Monday, June 29, 2009


After a long, trying weekend, I have a lot of things going on in my brain, and most of them are around my priorities - what are they and am I focused on the 'right' things? etc.

All along this journey, the thing that really has gotten me going and kept me going is the physical side effects: looking better & losing weight.

I had several health related issues and am genetically predisposed to certain diseases - most notably heart disease and diabetes - but did that motivate me to take control of my life? Nope. Did my dad's bypass motivate me? Nuh-uh... at least, certainly not the way the thought of looking good in my wedding dress did.

I have mentioned Jonathon Roche's blogtalkradio show several times, and he always brings up the fact that health is a gift, and who cares if you fit into a smaller size? It's about increasing your energy and about creating a healthy future for yourself.

This weekend I finally got that, and realized that I have given myself an amazing gift: I've learned what my body needs nutritionally and physically to achieve optimal health. I have energy in reserve to deal with the good and bad that life throws at me. I have learned the importance of listening to the signals my body gives me when something's not quite right, and to take care of it - be it taking a rest day or a trip to the doctor.

I've also discovered that I've created a solid foundation for my life that has routines and habits in place that carry me through a major or minor crisis.

Yes, I fit into a smaller size pair of jeans and can lift a decent amount of weight, but all of it is wrapped in the package of good health.

That is the best gift and priority of all.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday Thoughts

Since there's a lot of rumblings in my brain and I woke up in a slightly 'off' mood (hey Margaret - think I traded Cranky Wednesdays for Testy Tuesday! LOL!) I just wanted to share a few of the messages/ideas that have popped up a lot in the last 24 hours:

Today, I set my own limitations.
I decide what I am capable of,
and I constantly remind myself
that I am capable of much more
than I usually believe I am.

I actually have gotten this one in some form _3_ times... think someone is trying to tell me something?! LOL!!!:

When you squeeze an orange you get orange juice because that's what's inside. The very same principle is true about you. When someone squeezes you, puts pressure on you, what comes out is what's inside. And if you don't like what's inside you can change it by changing your thoughts.
Dr. Wayne Dyer

Men are not prisoners of fate, but prisoners of their own minds. -
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Monday, June 22, 2009

I shared the love!

After my post on "Love notes", I went forth and shared it... and then sent it in. I was so excited to see that the picture I sent it got posted along with my note: (it's the one of a purple note on an ATM near the bottom of the photos)

Over the weekend I posted a few more in bathrooms along my errand route and felt like the secret Santa. It was awesome!

Because this movement has taken on a life of it's own, it's been granted a website of it's own! Go check out for ideas on places to leave love notes, what to write (to other people AND yourself!) then send in your photos!!!

How have you shared the love?

Energy balance, drinking games and strength

I know, I know... you're probably rolling your eyes thinking, "Aw man... /another/ calorie in/calorie out post?!"

Well, not today, folks! I'm talking about the cosmic energy balance: work hard/play hard.

Or as was the case this weekend - work hard, be lazy!

And I did! Yesterday was the first time in a while that I got to spend a whole day with my hubby... Yes, we had Memorial weekend together, but there was much rushing around getting things done that we didn't have a lot of 'us' time. I made sure I did what I needed to on Saturday so *I* could just chill and enjoy the day since it's usually my brain nagging at me to do _something_ instead of sit on the couch and just _be_ with the hubs. And oh did we "just be" - had a nice leisurely breakfast, talked, tormented the kittens and kicked some serious monster butt!

Again, was the first time we've had to just hang out and play one of the PS2 games that we've been chomping at the bit to get a copy of. The hubby found it a while back but we haven't had time to play together till yesterday and play we did.

For _6_ hours!

After about hour 2, I invented the 'Balder's Gate Drinking Game' - every time we hit a save point (about every 10-15 minutes) we had to take a drink of water! LOL! Luckily we did take a lunch and snacky break in there too, and the drinking game helped us stretch our legs with all the bathroom trips! LOL!

It was a lot of fun (except for the Wacky Bobo Dreams of people randomly shooting arrows and fireballs at me ;) and I really enjoyed spending the time with the hubby, but I was also glad to be back to the routine this morning with walkies & weights.

Speaking of weights, I'm still in the quandary of what to do next and where I'm ultimately going.

Yes, I have certain goals - like a certain body weight and body fat%, and those are 2-fold. 1) I want to shape my body so that when I look in the mirror I can be even more proud of how I look and the hard work I put into making that happen, and 2) being on the path to help other people achieve _their_ physical & fitness goals, frankly I want to have a physical appearance that I practice what I preach. As a result, I've been thinking about and looking for examples of what 'look' I'm going for and how I want to train to get there (which is a LOT more fun than dealing with some of the reality stuff going on at the moment. ;)

As far as looks go, I don't have a specific image in my mind of what I want to look like, but the overall concept, feeling and idea that I keep coming back to is this: Strong.

I look at the ladies in Oxygen mag who work hard to build and maintain their buff physiques. There's the ladies who have competed in various body building competitions (Tosca, MizFit (of the awesome arms fame) , and several Sparkladies that I follow regularly like FitGirl15) and I am amazed and enthralled with the physical training and mental dedication to achieve that kind of transformation. I love that blatant look of hard built muscle popping out that lets every know I could snap them like a twig if I wanted.

Then there's the other side - having a bit of definition, but being really strong. I've been following one of the Punch Gym's trainer'sStrongman competition prep - she is strong and doing it old school - flopping huge 450# tractor tires around, hauling 160# stones and dead lifting 200+. I admire the raw strength and sheer mental power that goes into something like that. The physique that has an unassuming air of confidence that says, "you don't know it from looking at me, but I could totally snap you like a twig... or pull a burning car off of you. Your choice."

The nice thing is that instead of all this being information overload and adding to my confusion, I'm seeing myself pull bits and pieces from each that I like and leaving the rest.

Amazing! A Libra that's FINALLY understanding the concept of balance. Now to put it into practice is a whoooooole different story. ;)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Doin' the happy validation dance!

This was one of the 'trivia' questions I got today:

True or False: By adding exercise to your weight loss program, you'll be able to eat more calories and still lose weight.


Explanation: Remember, to lose weight, you need to create a caloric deficit. You can do this by cutting calories from your diet, by exercising more, or by combining both diet and exercise. Because you need to give you body a proper amount of fuel for energy, nutrients, and to ensure weight loss, it can be hard to cut a large amount of calories by dieting alone. By adding exercise, however, you'll be able to eat more and still meet your goals. Just make sure that you account for all the exercise you do when you set-up your SparkPeople program. This way, you'll get an accurate calorie recommendation for you to lose weight at a healthy rate. To learn how your calorie recommendations are determined-and how exercise fits into that equation-check out Calorie Calculations 101.

See! I don't make this stuff up: move more, eat more!


Although I do have a confession: I've been grappling with an issue/question that I'm surprised no one else has brought up.

What's the point of exercise if you just have to eat more to make up for it?!

Then the answer came to me in an odd examply sort of way.

When you lead a typically sedentary lifestyle - basically little to no exercise, your body is like a slow cooker/crock pot. You throw minimal ingredients in, use minimal energy to process it, and then check back in 4-6 hours to see whats become of all the stuff.

When you start leading an active lifestyle - adding in moderate to higher intensity cardio, lifting some heavy things and putting them down again... all of a sudden your body turns into a high powered professional convection oven (and oh my GAWD I need to stop watching so much FoodTV! LOL!) It may take a bit to get going, but once it's fired up, you get pop the ingredients in and a few minutes later you have something fantastic to show for it, and it's going to stay hot to efficiently to take on anything you throw at it.

Like I said - it's odd, but it works (I hope ;)

Basically, when you add exercise into the mix, your body not only becomes more efficient at using the food you give it, it continues to run efficiently after that food is 'processed' hence the need for extra calories.

Exercise + adequate nutrition = Supah Stah results!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fabulous Friday!

Today's one of those days that has the lingering threat of being a Craptastic type day. I can't quite explain it, but it's like it's just sitting there, waiting for me stumble and do the nose dive into "meh... cloudy/rainy day... meh..."

But yet, it's also a day of, "Dang! Life is GOOD!" I got up and had a fantastic walk (best. time. ever.*) and then did the ab kickin' Day 4 Bootcamp video, had a couple of 'awake dreams' of my possible future, got a surprise kitten snuggle this morning during my quiet time on the balcony, and just bit into an amazing apple that brought back memories of fall festivals and some of the summer camping trips my parents & I used to take (random yet totally related concepts. ;)

Sometimes you have to take a break from the 10,000 foot view of your goals and dreams to step up close and really enjoy the individual moments... after reading MTER67's blog about leaving Okinawa after it being home for 3 years made me realize that there is comfort in the details that we take for granted. It's really a 'stop and at least _see_ the roses' kind of day... you never know what you might miss!

*As a side note, I've decided that, with my Big Goals between now and August 1, I'm going to step out in faith and kick it up a notch. Yes, I have my goal poster up, I have my affirmations and my workout schedule. But it's time to take that next step - really planning and setting up the expectations in my mind of what I want to achieve.

Example: I added some specific goal oriented affirmations to my list that are specific to the things I'm working towards. "I am reaching my goal of 20% body fat and 150 pounds by August 1, 2009."

Then Trainer T. reminded me of setting specific training goals for each session, so I gave it a shot last night. I told myself last night before going to sleep and this morning before I walked out of the door that I would do my 'usual' loop around the park (which is a little over a mile) in 15 min, 30 seconds. My /normal/ time is about 17-ish minutes, which is pretty respectable since it includes warm up & cool down time.

My time this morning: 15:40!

Whoo hoo!!! I followed it up with some core work (thanks Coach Nicole!) and hit the showers.

It's the power of intention. It's the power of programming the mind to help the body achieve it's goals. It's the willingness to do whatever it takes to reach my goals.

Whatever it is... it's sheer power!

Off to take over the world... brb. ;)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Love notes...

Remember when you first met your sweetie and you would hide little cards or notes for them to find at random points during the day? Or the cute little "have a great day" notes you would slip in your child's lunch box?

When was the last time you left yourself one?

Or better yet, left one for a total stranger?

I was reading spark/virtual friend Heather's blog(who is an amazing class act, by the way!) and she shared a link from the fabulous Caitlin that blew me away.

This is a powerful crusade started by one woman and is catching on like wildfire. (ie: all the cool kids are doing it... since you're reading this, I /know/ you're one of the coolest!)

Join the fight against fat talk, self defeating attitudes, and negative thoughts!

Arm yourself with posty notes and start sharing the love... especially with yourself!

Life is like a mango...

It's messy and a heck of a lot of work to get what you want out of it, but dang it's tasty once your done!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Back to good...

(Hey, that should be a song... oh wait. ;)

I'm feeling a lot better today - still having a nagging... something hanging on, but the extra sleep and forced rest day yesterday helped my body and mind bunches! I swear my legs literally tightened up and the musckles underneath decided to pop out over night! And my "easy" walkies time this morning was cut by at least a minute or more.

All this leads me back to like myself again, and making wonderful plans for my body.

It's not that I wasn't happy with my progress, I was just in a bit of a 'what now?' frame of mind, and even though I was getting lots of compliments, people were asking for my help, or being motivated by my success, and thanking me for sharing my 'gifts' as it were with them.

I had more of the Stevie/teenage attitude of 'WHAT-everrrr!'

See, I was going along really good, doing what I needed to do, focused on where I was going... then not so much. And that's all I was really seeing.

I was going through the motions but have really been stuck in the 'what now?! what next?!' frame of mind. And then feeling less than thrilled with it's effects on my body. My muscles were still there, but were becoming a bit less defined. My eating wasn't quite as tight as before. I wasn't doing near the intensive strength training I had been. Regardless if there were good or bad reasons involved in any of it, it was what it was. I was

I decided this month was Bootcamp month! Ramona instigated it and I jumped on board and am so glad I did! This is week 2 for me and it's already getting me excited for my Next Big Thing! See, July is Pump It Up month - back to hitting the iron - and this has been a great way to get me used to the motions, building up some more endurance and also giving me time to plan what my actual body composition goals are for next month. As I just mentioned, I'm starting to see a bit more definition back in my legs, my arms aren't quite as wobbly as they were last week and it's helped me come to terms with my weaknesses (Must work on pushups and lats! Bent over flyes are my nemisis!!!) I know that if I can overcome my weak areas, I can over come anything.

But back to the happy head space for a moment. I decided last night that this morning I would break a promise: I stepped on the scale... but it was for science. LOL! And the scale is happily back on holiday till July 1.

I knew that the last few days had been less than stellar, but who cares. I needed to know where I was to see if my goal for the next 6 weeks was big enough to make me work, and reasonable enough to achieve. It is.

So, Current stats:
Wt: 155
BF%: 26% (give or take, I took the slightly higher reading just to keep me honest.)
Fat: 40.5#
LBM: 114.5#

My Goal by August 1:
Wt: 150
BF%: 20%
Fat: 30#
LBM: 120#

Is it reasonable? Dunno. Is it motivating? You betcha!

Like I said: Big goal designed with the specific purpose to help me recognize and USE the gifts I've been given, and make me stretch beyond my self-imposed strength and mental limitations. It's all about the power of intention, and I intend to make it happen.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Matrix/red pill kinda day...

No, I'm not sportin' a sleek 'do or a patent leather trench.

And no, no strange guy offered me a red or blue pill (or maybe he did... I DID have some seriously Wacky BoBotm dreams last night! LOL!)

No, today has been an interesting series of events, choices and signs that have me in a rather contemplative - and perhaps a bit esoteric - mood, which, in my opinion, is an improvement over how I felt earlier.

See, a lot of folks around here are talking about "falling off the wagon". They've slipped, they've had bad days, made less than stellar choices and see the situation as hopeless. Maybe they've already decided that they this is yet another reason why they won't succeed. Or maybe they just can't see a way out of the current situation their habits have created.

But here's another Super Secret Piece of Info for Success: There is no wagon.


Not a one in sight.

There's only expectation of failure or success, and your awareness and perception of the obstacles that life throws at you.

Lemme explain by sharing how my day has been: I woke up this morning to the alarm going off and, for the first time in a long time, I was really tired. That full body achy/can't even open my eyes to find the alarm clock tired. I laid in bed for a few minutes, really grappling with the option of sticking to my planned workout or catching just a little bit more shut eye/snuggle time. I got up to go to the bathroom, hoping that would help get me going, but nope - legs & arm muscles were still achy and I said scr%w it. I went back to bed and fell fast asleep.

Then I've dealt with wonky tummy issues all morning and just feeling generally blah and like there's not *quite* enough coffee in the world today. (Yeah, I know... I'm taking my vitamins and going to bed early tonight...just in case it is a bug.)

Oh, and instead eating my super duper veggie laden healthy lunch, I ditched it in the fridge to have Rocco's with my hubby (mmm... garlicky pizza goodness! And salad!).

Then I had a really awesome conversation with a co-worker who's been going through a lot the last 4 months and by helping her, *I* felt a lot better, and I really felt grateful for all that I had, and all that I've learned along the way.

You see, today could have easily be seen as a screaming "Red Flag"/"falling off the wagon and can't get up" kind of day. But it's really not. Yes I blew off a workout and one healthy meal out of the 5 I'll eat today - it's just life, and these kinds of days happen. I made my choices and today, they worked for me. Other days they wouldn't even be considered, but it's what I needed today.

And that attitude comes from over a year of practice... but one worth developing because after a while, the small stumbles along the way don't feel like HUGE derailments. And the more practice you get in overcoming obstacles will make you realize:

There is no wagon.

*For those of you scratching your heads or struggling to remember which pill was which: "You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes." Morpheus describes the effects of the two pills to Neo, The Matrix

The blue pill is like believing there is a wagon and you can fall off it and go back to the way things were, and continually struggle to find your way back.

The red pill is like realizing that, like the spoon, the wagon doesn't exist. We are all give the same set of options - right or left, up or down, pizza or salad - and we have the ability to CHOOSE the option we want. If you CHOOSe the option that gets you closer to your goal, fantastic! If you CHOOSE the one that takes you a little further away - fantastic! Enjoy and learn from the experience, or dust yourself off after the stumble, and move on...

We're all on our own journey down the rabbit hole, so to speak. Its up to you to decide if you want to see how deep it really goes.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Another shameless plug...

Because I know everyone went and donated to my friend Dave for his upcoming ride to Ice MS ... (I just sent in my donation BTW)

Here's a quick note from Dave with info on one more way to help support them in getting a bit more recognition for all their efforts. I looked through the competition and honestly, I have to say, they have the best!

"Hey Friends of the PTBears-

The folks at MS have put the best jersey/best T-shirt Contest on-line. Follow the link below and vote for the Bears before June 21st!

Only 1 vote per computer, but vote from home, the office, all your coworkers cubicles, the public library -everywhere! Get out the vote!

A perfect little thing to add to your fund raising follow-up emails to your whole donor group!

Spread the word on Facebook!

Blurb on your blog!

Tweet from Twitter!


Dave Shacter
Captain, Team Polar-Type Bears
10 Years of Riding To Ice MS

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Best. Comeback. Ever.

I finally came up with a good comeback for all the times I hear, "Have you lost weight?!"

I was spending a lovely evening with friends when their house guests, whom I've met on several occasions and are so much fun to be around, came in. I hadn't seen them in quite a while and was thrilled to get lots of hugs and then got lots of ooohs and aaahs. In response to one of the 'you look fantastic! What are you doing?' I popped out with, "I'm just getting more concentrated, that's all".

We had a good chuckle, did a bit of catching up and all was right & happy with the world.

But the more I thought about it, I realized it was true: I *am* getting more concentrated.

I came across this rough definition and tweaked it for my on general purposes (cuz it's what I do ;): Concentrate can also be the residue valuable metal [muscle] from which most of the waste rock [fat] has been removed.

So I'm stripping away all the waste and leaving behind what's _really_ valuable. Whoo hooo!

Also, wanted to share this video and to challenge folks to eat that frog!:


Saturday, June 13, 2009

It was one year ago today...

That I got to say "I do" to the man I love.

I took a lot of work to pull it off (note to future brides: Wedding Planner/coordinator. Pay the money to have someone else do the "day of" craa... er.. stuff. Seriously!) but I couldn't have asked for a better day. Being surrounded by the close friends & family was a fantastic way to start our married life adventure.

The reception was beautiful and the food was great (from what I was told - you never eat at your own party, don't ya know?! :) and we were lucky enough to have time the next day to host a brunch for visiting friends & family so we could actually have time to chat with the folks who traveled so far to see us.

The honeymoon was a welcome vacation for us and I think we slept and spent more time in the pool than exploring the island but did get a little bit of sight seeing in.

After that, thought, is when I *truly* met the man of my dreams. Yes, the man who courted me, that I fell in love with was wonderful and treated me like a queen. If he hadn't, we wouldn't have had a super fancy date a year ago today. LOL!!!

But really, it wasn't until the "I do's" had been said, rings had been exchanged, and the whole deal was sealed with a kiss that the man of my dreams showed up.

It was as if that moment, that wonderful ritual of declaring our love and intention to all the world, allowed a part of us that was locked up tight to be released. That part was the "real" us, the "best" us, that was finally allowed to see the light of day - to grow, mingle and flourish.

Over this past year, I have learned more about myself than in the past decade and I owe that to my wonderful husband. And I have seem grow into an even more amazing, driven, dedicated man than I thought possible (and I could see a lot in him to begin with.)

My only regret is that about 100 miles separate us at the moment - and ironically he's going to see my cousin, who sang at our wedding, perform tonight - but we got to celebrate last weekend and he'll be home tonight.

What will the next 365 days hold for us?

I know I for one am prepared to be amazed.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I totally get it now!

I had a light bulb moment... and had to share.

The whole 'eat more, silly' concept scares people. A lot. And it boggled my mind.

When people are given a calorie range of, say, 1500-2000 calories, they flip! I couldn't figure out why, but now I do.

I hear people say all the time (usually in a VERY dramatic tone), "I couldn't POSSIBLY eat that much!" I couldn't figure it, out because in my mind, that's sooo easy to do.

Or my confusion when I'm in the lunch room and people stare at my hugemongous plate of food, dumbfounded how I could even _remotely_ lose weight.

But NOW I get it!

I read this article and the answer was staring me in the face

I mean, look at the difference! Take the 'eggs & toast' meal - the amount of food on the homemade omelette plate is HUGE! While the restaurant portion is dinky.

(I know, I promised not to get rant-y too often, but I just gotta!)

It's all about the portion distortion and lack of awareness/acknowledgement of what we're /really/ eating!

Think about it... most of us, before embarking on our health journey could go to IHOP and snarf down that 900 calorie omelette without even blinking... and don't forget the extras that aren't shown: the pancakes, hash browns and some sort of bacon or sausagey goodness. That's what, a conservative 1500 calories?

In one meal.

With who knows what additives.

And then you have the full and bloaty but starving feeling 4 hours later. Then you have lunch from Taco Bell because you're out and about... then dinner... and now you're well over 3000 calories and sacked out on the couch. (not that *I* have ever done that... lol!!!)

But when you're faced with the same amount of calories in a high quality, nutritionally dense form, the physical amount of food doubles! In some cases, triples!

No WONDER people can't wrap their minds around eating that many calories! The sheer amount of quality food involved makes you THINK you're eating WAY more than you really are! Yeah, it's nice once in a while to have a day where you just don't track, you just enjoy... but when that's a rarity, you realize just how little it takes to add up to what you'd normally eat in a day when you have the real 'good stuff'.

Their Royal Highness's, Princess Veruca and Princess Stevie, do declare this day:

Get over it! Eat more, silly!


Thursday, June 11, 2009

The solution to all the worlds problems...

"If I have seen farther than other men it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

- Isaac Newton, physicist

Being the type of person I am, I want to be helpful. So in my wanderings around the various blogs, especially in the SparkWorld, if I read about someone celebrating a success, I cheer with them. If I see someone struggling, I offer words of value and encouragement.

If I see someone complaining that they're on their X week of a plateau... I bang my head on my desk.

You see, I also want to save the world.

I read something like that, it's like a double dog dare to me - to find the root of the problem and help them out of it. I see that, I immediately look for the cause. And 99.99% of the time I can tell exactly what's wrong and the secret of how to fix it. Forever.

Problem is, I usually want to do it in 1 of 3 ways:

1) Veruca responds in a way only a 6 year old can: By calling the person a "stoopidhead".

2) Stevie steps in and gives the teenage snarky/betterthanyou attitude

3) I take on the mom role with the, 'there, there, let me help. I know what's best for you if you'd just listen' attitude.

But I made a promise to myself (and my hubby) to not randomly spout off info to people that don't ask for my help.

But since you're here, I can spout freely. ;)

See I WAS there. I was making the same mistakes.

Then I stood on the shoulder of a giant that gave me that ever so simple - but crucial - piece to the greater puzzle, and it was like the heavens opened up, angels were singing, and all was right and happy with the world.

Either way, I couldn't have done it alone! I had to have someone else play 'Captain Obvious' for me to get it. And today, I will share with you that secret. (I'll try to do it in a text book way, but can't guarantee that Stevie or Veruca won't give any input on it ;)

You ready?

It's huge!

It's called math.

Waitwaitwait... don't go away! Lemme esplain and I'll attempt to keep it short and sweet.

Lets forget for just a moment that the popular national past time of weight loss has emotional and physiological components to it. I know it's difficult, but really, put it aside for a moment.

In it's simplest, most basic concept, weight is really a matter of math, aka calories in vs. calories out.

I know, I know, you've heard this before and are sick of it, but again, stick with me because this is how I had my a-ha moment!

Just a quick recap of the basics so we're on the same page:

When you embark on a weight loss adventure you're told two things:

1. The Calories In factor

1a If you have a calorie surplus (aka take in more calories than your body uses) - you gain weight

1b. If you have a calorie balance (aka take in the same number of calories that your body uses) - you maintain your current weight

1c. If you have a calorie deficit (aka take in _moderately_ fewer calories than your body uses) - you lose weight.

2. The Calories Out factor

2a. Get up and move a little, you will burn a few calories.

2b. Get up and move a lot, you will burn a lot of calories.

That's where most information stops, and that's the two things that people tend to focus on the most: reduce what you eat and move more. It's straight forward and overall, is very sound advice, but incomplete.

There's the third piece that seems really obvious, but yet seems to be missed.

This is The Super Secret piece of info that I'm sharing with just you for the low low price of $9.95, and I'll throw in a set of ginsu knives if you call in the next 10 minutes.

LOL! Kidding! But really, this was the moment the light bulb went on and I went "DuH!"

/Most/ people focus on #1. They plan their meals, stay in their calorie range, etc. (yay!)

/Then/ they focus on #2. They exercise their brains out and burn a bunch of calories. (Oooh, feel the burn)

The missing link is that you have to do a bit _more_ math (and you told your teachers you'd never use it after high school! LOL!): Take #1 (total calories consumed), SUBTRACT #2 (calories burned) and it gives you #3.

#3 is the TOTAL number of calories your body is left with to perform silly things like breathing, digesting, beating your heart, etc.

Let me give you an example from a friend of mine:

Here are my totals for the past week:

June 1: 537 calories burned, 1402 eaten = 865 calories total
June 2: no exercise, 1703 eaten = 1703 calories total
June 3: 739 burned, 1319 eaten = 580 calories total
June 4: 886 burned, 1440 eaten = 544 calories total

When you look at it in this light, it seems clear = you aren't giving your body what it needs to function.

I /could/ give you a formula to figure out exactly what _your_ personal caloric needs are (and will help out if you ask), and lecture you on the dangers of continually eating at way below your minimum calorie requirements (but I won't).

But for now, lets keep it simple. If you're working your butt off and not getting anywhere use this rule of thumb:

Take the calorie range you're given through SparkPeople and use the lowest number as the bare minimum total calories you are left with, your #3.

For example, your calorie range is 1400-1800.

You eat 1500 calories and exercise to burn 400 calories. What are you left with? (I know, I hated word problems too! LOL!)

Your total for the day is 1100 calories. That's 300 calories below your minimum number and less than the minimum number of calories your body needs to function.

So what do you do? You eat more, silly!

The key is to do the math so you always meet meet the minimum, if not a _bit_ more (a bit being an extra 100-200 calorie snack, not an extra cake. ;) If you give your body the fuel it needs, you will eventually be rewarded with an efficent, fat burning machine.

Next lesson can be on getting your brain on straight. Till then...

Class dismissed.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just because...

There are people who probably rolled their eyes when I mentioned having a goal poster on my mirror, thinking, "Sure, she talks big, but she probably doesn't really do all the stuff she says..."

(Morning Sauces Zone)

Yep. I do.

And I also have a copy of my affirmations on cards in my car, on my desk at work and on my computer desk at home.

That I read every day.

Yeah, I'm a geek. Whatcha gonna do?

Help out the PTB!

You all know my fondness for the PTB... those external forces that send small signals and signs that we're on the right path, that we need to take heed. Of course, sometimes they wield a ClueX4 to smack you upside the head with a lesson you didn't pay attention the first 50 times.

But today, there's another PTB I want to talk to you about, and this is a totally shameless plug for money.

It's the Polar Type Bears! They are a biking team based out of MA, riding 150 miles over 2 days to raise funds and awareness for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Central New England Chapter.

Most of us, especially those of us getting involved in our own health and fitness journeys, think nothing about being able to lace up our shoes and go for a walk/run/ride. But what if that were suddenly taken away? What if one day you just couldn't move? This is what MS does - it takes away the choice. And this is what the PTB and many other teams are raising money for on the weekend of June 27-28, 2009.

It's captain for 10 years running is a good friend of mine and an all around awesome & talented guy, Dave Shacter. I met Dave about 15 years ago and instantly knew him to be a driven, dedicated person who is up for any challenge, and this Ride has issued him several of those over the past 10 years, but he's pushed through, knowing the impact he is having.

Here's the thing: In order to raise funds for research and treatment of this disease, people need to donate! And looking at Dave and the PTB's page - they are falling short of their goals - Dave is only at 23% of his personal goal and the team is at 42%, with the race being 2 1/2 weeks away!

Unfortunately, with the worry about the current economic situation, most people tend to forget that adopting a giving attitude can help you really appreciate the true wealth in your life.

Mary Hunt, Suze Orman, and Dave Ramsey all list giving/tithing/donating to charity/whatever you want to call it, as part of their rules for financial freedom. (I'm sure others do as well, I just haven't read their works. ;)

So here's your chance to do your part towards financial freedom and a world free from MS:

1. Go to Dave's page
2. Read his story
3. Donate

It doesn't have to be a lot, even $10 will help fund the research that will help fight, and possibly put an end to, a debilitating disease.

I will be adding my donation to the list... will you?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

One More Thing...

I had to share my 'go me' moment from last night.

Even though I've been keeping up with my cardio and a bit of strength work, I don't feel like I'm any where near where I was a couple of months ago. I'm working on being ok with it, but a small part of me is annoyed that I've let myself 'go' this long without the routine I had worked so hard to build.

So I took a baby step last night - my core has been greatly neglected, evident in the ever so slight twingies I feel in my low back when I'm not keeping it as strong as it needs to be. So I pulled out the Pilates DVD that hasn't seen the light of day in months, and braced myself for the worst.

I was very pleasantly surprised! I managed to not only do the 'roll up' without much struggle, I made it through the whole thing able to do all the exercises at nearly the 'advanced' level.

Except the pushups.

I know my upper body is my weak area - guess that's going to be the focus of next month's workouts.

I'm a woman on a mission...

with a plan and a vision.

That was my battle cry when I first started with Mary Kay. I heard it from several of the successful, fired up, awesome ladies at the top of the company so I figured if it was good enough for them, it was good enough for me.

Honestly, I didn't quite understand it. But it made those butterflies in my belly flutter, so I figured that was a good thing.

And I am saying it now with my belly all a flutter again. The difference this time is that I get it.

I understand the power of having a vision of where you want to go and the person you want to be when you get there. I understand the urgency that having goals with a deadline creates. I see the value in writing down my plan, reviewing it often and revising when needed to keep me focused, on track and always moving forward. I also see the beauty of always planning for bigger and better things.

Speaking of writing things down - I was looking at my goal poster this morning (What? It's posted on my mirror. Isn't yours? You _do_ have a goal poster, right?) and realized that my monthly goals are sorely out of date. Time to pull that bad boy out and update it!

So here's what's on the books for June and then looking into July.

June: Boot Camp!
My beautiful friend RAMONAZF is getting back into the exercise game by going back to the basics and doing the New You Bootcamp series and I'm joining her. Honestly I've been floundering a bit after the Sick hit and re-learning what it means to build my fitness level back up. I fought it and got frustrated, now I'm just hanging back, trying something new, and as my buddy Tom V says, "Being brilliant with the basics."

I'm sticking mainly with cardio and adding in the SP boot camp videos to learn new stuff that I can use later on. It's basic, it's uncomplicated, it's fun. That's all I need.

July: Hawt Camp!
Next month I'm gettin' back to the iron! The callouses on my hands are softening and I'm only vaguely remembering the annoyance of fighting for a weight bench. My musckles are still there, but not quite as prominent. I miss the sweat therapy that only comes from lifting really heavy things and I'm determined that, by Labour Day, I'll be workin' my purple striped bikini!

Lighten UP!
After all the angstiness that I've been going through of late, and havin' a 'Come to Veruca' talk (similar to a 'Come to Jesus' talk, only with cookies) I've been making a point of having fun. I lost touch with those small moments that brought me joy and I'm bringing them back into my life. I've also decided that I need to limit myself to only 1-2 rant-y type posts a week. I can still write it out so I have material for weeks when I don't have my rant on, but I was focusing way too much on the storm clouds brewing all around me instead of the rainbows they produced.

There's opportunities for learning and growth everywhere, I just don't need to be so cranky about it.

Scale holiday!
My other beautiful friend, MOCOHOLO, decided that her scale was going on holiday without her till July 1... and not wanting her scale to be lonely, I decided to send mine with it.

You see, 99.9% of the time, I'm at a highly evolved head space where I can use the scale as a tool to give me one measure of how I am doing. It's a number. It has no bearing on anything other than feed back of how my body is responding to the stimulus I'm throwing at it.

Right now is that 0.1% where the scale takes on a personality and dicates what my mood will be.
I hope they have a lovely trip trip together and send postcards!

And finally... Focus Focus Focus
I am currently 1/2 way through chapter 17 of 33 in my PT certification book. In about 6 weeks, there's a training seminar in Phoenix, and I want to be at or near the end of the book stuff before I go. So it means getting back into the nightly habit of at least 30-minutes of study time.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A must see

This is frackin' AWESOME!

I think I need to watch it. every. single. day.

(and once I figure out how, I'll embed the video. :)

I Am Stupendous Woman!

Able to lift heavy grocery bags in a single trip! Wields a chefs knife with surgical precision.

There! In the kitchen! It's a mom! It's Donna Reed!

No, it's Stupendous Woman!


I know, way too much coffee this morning. ;)

Seriously, though that's about how I felt getting ready for work this morning. Yesterday after getting back from the store (Those of you in the general South western part of the US - Sunflower/Newflower Farmers Market. Go there! Now!) I had several bag fulls of produce and other sorts of yummy and good for me items. By that evening, I had it portioned, cooked, chopped or other wise prepped for a week of good eatins.

As I was packing up my cooler for work I realized that, no matter how far I play in the Valley of Yellow & Red Flag Days, especially in the food arena, I'm never more than one shopping trip and one meal away from the Land of the Green Flags.

My parents were visiting at the first of the month, and we enjoyed several meals at the local restaurants - we have some AWESOME places to eat! After they left, I had a few leftovers but not much in the stellar nutritional award range. Then the hubby came home and we went out again... (OMG the mushroom soufflé! The Berry Mousse-y numminess! The wine!) and again... (The Fish & Chips! The Strongbow!) and then there were the leftover brownies and lemonly bundty cakey goodness.

It was fun while it lasted - sort of like a vacation from The Way Things Are. But after the shopping trip yesterday, I had a full body sigh of relief because I was getting back to 'Normal'. Goodies are gone, fridge is cleaned out of the science projects, garbage was taken out, and I have easy access to what I need to make good snackies & meals. There's fruit (my new love: white nectarines!) & veggies galore.

Happy dance!

Now to just get out of the habit for wanting dessert after every. single. meal.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Getting a Promotion!

It's not for me, though I did have a very nice annual eval at work this week.

This promotion is for Veruca & Stevie - my beloved inner 'brats' [no, I'm not schizophrenic and yes, I know they have medication for that ;)].

As a bit of history, I met Veruca first, even though she's the 'youngest' - perpetually around 8-10 years old - as part of concept launched by the FlyLady's mentor, Pam. Eventually she devoted an entire websiteto meeting and living with your inner brats. At the time I was just getting started with the FlyLady way of things, learning about my own perfectionism, surrounded by loads of physical and body clutter, no routines, no concept of proper spending, eating, or exercise habits, and basically having a mess of a life. There were definitely good things going on for me, but it was very unbalanced. That's when Veruca came into my life.

She named herself from the character in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory because really, that was her - she wanted everything done for her and she wanted what she wanted right NOW!

It took a while to really get a handle on her and figure out what made /her/ tick so I could start figuring out what made /me/ tick, but we eventually struck an accord. Sometimes I had to play the 'mean mom' saying 'NO!' a lot, but the best thing is that I learned how to play once in a while - my morning ritual of having coffee & doing makeup on the balcony was either her or Stevie's idea but it's been a part of my day that I look forward to every morning (I sometimes get the hubby to join me when he's home. :) Veruca also loves we get to do the morning walkies around the neighborhood when the weather cooperates because it means a lap around the park where there's always puppies!

As my relationship with Veruca grew, her 'older sister' started to emerge. Where Veruca is loud, demanding about wanting to be catered to and all about instant gratification, Stevie is much more quiet, tends towards brooding and being very 'emo' - she is a teenager after all. All of a sudden I had a new 'brat' to learn about, along with learning to live with a boy (my now hubby moved in around the same time... coincidence? I think not!)

Again, the 'three' of us started to work together, and honestly, if it weren't for Veruca & Stevie, I would have fallen off track so many times before the wedding that I would have needed a much larger dress than I did.

THEY were the ones who prodded me to get out of bed to work out (health benefits be damned - I wanted to look HAWT!) and once the eating better and exercise started making _me_ feel better, those habits were an easy transition. The 'brats' love to go grocery shopping and to cook - knowing that the house filling up with yummy smells is because of what *I* made, not from takeout, was a rush!

Unfortunately, there are times where I slip back into the role of 'mean mom'. I forget how they have helped me along the way, putting them on the shelf as it were because I get very wrapped up in the minutiae of what's going on around me. That's when they start to rebel.

Lately, they've been 'acting up' a LOT, and they have very good reason. There has been a lot of personal growth on my part, and from what I can see, they're improvements. I've been operating from the place of 'short term sacrifice, long term gain' but I've also forgotten something along the way: Fun.

Yesterday I commented about my 'brain' going back to The way Things Used to Be - that is a big part of it. I got wrapped up in the seriousness of the work, and left no room for play.

And left no room for Stevie & Veruca.

Well, that's changing.

I'm pleased to announce, that on this day do I, the "Queen Mum", present to you the newly elevated _Princess_ Veruca and _Princess_ Stevie.

Let's face it - they deserve to be treated like royalty for the lessons they've taught me. Besides, when it comes down to it, what girl doesn't want a tiara?! (and all three of us are total suckers for the Princess Diaries movies!)

To them I promise to be ever mindful of their contributions and the wisdom they can impart into my life. I will also keep these thoughts in mind at all time, and especially when life becomes WAAAAY too serious:

1. Everything can be a game.
2. Don't walk when you can run.
3. If you don't like it, don't eat it.
4. Laughter feels good.
5. Playtime is important.
6. The world should be full of color!
7. It's always more fun with friends around.
8. Adventures are found outside, not inside.
9. It's important to use your imagination. (I had to leave the extras on this one! You can be Captain Fantastic or Stupendous Woman [YAY! Stupendous Woman!] any time you want. Give yourself permission to believe in your own super powers and let your mind take you wherever it wants to go.)
10. Anything is possible.
11. You have your whole life ahead of you. Here's your chance to do it right.

("11 Things Children Can Teach You About Weight Loss")

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Lessons learned

All things in moderation... even moderation.

You see, I had a Very Bad Day recently. There wasn't any one thing or series of events that happened - like the car blew up and the house fell down. It was more like juggling and all the balls came crashing down at once.

Let me back up a little.

As many of you reading have noticed, I've been going through a LOT the past few months. It's all been for the greater good and have seen a lot of progress from it.

But it was a LOT to deal with, and yesterday, my mind, body and soul decided to say "Sc#*w you and the horse you rode in on. We've had it!"

Similar to juggling, things were going really well for a while, I was in a zone, I was focused, and I was making great strides - growing, stretching, implementing new habits, unlearning old ones, etc. Then I slipped - probably about the time I got sick. Either way, as generally happens when changes happen - voluntary or not - I got stressed about everything and the the mind started to recall The way Things Used to Be, and did what it could to get back to that place - it's "default" setting if you will.

That's where the struggle really started.

I started getting resentful of all the things I was doing (hence how Veruca escaped the other day), then I started rebelling - going from one extreme of 'abundance' (why /can't/ I have dessert after every. single. meal?!?!? But I /want/ to spend money on this random book that I've never heard of but have to have. Right now!) to other extreme of restricting/scarcity - declutter EVERYTHING! No spending at! all! No goodies for me!

Ok, that last bit isn't a bad thing, but it was on the verge of exercise and eating healthy becoming a punishment rather than something I was doing for the greater good.

The straw bale that broke the proverbial camel came during a conversation with the hubby. He was in a similar all or nothing mood but I was in the 'abundance' phase and he was in the 'restriction' phase.

It wasn't pretty.

But I needed it. I got it out of my system and got a little distance on the situation and saw the cause of the whole issue.

The 'slip' happened and I got scared. That fear triggered doubt and I got desperate. Even though I'd eased into the behaviors before, I wanted to get back to where I was right this second!

I know that changes and efforts borne out of desperation are short lived at best, and damaging to the body and mind at worst.

It brought out my perfectionist tendencies, my all-or-nothing thinking, and worst of all, I was seeing the bad in everything, especially in myself.

But I got over it... mostly. There's still the residual uneasiness that's lingering like a hangover (oh wait, that's the brownies! LOL!), and the lesson looming over me of practicing moderation in all things... even moderation: Change is difficult under the best situations but I need to take a break when I need it, loosen the reigns once in a while, tighten them the rest of the time.

Overall I will learn to rise every day to the challenges presented to me, and not being afraid to let myself shine (thanks for that reminder, Ramona! ;)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Inmates running the asylum

Hi all! It's Veruca!

Stevie & I have been keeping pretty quiet of late, keeping out of mom's way since she's been on a mission... (have you seen her?! She's looking HAWT!) but today mom decided to have one of Glamourgirl-9's Testy Tuesdays and we saw our chance to take over!

We're taking turns keeping her brain rather busy and hopefully she'll stay distracted so that when we can get home, we can raid the yummy brownies that grandma made while she's visiting!

Mom will probably be back tomorrow, till then, we're enjoying our freedom for all it's worth.

Monday, June 1, 2009

"The company you keep"

This was posted in one of my groups and wanted to share.

"Tell me who your best friends are, and I will tell you who you are. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights. "A mirror reflects a man's face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses." The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with who you closely associate-for the good and the bad.

The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with the negative thinking and negative acting people.

As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don't help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don't increase you will eventually decrease you. Consider this: Never receive counsel from unproductive people.

Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution. Because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person".

Don't follow anyone who's not going anywhere. With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. It Is Better To Be Alone, Than In The Wrong Company."

- Nelson Mandela


Think about the people you spend most of your time with - how do you feel after you've spent an hour with them? Do you feel like taking a nap or taking on the world?

There are people in your life, usually those closest to you, who may want the best for you, but inadvertently make you doubt your dreams. You may want to be a figure competitor, run a marathon, climb a mountain, start your own business, or even just lose those last 10-15 pounds... and yet there will be people who won't understand the passion in your heart, only the pain of their current situation.

They'll tell you it's ok not to work that hard, to be careful not to get hurt, don't put yourself out there, you're fine the way you are; why would you want to (fill in the blank.)

They are speaking from a place of love for you, but also from fear of change. Heck, I probably told myself a lot of the same things along the way... after all, Who am *I* to lift this really heavy weight? Who do I think I am to want to run when there's no wild animal chasing me?

But there are people in my life that answered me: Who are you _not_ to be?

These are the people I call when I'm down. These are the ones that call me or email me out of the blue, but it's at a time when I need it the most. These are the folks who fortify my life.

There have been people who have passed in and out of my life, and some that I have shown the door to. I appreciate everyone who has graced my life and have learned lessons from everyone, and I know there I still have a lot to learn from those who have stuck around.

They help me stretch, help me grow, help me through the levels of discomfort that I'm welcoming in my life. They help me realize that without pain, there is no gain. (for more on that, an AWESOME article by Tom V.)