Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nearing the end of YankTON

This is the final 3 days for me for the YankTON challenge.  My final weigh in is on Wednesday (not Friday as I will be in Chicago!)  I am excited but nervous for the end.  It has been a long and difficult journey working hard as a team!  It will not be then end of my fitness journey though!  I hope to continue the good habits I have picked up and continue to reach my fitness goals.
One goal that I have not yet met is to learn more about fitness.  I have been reading and learning more about healthier eating but not so much about physical fitness.  I am hoping to reach that goal through a "gift to self" of Women's Health magazine.  Matt and I got a dual subscription through junior class magazine sales. 
Speaking of my husband, I have to compliment him on his own journey toward fitness.  He has some crazy workouts that make me giggle a little but I am enjoying watching him work so hard toward his goals.  He is doing wonderful and I am very proud of him!
I went shopping again today for pants as I seem to have them dropping off me every time I need to grab a pair for anything so I headed to the store and did pretty well.  I was able to get three pairs of nice dress pants for $20 each!  I am hoping that I can wear them a bit longer than some of my other pants that I bought only this summer.  While it is fun to drop sizes, my wallet would appreciate a break!  I had to turn down a perfectly fitting pair of jeans because I just couldn't convince myself to pay $40 for them.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Yeah...I know...it has been FOREVER!

Life has gotten in the way of my blogging but I figured it was time to come back and give a little update!  While I have been crazy busy with life, kids, family, work and a little more work-I have not given up on my fitness goals.  I am still working toward them every week and I am happy to say that I continue to make progress.  I have continued to take part in the YankTON Challenge.  We are really doing well as a group at the high school and I have confidence that we will continue to do well in these last few weeks.  I no longer bike every day.  The mornings have been pretty chilly-below freezing now and then-which makes me opt to go for a workout inside.  I am learning to enjoy using our elliptical and I am enjoying a little bonus quiet TV time to myself.  I have discover that I will workout twice as long when I have a good show to watch!  I usually go for a mile or so...sometimes longer depending on how far away weigh-in day is.  The last time I blogged I was at 180.8 pounds and excited to get into the 170s.  I am happy to say that I made it and I am now on my way to the 160s!!  I am currently at 171.8 as of my YankTON weigh-in.  I am feeling really great.  Since I started this blog, I have lost a total of 20.8 pounds!  I am very proud of myself and the progress I have made.  If I go back about 15 months to where I really started at 218.8 pounds I have lost 47 pounds!  While the numbers were never my ultimate goal (other than getting to a healthy BMI) I have to say...looking at those number inspires me to keep going and not give up!  I want to develop healthy habits and choices that will be with me for a lifetime.
This weight loss has really given me the shopping bug!  As I drop from one size to the next I am forced to spend money on clothes so that I have something that fits!  I have dropped from a 16/18 in pants to, most recently, a 12!  I am now also able to buy medium sized shirts!  I feel great!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Awesome weekend update!

I feel like things are really going well.  For my YankTON weigh in at work I was down 1.8 pounds!  I have lost a total of 6 pounds so far.  My goal this week is to step things up and see if I can't get the biggest loss as I am pretty sure the men have taken the first two weeks!  I am enjoying it and I think it is really great what we are doing as a team.  I like that we are all working to be healthier!
I feel like I have had a good food week overall-tonight wasn't the best but I did avoid the alcoholic drinks that are my usual pitfalls!  I enjoyed a nice steak and was full before finishing.  Normally I would finish it anyway but not tonight!  The two downfalls of the evening were the fried onions on top of the steak and my indulgence in a root beer.  Both things were totally some extra point consumption!
I had a great long ride this morning which was a nice change.  I did my full ride Friday morning but was feeling wiped out by the time I got home-sinus infection is still lingering but seems to be getting better today!  I took my super long combo ride and told myself (again) that I could just walk the hills...I rode up them and was able to push through! 
I basically had a double workout today because it was Cohan's first soccer game!  I warmed up with the kids for a bit kicking the ball around and then I coached on field for the second half of the game.  It was fun and I was pretty sweaty by the time we were done.
I really need to stay on top of my game this week the week after will be crazy!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Empowered Tuesday!

Last week I saw no change on the scale but I didn't let it bother me-as Dori says, "Just keep swimming!" :o)  Boy am I happy that I don't let the scale break my positivity...because this week showed GREAT results!  I weighed in this morning (because it is like Monday for me) at 180.8!  WOWZER!  That is a loss of 3.8 pounds!  I have lost a total of 11.8 pounds and it feels AMAZING!  Yes, this post is annoyingly positive and filled with exclamation points but I am so excited!  My immediate goal has been to get out of the 180s and I am only a pound away!  The last time I was in the 170s was when I got pregnant with Cam and lost close to 20 pounds during the first trimester (and possibly right away out of the hospital but that never lasts).  Once I hit the 170s I am roughly 20-30 pounds away from a HEALTHY weight!
While I am completely amazed and blown away by the progress I have made in the past week, I really want to say-this is the payoff-this feels better than any slice of cake or fudge brownie!  I am feeling great and I plan to keep this up so that I can feel even better!  I have started things and quit before but I have never (and this is going to sound pathetic and lazy...but it is TRUE) worked physical fitness into my weight loss plans.  I have spent time running around with my kids but never exercising just for me.  I really think that this is the thing that is getting me hooked even more than the healthier eating.  This is something that feels like a realistic permanent change in my life.  All of this glopped together is so empowering! 
On a side note to all of this, I am finally going to go to the doctor about my "cold" because I am now certain that it is a sinus infection and it is starting to wear me out a bit...I would like to be able to lean down to pick something up without feeling like my face is going to fall off!  Antibiotics here I come!  That will hopefully get me feeling even more energized when I am back to a 100% healthy state.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Feeling Great and Steppin Things Up!

I have really been feeling good and working hard.  There is plenty to get caught up on :o)
Friday was a good day.   I didn't get my morning ride that day because of morning rain but I am starting to get used to the fact that I just won't be able to go EVERY morning.  I enjoyed the bit of extra sleep which I think was just as good for me as my ride.  Friday was also our weigh-in day at school for YankTON and I was down 4.2 pounds!  It seems as if our entire team is doing very well.  The only down side-the teacher's lunch room was filled with junk food-cookies, bars, and brownies!  Normally, left overs like these just don't last long-they rarely make it to the first lunch but not this time!  There were still many treats left even after the last lunch-way to go!  I would normally eat a sampling of all the different treats but this time I opted to share a cookie with Sheana.  I felt satisfied with the little treat and I was happy that I was able to avoid having more than that.  I love all these little willpower boosters!
This morning I was looking forward to a 6:30 ride as a treat to myself.  I told hubby that I was going on my ride even if the kiddos were awake :o)  6:30 came and everyone was asleep so I was all set. I headed out on my ride and as I approached the park I thought it might be nice to go on a longer ride if I could.  I decided that I would combine my 2 different bike routes and see how that went.  It was GREAT!  It was about a 50 minute ride in all.  I wanted to walk my bike up my 2 big hills but I told myself that I could make it and I did.  I really felt great after that nice long ride.  I even went for a short ride later with my oldest son which also made me feel good even if it was short.  I love getting in a little extra calorie burning!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Midweek Effort and Good News!

I really hate how much my blogging has had to slow now that I am back at work but I am happy that it hasn't had a negative impact on my dedication to fitness!  I have been riding everyday except Sunday.  We have been having bouts of thunderstorms which makes things difficult! 
My Monday weigh-in showed no difference which I take as a positive-no loss but also no gain.  I am hoping that I can really step things up a notch!  I have been working very hard to have a better food week this week and I feel like I am being successful!  I turned down the gooey butter cake that my wonderful homeroom student brought-just FYI, I know from past experience that it is as incredibly delicious as it sounds!  I have been eating my low point lunches and trying to stay away from big indulgences even if I have the extra points to spare. 
I think the thing that makes it so hard is that it really is work.  I wish that eating better and making smarter decisions were simpler!  Shopping is difficult because I have to read label after label trying to find the best options.  Meal planning is also difficult because low point side dishes are hard to come by.  I can always find a nice main course-usually lean meat, and there are plenty of veggies around but it seems like I rely on the same side dishes over and over because they have the most reasonable point values.  While I do like the points plus system, I also REALLY miss my experimental cooking because it takes a lot of effort to figure out all the points for the final product.  Cooking has always been a passion of mine and this effort to eat better seems to take some of the fun out of it :o(
All in all, I really want to step up my workouts and get to doing two a day at least a couple days a week working myself up to five days a week.  I want to take my motivation and use it to drive me even closer to my fitness goals!
On an entirely positive note, my newly calculated BMI is 29.8 putting me in the category of...overweight!  NOT obese!  YAY!  Yeah...I know it is still pretty close but I am working to get it down even further!  Happy Dance!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday Update

It is MUCH harder to blog during the week now that I am back at work.  It is especially difficult when I have had a meeting or something going on EVERY night!  Thankfully I have been keeping up with exercising which is good.  I am still battling my cold which makes it hard.
Friday I has a very strong desire to stay in bed!  I shut off my alarm and said to myself-I can take just this one morning off...then I thought about the prospects of me having time for a bike ride later in the day and they were not good so I rolled out of bed against my will.  I got all ready to go-checked to see that it wasn't raining and saw that the ground was wet.  I grabbed my lights and headed out.  I was pulling my bike away from the house when I saw a flash of light-I turned around thinking maybe it was headlights going around a corner but saw nothing.  I stopped and looked up at the sky to see if it was lightning and there they were...several more flashes.  So much for my bike ride!  I decided that I might as well stay up so I went down stairs and got on the elliptical as I didn't have time to come up with a more enjoyable plan B.  It was even harder because of my cold but at least I got to catch up on some news...hurricanes and earthquakes...I have been living in a bubble the past week.
Friday was also our YankTON weigh in at work.  My starting weight for that is 187.6 (if I remember correctly) not bad for being fully clothed with shoes on.  For every pound we lose we are supposed to donate a food item.  I plan to use this as an opportunity to get rid of some of the unhealthy stuff in my pantry-like hamburger helper and fruit in syrup.  Looks like a win win situation.  I am really excited for out team effort!  I am hoping that it can be the extra motivation to get me to fit in a second work out.
I had planned on getting up at 6:30 to go for a ride this morning but my youngest planned to get up at the same time.  Rather than riding we snuggled in bed together for an extra half an hour.  Then it was off to my soccer coaching clinic...so I can at least fake coaching a little better HA!  We got done early so I had the babysitter stay an extra half hour so that I could ride my bike.  It was kind of nice to be out in the daylight as the water levels from the flood have drastically dropped!  It is so nice to see that the water is really going down but it isn't so pretty to see the yucky land that is being uncovered!



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Down-Not Out

I am sick.  I would love to ignore and deny this fact but my inability to take a breathe through my nose prevents me from doing so.  I have this wonderful excuse to use to stay in bed an extra half hour in the morning and avoid the terribly gnatty morning!  Yet I still rode.  I figured I already felt pretty crummy what difference was an extra half an hour in bed really going to?  Plus I feel better when I know that I am doing something good for myself!  I have to say that my ride was not particularly enjoyable-the gnats were bad and I couldn't breathe through my nose but I still felt better about doing it than about avoiding it.  I did shorten my ride to give my sick self a bit of a break.  I am hoping to be feeling better soon so that I can really get back to enjoying my ride!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday TON!

Today I had my usual morning ride.  The park was pretty much completely back to normal-no sprinklers back on yet so that was a plus!  The gnats were terrible this morning making it a less than pleasant ride.  To compound the icky-ness of the beginning of my day, I felt exhausted and sick.  I could tell I had a cold coming on and it had arrived by this morning.  Here it was, another excuse that I could easily use to avoid exercise but I didn't.  I got out there and rode anyway!  What did I have to lose?  I already felt crummy.  My ride didn't really leave me feeling much different so I just tried to prep myself for the busy day that lay ahead.
I had something to look forward to all day today-the start of YankTON!  As a community (through the Chamber of Commerce), we-Yankton-want to lose a ton!  Different businesses in town that belong to the chamber are participating in the event and competing for some pretty awesome prizes.  Our building principal arranged for us to participate the event.  The top prize for the winning team is $1000 in chamber bucks!  I am excited to see what a little competition can do to add to my fitness goals and motivation.  It will also be nice to have my colleagues right along beside me working toward the same goals.  To say that I am excited seems like an understatement!  The kickoff event was held in Memorial Park this evening with coupons for free days at the different gyms in town-including a session with a personal trainer!  They also provided some healthy snacks and we took a walk around the park-1 mile.  I am so proud to be a part of a community that is trying to make a positive change in the lives of its citizens!  You ROCK Yankton!

Catching Up! Monday Joy!

My throat was a bit scratchy but I still got up and got myself going at 5:30.  It felt good to go for a ride after a day off and it was interesting to see the park starting to get back to normal after being flooded with people only a day before.  The ride was rather uneventful, the real excitement came after I got home.  I got myself cleaned up and took my shower before it dawned on me that is was Monday...weigh-in day. 
I was not looking forward to stepping on the scale-I had two days of overindulgence and the previous week there wasn't much of a difference after just a single high point meal.  I figured I needed to get it done and over with.  I weighed in at 184.6-a loss of 1.8 pounds from the previous week!  That brings me to a total loss of 8 pounds in the past month.  I am very happy-it totally made my day.  Even though I wasn't feeling too great-definitely a cold coming on-I was in a wonderful mood!  I am looking forward to continuing to work hard and see some results-large or small!

Catching Up! Sunday-The day the streak died!

Sunday was another challenging day filled with yummy park foods.  We also visited a church with some friends of ours where I indulged in three yummy creme puffs.  Because their church service was a bit earlier than the one we are used to, I didn't get my morning ride in.  Instead, I focused on getting everyone up and dressed for the day.  By the time we got back from church and changed we decided to head down to the park to check out the craft vendors...and to eat some more food!  We opted to walk down to the park again so I got some more extra exercise in :o)  This trip I opted for a pork sandwich, more cheese curds, and a nice giant waffle cone with chocolate caramel ice cream and butter pecan. Again, it tasted SOOO good.  I think a large reason why I allowed myself to indulge without really feeling guilty was because I knew this wasn't a lapse in my good eating habits but rather a treat that I allowed myself for a special occasion.  I knew that I couldn't use this as a jumping off point for going back to my poor eating habits.  Monday came and I was back to my point counting and meal planning.  This made me very proud-don't think that a couple days of "off" eating will ruin your whole diet...not convinced, just read Monday's post!
I was again exhausted by the evening but I also wanted to spend some time at home with my husband.  We spent the evening relaxing and watching 24.  I had the opportunity to ride my bike late in the evening after a run to the store but I figured my streak had to end eventually so I stayed home.  Again, I didn't feel guilty-I had a 32 day streak!  I deserved a little break so I took one :o)

Catching Up! Saturday Exploration

After Friday's crazy near-crash incident, I thought it would be a good time to find an alternate bike route.  Also, I knew I couldn't ride through the park because of Riverboat Days.  I didn't get a chance to ride in the morning because I wanted a little extra shut eye after a late night at the park with Cohan for some fireworks-we walked down to the park and back home!  Needless to say, I was up late plus I was exhausted from my first two days back at work so my bed was beckoning me!  By the time we were all up and going it was time to go watch the parade with the kids.  By the time we got home, one kid was asleep so we figured we would venture out down to the park when he work up.
We all walked down to the park together-me with my youngest on my back most of the way-with plans of consuming some really good-bad-food.  I will not even pretend that I tried to eat healthy because I didn't.  I treated myself to anything that sounded delicious...cheese curds, funnel cake, bloomin onion, a gyro, and dippin dots.  Oh junk food...I have missed you!  I did not eat all of that food myself-just the gyro and the dippin dots but I had my fair share.  I did not plan on eating junk...my husband suggested we eat down at the park and I knew just how much I love that food so he didn't have to twist my arm to get me to agree.  Because of the overindulgence, I skipped supper which made me feel a bit better.
I was really dragging by Saturday evening.  We had been outside all day, been walking a lot, and been eating some heavy foods which led us to feeling overly exhausted by 6pm.  We lost out babysitter at the last minute so our evening plans were foiled but I was happy because I took advantage of the opportunity at went for a bike ride.  I opted to ride on the street for the most part and basically just cruised for a while trying to figure out where I wanted to go.  I finally settled on a route that took me past my son's school and up a VERY steep hill before eventually connecting with the trail to head home.  I actually enjoyed the route a lot-except for the hill-and look forward to trying to work it in every once in a while.  The only thing I didn't like about it was that it came out to be about ten minutes shorter than my typical route.  All in all, I felt SO much better after my ride-I felt re-energized and not so droopy!  Who knew exercise can make you feel better?

Catching Up! Friday Obstacles

I have missed blogging!  I have had an incredibly busy four days (five if I count today)!  I am going to try and do some catching up tonight with several blog posts-let's see how far I get!  So much has happened these past few days!

Last week Thursday we had a pretty nasty wave of storms move through the area.  We had wild winds and heavy hail that left a trail of destruction...just how much I didn't realize until Friday morning.  I took my usual new route but when I got to my old starting point I had to slam on my breaks to prevent myself from crashing into a swath of tree branches.  It is DARK at 5:30 in the morning, even with my light I really can't see that far.  I had been cautious on an earlier stretch of the trail because I know that downpours can cause the creek to flow over the trail leaving debris.  I avoided those logs and didn't think much of meeting any other obstacles along the way...that is until I cruised down the hill and was surprised by the darkness (this part of the trail is lit).  I flashed my bike light around but could see no way through.  Large tree limbs had fallen from trees on both side of the path which prevented me from being able to get anywhere.  I finally accepted defeat and turned my bike around.  I figured that I could ride down the street and get on the trail in another spot a few blocks down the street.  The old me would have said that this was a sign to go home and go to bed so I was happy that I decided to keep going.
The park had another obstacle waiting for me-my trail into the park was blocked by a strategically placed picnic table and a large piece of machinery.  I think it was meant to indicate the park was closed.  I didn't want to chop another part out of my ride so I ducked and dodged and got on the trail anyway.  They were well on their way to being set up for Riverboat Days!  (More about that later.) 
I headed home thinking about my crazy morning ride.  I wanted to get a photo of the downed limbs so I swung back by the trail to attempt to take a photo.  It was still pretty dark at the point to it isn't the best photo.  I also got to see the lovely skid mark that my back tire left behind.  So here is my Friday morning:
On a side note, I noticed on my Monday ride that the the limbs had completely smashed the top of the lamp post that is normally in this area which would explain the extreme darkness that lead to my almost crash...good thing I wear my helmet!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Changing my mind

This morning, after I awoke from five and a half glorious hours of slumber I was feeling good except for my (still sore) ankle.  I had convinced my self that I would shorten my ride this morning by cutting off the extra quarter mile at the beginning.  After getting on my bike I realized that it would be silly to cut off the beginning...it is the most fun!  It is down hill for the most part and it tends to go by quick so I opted to head for the trail and concluded that I would cut off the end quarter mile.  This was probably my most brilliant idea this week!  My advice: if you are going to shorten a part of your work out, do it at the end!  Why? I discovered this morning that I didn't want to give in that easily.  After about half of my ride was over, I realized that I would be a bit disappointed if I shortened my ride and I was feeling a bit more up for it as my ankle doesn't seem to bother me when I am riding.  If I had cut off the extra quarter mile in the beginning it would have simply been gone...by telling myself to shorten the end I gave myself the opportunity to keep it!  All in all, I am very happy with my progress and my continuing improved attitude toward fitness.
Be prepared for short posts most of the time as I am officially back at work (with students) today!  I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Long Day; Short Post

Got my wonderful ride in this morning.  My ankle has been bugging me all day.  Not sure quite when it started but hoping it feels better by morning!  I had a day of pretty healthy eating choices as well.  I had soup and a sandwich for lunch today from the Body Guard in the mall.  Thanks for the great lunch tip Sheana!  The sandwich was small and tasty and the soup was a nice addition.  I didn't like the fact that the soup had ravolli in it because that brings up the level of carbs but I just skipped eating the pasta all together and the soup was still wonderful!  I did eat an oatmeal raisin cooking for dessert but even if it was four points I still came in under my total points.  I resisted doughnuts from the insurance agent at the school today which I was very proud of.  They looked so yummy!
Tomorrow begins the next school year and the challenge of keeping up with healthy habits!  I am looking forward to it and starting to figure out my lunch plan in my head :o)  I am hoping all goes well and I stay on track!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Top 20 Fitness

Yesterday we had a couple speakers for our inservice at work it was called Top 20.  To put it simply, they were amazing!  So much of what they said applies to every part of life, including fitness.  This morning I spent my morning ride thinking about what things I remembered that I could put into fitness. So here goes...
Failure is an event not a person
This one hit home because, of course, my blog is titled The Fitness Failure.  My failing at fitness is simply an event in my life.  I am not a failure as a result-not that I ever thought that I was.  I am no better or worse person because as one point I failed miserably at fitness.  In fact, the fact that I WAS failing at fitness made me learn how to be better.  Failing taught me something which makes it a wonderful thing.
Keep your day, you only get one August 16, 2011
This is something else that also really stuck with me... We sometimes get to thinking that our days here on earth are infinite when in fact they are finite.  We only get so many days to get out and do things that we want to do.  Also, as time passes, those things that we want to do may get harder to achieve.  Think about this: If you are not motivated to work out NOW, think of how much harder it will be to work out or get in shape years from now.  I want to look at my August 16, 2011 and know that I was doing something I was proud of and something that made me feel better.
You choose how you feel on any given day about any given event
This is where the top 20/bottom 80 really comes in.  You can choose to handle any given situation like a top 20 or a bottom 80.  Top 20s tend to take more control of situations and bottom 80s tend to blame more in situations and give away their power.  I am over weight and that is on me.  I avoided exercise, I ate crappy food, and I ate too much.  I could say...healthy food is too expensive and I don't have time for exercise (like I used to) but that does me no good. It gets me nowhere.  I will still be overweight.
Some people wait for crisis to force them to change
When do most people start dieting and exercising?  When they, or someone around them, has a health crisis.  Why do we have to hit rock bottom to change? Change now!
The frame: See-->Feel-->Do-->Get
How we see things affects how we feel about them, how we feel about them affects what we do, and what we do affects what we get.  This is a cycle that people go through in any part of life but especially fitness ventures.  Example: I used to see myself as lazy.  I felt bad about being lazy.  I did nothing and continued to be lazy (because that was how I saw myself), I got obese.  Did I like what I got? No!  Did anything change at that time? No!  It didn't really change until I changed what I SAW.  I started to see myself as someone who was failing at fitness.  I felt as if continued failure was not an option.  I dusted the cob webs off my bike, bought a Points Plus calculator and a book and I took action!  What did I get?  What you read about every time you check in here.  I get this new wonderful feeling about what I am doing for myself.  I see myself as someone who can be fit.  I feel better about the food I eat and the time I spend on myself.  I am a better me because I saw things differently.
You could say that the inservice that I attended changed me but I really feel that it put words to what I have been feeling and writing about for almost a month now.  I hope that everyone can take something away from this post, fitness related or not, because there are some wonderful messages here THANKS TOP 20!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Energized

I was back to my 5:30 ride this morning and it felt incredible!  It was 70 degrees out, I got to watch a gorgeous sunrise and I just felt energized.  I woke up ready to ride.  Maybe it was because today is real...I was getting up at 5:30 so that I could get a ride in before work.  I also slept great last night which I am sure helped my energy level.  As I pedaled along on the first part of my ride this morning, all I could think was, "This feels incredible!"

I wish that everyone could experience the wonderful feeling that I had this morning.  No negative thoughts, no sprinklers, just joy and happiness.  If everyday felt like this, there is no doubt in my mind that the trail would be filled with riders just like me every morning.  The truth is...it doesn't feel this good every day and that makes it something even more rewarding.  I have worked this hard for this long to get to this feeling.  It is a reward for my determination and while it feels great, it did NOT come easy.  It has been hard and difficult and at times just exhausting but I am still working at it...determined not to give up.
Now, for the usual Monday update...I weighed in at 186.4 this morning which isn't a huge difference from last week.  I have lost .4 pounds but the important thing is that I did not gain.  I have lost 6.2 pound total at this point which is a-ok with me!  I am happy to see any loss knowing that I am coming off a not so good food weekend. I am excited for the coming week and looking forward to more wonderful rides.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Foggy Morning

Gave myself a little extra sleep time this morning but still got to go for a ride.  I felt really good and I am really enjoying all my time biking.  It was really foggy this morning...so much so that I couldn't see all that far in front of me on the way to the park.  My glasses also got covered in a fine mist that I ended up having to stop and clean off.
Yesterday was not the best food day.  We went out to eat with friends to the Red Steakhouse.  It is a wonderful little indulgence that we don't often partake in but we were celebrating my husband's shift change at work and the beginning of a new school year.  I am proud of myself that I just drank water to save some calories :o).  While I do think I could have limited myself more, for me it was an indulgence that I felt deserving of.  We shared a couple of wonderful appetizers, I had steak as my entree, and we finished up with key lime pie for dessert.  I think key lime pie is my new weakness.  I need to find a low calorie version because I am in love!
This has been a challenging weekend but I do think I did a decent job of restraining myself where I thought it was necessary.  I think that it is important not to beat yourself up for little flub up here and there.  Don't use them as an excuse to quit!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Determination

Yesterday, as expected, was a difficult food day.  I didn't help the situation much when I indulged in some mac and cheese, cookies, and a pack of the kid's fruit snacks.  After knowing that I had too many points I spent most of the day thinking it would be bad if I didn't get to go for a ride at all...the more I thought about it, the more I realized it would be a good idea to take my bike along with me.  I would not have to miss two days worth of rides if I did!  Also, I have a minivan so there wasn't really an excuse there-it is super easy to flip down seats and get it loaded up.  So, that is exactly what I did.  I loaded my bike, even though my husband looked at me as if I were slightly (or possibly a lot) crazy, and felt great about my decision. 
Last night I got to use my new lights and they work nicely.  I finally had a chance to go for a ride at 9:50pm so I went for it.  Scotland has a very well lit highway that runs through town so that seemed like a nice place to ride.  I rode 50 blocks last night-three "laps" up and down the highway.  I also challenged myself to the large hill once last night.  It was a doozie so I only went up the once!  I felt a lot better after my ride and didn't feel quite so bad about my pizza consumption.
I got up a little before 6:30 this morning to ride again.  It was beautiful out.  A nice cool breeze and much more peaceful than last night!  I got some waves from older people sitting on the porch having coffee, and I enjoyed getting a look at some of the cool older houses in Scotland.  Overall, I feel great that I was able to keep riding and thus keep my streak alive! 25 days of not missing a ride!  I am determined to keep it alive!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thunder

I was really excited to ride my bike this morning so that I could try out my new bike lights!  I quickly got out of bed and went into the bathroom to get ready...then I heard it...rain and thunder.  So much for that!  I was really disappointed because now I don't think I will get a ride in at all today or tomorrow.  As soon as I finish up on the computer I need to head into work to get my room ready and then it is home for nap and lunch time.  After nap we leave for the Kuchen Feier where I get to judge the Kuchen Queen Candidates.  We will be there until late Saturday afternoon when we will come back and head off to a double date with friends.  It just isn't looking good and I really6 don't want to break my streak!  I may just have to try and load up my bike so that I can still ride HA! 
I also have a challenge in front of me for supper...pizza YUM! Plus, I will be surrounded by kuchen all weekend.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

There are good days and bad days...

This morning I did not want to get up...even though I got to sleep in until 6:00am (my husband had to work in the middle of the night and thus did not go swimming this morning).  I woke up feeling tired with an achy upper jaw (two cavities filled yesterday on opposite sides of the mouth).  I also still had a hint of last night's headache.  Not really the best morning for feeling motivated to get fit...  I applaud myself for going anyway.
I am kind of surprised that I did, it isn't something that the old Cassi would have done.  I think the main thing that got my butt out the door was how I would feel later in the day.  I would feel GUILTY, and I didn't want to!  I did give myself a bit of a break though...I didn't go the extra quarter mile at the start of my ride this morning. I also hadn't planned on going the extra quarter mile at the end of my ride but I somehow found the motivation while riding through the park (not getting hit by a single sprinkler). 
The ability to push myself is something that really makes me feel good.  I can make myself do more than I ever expected I could do myself.  I have to say that I was really beginning to think that the only way I would ever get in shape is if I had some fancy personal trainer to get me into shape.  I have decided that while a personal trainer could probably get me into shape faster, I am capable of pushing myself.  The more I push myself, the more I realize I am capable of.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dinner with a Friend

Day two of 5:30am and I am settling in nicely.  I avoided turning on any lights while leaving this morning so that the dark wouldn't be such an adjustment for my eyes.  It helped a lot but I think I am going to have to head out and buy a light for my bike today. 
I love that the weather has finally cooled down!  This morning it was so cool that I thought I should have grabbed a jacket...a thought that didn't live long!  I was all warmed up ten minutes into my ride.  I am not liking the 5:30am sprinklers much.  They are in all the wrong places and usually leave me pretty soaked by the time I leave the park.  They are also in places that make it difficult for me to pace myself in order to avoid going through them. 
Last night I went out with a friend for supper and had a wonderful time.  We sat and talked for almost three hours!  We apparently had some catching up to do!  I ordered a six ounce steak (go me!), sweet potato fries, and a salad with bleu cheese dressing.  We ordered cheese bread as an appetizer which I decided would be my treat for the day (it was basically a pre-meal dessert except savory not sweet).  I do not for one second regret ordering the cheese bread!  We each got two pieces and it was super delicious!  It was definitely my splurge for the day but I had 24 points left so I really wasn't too worried.  I only ate maybe 1/3 of the fries as I was getting full.  The only thing that I would change about the meal was my salad.  I wish that I had dipped my fork in the dressing and then gotten a bite of it so that I didn't eat as much of it.  I also like that the dressing is more evenly distributed throughout the salad that way.  I think I stayed within my points or possibly went over by one or two which I think is really good for a night out.
Yesterday, in my second post I talked about my change in attitude toward fitness and I was kind of curious what gets in the way of other people's fitness intentions, plans or goals?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Attitude Shift

Today, while fixing mac and cheese for the boys I was hit with a realization...my attitude about fitness has changed.  When I started this blog three weeks ago I had a "best effort" attitude...as in, I will give this my best effort but I really don't enjoy it.  I now have more of a "what took me so long" attitude. 
How do I know?  I find myself looking forward to my morning ride. I go to bed and I think about riding in the morning.  When my alarm goes off I no longer hesitate to leave my cozy sleeping quarters.  I don't lay in bed for "five more minutes."  When my husband brought up how we can shift things with his change in work schedule I didn't hesitate at the thought of getting up a half hour earlier-I was happy about it.  I am looking ahead and trying to plan out what to do when it gets colder.  I am feeling better than ever and wondering what the heck I ever had against fitness in the first place.
I think the biggest shift is in the fact that I no longer look for excuses.  Yes, it is still really me talking.  I used to be so happy when it was raining in the morning...giving me an excuse to stay home and go nowhere and do nothing.  Now, if it rains I try to plan out how I can go for a ride later or what I can do instead.  I no longer tell myself that I "don't have time."  What the h*ll?  If I have time to sit on my butt and watch TV or play around on the computer I think there is time in my day to fit in a workout.  I really can't pinpoint when the attitude shift happened but it sure feels good :o)

Three Full Weeks; 5:30am

Today marks three full weeks-I have not missed a ride.  I did have to go in the evening with kids for two of those day but I haven't broken my streak!  I am really proud of myself!  This has been quite a journey.  The last two days I was biking an extra quarter mile but today I made some BIG changes!
Today was my first 5:30am ride. Observations: 5:30 is considerably more dark than 6:00.  Nature is quite loud at 5:30 (the frogs were crazy loud!).  Different sprinklers are on in the park-ones that are a bigger pain in my a**.  So...why 5:30?  I start back at work next week and my husband has officially changed shifts so I need to go earlier if we are both going to get in a workout.  Thankfully, I am the same morning at 5:30am that I am at 6:00am :o)  I really couldn't tell much of a difference when I got up (with the exception of the extreme darkness) so it seems as if it will be an easy change!
I am now going more than an extra half of a mile compared to a week ago.  I finally started at the point on the trail where I have been finishing up the last couple days.  It makes the first half of my ride a bit more fun-lots of downhills, but I could definitely feel the burn for the last part of my ride sooner.  All in all I do like the extra challenge.  My ride has gotten a bit easier over the past couple weeks so it is nice to throw in a new challenge. 

3 weeks in and feeling great!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday Update

We had a nice little thunderstorm last night which I appreciate because it was no longer raining this morning.  I went for the new usual ride (with the extra quarter mile on the end).  I had planned on starting at my ending point on the trail but I guess I wasn't quite awake because I forgot and didn't remember until I was getting on the trail in my usual spot.  It was a rather uneventful ride-just dark, calm, and relaxing (HA! I said exercise was RELAXING!).
Since today is Monday I weighed myself again.  I now weigh 186.8 which is down 2.4 pounds from last week. My total weight loss since I have been blogging is 5.8 pounds.  It may not sound like a lot to many people but it is a lot to me.  I know how hard I worked at exercising and eating less and eating better so I am perfectly happy with my numbers thus far. 
I prefer to weight myself only once a week because I expect the numbers to be small which makes it hard to see much progress from day to day.  I don't want to get discouraged by what seems like a lack of progress so I weigh myself less often.  If I have learned anything from my occasional tune-in to Biggest Loser it is that you can work you a** off all you want but it doesn't always mean that you will see that in the numbers.  DO NOT get discouraged.  It is really important to keep yourself motivated to stay on track.  Just because the numbers don't drop (or don't drop fast) doesn't mean you aren't getting in better shape and doing something wonderful for yourself.  All too often we want to lose weight and we want to lose it NOW.  We are a rather impatient society. That doesn't mean that you have to be impatient...have patience with yourself and your body-you know how hard you have worked so don't beat yourself up if the scale doesn't recognize that.
A year after my oldest son was born I worked hard to lose weight over the course of a school year.  I lost, on average, less than a pound a week.  I wasn't discouraged though because that less than a pound a week equated to 30 pounds by the time the school year was through!  I was incredibly happy with those numbers but I recognized that it takes time.  I didn't gain the weight over a couple weeks so I shouldn't expect it to be gone that quickly.  Give yourself a break...you can do it...have patience.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Oh, what a beautiful morning...

I got my ride in last night although I think I may have accidentally tortured my oldest son in the process.  We went for a ride after supper which was nice.  I loaded Cam in my cart and we headed off down the street and got on the trail to head home.  It was a nice ride overall I just like a quicker pace which isn't really in the interests of a six year old. A picture BEFORE the ride...


Today, I got to go on my morning ride this morning and I added to it.  I added another quarter mile by staying on the trail longer and getting off of it closer to my house.  Now I just need to work in getting ON the trail that way. By adding this little bit to my ride, I added some ups...three small hills.  I do get a nice big hill down as I start on this portion of the trail though so I can't complain too much.  That nice hill is also what is stopping me from starting my ride on a different portion of the trail but I suppose I should give in!  It was nice and cool out and there were no sprinklers on along the trail.  The water was also noticeably down again.  Overall, just a wonderful ride!
As my yummy pumpkin muffins are baking I thought that I would take some time to go over some biking tips.  Many people have told me that I make them want to get a bike or ride their bike...I would encourage both groups to DO IT! So, here are my tips...
Bike owners:
1. Find out what you dislike about your bike and fix it.  There must be a reason it has been sitting unused!
My bike had terribly rough grips that left my hands bruised and sore days after I had ridden my bike.  It discouraged me from riding because I didn't want my hands to hurt even more for even longer.  I took my bike to Ace and got it fixed up in no time.
2. Get a new seat (yeah this kinda goes along with #1). I didn't ride my bike as much because it left my butt sore.  I figured it couldn't hurt to get a bigger seat for a bigger butt so I spent the money to try it out.  It was the best change I made!  My butt is much happier now.

Bike buyers:
1. You do not have to spend a bundle on a bike.  My bike is from WalMart and cost less than $100.
2. Compare, compare, compare!  What do you like on one bike versus another.  If there is a bike that is much more expensive with the features that you like, figure out what it would cost to add those features to a less expensive bike...it may just save you some money.
3. Consider buying a used bike and making some improvements.  You may be able to buy a better quality bike and spend less.

Everyone:
1. Buy small features that make you more prone to use your bike-like a little bag on front to hold you phone or keys.  Add a water bottle if you like to take long rides and get really thirsty (I actually just carry mine in the bag on the front of my bike).
2. Wear comfy clothes that don't get in the way.  I prefer stretchy Bermuda shorts and a light t-shirt or tank top.  I also have a light hoodie for when it is chilly.  Short shorts may ride up and you don't want to be adjusting them the whole ride.  Long pants (especially loose ones) can get caught on your bike which can leave you frustrated.  Tennis shoes are a must-they protect and support your feet.  Remember that you are not trying to make a fashion statement-you are trying to get fit!
3. Find the right time of day to ride.  For me it is in the morning but that doesn't mean that this time works for everyone.  If you are sluggish and droopy in the morning, you will be less likely to ride very far or continue riding (You will also probably swallow some bug if you yawn a lot).  Maybe an evening ride would be better for you.  You just have to figure out what works best for YOU.
4. Give it TIME.  When I started, I did not enjoy it as much as I do now.  I wanted to quit but I kept pushing myself because it was something I wanted for myself.  I am even at a point now where I am not continually wanting to quit but it took time to get there.  Start off with shorter rides and add on as you build endurance.
5. Get a helmet because you won't enjoy riding if it kills you :o)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

At a lovely little brunch today my friend served us some super yummy muffins-they had a really great selling point too...they were only one point each!  They were so good! I was excited and wanted to make them for Sunday breakfast.  Teri helped me out there by offering me a box of cake mix that I needed for them so I am ready for the morning!  Not only do they taste great but they are simple! Here is the recipe:

1 box french vanilla cake mix
1 15ox can pumpkin

Mix the two together, put into muffin tins and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Because they are a moist muffin they are best made without muffin papers. Makes 12 muffins. EDIT:  I baked mine in non-stick pans and thus turned the oven down to 325 as the cake box suggested.  They took right about 20 minutes and came out of the tins perfectly without spraying them with anything.


And...it gets better...according to my points plus calculator...they come out to zero points for one...two muffins for one point or the whole darn batch for just six points!  They are so delicious it is hard to believe how low in points they are!

I should also add that these are nice and filling.  I planned on a nice little two point breakfast (4 muffins) but I was full after 3.  They may just be my new favorite food!

Temptation!

It was pouring down rain this morning at six so I am hoping to get a chance to take a ride today, if not I may just have to endure the elliptical so I don't go without a workout completely.
I thought I would focus today's post about one of the most difficult aspects of any fitness aspirations...TEMPTATION!  I know that going back to work in a little over a week will be very difficult.  The caramel rolls and cookies and other treats that they feed to us during inservice are yummy and terrible all at the same time.  The worst part is that I know how yummy they are and that makes it even more difficult.  I think about how wonderful they taste and I think about all the times I have eaten them and I want them even more!  My goal is straight up resistance...not oh I will just have a little...I know I won't be able to have just a little.  My willpower is no match for that yummy stuff!  I plan to take myself a little snack so that I can stay away from it all together.  Maybe a fruit snack or a pumpkin muffin (Thanks Teri for the recipe) will get me through. 
Although going back to work offers some temptations it also gets me away from the pantry full of kid snacks that I face every day.  It also get me away from the temptation of finishing bits of their lunch or snack.  There are good an bad things about every situation!  I prefer to look on the bright side :o)  Packed lunches offer me a better, more planned lunch which will keep me from consuming extra points.   One week left!  Wish me luck!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Making it work!

No post yesterday but I figured the fact that Wednesday had two posts made up for it :o)
I was a bit bummed that it looked like a bike ride was not going to happen yesterday.  My lovely hubby was out of town for work so a morning ride was out and then I asked him if I could go for a ride at night but he didn't want me to because that is when he gets the most calls...it wasn't looking good!  We ate an early supper (Kashi pizza) which was slightly high in points (11 for 1/2) but not too bad considering we got to eat pizza!  We then had nothing to do until my oldest son's swimming lessons.  That was when I realized...I CAN go for a bike ride! 
My husband would be taking swimming lesson duty and while they were gone I could put the little guy in the bike cart and go.  As they were getting ready we got ourselves ready to hit the trail.  I asked Cam if he wanted to go for a ride and he did his little happy dance and said, "YES!"  We took off basically making a giant loop around our house as we couldn't go too far in case I had to run to swimming lessons if my husband got a call.  Cam had a blast and laughed every time we went up or down from the sidewalk.  I was thrilled because I still got my ride in.  We took the trail home which gave me a good final workout.  There is one big hill down and 2 1/2 hills going up combined with hauling a 30 pound kid behind me I think I got a workout equal to my morning ride. 
I also got to get back to my morning ride this morning and boy was it dark!  I got up and out the door pretty quickly this morning and was surprised how dark it was.  I guess this is one more thing telling me that summer is coming to an end!  The ride was nice-not too hot but I think I was the first one on the trail. I got hit by spider web after spider web which slowed me down a bit.  As I got down by the river this morning, I noticed that the water was down about a foot.  There is a strip of reddish brown ground between the grass and the water making it easy to notice.  It is really good to see the water go down.  School starts in just over a week meaning I will have to start adjusting my workout so that I can keep it up when I am back at work.  I will definitely need some luck to help me through that transition!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It's not all Sunshine and Rainbows!

Today has been a challenge!  I am a stress eater and today was a bit stressful.  My youngest child challenged my patience with constant whining and tantrums, parking at work is less than ideal (although I know I should be happy to get in the extra steps-previously mentioned child made this stressful), my work computer is still (after a whole week!)" locked by an administrator," I got an email that caught me off guard, I hadn't finished preparing for my role as book club discussion leader, my tennis elbow (no it isn't from tennis) has been bothering me all day, and I had a headache (the last 2 problems we not interested in being resolved with ibuprofen). 
All I have wanted to do all day is shovel in chocolate and ice cream and JUNK!  While making Cam some milk for his nap I fed myself a drizzle of chocolate syrup straight from the bottle then downed a couple handfuls of chocolate chips.  I then subtracted 5 points from my tally for the day which should about cover it.  I did not want to stop there.  I wanted to eat one of the chocolate bars from the freezer and have a giant bowl of the new ice cream that the Schwan's man brought yesterday...but I didn't.  Those might be my new favorite words-I didn't.  I wanted to SO bad but I didn't.  I opened the freezer twice to stare at the ice cream and then I ate a 1 point fruit roll up and drank a nice glass of ice water.  I knew that I had book club left yet to challenge me and I was at 16 points left for the day.
I was excited for book club (it was book selection day!) yet nervous about trying to stay on track with a couple bad eating decisions already under my belt from the day.  I order my old favorite-a strawberry daiquiri because I needed one.  I also promised myself that I would just have one and then drink water.  I ate some popcorn and ordered a pizza.  I shared the pizza with three other ladies so that I would only get two slices, yet I still ended up eating three!  I actually brought home a fourth piece which I REALLY wanted to eat so I sent it home with my mother-in-law. 
Did I make great choices? No. Did I make terrible choices? No.  Even when it seemed like the day went to hell I am happy to say that I think I kept my eating under control.  I ate more than I should have but not by much.  I didn't let my stress become a reason to over indulge, yet I still did a bit of stress eating that elevated my mood a bit.  I placed limits on myself and found ways to remove temptation.  These are big steps to me because stress isn't going away...it is just getting going with the start of the school year right around the corner.  I need to teach myself new coping mechanisms that don't involve food.  I need to continue to reflect on situations like this in order to keep myself in control.  I also need to formulate a work out plan for tomorrow!  After a day like today, the last thing that I need is less calories burned!

Keeping Up!

I am a bit late writing my post today!  It has been a busy day already.  I started off with my usual morning ride which was GREAT in comparison to yesterday.  It actually felt cool this morning and I didn't feel like I was trying to breathe underwater.  Unfortunately, my 15 day streak ends tomorrow unless I can get a 6am sitter LOL.  Maybe I can go for a ride in the evening though so the day isn't a complete wash.
Yesterday I "traveled" a bit on the elliptical again.  I still hate it but I managed to stay on for 42 minutes and go 1.5 miles.  I felt really good doing it two days in a row.  We will have to see how today goes though-the biggest motivation is guilt free television watching but I am waiting for my next DVD of Big Love from Netflix.  With nothing to watch it isn't quite as appealing (not that it really is appealing at all ha!). Maybe I can try watching a movie if I can get that much "free" time. 
Yesterday we had one of my favorite new meals!  Turkey burgers, sweet potato fries, broccoli, and some new baked cheese things from Schwan's.  The turkey burgers are SO yummy on the grill and they are about half the points of a typical beef burger.  We can also have a nice large serving of the fries for just four points which is decent for fries-plus we all love them!  The cheese things were more of a treat than anything else but they were just 1 point each. 
Overall, I think things are going well!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Two Full Weeks!

If ever there was a day for me to stay in bed today would be that day!  I was TIRED and comfortable beyond my wildest dreams.  The only problem...if I didn't go today I would have been one day shy of two solid weeks of exercise!  As I put on my shoes I glanced up at the clock/outdoor weather expecting something a bit cooler yet seeing a temperature of 80 and humidity at 76%...ICK! So, there I was caught between a deep desire for more sleep, disgusting heat waiting for me outside, and two solid weeks of exercise...and exercise won!  This is something that I am very proud of.  It would have been so easy for me to let myself sleep and avoid the heat but it would have also got in the way of my fitness goals. 
Putting fitness above personal comfort is something that I had never really done before this fitness kick that I am on now.  It is a very big obstacle to overcome.  After all, if it was easy our obesity rates would be way down, there wouldn't be a Biggest Loser, and personal trainers would be out of a job.  Motivation and stick-to-it-ness is not easy to come by.  It is much easier to admit how hard something is and use it as an excuse to quit rather than to follow through.  At the same time, the harder you work toward something difficult, the more you appreciate the end result.  This is something that I hope I can share with my students in the fall...while English may not be their best subject (while in fact it may be their most difficult) it is worth it to stick with it.  It may not be the easiest choice, but it is the choice that will lead them to the most desirable results.
Yesterday I spent 37 minutes on the elliptical in our basement-I hate that thing.  I feel awkward on it and I have a hard time staying on for long.  Yesterday I was determined to get a better work out on it and I lasted for 37 minutes at a level 3 resistance and I "traveled" 1.25 miles.  Not too bad for my second workout of the day and boy was my heart pounding after that!  I actually wished that I could have stayed on longer but my knee was bugging me and I needed a rest.
One motivation for writing this blog was really the hope that I could get other people to see what I can do and be led to wonder what they themselves are capable of.  If I can do this and stick with this then so can a whole host of other people!  Yesterday, my future sister-in-law posted on my Facebook page "You seriously inspire the heck out of me." Now there is something mutually beneficial!  I am happy that what I write is inspiring someone else to make some fitness changes and I am motivated to keep writing because this isn't just a page sitting out there in cyber space.  It is something that is being read which really feels good!  My challenge to anyone reading: Make a healthy change in your life and rather than focus on how difficult it is, focus on how good it feels knowing that you are doing something great for your future!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Progress and a Picture

As promised, no running today.  Besides the fact that it kicked my butt two days in a row, my ankle was sore all day yesterday and was still sore this morning.  I went for my usual ride but was hit with a wave of heat and humidity this morning that nearly stopped me in my tracks-I am pretty sure I started sweating before I even got on my bike.  It has really been a hot summer but I am really happy with my consistency. 
I met some new friends on my ride this morning.  A flock of Canadian Geese were waiting for me around one of the corners of my ride this morning.  I knew that it was a place that they had hung out previously because of all their presents on the side walk but this was the first time that I have seen them. My camera phone was a bit too slow to capture the ones that I spooked but I was able to snap a picture of the ones closer to the water that swam rather than flew away.

Today marked day THIRTEEN of consecutive rides.  I know that it is a record because the most I had before this was maybe three.  What does all this mean?  It means that tomorrow I will have been working out for two weeks without quitting!  I think that this is incredibly awesome!
It has been just over a week since I last weighted myself, and I am now at 189.2.  This is down 3.4 pounds which may not sound like a lot but it is good.  I know that I have lost weight in my waist and hips because of my lovely shopping experience and my inability to fill a size 16.  Overall, I feel really good and I am proud of myself.  I do feel like I have definite challenges ahead (with the end of summer looming 2 weeks away!) but I think I can make things work.  If I have come this far, there is no point in stopping now!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A little early morning poetry

Well, I never thought I would be writing this as much as you probably never expected to read this...I gave running another shot today.  The only sprinklers on were at the entrance to the park, the park was empty by them time I got to my "running spot," and I figured I didn't have anything to lose. 
It (surprise surprise) did not go well.  I tried doing a fast walk to prepare my lungs a bit more for the actual running but alas my body does not like running.  I didn't even make it half way around today but at least I gave it a try.  How am I ever going to enjoy it if I don't keep trying?  It adds quite a bit of time to my ride so I doubt I will keep it up during the week but maybe I can try again next weekend!
As I rode back home today I thought about how beautiful the morning is and I was really thankful for these fitness aspirations as I would miss this if I weren't up riding my bike at six am every day.  I really enjoy watching the fog as it slowly lifts from the tall grasses, the beautiful colors that paint the sky as the sun wakes up, the finches and other birds that fly along and land on the fence beside me as I ride, and the simple beauty of nature that surrounds me each morning.  I also thought about how many people miss seeing this.  All snug in their beds and oblivious to God's artistry as it is created and evolves right outside their own window. This is for you...

Gone
You don't see me, but I'm here
I come out early
And disappear

If you are lucky you might see
All the beauty
That is me

I know that your bed beckons you
But I'll be gone
Just like the dew

So let your tired eyes awake
The worth is great
Make no mistake

The beauty that awaits is rare
Take the steps
To stop and stare

Take the time to visit me
You won't regret
What you see

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Run for your freakin' life!

This morning greatly tempted me to stay in bed! I shut off my alarm and felt awake but lazy.  My bed was so snug and warm...who in their right mind would leave that?  Well, we all know that I am not in my right mind so I got up after giving myself an extra ten minutes as a treat.
It was humid this morning making it harder for me to believe that I actually left my bed for this but I did feel good knowing that I was going to hit the trail on a Saturday again.  As I rode and watched the fog in the grass starting to lift I thought about what else I can do to challenge myself.  After all, I am doing a decent job with goal number one...now what?  Logically, goal number two seemed like the next step.  As I rode I thought about how I could start running and then I thought about the nice little loop that I take on my bike every morning.  It seemed logical-ride to the park, run the loop, ride home-easy.
The more I thought about running the more I wanted an excuse not to run.  By the time the park was in sight I couldn't think of any reason not to try a short run...what do I have to lose?  Then, as I entered the park and saw the sprinklers on I thought-EXCUSE-I shouldn't try this running thing in the sprinklers.  Further into the park-EXCUSE-city workers were there cleaning.  Did I really need to subject some poor stranger to my pathetic attempt at running?  I made up my mind-no run this morning. 
I continued my usual ride around the loop thinking about how big it actually was and wondering how I could ever run all the way around.  Then I started to think about how pathetic is was that I wanted an excuse not to run and how pathetic it was that I didn't want to look like an idiot in front of strangers.  I stopped my bike at the end of the loop-at the point where my ride heads toward home.  I stood there for a while looking at this loop that I wanted to run around.  While trying to decide what to do, I gave more witnesses the opportunity to show up as two people came to the park to walk their dog.  I used my phone to check-in to Riverside Park on Gowalla (awesome app by the way) trying harder to convince myself that this was a really terrible idea now that there were more people to witness it. 
Finally, I stepped off my bike, removed my helmet, and took off.  I am not really sure if I was actually running...maybe it was more of a jog...but I was doing it.  After the first 20 feet I was done-ready to stop.  This was not fun or enjoyable at all!  What the hell was I thinking?  As my body screamed at me to stop, trying to figure out what it did to torture me so, those witnesses that I thought were a good excuse not to run became a decent excuse to keep running.
Running thoughts:
"Ugh this sucks."
"How the heck does anyone enjoy this?"
"This feels really awkward."
"I bet I look incredibly stupid."
"Who cares how I look, I am running after all."
"I think I need someone to teach me how to run because this just doesn't feel right!"
"I bet there is Running for Dummies."
"OMG my lungs are going to explode."
"AHHHHH I am not even half way yet."
"Why do the freakin' sprinklers have to be on?"
"This is pathetic...I am not even going to make it half way."
"Just shut up and run!"
Finally my lungs told me to stop (I must have pathetic lung capacity) or rather they screamed at me that if I didn't stop they were going to drop my a** on the pavement.  I ran just over half way before slowing to a walk.  All I could think was-how is this ever going to be enjoyable? And yet, I did it-I ran.  It was pathetic and sad and it felt like time was standing still and I wanted to never do it again but I still did it. I didn't run all the way around the loop but I ran over half way after wanting to stop right away at the beginning. Hey, that's progress!  I take what I can get.  Although this may take some serious recovery time, so don't expect another running post for a while...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Good Decisions and Even Better Clothes!

A little bit of a late post today but not because I slept in!  I actually got up for my ride and finished it in record time!  My mother-in-law was meeting em to switch vans this morning so I had to make sure I was back in time.  It was icky humid this morning and there were more sprinklers on than normal at the park so it was quite the ride that it was yesterday.  Kiddo #1 woke up early this morning leaving me without any time to write.  Now that both boys are awake they can keep each other occupied enough to give me a little time. 
Yesterday I went on amazing shopping trip with friends.  I walked a lot which was good.  We ate out at Red Lobster so that my first challenge at a regular restaurant (non buffet).  I had 19 points left for the day and I think I did okay.  I won't lie and say that I didn't go over in points...I am sure that I did (darn those cheddar biscuits) but the difference was that I didn't just give in and make all around poor eating decisions. 
I had a nice 4 course meal which fit my budget well and had options that seemed decent to me. 
Course 1-New England Clam Chowder
This was probably my worst decision but I didn't let it blow the rest of my meal.  High in fat but not too bad carb wise.  I really should have forgone the soup all together but with how incredibly yummy it was I am glad that it was my little indulgence.
Course 2-Garden Side Salad
I think I did great here!  While I did order bleu cheese dressing, I used less 1/4 of it!  I dipped my fork into it and then poked some salad and I was really amazed by how much less dressing I used (thanks Biggest Loser for that tip).
Course 3-Grilled BBQ shrimp and Rice Pilaf
Both things low in fat and the rice contains fewer carbs that if I had a baked potato.  I did not finish either item.  I was starting to feel a bit full and I still had dessert coming. 
Course 4-Some Apple Thing
I only ate the apple filling and skipped out on the buttery, flaky pastry that it was enclosed in GO WILLPOWER!  I also tried a small bite of key lime pie (thanks Jill) because I had never had it before.  It was yummy!
I drank water...lots of water!  After all we had been shopping all afternoon/evening.
Overall thoughts on the meal-it was super delicious and I felt full and satisfied but not stuffed.  While you had great food Red Lobster, your nutrition page leaves something to be desired-lacking any information on protein or fiber content in foods.  It also appears to need some updating as not everything on their menu is found on the website.
I am really happy with how the day went!  I got some extra exercise and got to spend some quality (kid free) time with friends.  We didn't get back until late but I didn't allow myself to use that as an excuse to sleep in this morning!  I am feeling great and I am proud of myself for keeping moving!  Oh, and I almost forgot...I officially consider myself to be a size 14 again!  Every single 16 that I tried on yesterday was too big :o)  That is a change that also makes me really proud!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Just wonderful!

This morning's ride was WONDERFUL!  The sunrise was beautiful, the humidity was low, and the sprinklers were off at the park.  It felt great to be riding this morning!  Today is all set to be a good day although it will still have its challenges. 
The plan: Sioux City shopping trip with my wonderful English department coworkers and getting to see Kim!
The challenge: Supper-having a meal out.
I feel really good about the decisions I have been making so I am actually not too worried about eating out today.  I am kind of excited for the challenge.  I think I am starting to gain a bit more confidence in my ability to get myself fit.  Part of this comes from me not missing a single bike ride since a couple days before starting this blog.  I have been hauling my butt out the door every morning with less and less extra effort to leave my cozy bed every day.  I feel really good-less droopy or sluggish throughout the day.  I really think things are going great!  I look forward to my challenge of eating a healthy supper out tonight!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I prefer to reside amongst the living

Today I thought I would address an issue that my husband likes to poke fun of me about: my bike helmet.  I wear a bike helmet each and every day for my ride.  As you all know helmets are all the rage this summer and are a perfect example of the latest fashion!  Okay, maybe not...but do I really care? No, not really.  I wear a helmet not to look cool or sport the latest fashion but to save my noggin!  Yes, I ride mostly on the trail where there are not really any cars but there are other riders, hills, and steep slopes with rocks on the way down.  Also, I have to ride on the road to get to the trail.  While I do think it is unlikely that my helmet will be used to save my noggin on my morning ride, I prefer to err on the side of caution.  After all, who puts on their helmet thinking, "I am going to use this thing today!"?  Brain damage would also put a real wrench into my fitness routine!
Besides these life saving benefits, I also feel good knowing that I am setting a good example.  I have two boys who also wear bike helmets-no bribing, screaming, or threatening required.  Neither of them complain about putting their helmets on-in fact they are happy to do so. My youngest even gets excited! Who wouldn't get excited about a dragon helmet though?  This noggin saving example is one that I am happy to set so that one day when they go riding with their helmet-less friends they will opt to keep their own helmet on and maybe even razz their friends the way that they razz my husband about NOT wearing one!
Now, while I am on my little helmet rant I would really like to make a plea to helmet makers.  Make helmets for 2 year olds!  Yes, I can make due with a 3 year old helmet but I would like an even better fit for my little guy!  They may not be riding bikes but we certainly take them on rides via bike carts and seats.  Help us keep them as safe as possible!
I grew up with a helmet law-one we were made to follow.  I got used to wearing a helmet.  My kids are growing up with a helmet law too...Mom's law!
One final note to those who do not wear helmets: although it is your choice (depending on where you reside) and you can say...if I choose not to take a safety measure that will save my life and it ends up killing me I guess that is my choice (something that I have heard from people complaining about seat belt laws).  Do me a favor...think about the driver that may end up hitting you-possibly through no vault of their own.  Should they really have to go through life knowing that they took someone's life when the person who was lost could have prevented it?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

And then there are nights like this...

I had an amazing supper.  It was delicious and did not make me go over on points (in fact I even had enough left to have an ice cream sandwich-I opted for a 1 point popsicle instead). Also, keep in mind that I usually have 20 points left for supper HA!
The meal:
Steak-marinated to perfection in a bit of balsamic vinegar, garlic salt, and grill seasoning; cooked medium rare
Red skinned baked potato
Spinach salad-less than 1/2 a serving of light balsamic vinaigrette dressing
Small chunk of asiago batard bread (from HyVee if bread weren't so high in points I would easily eat a couple of their small loaves of bread a day-as it was we didn't even finish the small loaf GO US!)
And the thing that made every aspect of the meal sparkle just a little bit more-BLEU CHEESE!  I can have a serving (1/4 cup) for 3 points.  If you love blue cheese like I do, then you know that 1/4 cup goes a long way!  I topped my steak with it, sprinkled some on my potato, and topped my salad all for just 3 points! They were totally worth it.
The major highlights of this meal-my potato was not smothered in margarine and sour cream, my salad was devoid of croutons or bacon bits, my serving of bread was small and did not include margarine, my steak was super lean and still incredibly flavorful, and last but not least, I chose the fewer point dessert. YAY ME!

If you never screw up...how do you learn anything?

This morning felt great although the humidity made it feel like I was breathing water rather than air...it did look like it was ready to rain so maybe that will help.  I am glad that it didn't rain yet because I am not sure if I am ready to be THAT committed to my morning ride!  Part of the reason it felt so good...I over indulged on pizza last night.
A love for pizza makes eating healthy challenging!  What makes it even MORE challenging...pizza buffet.  Last night they had a fundraiser at Pizza Ranch for some heart walk thing for the hospital and Matt wanted to go.  To be honest, I wanted to go too-we all love pizza and it was for a good cause.  The only problem is the buffet!  How do you stop with the mindset of getting your money's worth?  To top it all off I even drank soda rather than water.  While I do feel like I over indulged, I am also a bit forgiving.  I knew that I was going out for pizza so I really tried to limit my points (the fact that we were running around doing errands all day really prevented snacking) throughout the day to save them for supper.  I had 22 points left by supper time and I am still sure I went over.  I am still under points overall for the week so again I don't feel too bad.
What did I realize through this? Buffets are to be avoided at all costs.  Also, when I go out I need to get out of the mindset that I need to get my money's worth and rather just try to get a good handle on what I consume.  I really do think the buffet was the biggest issue as I have no problem stopping when we have an actual pizza (because that means that there will be LEFTOVERS!).  The fact that the drink was included in the price was another issue-I am very accustomed to drinking water when we go out anywhere (the only exception would be when I order an alcoholic beverage) but the fact that I was paying for soda made me feel like I should get soda.  Next time I will stick with water.
So, a setback is a setback and it is only something that I can learn from.  No one is perfect and I know that I can do better.  After all, this wouldn't be much of a learning journey if I did everything just right the first time!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Riding, shopping, and loving

Yesterday was a good day.  My bike ride burned as much as usual but I enjoyed it.  If I keep this up one more day I will have gone for my morning ride seven days in a row!  That will be a record for me!
Yesterday:
Morning ride
Blog post
Shopping!
Those that know me, know how much I love to shop...not just for clothes and things but really any kind of shopping!  Yesterday was grocery shopping day (I had also gone on Saturday-2 stores, 2 days to save as much $ as possible!).  I was extra excited to go shopping because I was determined to buy some good healthy low point foods.  This was also my first shopping trip since restarting Weight Watchers, so I was armed with my points calculator and ready to go :o)  We bought a lot of fresh produce-usually about 25% of my budget is spent there but this time it was closer to 35%.  Although I cringed a bit think about how little money that left me for the rest of the store, I just kept a mental tally on the total.  Some really great discoveries-Wheat Thins Stix (3), Simply Fruit Roll Ups (1), Kix (3-for 1 1/2 cups!), turkey brats (3) and sweet potato fries (4).  The sticks are AMAZING!  I am buying more today as we just bought one box to try them.  Overall we only went over budget by a bit but we get more grocery money today so I wasn't really that worried.  I saved about $10 with coupons.  I feel like we have a good stock of healthy foods both meal food and snack food which is just what I need to stay on track.
Yesterday I did excellent on points!  I had enough left after supper to indulge in a sundae cone YUM!  I did so well that I still had points left after that and I felt full!  I hope that I can keep up wonderful days like yesterday!  Ice cream is good so it makes me happy that I can eat it without feeling guilty!  That is part of why I love WW SO much!

Today is off to a good start I feel good, I have a plan for the day, and I am falling in love...with a puppy.  Some of you will read this and think that someone else is typing when I say that I want a dog.  Heck, one year for April Fools Day I posted a picture of "my new puppy" and finally when I revealed the truth one of my friends expressed their immediate disbelief when they saw the picture.  I have said time and time again that I love dogs but from a distance.  I love to pet them and play with them and send them home (much like what some people say about kids HA!).  I have no desire to have one more thing that needs my attention-I clean up enough poop by having a 2 year old!  All that being said, I am in love with a beautiful beagle puppy down at the pound.  My ride takes me by there every morning and every morning I love that dog more and more-I don't even know if it is a boy or a girl...I should really check the paper.  As much as I love the pup I know that I am dreaming.  We have no place for a dog and no time for a dog.  I just hope it gets a good home.  I think that this sudden desire springs from the people that I see on the trail with their dogs.  Their dogs look so happy and they look so happy.  Who wouldn't want a piece of that happiness?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The will...the power...the willpower!

This morning I thought I would spend some time talking about one of my favorite things-FOOD!  I love food...all different kinds of food.  This is a pretty big obstacle for me.  I love to cook it. I love to eat it. I even once wrestled in it (college ramen noodle wrestling oh yeah!). It has been a good friend to me through good times and bad.  I didn't always have enough as a kid which makes me think I over compensated a little bit when I actually got to be in a house that always had food around.
We went to a movie last night (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2) where the biggest temptation food lies...movie theater popcorn *drool*.  We opted for no butter flavoring which was a good choice but then we also also got a large soda.  I like to think that in the overall scheme of things it really was more of a treat than anything else (and I did have 8 points left although I am positive I went over with the soda) but it was still a bad choice.  If anything I should have thrown my water bottle in my purse LOL. 
I will say though that I think I did pretty good.  I cut myself off after a bit because I felt a bit full and really watched the entire movie itself sans popcorn.  We then went out for a quick drink before heading home where I made another really good choice-I had a Mike's rather than a daiquiri.  If you know me, you know that this was a big deal for me.  I am not a big drinker by any means (a big part of my past prevents me from going that way) but I do enjoy certain wines and daiquiris.  If I go some place and they have daiquiris that is what I am drinking :o)
Ok, enough about food willpower, on to exercise willpower.  This morning I experienced the same thing that I experience just about every morning-the desire to stay in bed.  I am pretty much a morning person.  I wake up feeling generally well rested and wide awake. So, why do I want to stay in bed?  I have a bed that I feel is extremely comfortable and a cozy quilt that keeps me nice and warm.  When that alarm goes off I open up my eyes, shut off the alarm, and think, "Ahhh morning...ugh that means I have to leave this wonderful bed..."  I do not feel tired and sleepy, I do not desire to hit snooze and wake up later, but I also do not desire to leave my cozy bed.  I have become accustomed to laying there for 5-7 minutes soaking up every last ounce of comfort before exiting but it still doesn't make it easy to leave that bed.  I would say sitting up and putting my feet on the floor is the one thing that takes the most willpower from me on any given day.  I could just stay there and read a book!  Thankfully, I don't.  I haul my butt out of bed and usually have a smile on my face by the time I face the bathroom mirror, because, while I hate leaving my bed, I love greeting the morning.  It was another beautiful morning for a bike ride, and it gives me the willpower to leave that bed behind!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The honest to goodness truth

While on my bike ride this morning, I was thinking about more things to write about.  As the sweat started to pour down my face and my legs burned as I pushed myself up another small hill, all I could think was this, "I want to quit."  I realized at that exact moment that I think this EVERY day.  I love my bike ride in that I get some peaceful alone time, I get some nice fresh air, and I get to do something good for me.  I hate that the ride has hills.  While the hills are fun to go down, they burn to go up.

So, there it is...I want to quit.  I want to quit every day.  I fight the temptation to hop off my bike and just walk the rest of the way two or three times a morning. That is me being completely honest.  I love it and I hate it all at the same time.  So, why not just quit?  (Other than the fact that I just started a blog about being a fitness failure hmmmm...) I always tell my students that an F is better than a zero because it is the truth.  Hopping off my bike and walking is like failing to turn in an assignment.  I don't want to be the fitness zero because that is worse than being a fitness failure.

Last night I took one step toward upping my fitness grade by changing my alarm clock settings.  I usually skip my ride on weekends because weekends are a time of relaxation...okay lets be realistic here...I just told you how much I want to quit so why subject myself to that on a Saturday morning?  Well, let's see, maybe because I need to push myself and my quitter attitude (this is why I think personal trainers are so effective-it is harder to say no to someone else than it is to say no to yourself).  Last night before bed, I clicked my little "alarm mode" button and changed the settings so that my alarm clock goes off seven days a week at 6 am instead of just going off Monday through Friday.  This is a step in the right direction especially because I usually consume more calories on weekends and thus need the exercise.

I want to do better and be better I just have to keep going so that my body can discover this good feeling too.

It's not just about weight loss

For so many people, everything is about the pounds (plus or minus).  We all seem to be entranced by that number in the scale.  You know, that one we are often times not fond of or *gasp* lie about. While that number does factor into fitness, I am more concerned with being healthy, feeling better, and being more active.  I won't freak out if the numbers go down slow or if they jump up a couple notches now and then, as long as I am making good choices and doing things that are good for me.  Below I go over some of my goals and the obstacles I face-realistically :o) But first I need to look into how that magic number does factor into my fitness...

This is about being truthful in order to get past failure so here it is-by the numbers: I weigh 192.6 pounds (as of yesterday afternoon) and I am five foot six inches tall.  According to the handy BMI calculator I found, that gives me a BMI of 31.1 AKA obese.  While this is something that totally saddens me, it is also something that pisses me off enough to do something about it! I don't want to be obese or even over weight. Obese does not equal fit and healthy. I want to be healthy!

Goals:
1. Be active every day!
2. Enjoy running (yeah here is where you can start laughing)
3. Eat healthier and shop healthier
4. Eat less when I am out with friends (smaller portions not less friend time)
5. Learn more about general fitness

Obstacles:
1. I am lazy, I love TV, and I like to read (usually sitting in a cozy seat somewhere not doing any sort of exercise)
2. I HATE running
3. I love foods that are inherently UNhealthy and healthy food is more expensive
4. I tend to indulge more when I am around friends.  Talking seems to bring out my appetite.
5. I would much rather read fiction books
There are more obstacles, but I will cover those later. These are just the ones that immediately pertain to my goals.

With all that being said, I have a bumpy road ahead but I also have some motivation, some inspiration, and some help.
Motivation: Not wanting to be obese or over weight
Inspiration: Friends, family and one particular student we will call BT (as I didn't ask her permission to put her in my blog) as she always made me think about the food choices I made and made me feel better when I made good choices.  I don't really think she knows just how much she made me think and rethink my choices.
Help: Weight Watchers Points Plus really helps me think before I eat and make better choices throughout the day and week. I don't attend meetings or track things online, I really just follow the points system.  I initially lost 35 pounds using Weight Watchers but gained about 10 pounds back after I found it difficult to keep up with-more on that later.

Now, after all of that, I just want to say that I love myself, even my obese self.  I think more people need to love themselves just a little bit more.  This is not about loving myself more but rather finding something new to love about myself. Too many times women hate what they see in the mirror or get down on themselves over their weight. The mirror and photographs becomes a things that we try to avoid but we really need to face ourselves head on.  Don't look in the mirror and say, "I'm so fat."  Look in the mirror or look at photographs and say, "I can do better."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Where I am coming from

So, let's start with why I started this blog.  The reason is two fold:
1. I miss writing-it seems like I have no time for writing or art-two things I was quite passionate about in high school and college
2. I hope that by writing about my fitness attempts that I will hold myself more accountable for the choices that I make and laugh a bit along the way

Now that that is out of the way...how about that title?  As a teacher and a mom, I witness success and failure on a daily basis.  As far as my own personal fitness is concerned I have failed...on more than one occasion!  I am a "Fitness Failure," but I am using that F to push myself harder and improve.  I do not wish to spend the rest of my life overweight and out of shape because I plan to have many great years ahead of me!  The only way that I will push past my roadblocks and get to a place where I feel healthy is for me to be honest with myself about my faults and my failures.  An F doesn't have to be an F forever!  So I named my blog "The Fitness Failure" because I have failed, but I don't want to anymore.

Today-reasoning for the blog
Tomorrow-goals!