Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thoughts for Thursday: Happy New Year! (Video!!!)



My Wish for You in 2010

May peace break into your home and may thieves come to steal your debts.
May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $100 bills.
May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!
May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy!
May the problems you had forget your home address!
In simple words ............
May 2010 be the best year of your life!!!

Thank you all for being part of this amazing year and I can't wait to see what 2010 brings for all of us!

I'll be posting a few 'success tips' over the next few days that have helped me get started and keep moving!

Till then, Many hugs and best wishes for an amazing year!!!
Steph

Monday, December 28, 2009

The obligatory 2010 Goals post...


Yep... it's that time again. One where the bulk of the holidays are over, the fridge is packed with leftovers, the sugar rush is starting to abate, and my body and mind are craving some semblance of order and normalcy to return to my life. It sets ones mind to thinking ahead to getting through the next few days so the schedule allows more focus, and a little less fudge. ;)

I had to look back to see where I was last year, and I came across this from December 30, 2008:

January Goal/Plan:
- 3 interval workouts per week
- 1 45-minute cardio session to increase speed/endurance
- 3 strength training workouts per week

Weekly goals:
1. Lose 1.5 pounds of body fat/0.5% body fat a week.
2. Increase lean body mass by .25 pounds a week

Daily plan
- Track food intake
- Consume 40% Carbs/30% Protein/30% Fat (this is my experiment to see what macronutrient ratios work best for me.)

Yeeeahhh... As far as the fitness stuff went, I started out with a lot of cardio and some strength training. Foodwise I did well with tracking and mostly hitting the 40/30/30 ratios. As for the weekly weight loss/muscle gains... I learned that, with a hypothyroid system, it does what it wants in its own sweet time. I also keep forgetting that muscle gains don't happen that quick.

As the year wore on I found myself wanting... omgpleasekillmeifIhavetodoonemorebicepcurl
... something different. In late June/early July I took the plunge and started doing CrossFit.

::insert sound of angelic choir::

Wowza! Different (always)! challenging (you betcha)! Fun (99% of the time yes, yes, YES!)!

*ahem*

Above all else, it, along with a lot of work on my brain, helped me really make that transition from weight loss/get fit mindset to who the heck cares about what the scale says, how much weight can I lift?! I looked at CrossFit for a while the way you look at the punk rocker with a 3 foot green & pink mohawk.

Fine for them, not for me.

I realize now I just wasn't ready. It's not you have to read a lot into it - they have workout plans the same as anyone. Follow them and you'll see your endurance, strength and body composition improve, like any program/plan. The key element, for me anyway, is the continual challenge - always strive to beat _your_ best, not anyone else's. That carried me through the rest of the year and I'm sooo looking forward to improving even more in 2010.

Without further adieu, here's some goals for 2010. There's no timeframes or specifics at the moment... those will be fleshed out in the next few days when I put my goal poster together, but here's some general things going through my brain:

[Just so ya'll know, I have many other goals, such as financial, home, personal, etc... I'm just going to focus on the fitness oriented ones here.]

A#1 goal: Get that *#$& test DONE! January 15th! That's it!

*clears throat*

Moving on...

Crossfit goals:

I still consider myself a beginner and am going to be working may way up to doing stuff the "big kids" can do:
Handstand Pushup
Unassisted Pull ups & dips
Ring dips
Muscle ups
Rope Climb

Basically, get to the point where I can support/lift my body weight consistently.

To get there I need to:

Get a pull up bar
Get olympic ring set

Other fitness goals:

Complete the Walk to Rivendell - 458 miles. I'm a total Lord of the Rings geek so this challenge made me go *squee*. I did 430-ish this year, and barely made 200 last year. And heck, I may exceed it and move on to the Rivendell to Lothorien.

Enter 2-3 competitive endurance activities. Not sure if that means all 5K's, or working my way up to a 1/2 marathon. Or picking up a new bike and doing a triathlon. It's still a work in progress in my brain.

Periodize my workouts to off set intense weeks with dialed back weeks to prevent overtraining.

Which brings me to my next bit of goals: Nutrition

A couple of months ago I decided to hop back on the Zone band wagon... for all my talk about being more concerned with my fitness level than the number on the scale, it was bugging the heck out of me that the scale. wasn't. moving. It was really rather annoying. Once I really started to dial in the Zone stuff... blam-o, movement on the scale, endurance was doing better, bloating was down. Fabu stuff. So heading into 2010:

Continue with Zone way of eating - lots of veggies, minimal grains. Stick to 3 block meals/2 block snacks for January, re-assess in February.
Re-feed day once a week (or less/more as needed)
Alcohol - only on weekends and very special occasion week nights

The other aspects of my 'program' have everything to do with the measure of success I've had to date: accountability & self development. It's the things that help me stick to my program and keep going when I'd rather just say "Meh" (unless I need to say "meh" and then I listen to my body. ;)

Accountability: I plan my workouts and track them daily. I check in daily (or nearly every day) with my CrossFit group and a private group and share the good, bad & ugly.

Self Development: Read my affirmations 2-3x a day; Listen to at least 15 minutes of positive material, reading positive blogs/books and/or fitness related materials (*cough* finishing test *cough*)

Overall, the goal isn't to get from one weight to another, it's to get my body from here:


(with the suit that I have had since my wedding. I *am* getting in that suit and will look awesome... even if it's just in my own home cuz OMG can you see my scary pasty whiteness?!)

to here:



It's not a question of *if* this is going to happen, but *when* during the year I'll achieve this accomplishment and maintain it. You can be sure I'll be posting several photos when that happens! :)


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thoughts for Thursday: Christmas Eve Edition...


I've been wracking my brain for something thought provoking, touching and/or light hearted non-denominational, mostly PC yet faith filled/hopeful to say to wish folks a very happy Christmas... and it just wasn't coming to me.

I know! Me! At a loss for words!


Yep... I knew it! (and ironically, I grew up about 35-ish miles SW of here and have never been there!)

Anywho, in one of those "Ask and you shall recieve" moments, I got an email from the always poignant Dax Moy who is a brillant man that ditched December in Britan for a lovely holiday in Florida...

Since he beautifully sums up what I've been struggling with, I shall let him take over...

But before I do, I want to wish everyone a very happy, healthy, hopeful, peace filled day tomorrow. Regardless if you're celebrating Christmas or Friday, I hope that it's magical and wonderful, just like you!

Thank you for making my life richer just by being you!

Many, many hugs,
Stephanie

Now take it away, Dax!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~

I'm in Florida right now for my winter vacation with my family but I thought I'd take just a minute to say 'Hi' and, if you're celebrating Christmas, wish you a wonderful Christmas day for tomorrow.

And hey, if you're NOT celebrating Christmas because your religion or belief doesn't celebrate it then, guess what? I still want to wish you a wonderful Friday and hope that it brings you everything you wish for : )

But before I go and hit these crazy theme parks with my family today, I just wanted to share something about Christmas and, truth be told, the celebration days of people of all faiths with you.

Personally, I think this is amazing... I hope you do too : )

All of the holy figures throughout all of the holy books of all time have shared the exact same qualities:

- They all had the ability to love without limit, to share that love and teach others how to do the same.

- They all had the ability to care beyond reason for all those who they came into contact with

- They all had the ability to give beyond limits, often giving away all they had in order to help others

- They all had the ability to believe in something bigger, better and more powerful than they had actual proof for in their lives

- They all had the ability to stride confidently in the direction of their biggest dreams, regardless of the ridicule and punishment often sent upon them by others

- They all had the ability to see fears as nothing more than 'tests' as to how much they really believed in their purpose

And by these qualities, holy men, prophets, Messiah and 'Enlightened Ones' have changed not only the course of their own lives but the course of mankind as a whole.

Pretty amazing, don't you think?

But what's REALLY amazing is that these qualities are in each and every one of us has the opportunity to demonstrate them not just at Christmas or Ramadan or Hanukah but every day.

- EVERY day we can all show love and teach others to do the same

- EVERY day we can offer genuine care and concern for those we come into contact with (as well as those who are afar)

- EVERY day we can give, no matter how small, to help others experience life in a better way

- EVERY day we can believe that something better awaits us rather than getting caught up in the negativity that we often find ourselves enmeshed in

- EVERY day we can think about, talk about and act upon our biggest dreams and inspire others to do the same

- EVERY day we can pull apart the fabric of our fears by doing just one small thing that scares us

- EVERY day we can live out the message that Christmas and, in fact, every Holy Day (Holiday) is supposed to teach
us.

When you think about it, every day WE have the ability to do AMAZING things with the power we've been given...

...EVERY day!

Have a wonderful Friday And Saturday, and Sunday and...

(you get the message!) : )

Truth, joy and love

Dax Moy
www.themagichundred.com


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Worldess Wednesday: Christmas Edition


You knew I couldn't resist... and after all the seriousness and heartfelt sharing of the last entry, I had to lighten things up...

With helpers...


And gathering around the tree...


Whether you celebrate by singing modern carols...


Or you prefer the more traditional songs...


Watching Christmas specials on TV...


Or just hanging around the cozy fireplace...


I wish you all a happy, healthy, peace-filled season... and prosperous new year!


Happy Christmas!


Words of Wisdom Wednesday: Gifts of Holidays Future


This is just a quickie-ish drive by post to share some thoughts that have been niggling around my brain lately...

Here we are... a week out from Hanukkah, a couple of days from Christmas and a week from the start of a new calendar year and a new decade. (ok, technically 2011 is the start of the new decade but work with me. ;)

This time of year is always one of reflection for me - I've seen a lot of the "2009 in review" and "Loose 10 pound in the first 10 days of 2010" stories popping up already and it always puts one in an interesting frame of mind.

For many, many years I was one to look at the next 8-9 days with resignation. There was no reason to "start" doing anything because I was too busy, there were parties to go to, food to be eaten, drinks to be imbibed. I would push that twinge of regret aside of being in the exact same place I was the previous year weight wise, financially, emotionally. Well, if I was lucky, I was in the same place. Some years I felt like I'd taken many steps back from where I was, other times a few steps forward. But on average... the same place.

I would invariably make the quiet (or not so quiet) resolution that NEXT year will be different! NEXT year I will wear that slinky size 8 dress to the New Years party. I will have more money than month. I will have a sparkling clean home that looks like it lept off the page of a magazine. I will stop making excuses and I will make it happen.

Thing is, despite all my resolutions, I had very little resolve to get them done.

Then something happened. I got *it*.

There was no big fanfare.

No shouting from the mountain top, "Enough is enough!"

It was quiet and uneventful. It was like that little seed that had been planted over the course of a few years that started to grow. That seed that said, "Something is more than nothing. Baby steps build unshakable habits. Stop talking and start doing. YOU can do it. YOU are worth it!"

I shut up and started doing something. Some days a little bit, some days a lot, but every day I did _something_.

It didn't pay off immediately. In fact, it didn't seem to pay off for a long time.

One day I took stock of what I *was* doing and was amazed. What I did each day pushed me to the next, which propelled me to the next, which was like a slingshot to where I am now.

I was looking forward, not staying stuck in the past.

I got an email today from Jonathan Roche (you can get your own daily dose of awesome here) - my fave trainer and all around awesome guy, that really drove all this home:

"Today's actions will dictate the quality and number of holiday celebrations later in life"

"This is scary, but true. If you make your health a top priority then you will probably set yourself up to live to an old age (and not be hurting) and enjoy many fun holiday celebrations with your family.

"Do you want to be a great-grandparent sitting on Christmas day (or earlier in the season at your family Hanukkah gathering) and be able to get down on the floor with your great grandkids as they open gifts and play?

"Most people don't think about how today's actions (and today's lifestyle) plays such an important role in your future (the length and quality). We are too busy rushing through our days ("I am too busy to exercise today." "I forgot to eat.", etc.) that we don't realize our health is slipping away.

"You and your family deserve for you to be around for many years to come and celebrate many more special holidays. Keep this in mind during this holiday season as I want you to be insanely focused on making yourself and your health one of your top priorities in 2010 and beyond!"

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Here's the thing... it's up to you to decide if you're ready to strengthen your resolve to overcome the excuses and take the baby steps to build a rock solid foundation (aka if you're ready to take on the process of change), or if you are happy staying where you at? Either way, do what's right for you.

No matter what you decide is right for you right now, allow me to plant a small seed of hope in your heart: Don't make any resolutions this year.

Give yourself a gift instead.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Solstice!


To quote my dad: Winter's back is broken and spring is on it's way!!! (I know - there's several of you who are buried under pounds of snow... just keep thinking warm thoughts! ;)

So... yeah, the rest period is slowly starting to kick in...

I realizing with a lot of emotional stuff going on and the increase in exercise, I was pretty much on the fast track to burnoutsville out (one 'advantage' of being hypothyroid - even when I'm doing well, my body can only deal with so much before it depletes the adrenals and thyroid reserves.

Trying to "burn it to earn it" backfired since apparently I felt really entitled to 'earn' a lot... lol!! I am taking it easy this week, as I did over the weekend, and am hopeful that the 'restful' feeling will eventually catch up with me..

I am really grateful that I've built a strong foundation so that my indulgences aren't as bad as they could be, and breaks from exercise aren't that long and are more beneficial than plowing through.

This week, my plan is be extra mindful of food during 'normal' days, enjoy without overdoing on the 'special' day, moderate cardio on T-Th-Sa, and incidental/whatever I can fit in the rest of the days.

Just to share some of the 'relaxation' from this weekend (which, unfortunately, wasn't as recouperative as I was hoping)... a couple of photos from a gathering with friends, courtesy of SHORTPUTTS - a 'real life' friend who, I was excited to learn this weekend is also a fellow Sparker!


The hubby & I soaking in the sun!


The "gang" in front of the most awesome tree in Tucson - decorated with fantastic ornaments and tons of love!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

And since the Christmas holiday is fast approaching, and the stress levels may be creeping up to near critical levels, I wanted to share these two little tidbit with you as a bit of perspective:

1) A post from the amazingly lovely, inside and out, KNH771:

2) A bit of wisdom from my favorite money "Guru", Mary Hunt:

"The best way to avoid going through this season of doubt is to anticipate it and be ready with a counter punch.

The gift is exactly right. Think back to when you made or selected that gift. If it was the right gift then, it's right now. Relax and trust yourself.

No one is keeping score. You're not calculating how much anyone spent on you, right? Then, don't assume anyone else is doing that either. This is not about settling scores or spending equally. A gift carries an expression of love and best wishes. Let it do its job.

No one has starved in your home. When is the last time you really ran out of food and left a poor soul sitting at the table half-starved? That's what I thought. Such a thing is not going to happen this week, either. Should there be a sudden shortage of food or beverage, find out now which store will be open and keep the address handy. Now relax and trust yourself.

If, after all of this self-talk, you are still feeling unsure, I have the perfect antidote that will not cost you any money, but will put you at ease. Write each one of your gift recipients and dinner guests a note. Express your fondness and tell each person what they mean to you. Attach those notes to the gifts, or place them at the table.

Your work is done. Now, it's time to enjoy the holiday."


Friday, December 18, 2009

Better-ish


Yeah... that stuff I mentioned yesterday about feeling less than enthusiastic about my workouts?

I was really hoping that a semi-decent night's sleep would have helped, but the snooze bar was sooo tempting this morning, and I think I spent 5 minutes looking at my workout clothes before I actually put them on.

I did find some good motivation to get myself out the door.



Ok... it was more like really strong coffee, but you get the idea...

I did my workout as re-planned: did the plan, but did scale it back. I did 4 rounds instead of 5, dropped the amount of weight I had planned and took extra time with it.

I felt good afterwards but was really happy to leave.

Yeah... looks like a forced rest period this weekend and probably for next week.



I also decided to take advantage of the spiffy reporting features that Spark People has to offer and realized I've done a LOT of work over the last 10 weeks.



On average, I've done about 150 minutes of activity each week.

Now to some, that may be leaving you skritching your head thinking, "I do that in one day, why on earth would you be tired? Lazy bum."

Ok, maybe not the bum part, but compared to some, I'm way on the low end of dedicated fitness minutes.

But what I lack in quantity, I make up for in quality and intensity.

I'm all about the short, efficient, intense workouts. Nothing wrong with longer workouts - It works well for some folks and while I do enjoy me a long stroll once in a while on the weekends, as a day to day thing, not for me.

3 things I learned about how to effectively deal with my hypothyroidism is to 1) get on the right meds and the right dose, 2) nutrition [especially adequate protein intake and eating real food] is a huge factor in how my body functions, and 3) Go for exercise that gives me a big bang for my buck with out totally burning me out.

#3 is why I looooves my CrossFit workouts.

For example here's a rundown of what I've done this week:

Monday:
"Cindy"
Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can of:
5 Pull-ups (60# assist)
10 Push-ups
15 Squats

I did 10, count them _10_ rounds!!!

PR's all over the place: most rounds for Cindy to date, I did 8 FULL pushups (Ok, I didn't get all the way down to the ground, but darnitall I was on my toes and feet were together), finished the 10 rounds in under 20 minutes.

Tuesday:
AM workout: clean & Jerk 1-1-1-1-1-1-1

I did 50-55-55-60-60-65-65

Whoo hoo!!! I hit my 65# PR!!!

PM: Hit the gym again for a 33 minute interval walk/run - 5 min. warm up/cool down, then 3 min push (mostly running between 5.0 - 6.1 mph) and 1 min. recovery.

Wednesday:
YAY rest day!

Thursday:
"Eva"
As RX'd:
Five rounds for time of:
Run 800 meters
2 pood Kettlebell swing, 30 reps
30 Pull-ups

Post time to comments.

I opted for the "Puppy" version:
Four rounds for time of:
Run 400 meters
1 pood Kettlebell swing, 20 reps (Used a 25# DB)
20 Beginner or assisted Pull-ups (60# assisted)

I managed 2, count them _2_ rounds in 14 minutes.

Soothed my humble, kicked bottom with a 1/4 mile run the a 1/4 mile walk to cool down.

Friday:
Five rounds for time of:
95 pound Push-jerk, 15 reps
15 L pull-ups

Post time to comments.

I opted for the scaled down version
Five rounds for time of:
Push-jerk 65 lbs, 15 reps
10 Tuck sit pull-ups

And scaled it down even more:
1 round PJ @ 55#, 3 rounds @ 50#
Pull-ups were done from the ground pulling myself up to the bar

4 rounds - 15-ish minutes.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Take all of that and multiply it by the last 10 weeks...

Yeah... it's given me awesome results but eventually I get the ClueX4 to take a rest.

If that wasn't enough of a ClueX4, the fact that my resting heart rate has creeped up the last few days was enough to scare me into paying attention.

I shall enjoy the heck out of said rest - Bring on the cookies & bonbons!



LOL!! KIDDING!!!

I will be taking it easy, enjoying the Netflix holiday movies on order, getting kitten snuggle time, spending time with friends and scheduling a night with the hubby to walk through Winterhaven to look at the lights.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

You know you need a break when...


You start feeling like this all the time...



I'm pooped down to my bones.

I know, I know - who isn't? There's a lot of it going around. A lot.

For me, it's not the hustle and bustle of the season, the shopping, the parties, the whatever. It's all the little things that I've been working hard to brush off, my efforts to be like Teflon(tm) and let things slide off, finally sticking to me. Maybe it is the holiday, maybe it's the time of year

The funny thing is that the weariness doesn't manifest itself as much in my mood (though I'm sure I've been a bit more touchy than usual) as it does in my attitude towards exercise...

I was adding workouts to my book (cuz I'm a geek and like to have at least 2-3 weeks worth planned in advance) and was perusing the WOD at the CrossFit site. I knew I was in trouble when I found myself thinking "Ugh!" with each one...

Not the good kind of "ugh" that I can tell it's going to be hard but welcome the challenge.



It's the "ugh" that makes me wonder if I can pay someone to hold a gun to my head to make me do them. (Ok, that's extreme but you get the idea.)

As much as I'm needing my sweat therapy, I'm thinking it needs to be seriously dialed back over the next several days or put on the back burner. There's that fine line between "Push through it" and "push it aside" and I'm trying to figure out where I *really* am on that slippery slidy scale.

If I push through when I should push aside, I run the risk of over working my already delicate adrenal system, not to mention feeling exceptionally discouraged at my lack of performance... if I push aside when I should push through, I feel guilty and run the risk of beating myself up for not doing *something*.

Gotta love that perfectionist, darned if ya do, darned if ya don't, Catch-22 cycle!


It's also extra fun when I'm so close to the end of my 12-week cycle and a planned rest/easy week is within sight...


It goes back to "People make plans. God laughs." So what if I've been pushing hard for the last 10 weeks and only have 2 more weeks to go, the greater plan says, "Nope."


Basic game plan is to seriously scaled back tomorrow - something instead of nothing but not full boar. Saturday will be a get out and clear my head walkies. Next week will basically depend on how things are after Saturday.

It's all about learning to listen to your body... and even more importanly, learn to trust what your body is saying.

Sometimes the most beneficial action is inaction.

Sometimes the most powerful strength is shown in lifting yourself up.

Sometimes you have to do nothing now so you can do more later.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Looking back, looking forward


I have been blessed over the past year+ to come across some amazing people on Spark - _Ramona, MTER67 & CJROMB to name a few - who have the ability to write the most heartwrenchingly light heartedly challenging thought provoking essays (I just can't call them "blogs"... they're too darn good!) and usually they are all those things all at once.

CJ wrote one of those essays recently that's hung around my heart like a warm wet blanket since I read it. (Go read for yourself and you'll understand.)

In this essay she asks a critical question, one that I never really thought much about until recently, but the topic has been forced to the forefront of my mind: "What 3 things have to happen for me to consider 2010 a success?" This lead me to take an even a broader approach, how do *I* define success? Then the inevitable question comes to mind, "what /are/ my goals for 2010?!"

Let me back up a little bit... I've learned a lot along the way about the importance of setting goals, writing them down, breaking them down, etc. I've told many, many people the steps involved, why it's important, etc.

I just never did it myself.

I was one who didn't have much of a plan past today... and maybe tomorrow, depending on if I felt like it or not.

I wouldn't make plans for the weekend before Friday because I may or may not feel like doing something, or I was holding out for a better offer.

I remember the first of many uncomfortable discussions with my now hubby of 'where do you want to be/what do you want to be doing in 1 year/5 years/10 years?!'

I always used to dread that question.

You see... I had excellent sight, but I was lacking vision.

Lemme 'esplain... Sight is what you see right in front you, right this moment. It's what you are, right here, right now.

Vision is what you can be. It's the seeds of greatness that's planted inside you.

"Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." ~ Martin L. King

Sight is temporary. It's your current situation and it's always subject to change.

Vision is eternal and bigger than you are right now. It's the place you can go... if you just stop talking yourself out of it.

I was /really/ good at talking myself out of things.

Improving your vision is scary - it forces you out of the comfortable place you've built for yourself and into unknown territory.

Then I decreed 2009 to be the year I got comfortable with dis-comfort... I pulled out my machete and started hacking into the unknown. I actually set goals! I set timelines! I made daily, weekly action steps!

And I made AMAZING progress...

But after reading CJROMB's essay, I started to wonder - was I successful?

That was the part of the puzzle I had left out - I put had a plan down on paper and put that plan into action. I had my road map firmly in hand and some destinations marked out... but how did I measure the end result?

I mean, if I didn't meet my set goals was that an automatic "FAIL"? Did I just say, "oh well..." and walk away?

Of course not... It's all about learning and growing and adapting. Sometimes I "get it" right out of the gate - I see the value in doing something and it's easy to incorporate into my ever evolving lifestyle of choice. Other times it takes a while... do one baby step till it becomes a habit, then add another one that seems logical, and so on.

So what have I learned this year? A LOT!

Let me just tell you right here and now: When you make a grand announcement that you are changing your life, that you are welcoming dis-comfort, prepare for life to get really interesting, really fast.

It's easy to say you're doing something, but it's another to do it. When you're at the fork in the road where one side is smooth sailing, sunshine and rainbows, and the other is rough, rocky and a little dark... it takes every ounce of courage and determination to take that proverbial less traveled road.

But here I am, still on that rocky road, realizing that in learning to navigate new territory, I've grown in ways I didn't imagine possible... that weren't part of my limited vision. Since I didn't put any sort of scale to determine if the goal was successfully met or not, here's the general summary of the trip:

In physical ways I've changed - I'm becoming a leaner, stronger, more concentrated version of myself. I'm trying new things, and continually welcoming physical challenges every day. Something that I wouldn't have imagined myself doing a year ago.

Have I reached the weight I set as a goal for 31 December? That's yet to be seen. If I don't, I've gotten a heck of a lot closer than I would have without the plan and action.

I RAN in a 5K! Doode! That wasn't on the plan, but it was a logical extension. Big success in my book!

I haven't done a full on, unassisted pull up... yet. But I'm getting closer. Heck, I did _regular_ pushups this morning! First. time. ever. If I don't do the pull up, am I failure? Nope... at least not in my book. It just means I don't give up till I can do it. And when I can, I won't give up till I can do 10, then 20... you get the idea.

I am very close to my yearly fitness minutes goal yet will fall short of meeting it... however I have already exceeded what I did last year.

While the physical changes are more evident, it's the mental and emotional ones that are most telling to me. I have an accordion file that I put any pertinent documents for tax purposes and it occurred to me last night that I have more slips of paper in the "charity/donation" file than I do in the "medical" file. And most of the medical ones are for my chiropractor. I have 2 ongoing prescriptions: thyroid meds and nose/allergy stuff. The only one that gets filled like clockwork is the thyroid meds.

When I started on this journey, I had 6 prescriptions, including _2_ antidepressants and NO donations to charities... closets/cupboards overflowing with the abundance of STUFF and near depleted checking account (hmmm... coincidence? Don't think so).

That, in my opinion is a huge success!

Overall, the year has proven to be more than I expected (showing my lack of vision ;) - along the way, I have babystepped my way to measuring my improvements, setting mini-goals that include success markers (if I did 10 pushups today, my goal is to do 12 the next time I do that workout).

Looking ahead, I'm still formulating my goals and will be answering CJROMB's question of "What 3 things have to happen for me to consider 2010 a success?" for the different goals. This is a great way to close the loop as well as setting milestones to meet or exceed. To push myself just enough to continually increase my vision, my self- and greater-than-me-belief and see what heights I can achieve in a few short months.

While the theme for 2009 of getting comfortable with discomfort may be coming to a close, I know my discomfort level is just getting started, and my dreams and my belief are getting bigger!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

2Fer Tuesday Blogging... Act your age!

I just had to share this article because it's so flippin' awesome and inspiring.

On the theme of looking ahead, having just celebrated the big 4-Oh, this totally made me all giddy to all the things I have to look forward to, because I'm enjoying the heck out of them NOW!

"How you are as you get older is no different then how you are now... It is only reflecting how you live your life now."

P.S. Here's the video featured at the end:



Another Drive By Blog... Looking ahead


Guess what?! There's 23 whole days left between now and December 31st! Whoo hoo!

How many are excited to meet each of those days with enthusiasm and work yourself a little harder to end the year on a high note?

::Crickets chirping::

Ooookaaayy... how many are brushing pie & cookie crumbs from thanksgiving off the ever growing To-Do list and thinking, "Eh... no time... Wait till January, though! I'll be on fire!"

Perhaps you're already imagining your glistening, chiseled Adonis/Athena body that's just waiting for you once the calendar page gets flipped. The boundless energy and amazing health that's just around the corner. Get's you all giddy thinking about it, doesn't it?



Then reality hits.



I wanted to share something I heard on my Monday Night Motivational call yesterday. This is mostly paraphrased: It's easy to get excited about potential success. You have your dream, your end result in your head and it's awesome and exciting and what do you mean I have to go through a process to get there?!

Dream big! Bigger than you think is possible!

Get excited about what you're working towards and do _something_ every day to get you there.
Even if you're not really feeling it, let the excitement of your end result get you going - do that 15 minute walk, take a few extra minutes to make a salad instead of hitting the drive through, shop for instead of ordering your food. Celebrate your actions- the big ones, and especially the small ones - and soon you will be celebrating your success!

I was also reading the Beck Diet Solution this weekend and there's a part in there that addresses change... specifically being _ready_ for change. If you're not ready to really get into the process, to get your mindset in a place that's different from where you are now, then don't. Seriously. Don't force yourself into something that you're really not ready for.

Instead do something. Break it down, find some small thing that you can commit to doing - say having 1 piece of fruit every day, or tracking your food, or taking just 10 minutes out of your day to devote to exercise.

Nothing huge, but something to get you closer to the trail rather than blazing it.

Soon you'll be ready for more.

Soon you'll be setting the world on fire and amazing your friends and family.

Until then, I'll leave you with this last thought from my fave Personal Trainer (aside from my kitten! LOL!)

"All major undertakings are scary. If you look back at the biggest things you have accomplished in your life, you will probably see that they were all scary. Don't let being scared keep you from accomplishing all your fitness and/or weight loss goals!

"Don't let the fear of failure scare you from becoming the high-energy and healthy version of yourself that lies within. This approach is different - no quick fixes - just a highly-effective and simple (not easy) approach to developing healthy habits that will last the rest of your life." Jonathan Roche

YOU are worth it!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Drive by Blogging... The power of 10


Work had been super busy and didn't get much computer time this weekend... I got a friendly 'nudge' that I've been too quiet of late, so I wanted to share a bit of the thoughts going through my brain:

It's the little things/it all adds up

Really.

Little things done _consistently_ add up to big, amazing, magnificent things.

When you're tempted to throw yourself into your fitness efforts /again/- you know how it goes. You're sick and tired of being sick and tired. You're tired of being in your current body, carrying around the excess poundage.

You muster up your determination and declare, "Today. Is. The. Day."

You make a plan to hit the gym EVERY day this week, for no less than 60 minutes. This month is the month I make it happen!

This is how you usually progress:
Day one: 60 minutes on the treadmill. I'm on FIRE!!!
Day two: 60 minutes on the dread, er, treadmill... not bad... was a struggle but I did it!
Day 3: oops... and oh darn. Forgot about that, um... 'appointment' I had
Day 4: plan? I had a plan? Oh yeah, but you see it's the cat... she gets flossed on Thursdays.
Day 5: Well, it took me 10 minutes to walk to my car... that count?
Day 6-30... yeah... well... there's always next month.

Total time devoted to exercise: 120 minutes

OR... you could be silly and, instead of starting out with a monumental effort, you could just do /something/ for 10 minutes a day.

I know what you're saying: _10_ minutes?!?! That's it?! That's not enough time to do anything!!!

To which I reply: What are you doing now?

Ok... work with me, here... let's look at it this way:

Day 1: walk for 10 minutes
Day 2: Stroll with the kids around the park for 10 minutes
Day 3: make a few extra trips up & down the stairs for 10 minutes
etc... for days 4-30

Total time devoted to exercise: 300 minutes

Do that every month for a year: 3,600 minutes or 60 hours.

That's from _only_ taking 10 minutes to do something...

What can YOU get done in 10 minutes?


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thought-less Thursday: Brain Dead Edition


My apologies for being a little less than verbose of late... I am blaming my PMS riddled brain.

It's not that I'm in the eat-everything-in-site mood. Or that I'm in the "Give me chocolate and no one gets hurt" frame of mind. It's more that I'm feeling worn out, tired, and somewhere between the verge of tears or ripping someone's head off (or both) at any given moment.

It's also impairing my ability to think - I almost left my office for a meeting that *I* thought was scheduled at a different location... luckily I talked to someone who reminded me that it was in my office, not elsewhere. No need for travel.

Did I mention that *I* scheduled the meeting?

Oh yeah, and the worn out feeling is keeping my legs super sore after my enthusiastic workouts on monday & tuesday... darn inner thigh killing sumo squats!

The good news: This too shall pass. It always does.

So I shall spare everyone all the other weepy silliness going on in my brain and share this touching story that I got in my email this morning. It made me cry (big surprise) and it also served as a fantastic reminder to chill once in a while and appreciate the precious little time we have on this earth.

It's important to remember that at any time, but especially this time of year. We /think/ we have to rushrushrush, buybuybuy. The only way we can show our love and affection to those around us is with stufffoodthings.

Really, the best gift we can give is the gift of our selvestimelove.

Think I need to go get some marbles.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
3,900 Saturdays...

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday morning. Perhaps it's the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it's the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it:

I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whomever he was talking with something about "a thousand marbles." I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say.

"Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. It's too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital," he continued; "Let me tell you something that has helped me keep my own priorities." And that's when he began to explain his theory of a "thousand marbles."

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.

Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I'm getting to the important part.

It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail," he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear.

Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life.

There's nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.

Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.

It was nice to meet you Tom. I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. This is a 75 year old man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!"

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter.

Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. "C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast."

"What brought this on?" she asked with a smile.

"Oh, nothing special, it's just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles."

Mac Anderson
Charging the Human Battery
www.simpletruths.com


Monday, November 30, 2009

Dedicated December


It was hard to get out of bed this morning... a 4 day weekend of fun, frivolity and indulgence...



Nothin' like a serious sweat inducing workout to slap you back to reality and let you know how easy it is to lose some well earned ground. At least I know it's only temporary.

I'm not talking about any sort of scale movement - although that's temporary as well.

I'm talking about the less tangible, but no less real things like endurance, determination, enthusiasm, focus, and general well being.

For instance, it's still amazing to me how one to two 'off' meals can leave me feeling lethargic, out of sorts, or even just as hungry as before the meal. For me, "off" eating is not getting enough of each macro nutrient to balance a meal... like all protein but little to no carbohydrates (veggie _or_ starch types). Or, horror of horrors, all carbs (especially grains) and no protein. (Like the waffles I made for breakfast on Sunday... with pie for dessert!) That's a fun ride! (for about 15 minutes. ;)

Multiply that by 2 or 3 days and I'm left to pick up the pieces.

The nice thing is that 1) in the grand scheme of things _my_ version of "indulgence" really isn't. Yes, there was more of everything over the weekend, and more of stuff I don't normally have all at once. But it wasn't an evil downward spiral. It was more like a gradual stroll down a hill... and 2) I know how to climb that hill again to get me back on my path.

The interesting part is how winded I get climbing the hill again.

The even more interesting part is how few people were climbing it with me.

As I said, it was hard to get up this morning. It was the first truly cold night - it was a rainy, windy 38 last night! I got buried under a kitty pile and snuggly hubby... it was warm and toasty and I soooo didn't want to head out into the cold, dark world to get to the gym. I also was dreading the parking situation once I got there... I mean /surely/ there would be a TON of people who ate WAAAAAYYY too much and wanted to work it off. Right?



WRONG!

The only time I've seen the gym parking lot as empty as it was this morning was... well... hardly ever. Usually, by 6am on Monday, there are about 30+ cars there. This morning there were about 10... including mine.

I was even more surprised to see the number of 'regulars' that /weren't/ there. But the few of us that were there totally rocked our workouts! No distractions, no interruptions! I loved not having to fight for equipment or weights!

Granted, I struggled through the workout itself, but felt like a million bucks at the end!

I realize that folks may still be traveling, or be caught in the grips of the icky plague that i keep hearing about...

For me, it wasn't really an option to skip my workout this morning. I did my scheduled workouts Thursday & Friday, why would today be any different than any other Monday?

I personally, am dedicated to finishing out 2009 with the best body and health possible.

It doesn't matter where I started, it matters that I keep going and where I finish.

I'm going to make December, 2009, the best month ever!

Are you?!


Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy post Turkey/Stuffing/Potato/Pie Day!

Since I missed it yesterday, mainly because I was choosing to stay off the computer as much as possible, I want to wish everyone a wonderful, albeit belated, Thanksgiving and continuation of the holiday season. I also want to thank each and everyone of you who's eyes fall on these words - regardless if you've commented on my blog or not - thank you for being a part of this journey and part of my silly little world.


Many of us have experienced a lot of challenges, but I still feel that I have been blessed beyond measure this past year+. I feel that I've grown more into myself and that's because of the amazing people that I've gotten to know, and the phenomenal friendships that have grown and bloomed over the past many months.


In no particular order: Ramona, Mel, Merit, Mary, Monica (had continue the M's ;), Bekah, Cujo, Anne, Angie, Heather, Victor, Kenya, Michele, Julee, Barbara, Salina, Jess, Deb, Margaret, CJ, Theresa, and the list continues to grow and grow.


If our paths hadn't crossed, I wouldn't be the person I am today. Thank you for sharing your gifts with this world and it's my hope and wish for you to continue to do so so that the world can share in your beautiful, amazing light and carry it with them always.


'scuse me... have something in my eye.


Ok, better... on with the slightly less sappy stuff. ;)


The hubby and I enjoyed (for the most part) a quiet day at home, just the two of us... started off with walkies with the hubs, and then a fabu sweat inducing strength training routine for me.


Afterward there was the futzing, the pie making (more on that later), reading the paper, the playing of a few games (got my butt kicked at Uno), the cooking, the watching of much Harry Potter, a bit more cooking, and wondering if the cats had a hidden stash of 'nip because they were acting exceptionally freaky.


Yesterday also had me thinking a lot about traditions - helps that that was the theme of the podcast I was listening to as well. LOL!


Traditions are interesting things - they're ways to acknowledge and show respect to those that came before, those that taught you, your culture, your past.


They also can be a total pain in the a$$ and feel like a straight jacket at times.


Some traditions are worth holding on too, others are meant to be kept in spirit, but for you to put your own indelible mark on.


No matter what, traditions leave us with clear and precise mental images of The Way Things Need To Be.


The Thanksgiving meal is steeped heavily in tradition. I remember the look on a friend's face when I commented that we were considering going to have Dim Sum instead of cooking. You would have thought that I told her I strung my cats up by their tails and made 'em sing Jingle Bells.


"But you /have/ to have Turkey."


Um... no, I don't... but what I do /have/ to have is an appreciation for the world around me.


As it was, we had a semi-traditional dinner... but that brought up it's own issues.


First there was the pie. mmmm... pie. My hubby requested a peach pie, like his mom made.


::flop::


Noooo pressure. How does one even /try/ to create something I've never even tasted? (his mother, sadly, departed this world several years before I met the hubby.) OK fine, I said I would go get crust, a can of peaches, and the look on his face was like the aforementioned friend and cat image.


Okie dokie... I'll get crust and.. WHAT?!


FINE. I'll /make/ the crust and please stop doing the happy dance all around the living room, dear.


So Wednesday evening was crust and filling night. I'd presented him with 2 recipes for crust, asking which would be the 'right' one... he wasn't sure so I did what any new bride, trying to impress her hubby would do... you guessed it! I made both.


That was where it got interesting.


The moment I started the process, I felt like I stepped into a waking dream. I grabbed the food processor and suddenly I was surrounded by the entire female lineage: his mother, grandmother, my grandmothers, women I hadn't ever met but all of them 'tsking and clucking about the 'right' way to do the crust. "You're not going to use THAT are you?! You have to use your hand...why are you putting that into it, crust doesn't haven anything fancy. Roll up your sleeves girl and dig in."


It was rather amusing, actually. In a way to force myself out of said "dream", and also as a nod and way of respecting my fore-mothers, I conceded to make the more traditional recipe the traditional way, and the other using the food processor.


And darnitall if the traditional crust didn't turn out better. LOL!


So Thursday morning held the Baking of the Pies - Peach & Pumpkin. (I forgot to take photos before we cut into them... drat.) They turned out very pretty and the crust on both were very tasty, but sadly, the peach wasn't quite up to par... and even more sad, the rest of the dinner was about the same.


The clear and precise mental images of The Way Things Need To Be? Not met...by a long shot. Everything was OK, just not as good as I wanted it to be. I felt like I let the Tradition down.


But I learned a few lessons, and a few others were reinforced:


First and most importantly, as always: It's NOT about the food. It never is. There is no difference between a big, lavish meal, and a meager, simple one. They are labors of love by the person(s) who prepared them. It's there to nourish you and, if you're very lucky, partake it with those that you love. If the taste is roll-your-eyes-back-in-your-head-need-a-cigarette-afterward good, that's just a fantastic bonus.


I also realized that, even if it's not perfect, it's still pretty good... the act of going through the motions and creating the experience of said tradition, be it making latkes, tamales, or mashed potatoes, is really all you need. Our day yesterday was dabbled with stories from our childhood of holiday gatherings. We laughed, we shed a few tears, but mostly we enjoyed the warmth of the old memories and smiled at the new ones we were creating.


And really, that's what thanksgiving is all about.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Word-ish Wednesday: Thanksgiving Edition


Tomorrow, we here in the colonies celebrate the end to the tyranny and oppression from the evil Brits, the manifest destiny that allowed us to take over a land uninhabited by anyone (except the natives that lived here)... ::hears whisper:: what? Huh. Really? Ok, my bad...

Tomorrow, we here in the lovely U S of A have our annual celebration where we shift our focus from the troubles and strife that plague everyday life, to give thanks and express gratitude.

We celebrate it in many ways, but most of all it is a time to be shared with friends and family that we love...



And are reminded to be grateful that we only get together a few times a year.

We celebrate with food,



because what better way to be thankful for the abundance around you than a slice of pie, served with a side of guilt?



One of my favorite ways to start the day is by watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.



I may not watch all of it, but I love the corny commentary, watching the crowds, the amazing balloons, the bad lip syncing, and hearing the stories of the bands that get chosen from around the country to march in this event. Sometimes I even make it to the end to see Santa closing out the show and opening up the shopping season!



But before the turkey is carved, and you're moments away from gnawing your arm off from hunger, take a moment to say thanks for all that you have, the love and abundance that surround you every day.



Take note of those thoughts. Say thank you for the smallest things and mean it. Bring the joy of the season to every day.

Then bring on the turkey coma!



Have a very happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

See... I don't make this stuff up!


I just wanted to share a newsletter that I found in my inbox this morning from Rachel Cosgrove (wife to the most awesome Alwyn Cosgrove). It made me giggle, mainly because I could have written it... or rather did write it in it's parts, a few times. ;)

Anywho, just to share a different perspective on the holiday 'survival' strategies (or the holiday THRIVING), here ya go (and for the record, #1 is my fave ;) :

The holidays are here and I am sure this week has you running around getting everything ready and making sure everyone else is taken care of. Stop and take a deep breathe and make sure you are taking a few moments for yourself each day.

Last week at my book launch party we had a discussion on surviving the holidays and we approached it as a strategy session. Having strategies (one of the Fit Female Credos) is key this time of year. The key take aways from this seminar-

1. Think ahead the next 7 weeks through the holidays. What splurges should you absolutely plan on? We actually as a group pulled out a calendar and figured out that we had 43 days left to get through the holidays (as of Thursday last week). At 5 meals a day, that is 215 meals which means you have 21.5 meals over the next 7 weeks that you can splurge on and still see your body change. So over the holidays one of the strategies is instead of looking at a week at a time, look at the next 2 months and think ahead. We went through the calendar and put an X on each meal we knew we needed to plan a splurge. We put two X's on Thanksgiving and an X the day before and an X the day after. Then we put 8 X's for either each night of Hannukah or to use over Christmas eve and Christmas day since for most people 5 X's on Christmas day is not unheard of and having 3 on Christmas Eve wouldn't be out of the question. We put an X on one day in December as a baking day and we put an X on every Saturday night in December. This still left us with about 3 X's to use how we choose and we decided to keep them in our back pocket for those unexpected occasions that pop up over the holidays.

Bottom Line- You can enjoy every food you love, every experience you want to have and everything about the holidays and not completely blow it. Planning ahead is the key and having a strategy. Pull out your journal or calendar and put your X's in place now and commit to sticking to splurging where there is an X and otherwise eating clean, foods that make you feel good 90% of the next 7 weeks.

2. Most people go into black and white thinking, on or off, good or bad....or maybe this sounds familiar, "I may as well not even try and just start in January." DO NOT DO THIS! You will be sorry when you have an extra 5-10 pounds to drop in January. Instead plan ahead by using the above strategy and come out of the holidays feeling fabulous at your New Years Eve party! Remember you want to be the Bitch this year at your New Year's Party, don't you? Be Inspiring Totally Confident and Hot!

3. Don't drop your workouts this time of year. The only reason you can have 21 splurges and still change your body is because you are consistent with your workouts and keeping your metabolism revving. Make a commitment to get to the gym at least twice a week and I would recommend getting it done early before anything else gets in the way.

Remember - It isn't what you eat between Christmas and New Years, it's what you eat between New Years and Christmas!

Your coach,

Rachel Cosgrove


Monday, November 23, 2009

Not the blog you're looking for...


I had this beautiful, thought provoking, insightful blog entry all written out.

It brought ME to tears it was so amazing...

Aaaaannd... I scrapped it.

Or at least, saved it for later.

I've been feeling way too serious of late - in my writing, my thoughts, my deeds... time to have some fun, or at least time to shake my happy tail feathers and share some YAY ME! moments...

I had a moment of "who is that and why are they wearing my clothes?!" this weekend. See, I did my most absolutely favorite-est thing - E-V-E-R! I went clothes shopping! (insert moans and booing here.)

For some reason, I have totally missed the shopping gene. Doesn't matter the size I am, I can't stand it! You'd think that I have a newer, more concentrated body, I'd be all over looking for clothes to show my hard work off.

Nope... Sign me up for a root canal, baby!

Either way, I gathered up my gumption, and my hubby (bless his shoes & socks, he put up with me, my doubts, my persnickity tastes, and went with me... even helped! More on that later) and headed to JC Penny's, since they've been good to me in the past.

The experience... I was whelmed.

The not so good - I know I'm way picky, but the fact that I could only find about 4-5 pairs of pants in my 'new' size really irked the heck out of me! And apparently the new normal/regular height woman is 5' 10" since ALL of the pants were 4" too long. Even the "short" length brushes the floor with my dress shoes (about a 1-1 1/2" heel).

I also don't like shopping when I'm extra short on cash. I'm all about shopping sales and sticking to a budget, but it just sets me in a less than deserving mindset that I don't like. Unfortunately, my criteria of when I have to go shopping was met so it was a necessity: I could take my pants off without unbuttoning/unzipping them.

The good: I'm now the proud owner of 2 pairs of pants that are a size smaller than the last 2 pairs! They're actually a little loose, to boot!

While we were shopping I kept catching a glimpse of this lady who was really pretty, and had a nice figure... like one I would like to have. She seemed nice and figured I'd say something to her if the opportunity arose. Well, you guessed it: it was me! It was weird, especially when trying on the new pants with a top that actually fit... I almost didn't recognize myself!

The way cool thing was that my hubby helped pick out some tops for me to try. I feel bad because I didn't get any, but I was excited that 1) he wanted to help, 2) I tried on things that I normally wouldn't have picked out and 3) got the opinion of someone other than myself. He picked out some nice items and I was really surprised at some of the sizes that fit really well... but the overall look of most of the things just wasn't me.

I also had the slightly defeatist but also optimistic thought that I didn't want to spend money on more clothes than I needed since I was going to be back in a few months to get an even smaller size. At least that's how I'm rationalizing it! LOL!

In other YAY me news, I did 50 full range of motion push ups this morning. Granted, they were on my knees, but I kept my feet on the ground so it was just my arms doing the work. Usually near the last few I start to lean back or not go all the way down, but not today baby!



Oh yeah, that was followed by 50 situps and 50 squats, and proceeded by 50 assisted pull-ups... ;)


Friday, November 20, 2009

Reflections on a Feeding Frenzy


We had our annual Thanksgiving pot luck at work today and I have to say the donations this year were probably the best one we've had since I've been here. Usually the 'luck' really isn't... one year we had the potato feast - 6 people brought mashed potatoes, and a couple brought scalloped potatoes (and yes, they all put that on the sign up sheet!)

Most years it's the roll & dessert feast - the easiest thing to grab at the store to meet the requirement of 'bringing something' without having to put a lot of thought into it. The first roll & dessert year I learned the very hard lesson that while 1 dessert is good and 2 can be tasty... 5 is badbadbadbadbad. I sent my sugar crashed cranky butt to bed shortly after getting home because even my cats didn't want to deal with me!

This year we had a nicely balanced cornucopia that was enjoyed (for the most part) by all.

As part of the organizing/set up crew, I was in the thick of decorating, getting food out and ready and being sure the buffet flowed smoothly, as well as partaking in the festivities. In the midst of it, I was transported out of the office and into the middle of any random big family gathering that I had been to... and realized that really, it's all the same - family, friends, work. Group events always bring out certain elements in peoples behaviors and create an interesting dynamic.

Observation: There's always going to be the people who are going to act like they're in charge, whether they are or not. They have their agenda, way of doing things and expectations... and they better be met or there will be heck to be paid. Thing is, most times they don't tell you what the expectation is, but if you don't meet it, and it's not perfect, you'll know... usually because they're following you to re-do what you just did.

Lesson Learned: Let go of the perfectionism. Accept help when it's offered and let the task be _done_. Done is better than perfect, especially when 'perfect' takes you 10 times as long.

Observation: OMG the rushing and the stress and the busy work! Yes there's a flurry at the last minute trying to pull everything together... getting food to the table and people through the line while the hot stuff is still hot and the cold stuff is still cold. Tempers flare, orders are barked and people can get really snippy.

Lesson learned: if nothing else, be the first one to say thank you. Doesn't matter to who or for what - thank you for handing me the spoon. Thank you for moving every single table in the building 3 times for me. Thank you for coming.

It doesn't matter if the deed is expected to be done, saying thank you is a way of saying, "I noticed you, and I appreciate that it's one thing I don't have to worry about doing."

"If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is "thank you," that would suffice."
Meister Eckhart

Observation: If there's food involved, there's usually the handful of people who are /always/ first in line, chomping at the bit to dig in... wanting to get the best selection... and filling up their plate past the legal structural integrity of the dish. By the end, they still have food on their plate and are moaning about how full they are.

Heck, I used to be that person! I'm not shy, I'll dig right in! But that's not the point.

Lesson Learned: Take a breath. You may be about ready to gnaw your arm off - and really, you're never quite as hungry as the moment before you /can/ eat... but never as satisfied as the moment you are /able/ to eat - but let a few people go before you. Make conversation with the people around you.

When it comes down to it, any gathering that involves food is the same as a gathering without food... To quoth the lovely Deb: IT'S NOT ABOUT THE FOOD. It's about sharing time and space with your fellow humans. Communicating face to face, not with your thumbs (and a few text-o-phobes have no idea what I'm talking about. ;)

Fill your physical plate with what you would normally eat, or pick the 1-2 things that are really, truly special dishes, and then eat sparingly. Instead, fill your emotional plate with laughter, love, good conversation. Fill your mental batteries with an extra helping of hugs, and a small piece of Memaw's fried pie.

There will always be another meal. There will be more food sometime, somewhere. But moments of connecting with the people and world around you (ESPECIALLY the ones you like! ;) are far too few, and far too important to be upstaged by a feeding frenzy.

As we enter the final 40+ days of the year that mark the 'festival of eating', think of this: in 1, 2, 5 years, which will you remember: What you wore? If the tree was decorated in greens or reds? If the manorah was on the bookshelf or the table? If you served ham or turkey or if you laughed until you couldn't breathe at a story your friend told you? How dusty the shelf is or warm and cozy your home felt when it was filled with the people you love? What dessert you had or how amazed you were at finding out your quiet co-worker teaches belly dancing on the weekend?


Focus on the things that you will be thankful for when you look back on today, and let the other details work themselves out.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

(Random) Thoughts for Thursday...


Here's a small insight of what's been going in my brain... you've been warned. ;)


Why do we wash our hands after going to the bathroom when we've gotten germs all over our clothes?


When leading by example doesn't work, is it ok to grab people by the scruff of the neck and drag them with you?


What is up with cats sleeping all day so they can do the yowly "I've got the feather toy and need to tell the world" song at 2:30, 3:00, 3:30 and 4:00 am?!


I think the Push Jerk is the most fun I can legally have in the gym! (and no... there's no actual jerks involved... well, they're probably there, but *I* didn't push them... at least, you can't prove it. ;)


Seems like, in an office, the conversation volume is directly related to the topic: business calls- quiet and professional. Personal calls- loud and obnoxious. Leads to the question: are friends & family hard of hearing?


There is a distinct shortage of tartlette type desserts in the world.


I need a serious attitude adjustment... wonder if they'd let me bring Rum to work.


I've noticed a trend with movies lately - take a decent story line with good actors and muck up the ending with aliens. What's up with that?!


And you wonder why I don't get any work done during the day!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordy Wednesday: Exposed Edition


Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. - Walsch

I'm cranky today.

Yep... not going to be little Miss Ray of Sunshine today. It's aaaalll crankies all the time.

Part of it is due to letting the little things get me down, part of it is not getting in a good dose of sweat therapy for 2 days in a row. Then there's the miles of other things that are sitting on my brain, pecking at me like a badelynge of ducks (See dad, I do listen! :) forcing my comfort zone to implode on itself.

Thing is, most times I know when I finally recognize the mood, I have 2 choices:

1) Grab a board and ride the cranky wave as far and as long as it'll take me... not having a care in the world for the potential destruction and devastation I could leave in my wake.

2) Do what I need to do to get over it.

Today I learned a lesson: There's a 3rd option that occurs when I can't decide between the first 2 choices: Get the cranky flicked out of me like an annoying gnat.

Yep... nothing like a dose of gratitude and shot of helping someone else to break the crest of a perfectly good cranky wave, darnitall. I was sooo looking forward to the pity party at the end... there was a promise of cake and everything! LOL! ;)

Anywho, first off, I came across this blog... I wasn't going to read it at first, but something made me click on the link. Turns out it wasn't for the feint of heart in a few ways, but I'll get to that later.

watrd.wordpress.com/2009/11/1
7/the-exposed-trail-of-fame/


It brought tears to my eye, and humbled me in ways I still can't quite verbalize. The openness, honesty and vulnerability is amazing.

Then I've been having an amazing text convo with my friend Mon. Asking a few pointed questions, making an observation, sharing in her epiphanies - what a way to breakout of my own little cranky, clouded world! (By the way, Mon... get over yourself and just do it... and yes, I am taking my own advice. ;)

The it hit me... It's all about being exposed.

When you're going through a process of change, you can only remain in one place for so long before you're forced to move. In January, 2009, I proudly proclaimed this to be the year I get comfortable with discomfort... when you get comfortable, you stop growing.

The problem with growth is that you come to realize the areas where you're NOT growing (yes, Ramona... I know. Really. It's been a big thing on my mind.) Your weaknesses are exposed and eventually you get to the point where you can't ignore them any more.

Another problem with growth is that your former comfort zone doesn't fit any more. The ease at which I could sit on the couch and be oblivious to the proverbial 2,000 gorilla in the room that was made up of The Things I Need To Do is no longer a viable option. I'm forced to expose those things I've been putting off, or only have been doing half heartedly.

When you make the decision to change, you, eventually, have to take an objective look at your life and see what is preventing you from moving to the next level. You have to air your dirty laundry, expose those skeletons in your closets, shine light in those deep dark corners of your life to see what's still lurking there, dig deep through the years of mental and emotional clutter, and some of the physical clutter to see the things in your past that are still exerting influence on you today.

Thing is, when you take that first step to expose yourself, figurative or literally (please, no flashing total strangers ;), you can start to see yourself, your life, your path, just a little clearer and in a better light. Sure there may be areas of improvement, but really... things aren't all that bad.


Question is, are you ready to expose yourself?



Promise me you'll always remember:
You're braver than you believe,
and stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think.

~Christopher Robin to Pooh


Monday, November 16, 2009

Why not today?


As many of you know, Tom Venuto is my BFF... or would be if we ever met. ;) I'm one of those people who could write the typical "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle, and later, the Body Fat Solution, changed my life!" testimonial... Because really, it did.

Granted, seeds that were sown from that book were planted on very fertile ground - I was READY for change. I had been in the PROCESS of removing limiting beliefs, mental blocks, nutritional and physical barriers. When I read the book(s), it was like finding the final piece of the puzzle that I'd been looking for.

And he keeps supplying those puzzle pieces through his amazing blog posts.

I did a sort of happy dance with his most recent blog entry as well. He's not only smart enough NOT to write yet another "how to survive the holidays" article, because really, do we NEED another one?! NO! No we don't.

In fact I'll give you the only tip you need to "survive" any special occasion that comes your way: Be committed to, and take dedicated action steps every day toward your goals. When the special occasion comes along, you can freely enjoy the heck out of the _moment_, and dive back into action when the moment has passed.

::ahem::

Anyway, the awesome thing about Tom's latest article is that he talks about not just surviving but THRIVING during the upcoming season.

This came just as I hit the 1/2 way point in my current 12-week cycle which will finish up right around the start of 2010 (OMG can you believe it's almost 2010?!?!?). My goal by the end of this 12 weeks is to be in the low 140's/high 130's, further reduce my body fat, and do that unassisted pull up that seems to be mocking me every time I attempt it. Is that asking too much? I don't think so.

If I were to listen to/believe the people around me, it would seem like a crazy, insurmountable, impossible task.

I've already been hearing the comments of people at work bemoaning the fact that there's "goodies" everywhere (actually, there's the same amount as usual) and "I'm sure it'll get worse!" (yep, probably. Especially if that's what you're looking for.)

I'm so grateful for head phones so I don't have to listen to most of what goes on around me! LOL!

There's "reverse goal setting" (as Tom refers to it in the above article) galore all around. Focusing on what you want to avoid rather than what you want. Writing off the next 45 days in their entirety as a failure rather than taking some action to keep the momentum going. Hoping to just tread water rather than make the swim for shore.

Why? At the root of it all, the reason is simple: FEAR. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of hurting people's feelings, fear of drawing attention to yourself, fear of letting yourself/other people down, etc.

(
Here's another great article/resource that goes into more detail about this.)

The question is: Will you take the challenge to use this time to create a better you - starting small, taking a baby step to focusing on _one_ small behavioral change rather than turning your entie world upside down... or will you wait till New Years. Again.

I, for one, believe you're better than that.

Give yourself a small gift every day - the gift of believing in yourself as much as I believe in you!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Best. Personal. Trainer. Ever.


This week has been a very interesting week - I think I've run the gamut of the WHEE! and the whoa. And the WTF?! And the Whoo hoo! and the WAAAAHHH... and most things in between.

There has also been much introspection, gratitude, curiostiy, humility and respect.

I've learned a lot about people in general, and about myself... some of it I will probably share later... but who knows.

There has been a LOT of tears and even more sweat!

As I mentioned on Tuesday, I was going to be doing the fallen hero workouts that honor those who used CrossFit as their launching pad for excellence in fitness to make them better at their jobs of defending the free world.

I finished the series this morning, and they all totally kicked my butt!



I opted to swap Thursday & Friday's workout. Just couldn't handle more upper body brutality today, so I paid homage to "Michael".

Run 800 meters
50 Back Extensions
50 Sit-ups
3 rounds for time

I scaled the sit-ups/extensions to 25 instead of 50, and totally mixed things up and did the workout at home. If any of my neighbors were up and watching, I'm sure I confirmed that I am, indeed, crazy: Run up & down the street, go into my patio... Run up & down the street, then into the patio... All before the sun poked it's cheery head over the trees.

The annoying beauty of CrossFit is that it's very humbling. No matter how much I do, no matter how "good" I think I'm getting, keeps getting harder.

I am usually left feeling like an uncoordinated oaf, but dang do I feel good when I'm done (aside from the owowowowow I'm exeriencing today while walking from yesterday's squats. LOL!)

The best part of this morning's workout (aside from the amazing sunrise) was the help I got from my own personal trainer...



This is Mr. Muggins. (He's a bit bigger now... ;)

He found his way into our lives a few years ago by literally being dropped into our car, and quickly discovered he was the luckiest kitten in The World!

One of his favorite things to do is help mom with her exercises.



He is the reason I've renamed some yoga poses: For example, downward facing dog & Cobra are now Look down and see the kitten & squish the kitten cobra.

He is also good at helping out with situps... and I found out this morning, very good at helping with back extentions.

In the middle of the 2nd round, he was walking around me, sizing up the situation, chirping the whole time. Next think I know, he jumps on my back, and chirps after each rep... like "10, 11, 12..."

He jumps off when I'm done then jumps on my tummy to "help" with the sit-ups. Granted he was a little less than thrilled with how much I was moving, but he did his job dutifully. The funniest part was when he jumped down for me to do the last run and hopped up on me as soon as I got back.

My Missykitten, however, was just confused: You were gone, now you're back! What are you doing? Where are you going NOW?! YAY you're back! I was scared... what the heck!? LOL!

Nothing better than starting off your day with a little furbaby help/confusion. :)


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Hu-Rah Day! Part II


Back in 1775, My MARINE CORP Came Alive...


Please join me on November 10, 2009, in wishing
the United States Marine Corps a Happy 234th Birthday.


I'd also like to extend this tribute to all of the men
and women serving in all branches of the U.S. Military
Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard.


Thank you all for your tireless dedication to keeping
our country safe.


(Be Sure to click on the LINK Below.)


234 Years ago today, before the Founding of the
United States of America, and even before the
Declaration of Independence, The Marine Corp stood
watch over this Great Land we Gratefully call HOME.


Semper Fidelis distinguishes the Marine Corps bond
from any other. It goes beyond teamwork - it is a
brotherhood and lasts for life.


Latin for "always faithful," Semper Fidelis became
the Marine Corps motto in 1883. It guides all Marines
to remain faithful to the mission at hand, to each other,
to the Corps and to country, no matter what.


Becoming a Marine is a transformation that cannot be
undone, and Semper Fi reminds us of that. Once made,
a Marine will forever live by the ethics and values
of the Corps.


There is no such thing as an ex-Marine.


There are Three classes of Marine.


Live Marine's,
Fallen Marine's,
& Former Service Marines.


No one is less than the Other. For even the Fallen
Marine's are still serving others, by standing Guard
in Heavens streets & at the Gates.


As today is the 234th Birthday of My Marine Corp
I decided to take a moment to share with you perhaps a
small insight into why, as Marine's, we are set apart.


There are Three Core Values THAT DEFINE A MARINE


HONOR - Marines are held to the highest standards,
ethically and morally. Respect for others is essential.
Marines are expected to act responsibly in a manner
befitting the title they've earned.


COURAGE - Courage is not the Absence of Fear.
It is the Ability to Face Your Fear, and to overcome it.
It is the Mental, Moral, and Physical Strength ingrained
in every Marine. It steadies us in times of stress, and
carries us through every challenge, it aids us in facing
new & uncertain confrontations.


COMMITMENT - GOD, Corps, country.
Commitment is the Spirit of determination and dedication
found in each and every Marine. It is what compels us to
serve our country & our Corps. Every aspect of Life in the
corp shows commitment to Excellence not only in training,
but in all aspects of a Marines life.


As Marines we are always ready TO WIN BATTLES IN THE AIR,
ON LAND AND AT SEA... Even though I am Former service, I
still stand by for the call.


When our nation's commitment to democracy is challenged,
when our national interests are threatened, in times of
international disaster, crisis or war, the Marine Corps is
ready.


We will be first on the scene, first to help and first
to fight.


For this, we have earned the reputation as "America's
911 Force" - our nation's first line of defense.


The Marine Corps is ready to respond on the ground, in
the air and by sea. This integrated approach distinguishes
the Marine Corps as the United States' premier expeditionary
force.


So I ask you today, November 10th 2009, to Stop. Thank a
Marine. And tomorrow, Thank a Vet.


Yours In Faithful Service.


Norman F.S. Hanley
USMC


P.S. Here is the Link I wanted you to see
http://tinyurl.com/234USMC - Bob Parsons USMC


Happy Hu-Rah Day!




This handsome devil dog is my hubby... a loooong time ago!

It's his 'graduation' photo from the Corp's bootcamp. I couldn't tell you the date he completed boot camp, but I can tell you that while his time was cut short due to medical issues, his time in the Corp impacted him profoundly. I mistakenly called him an 'former-marine' and was 'enlightented' to the fact that there is no such thing - you're either active, not-active or dead.

So why am I sharing this?

Because today marks the 234th birthday of the Marine Corps... which makes them older than the country they fight to protect.



While I don't claim to really understand the culture, I do know that it's strong, it's deep, and it breeds fierce loyalty. They, like other branches of the military, do what needs to be done so that the rest of us can do what we want.

For that I am grateful.



Hu-Rah!

This week also has the observation of Veterans Day/Armistice Day/Remberance Day to commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Rethondes, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning - the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month". It is also a time to commemorate those members of the armed forces who were killed during war. (gotta love Wikipedia!)

I, like many, saw Veterans Day & Memorial Day as just another day off to maybe spend with friends, to mark the beginning or end of a season, or an excuse for a cook out/party. "This is for people who died? Really? Oh... ummm... can I have another burger?"

Over the past few years, in no small part due to the influence of my hubby, my appreciation of the sacrifices made by the few for the many has grown. Because of duties carried out by the men and women of the military, I am able to be free to persue my own brand of silliness!

So this week, I will be persuing that silliness and expressing my gratitude for these fine gentlemen who have earned the honor of a posthumous CrossFit Workout being named after them, and are part of the, sadly, ever growing list of CF Heros.

I promise, for my part to perform each workout with determination and to the best of my ability.

Monday: "Daniel"

Dedicated to Army Sgt 1st Class Daniel Crabtree who was killed in Al Kut, Iraq on Thursday June 8th 2006.

First Posted 15 June 2006
50 Pull-ups
400 meter run
95 pound Thruster, 21 reps
800 meter run
95 pound Thruster, 21 reps
400 meter run
50 Pull-ups
For time

Tuesday: "JT"

In honor of Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Taylor, 30, of Little Creek, VA, who was killed in Afghanistan June 2005

First posted 6 July 2005
Handstand push-ups
Ring dips
Push-ups
21-15-9 reps, for time

Wednesday: A reflectful rest day.

Thursday: "Michael"

In honor of Navy Lieutenant Michael McGreevy, 30, of Portville, NY, who was killed in Afghanistan June 28 2005.

First posted 15 July 2005
Run 800 meters
50 Back Extensions
50 Sit-ups
3 rounds for time

Friday: "Murph"

In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.
This workout was one of Mike's favorites and he'd named it 'Body Armor.' From here on it will be referred to as 'Murph' in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.

First posted 18 August 2005
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run
For time.
Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you've got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.


Friday, November 6, 2009

SparkPeople - Seriously?!?!


Taken from today's "Exercise of the day" entitled "Keep the Weight Off with Daily Weigh-Ins"


"Exercise Extra: Muscle weights more than fat, but takes up less space."


Next thing you're going to be telling us that muscle will turn to fat when we stop lifting weights.


Nothing irks me more than seeing a fitness 'myth' or outright false information being perpetuated by a "reliable" source.


No wonder people are confused - there's SOOOO much information available about health, exercise, physiology, nutrition, etc., and only a portion of it is useful. It's exceptionally difficult to know who to believe in the first place, but when "experts" keep spreading this kind of mis-information, it seems even more helpless.


Who cares if the rest of the article has 100% accurate, dead on information - people will focus on "Muscle weighs more than fat" and head down the road of "OMG don't lift weights! don't do exercises that will work muscles because I will "gain" weight!"


Grrr.


So let me ask you this age old question: Which weighs more? A pound of feathers or a pound of lead?


They both weight the same, right?! A pound is a pound is a pound.


Unless muscle has it's own special form of gravity it produces to make it heavier, a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat.


It's all about the density!


As to the muscle turning to fat/fat turning to muscle silliness - Does. Not. Happen.


CANNOT. Happen.


It's like saying if you don't use your lungs, they'll turn into intestines.


While these myths some how got started is one matter... and that some how they continue is another. It's the fact that it's been brought up as fact from a source that SO many look to for reliable, easy to understand information.


It's a great example and reminder to read things with a critical eye.



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

And now for something completely different...


FOOD!

Why? Because it's my favorite topic, that's why. LOL!

And to some, Saturday's Halloween festivities marked the beginning of the Festival of Eating, also known as the (dun-dun-dunnn) Holiday Season.

Here's the thing, I do have a whoooole basket of "get over it's" sitting here beside me that I would just /love/ to fling around. I mean, over the next 58-ish days, give or take, (not so much wanting to actually count it out ;) that will take us to the close of 2009, there's a few holidays stashed in there: Veterans day, Thanksgiving (You smart Canadians already had this covered!), C/Hanukkah, Christmas, Tevet (oh wait, it's a fast, doesn't count. ;), and New Years.

So that's 6-10 days of actual celebration days (I know, Hanukkah is 8 days, but really, do you go to a party EVERY night? If you, rock on & have a latke for me!) If you factor in a couple of work/family/friend parties, you're looking at /maybe/ 14 days.

That leaves you with 44 days to relish in your fabulous clean eating/kick butt exercise habits that you've developed over the past 11 months.

Oh wait, you haven't developed those habits? Thinking you're crazy for even thinking of getting a grip on your health /now/, even though the guilt of your forgotten 2009 resolutions is crushing you? You're right - you are crazy...

Crazy brilliant!

You have 44-50 days to focus on adding in a few more veggies per day, slip in incidental exercise like parking further away from the stores during the mad shopping sprees, taking an extra trip to and from the mail box, walk the dog around the block one more time, etc. Taking the baby steps now will keep the January 1st inspiration from jarring your system too much.

Get over your fear of not doing /enough/ and allow yourself to do /something/.

So there, I flung one. I didn't mean to, it just slipped out.

ANYWAY, the real reason for all this is to share a great resource for you for the up coming season, or for any old time that you feel like it.

We all know (or if you don't, I'm going to tell you. LOL!) that planning meals and cooking at home is not only a great way to cut down on expenses, but it's also a fantastic way to get a grip on what you and your family consume. YOU control the ingredients and the calorie/fat content, and the flavor. It's awesome.

The other thing is that, by planning ahead, you have less of the "OMG you mean there's another dinner time tonight?! Didn't we just have one? Guess we get to call Carl, our pizza guy again" and more of the, "TA-DA! Dinner is served!"

OR, if you get invited to a party (or are silly enough to host one) you don't have to search the meager selections of meat/cheese trays at your local deli.

If you're like me, and always want to bring something to a party that seems fancy but really isn't, have I got a linky-poo for you: crockpot365.blogspot.com/2009/10/slow-cooker-fall-favorites.html

I fell in love with crockpot365.blogspot.com last year and love that the past few months she's been doing 'best of' posts, with a lot of theme recipes are grouped together. (All of her recipes are also gluten free if that's a concern to you.) There's no nutritional info but most of the recipes are reasonable calorically, and the ones that aren't? well, save those for the 6-10 days, or feel free to "healthify" them to your heart's content... (just don't tell me about it, ok?)

So pull out that Little Dipper you got for Christmas last year and had NO idea what to do with it, whip up a batch of pizza fondue (way tasty, BTW!) and host a game night with your family.

Bon Appetit!


And remember: It's not what you eat & do between Thanksgiving and New Years that's the issue... it's what you eat & do between New Years and Thanksgiving.