Monday, February 28, 2011

Nervous, Excited....Ready.

This is it.  Today is my first day in Kindergarten. 

I have butterflies attacking the inside of my stomach.

For anyone that knows me, personally, they probably know why I have the butterflies.

Not because it's a new assignment.  Not because I'm nervous about being in a new classroom with a new mentor teacher.

Nope.  I'm nervous, because Kindergarten is the one place I'm unfamiliar with.  The place where I worry that my teaching style won't fit.  The place that makes me wonder if I'll do a good job - and that's a new feeling for me.

The only experience I've ever had with Kindergarten is when Peanut and Butter attended - several years ago.  I didn't go to Kindergarten when I was little - because they don't have it in England.

Things are different now, from what I hear.  The kids are writers and readers.  They don't spend the day traveling around to different play centers exploring and creating and...well...playing.  They spend the day learning - learning the things that my kids learned in 1st grade.

When I describe myself as a teacher, I use the word "firm".  I'm a tough cookie.  I like to have fun, but I like structure.  I expect order and discipline - but in a way that the kids can feel comfortable.  No disrespect is allowed, and the kids are given choices, independence, and the chance to work together.  My last placement really helped me build my classroom management style - and I managed to help focus a classroom full of students with "behavioral issues" into a classroom that behaves....not just because they have to - but because they want to.

Things will be different in Kindergarten.  I may not be able to give these students what I gave to my 2nd graders - but, I guess, that's a part of the learning process for me.  Maybe I will find that my way works.  Maybe I'll find that I totally love being there.

I'm not scared to admit that for as long as I can remember, I made one thing very clear - in my mind - I did NOT want to teach Kindergarten.  That wasn't fair.  Having no real experience in Kindergarten, I can't make that assumption.  Now is the time I get to see it for myself - and I'm ready.  Who knows?  I might fall in love with this age group and decide that it's where I want to be.  No promises, but I'm going to do what I've always done - be the best that I can be, try as hard as I can, and see what happens.

I know, I know - this is a personal post - and not weight lost related. 

BUT, I've heard that I will get a great work-out in by being a K teacher.  I will be on my feet all day.  I will be moving, constantly.  Maybe this opportunity does help with my weight loss.  Wouldn't that be fantastic? 

I, ultimately, started this journey because I didn't want to be a teacher that couldn't keep up with her students.  I didn't want to have difficulty being on my feet all day.  Maybe this is what I've been training for!!

I just realized that I should be doing my regular Monday "To-Do" post...but I will do it tomorrow.  Tomorrow is the first day of March - so there are a few things I want to put on my goal list for the month.

Hopefully, I will be out of this "personal" mood once the day is over.  Tomorrow, I will be back to my weight loss blogging self.

Everyone have a great Monday!!

Do you remember Kindergarten?
What was it like for you?  Maybe you remember your kids going, or they are there now - love to hear from you about it.

Till next time.  ;)
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I Curse Thee, Procrastination

I had to take a few minutes to write my blog - from fear that if I didn't take a break, my head would explode.

It's my own fault. 

Hi, my name is Joanna and I'm a procrastinator.  Yes, the worst kind.  The kind that waits until the very last second to do something, even though that something is supposed to take about two weeks to complete.

The something I'm referring to today is my senior project.  The big kahuna.  The main assignment for my senior year.  The assignment I should have been working on for the past month - collecting information, writing reflections, grading, analyzing.....but nope, I wait until 2 days before it's due to even start.  DOH!

I wish I could break this nasty habit - don't think that I haven't tried.  Each and every night for the past month, I have sat at my computer looking at the screen trying to find the words to write....but my head is completely blank.  For some reason, I have a brain that is only wired to perform under panic and stress.  When a deadline is looming, that's when my brain kicks in and says "OK, time to start working" and off I go.

It's a curse, but for some reason - a blessing, in a way.  I hate the stress and anxiety that comes from procrastination...but I am also able to think better, work harder, and produce my best work during those crunch times.  I find that I don't second guess myself when I'm working under this kind of pressure.

Maybe because I don't allow myself time to worry about if it's good enough - it just has to be right the first time.

So, here I sit.  It's 11:17am on Sunday.  My senior project is due to be submitted within the next 48 hours.  I've made good progress, but still have a long way to go.  On top of that, I also have to prepare myself for my first day of Kindergarten tomorrow.  My supplies from my 2nd grade are still sitting in my cart.  I haven't unpacked them.  I haven't thought about what I need to take tomorrow.  Oh, and did I mention that I also have to go grocery shopping this afternoon and cook dinner tonight?


Yesterday, I took a break from my work to head to the gym.  I'm glad I got the work-out in, but I didn't really feel like I had a good work-out.  My head was so fixated on looking at the clock and worrying about how much time was passing...that I rushed.  I did put in 30 minutes on the elliptical, 15 minutes on the treadmill, and a few sets of weights.  Not a bad work-out, but not my best either.

Today, I really wanted to get out and run.  Not sure that's going to be possible - but it's so nice outside.  I really dislike days like this - why couldn't it be pouring down rain?  At least then, I wouldn't want to go out so bad.  I'm trying to tell myself that missing a day of running is OK - and that once this project is finished, I'll have much more time to go out.  It wouldn't be so bad if I had made it out at least once this week to run...but I didn't. 

I've gotten to the point of my journey where missing a work-out or a run bothers me - BIG TIME!  Sometimes there are things that are more important - graduating, for instance, is much more important.  Do I really want to jeopardize my final grade on feeling guilty about not exercising?  No.  But it doesn't help the guilt feelings putting it that way, either.

Well, this post ended up being one big, how about ending with some good news?

I did an "unofficial" weigh-in this morning.  The scale said 213.6lbs!!  That's 1.4lbs lost in 4 days!!  I'm happy about that.  Especially since I weighed in yesterday to register for my next challenge from The Sisterhood and my weight was 215.6lbs. Gotta love those water weight fluctuations, right?  I can't wait to see how I do over the next couple of days up until my weigh in on Wednesday morning.

OK - head feels a little more deflated...time to get back to work.

Till next time.  ;)
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Crazy Week = Cranky Me

What a week!  Way too much crammed into one week is making my head spin around- think, Exorcist!

The only day I went to the gym, up until today, was Monday.  MONDAY!! That was 5 days ago!  So, I'm not a gym rat, yet, but going 5 days without working out has gotten me a little...urm...on the edge.

If you read my blog post from yesterday, you know that I'm working on making time for myself - making my work-out time a priority.  It was hard writing that post, knowing that all week I hadn't kept my word.  In my defense, though, it was MY other priorities that had to be taken care of - and there was no working around it. 

This week was my last week in my 2nd grade placement.  It's been crazy, hectic.  I had to get all of my ducks in a row in preparation for starting in my Kindergarten placement on Monday.  That meant staying at work later than I had intended, Tuesday.  Wednesday, there was a staff meeting that went on longer than I had planned.  Thursday, I had to go and pick up my graduation stuff - very high priority.  Yesterday, well, there was no excuse for that - except I was sad and the offer of grabbing a drink with the team I've been working with for the past 16 weeks sounded good.

I had such a hard day yesterday.  First, and foremost, I need to mention that I am NOT a crier.  Yeah, I get sad sometimes - but it takes a lot to make tears flow from my eyes.  Yesterday was one of those days.  All day long I tried to swallow the lump that had permanently attached to the inside of my throat.  With each "why can't you stay?" and "we don't want you to leave" from my students - the lump grew bigger and bigger.  By the end of the day, I was a mess.  I quickly swept away any moisture that escaped from my eyes - and figured it best to not say anything due to fear that full-blown sobbing would appear.  I almost made it.  That was, until I walked my kiddos down to leave for the day - and one boy, who hadn't said much to me all day, took me aside and said "Ms. Hill, you are a great teacher and I hope that you'll get to be my teacher again.  I'm going to really miss you".  As his tears welled into his eyes, I could barely get the words "I'll miss you, too" out before I had to bolt into the teacher's lounge and release the uncontrollable sobs.  I never knew it was possible to get so attached to a group of kids - but I did.  I'm going to miss them so much.  OK - no more crying!!

This weekend?  Even crazier, even busier.  I have a MAJOR project due Tuesday - and how much have I gotten done?  Urm...nada...nothing...barely scratched the surface of starting.  So that's the plan for today.  HOWEVER, a trip to the gym in going to happen!

I have done very well with my food intake - and the logging.  I feel that now I have my BodyBugg, I would be wasting it by not getting accurate results.  In order to do that - I have to log.  I'm also amazed that, even though I haven't worked out, I've still been burning calories like crazy.  Guess that's to be expected when I'm running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.

After 5 days of not working out, my body is feeling the effects.  I was so tired last night.  I'm not really sure if it was more physical exhaustion or mental exhaustion - but it was exhaustion...and it made me fall asleep on the couch at 7pm.  I woke up around 11 and went straight to bed.  I figured I'd end up waking up in the middle of the night - and could use that to my advantage by getting a couple hours of work in before the household woke up.  Yeah - did NOT happen, cause I didn't drag my lazy butt out of bed until 6:30 this morning. 

When I did manage to get out of bed, my body hurt.  I felt like I was 90 hobbling out of bed to the bathroom.  I know that was mostly because I had been in bed WAY too long...but I also want to think it's because my body is getting tight - and needs a little work-out to loosen it up.

OK, enough sitting here whining about how much I have to do - time to get to it.  My project isn't going to write it's self.

Till next time. ;)
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Friday, February 25, 2011

Life Logging?

Before I get to today's post - I have to mention that yesterday, I received my new Eat Smart Digital Scales.  I won them from the Power of One Challenge - and I was so excited to receive them.  Apart from the fact that the batteries that came with the scales wouldn't work - I love my new scales. 

OK, now down to business.

Today is my final installment of Smack in the Face Week.  I know, technically, it hasn't been a full week - but I'm working on some new ideas for posts - and I'm going to be super busy this weekend.

I've covered a lot about the importance of food logging over the past couple of days - but today I want to shift gears just a little and discuss Life Logging.

What the heck is life logging, you ask?  Well, a common excuse reason that I hear that a lot of people fail when trying to lose weight is because of time constraints.  I have written several posts related to not having enough time in the day - but do people real feel able to walk away dealing with their dilemma any better?  I don't know - so I figured I'd have another crack at it.

There are not many people I know that have no worries about time.  Unless you work in a gym, it's sometimes very hard to fit in enough time to work out. It's often hard to come home after a long day of work to cook a healthy meal.  Kids, school, work....they all come first in most people's lives and "me" time is something that has to be placed on the back burner.

Changes need to be made. 

Most of you know my story.  I am a mom to 3 kids - kids that have counseling appointments, science clubs, after school activities.  I am a student teacher - a teacher that has after school meetings, lesson plans to write, papers to grade.  I am a full time student - a student that has homework, projects, resume portfolios to prepare for job searching.  I am also a person that is trying to lose weight.  That means working out, planning meals, cooking the meals.  I know what you're thinking - how the heck do I do it?

Well, I'm doing something that I like to call: Life Logging.

Most people would probably call it a schedule - and it is, in a way.  I keep a planner - it's my lifeline.  I have to know what days my kids have activities planned, I have to know what days I have meetings...and I have to make sure that each day I am able to commit to my fitness/ health goals.

One thing that has become a main thing I have had to remind myself during my life logging is that my "me" time is just as important as everything else on my schedule.  My kids and job can't always come first.  As much as we don't want to put our own priorities before those things, sometimes we must.  It may sound a little selfish - but if I didn't do it, then I wouldn't be able to do any of the things I need to do in order to reach my goals....unless I just never slept.

Every single day, I plan on giving myself an hour of work-out it in the gym or running.  I plan to go to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and then run on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.  I'm getting in to a routine that I do my gym and running time right after work during the weekdays so I'm still in "go" mode- and I'm flexible on the weekends....basically, I go when I feel like it...but I go.

If the kids have an activity, I know that I may have to alter my schedule.  Sometimes I don't run for as long, or I skip the gym and do a quick run instead.  If I get the "hey mom, is it OK if I stay after school for a while to do *blank*" and it interferes with my work-out time...then I might just have to say "no" once in a while.  That's something that's been hard for me to do - but I have to realize that I don't have to drop everything and rearrange my entire schedule just because I want to be the mother that allows my kids to do everything they want.  Hearing the word "no" isn't going to kill them. 

If I have a meeting, I just do my work-out after.  I make arrangements for Hubby to pick up Jelly from daycare - that won't kill him one or two days a week.  Is it inconvenient for him? Sure.  But it's also inconvenient for me to miss out on what I need to do. 

Most mothers and/or wives feel like it's their duty to put themselves last on the totem pole.  The family's needs comes before their own.  It is normal to sacrifice time for the sake of others.  It doesn't matter how much they have on their plate - they will continue to pile it on...because that's just what we're programmed to do. 

It's time for re-programming!!

Now, I'm not going to stand on my soapbox and say that I never falter on my plans or allow things to sometimes mess up my schedule.  This week, for example, has been crazy.  Monday, I went to the gym.  Tuesday I worked late, didn't make arrangements for Hubby to pick up Jelly - so I had to miss out on working out.  Wednesday, I had a staff meeting that went a lot later than I had anticipated and had told Peanut she could go to church which caused me to miss out on working out once again.  Yesterday, I had to rush off after class to go and register for graduation, pick up my cap and gown, and then go shopping for gifts for my class (it's my last day in second grade today).  That meant yet another day with no gym.  Stuff happens. 

Up until a few weeks ago, I looked for any excuse I could to get out of working out.  Then I realized that I had to stop.  I would NEVER lose the weight.  I would NEVER reach my goals.  I would NEVER completely commit myself.   It just took a little planning, some juggling, growing some cahones to actually tell my darling children that Mommy's health is important and they'd have to deal with it, informing Hubby that I need him to take on some extra responsibilities regardless of how tired he is (I'm tired too!!), and realizing that I have a right to put some of my priorities first.  It's still a work in progress - but it's working.

So, I leave you today hoping that you'll consider thinking about taking the leap into figuring out a way of making it work.  Time doesn't have to be an excuse.  You can make it work.  Unless you work from 5am to 10pm, I'm pretty sure there's a few gaps that will allow you for some "you" time....use that time to it's fullest potential.

Till next time. ;)
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What's Your Motivation?

Welcome back for Day 3 of Smack in the Face Week:  Motivation Edition.  Whenever I think about weight loss or read about it I always see that word....motivation.  I truly believe that it's the heart of weight loss - the inner core that either leads to success or disaster.  This week's posts aren't necessarily geared to giving you motivation, but more about finding it.

Today, I continue with an important question.  What's your motivation?

Do you want to lose weight because of your health?  Being a good role model to your kids?  Tired of not fitting in to smaller clothes?  Wanting to feel better about yourself?  Wanting to be more active or athletic?

If you're like me, you probably answered yes to all of those questions. 

Now, if I twist that question around a little.... What motivates you to lose weight?  Do all of those questions still apply?  Yep, probably.  Even though you answered yes to one or most of those questions - do those things MAKE you put in the work that is required to lose weight?

I've mentioned this many times - but for 10 years I wanted to lose weight for all of those reasons, I felt like those reasons were good motivation....but did I really put the effort forward to accomplish my goals?  No, I did not.  I wanted to lose weight - and used the words motivation and want interchangeably.  Then I realized, they don't mean the same thing.

Let's take a look at the definition of motivation:
  1. giving of reason to act: the act of giving somebody a reason or incentive to do something
  2. enthusiasm: a feeling of enthusiasm, interest, or commitment that makes somebody want to do something, or something that causes such a feeling
  3. reason: a reason for doing something or behaving in a particular way
Now, let's compare it to the definition of want:
  1. desire something: to feel a need or desire for something
  2. wish something done: to desire to do something or that something be done
  3. miss something: to feel the lack of something
As you can see, two completely different words.  Motivation uses words like incentive, enthusiasm, commitment and reason whereas want throws out words like desire, wish, feeling a lack.  Wanting something is the start, motivation is what gets you there.

So, where do you find motivation?  That's a really difficult question to answer.  I would suggest, though, making a list of your wants.  Write all the reasons down that you want to lose weight.  Look at the list, study it.  Is there something on that list that sends a spark through you?  Is there something on that list that makes you get fired up?  If so, then you're on your way to finding your motivation - but maybe it's something else that you didn't even realize.

Let me use myself as an example.  Even though I've been losing weight for a little over a year - I didn't really find my motivation until recently.  I had a list of wants:  I wanted to look better, I wanted to feel better, I wanted to live longer to be around for my kids, I wanted to have more energy, I wanted to be able to buy cuter clothes.  Want, want, want.

What got me motivated to start my journey was, in honesty, my competitive personality.  My mom was losing weight, my best friend had lost a ton of weight and looked fabulous.  Not only did I want to be doing the same, but I felt challenged to do the same.  That gave me the motivation to make my way through the most of last year.  Then, at the end of October last year - I lost my motivation.  The people that were driving me weren't as motivated, so I didn't feel like I had to be.  Plus, I was so freakin' busy - that my motivation turned to school....and it overpowered my weight loss motivation.  I kept telling myself that I would find my motivation again - and put my weight loss on the back burner.

January 1st, 2011 hit.  I wanted to start my weight loss journey again, and did....but without true motivation.  I thought about what had fueled me the year before, and knew that I needed to find something that would spark my competitive nature.  Enter Power of One Challenge and Biggest Loser Challenge.  It was a good start - two competitions gave me the power to at least start making more of an effort.

Fast forward again to February 1st - my birthday.  My weight loss for January had been pretty pathetic.  I wanted - but wasn't really motivated - to work out.  Then, I was locked in my house for almost 2 weeks due to snow.  My body got frustrated - it didn't like being couped up....I was actually wanting to get out just so I could run.  This had never happened to me before.  On snow days in years past, I embraced the excuse to sit on my big behind and do nothing.... curl up on the couch with a blanket, a book, and a big bowl of chips or popcorn.  This time was different.  I became aggravated, agitated, down right mean and grumpy.  I WANTED TO RUN!!

Then, like a ton of bricks I realized that I had found my had been there trying so hard to get out.  I just needed something like the snow days to make it come to light - move it from the want list to the motivation list.  Running.  Not just wanting to run - a motivation to be a runner.  I want to compete, I want to train, I want to say I DID THAT when talking about races.  It was no longer about wanting to look better, feel better, etc. - those were just going to be perks.  I found a way to tap in to my competitive edge that got me through my first year - but rather than competing just to compete (more for glory than actual victory) I found something to really drive me.....and it's all about me.

So, since that day, I have been more motivated than I ever have before about losing weight AND getting fit.  I joined a gym, I took on the advice of a personal trainer, I started logging my food - to keep track of my body fueling, I invested in a BodyBugg - tools that will help me reach my goals.  You know what's happened since I found my true motivation?  I've been succeeding.  The weight is coming off, my stamina is increasing,  I've made it 17 days without a single binge or "unhealthy" food option (probably the longest I've EVER made it), my passion and desire is through the roof.  I just had to realize what it was that would spark the commitment - and I did.

Today, I ask you to make a list of wants associated with your weight loss.  Is there something on there that fuels your fire?  Is there something you've always wanted to do - and are empowered to try?  Then RUN with may realize that your motivation is just needs to be set free.

Till next time.  ;)
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Weigh to Go Wednesday: Food Logging Edition

Power of One Challenge

This week, I say goodbye to the Power of One Challenge hosted by The Sisterhood.  I am going to miss it.  It was my first online challenge that I saw through all the way to the end, not giving up.  The challenge also gave me the push I needed to really get my priorities, in regards to my weight loss and fitness, into focus... and for that I am truly thankful.

Before I get to my Smack in the Face portion of the post - food logging - I need to give my final weigh in results.  I have decided to keep weighing in on Wednesdays - so this is just the last one for this challenge.

Challenge Starting Weight:  227lbs
Weight Last Week:   217.2lbs
Weight This Week:    215lbs
Total percentage of weight loss:  5.3%

I did it!! 2.2lbs gone in one week!!! I met my 2lb weight loss goal, and then some.  I've lost 12lbs in a month and a half...and I couldn't be more happy!!

I can say that there really is one thing that has given me the results that I received this week:  Food Logging.

When I started this challenge and each week up until 2 weeks ago, I was losing measly amounts of weight...not even a pound a week.  I was getting frustrated - I didn't feel like I was doing well enough.  I had to change something, but didn't know what.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I was an anti food logger and calorie counter.  I didn't see the point.  I made a food plan each week, I didn't binge, I stuck to my plan - for the most part - so why waste the time reentering my food into yet another log?  That question can be answered by the results that I set before you today in my weigh in.

Food logging happened to my by accident.  I starting seeing people posting comments on Twitter about something called My Fitness Pal.  I was curious.  I wanted to see what it was.  I checked it out.  I groaned when I realized it was a food and exercise logger.  Just because I was bored, I decided to see what all the hype was about - so I went about setting up a profile, answering all the questions, and logging a day's worth of food into the program.

I was surprised that it only took me about 5 minutes to do all of that - but the information that was laid out for me after I logged everything was quite interesting.  Which brings me to the Q&A of why a person should food log:

What's the difference between food logging and meal planning?  Well, when I would make my meal plan, I didn't look at calories.  I built meals that I believed to be good for me, used portion control as my guide, and basically hoped for the best.  Food logging makes me thing about anything I eat that isn't on the meal plan (cups of coffee, changes to meals or snacks, etc.).  I get to see the amount of calories that my plan is giving me - and can determine if it's too much or not enough.

Why is it so important to count calories?  I am a newcomer to this.  I used to think it didn't matter to count calories.  As long as I was eating healthy foods and working out, I shouldn't have to count calories right?  WRONG!  After I started counting calories, and logging my exercise, I was able to see how much I was eating compared to how much I was burning.  If I was eating more than I was burning - then, of course, I wouldn't lose weight.  In my case I was dealing with the OPPOSITE.  I wasn't eating enough to fuel my body for the exercising I was doing.  I was basically putting my body into starvation mode - and it was causing the slow weight loss.

Isn't it a lot of work to do all of the math?  Not at all - or at least it doesn't have to be.  If you use a program such as My Fitness Pal, the work is done for you.  All you have to do is input your food into the food logger.  That's even easier than you think, because their food database is the biggest I've ever seen on a web based food logger.  I use a BodyBugg, now, but I still refer to My Fitness Pal for my food logging - because they have more foods in their database than BodyBugg.  Another benefit of My Fitness Pal is that it will give you an estimate of how many calories you burn each day during your normal activity level.  Then it will calculate how many times you work out each week, and provide you with a calorie goal that you should be trying to meet each day.

What is a calorie deficit and why is it so important?  Your calorie deficit is the math.  Your calories burned minus the calories consumed gives you a calorie deficit (or surplus if you've eaten too much).  The important thing to remember with a deficit is that it should be healthy enough to keep fueling your body.  Almost every medical professional out there will tell you that you should NEVER consume less than 1200 calories a day.  I agree with that.  In order to get a healthy deficit, you need to calculate the amount of calories you need in order to lose weight.  If your "weight loss" amount (calories you should be consuming in order to lose weight) is 1200 and you want to lose 1 pound a week then you would need to eat 1700 calories and burn 500 calories per day to get you to the 1200 calorie weight loss amount.  That would give you a deficit of 500 calories per day - but not leave your body needing more nutrition.  For me, I have to eat 1700 calories per day and burn off 2700 calories per day to give me a 1000 calorie deficit EACH day to burn off the 2lbs per week that I'm shooting for.  Yes, it's complicated - that's why it's better to use a program.

What if I don't have time or don't want to count calories forever?  Don't talk to me about time...that's a fight that I've struggled with for many years.  Hello!! 3 kids, full time job, full time student - right here.  It's taken me 29 years to figure out time management - and I'm still learning.  I can't pull out my phone every time I eat something - but that doesn't mean I don't log it.  I write everything down that I'm eating...yes EVERYTHING.. even that tiny bite of cookie or small scoop of ice-cream.  At the end of the day, I bring home all of my little sticky notes that I've used and plug everything in.  Before I go to bed each and every night, I plug in my food log - or I do it while I'm sitting on the couch watching my 30 minutes of TV each evening.  It doesn't take long...and it's so worth it.  The "I don't want to count calories forever" comment was my own 1 year ago.  I was preaching that I was converting to a healthy lifestyle - and counting calories every day for the rest of my life was unrealistic.  That is still the case today.  Except, now, I realize that while I still have work to do - the counting calories is worth it.  Will I be so inclined to count calories so much when I'm down to my goal weight? Probably not.  I should have a pretty good handle on my calorie consumption by then to know what to eat.  For people trying to lose weight,'s, again, worth it.

OK, that's it from me today. 

Please let me know if there's something you're struggling with - I'm still trying to decide on topics for the remainder of the week and I need YOUR HELP!!

Till next time. ;)
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's Just Too Much Work Trying Lose Weight

Welcome to chapter 2 of Smack in the Face Week.  Last year, I did a week's worth of posts dedicated to familiar excuses people often use when trying to lose weight.   I really enjoyed writing them, and got a lot of positive feedback from you guys about I figured I'd try doing it again.  This week, I focus on some of the hurdles that come with trying to lose weight - in hopes to inspire anyone that's having doubts.

Today, I figured I'd take the bull by the horns and get right into it with something that I've been asked about, lately.  I've had a few people ask me how they can help a friend, significant other, or co-worker to lose that's where we start, today.

Let me start by saying that nobody will lose weight unless they want to.  It's more about getting the person to want to try and make the effort before you can help them.  By preaching and nagging - you're only going to turn them off, and possibly rebell against your ideas for them. 

For some people, the thought of trying to lose weight is daunting.  It's too much work.  It's too time consuming.  In their mind, they can't do the activities that are required or don't feel like they can change their eating habits.  This is where you, dear friend, lover or co-worker, can step in.

Losing weight is hard.  Losing weight takes time.  I should know, it's taken me over a year to drop 60lbs...yes, I could have done better but I struggled, too.

It's so unfair that it can take a matter of 2 days to gain 5lbs yet it could take 2 months to remove it.  Not really a fair trade off... but it's reality.

So, how can you help someone that you think needs some guidance to understand that the hard work is worth it?  Wow, good question....let me know when you have the answer.  In my personal opinion, the best way to help someone is by being a good role model.  By showing them that you were able to do it, or are doing it can send waves of motivation.  By offering to be there to help and show support - without nagging - can do the same.

I came up with a few ideas for anyone that has a friend, lover, or co-worker that thinks could benefit from losing some weight - in the kindest, most caring of ways.

Share your successes, in a nice way.  Let's face it, no one likes a bragger.  Especially a person that may be having emotional problems attached to their weight.  If they constantly hear you going on and on about how much weight you've lost and how amazing you now look - they may end up resenting you.  So, how can you do it in a nice way?  Make it sound rewarding.  When making comments, say things like "I had no idea that I would feel so energetic now that I'm working out a little", "It's taken some time, but I'm so glad I stuck to my goals to get into some new clothes", "I'm so glad that I started eating healthier foods, they actually taste better and have saved me some money" and "Who knew that I would actually enjoy exercising?"  By making it sound like you're enjoying the effort, and praising yourself with unexpected rewards (such as more energy or a little extra money in your pocket), it may perk their interest.

Offer to be a support, anonymously.  Walking up to a person that you want to help and saying "Can I help you lose weight?" may send you down a road of disaster.  It's hard for people to admit that they need help.  It's even harder if that person is scared of change or their abilities to do what's required to lose weight.  There are a few ways that you can offer to be a support system, without the person even realizing it.  Making comments like "I wish I had someone that would work out with me, it would be so much more fun" or "I would love to have a get together at my house, one night, with a few people to share some of my healthy recipes with".  By throwing the indirect offers out there, you may get a positive response.  Not guaranteed - but better than saying "You need to lose weight, I want to help".

Share your struggles.  Sometimes, a person that wants to lose weight is intimidated with skinnier people or their own turmoil with their weight.  Sometimes, it just takes hearing that they are not the only one that has those emotions and feelings to open up a door.  Sharing your own personal struggles could be a benefit to someone who's in a similar situation.  Maybe it's discussing emotional eating, maybe it's discussing your fear of working out, maybe it's discussing the fear that was associated with eating unknown healthy foods....any struggle could be the connector they need.

Don't Push, Pull.  At the end of the day, if you try and force somebody into doing something that they're not interested in doing then you are wasting your time.  Yes, it may be hard watching someone that you love or care for become more and more unhealthy - but it's their life.  Take me, for example.  I tried losing weight - kind of - for 10 years.  I tried, meaning I looked for quick fixes, miracle diets, etc.  When I learned how much work was actually involved with getting weight off and keeping it off - I failed many times.  It took me finally realizing that I wanted to lose weight for ME not for anyone else.  Sure, I want to be a good role model to my kids, I want to be able to show my students that it's better to be active and healthy - but I really want to feel good about myself, feel sexy, like the person looking back at me in the mirror.  My final moment of changing revelation happened when I saw someone that I cared about had lost weight - she looked fantastic - and I wanted that.  She never mentioned to me that I should try losing weight -she did it, I wanted to do it too.  Easy as that.  Will it be that way for you?  Probably can't make someone magically change their feelings.  Don't try and push someone to do something they're not ready to by pulling them in to the amazing results you're having - and maybe, just maybe, they might be interested enough to ask for help.

Tomorrow, I start breaking down the hard work that is involved for people that are wanting to lose weight - but are struggling.  First stop?  Food logging!!

Till next time. ;)
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mini Goal Monday: Time to Get My Running Back!!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!!  I did.  Went to the gym Saturday, went for a run yesterday, and relaxed in between. 

My goals this week are going to be a little more intense.  Now that I have my BodyBugg, I want to really test it out.  I could just go "business as usual" and see what kind of results I get - but what fun is there in that? 

My first two days, logging, were pretty insightful.  On Saturday, having spent an hour in the gym as my exercise, I burned a total of 2429 calories.  I ate 1609 calories.  That gave me a deficit for the day of 820 calories.  Yesterday, with a 2 mile jog as exercise (at my fastest pace to date, I might add...more about that later) I burned a total of 2538 calories.  I ate 1484 calories.  Giving me a deficit of 1054 calories.  Deficits like that should have given me about a 1/2lb loss - that I didn't see when I stepped on the scale this morning.  Although, I do have to factor in that I drank A LOT of water this weekend.

I'm not going to stress about the number I see on the scale.  One thing I did notice this weekend was the fact that my clothes are starting to get looser again.  After a week in the gym, I'm already feeling the results in my stamina.  I know that I'm building muscle - so it's a possibility it may affect that number on the scale.

Anywho - let's get on with why I'm here today....this week's goals.

This week is the final weigh in for the Power of One Challenge.  I'm going to miss it, and hopefully the Sisterhood starts a new challenge soon.  Even though the challenge will be ending, I'm still going to keep my weigh in days on Wednesday.  I've gotten used to weighing in on Wednesday, I like doing it in the middle of the week.

I miss my running.  Like I said, earlier, I went out for a run yesterday.  It was the first time I've ran outside for two weeks!!  I decided to start week 4 of C25K over again.  That's a 4 min jog/ 1 min walk.  I was a little nervous when starting.  My legs were pretty sore from the beating I gave them at the gym on Saturday.  I decided to push through the pain - and ended up finishing 2 miles with a pace time of 14:45 min/mile.  I believe that's my fastest pace time since starting the program. 

I sat down with my training consultant on Saturday to discuss fitting my C25K program into the mix of my working out.  I should add here that I use the term "training consultant" because I decided that I can't afford a personal trainer - but he graciously offered to help me plan my work-outs, give me a training schedule (with complete work-out routines), and give me advice whenever I need it - Yes, he's AWESOME!!. 

My original goal was to go to the gym 6 days a week. If I do that, I miss out on being able to run.  Time is a big issue for me - and if I go to the gym, I really don't have time to run for 2 miles.  We came up with a plan that gives me the best of both worlds.  Which FINALLY brings me to this week's goals:
  • Go to the gym for 1 hour Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday
  • C25K Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday
  • 30 mins cardio/ 15 mins strength/ 15 mins cardio at each gym session
  • Keep my calories to between 1400 and 1600 calories per day (as recommended by my PT)
  • Push to burn 2700 calories per day
  • Plan and log ALL food consumed
  • Drink 80ozs of water per day (yep, upped that a little)
So, as you can see, a little more intense.  I, also, had a great conversation with my TC about taking a day off from exercising to rest.  He told me that with an hour of exercise each and every day, I would be fine.  My muscles will heal during sleep and rest throughout the day. 

I want to get into the habit of doing some form of exercise each day.  My time at the gym should increase my pace time for my running - as made evident this week.  This isn't just about losing weight for me - I have goals, aspirations to become an athlete.  I want to be able to compete in races - 5Ks, 10Ks, 1/2 and full marathons.  I'm not just trying to get some form of exercise in to lose - this is about building my body up, preparing it for action.  I am now, officially, in training.

This week, I'm hoping to throw out some "motivational" posts....something I did last year.  I want to help - and sometimes it just takes seeing someone else do it to get you going.  I'm going to do another Smack in the Face Week (check the index).  I had a great time doing it last year, going to try it again this year - with my new found motivation by my side.

To help with this week, I need to hear from you:
What is one thing that you struggle with the most in terms of weight loss/ exercising?
What is something you'd like help with? Time constraints? Money issues? Finding resources/ support? Something along those lines.

Stay tuned!

Till next time. ;)
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I'm Not the Same Person Anymore

Several weeks ago, I started using Sundays as a day of reflection, a day to embrace the things I dislike about myself, and a day to plan how to make good of some of the areas of my life in which I struggle.  The posts are always pretty deep, and for the most part, ended up being a tear fest as I revealed my weaknesses and my dislike for dwelling on my weaknesses.

This morning, I had planned on following suit with another "deep" post about a flaw, something I dislike, something I want to work on.  I sat here and sat here. 

I could talk about certain body parts that I dislike.  Then I started to think about which one I could use.  I dislike having a big stomach - but it's disappearing, and the unsightly stretch marks that I wear on my stomach are a mark of pride of bringing three amazing children into the can I dislike that?

I could talk about the fact that I have extremely large legs.  These same legs are pushing me every day to meet my fitness goals.  They are holding me strong and proud in front of my class each day.  Hmm...nope, don't think I can dislike that, either.

OK, so there's my arms.  My arms are something that I really do dislike the look of.  I have chicken, scratch that... OSTRICH wings.  The tops of my arms could do with losing about 6" exaggeration.  Then I start to think about how my arms lift up Jelly, hug Peanut and Butter, they hold me strong when doing push-ups and contorting my body into Yoga poses.  Sure, they have some work needed - but dislike them that much?  Not really.

You see where I'm going with this? 

These past two weeks, I've made some transformations.  I've gotten out of the rut of disappointing myself, having regrets for not doing things I said I would, I've started to change - not just in my actions, but the way I think.

A year ago, if you had asked me to join a gym, I would have told you that it's a waste of money.  There's no reason to go to a gym because I can work out at home....and I don't have the time. 

Well, the first part is true.  I can work out at home.  I can use my own fitness stuff - DVDs, weights, treadmill.... I could, but I didn't.

Time?  Oh, don't get me started on that.  I get up at 4:30am, leave for work at 6am, work until 3pm, come home and cook dinner, do homework, and then try to get myself to bed to where I can at least get about 6 hours of sleep.  Who has the time to fit going to the gym into all of that??  Urm...I guess I do.  This week, I left work at 3, went to the gym until 4:15 and was home by 5 to do my usual evening chores.  I went yesterday, spent an hour working out, came home and did what I would normally do on a Saturday....a whole lot of nothing.

A year ago, if you had asked me to count calories and log all of the food I ate, I would have told you that it was a waste of time.  I knew my body, I knew if what I was eating was good for me or not.  If I make my meal plan ahead of time, why do I need to log it again? 

I had some success with that theory, then the number on the scale stopped dropping.  I couldn't figure out why I wasn't losing weight anymore.  My diet consisted of whole grains, unprocessed foods.  I was eating fruits and veggies....why wasn't I lose weight?  Well, thanks to looking at how many calories I was consuming and how many I was burning while working out - I realized I wasn't eating enough.  Whaattt???  Yep, that's the truth.  Counting calories isn't just about making sure you don't eat too much, it also helps make sure you're eating enough.  Now, you can bet your behind I'm logging my food - and it's really not that much of a time consumer.  Thanks, iPhone!!

Today, I no longer dwell on my mistakes or my flaws or my failures.   I am proud of what I've done the past two weeks.  I am happy with the changes I'm seeing myself making - not just on the outside, but within.  I know that if I continue doing what I'm doing - the flaws will disappear completely, body parts will get smaller. 

For the first time in such a long time, I am truly happy.  I am happy that I have a family that supports me.  I am happy in realizing that I really do have friends - great friends - who cheer me on and provide kind words of motivation.  I am happy in knowing that I'm beating the odds: over-worked, under paid and still finding the time and resources to dedicate it to my fitness and health.  I am happy with being happy.

This week, I have discovered that there is only one person on this earth that can help me overcome my obstacles, help me reach my goals, and put in the time and effort to be healthy.  There is only one person that affects the way I feel about myself, that allows silly things like body image and personality flaws to mess with my mind.  There is only one person that can determine if I succeed or fail.  That person is ME!!

Just so you know - no Kleenexes were harmed during the creation of this blog.  HALLELUJAH!!

Till next time.  ;)
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Time to Start Bugging Out!!

It's Here!  My BodyBugg has arrived.  Like a stork bringing me a new baby, I anticipated the arrival...and it finally came - not without drama...thanks UPS...but I finally had it in my hands at 8pm last night.

I felt like a kid opening the box.  It's been such a long time since I've received something I've truly wanted... a thing that has been on my wish list for many months - and I now have it.

Immediately, I went to my computer and set up my account and plugged my Bugg in to charge.  I wanted to be ready to place it on my arm first thing this morning - and that's exactly what  I did.  I tracked my first meal on my food log, I synced my Bugg to my iPhone to get my first read out of the day.....and I fell more in love with it.  Seeing the numbers before my eyes: my steps taken and the calories burned in the 30 minutes since putting it on made me realize that it was all worth it.  Knowing and not guessing.

I now have this "let's see what it can do" attitude.  I want to see how well I can do, it's challenging me to really increase the numbers....I want a good deficit at the end of today.

So, I'm heading off to the gym in a little while.  I'm going to sweat, I'm going to push, I'm going to see what kind of numbers I can pull.  Who knows, I might even decide to go for a jog later this afternoon - get out in this nice weather...we'll see.

Tomorrow, I'm definitely going for a run.  I have to figure out how to get back to my C25K training and incorporate it in with my gym.  It's weird, but I just can't do it on a treadmill.  The treadmill is a struggle for me...I still haven't figured out how to change the settings and customize my speeds to make me comfortable.  Plus, running on a treadmill holds no torch to being able to run in the fresh air.  I have had nice weather all week, and I've been in the gym.  Not that I'm complaining - but I want to find a way to equal out both...especially with spring on my doorstep.

OK, time to get moving.  I've been sitting at this desk long enough - and I still have to make my meal plan for next week. 

Everyone enjoy your Saturday!!

Till next time. ;)
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Day Full of Surprises

Last night, while on Twitter, I saw a post about a funny search phrase that had led a person to a blog.  I decided it had been a while since I checked my blog stats, so I thought I'd have a look at the funny phrases that had led people to the Mad, Fat House.

In case you're wondering what I'm talking about - blog stats are something that bloggers use to see the amount of traffic that comes to the site.  The stats show search engines that contain and direct people, search phrases that people used to find the blog, and also the amount of people that visit the site and the country they are from.  It's pretty cool information.

So, I'm moseying through my stats noticing that people have found me by searching for "bigger than California King" and "dancers silhouette pictures"....cause you know, that's what I'm all about right here!!  I'm having a little chuckle to myself and then I notice something....

There is a list of websites that people have used to come and visit my blog.  Usually that list features the blogs of my followers or Google...but yesterday, those sites are not at the top of my list, another site is.  The site is

Shape is a fitness/health magazine.  I've heard of it, I've seen it in stores - but have no idea why would be my #1 referral site this week.  How were people finding me at  So, I clicked the referral site link and see:  Get Motivated! Top 8 Sites for Fitness Inspiration.  I scroll down the page, and to my utter shock, amazement, and excitement I see that my blog is listed as #7 with a little blurb about me and the blog.

I couldn't believe it.  I hadn't been contacted by  I didn't recognize the name of the author of the story.  I have absolutely no idea how they found my blog - but I was HAPPY.  Having that kind of recognition is a HUGE deal to me.  It's like I had won some kind of award - and yes, I love attention...can't help it.

Even though this was a very exciting moment of the day - it actually, wasn't my only one. 

While I was in class, earlier in the day, I found out that I had one a set of Eat Smart Digital Scales from The Sisterhood's weekly drawing.  Every week for the past 6 or 7 weeks, I've logged my weight on weigh-in day for the Power of One Challenge and hoped that I would be the lucky one to win those scales.  Finally, the waiting paid off - and soon, I will be the owner of some new, fancy scales. 

So, as you can see, I had quite the eventful and exciting day yesterday. 

Today, it's back to work for me.  Then after work, off to the gym.  I didn't like not being able to work out yesterday, but I did kind of like the break.  Hopefully, when I get home, my BodyBugg will be waiting for me.  It's scheduled to be delivered today - which is great - because it, then, gives me the full weekend to mess with it and get used to it. 

I am now (once my BodyBugg and scales arrive) fully equipped with everything I need to get results: Gym membership, personal training advice, BodyBugg, and new scales to measure my progress each week. YAY!!

How is everyone today?
For you new followers - yes, I know you're there - please say hi, I love to get to know the people that are following me.

Till next time. ;)
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Holy Muscle Aches, Batman!!

It's Thursday.  You know this - but, just in case you didn't.  I love Thursdays.  Thursdays are like a mid-week break for me.  I can sleep in until 6:30, instead of my regular 4:30.  I can spend the morning in my jammies catching up on blog posts and Twitter posts, and even fit a little homework in.  Then, I spend the afternoon in class - my university class.  It's the only one I'm taking on campus this semester - all the rest take place in the school I'm working in.  I can go to class in sweats and a t-shirt, I don't have to put make-up on, and my hair can be in a messy pony tail - and no one will care.

After last night, there's another reason I can love my Thursday morning breaks.  So that I can rest my aching muscles!!

I went to the gym after work yesterday afternoon.  I met with my fantastic personal trainer friend, who I affectionatly named Bob back in my boot camp days.  Bob told me that he was going to "introduce" me to some of the equipment that I needed to work with in order to get my strength training going.

Before I could think about strength, he told me I needed to get some warm-up cardio in.  Off to the treadmill I went for 15 minutes of 2 minute intervals of walking and jogging.  Then, I went on to the wave runner for another 10 minutes...just to make sure I was good and warmed up.

Finally, he came and pulled me off the wave runner to start the introductions.  He showed me three pieces of equipment and showed me what exerices I needed to do.  He gave me three sets on each - two were upper body.  The upper body exercises were hard -but I got through them with no problems.  Then I had standing squats with 70lbs - yes, 70lbs!!!

After two sets, I thought my legs were going to give out on me.  I was scared I'd get down in the squat and not be able to get back up.  Then I remembered, Bob told me I had to do three sets - not two.  I walked off my jelly legs for a second, and then returned to the machine.  I pushed, and pushed, and pushed....and made it through my last set.  I was happy, my legs?  Not so much.

I walked around for a few minutes, trying to get some composure thinking Bob would tell me what a great job I had done and send me on my way.  Yeah, right.  Nope, he sent me for more cardio - stationary bike.  I did 12 minutes on the stationary at level 4 (this was cool down).  Even at level 4, my poor legs were fighting me.  The first five minutes were brutal...I just felt like I couldn't do anymore.  I then started giving my legs a pep talk "come on, guys" (yes, they are, I'm not crazy) "we have to do this, we can do this, you'll be stronger if you do".  I was affectionatly rubbing my legs while giving them these words of encouragment. 

They made it through the 12 minutes.

When I got home, I knew that I would be sore this morning.  I was right.  I'm not in pain, I'm sore.  The sore that tells me I worked hard.  The sore that tells me my muscles got a great work-out and are now repairing themselves to get stronger.  The sore that tells me this is worth it, and I'll be seeing better results in no time.

I love sore.

Good thing that Thursday mornings are my "rest time" because it would have been really hard to be on my feet all day in a classroom.  I also get a break from working out today, because of an appointment I have to get to after class. 

Tomorrow, I'm back to it.  Another trip to the gym, another session with Bob.  I should also have my BodyBugg tomorrow - YAY!!

OK - going to read all of the blogs that I've missed out on this week.... have a great Thursday, everyone!

Till next time. ;)
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Weigh to Go Wednesday: No Regrets!!

Power of One Challenge

There is only one week remaining in The Power of One Challenge.  I can't believe it's gone by so quickly.  I've really loved this challenge.  I've stuck with it, I've lost weight - what more could I ask for?

Last Wednesday, I started my own "mini-challenge".  I called it Operation: NO REGRETS.  After a couple of back to back weeks of losing hardly anything - and seeing a gain one week - I decided I was tired of stepping on the scale for the weekly weigh-in and regretting the decisions I had made throughout the week.  Looking at the number on the scale made me think of all the times that I didn't push myself, I didn't eat right... I didn't give it my all.

So, I decided that this week would be different.  I was going to make a plan and stick to it.  I was going to work-out, hard.  I was going to eat right every single day.  I was going to make sure that no matter what the scale read this morning - I would have no regrets.  I would know that I worked hard to see that number. 

I took to completely redesigning myself and everything I had been doing.  I tried different work-outs, longer work-outs.  I started counting calories.  I started logging my food intake and exercise calories burned.  I joined a gym!  I threw everything out there and decided that it was time to stop being so stubborn with myself.

So, you wanna know if it was worth it?  You wanna know if it paid off?  OK....let's do it.

Starting weight:  227lbs
Weight last week:  219lbs
Weight this week:

Yes, I had to take a picture.  My weight this week is 217.2lbs.  That's a loss of 1.8lbs!!!!  That's also a total percentage of weight loss of 4.3% since I started this challenge.  I am only 0.2lbs away from losing my first 10lbs of 2011. 

To say that I'm happy is an understatement.   I will say, though, that I learned a very valuable lesson.  I learned how to make a difference with my weight loss numbers.  I learned that I'm not going to see progress unless I do the work.  I learned that the weight isn't just going to magically evaporate.... hard work in to get hard work out. 

So, I wanna know - how did you do with Operation: No Regrets?

Till next time. ;)
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Weight Loss Tools

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Fuse Has Been Lit!

Usually, I dislike Valentine's Day very much.  Candy, cookies, and chocolates everywhere you turn.  Thankfully, for me, it's a holiday neither I or Hubby observe.  Now that I'm teaching, however?  It's like walking in to one big cloud of sugar.

I was so nervous going to work yesterday morning.  Could I be strong?  Could I overcome temptation?  Could I pass up the cupcakes and cookies and chocolate that was going to be provided in the break room and in the classrooms and in the parties? 

Yesterday, I earned my 7 Day Chip.  I was so proud of myself to see my chip on Brad's blog.  I felt that I had really earned it - a whole week, for me, is a long time to make perfect food choices.  Day 8 just had to be Valentine's Day - didn't it?

Well, I got to work.  First obstacle?  Coffee and cookies provided for my grade's teachers.  Coffee for me? Yes, please.  Cookie?  Urm, no - I'll pass.  Then the kids started to arrive with their "goodies".  The whole class made little Valentine's bags to store all the "loot".  I, also, made one and the kids put my gifts for me - they're so sweet - into my bag.  I ended up with a bag full of M&M's, Snickers, suckers, and Hershey Kisses *sigh*.  I passed on the cupcakes in the break room.  By the time the last bell rung for the day - I hadn't touched a single bad thing!

My candy made it home, safely, unscathed.  My kids were excited - the older two don't get Valentine's parties anymore.  I PASSED THE TEST!  I made it through my first Valentine's Day without giving in to temptation.... I DID IT!!

I didn't give in to the sweet temptation that V-Day brings, but I did give in to another form of temptation...

After work, yesterday, I met with my personal trainer friend at his new gym.  We spoke for a few minutes, and then he asked if I would take a tour of the gym.  I thought it couldn't hurt - so a sweet girl took me around.  The place is BEAUTIFUL.  I never thought I'd use that word to describe a gym - but it is, I can't help it.  The place is more like a resort. 

The locker rooms were gorgeous.  They have personal showers, complete with complimentary shampoo and conditioner.  The vanity area was stocked with complimentary hair products, blow dryers, straighteners, etc.  There was a sauna in the changing rooms.  The bathrooms were stocked with feminine products - complimentary *GASP*  I feel in love - and I hadn't even made it out to the gym floor, yet.

The sales girl showing me around was so friendly.  She gave me a demo to a lot of the equipment, introduced me to the wellness person - that gives free nutritional and body analysis testing to new clients.  She explained that the trainers and staff are 100% dedicated to helping with building goal plans...and for the first time, ever, I believed it.

The equipment was so "top of the line" that I hadn't even seen or heard of most of it....but I found myself wanting to try it all.  I was kicking myself for not taking work-out clothes and jumping in that very moment.

Needless to say, by the time I got back to my friend - I was ready to sign the dotted line.  I didn't even know how much it would cost - but I figured I had to at least try and make it work.  Didn't have to worry about that.  My friend told me to take a free 2 week pass (not just because I'm a friend...they do it for everyone) and try the place out.  Then, if I liked it, I could join.  There was no committment.  I could pay by the month.  Then I asked the monthly rate - didn't want to do something I'd fall in love with and then be blindsided by a fee that I couldn't afford.  He told me, my mouth hit the floor.  It was AFFORDABLE!!  Whaaaattt???

So, I am now pleased to announce that I am a trial member of Fuse Fitness.

I start today.  A little nervous, very excited.  I've never done anything like this before.  OK, well, I did Boot Camp last year... but now?  Now, this is permanent.  This is long-term.

No more getting up at 4am to try and fit in a work-out.  Now it's time to spend an hour EACH day in the gym.  I'm going to mix it up - cardio and strength - each day.  I am going to make myself step out of my comfort zone.  I may even try real Zumba classes and attend real Yoga classes... YAY!!!

If you're a gym member, I want to know what is your favorite piece of equipment?
How do you spend your time at the gym? Classes? Treadmill? Elliptical?

Till next time.  ;) 
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Weight Loss Tools

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mini Goal Monday: I'm Bugging Out!

Not the best start to my new week, I have to admit.  Didn't sleep very well last night - and then didn't want to get up at 4am to do The Shred.  So, I've decided to put off my work-out until this evening.  I kind of expected a little transition issue - being that I haven't had to get out of bed before 7am for the past I just need to adjust a little.

Before I get to my goals for the week, I want to share a couple pieces of exciting news. 

First, this afternoon I'm meeting with a personal trainer.  It's just for an "interview" type meeting.  He's going to show me his gym, give me a tour, lay out my options, etc.  With the tour, I get a free two week membership to the I figured, why not? 

I'm not really sure if I can fit a gym membership into my hectic schedule right now, but I think I'm going to at least see what my options are - financially - about getting a trainer.  I get off work at 3, don't "technically" have to pick Jelly up from daycare until there's some wiggle room that I can make to my schedule - if needed.  Plus, there's always weekends.  I will let you know how the meeting goes tomorrow.

Second - last night, I made a big investment into my weight loss efforts.  For months and months I've been thinking about getting a BodyBugg.  I'm a huge Biggest Loser fan and I read blogs about women who use the BodyBugg and have had AMAZING results.  So, last night, I finally bit the bullet and ordered one.

I haven't ordered one up until now because a) they're expensive and b) I wasn't counting calories - so I didn't see much need for one. 

Since using the My Fitness Pal app, I've really liked seeing my calories laid out - in terms of what I'm eating - but I haven't felt 100% sure that the amount of calories that it "estimates" that I'm burning is accurate enough for me.  Being that the site really promotes eating the correct amount of calories to the amount that is burned.. I am often left wondering if I, indeed, burned the amount of calories the site predicts and that my eating matches the estimates.

With the BodyBugg, I won't have to wonder anymore.  It will be able to tell me exactly how many calories I'm burning during the day - even sitting here doing absolutely nothing - and tell me how many calories I should be eating to get maximum weight loss results.

I did a lot of my own research - reading personal reviews, compared similar products, etc and finally the pros outweighed the cons...and I decided it was worth it.  The best part was the fact that I was able to get 10 months of web access to accompany the Bugg cheaper than what the usual 6 month subscription it was really a great deal.

OK - so there's my exciting on to my goals.  I'm keeping it pretty simple this week.  I'm going to try my hardest to get up at 4am to do The Shred.  No, I didn't do it this morning... but technically, I hadn't made it a goal,'s the line up for the week:
  • Do The Shred every day
  • Start C25K week 4 over again (been away for 2 weeks..ouch!)
  • Get an additional 20 minutes of cardio in on non C25K days (at least)
  • Stick to my calorie goals for the week (1200 net calories a day)
  • Drink at least 60ozs of water per day
That's it.  That's what I'm going to do this week. 

I'm also really happy to report that I earned my 7 Day Chip yesterday.  I made it a whole 7 days staying in control of my eating, following my meal plan to the binges, no "cheating".  I made healthy food choices all week long!  Now, I'm working towards my 30 Day Chip.

OK - time to get back to "life as normal" and get ready for work.

Everyone have a great day!! Take a second to post a goal or two that you're working on this week... you know how much I love to hear from ya. 

Till next time.  ;)
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Weight Loss Tools

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Testing Myself

It's Sunday.  For the past few Sundays, I've posted some pretty deep posts about myself.  Things that I want to change, things that I can't, etc.  Well, NOT TODAY, my friends.  I am too happy and proud of myself to even THINK about doing a downer post today.

Last Sunday, I shared a post about feeling lonely.  Now that this week has passed, I've been able to recalculate the feelings and emotions that were getting me down.  I was feeling sorry for myself, yes, but not just because of the "close friend" situation.  I was feeling sorry for myself because I was filled with regrets.

On January 1st of this year, I made a pledge to myself that this year I was going to do everything in my power to achieve my weight loss and fitness goals. I wrote the goals down, I made a time line, I planned and prepared....and then half-assed my way through the month of January.  I lost weight, yes, but not from giving it everything I had.

Every week, I would weigh-in and not see a huge change on the scale - sometimes I even saw a gain.  I knew it was because I hadn't worked out as much as I said I would.  I didn't eat as well as I should have.  I didn't stick to the goals that I had set out for myself.  I was failing - myself.

After writing that post last week, and getting some amazing support and feedback, I decided it was time to suck it up.  If I was going to really do what I set out to do - I had to commit.  I had to give it everything I had and then some.  So, Monday morning, my NEW journey began. 

Each day this week, I have WANTED to work out.  I have WANTED to eat right.  I have WANTED to drink water - lots of it.  I haven't had to make myself do any of those things...they've just come naturally.  I even WANTED to start logging my food and calories - just so I could keep track of what I was doing...seeing the numbers is a huge help.

I know what you're thinking - you've heard all of this before.  I've posted about it this week.  This is true, but yesterday was the first time I had to leave my house.  I had to step out of the comfort zone I had created for myself.  Being at home this week has given me the freedom to work out when I wanted, eat healthy foods because it's all that's in my house. 

Yesterday morning, Hubby suggested that we try to get out of the house for a while.  I will admit, I got a little nervous.  I knew that with going out "just to get out of the house" came eating lunch or dinner out somewhere.  The thought of going out and then coming home trying to do my work-out also scared me because I never feel like working out after being out all day.  So, I told Hubby we could go out AFTER I had done my work-out and eaten lunch.

I did my work-out (Biggest Loser Cardio Max for 25 minutes immediately followed by The Shred Level 1 for 20 minutes).  Then I ate lunch.  Then I got my shower.  Finally, around 2pm, I was ready to go out.  I made sure I grabbed a snack to take with me - so that I didn't get the urge to pick something up while we were out.  We got stuck in the driveway - several times.  I jumped out of the car and PUSHED THAT SUCKER out of the stuck driveway and up the dirt road portion of the driveway.  All. By. Myself.

We had a great afternoon out.  We walked around the outdoor mall.  We shopped.  I told myself I was NOT going to look at clothes - it wasn't worth it, because I wouldn't be able to wear them long anyway (mental motivation, right there). Before we knew it, it was almost 5pm.  We walked out of a store and all I could smell was the intense aroma of the nearby restaurants.  I smelled steak.  I smelled fried food.  I smelled temptation.

Hubby saw the look on my face and asked me if I wanted to go and eat dinner.  I looked at him and said "let's go to Subway".  The look on his face was....urm...surprise.  In the mix of my favorite restaurants, and the tantalizing smells that assisted, I - ME - opted to go and eat dinner at SUBWAY!

As we drove to Subway, I couldn't help but keep a huge grin on my face.  That moment was such a victory to me.  Having temptation stare me straight in the eyes, I told him to get lost.  I have worked too hard this week to give in to something stupid like steak and fried foods.  Even at Subway, to the frustration of those people behind me, I took my time to look at the nutritional values of the sandwiches before making my choice.  I ordered the black forest ham on flat bread.  I loaded it up with veggies.  I enjoyed every single bite - and was left feeling full and satisfied.

Tomorrow begins the new chapter of my challenge - dealing with work and keeping with my plans.  This week has really given me freedom, but also a great way to get motivated about the weeks and months to come.  I know with a little dedication - I can make it work.  Get up at 4am to do The Shred?  YEP.  Get back to doing my C25K after work?  Definitely.  Continue making great choices with my food and logging everything I eat into my diary?  Of course.  I just have to.  I am the only one that can make this work...and succeed I will.

Till next time. ;)
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Weight Loss Tools

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I'm Getting There

Yesterday, to the joy of food loggers and calorie counters everywhere, I announced my intent of changing my whole philosophy -and joining them in tracking and counting and logging - oh my!

My Fitness Pal, when you first sign up, asks you a bunch of questions to help determine what the caloric intake should be.  My number came out to be a net calorie amount of 1200 calories.  At first, I was a little alarmed...all the other calculators I've looked at have told me I should be focusing on 1400 - 1600 calories a day (based on my weight and height alone).

I logged my breakfast yesterday - then got in a great work-out.  I started out with Biggest Loser Cardio Max for 15 minutes and then The Shred Level 2 for 20 minutes.  I burned approximately 464 calories (according to My Fitness Pal).  After logging my exercise, I noticed that my calorie goal for the day had changed...and now included an extra 464 calories.

I was so confused at first.  Why, on earth, would I want to eat the calories that I just burned off?  Now, instead of eating 1200 calories, I had to eat 1664 calories (minus what I had eaten for breakfast)....what happened to burn more calories than what goes in?  If I eat the calories I just burned off, wouldn't I just stay neutral?

So, I went on the hunt in their cool community forum and found the answer that I was looking for.

The awesome thing, I discovered, about My Fitness Pal is the fact that the original net caloric intake is the number I need to eat and never have to work out in order to lose the 2lbs a week I'm targeting for.  Basically, they're saying, if I just sat around the house doing nothing I could eat 1200 calories a day and still lose weight.  Of course, I'd end up with saggy skin, no muscle, and no strength.  Once I actually throw some exercise in to the mix, I'm burning below that "sedentary" mark...and that's a big no-no.  If I don't eat back the calories I burn - my body will go into starvation mode, and the weight won't go anywhere.

This left me a little bewildered for a second.  Then, when I started doing the many things started to make more sense.

My net calorie goal is 1200 calories.  If I stay with that amount, and then burn 464 calories..I'm left with only consuming 736 calories.  That's not enough to fuel my body...not even close.  My body would then turn around and start storing the fat to survive - thus leading to NO weight loss.  Make better sense now?

It did to me.  It gave me my A-HA moment.  Up until this week, I haven't been counting calories.  I know, based on my eating habits the past couple of days, that I've been in the 1200 - 1400 calorie range each day.  I know that I was working out at least 3 times a week...but I would never eat more just because I worked out.  What if my net calories were getting too low?  Could that be the reason that I haven't been seeing the results I've been looking for?  Well, I guess, Wednesday - I'll have my answer. 

After receiving that news, I then proceeded to eat back ALL of my "exercise calories".  It was actually quite dificult.  I had to throw in another snack and I upped my portion size a little at dinner, and even had enough calories left to enjoy a small bowl of frozen yogurt for dessert.  This was more backbone to the theory that maybe I wasn't eating enough calories to begin with...time will tell, I guess.  I've decided going forward, I'm going to get as close to my exercise calories as possible - but not go over.  If that means being a little short - then so be it.  I'm not doing all this hard work to be over on my calories each day.

Today I'm going to do, once again, another kick ass work-out.  Cardio max Level 1 (25 minutes) followed by The Shred Level 1(20 minutes).  I'm dropping back down to level 1 - because I realized that I need to follow the plan as it's laid out.  If I'm going to give Jillian Michaels 30 days to "transform" my body...I should probably follow the program like I'm supposed to.  I'm going to look at the 2 days of Level 2 was just a little "boost" and opt to remain on Day 5 for today. 

I'm exactly half way in to my Operation: No Regrets week.  I've changed a few things...but I have no regrets about it.  I'm working out more, I'm recording my food, I'm counting my calories, I'm drinking a lot of water.... no regrets here.  Today marks the 6th day of eating to my meal plan without a single falter.  Today will be my 5th day of working out STRAIGHT! Today is the 4th day of drinking my water goal.  I'm doing this....I'm getting there...I will continue.

For those doing the No Regrets challenge with me - how are you doing?
It's been quiet around here, lately, what have you been up to this week?

Till next time. ;)
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Weight Loss Tools

Friday, February 11, 2011

Getting My Body to Fail

It's Friday.  The weekend is here.  The past two weeks have been...well, different.  Being stuck in the house because of snow usually means two things:  laying on the couch and eating.

This week I've used the snow as an advantage.  I've embraced the snow.  I've found a way to stay active - probably more so than when there's no snow on the ground.

It's only taken a month and a half - but FINALLY the fire has been lit inside of me...and I'm not holding back, anymore.

This week, I announced my participation in the Sisterhood's monthly project of Operation: Body Fail.  A challenge that asked me to do something that I don't do - but I should.  Last year, when I attended Boot Camp, it was customary to start each session with "burn outs".  That meant we did push-ups until we couldn't do another push-up, we did sit-ups until we couldn't do another sit-up, and we did pull-ups...well tried to do a pull-up in my case. 

The point of those exercises was to get our body into "Body Fail" mode.  We were exhausting ourselves before we even began our training.  We then spent 90 minutes continuing to push our bodies - no matter how tired we got.  By the time the 6 week camp was over, I was strong, powerful...could actually identify some muscle tone behind the layers of fat.  It was all thanks to being pushed to the point of thinking I could do no more...and then doing more.

So, Operation: Body Fail calls for the same principle, kind of.  We are to pick something we really want to push ourselves in.  I decided to choose push-ups - real ones - because that's an area I've always struggled in.  I did 3 on Tuesday.  I was able to do 5 yesterday.  After my push-ups yesterday, I proceeded to do the 30 day shred...but I opted to try Level 2 - even though Level 1 had given me some difficulty the day before.

It was hard, I'm not going to lie.  Every muscle in my body was screaming at me - telling me I couldn't do anymore....and that was only half way in.  I wanted to stop.  I wanted to quit - thinking it was just too hard... but I didn't.  I kept going.  I told my body to deal with it.  It was funny, but I found the exercises to be easier to do than in Level 1... but the burn?  Oh the burn....I was hurting - in such a great way. 

I pushed myself all the way through the work-out.  I completed it.  When I was done, the sweat was dripping off of muscles hurt, but I felt powerful.  I knew that I had pushed myself to Body Fail mode...and kept going.  When I thought I couldn't do another move.. I just focused on pushing for one more, and then the next - sometimes screaming out in determination. 

Today, I am pushing myself once again.  Push-ups, Level 2 of the Shred, AND THEN Biggest Loser Cardio Max.  Yeah - I may be crazy... but gotta love my determination, right?

Also - wanted to say... Food Loggers and Calorie Counters Rejoice! 

Yesterday, I opened up the My Fitness Pal app on my iPhone for the first time in about 8 months.  I downloaded it last year, used it one time...and then stopped.  Recently, I've noticed a lot of people are using I thought I'd give it another go.  I have to say, I'm impressed.  It was quick, easy - and I LOVED being able to see my input and output right there in front of me.  So, I'm giving it another go.  You'll notice my little ticker at the bottom of the post... it says I've lost 31lbs - but that's since I first installed the app several months ago.

Yes, that means I'm going to be keeping a food diary AND counting calories.... amazing, I know.

Also, I'm pondering the idea of getting a personal trainer.  Not sure yet - basically because of funds - but it's something I'm at least throwing around in my head.

Well, I hear Jillian Michaels calling my name....time to feel some burn.

Those of you with My Fitness Pal - do you love it?  If you want to add me, my user name there is jojo_hill44
Those of you with or have used a personal trainer - did you find the investment to be well worth it?
What are qualities that you would look for in a personal trainer?

Till next time.  ;)

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Weight Loss Tools