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?


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.


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 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.

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.


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

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

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

P.S. Here is the Link I wanted you to see - 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.


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
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!"


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...


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:

I fell in love with 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.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Post-sugar binge: Recovery Day 2

Binge: -noun 1. a period or bout, usually brief, of excessive indulgence, as in eating, drinking alcoholic beverages, etc.; spree.
-verb (used without object) 2. to have a binge
Synonyms: 1. bender, blast, jag

I know, it totally brings to mind an image of me strapping on a feedbag of halloween candy, chasing it with a bottle of wine and laying prone in the corner, covered in chocolate.

Ok, so honestly, it wasn't /that/ bad.

And really, candy and alcohol only played a small part in it.

The hubby and I went to a party at a friends on Saturday and had a fantastic time! Hadn't seen these friends in a while, let alone with the hubby, so it was a time to be doubly celebrated.

And celebrate we did! With cookies and cake and pizza and bread and punch and a few sips off my hubby's nummy Pumpkin Ale (seriously, was tasty!)

All sorts of happy carby goodies that make the blood sugar go whee, and whoo, and wuh-oh ::crash::

The next morning I was regretting the celebration worse than if I had downed a whole bottle of ta-kill-ya myself (not that I know what that's like... at all... really. ::whistles innocently:: OK! It was only a couple of shots a looong time ago.)

I wasn't bemoaning the nutritional content perse, just the fact that my happily stable up to that point body was wondering what it had done to deserve such treatment. I've been feeding it tasty veggies, nummy proteiny goodness and the bountiful goodness of whole grains.

It's not to say that I don't enjoy the occasional pizza, cookie or slice of cake - I do! Just not all at one sitting. LOL!

Oof! I seriously had a hangover.

It was beautiful thing!

Sorry, you scratching your head over that one?

It reinforced to me how much food really does effect me, and how I've really switched from food as fun to food as fuel.

Not that food = fuel has to be some bland, tasteless concoction that can't be enjoyed. Trust me, I have seriously good eats every day and enjoy it. The difference is that the tasty is also nutrient rich. It fills my body and soul as well as my belly.

The other stuff... just filled the belly while I was enjoying the company of my friends.

Sunday, we went to a football game in Phoenix, and while I wasn't really hungry that day, I knew I needed to eat. We stopped at a McD's/convenience store on the way to rest and refuel, and I found myself wandering in the snacky/sweets aisle.

What was interesting to me was the internal struggle that was going on the next day. The indulgence lead me to discover the proverbial chink in my armour. It was like continually touching a burner to see if it was still flaming hot - yep, still hot. Yep, still burns me. Yep still hot. Yep, still burns me. Yep... STOP TOUCHING IT! LOL!

I saw some Oreos and the first thought was, "Hmm... oreos... sounds good... UGH OMG NO! NO! NO! NO MORE SUGAR!"

Then the Reeses (cuz it has my 2 favorite food groups: peanut butter & chocolate): "Hmm... Reeses... sounds good... UGH OMG NO! NO! NO! NO MORE SUGAR!"

Then to the slightly healthier but full of additives cheese/meat/cracker snacks: "Hmm... cheesy meat... sounds good... UGH OMG NO! NO! NO! NO MORE junk!!"

I have said before that, one you've really made a life style change, it's great to have a moment/day where you go back to your 'old ways' as a reminder of why you made the change in the first place.

For me, it brought out a weakness that I hadn't been aware of before. I've always known that, when traveling or when I have a major disruption to my routine, I flounder, but still make the best choices I can to keep feeling the best I can. I was really surprised at how quickly the "I'm bored/hungry, get junk food because it's easier" behavior re-emerged after a very long hiatus.

It also reminded me that every divergence from my regular path is an opportunity. I learn something of myself. I test my own boundaries (or have them tested for me). My chosen path is reinforced, or I may recognize that it's time for a change.

No matter what, I come out the other side stronger, and the recovery process is shorter each time.