Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope everybody is having a wonderful holiday season!

This past year brought me great joy, sadness, love, and perhaps even hardship. It was a year in which I had many “firsts” – my first love; my first heartbreak; my first motorcycle ride; first time eating venison, alligator, frog legs, and crawfish; first time shooting a gun; jogging my first two miles straight; my first over water air flight; my first time snorkeling; my first catamaran ride; and lastly, my first 10K race. Work has been overwhelmingly busy; since September, I have worked an extra 80 hours. This is nice because I know get to use it as comp time, but who knows when I’ll be able to take it! We have awarded our contract to a new vendor this year, so instead of heading to warm, sunny Tucson, Arizona in January/February each year, I will now be heading to Boise, Idaho! Yeah potatoes!

Speaking of travel, I did a lot of it this year:

Two trips to Tucson, Arizona (January and August): On one of these trips I met a minor league baseball player for the Arizona Diamondbacks who is rehabilitating an arm injury. We still keep in touch occasionally. I also stayed an extra day on my trip in August and visited two national parks – even took a run in the desert to help prepare for the Human Race that was held in Austin a couple weeks later! Both the run in the desert and seeing the different wildlife and the Human Race are things I will never forget.

Orlando, Florida: Work brought me to sunny Florida for a conference. My teammate and friend, Rebecca, came along and we found some extra time to hit Universal Studios. I forgot how fun Orlando was!

Atlanta, Georgia: Since the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are located here, I tend to get to go here a lot. I was invited (such a privilege!) to present some findings at a national conference in August. I stayed a few extra days and saw some sites I had not seen before and got to meet a friend of the family (my third cousin’s wife’s sister, got that?).

Roswell, New Mexico: Becky (my sister) did a one month rotation in New Mexico for work, so I took it as an opportunity to get to see her. In one weekend, we went to a casino (we both won!), Carlsbad Caverns, and the White Sands National Monument. Of course we went to the alien museum in Roswell as well! Who would miss that? I also got to experience night life in Roswell – that was a hoot! Lots of cowboys!

Hawaii: A good friend of Becky’s was getting married on the island of Kauai, and she asked me if I wanted to join her in a trip to Hawaii. Of course I went! We spent seven days on Kauai, a small, very nature-based island. We got to hike a canyon, snorkel, and ride on a catamaran around the Na Pali coast. I would like to go back to hike the Na Pali coast next time. After Kauai, we island hopped and went to Honolulu for four days. We went to Sunset Beach, the Dole Plantation, and the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Becky had been to Honolulu before a few years ago for the Pro-Bowl, but since I had never seen Pearl Harbor, she went back with me. I still miss my time in Hawaii!

San Diego, California: We had about five papers accepted for presentations at the largest public health conference, so I ended up going to San Diego to present. I didn’t get a lot of down time while there because I was networking, but since my hotel was a mile from the conference, I got a lot of walking in! They also had a great running path by the bay that I did most mornings.

New Orleans, Louisiana: My ex-boyfriend and I decided to make a long weekend of Veteran’s Day and drive out to New Orleans. We stayed in a cute bed & breakfast a couple miles from Bourbon Street, but right on the Street Car line. The casino took my money; nothing new there! They call Las Vegas the City of Sin, but honestly, I think everybody has that wrong because for me, New Orleans is definitely Sin City. New Orleans was a good trip, but I do have to say, it has definitely not recovered from the hurricanes back in 2005. There are still so many vacant buildings for businesses and apartments. Hurricanes Rita and Katrina definitely left their mark in Louisiana.

With all the traveling I did, I lost focus of a lot of goals in my life in which I am now re-committing to:
1. Continue my weight loss efforts – I lost only about 10 pounds this past year, time to keep moving.
2. Continue to blog about my weight loss efforts and my life.
3. Start volunteering at the homeless shelter (again) and the German Shepherd Rescue Mission.
4. I am finally ready to buy a new car. I’m still driving the first car I ever possessed and have had it since 2001 (it’s a 1997 Geo Prizm).
5. With the economy the way it is, I hope to buy a condo this year.
6. Look at graduate schools in the area and start pursuing my doctorate beginning Spring 2010. I really want to be a professor, so this is something I need to do to get there.

So that sums up my year! I hope you are doing well and I’m wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year! I'll be back full swing in the New Year!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Values & Respect

Standing up for one's values, that's what it's all about. I stand by my beliefs, thoughts, and values and push back all the time at work. I'm not going to sacrifice who I am for somebody or something else, but this is only true for work. Some say that's the hardest area to stay true to your values, but I think it's different for everybody. I don't always stay true to myself in my day-to-day life; I sacrifice my values all the time without even realizing it. This is going to change; I'm going to work on this from this day forward.

How did I start thinking about this? My trainer and I had a conversation today that truly made me realize his commitment and dedication to the field - the field of changing lives. I don't want to go into great detail about it because it's not really my place to do so, but I respect him even more than I did before. He has humbled me beyond words (almost). Sometimes you just have to stand up in what you believe in, and I've forgotten what it's like to stand up for myself in the world around me. I have a voice and it needs to be heard.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

As if...

It seems like forever ago...but it was probably 9-12 months ago when Matt (my trainer) and I were running one (0.1 mile), two (0.2 mile), three (0.3 mile) laps around the track...him always encouraging me to push myself to go faster and be better. One of those days, he made a comment, "Imagine this. You're running 50 second laps now. Some day, for warm up, you'll be running a mile." (He requires me to do a 10 minute warm up before training, so in essence, doing a 10 minute mile.) I rolled my eyes at him and probably said, "As if."

Again, Matt has proven me wrong. I am now running a mile for warm up, but it's not a 10 minute mile, rather it's a 13 minute mile. I guess I've come a long way; I just wish I've had a better attitude about it.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

What gives...

I'm still slightly frustrated with something that occurred a couple of days ago. I was in San Diego for work, and three out of the five days, I went for a run in the morning along the bay. It's a rather nice run, to be honest, and would recommend it to anybody who's going to be in downtown San Diego. Anyway, while on this run, I pass an older guy, probably in his 40's, and he exclaims, "Way to go!" ... Way to go? Say what? A fat person can't be up that early in the morning for a jog? I'm not sure why this simple statement has bothered me so much... Maybe it's because I'm jogging a mile regularly and slowly increasing it to two miles this month. Maybe I'm pissed off because I've seen some great changes in myself lately...maybe not weight-wise (still not losing the weight I gained over my Hawaii trip), but I feel like I'm making great strides physically.

I ask myself if I'd be just as pissed off if it came from a fat person like myself; the answer would be no. I felt like he was judging, not encouraging, and he had no place to do so.

That's my vent for the week.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hawaii

I was in Hawaii for 11 days and had a blast. Below is a current picture of me, I used to never be able to do this angle because of my double chin, guess that's going away!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Nike+ Human Race

I had been meaning to blog about the Nike+ Human Race for quite some time now, but my traveling schedule was overwhelming, between being in Tucson for about week, in Austin a week, in Atlanta for a week, in Austin two weeks, and finally in Hawaii for two weeks. I'm catching up now on it!


This race absolutely AMAZING! It was incredible seeing everybody wearing the same color running around corners and up and down hills. The concert afterwards wasn't too shabby either. Our start time in Austin was 6:30 pm the day before Labor Day. Since I knew this, I started training outdoors whenever I could because I knew the heat would play a huge factor for me. In my outdoor training jogs/walks, I was doing a 16.6 minute mile after work in 95+ degree heat. Usually with a morning start time, my goal has always been a 15 minute mile, but with the heat, I changed it to a 16 minute mile. My average race day? 15.9 minute mile! Here were my times:

First 2.5K: 9 minutes, 30 seconds / km
Second 2.5K: 10 minutes, 20 seconds / km
Third 2.5K: 10 minutes, 02 seconds / km
Fourth 2.5K: 9 minutes, 45 seconds / km

It was my first chipped time event, so no guessing this time! A few other interesting facts about my race:

1. I came in 215,394th worldwide.
2. I came in 9,790th in Austin.
3. I came in 73,957th among women runners worldwide.
4. I came in 4,867th among women runners in Austin.

So who's up for it next year? :)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Nike+ Human Race

The Nike+ Human Race is exactly that, a human race for the human race. Think about it, the concept is fantastic: People uniting for fitness. In 25 cities across the world, everybody will be running a 10K at the same time on August 31, 2008. How cool does that sound? Well guess what, even if there is not a 10K race in a city near you, you can still participate at home!

My start time in Austin, Texas is 6:30pm , and it will no doubt be a hot one! But I am still going to run as much as I can of it. I ran a mile today on the treadmill (a first) in 12:10, my fastest time yet (I've jogged a mile before in races). The cost is minimal for a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and fun (there's a concert afterwards). I'm super excited!

Friends who are in town, I'll be sending out an e-mail to see if anybody may interested in joining me. Yawhoooooo!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Motivated...

You wouldn't think that I was motivated by the fact that I skipped the gym today, BUT...I sure did go shopping, and I am SUPER stoked! Depending on the cut or style of the clothing, I can now shop at regular stores. Holy crap, did I nearly poop my pants when I tried something on at Bass today and it fit. IT FIT. I know, I know, some store clothing lines run a little big, but I'm glad I decided to try it on anyway, something I normally wouldn't even attempt. The only frustrating thing is that I'm not losing the weight proportionately, so there are many things that just look hilarious on me. I'll take pictures next time...if they allow photography in the dressing rooms. Do you think they'd care?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wednesday Weigh-In: 7/30/08

Weight Statistics
Starting Weight (1/1/05): 366.00
Weight Started with Matt (5/14/07): 342.00
Current Weight (7/30/08): 282.50
Weight Loss To Date: 83.50 lbs
% Body Weight Loss: 22.8%


Measurement Statistics
Starting Total Inches (10/26/06): 258.25
Total Inches Started with Matt (5/14/07): 247.50
Current Total Inches (7/30/08): 219.25
Total Inches Lost To Date: 39.00 in


The FANTASTIC
I'm back on track! I've lost 10.5 lbs in the past 3.5 weeks!
I feel like a girl, I can cross my legs!
I'm going to Hawaii! It'll be my first real vacation since I started working 4.5 years ago!

The Good
I'm almost down another size!
I'm pretty sure I'll be doing the Nike+ Human Race 10K on August 31st. I'll blog about this later.

The Bad
I'm exhausted, and I feel like I don't have a life again, but I'm making it work.
I'm still not getting enough calcium, I think I'm going to have to supplement. I hate supplements and whole-heartedly believe you should get all your vitamins and minerals through diet alone.

The Ugly
The chocolate and salt cravings have been unreal lately. I'm unsure about the salt thing, but if your body craves something, you usually need something that it offers.
WORK........

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Walking on a Tight Rope

Most tight rope walkers have a net below them just in case they fall; I'm not sure if mine has one installed yet or not. I have been tip-toeing along this line for too many months, and I think I have gained my balance again, finally. Just because I didn't plunge to my death at any point these past five or six months, it doesn't mean I didn't get hurt along the way.

So where am I going with this post? I have no idea. I'm just going to let my thoughts and feelings flow at this time and let them be.

I met an incredible guy this past week and we went out on Friday for sushi. He didn't want to flake out on me, so he drove up from San Antonio for a two hour dinner just to turn around and go back to San Antonio, talk about sweet. This guy, I have always felt since we met, is way out of my league: funny, sweet, gentle, genuine, kind, open, and completely gorgeous (he was a model and had acting parts on TV shows). He is the epitome of what I desire in a guy, but I doubt I am what he's looking for...physically anyway. This is the second guy in six months in which I have wow-ed by my personality, but they cannot help but see the fat me; it just hurts, especially since I've lost so much weight already. I just want to find a guy who is willing to transform with me. What even hurts more is that I'm still friends with the first guy, and who knows if I'll be friends with this second one. I guess friends is better than nothing, right?

It hurts so much that I almost gave up on humanity, and in doing so, I almost gave up on myself. Saturday, I nearly skipped out on the gym and re-entered my old destructive behavior patterns of binge eating. If I'm not going to be liked now, why bother doing what I've been doing? So yes, I probably did eat a little more than expected, but overall, I stayed on my tight rope. I feel like I can say I broke away from my emotional eating habits this weekend. Yes, I was hurt (and who knows, maybe he will call), but I didn't turn to food in the process. Talk about a Non-Scale Victory.

Anyway, you'll be seeing more of me in the upcoming days and weeks. I'm beginning to re-focus my energy on me and I'm going to start making the guys do a little work to get to know me. I'm worth more than what guys have been giving me, much more.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Difference Between Co-Dependence and Reliability

Today as I swallowed the lump that had formed in my throat and fought the tears, I couldn't help but think about the transitions that have been occurring in my life. I have always been a very independent woman, and I have always hated relying on other people because I had these high expectations. Slowly, these barriers have been broken since I moved to Austin, and I actually do not mind relying on the friends I have established. But today, after being severely disappointed by the one person I have always trusted and relied on, I realized that I didn't just rely on him, but I was nearly being co-dependent. Me? Co-dependent? What? This is truly uncharted territory for me.

I broke into tears this morning not because I was upset with him (technically I was...but let's look at the bigger picture), but because I feel like I've been trying so hard and I'm still stuck at this same dang weight. Trying and doing, though, are two separate things. "I tried my best" and "I did my best" are very different. Trying is almost like saying that you're ready to propel into action, but you haven't quite decided to actually do it. I have been trying to do a lot of things, but haven't quite done them to the best of my ability.

Where did I go wrong? Why can't I rely on myself and my decision-making skills anymore? How do I find that perfect medium of dependence and independence?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Quotes of Inspiration

Back in January, I met a guy. No, no, no, nothing ever really happened, but upon meeting him, I knew he was different. Anyway...there were a few quotes on his facebook page that made me feel better...inspired me.

Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don't, and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance take it, if it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it' be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone, and as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear our presence automatically liberates others.

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossilbe is not a declaration. Its a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Walking Maps

My Walking Maps is a really cool website in which you can track your walking/running routes around town! Check it out, it's super exciting! I mapped the 10K from this past weekend. Google sometimes messes up on this computer, so hopefully you can see the path clearly...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Race Day: Texas Round-Up

I participated in the Texas Round-Up 10K yesterday morning, and I definitely have a few thoughts...

1. The course was more difficult and challenging than the Capitol 10K.
2. The Capitol 10K had more "cheer" support along the way.
3. The Capitol 10K had more music along the course; although the Texas Round-Up did have more music at the end of the course (I believe).
4. We got to see and hear the governor at the Texas Round-Up. I loved hearing how passionate he is about fitness and health.

I'm not going to lie, I found this 10K extremely challenging for a couple of reasons. First, I lacked a good night's rest the night before, I won't dive into details, but I had a blast Friday night! Secondly, it was humid. Thirdly, the course was tougher!

My accomplishments:
1. My first mile was faster than the 5K (but this first mile was slightly downhill compared to the other one). At the 5K, I did it in 14:15, this time, 13:20.
2. My overall two mile was faster than the 5K. At the 5K, I did it in 30:30, this time, 30 minutes even (maybe a bit quicker than that). Now I do have to say, the second mile was really slow for me, but it was continuously uphill, so the fact that I was till ahead of pace was great!
3. I hit the 5K marker at about the same time as the last race.
4. I finished the race in 1:40:00, pretty much on the nose. Much slower than the first 10K when I was chasing Matt (he timed us at 82ish minutes, I timed us at 93ish minutes), but there are several reasons why. The course was much more hilly, and I have not been training for hills as big as these. In addition, due to the hills, my heart rate got into a range in which I was not comfortable with, so I had to slow down a few times. On the hills, if I was jogging, it was in the 85-90% of my maximum heart rate, which is never the case when I'm at the gym.

I'm not sure when my next race will be, it may be the Lone Star 5000 mid-May...we'll see!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Busy weekend...

I had a really busy weekend, but had so much fun!!!

I had a potluck dinner with a few good friends on Friday night. My friends just built their house, so they have a number of projects they are still working on. I asked them if they need any help, or would like any, and they accepted. They mentioned that they may let me work with the jackhammer. Super exciting if I can! I like big machines!










On Saturday night, I went with my two Michigan buds to my first Round Rock Express game. The Round Rock Express is the Triple A club for the Houston Astros. Even though the Express lost, it was a great game and a lot of fun. Our section actually won a prize! We're going to plan another outing on a Friday night and take over a whole section. Oh yeah, for those who don't follow sports, this is baseball! :) Yee-haw!

The Oasis is known for its sunsets; and yes, the picture to the right is just one view of Lake Travis from the Oasis. This restaurant and bar is a must-see (in the top 10) if you ever come to Austin. I've always wanted to take a salsa dance lesson, but have never had a partner to go with, and Juston didn't know about this sweet spot, so we decided to go to the Oasis for Sunday evening. I can't wait to go salsa dancing again!

I did learn one big thing from this weekend; I'm a pretty good leader, not a great follower (especially in dancing). Sometimes, just sometimes, I should be a better follower than leader. Hmmmmm...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Challenges...

I tend to meet challenges from friends head on, as if I have to prove to them I can do it. I'm not sure why I always felt like I needed to prove myself, but I have.

My trainer, has on occasion, "challenged" me to a few different things. About a month ago, I won $5 for completing my last set of jumps, and last week...well, I won a sort of different challenge.

Matt has this habit of making me do something so much, I end up hating it. Something I hated one month can be easily replaced with something else. For the longest time, I hated shoulder presses because he made me do them ALL the time. I would groan and moan every time he made me do them. Well, a few months ago, this was replaced with girl pushups, we started out small, three sets of 10, then three sets of 12, three sets of 15, and then last week three sets of 16. I was PMSing pretty bad last Wednesday and put up a stink about doing them, so he made me a challenge: If I could do one real pushup, I wouldn't have to do three sets of 16 girl pushups. I quickly made the deal. I got down on the ground and did a single pushup. He said a deal was a deal, and we walked the track and did my second favorite thing in the world (sarcasm): shoulder presses. We got back to the mat, and Matt says, "A deal is a deal, you won't be doing three sets of 16 of girl pushups, I want three sets of 10 of the real thing." My mouth dropped, and I slipped under my breath, "Jerk!" He kept his end of the deal, now I had to keep mine. I didn't get three sets of 10 of real pushups in (muscles fatigued), but it was a start. Next time I won't open my big mouth, OR...only accept a challenge after I really think about the aftermath. :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Recipe of the Week: 4/14/08

Cooking Light - March 2008 Issue

Mango and Black Bean Salad (6 servings)

Ingredients:
1.5 cups chopped peeled ripe mango
1.0 cups thinly sliced green onions
0.5 cups cooked wild or brown rice (If you are short for time, a great substitute is whole grain couscous.)
3.0 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2.0 tablespoons roasted tomatillo or fresh salsa
2.0 tablespoons fresh lime juice (I'm not a fan of lime, so I cut this in half.)
2.0 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil (I usually exclude this.)
0.75 teaspoon salt
0.25 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1.0 (15-ounce) can organic no-salt added black beans, rinsed and drained (I don't do organic or no-salt, most of the sodium is removed when you rinse.)

Directions
1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Toss gently to mix.

*Bonus idea (from the kitchen of Michelle): add cooked chicken to make a full meal!*

Nutrition (1 serving - 0.67 cup)
Calories: 167 (48.6 calories from fat)
Total Fat: 5.4g
Saturated Fat: 0.7g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 226mg
Total Carbohydrate: 25.5g
Dietary Fiber: 5.5g
Protein: 5.2g

Sunday, April 13, 2008

First Non-Scale Victory: Race Day

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Today I had to give myself my FIRST Non-Scale Victory (NSV)! I wanted it to be ultra-special, and that it is!

I participated in the Schlotzky's 5K Bun Run '08 this morning. I wasn't going to do another race until the 10K at the end of April, but I got talked into it, only for her to have to cancel last minute, life happens. So I decided to do it on my own anyway, and had a blast! Matt (my trainer) wanted me to run the whole thing; I told him I would try, but after waking up to a slightly sore knee, I knew I had to alter that goal. My new goal was to jog a mile, walk a mile, jog the last 1.1 miles. (For those who don't know, a 5K is 3.1 miles, a 10K is 6.2 miles.) This, of course, would be a challenge all on its own because the furthest I have ever jogged on the treadmill was 0.6 miles straight. I also planned it strategically because the "hill of death" (as I would like to call it) was in that second mile, and I knew I'd have to walk up that anyway...

Seeing that we are celebrating my first official NSV, one would assume that I met my goal. In fact, I creamed it! I jogged the first mile with hesitancy, but made it. Once I got into my rhythm, it was quite easy not to stop. I walked after the first "watering hole" which was at 1.1 miles, picked up my jog again until I hit hill #1, which is followed by a nice downward slope (runs pretty nice), with the hill of death just as you round that corner onto 15th street. The hill of death kicked my butt during the Capitol 10K a couple weeks ago, but I knew about it and was ready for it! Overall, I estimate that I jogged 2.6 miles (may be a conservative estimate). So again, here's that fun math stuff; this time I actually remembered to wear my watch:

Mile 1: 14:15 minutes
Mile 2: 16:15 minutes (clock read 30:30)
Mile 3: 15:00 minutes (clock read 45:30)
Finish: 01:30 minutes (clock read 47:00)

Originally I wanted to do it in 42 minutes, after the first mile I said, nope, should be 45 minutes... Turned out to be 47 minutes, but that's okay! I jogged for at least 40 minutes of this thing, and dammit, that's something I'm going to be proud of because the most I ever jogged on the treadmill in intervals was 16 minutes (averaged 4.5mph).

That's my FIRST NSV... Actually, it should be my second because I proved Matt wrong at the gym last week. Now that's a funny story I'm going to have share very soon...

And for those of you who are interested in seeing how wet and miserable I looked during the Capitol 10K a couple weeks ago, click here. I'm in the green tank top. My favorite photograph, by far, is the second one, where I'm racing to the finish line while Matt's high-fiving another friend's success.

Friday, April 11, 2008

What is Your Exercise Personality?

I love quizzes; I like to test them out to determine if they're accurate reflections of who I am. Therefore, I have deemed Friday to be "Quiz Friday."

What is Your Exercise Personality?
Find out which type of workout best suits your personality.

I took the quiz, and here's what they tell me:

Your Personality Type: INSPIRATIONAL
You're the type who catalyzes other people into action. You know how to say all the right things, which is why people gravitate toward you, tell you their problems, and look to you for inspiration. You're creative and are concerned about achieving personal growth.

Your Exercise Rx:
Dual-purpose exercise. To you, working out is engaging only when it's about more than just your body. You are more apt to enjoy it if it's about being part of a community or about exploring your inner self. To enhance your spiritual side, try listening to music to set the mood for a peaceful workout.

Best Choices:
Softball
Volleyball
Soccer
Dance classes
Water aerobics
Martial arts
Trail running
Swimming
Tai chi

Leisure Activities:
Your first priority is to work regular exercise into your week. But also think about using your leisure time to burn off a few extra calories. Here are some extracurricular activities for your personality type:

nature walks
yoga

Obstacles:
Different personalities don't just take to different activities; they have to contend with different obstacles too. Here's what you might find in your path, as well as ways to get around it:

Because you may often engage in activities that involve instructors or coaches, you run the risk of being turned off by corrections or criticism aimed at you--or anyone else in your group.

Solution: Remind yourself that the teacher or coach is only trying to help you; if that doesn't work, look for a class or team that focuses more on teamwork or a teacher or coach whose style you prefer.

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How did the quiz stack up for me? I LOVE nature walks, and once I get the running down, I can't wait to start doing some trail running around Austin. Out of my best choices I really only enjoy volleyball and swimming, but maybe I should try out a few classes at the gym. Kellen (a trainer and cycling class instructor) thinks I may enjoy his cycling class. Only if I have the guts to do it.

I do gravitate to the "inner self" part of working out. Not only am I changing physically, I am also changing mentally too. I just have to overcome my mental flaws. I loathe being criticized, and I think that's where Matt and I have butted heads lately. BUT, in all fairness, I have deserved the criticism.

So I'm curious, what's your exercise personality? Either leave a comment or write a blog about it (just let know you did!)! :)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Going Green: The Daily Green

The Daily Green: The Consumer's Guide to the Green Revolution

Tip of the Day (by Brian Clark Howard):

Keeping your refrigerator full, but not to the point of overstuffing, will allow it to run at max capacity. To help retain cold temperatures when the fridge and freezer are less full, place glass or ceramic pitchers of water in their compartments. Like using ice in a picnic cooler, this will insulate the interior and keep it cold.

Refrigerators and freezers account for about a sixth of all electricity use in a typical American home, and they use more electricity than any other single household appliance.

Over- or under-crowding makes the fridge work harder to maintain its optimal internal temp (37 degrees F).


Also check out the website for other cool features! :)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Recipe of the Week: 4/7/08

I just tried the following recipe this week - EXCELLENT! I split it into 5 meals so that I could keep it in my per meal calorie range (300 calories per meal). Enjoy!

Recipes inspired by The Best Life Diet - Bob Greene

Mediterranean Chicken and Pasta (4 servings)
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Start to Finish: 35 minutes

Ingredients:
2 cups uncooked multigrain/whole wheat penne pasta (6 oz)
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 package (8 oz) sliced fresh mushrooms (3 cups)
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes halved
2 medium green onions, sliced (2 tbsp)
0.25 cup chopped fresh or 2 tsp dried basil leaves
0.25 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 tsp cornstarch
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
0.5 cup crumbled feta cheese (2 oz) (I use the reduced fat kind.)


Directions
1. Cook pasta without salt as directed on package, adding broccoli during last three minutes of cooking time; drain. (My modification: To keep the nutrients from the broccoli, I actually combined the broccoli with the mushrooms in step 3.)
2. Meanwhile, in 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until chicken is no longer pink in center. Remove from skillet. (I actually kept it in.)
3. Increase heat to medium-high. In same skillet, cook and stir mushrooms (broccoli) and garlic 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, onions, basil and pepper flakes; cook and stir 1 minute longer.
4. In 2-cup glass measuring cup, mix cornstarch and broth until smooth. Add to vegetable mixture in skillet. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until sauce is thickened and bubbly. Stir in pasta mixture and chicken; cook and stir until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with cheese.


Nutrition (1 serving)
Calories: 420 (100 calories from fat)
Total Fat: 11g
Saturated Fat: 4g
Cholesterol: 80mg
Sodium: 380mg
Total Carbohydrate: 42g
Dietary Fiber: 6g
Protein: 37g

% Daily Value
Vitamin A: 20%
Vitamin C: 20%
Calcium: 15%
Iron: 20%

Exchanges
2 Starch, 0.5 Other Carbohydrates, 1 Vegetable, 4 Very Lean Meat, 1.5 Fat

Sunday, April 06, 2008

How to Keep Going When You Feel Like Stopping

Last week I got extremely frustrated at the gym. On Tuesday, I was frustrated because no matter what I did, I couldn't get my heart rate to stay in its target zone. I used to be able to go hard for a few minutes, then go "lighter" and keep my heart rate up. Now, it drops quickly, so that I constantly have to "push hard." Then, on Wednesday, Matt and I had a small spat...we were both frustrated with one another. Him because we're not seeing results, me...well everything else. I felt like he wasn't listening.

I received the following article in my inbox on April 3rd, and it helped.

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Hitting That Big Old Wall: How to Keep Going When You Feel Like Stopping
By: Julie Isphording, Olympic Marathoner (Found on SparkPeople)

Just about everyone has heard of the "Wall," as in "hitting the wall." And lots of us - in running and in life - have run straight into it. Head on.

A wall is the point in a race (or in life) where you're used up. You're officially done. You feel as if you are draining away into a little puddle on the ground. Your legs don't respond to the word "go." You vow never to do this again.

Although I hope you never have a wall get between you and a goal, here are some tricks I've learned from running that can help you get over your own wall when it's in the way:

Keep going regardless
Promise yourself that, no matter what, you will press on, even if you are walking, crawling, or puttering. In the Boston Marathon in 1993, I was running so slowly to the finish that I felt like I was actually going backwards. Stay on your feet. Eyes straight ahead. Move.

Don't think
Just go. Do not dwell on how overwhelmingly awful you feel. Focus on the cheering crowds, your friends and family waiting at the finish, the cool water, the trees... anything.

Try bribery
Tell yourself, "Self, when I get done with this, I'm going to buy you a new car, a new house, whatever you want."

Word-watch
Watch the negative words and thoughts. Think instead about all the successes you have had. How about all those hills you conquered? All those long workouts you endured? You are a great person. Relish those thoughts.

Negotiate with yourself
Give yourself permission to simply go to the next water stop, or to the next milestone, or even just the end of the day. Keep repeating that strategy until you see the finish line. Just one more mile before you say one more mile! (Exactly what I did on Wednesday!)

If it was easy, everyone could do it. You are the one who will make it. And don't forget the finish line pose!

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So what do you do when you hit a wall in your workout?

Monday, March 31, 2008

More about the 10K

Now that my head's screwed back into place, I can tell you a bit more about my first 10K!

There was a 30% chance of rain, but the weather guys always say that and it NEVER rains here in Texas, so I thought they were lying to me again. For those who don't know, I read somewhere that 30% means 30% of the viewing area, and in Austin, the weather is very different in South Austin compared to North Austin compared to West Austin. Anyway, it was super humid (near 100%), and as we waited for the timed runners to take off, it started to sprinkle then rain steadily. By the time we crossed the start line, it was already 20 minutes into the race.

The Capitol 10K encourages people to dress up, so we got to see a few interesting costumes along the way. My absolutely favorite part was when we were by the University of Texas stadium, we started hearing chanting behind us, you know, soldiers jogging in formation kind of chant. Eventually they pass us, but it was Austin Police Department cadets. They "sang" some interesting tunes for us. OH! And how can I forget, there were bands throughout the course playing for us! It wouldn't be Austin otherwise!

The rain ended about half way through. While the rain was refreshing, I just felt like I wasn't sweating because of the humidity, not to mention the roads get slippery when they're just wet and not soaked. I also had no hand-mouth coordinator when I grabbed water either! I literally spilled half the water down my chest and drank the other half. I guess I have to work on my transitions!

Matt asked me something interesting today: "Were you proud of yourself when you crossed the finish line?" I actually had to think about it because I wasn't sure - but yeah, I was proud. I wish I ran more of it, but there's always next time? Who's up for the end of April?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

meetup.com

I've decided to start highlighting some of my links because I think they are super awesome. (Super has become a favorite word of mine, so you're going to have to learn to deal with it.)

I just added a link called meetup. Meetup is "networking" community for people with similar interests:

Time: "A convenient, non-threatening way to connect to other people who share similar interests and live nearby."

Newsweek: "...helps groups of strangers organize monthly powwows at local watering holes."

Toronto Sun: "...it's important to stay true to your passions or interests, whatever they may be... An opportunity to reconnect with yourself and others in a stress-free environment. It's as simple as that."

So how can this work for you? While meetup is for any type of interests, you can find fitness related groups as well! I actively participate in two healthy lifestyle meetups in my area: 1) Get Healthy Now: Weight Loss, Health, Fitness & Fun Meetup, and 2) Fitness - Female's 28-48 Seeking Workout/Gym Partners.

In "Get Healthy Now: Weight Loss, Health, Fitness & Fun Meetup," I have learned how to beat sugar blues and make healthy smoothies without the added sugar that all those wonderful smoothie shacks add. In the "Fitness - Female's 28-48 Seeking Workout/Gym Partners," I have to chatting to a woman about doing a cycling class out our gym. It probably won't work out due to a scheduling conflict.

As with any internet group, if you're uncomfortable doing it by yourself, bring a friend! Better to be safe than sorry!

My First 10K

I completed my first 10K a couple of hours ago. Notice how I said first? I suppose there's more coming my way! I spent most of the race "catching up" to Matt, Terri, and Leslee (sp?), but we all finished. (Just a quick update, we did a run/walk; my "catching up" was always a jog because they were walking so fast!) I meant to time it by my watch, but I forgot my watch at the car, so we had to rely on the race clock or Matt's cell phone. Matt calculated that we did the 6.2 miles in 82 minutes, meaning it was 14.4 minutes per mile, or 4.4 mph. My calculation, though, was based on the time clock, and I got we were doing 15 minutes per mile, or 4 mph. What can I say, I'm a math geek; I do it for my day job. As usual, I think I'm right...I'm a woman after all. :)

I've decided not to do the Bun Run in mid-April, but rather skip over it and do the Texas Round-Up at the end of April. I have a month to train!

I also have to state the fact that Matt did not have to do the 10K with us, but this is just one thing that makes him, as a trainer, above the others. Even though I give him crap all the time, what sister wouldn't?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Just An Update

Two weeks ago I had strep, and last week I was sick. I'm now sitting in Orlando on a business trip, ready to rip my eyes out because of allergies. So is life...

About a 1.5 weeks ago, I did cardio with Stephanie (one of the trainers) at the gym. She's fantastic. Stephanie's training for a competition at the end of the month, so she's always looking for people to do cardio with. We jogged/walked about three miles; jogged a mile and walked the other two. I jogged one lap, two laps, three laps, and four laps (my first). Each lap's a tenth of a mile. She gave me so many great pointers for running and showed me some new stretches on top of that. It was by far my greatest cardio workout in a long time.

Last night I had a breakdown here at the hotel. The fire alarm went off at about 11:15pm. It was the first night that I went to bed before 11pm and I was going to get six hours of sleep (I have averaged just under 4 hours of sleep per night since Thursday). AND I was waking up early to hit the fitness center to get some cardio in since I have not done cardio in weeks because of illness. Well, after the fire alarm, there went all my sleeping time again...but I have to look on the bright side, even if I did get up, I would not have been able to work out at their facility because a leak. I skipped a conference session today to go mall walking because I feel like I've been so lazy and just not eating well while not at home. It was something, I suppose. I was just frustrated with the fire alarm because I had an 8:30am presentation today on top of everything else.

I feel bloated and just super fat tonight. It hasn't helped that I haven't left the hotel (and be in daylight) for two days now. I had 12.5 hours of meetings yesterday and 10 hours of meetings today (would have been 12 if I didn't take that mall walking break!). And this is straight meeting after meeting, with maybe ten minutes inbetween to grab water and a snack.

I'm frustrated, tired, and can't wait to get back into a routine at the gym...

Friday, March 07, 2008

Another Year Older, Another Year Wiser?

Happy Birthday to me! Today marks my 28th birthday on this planet. I cannot believe how much I have learned about myself this year, through my own endeavors and through people I have met.

There's more to life than the few things that can frazzle my everyday life.

I am passionate about what life has to offer. I try to give my time and resources unconditionally to those I love, like, and don't know.

I am a do-er, not a talker.

I'm sarcastic, giggle a lot, and wear my heart on my sleeve. I'm okay with this. It's better to understand yourself than try to change yourself sometimes.

I am independent, open, and honest. Possibly unforgettable too.

I don't judge, and everybody gets two shots with me, even if they judge me.

I don't really care what you or anybody else thinks about me. I like me, and that's all that matters.

I like watching people and how they interact with the world. It reminds me that the world does not revolve around me. (I should do this more often.)

I'm a writer and need to continue in that freedom of expression.

I'm an artist-wannabe. I love doing it; I'm just not perfect at it. (And please, get your mind out of the gutter!)

I love to travel, see new places and meet new people.

I'm a sports nut and love watching most of them. I try to play sports, but lack the skills necessary to go professional. I cheer for the Patriots, Knicks, Red Sox, Red Wings, and Longhorns.

Although on occasion, I screw up, I am health conscious. I love pushing my body to limits I never knew I could.

My body can do things my mind says I cannot.

I'm okay with the idea of settling in Austin. Last night when it reached 37 degrees, I could not fathom moving back to anywhere up north.

I enjoy quiet times of reflections and slowing down at work. I even took today off to enjoy it.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Wednesday Weigh-In

Weight Statistics
Starting Weight (1/1/05): 366.00
Weight Started with Matt (5/14/07): 342.00
Current Weight (3/5/08): 289.50
Weight Loss To Date: 76.50 lbs
% Body Weight Loss: 20.9%


Measurement Statistics
Starting Total Inches (10/26/06): 258.25
Total Inches Started with Matt (5/14/07): 247.50
Current Total Inches (3/5/08): 221.00
Total Inches Lost To Date: 37.25 in

Monthly Total Inches Lost: 1.5 inches


The FANTASTIC
I'm getting back into the swing of things when it comes to weight loss.
Matt is giving me new things to work on at the gym.
I'm under 290lbs!

The Good
Matt worked me out so hard on Thursday, I could barely walk on Friday.
Matt, another client of his, and I entered the Capitol 10K at the end of March. I will also be entering the Texas Round-Up Challenge 10K at the end of April. I'm hoping these "competitions" will motivate me to work harder, and I always like to improve, so that's my goal between races.
This guy at the gym is encouraging me to train for the Austin Marathon next year. I find this unrealistic, but I'm up for the challenge. First thing's first, though, let me run a 10K!

The Bad
Matt worked me out so hard on Thursday, I could barely walk on Friday. Needless to say, I skipped cardio on Friday.
Soup and liquid diet this week...

The Ugly
Strep - need I say more?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Back On...Back Off...

Just as I got back into the swing of things, I came down with strep and have been completely wiped out of the game since Saturday. :( Took my first set of antibiotics today, so hopefully I will be better for my birthday party this weekend! I'm still doing a weigh-in and measurements on Wednesday with Matt, so we'll see where we are at and where we need to go!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Procrastinated Confession

I have been procrastinating this post for some time now, but since a few of you have been noticing that I have not posted in awhile, I figured it's time to confess... I fell off the bandwagon big time, and one of the easiest ways to know that I have is when I don't post to my blog at least a few times per week.

I do have to say, even though I live in sunny Austin, I went through a couple weeks of winter blues where I had no desire what-so-ever to exercise. The adrenaline that I got from working out decreased, so I looked to other things to keep going...aka sugar, the worst thing possible for a dieter, or, in my case, a lifestyle changer. I became addicted to sugar again, and last week was not too pretty when I tried to detox from it.

A couple weeks ago, Matt (my trainer) made me promise to go to the gym every day for a week to try and get out of my slump. I had the hardest time telling him of my woes because I knew it would make him upset and sad. He has put a lot of himself in me, not just work-wise either. Anyway, I did work out for a week straight, and was going strong on my second week until yesterday. Sundays have become my "day out of the gym" exercise day for variety. Last Sunday I played sand volleyball for 3.5 hours, and the week before I hiked probably 7 miles or so in the greenbelt. My nutrition is not completely back to normal, but I'm working on it.

Man, this post sounds depressing. What have I learned through all of this? WELL...Matt is right yet again, I'm sometimes way too hard on myself. I need to work on forgiving myself. I can forgive others pretty easily, but for some reason if I screw up myself, I just can't do it. And that's how I spiraled down.

I could blame this on the new guys that are in my life, but that would be just another excuse and I'm tired of excuses. I need to step my game back up, it's just super hard to do so when I have so many exciting things outside the gym occurring.

SO...for accountability...I weighed in this afternoon (usually I do this in the morning before my morning workout, but I haven't had one of those in weeks) at 295, last week I was 293. I may be retaining some water due to my sodium intake last night, but who knows. I have started logging my food again, so that should help.

Thanks to those who noticed my disappearing act...I've been procrastinating my confession for about week now, but now you and the world know it.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Setting Her Free

Setting Her Free is a blog I try to read regularly about a wonderful woman's journey to becoming healthy. I never thought I would be able to relate to Heather because she is absolutely beautiful, but I have been thinking about what "setting her free" really means.

Although I still weight 290 pounds, still obese by all means, I have been extremely happy, it's like the endorphins have kicked into overdrive. Even when I have an extremely bad day (have had plenty these days at work), after I take it out at the gym, it's like a burden is lifted off my back. My confidence is higher than ever and I'm getting bolder by the day. I truly feel my new lifestyle has set me free, and that is part of my happiness.

And when you're happy, people notice and people talk to you because they want to know you. They want to know your secrets.

This isn't just a physical journey, it is also a mental and emotional one.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wednesday Weigh-In: 1/30/08

Today I weighed in at 290.0; a loss of 3.5lbs. I do apologize for not catching up on people's blogs lately; things have been pretty busy at work and in my social life around here.


The FANTASTIC
I lost 3.5lbs this week.
I am wearing makeup almost every day.
My cold's gone!

The Good
I am going out and having a blast these days. I am barely home these days - I actually schedule home time.
Matt pushed me really hard this week and I succeeded big time.

The Bad
I missed three days of gym.
I ate out a lot (but obviously I didn't do THAT bad...)
Friends may be leaving work. :(
I got a blister last night while walking around and it broke open - ouch!

The Ugly
I drank twice this week instead of just once.
Work is nuts right now. If I have to go to the 7th floor any more times this week, I'll shoot myself (not literally).

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Going Green: Grocery Bags

From the Sierra Club:

In New York City alone, one less grocery bag per person per year would reduce waste by 109 tons and save $11,000 in disposal costs.

Plastic bags carry 80% of the nation's groceries, up from 5% in 1982.
When 1 ton of paper bags is reused or recycled, 3 cubic meters of landfill space is saved and 13 - 17 trees are spared! In 1997, 955,000 tons of paper bags were used in the United States.

When 1 ton of plastic bags is reused or recycled, the energy equivalent of 11 barrels of oil are saved.

Reusing a bag meant for just one use has a big impact. A sturdy, reusable bag needs only be used 11 times to have a lower environmental impact than using 11 disposable plastic bags.


The solution? Canvas bags. I keep a stash in the trunk of my car, just in case I decide to run to the grocery store. They're reusable and washer friendly. A one time investment - even better!

Other Resources:
National Geographic
Reusable Bags

Friday, January 25, 2008

Life Happens And We Have To Deal

It's the second day that I have not been to the gym in a row. Yesterday I didn't go because of sore (possibly "torn") quad muscles, and today...well...there really isn't a good excuse for today. Could I make one up? Like being sick? OR...better yet...one of the guys that I'm getting to know? C'mon...I need to convince myself that ONE of these excuses works because we all know I'm not to blame, correct? I'm only trying to fool myself, and I think all of us do at some point or another:

I'm not that fat...
I'm big boned...
I don't need to exercise/move every day...
This one muffin isn't going to hurt (maybe the one won't, but the fifth will)...
One glass of wine won't hurt...

All these negatives and/or lies...self-defeating as somebody put it. I need to get back onto plan and do it now. Tomorrow's a new day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wednesday Weigh-In: 1/23/08

Most of the bloating is gone now, so my life's getting back to normal. Today I weighed in at 293.5. Not losing a lot these days, but I've been slacking in the diet (see below).


The FANTASTIC
I haven't missed a day at the gym and I did three double sessions.
A friend is going to cycle from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska with the Texas4000 club to raise cancer awareness.

The Good
I got to see Five Times August last night at Stubb's.
I'm going to bed soon, I can't wait to sleep!

The Bad
I'm getting another cold.
I worked on Monday even though it was a day off.
Lots of deadlines at work.
My shins aren't doing well.

The Ugly
Ugh...chocolate chip muffins and french fries. Thankfully there isn't any football this weekend.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lactose Intolerance

Any frequent reader of my blog knows that I'm dealing with some major bloating and water retention these days. I have talked to three trainers from the gym, and got these viewpoints (some of which a few of you pointed out).

Trainer #1: Matt (my trainer)
My monthly is coming up, and I'm usually bloated the week prior. We'll start worrying about it after my period. (Sorry to any guy readers...too much information for y'all.)

Trainer #2: Brian (Matt's boss)
Salt intake was slightly higher the week prior due to being sick. I was eating a lot of canned soup. High sodium diets makes most people retain water.
He also inquired if my water consumption was low, and for the most part, it hasn't been. I've been drinking about a gallon per day. Water should flush the toxins out.

Trainer #3: Stephanie (a master trainer)
She also inquired about my water consumption. We also discussed sodium intake and my monthly cycle (I know Matt hates talking about it).
She mentioned that when she drinks milk she gets bloated because she's lactose intolerant. It was interesting that she mentioned this because that is something I increased since the new year - drinking milk to get my calcium (see goals).


What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is an inability to digest and absorb lactose (the sugar in milk) that results in gastrointestinal symptoms when milk is drunk or products containing milk are drunk or eaten. (MedicineNet.com)

The problem underlying lactose intolerance is a lack of lactase - an enzyme produced by the lining of your small intestine. Lactase breaks down lactose so that it can be absorbed into your bloodstream. A deficiency of lactase leads to problems in breaking down and absorbing milk sugar (MayoClinic.com)


What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance?
1. Diarrhea
2. Nausea
3. Abdominal cramps
4. Bloating
5. Gas (both types)


Do you have to completely stay away from milk and milk products?
Not necessarily. Most people who are lactose intolerant can tolerate small or even moderate amounts of lactose. It often takes only elimination of the major milk-containing products to obtain sufficient relief from their symptoms. (MedicineNet.com)


Seeing that I am experiencing cramps, bloating, and gas after drinking milk, I'm wondering if my stomach cannot tolerate milk. I will have to wait until my monthly is over to start experimenting to see if I may be lactose intolerant to some milk/milk products. I'll keep everybody posted!

Resources used:
Wrong Diagnosis
Medline Plus
Mayo Clinic
MedicineNet

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The National Weight Control Registry

As an epidemiologist, I work constantly with all sorts of data from surveillance systems, disease-related registries (eg, cancer and trauma), medical records, hospital discharge records, birth records, death records, etc. I actually manage two surveillance systems in Texas.

While I lived in Michigan, I came across The National Weight Control Registry, and always kept it in the back of my head that someday I will join in this effort because I think it's important research. Since many people visiting my blog have succeeded and are succeeding in this weight loss journey, I thought y'all might be interested in joining too when you meet their criteria. I will forewarn you, though, it is a commitment, and from an epidemiologist point-of-view, it's extremely frustrating when participants are lost to follow-up.


From their website:
The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), established in 1994 by Rena Wing, Ph.D. from Brown Medical School, and James O. Hill, Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, is the largest prospective investigation of long-term successful weight loss maintenance. Given the prevailing belief that few individuals succeed at long-term weight loss, the NWCR was developed to identify and investigate the characteristics of individuals who have succeeded at long-term weight loss. The NWCR is tracking over 5,000 individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time. Detailed questionnaires and annual follow-up surveys are used to examine the behavioral and psychological characteristics of weight maintainers, as well as the strategies they use to maintaining their weight losses.


Eligibility to participate in the registry:
1. Lost at least 30lbs.
2. Maintained a 30lb weight loss for a minimum of one year.


NWCR Facts
1. Eighty percent of persons in the registry are women and 20% are men.
2. The "average" woman is 45 years of age and currently weights 145 lbs, while the "average" man is 49 years of age and currently weights 190 lbs.
3. Registry members have lost an average of 66 lbs and kept it off for 5.5 years.
4. These averages, however, hide a lot of diversity:
a. Weight losses have ranged from 30 to 300 lbs.
b. Duration of successful weight loss has ranged from 1 year to 66 years!
c. Some have lost the weight rapidly, while others have lost weight very slowly--over as many as 14 years.
5. Forty-five percent of registry participants lost the weight on their own and the other fifty-five percent lost weight with the help of some type of program.
6. Ninety-eight percent of Registry participants report that they modified their food intake in some way to lose weight.
7. Ninety-four percent increased their physical activity, with the most frequently reported form of activity being walking.
8. There is variety in how NWCR members keep the weight off. Most report continuing to maintain a low calorie, low fat diet and doing high levels of activity.
a. Seventy-eight percent eat breakfast every day.
b. Seventy-five percent weigh them self at least once a week.
c. Sixty-two percent watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.
d. Ninety percent exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day.

I will attempt to review their research articles that were published in journals and highlight some of those findings so y'all have as much information as possible about losing weight.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I LOVE ME

I'm catching up on blogs tonight, and came across Krissie's "I LOVE ME" list, so here it goes...

1. What do you absolutely love about your body?
Of course, the hardest question has to be the first one. I really had to think about this one while I was at the gym. The answer? My growing muscles. I've been impressed with how strong I have become physically (did 20 pound bicep curls today!).

2. When did you surprise yourself with your physical strength?
A year and a half ago, I was doing bicep curls with 5lb weights. Depending on the type of curl, I'm either using 15, 17.5, or 20lbs. My trainer helps me realize my physical strength all the time when he pushes me on the track, running two or three laps for a first time. He's always so proud and excited when I do hit a new goal like that; I may not physically show my excitement, but I do express it inwardly.

3. When were you braver than you ever thought you could be?
When I moved to Texas without ever visiting the area.

4. When did your self-control blow you away?
There was plenty of times in the past year in which I would go out to eat and only eat half of my meal. I'm slowly beginning to focus on the people I am with rather than the food consumption part.

5. What is your proudest moment ever?
The first time I was ever proud of myself was last month when my weight dropped below 300 pounds, reaching my first goal.

6. When was the last time you felt absolutely beautiful?
Five (maybe four...) guy personal trainers and my trainer's wife took me to a bar to celebrate reaching my first goal before their Christmas party. I bought a black dress the day before, wore heels (never do), and just felt absolutely beautiful. We were the only group in the bar, but eventually other groups of guys were coming in, so pretty much it was just me and my trainer's wife for females in the whole place. I had to go to the ladies room a couple of times, and I just felt these gazes follow me. Usually, I would think these gazes were because I was too fat or had toilet paper on my heel, but I felt like they were checking me out. The last time I went to the bathroom was right before we left the bar and it was just something special to see the crew standing, waiting by the door for me. I just had so much confidence that night, I think that was the key.

7. Why do you deserve to meet your goals?
I deserve to be my first priority in life. It's the first time I have ever done anything like this for me.

What It Means To Be Green

I am going to post a mini-series on what it means to be green. It's a term that is being used more frequently, especially here in Austin, and as I change my lifestyle, I'm slowly adapting to a greener life as well.

As a starting point, I found a survey from Conservation International that allowed me to see how eco-friendly I already am (or possibly not be). I scored a 51 out of 75, which makes me an Eco-Ally, but this score was the bottom of the barrel for being an ally for the environment, so it looks like I have a lot to learn!

How eco-friendly are you?


PS Thanks for all the warm compliments from my weigh-in. I'm going to do a spot check tomorrow to see where things stand.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wednesday Weigh-In

As I assumed, I gained weight, but I'm not going to update all the statistics because I feel it has to be water retention. I weighed in on Saturday at 291.5, and this morning I weighed in at 299.0 - 7.5lbs weight gain in less than a week. Now let me tell you, I didn't eat an extra 26,250 calories in four days. I'm not worried about it, I weighed myself tonight and I was already down two pounds...so I'm just going to wait it out.


The FANTASTIC
I didn't go to happy hour tonight; instead, I went to the gym!
My confidence is through the roof right now, and let me tell you, guys are easy...just a little smile and wink.
I got two more compliments this week.

The Good
I may have met some fun workout buddies at the gym.
I had 13-14 hours at the gym this week.
My friend started training with my trainer, so it's a great support system.

The Bad
I'm still bruised from my fall.
I missed going to the gym on Thursday because my car needed to see the doctor.

The Ugly
Jalapeno poppers, chili cheese fries, and two vodka and diet cokes.
I had Subway and Chipotle this week.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hopefully Just Bloated...

I'm frustrated. I feel like I am bloated beyond belief. I drank my water, and none of it is coming out of me what-so-ever. I know tomorrow's weigh-in is not going to be accurate, but I will weigh in for consistency. I weighed myself Saturday at the gym and I was 291.5, but my official weigh-in isn't until tomorrow. I think my sodium and fiber intake is a bit higher than usual, which would help explain being bloated. It's not even close enough to that time of month for that to be a factor (unless I'm going to get my cycle early). Argh...the scale is going to frustrate me tomorrow; it already is.

It is what it is.

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Decision About Boston

Everything happens according to God's plan; my life to-date is a pretty good example of that. After undergrad I wanted to go to Michigan for grad school, but I went to New York instead. After grad school, I wanted to move to Houston for a job, but was given an opportunity in Michigan. Couple years later, God gave me this job in Austin (not Houston, but still Texas). Each one of these journeys has taught me a life lesson. Michigan taught me how to forgive from the heart, and moving to Texas was a test of my faith. (One example was having a new year-long apartment lease in Michigan as I decided to move to Texas. How in the world was I going to pay two leases? God provides a way...always.) I thought God gave me Texas to teach me faithfulness and obedience, but after I reflected for over a week, I don't think those were the life lessons he wanted me to learn from Texas.

During my time of reflection, there was one verse that I kept going back to: "A man's wisdom gives him patience..." (Proverbs 19:11) At first I thought this was telling me to be patient and God will speak to me in time about the decision I needed to make, but it was really telling me that I need to be patient in
every aspect of my life (to name a few, love, weight loss, close friendships, etc). I honestly believe this is the life lesson Texas is supposed to teach me: patience. Maybe it won't be the only life lesson, but it's a start.

Although I would love to move to Boston to be near my best friend, go to Boston University for my doctorate, be recognized as an expert by experts in my field, and start my consulting business, I desire for what I already have here, and I believe it is according to God's plan. Financial growth can be replaced (or supplemented), personal growth cannot.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mmmmm...I love football just as much as pizza and ice cream...

I have a confession to make - I LOVE FOOTBALL. And, believe it or not, I really only watch the pro-football teams rather than college (even though I live in Texas). I do regularly cheer for Texas and Boston College (BC), and occasionally Michigan State and Michigan. I grew up in the Northeast, and the only rankable school out there has been BC, so everybody always focused on the pro sports. I am a die-hard Patriots fan (yeah, they won last night!), and my #2 team is the NY Giants (hope they cream the Cowboys today!). I cheer for the Giants because they have summer camp where I did my grad degree (graduated 04) and it's amazing just to see players out-and-about in the city. I even got to experience being on the practice field with them, so yes, they have a special place in my heart.

I was definitely good this football season, watching most of the games at the gym because my football junkie friends were busy supporting friends and family members who were on football teams (again, I live in Texas). Now that college ball is over, we've been going out to watch the games, which means I have splurged a little the past couple of weekends. I had some jalepeno poppers and two vodka and diet coke's last night while watching the Patriots, and today we're heading to a sports bar to watch the Cowboys (lose). I'm planning on getting a salad, but passing up beer while watching a football game is going to be super duper hard. The two seem to go hand-in-hand. Actually, I think it's the environment that makes me want to drink. I feel guilty taking up space at a bar and not having a drink because that's less tip money for the bartender. I used to be a waitress and I hated having tables that would sit there forever and not leave a good tip. I guess I could tip for drinking water... I don't know, thoughts?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Motto...that needs a bit of explanation.

My trainer has me jog a lot during our weight training sets. I despise jogging. I'm slow, and I don't run right. Not to mention you hear my flab (sorry, I know, too much information). But I still do it because it is one of the only things these days that gets my heart rate up into the cardiovascular zone. I can routinely jog 0.1 mile lap in 55 seconds or less. On a good day, it's about 46 seconds. The most I have ever run consecutively was three laps.

The past week and a half has been hard to get back into the swing of things. Matt's now pushing me even harder on the running and less resting between the cardio part of my program and the weight training. Not a bad thing at all, but I'm trying to adjust to it. We've also increased the number of laps I jog in a session with him, and for somebody who doesn't like jogging, it hasn't been very fun, so I procrastinate the jogging part. Luckily, Matt joins me on occasion. To help me get through all of this, I've come up with a new motto that even Matt enjoys. "The faster I get 'er done, the faster it'll be over."

If you really think about this motto, it makes a lot of sense when it comes to cardiovascular exercise. Let's do the math (oh no I didn't say that!). If you are targeting a certain number of calories to burn, if you work out at a moderate level, you may burn that many calories in an hour, but if you work out at an intense level, you may burn that many calories in a half hour - you're being "more productive," so to speak.

I know I should have a more positive outlook on jogging, but it's not quite there yet, so this motto is going to get me through it. Please note, this motto should ONLY be used for exercise and not for overall weight loss. I truly believe in order to maintain a significant weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, it has to be gradual.

Friday, January 11, 2008

It's Okay to be Selfish

Throughout my blog I have discussed having a problem with putting myself first. It has always been easier to focus on somebody else's needs, wants, and desires than mine. Sometimes I fall back into this black hole without realizing it, and thankfully this hasn't happened for quite some time.

On January 3rd, I posted about a decision I have to make concerning a job up in Boston. I still have not made any decisions, but will by the end of the weekend. I have been praying, reflecting, and reading the Bible to get some clarity. Amidst all this, a verse has popped off the page for other reasons.
"He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers." (Proverbs 19:8, NIV)
The Bible notes for this verse are quite interesting as well:
"Is it good to love yourself? Yes, when your soul is at stake! This proverb does not condone the self-centered person who loves and protects his or her selfish interests and will do anything to serve them. Instead it encourages those who really care about themselves to seek wisdom."

And that is what I will continue to do in this lifestyle change: to expand my knowledge base so that I don't make the same mistakes. Maybe after that, I can expand and help others too.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tip #6: Avoiding colds at work...

A long time ago I heard the following tip on the radio and have always kept it in the back of my head. I thought y'all might enjoy it.

Do not keep a tissue box on your desk at work. People will come by to grab a tissue from you and who knows what kind of germs they will leave behind. More than likely they need a tissue because they are sick (or may have allergies); do you really want to take the chance?

I hide mine in the filing cabinet.


And speaking of germs...do you know what public place has the most germs in which you are going to catch a cold from (e.g., the office, the gym, a bar, etc)? I'll leave the answer in the comment section this weekend.

As promised, here's the answer. When I first heard this question, my thought was a subway railing, being from the Northeast part of this country, but alas, that was not correct either. Actually, it's a gas station pump. Handles are rarely cleaned, and hundreds of people use them every day. AND...I don't know about you, but I know when I used to take long road trips, I would buy something edible in the convenience store. So not only are you using a gas pump in which thousands of people have used, but then you are also eating right after doing so.

I now keep a mini hands cleanser in my car that I use every time I go to the gas station. Okay...call me an aware germ-o-phobe...I'm okay with that. Actually, it's probably because I'm an epidemiologist that I'm so aware.

Gasp...

Okay everybody here's your opportunity to gasp...I didn't go to the gym today. Say what? Yep...no gym time today. Slept in, went to work, took my car to the doctor (aka mechanic), and will be heading out the door shortly to see some friends for a couple hours. I had the following decision to make:

1. Eat out twice today (Chipotle and Subway) and get to the gym for 35 minutes, OR
2. Eat out once today (and walk to Chipotle), not go to the gym, but eat a healthy dinner at home.

Now I know y'all are thinking, "Well Subway's not that bad for you." Hmmmm...not when you love the Chipotle Southwest sauce, which I LOVE. For those who don't know the nutrition, 1.5 tablespoons is 100 calories, 10 grams of fat (1.5 saturated), 10mg of cholesterol, 220 mg of sodium, and 1 g of carbs (1 g sugar).

I opted for #2 instead, and will be doing a double gym day tomorrow with weight training. Sometimes you need to make these executive decisions.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Update: Holiday Competition

Over Thanksgiving, my sister and I were chatting on the phone and decided to have a competition to see who could lose the highest percentage of their body weight (post here). The loser would have to buy the other lunch over Christmas. Yeah, I know, rewards should not be food orientated, but this would have given us time to just hang out (we went shopping instead). We started the Monday after Thanksgiving and then re-weighed ourselves the day before we left to go to our parent's house.

So the final results? We both lost 2.62% of our body weight. Technically speaking, I won if you went to the fourth decimal place, but we called it a draw. I'll get her next time!

I do have to mention, I lost just over 12 pounds this holiday season, compared to my seven pound weight gain last year. Now that's motivation to keep going!

Wednesday Weigh-In

Just a small reminder, my last weigh-in was on Friday, so it has not been a full week yet.

Weight Statistics
Starting Weight (1/1/05): 366.00
Weight Started with Matt (5/14/07): 342.00
Current Weight (1/9/08): 295.00
Weight Loss To Date: 71.00 lbs
% Body Weight Loss: 19.4%

Five Day Weight Loss: 1.0 lb


The FANTASTIC
Today, I turned the corner out of my office just as Cindy did down the hall. Cindy works in a different area of the department, but we have chatted a bit here and there. As we approached the door to the hall, she exclaimed, "You've lost weight!" The only person in their section that knows I'm losing weight is Carrie, so it was nice that somebody noticed.
While at the gym today, Destiny, a trainer, grabbed my attention with a "How much have you lost so far?" (I think her male client was curious but didn't want to approach me.) I asked back, "Since I started with Matt or overall?"

The Good
I got two double sessions in this week (which is good since I'm sick).
I ran 6 laps at the gym on Monday.
I've been very productive at work.

The Bad
I have been sick for almost a week now.
I'm stressed for a variety of reasons: deciding about Boston, deadlines at work, and confusing men.
Three beers on Sunday (one per half).
I should be eating more protein (I really should add this to resolutions list).
Instead of doing four weight training sessions (two with Matt, two on my own), Matt and I only did two full body workouts.

The Ugly
I'm a big klutz. I fell on Sunday, bruised my hip and left quad. Still really sore when I run.
I was way under in consuming my calories today (busy at work). I tend to then "overconsume" when I get home...trying not to tonight.
Sweets and salty stuff - need I say more?
My water consumption is not as high as it should be for the amount of exercise I'm getting (I should be drinking a gallon). I cramped up pretty bad last night.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Tip #5: When you need a bit of motivation...

My trainer has me walk with weights all the time. Usually, I'm doing something with those weights - lateral raises, bicep curls, shoulder presses, triceps, etc. On occasion, he just adds extra weight and has me walk with him. On Monday, I got to walk a lap (0.1 mile) with 40lbs in hand. Do you know how heavy that felt? And to think three years ago I weighed 70lbs more?

When you need a little bit of motivation, grab a weight that equals what you have lost and walk for a bit as a reminder of where you once were. It'll get your butt in gear again, guaranteed.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Contemplations

The week after New Year's is the busiest time of year with people making resolutions to either stay in shape or get in shape. I commend people who want to do this because I know how hard it is, but for a gym regular, it gets slightly frustrating when the fitness center is packed to the point where there is no equipment open to use. Luckily, my gym has an indoor track that I can use, but that can get pretty busy as well.

Why is it only one time a year (New Years) people decide to recommit themselves to changing their lives? Why not do this once a month or week? Heck, I sometimes do it daily if I'm having a bad week exercising and/or eating according to my food plan.

Why is it only one time a year (Christmas) people decide to show one another how much they care by giving gifts or sending cards saying "I'm thinking of you."? I vowed this Christmas that I would send my "newsletter" bi-yearly instead of just Christmas-time.

Why is it only one time a year (Valentine's Day) people decide to express their love to their close friends and family? Should we not commit to a life of love?

When you try to meet your health goals this year, I ask that you don't get tied up in the mentality that you can only recommit to yourself once a year. You mess up, tomorrow's a new day - better yet, the next hour is a new hour. Live your life of love for you then for others. This has been the first time I have put myself first and I have found others respect me more because of it.

My hope this year is to inspire and to maybe add a few new habits to the mix of things. How can I inspire you to be all that you can be?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Jonathan Clay: Whole New Me

I love music and try to support local artists as much as I possibly can. I found Jonathan Clay on MySpace, well, he and/or his crew found me, and I enjoy his music immensely. This one song of his has really hit home to me, and I wanted to share the lyrics to it:

Whole New Me - Jonathan Clay

My heads been spinning and thinning out
Just trying to stay
Away from it all

Feeling like no one will feel me out
What I'm all about
At all

Do you think that I
Could talk to you
Do you think that you could listen past my name

See my darker shades
And not argue
Would you look at me the same

I took their plans and I let them in
With no regard
To my own

I took my hands and I put them in
Something that I've
Never known

Do you think that I
Could show you
Everything that I've kept locked up on the inside

See I've been hiding out
In my own mind
And I'm getting out this time

This time

So grab your things
And hold on tight
Cuz a brand new me
Is coming out tonight

I'm feeling like
Nothing is the same
Everything is changed
But this tired name

My heads done spinning
I figured out
What I'm all about today

Don't care if anyone feels me out
I know what I'm about
Know what I'm all about
I'm alright
I'm alright

New Year's Resolutions

I figured it was about time to post my New Year's resolutions for everybody to keep me accountable and on track.

1. Lose 100lbs by year end. I'm still targeting to lose 54lbs by 5/14/08, which is my trainer's and my 1st anniversary date. (2.9lbs per week for 18.5 weeks.) I'm not sure if I'll be able to reach my first goal I set, 30lbs by 3/14/08. (3.0lbs per week.)

2. Drink at least 96oz of water per day.

3. Eat two fruits and three veggies per day.

4. Take my multi-vitamin.

5. Get exercise every day. I currently do 1.5-3.5 hours per day.

6. Cardio every day and weights four times per week.

7. Do the farm-to-work program once a month.

8. Reduce the number of food binges I have.

9. Get my calcium!

10. Continue writing in different venues.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Wednesday Weigh-In (On Friday)

Weight Statistics
Starting Weight (1/1/05): 366.00
Weight Started with Matt (5/14/07): 342.00
Current Weight (1/4/08): 296.00
Weight Loss To Date: 70.00 lbs
% Body Weight Loss: 19.1%

Bi-Weekly Weight Loss: 1.5 lbs


The FANTASTIC
After about two weeks of traveling, I actually still lost weight!
I got to see snow and feel really brisk air for the first time in almost two years.
After showing a guy how to order a beer at the bar on New Years, it kind of felt nice that he watched me walk away with confidence. (There's definitely more to the story.)

The Good
I got home in one piece.
I went to the gym once in Boston and actually looked forward to hitting the gym as soon as I got back.
People seem excited that I'm back in town.

The Inbetween
I ran into my old trainer at the gym on Wednesday. I found out he stepped down as manager at the other location and is back into training at our facility. Obviously it's my choice who I train with, and I am staying with Matt, but it's just strange to see Scott around again.

The Bad
The Boston dilemma (see yesterday's post).
I ate out a lot while in Boston, BUT it was mainly seafood.
I sprained a toe (don't ask how).
We didn't get to go snowboarding as planned. :-( We would have had to go to New Hampshire and weren't in the mood to drive that far.
I probably will not hit my next goal (30lbs in about two months).

The Ugly
My alcohol consumption was pretty high while in Boston (I drank all three nights).

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Life Complications

Originally I was not going to post about this because a couple of my close co-workers stop on by every now and then, BUT they are also co-workers that I would talk openly about this, so I've decided to post about it none-the-less.

I have always had the desire to move to Boston. There is a position like mine in every state, and Zi has been in that position in Massachusetts (MA) for quite some time. On 12/14/07, I received an e-mail from Zi letting the group of us know that he was resigning from his position and wanted us to forward the job description to any qualified candidates. I have prayed endlessly about this. Almost everybody has told me to apply just in case, but I'm still uncertain. I haven't decided if this is a blessing from God or a curse from Satan.

Zi and I have a good working relationship, so I called him yesterday to discuss his position and I wanted his overall honest opinions about the work environment. Let's just say, he's a man of careful words. His supervisor called me today to discuss it as well and they seem to be VERY interested. Now there is the possibility that I will not get it (like any job), and I would probably be competing against some stiff competition, people working at Harvard, Boston University, and some private firms. In addition, my supervisor here may be retiring in a couple of years, so I could be promoted... Too many scenarios.

Just before Christmas I told my parents that I was happy and content with my life as it is. I have an absolutely fantastic trainer/brother. I have some good friends here. I enjoy the music scene. And let's not forget about the weather (although I was missing snow there for a bit). Overall I enjoy my job and the people around me. Things are good. For me to say the words "happy and content" is huge because I've never been content with my life.

I miss my best friend, college friends, and high school friends horribly. I miss my best friend even more now that I just saw her in Boston over New Years (I cried on the plane). But at the same time, she and I have changed in so many ways since I left MA. One of the reasons I left MA was because I relied too heavily on her friendship and I needed to grow as a person. Is this Satan's trap to stifle my growth?

Kellie and family signed my guestbook today. I cried realizing the number of friends' children that I haven't been able to see grow up because I've moved so many times. I'm missing out on a lot being here, but if I'm in Boston, I'll be missing a lot of stuff here in Austin. I just don't know, would it be a beneficial trade-off?

Everybody I talk to mentions money and cost-of-living because Boston is obviously more expensive than Austin. For me, this journey is not about money, it's about being where I'm supposed to be and my happiness. But to address this issue anyway, I used CNNMoney's free cost-of-living calculator and have found the following:

1. Groceries will cost 29.4% more in Boston.
2. Housing will cost 93.2% more.
3. Utilities will cost 39.4% more.
4. Transportation will cost 9.6% more.
5. Healthcare will cost 31.6% more.

Even with these increases, the salary they would be providing would cover these extra expenses so that I could still live the same lifestyle, plus maybe an extra $6,000 each year (obviously, I'd have to do some salary negotiations). What I have not researched yet is how they do promotions and annual salary increases.

In addition, I have to think about my future. I do eventually want to go back to school to get my doctorate and the closest program here is in Houston. Unfortunately a little too far for me. In Boston, I would have at least Boston University. The other bonus with Boston is that some of my private partners in Texas have told me that if I ever decided to go into private consulting that they would hire me. While I can't do this working for Texas, I would probably be able to start doing this if I go to Boston.

So that's where my life is right now. I'm confused and need some clarity. It's so hard when you heart says one thing and your mind says something else.