.

Speaking of DH, when I was sick he had to cook for himself and normally, he is not that good at it. LOL!!!- But he made something that he was so proud of that when I got better, he made it for me too ---portabello mushroom pizzas. YUM

Mushrooms are one veggie that I cannot stand raw, so DH precooked mine a bit in a skillet before making my pizza. Anyway, at Trader Joe's we had bought an eggplant and garlic relish that is only 15 calories a serving and we used that for the sauce. But you can use ordinary tomato sauce or even a slice of fresh tomato if you prefer.

Anyway, dress up a portabello mushroom with some sauce and low-fat motz cheese and put under the broiler until bubbly. OMG--- so good. And vegetarians can eat it, as well as those who cannot have gluten.

A portobello is only about 30 calories. So if you don't go crazy with the cheese, you can keep these at about 100 calories each. We chowed down on two each with a salad for dinner the other night and I estimated my calories for that meal at about 300. I was quite full as portabellos are pretty big!

Regarding The Biggest Loser -- they had Tracey on the Jay Leno show last week and she seemed heavier on his show than she did in the footage they showed at the end of TBL--so I think she has creeped back up a bit.

Anyway, Gotta go. It's good to be back! (Again) and I should be resuming regular posts again!