Monday, November 29, 2010

Recap of T-Day Weekend, NSV and Thanks, again!

Greetings and Good Evening to All Blogger Readers and Followers!
I hope you all had a terrific Thanksgiving. I look foreword to reading how you all did!
I already posted about my Thanksgiving with the Hottie Update. So, I will expand just a little bit here: Overall, I did great. Just great! This is the first Thanksgiving I can remember being actually hungry for Thanksgiving dinner!! I sampled very sparingly while I prepared the turkey and stuffing. I ate a large salad before the big dinner, which really helped curbed my appetite. I did eat 4 small pieces of pie across the holiday weekend, but I factored all of them into my calorie budget and stayed under my target (1500).

Fantastic NSV: The best news of the weekend was that I went shopping on Black Friday with my daughter and daughters-in-law. This has become an annual pilgrimage if you will, to downtown Minneapolis. It is always a lot of fun and we end up at our favorite pub for a late lunch and laughs along with a few tasty beverages. You probably do not know that I do not think of myself as a shopper. I’m not. To top it off, I usually cannot find anything on super sale that is in my size. But, not this Black Friday!!! This time I shopped in the “regular” sizes and found a number of marked down skirts and shirts. Imagine how thrilled I was to find that I am a size SIXTEEN (!)!!! Not a 16 that I can squeeze into, but one that fits me well. I scooped up three new skirts and a nice shirt at bargain basement process. I can not tell you how good it felt to know that I am once and for all out of the 1x, 2x category!!! Not that I will become a reformed shopper, but, at least I know that when I need something I can easily find items in the regular part of the store. Talk about a cool NSV!!

Before I sign off today, I want to give a shout out to all of you my readers and followers. I am so thankful to each and every one of you for your many, many comments on my posts and the support you send my way daily. I cannot imagine doing this journey now without you and checking in with you on your own progress. So, if you are new to my blog, check out Shane, Faridha, Joy, for a blend of inspiration and determination, Anne to see what shenanigans she is up to, lovely photos found on Spunkysuzi and weightingfor50, honesty, humor and bad-ass grit from the Doc, Allan, a thoughtful and enlightening sports fanatic and musician, Honi for some great music while you read, Karen for expanding our thinking, fellow moms and grandmothers who are making a difference in their own lives so they have more time with those precious babies, kids and grandbabies (!) Tish, Margene, Christina, J (especially) but also her cohorts (B and Miss M, for their wonderful "doing this together" attitude), Jess, and Julie, fellow Minnesotans Jane and Debbie and all of you who are committed to the Hottie 100 Challenge and spread your cheer and support including Lanie Painie, Vee, GP, Sharon and especially you Steve!!

Thank-you, Thank-you,Thank-you, Thank-you,Thank-you, Thank-you,Thank-you, Thank-you,Thank-you, Thank-you,Thank-you, Thank-you for stopping by my blog and sharing a bit of yourself and your own journey with me. TTFN and stay strong everyone! Michele

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hottie Update

Today I will just post my Hot 100 Challenge update.
I completed my eighth week of the Hot 100 Challenge! Here is my update:

1.Lose an additional 12 pounds by December 24, 2010.
(I weigh in later next week, so nothing new to report here.)

2.Keep up my biking (at least 45 miles a week) AND include more walking (4 times a week at least 2 miles at a time) outdoors until the weather forces me inside.
(This was my worst week of exercise since I started this journey. Winter set in to Minnesota when I came back from Spain. So, bad weather, some jet lag, and not really planning well for alternative exercise set me back for most of the week. I did do about 4 miles of biking in the Netherlands on my way back from Spain. I walked on black Friday about 2 miles, and today, too. My plan for next week is to get out the exercise cycle (we have one in our basement now) and start walking outdoors now that the severe cold is lifting).

3.Take care of myself each day by eating less, moving more,
and eating plenty of fruits and veggies.
(Yes. I did well here. Even having a big salad both before Thanksgiving dinner
and before Happy Hour on Black Friday).

4.Have more 1200 days in a week than 1500-calorie days.
(Well, I made this goal on 4 out of seven days and with
Thanksgiving, I would say this was a WIN!!)

5.Drink more water. At least two liters per day.
(A habit).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This journey to better health and thankfulness

When I was in Spain I read two books. The first one was the Confession, the new legal thriller about the death penalty from John Grisham. It lived up to its billing, was a page turner, and a thought provoking read. The second book: Such A Pretty Face (Cathy Lamb, 2010) was a book I received from Lanie Painie as an award (Thanks, Lanie!). I am glad I did. This book is the story of a recovering obese woman who faces the trauma and tragedy that marked her youth that pushed her to find solace and comfort in food. It is a deeply poignant story. It is the last book that gives me pause for the ruminations that will be today’s post.

I am on a journey to set me free of my obesity and to regain my health. In so doing I am uncovering the complexities whether they be emotional, physical, or psychological that pushed me into obesity in the first place. These growing understandings are not trivial and for me a necessary part of this journey if I am to be successful in reclaiming my health. I know that as I make steady progress in losing weight and increasing my fitness stamina and strength, I am, also, confronting the trauma of my youth and a life lived where I was not able nor ready to look after the most important person in my life: me. I have written before about how I am facing my own denial and finally meeting it head on. I am confronting my past so that I can move forward. I am learning to love me and to care for myself. Part of this caring is indeed painful as I revisit and move forward from difficult memories, a life time of bad habits and a life lived in a state of denial. No matter how painful, though, I am moving forward in ways that I never thought possible. I love what I am finding underneath, too, a woman who cares deeply about herself and her well-being. At this time of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for me, the incredible life that I have had, and this journey that I have finally taken. I know that my gift of caring for myself, is also an implicit gift to those I love and care deeply about: my family, my grandbabies, my hubby. By my taking care of myself I am contributing to a Happy Thanksgiving for those who mean so much to me.

What about you?
In what ways are you thankful for your journey to better health?

Travel safely and Have a Great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Back from Spain and Thanksgiving Week!

I am back from Spain. It was a great trip. Overall I ate well and kept my exercise up, not perfect, but really good. Winter has definitely hit Minnesota. Both yesterday and today we have had freezing rainy drizzle with accompanying slick roads. As you can imagine loads of accidents. Freezing rain is the weather that I dread the most. Now begins my sojourn into finding indoor exercise that will assist me in moving forward in my journey toward better health.

Thanksgiving week. I have a great deal to be thankful for, as I am sure all of you do to. Today I will write about two particular aspects of my life that exemplify my own blessings for which I am incredibly thankful: 1). This journey to regain my health and 2). my life’s partner.

Regaining my health. This will be the first Thanksgiving where I know that I will eat reasonably and in control. I am certain that I will not binge and when Thanksgiving is over, I will not regret one thing that I ate. “How can that be, Michele” (you may ask)? Well, here is how: I made the decision on June 26th to take care of my health. You all know that I am slowly making progress (lost 22 pounds and have increased my strength and stamina through regular exercise). I eat well, most of the time; eating between 1200-1500 calories per day. I do not deprive myself of foods that I enjoy, instead I have learned to build the calorie budget for these foods into my daily allotment. This is the first time in recent years that I can remember going into Thanksgiving and the holidays in general thinking about my own health, rather than postponing or ignoring my weight issues and eating what ever I feel like all with the thinking that come January, I will take care of myself.

In June, I made the decision to regain my health and to not put it off any more. I am for once, taking care of me, and in so doing trying to understand all the complex emotional, physical and sociological influences that contribute to why I overate in the first place and ignored my own health and well being. I am committed to this journey. I love the “new me” that is emerging from my journey and want more than anything to keep taking care of myself. I have plowed through 4.5 months of sensible eating and exercise and weathered some pretty big emotional events (passing of father, for one) all without binging or overeating. I am at and have reached a turning point, where I will not go back. I just have lost my desire (again for now) to go back to what I was and how I responded to life through food. I know I will not go back. I know I will not go back. I know I will not go back. I am different this time around, my dear readers, and that is why I know that this Thanksgiving I will do great and am facing the holiday without any fear what so ever. It feels great to be me right now! (See my rumination label for more on this if you like).

My life’s partner: Do you walk through life with a life partner?? Well, I do, too. I know that this is THE most significant blessing of my life and one that I try not to take for granted. I could never imagine as a youth, living through a tumultuous and dysfunctional childhood, that I would be as deeply loved as I am by my life’s partner. It is the love from him to me that enabled me to finally make the decision to take care of my health so that I WILL continue to share my life with this fabulous human being and that the life I share is healthier and much more fit. The health risks that I put between us were and are life threatening and serious: the risk of diabetes being number 1. I do not want that life for me or for him. Thus, move more and eat less is my adage.

I am sure this week of Thanksgiving will provide much ruminating about our individual and collective blessings in blogland. I look forward to reading your own thoughts this week as we all stop to remind ourselves of our good fortune. TTFN and stay strong in your journey, Michele

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Friday and Hottie Update!

Happy Friday!
It has been a great week for exercise. I have logged about 20 miles of walking. That is the most walking that I have done in one week, even more than when I was in Yosemite. Eating has been overall good. Travel abroad is a little more complicated, but overall I did well.

I completed my seventh-week of the Hot 100 Challenge!
Here is my update: Hot 100 Challenges

1.Lose an additional 12 pounds by December 24, 2010. This is doable because there are 12 weeks until Christmas Eve and I lose about 1.3 pounds per week. (I will not weigh in until after Thanksgiving)

2.Keep up my biking (at least 45 miles a week) AND include more walking (4 times a week at least 2 miles at a time) outdoors until the weather forces me inside.
(As I wrote above, exercise was really good this week in terms of walking. I know that on Monday when I walked 5 miles, I burned over 500 calories. So that was excellent. If the weather permits, I will get back on biking once I am in MN. ).

3.Take care of myself each day by eating less, moving more, and eating plenty of fruits and veggies. (Yes, especially fruits. Veggies were a little harder, just because I was not usually the one preparing the meals, but good overall).

4.Have more 1200 days in a week than 1500-calorie days. (I did okay here; three days of 1200, and 4 days that were 1500. With one day about 2000: grilled fish is cooked in olive oil here in Spain! This will be better once I get back to the States.).

5.Drink more water. At least two liters per day.
(Yes, every day. A habit).

Have a great weekend everyone. Stay strong in your journey to better health!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Walking, walking, walking...

Just a quick update: I am doing quite well in exercise over in Spain. Over the last two days, I logged in 5 (Monday) and 4 (Tuesday) miles walking. I do not have access to a vehicle, so experiencing some of the cultural opportunities requires a walk. Plus, as at home, it is a great way to release the intensity that builds through the work day. Enjoy a picture of a sidewalk with tile and the sunrise yesterday! TTFN, Stay strong!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gibraltar and stamina

On Saturday, my students and I headed to the “Rock” of Gibraltar, a giant slab of jagged Jurassic limestone to learn more about the cultural and natural history of this unique landform. A few fun facts: Gibraltar is imposing but, small. It measures less than six square kilometers in total. Gibraltar is a British self-governing colony. It is inhabited by around 30,000 people made up of Gibraltarians, British, Moroccans, Indians and Spanish. There is also a colony of famous apes, the only ones in Europe to run free in a semi-wild state (for more information click here). As you might expect, there are magnificent views from many spots on the rock (as the many pictures below will attest).

We walked about 5 miles up and down stairs, steep and narrow paths up and down this rock. My students are definitely more fit than I am, plus let’s be real: they are 21-22 years old. But, here is what I found: I have REALLY improved my stamina. I could not quite keep up with them, but, boy was I close. The stairs were tough, but on most of the hills, I did great. I know that the biking and walking that I have been doing the past 4.5 months paid off in this increased amount of stamina and strength. This was NOT true of me before. As a matter of fact, I inwardly always cringed a little when we planned a trip, knowing that what ever we planned in terms of hiking, walking or anything physical, would be hard for me and I would fall behind the others. Not anymore. This is huge NSV for me!

The Spain Seven
Have a strong day everyone!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ready to walk some hills??

Are you ready to walk some hills? Today we will walk toward the
foothills near where I am staying in Southern Spain (Estepona).
Come with me...we will walk for about 35 minutes.
First, we need to go up and down several flights of stairs.
Here is our view of the Sea as we reach the landing and exit from our apartment.
Next, we walk to the gate.
Walk toward the sidewalk over there.
The side walks here are all paved in brick.
Look toward the foothills, that is the general area where we are going.
Careful there is a round-about. Let's cross over carefully.
After we cross the street we can start up our first hill.
This one is not too bad, you can do it!

Look what you accomplished!
Okay. You ready? Here comes our cardio workout!
How about a little breather? It is starting to get dark.
The street lights are just coming on.
Keep on walking, you can do it!!

Here is your reward: sunset over the Mediterranean Sea! Lovely, don’t you think?

I completed my sixth week of the Hot 100 Challenge! Here is my update:
Hot 100 Challenges

1.Lose an additional 12 pounds by December 24, 2010. This is doable because there are 12 weeks until Christmas Eve and I lose about 1.3 pounds per week
(As you know from my Monday post, I lost three pounds. Nine left. )

2.Keep up my biking (at least 45 miles a week) AND include more walking (4 times a week at least 2 miles at a time) outdoors until the weather forces me inside.
(Well this was an interesting week. I rode my bike about 35 miles before
I left for Spain (including back and forth to the Vikings game!) but I
will not meet this goal because I do not have a bike here. But, walking,
I am at 8 miles today).

3.Take care of myself each day by eating less, moving more,
and eating plenty of fruits and veggies.
(Yes. I went grocery shopping today with my students. I loaded up our apartment with fruits and salad type veggies. So, I am better armed for this one, although this past week was good).

4.Have more 1200 days in a week than 1500-calorie days.
(I had 3 - 1200 a calories days, before I left. Now that I am in Spain, I am
watching what I eat, but I think I have had more 1500 days)

5.Drink more water. At least two liters per day.
(Yes, every day).

Many of you wrote posts regarding Veterans day. For me this was significant because
my father, who recently passed, served in WW 2. Because of my dad, ten years ago
my whole family went to Normandy to see for ourselves what the soldiers had done.
I will never forget it. Ever. We are all indebted, and still are, to the service men and women.

For another take on remembrance and healing, take a look at
Mind over Fatter's post.

Have a great weekend everyone and stay strong in your journey!
Adios Amigos! Michele

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Patience and determination

Dr. Fit to Fat had a great post on Wednesday about Marcus Dupree. As I read her post, I was reminded of just how much patience and determination it takes for all of us in our weight loss journey. For me, patience is required, because my body responds slowly with my reward of weight loss. I started this journey on June 26th. If you have been following my blog, you know that I am practicing the adage of eating less, moving more and staying in the range of 1200-1500 calories a day. Since I started (4.5 months ago), I have lost 22 pounds. That works out to about 1 pound a week. I am A-OK with that amount. My goal is to move forward, and allow myself to be human on the journey. It is after all, a life journey. For me that means not depriving myself of foods that I enjoy by budgeting the extra calories in, or going over on special days (Halloween, for example). I used to live in a fantasy world of losing 10 pounds or more in a month. I no longer think that way. One pound a week, Michele, is great for me. I am learning to be patient as to the amount of time it takes to lose. But patience is not all I am learning in this journey. You know from my post a couple of days ago that I stalled in my weight loss for over 6 weeks. Meaning that I did not record any weight loss. This is where determination comes in. The old Michele would have given up, but no longer. I am determined to move forward and to regain my health. What about you, what are you learning about your own patience and determination on your journey??

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

¡Buenas Dias!

Sometimes my professional work occurs in beautiful and interesting places. Meet my home office for the next 11 days in a lovely apartment on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. I am with a group of student teachers who are placed in Sotogrande International School in Spain by the college where I teach. I was the lucky one who got to go “supervise” them. Nice gig.I do not know about biking, but, I do know there are walking areas all around. Plus it is hilly, so it will be good cardio for me. So, for the next 11 days I will take out my walking shoes! Adios! Michele

Monday, November 8, 2010

Scale Victory Monday!

Today was my weigh in and I lost 3 pounds! The number above may not mean too much to all of you, but this is my new record low! My lowest weight in 10 years. That is 22 pounds lighter since I began this journey on June 26. Most of you know that I have really stalled in scale victories, hovering at 19 pounds lost for the best part of 6 weeks. I am here to tell you that patience and my determination finally paid off. It feels great!!

To keep the fires burning, I logged another 8 miles on my bike this morning. New habits, new habits! Make it a strong day everyone! Michele

PS: The Vikings won (!!!) in case you didn't hear!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Friday and Hottie Update!

Happy Friday, Bloggers!

It has been a great weather week in Minnesota. Cool (40-50) which is perfect for bike riding. Now that I know my bike riding days out doors are numbered, I got in a few days of “over” biking this week. Yesterday, I completed at 12-mile ride around three of the lakes in Minneapolis. On Monday morning, I had to be to work early, so got up at 5am (!!!) to complete an 8-mile bike ride. I do not know about you, but if I do not get my exercise in before I go to work, I have a very hard time keeping it up. So, 5AM on my bike (with lights of course) was perfect, except, well, it was a little dark.

Yesterday when I was on that 12-mile bike ride, I almost fell off my bike when I saw for the first time an elliptical bike. The concept looked intriguing, especially for someone like me who wants to be outdoors as much as possible to exercise. How about you? Have any of you seen these before or ridden on one?? They are expensive, the one below comes in at about $2000, so not in my price range, but there is always Craig’s list. What are your thoughts on this bike?
I have to also report that I know I am addicted to riding now. Here is why: Wednesday was our bimonthly day care day for our sweet GB. I took 5 of them to a park near the bike trail where I ride often. While I was pushing their swings, I was watching the riders zip by and feeling a “longing” to hop on my bike. Of course I fixed this as soon as I dropped them off by hopping on my bike and doing that 12-mile ride.

I completed my fifth week of the Hot 100 Challenge! Here is my update:
Hot 100 Challenges

1.Lose an additional 12 pounds by December 24, 2010. This is doable because there are 12 weeks until Christmas Eve and I lose about 1.3 pounds per week
(I weigh in on Monday, so nothing new to report here. )

2.Keep up my biking (at least 45 miles a week) AND include more walking (4 times a week at least 2 miles at a time) outdoors until the weather forces me inside.
(I am really proud to say that I did 45 miles on my bike this week.
Including some “over” biking rides that I reported above.
I came in a little under in walking, only 5 miles).

3.Take care of myself each day by eating less, moving more,
and eating plenty of fruits and veggies.
(Yes, I have done really well, especially on the fruits and non-salad veggies.
It is finny how I am eating less salad overall and
enjoying loads of carrots and broccoli).

4.Have more 1200 days in a week than 1500-calorie days.
(I had 4 - 1200 a calories days, so I made this goal!! That is super exciting for me).

5.Drink more water. At least two liters per day.
(Yes, every day. A habit now, I think).

Have a great weekend everyone and stay strong in your journey! Michele

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Food for Thought and other Words Wednesday

Marion Nestle will be the subject of today’s Food for Thought and other Words Wednesday. If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that I am following Marion Nestle's adage to eat less, move more, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and go easy on the junk food as part of my journey to better health. Well, there is much more that I would like to share with you about her work.

Dr. Nestle's research examines scientific, economic, and social influences on food choice. She is the author of three prize-winning books: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (2002; revised edition, 2007), Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology, and Bioterrorism (2003), and What to Eat (2006). Recently she was a featured speaker at the Nobel Conference. Her talk is interesting and compelling. Excellent web based technology brings together both her deliver of the talk and the actual slides which make for a highly engaging and easy to understand talk for a general audience, including all of you. One of my favorite illuminations is when she discusses the research of her former student who found that "larger portions have more calories!"

Dr. Nestle is committed to raising the “dietary literacy” of the general public, an advocacy that gets her noticed. Dr. Nestle opposes marketing commercials targeted at children for foods of minimal nutritional value (aka: junk foods) from children’s television programs and schools. She views “tax and price policies” on items such as soft drinks, candy, chewing gum, and snack foods (Food Politics, p. 370) as options that would clearly “influence buying decision and can thus be manipulated to improve dietary intake.” Fellow health and nutrition experts are not exempt from Nestle’s scrutiny especially as noted in Food Politics where she questions the objectivity and perceived independence of nutritionists and other health experts when they enter into partnerships and alliances with food companies (p. 371). Such positions place her squarely in the center of controversy around food, nutrition and food policy, and often. It is her commitment to raising dietary literacy and her healthy skeptism regarding food and food policy that made her a clear choice for the slate of this Nobel Conference on making food good.

And something that many people do not know: Marion is an avid gardener even in New York City. Her NYC apartment balcony is rimmed in potted vegetables that she waters with a drip irrigation system. At the time of the Conference, she was still picking tomatoes from her own plants. How is that for eating local??

Yes, that is yours truly (me) with her! I was her faculty host for the Conference. Believe me it was an incredible experience. Finally, Dr. Nestle is someone who talks the talk and walks the walk, too. When asked by me if she lives by her adage: eat less, move more, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and go easy on the junk food? Her reply was: “Absolutely. Nothing could be easier.” I hope you will enjoy listening to her talk.

TTFN and stay strong in your journey to better health! Michele

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Post" Halloween!

Halloween is behind us now. Back in the summer I took Sean Anderson’s advise to add 1000 calories to my daily budget for these special occasion days. I am happy to report that I came in at only 900. The best news for me is that I did not eat a SINGLE piece of candy or other Halloween treat until the actual day. Knowing that I allowed myself the extra 1000 calories helped me to feel like I was not deprived. Our family, adult kids and grandkids, gather at our home for dinner, pumpkin carving and to go out for trick or treats. We always plan a BBQ even though Halloween for us usually borders on cold (highs in the 40’s during the day). A crisp and still weather day made all of the festivities that much more fun. Our family dressed up as Star Wars characters this year (all of us!!). Enjoy a "family" picture:
So, how did you spend that 900 calories, Michele, you might be wondering? Well: some candy (butterfingers snack size and a gorp type medley that we love with peanuts, candy corn, pretzels, M & M’s and raisins), a couple of low fat raisin pumpkin cookies (recipe is here) and a couple of pats of butter on the carrot/potato/onion dish that we make.

Despite doing reasonably well over Halloween, I am going to take Shane’s idea and cut my extra calories to 500 for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and Day. If Shane can do it, I can do it, too! What about you, what is your plan for the upcoming holidays and eating?

Stay strong. TTFN, Michele

Monday, November 1, 2010

Come along the trail with me!

Today I would like to invite you all on a little trail hike to Mirror Lake in Yosemite Park. It is a "moderate" trail with no switch backs or hikes in elevation-so you can all make it quite well!! First, let's find the path. There it is in between the trees. Watch your step, there are many leaves and small branches on the ground.

That is my hubby ahead.
He is quite tall and I am well shorter-so our paces are never the same!
Keep walking along the path.
Lots of shade here from the beautiful California Oaks,
Ponderosa Pines and White Fir trees.

We have arrived at Mirror Lake.
Can you see why it's name is so fitting?

That is the famous half-dome reflected on the edge of the lake!
Don't forget to look up while you are walking.
Magnificient, eh??
Let's go past the lake and walk along the Tenaya Creek.
Let's cross over the bridge.

Quiet: there is a mule deer up ahead.
Watch your step in this area-a recent storm
blew down many trees. Can you see that some of them
were topped-off by the wind?
Keep following the path we are going up hill,
but it is not too bad.
Look over there, a young giant sequoia tree.
As we make our way back, let's stop one more time to look at Half Dome
You just completed a 6 mile hike. Not bad for one morning.
TTFN from Yosemite! Stay strong in your journey, Michele